Archive for August, 2015

Friday, 21 August 2015

To Gold Worshippers by James R. Howell

Labour’s a blessing, idleness a curse.
In this scheme-loving, good-bad world of ours;
Then let our aim be high, though Fortune showers
Her favours on the bad; and what is worse,
Oft, like a highway robber, steals the purse
Of the good man, and, blind as Cupid, dowers
The base and sordid. Must good men mingle
With those whose brains within their pockets jingle,
Whose creed is “money makes the man”? — the swine
That trample on rich pearls, with souls of ink.
Who grope in darkness in the Devil’s mine,
Haunted by ghosts of truth, yet from them shrink?
Go, plunge in streams of love and mercy pure,
Which, like Bethesda’s Pool, will work your cure!

From: Howell, James, A Tale of the Sea, Sonnets, and Other Poems, 1873, Henry S. King & Co.: London, pp. 138-139.

Date: 1860

By: James R. Howell (?1817-????)

Thursday, 20 August 2015

To the Gentleman who offer’d 50 Pounds to any Person who should write the best POEM by May next on five Subjects, viz. Life, Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell by Jane Hughes Brereton

But fifty Pounds! — A sorry Sum!
You’d more need offer half a Plumb*:
Five weighty Subjects well to handle?
Sir, you forget the Price of Candle;
And Leather too; when late and soon,
I shall be paceing o’er my Room,
Bite close my Nails, and scratch my Head,
When other People are in Bed.
‘Tis known old Swift, Dan Pope and Toung,
Those Leaders of the rhiming Throng,
Are better paid for Meditations,
On the most trifling Occasions;
The Broomstick, Benefit of Farting;
Or any Whim they shew their Art in.
Alas, an idle Farce, or Play,
Such as Tom Thumb , or Phillida,
Is better lik’d, will sooner sell,
Than pious Subjects trated well.
I ever lov’d the true Sublime,
And think the Theme is worth my Time;
But I’m a Maid, whose Fortune’s small,
Or I would ask no Pay at all:
But straight sit down, invoke my Muse;
For those are Subjects I would chuse.
But as an Author lately writ,
The Muses! they are Virgins yet;
And may be, — till they Portions get:
So, as’ tis Wealth that all Men follow,
Not Jove’ s fair Daughters, nor Apollo:
Methinks, I’d fain increase the Blessing,
For which such Crowds are daily pressing.
O Wealth! thou universal Passion!
So much desir’d in this our Nation;
That should the Doctor write again,
He would say Wealth instead of Fame.
But to return from my Digression,
And be more clear in my Expression;
That is, Sir, if you’d have it done,
Pray add a Cypher to your Sum:
I did but jest ’bout half a Plumb.

*PLUM(B)—A fortune of £100,000, or a person who has such a fortune. The word was used like the modern word millionaire.


Date: 1734

By: Jane Hughes Brereton (1658-1740)

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Upon His Majesties Return, with the Dukes of York and Glocester by James Howell

The Stars of late Eccentrick went
Out of the British Firmament,
But now they are fix’d there again,
And all concentred in Charles wain;
Where, since just Heaven did them restore,
They shine more glorious then before.

Long may they glitter in that Sky
With Beams of new Refulgency;
May great Apollo from his Sphear
Encrease their light, and motions chear,
So that old Albion may from thence
Grow younger by their Influence.

May no ill-boding Blazing Star,
No Northern Mist, or Civil War,
No lowring Planet ever raign
Their lustre to obscure again,
But may whoole Heav’n be fair and cleer,
And every Star a Cavalier.


Date: 1663

By: James Howell (c1594-1666)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Instructions for Reading 4 by John Audelay with translation into modern English by flusteredduck

Rede thys offt, butt rede hit sofft,
And whatt thou redust, forgeete hit noght,
For here the soth thou maght se
What fruyte cometh of thy body.

Instructions for Reading 4 by John Audelay (translated by flusteredduck)

Read this oft, but read it soft,
And what you read, forget it not,
For here the truth you might see
What fruit comes of your body.

From: Audelay, John the Blind and Fein, Susanna (ed.), The Meditative Close, 2009, Medieval Institute Publications: Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Date: c1426

By: John Audelay (13??-c1426)

Monday, 17 August 2015

Just Passing Through by Jim W. Goar

When the wind blows
night. And the cows roll
home. Listen for minor
keys. Arrive without a
name. A Texas Ranger.
Maybe. The Grail in tow.
Ride on out of town. Leave.
But slowly. April in the waste-
land. In No-Man’s-Land. In snow.


Date: 2009

By: Jim W. Goar (1975- )

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Nocturnal by Os Marron

The roof of midnight, hushed and high;
covers the house in silence deep; then I
hear laughter from my daughter in her sleep.

So gay a laugh yet
like a folk song hung from the secret
melancholy thread holding all happiness.
I know that summer has facades disturbed
like curtains on a stage by small winds of sadness
blossom in joy lets fall a white tear
the curving moon can be a scimitar
roses are barbed.

