Archive for September, 2014

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Call by Thomas Osbert Mordaunt

Go, lovely boy! to yonder tow’r
The fame of Janus, ruthless King!
And shut, O! shut the brazen door,
And here the keys in triumph bring.

Full many a tender heart hath bled,
Its joys in Belgia’s soil entomb’d:
Which thou to Hymen’s smiling bed,
And length of sweetest hours had doom’d.

Oh, glory! you to ruin owe
The fairest plume the hero wears:
Raise the bright helmet from his brow;
You’ll mock beneath the manly tears.

Who does not burn to place the crown
Of conquest on his Albion’s head?
Who weeps not at her plaintive moan,
To giver her hapless orphans bread?

Forgive, ye brave, the generous fault,
If thus my virtue falls; alone
My Delia stole my earliest thought,
And fram’d its feelings by her own.

Her mind so pure, her face so fair;
Her breast the seat of softest love;
It seemed her words an angel’s were,
Her gentle percepts from above.

My mind thus form’d, to misery gave
The tender tribute of a tear:
O! Belgia, open thy vast grave,
For I could pour and ocean there.

When first you show’d me at your feet
Pale liberty, religion tied,
I flew to shut the glorious gate
Of freedom on a tyrant’s pride.

Tho great the cause, so wore with woes,
I can not but lament the deed:
My youth to melancholy bows,
An Clotho trifles with my thread.

But stop, my Clio, wanton muse,
Indulge not this unmanly strain:
Beat, beat the drums, my ardor rouse,
And call the soldier back again.

Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife,
Throughout the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.

Go then, thou little lovely boy,
I can not, must not, hear thee now;
And all thy soothing arts employ
To sooth my Delia of her wo.

If the gay flow’r, in all its youth,
Thy scythe of glory here must meet;
Go, bear my laurel, pledge of truth,
And lay it at my Delia’s feet.

Her tears shall keep it ever green,
To crown the image in her breast;
Till death doth close the hapless scene,
And calls its angel home to rest.


Date: 1791

By: Thomas Osbert Mordaunt (1730-1809)

Monday, 29 September 2014

Ode to Doubt by Dorine Jennette

Muscle of boa, you turn
smooth as cognac stilled
fifty years in the throat.
You muffle hard outlines
under your skirts,
offer a grey handkerchief
to each certainty.
Behind the civility of veils—
what manners! You understand
how vulgar clarity can be.
At your discretion,
the lampshade’s tassels.
Yours, the axe swung wide.
You own the dog afloat
on the ocean, the blurred print
on the dog’s sodden collar.
You shake the hand
that finds a cold canary,
burning lung that must inhale.
Smudge-mouthed last child
left in the parking lot.
Dead horse, middle fork,
gloved hands in hair.


Date: 2009

By: Dorine Jennette (19??- )

Sunday, 28 September 2014

If Fortune Good Could Answer Present Ill by Henry Goodere (Goodyer)

If fortune good could answer present ill
and often well amend but once amiss
my life fore-past in truth and duty still
may salve the sore for which my trouble is

O happy they that quiet their princes so
but thus with me o wretched man it frames
for often well I unrewarded go
and for one ill receive a thousand blames

Is this my hap or justice due for sin
If both to fault and to my fault yield I
Mine own good deeds and just deserts herein
I leave and to my god and Queen I fly
And mercy crave for all my sins unseen
Prostrate with tears before my god and queen

An heap of sins I must confess to god
against whom because I have done most amiss
I will receive his just deserved rod
but to my queen mine only fault is this:

I did advise a queen unfortunate
to yield herself unto my prince here
whom apt I thought to pity her estate
a friend by kind a queen and neighbour near

But I sought not against my Mistress’s will
to steal by sleight out of her highness’ hands
this captive queen for guiltless of that ill
or any such I feel these bitter bands.
I only did pity her misery
enforced thereto by wretched sympathy

Well shews the time in this compassion spent
the will I had to ease her care-full mind
for I conveyed some Ietters that she sent
to help her woe to hurt myself I find

Lo here the truth let friends say what they can
call this my fault my folly or mishap
If my good Queen have mercy on her man
the tree shall live though wounded in the sap

Whose heart is sound and never could be brought
by love or hate or hope of any gain
Of my good queen to think as ill a thought
as might offend her life or happy reign
Whom god preserve an aged queen to be
to England’s joy betide what may of me.

