Archive for November, 2015

Monday, 30 November 2015

The Innocent Inconstant* by Martha Fowke Sansom

Well! an Inconstant, let me then be thought:
Nor can I help it, if it be a Fault,
No solid Lead is in my Atoms mix’d,
All Mercury! too sprightly to be fix’d!
As soon the Stars might in one Station shine,
As one dull Wretch retain this Heart of mine.
Restless, and tired, my Wishes still remove,
Nor can I clip the Wings of Flying Love.
Languid and faint, he in one Posture seems,
Loses his Fire, and in dull Slumber dreams;
Till some bright Victor, with enchanting Eyes,
Strikes his damp Wings, and bids his Spirits rise.

Let but the Bays and Myrtle crown my Brow,
I envy not the Frost, that Prudes avow.
No matter! – if my little Sallies look
But fairly in the Great Accounting Book!
My smiling Soul, from dang’rous Sin secure,
Scorns loose Desires, and is with Pleasure pure.

‘Tis Love’s chast Bliss, its bright, transparent Part,
That my Flame kindles at, that warms my Heart!
I search – but rarely meet an equal Taste,
Then I grow weary, and I change in haste:
Where I discern that heavy Earth prevails,
I leave the Lumber, and I shift the Sails.

But Oh, inconstant as I may appear,
Cou’d I once find a Poet, and sincere;
Wisdom, with Wit, might sure for ever move,
And He might clip the Wings of Flying Love.

*Martha Fowke Sansom wrote this poem in response to Verses to a Young Lady [Unconstant] by Richard Savage which he sent to her in 1722.

From: Fairer, David and Gerrard, Christine (eds.), Eighteenth-Century Poetry. An Annotated Anthology. Third Edition, 2015, Wiley Blackwell: Oxford, pp. 236-237.

Date: 1726

By: Martha Fowke Sansom (1689-1736)

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Verses to a Young Lady [Unconstant] by Richard Savage

Polly, from me, though now a love-sick youth,
Nay, though a poet, hear the voice of truth!
Polly, you’re not a beauty, yet you’re pretty;
So grave, yet gay; so silly, yet so witty;
A heart of softness, yet a tongue of satire;
You’ve cruelty, yet, e’en with that, good-nature:
Now you are free, and now reserved awhile;
Now a forced frown betrays a willing smile.
Reproach’d for absence, yet your sight denied;
My tongue you silence, yet my silence chide.
How would you praise me, should your sex defame!
Yet, should they praise, grow jealous, and exclaim.
If I despair, with some kind look you bless;
But if I hope, at once all hope suppress.
You scorn ; yet should my passion change or fail,
Too late you’d whimper out a softer tale.
You love; yet from your lover’s wish retire;
Doubt, yet discern; deny, and yet desire.
Such, Polly, are your sex—part truth, part fiction,
Some thought, much whim, and all a contradiction.

From: Savage, Richard, The British Poets. Including Translations. In One Hundred Volumes. Volume XXXV. The Poems of Richard Savage, 1822, C. Whittingham: Chiswick, pp. 233-234.

Date: 1722

By: Richard Savage (c1697-1743)

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Sonnet by Sibylla Schwarz

If love is chaste, what bears adultery?
If love is good, and does no evil own,
How can its fire so many flames propone?
If love is joy, why’s it called cruelty?
Who love adores, sails on a lustful sea,
And lets himself into death’s net be sewn,
Which does not tear; he lives for sin alone,
Is stripped of virtue, worships vanity.

From: Walsøe-Engel, Ingrid (ed.), German Poetry from the Beginnings to 1750, 1992, Continuum: New York, p. 251.

Date: 1650 (published in German); 1992 (translated in English)

By: Sibylla Schwarz (1621-1638)

Translated by: George C. Schoolfield (1925- )

Friday, 27 November 2015

In Prayse of the Translator by Stephen Gosson

The Poet which sometimes hath trod awry.
And song in verse the force of fyry love,
When he beholdes his lute with carefull eye,
Thinkes on the dumpes that he was wonte to prove.
His groning spright yprickt with tender ruth,
Calles then to minde the follies of his youth.

The hardy minde whiche all his honour gotte,
In blouddy fielde by fruyte of deadly iarre,
When once he heares the noyse of thirled shotte,
And threatnyng trumpet sounde the poyntes of warre.
Remembers how through pykes he lovde to runne,
When he the pryce of endlesse glory wonne.

