Archive for June, 2016

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Strategy for Living (Odes I.11) by Horace

Leuconoe, why try to know
The future, which cannot be known?
Or what the Assyrian numbers say
Of your fate and my own?

Put it away, don’t waste your time,
Winter will come on
And break the lower sea on the rocks
While we drink summer’s wine.

See, in the white of the winter air
The day hangs like a rose.
It droops down to the reaching hand
Take it before it goes.


Date: c23 BC (original in Latin); 2013 (translation in English)

By: Horace (65-8 BC)

Translated by: Thomas McEvilley (1939-2013)

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Temple Hymn 15: The Gishbanda Temple of Ningishzida by Enheduanna

ancient place
set deep in the mountain
dark shrine frightening and red place
safely placed in a field
no one can fathom your mighty hair-raising path
the neck-stock the fine-eyed net
the foot-shackling netherworld knot
your restored high wall is massive
like a trap
your inside the place where the sun rises
yields widespread abundance
your prince the pure-handed
shita priest of Inanna heaven’s holy one
Lord Ningishzida
his thick and beautiful hair
falls down his back
O Gishbanda
has built this house on your radiant site
and placed his seat upon your dais.


Date: 3rd millennium BCE (original in Sumerian); 2010 (translation in English)

By: Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE)

Translated by: Betty De Shong Meador (19??- )

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Steps by Michael Kindellan

            After Paul Valéry

You are not the clutch of silence,
placed gently against the blessed,
as towards a knowledge that sleep
is the patina mooting its practices.
Nor clear with sacraments’ shade,
that are soft but like unrestricting!
Good in everything I can divine
comes to me at bases like these.
If, in what manners you’ve tread,
you are prepared for some relief,
as at home in my own beliefs
the fare of which our kissing is,
do not hastily tender this act,
delicate in what it is, not to be;
because I have you attended so,
my heart moves under your feet.


Date: 2010

By: Michael Kindellan (19??- )

Monday, 27 June 2016

Beneath the Sea by Maud Keary

Were I a fish beneath the sea,
Shell‐paved and pearl‐brocaded,
Would you come down and live with me,
In groves by coral shaded?

No washing would we have to do;
Our cushions should be sponges—
And many a great ship’s envious crew
Should watch our merry plunges!

From: Keary, Maud, Enchanted Tulips and Other Verses for Children, 1914, Macmillan and Co: London, p. 6.

Date: 1914

By: Maud Keary (18??-19??)

Sunday, 26 June 2016

A Name in the Sand by Hannah Flagg Gould

Alone I walked the ocean strand;
A pearly shell was in my hand:
I stooped and wrote upon the sand
My name—the year—the day.
As onward from the spot I passed,
One lingering look behind I cast;
A wave came rolling high and fast,
And washed my lines away.

And so, methought, ’t will shortly be
With every mark on earth from me:
A wave of dark oblivion’s sea
Will sweep across the place
Where I have trod the sandy shore
Of time, and been, to be no more,
Of me—my day—the name I bore,
To leave nor track nor trace.

And yet, with Him who counts the sands
And holds the waters in his hands,
I know a lasting record stands
Inscribed against my name,
Of all this mortal part has wrought,
Of all this thinking soul has thought,
And from these fleeting moments caught
For glory or for shame.


Date: 1836

By: Hannah Flagg Gould (1788-1865)

Saturday, 25 June 2016

To Chlorinda by Anthony Alsop

See, Strephon, what unhappy fate
Does on thy fruitless passion wait,
Adding to flame fresh fuel:
Rather than thou should’st favour find;
The kindest soul on earth’s unkind,
And the best nature cruel.

The goodness, which Chlorinda shews,
From mildness and good breeding flows,
But must not love be stil’d:
Or else ’tis such as mothers try,
When wearied with incessant cry,
They still a froward child.

She with a graceful mien and air,
Genteely civil, yet severe,
Bids thee all hopes give o’er.
Friendship she offers, pure and free;
And who, with such a friend as she,
Cou’d want, or wish for more?

The cur that swam along the flood,
His mouth well fill’d with morsel good,
(Too good for common cur!)
By visionary hopes betray’d,
Gaping to catch a fleeting shade,
Lost what he held before.

Mark, Strephon, and apply this tale,
Lest love and friendship both should fail;
Where then wou’d be thy hope?
Of hope, quoth Strephon, talk not, friend;
And for applying — know, the end
Of ev’ry cur’s a rope.


Date: 1763 (published)

By: Anthony Alsop (c1670-1726)

Friday, 24 June 2016

A Funeral Elegie, Upon the Death of George Sonds, Esq &c. who was killed by his Brother, Mr. Freeman Sonds, August the 7th, Anno Dom. 1655 by William Annand

Reach me a Handcerchiff; Another yet,
And yet another, for the last is wett;
Nay now a Glass, to bottell up my teares,
For present pressing griefs, and future fears.
Could sighs, could groans, could sobbs, or ought revoak,
That sudden, fatal, fearfull, deadly stroak?
The Muses should be summon’d in by force,
And spend their All, upon his wounded Coarse,
Could measur’d lines, griefs infinit display?
The sacred Nine, with Him who rules the Day,
And all who in Immortall Thrones reside;
In spight of greatness, should a charge abide,
To consecrate, and to adorn his Hearse,
Revive his life, and club unto a Verse.
Or then let Sable darkness, canop’d in night,
Eeclipse them all for ever. Here’s a fight
That ripens sorrow, breaks op’ Griefs magazine,
Horrors great store-house—, compass’d in his Shrine,
Of life, of sense, all are dispossest,
And by one Dagger, loe each heart is peirc’d.

