Archive for ‘19th Century’

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Ballad of the Country Exile by Max Jacob

The farmers call me by name on the roads
as they might tell a skylark from a thrush
but they know the names of the animals better
than mine, for my name is Dolor.

If that which I love weighs upon my wound, it pains it;
if it weigh only upon summer, it is the field that suffers.

What will feed summer and my love if not that sorrow,
since my love and summer can no longer feed on joy?

The swan disappears in the slant of branches,
and the naked muses take me in their arms;
the winged horse contains my passion
and the wild flowers spread for me.

From: Jacob, Max, “Ballad of the Country Exile” in Poetry, Volume 76 Issue 2, May 1950, p. 85.

Date: 1939 (original in French); 1950 (translation in English)

By: Max Jacob (1876-1944)

Translated by Harvey Shapiro (1924-2013)

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Compensation by James Edwin Campbell

O, rich young lord, thou ridest by
With looks of high disdain;
It chafes me not thy title high,
Thy blood of oldest strain.
The lady riding at thy side
Is but in name thy promised bride.
Ride on, young lord, ride on!

Her father wills and she obeys,
The custom of her class;
’Tis Land not Love the trothing sways—
For Land he sells his lass.
Her fair white hand, young lord, is thine,
Her soul, proud fool, her soul is mine,
Ride on, young lord, ride on!

No title high my father bore;
The tenant of thy farm,
He left me what I value more:
Clean heart, clear brain, strong arm
And love for bird and beast and bee
And song of lark and hymn of sea,
Ride on, young lord, ride on!

The boundless sky to me belongs,
The paltry acres thine;
The painted beauty sings thy songs,
The lavrock lilts me mine;
The hot-housed orchid blooms for thee,
The gorse and heather bloom for me,
Ride on, young lord, ride on!


Date: 1887

By: James Edwin Campbell (1867-1896)

Friday, 9 September 2022

As Yesterday, So Today by Wilder Dwight Quint

“I fain would climb, but dare not, lest I fall.”
So wrote a gallant courtier of Queen Bess,
In days of ruffs, peaked beards, and regal dress,
When Faery Queens were dainty maidens all,
Each to her lover’s guess.

He fain would climb! For what? We may suppose
His quick hand wandered to his jeweled blade,
Eager for Spain’s dark blood, in England’s aid;
Or else he dreamed to stand within the muses’ close;
Or loved a maid.

But dare not! Ah! his courage failed him then:
Yet blame him not o’ermuch. His hilt of gold
Might ne’er win cherished fame when all was told:
The wayward muses frowned upon his upstart pen;
The maid was cold.

And so we live a space, and fain would climb
Like that gay cavalier in silken hose.
We treasure up a smile or withered rose:
Then courage fails. What might be ours in heights sublime,
Alas! who knows?

From:  Davis, O.S. and Baker, W.D. (eds.) Dartmouth Lyrics: A Collection of Poems from the Undergraduate Publications of Dartmouth College, 1888, Riverside Press: California, pp. 40-41.

Date: 1887

By: Wilder Dwight Quint (1863-1936)

Monday, 22 August 2022

I Envy Thee, Thou Careless Wind by Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton

I envy thee, thou careless wind,
So light, so wild, thy wandering,
Thou hast no earthly chain to bind
One fetter on thy airy wing;—
I envy thee, thou careless wind!

The flower’s first sign of blossoming,
The harp’s soft note, the woodlark’s song,
All unto thee their treasures bring,
All to thy fairy reign belong;—
I envy thee, thou careless wind!

Thy jocund wing o’er ocean roves,
An echo to the sea-maid’s lay;
Then, over rose and orange groves,
Thy fragrant breath exhales away;—
I envy thee, thou careless wind!

From: Bulwer-Lytton, Edward, “Narenor: A Tale” in The Port Folio, Vol. XVIII, July-December 1824, pp. 475-476.

Date: 1824

By: Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873)

Saturday, 13 August 2022

A Fragment by Théophile-Jules-Henri “Theo” Marzials

And then it seem’d I was a bird
That dipt along the silent street.
In that strange midnight nothing stir’d,
And all was moonlight, still and sweet.

By lofty vane and roof and loft,
Aloof, aloft, where shadows hung
Down ghostly ways that waftedsoft,
Warm echoes where I sank and sung;

And lower yet by flower-set sill,
And close against her window-bars,
And still the moonlight flowed, and still,
The still dew lit the jessamine stars;

And oh! I beat against the pane,
And oh! I sang so sweet, so clear,—
And oh! I sang so sweet, so clear,—
Then nearer, nearer—killing near;

And back she flung the window-rod,
The moonlight swept in, like a stream;
She drew me to her neck—Oh! God,
’Twas then I knew it was a dream!


