Archive for ‘Historical’

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Certaine Verses Written by the Said Ladie Jane with a Pinne by Jane Grey Dudley

Do not think anything alien to mankind which may befall one:
This is my fate today, tomorrow it may be yours.
Jane Dudley

With God’s help, wicked malice can do one no harm;
If He helps not, then the hardest work is in vain
After darkness, I hope for light.

Note: These two short poems were written in Latin as graffiti on the wall of a cell in the Beauchamp Tower (part of the Tower of London) by Jane Grey Dudley, the very short-lived Nine Days’ Queen, who was executed in 1554 after Mary I assumed the throne. They were first published, under this title, in their original Latin without translation in 1582 by Thomas Bentley.

From: https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/certaine-verses-written-said-ladie-jane-pinne

Date: 1554 (original in Latin); ???? (translation in English)

By: Jane Grey Dudley (c1537-1554)

Translated by: Unknown

Friday, 18 August 2017

I.47 by Marcus Valerius Martialis

Doctor Diaulus has changed his trade:
He now is a mortician,
With the same results he got before
As a practicing physician.

From: Wender, Dorothea (transl. and ed.), Roman Poetry from the Republic to the Silver Age, 1991, Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale and Edwardsville, p. 124.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=aCPUZhUOkW0C)

Date: 86 (original in Latin); 1980 (translation in English)

By: Marcus Valerius Martialis (c39-c103)

Translated by: Dorothea Schmidt Wender (1934-2003)

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Fragment 4 by Simonides of Ceos

Who at Thermopylæ stood side by side,
And fought together and together died,
Under earth-barrows now are laid in rest,
Their chance thrice-glorious, and their fate thrice-blest:
No tears for them, but memory’s loving gaze;
For them no pity, but proud hymns of praise.
Time shall not sweep this monument away—
Time the destroyer; no, nor dank decay.
This not alone heroic ashes holds;
Greece’s own glory this earth-shrine enfolds—
Leonidas, the Spartan king; a name
Of boundless honour and eternal fame.

From: Fitz-Gerald, Maurice Purcell (transl. and ed.), The Crowned Hippolytus of Euripides, Together with a Selection from the Pastoral and Lyric Poets of Greece, Translated into English Verse, 1867, Chapman and Hall: London, p. 211.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=LIQCAAAAQAAJ)

Date: c480 BCE (original in Greek); 1867 (translation in English)

By: Simonides of Ceos (c556-468 BCE)

Translated by: Maurice Noel Ryder Purcell FitzGerald (1835-1877)

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Londineses Lacrymæ: Londons Second Tears Mingled with her Ashes by John Crouch

