Archive for ‘Historical’

Monday, 19 August 2019

Excerpt from “Satyrus peregrinans” [Westminster Hall] by William Rankins

By this time long-gownd Lumen walkt abroad,
Under his girdle greene-waxt labels hung,
Although his pace was slow, gold was his goad,
And as the Petifogger went, he sung,
His greas’d belt and the waxe together clung:
He sware a mighty oath his writs were spoyld,
And by that meanes his client should be foyld.

I tract his steps, and followed him alloofe,
Weary with those Mecanicke meane deceipts,
At last he entred to a spatious roofe,
Where greatmen sat in high judiciall seates,
And iuglers play at even and odde with feates:
As (now sir it shall goe with you to day,
To morrow tis against you, you must pay.)

This hall they say is builded of such wood,
That cobwebs on the rafters are not spun,
By right the nature of these trees are good,
Yet there be held I mighty spyders run,
And by their sucking little flyes undone:
A thing most strange, that poysoned things must dwell,
Where nature scarce alloweth them a cell.

There stoode Briarius1 with a hundred hands,
And every one was ready to receive,
As many sundry toongs2, as seas have sands:
And when he sayd, the truth I do conceive,
Then meant the hell-hound soonest to deceive.
There saw I twelve good fellowes cald together,
That would for-sweare their father for a feather.

I saw the widdow in a mourning weede,
Wringing her painefull hands to get her right,
Th’oppressed soule tormented with more neede,
And cruelty with scarlet cloth’d in spight,
As who should say, in bloud is my delight.
Then thought I (ôh there is a Judge above)
Will all this wrong with one true sentence move.

Such sweating for base pelfe3, I did behold,
Such perjuries to get the upper hand,
The innocent with falshood bought and sould,
Such circumstance before the truth was scand,
Such scorched conscience markt with Sathans brand,
That straight bereft of my Satyrick wit,
I was possessed with a frantick fit.

So leaving this vast rumor of mans voyce,
I made my run unto a river side,
Where, sinke or swim, I tooke no better choyce,
With desperate leape in, headlong did I glide,
And for I would no more repeate this pride,
I did imagine I was in a dreame,
And so concluded my unorder’d theame.

1.         Briarius (more commonly Briareus, also known as Aegaeon): one of the three gigantic sons of Uranus and Gaia (Heaven and Earth, respectively). All three have a hundred arms and fifty heads.
2.         Toongs: Tongues.
3.         Pelfe: Money, wealth.

From: Rankins, William, Seaven satyres applyed to the weeke including the worlds ridiculous follyes. True fælicity described in the phoenix. Maulgre. Whereunto is annexed the wandring satyre. By W. Rankins, Gent., 2005, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 33-36.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A10418.0001.001)

Date: 1587

By: William Rankins (fl. 1587)

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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

I And by Tridib Mitra

Autumn’s phantasmagorical tempest
I at the door of 1964
wooden knocks–who are you wood pecker?
What is this?
Shocked vision
chances dreams haha reality’s become more dense
Pooooooooooeeeeeet
still boozed in love?
Gibbet
another revolt squanders like 1857 thrashes
Fire in Shantiniketan, fire here at Calcutta
In Midnapore Shyambazar Khalasitola
Fire in eyes face heart cock
This fireball gnarling
in happiness hatred pain intellect dream reality
All—junk–ho ho smoke net—
tinsel like groundnut
all around chirping
afar angry shadows roar, flounder on earth…

From: http://graffiti-kolkata.blogspot.com/2009/08/hungryalist-poems.html

Date: ?1964 (original in Bengali); ?2009 (translation in English)

By: Tridib Mitra (1940- )

Translated by: Tridib Mitra (1940- )

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Sorrows of Moraima by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

And so she is wed
in her plain mantilla,
the stoic vezir’s
sixteen-year old Moraima*
to Abu-abdallah, rey el chico.
She has three times as many sorrows as you,
lone cypress with the bent torso!
I watch her burn before she has bloomed.
I, the window they call
the eyes of Ayesha.
I, myself a gaping book waiting to be written,
watch her pace through white corridors,
reading passages between
the hissing walls.
A husband at war, a child taken captive,
all day she digs for a window.
All the while I let in common sparrows,
twigs, pollen, arrows of winter rain,
she is behind deaf carmen walls
in the city below
shut away from this, her palace.
Three times your sorrows, broken cypress.

