Thursday, 25 August 2016

On Being Asked What Recollection Was by Deborah How Cottnam

What Recollection is – Oh! Wouldst thou know?
’Tis the soul’s highest privilege below:
A kind indulgence, by our Maker given –
The mind’s perfection, and the stamp of Heaven;
In this, alone, the strength of reason lies –
It makes us happy, and it makes us wise.

What does not man to Recollection owe?
What various joys from calm reflection flow?
What but this power – this faculty divine.
Can Time recall, and make it once more thine? –
By this unaided, mortals could no more
Review the past, explore the future hour.

What dominant pangs would rend the feeling heart,
Doomed with the lover and the friend to part –
If with the object, Memory, too, should fail –
And dark oblivion draw her sable veil
O’er every pleasing scene of former love,
Our present bliss, our future hopes above?

Who could survive a friend’s departed breath,
If all were blank before, and after death?
What smoothes the bed of pain, and brow of care,
If happy Recollection dwell not there?
’Tis this alone bids virtuous hopes arise,
And makes the awakening penitent grow wise.

When joys tumultuous rush upon the soul,
Or grief or rage its faculties controul,
’Tis this bids tyrannizing passion cool –
Calms and resigns the mind to reason’s rule;
When false delusive flattery would invade –
This guards the heart ’gainst treachery and surprise,
And teaches to bestow on worth the prize.

The pleasing retrospect of blameless youth –
Boundless benevolence – unblemish’d truth –
Are joys whose full extent Eliza knows,
When sweet Recollection in her bosom glows.
Hark! Recollection whispers while I write –
Condemns the rash attempt, the adventurous flight,
To paint those beauties – or that Power define
Which loudly speaks our origin divine;
To explain what baffles all descriptive arts –
The Deity implanted in our hearts;
Struck and convinced, I drop the onequal task,
Nor further dare though my Eliza ask.


Date: 178?

By: Deborah How Cottnam (1725-1806)

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

His Petition to God, for King, and Parliament. 1645 by John Barford

O God, thou God of Truth, I pray thee heare
My Soules request, for all that doe Thee feare.
Ther’s but one Truth; to which both hold & bring
All thy owne People, to our soveraigne King.
And He to them, and all to joyne in One,
To cast out factious Sects, and suffer none:
Which doe Gods facred Ordinance refuse,
Led by their Fancies, and doe Truth abuse.
All Sinnes foule plotters; let them be to him
As Gangrens, to the State, and to each limbe.
A Body perfect, may no Member misse;
Nor Kingdome stand, that long devided is:
No more blind Bullets, Fire, nor bloody Sword,
Dissentions end, but let just Law accord:
Brute bankerupt Ruffians, and Blasphemers are
All chiefe rejoycers, when true Christians jarre;
That they may Plunder, Pillage, Drink, and Whore,
And mourne when Mischief they can doe no more.
O GOD! thou needest no Instrument of Hell
Fight for thy Truth, thy Breath can them expell:
Let not our Foure-score yeares of Ioy, thus turne
To horrid Out-cryes, and just cause to Mourne.
But let our King be guided whole by Thee:
In Happinesse to keepe his Kingdomes three:
And Banish all the Jesuitick crew,
That wee may sing Thee praises old and new.
Now heare sweet GOD, and settle Truth and Peace,
AMEN, I cry, Amen and never cease.

From: Barford, John, His Petition to God, for King, and Parliament, 2009, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford.

Date: 1646

By: John Barford (fl. 1646)

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Rivers by Thomas Storer

Fair Danubie is praised for being wide;
Nilus commended for the sevenfold head;
Euphrates for the swiftness of the tide,
And for the garden whence his course is led;
The banks of Rhine with vines are overspread:
Take Loire and Po, yet all may not compare
With English Thamesis for buildings rare.


Date: 1599

By: Thomas Storer (c1571-1604)

Monday, 22 August 2016

Description of the Phoenix from “The Phoenix” by Anonymous

The bird is handsome of colouring at the front, tinted with
shimmering hues in his forepart about the breast. His head is
green behind, exquisitely variegated and shot with purple.
Then the tail is handsomely pied, part burnished, part
purple, part intricately set about with glittering spots. The
wings are white to the rearward, and the throat, downward
and upward, green, and the bill, the beautiful beak, inside
and out, gleams like glass or a gem. The mien of his eye is
unflinching, in aspect most like a stone, a brilliant gem,
when by the ingenuity of the craftsmen it is set in a foil of
gold. About the neck, like a circlet of sunlight, there is a
most resplendent ring woven from feathers. The belly below
is exquisite, wondrously handsome, bright and beautiful. The
shield above, across the bird’s back, is ornately yoked. The
shanks and the tawny feet are grown over with scales.


