Archive for ‘Historical’

Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Master and the Disciple by Abu Mo’in Hamid ad-Din Nasir ibn Khusraw al-Qubadiani

The master turned
my night into broad daylight
with proofs as clear as
radiant sunlight.

Since he made me
drink from the water of life,
death has become quite
insignificant to me.

When I looked
from the corner of his eye,
I saw the earth rotating
beneath my feet.

He showed me
the visible and hidden worlds,
both located in one place,
my own body.

I saw the two
guardians of paradise and hell
inhabiting the same place,
my own breast.

He pointed to one
who is the keeper of paradise
and said to me: “I am
his disciple.”

I saw eight gates,
closed in the same place,
and seven other gates open,
one above the other.

He said to me:
“If you wish to enter a gate,
you have to obtain his
permission first.”

When I asked him
to explain the secret to me,
he recited its story from
beginning to end.

The master said:
“He is the lord of the time,
chosen by God from
men and jinns.”


Date: 11th century (original in Persian); 1997 (translation in English)

By: Abu Mo’in Hamid ad-Din Nasir ibn Khusraw al-Qubadiani (1004-1088)

Translated by: Faquir Muhammad Hunzai (19??- )

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Royal-Buss by John Freke

As in the days of yore were ods
Betwixt the Giants and the Gods,
So now is rife a fearful Brawl
Between the Parliament and Whitehal;
But, blest be Iove, these Gods of ours
Are greater in their Guilt than Pow’rs.
Tho then the Heathens were such Fools,
Yet they made Gods of better Tools.
No Altars then to Plackets were,
Nor Majesty by Buss would swear.
They’d hang a Tippet at his Door,
Should break a Parliament to please a Whore;
And further to oblige him to it,
Would swear by Portsm—h‘s C—t he’d do it,
And by Contents of th’ Oath he had took,
Kneel’d down in zeal and kist the Book.
They’d think the Faith too much amiss
That such Defenders had as this,
And that Religion look’d too poor,
Whose Head of th’ Church kist A—se of W—re.
But this he did, much good may’t do him,
And then the Quean held forth unto him.
The Devil take her for a Whore:
Wou’d he had kist ten years before,
Before our City had been burn’d,
And all our Wealth to Plagues had turn’d;
Before she had ruin’d (pox upon her)
Our English Name, Blood, Wealth and Honor.
Whilst Parliaments too flippant gave,
And Courtiers would but ask and have.
Whilst they are making English, French,
And Money vote to keep the Wench,
And the Buffoons and Pimps to pay,
The devil a bit prorogu’d were they.
The kiss of T—t, instead had stood,
And might have done three Nations good.
But when the Commons would no more
Raise Taxes to maintain the Whore.
When they would not abide the Aw
Of standing Force instead of Law.
Then Law, Religion Property
They’d force ‘gainst Will and Popery.
When they provide that all shall be
From Slavery and Oppession free.
That a Writ of Habeas Corpus come,
And none in Prison be undone.
That English men should not, like Beast,
To war by Sea or Land be prest.
That Peace with Holland should be made,
When War had spoil’d our Men and Trade.
That Treason it should be for any,
Without a Parliament to raise a Peny.
That no Courtier should be sent
To sit and vote in Parliament.
That when an end to this was gave,
A yearly Parliament we should have,
According to the antient Law,
That mighty Knaves might live in aw.
That King nor Council should commit
An English man for wealth or wit.
Prerogative being ty’d thus tight,
That it could neither scratch nor bite.
When Whores began to be afeard,
Like Armies, they should be cashier’d.
Then Portsm — th, the incestous Punk,
Made our most gracious Sov’raign drunk.
And drunk she made him give that Buss
That all the Kingdom’s bound to curse,
And so red hot with Wine and Whore,
He kickt the Commons out of door.

Note: The subject of this satire is Louise de Kérouaille (sometimes anglicised to Carwell), Duchess of Portsmouth, one of the many mistresses of the British king, Charles II, and the mother of the last of his acknowledged illegitimate children (Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond). She was feared for her nationality (French), her religion (Catholic) and her political influence over the king.

