Posts tagged ‘1844’

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Fall, Plum Petals by Minteisengan

Fall, plum petals,
fall—and leave behind the memory
of scent.

From: Hoffmann, Yoel, Japanese Death Poems: Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death, 1986, Charles E. Tuttle Company: Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo, Japan, p. 244.

Date: 1844 (original in Japanese); 1986 (translation in English)

By: Minteisengan (1777-1844)

Translated by: Yoel Hoffmann (1937- )

Monday, 20 January 2020

San Miguel de la Tumba by Gonzalo de Berceo

San Miguel de la Tumba is a convent vast and wide;
The sea encircles it around, and groans on every side;
It is a wild and dangerous place, and many woes betide
The monks who in that burial place in penitence abide.
Within those dark monastic walls, amid the ocean flood
Of pious fasting monks there dwelt a holy brotherhood;
To the Madonna’s glory there an altar high was placed
And a rich and costly image the sacred altar graced.
Exalted high upon a throne, the Virgin Mother smiled,
And as the custom is, she held within her arms the Child;
The kings and wisemen of the East were kneeling by her side;
Attended was she like a queen whom God had sanctified.

Descending low before her face a screen of feathers hung,–
A moscader or fan for flies, ’tis called in vulgar tongue;
From the feathers of the peacock’s wing ’twas fashioned bright and fair,
And glistened like the heaven above when all its stars are there.
It chanced that for the people’s sins, fell lightning’s blasting stroke;
Forth from all four sacred walls the flames consuming broke;
The sacred robes were all consumed, missal and holy book;
And hardly with their lives the monks their crumbling walls forsook.

But though the desolating flame raged fearfully and wild,
It did not reach the Virgin Queen, it did not reach the Child;
It did not reach the feathery screen before her face that shone,
Nor injured in a farthing’s worth the image or the throne.
The image it did not consume, it did not burn the screen;
Even in the value of a hair they were not hurt, I ween;
Not even the smoke did reach them, nor injure more the shrine
Than the bishop, hight Don Tello, has been hurt by hand of mine


Date: 13th century (original in Spanish); 1844 (translation in English)

By: Gonzalo de Berceo (c1197-before 1264)

Translated by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Love and Pride by Sarah Stickney Ellis

Proud Beauty, they tell me ’tis love
That kindles the fire of thine eye;
But when did affection ere prove
A passion so towering and high?

They say that a rival has won
Her way to the heart that was thine.
No wonder; when thou canst put on
An aspect so far from divine.

It is not — it cannot be love.
Affection is lowly, and deep;
All groundless suspicion above.
It knows but to trust or to weep.

To weep such sad tears of distress,
As wither the cheek where they fall.
Thine is not an anguish like this,
The bitterest anguish of all.

Thou know’st not the meekness of love;
How it suffers, and yet can be still.
How the calm on its surface may prove
What sorrow the bosom can fill.

No; thine is a transient shock,
Of feeling less tender and kind.
Like the dash of the wave on the rock,
It leaves not a vestige behind.

Proud Beauty, this comfort then take,
Whatever misfortune betide,
Believe me, that heart will not break
Whose love is less deep than its pride.

From: Ellis, Sarah, Irish Girl: and Other Poems, 1844, James Langley: New York, pp. 43-44.

Date: 1844

By: Sarah Stickney Ellis (1799-1872)

Saturday, 7 May 2016

A Fire-Side Fancy by John William Burgon

Oft as, at night, I sit and muse alone,
Bound by the spell of some enchanting page —
Bard of old Greece, or half inspir’d sage —
My kindl’d fancy takes a wayward tone:
And straight, I hear what seems the midnight moan
Of some poor restless ghost; — or, it may be,
The distant roaring of the sleepless sea; —
Or unchain’d winds that howl from zone to zone.
Hark! is it not a voice? There seem’d to come
A soft sad wail; — but now, such carol wild
As a young Mother chaunteth to her child
Steals o’er the sense. — Go to — it is the hum
Of a huge city! while I thus inquire,
I turn, and find — the kettle near the fire!

Worcester College,
13th Dec., 1844.

From: Burgon, John William, Petra, A Poem. Second Edition. To Which a Few Short Poems Are Now Added, 1846, F. MacPherson: Oxford, p. 56.

Date: 1844

By: John William Burgon (1813-1888)

Friday, 25 September 2015

To — by Frances Anne Kemble

I would I might be with thee, when the year
Begins to wane, and that thou walk’st alone
Upon the rocky strand, whilst loud and clear,
The autumn wind sings, from his cloudy throne,
Wild requiems for the summer that is gone.
Or when, in sad and contemplative mood,
Thy feet explore the leafy-paven wood:
I would my soul might reason then with thine,
Upon those themes most solemn and most strange,
Which every falling leaf and fading flower,
Whisper unto us with a voice divine;
Filling the brief space of one mortal hour,
With fearful thoughts of death, decay, and change,
And the high mystery of that after birth,
That comes to us, as well as to the earth.

