Archive for January, 2017

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Satire on Pride by Elizabeth Mapes Bonhôte

Hell’s first born exhalation sure is pride!
Who, with its sister, envy, would divide
The various blessings to poor mortals given.
By the kind bounty of indulgent heaven.
What at the last have kings to make them proud!
A gilded coffin and a satin shroud.
The lordly worm on these will quickly prey;
For worms, like kings, in turn will have their day.
What then is man who boasts his form and make?
A reptile’s meal,—a worm’s high-flavour’d steak,
The epicure, who caters like a slave,
Is but a pamper’d morsel for the grave.

Envy’s a canker of such subtle power,
It steals all pleasure from the gayest hour.
It is the deadly nightshade of the mind;
With secret poison all its arts refin’d;
And, when attended by it vile relation,
Would spread a plague destructive to a nation.
Then send these hags back to their native hell,
With fiends and evil spirits formed to dwell.

No more on worth let man look down with scorn,
And frown on those not quite so highly born;
Nor, as the coaches rattle from his door,
Boast, like proud Haman, of not being poor!
Earth’s doom’d to earth, all folly there must end,—
Then read, and own the satirist a friend.


Date: 1796

By: Elizabeth Mapes Bonhôte (1744-1818)

Monday, 30 January 2017

Conclusion of “Love’s Martyr” by Robert Chester

Gentle conceivers of true meaning Wit,
Let good Experience judge what I have writ,
For the Satyricall fond applauded vaines,
Whose bitter worme-wood spirite in some straines,
Bite like the Curres of Ægypt those that love them,
Let me alone, I will be loth to move them,
For why, when mightie men their wit do prove,
How shall I least of all expect their love?
Yet to those men I gratulate some paine,
Because they touch those that in art do saine.
But those that have the spirit to do good,
Their whips will will never draw one drop of bloud:
To all and all in all that view my labour,
Of every judging sight I crave some favour
At least to reade, and if you reading find,
A lame leg’d staffe, tis lamenesse of the mind
That had no better skill: yet let it passe,
For burdnous lodes are set upon an Asse.
From the sweet fire of perfumed wood,
Another princely Phœnix upright stood:
Whose feathers purified did yeeld more light,
Then her late burned mother out of sight,
And in her heart restes a perpetuall love,
Sprong from the bosome of the Turtle-Dove.
Long may the new uprising bird increase,
Some humors and some motions to release,
And thus to all I offer my devotion,
Hoping that gentle minds accept my motion.

From: Grosart, Alexander B. (ed.), The Poems of Robert Chester (1601-1611) with Verse-Contributions by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, George Chapman, John Marston, etc., 1878, Shakespeare Society: Blackburn, Lancashire, pp. 141-142.

Date: 1601

By: Robert Chester (fl. 1601)

Sunday, 29 January 2017

To a Scandalmonger by Marie de Romieu

Who sent us this black devil, chased from hell,
Sloping of brow, hideous and hollow-eyed,
Who would spew forth is malice, puffed with pride,
On her the Muses love, where virtues dwell?

Go, wretch! On others work your fancy fell!
Begone, churl! Nevermore in France abide.
Rather, the dark, infernal land bestride;
Then be entombed, spurned to a fare-thee-well!

Tell me! What errant Demon goaded you
To slander her whose lyre sings fair and true,
Beloved by all of honor and high station?

You err! Oh, how you err! Can you design
No manner less abject, more decent, swine,

Than, by such lies, to spread your reputation?

From: Shapiro, Norman R. (ed. and transl.) French Women Poets of Nine Centuries: The Distaff & The Pen, 2008, John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, Maryland, p. 249.

Date: 1581 (original in French); 2008 (translation in English)

By: Marie de Romieu (16th century)

Translated by: Norman. R. Shapiro (19??- )

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Nothing Can Subdue Virtue by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius

Whoso calm, serene, sedate,
Sets his foot on haughty fate;
Firm and steadfast, come what will,
Keeps his mien unconquered still;
Him the rage of furious seas,
Tossing high wild menaces,
Nor the flames from smoky forges
That Vesuvius disgorges,
Nor the bolt that from the sky
Smites the tower, can terrify.
Why, then, shouldst thou feel affright
At the tyrant’s weakling might?
Dread him not, nor fear no harm,
And thou shall his rage disarm;
But who to hope or fear gives way —
Lost his bosom’s rightful sway —
He hath cast away his shield,
Like a coward fled the field;
He hath forged all unaware
Fetters his own neck must bear!


