Archive for ‘Relationships’

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Contented Cuckold by George Colman

First printed in the St. JAMES’s CHRONICLE, Saturday, March 28, 1767.

Harry with Johnny’s wife intrigues,
And all the world perceives it:
John forms with Harry such close leagues,
Who’d think that he believes it?

Contented Cuckold! but, alas,
This is poor Johnny’s curse:
If he don’t see it, he’s an Ass;
And if he does, he’s worse.

From: Colman, George, Prose on Several Occasions: Accompanied with Some Pieces in Verse, 2011, University of Michigan Library: Ann Arbor, Michigan, p. 316.

Date: 1767

By: George Colman (1732-1794)

Monday, 19 February 2018

To the Envious by John Andrews

Scarce Hell itself could conster1 that for ill,
Which—damnèd—thou—to satisfie thy will—
Hast ur’gd—I know— as an extreame offence,
Against unguiltie, harmlesse Innocence.
Which hath by some,—too credulous weake men—
—Out of their wisdomes—been found faulty; when
Had they been masters but of so much sight,
As to distinguish betweene day and night,
They had beene lesse injurious, or more just;
But to such judges must the guilty trust,
Whil’st Innocence must suffer; yet not so
But it may live to see their overthrow
Who moale-like heave unseene, till at the last
Their working be discover’d and they cast
Out of their hollow trenches, and withal
Trod on by them, whom they desir’d might fall;
Then shall your sable cacodæmon be
Hang’d with a twigge upon some willow tree;
To all which envious undermining slaves
I wish no fairer ends, no better graves.

1. Conster – construe.

From: Andrews, John and Grosart, Alexander B. (ed.), The Fuller Worthies’ Library: The Anatomie of Baseness (1615), 1871, Private Circulation: Blackshire, Lancashire, p. 53.

Date: 1615

By: John Andrews (fl. 1615-1655)

Saturday, 17 February 2018

An Elegiac Poem Complaining About Grief by Desiderius Erasmus

Although gray hair has not yet begun to
whiten the top of my head and fallen hair has
not left me with a shining forehead, although
advanced age has not dimmed my eyesight
and no blackened tooth has fallen from a
rotten mouth and stiff bristles have not yet
made my arms prickly and my skin does not
hang loose on a withered body – in short,
although I see in myself none of the signs of
old age, the lot assigned me by God is
contrived to make me miserable, I know not
how. He has decided to make me bear the
afflictions of old age during my tender years,
and he wants me to be already old, and yet he
does not allow me to grow old. Care and
sorrow, which would sprinkle my temples with
sad gray hair, have come before their time.

From: Erasmus, Desiderius, Miller, Clarence H. (transl.) and Vredeveld, Harry (ed.), Collected Works of Erasmus: Poems, 1993, University of Toronto Press: Toronto/Buffalo/London, p. 235.

Date: ?1487 (original in Latin); 1993 (translation in English)

By: Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

Translated by: Clarence H. Miller (c1930- )

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Oh Stormy Winds, Bring Up the Clouds by Henjō (Yoshimine no Munesada)

Oh stormy winds, bring up the clouds,
And paint the heavens grey;
Lest these fair maids of form divine
Should angel wings display,
And fly far far away.

From: Porter, William N. (transl.), A Hundred Verses from Old Japan, being a translation of the Hyaku-nin-isshiu, 1909, Clarendon Press: London, p. 12.

Date: c850 (original in Japanese); 1909 (translation in English)

By: Henjō (Yoshimine no Munesada) (816-890)

Translated by: William N. Porter (1849-1929)

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ophelia to the Court by Meghan O’Rourke

My shoes are unpolished, my words smudged.
I come to you undressed (the lord, he whispers
Smut; that man, he whispers such). I bend
My thoughts, I submit, but a bird
Keeps flying from my mind, it slippers
My feet and sings—barren world,
I have been a little minx in it, not at all
Domestic, not at all clean, not at all blinking
At my lies. First he thought he had a wife, then
(of course) he thought he had a whore. All
I wanted (if I may speak for myself) was: more.
If only one of you had said, I hold
Your craven breaking soul, I see the pieces,
I feel them in my hands, idle silver, idle gold…
You see I cannot speak without telling what I am.
I disobey the death you gave me, love.
If you must be, then be not with me.


Date: 2010

By: Meghan O’Rourke (1976- )

Friday, 9 February 2018

Love Elegies 12. Dear Lady from your Eies there Came by Aston Cockayne

Dear Lady, from your eies there came
A lightning did my heart inflame,
And set it all on burning so,
That forth the fire will never go.
Be merciful, for I remain,
Till you be kind, in endless pain;
And (machless fair One) deign to know
That pity should with beauty goe;
That comely bodies should include
Mindes in them equally as good.
I will not doubt you until I
Have reason from your Crueltie.
Since we deformed bodies finde
To be the Emblems of the minde;
Why should not I pursue that art,
And think one fair hath such an heart?
Confirm Philosophie, which you
By being merciful may do:
And unto the eternal praise
Of your rich Beauty I will raise
A fame so high, that times to come
Of your deare name shall ne’re be dumbe;
So you with Rosalinde shall be
Eterniz’d unto Memorie,
With Stella live; names known as well
As Colin Clout, and Astrophel.
As kindness in a Lady can
Preserve in life a dying man;
So verses (after she is dead)
Report will of her spread.
Return affection, and we then
Shall live though die, and live agen.


