Posts tagged ‘1866’

Sunday, 6 June 2021

[By What Mistake Were Pigeons Made So Happy] by James Henry

By what mistake were pigeons made so happy,
So plump and fat and sleek and well content,
So little with the affairs of others meddling,
So little meddled with? say, a collared dog,
And hard worked ox, and horse still harder worked,
And caged canary, why, uncribbed, unmaimed,
Unworked and of its will lord absolute,
The pigeon sole has free board and free quarters,
Till at its throat the knife, and pigeon pie
Must smoke ere noon upon the parson’s table;
Say, if ye can; I cannot, for the life o’ me;
But, whersoe’er I go, I find it so;
The pigeon of all things that walk or fly
Or swim or creep, the best cared-for and happiest;
Ornament ever fresh and ever fair
Of castle and of cottage, palace roof
And village street, alike, and stubble field,
And every eye and volute of the minster;
Philosopher’s and poet’s and my own
Envy and admiration, theme and riddle;
Emblem and hieroglyphic of the third
Integral unit of the Trinity;
Not even by pagan set to heavier task
Than draw the cart of Venus; since the deluge
Never once asked to carry in the bill,
And by the telegraph and penny-post
Released for ever from all charge of letters.


Date: 1866

By: James Henry (1798-1876)

Saturday, 25 July 2020

“Ever the Same” by Henry Glassford Bell

“Ever the same!” Ah! no, not now the same;
Years imperceptibly evolve a change;
New incidents surround us; the old range
Of thoughts and feelings alters; the old flame
Unconsciously burns out; the earthly frame
Takes new conditions; and without a fault,
Or choice of ours, old pleasures call a halt,
And later cares put in a closer claim:
Still loving, still sincere, still glad to meet
The friend of other years, yet not as then,—
More quietly, finding him like other men,
The smile less winning, and the voice less sweet;
Ah! days departed! who would harshly blame
The kindly tongue that whispers—“Still the same!”

From: Bell, Henry Glassford, Romances and Minor Poems, 1866, MacMillan and Co: London, p. 181.

Date: 1866

By: Henry Glassford Bell (1803-1874)

Monday, 23 February 2015

A Legend of Camelot – Part 1 by George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier

Tall Braunighrindas left her bed
At cock-crow with an aching head.
O miserie!
“I yearn to suffer and to do,”
She cried, “ere sunset, something new!
O miserie!
“To do and suffer, ere I die,
I care not what. I know not why.
O miserie!
“Some quest I crave to undertake,
Or burden bear, or trouble make.”
O miserie!
She shook her hair about her form
In waves of colour bright and warm.
O miserie!
It rolled and writhed, and reached the floor
A silver wedding-ring she wore.
O miserie!
She left her tower, and wandered down
Into the High Street of the town.
O miserie!
Her pale feet glimmered, in and out,
Like tombstones as she went about.
O miserie!
From right to left, and left to right;
And blue veins streakt her insteps white;
O miserie!
And folks did ask her in the street
“How fared it with her long pale feet?”
O miserie!
And blinkt, as though ’twere hard to bear
The red-heat of her blazing hair!
O miserie!
Sir Galahad and Sir Launcelot
Came hand-in-hand down Camelot;
O miserie!
Sir Gauwaine followed close behind;
A weight hung heavy on his mind.
O miserie!
“Who knows this damsel, burning bright,”
Quoth Launcelot, “like a northern light”?
O miserie!
Quoth Sir Gauwaine “I know her not!”
“Who quoth you did?” quoth Launcelot.
O miserie!
“’Tis Braunighrindas!” quoth Sir Bors.
(Just then returning from the wars.)
O miserie!
Then quoth the pure Sir Galahad
“She seems, methinks, but lightly clad!
O miserie!
“The winds blow somewhat chill to-day.
Moreover, what would Arthur say!”
O miserie!
She thrust her chin towards Galahad
Full many an inch beyond her head. . . .
O miserie!
But when she noted Sir Gauwaine
She wept, and drew it in again!
O miserie!
She wept “How beautiful am I!”
He shook the poplars with a sigh.
O miserie!
Sir Launcelot was standing near;
Him kist he thrice behind the ear.
O miserie!
“Ah me!” sighed Launcelot where he stood,
“I cannot fathom it!” . . . (who could?)
O miserie!
Hard by his wares a weaver wove,
And weaving with a will, he throve;
O miserie!
Him beckoned Galahad, and said,—
“Gaunt Braunighrindas wants your aid . . .
O miserie!
“Behold the wild growth from her nape!
Good weaver, weave it into shape!”
O miserie!
The weaver straightway to his loom
Did lead her, whilst the knights made room;
O miserie!
And wove her locks, both web and woof,
And made them wind and waterproof;
O miserie!
Then with his shears he opened wide
An arm-hole neat on either side,
O miserie!
And bound her with his handkerchief
Right round the middle like a sheaf.
O miserie!
“Are you content, knight?” quoth Sir Bors
To Galahad; quoth he, “Of course!”
O miserie!
“Ah, me! those locks,” quoth Sir Gauwaine,
“Will never know the comb again!”
O miserie!
The bold Sir Launcelot quoth he nought;
So (haply) all the more he thought.
O miserie!