So must her dreams be.
Her girlish light must scale the cliff of sleep
by paths unimagineably pure.

O sea
forgo this dreamer, for her dear gold
I covet; her daylight laughter caught so lovingly
in sleep slips like light into dark water
to a desperate fathom.

So must her dreams be …

From: Rexroth, Kenneth (ed.), The New British Poets: An Anthology, 1947, New Directions: London, p. 146.

Date: 1947

By: Os Marron (19??-1947)

Saturday, 15 August 2015

The Mustard-Seed by John Newton Brown

Matt. xiii. 31, 32.

To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?
To a man who a very small mustard-seed took,
And, despite of its littleness, carefully sowed
Where the soil was enriched by a neighboring brook.

Beneath the warm sunbeam it sprouted and grew,
And green was the foliage of beauty it wore ;
And lofty and large were its limbs to the view,
Though the seed, of all seeds, was the smallest before.

Now a tree of great size, wide its branches extend,
And shelter and shade to the weary it shows;
And the birds of the air on its verdure depend,
And beneath its broad shadow in safety repose.

Thus, though small its beginning, the kingdom of God
Is destined to flourish, to grow, and increase,
And spread itself wider and wider abroad,
Till the whole earth repose in its shadow of peace.


From: Brown, J. Newton, Emily, and Other Poems, 1840, Israel S. Boyd: Concord, N.H., p. 45.

Date: 1820

By: John Newton Brown (1803-1860)

Friday, 14 August 2015

Extempore by Robert Fergusson

On being asked which of three Sisters was the most Beautiful.

When Paris gave his voice, in Ida’s grove,
For the resistless Venus, queen of love,
‘Twas no great task to pass a judgment there,
Where she alone was exquisitely fair:
But here, what could his ablest judgment teach?
When wisdom, power, and beauty, reign in each?
The youth, nonplus’d, behov’d to join with me,
And wish the apple had been cut in three.

From: Fergusson, Robert and Gray, James (ed.), The Poems of Robert Fergusson. With a Life of the Author, and Remarks on His Genius and Writings, by James Gray, Esq., 1821, John Fairbairn: Edinburgh, pp. 57-58.

Date: 1773

By: Robert Fergusson (1750-1774)

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Antiplatonic by John Cleveland

For shame, thou everlasting wooer,
Still saying grace and never falling to her!
Love that’s in contemplation placed
Is Venus drawn but to the waist.
Unless your flame confess its gender
And your parley cause surrender,
You are salamanders of a cold desire
That live untouched amidst the hottest fire.

What though she be a dame of stone,
The widow of Pygmalion,
As hard and unrelenting she
As the new crusted Niobe,
Or, (what doth more of statue carry,)
A nun of the Platonic quarry?
Love melts the rigor which the rocks have bred–
A flint will break upon a feather-bed.

For shame, you pretty female elves,
Cease thus to candy up your selves;
No more, you sectaries of the game,
No more of your calcining flame!
Women commence by Cupid’s dart
As a king hunting dubs a hart.
Love’s votaries enthrall each other’s soul
Till both of them live but upon parole.

Virtue’s no more in womankind
But the green-sickness of the mind;
Philosophy (their new delight)
A kind of charcoal appetite.
There is no sophistry prevails
Where all-convincing love assails,
But the disputing petticoat will warp,
As skillful gamesters are to seek at sharp.

The soldier, that man of iron,
Whom ribs of horror all environ,
That’s strung with wire instead of veins
In whose embraces you’re in chains,
Let a magnetic girl appear,
Straight he turns Cupid’s cuirassier.
Love storms his lips, and takes the fortress in,
For all the bristled turnpikes of his chin.

Since love’s artillery then checks
The breastworks of the firmest sex,
Come let us in affections riot.
They are sickly pleasures keep a diet.
Give me a lover bold and free,
Not eunuched with formality,
Like an embassador that beds a queen
With the nice caution of a sword between.

From: Cleveland, John and Berdan, John M. (ed.), The Poems of John Cleveland: Annotated and correctly printed for the first time with Biographical and Historical Introductions by John M. Berdan, Ph.D., 1903, The Grafton Press: New York, pp. 78-79.

Date: 1656

By: John Cleveland (1613-1658)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Luke, I Can No Longer Stand You in Thought or Word or Deed by Emily Critchley

Luke, I can no longer stand you in thought or word or deed.
Your neon lego hieroglyphics turned out to be trash,
or worse, a monument to someone else’s love,
i.e., yr own.

All I want is to return to Rome.
I’ll dig out that figurine of the Madonna ~ the one we hid the money in ~ & stuff tears
of remorse down her throat.

(I need to feel right now how others have suffered
as I suffer.)

Deprived of all visions. Man, it’s taking a long time to wake up
out of this yoga pose. Relaxation should be the same as praying
or communing with Magdalena
about her centuries of bad PR by ~ guess what! ~
clueless whores like you.


Date: 2010

By: Emily Critchley (1980- )