From: Butler, Frances Anne, Poems, 2008, Project Gutenberg: Salt Lake City, UT, p. 60.

Date: 1844

By: Frances Anne Kemble (1809-1893)

Thursday, 5 February 2015

La Madonna dell Acqua by John Ruskin

In the centre of the lagoon between Venice and the mouths of the Brenta, supported on a few mouldering piles stands a small shrine dedicated to the Madonna dell Acqua, which the gondolier never passes without a prayer.

Around her shrine no earthly blossoms blow.
No footsteps fret the pathway to and fro;
No sign nor record of departed prayer,
Print of the stone, nor echo of the air;
Worn by the lip, nor wearied by the knee–
Only a deeper silence of the sea;
For there, in passing, pause the breezes bleak,
And the foam fades, and all the waves are weak.
The pulse-like oars in softer fall succeed,
The black prow falters through the wild seaweed–
Where, twilight-borne, the minute thunders reach.
Of deep-mouthed surf, that bays by Lido’s beach,
With intermittent motion traversed far,
And shattered glancing of the western star,
Till the faint storm-bird on the heaving flow
Drops in white circles, silently like snow.
Not here the ponderous gem nor pealing note,
Dim to adorn–insentient to adore–
But purple-dyed, the mists of evening float.
In ceaseless incense from the burning floor
Of ocean, and the gathered gold of heaven
Laces its sapphire vault, and, early given,
The white rays of the rushing firmament
Pierce the blue-quivering night through wreath or rent
Of cloud inscrutable and motionless–
Hectic and wan, and moon-companioned cloud!
Oh! lone Madonna–angel of the deep–
When the night falls, and deadly winds are loud,
WilI not thy love be with us while we keep
Our watch upon the waters, and the gaze
Of thy soft eyes, that slumber not, nor sleep?
Deem not thou, stranger, that such trust is vain;
Faith walks not on these weary waves alone,
Though weakness dread or apathy disdain
The spot which God has hallowed for His own.
They sin who pass it lightly–ill divining
The glory of this place of bitter prayer;
And hoping against hope, and self-resigning,
And reach of faith, and wrestling with despair.
And resurrection of the last distress,
Into the sense of Heaven, when earth is bare,
And of God’s voice, when man’s is comfortless.

From: Ruskin, John, Poems, with an Essay on the Author by G. K. Chesterton, 1908, George Routledge & Sons Ltd: London, pp. 183-184.

Date: 1844

By: John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Old Father Frost and his Family by William Thom

Grim father Frost, he hath children twain,
The cloud-born daughters of Lady Rain;
The elder, a coquettish pattering thing,
Would woo you in winter, and pelt you in spring;
At times you might scarce feel her feathery fall.
Anon she will beard you with icicle ball;
When the warrings of heaven roll higher and higher.
She, coward-like, flees from the conflict of fire —
Yet heightens the havoc, for her feeble power,
Tho’ scaithless the oak, how it fells the frail flower!
And the bad of the berry, the bloom of the bean,
Are founder’d to earth by the merciless quean;
E’en the stout stems of summer full often must quail
To this rattling, brattling, head-breaking hail.
I’ll not say a word of how rudely she breaks
On the dream of the garret-doomed maid, and awakes
A thousand regrets in the marrowless lass,
And cruelly mimics the ” touch on the glass,”
With her cold little pearls, that dance, bound, and play,
Like our ain bonnie bairns on Candlemas day.
You know her meek sister? Oh, soft is the fall
Of her fairy footsteps on hut and on hall!
To hide the old father’s bleak doings below.
In pity she cometh, the minist’ring snow.
With her mantle she covers the shelterless trees,
As they groan to the howl of the Borean breeze;
And baffles the search of the subtle wind,
Guarding each crevice lest it should find
Its moaning way to the fireless fold
Of the trembling young and the weeping old,
When through her white bosom the daisy appears,
She greets the fair stranger with motherly tears!
And they mingle so sweet with the golden ray
Of the struggling beam that chides her away.
But where ‘s the last speck of her brightness seen,
Mid the bursting spring and its saucy green?
In the coldest side of yon lone churchyard.
Neglected graves she loveth to ward;
But not where gorgeous marble pleads,
And frequent foot of mourner treads;
But down by the stranger’s noteless lair,
Where sighs are few and footsteps rare.
She loveth, she loveth to linger there!
O’er hearts forgotten that sleep below.
There is none to weep but the friendly snow.