From: Hughey, Ruth (ed.), The Arundel Harington Manuscript of Tudor Poetry, Volume I, 1960, Ohio State University Press: Columbus, Ohio, pp. 179-189.

Date: 1572

By: Henry Goodere (Goodyer) (1534-1595)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Not Understood by Thomas Bracken

Not understood, we move along asunder;
Our paths grow wider as the seasons creep
Along the years; we marvel and we wonder
Why life is life, and then we fall asleep
Not understood.

Not understood, we gather false impressions
And hug them closer as the years go by;
Till virtues often seem to us transgressions;
And thus men rise and fall, and live and die
Not understood.

Not understood!  Poor souls with stunted vision
Oft measure giants with their narrow gauge;
The poisoned shafts of falsehood and derision
Are oft impelled ‘gainst those who mould the age,
Not understood.

Not understood!  The secret springs of action
Which lie beneath the surface and the show,
Are disregarded; with self-satisfaction
We judge our neighbours, and they often go
Not understood.

Not understood!  How trifles often change us!
The thoughtless sentence and the fancied slight
Destroy long years of friendship, and estrange us,
And on our souls there falls a freezing blight;
Not understood.

Not understood!  How many breasts are aching
For lack of sympathy!  Ah! day by day
How many cheerless, lonely hearts are breaking!
How many noble spirits pass away,
Not understood.

O God! that men would see a little clearer,
Or judge less harshly where they cannot see!
O God! that men would draw a little nearer
To one another, — they’d be nearer Thee,
And understood.

From: Bracken, Thomas, Not Understood and Other Poems, 1908, Gordon & Gotch: Wellington, pp. 7-8.

Date: 1879

By: Thomas Bracken (1843-1898)

Friday, 26 September 2014

Old Wormy Age by Ludovic (Lewes) Lewknor

Old wormy age that in thy musty writs
Of former rules records the present wits,
Tell us no more the tale of Apuleius Asse,
Nor Midas ears, nor Io eating grasse.
This work of Tom’s so far them all exceeds,
As Phoebus’ fiddle did Pan’s squeaking reeds.
He writes not of a gnat, nor frog, nor woodcocks bill,
Of steeples, towns, and towers, entreats his goose’s quill.
Among the rest he of a wondrous tub doth tell,
The wine whereof more Poets made than Tempes Well.
In Odcomb’d Tom’s regard the Cyclops’ herds were thin,
Our Tom quick cattle fed whole legions on his skin.
So did poor bare Philosophers in former times,
And so do Poets now that make the lowzy rimes.
Five months with this in child-birth lay Tom’s lab’ring Muse,
In all which time he seldom chang’d his shirt or shoes.
The care and toil was his, thine are the gains,
Crack then the nut, and take the kernel for thy pains.


Date: 1611

By: Ludovic (Lewes) Lewknor (c1560-1627)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

One Fine Day by Carol Frost

I saw you leave and return. A bunting
sang, ‘pity to sleep’, and you were smiling;
the skies were creamy, the fruit not falling;
one hour, two hours ago.

Among cloud boughs and mists and singing
I walked, through vineyards, past stone walls ringing
Lavigny, and I heard no one call me.
Did you tell me you called me?

I heard you leave and return. Morning
was never more beautiful, life-in-death,
death-in-life, the plums just falling,
one hour, two hours ago.


Date: 2002

By: Carol Frost (1948- )

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Wrestling Jacob by Charles Wesley

Come, O Thou Traveller unknown,
Whom still I hold, but cannot see,
My company before is gone,
And I am left alone with Thee,
With Thee all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle till the break of day.

I need not tell Thee who I am,
My misery, or sin declare,
Thyself hast call’d me by my name,
Look on thy hands, and read it there,
But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?
Tell me thy name, and tell me now.

In vain Thou strugglest to get free,
I never will unloose my hold:
Art Thou the Man that died for me?
The secret of thy love unfold;
Wrestling I will not let Thee go,
Till I thy name, thy nature know.

’Tis all in vain to hold thy tongue,
Or touch the hollow of my thigh:
Though every sinew be unstrung,
Out of my arms Thou shalt not fly;
Wrestling I will not let Thee go,
Till I thy name, thy nature know.

My strength is gone, my nature dies,
I sink beneath thy weighty hand,
Faint to revive, and fall to rise;
I fall, and yet by faith I stand,
I stand, and will not let Thee go,
Till I thy name, thy nature know.