Thou Queen of Cities, whose unbounded fame
Shadow’d thy Country and thy Countries Name!
London! that word fill’d the vast Globe; Japan
Saluted Londoner for English-man.
‘Twas thy peculiar, and unrivall’d pride
At greatest distance to be magnify’d.
When thy next Christian Sister scarce do’s know
Whether there be another World or no:
When the false Dutch more known in Forreign parts,
Buy scorn with gold; Merchants of wealth not hearts.
Good Heavens, good in the most severe Decree!
Must London first burn in Epitomie,
And then in gross? Must, O sharp vengeance! Must
The Glory of the World kiss her own dust?
Shall then this Mole-Hill, and it’s Ants expire
By parcels, some by water, some by fire?
Or do great things, like restless Circles, tend
From their first point, unto the last, their End?
When neither Forreign nor Domestick Wars,
The Distillations of malignant Stars,
Thunder from Heaven, nor it’s Terrestial Ape
Gun-powder, could thy total ruine shape;
Nor the long smotherings of Fanatick heats,
Which when they broke out ended in cold sweats:
Shall Balls of Sulphur (Hells blew Tapers) light
Poor London to its fun’ral in one night?
Shall Britains great Metropolis become
Alike in both her Fortunes to old Rome?
Whose Seat (if we believe Antiquitie)
Is full as old, though not so proud as she;
Surviv’d the Cornucopia of her Hills:
Time, strongest Towns, as well as Bodies, kills!
But when her Life had drawn so long a breath,
Must she be mow’d down by a sudden Death?
Three days undo three thousand years? O yes,
One day (when that one comes) shall more than this;
Shall make the World one fatal Hearth, That Day
The last that ever Hearth shall Tribute pay;
Though now as just as Law; (And they that Curse
This Duty, may they want both Hearth and Purse.)
But as in three days our Jerus’lem fell,
And gave the World an easie miracle:
So three (O golden Number) years being gone,
Shall spring old London’s Resurrection.
Now (dearest City) let my Pencil trace
The scatter’d lines of thy dis-figur’d Face;
Dropping tears as I pass; tears shed too late
To quench thy Heats, and bribe thy stubborn fate!
This dreadful Fire first seiz’d a narrow Lane,
As if the Dutch or French had laid a Train.
But grant they or that Boutifeu their Roy,
Form’d this Cheval for Britain’s envy’d Troy;
These might the stroke, did not the wound dispense,
Were but the Vulcans of Jove’s Providence.
Sin was the Common Cause, no faction freed;
Here all dissenting Parties were agreed.
And let the Author of our welfare, be
The welcome Author of our Miserie!
Rather than Enemies, who but fulfil
Heavens just decrees, more by Instinct then Skill!
The fierce flame gathering strength had warm’d th’Air
And chill’d the people into cold despair:
With swift wing from it straitned Corner posts,
And forth-with Fish-street and fat East-cheap rosts.
Sunday (to scourge our guilty Rest with shame)
Had giv’n, full dispensation to the flame.
Now London-Bridge (expected to provide
Auxiliar forces from the other side)
Alarum’d by the fall of Neighb’ring Bells
Takes fire, and sinks into its stony Cells;
Blocks up the way with rubbish, and dire flames,
Threatning to choke his undermining Thames.
Southwark, shut out, on it’s own banks appear’d
As once when fiery Cromwell domineer’d.
Thames-street hastens it ashes, to prevent
All aids and succours from the River sent.
The heated wind his flaming arrows cast,
Which snatch’d both ends, and burnt the middle last.
Now the proud flame had took the open field
And after hearts were vanquish’d, all things yeild!
Rores thorough Cannon-street and Lombardie
Triumphing o’re the Cities Liberty.
This fiery Dragon, higher still it flyes,
The more extends his wings, and louder cryes.
Just so that spark of Treason, (first supprest
In the dark angles of some private brest)
Breaks through the Mouth and Nostrills into Squibs,
And having fir’d the Author’s reins and ribs,
Kindles from man to man by subtile Art,
Till Rebells are become the major part:
Thus late Fanaticks in their Zeal of pride
March from close Wood-street into broad Cheap-side.
Now all in Coaches, Carrs, and Waggons flye,
London is sack’d withour an Enemy.
All things of beauty, shatter’d lost and gone;
Little of London whole but London-stone.
As if those Bull-works of her Wall and Thames
Serv’d but to Circle, and besiege her flames!
Such active Rams beat from each opposite Wall,
You would have judg’d the fire an Animal.
When (strangely) it from adverse Windows ror’d:
Neighbour his Neighbour kindl’d and devour’d.
Houses the Churches, Churches Houses fir’d,
While profane Sparks against divine conspir’d.
This devastation makes one truth appear,
How sanctimonious our fore-fathers were;
How thick they built their Temples, long conceal’d
By lofty Buildings, now in flames reveal’d.
Then one small Church serv’d many Preists, but they
The truth is, eat not rost meat every day.
Now the profane, not superstitious Rout
(Whose faith ascends no higher than to doubt)
May, without help of weekly papers, tell
Their Churches, to their Eyes made visible.
Our Non-conformists (if not harden’d) may
Scatter some tears, where once they scorn’d to pray.
