Archive for ‘General’

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Song of the Syren Parthenope by Anna Brownell Murphy Jameson

A Rhapsody, written at Naples.

Mine are these waves, and mine the twilight depths
O’er which they roll, and all these tufted isles
That lift their backs like dolphins from the deep,
And all these sunny shores that gird us round!

Listen! O listen to the Sea-maid’s shell!
Ye who have wander‘d hither from far climes,
(Where the coy summer yields but half her sweets,)
To breathe my bland luxurious airs, and drink
My sunbeams! and to revel in a land
Where Nature—deck’d out like a bride to meet
Her lover—lays forth all her charms, and smiles
Languidly bright, voluptuously gay,
Sweet to the sense, and tender to the heart.

Listen! O listen to the Sea-maid’s shell;
Ye who have fled your natal shores in hate
Or anger, urged by pale disease, or want,
Or grief, that clinging like the spectre bat,
Sucks drop by drop the life-blood from the heart,
And hither come to learn forgetfulness,
Or to prolong existence! ye shall find
Both—though the spring Lethean flow no more,
There is a power in these entrancing skies
And murmuring waters and delicious airs,
Felt in the dancing spirits and the blood,
And falling on the lacerated heart
Like balm, until that life becomes a boon,
Which elsewhere is a burthen and a curse.

Hear then—O hear the Sea-maid’s airy shell,
Listen, O listen! ’tis the Syren sings,
The spirit of the deep—Parthenope—
She who did once i’ the dreamy days of old
Sport on these golden sands beneath the moon,
Or pour’d the ravishing music of her song
Over the silent waters; and bequeath’d
To all these sunny capes and dazzling shores
Her own immortal beauty, and her name.

From: Jameson, Mrs., The Diary of an Ennuyée: A new edition, 1836, Baudry’s European Library: Paris, p. 98.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=22pMAAAAcAAJ)

Date: 1826

By: Anna Brownell Murphy Jameson (1794-1860)

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Midsummer by Louise Glück

On nights like this we used to swim in the quarry,
the boys making up games requiring them to tear off  the girls’ clothes
and the girls cooperating, because they had new bodies since last summer
and they wanted to exhibit them, the brave ones
leaping off  the high rocks — bodies crowding the water.

The nights were humid, still. The stone was cool and wet,
marble for  graveyards, for buildings that we never saw,
buildings in cities far away.

On cloudy nights, you were blind. Those nights the rocks were dangerous,
but in another way it was all dangerous, that was what we were after.
The summer started. Then the boys and girls began to pair off
but always there were a few left at the end — sometimes they’d keep watch,
sometimes they’d pretend to go off  with each other like the rest,
but what could they do there, in the woods? No one wanted to be them.
But they’d show up anyway, as though some night their luck would change,
fate would be a different fate.

At the beginning and at the end, though, we were all together.
After the evening chores, after the smaller children were in bed,
then we were free. Nobody said anything, but we knew the nights we’d meet
and the nights we wouldn’t. Once or twice, at the end of summer,
we could see a baby was going to come out of all that kissing.

And for those two, it was terrible, as terrible as being alone.
The game was over. We’d sit on the rocks smoking cigarettes,
worrying about the ones who weren’t there.

And then finally walk home through the fields,
because there was always work the next day.
And the next day, we were kids again, sitting on the front steps in the morning,
eating a peach.  Just that, but it seemed an honor to have a mouth.
And then going to work, which meant helping out in the fields.
One boy worked for an old lady, building shelves.
The house was very old, maybe built when the mountain was built.

And then the day faded. We were dreaming, waiting for night.
Standing at the front door at twilight, watching the shadows lengthen.
And a voice in the kitchen was always complaining about the heat,
wanting the heat to break.

Then the heat broke, the night was clear.
And you thought of  the boy or girl you’d be meeting later.
And you thought of  walking into the woods and lying down,
practicing all those things you were learning in the water.
And though sometimes you couldn’t see the person you were with,
there was no substitute for that person.

