Archive for September, 2020

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

The Excusation of the Prentar by John Bellenden/Ballantyne with rough rendering into modern English by flusteredduck

Prefixed to the Translation of Boece’s History.

Ingyne of man be inclinatioun
In sindry wyse is gevin, as we se.
Sum men ar gevin to detractioun,
Invy, displeseir, or malancolie,
And to thair nychbouris hes no cherite.
Sum ar so nobill and full of gentilnes,
Thay luf no-thing bot joy and merynes.

Sum ar at undir and sum maid up of nocht:
Sum men lufifis peace, and sum desiris weir.
Sum is so blyth in-to his mery thocht
He curis nocht, so he may perseveir
In grace and favour of his lady deir.
Sum boldins at othir in maist cruell feid,
With lance and dagar rynnis to the deid.

Ane hes that mycht ane hundreth weil sustene,
And leiffis in wo and pennance at his table,
And of gud fallois comptis nocht ane bene:
His wrechit mynd is so insaciable;
As hevin and hell wer no-thing bot ane fable
He birnis ay, but sycht to gud or evil,
And rynnis with all his baggis to the devil.

And I the prentar, that dois considir weil
Thir sindry myndis of men in thair leving,
Desiris nocht bot on my laubour leil
That I mycht leif, and of my just wynnyng
Mycht first pleis God, and syne our noble Kyng,
And that ye reders bousum and attent
Wer of my laubour and besynes content.

And in this wark, that I have heir assailyeit
To bring to lycht, maist humely I exhort
Yow nobill reders, quhare that I have failyeit
In letter, sillabe, poyntis lang or schort.
That ye will of your gentrice it support,
And tak the sentences the best wyse ye may;
I sall do better, will God, ane-othir day.

The Printer’s Excuse by John Bellenden/Ballantyne

Genius of man be inclination
In sundry wise is given, as we see.
Some men are given to detraction,
Envy, displeasure, or melancholy,
And to their neighbours have no chairty.
Some are so noble and full of gentleness,
They love nothing but joy and merriness.

Some are thoughtful, and some made up of nought:
Some men love peace, and some desire war.
Some are so blythe in his merry thought
He cares nought, so he may persevere
In grace and favour of his lady dear.
Some rage at other in most cruel feud,
With lance and dagger runs to the death.

One has that might one hundred well sustain,
And lives in woe and penance at his table,
And of good fellows counts not a bean;
His wretched mind is so insatiable;
As heaven and hell were nothing but a fable,
He burns all, but heeds not good or evil,
And runs with all his baggage to the devil.

And I the printer, that does consider well
The sundry minds of men in their living,
Desire nought but on my labour loyal
That I might live, and of my just winning
Might first please God, and then our noble King,
And that you readers pleasant and alert
Were of my labour and business content.

And in this work, that I have here assailed
To bring to light, most humbly I exhort
You noble readers where that I have failed
In letter, syllable, points long or short,
That you will of your kindness it support,
And take the sentence the best wise you may;
I shall do better, will God, another day.

From: Eyre-Todd, George (ed.), Scotish Poetry of the Sixteenth Century, 1892, William Hodge & Co: Glasgow, pp. 134-135.

Date: c1536

By: John Bellenden/Ballantyne (fl. 1533-1550)

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Endless by Priyamvada Devi

Longing and eagerness re-born in spring are nurtured by Summer,
When the young fruit clusters on the branches,
And the dainty buds droop and fall.

Flowers scatter their fragrance and shake their petals to the ground,
But slowly the fruit swells up,
Filled with dewy nectar, colour and sweetness.

Ah me! This longing, this eagerness borne in by Autumn,
Where shall it find its fulfillment, where its end?
The distant void sky holds not a speck of cloud,
And the flowers and leaves of other days, where are they?

The trees stand apart, all bare,
Dry leaves fall in showers and cover the face of the earth,
And the thirsty dust flies moaning about, whirling in the wind.


Date: ? (original in Bengali) 1923 (translation in English)

By: Priyamvada Devi (1871-1935)

Translated by: Miss Whitehouse (?-?)

Monday, 28 September 2020

Elementary Principles at Seventy-Two by Richard Joseph Howard

When we consider the stars
(what else can we do with them?) and even
recognize among them sidereal

father-figures (it was our
consideration that arranged them so),
they will always outshine us, for we change.

When we behold the water
(which cannot be held, for it keeps turning
into itself), that is how we would move-

but water overruns us.
And when we aspire to be clad in fire
(for who would not put on such apparel?)

the flames only pass us by —
it is a way they have of passing through.
But earth is another matter. Ask earth

to take us, the last mother —
one womb we may reassume. Yes indeed,
we can have the earth. Earth will have us.


Date: 2001

By: Richard Joseph Howard (1929- )

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Written on a White Fan borrowed from Miss Osborne, afterwards his wife by Francis Atterbury

Flavia the least and slightest toy
Can with resistless art employ;
This fan in meaner hands would prove An engine of small force in love;
Yet she with graceful air and mien,
Not to be told or safely seen,
Directs its wanton motions so That it wounds more than Cupid’s bow;
Gives coolness to the matchless dame,
To every other breast—a flame.