Now the Imperious Element did range
Without Controle, kept a full Ev’ning Change.
Where the religious Spices for some Hours,
Seem’d to burn Incense to th’ incensed Powers.
At last the flame grown quite rebellious, calls
Our Sacred Monarchs to new Funeralls.
The Conquerour here Conquer’d, tumbles down
As Conscious of the burthen of a Crown.
Only the good old Founder, standing low,
His Station kept, and saw the dismal Show.
Though the Change broke, he’s not one penny worse,
Stands firm resolv’d to visit his new Burse.
Which by her Opticks happily was sav’d,
And for the honour of the City pav’d.
Here a good sum of active Silver rais’d
Th’ ingenious Beggar, and wise Donors prais’d.
All fall to work, assisted by the Guard,
To whom, and money, nothing seemed hard.
Here fires met fires, but industry reclaims
Lost hope, and quench’d a Parliament of flames.
Mean time the Neighb’ring Steeple trembling stood,
Defended not by Stone, nor Brick, but Wood:
Yet was secure ’cause low; to let us see
What safety waits upon humilitie!
When Lawrence, Three-Cranes, Cornhill, lofty Bow,
Are all chastis’d, for making a proud show.
One Steeple lost its Church, but not one Bell;
Reserv’d by fate to Ring the City’s Knell.
Now the Circumference from every part
The Center scalds; poor London pants at heart!
Cheapside the fair, is at a fatal loss
Wants the old blessing of her golden Cross.
Poor Paul the Aged has been sadly tost,
Reform’d, then after Reformation lost;
Plac’d in a Circle of Heaven’s fiery wrath:
The Saint was tortur’d when he broke his Faith!
At the East-End a spacious sheet of Lead
(Rent from the rest) his Altar canoped;
But from its Coale below strange fires did rise,
And the whole Temple prov’d the sacrifice.
Altars may others save, but cannot be
(When Heaven forsakes ’em) their own Sanctuarie!
Then was their doleful Musick as the Quire,
When the sweet Organs breath was turn’d to fire.
Was ‘t not enough the holy Church had been
Invaded in her Rites and Discipline?
Must her known Fundamentals be baptiz’d
In purging flames, and Paul’s School chatechiz’d?
She that had long her tardy Pupills stripp’d,
Is now her self with fiery Scorpions whipp’d.
But when I pass the sacred Martyrs West
I close my Eyes and smite my troubled Breast;
What shall we now for his dear Mem’ry do
When fire un-carves, and Stones are mortal too?
Let it stand un-repair’d, for ever keep
Its mournful dress, thus for its Founder weep.
By this time Lud with the next Newgate smokes,
And their dry Pris’ners in the Dungeon chokes;
Who left by Keepers to their own reprives
Broke Goale, not for their Liberty but Lives;
While good Eliza on the out-side Arch
Fir’d into th’ old Mode, stands in Yellow Starch.
Though fancy makes not Pictures live, or love,
Yet Pictures fancy’d may the fancy move:
Me-thinks the Queen on White-Hall cast her Eye;
An Arrow could not more directly flye.
But when she saw her Palace safe, her fears
Vanish, one Eye drops smiles, the other tears.
Where (Christ-Church) is thy half-Cathedral now?
Fallen too? then all but Heaven to Fate must bow!
Where is thy famous Hospital? must still
The greatest good be recompens’d with ill?
That House of Orphans clad in honest blew;
The World’s Example, but no parallel knew.
Cold Charity has been a long Complaint,
Here she was too warm like a martyr’d Saint.
Where are those stately Fabricks of our Halls,
Founders of sumptuous Feasts and Hospitalls?
Where is the Guild, that place of grand resort
For Civil Rights, the Royal Cities Court?
Forc’d to take Sanctuary in the Tower,
To show, what safety is in Regal Power!
Not Gog or Magog could defend it; These
Had they had sense, had been in Little-Ease.
Chymnies and shatter’d Walls we gaze upon
Our Bodie Politicks sad Skeleton!
Now was the dismal Conflagration stopp’d,
Having some branches of the Suburbs lopp’d.
Though most within the verge; As if th’ ad show’d
Their mutual freedome was to be destroy’d.
When after one dayes rest. The Temple smokes,
And with fresh fires and fears the Strand provokes
But with good Conduct all was slak’d that night
By one more valiant than a Templar Knight.
Here a brisk Rumour of affrighted Gold
Sent hundreds in; more Covetous than bold.
But a brave Seaman up the Tyles did skip
As nimbly as the Cordage of a Ship,
Bestrides the sings’d Hall on its highest ridge,
Moving as if he were on London-Bridge,
Or on the Narrow of a Skullers Keel:
Feels neither head nor heart nor spirits reel.
Had some few Thousands been as bold as hee,
And London, in her fiery Tryal free;
Then (with submission to the highest will)
London now buried had been living still.
Thus Chant the people, who are seldom wise
Till things be past, before-hand have no Eyes.
But when I sigh my self into a pause,
I find another more determin’d cause:
Had Tyber swell’d his monstrous Waves, and come
Over the seven Hills of our flaming Rome,
‘T had been in vain: no less than Noah’s flood.
Can quench flames kindled by a Martyr’s blood.
Now Loyal London has full Ransome paid
For that Defection the Disloyal made:
Whose Ashes hatch’d by a kind Monarch’s breath,
Shall rise a fairer Phoenix after Death.

