Archive for ‘Historical’

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Lines 1-14 from “A dutiful invective, against the moste haynous treasons of Ballard and Babington with other their adherents, latelie executed” by William Kempe

What madnes hath so mazd mens minds, that they cānot forsée,
The wretched ends of catives vile, which work by treacherie?
To overthrowe the blessed state, of happie common wealth,
or to deprive their soveraigne prince, of her long wished health.
If feare of God and of his lawes, were clearelie out of minde,
If feare of death (by Princes lawes) might not their dueties binde?
If vtter ruine of the Realme, and spoile of guiltlesse blood?
Might not suffice to stay the rage, of traitors cruell moode?
Yet, might they well consider, howe treasons come to nought,
And alwaies worke their overthrowe, by whom they first were wrought
And what they have pretended, that should on others light,
Hath happened on their cursed corpes, and them confounded quight.
Examples many have bene shewen, which plainly doe expresse,
How never traitor could prevaile, in that his wickednesse.

From: Kempe, William, A dutiful invective, against the moste haynous treasons of Ballard and Babington with other their adherents, latelie executed. Together, with the horrible attempts and actions of the Q. of Scottes and the sentence pronounced against her at Fodderingay. Newlie compiled and set foorth, in English verses: for a New yeares gifte to all loyall English subiects, 2003, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, p. [unnumbered].
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A04793.0001.001)

Date: 1587

By: William Kempe (d. 1603)

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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

King Log – A Fable by Henry William Tytler

‘Tis said the croaking Race, of old,
Of Liberty grown tir’d,
Become seditious, vain and bold
From Jove a King desir’d,
The God, who Men and Croakers rules,
Smil’d at their discontent,
And soon, in pity to the Fools,
A harmless Monarch sent.
Red streams of Light’ning flash’d on high;
Loud Thunder shook the Bog;
And swift descended, from the sky,
A huge unwieldy Log.
Its dashing fall the Nation heard;
And trembled in their caves;
But, when the tumult ceas’d, they rear’d
Their heads above the waves,
At length, approaching by degrees,
And more familiar grown,
The State, with indignation, sees,
A Log upon the Throne.

Again loud clamours fill’d the place,
Their Chiefs, with one accord,
An active Ruler for the Race,
Besought from Heav’n’s high Lord,
The God, to punish discontent,
Denounc’d their future woe
And soon a vengeful Monarch sent,
To give the fated blow.
Lo! from the Lake’s remotest bed,
A hissing voice is heard;
And o’er the waves, his horrid head
A Water-Hydra rear’d.
With crest erect, and sparkling eyes,
He circles round the shores,
In ev’ry creek and corner pries,
And half the Race devours.
Ye Britons, to this Tale, give ear,
Which Æsop told before,
And you may now, with profit, hear,
As Athens did of yore.
Let Opposition cease to grieve
For good, yet unpossess’d,
Live while they may and still believe
The present hour the best.

From: Tytler, Henry William, Miscellanies in Verse, consisting of Poems, Tales, Translations, &c., 1828, Asiatic Press: Calcutta, pp. 252-253.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=EfkEjznQN0QC)

Date: c1790

By: Henry William Tytler (1752-1808)

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

A Contemplation on Bassets-down-Hill by the most Sacred adorer of the Muses by Anne Kemp

If that exact Appelles now did live.
And would a picture of Elizium give;
He might pourtrai’ of the prospect which this Hill
Doth shew; & make the eie command at will.
Heer’s many a shire whose pleasauntness for fight
Doth yield to the Spectators great delight.
Ther’s a large Field guilded with ceres gold;
Here a green mead doth many Heifers hold;
Ther’s pasture growne with virdant grass, whose store,
Of Argent-sheep shewes th’owner is not poore.
Here springs doe intricate Meanders make
Excelling farr Oblivion’s Lethe Lake.
There woods and Coppisses harbour as many
And sweet melodious Choristers, as any
Elizium yields; whose Philomel’ an lazes
Merit the highest of the Lyrick’s praise
Heer’s Flora deck’t with robes of Or, and Azur,
Fragrently smelling yield’s two senses pleasure.

Hence Zephirus doth breath his gentle gales
Coole on the Hills, and sweet throughout the Vales
How happy are they that in this Climate dwell?
Alas! they can’t their owne sweet welfare tell;
Scarce I my selfe whil’st I am here doe know it
Till I fee it’s Antithesis to shew it.
Here are no smoaking streets, nor howling cryes,
Deafning the eares, nor blinding of the eyes;
No noysome smells t’ infect, and choake the aire;
breeding diseases envious to the Faire.
Deceipt is here exil’d from Flesh, and Bloud:
(Strife only reigns, for all strive to be good.)
With Will his verse I here will make an end
And as the crab doth alwaies backward bend
So, though from this sweet place I goe away
My loyall heart will in this Climate stay.
Thus heartless, doth my worthless body rest
Whilest my heart liveth with the ever blest.

