Archive for ‘Historical’

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Gwalchmai’s Delight by Gwalchmai ap Meilyr

Swift rising dawn of joyful gliding June,
Melodious song of birds, calm, lustrous noon!
A gold-torqued Chief am I that know not fear,
A fierce, host-facing lion, rout in my rear!
At night I guard with bound-protecting sword
The babbling flow of Dygen Freiddin’s ford.

How green the untrodden grass! How pearly pale
Its stream! And oh, its amorous nightingale!
The sea-mews playing o’er its bed of flood
Shake their white plumes in boisterous multitude;
Till, whiter breasted one, the lover’s season
With dreams of thee distract my very reason.
Far, far art thou from Mona’s pleasant leas,
Where folk in splendid solitude take their ease,
Where truth by choicest lips is ever told,
Where poesy pours in one pure stream of gold.

My falchion flashes quick to guard the brave,
My round shield glitters glory by the wave;
While dulcet harmonies from morn till eve
Wood-birds and waters delicately interweave.

My mind inflamed shoots like a shivering star
O’er all the land to Evernwy afar;
Over white budding apple-tree, blossoming flowers,
Woods one wide emerald at this hour of hours,
To Caerwys’ nymph, within her bower of bowers.

Gwalchmai my name, the Saxon’s steadfast foe,
For Mona’s prince I struck a battle blow;
Before a fortress I made blood to flow,
For Llywy’s sake, fair as on trees the snow.

The nightingale that shortens sleep in May
And Llywy’s lily looks I’ll praise alway.

I saw in Rhuddlan a flaming rush before
Owain, carnage of spears, lettings of gore.
With mortal combats I heard the Vale outring;
I saw a hundred Captains’ silencing.

But when War’s mighty music had sunk to rest,
Sweet sang the nightingale above his nest.

From: Graves, Alfred Perceval (ed. and transl.), Welsh Poetry Old and New in English Verse, 1912, Longmans, Green, and Co.: London, pp. 16-17.
(https://archive.org/details/welshpoetryoldne00graviala/)

Date: 12th century (original in Welsh); 1912 (translation in English)

By: Gwalchmai ap Meilyr (fl. 1130-1180)

Translated by: Alfred Perceval Graves (1846-1931)

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Friday, 12 October 2018

Locker Room Talk by John Adams

I keep dirty things in my locker,
I keep dirty things in my locker,
I keep dirty things, I keep dirty things
and I talk dirty in my locker room

Unbelievable support I’m receiving,
Unbelievable support I’m receiving,
I’m closing one eye, I’m rating very high,
to be honest, it’s just unbelievable.

I’d lock people out of my country,
I’d lock people out of my country,
I’d lock people out, I’d lock people out –
my country could become a locker room.
I keep dirty things in my locker,
I keep dirty things in my locker,
I keep dirty things, I keep dirty things
and I talk dirty in my locker room.

From: https://www.thethreelamps.com/article/three-poems-by-john-adams?publication=spring-2017

Date: 2017

By: John Adams (19??- )

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

A Prosopopoicall Speache of the Booke by Abraham Fleming (Flemyng)

Some tell of starres th’influence straunge,
Some tell of byrdes which flie in th’ayre,
Some tell of beastes on land which raunge,
⁠Some tell of fishe in rivers fayre,
Some tell of serpentes sundry sortes,
⁠Some tell of plantes the full effect,
Of English dogges I sound reportes,
⁠Their names and natures I detect,
My forhed is but baulde and bare:
⁠But yet my bod’ys beutifull,
For pleasaunt flowres in me there are,
⁠And not so fyne as plentifull;
And though my garden plot so greene,
⁠Of dogges receave the trampling feete,
Yet is it swept and kept full cleene,
⁠So that it yeelds a savour sweete.

From: Caius, John and Fleming, Abraham (transl.), Of Englishe Dogges, the Diversities, the Names, the Natures, and the Properties: A Short Treatise Written in Latine, 1850, A. Bradley: London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Of_Englishe_Dogges)

Date: 1576

By: Abraham Fleming (Flemyng) (c1552-1607)

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Lines 175-189 from “The Braggard Captain” by Titus Maccius Plautus

As I hope heav’n’s love,
‘Twere fit the Gods should order and provide,
That all men should not hold their lives alike,
Squar’d by one rule: but as a price is fix’d
On different wares, that so they may be sold
According to their value;—that the bad
Its owner may impoverish by its vileness
So it were just, the Gods in human life
Should make distinction due, and disproportion;
That on the well-disposed they should bestow
A long extent of years; the reprobate
And wicked they should soon deprive of life.
Were this provided, bad men would be fewer,
Less hardily they’d act their wicked deeds
Nor would there be a dearth of honest men.