The traveller which neare refusde the payne,
To passe the daunger of the streightes he founde,
But hoysted sayle to searche the golden vayne,
Which natures crafte hath hidden in the grounde.
When he perceyves Don Cortez here so pearte,
May well be mindefull of his owne deserte.

Then yeelde we thankes to Nicholas for his toyle,
Who strings the Lutte that putteth us in minde,
How doting dayes have given us all the foyle,
Whilste learned wittes in foirayne landes doe finde.
That labour beares away the golden fleece,
And is rewarded with the flower of Greece.

Loe here the trumpe of everlasting fame,
That rendes the ayre in sunder with his blaste,
And throwes abroade the prayses of their name,
Which ofte in fight have made their foes agast.
Though they be dead, their glory shall remayne,
To reare alofte the deedes of haughty Spayne.

Loe here the traveller, whose paynefull quill,
So lyvely payntes the Spanish Indies out,
That English Gentlemen may vew at will,
The manly prowesse of that gallant route.
And when the Spaniarde vaunteth of his golde,
Their owne renowne in him they may beholde.

From: Gosson, Stephen and Arber, Edward (ed.), The Schoole of Abuse [August?] 1579 and A Short Apologie of the School of Abuse [November?] 1579, 1868, A. Murray and Son: London, pp. 77-78.

Date: 1578

By: Stephen Gosson (1554-1624)

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Bede’s Death Song by Bede

Before that forced journey, no man comes to be
thought wise because it is necessary, unless
to consider mindfully before his departure
what of his soul’s good or evil
After his death-day will come to be judged.


Date: 735 (original in Old English); 2015 (translation in modern English)

By: Bede (672/3-735)

Translated by: John Daniel Thieme (19??- )

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

For the Brazilian Rocket Queen by Jonty Tiplady

Live minor America you are in my soul rock babe
in the alchemist who sent you to the corner. They sent you to the corner
with cheese muffs debonair. You
you go play with the forty yards. You go swing,
you go do the twist again. How can in
you weigh an invisible phantom weight on the pin-prick
bone sticking out the centre of the chest. Through inclusion
omit you half tender sleepy seal. Deep down I can’t make sense, it
was like you were as ugly B-e-A-u-T-I-F-u-L as the moon and
I was laden with crisps and yet was so happy to be
there again, with you in darkest happiness, and be mine. I have not
said as was, never will, never will transform, for the more
I might the more it would, and omit again. I must be scared
that happiness is like this, its
magic study a grizzle-pit half the time. It’s like when my room
resembles a hospital, my insides cry out, and
the thing seems to be the more happy I am
I went with my Mum to headbutt a cactus. How are you the love
of my life in different Google machine language. Dream a little
brief dream, under a wheelying rainbow. Those lava mice are scathing
about every poem’s end.


Date: 2008

By: Jonty Tiplady (19??- )

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Carpe Diem by Terence Ian Fytton Armstrong (John Gawsworth)

Read me no tale that has not love for theme;
I will not hear those chronicles of gloom,
Lacking the savour of life’s fondest dream,
Telling of virgins in the loveless tomb.
We should be happy for our mortal spell.
Too soon the unbanked fires of life burn low.
Manon and Mimi may have loved too well,
Yet at the summons they were loth to go.
Brief is contentment, short are lionied hours.
Time, swift and sure, soon scythes all blooms to stalk.
Let’s make the Present wonderful whilst ours,
Lost in our love, dispense with needless talk.
Do you not know that all narrated bliss
Is but a fingersnap to your next kiss?


Date: 1932

By: Terence Ian Fytton Armstrong (John Gawsworth) (1912-1970)

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Butterfly’s Ball, and the Grasshopper’s Feast by William Roscoe

Come take up your Hats, and away let us haste
To the Butterfly’s Ball, and the Grasshopper’s Feast.
The Trumpeter, Gad-fly, has summon’d the Crew,
And the Revels are now only waiting for you.

So said little Robert, and pacing along,
His merry Companions came forth in a Throng.
And on the smooth Grass, by the side of a Wood,
Beneath a broad Oak that for Ages had stood,

Saw the Children of Earth, and the Tenants of Air,
For an Evening’s Amusement together repair.
And there came the Beetle, so blind and so black,
Who carried the Emmet, his Friend, on his Back.

