Archive for March, 2012

Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the World by William Ross Wallace

Blessings on the hand of women!
    Angels guard its strength and grace.
 In the palace, cottage, hovel,
    Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
    Rainbows ever gently curled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
    Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy’s the tender fountain,
    Power may with beauty flow,
Mothers first to guide the streamlets,
    From them souls unresting grow—
Grow on for the good or evil,
    Sunshine streamed or evil hurled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
    Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission,
    Here upon our natal sod;
Keep—oh, keep the young heart open
    Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
    Are from mother-love impearled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
    Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
    Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
    With the worship in the sky—
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
    Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
    Is the hand that rules the world.


Date: 1865

By: William Ross Wallace (1819-1881)

Friday, 30 March 2012

I Danced Before I Had Two Feet by Maxwell Dunn

I danced before I had two feet.
Sang before I had a tongue;
I laughed before I had two eyes
Loved before my heart was young.

I swam before I had two hands
And held the distance in my toes
Before I heard the stars I knew
The wild compulsion of the rose.

I bore the fruits of many lives
Before I came into this day;
I knew before my grave was made
The worms eat only death away.


Date: ?

By: Maxwell Dunn (1895-1963)

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Nationality by Mary Gilmore

I have grown past hate and bitterness,
I see the world as one;
But though I can no longer hate,
My son is still my son.

All men at God’s round table sit,
and all men must be fed;
But this loaf in my hand,
This loaf is my son’s bread.


Date: 1942

By: Mary Gilmore (1865-1962)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A Prayer for Indifference by Frances Greville

Oft I’ve implor’d the gods in vain, 
            And pray’d till I’ve been weary; 
For once I’ll seek my wish to gain 
            Of Oberon, the Fairy.

Sweet airy being, wanton sprite, 
            Who lurk’st in woods unseen, 
And oft by Cynthia’s silver light, 
            Trip’st gaily o’er the green:

If e’er thy pitying heart was mov’d, 
            As ancient stories tell, 
And for the Athenian maid who lov’d, 
            Thou sought’st a wondrous spell;

O deign once more t’exert thy power! 
            Haply some herb or tree,
Sovereign as juice of western flower, 
            Conceals a balm for me.

I ask no kind return of love, 
            No tempting charm to please;
Far from the heart those gifts remove, 
            That sighs for peace and ease:

Nor peace, nor ease, the heart can know, 
            That, like the needle true, 
Turns at the touch of joy or woe,  
            But, turning, trembles too.

Far as distress the soul can wound, 
            ‘Tis pain in each degree; 
‘Tis bliss but to a certain bound, 
            Beyond, is agony.

Then take this treacherous sense of mine, 
            Which dooms me still to smart;
Which pleasure can to pain refine, 
            To pain new pangs depart.

O haste to shed the sovereign balm, 
            My shatter’d nerves new string; 
And for my guest, serenely calm, 
            The nymph Indifference bring!

At her approach, see Hope, see Fear, 
            See Expectation fly! 
And Disappointment in the rear, 
            That blasts the promis’d joy!

The tear which Pity taught to flow 
            The eye shall then disown; 
The heart that melts for others’ woe 
            Shall then scarce feel its own.

The wounds which now each moment bleed, 
            Each moment then shall close; 
And tranquil days shall still succeed
            To nights of calm repose.

O Fairy Elf! but grant me this, 
            This one kind comfort send, 
And so may never-fading bliss 
            Thy flowery paths attend!

So may the glow-worm’s glimmering light 
            Thy tiny footsteps lead 
To some new region of delight, 
            Unknown to mortal tread!

And be thy acorn goblet filled
            With heaven’s ambrosial dew, 
From sweetest, freshest flowers distilled, 
            That shed fresh sweets for you!

And what of  life remains for me 
            I’ll pass in sober ease; 
Half pleased, contented will I be,
            Content but half to please.


Date: 1759

By: Frances Greville (c1724-1789)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Excerpt from “The Lyf of Our Lady” by John Lydgate

O thoughtful hearté, plunged in distress
     With slumber of sloth this hugé winter night,
Out of the sleep of mortal heaviness
     Awake again and look upon the light
     Of thilké star that with her beamés bright
And with the shining of her shenés merrie,
Is wont to gladden all our hemispheré.

