Posts tagged ‘1838’

Monday, 3 December 2018

Chanukah by Marion Hartog

Down-trodden ’neath the Syrian heel
Did Zion’s sceptre lie;
Her shrine, where once God’s glory flung
Its radiance, now wildly rung
With pagan revelry.

And in the Temple’s secret place,
Where once the High Priest bowed
In homage to the King of kings,
The vilest of all earthly things
Was worshipped by the crowd.

And still the flaming altar smoked,
The priest was at his post,
Commanding Israel’s sons to pray
To images of stone and clay,
Or swell the holocaust.

Seven glorious brethren there had stood,
Unflinching, side by side,
And, sooner than yield up their faith,
Had dared the faggot’s burning breath,
And willing martyrs died.

Not unavenged and not in vain
Fell that undaunted race;
For Judas, with his patriot band,
Drove the oppressors from the land,
And cleansed the holy place.

Then the Menorah once again
Illumed the holy shrine,
One little flask of sacred oil,
Saved unpolluted from the spoil
Supplied the light divine.

Full twenty centuries have rolled
The gulf of Time adown,
Since those heroic Maccabees,
The victims of Epiphanes,
Assumed the martyr’s crown.

And still the Festival of Lights
Recalls those deeds of yore
That make our history’s page sublime
And live for evermore.


Date: ?1838

By: Marion Hartog (1821-1907)

Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Fellow-Labourers by Isaac Williams

My little mole, two callings have we two,
One master: where old earth is hardest bound,
And shrub stretching his limbs with much ado,
There art thou, with thy mattock, and thy hoe,
And many finger’d shovel; yet no sound
Speaks of thy whereabout, nor heard nor found
Save in thy mountain monuments; kind to you,
Should we be, fellow-labourers of the ground.
My little miner with the velvet coat,
We are mid things we deem not, did’st e’er note
Blue sky, and flower, and field, or the sweet throat
Of birds around thee? to our work again,
Round us too tents are spread unseen by men,
And companies too bright for human ken.

From: Williams, Isaac, Thoughts in Past Years, 1838, John Henry Parker: London, p. 34.

Date: 1838

By: Isaac Williams (1802-1865)

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Stammerer’s Complaint by Martin Farquhar Tupper

Ah! think it not a light calamity
To be denied free converse with my kind,
To be debarred from man’s true attribute,
The proper glorious privilege of Speech.
Hast ever seen an eagle chain’d to earth?
A restless panther in his cage immured?
A swift trout by the wily fisher checked?
A wild bird hopeless strain its broken wing?
Hast ever felt, at the dark dead of night,
Some undefined and horrid incubus
Press down the very soul, — and paralyse
The limbs in their imaginary flight
From shadowy terrors in unhallowed sleep?
Hast ever known the sudden icy chill
Of dreary disappointment, as it dashes
The sweet cup of anticipated bliss
From the parched lips of long-enduring hope?

Then thou canst picture, — aye, in sober truth,
In real, unexaggerated truth, —
The constant, galling, festering chain that binds
Captive my mute interpreter of thought;
The seal of lead enstamp’d upon my lips,
The load of iron on my labouring chest,
The mocking demon that at every step
Haunts me, — and spurs me on — to burst with silence!
Oh! ‘tis a sore affliction to restrain,
From mere necessity, the glowing thought;
To feel the fluent cataract of speech
Check’d by some wintry spell, and frozen up,
Just as it leapeth from the precipice!
To be the butt of wordy captious fools,
And see the sneering self-complacent smile
Of victory on their lips, when I might prove,
(But for some little word I dare not utter,)
That innate truth is not a specious lie:
To hear foul slander blast an honour’d name,
Yet breathe no fact to drive the fiend away:
To mark neglected virtue in the dust,
Yet have no word to pity or console:

To feel just indignation swell my breast,
Yet know the fountain of my wrath is sealed:
To see my fellow-mortals hurrying on
Down the steep cliff of crime, down to perdition,
Yet have no voice to warn, — no voice to win!
‘Tis to be mortified in every point,
Baffled at every turn of life, for want
Of that most common privilege of man,
The merest drag of gorged society,
Words, — windy words.

And is it not in truth,
A poison’d sting in every social joy,
A thorn that rankles in the writhing flesh,
A drop of gall in each domestic sweet,
An irritating petty misery,
That I can never look on one I love,
And speak the fullness of my burning thoughts?
That I can never with unmingled joy
Meet a long-loved and long-expected friend,
Because I feel, but cannot vent my feelings, —
Because I know I ought,—but must not speak,
Because I mark his quick impatient eye
Striving in kindness to anticipate
The word of welcome, strangled in its birth!
Is it not sorrow, while I truly love
Sweet social converse, to be forced to shun
The happy circle, from a nervous sense,
An agonizing poignant consciousness
That I must stand aloof, nor mingle with
The wise and good, in rational argument,
The young in brilliant quickness of reply,
Friendship’s ingenuous interchange of mind,
Affection’s open-hearted sympathies,
But feel myself an isolated being,
A very wilderness of widow’d thought!