Date: c520 (original in Latin); 1897 (translation in English)

By: Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius (c480-524)

Translated by: Henry Rosher James (1862-1931)

Friday, 27 January 2017

Please Resist Me by Luke Haralampou (Luka Lesson)

Please resist me
Colonise me, compromise me, conflict me
Please don’t risk me
If you see me at the airport
please come and frisk me

Please resist me
Colonise me, compromise me and conflict me
Please don’t risk me
Please call me stupid
Because your resistance brings our evolution

Please resist me
Call me a ‘wog’
It’s brought us so close together I could call me a squad

Please resist me
Lock me in solitary confinement
I’ll close my eyes and admire the quality of the silence
I’ll write rhymes in my mind honestly and define them
Solidly redefine and memorise them
Until like a diamond
when I come out
I’ll be better than when I arrived in

Please resist me
Keep me under the thumb
Keep me down trodden
Keep me under the gun
Keep me working harder under thunder and sun
Son, haven’t you heard? I’m becoming a gun

Please resist me
Because resistance brings evolution
and you’ve resisted me consistently I thank you for your contribution
I’m a happy man
Your stupidity has made me strong
I’ve developed wings, a thick skin and this here opposable thumb
It holds my pen which loads my explodable tongue
So without loading a gun I’m killing high quotas of unemotional…

Sorry – you also taught me to speak French
I learnt it when you kept keeping me at arms-length
And then I learnt Italian just to expand my head
And Greek to learn from where my ancestors had fled
And then I learnt some Yanyuwa just to show the people of this land some respect
You see it’s been your example that has led me to leave you for dead

So don’t trust me
I’m risky
Insurmountable, unaccountable
I’m an undeniable, unreliable, maniacal liability
I fire soliloquies and my liturgies literally leave a literary litany
You see
When I was little
They told me I was illegitimate, illiterate and limited
Little did they know that in a minute I’d be killing it
I’m vivid like in cinemas so my synonym is vividness
I stick it like I’m cinnamon and kill it like a militant
I live it like a citizen – you live a life like imprisonment
Besides Indigenous
immigrant might be the most legitimate of citizens
So it’s better to live a life like us…
Isn’t it?


Date: 2011

By: Luke Haralampou (Luka Lesson) (1983- )

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Advance Australia Fair by Peter Dodds McCormick

Australia’s sons let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In hist’ry’s page, let ev’ry stage
Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia fair.

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed,
To trace wide oceans o’er,
True British courage bore him on,
Til he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England’s flag,
The standard of the brave;
“With all her faults we love her still”
“Britannia rules the wave.”
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

While other nations of the globe
Behold us from afar,
We’ll rise to high renown and shine
Like our glorious southern star;
From England soil and Fatherland,
Scotia and Erin fair,
Let all combine with heart and hand
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

Should foreign foe e’er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We’ll rouse to arms like sires of yore,
To guard our native strand;
Britannia then shall surely know,
Though oceans roll between,
Her sons in fair Australia’s land
Still keep their courage green.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.


Date: 1879

By: Peter Dodds McCormick (?1834-1916)

Note: This is the initial version of Australia’s current national anthem. The words were originally written by the composer but have been changed over time to be more in keeping with Australia’s current ideology. The changes have not been attributed. Most Australians only know the first verse.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Dream of Freedom by Owen Hargraves Suffolk (Henry Manly)

‘Twas night, and the moonbeams palely fell
On the gloomy walls of a cheerless cell,
Where a captive sought a brief repose
From the bitter pangs of his waking woes,
O’er the dark blue waves of the mighty deep
His spirit roamed in the dream of sleep,
To each well lov’d spot of the peaceful shore,
Where joyous he rov’d in the days or yore.
But still as he roam’d, by Fancy’s pow’r,
To the halcyon scenes of his childhood’s hour,
His heart was crush’d with a weight of pain,
For he seem’d enthrall’d by the captive chain,
And vainly sought ‘mid his native isle
For the glorious light of Freedom’s smile!