Thy death, thy death, dear soul, might wonder move,
How the Old Serpent, thus should kill the Dove.
Thy habits so refulgently did shine,
That we knew ought, but what was thought divine.
In thy expyring, it was made appear
In bloody Wounds, the Trinitie was clear.
The gates through which thy fertil soul did mount
To bless’d aboads, came to the full account
Of Twelve, or four times three, And three
“Hath ever in it some great My steric.

Nor was it for thy good, dear heart,
That Heaven thus suffer’d man to act his part.
But as Gods hand mayd Nature, doth not eye,
Nor this, nor that, but all in part doth spye:
So here God acts, in manner so so ample,
That All may have thee; Alwayes for example
Of this lifes frailty, most stupid here may know,
“There’s no abiding City, here below.
Behold the reaking blood, heart sign’d with murther staines,
Wisdoms great Citadel defac’d, empty veines,
Of one so young, so good, so lov’d of all,
After the closure of a Festivall.
So gentle, modest, rich, discreet and wise,
In dawning of his youth to close his eyes!
None more in Grace, in Speech, in featur,
Destroy’d, ’cause none in Grace, in Speech, was greater.
The best of Sonnes, Heires, Friends, of Masters,
Thus bath’d in his own blood; O sad disasters!
Good God, what can, what shall, mans frailty thinke,
When thy great goodnese, at this Act did winke?
But thou art just, perhaps thou thought’st it sitt,
And Lord unto thy Judgement I submit.

Rest happy Soul above,
with God in Love;
Where malice, hate, is out of date.
Expecting still the end
That Pious souls attend.

Vivet Post funera virtue.

From: Annand, William, A funeral elegie, upon the death of George Sonds, Esq; &c. Who was killed by his brother, Mr. Freeman Sonds, August the 7th. anno Dom. 1655. By William Annand Junior, of Throwligh. Whereunto is annexed a prayer, compiled by his sorrowfull father Sir George Sonds, and used in his family during the life of the said Freeman, 2009, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. [unnumbered].

Date: 1655

By: William Annand (1633-1689)

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Lamentation of Follie by William Elderton

To the tune of New Rogero.

Alas what meaneth man,
with care and greedy paine:
To wrest to win a worldly fame
which is but vile and vaine.
As though he had no cause to doubt,
the drift of his desire,
Not pleased though he rule the route,
but still to covet higher.

And wander after will,
farre passing his degrée:
Not so contented still,
but a king himselfe to be.
Subverting law and right,
detecting triall true:
Wringing every wight,
that all the realme dooth rue.

Whose déed and ill desart,
compart and false consent:
I thinke no Christen heart,
can choose but néeds lament.
Alas it seemed strange,
such thraldome in a realme:
Which wealthie was to wast away,
by will that was extreame.

Sith vertue was profest,
most famous franke and frée:
Yet men transposed cleane,
more vile and worse to be.
And such as did pretend
to shew themselfe most holie:
Have swarved in the end,
and fawned after follie.

Whose wordes so disagrée,
as waters come and go:
Their livings to be contrary,
that should examples showe.
And fawning after fame,
pursue their owne decay:
As though there were no God,
to call their life away.

What surety is in man,
what truth or trust at all:
Which frameth what he can,
to worke unworthy thrall.
Oppression hath beene frée,
the poore alas be spoyled:
Maides and wives be rauished,
the simple are beguiled.

Lawe is made a libertie,
and right is overthrowne:
Faith is but a foolish thing,
falsehood is alone.
Pride is counted clenlinesse,
and theft is but a slight.
Whoredome is but wantonnesse,
and waste is but delight.

Spoiling is but pleasure,
riot is but youth:
Slaunder is a laughing game,
and lying counted trueth.
Mariage is but mochage,
the children counted base:
Thus right is wronged every way,
in our accursed case.

Flatterie is the Forte of Fame,
and trueth is troden downe:
The innocent do beare the blame,
the wicked winne renowne.
Thus Sathan hath prevailed long,
and we for want of grace:
Have troden vertue under foote,
and vice hath taken place.

But God that is most righteous,
hath séene our fatall fall:
And spred his mercie over us,
to shield us from the thrall.
Whose mercy is so infinite,
to such as were oppressed:
He hath restored them to right,
and hath their care redressed.

And though that our unworthinesse.
hath not deserved so:
Now let us cease our wickednesse,
and graft where grace may grow.
And let us pray for our defence,
our worthy Queene elect:
That God may worke his will in her,
our thraldome to correct.

That God be chiefely served so,
as dooth to him belong:
That right may have his course againe,
and vanquish wicked wrong.
That we may live in feare and awe,
and truly to intend:
And have the justice of the lawe,
our causes to defend.

That truth may take his wonted place,
and faith be fast againe:
And then repent and call for grace,
that wrought our care and paine.
That God send us a short redresse,
with wealth and great increase:
And to our Quéene, to reigne and rule,
in honour, health, and peace.

From: Elderton, William, The lamentation of follie to the tune of New Rogero, 2008, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford.

Date: ?1558

By: William Elderton (d. ?1592)

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Falcon by Der von Kürenberg

I raised a noble falcon
For more than a year;
And when I had tamed him
And decked his feathers, tying
Them with a golden band,
He rose so swiftly, flying
Far to another land.

Since then I’ve seen my falcon
Gaily soaring;
And from his feet were waving
Fair silken ribbons,
And on his wings each feather
Was ruddy gold to see;
Ah, God bring those together
Who lovers fain would be!


Date: c1175 (original); 1916 (translation)

By: Der von Kürenberg (fl. 1150-1170)

Translated by: Margarete Münsterberg (1889-19??)

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Summer Solstice by Stacie Cassarino

I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.


Date: 2009

By: Stacie Cassarino (1975- )