Yield to me now—for I am weak;
But confident in self-despair:
Speak to my heart, in blessings speak,
Be conquer’d by my instant prayer,
Speak, or Thou never hence shalt move,
And tell me, if thy name is Love.

’Tis Love, ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me,
I hear thy whisper in my heart.
The morning breaks, the shadows flee:
Pure Universal Love Thou art,
To me, to all, thy bowels move,
Thy nature, and thy name is Love.

Contented now upon my thigh
I halt, till life’s short journey end;
All helplessness, all weakness I,
On Thee alone for strength depend,
Nor have I power, from Thee, to move;
Thy nature, and thy name is Love.

Lame as I am, I take the prey,
Hell, earth, and sin with ease o’ercome;
I leap for joy, pursue my way,
And as a bounding hart fly home,
Thro’ all eternity to prove
Thy nature, and thy name is Love.


Date: 1742

By: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Sent to a Gentleman whose Father was lately dead by John Wesley

In imitation of Quis desiderio sit pugor, etc.

What shame shall stop our flowing tears?
What end shall our just sorrows know?
Since Fate, relentless to our prayers,
Has given the long destructive blow!

Ye Muses, strike the sounding string,
In plaintive strains his loss deplore,
And teach an artless voice to sing
The great, the bounteous, now no more!

For him the wise and good shall mourn,
While late records his fame declare;
And oft as rolling years return,
Shall pay his tomb a grateful tear.

Ah! what avail their plaints to thee?
Ah! what avails his fame declared?
Thou blam’st, alas! the just decree
Whence virtue meets its just reward.

Though sweeter sounds adorned thy tongue
Than Thracian Orpheus whilom played,
When list’ning to the morning song
Each tree bowed down its leafy head:

Never! ah, never from the gloom
Of unrelenting Pluto’s sway
Could the thin shade again resume
Its ancient tenement of clay.

Indulgent patience! heav’n-born guest!
Thy healing wings around display:
Thou gently calm’st the stormy breast
And driv’st the tyrant grief away.

Corroding care and eating pain
By just degrees thy influence own;
And lovely lasting peace again
Resumes her long-deserted throne


Date: 1726

By: John Wesley (1703-1791)

Monday, 22 September 2014

Wroote: a Heroic Poem. Humbly inscribed to Miss Mehetabel Wesley by Samuel Wesley the Younger

How, sister, can you silent lie
When epic subject is so nigh?
What can the matter be? I’ll try
At least by guess to nick ye.
Is it for losing Epworth’s view,
Or parting with some lover new,
Or pining after sister Sue
Or favourite brother Dicky?
For shame! now tune your warbling string,
As poets speak; essay to sing
Of Wroote, till all the levels ring,
Pleased with a theme so pretty;
Than Sandhole more,— I’ll tell you that,—
Or Pat, or Poll, or Snip the cat,
Or lovers’ and long-saddles’ chat,
Deserving of your ditty. . . .
For every now and then, Fame sings,
Glad plenty to your table brings
Boil’d veal and bacon, food for kings,
Too good for low-born sinner!
Choose you to see the lambkins bleat,
And nibble, innocent, their meat?
Or else their legs and loins to eat,
Luxurious, for your dinner?
No fear that wolves should steal your ewes,
If erst, as tells old Spenser’s muse,
A king did by a tax reduce
Their numerous herds to nothing.
The gentle swains may now go sleep
That use four-footed flocks to keep:
No danger but to two-legg’d sheep
From wolves in shepherds’ clothing.


Date: 1736

By: Samuel Wesley the Younger (1691-1739)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

In Cornutum by John Harington

What curl’d-pate youth is he that sitteth there,
So near thy wife, and whispers in her eare,
And takes her hand in his, and soft doth wring her,
Sliding his ring still up and down her finger?
Sir, ’tis a proctor, seen in both the lawes,
Retain’d by her in some important cause;
Prompt and discreet both in his speech and action,
And doth her business with great satisfaction.
And think’st thou so? a horn-plague on thy head!
Art thou so like a fool, and wittol led,
To think he doth the bus’ness of thy wife?
He doth thy bus’ness, I dare lay my life.

From: Harington, John and McClure, Norman Egbert (ed.),The Letters and Epigrams of Sir John Harington together with The Prayse of Private Life, 1930, University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, p. 280.

Date: 1600

By: John Harington (1561-1612)