Archive for ‘Relationships’

Monday, 11 December 2017

Sonnet XXI: His Charitable Hope: and their Eternall Repose by Gabriel Harvey

Let memory of grose abuses sleepe:
Who over-shooteth not in recklesse youth?
Were sinnes as redd, as reddest scarlet deepe,
A penitentiall Hart preventeth ruth.
Well-wishing Charity presumes the best:
Nothing impossible to powreful Trueth:
Body to Grave, and Soule to Heaven addrest,
Leave upon Earth, the follies of their youth.
Some Penury bewaile: some feare Arrest:
Some Parmaes force: some Spanyardes gold addread:
Some underly the terrible inquest:
Some carry a Jelous: some a climing Head.
We that are dead, releasd from living woes,
Soundly enjoy a long, and long Repose.

From: Harvey, Gabriel and Grosart, Alexander B. (ed.), The Works of Gabriel Harvey, D.C.L., in Three Volumes, For the First Time Collected and Edited, Volume I, 1884, The Huth Library: London, pp. 249-250.

Date: 1592

By: Gabriel Harvey (c1552-1631)

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Milord I Thanke You Hartely by Marie (Mercy) Harvey Collyn

*The Thursday before Neweyeares day (being on the Satterday), the maide, by counsell of on she trustid well, excusid herself on this wise to Milord:-

Milord I thanke you hartely
For your late liberalitie;
I would I were hable to requite
Your lordships bowntie with the like.
Marry, mie hart is not so franke
But mie habilitie is as scante;
Therefore, in steade of a leifer gift,
I bequeath you this paper for a shift.
You se I am disposid to rime,
Though it be cleen out of time.
I hope your L. will have me excused
As longe as you feel not yourself abusid.
To be short, Milord, thus it is, Iwis,
I could not be at home according to prommis.
I would not, perhaps it may to you seem;
I pray you, Milord, do not so misdeem.
Truly I was sent for to spend this good time
A fewe miles of with a kinsman of mine.
Whether mi father in hast wuld so faine have me goe,
That I could not nor durst not for mielife say noe.

So that I was faint
At his commaundiment
To take a jornye
That I litle ment.
I pray you, Milord,
Have me excusid,
Though by mie frends
I be thus rulid.

The truth is, I am not mine owne maide,
My frends to disobey I am afraide.
An other time as good
To speake your minde;
In  the meane time if you seeke
You can not but finde.
Your honors to commaund
In anie honest demaund.

*This poem was written by the then 17-year-old Marie (Mercy) Harvey to Philip Howard, the Earl of Surrey (also 17 at the time) excusing herself from her promise to meet him (and reminding him of their differences in station and the fact that he was already married) several days after he had attempted to rape her. It survived because her brother, Gabriel Harvey, kept a dossier on the affair which included the letters Philip Howard sent to Marie and her responses.

From: Scott, Edward John Long (ed.), Letter-Book of Gabriel Harvey, A.D. 1573-1580, 1884, Camden Society: London, pp. 153-155.

Date: 1574

By: Marie (Mercy) Harvey Collyn (c1556-after 1608)

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Pagan Year by Aldous Leonard Huxley

December’s eyes are shut, but cannot kill
The colors out of the world. They live, suppressed
Yet strong, shining in secret, live and still
With brooding sables, with cinder and plum attest
The absent light, who with his longed re-birth
Unclots the world to an airy dream of leaves,
That June once more must curdle into earth,
Till the huge elms hang dark above the sheaves.

Magical autumn! all the woods are foxes,
Dozing outstretched in the almost silvery sun.
Oh, bright sad woods and melancholy sky,
Is there no cure for Beauty but to run
Yet faster as faster flee hours, flowers and doxies
And dying music, till we also die?


Date: 1930

By: Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963)

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Hard of Hearing by Alan Porter

Once in April ways
I heard the cuckoo call.
Among more withering days
Haulms twitched and clicked with heat.
I heard the bumping fall
Of yellow plums. My feet
Drew bickerings from the grass
Like thunder-rain on roofs,
Or clattered arms of brass.
Horses’ battering hoofs
Ring no louder now
Than once a distant stream.
The grasshopper’s old-hussif row
Dies to remembered dream.