The vision chang’d— from the cloudy waves
Of a mountain top that kiss’d the sky.
Be gaz’d beneath on a world of slaves
Array’d in the mantle of Liberty.
He saw a King with a jewelled crown,
Whose brightness rivalled the beams of day,
While thousands knelt at his gorgeous throne,
And own’d the might of his sceptre’s sway;
His will was law to the countless crowd,
Who quail’d ‘neath the monarch’s piercing eye,
That fiercely flash ‘d like the thunder-cloud,
When the lightning reddens the lurid sky.
In the battle-field his arm was might,
And his kingly heart was firm and brave,
But he knew not the charm of Freedom’s light—
He was but Ambition’s willing slave.

Then he turn’d from the monarch’s throne to gaze
On a peaceful cot in a lowly dell,
Which, lit by the sun’s departing rays,
Seem’d a scene of bliss where no woes could dwell,
And sweet was the sound of the ev’ning breeze
As it softly sigh’d through the leafy trees,
And danc’d on the rill which flow’d along
Through the flowery dale with a murm’ring song.
At the cottage door, with locks of white,
An old man gaz’d on the Western sky
And watch’d the sun’s declining light,
As it slowly sunk from his joyless eye.

In that retreat of Heav’n-like calm,
Remote from men and worldly show,
He vainly sought a Lethean charm
From a gloomy past of guilt and woe.
Alas! his spirit even there
Where all around was bright and fair,
Was firmly bound to each crime-stained hour
By vivid Mem’ry’s painful pow’r,
And Conscience o’er the sea of Time
A lurid shade of darkness cast,
And conjur’d up the deeds of crime
That chain’d him to a guilty past.

In the captive’s dream of fancy wild.
He look’d no more on the man of care,
His gaze was fix’d on a beauteous child,
Who knelt at his mother’s feet in pray’r.
Its little hands were clasp’d—its eyes
Uplifted were to Paradise—
Its simple words of faith and love
Were registered in Heav’n above
Recorded there with Angels’ tears
Who wept o’er the hopes the mother built,
For they look’d through the vista of countless years
And saw it fetter’d to future guilt.

And next he saw a beauteous pair,
A gallant youth and maiden fair,
Reclining in a vine-wreathed bower
At evening’s gentle balmy hour.
They vow’d their love should ever be
Immutable as Heav’n’s decree;
And each fond hope of future bliss
Was seal’d with an impassioned kiss.
Their voices seem’d a magic lay
Out-rivalling Eve’s melting gale;
Then beauty was more fair than day.
But oh! their hearts were weak and frail.
Their thrilling words and glances told
Of latent passions deep and wild,
Impute desires uncontroll’d,
That ev’ry virtuous thought beguil’d.

The flowers that scented the evening gale,
The stars that shone from their home above
Wept tears of grief o’er the guilty pair.
For they were the slaves of unholy love.
Then he turned from the things of earth to gaze
On the regions of immortality,
Where seraphs chanted their hymns of praise,
And every tongue was tuned with joy;
There countless myriads cloth’d in white
Were freed from the shackles of sin’s dark hour
To dwell in those blissful realms of light,
Unfetter’d for ever from Satan’s power,
And Freedom’s waters ‘neath many a beam
Of brightness curled on a balmy shore,
And all who quaff’d on the limpid stream
Were loos’d from bondage for evermore.

‘Twas now the harsh-ton’d prison-bell,
Loud echoed through the captive’s cell;
And rous’d him from his misery’s rest,
To all the woes that pierc’d his breast.
He rose—the vision of the night
Again was present to his sight—
He knelt—with fervency he pray’d
Through faith in Christ his gins forgiven,
The narrow boundary of the grave,
Should be the vestibule of Heaven.
Where disenthrall’d from all below,
To dwell beyond the starry sky,
Free from the pains of earthly woe,
In never-ending liberty!