The summer night glowed; in the field, fireflies were glinting.
And for those who understood such things, the stars were sending messages:
You will leave the village where you were born
and in another country you’ll become very rich, very powerful,
but always you will mourn something you left behind, even though
you can’t say what it was,
and eventually you will return to seek it.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/50724

Date: 2008

By: Louise Glück (1943- )

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Garland for the Winter Solstice by Ruthven Campbell Todd

The sun stands still and flowers
Are all withdrawn, but memories
Give back cardinal lobelia, tall
Scarlet fountains for the humming-bird—
Vined, broken with blue and liver apios—
Beside hanging horns of jewelweed,
With pods which pop when prodded
By the idle or enquiring finger.

Also remain those favourite swamps
Where calopogon, butterfly-winged orchid,
Flaunted its magenta above pink-
Tinged sphagnum and crimson sundew,
Black water in the mind has purple spires
Of pickerelweed, and sweetly odoured
Lilies, richly scattered, and yellow cups
Of spatter-dock stemmed on the mud.

Orange pompons of butterfly-weed
Brighten the bare expanse of memory,
Where also grow the milkweed,
With rubbery white sap and knobbly pods,
Short-flowering stars of blue-eyed grass,
And rather more persistent amaryllis—
Golden stargrass on untravelled roads—
and the too seldom glory of wood-lily.

Asters and goldenrod for autumn equinox,
With the blue wheels of chicory, and,
At all times, the dandelion, that plant
Which, having become perfect for purpose,
Has forsaken sex and can evolve no more;
Also, little ladies’-tresses in the tawny fields,
And, under various trees, the last red-flushed
Indian-pipe—ghost-flower or fairy-smoke.

Before next solstice, I shall see once more
The arethusa by the woodland paths,
The galaxy of violets, and wintergreen,
Round-leaved and creamy belled,
Skunk-cabbage poke up beside a stream,
Bluets, whose masses make up for lack
Of size, and meadows staring white
With ox-eye daisies, untamed chrysanthemums.

There will be slender blue flag by the swamp,
And saffron-stamened deergrass,
Lambkill and lady’s-slippers in the wood,
And the wild rose with fragile petals.
The yellow thistle will rule sandy banks,
And the devil’s-paint-brush will be obvious
Among the tombstones, a curious irony;
Swamps will have candles, Linnaeus’ mistaken mistletoe.

Now, perched on this polar height
When all sap lies quiet and does not climb,
When all seems dead, I cultivate
The wild garden rioting in my memory,
Count in advance the treasures which
The sleeping sap contains, knowing that
Both alien and native will surely reappear
Regardless of my attentions and delight.

I see also that this deathlike sleep
Is only for a while. All is not interred
For bright scarlet partridge-berries
Shine among the green and polished leather leaves,
And through the snow emerge
Umbrellas and spikes of strange club-moss,
And winter runs from now toward
The waking of the sap and spring.

From: http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poems/garland-winter-solstice

Date: 1955

By: Ruthven Campbell Todd (1914-1978)

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Hunting Kestrel, Danebury by Toby Martinez de las Rivas

Here is the ghost of a child I once knew
still playing among the withering harebells
& the gorgeous moue of the fairy flax.
I look beyond his bare golden head
to the kestrel that quarters the ramparts
& see a semblance of absolute love,
absolute mercy – at least a baffling, wild
joy – that, at least – in the watchfully poised
javelin of the head, the rapidity
of hér stoop & strike, hér failure, hér re-
lofting, the gaze that hungers into the spindle
without end: whose flowers are blood-red,
whose roots drive down among the lost chieftains.
A lonely god waits for us in the earth.

From: http://www.tupeloquarterly.com/seven-poems-by-toby-martinez-de-la-rivas/

Date: 2016

By: Toby Martinez de las Rivas (1983- )

Saturday, 17 June 2017

An Epitaph on Claudy Phillips, A Musician by Anna Williams

Phillips! whose touch harmonious could remove
The pangs of guilty pow’r, and hapless love,
Rest here distrest by poverty no more,
Find here that calm thou gav’st so oft before;
Sleep undisturb’d within this peaceful shrine,
Till angels wake thee with a note like thine.