.     .      .     .     .

This star in beauty passeth Pleiades
     Both of sky risyng and of shenés clear,
Bootes, Arcturus, and als Iades,
     And Esperus whanné it doth appear:
     For this is Spica with her brighté spear
That toward eve, at midnight and at morrow,
Down from the heaven adaweth all our sorrow

And dryeth up the bitter tearés wete
     Of Aurorá after the morrow gray
That she in weeping doth on flowers flete,
     In lusty April and in freshé May,
     And cometh Phoebus the bright sunnés day
With his wain gold-yborned bright and fair,
To enchace the mystés of our cloudy air.


Date: 1420-1422?

By: John Lydgate (c1370-c1451)

Monday, 26 March 2012

The Hills of Home by Malcolm Hemphrey

Oh! yon hills are filled with sunlight, and the green leaves paled to gold,
And the smoking mists of Autumn hanging faintly o’er the wold;
I dream of hills of other days whose sides I loved to roam
When Spring was dancing through the lanes of those distant hills of home.

The winds of heaven gathered there as pure and cold as dew;
Wood-sorrel and wild violets along the hedgerows grew,
The blossom on the pear-trees was as white as flakes of foam
In the orchard ‘neath the shadow of those distant hills of home.

The first white frost in the meadow will be shining there to-day
And the furrowed upland glinting warm beside the woodland way;
There, a bright face and a clear hearth will be waiting when I come,
And my heart is throbbing wildly for those distant hills of home.


Date: 1917

By: Malcolm Hemphrey (?-?)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

To the Ladie Lucie, Countesse of Bedford by Aemilia Lanyer

Me thinkes I see faire Virtue readie stand,
T’unlocke the closet of your louely breast,
Holding the key of Knowledge in her hand,
Key of that Cabbine where your selfe doth rest,
To let him in, by whom her youth was blest:
The true-loue of your soule, your hearts delight,
Fairer than all the world in your cleare sight.

He that descended from celestiall glory,
To taste of our infirmities and sorrowes,
Whose heauenly wisdom read the earthly storie
Of fraile Humanity, which his godhead borrows:
Loe here he coms all stucke with pale deaths arrows:
In whose most pretious wounds your soule may reade
Saluation, while he (dying Lord) doth bleed.

You whose cleare Iudgement farre exceeds my skil,
Vouchsafe to entertaine this dying louer,
The Ocean of true grace, whose streames doe fill
All those with Ioy, that can his loue recouer;
About this blessed Arke bright Angels houer:
Where your faire sould may sure and safely rest,
When he is sweetly seated in your brest.

There may your thoughts as seruants to your heart,
Giue true attendance on this louely guest,
While he doth to that blessed bowre impart
Flowres of fresh comforts, decke that bed of rest,
With such rich beauties as may make it blest:
And you in whom all raritie is found,
May be with his eternall glory crownd.


Date: 1611

By: Aemilia Lanyer (1569-1645)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Cherry-Ripe by Thomas Campion

There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies blow;
A heavenly paradise is that place,
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow:
There cherries grow which none may buy
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.

Those cherries fairly do enclose
Of orient pearl a double row,
Which when her lovely laughter shows,
They look like rose-buds filled with snow;
Yet them no peer nor prince can buy
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.

Her eyes like angels watch them still;
Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threat’ning with piercing frowns to kill
All that attempt with eye or hand
Those sacred cherries to come nigh,
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.


Date: 1617

By: Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

Friday, 23 March 2012

The Dolefull Lay of Clorinda by Mary (Sidney) Herbert

Ay me, to whom shall I my case complaine?
That may compassion my impatient griefe?
Or where shall I unfold my inward paine,
That my enriuen heart may find reliefe?
Shall I vnto the heauenly powres it show?
Or unto earthly men that dwell below?

To heauens? ah they alas the authors were,
And workers of my vnremedied wo:
For they foresee what to vs happens here,
And they foresaw, yet suffred this be so.
From them comes good, from them comes also il
That which they made, who can them warne to spill.

