Posts tagged ‘1888’

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Dead Moon by Caroline Danske Bedinger Dandridge

We are ghost-ridden:
Through the deep night
Wanders a spirit,
Noiseless and white;
Loiters not, lingers not, knoweth not rest,
Ceaselessly haunting the East and the West.
She, whose undoing the ages have wrought,
Moves on to the time of God’s rhythmical thought.
In the dark, swinging sea,
As she speedeth through space,
She reads her pale image;
The wounds are agape on her face.
She sees her grim nakedness
Pierced by the eyes
Of the Spirits of God
In their flight through the skies.
(Her wounds,–they are many and hollow.)
The Earth turns and wheels as she flies,
And this Spectre, this Ancient, must follow.

When, in the aeons,
Had she beginning?
What is her story?
What was her sinning?
Do the ranks of the Holy Ones
Know of her crime?
Does it loom in the mists
Of the birthplace of Time?
The stars, do they speak of her
Under their breath,
“Will this Wraith be forever
thus restless in death?”
On, through immensity,
Sliding and stealing,
On, through infinity,
Nothing revealing?

I see the fond lovers:
They walk in her light;
They charge the “soft maiden”
To bless their love-plight.
Does she laugh in her place,
As she glideth through space?
Does she laugh in her orbit with never a sound?
That to her, a dead body,
With nothing but rents in her round–
Blighted and marred,
Wrinkled and scarred,
Barren and cold,
Wizened and old–
That to her should be told,
That to her should be sung
The yearning and burning of them that are young?

Our Earth that is young,
That is throbbing with life,
Has fiery upheavals,
Has boisterous strife;
But she that is dead has not stir, breathes no air;
She is calm, she is voiceless, in lonely despair.


Date: 1888

Caroline Danske Bedinger Dandridge (1854-1914)

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Excerpt from “The Debate of the Body and the Soul” by Traditional

The soul these words had scarcely spoke,
That wist not whither it should go.
When with a bound right in there broke
A thousand devils, and yet mo.
Their sharpe claws in it they stoke,
Exulting, with a loud halloo,
And piteously, with many a mock,
They tugged and toused it to and fro.

For they were rough and fierce and tailed,
With broad bulges on their back,
Sharp their clawës, longë nailed,
There was no limb withoutë lack.
On every side it was assailed
By many a devil, foul and black;
Crying mercy nought availed
When God his hard revenge would take.

Some the jaws wide open wrast
And pourëd in the lead all hot,
Bade him thereof to drinken fast,
And skink to all his friends about.
A devil came there attë last
That was the master, well I wot,
A glowing colter in him thrast,
And through the heart the iron smot.

White-hot sword-blades some did set
To back and breast and either side;
In his heart the pointës met,
And made great gaping woundës wide; —
A pretty sight, not to forget.
They said, that heart so full of pride.
But they had promised morë yet,
And more should presently betide.

Seemly weeds they must not spare,
In such he ever would be drest;
A devil’s mail-coat for to wear,
All burning, was upon him cast,
With red-hot hasps, to fasten fair,
That sat right close to back and breast;
Anon thereto a helmet rare,
And eek a charger of the best.

As a colt for him to ride
A cursed devil forth they brought,
Horribly grinning, yawning wide,
And flame all flaring from his throat;
With a saddle at mid-side
Full of sharpë pikës shot,
Like a heckle to bestride,
And all over blazing-hot.

From: Child, F. J. (ed.), The Debate of the Body and the Soul, 1888, John Wilson and Son: Cambridge, pp. 31-34.

Date: 8th century (original in Latin); 11th century (translation in Middle English); 1888 (translation from Middle English to modern English)

By: Traditional

Translated by: Francis James Child (1825-1896)

Alternative Title: Visio Philiberti (Vision of Filibertus)

Friday, 1 May 2015

The Truth by Francis William Lauderdale Adams

Come then, let us at least know what’s the truth.
Let us not blink our eyes and say
We did not understand; old age or youth
Benumbed our sense or stole our sight away.

It is a lie — just that, a lie — to declare
That Wages are the worth of Work.
No; they are what the Employer wills to spare
To let the Employee sheer starvation shirk.

They’re the life-pittance Competition leaves,
The least for which brother’ll slay brother.
He who the fruits of this hell-strife receives,
He is a thief, an assassin, and none other.

It is a lie — just that, a lie — to declare
That Rent’s the interest on just gains.
Rent’s the thumb-screw that makes the worker share
With him who worked not the produce of his pains.

Rent’s the wise tax the human tape-worm knows.
The fat he takes; the life-lean leaves.
The holy Landlord is, as we suppose,
Just this — the model of assassin-thieves!

