Posts tagged ‘1640’

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Snowy Morning by Den Sutejo

snowy morning—
tracks of wooden sandals
two lines, two lines again


Date: 1640 (original in Japanese); 2007 (translation in English)

By: Den Sutejo (1634-1698)

Translated by: Gabi Greve (1948- )

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.

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

By: Gaius Petronius Arbiter (c27-66)

Translated by: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

Monday, 29 May 2017

Grieve Not, Dear Love! by John Digby

Grieve not, dear Love! although we often part:
But know, that Nature gently doth us sever,
Thereby to train us up, with tender art,
To brook the day when we must part for ever.

For Nature, doubting we should be surprised
By that sad day whose dread doth chiefly fear us,
Doth keep us daily schooled and exercised;
Lest that the fright thereof should overbear us!


Date: c1640

By: John Digby (1580-1653)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Short and Sweet by Unknown

Wise men suffer, good men grieve,
Knaves devise, and Fools believe,
Help, O Lord, send ayd unto us,
Else Knaves and Fools will quite undoe us.

From: Brome, Alexander, Rump: or An Exact collection of the choycest poems and songs relating to the late times, 1662, Henry Brome and Henry Marsh: London, p. 30.

Date: c1640

By: Unknown

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Journey by Christopher Harvey

Life is a journey. From our mothers’ wombs,
As houses, we set out; and in our tombs,
As inns, we rest, till it be time to rise.
‘Twixt rocks and gulfs our narrow footpath lies;
Haughty presumption and hell-deep despair
Make our way dangerous, though seeming fair.
The world, with its inticements sleek and sly,
Slabbers our steps, and makes them slippery.
The flesh, with its corruptions, clogs our feet,
And burdens us with loads of lusts unmeet.
The devil where we tread doth spread his snares,
And with temptations takes us unawares.
Our footsteps are our thoughts, our words, our works;
These carry us along; in these there lurks
Envy, lust, avarice, ambition,
The crooked turnings to perdition.
One while we creep amongst the thorny brakes
Of worldly profits; and the devil takes
Delight to see us pierce ourselves with sorrow
To-day, by thinking what may be to-morrow.
Another while we wade and wallow in
Puddles of pleasure; and we never lin [cease]
Daubing ourselves with dirty damn’d delights,
Till self-begotten pain our pleasure frights.
Sometimes we scramble to get up the banks
Of icy honour; and we break our ranks
To step before our fellows; though they say,
He soonest tyreth that still leads the way.
Sometimes, when others justle and provoke us,
We stir that dust ourselves that serves to choak us;
And raise those tempests of contention which
Blow us beside the way into the ditch.
Our minds should be our guids; but they are blind:
Our wills outrun our wits, or lag behind.
Our furious passions, like unbridled jades,
Hurry us headlong to th’ infernal shades.
If God be not our guide, our guard, our friend,
Eternal death will be our journey’s end.

From: Harvey, Christopher and Grosart, Alexander B. (ed.), The Complete Poems of Christopher Harvey, for the first time fully collected and collated with the original and early editions; and in quarto, with original illustrations. Being a Supplementary Volume to the Complete Works in Verse and Prose of George Herbert, 1874, Robson and Sons: London, pp. 81-82.


Date: 1640

By: Christopher Harvey (1597-1663)

Friday, 11 December 2015

Life and Death of the Piper of Kilbarchan by Robert Sempill (the Younger) with copious notes by flusteredduck

The Epitaph of Habbie Simpson1,
He made his Cheeks as red as Crimson,
Who on his Dron bore bonny Flags,
And babed when he blew the Bags,

Kilbarchan now may say alas!
For she hath lost her game & grace
Both Trixie and the Maiden-trace
But what remeed?
For no Man can supply his place,
Hab Simpson’s dead,

Now who shall play the day it daws
Or hunts up when the Cock he craws
Or who can for our Kirk Town Cause,
stand us in stead?
On Bag-pipes now no body blaws,
For Habbie’s dead,

Or who shall cause our Shearers shear
Who will bend up the Brags of Weir?
Bring in the Bells or good play Meir,
In time of need,
Hab Simpson could what needs you spear
But now he’s dead.

So kindly to his Neighbour neist,
At Beltan and Saint Barchans Feast
He blew and then held up his Breast,
as he were weid,
But now we need not him arrest?
For Habbie’s dead,

At Fairs he play’d before the Spear-men
All gayly graithed in their Geer-men,
Steel Bonners, Jacts and Swords so clear
Like any Bead.
Now who will play before such Weirmen then
Sen Habbie’s dead,

At Clark playes when be wont to come
His Pipe play’d trimly to the Drum:
Like Bikes of bees he gait it bum
And turn his Reed:
Now all our Pipers my sing dum
Sen Habbie’s dead,

And at Horse-races many a day,
Before the Black, the Brown and Gray
He gart his Pipe when he did play,
Both Skirl and Skried:
Now all such pastime’s quite away
Sen Habbie’s dead,

He counted was a wall’d wight Man,
And fiercely at Foot-ball he ran;
At every Game the gree he wan,
For pith and speed
The like of Habbie was not then,
But now he’s dead,

And then beside his valiant Acts,
At Brydels he wan many placks.
He babbed ay behind Folks backs,
And shook his Head,
Now we want many merry Cracks
Sen Habbie’s dead.