From: Williams, Anna, Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, 1766, T. Davies: London, p. 23.
(http://find.galegroup.com.rp.nla.gov.au/ecco/infomark.do?&source=gale&prodId=ECCO&userGroupName=nla&tabID=T001&docId=CW113420803&type=multipage&contentSet=ECCOArticles&version=1.0&docLevel=FASCIMILE)

Date: 1766

By: Anna Williams (1706-1783)

Friday, 16 June 2017

A Ballad of Virginia by R. Rich

Newes From Virginia of the happy arrivall of that famous and worthy knight Sir Thomas Gates and well reputed and valiante Captaine Newport into England.

It is no idle fabulous tale, nor is it fayned newes:
For Truth herself is heere arriv’d, because you should not muse.
With her both Gates and Newport come, to tell Report doth lye,
Which did devulge unto the world, that they at sea did dye.

Tis true that eleaven monthes and more, these gallant worthy wights
Was in the shippe Sea-venture nam’d depriv’d Virginia’s sight.
And bravely did they glyde the maine, till Neptune gan to frowne,
As if a courser prowdly backt would throwe his ryder downe.

The seas did rage, the windes did blowe, distressed were they then;
Their ship did leake, her tacklings breake, in daunger were her men.
But heaven was pylotte in this storme, and to an iland nere,
Bermoothawes call’d, conducted then, which did abate their feare.

But yet these worthies forced were, opprest with weather againe,
To runne their ship betweene two rockes, where she doth still remaine.
And then on shoare the iland came, inhabited by hogges,
Some foule and tortoyses there were, they only had one dogge.

To kill these swyne, to yeild them foode that little had to eate,
Their store was spent, and all things scant, alas! they wanted meate.
A thousand hogges that dogge did kill, their hunger to sustaine,
And with such foode did in that ile two and forty weekes remaine.

And there two gallant pynases did build of seader-tree;
The brave Deliverance one was call’d, of seaventy tonne was shee.
The other Patience had to name, her burthen thirty tonne;
Two only of their men which there pale death did overcome.

And for the losse of these two soules, which were accounted deere,
A sonne and daughter then was borne, and were baptized there.
The two and forty weekes being past, they hoyst sayle and away;
Their ships with hogs well freighted were, their harts with mickle joy.

And so unto Virginia came, where these brave soldiers finde
The English-men opprest with greife and discontent in minde.
They seem’d distracted and forlorne, for those two worthyes losse,
Yet at their home returne they joyd, among’st them some were crosse.

And in the mid’st of discontent came noble Delaware;
He heard the greifes on either part, and sett them free from care.
He comforts them and cheeres their hearts, that they abound with joy;
He feedes them full and feedes their soules with Gods word every day.

A discreet counsell he creates of men of worthy fame,
That noble Gates leiftenant was the admirall had to name.
The worthy Sir George Somers knight, and others of commaund;
Maister Georg Pearcy, which is brother unto Northumberland.

Sir Fardinando Wayneman knight, and others of good fame,
That noble lord his company, which to Virginia came,
And landed there; his number was one hundred seaventy; then
Ad to the rest, and they make full foure hundred able men.

Where they unto their labour fall, as men that meane to thrive;
Let’s pray that heaven may blesse them all, and keep them long alive.
Those men that vagrants liv’d with us, have there deserved well;
Their governour writes in their praise, as divers letters tel.

And to th’ adventurers thus he writes be not dismayd at all,
For scandall cannot doe us wrong, God will not let us fall.
Let England knowe our willingnesse, for that our worke is goode;
Wee hope to plant a nation, where none before hath stood.

