Archive for February, 2013

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Wooing Song from “Christ’s Victorie On Earth” by Giles Fletcher the Younger

Loue is the blossome whear thear blowes
Euery thing that liues or growes :
Loue doth make the heau’ns to moue.
And the sun doth burne in loue :
Loue the strong and weake doth yoke,
And makes the yuie climbe the oke ;
Vnder whose shadowes lions wilde,
Soft’ned by loue, growe tame and mild ;
Loue no med’cine can appease.
He burnes the fishes in the seas ;
Not all the skill his wounds can stench,
Not all the sea his fire can quench :
Loue did make the bloody spear
Once a leuie coat to wear,
While in his leaues thear shrouded lay
Sweete birds, for loue, that sing and play :
And of all loue’s ioyfull flame,
I the bud and blossome am :
Onely bend Thy knee to mee,
Thy wooeing shall Thy winning bee.

See, see the flowers that belowe.
Now as fresh as morning blowe ;
And of all, the virgin rose,
That as bright Aurora showes ;
How they all vnleaufèd die.
Loosing their virginitie ;
Like vnto a summer-shade,
But now borne, and now they fade.
Euery thing doth passe away,
Thear is danger in delay :
Come, come gather then the rose,
Gather it, or it you lose :
All the sand of Tagus’ shore
Into my bosome casts his ore :
All the valleys’ swimming corne
To my house is yeerely borne ;
Euery grape of euery vine
Is gladly bruis’d to make me wine,
While ten thousand kings, as proud,
To carry vp my train haue bow’d,
And a world of ladies send me
In my chambers to attend me :
All the starres in heau’n that shine.
And ten thousand more, are mine.
Onely bend Thy knee to mee
Thy wooing shall Thy winning bee.

From: Grosart, Alexander B (ed), The Complete Poems of Giles Fletcher, B.D., Edited with Memorial Introduction and Notes, 1876, Chatto and Windus: London, pp. 186-189.

Date: 1610

By: Giles Fletcher the Younger (?1586-1623)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Contemnenti by Phineas Fletcher

Continual burning, yet no fire or fuel,
Chill icicle frosts in midst of Summer’s frying,
A Hell most pleasing, and a Heav’n most cruel,
A death still living, and a life still dying,
And whatsoever pains poore hearts can prove,
I feel and utter, in one word — I LOVE.

Two fires, of love and grief, each upon either,
And both upon one poore heart ever feeding;
Chill cold despair, most cold, yet cooling neither,
In midst of fires his ycio frosts is breeding:
So fires and frosts, to make a perfect hell,
Meet in one breast, in one house friendly dwell.

Tir’d in this toylsome way — my deep affection —
I ever forward runne, and never ease me:
I dare not swerve, her eye is my direction:
A heavie grief, and weighty love oppresse me.
Desire and hope, two spurres, that forth compell’d me;
But awfull fear, a bridle, still withheld me.

Twice have I plung’d, and fiung, and strove to cast
This double burden from my weary heart:
Fast though I runne, and stop, they sit as fast:
Her looks my bait, which she doth seld impart.
Thus fainting, still some inne I wish and crave;
Either her maiden bosome, or my grave.

From: Grosart, Alexander B (ed), The Poems of Phineas Fletcher, B.D., Rector of Hilgay, Norfolk: For the First Time Collected and Edited with Memoir, Essay, Notes, and Facsimiles in Four Volumes, Volume 3, 1869, C Tiplady: Blackburn, pp. 227-228.

Date: 1632

By: Phineas Fletcher (1582-1650)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sonnet XXVIII by Giles Fletcher the Elder

In time the strong and stately turrets fall.
In time the rose and silver lilies die.
In time the monarchs captive are and thrall.
In time the sea and rivers are made dry.
The hardest flint in time doth melt asunder
Still living fame, in time doth fade away.
The mountains proud we see in time come under:
And earth for aye we see in time decay.
The sun in time forgets for to retire
From out the East, where he was wont to rise.
The basest thoughts, we see in time aspire.
And greedy minds, in time do wealth despise.
Thus all, sweet Fair, in time must have an end:
Except thy beauty, virtues, and thy friend.


Date: 1593

By: Giles Fletcher the Elder (c1548-1611)

Monday, 25 February 2013

Sensation by Arthur Rimbaud


Through the blue summer days, I shall travel all the ways,
Pricked by the ears of maize, trampling the dew:
A dreamer, I will gaze, as underfoot the coolness plays.
I’ll let the evening breeze drench my head anew.

I shall say – not a thing: I shall think – not a thing:
But an infinite love will swell in my soul,
And far off I shall go, a bohemian,
Through Nature – as happy, as if I had a girl.

March 1870


Date: 1870

By: Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891)

Translated by: A S Kline (1947- )

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Nightingale by Richard Barnefield

As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap and birds did sing,
Trees did grow and plants did spring;
Every thing did banish moan,
Save the nightingale alone.
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean’d her breast up-till a thorn
And there sung the doleful’st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity.
Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry,
Teru, teru, by and by;
That to hear her so complain,
Scarce I could from tears refrain;
For her griefs so lively shown
Made me think upon mine own.
Ah, thought I, thou mourn’st in vain;
None takes pity on thy pain;
Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee;
Ruthless bears, they will not cheer thee;
King Pandion, he is dead,
All thy friends are lapp’d in lead;
All thy fellow birds do sing,
Careless of thy sorrowing;
Whilst as fickle fortune smil’d,
Thou and I were both beguil’d.
Every one that flatters thee
Is no friend in misery:
Words are easy, like the wind,
Faithful friends are hard to find;
Every man will be thy friend
Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend,
But if store of crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call;
And with such-like flattering
Pity but he were a king.
If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will entice;
If to women he be bent,
They have at commandëment;
But if fortune once do frown,
Then farewell his great renown;
They that fawn’d on him before
Use his company no more.
He that is thy friend indeed
He will help thee in thy need:
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep;
Thus of every grief, in heart,
He with thee doth bear a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flatt’ring foe.