From: Plautus, Titus Maccius and Thornton, Bonnell (ed. and transl.), The Comedies of Plautus, translated into familiar blank verse, Volume the First, 1772, J. Lister for T. Becket and P. A. de Hondt; R. Baldwin, T. Davies; and R. Davies: London, pp. 183-184.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=jOgIAAAAQAAJ)

Date: c200 BCE (original in Latin); 1767 (translation in English)

By: Titus Maccius Plautus (c254 BCE-184 BCE)

Translated by: Bonnell Thornton (1725-1768)

Sunday, 29 July 2018

They Went Forth to Battle, but They Always Fell by Shaemas O’Sheel

They went forth to battle, but they always fell;
Their eyes were fixed above the sullen shields;
Nobly they fought and bravely, but not well,
And sank heart-wounded by a subtle spell.
They knew not fear that to the foeman yields,
They were not weak, as one who vainly wields
A futile weapon; yet the sad scrolls tell
How on the hard-fought field they always fell.

It was a secret music that they heard,
A sad sweet plea for pity and for peace;
And that which pierced the heart was but a word,
Though the white breast was red-lipped where the sword
Pressed a fierce cruel kiss, to put surcease
On its hot thirst, but drank a hot increase.
Ah, they by some strange troubling doubt were stirred,
And died for hearing what no foeman heard.

They went forth to battle but they always fell;
Their might was not the might of lifted spears;
Over the battle-clamor came a spell
Of troubling music, and they fought not well.
Their wreaths are willows and their tribute, tears;
Their names are old sad stories in men’s ears;
Yet they will scatter the red hordes.

From: http://www.ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/o/OSheel_S/life.htm

Date: 1928

By: Shaemas O’Sheel (1886-1954)

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Fable: Of the Cock and the Fox by John Dennis

A Cock stood Sentry on a Tree,
A shrowd experienc’d creature He,
A damn’d arch Bird, as one shall see.
Him Renard in his rounds espy’d,
And near he drew, and thus he cry’d,
Why how now, Coz! do’st hear the News?
There’s now an universal Truce;
Which must be follow’d by a Peace,
War amongst Animals must cease.
Come down, and let me hug thee, Dear Rogue.
Thought Chanticleer, thou art a meer Rogue,
A damn’d false Dog as e’re told lye,
Ile shew thee a Dog trick by and by.
Friend Renard, this is glorious News,
Who could have hop’d for such a Truce.
And yet I doubt not but it’s true,
For look you hitherwards, come two
Tall hide-bound Curs, who doubtless bring
Expresses to confirm the thing.
The first with meager mien and Phys-grim,
Is he who in single fight slew Isgrim:
The other’s he with whom thy Sire
Did in a close embrace expire.
Full stretch along the plain they scower
And in a minute of an hour,
Will tell us how th’ affair has pass’d.
Ah! Plague and Pox upon their hast;
Cryes Renard, who ran scampering thence,
So scar’d h’ has ne’re left stinking since.
Thus was the wily Beast defeated:
‘Tis just the Cheater should be cheated.

MORAL:
There’s no Man more obnoxious to deceit,
Than an experienc’d, and successful Cheat;
For he presuming on his own address,
Draws deep Security from long Success.
He’s oft too vain, another to suspect,
Now Caution of suspicion is th’ Effect,
And only Caution can from Fraud protect.
Those Sharpers who by cheating throve so fast,
They thought t’ have topp’d upon the World at last;
Did on the sudden one Tarpawlin meet,
Who gull’d them of their Gold and of their Fleet.

From: Dennis, John, Miscellanies in Verse and Prose a Quote, 2004, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 111-113.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A35672.0001.001)

Date: 1693

By: John Dennis (1657-1734)

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Soothsayers by Quintus Ennius

For no Marsian augur (whom fools view with awe),
Nor diviner nor star-gazer, care I a straw;
The Egyptian quack, an expounder of dreams,
Is neither in science nor art what he seems;
Superstitious and shameless, they prowl through our streets,
Some hungry, some crazy, but all of them cheats.
Impostors who vaunt that to others they’ll show
A path, which themselves neither travel nor know.
Since they promise us wealth, if we pay for their pains,
Let them take from that wealth, and bestow what remains.

From: Dunlop, John, History of Roman Literature, From Its Earliest Period to the Augustan Age. In two volumes. Second Edition, Volume I, 1824, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green: London, p. 96.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=NtFaAAAAcAAJ)

Date: 2nd century BCE (original in Latin); 1828 (translation in English)

By: Quintus Ennius (c239 BCE-c169 BCE)

Translated by: John Colin Dunlop (1785-1842)

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Military Elegy: Courage by Tyrtæus

Ne’er would I praise that man, nor deign to sing,
First in the race, or strongest at the ring,
Not though he boast a ponderous Cyclop’s force,
Or rival Boreas in his rapid course;
Not tho’ Aurora might his name adore,
Tho’ eastern riches swell his countless store,
Tho’ power and splendour to his name belong,
And soft persuasion dwell upon his tongue,
Tho’ all but god-like valour, were his own:

My muse is sacred to the brave alone;
Who can look carnage in the face, and go
Against the foremost warriors of the foe.

