Sunday, 28 May 2017

Riddle XVI [The Bookworm] by Caelius Firmanius Symphosius

I thrive on letters yet no letters know,
I live in books, the made more studious so,
Devour the Muses, but no wiser grow.

From: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Symphosius/16*.html

Date: ?5th century (original in Latin); 1912 (translation in English)

By: Caelius Firmanius Symphosius (?5th century)

Translated by: Elizabeth Hickman du Bois Peck (1870-19??)

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Autumn Wind by Wu Ti

Autumn wind rises: white clouds fly.
Grass and trees wither: geese go south.
Orchids all in bloom: chrysanthemums smell sweet.
I think of my lovely lady: I never can forget.
Floating-pagoda boat crosses Fen River.
Across the mid-stream white waves rise;
Flute and drum keep time to sound of rowers’ song;
Amidst revel and feasting, sad thoughts come;
Youth’s years how few! Age how sure!

From: http://www.potw.org/archive/potw315.html

Date: c175 BCE (original); 1919 (translation)

By: Wu Ti (157-187 BCE)

Translated by: Arthur David Waley (1889-1966)

Friday, 26 May 2017

Dyad by Richmond Alexander Lattimore

If lead or steel should interrupt
By sleight or driven force the task
Of this red stubborn muscle cupped
Behind the ribs, then, I must ask,

Shall this dead organ labeled dust
Drag in immediate decline
The soul’s self down with it, and must
The inward world that I call mine

Dissolve in powder? Or in pride
Above the gross material
Wrecked under it, shall something ride
Spelled thereby into freedom, shall

The death about the heart unsheathe
A bud within that waits compressed
And blossoms when I cease to breathe?
Shall I make answer? It is best

Where all men’s reasoning is weak
To take the answer that is sent.
What man shall have the right to speak
Who has not dared experiment?

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?volume=45&issue=2&page=13

Date: 1934

By: Richmond Alexander Lattimore (1906-1984)

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Pythia 8 by Pindar

Hesychia, kind goddess of peace, daughter
of Justice and lady of the greatness of cities:
you who hold the high keys
of wars and of councils,
accept for Aristomenes this train of Pythian victory.
For you understand, in strict measure of season,
deeds of gentleness and their experience likewise.

And you, when one fixes
anger without pity fast in his heart,
are stern to encounter
the strength of the hateful ones, and sink
pride in the bilge. Porphyrion understood you not
when wantonly he vexed you. Gain is sweet
if one carry it from the house of him who gives in good will.

But violence and high vaunting fail at the last.
Typhon the Kilikian, the hundred-headed, avoided not this,
nor yet the king of the Giants. They were smitten down by the thunderbolt
and the bow of Apollo, who now in mood of kindness
has received Xenarkes’ son, home from Kirrha and garlanded
with leaves of Parnassos and with song in the Dorian strain.

This island, that in its city’s
righteousness has touched
the famed valors of the Aiakidai, has not
fallen away from the Graces. She keeps
glory perfect from the beginning and is sung of many
for her shaping of heroes that surpassed in excellence
of games, and in the speed of their fighting, also.

These things shine in her men likewise.
In my haste I cannot lay
leisure of long-drawn speech
on the lyre and the soft singing,
lest surfeit come to vex. Let your own need, my child,
and your youngest splendors run the path at my feet,
made a thing of speed by my fashioning.

For at wrestling you go the way of your mother’s brethren,
nor shame Theognetos at Olympia,
nor Kleitomachos’ victory of tough limbs at Isthmos.
Prospering the city of the Meidylidai, you wear the saying
Oikleos’ son spoke darkly once, as he watched
the young men enduring the spears in the seven gates of Thebes,

when the latter-born came again
to Argos, a second journey.
Thus he spoke, in their striving:
“The heritage of valor from their fathers shines
through in the sons’ blood. I gaze in wonder and see plain
Alkmaon steering the spangled snake on his bright
shield, foremost in the gates of Kadmos.