Aye, ‘tis a bitter thing, — and not less bitter
Because it is not reckoned in the ills,
“The thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to;”
Yet the full ocean is but countless drops,
And misery is an aggregate of tears,
And life, replete with small annoyances,
Is but one long protracted scene of sorrow.

I scarce would wonder, if a godless man,
(I name not him whose hope is heavenward,)
A man, whom lying vanities hath scath’d
And harden’d from all fear, — if such an one
By this tyrannical Argus goaded on
Were to be wearied of his very life,
And daily, hourly foiled in social converse,
By the slow simmering of disappointment
Become a sour’d and apathetic being,
Were to feel rapture at the approach of death,
And long for his dark hope, — annihilation.


Date: 1838

By: Martin Farquhar Tupper (1810-1889)

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Three Sonnets to K.S.: Sonnet I by John Saunders

As one who wanders in a stranger place,
That some pure lovely spirit erst hath haunted,
And pauseth often in his dreamy pace,
By that pervading, mystic spell enchanted,
I tread these alien street – and yet not so,
They were thy home – so alien no more;
I seek in senseless stones some gathered store
Of memories of thee – and oft my eye,
By Fancy cheated, seeth warm and clear
Thy gentle semblance, which, approached too high,
Leaves me to murmur – “No, she is not here.”
Enchantress! loose the ties wherewith thou’st bound me,
Or bind them, oh! much tighter yet around me.

From: Allen, Michael J. (ed.), The Anthem Anthology of Victorian Sonnets, Volume 1, 2011, Anthem Press: London, p. 15.

Date: 1838

By: John Saunders (1810-1895)

Monday, 8 December 2014

To Celia by Francisco Balagtas y de la Cruz (Francisco Baltazar)

If I recall and read again
those days in love’s long-faded script,
would there be not a mark or trace
but Celia’s, imprinted on my breast?

The Celia whom I’ve always
feared might forget our love,
who took me down these hapless depths,
the only reason for this turn of fate.

Again would I neglect to read
the pages of our tenderness,
or call to mind the love she poured,
the bitter struggle I gave for it?

Our sweet days gone,
my love is all that’s left;
ever shall it dwell within
till I’m laid down in my grave.

Now as I lie in loneliness,
behold wherein I seek relief:
each bygone day I revisit, I find
joy in the likeness of your face.

This likeness painted with love
and longing has lodged within
my heart, sole token left with me
not even death can steal.

My soul haunts the paths
and fields you blessed with your footsteps;
and to Beata River and shallow Hilom stream
my heart never fails to wander.

Not rarely now my vagrant grief
sits under the mango tree we passed,
and looking at the dainty fruits
you wanted picked I forget my ache.

The whole of me could only
be intimate with sighs when you were ill;
for I knew as Eden kept a room us,
my hidden hurt was heaven still.

I woo your image that resides
in the Makati river we frequented;
to the happy berth of boats I trace your steps,
among the stones that touched your feet.

All these return before me now,
the joy of years, the blissful past,
where I would soak and steep myself
before I’m caught in brackish neap.

Always I could hear what you would say:
Three days and our eyes won’t meet.
And the eager answer from my leaping heart:
There’s only me but you prepare a feast.

So what was there in our
joyful past that memory could miss:
in constant return the tears do flow,
I sigh and weep: O hapless fate!

Where is Celia, joy of my heart?
Why could our blissful love not last?
Where is the time when just her look
was heaven’s glimpse, my soul, my life?

Why, when we parted,
did this luckless life not cease?
Your memory is death, O Celia,
but in my heart you will not fade.

This long torment you brought,
I couldn’t bear, O departed Joy;
but it took me by the hand to poetry and song,
about a life so trodden low, now lost.

Celia, my messages are mute,
my muse is dumb, her voice faint;
without my taunt she would not speak,
pray listen to me with mind and ear.

This first spring that breaks
from my parched mind I offer at your feet:
deign receive, from this kneeling heart,
even if you won’t savor it.

If all this fell into slur and insult,
my gain is great from invested effort,
if complaint it is you now peruse,
remember, too, it is the author’s gift.

O joyful nymphs of Bai, the placid lake,
Sirens whose voices bring music to my ears,
I come now to your sparkling shrine,
my forlorn muse implores you.

Rise now to shore and field,
accompany with lyre this humble song
that speaks: if fate this life may snip,
its fervent wish is that love won’t cease.