What is the trick the Rich-man, then, contrives?
How play my lords their brilliant rôles? —
They live on the plunder of our toiling lives,
The degradation of our bodies and souls!

From: Adams, Francis, Songs of the Army of the Night and Mass of Christ, 2003, University of Sydney of Library: Sydney, p. 57.

Date: 1888

By: Francis William Lauderdale Adams (1862-1893)

Monday, 1 December 2014

Give Every Mon His Due by George Hull (with rough adaption into standard English by flusteredduck)

I’ve rambled up an’ deawn this waurld
For nine-an’-fifty year’;
I’ve booath hed mony a merry laugh
An’ mony a lonely tear;
I’m one that knows booath friends an’ foes,
There’s lots o’ things I rue,
But this is still my motto, lads—
Give every mon is due.

Of cooarse, when I were green an’ young,
Like mony a lad beside,
I use to think this waurld knew o,
An’ bowed befoor id’ pride.
But soon I fun’ that if a mon
Were poor as weel as true,
‘Twere ten to one, though hard he toiled,
He’d never ged his due.

Yo’ see, there’s sich a lot o’ fooak
That’s bod one gradely e’e,—
They peep an’ smile at th’ rich an’ fine,
But th’ poor they connod see.
They’ll like a mon if he geds on
An’ joins their waurldy crew,
But—just grow owd beawt grabbin’ gowd,
Yo’ll never ged yo’r due.

There’s some fooak laughs when t’ weather’s fine
But cosses when id rains,
Sich like ‘ll cooart gred men wi’ brass
But scorn poor men wi’ brains.
There’s mony a chap gi’es o his life
To help his neighbours through—
To cheer their hearts i’ t’ midst o’ t’ strife—
Yet never geds his due.

When dark and deadly slander comes
To cleawd a mon’s good name,
There’s allus lots o’ idle tongues
To spreyd th’ unwelcome fame:
But give to me them kindly souls—
I wish they waurn’d so few—
That patient bide, watch every side,
An’ give the mon his due.

Oh, mates! i’ country-place an’ teawn,
Through t’ length an’ breadth o’ t’ land,
There’s mony a lonely heart gooas deawn
Witheawt a helpin’ hand.
Then let goodwill be near us still
When others’ fa’uts we view,
For One Aboon ‘ll render soon
To every mon his due!

Give Every Man His Due by George Hull (rendered in standard English by flusteredduck)

I’ve rambled up and down this world
For nine-and-fifty years,
I’ve both had many a merry laugh
And many a lonely year;
I’m one that knows both friends and foes,
There are lots of things I rue,
But this is still my motto, lads—
Give every man his due.

Of course, when I was green and young,
Like many a lad beside,
I used to think this world knew all,
And bowed before its pride.
But soon I found that if a man
Was poor as well as true,
It were ten to one, though hard he toiled,
He would never get his due.

You see, there are such a lot of folk
That have but one proper eye,—
They peep and smile at the rich and fine,
But the poor they cannot see.
They’ll like a man if he gets on
And joins their worldly crew,
But—just grow old without grabbing gold,
You’ll never get your due.

There are some folk who laugh when the weather’s fine
But curses when it rains,
Such like will court great mean with brass (money)
But scorn poor men with brains.
There’s many a chap gives all his life
To help his neighbours through—
To cheer their hearts in the midst of the strife—
Yet never gets his due.

When dark and deadly slander comes
To cloud a man’s good name,
There are always lots of idle tongues
To spread the unwelcome fame:
But give to me them kindly souls—
I wish they weren’t so few—
That patient bide, watch every side,
And give the man his due.

Oh, mates! in country-place and town,
Through the length and breadth of the land,
There’s many a lonely heart goes down
Without a helping hand.
Then let goodwill be near us still
When other’s faults we view,
For One Above will render soon
To every man his due!


Date: 1888

By: George Hull (1863-1933)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Louisa May Alcott: In Memoriam by Louise Chandler Moulton

As the wind at play with a spark
Of fire that glows through the night;
As the speed of the soaring lark
That wings to the sky his flight—
So swiftly thy soul has sped
In its upward wonderful way,
Like the lark when the dawn is red,
In search of the shining day.
Thou art not with the frozen dead
Whom earth in the earth we lay,
While the bearers softly tread,
And the mourners kneel and pray;
From thy semblance, dumb and stark,
The soul has taken its flight—
Out of the finite dark,
Into the infinite Light.