From: Bullen, A. H. (ed.), Musa Proterva: Love-Poems of the Restoration, 1902, Privately Printed, p. 117.

Date: c1690

By: Francis Atterbury (1663-1732)

Saturday, 26 September 2020

At the Musée Rodin in Paris by Laure-Anne Bosselaar

in front of a window
facing south, two white
marble hands fold
around air.
A label on the pedestal reads
Le Secret.
Did Rodin also sculpt
the air between those hands?
Is it caught there ever since:
the mold of secrecy?
I waited hours for the sun
to flow through them.

All it did was cast
a shadow to the ground.


Date: 1997

By: Laure-Anne Bosselaar (1943- )

Friday, 25 September 2020

Waka 1339 by Daini no Sammi

Sent to Middle Counselor [Fujiwara no] Sadayori thrust into a bunch of chrysanthemums after he parted with her

You may be callous
(Yes, that is one side of you),
But to whom else
Would I ever think to show
White chrysanthemums in bloom?

From: Cranston, Edwin A. (ed. and transl.), A Waka Anthology, Volume Two: Grasses of Remembrance, Part B, 1993, Stanford University Press:Palo Alto, California, p. 481.

Date: 11th century (original in Japanese); 1993 (translation in English)

By: Daini no Sammi (c999-10??)

Translated by: Edwin Augustus Cranston (1932- )

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Excerpt from Section 4, Book 1 of “The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon”

Directly I saw her, I was lost:
for beauty wounds deeper than any arrow
and strikes down through the eyes into the soul;
the eye is the passage for love’s wound.
All manner of feelings took possession of me at once —
admiration, stupefaction, fear, shame, shamelessness.
I admired her tall form, I was stupefied by her beauty,
I shewed my fear by the beating of my heart;
I stared shamelessly at her,
but I was ashamed to be caught doing so.
Try as I would to drag my eyes away from gazing upon her,
they would not obey me,
but remained fixed upon her by the force of her beauty,
and at length they won the day against my will.

From: Gaselee, S., Achilles Tatius with an English Translation, 1917, William Heinemann: London and G. P. Putnam’s Sons: New York, pp. 15-17.

Date: 2nd century (original in Greek); 1917 (translation in English)

By: Achilles Tatius (2nd century)

Translated by: Stephen Gaselee (1882-1943)

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Books by Nobody by Daniel Towner

Those that draw around us the tranquillity
self-starving anchorites know,
becoming nobody, like God;
that are husks of the wish,
not to die, but to be dead,
“to lie in the dust, and to be full of Christ”—
those are the ones that have swept us away,
against our will but in a cataract
whose power our will reveres.
If they have any stylistic color,
any savoring of their own desperation,
it is the cloud in a clear pool
turned up by a fish already gone
by the time you look.

From: Towner, Daniel, “Books by Nobody” in The Agni Review, No. 21 (1984), p. 40.

Date: 1984

By: Daniel Towner (19??- )

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

The Spirit by Michael Benedikt

Touches of the things upon which we press
Clutch back now; we reach out in thought
And feel their hands in ours
And together we walk down the long road between the summerlit trees
In the park, watching out for the rapists. We do not see anymore
In our room full of glossy furnitures
But feel them (the way we feel the sagging willowyness of that tree
Becoming emblematic of our tenuousness).
They are rising in their lumps and patterns
And we identify them with the various understructurings
Of the body we are forced to use
Whenever we set forth to explore the atmosphere, by breathing.

They have all become the actual people,
We the things.

From: Benedikt, Michael, “The Spirit” in Ambit, No. 33 (1967), p. 3.

Date: 1967

By: Michael Benedikt (1935-2007)

Monday, 21 September 2020

Phonm Penh Blues by Jim Christy

I’m leaning on the balcony and she’s
Holding up a lamppost
Down on Sisowath Quay.
There’s a guy behind shades
In a Lexus. We’re all looking
For something to call our own, another
Kind of key, the one’ll unlock
The fabled Silver Palace. She’s sixteen
With dark legs in short skirt, a cute
Little ass and her blouse
Is a couple of years old. Fat
White guys over Angkors
Are drawing straws. They flew over
From Saigon. “You can get ‘em younger
Over here,” one says.
There’s a parade of miracles passing,
Jetsam of the Khymer Rouge. You could
Fill a pagoda with their missing limbs.
I try pretending that compared to theirs
My own woes are a robust lot. But
It doesn’t help. Kali’s over my
Shoulder. Buddha’s down the block
And doesn’t want any of it. There’s
No Veronica to cloak my eyes.
I can shed a Tonle Sap of tears
They’ll flood a delta, grow
A brand new nightmare crop.


Date: 2010

By: Jim Christy (1945- )