From: Thom, William, Rhymes and Recollections of a Hand-Loom Weaver (3rd edition with additions), 1847, Smith, Elder and Co: London, pp. 84-88.

Date: 1844

By: William Thom (1799-1848)

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Story of Johnny Head-in-Air by Heinrich Hoffmann

As he trudged along to school,
It was always Johnny’s rule
To be looking at the sky
And the clouds that floated by;
But what just before him lay,
In his way,
Johnny never thought about;
So that every one cried out
“Look at little Johnny there,
Little Johnny Head-In-Air!”

Running just in Johnny’s way
Came a little dog one day;
Johnny’s eyes were still astray
Up on high,
In the sky;
And he never heard them cry
“Johnny, mind, the dog is nigh!”
Down they fell, with such a thump,
Dog and Johnny in a lump!

Once, with head as high as ever,
Johnny walked beside the river.
Johnny watched the swallows trying
Which was cleverest at flying.
Oh! what fun!
Johnny watched the bright round sun
Going in and coming out;
This was all he thought about.
So he strode on, only think!
To the river’s very brink,
Where the bank was high and steep,
And the water very deep;
And the fishes, in a row,
Stared to see him coming so.

One step more! oh! sad to tell!
Headlong in poor Johnny fell.
And the fishes, in dismay,
Wagged their tails and swam away.

There lay Johnny on his face,
With his nice red writing-case;
But, as they were passing by,
Two strong men had heard him cry;
And, with sticks, these two strong men
Hooked poor Johnny out again.

Oh! you should have seen him shiver
When they pulled him from the river.
He was in a sorry plight!
Dripping wet, and such a fright!
Wet all over, everywhere,
Clothes, and arms, and face, and hair:
Johnny never will forget
What it is to be so wet.

And the fishes, one, two, three,
Are come back again, you see;
Up they came the moment after,
To enjoy the fun and laughter.
Each popped out his little head,
And, to tease poor Johnny, said
“Silly little Johnny, look,
You have lost your writing-book!”


Date: 1844 (original German), 1848 (English translation)

By: Heinrich Hoffmann (1809-1894)

Translated by: Unknown

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Bridge of Sighs by Thomas Hood

One more unfortunate,
Weary of breath,
Rashly importunate,
Gone to her death!

Take her up tenderly
Lift her with care;
Fashion’d so slenderly,
Young, and so fair!

Look at her garments
Clinging like cerements;
Whilst the wave constantly
Drips from her clothing;
Take her up instantly,
Loving, not loathing.

Touch her not scornfully;
Think of her mournfully,
Gently and humanly;
Not of the stains of her,
All that remains of her
Now is pure womanly.

Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny
Rash and undutiful:
Past all dishonour,
Death has left on her
Only the beautiful.

Still, for all slips of hers,
One of Eve’s family–
Wipe those poor lips of hers
Oozing so clammily.

Loop up her tresses
Escaped from the comb,
Her fair auburn tresses;
Whilst wonderment guesses
Where was her home?

Who was her father?
Who was her mother?
Had she a sister?
Had she a brother?
Or was there a dearer one
Still, and a nearer one
Yet, than all other?

Alas! for the rarity
Of Christian charity
Under the sun!
O, it was pitiful!
Near a whole city full,
Home she had none.

Sisterly, brotherly,
Fatherly, motherly
Feelings had changed:
Love, by harsh evidence,
Thrown from its eminence;
Even God’s providence
Seeming estranged.

Where the lamps quiver
So far in the river,
With many a light
From window and casement,
From garret to basement,
She stood, with amazement,
Houseless by night.

The bleak wind of March
Made her tremble and shiver;
But not the dark arch,
Or the black flowing river:
Mad from life’s history,
Glad to death’s mystery,
Swift to be hurl’d–
Anywhere, anywhere
Out of the world!

In she plunged boldly–
No matter how coldly
The rough river ran–
Over the brink of it,
Picture it–think of it,
Dissolute Man!
Lave in it, drink of it,
Then, if you can!

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care;
Fashion’d so slenderly,
Young, and so fair!

Ere her limbs frigidly
Stiffen too rigidly,
Decently, kindly,
Smooth and compose them;
And her eyes, close them,
Staring so blindly!

Dreadfully staring
Thro’ muddy impurity,
As when with the daring
Last look of despairing
Fix’d on futurity.

Perishing gloomily,
Spurr’d by contumely,
Cold inhumanity,
Burning insanity,
Into her rest.–
Cross her hands humbly
As if praying dumbly,
Over her breast!

Owning her weakness,
Her evil behaviour,
And leaving, with meekness,
Her sins to her Saviour!


Date: 1844

By: Thomas Hood (1798-1845)