Date: 1888

By: Louise Chandler Moulton (1835-1908)

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play;
And so, when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast.
They thought, if only Casey could but get a whack, at that,
They’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a pudding and the latter was a fake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despisèd, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second, and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from the gladdened multitude went up a joyous yell,
It bounded from the mountain-top, and rattled in the dell;
It struck upon the hillside, and recoiled upon the flat;
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place,
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile lit Casey’s face;
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt,
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there;
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped.
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
“Kill him! kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand.
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew,
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and the echo answered, “Fraud!”
But a scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed;
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lips, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.


Date: 1888

By: Ernest Lawrence Thayer (1863-1940)

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Power of Science by James Brunton Stephens

“All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame.”
Are but the legacies of apes,
With interest on the same.

How oft in studious hours do I
Recall those moments, gone too soon,
When midway in the hall I stood,
Beside the Dichobune.

Through the Museum-windows played
The light on fossil, cast, and chart;
And she was there, my Gwendoline,
The mammal of my heart.

She leaned against the Glyptodon,
The monster of the sculptured tooth;
She looked a fossil specimen
Herself, to tell the truth.

She leaned against the Glyptodon;
She fixed her glasses on her nose;
One Pallas-foot drawn back displayed
The azure of her hose.

Few virtues had she of her own—
She borrowed them from time and space;
Her age was eocene, although
Post-tertiary her place.

The Irish Elk that near us stood,
(Megaceros Hibernicus),
Scarce dwarfed her; while I bowed beneath
Her stately overplus.

I prized her pre-diluvian height,
Her palaeozoic date of birth,
For these to scientific eye
Had scientific worth.

She had some crotchets of her own,
My sweet viviparous Gwendoline;
She loved me best when I would sing
Her ape-descent and mine.

I raised a wild pansophic lay
(The public fled the dismal tones);—
I struck a chord that suited well
That entourage of bones.

I sang the very dawn of life,
Cleared at a bound the infinite chasm
That sunders inorganic dust
From sly-born protoplasm.

I smote the stiffest chords of song,
I showed her in a glorious burst
How universal unity
Was dual from the first.

How primal germs contained in one
The beau-ideal and the belle;
And how the “mystery of life”
Is just a perfect cell.

I showed how sense itself began
In senseless gropings after sense;—
(She seemed to find it so herself,
Her gaze was so intense.)

And how the very need of light
Conceived, and visual organs bore;
Until an optic want evolved
The spectacles she wore.

How headless molluscs making head
Against the fashions of their line,
On pulpy maxims turned their backs,
And specialized a spine.

How landward longings seized on fish,
Fretted the type within their eggs,
And in amphibian issue dif-
Ferentiated legs.

I hopped the quaint marsupials,
And into higher mammals ran,
And through a subtle fugue I stole
From Lemurs up to Man.

How tails were lost—but when I reached
This saddest part of all my lay,
She dropped the corners of her mouth,
And turned her face away.

And proud to see my lofty love
So sweetly wince, so coyly shrink,
I woke a moving threnody—
I sang the missing link.

And when I spake of vanished kin,
Of Simian races dead and gone,
The wave of sorrow from her eyes
Half-drowned the Glyptodon.

I turned to other, brighter themes,
And glancing at our different scales,
I showed how lady beetles are
Robuster than the males.

I sang the Hymenoptera;
How insect-brides are sought and got;
How stridulation of the male
First hinted what was what.

And when—perchance too fervently—
I smote upon the chord of sex,
I saw the tardy spark of love
Blaze up behind her specs.

She listened with a heightened grace,
She blushed a blush like ruby wine,
Then bent her stately head and clinked
Her spectacles on mine.

A mighty impulse rattled through
Her well-articulated frame;
And into one delighted ear
She breathed my Christian name.

And whispered that my song had given
Her secret thought substantial shape,
For she had long considered me
The offshoot of an ape.

She raised me from the enchanted floor,
And, as my lips her shoulder met,
Between two asthmas of embrace
She called me marmosette.

I strove to calm her down; she grew
Serener and serener;
And so I won my Gwendoline,
My vertebrate congener.


Date: 1888

By: James Brunton Stephens (1835-1902)

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Dream-Tryst by Francis Thompson

The breaths of kissing night and day
   Were mingled in the eastern Heaven:
Throbbing with unheaded melody
   Shook Lyra all its star-chord seven:
     When dusk shrunk cold, and light trod shy,
       And dawn’s grey eyes were troubled grey;
     And souls went palely up the sky,
       And mine to Lucidé.

There was no change in her sweet eyes
   Since I last saw those sweet eyes shine;
There was no change in her deep heart
   Since last that deep heart knocked at mine.
     Her eyes were clear, her eyes were Hope’s,
       Wherein did ever come and go
     The sparkle of the fountain-drops
       From her sweet soul below.