Date: 1852

By: Owen Hargraves Suffolk (Henry Manly) (c1829-after 1866)

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Unknown by Donald Henry Rumsfeld

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.


Date: 2002

By: Donald Henry Rumsfeld (1932- )

Monday, 23 January 2017

Among the Joshua Trees by David Wojahn

(G.P., 1947-74)

Still some twilight and the fire blooms against
the smoke trees and horizon line, visible
to campers in the desert foothills seven miles away.

They pull him from the car trunk, his shroud
a nylon pup tent. Gold tequila, draining to the worm.
And the salt grains on their writs, also glowing,

as their hits of windowpane reach cruising altitude.
Already the pyre stings their eyes—creosote, sage, and stalks
of ocotillo that have caused their hands to bleed.

The engine idles in the headlights’ shimmer
as the tapedeck plays the dead man singing The Return
of the Grevious Angel, then the reedy heartbreak of Wild Horses,

his cover that shamed the Stones, and they lug
the cans of gasoline, circling the pyre twice,
talking of the President’s resignation

and that spaceship that crashed in Roswell, New Mexico,
in Nineteen Forty-Eight, for one of them knows
someone who knows someone who saw the aliens’

silvery corpses in a secret airforce hangar.
Their eyes, he says, were huge as apples.
And now the body of Gram Parsons,

O.D. at twenty-seven, stolen by two friends
from the airport morgue at LA-EX, flares and almost trembles
as the fire scalds their faces in the plaintive wash

of Thousand Dollar Wedding, the Grevious Angel rising
in his stoned un-Rilkean splendor, rising from
the dirges of his own angelic orders,

from cinder spray and crackle as the tape goes hissing
to its final song, and the speakers cough the radio’s
dead air, and clicks of static immense, celestial.

—for Rick Madigan


Date: 1996

By: David Wojahn (1953- )

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A Woman’s Mood by Grace Elizabeth Jennings Carmichael

I think to-night I could bear it all,
Even the arrow that cleft the core,—
Could I wait again for your swift footfall,
And your sunny face coming in at the door.
With the old frank look and the gay young smile,
And the ring of the words you used to say;
I could almost deem the pain worth while,
To greet you again in the olden way!

But you stand without in the dark and cold,
And I may not open the long closed door,
Nor call thro’ the night, with the love of old,—
“Come into the warmth, as in nights of yore!”
I kneel alone in the red fire-glow,
And hear the wings of the wind sweep by;
You are out afar in the night, I know,
And the sough of the wind is like a cry.

You are out afar—and I wait within,
A grave-eyed woman whose pulse is slow;
The flames round the red coals softly spin,
And the lonely room’s in a rosy glow.
The firelight falls on your vacant chair,
And the soft brown rug where you used to stand;
Dear, never again shall I see you there,
Nor lift my head for your seeking hand.

Yet sometimes still, and in spite of all,
I wistful look at the fastened door,
And wait again for the swift footfall,
And the gay young voice as in hours of yore.
It still seems strange to be here alone,
With the rising sob of the wind without;
The sound takes a deep, insisting tone,
Where the trees are swinging their arms about.

Its moaning reaches the sheltered room,
And thrills my heart with a sense of pain;
I walk to the window, and pierce the gloom,
With a yearning look that is all in vain.
You are out in a night of depths that hold
No promise of dawning for you and me,
And only a ghost from the life of old
Has come from the world of memory!

You are out evermore! God wills it so!
But ah! my spirit is yearning yet!
As I kneel alone by the red fire-glow,
My eyes grow dim with the old regret.
O when shall the aching throb grow still,
The warm love-life turn cold at the core!
Must I be watching, against my will,
For your banished face in the opening door?

It may be, dear, when the sequel’s told
Of the story, read to its bitter close;
When the inner meanings of life unfold,
And the under-side of our being shows—
It may be then, in that truer light,
When all our knowledge has larger grown,
I may understand why you stray to-night,
And I am left, with the past, alone.


Date: 1895

By: Grace Elizabeth Jennings Carmichael (1868-1904)