“And he that flinched in that first disaster,
the hero Adrastos, now
goes compassed by message of augury
more favorable. Yet in his own house
otherwise shall he fare. Alone out of the Danaan host,
he shall gather the ashes of his son perished, and by the gods’ chance
shall come home with the rest of his people scatheless

“to the wide streets of the city of Abas.” Thus
the voice of Amphiaraos. And I also take joy
to cast a garland on Alkmaon and drench him in song.
He is my neighbor and the keeper of my possessions;
he met me in the way as I went to the singing centerstone of the earth,
and with the sooth that is his by blood made prophecy.

But you, archer of the far cast, lord
of the famed temple, where all gather,
in the deep folds of Pytho,
have granted this boy delight that is highest;
and, aforetime, a gift to fold in the arms,
you brought him home in triumph of your own five-contests.
My lord, I pray you that of my heart’s will

I look on each thing in my course
even as you look also.
Justice herself stands over
the sweet singing in celebration; but I ask, Xenarkes,
the gods’ gaze unresentful upon your fortunes.
For if one, even without long-drawn labors, compass splendors,
to many he seems as a wise man among fools

to crown his life with device and straight counsels.
Yet this lies not with men; God’s luck is the giver,
that casts one man now aloft, and yet another beneath his hand.
Come back to measure. You have your prize at Megara,
and in the recess of Marathon; and with three successes,
Aristomenes, you have won at home the games of Hera.

And above four bodies you threw
your weight and your rage.
To these lads was ordained
at the Pythiad no delightful homefaring,
nor, as they came to their mothers, did laughter break sweetly about them
to stir delight. Down back ways, avoiding mockers,
they skulk, all stricken with their sad fortune.

But he that has won some new
splendor, in high pride
of hope rides the air
on the wings of his man’s strength, and keeps
desire beyond his wealth. In brief space mortals’
delight is exalted, and thus again it drops to the ground,
shaken by a backward doom.

We are things of a day. What are we? What are we not ? The shadow of a dream
is man, no more. But when the brightness comes, and God gives it,
there is a shining of light on men, and their life is sweet.
Aigina, dear mother, bring this city to haven
in free guise, by Zeus’ aid and strong Aiakos’,
Peleus and goodly Telamon aiding, and with Achilles.

From: Pindar and Lattimore, Richmond (ed.), The Odes of Pindar, 1947, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, pp. 77-80.
(https://archive.org/details/odesofpindar035276mbp)

Date: 446 BCE (original in Greek); 1942 (translation in English)

By: Pindar (c522-c443 BCE)

Translated by: Richmond Alexander Lattimore (1906-1984)

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Thinking of You on the Train by William Marr

the more I wipe
the more it becomes blurry
the foggy skies
the foggy fields
the foggy windows

yet you
are looking at me
with such clear eyes
from another scenery
from another world.

From: https://www.eastlit.com/eastlit-february-2014/eastlit-february-2014-content/william-marr-poetry/

Date: 2014

By: William Marr (1936- )

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Lady of Cats by Christie L. Ward

Greater than goodness, those granted glory
of beauty beyond mere fairness of form.
So shall I speak of she like the moonlight —
as pale as the ash, as pale as the moon.
Ship-giver is she, a deep minded seeress,
the Lady of Cats, her hair gold as corn.
The poppy is placed by her feet, pure flowers,
But bested by far its beauty by hers.
On fist the falcon, fair as the frost is,
Ice by a diamond, its beauty is dimmed.
Hers is the herb-craft, knows her hands healing.
Swift fly her fingers on bronze strings’ bright songs:
High over harpstrings sounds out her singing.
Fair are all these, still she is more fair.

From: http://alliteration.net/poetry/cat.htm

Date: 1984

By: Christie L. Ward (1960- )

Monday, 22 May 2017

Sonnet by Elise Justine Bayard Cutting

Sprung from the arid rock devoid of soil,
In vig’rous life I saw one blade of wheat,
Bearing its precious grain, full-lobed and sweet,
Remote from eye of him whose lusty toil
In other harvest recompense hath found;
And it seemed good to me that labour should
Beyond its aim or asking thus abound,
While reaping to itself its purchased food:
So, too, from him, who the prolific thought
Sows in the cultured field of intellect,
A wandering breath its course may intersect,
And bear an embryo with rich promise fraught
Within some barren soul to germinate,
And fill with fruitful life what else were desolate.