The chambers in the house of dreams
   Are fed with so divine an air,
That Time’s hoar wings grow young therein,
   And they who walk there are most fair.
     I joyed for me, I joyed for her,
       Who with the Past meet girt about:
     Where our last kiss still warms the air,
       Nor can her eyes go out.

From: Thompson, Francis & Boardman, Brigid M, The Poems of Francis Thompson, 2001, Continuum International Publishing Group: London, p. 30.

Date: 1888

From: Francis Thompson (1859-1907)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Faces in the Street by Henry Lawson

They lie, the men who tell us in a loud decisive tone
That want is here a stranger, and that misery’s unknown;
For where the nearest suburb and the city proper meet
My window-sill is level with the faces in the street —
Drifting past, drifting past,
To the beat of weary feet —
While I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

And cause I have to sorrow, in a land so young and fair,
To see upon those faces stamped the marks of Want and Care;
I look in vain for traces of the fresh and fair and sweet
In sallow, sunken faces that are drifting through the street —
Drifting on, drifting on,
To the scrape of restless feet;
I can sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

In hours before the dawning dims the starlight in the sky
The wan and weary faces first begin to trickle by,
Increasing as the moments hurry on with morning feet,
Till like a pallid river flow the faces in the street —
Flowing in, flowing in,
To the beat of hurried feet —
Ah! I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

The human river dwindles when ’Tis past the hour of eight,
Its waves go flowing faster in the fear of being late;
But slowly drag the moments, whilst beneath the dust and heat
The city grinds the owners of the faces in the street —
Grinding body, grinding soul,
Yielding scarce enough to eat —
Oh! I sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

And then the only faces till the sun is sinking down
Are those of outside toilers and the idlers of the town,
Save here and there a face that seems a stranger in the street,
Tells of the city’s unemployed upon his weary beat —
Drifting round, drifting round,
To the tread of listless feet —
Ah! My heart aches for the owner of that sad face in the street.

And when the hours on lagging feet have slowly dragged away,
And sickly yellow gaslights rise to mock the going day,
Then flowing past my window like a tide in its retreat,
Again I see the pallid stream of faces in the street —
Ebbing out, ebbing out,
To the drag of tired feet,
While my heart is aching dumbly for the faces in the street.

And now all blurred and smirched with vice the day’s sad pages end,
For while the short ‘large hours’ toward the longer ‘small hours’ trend,
With smiles that mock the wearer, and with words that half entreat,
Delilah pleads for custom at the corner of the street —
Sinking down, sinking down,
Battered wreck by tempests beat —
A dreadful, thankless trade is hers, that Woman of the Street.

But, ah! to dreader things than these our fair young city comes,
For in its heart are growing thick the filthy dens and slums,
Where human forms shall rot away in sties for swine unmeet,
And ghostly faces shall be seen unfit for any street —
Rotting out, rotting out,
For the lack of air and meat —
In dens of vice and horror that are hidden from the street.

I wonder would the apathy of wealthy men endure
Were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor?
Ah! Mammon’s slaves, your knees shall knock, your hearts in terror beat,
When God demands a reason for the sorrows of the street,
The wrong things and the bad things
And the sad things that we meet
In the filthy lane and alley, and the cruel, heartless street.

I left the dreadful corner where the steps are never still,
And sought another window overlooking gorge and hill;
But when the night came dreary with the driving rain and sleet,
They haunted me — the shadows of those faces in the street,
Flitting by, flitting by,
Flitting by with noiseless feet,
And with cheeks but little paler than the real ones in the street.

Once I cried: ‘Oh, God Almighty! if Thy might doth still endure,
Now show me in a vision for the wrongs of Earth a cure.’
And, lo! with shops all shuttered I beheld a city’s street,
And in the warning distance heard the tramp of many feet,
Coming near, coming near,
To a drum’s dull distant beat,
And soon I saw the army that was marching down the street.

Then, like a swollen river that has broken bank and wall,
The human flood came pouring with the red flags over all,
And kindled eyes all blazing bright with revolution’s heat,
And flashing swords reflecting rigid faces in the street.
Pouring on, pouring on,
To a drum’s loud threatening beat,
And the war-hymns and the cheering of the people in the street.

And so it must be while the world goes rolling round its course,
The warning pen shall write in vain, the warning voice grow hoarse,
But not until a city feels Red Revolution’s feet
Shall its sad people miss awhile the terrors of the street —
The dreadful everlasting strife
For scarcely clothes and meat
In that pent track of living death — the city’s cruel street.


Date: 1888

By: Henry Lawson (1867-1922)