And there was the Gnat and the Dragon-fly too,
With all their Relations, Green, Orange, and Blue.
And there came the Moth, with his Plumage of Down,
And the Hornet in Jacket of Yellow and Brown;

Who with him the Wasp, his Companion, did bring,
But they promis’d, that Evening, to lay by their Sting.
And the sly little Dormouse crept out of his Hole,
And brought to the Feast his blind Brother, the Mole.

And the Snail, with his Horns peeping out of his Shell,
Came from a great Distance, the Length of an Ell.
A Mushroom their Table, and on it was laid
A Water-dock Leaf, which a Table-cloth made.

The Viands were various, to each of their Taste,
And the Bee brought her Honey to crown the Repast.
Then close on his Haunches, so solemn and wise,
The Frog from a Corner, look’d up to the Skies.

And the Squirrel well pleas’d such Diversions to see,
Mounted high over Head, and look’d down from a Tree.
Then out came the Spider, with Finger so fine,
To shew his Dexterity on the tight Line.

From one Branch to another, his Cobwebs he slung,
Then quick as an Arrow he darted along,
But just in the Middle, — Oh! shocking to tell,
From his Rope, in an Instant, poor Harlequin fell.

Yet he touch’d not the Ground, but with Talons outspread,
Hung suspended in Air, at the End of a Thread,
Then the Grasshopper came with a Jerk and a Spring,
Very long was his Leg, though but short was his Wing;

He took but three Leaps, and was soon out of Sight,
Then chirp’d his own Praises the rest of the Night.
With Step so majestic the Snail did advance,
And promis’d the Gazers a Minuet to dance.

But they all laugh’d so loud that he pull’d in his Head,
And went in his own little Chamber to Bed.
Then, as Evening gave Way to the Shadows of Night,
Their Watchman, the Glow-worm, came out with a Light.

Then Home let us hasten, while yet we can see,
For no Watchman is waiting for you and for me.
So said little Robert, and pacing along,
His merry Companions returned in a Throng.


Date: 1806

By: William Roscoe (1753-1831)

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A Character by Henry Brooke

When, o’er the canvas, flows the master’s line,
He adds no name to mark the just design;
The portrait, ‘midst a mingling world, is known,
And stands admired ,distinguish’d, and alone!

Behold him, full of virtues as of days,
Laden with worth, infirmities, and praise!
Down the hoar flowing of his silver’d head,
Wisdom and Time their equal honours shed;
Truth and Benevolence, with equal grace,
Rise from his breast, and lighten in his face.

His languid limbs expect the peaceful bier;
His head and heart still active, free, and clear!
On his own frame, though dire distemper preys,
He’s borne around, to give all others ease;
Before his healing presence Life respires,
And Sickness, with his rueful train, retires!

Great Leach both of our persons and our state!
When thou, at some sad hour, shalt yield to fate–
O then, adieu Hibernia’s chiefest wealth;
Adieu to Liberty! Adieu to Health!

From: Brooke, Henry and Brooke, Charlotte (ed.), The Poetical Works of Henry Brooke, Esq., Revised and Corrected by the Original Manuscript; with a Portrait of the Author, and His Life, The Third Edition, 1792, Printed for the Editor: Dublin, pp. 373-374.

Date: 17??

By: Henry Brooke (1703-1783)

Saturday, 21 November 2015

A Sonnet. Of Love by Philip Ayres

If Love it be not, what is this I feel?
If it be Love, what Love is, fain I’d know?
If good, why the effects severe and ill?
If bad, why do its torments please me so?

If willingly I burn, should I complain?
If ‘gainst my will, what helps it to lament?
Oh living Death! oh most delightful Pain!
How comes all this, if I do not consent?

If I consent, ’tis madness then to grieve;
Amidst these storms, in a weak Boat I’m tost
Upon a dangerous Sea, without relief,
No help from Reason, but in Error lost.

Which way in this distraction shall I turn?
That freeze in Summer, and in Winter burn.

From: Ayres, Philip, Lyric poems, made in imitation of the Italians of which, many are translations from other languages, 2003-05, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, p. 12.

Date: 1687

By: Philip Ayres (1638-1712)