From: Prior, Matthew and Rochester, John Wilmot, State-poems; continued from the time of O. Cromwel, to this present year 1697. Written by the greatest wits of the age, viz. The Lord Rochester, the Lord D-t, the Lord V-n, the hon. Mr. M-ue, Sir F. S-d, Mr. Milton, Mr. Prior, Mr. Stepney, Mr. Ayloffe, &c. With several poems in praise of Oliver Cromwel, in Latin and English, by D. South, D. Locke, Sir W. G-n, D. Crew, Mr. Busby, &c. Also some miscellany poems by the same, never before printed, 2003, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 41-43.

Date: 1675

By: John Freke (1652-1717)

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Wild Flowers by Ali Cobby Eckermann

Mallets pound fence posts
in tune with the rifles
to mask massacre sites
Cattle will graze
sheep hooves will scatter
children’s bones
Wildflowers will not grow
where the bone powder


Date: 2012

By: Ali Cobby Eckermann (1963- )

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Story from “The Epic of Gilgamesh” by Anonymous

of him who knew the most of all men know;
who made the journey; heartbroken; reconciled;

who knew the way things were before the Flood,
the secret things, the mystery; who went

to the end of the earth, and over; who returned,
and wrote the story on a tablet of stone.

He built Uruk. He built the keeping place
of Anu and Ishtar. The outer wall

shines in the sun like brightest copper; the inner
wall is beyond the imagining of kings.

Study the brickwork, study the fortification;
climb the great ancient staircase to the terrace;

study how it is made; from the terrace see
the planted and fallow fields, the ponds and orchards.

This is Uruk, the city of Gilgamesh
the Wild Ox, son of Lugalbanda, son

of the Lady Wildcow Ninsun, Gilgamesh
the vanguard and the rear guard of the army,

Shadow of Darkness over the enemy field,
the Web, the Flood that rises to wash away

the walls of alien cities, Gilgamesh
the strongest one of all, the perfect, the terror.

It is he who opened passes through the mountains;
and he who dug deep wells on the mountainsides;

who measured the world; and sought out Utnapishtim
beyond the world; it is he who restored the shrines;

two-thirds a god, one-third a man, the king.
Go to the temple of Anu and Ishtar:

open the copper chest with the iron locks;
the tablet of lapis lazuli tells the story.

From: Ferry, David, Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse, 1993, Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York, pp. 3-4.

Date: c1200 BCE (original in Akkadian); 1991 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: David Ferry (1924- )

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Preface, Expressing the Passioned Minde of the Penitent Sinner: Sonnet 1 by Anne Vaughan Locke/Lock/Lok Prowse

The hainous gylt of my forsaken ghost
So threates, alas, vnto my febled sprite
Deserued death, and (that me greueth most)
Still stand so fixt before my daseld sight
The lothesome filthe of my disteined life,
The mighty wrath of myne offended Lorde,
My Lord whos wrath is sharper than the knife,
And deper woundes than dobleedged sworde,
That, as the dimmed and fordulled eyen
Full fraught with teares & more & more opprest
With growing streames of the distilled bryne
Sent from the fornace of a grefefull brest,
Can not enioy the comfort of the light,
Nor finde the waye wherin to walke aright.

Note: This is the first sonnet from the first known sonnet sequence (A Meditation of a Penitent Sinner) in the English language.


Date: 1560

By: Anne Vaughan Locke/Lock/Lok Prowse (1530-c1590)

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Death-Bed Song of Meilyr, the Poet [Fragment] by Meilyr Brydydd

Great store had I of satin and of gold
From generous lords who loved my art of old;
But silent now are all my hero lays,
Love’s poignant spell my harp no longer sways.
While I, the Poet Meilyr, supplicate
Peter for entrance at The Heavenly Gate,
And sing aloud of that Last Day and dread,
When Earth and Sea shall render forth their dead.

From: Graves, Alfred Perceval (transl. and ed.), Welsh Poetry Old and New in English Verse, 1912, Longmans, Green and Co: London, p. 15      .

