Archive for June, 2012

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Shepherd Boy Sings in the Valley of Humiliation by John Bunyan

He that is down needs fear no fall,
  He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
  Have God to be his guide.

I am content with what I have,
  Little be it or much:
And, Lord, contentment still I crave,
  Because Thou savest such.

Fullness to such a burden is
  That go on pilgrimage:
Here little, and hereafter bliss,
  Is best from age to age.


Date: 1678

By: John Bunyan (1628-1688)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Golden Journey to Samarkand by James Elroy Flecker

We who with songs beguile your pilgrimage
And swear that Beauty lives though lilies die,
We Poets of the proud old lineage
Who sing to find your hearts, we know not why, –

What shall we tell you? Tales, marvellous tales
Of ships and stars and isles where good men rest,
Where nevermore the rose of sunset pales,
And winds and shadows fall towards the West:

And there the world’s first huge white-bearded kings
In dim glades sleeping, murmur in their sleep,
And closer round their breasts the ivy clings,
Cutting its pathway slow and red and deep.

And how beguile you? Death has no repose
Warmer and deeper than the Orient sand
Which hides the beauty and bright faith of those
Who make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

And now they wait and whiten peaceably,
Those conquerors, those poets, those so fair:
They know time comes, not only you and I,
But the whole world shall whiten, here or there;

When those long caravans that cross the plain
With dauntless feet and sound of silver bells
Put forth no more for glory or for gain,
Take no more solace from the palm-girt wells.

When the great markets by the sea shut fast
All that calm Sunday that goes on and on:
When even lovers find their peace at last,
And Earth is but a star, that once had shone.


Date: 1913

By: James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Donkey by Gilbert Keith Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked,
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things;

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me–I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet–
There was a shout about my ears
And palms before my feet.


Date: 1900

By: Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

I Love the Forest;―I Could Dwell Among by Richard Monckton Milnes

I love the Forest;―I could dwell among
That silent people, till my thoughts up-grew
In nobly-ordered form, as to my view
Rose the succession of that lofty throng:―
The mellow footstep on a ground of leaves
Formed by the slow decay of nume’rous years,―
The couch of moss, whose growth alone appears,
Beneath the fir’s inhospitable eaves,―
The chirp and flutter of some single bird,―
The rustle in the brake,―what precious store
Of joys have these on Poets’ hearts conferred?
And then at times to send one’s own voice out,
In the full frolic of one startling shout,
Only to feel the after-stillness more!

From: Allen, Michael J, The Anthem Anthology of Victorian Sonnets, 2011, Anthem Press: London, p. 13.

Date: 1838

By: Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1855)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Mower by Sylvia Dryhurst Lynd

The rooks travelled home,
The milch cows went lowing,
And down in the meadow
An old man was mowing.

His shirt rank with sweat,
His neck stained with grime;
But he moved like the cadence
And sweetness of rhyme.

He moved like the heavy-winged
Rooks, the slow cows,
He moved like the vane
On the roof of the house.

The foam of the daisies
Was spread like a sea,
The spikes of red sorrel
Came up past his knee.

The sorrel, the daisies,
The white and the gold —
A man who was dirty
And twisted and old —

But again and again
Like an eddy he was.
He moved like the wind
In his own tasselled grass.


Date: 1926

By: Sylvia Dryhurst Lynd

Friday, 15 June 2012

You Nor I Nor Nobody Knows by Adelaide Crapsey

You nor I nor nobody knows
Where our daily-taken breath
Vanisheth and vanisheth:
Where our lost breath’s flying goes
You nor I nor nobody knows.


Date: 1911-1914

By: Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914)

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Sonnet XXX. On Seeing Our Family-Vault by Henry Alford

This lodging is well chosen: for ’tis near
The fitful sighing of those chestnut–trees;
And every Sabbath morning it can hear
The swelling of the hymnèd melodies;
And the low booming of the funeral bell
Shall murmur through the dark and vaulted room,
Waking its solemn echoes but to tell
That one more soul is gathered to its home.
There we shall lie beneath the trodden stone:–
Oh, none can tell how dreamless and how deep
Our peace will be when the last earth is thrown,
The last notes of the music fallen asleep,
The mourners past away, the tolling done,
The last chink closed, and the long dark begun.


Date: 1833

By: Henry Alford (1810-1871)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Want of You by Ivan Leonard Wright

The want of you is like no other thing;
It smites my soul with sudden sickening;
It binds my being with a wreath of rue–
This want of you.

It flashes on me with the waking sun;
It creeps upon me when the day is done;
It hammers at my heart the long night through–
This want of you.

It sighs within me with the misting skies;
Oh, all the day within my heart it cries,
Old as your absence, yet each moment new–
This want of you.

Mad with demand and aching with despair,
It leaps within my heart and you are–where?
God has forgotten, or he never knew–
This want of you.


Date: ?

By: Ivan Leonard Wright (?-?)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Man-Hater, A Song by Henry Carey

What’s Man, but a perfidious Creature,
Of an inconstant, fickle Nature,
Deceitful, and Conceited too,
Boasting of more than he can do?

Beware, ye heedless Nymphs, beware,
For Men will Lye, and Fawn, and Swear;
But, when they once have gain’d the Prize,
Good Heav’ns! How they will Tyranize!


Date: 1713

By: Henry Carey (c1687-1743)

Monday, 11 June 2012

You Should At Times Go Out by Elizabeth Bridges Daryush

You should at times go out
    from where the faithful kneel,
visit the slums of doubt
    and feel what the lost feel;

you should at times walk on,
    away from your friends’ ways,
go where the scorned have gone,
    pass beyond blame and praise;

and at times you should quit
    (ah yes) your sunny home,
sadly awhile should sit,
    even, in wrong’s dark room,

or ever, suddenly,
    by simple bliss betrayed,
you shall be forced to flee,
    unloved, alone, afraid.


Date: 1934

By: Elizabeth Bridges Daryush (1887-1977)