Date: 9th century (original in Old English); 1998 (translation in modern English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Sidney Arthur James Bradley (1936- )

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Invisible in the Torn Out Interiors by Dara Wier

A man looked at us across his little dish
Of watercress and peas and said he’d wasted
Five years. We couldn’t ask him doing what?
He said he knew he’d let some thing alive die
And didn’t know how to get it back again now
That it was gone. He looked as if he were
About to cry, as if a fresh death wanted him
To mourn. He talked as if the place he’d been
Had so unwelcomed him it had ruined his soul,
As if it were a place into which drained an
Absolute dead air. He said he’d left no friends
Behind, no one who’d notice he was gone.
And here he was without a job, no place his to
Live, no one his to love. We said welcome home.


Date: 20??

By: Dara Wier (1949- )

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Toleration by John Leslie Barford (Philebus)

Is it too much to ask that I should be
Allowed to prove
God’s gift of infinite variety
In human love?

I do not seek that all should understand,
Much less forgive;
But surely heed man’s commonsense command
“Live and let love,”

And, if the Greatest Lover’s word divine
Further can move, —
(Who had Himself all natures, even mine,)
Love — and let love.

Serve Her Right

Gertie Green made eyes at me.
Mother ought to slap her!
But I took her out to tea
Just to see if I could be
Happy with a flapper.

But the base philanderer
Ogled with another;
So, of course to despite her,
I decided to transfer
Affections to her brother;

And I did! . . .


Date: c1920

By: John Leslie Barford (Philebus) (1886-1937)

Friday, 19 August 2016

Back Side of Albany by Micah Hawkins

Back side Albany stan’ Lake Champlain,
Little pond half full o’ water;
Plat-te-burg dar too, close ‘pon de main;
Town small—he grow bigger, do’, herearter.

On Lake Champlain Uncle Sam set he boat,
An’ Massa Macdonough, he sail ’em,
While Gineral Macomb make Plat-te-burg he home
We’d de army, whose courage neber fail ’em.

On lebenth day Septem-ber,
In eighteen hun’red and fourteen, Gubbernor Probose an’ he British soj-er.
Come to Plat-te-burg a teaparty courtin’.

An’ he boat come too, arter Uncle Sam boat,
Mass ‘Donough, he look sharp out de winder.
Den Gineral Macomb, (ah! he always at home,)
Cotch fire too, sirs, like a tinder.

Bang! bang! bang! den de cannons ‘gin to roar,
In Plat-te-burg an’ all about dat quarter;
Gubbernor Probose try he ban’ ‘pon de shore,
While he boat take he luck ‘pon de water.

But Massa Macdonough knock he boat in he head;
Break he heart, break he shin, ‘tove he caffin in;
An’ Gineral Macomb start ole Probose home—
To’t me soul den I mus’ die a laffin’.

Probose scare so, he lef’ all behine,
Powder, ball, cannon, tea-pot an’ kittle;
Some say he cotch a cole—trouble in he mine,
‘Cause he tat so much raw an’ cole vittel.

Uncle Sam berry sorry, to be sure, for he pain’.
Wish he miss heself up well an’ hearty,
For Gineral Macomb and Massa ‘Donough home
When he notion for anoder tea-party.

From: Lossing, Benson J. (ed.), Potter’s American Monthly: An Illustrated Magazine of History, Literature, Science and Art, Volume 3, 1874, J. E. Potter and Company: Philadelphia, p. 69.

Date: 1815

By: Micah Hawkins (1777-1825)

Alternative Titles: The Siege of Plattsburg / Backside Albany / Boyne Water

Thursday, 18 August 2016

To Mr. and Mrs. De Fleury, Jun’rs, Married November 25th, 1773 by Maria De Fleury