To glorifie the lord tis done, and to no other end;
He that would crosse so good a worke, to God can be no friend.
There is no feare of hunger here for corne much store here growes,
Much fish the gallant rivers yeild, tis truth without suppose.

Great store of fowle, of venison, of grapes and mulberries,
Of chestnuts, walnuts, and such like, of fruits and strawberries,
There is indeed no want at all, but some, condiciond ill,
That wish the worke should not goe on with words doe seeme to kill.

And for an instance of their store, the noble Delaware
Hath for the present hither sent, to testifie his care
In mannaging so good a worke, to gallant ships, by name
The Blessing and the Hercules, well fraught, and in the same

Two ships, are these commodities, furres, sturgeon, caviare,
Blacke walnut-tree, and some deale boords, with such they laden are;
Some pearle, some wainscot and clapbords, with some sassafras wood,
And iron promist, for tis true their mynes are very good.

Then, maugre scandall, false report, or any opposition,
Th’ adventurers doe thus devulge to men of good condition,
That he that wants shall have reliefe, be he of honest minde,
Apparel, coyne, or any thing, to such they will be kinde.

To such as to Virginia do purpose to repaire;
And when that they shall thither come, each man shall have his share.
Day wages for the laborer, and for his more content,
A house and garden plot shall have; besides, tis further ment

That every man shall have a part, and not thereof denaid,
Of generall profit, as if that he twelve pounds ten shillings paid;
And he that in Virginia shall copper coyne receive,
For hyer or commodities, and will the country leave

Upon delivery of such coyne unto the Governour,
Shall by exchange at his returne be by their treasurer
Paid him in London at first sight, no man shall cause to grieve,
For tis their generall will and wish that every man should live.

The number of adventurers, that are for this plantation,
Are full eight hundred worthy men, some noble, all of fashion.
Good, discreete, their worke is good, and as they have begun,
May Heaven assist them in their worke, and thus our newes is done.

From: http://www.bartleby.com/400/poem/8.html

Date: 1610

By: R. Rich (fl. 1610)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Idle or Else but Seldom Busied Best by Thomas Heneage

Idle or else but seldom busied best,
In court, my Lord, we lead the vainest life,
Where hopes with fears, where joys with sorrows rest,
But faith is rare, though fairest words be rife.

Here learn we vice and look on virtue’s books;
Here fine deceit we hold for courtly skill.
Our care is here to wait on words and looks
And greatest work to follow others’ will.

Here scorn a grace, and pride, is present thought.
Malice but might, and foulest shifts no shame,
Lust but delight, and plainest dealing nought
Where flatt’ry likes and truth bears oftest blame.

Yet is the cause not in the place, I find,
But all the fault is in the faulty mind.

From: Dodsworth, Martin (ed.), Walter Ralegh: The Poems, with Other Verse from the Court of Elizabeth I, 2012, Phoenix, London, p. 55.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=kwZPqewHMvsC)

Date: c1580

By: Thomas Heneage (1532-1595)

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Dispute Between Day and Night by Abu Mansur Ali ibn Ahmad Asadi Tusi

Day and Night, who each can yield
Joy and solace to the earth,
Thus contended for the field,
Claiming both the highest birth—
Night spoke frowningly: ”Twas I
Who from all eternity
Ruled the chaos of the world,
When in dim confusion hurled.
The fervent prayer is heard at night;
Devotion flies day’s glaring light.
Twas night, the Mount when Moses left;
At night was Lot avenged by fire:
At night the moon our prophet cleft,
And saw Heaven’s might revealed entire.
The lovely moon for thirty days
Spreads radiant glory from afar:
Her charms for ever night displays,
Crowned, like a queen, with many a star:
Her seal-bearer is Heav’n, a band
Of planets wait on her command.
Day can but paint the skies with blue,
Night’s starry hosts amaze the view.
Man measures time but by the moon;
Night shrouds what day reveals too soon.
Day is with toil and care oppressed,
Night comes, and with her, gentle rest.
Day, busy still, no praise can bring,
All night the saints their anthems sing;
Her shade is cast by Gabriel’s wing!