From: Crouch, John, Londineses Lacrymæ Londons Second Tears Mingled with her Ashes: A Poem, 2007, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A35206.0001.001)

Date: 1666

By: John Crouch (fl. 1660-1681)

Friday, 11 August 2017

Love’s Sustenance by Jorge de Montemor

With sorrow, tears, and discontent
Love his forces doth augment.
Water is to meads delight,
And the flax doth please the fire;
Oil in lamp agreeth right;
Green meads are all the flocks’ desire;
Ripening fruit and wheaty ears
With due heat are well content;
And with pains and many tears
Love his forces doth augment.

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. 52.
(https://archive.org/details/cu31924013294305)

Date: c1559 (original in Spanish); 1598 (translation in English)

By: Jorge de Montemor (?1520-1561)

Translated by: Bartholomew Young (fl. 1577-1598)

Friday, 4 August 2017

How Coventry was Made Free by Godina, Countesse of Chester by Thomas Deloney

To the Tune of Prince Arthur died at Ludlow.

Leofricus, that Noble Earle
Of Chester, as I reade,
Did for the City of Coventry,
Many a noble deed.
Great priviledges for the towne.
This Nobleman did get,
And of all things did make it so,
That they tole-free did sit:
Save onley that for horses still,
They did some custome pay,
Which was great charges to the towne,
Full long and many a day.
Wherefore his wife, Godina faire,
Did of the Earl request,
That therefore he would make it free,
As well as all the rest.
So when the Lady long had sued,
Her purpose to obtaine:
Her Noble Lord at length she tooke,
Within a pleasant vaine,
And unto him with smiling cheare,
She did forthwith proceed,
Entreating greatly that he would
Performe that goodly deed.
You move me much, faire Dame (quoth he)
Your suit I faine would shunne:
But what would you performe and do,
To have this matter done?
Why any thing, my Lord (quoth she)
You will with reason crave,
I will performe it with good will,
If I my wish may have.
If thou wilt grant one thing (said he)
Which I shall now require,
So soone as it is finished,
Thou shalt have thy desire.
Command what you thinke good, my Lord,
I will thereto agree:
On this condition that this Towne
For ever may be free.
If thou wilt thy cloaths strip off,
And here wilt lay them downe,
And at noone day on horsebacke ride
Starke naked thorow the Towne,
They shall be free for evermore:
If thou wilt not do so,
More liberty than now they have,
I never will bestow.
The lady at this strange demand,
Was much abasht in mind:
And yet for to fulfil this thing,
She never a whit repinde.
Wherefore to all the Officers
Of all the Towne she sent:
That they perceiving her good will,
Which for the weale was bent,
That on the day that she should ride,
All persons thorow the Towne,
Should keepe their houses and shut their doores,
And clap their windowes downe,
So that no creature, yong or old
Should in the street be scene:
Till she had ridden all about,
Throughout the City cleane.
And when the day of riding came,
No person did her see,
Saving her Lord: after which time,
The towne was ever free.

From: Deloney, Thomas and Mann, Francis Oscar (ed.), The Works of Thomas Deloney, 1912, Clarendon Press: Oxford, pp. 309-311.
(https://archive.org/details/worksofthomasdel04delouoft

Date: c1580

By: Thomas Deloney (c1543-1600)

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Excerpt from “The Third Book” of “Astronomicon” by Marcus Manilius

When Nature order’d this vast Frame to rise,
Nature, the Guardian of these Mysteries,
And scatter’d Lucid Bodies o’er the Skies;
When she the Concave, whence directly fall
Streight Lines of Influence round the solid Ball,
Had fill’d with Stars; and made Earth, Water, Air,
And Fire, each other mutually repair;
That Concord might these differing parts controul,
And Leagues of mutual Aid support the whole;
That nothing which the Skies embrace might be
From Heaven’s supreme Command and Guidance free,
On Man the chiefest Object of her Cares
Long time she thought, then hung his Fates on Stars;
Those Stars, which plac’d i’th’ Heart of Heaven, display
The brightest Beams, and share the greatest sway;
Which keep a constant Course, and now restrain
The Planets Power, now yield to them again;
Thus sometimes ruling, sometimes rul’d, create
The strange and various Intercourse of Fate.
To these her Powers wise Nature’s Laws dispense
Submitting all things to their Influence:
But then as Emperours their Realms divide,
And every Province hath its proper Guide,
So ’tis in Signs; they have not equal Shares
Of common Power, each Fortune claims its Stars.
Our Studies, Poverty, Wealth, Joy and Grief,
With all the other Accidents of Life
She parcels out; to proper Stars confines
The Lots in number equal to the Signs.

From: Manilius, Marcus, The five books of Mr. Manilius containing a system of the ancient astronomy and astrology : together with the philosophy of the Stoicks / done into English verse with notes by Mr. Tho. Creech, 2005, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, p. 99.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A51767.0001.001)

Date: c10-20 (original in Latin); 1700 (translation in English)

By: Marcus Manilius (fl. 1st century)

Translated by: Thomas Creech (1659-1700)

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Wine is the Test for Love by Asclepiades of Samos

Wine is the test for love:
Nikagoras told us he loved no one,
but his many toasts betrayed him.
Oh yes! He bent his head and wept,
and then his wreath slipped,
half to cover the aching in those
sad dark eyes.

