Posts tagged ‘anonymous’

Friday, 1 March 2019

In Honour of St. David’s Day by Anonymous

When good St. David, as old writs record,
Exchanged his sacred Crosier for a sword,
Nor drum nor standard kept his men together,
Each smelt his neighbour’s vegetable feather.
In heart and stomach stout they turned not crupper:
The Foe their breakfast was, the Leek their supper.

From: Jones, Gwyn (ed.), The Oxford Book of Welsh Verse in English, 1977, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 116.
(https://archive.org/details/oxfordbookofwels00jonerich/)

Date: 18th century

By: Anonymous

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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

The Hosts of Faery by Anonymous

White shields they carry in their hands,
With emblems of pale silver;
With glittering blue swords,
With mighty stout horns.

In well-devised battle array,
Ahead of their fair chieftain
They march amid blue spears,
Pale-visaged, curly-headed bands.

They scatter the battalions of the foe,
They ravage every land they attack,
Splendidly they march to combat,
A swift, distinguished, avenging host!

No wonder though their strength be great:
Sons of queens and kings are one and all;
On their heads are
Beautiful golden-yellow manes.

With smooth comely bodies,
With bright blue-starred eyes,
With pure crystal teeth,
With thin red lips.

Good they are at man-slaying,
Melodious in the ale-house,
Masterly at making songs,
Skilled at playing fidchell.

From: Meyer, Kuno (ed. and transl.), Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry, 1911, Constable & Company: London, p. 20.
(https://www.gutenberg.org/files/32030/32030-h/32030-h.htm)

Date: 12th century (original in Gaelic); 1911 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Kuno Meyer (1858-1919)

Friday, 30 March 2018

You Who Created Everything by Anonymous

You who created everything,
My sweet Father, heavenly King,
Hear me, I your son implore,
For Man this flesh and bone I bore.

Clear and bright my breast and side,
Blood on the wideness gushing wide,
Holes in my body crucified.

Held stiff and stark my long arms rise,
And dim and dark fall on my eyes:
Like sculptured marble hang my thighs.

My feet are red with flowing blood,
Their holes washed over by the flood.
Show Man’s sins mercy, Father on high!
With all my wounds to you I cry!

From: Stone, Brian (ed. and transl.), Medieval English Verse, 1973, Penguin Books: London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=_krTh-GQmFMC)

Date: 14th century (original in Middle English); 1964 (translation in modern English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Brian Ernest Stone (1919-1995)

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Snow on Snowdon by Anonymous

Cold is the snow on Snowdon’s brow,
It makes the air so chill;
For cold, I trow, there is no snow
Like that of Snowdon’s hill.

A hill most chill is Snowdon’s hill,
And wintry is his brow;
From Snowdon’s hill the breezes chill
Can freeze the very snow.

Note: In the original Welsh, this poem is famous for being made up only of vowels and the letter “R”.

From: Borrow, George, Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery, 2014, The University of Adelaide Library: Adelaide. p. [unnumbered – Chapter 29].
(https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/borrow/george/wild/complete.html#chapter29)

Date: ???? (original in Welsh); 1862 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: George Henry Borrow (1803-1881)

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Story from “The Epic of Gilgamesh” by Anonymous

of him who knew the most of all men know;
who made the journey; heartbroken; reconciled;

who knew the way things were before the Flood,
the secret things, the mystery; who went

to the end of the earth, and over; who returned,
and wrote the story on a tablet of stone.

He built Uruk. He built the keeping place
of Anu and Ishtar. The outer wall

shines in the sun like brightest copper; the inner
wall is beyond the imagining of kings.

Study the brickwork, study the fortification;
climb the great ancient staircase to the terrace;

study how it is made; from the terrace see
the planted and fallow fields, the ponds and orchards.

This is Uruk, the city of Gilgamesh
the Wild Ox, son of Lugalbanda, son

of the Lady Wildcow Ninsun, Gilgamesh
the vanguard and the rear guard of the army,

Shadow of Darkness over the enemy field,
the Web, the Flood that rises to wash away

the walls of alien cities, Gilgamesh
the strongest one of all, the perfect, the terror.