Happy the pair, who’re fitly join’d,
In heart, in temper, and in mind,
Made one in Hymen’s silken bands;
United hearts, united hands,
Both children of eternal grace,
Both journeying to the heav’nly place,
Both taught in the Redeemer’s school,
They make his will, his word their rule.
Helpmeets indeed, they kindly bear
And soften each the other’s care.
Celestial friendship smiles around,
And all their hours with peace are crown’d:
They mount towards the realms of day,
And find a heaven all the way;
So Jesus loves his ransom’d bride,
For whom he groan’d, and bled, and dy’d,
Who life receives from his pierc’d side.
So Zion hangs on Jesus’ name,
And calls him Lord, with tend’rest claim:
Her brother, Saviour, bridegroom, all;
And on his love depends for all.
No harsh commands the Saviour lays,
No forc’d obedience Zion pays;
A loving sceptre Jesus wields,
A free obedience Zion yields:
To do his will is her employ,
Because his will’s her chiefest joy;
She has her will, when his is done,
They will the same, for they are one.
Ye marry’d, would ye happy prove,
Remember all the charm is love.

From: De Fleury, Maria, Divine Poems and Essays, On Various Subjects. In Two Parts, 1804, Thomas H. Burnton: New York, pp. 279-280.

Date: 1773

By: Maria De Fleury (fl. 1773-1791)

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Old Gentleman’s Wish, or The Reformed Old Gentleman by Clement Barksdale

I am grown old, Alas!
My seventy years are past:
I Wish with all my heart,
I may grow wise at last.

When I was past a Child,
I left the Grammer-school,
(Fond Parents!) Ah! I Wish,
I had not been a Fool.

Having my liberty,
And Money, every day,
(I Wish none wou’d do thus)
Ah! I did game and play.

Youth is the feeding time,
From whence good fruits shou’d grow
I brought forth noisom weeds:
I Wish I’d not done so.

I kept ill Company,
My Hawks, and Hounds, and worse:
One can’t to enemies
wish any greater Curse.

I and my bonny Fellowes
Had many a vagary,
And after drank down sin,
In Clarret and Canary.

But now I see my faults,
How I have gone astray:
That God wou’d set me right,
I hugely Wish and Pray.

O Happy Change! When Grace
Assisting Industry,
Preventing, following Grace
(I Wish) may wants supply.

My old Companions
Themselves from me withdraw:
I sadly Wish, I had
Their Faces never saw.

O Time! most precious Time!
I Wish thee come again.
Impossible it is:
To Wish it is in vain.

Time past cannot return:
You can’t undo, what’s done.
‘Tis as hard, as in’s course
To stop the Giant Sun.

Yet I do Wish and pray,
My Time I may redeem,
By double Diligence:
This a Wise Wish will seem.

And now I entertain
A Sober, Learned Friend,
To’improve me, and I Wish
To keep him to my end.

We read the Psalmodie,
And Gospel, every Day:
At the Church and at home,
We Two together pray.

We love God’s Ministers,
Obey in every thing:
We dayly pray and Wish
All Honour to the King.

My Noble Friends, do ye
Get such a Guide, and then
You may be what I Wish,
Right good Old Gentlemen.

From: Barksdale, Clement, The Old Gentleman’s Wish, or The Reformed Old Gentleman, 2009, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford.

Date: 1685

By: Clement Barksdale (1609-1687)

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Minde of the Frontispeece and Argument of This Worke by George Sandys

FIRE, AIRE, EARTH, WATER, all the Opposites
That strove in Chaos, powrefull LOVE unites;
And from their Discord drew this Harmonie,
Which smiles in Nature: who, with ravisht eye,
Affects his owne made Beauties. But, our Will,
Desire, and Powres Irascible, the skill
Of PALLAS orders; who the Mind attires
With all Heroick Vertues: This aspires
To Fame and Glorie; by her noble Guide
Eternized, and well-nigh Deifi’d.
But who forsake that faire Intelligence,
To follow Passion, and voluptuous Sense;
That shun the Path and Toyles of HERCULES;
Such, charm’d by CIRCE’s luxurie, and ease,
Themselues deforme: ‘twixt whom, so great an ods;
That these are held for Beasts, and those for Gods.

PHOEBUS APOLLO (sacred Poesy)
Thus taught: for in these ancient Fables lie
The mysteries of all Philosophie.
Some Natures secrets shew; in some appeare
Distempers staines; some teach us how to beare
Both Fortunes, bridling Joy, Griefe, Hope, and Feare.
These Pietie, Devotion those excite;
These prompt to Vertue, those from Vice affright;
All fitly minging Profit with Delight.
This Course our Poet steeres: and those that faile,
By wandring stars, not by his Compasse, saile.


Date: 1626

By: George Sandys (1577-1644)


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