Date: c1137 (original in Welsh); 1912 (translation in English)

By: Meilyr Brydydd (fl. 1100-1137)

Translated by: Alfred Perceval Graves (1846-1931)

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Fragment 286: The Influence of Spring by Ibycus

In Spring, bedewed with river-streams,
From where, for everlasting, gleams
The garden of th’ Hesperides
Blossom Cydonian apple-trees; —
In Spring the saplings freshly shine,
Beneath the parent-vine
In shadow and in breeze;
But me Love’s mighty power,
That sleepeth never an hour,
From Venus rushing, burneth with desire,
As with lightning fire;
Black, as the Thracian wind,
He seizes on my mind,
With dry delirious heat
Inflames my reason’s seat,
And, in the centre of my soul,
Keeps empire for a child, and holds
Uncheck’d control.


Date: 7th century BCE (original in Greek); 1833 (translation in English)

By: Ibycus (6th century BCE)

Translated by: Henry Nelson Coleridge (1798-1843)

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Catharine of Arragon by Eloise Albert Veronica Bibb Thompson

So tired! so weary—
The race—has been long,
And the paths have been rugged,
The winds have been strong,—
And the heart it has weakened,
In tempests so strong.

Soul, thou art sick
With the fever of strife,
Of delusions of hope
That will poison a life,
Of a world that is foul
With the passions of life;

Of a world that is false,
Souls that are vain,
Of men with a conscience
Who live to give pain,
Of words from the fair that hide
Vials of pain.

Of minds that are blackened
With crime and with sinning,
That seek to ensnare.
I am tired of the spinning
Of these;—yes, so terribly
Tired of their spinning.

So tired! so weary—
Of men and of things,
Of the woes of a life-time,
That time ever brings;
Of the cares and the sorrows
That life ever brings!

From: Bibb, Eloise A., Poems, 1996, University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative: Ann Arbor, Michigan pp. 96-97.

Date: 1895

By: Eloise Albert Veronica Bibb Thompson (1878-1928)

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A Complaint by Henry Farley

To see a strange outlandish fowl,
A quaint baboon, an ape, an owl,
A dancing bear, a giant’s bone,
A foolish engine move alone,
A morris dance, a puppet-play,
Mad Tom to sing a roundelay,
A woman dancing on a rope,
Bull-baiting also at the Hope,
A rimer’s jests, a jugler’s cheats,
A tumbler showing cunning feats,
Or players acting on the stage,
There goes the bounty of our age:
But unto any pious motion
There’s little coin and less devotion.

From: Bullen, A. H. (ed.), Poems, Chiefly Lyrical, from Romances and Prose-Tracts of the Elizabethan Age: with Chosen Poems of Nicholas Breton, 1890, John C. Nimmo: London, p. 83.

Date: 1621

By: Henry Farley (fl. 1616-1621)

Alternative Title: The Bounty of Our Age

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Prologue to the First Satire by Aulus Persius Flaccus

I never did on cleft Parnassus dream,
Nor taste the sacred Heliconian stream;
Nor can remember when my brain inspir’d
Was, by the Muses, into madness fir’d
My share in pale Pyrene I resign;
And claim not part in all the mighty Nine
Statues, with winding ivy crown’d, belong
To nobler poets, for a nobler song:
Heedless of verse, and hopeless of the crown,
Scarce half a wit, and more than half a clown,
Before the shrine I lay my rugged numbers down.
Who taught the parrot human notes to try,
Or with a voice endu’d of the chatt’ring pye?
‘Twas witty want, fierce hunger to appease:
Want taught their masters, and their masters these.
Let gain, that gilded bait, be hung on high,
The hungry witlings have it in their eye;
Pyes, crows, and daws, poetic presents bring:
You say they squeak; but they will swear they sing.

From: Dryden, John, The Miscellaneous Works of John Dryden, Esq.; containing all his Original Poems, Tales, and Translations, in Four Volumes. Volume the Fourth. 1767, J. and R. Tonson: London, p. 290.

Date: 1st century (original in Latin); 1693 (translation in English)

By: Aulus Persius Flaccus (34-62)

Translated by: John Dryden (1631-1700)