Archive for September, 2012

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Less than the Dust by Adela Florence Nicolson Cory (Laurence Hope)

Less than the dust, beneath thy Chariot wheel,
Less than the rust, that never stained thy Sword,
Less than the trust thou hast in me, Oh, Lord,
Even less than these!

Less than the weed, that grows beside thy door,
Less than the speed, of hours, spent far from thee,
Less than the need thou hast in life of me.
Even less am I.

Since I, Oh, Lord, am nothing unto thee,
See here thy Sword, I make it keen and bright,
Love’s last reward, Death, comes to me to-night,
Farewell, Zahir-u-din.


Date: 1901

By: Adela Florence Nicolson Cory (Laurence Hope) (1865-1904)

Saturday, 29 September 2012

September in Australia by Thomas Henry Kendall

Grey Winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest,
And, behold, for repayment,
September comes in with the wind of the West
And the Spring in her raiment!
The ways of the frost have been filled of the flowers,
While the forest discovers
Wild wings, with the halo of hyaline hours,
And the music of lovers.

September, the maid with the swift, silver feet!
She glides, and she graces
The valleys of coolness, the slopes of the heat,
With her blossomy traces;
Sweet month, with a mouth that is made of a rose,
She lightens and lingers
In spots where the harp of the evening glows,
Attuned by her fingers.

The stream from its home in the hollow hill slips
In a darling old fashion;
And the day goeth down with a song on its lips,
Whose key-note is passion.
Far out in the fierce, bitter front of the sea
I stand, and remember
Dead things that were brothers and sisters of thee,
Resplendent September!

The West, when it blows at the fall of the noon
And beats on the beaches,
Is filled with a tender and tremulous tune
That touches and teaches;
The stories of Youth, of the burden of Time,
And the death of Devotion,
Come back with the wind, and are themes of the rhyme
In the waves of the ocean.

We, having a secret to others unknown,
In the cool mountain-mosses,
May whisper together, September, alone
Of our loves and our losses!
One word for her beauty, and one for the grace
She gave to the hours;
And then we may kiss her, and suffer her face
To sleep with the flowers.

High places that knew of the gold and the white
On the forehead of Morning
Now darken and quake, and the steps of the Night
Are heavy with warning.
Her voice in the distance is lofty and loud
Through the echoing gorges;
She hath hidden her eyes in a mantle of cloud,
And her feet in the surges.

On the tops of the hills, on the turreted cones —
Chief temples of thunder —
The gale, like a ghost, in the middle watch moans,
Gliding over and under.
The sea, flying white through the rack and the rain,
Leapeth wild at the forelands;
And the plover, whose cry is like passion with pain,
Complains in the moorlands.

Oh, season of changes — of shadow and shine —
September the splendid!
My song hath no music to mingle with thine,
And its burden is ended;
But thou, being born of the winds and the sun,
By mountain, by river,
Mayst lighten and listen, and loiter and run,
With thy voices for ever!


Date: 1869

By: Thomas Henry Kendall (1839-1882)

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Victor by Grace Strickler Dawson

I will go
Like a queen,
With a garland
In my hair.
None shall know
From my mien
What of bitterness
I bear.

I will woo
Those to envy
Who would pity
If they guessed—
If they knew
The ceaseless beating
Of the wings
In my breast.

I will wear
Their jealous glances
Like a silken mantle—
That I dare
Walk down endless
Empty days


Date: 1925

By: Grace Strickler Dawson (1891-1981)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Vitae Summa Brevis by Ernest Dowson

Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.


Date: 1896

By: Ernest Dowson (1867-1900)

Alternative Title: They Are Not Long

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

To A Lady, Asking Him How Long He Would Love Her by George Etherege

It is not, Celia, in our power
To say how long our love will last;
It may be we within this hour
May lose those joys we now do taste;
The blessed, that immortal be,
From change in love are only free.
Then, since we mortal lovers are,
Ask not how long our love will last;
But while it does, let us take care
Each minute be with pleasure pass’d:
Were it not madness to deny
To live because we’re sure to die?