*Notes: Moraima, wife of the last Muslim emperor of Granada (Al Andalus), suffered imprisonment and exile when Spain fell to Castilian rule (1492). The speaker of the poem is a window known as “Ain al Ayesha” or “the eyes of Ayesha” in the Alhamra palace. The window overlooked the city of Albaicin where Moraima was imprisoned.

From: https://www.cortlandreview.com/features/10/spring/hashmi.html

Date: 2010

By: Shadab Zeest Hashmi (1972- )

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

From “Whereas” by Layli Long Soldier

Whereas my eyes land on the statement, “Whereas the arrival of Europeans in North America opened a new chapter in the history of Native Peoples.” In others, I hate the act

of laughing when hurt injured or in cases of danger. That bitter hiding. My daughter picks up
new habits from friends. She’d been running, tripped, slid on knees and palms onto asphalt.

They carried her into the kitchen, She just fell, she’s bleeding! I winced. Deep red streams
down her arms and legs, trails on white tile. I looked at her face. A smile

quivered her. A laugh, a nervous. Doing as her friends do, she braved new behavior—
I can’t name it but I could spot it. Stop, my girl. If you’re hurting, cry. You must

show your feelings so that others know, so that we can help. Like that. She let it out,
a flood from living room to bathroom. Then a soft water pour I washed

carefully light touch clean cotton to bandage. I faced her I reminded, In our home
in our family we are ourselves, real feelings. You can do this with others, be true.
I sent her

off to the couch with a movie encouraging, Take it easy. Yet I’m serious when I say I laugh
reading the phrase, “opened a new chapter.” I can’t help my body. I shake. The sad

realization that it took this phrase to show. My daughter’s quiver isn’t new—
but a deep practice very old she’s watching me.

From: https://pen.org/from-whereas/

Date: 2013

By: Layli Long Soldier (19??- )

Monday, 5 August 2019

Women’s Chorus from “Thesmophoriazusae [Women at the Thesmophoria]” by Aristophanes

They’re always abusing the women,
As a terrible plague to men:
They say we’re the root of all evil,
And repeat it again and again;
Of war, and quarrels, and bloodshed,
All mischief, be what it may:
And pray, then, why do you marry us,
If we’re all the plagues you say?{145}
And why do you take such care of us,
And keep us so safe at home,
And are never easy a moment,
If ever we chance to roam?
When you ought to be thanking heaven
That your Plague is out of the way—
You all keep fussing and fretting—
“Where is my Plague to-day?”
If a Plague peeps out of the window,
Up go the eyes of the men;
If she hides, then they all keep staring
Until she looks out again.

From: Collins, W. Lucas, Aristophanes, 1872, William Blackwood and Sons: Edinburgh and London, pp. 144-145.
(https://www.gutenberg.org/files/59107/59107-h/59107-h.htm#CHAPTER_VIII)

Date: 411 BCE (original in Greek); 1872 (translation in English)

By: Aristophanes (c446-c386 BCE)

Translated by: William Lucas Collins (1815-1887)

Monday, 29 July 2019

God Particles by James Crews

I could almost hear their soft collisions
on the cold air today, but when I came in,

shed my layers and stood alone by the fire,
I felt them float toward me like spores

flung far from their source, having crossed
miles of oceans and fields unknown to most

just to keep my body fixed to its place
on the earth. Call them God if you must,

these messengers that bring hard evidence
of what I once was and where I have been—

filling me with bits of stardust, whaleskin,
goosedown from the pillow where Einstein

once slept, tucked in his cottage in New Jersey,
dreaming of things I know I’ll never see.

From: https://www.americanlifeinpoetry.org/columns/detail/506

Date: 2013

By: James Crews (19??- )

Sunday, 14 July 2019

The Marseillaise by Paul Déroulède

Have pity on yourselves and cease that song;
In silence, when the hour comes, march along
Like vanquished heroes whose undaunted breath
Whispers one word: ‘Revenge!’ — or haply ‘Death!’

Yet hear the accursëd story and be stirred:
Or if your ears in bygone days have heard
On many a trembling tongue the twice-told tale
‘Tis well; no need drive home the hammered nail!