From: http://www.lehigh.edu/~dek7/SSAWW/writ19CenBayar.htm

Date: c1840

By: Elise Justine Bayard Cutting (1823-1853)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Burlesque on a Letter Written by a Lawyer, to a Very Young Girl at School, and Sent by a Very Ragged Old Woman by Henrietta Fleming Battier

Copy of the Letter, verbatim.

“My dear Miss,
“What day will you come to Irishtown–
“I languish for that pleasure—you may depend
“upon the strictest honour and delicacy,
“your’s,
“YOU KNOW WHO.”

To that audacious, unknown fribble,
Who dar’d to send an odious quibble,
Which treated of mysterious matters,
By an old Woman all in tatters;
Writes she, who hates impertinence,
And wonders at his lack of sense,
With words ambiguous to bewilder,
The heads of undesigning childer;
And tho’ his delicacy’s honour,
May languish to impose upon her,
She here begs leave to let him know,
To Irishtown she will not go,
Nor stir the heel-rand of her shoe,
To visit there—She knows not who.

From: Battier, Henrietta, The Protected Fugitives. A Collection of Miscellaneous Poems, the Genuine Productions of a Lady, Never Before Published, 1791, James Porter: Dublin, pp. 22-23.
(http://find.galegroup.com.rp.nla.gov.au/ecco/infomark.do?&source=gale&prodId=ECCO&userGroupName=nla&tabID=T001&docId=CW3315504728&type=multipage&contentSet=ECCOArticles&version=1.0&docLevel=FASCIMILE)

Date: 1783

By: Henrietta Fleming Battier (c1751-1813)

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Thule, the Period of Cosmography by Thomas Weelkes

Thule, the period of cosmography,
Doth vaunt of Hecla, whose sulphureous fire
Doth melt the frozen clime and thaw the sky;
Trinacrian Etna’s flames ascend not higher:
These things seem wondrous, yet more wondrous I,
Whose heart with fear doth freeze, with love doth fry.

The Andalusian merchant, that returns
Laden with cochineal and china dishes,
Reports in Spain how strangely Fogo burns
Amidst an ocean full of flying fishes:
These things seem wondrous, yet more wondrous I,
Whose heart with fear doth freeze, with love doth fry.

From: https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/html/1807/4350/poem2268.html

Date: 1600

By: Thomas Weelkes (?1576-1623)

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Lover Complaineth the Unkindness of His Love by George Boleyn

My Lute awake, perform the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And end that I have now begun!
And when this song is sung and rest,
My Lute be still, for I have done!

The rocks do not so cruelly
Repulse the waves continually,
As she my suit and affection:
So that I am past remedy;
Whereby my lute and I have done.

Proud of the spoil that thou hast got
Of simple hearts through Love’s shot,
By whom (unkind!) thou has them won,
Think not he hath his bow forgot,
Although my lute and I have done.

Vengeance shall fall on thy distain
That mak’st but game on earnest pain:
Think not alone under the sun
Unquit to cause thy lover’s plain
Although my lute and I have done.

May chance thee lie wither’d and old
In winter nights that are so cold,
Plaining in vain unto the moon:
Thy wishes then dare not be told,
Care then who list, for I have done.

And then may chance thee to repent
The time that thou hast lost and spent,
To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon;
Then shalt thou know beauty but lent,
And wish and want, as I have done.

Now cease my lute: this is the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And ended is that we begun;
Now is this song both sung and past;
My lute be still, for I have done.

From: https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/the-lover-complaineth-the-unkindness-of-his-love-a-poem-thought-to-be-written-by-george-boleyn-lord-rochford/

Date: c1530

By: George Boleyn (c1503-1536)