From: http://womenwriters.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/content.php?level=div&id=kemp_001&document=kemp

Date: 1658

By: Anne Kemp (fl. 1658)

Monday, 21 May 2018

Armenia’s Love to Shakespeare by Zabelle C. Boyajian

Great, unknown spirit, living with us still,
Though three long centuries have marked thy flight;
Is there a land thy presence doth not fill
A race to which thou hast not brought delight?

To me Armenia seems thy house, for first,
Thy visions there enthralled my wondering mind,
And thy sweet music with my heart conversed–
Armenia in thy every scene I find.

Through all the gloom of strife and agony
Thy gentle light, beloved of all, doth shine;
The nations bring their tribute unto thee,
To honour thee thy country’s foes combine.

What token shall my poor Armenia bring?
No golden diadem her brow adorns;
All jewelled with tears, and glistening,
She lays upon thy shrine her Crown of Thorns.

From: Boyajian, Zabelle C., Armenian Poetry & Legends, 2009, Abela Publishing: London, p. 4.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=XxWVF5804r0C)

Date: 1918

By: Zabelle C. Boyajian (1873-1957)

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Lausavísa by Hildr Hrólfsdóttir nefju

You frame my father’s namesake*
and force him on the wolf’s road.
You hound the high-born hero.
How, lord, can you allow this?
I warn you: ‘ware, warrior!
Wolf-deeds reap warfare.
The lupine lad may lust
for his former’s lord livestock.

*This skald plays on the name of its subject (Hrolf) which partly means “wolf”. It was spoken by Hrolf’s mother as she asked King Harald of Norway why her son, accused of plundering livestock, had been sent into exile.

From: Straubhaar, Sandra Ballif, Old Norse Women’s Poetry: The Voices of Female Skalds, Translated from the Old Norse, 2011, D. S. Brewer: Cambridge, p. 12.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=vePMQ7PFSY4C)

Date: 10th century (original in Old Norse); 2011 (translation in English)

By: Hildr Hrólfsdóttir nefju (10th century)

Translated by: Sandra Ballif Straubhaar (19??- )

Monday, 14 May 2018

Lines 67-97 from “Book I [Crossing the Rubicon] from Pharsalia [On the Civil War]” by Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan)

The causes first I purpose to unfold
Of these garboils, whence springs a long discourse;
And what made madding people shake off peace.
The Fates are envious, high seats quickly perish,
Under great burdens falls are ever grievous;
Rome was so great it could not bear itself.
So when this world’s compounded union breaks,
Time ends, and to old Chaos all things turn,
Confused stars shall meet, celestial fire
Fleet on the floods, the earth shoulder the sea,
Affording it no shore, and Phœbe’s wain
Chase Phœbus, and enrag’d affect his place,
And strive to shine by day and full of strife
Dissolve the engines of the broken world.
All great things crush themselves; such end the gods
Allot the height of honour; men so strong
By land and sea, no foreign force could ruin.
O Rome, thyself art cause of all these evils,
Thyself thus shiver’d out to three men’s shares!
Dire league of partners in a kingdom last not.
O faintly-join’d friends, with ambition blind,
Why join you force to share the world betwixt you?
While th’ earth the sea, and air the earth sustains,
While Titan strives against the world’s swift course,
Or Cynthia, night’s queen, waits upon the day,
Shall never faith be found in fellow kings:
Dominion cannot suffer partnership.
This need[s] no foreign proof nor far-fet story:
Rome’s infant walls were steep’d in brother’s blood;
Nor then was land or sea, to breed such hate;
A town with one poor church set them at odds.

From: Marlowe, Christopher and Bullen, A.H. (ed.), The Works of Christopher Marlowe: in Three Volumes, Volume the Third, 1885, John C. Nimmo: London, pp. 255-256.
(http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21262/21262-h/21262-h.htm#FNanchor_587_587)

Date: 1st century (original in Latin); 1600 (translation in English)

By: Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan) (39-65)

Translated by: Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

Saturday, 28 April 2018

I’m A Nobody by Bianor

I’m a nobody,
no one special,
a nothing —
yet even I am loved.
Even I am the master
of someone else’s soul.

From: Nystrom, Bradley P. (ed. and transl.), The Song of Eros: Ancient Greek Love Poems, 1991, Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale, p. 20.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=f9nNuChxuREC)

Date: 1st century (original in Greek); 1991 (translation in English)

By: Bianor (1st century)

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

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Unburied by M.R., N.Z. Headquarters

Now snowflakes thickly falling in the winter breeze
Have cloaked alike the hard, unbending ilex
And the grey, drooping branches of the olive trees,
Transmuting into silver all their lead;
And, in between the winding lines, in No-Man’s Land,
Have softly covered with a glittering shroud
The unburied dead.

