Monday, 12 February 2018

Poem by Julian Orde Abercrombie

The morning weaves
A piece of bone
To a branch of fingers,
But the rain
Blurs the sea-shift
Twists the cone,
And now this hand
Is bone again.


Date: 19??

By: Julian Orde Abercrombie (1917-1974)

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Abide with Me by Henry Francis Lyte

“Abide with us: for it is toward evening; and the day is far spent.” — St. Luke xxiv. 29

Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens: Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me!

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away:
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou, who changest not, abide with me!

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free,
Come, not to sojourn, but abide, with me!

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings;
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings:
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me!

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me!

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the Tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me!

I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless:
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes:
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies:
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee.
In life and death, O Lord, abide with me!

Berryhead, September 1847.

From: Lyte, Henry Francis, Miscellaneous Poems, 1868, Rivingtons: London, Oxford, and Cambridge, pp. 297-299.

Date: 1847

By: Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847)

Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Fairies by George Monck Berkeley

To Miss Grimston, youngest sister of Thomas Grimston, Esq. of Grimston, Yorkshire.

Hous’d within the cowslip’s bell,
As the simple milk maids tell;
Shunning there the glare of day,
Fairies pass their hours away.
There they keep their mimic state;
There the fall of night await;
Then along their fav’rite hill,
Or beside some haunted rill.
Whilst around dull mortals sleep,
Mystic vigils there they keep,
With some wild fantastic rite
Greeting still the pow’r of night.

From: Berkeley, George-Monck, Poems by the Late George-Monck Berkeley, Esq., with a Preface by the Editor, consisting of some anecdotes of Mr. Monck Berkeley and several of his friends, 1797, J. Nichols: London, pp. 66-67.

Date: 1797 (published)

By: George Monck Berkeley (1763-1793)

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)

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Three Dirges: 2 by Tao Yuanming (Tao Qian)

In former days I wanted wine to drink;
The wine this morning fills the cup in vain.
I see the spring mead with its floating foam,
And wonder when to taste of it again.
The feast before me lavishly is spread,
My relatives and friends beside me cry.
I wish to speak but lips can shape no voice,
I wish to see but light has left my eye.
I slept of old within the lofty hall,
Amidst wild weeds to rest I now descend.
When once I pass beyond the city gate
I shall return to darkness without end.

From: Minford, John and Lau, Joseph, M. S. (eds.), Classical Chinese Literature: An Anthology of Translations. Volume I: From Antiquity to the Tang Dynasty, 2000, Columbia University Press: New York and The Chinese University Press: Hong Kong, p. 514.

Date: 427 (original); 1993 (translation)

By: Tao Yuanming (Tao Qian) (365-427)

Translated by: Gladys Yang (1919-1999) and Yang Xianyi (1915-2009)

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Pandora: Lines 102-175 from “Works and Days” by Hesiod

Thus spake and laugh’d of Gods and Men the Sire,
And straight enjoin’d the famous God of Fire
To mingle, instantly, with water earth;
The voice and vigour of a human birth
Imposing in it, and so fair a face
As match’d th’ Immortal Goddesses in grace,
Her form presenting a most lovely maid.
Then on Minerva his command he laid
To make her work, and wield the witty loom.
And, for her beauty, such as might become
The golden Venus, he commanded her
Upon her brows and countenance to confer
Her own bewitchings; stuffing all her breast
With wild desires incapable of rest,
And cares that feed to all satiety
All human lineaments. The crafty Spy
And Messenger of Godheads, Mercury,
He charg’d t’ inform her with a dogged mind,
And thievish manners. All as he design’d
Was put in act. A creature straight had frame
Like to a virgin, mild and full of shame;
Which Jove’s suggestion made the Both-foot-lame
Form so deceitfully, and all of earth
To forge the living matter of her birth.
Grey-eyed Minerva put her girdle on,
And show’d how loose parts, well composed, shone.
The deified Graces, and the Dame that sets
Sweet words in chief form, golden carquenets
Embrac’d her neck withal. The fair-hair’d Hours
Her gracious temples crown’ d with fresh spring-flowers.
But of all these, employ’ d in several place,
Pallas gave order the impulsive grace.
Her bosom Hermes, the great God of spies,
With subtle fashions fill’d, fair words, and lies;
Jove prompting still. But all the voice she us’d
The vocal herald of the Gods infus’d,
And call’d her name Pandora, since on her
The Gods did all their several gifts confer;
Who made her such, in every moving strain,
To he the bane of curious-minded men.

Her harmful and inevitable frame
At all parts perfect, Jove dismiss’d the Dame
To Epimetheus, in his herald’s guide,
With all the Gods’ plagues in a box beside.
Nor Epimetheus kept one word in store
Of what Prometheus had advised before,
Which was: That Jove should fasten on his hand
No gift at all, but he his wile withstand,
And back return it, lest with instant ill
To mortal men he all the world did fill.
But he first took the gift, and after griev’d.
For first the families of mortals:
Without and free from ill: harsh labour then,
Nor sickness, hasting timeless age on men,
Their hard and wretched tasks impos’d on them
For manv years; but now a violent stream
Of all afflictions in an instant came,
And quench’d life’s light that shin’d before in flame.
For when the woman the unwieldy lid
Had once discover’d, all the miseries hid
In that curs’d cabinet dispers’d and flew
About the world; joys pined, and sorrows grew.
Hope only rested in the box’s brim,
And took not wing from thence. Jove prompted him
That ow’d the cabinet to clap it close
Before she parted; but unnumber’d woes
Besides encount’red men in all their ways;
Full were all shores of them, and full all seas.
Diseases, day and night, with natural wings
And silent entries stole on men their stings;
The great in counsels, Jove, their voices reft,
That not the truest might avoid their theft,
Nor any ‘scape the ill, in any kind,
Resolv’d at first in his almighty mind.

From: Chapman, George (transl.) and Hooper, Richard (ed.), Homer’s Batrachomyomachia, Hymns and Epigrams. Hesiod’s Works and Days. Musæus’ Hero and Leander. Juvenal’s Fifth Satire, 1858, John Russell Smith: London, pp. 153-157.

Date: c700 BCE (original in Greek); 1618 (translation in English)

By: Hesiod (c750 BCE-c650 BCE)

Translated by: George Chapman (c1559-1634)

Monday, 5 February 2018

The World, How by Martha Rhodes

The world, how greenesses
pop up. I’d forgotten. To be

found millions of years later,
mountains of bones ground down.

The tiniest with the largest.
You rise to the top

from the Great Rift
to meet me again.


Date: 2015

By: Martha Rhodes (1953- )

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)