From: Nystrom, Bradley P. (transl.) and Little, Claudette Sherbert (ill.), The Song of Eros: Ancient Greek Love Poems, 2009, Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale, p. 10.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=f9nNuChxuREC)

Date: c270 BCE (original in Greek); 1991 (translation in English)

By: Asclepiades of Samos (c320 BCE-c260 BCE)

Translated by: Bradley P. Nystrom (19??- )

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Song of the Man Who Was Weary of Life by Anonymous

This day is Death before my eyes
As when a man grown well again,
And rising from a bed of pain,
The garden sees

This day is Death before my eyes
Like fragrant myrrh’s alluring smell,
Like sitting ’neath the sails which swell
In favouring breeze

This day is Death before my eyes
Like water-bosomed lotus scent,
Or when, the traveller, worn and spent,
At last drinks deep.

This day is Death before my eyes
As when the soldier glimpses home,
As pent-up garden-waters foam
Down channels steep.

This day is Death before my eyes
As when, mist clearing from the blue,
The hunter’s quarry leaps to view,
Like this is Death before my eyes
As when, the captive, bound in pain,
Yearns sore to see his home again,
Like this is Death
While we draw breath,
We seek life’s prize
The prize is – Death.

From: Sharpley, C. Elissa (ed.), Anthology of Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1925, John Murray: London, pp. 79-80.
(https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.60956)

Date: c1850 BCE (original in Egyptian hieroglyphs); 1923 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: George Anthony Armstrong Willis (1897-1972)

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Excerpt from “Hymnus Tabaci a Poem in Honour of Tabaco” by Raphael Thorius

The twice-born Liber seeing that his Foes
(Whom the parch’d desart Cliffs as yet inclose)
Had furious war begun, with hot alarms,
Doth call his Ivy-crowned troops to arms,
And the swift Lynxes to be yoak’d, commands;
The great Bassarides in order’d bands,
March with their valiant Leader to the Field;
And all his furious Priests obedience yield
To his behests, and follow: nor yet will
Silenus (though grown old) at home sit still.
The Drugdges and the Carriages go next,
And amongst them is led (an ample Text,
For Antiquaries to glosse on) the sage
Silenus saddle-Asse, grown lame with age;
The fearfull Indians here and there do fly;
And while they sought their flying enemy,
The weary Troops having too long in vain
Wandred about upon the sandy Plain,
Grow faint, and their provisions all are spent,
And Bacchus wants what he himself first lent
Unto us Men, the liquor of the Vine.
(Pity that he who gave, should e’re lack Wine!)
The old mans Vessel too being quite drawn dry,
Does in this Chariot overturned ly.
The Maenades and Satyrs, and the rout
Of untam’d youth (impatient of the drought)
Do wound the intrals of their Mother Earth,
Longing to see some gentle spring gush forth.
But all in vain, necessity makes them bold
To taste the salt drink; their own bladder hold
Unnatural draughts! but yet such is their woe,
That those unnatural draughts do fail them too.
So Tyrant-like, Thirst in their bodies reigns,
All moisture does forsake their dryed veins.
The sterner face of horrour now controls
The sinking Troops; Some breathe their toasted souls
Out of their reeking jaws; others are found
To own borrow supplies from their mutual wound;
Who finding too those Fountains to grow dry,
In a despair drink their last Cup and dy.

Note: Liber is another name for the god Bacchus (also known as Dionysus), traditionally considered the god of wine, winemaking, the grape harvest, fertility and madness. According to mythology, he was twice born as his mother, Semele, asked to see Zeus unmasked to prove that he was the father of her baby. Despite Zeus’s warning that this would kill her, she insisted and died when he revealed himself. Zeus then rescued the unborn Dionysus and sewed him into his thigh. Dionysus was later released/born from Zeus’s thigh.

Bacchus was associated with the lynx, a type of large hunting cat, although the exact species meant is unknown and it is sometimes referred to as a leopard or panther. The other creatures mentioned, such as bassarides, maenads and satyrs, are all followers of Bacchus. Silenus was Bacchus’ companion and tutor and is usually depicted as an old man riding an ass (or donkey).

From: Thorius, Raphael and Hausted, Peter, Hymnus tabaci a poem in honour of tabaco. Heroïcally composed by Raphael Thorius: made English by Peter Hausted Mr of Arts Camb. 2009, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 14-15.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A94292.0001.001)

Date: 1610 (original in Latin); 1651 (published translation in English)

By: Raphael Thorius (15??-1625)

Translated by: Peter Hausted (c1605-1644)