From: Verity, A Wilson (ed), The Works of Sir George Etheredge. Plays and Poems, 1888, John C Nimmo:London, p. 391.

Date: 1672

By: George Etherege (c1635-1692)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

What Might Have Been by John Addington Symonds

What might have been, what might have been!
Is there a sadder word than this?
Are any serpent’s teeth more keen
Than memories of what we miss?

The wreaths we might have worn, if but
Our feet had found the fields of May,
Instead of jolting down the rut
Of traffic on life’s hard high-way!

The love we might have known, if we
Had turned this way instead of that;
The lips we might have kissed, which he
For whom they parted, pouted at!

The joys we might, when blood was young,
Have garnered in a goodly sheaf;
The summer songs we might have sung,
While still our life was but in leaf!

What might have been, what might have been!
Sad thought, when age before us lowers,
And dark is the December scene,
And fallen even autumn’s flowers!


Date: 1878

By: John Addington Symonds (1840-1893)

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Sinking Moon Has Left the Sky by Sappho

The sinking moon has left the sky,
The Pleiades have also gone.
Midnight comes–and goes, the hours fly
And solitary still, I lie.

The Moon has left the sky,
Lost is the Pleiades’ light;
It is midnight,
And time slips by,
But on my couch alone I lie.


Date: 1883 (translated)

By: Sappho (c625BC-c570BC)

Translated by: John Addington Symonds (1840-1893)

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Unwritten Poems by William Winter

Fairy spirits of the breeze —
Frailer nothing is than these.
Fancies born we know not where —
In the heart or in the air:
Wandering echoes blown unsought
From far crystal peaks of thought:
Shadows, fading at the dawn.
Ghosts of feeling dead and gone:
Alas! Are all fair things that live
Still lovely and still fugitive?

From: Winter, William, Wanderers. The Poems of William Winter, 1892, MacMillan and Company: New York, p. 150.

Date: 1892

By: William Winter (1836-1917)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Master-Chord by William Caldwell Roscoe

Like a musician that with flying finger
Startles the voice of some new instrument,
And, though he know that in one string are blent
All its extremes of sound, yet still doth linger
Among the lighter threads, fearing to start
The deep soul of that one melodious wire,
Lest it, unanswering, dash his high desire,
And spoil the hopes of his expectant heart; —
Thus with my mistress oft conversing, I
Stir every lighter theme with careless voice,
Gathering sweet music and celestial joys
From the harmonious soul o’er which I fly;
Yet o’er the one deep master-chord I hover.
And dare not stoop, fearing to tell — I love her.


Date: 1860 (published)

By: William Caldwell Roscoe (1823-1859)

Alternative Title: Like A Musician

Friday, 21 September 2012

Nocturne by Gerald Griffin

Sleep that like the couched dove
Broods o’er the weary eye,
Dreams that with soft heavings move
The heart of memory,
Labor’s guerdon, golden rest,
Wrap thee in its downy vest, –
Fall like comfort on thy brain
And sing the hush song to thy pain!

Far from thee be startling fears,
And dreams the guilty dream;
No banshee scare thy drowsy ears
With her ill-omen’d scream;
But tones of fairy minstrelsy
Float like the ghosts of sound o’er thee,
Soft as the chapel’s distant bell,
And lull thee to a sweet farewell.

Ye for whom the ashy hearth
The fearful housewife clears,
Ye whose tiny sounds of mirth
The nighted carman hears,
Ye whose pygmy hammers make
The wonderers of the cottage wake,
Noiseless be your airy flight,
Silent as the still moonlight.

Silent go, and harmless come,
Fairies of the stream:
Ye, who love the winter gloom
Or the gay moonbeam,
Hither bring your drowsy store
Gather’d from the bright lusmore;
Shake o’er temples, soft and deep,
The comfort of the poor man, sleep.


Date: 1812

By: Gerald Griffin (1803-1840)