It is he who opened passes through the mountains;
and he who dug deep wells on the mountainsides;

who measured the world; and sought out Utnapishtim
beyond the world; it is he who restored the shrines;

two-thirds a god, one-third a man, the king.
Go to the temple of Anu and Ishtar:

open the copper chest with the iron locks;
the tablet of lapis lazuli tells the story.

From: Ferry, David, Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse, 1993, Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York, pp. 3-4.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=iTClBAAAQBAJ)

Date: c1200 BCE (original in Akkadian); 1991 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: David Ferry (1924- )

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

One Last Word About Love by Anonymous

He that wil be a lover in every wise,
He muste have thre thingis whiche Jeame lackith.
The first is goodlyhede at poynt devise*;
The secunde is manere, which manhoode makith;
The thryd is goode, that no woman hatith.
Marke well this, that lovers wil be
Muste nedys have oone of thes thre.

*goodlyhede at point devise – perfect beauty.

From: Barratt, Alexandra (ed.), Women’s Writing in Middle English (2nd. Edition), 2013, Routledge: New York and London, p. 308.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=IGTFBQAAQBAJ)

Date: 15th century

By: Anonymous

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Song of the Man Who Was Weary of Life by Anonymous

This day is Death before my eyes
As when a man grown well again,
And rising from a bed of pain,
The garden sees

This day is Death before my eyes
Like fragrant myrrh’s alluring smell,
Like sitting ’neath the sails which swell
In favouring breeze

This day is Death before my eyes
Like water-bosomed lotus scent,
Or when, the traveller, worn and spent,
At last drinks deep.

This day is Death before my eyes
As when the soldier glimpses home,
As pent-up garden-waters foam
Down channels steep.

This day is Death before my eyes
As when, mist clearing from the blue,
The hunter’s quarry leaps to view,
Like this is Death before my eyes
As when, the captive, bound in pain,
Yearns sore to see his home again,
Like this is Death
While we draw breath,
We seek life’s prize
The prize is – Death.

From: Sharpley, C. Elissa (ed.), Anthology of Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1925, John Murray: London, pp. 79-80.
(https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.60956)

Date: c1850 BCE (original in Egyptian hieroglyphs); 1923 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: George Anthony Armstrong Willis (1897-1972)

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Sick Wife by Anonymous

She had been ill for years and years;
She sent for me to say something.
She couldn’t say what she wanted
Because of the tears that kept coming of themselves.
“I have burdened you with orphan children,
With orphan children two or three.
Don’t let our children go hungry or cold;
If they do wrong, don’t slap or beat them.
When you take out the baby, rock it in your arms.
Don’t forget to do that.”
Last she said,
“When I carried them in my arms they had no clothes
And now their jackets have no linings.”

[She dies.]

I shut the doors and barred the windows
And left the motherless children.
When I got to the market and met my friends, I wept.
I sat down and could not go with them.
I asked them to buy some cakes for my children.
In the presence of my friends I sobbed and cried.
I tried not to grieve, but sorrow would not cease.
I felt in my pocket and gave my friends some money.
When I got home I found my children
Calling to be taken into their mother’s arms.
I walked up and down in the empty room
This way and that a long while.
Then I went away from it and said to myself
“I will forget and never speak of her again.”

From: Waley, Arthur, A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems, 1918, Constable and Company: London, pp. 29-30.
(http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42290)

Date: 1st century BCE (original); 1918 (translation)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Arthur David Waley (1889-1966)

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Fowles in the Frith by Anonymous with rough rendering into modern English by flusteredduck

Fowles in the frith,
The fisshes in the flood,
And I mon waxe wood
Much sorwe I walke with
For beste of boon and blood.

Fowls in the wood,
The fishes in the flood,
And I must go mad
Much sorrow I walk with
For beast of bone and blood.

From: http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/medlyric/fowles.php

Date: 13th-14th century

By: Anonymous

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Viking Terror by Anonymous

Fierce is the wind tonight,
It ploughs up the white hair of the sea
I have no fear that the Viking hosts
Will come over the water to me.

From: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/IrelandGenWeb/2002-12/1041140151

Date: 7th or 8th century (original in Gaelic); 1949 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Fred Norris Robinson (1871-1966)