Date: 1658

By: Aston Cockayne (1608-1684)

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Of One, who Thinking to Have Wedded a Riche Widowe, Purchased an Unquiet Lyfe by Walter Darrel

I Likt where no love was,
I matcht in hope to gaine,
I sought for swéete, and tasted sowre,
And wedded proude disdaine.
I leade a loathed life,
Exild from present joy.
The yoke of bondage weare I on,
Which threatens mine annoy.
I sayld in seas of griefe,
And washt with waves of woe,
I must abide appointed course,
My fate ordeines it so.
I nowe must weave the web,
Which canckard care hath spun,
And réele up that against my will,
Which youth would gladly shun.
I sowe my séedes in vaine,
I plant on barren stocke,
And nought I get but blossome flowres,
For wealth is under locke.
For this by proofe I finde,
Not well he often spéedes,
That sowes his corne in such a soyle,
Where nothing growes but wéedes.
Thus live I voyde of joy,
And spoyle my youth with age,
My life is worser then the birde,
Which fast is pent in cage.
I leade a sparing life,
The daintie fare I shunne,
And yet I waste, I know not how:
As snowe against the sunne.
A just revenge (no doubt,)
To me for passed life,
For that I live, as I do now,
With such a dogged wife.
Perforce must be content,
Though fate on me do frowne,
I must content me with my lot,
Since fortune kéepes me downe.

From: Darell, Walter, A short discourse of the life of servingmen plainly expressing the way that is best to be followed, and the meanes wherby they may lawfully challenge a name and title in that vocation and fellowship. With certeine letters verie necessarie for servingmen, and other persons to peruse. With diverse pretie inventions in English verse. Hereunto is also annexed a treatise, concerning manners and behaviours, 2009, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. [unnumbered]-[unnumbered].

Date: 1578

By: Walter Darell (fl. 1578)

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Choric Stanzas by James Falconer Kirkup

Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign
Beneath all uniforms, a single body breathes

Like ours: the land our brothers walk upon
Is earth like this, in which we all shall lie.
They, too, aware of sun and air and water,
Are fed by peaceful harvests, by war’s long winter starv’d.
Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read
A labour not different from our own.
Remember they have eyes like ours that wake
Or sleep, and strength that can be won
By love. In every land is common life
That all can recognise and understand.
Let us remember, whenever we are told
To hate our brothers, it is ourselves
That we shall dispossess, betray, condemn.
Remember, we who take arms against each other
It is the human earth that we defile.
Our hells of fire and dust outrage the innocence
Of air that is everywhere our own,
Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange.


Date: 1953

By: James Falconer Kirkup (1918-2009)

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Time by Anne Home Hunter

Time may ambition’s nest destroy,
Though on a rock ’tis perch’d so high,
May find dull av’rice in his cave,
And drag to light the sordid slave;
But from affection’s temper’d chain
To free the heart he strives in vain.

The sculptur’d urn, the marble bust,
By time are crumbled with the dust;
But tender thoughts the muse has twin’d
For love, for friendship’s brow design’d,
Shall still endure, shall still delight,
Till time is lost in endless night.


Date: 1802

By: Anne Home Hunter (1742-1821)

Friday, 2 February 2018

A Song in Imitation of Horace by Thomas Amory

Almighty love’s resistless rage,
No force can quell, no art asswage:
While wit and beauty both conspire,
To kindle in my breast the fire:
The matchless shape, the charming grace,
The easy air, and blooming face,
Each charm that does in Flavia shine,
To keep my captive heart combine.

I feel, I feel the raging fire!
And my soul burns with fierce desire!
Thy freedom, Reason, I disown,
And beauty’s pleasing chains put on;
No art can set the captive free,
Who scorns his offer’d liberty;
Nor is confinement any pain,
To him who hugs his pleasing chain.

Bright Venus! Offspring of the sea!
Thy sovereign dictates I obey;
I own submiss thy mighty reign,
And feel thy power in every vein:
I feel thy influence all-confest,
I feel thee triumph in my breast!
‘Tis there is fix’d thy sacred court,
‘Tis there thy Cupids gaily sport.

Come, my Boy, the altar place,
Add the blooming garland’s grace;
Gently pour the sacred wine,
Hear me, Venus! Power divine!
Grant the only boon I crave,
Hear me, Venus! Hear thy slave!
Bless my fond soul with beauty’s charms,
And give me Flavia to my arms.

From: Amory, Thomas, The life of John Buncle: Esq; containing various observations and reflections, made in several parts of the world; and many extraordinary relations, 2011, University of Michigan Library: Ann Arbor, Michigan, pp. 71-73.

Date: 1756

By: Thomas Amory (?1691-?1788)