In bygone days I heard
The swinging dewberry scratch
To the flurried flight of a bird,
Nor found it hard to catch
The plashy drop when a trout
Came bowbent leaping out.
I heard from pools and bogs
The little, barking frogs.
Clapping water-weeds,
The hiss of sand-wasps’ wings,
Wind-brattled campion seeds,
Were close familiar things.
Now nature’s musics half are fled;
And half my heart is dead.

From: Porter, Alan, “Hard of Hearing”, Wheels, 1920 (Fifth Cycle), 1920, pp. 39-40.

Date: 1920

By: Alan Porter (1899-1942)

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)

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Could the Sad Trembling Tenant of This Breast by Mary Blackford/Blanchford Tighe

Could the sad trembling tenant of this breast
Declare to what delicious scenes it flies,
When night, and silence seal these weary eyes,
Yielding awhile my anxious sorrows rest;
If, as I think, it then with freedom blest,
May seek the friend for whom it hourly sighs
Thro’ tedious days, that joy might well suffice,
To cheer the following morn, and when opprest
By present cares, the hopes of coming night
And sleep to free it from earth’s heavy chain,
Should sooth my soul with promise of delight;
The soft reflection might relieve the pain
Of absence, mock the transitory reign
Of fate, and scorn the bounds of space in rapid flight.


Date: 1798

By: Mary Blackford/Blanchford Tighe (1772-1810)

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Sonnett 3 by Dudley North

I doe not Love, it is most true,
Nor know I yett where Love is due.
For Love should not its growth prepare
But when perfections past compare
Attract and cherish like the Sunn,
And seeke t’enthrall all hearts to One.
Perfection such can hardly bee
In Man, whose spring is levity,
Whose summer is in faction spent,
Whose autumns fruit is discontent,
Old age is worse, yett women place
Theyr hearts on this unhappy race.
For mee I prize my freedome deare,
And shall not till the glorious day
When a new Phenix shall appeare,
Or love or give my selfe away.

From: Randall, Dale B. J., Gentle Flame: The Life and Verse of Dudley, Fourth Lord North (1602-1677), 1983, Duke University Press: Durham, N.C., p. 131.

Date: c1660

By: Dudley North (1602-1677)

Friday, 17 November 2017

The Red and the Blue by Josephine Dickinson

You wonder, am I satisfied with you?
Some inequality you take as read.
But ravelling my hemp, your wool, my red,
your blue, we spin a single human hair.

From: Dickinson, Josephine, Silence Fell, 2008, Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston & New York, p. 12.

Date: 2007

By: Josephine Dickinson (1957- )

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

If You Never Come Again by Binoy Majumdar

If you never come again, never blow through these steaming regions
like cooling drifts of the upper air, even that absence is an encounter.
Your absence is as of the blue rose
from the kingdom of flowers. Who knows, some day
you may yet appear. Maybe you have, only you are too close.
Can I smell my own hair?
Marvellous sights have been seen.
A full moon was to have risen last night —
only a quivering sickle appeared!
It was an eclipse.

I have given up strewing grain on the ground
to have the birds join me at lunch.
Only when the baby is cut adrift
does it have its free hunger and thirst;
like taking off a blindfold to be confronted with
a curtain, being born
into this vast uterus, lined with a sky porous with stars.


Date: 1960 (original in Bengali); 1968 (translation in English)

By: Binoy Majumdar (1934-2006)

Translated by: Jyotirmoy Datta (1936- )

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Fifth of November by Karl Watts Gransden

The children celebrate a failure and a treason
And make the grown-ups turn it into
Bangs and coloured lights in the dark drizzle,
A party and a holiday.

For the grown-ups have nothing to celebrate,
Nothing to transform
Into the bonfire’s circle a charm against the dark:

If they drew near, their failure might dowse the fire;
And their treason
Still crouches in a cellar, waiting to be caught.

From: Gransden, K. W., “Fifth of November” in Encounter, April 1958, p. 42.

Date: 1958

By: Karl Watts Gransden (1925-1998)