Posts tagged ‘book i’

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Satire VII from “Book I” of “Virgidemiarum” by Joseph Hall with note by Samuel Weller Singer

Great is the folly of a feeble brain,
O’erruled with love, and tyrannous disdain:
For love, however in the basest breast,
It breeds high thoughts that feed the fancy best.
Yet is he blind, and leads poor fools awry,
While they hang gazing on their mistress’ eye.
The lovesick poet, whose importune prayer
Repulsed is with resolute despair,
Hopeth to conquer his disdainful dame,
With public plaints of his conceived flame.
Then pours he forth in patched sonettings,
His love, his lust, and loathsome flatterings:
As tho’ the staring world hang’d on his sleeve,
When once he smiles, to laugh: and when he sighs, to grieve.
Careth the world, thou love, thou live, or die?
Careth the world how fair thy fair one be?
Fond wit-wal* that wouldst load thy witless head
With timely horns, before thy bridal bed.
Then can he term his dirty ill faced bride
Lady and queen, and virgin deified:
Be she all sooty-black, or berry brown,
She’s white as morrows milk, or flakes new blown.
And tho’ she be some dunghill drudge at home,
Yet can he her resign some refuse room
Amidst the well known stars: or if not there,
Sure will he saint her in his Calendar.

*This should, apparently, be wittol, a tame cuckold. A Saxon word from witan, to know; or, as Philips says in his World of Words, “Wittall, a cuckold that wits all, i.e. knows all: i.e. knows that he is so.” The Witwall was a bird, by some taken for the Green-finch or Canary-bird; others relate of it, “that if a man behold it that hath the yellow jaundice, he is presently cured and the bird dieth.” I have not altered the orthography of the word, as it may stand for wile-well, i. e. know well. I find Skelton spells this word toit-woldt.

From: Hall, Joseph, Warton, Thomas and Singer, Samuel Weller, Satires by Joseph Hall, afterwards Bishop of Exeter and Norwich. With the illustrations of the Late Rev. Thomas Warton. And Additional Notes by Samuel Weller Singer, 1824, Printed by C. Whittingham for R. Triphook: Chiswick, London, pp. 19-20.

Date: 1597

By: Joseph Hall (1574-1656)

Monday, 14 May 2018

Lines 67-97 from “Book I [Crossing the Rubicon] from Pharsalia [On the Civil War]” by Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan)

The causes first I purpose to unfold
Of these garboils, whence springs a long discourse;
And what made madding people shake off peace.
The Fates are envious, high seats quickly perish,
Under great burdens falls are ever grievous;
Rome was so great it could not bear itself.
So when this world’s compounded union breaks,
Time ends, and to old Chaos all things turn,
Confused stars shall meet, celestial fire
Fleet on the floods, the earth shoulder the sea,
Affording it no shore, and Phœbe’s wain
Chase Phœbus, and enrag’d affect his place,
And strive to shine by day and full of strife
Dissolve the engines of the broken world.
All great things crush themselves; such end the gods
Allot the height of honour; men so strong
By land and sea, no foreign force could ruin.
O Rome, thyself art cause of all these evils,
Thyself thus shiver’d out to three men’s shares!
Dire league of partners in a kingdom last not.
O faintly-join’d friends, with ambition blind,
Why join you force to share the world betwixt you?
While th’ earth the sea, and air the earth sustains,
While Titan strives against the world’s swift course,
Or Cynthia, night’s queen, waits upon the day,
Shall never faith be found in fellow kings:
Dominion cannot suffer partnership.
This need[s] no foreign proof nor far-fet story:
Rome’s infant walls were steep’d in brother’s blood;
Nor then was land or sea, to breed such hate;
A town with one poor church set them at odds.

From: Marlowe, Christopher and Bullen, A.H. (ed.), The Works of Christopher Marlowe: in Three Volumes, Volume the Third, 1885, John C. Nimmo: London, pp. 255-256.

Date: 1st century (original in Latin); 1600 (translation in English)

By: Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan) (39-65)

Translated by: Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

Friday, 27 May 2016

Lines 80-106 from “The Iliad, Book I” [A Friend Consigned to Death] by Homer

“Sleeping so? Thou hast forgotten me,
Akhilleus. Never was I uncared for
in life but am in death. Accord me burial
in all haste: let me pass the gates of Death.
Shades that are images of used-up men
motion me away, will not receive me
among their hosts beyond the river. I wander
about the wide gates and the hall of Death.
Give me your hand. I sorrow.
When thou shalt have allotted me my fire
I will not fare here from the dark again.
As living men we’ll no more sit apart
from our companions, making plans. The day
of wrath appointed for me at my birth
engulfed and took me down. Thou too, Akhilleus,
face iron destiny, godlike as thou art,
to die under the wall of highborn Trojans.
One more message, one behest, I leave thee:
not to inter my bones apart from thine
but close together, as we grew together,
in thy family’s hall. Menoitios
from Opoeis had brought me, under a cloud,
a boy still, on the day I killed the son
of Lord Amphídamas–though I wished it not–
in childish anger over a game of dice.
Pêleus, master of horse, adopted me
and reared me kindly, naming me your squire.
So may the same urn hide our bones, the one
of gold your gracious mother gave.”


Date: 8th century BC (first written original); 1974 (translation)

By: Homer (?12th century BC or 9th century BC)

Translated by: Robert Stuart Fitzgerald (1910-1985)