And in the silences of night, when winds are fair,
When shot and shard have ceased their wild surprising,
I hear a sound of music in the upper air,
Rising and falling till it slowly dies–
It is the beating of the wings of migrant birds
Wafting the souls of these unburied heroes
Into the skies.

From: Bean, C.E.W. (ed.), The Anzac Book, 1916, Cassell & Company: London, p. 69.
(http://davidmhart.com/liberty/WarPeace/Books/The_Anzac_Book1916.pdf)

Date: 1916

By: M. R., N.Z. Headquarters (fl. 1916)

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Anzacs by Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace

The children unborn shall acclaim
The standard the Anzacs unfurled,
When they made Australasia’s fame
The wonder and pride of the world.

Some of you got a V.C.,
Some “the Gallipoli trot,”
Some had a grave by the sea,
And all of you got it damned hot,

And I see you go limping through town
In the faded old hospital blue,
And driving abroad—lying down,
And Lord I but I wish I were you I

I envy you beggars I meet,
From the dirty old hats on your head
To the rusty old boots on your feet—
I envy you living or dead.

A knighthood is fine in its way,
A peerage gives splendour and fame,
But I’d rather have tacked any day
That word to the end of my name.

I’d count it the greatest reward
That ever a man could attain
I’d sooner be “Anzac” than “Lord”
I’d rather be “Anzac” than “thane”.

Here’s a bar to the medal you’ll wear,
There’s a word that will glitter and glow,
And an honour a king cannot share
When you’re back in the cities you know,

The children unborn shall acclaim
The standard the Anzacs unfurled,
When they made Australasia’s fame
The wonder and pride of the world.

From: http://iwvpa.net/wallacee/index.php

Date: 1916

By: Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1875-1932)

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ariburnu Savasi, Turkey, 25 April 2015 by Judith Brooks

‘I do not order you to fight; I order you to die.’
Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal Bey

I
I could tell you
we were farmers and strong enough
yet our skin chafed like a newborn’s might
caught red and hot against new wool
smelling of camphor like home
but soon stinking of sand and dust
as we bent our backs in this wild place
to scrape some shelter from the wrath to come.
Then we waited.
Some of us knelt for the prophet’s words
others dreamt of lemons and tea
while they watched the half moon
cross slowly through the night.

II
A mile away on still water men
smarted from their last adventure
cramped hot and itching into boats,
legs aching in the heavy dark
loaded with a soldier’s kit.
They groaned at sailor’s jokes
or dreamt of action like a postcard
in their pocket waiting for words,
or a game plan folded neatly
by a steady hand to count the hours,
while the sea air cooled their mouths
until they shivered and their lips tasted of salt.

III
They were fast across the beach.
Deaf to the song of bullets
or cries from the shallows
moving from crevice to crevice
upwards, swift as family ferrets
through sharp gullies
they ran onto a high ridge and shook hands
and laughed at the splendour of it all,
with the sea clear and blue below
and the morning golden all around
and all things true at last
so when the enemy called their names
they felt like men at a fair
surrounded by admirers,
lifting their rifles to hit all the ducks in a row.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

IV
Let me tell you this.
Our Sergeant drew his bayonet.
This is the last order he said
gentle as if he were feeding lambs.
Cleaning his hands across his chest
he divided the ammunition
in silence without sigh or lamentation
for we were now ghosts in a haunting tale,
standing thin as pastel shadows
to fall quietly in the brown light
till the sergeant led us out, shoulder to shoulder,
so calm flowed man through man
and bayonets fixed before us
was all the meaning we needed.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

V
They were so surprised at death
it passed by without comment
like a cartoon of itself
urging the captain’s bloody face
to wake from his dream unaided
and command away the scent of wild thyme
and the sharp piping of bees
as they lay in open ground
with snipers pecking at their skin
and the bodies of mates warm beside them.
When the colonel arrived he was breathless,
a hooked fish gaping, but they read his gesture
and bit their tongues, turning elbows up
to roll down through sharp gravel
and prickly gorse back to the beach
where they would hear the wounded
and bridle at the clamour and confusion of defeat.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

VI
Kemal Bey was wordless and sat
on the canvas seat prepared for him
as if he would never rise.
And his officers stood uncertain
as he stared out to the western sea.
Then he spoke: remember this day, he said.
Remember this day.
And they said Amen.

From: Brooks, Judith. “Ode for an anniversary 1914-2014; The last day Wilfred Owen 4 November 1918; Ariburnu Savasi, Turkey, 25 April 1915” in Arena Magazine, No. 138, Oct/Nov 2015, 2015, Fitzroy, Victoria, pp. 41-42.
(https://search-informit-com-au.ezproxy-b.deakin.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=595383461028996;res=IELAPA)

Date: 2015

By: Judith Brooks (1945- )