By heaven high courage to mankind was lent,
Best attribute of youth, best ornament.
The man whom blood and danger fail to daunt,
Fearless who fights, and ever in the front,
Who bids his comrades barter useless breath
For a proud triumph, or a prouder death,
He is my theme — He only, who can brave
With single force the battle’s rolling wave,
Can turn his enemies to Might, and fall
Beloved, lamented, deified by all.
His household gods, his own parental land
High in renown, by him exalted stand;
Alike the heirs and founders of his name
Share his deserts and borrow from his fame
He, pierced in front with many a gaping wound,
Lies, great and glorious, on the bloody ground,
From every eye he draws one general tear,
And a whole nation follows to his bier;
Illustrious youths sigh o’er his early doom,
And late posterity reveres his tomb.
Ne’er shall his memorable virtue die,
Tho’ cold in earth, immortal as the sky;
He for his country fought, for her expired:
Oh would all imitate whom all admired!
But if he sleep not with the mighty dead,
And living laurels wreathe his honour’d head,
By old, by young, adored, he gently goes
Down a smooth pathway to his long repose,
Unaltering friends still love his hairs of snow,
And rising elders in his presence bow.
Would ye, like him, the wond’ring world engage,
Draw the keen blade, and let the battle rage!

From: Peter, William (ed.), Specimens of the Poets and Poetry of Greece and Rome by Various Translators, 1848, Carey and Hart: Philadelphia, p. 27.
(https://archive.org/details/spe00cimensofpoetspeterich

Date: 7th century BCE (original in Greek); 1848 (translation in English)

By: Tyrtæus (7th century BCE)

Translated by: Francis Hodgson (1781-1852)

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

A New Touch on the Times by Molly Gutridge

Well adapted to the distressing situation of every Seaport Town
By a Daughter of Liberty, living in Marblehead.

Our best beloved they are gone,
We cannot tell they’ll e’er return,
For they are gone the ocean wide,
Which for us now they must provide.

For they go on the roaring seas,
For which we can’t get any ease,
For they are gone to work for us,
And that it is to fill our purse.

We must do as well as we can,
What could women do without man,
They could not do by night or day,
Go round the world and that they’ll say.

They could not do by day or night,
I think that man’s a woman’s delight,
It’s hard and cruel times to live,
Takes thirty dollars to buy a sieve.

To buy sieves and other things too,
To go thro’ the world how can we do,
For times they sure grow worse and worse,
I’m sure it sinks our scanty purse.

Had we a purse to reach the sky,
It would be all just vanity,
If we had that and ten times more,
’Twould be like sand upon the shore.

For money is not worth a pin,
Had we but felt we’ve any thing,
For salt is all the Farmer’s cry,
If we’ve no salt we sure must die.

We can’t get fire nor yet food,
Takes 20 weight of sugar for two foot of wood,
We cannot get bread nor yet meat,
We see the world is naught but cheat.

We cannot now get meat nor bread
By means of which we [shake our head]
All we can get it is but rice
And that is of a wretched price.

And as we go up and down,
We see the doings of this town.
Some say they an’t victuals nor drink,
Others say they are ready to sink.

Our lives they all are tired here,
We see all things so cruel dear,
Nothing now a-days to be got,
To put in kettle nor in pot.

These times will learn us to be wise,
We now do eat what we despis’d:
I now having something more to say,
We must go up and down the Bay.

To get a fish a-days to fry,
We can’t get fat were we to die,
Were we to try all thro’ the town,
The world is now turn’d upside down.

But there’s a gracious GOD above,
That deals with us in tender love,
If we be kind and just and true,
He’ll set and turn the world anew.

If we’ll repent of all our crimes,
He’ll set us now new heavenly times,
Times that will make us all to ring,
If we forsake our heinous sins.

For sin is all the cause of this,
We must not take it then amiss,
Wan’t it for our polluted tongues
This cruel war would ne’er begun.

We should hear no fife nor drum,
Nor training bands would never come:
Should we go on our sinful course,
Times will grow on us worse and worse.

Then gracious GOD now cause to cease,
This bloody war and give us peace!
And down our streets send plenty then
With hearts as one we’ll say Amen!

If we expect to be forgiv’n,
Let’s tread the road that leads to Heav’n,
In these times we can’t rub along.
I now have ended this my song.

From: Gutridge, Molly, A New Touch on the Times, 2013, Early American Imprints: New York.
(http://americainclass.org/sources/makingrevolution/war/text7/touchonthetimes.pdf)

Date: 1779

By: Molly Gutridge (fl. 1779)

Friday, 29 June 2018

Epigram: A Ship-Wreck’d Sailor by Theodoridas of Syracus

A ship-wreck’d sailor, buried on this coast,
Bids you set sail.
Full many a gallant ship, when we were lost,
Weathered the gale.

From: Wellesley, Henry, Anthologia Polyglotta. A selection of versions in various languages, chiefly from the Greek Anthology, 1849, John Murray: London, p. 300.
(https://archive.org/details/anthologiapolyg01wellgoog)

Date: 3rd century BCE (original in Greek); 1849 (translation in English)

By: Theodoridas of Syracuse (3rd century BCE)

Translated by: Henry Wellesley (1791-1866)