Gleaming bloom of my mind,
Celia whose symbols are M, A, and R;
here I am adoring at the Virgin Madonna’s
altar, F and B, your loyal servant.


Date: 1838 (original in Tagalog); 2008 (translation in English)

By: Francisco Balagtas y de la Cruz (Francisco Baltazar) (1788-1862)

Translated by: Marne L. Kilates (1952- )

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Aboriginal Mother by Eliza Hamilton Dunlop

“Only one female and her child got away from us.” – Evidence before the Supreme Court.

Oh, hush thee – hush, my baby, I may not tend thee yet,
Our forest land is distant far, and midnight’s star is set,
Now hush thee, or the pale-faced men will hear thy piercing wail,
And what would then thy mother’s tear or feeble strength avail.

Ah, could thy little bosom that mother’s anguish feel,
Or couldst thou know thy father lies struck down by English steel,
Thy tender form would wither, like the kniven on the sand,
And the spirit of my perished tribe would vanish from our land.

For thy young life, my precious, I fly the fields of blood,
Else I had, for my chieftain’s sake, defied them where they stood.
But basely bound my woman arm, no weapon might it wield,
I could but cling round him I loved, to make my heart his shield.

I saw my first-born treasure lie headless at my feet,
The gooroo on his mother’s breast with his life’s stream is wet;
And thou, I snatched thee from their sword, it harmless passed by thee,
But clave the binding cords, and gave the craved boon – to flee.

To flee, my babe! but whither, without our friend, our guide?
Thy blood that was our strength is shed – he is not by my side.
Thy sire! oh! never, never, shall Toon Bakra hear our cry.
My bold, my stately mountain bird! I thought not he could die.

Now, who will teach thee, dearest, to poise the shield and spear,
To wield the koopin or to throw the boommerring void of fear,
To breast the river in its might, the mountain tracks to tread?
The echoes of my homeless heart reply, “the dead! the dead!”

For ever must their murmurs, like the ocean torrent flow –
The parted voice comes never back to cheer our lonely woe;
E’en. in the region of our tribe, beside our summer streams,
‘Tis as a hollow symphony from the shadow land of dreams.

Nay, hush thee dear; for weary and faint I bear thee on.
His name is on thy gentle lips; my child, my child he’s gone!
Gone o’er the golden fields that lie beyond the rolling cloud,
To bring thy people’s murder cry before the Christian’s God.

Yes, o’er the stars that guide us, he leads my slaughtered boy,
To show their God how treacherously these stranger men destroy;
To tell of hands – the cruel hands – that piled the fatal pyre;
To show our blood on Myall’s ridge; our bones on the stockman’s fire.


Date: 1838

By: Eliza Hamilton Dunlop (1796-1880)

Monday, 4 February 2013

A Life On the Ocean Wave by Epes Sargent

A life on the ocean wave!
A home on the rolling deep!
Where the scatter’d waters rave,
And the winds their revels keep!
Like an eagle cag’d I pine,
On this dull unchanging shore,
Oh! give me the flashing brine,
The spray and the tempest’s roar!

A life on the ocean wave!
A home on the rolling deep!
Where the scatter’d waters rave,
And the winds their revels keep,
The winds, the winds
The winds their revels keep!
Once more on the deck I stand
Of my own swift gliding craft,
Set sail! farewell to the land,
The gale follows fair abaft.

We shoot thro’ the sparkling foam,
Like an ocean-bird set free,
Like the ocean-bird, our home
We’ll find far out on the sea!
A life on the ocean wave!

The land is no longer in view,
The clouds have begun to frown,
But with a stout vessel and crew
We’ll say, let the storm come down!
And the song of our hearts shall be
While the winds and the waters rave,
A life on the heaving sea!
A home on the bounding wave!
A life on the ocean wave!


Date: 1838

By: Epes Sargent (1813-1880)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

I Love the Forest;―I Could Dwell Among by Richard Monckton Milnes

I love the Forest;―I could dwell among
That silent people, till my thoughts up-grew
In nobly-ordered form, as to my view
Rose the succession of that lofty throng:―
The mellow footstep on a ground of leaves
Formed by the slow decay of nume’rous years,―
The couch of moss, whose growth alone appears,
Beneath the fir’s inhospitable eaves,―
The chirp and flutter of some single bird,―
The rustle in the brake,―what precious store
Of joys have these on Poets’ hearts conferred?
And then at times to send one’s own voice out,
In the full frolic of one startling shout,
Only to feel the after-stillness more!

From: Allen, Michael J, The Anthem Anthology of Victorian Sonnets, 2011, Anthem Press: London, p. 13.

Date: 1838

By: Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1855)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Rondeau by Leigh Hunt

Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in:
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say that health and wealth have missed me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
Jenny kissed me.


Date: 1838

By: Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)

Alternative Title: Jenny Kissed Me