The moon is pure, the sun’s broad face
Dark and unsightly spots deface:
The sun shines on with changeless glare,
The moon is ever new and fair.’

Day rose, and smiled in high disdain:
‘Cease all this boasting, void and vain;
The Lord of heaven, and earth, and thee,
Gave me a place more proud than thine,
And men with joy my rising see,
And hail the beams that round me shine.
The holy pilgrim takes by day
To many a sacred shrine his way;
By day the pious fast and pray;
And solemn feasts are held by day.

On the last day the world’s career is run,
As on the first its being was begun.

Thou, Night, art friendly, it may be,
For lovers fly for help to thee.
When do the sick thy healing see?

Thieves, by thy aid, may scatheless prowl;
Sacred to thee the bat and owl;
And, led by thee, pale spectres grimly howl!

I sprang from heaven, from dust art thou;
Light crowns my head with many a gem,
The collier’s cap is on thy brow—
For thee a fitting diadem.
My presence fills the world with joy;
Thou com’st all comfort to annoy.
I am a Moslem white my vest:
Thou a vile thief, in sable drest
Out, negro-face ! dar’st thou compare
Thy cheeks with mine, so purely fair?
Those ” hosts of stars,” thy boast and pride,
How do they rush their sparks to hide,
How to their native darkness run,
When, in his glory, comes the sun!

True, death was first; but, tell me, who
Thinks life least worthy of the two?
‘Tis by the moon the Arab counts;
The lordly Persian tells his year
By the bright sun, that proudly mounts
The yielding heavens, so wide and clear.
The sun is ruddy, strong, and hale;
The moon is sickly, wan, and pale.
Methinks ’twas ne’er in story told
That silver had the worth of gold!
The moon, a slave, is bowed and bent,
She knows her light is only lent;
She hurries on, the way to clear
Till the great Shah himself appear

What canst thou, idle boaster, say
To prove the night excels the day?
If stubborn still, let Him decide
With whom all truth and law abide;
Let Nasur Ahmed, wise as great,
Pronounce, and give to each his state.’

From: Costello, Louisa Stuart, The Rose Garden of Persia, 1899, Gibbings and Company, London, pp. 48-53.
(https://archive.org/details/rosegardenofpers00costiala)

Date: c1070 (original in Persian); 1845 (translation in English)

By: Abu Mansur Ali ibn Ahmad Asadi Tusi (c1000-c1080)

Translated by: Louisa Stuart Costello (1779-1870)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Sonnet I by John Herman Merivale

Yon party zealot, ignorant as warm,
Has taunted me with change—a charge untrue.
I ne’er was one with that deceitful crew,
Who mean Destruction when they roar ” Reform;”
My purpose ever to prevent the storm
‘Tis theirs to excite. The wholesome air I drew
With my first breath was Loyalty. I grew
In childhood reverence of her sacred form:
And, as she beam’d upon my youthful eye,
Link’d with her mountain sister Liberty,
In holiest union, all the more she won
My love and worship; and so made me shun
The fellowship of those who madly try
To rend asunder what heaven join’d in one.

From: Merivale, John Herman, Poems, Original and Translated, Volume 2, 1838, William Pickering: London, pp. 296-297.
(https://books.google.ki/books?id=ZxdcAAAAQAAJ)

Date: 1834

By: John Herman Merivale (1779-1844)

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Canto XIII: Suiceder from “The Chomedy” by Ollie Evans

No none not nothing
is no thing thought
but nothingness.

Noting this he credits
me incrementally
with one caught

in knots in what
I thought could not
in noting nothing

be taught but torn
in truth from a twist
that saps and hurts.

From: Evans, Ollie, The Chomedy. Corrupted Canticles after Dante’s Commedia, 2013, Red Ceiling Press: London, p. 14.
(www.theredceilingspress.co.uk/pdfs/the%20chomedy.pdf)

Date: 2013

By: Ollie Evans (19??- )