You love, no doubt you love, our people’s hymn?
You love its sacred rage, its transports grim:
And, like proud sons, you feel in its song-fires
The quenchless spirit of your puissant sires.
Its rousing voice recalls our flag unfurled,
Floating to the four corners of the world,
Nations struck dumb and kings that looked askance;
You think of that? Our great and glorious France!
Think of this too, the day of our defeat,
Sedan — a name that with bowed heads you greet —
Frenchmen, remember in that surge of woes,
When conquered France surrendered to her foes,
When in crushed souls our soldiers bore unmanned
The mangled ghost of the poor fatherland,
When all was lost and leaving the fought field
Our troops, disarmed, were forced at last to yield —
O unforgotten blow! O worst of evil days!
Loud from the Prussian trumpets shrilled the Marseillaise!

From: Robertson, William John (ed. and transl.), A Century of French Verse: Brief biographical and critical notices of thirty-three French poets of the nineteenth century with experimental translations from their poems, 1895, A. D. Innes & Co.: London, p. 299.
(https://archive.org/details/centuryoffrenchv00roberich/)

Date: 1872 (original in French); 1895 (translation in English)

By: Paul Déroulède (1846-1914)

Translated by: William John Robertson (1846-1894)

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Sons of the Union! by William Henry Timrod

I.
Sons of the Union, rise!
Stand ye not recreant by, and see
The brightest star in Freedom’s galaxy
Flung sullied from the skies!

II.
Hosts of the martyred brave!
Bend ye not your pure spirits from the clouds,
Indignant at the darkness that enshrouds
The land ye died to save?

III.
Sons of the brave! shall ye,
Basely submissive, crouch to faction’s slaves?
No! rather lay ye down in glorious graves:
‘Tis easy to die free!

IV.
And who the foes that dare
Flout the brave banner of a mighty land,
Which floating in a thousand fields, hath fanned
The brow of victory there?

V.
Laid they the scheme of blood,
Blasting the hope of ages yet to come,
Beneath some Temple’s consecrated dome,
With tears and prayers to God?

VI.
No! In the wassail hall,
Draining the maddening wine-cup, while the cries
Of brutal drunkenness affront the skies,
They planned their country’s fall!

VII.
God! do thy high decrees
Doom that our fathers’ blood was shed in vain,
And that our glorious Union’s sacred chain
Be snapped by foes like these?

VIII.
Sons of the Union, rise!
Stand ye not recreant by, and see
The highest star in Freedom’s galaxy
Flung sullied from the skies!

From: Timrod, Henry and Hayne, Paul H. (ed.), The Poems of Henry Timrod. Edited, with a Sketch of the Poet’s Life, New Revised Edition, 1872, E. J. Hale & Son: New York, pp. 14-16.
(https://docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/timrod/timrod.html)

Date: 1833

By: William Henry Timrod (1792-1838)

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

A Song from “The Spanish Wives: A Farce” by Mary Griffith Pix

Be gone, be gone, thou Hagg despair;
Be gone, back to thy Native Hell:
Leave the Bosom of the Fair,
Where only Joy shou’d dwell.
Or else, with Misers, willing Revels keep;
And stretch thy wretched Lids from from Sleep.
But hence be gone , and in thy hated room
Let Hope, with all its gentle Blessings, come.

From: Pix, Mary, The Spanish Wives: A Farce, as it was acted by His Majesty’s Servants, at the Theatre in Dorset-Garden, 1696, R. Wellington: London, p. 13.
(https://archive.org/details/spanishwivesfarc00pixm/)

Date: 1696

By: Mary Griffith Pix (1666-1709)

Monday, 1 July 2019

A Fragment [Doing, a Filthy Pleasure Is, and Short] by Gaius Petronius Arbiter

Doing, a filthy pleasure is, and short;
and done, we straight repent us of the sport:
let us not rush blindly on unto it,
like lustful beasts, that only know to do it:
for lust will languish, and that heat decay,
but thus, thus, keeping endless holy-day,
let us together closely lie, and kiss,
there is no labor, nor no shame in this;
this hath pleased, doth please and long will please; never can this decay,
but is beginning ever.

From: Roetzheim, William (ed.), The Giant Book of Poetry, 2006, Level Four Press, San Diego, California, p. 33.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=b90iAAAACAAJ)

Date: c60 (original in Latin); 1640 (translation in English)

By: Gaius Petronius Arbiter (c27-66)

Translated by: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)