Date: 1598

By: Richard Barnefield (1574-1620)

Alternative Titles: As It Fell Upon A Day

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Love by John Townsend Trowbridge

In sad foreknowledge of man’s state, that he
Might not despair and perish utterly,
By rude distractions hither and thither hurled,
In the beginning the dear lords above,
With infinite compassion, gave him Love;
And Love is the sweet band that binds the world.

What holds the convex ocean in his place,
Pillars the starry vault, and guides through space
The myriad-motioned planets swiftly whirled, –
What it may be that made and keeps them so
(If ‘t be Love) I know not:  yet I know
That Love is the sweet band that binds the world.

Dreams, laughter, hope, derision, toil, and grief,
These are man’s portion, and his time is brief;
A little leaf by wild winds tossed and twirled;
In trouble and in doubt he draws his breath,
Illusion leads him, and his way is death;
Yet Love is a sweet band that binds the world.

Strong to destroy, and very weak to save
Is man; at once a tyrant and a slave;
And every war’s red banner is unfurled;
But, Love, since thou art left us, all is well;
If Love were banished heaven itself were hell;
Immortal Love! sweet band that binds the world!

Bitter companions met me everywhere,
Sin-wasted Youth, and Folly with white hair,
And keen-eyed Craft, and Scorn with sad lip curled,
Sorrows and masks, and miseries manifold;
But, “O my heart!” I said, “be thou consoled,
For Love is the sweet band that binds the world.”

Birds build their nests:  Love taught the gentle art;
The babe laughs in its mother’s arms: her heart
With Love’s fresh morning thoughts is all impearled;
Chaste Comfort sits beside the household hearth;
The sun with golden girdle clasps the earth,
And Love is the sweet band that binds the world.

From: Trowbridge, J T, The Poetical Works of John Townsend Trowbridge, 1903, Houghton, Mifflin and Company: Boston, pp. 114-115.

Date: 1875

By: John Townsend Trowbridge (1827-1916)

Friday, 22 February 2013

To Aurora by William Alexander

O if thou knew’st how thou thyself does harm,
And dost prejudge thy bliss, and spoil thy rest;
Then thou would’st melt the ice out of thy breast
And thy relenting heart would kindly warm.

O if thy pride did not our joys controul,
What world of loving wonders should’st thou see!
For if I saw thee once transform’d in me,
Then in thy bosom I would pour my soul;

Then all my thoughts should in thy visage shine,
And if that aught mischanced thou should’st not moan
Nor bear the burthen of thy griefs alone;
No, I would have my share in what were thine:

And whilst we thus should make our sorrows one,
This happy harmony would make them none.


Date: 1604

By: William Alexander (1567-1640)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Signal by Mark Doty

Lost cockatiel, cried the sign, hand-lettered,
taped to the side of a building: last seen on 16th

between Fifth and Sixth, gray body, orange cheek patches,
yellow head. Name: Omar. Somebody’s dear, I guess,

though how do you lose a cockatiel on 16th Street?
Flown from a ledge, into the sky he’s eyed

for months or years, into the high limbs of the ginkgos,
suddenly free? I’m looking everywhere in the rustling

globes and spires shot through with yellow,
streaking at the edges, for any tropic flash of him. Why

should I think I’d see him, in the vast flap this city is?
Why wander Chelsea when that boy could be up and gone,

winging his way to Babylon or Oyster Bay,
drawn to some magnet of green. Sense to go south?

Not likely; Omar’s known the apartment and the cage,
picked his seeds from a cup, his fruits and nuts from the hand

that anchored him — and now he’s launched, unfindable,
no one’s baby anymore but one bit…

Think of the great banks of wires and switches
in the telephone exchange, every voice and signal

a little flicker lighting up — that’s Omar now,
impulse in the propulsive flow. Who’ll ever know?

Then this morning we’re all in the private commuter blur
when a guy walks into the subway car whistling,

doing birdcalls: he’s decked in orange and lime,
a flag pluming his baseball cap; he’s holding out a paper cup

while he shifts from trills to caws. Not much of a talent,
I think, though I like his shameless attempt at charm,

and everybody’s smiling covertly, not particularly tempted
to give him money. Though one man reaches into his pocket

and starts to drop some change into the cup,
and our Papageno says, “That’s my coffee, man,

but thanks, God bless you anyway,”
and lurches whistling out the door.


Date: 2005

By: Mark Doty (1953- )

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Improved Proverbs by Carolyn Wells

A living gale is better than a dead calm.
A church fair exchange is often robbery.
A man is known by the bank-account he keeps.
Only a fool never minds his change.
Make love while the moon shines.
It’s a wise child who knows less than his own father.
A little loving is a dangerous thing.
The love of money is the root of all pessimism.
Of two weevils, choose the smaller.
Seize Time by the love-lock.
None but the brave go to a fair.


Date: 1901

By: Carolyn Wells (1862-1942)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Louisa May Alcott: In Memoriam by Louise Chandler Moulton

As the wind at play with a spark
Of fire that glows through the night;
As the speed of the soaring lark
That wings to the sky his flight—
So swiftly thy soul has sped
In its upward wonderful way,
Like the lark when the dawn is red,
In search of the shining day.
Thou art not with the frozen dead
Whom earth in the earth we lay,
While the bearers softly tread,
And the mourners kneel and pray;
From thy semblance, dumb and stark,
The soul has taken its flight—
Out of the finite dark,
Into the infinite Light.


Date: 1888

By: Louise Chandler Moulton (1835-1908)