Date: 1895

By: Théophile-Jules-Henri “Theo” Marzials (1850-1920)

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Rouse Thee, Wes’tralia: Proclamation Song by Henry Ebenezer Clay

Rouse thee, Wes’tralia! Awake
From thy “Swan’s nest among the reeds;”
Cast thy broad shadow on the lake,
And strongly glide where Fortune leads!

Chorus: Onward! Onward, Wes’tralia!

Let eaglets o’er their quarry scream,—
The vulture’s brood may tear and slay,—
Thou wakest from prophetic dream
Of offspring goodlier than they!


Thy sturdy cygnets from thy side
With glancing feet scull fast and far;
They press their bosoms to the tide,
And stretch bold wings beyond the bar.


Their pennons with the breezes float
And follow fast where Fortune leads;
Till by green holms and bays remote
Are found new nests among the reeds.


Their song (for onset, not for dirge)
Shall flood the creeks of broader ways,
And, with the music of the surge,
Swell the full chant of better days.


Thy seas have pearls; from reef and mine
Flash jewels and the pride of gold:
But goodlier far those sons of thine,
Famous in story yet untold.


God and the Right thy watchword be;
Patient, yet strong to do and dare;
And thine assessors, brave and free,
Labour and Vigilance and Prayer!

Chorus: Onward! Onward, Wes’tralia!

From: H.E.C., Rouse Thee, Wes’tralia: Proclamation Song, 1890, Sands & McDougall: Perth.

Date: 1890

By: Henry Ebenezer Clay (1844-1896)

Friday, 27 May 2022

This Glittering Grief by Robert Liddell Lowe

This glittering grief is all I have
Of you who went before a wave
Would go. A frightened fox in flight
Were not so swift. This sorrow, bright
And shining, is my legacy.
You are a muted memory,
A testament inscribed in sand,
A syllable the lightning’s hand
Wrote transiently across the sky.
You are no more than these—and I
Must mimic now the minor note
Of grieving water’s silver throat.
O little grief, be great. O small
Diminished sorrow, tower tall—
Lest I forget this vanished one,
Too lovely for oblivion.

From: Lowe, Robert Liddell, “This Glittering Grief” in Poetry, Volume XXXIX, Number 1, October 1931, p. 14.

Date: 1931

By: Robert Liddell Lowe (1908-1988)

Sunday, 15 May 2022

The Pedant King, by Jones Inspir’d by John Strachan

The Pedant King, by Jones inspir’d,
To rival antient Greece desir’d.
True taste began to rear her head,
And Gothic grandeur sigh’d and fled.
When Newton banish’d mental night,
A Jones was there to spread the light.
A Jones the simple Indians mourn,
And round his tomb sweet incense burn,
For when he reach’d their fruitful shore,
Base ruthless rapine rag’d no more.
His power their vile oppressors crusht,
And rais’d them suppliant from the dust.
With grateful pleasure, I address
A living branch of such a race,
Who sickness’ baleful rage controls,
And calms with sweetest verse our souls.


Date: 1803

By: John Strachan (1778-1867)

Saturday, 14 May 2022

The Song of the Sirens by Alexander Stuart Strachan/Strahan

Come where the woods are wooing
With fragrant flowers and fair;
Come where the doves are cooing
Love notes on every air.

Come where the wave is strewing
With pink-lipped shells the shore;
Come where the tide is flowing
O’er golden-sanded floor.

Come where the sunlight straying
Mellows us as we swim;
Come where the waters playing
Dimple each rosy limb.

Come to us, come where never
North wind unkindly blows;
Come to us, come and ever
Here in our arms repose.

Come where no storms are breaking,
Come where  no tempests rend;
Come where love knows no waking,
Come where love knows no end.

From: Strachan, A., “The Song of the Sirens” in The Dark Blue, Volume 1, Issue 2, 1 April 1871, p. 189.

Date: 1871

By: Alexander Stuart Strachan/Strahan (1833-1918)

Monday, 2 May 2022

The Inquest by Francis Burdett Thomas Nevill Money Coutts

Not labour kills us; no, nor joy:
The incredulity and frown,
The interference and annoy,
The small attritions wear us down.

The little gnat-like buzzings shrill,
The hurdy-gurdies of the street,
The common curses of the will—
These wrap the cerements round our feet.

And more than all, the look askance
Of loving souls that cannot gauge
The numbing touch of circumstance,
The heavy toll of heritage.

It is not Death, but Life that slays:
The night less mountainously lies
Upon our lids than foolish day’s
Importunate futilities.

From: Money-Coutts, F.B., “The Inquest” in The Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 1000 (15 April 1899), p. [The Red Page].

Date: 1894

By: Francis Burdett Thomas Nevill Money-Coutts (1852-1923)