Date: 1866

By: George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (1834-1896)

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Red Thread of Honour by Francis Hastings Doyle

Eleven men of England
A breastwork charged in vain;
Eleven men of England
Lie stripped, and gashed, and slain.
Slain, but of foes that guarded
Their rock-built fortress well,
Some twenty had been mastered,
When the last soldier fell.

Whilst Napier piloted his wondrous way
Across the sand-waves of the desert sea,
Then flashed at once, on each fierce clan, dismay,
Lord of their wild Truckee.

These missed the glen to which their steps were bent,
Mistook a mandate, from afar half-heard,
And, in that glorious error, calmly went
To death without a word.

The robber-chief mused deeply,
Above those daring dead;
“Bring here,” at length he shouted,
“Bring, quick, the battle thread.
Let Eblis blast for ever
Their souls, if Allah will:
But we must keep unbroken
The old rules of the Hill.

“Before the Ghiznee tiger
Leapt forth to burn and slay;
Before the holy Prophet
Taught our grim tribes to pray;
Before Secunder’s lances
Pierced through each Indian glen;
The mountain laws of honour
Were framed for fearless men.

“Still, when a chief dies bravely,
We bind with green one wrist
Green for the brave, for heroes
ONE crimson thread we twist.
Say ye, oh gallant hillmen,
For these, whose life has fled,
Which is the fitting colour,
The green one or the red?”

“Our brethren, laid in honoured graves, may wear
Their green reward,” each noble savage said:
“To these, whom hawks and hungry wolves shall tear,
Who dares deny the red?”

Thus conquering hate, and steadfast to the right,
Fresh from the heart that haughty verdict came;
Beneath a waning moon, each spectral height
Rolled back its loud acclaim.

Once more the chief gazed keenly
Down on those daring dead;
From his good sword their heart’s blood
Crept to that crimson thread.
Once more he cried, “The judgment,
Good friends, is wise and true,
But though the red be given,
Have we not more to do?

“These were not stirred by anger,
Nor yet by lust made bold;
Renown they thought above them,
Nor did they look for gold.
To them their leader’s signal
Was as the voice of God:
Unmoved and uncomplaining,
The path it showed they trod.

“As, without sound or struggle,
The stars unhurrying march,
Where Allah’s finger guides them,
Through yonder purple arch,
These Franks, sublimely silent,
Without a quickened breath,
Went, in the strength of duty,
Straight to their goal of death.

“If I were now to ask you
To name our bravest man,
Ye all at once would answer,
They called him Mehrab Khan.
He sleeps among his fathers,
Dear to our native land,
With the bright mark he bled for
Firm round his faithful hand.

“The songs they sing of Roostum
Fill all the past with light;
If truth be in their music,
He was a noble knight.
But were those heroes living,
And strong for battle still,
Would Mehrab Khan or Roostum
Have climbed, like these, the Hill?”

And they replied, “Though Mehrab Khan was brave,
As chief, he chose himself what risks to run;
Prince Roostum lied, his forfeit life to save,
Which these have never done.”

“Enough!” he shouted fiercely;
“Doomed though they be to hell,
Bind fast the crimson trophy
Round BOTH wrists — bind it well.
Who knows but that great Allah
May grudge such matchless men,
With none so decked in heaven,
To the fiends’ flaming den?”

Then all those gallant robbers
Shouted a stern “Amen!”
They raised the slaughtered sergeant,
They raised his mangled ten.

And when we found their bodies
Left bleaching in the wind,
Around BOTH wrists in glory
That crimson thread was twined.

Then Napier’s knightly heart, touched to the core,
Rung, like an echo, to that knightly deed,
He bade its memory live for evermore,
That those who run may read.


Date: 1866

By: Francis Hastings Doyle (1810-1888)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Love and Sleep by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Lying asleep between the strokes of night
    I saw my love lean over my sad bed,
    Pale as the duskiest lily’s leaf or head,
Smooth-skinned and dark, with bare throat made to bite,
Too wan for blushing and too warm for white,
    But perfect-coloured without white or red.
    And her lips opened amorously, and said –
I wist not what, saving one word – Delight.

And all her face was honey to my mouth,
    And all her body pasture to mine eyes;
         The long lithe arms and hotter hands than fire,
The quivering flanks, hair smelling of the south,
    The bright light feet, the splendid supple thighs
         And glittering eyelids of my soul’s desire.  


Date: 1866

By: Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909)

Friday, 9 December 2011

Finis Exoptatus by Adam Lindsay Gordon

Boot and saddle, see the slanting
Rays begin to fall,
Flinging lights and colours flaunting
Through the shadows tall,
Onward! onward! must we travel?
When will come the goal?
Riddle I may not unravel,
Cease to vex my soul.

Harshly break those peals of laughter
From the jays aloft,
Can we guess what they cry after,
We have heard them oft;
Perhaps some strain of rude thanksgiving
Mingles in their song,
Are they glad that they are living?
Are they right or wrong?
Right, ’tis joy that makes them call so,
Why should they be sad?
Certes! we are living also,
Shall not we be glad?
Onward! onward! must we travel?
Is the goal more near?
Riddle we may not unravel,
Why so dark and drear?