To men? ah, they alas like wretched bee,
And subiect to the heauens ordinance:
Bound to abide what euer they decree,
Their best redresse, is their best sufferance.
How then can they like wretched comfort mee,
The which no lesse, need comforted to bee?

Then to my selfe will I my sorrow mourne,
Sith none aliue like sorrowfull remaines
And to my selfe my plaints shall back retourne,
To pay their vsury with doubled paines.
The woods, the hills, the riuers shall resound
The mournfull accent of my sorrowes ground.

Woods, hills and riuers, now are desolate,
Sith he is gone the which them all did grace:
And all the fields do waile their widow state,
Sith death their fairest flowre did late deface.
The fairest flowre in field that euer grew,
Was Astrophel:  that was, we all may rew.

What cruell hand of cursed foe vnknowne,
Hath cropt the stalke which bore so faire a flowre?
Vntimely cropt, before it well were growne,
And cleane defaced in vntimely howre.
Great losse to all that ever him did see,
Great losse to all, but greatest losse to mee.

Breake now your gyrlonds, O ye shepheards lasses,
Sith the faire flowre, which them adornd, is gon:
The flowre, which them adornd, is gone to ashes,
Neuer againe let lasse put gyrlond on:
In stead of gyrlond, weare sad Cypres nowe,
And bitter Elder, broken from the bowe.

Ne euer sing the loue-layes which he made,
Who euer made such layes of loue as hee?
Ne euer read the riddles, which he sayd
Vnto your selues, to make you mery glee.
Your mery glee is now laid all abed,
Your mery maker now alasse is dead.

Death, the deuourer of all worlds delight,
Hath robbed you and reft from me my ioy:
Both you and me, and all the world he quight
Hath robd of ioyance, and left sad annoy.
Ioy of the world, and shepheards pride was hee,
Shepheards hope neuer like againe to see.

Oh death that hast vs of such riches reft,
Tell vs at least, what hast thou with it done?
What is become of him whose flowre here left
Is but the shadow of his likenesse gone.
Scarse like the shadow of that which he was,
Nought like, but that he like a shade did pas.

But that immortall spirit, which was deckt
With all the dowries of celestiall grace:
By soueraine choyce from th’hevenly quires select,
And lineally deriu’d from Angels race,
O what is now of it become aread,
Ay me, can so diuine a thing be dead?

Ah no:  it is not dead, ne can it die,
But liues for aie, in blisfull Paradisse:
Where like a new-borne babe it soft doth lie,
In beds of lillies wrapt in tender wise.
And compast all about with roses sweet,
And daintie violets from head to feet.

There thousand birds all of celestiall brood,
To him do sweetly caroll day and night:
And with straunge notes, of him well vnderstood,
Lull him asleepe in Angel-like delight:
Whilest in sweet dreame to him presented bee
Immortall beauties, which no eye may see.

But he them sees and takes exceeding pleasure
Of their diuine aspects, appearing plaine,
And kindling loue in him aboue all measure,
Sweet loue still ioyous, never feeling paine.
For what so goodly forme he there doth see,
He may enioy from iealous rancor free.

There liueth he in euerlasting blis,
Sweet spirit neuer fearing more to die:
Ne dreading harme from any foes of his,
Ne fearing saluage beasts more crueltie.
Whilest we here wretches waile his priuate lack,
And with vain vowes do often call him back.

But liue thou there still happie, happie spirit,
And giue vs leaue thee here thus to lament:
Not thee that doest thy heauens ioy inherit,
But our owne selues that here in dole are drent.
Thus do we weep and waile, and wear our eies,
Mourning in others, our owne miseries.


Date: 1595

By: Mary (Sidney) Herbert (1561-1621)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Voices of the Air by Katherine Mansfield

But then there comes that moment rare
When, for no cause that I can find,
The little voices of the air
Sound above all the sea and wind.

The sea and wind do then obey
And sighing, sighing double notes
Of double basses, content to play
A droning chord for the little throats —

The little throats that sing and rise
Up into the light with lovely ease
And a kind of magical, sweet surprise
To hear and know themselves for these —

For these little voices: the bee, the fly,
The leaf that taps, the pod that breaks,
The breeze on the grass-tops bending by,
The shrill quick sound that the insect makes.


Date: 1916

By: Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)