He was convoyer of the bride,
With Kittock hanging at his side,
About the Kirk he thought a pride
the Ring to Lead
But now she may go but a Guide
For Habbie’s dead.

So well’s he keeped his Decorum.
And all the steps of Whip-meg morum,
He slew a man and wae’s me for him
And bare the seed.
But yet the man wan Hame before him
and was not dead,

Ay when he play’d the Lasses leugh,
To sea him toothless, old and reuch
He wan his Pipes beside Barcleugh
withoutten dread,
Which after wan him Gear enough
But now he’s dead.

Alas for him my heart is sare,
For of his Springs I got a Share,
At every play, Race, Feast and Fair,
But Guile or Greed
We need not look for piping mair,
Sen Habbie’s dead.

1I started to render this into modern English but swiftly surrendered. I then began to footnote all the archaic or dialect words and gave up that attempt too as I had hit 11 footnotes by the beginning of the fourth verse and was, on occasion, out-and-out guessing which I figured anybody reading this could manage. Finally, I decided on a synopsis followed by an explanation of why I have bothered with posting this poem at all.

Synopsis: This is meant to be a funny depiction of a town bagpiper (a real figure by the way who lived from 1550 to 1620 and has a statue in Kilbarchan). It lists all the occasions when a piper played at this time (which boils down to any public ceremony or occasion, religious or secular) and names many of the tunes/melodies in vogue at the time. It then describes Habbie’s personality – I gather he was what is these days described as a “character” in that he was given to practical jokes, imitations and many other mild eccentricities (and my personal impression is that he may not have been the town’s most sober inhabitant). The “Epitaph” progresses to describing how he was laughed at by the youth of the town as he aged for these personality quirks and ends with the true lament of the person “writing” the epitaph which is that Habbie used to share his earnings with him and he no longer receives any income from Habbie’s piping as Habbie is dead.

The “Epitaph” also describes the various parts of the bagpipes (in the seventeenth century terms): a dron or drone is one of the upstanding pipes (Habbie used to decorate these with flags) and a bell is the flared part of the pipe; the bag is the part generally held by the side. There are also descriptions of what Habbie looked like when he played (crimson cheeked, out of breath, nodding and bobbing, fevered).

Reasons for Posting: (in no specific order)
Firstly: The glimpse into the past this poem shows fascinated me. I keep trying to imagine a time and a place where every occasion in life was marked by ceremonial music from birth to death and everything in between for everyone in the community.

Secondly: This is a generational poem – the two poets before this poet and the next poet are all from an acknowledged dynasty of Scottish poets. I have come across families of poets before but never one that encompasses this many generations. That continuity was too rare to ignore.

Thirdly: This poem is the first known written example of what came to be known as the Burns stanza (also known as the standard Habbie stanza or the Scottish stanza). This stanza consists of six lines in a strict rhyming pattern (aaabab) with the a lines being longer (tetrameter) than the b lines (dimeter). If you’re into Scottish, middle English or medieval poetry, this is an important form to know.

Fourthly: I have said it before and I’ll say it again – I love dialect poems. I love them even when I’m guessing at the exact meaning of the dialect. They are little puzzle gems and mulling over them is one of my ideas of entertainment. This poem is a particularly prime example of a dialect poem because a) it makes you sound Scottish when you read it out loud (no matter your base accent); b) it has a rollicking rhythm; c) it has to be read out loud to be even halfway understood and/or appreciated; and d) you can hear bagpipes when you read it (I swear!).


Date: c1640

By: Robert Sempill (the Younger) (?1595-?1663)

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sic Vita by Henry King

Like to the falling of a star,
Or as the flights of eagles are,
Or like the fresh spring’s gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew,
Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood:
Even such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in, and paid to night.

The wind blows out, the bubble dies;
The spring entombed in autumn lies;
The dew dries up, the star is shot;
The flight is past, and man forgot.


Date: 1640

By: Henry King (1592-1669)

Friday, 2 August 2013

On the Tombs in Westminster Abbey by Francis Beaumont

Mortality, behold, and fear,
What a change of flesh is here!
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within this heap of stones;
Here they lie, had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to stir their hands;
Where, from their pulpits seal’d with dust,
They preach, “In greatness is no trust!”
Here’s an acre sown indeed
With the richest royal’st seed,
That the earth did e’er suck in
Since the first man died for sin:
Here the bones of birth have cried,
“Though gods they were, as men they died:”
Here are sands, ignoble things
Dropt from the ruin’d sides of kings.
Here’s a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.


Date: 1640 (published)

By: Francis Beaumont (1584-1616)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Ask Me No More by Thomas Carew

Ask me no more where Jove bestows,
When June is past, the fading rose;
For in your beauty’s orient deep
These flowers, as in their causes, sleep.

Ask me no more whither do stray
The golden atoms of the day;
For in pure love heaven did prepare
Those powders to enrich your hair.

Ask me no more whither doth haste
The nightingale when May is past;
For in your sweet dividing throat
She winters and keeps warm her note.

Ask me no more where those stars ‘light
That downwards fall in dead of night;
For in your eyes they sit, and there
Fixed become as in their sphere.

Ask me no more if east or west
The Phoenix builds her spicy nest;
For unto you at last she flies,
And in your fragrant bosom dies.


Date: 1640

By: Thomas Carew (1595-?1645)

Alternative Title: A Song