Yon small bird his hymn outpouring
On the branch close by
Recks not for the kestrel soaring
In the nether sky,
Though the hawk with wings extended
Poises overhead,
Motionless as though suspended
By a viewless thread.
See, he stoops, nay, shooting forward
With the arrow’s flight,
Swift and straight away to nor’ward
Sails he out of sight.
Onward! onward! thus we travel,
Comes the goal more nigh?
Riddle we may not unravel,
Who shall make reply?

Ha! Friend Ephraim, saint or sinner,
Tell me if you can—
Tho’ we may not judge the inner
By the outer man,
Yet by girth of broadcloth ample,
And by cheeks that shine,
Surely you set no example
In the fasting line—
Could you, like yon bird, discov’ring
Fate, as close at hand
As the kestrel o’er him hov’ring,
Still, as he did, stand?
Trusting grandly, singing gaily,
Confident and calm,
Not one false note in your daily
Hymn or weekly psalm?

Oft your oily tones are heard in
Chapel, where you preach,
This the everlasting burden
Of the tale you teach:
‘We are d—d, our sins are deadly,
You alone are heal’d’—
’Twas not thus their gospel redly
Saints and martyrs seal’d—
You had seem’d more like a martyr
Than you seem to us,
To the beasts that caught a Tartar
Once at Ephesus;
Rather than the stout apostle
Of the Gentiles, who,
Pagan-like, could cuff and wrestle,
They’d have chosen you.

Yet I ween on such occasion<
Your dissenting voice
Would have been, in mild persuasion,
Raised against their choice;
Man of peace, and man of merit,
Pompous, wise, and grave,
Ephraim! Is it flesh or spirit
You strive most to save?
Vain is half this care and caution
O’er the earthly shell,
We can neither baffle nor shun
Dark-plumed Azrael.
Onward! onward! still we wonder,
Nearer draws the goal;
Half the riddle’s read, we ponder
Vainly on the whole.

Eastward! in the pink horizon,
Fleecy hillocks shame
This dim range dull earth that lies on
Tinged with rosy flame.
Westward! as a stricken giant
Stoops his bloody crest,
And, tho’ vanquished, frowns defiant,
Sinks the sun to rest.
Distant yet, approaching quickly,
From the shades that lurk,
Like a black pall gathers thickly
Night, when none may work,
Soon our restless occupation
Shall have ceased to be;
Units! in God’s vast creation,
Ciphers! what are we?
Onward! onward! oh! faint-hearted;
Nearer and more near
Has the goal drawn since we started,
Be of better cheer.

Preacher! all forbearance ask, for
All are worthless found,
Man must aye take man to task for
Faults while earth goes round.
On this dank soil thistles muster,
Thorns are broadcast sown,
Seek not figs where thistles cluster,
Grapes where thorns have grown.
Sun and rain and dew from heaven,
Light and shade and air,
Heat and moisture freely given,
Thorns and thistles share.
Vegetation rank and rotten<
Feels the cheering ray;
Not uncared for, unforgotten,
We too have our day.
Unforgotten! though we cumber
Earth, we work His will.
Shall we sleep through night’s long slumber
Unforgotten still?
Onward! onward! toiling ever,
Weary steps and slow,
Doubting oft, despairing never,
To the goal we go!

Hark! the bells on distant cattle
Waft across the range,
Through the golden-tufted wattle,
Music low and strange;
Like the marriage peal of fairies
Comes the tinkling sound,
Or like chimes of sweet St. Mary’s
On far English ground.
How my courser champs the snaffle,
And with nostril spread,
Snorts and scarcely seems to ruffle
Fern leaves with his tread;
Cool and pleasant on his haunches
Blows the evening breeze,
Through the overhanging branches
Of the wattle trees:
Onward! to the Southern Ocean,
Glides the breath of Spring,
Onward, with a dreamy motion,
I, too, glide and sing—
Forward! forward! still we wander—
Tinted hills that lie
In the red horizon yonder—
Is the goal so nigh?

Whisper, spring-wind, softly singing,
Whisper in my ear;
Respite and nepenthe bringing,
Can the goal be near?
Laden with the dew of vespers,
From the fragrant sky,
In my ear the wind that whispers
Seems to make reply—
‘Question not, but live and labour
Till yon goal be won,
Helping every feeble neighbour,
Seeking help from none;
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
KINDNESS in another’s trouble,
COURAGE in your own.’
Courage, comrades, this is certain,
All is for the best—
There are lights behind the curtain—
Gentles, let us rest,
As the smoke-rack veers to seaward,
From ‘the ancient clay’,
With its moral drifting leeward,
Ends the wanderer’s lay.


Date: 1866

By: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870)

Alternative Title: Ye Wearie Wayfarer. Hys Ballad. Fytte VIII. – Finis Exoptatus. [A Metaphysical Song.]

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Heaven-Haven by Gerard Manley Hopkins

A nun takes the veil

I have desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lilies blow.

And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea.


Date: 1865-1866

By: Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)