Posts tagged ‘poetry’

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Midsummer Wish by John Hawkesworth

O Phoebus! down the western sky
Far hence diffuse thy burning ray,
Thy light to distant worlds supply,
And wake them to the cares of day.

Come, gentle Eve, the friend of Care,
Come, Cynthia, lovely queen of night!
Refresh me with a cooling breeze,
And chear me with a lambent light.

Lay me where o’er the verdant ground
Her living carpet Nature spreads;
Where the green bower, with roses crown’d,
In showers its fragrant foliage sheds.

Improve the peaceful hour with wine,
Let music die along the grove;
Around the bowl let myrtles twine,
And every strain be tun’d to Love.

Come, STELLA, queen of all my heart!
Come, born to fill its vast desires!
Thy looks perpetual joys impart,
Thy voice perpetual love inspires.

While, all my wish and thine complete,
By turns we languish, and we burn,
Let sighing gales our sighs repeat,
Our murmurs murmuring brooks return.

Let me, when Nature calls to rest,
And blushing skies the morn foretell,
Sink on the down of STELLA’s breast,
And bid the waking world farewell.


Date: 1748

By: John Hawkesworth (c1715-1773)

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Inventarie of the Gabions, in M. George his Cabinet by Henry Adamson

Of uncouth formes, and wondrous shapes,
Like Peacoks, and like Indian apes,
Like Leopards, and beasts spoted,
Of clubs curiously knoted,
Of wondrous workmanships, and rare,
Like Eagles flying in the air,
Like Centaurs, Maremaids in the Seas,
Like Dolphins, and like honie bees,
Some carv’d in timber, some in stone,
Of the wonder of Albion;
Which this close cabine doth include;
Some portends ill, some presage good:
What sprite Daedalian hath forth brought them,
Yee Gods assist, I thinke yee wrought them,
Your influences did conspire
This comelie cabine to attire

Neptune gave first his awfull trident,
And Pan the hornes gave of a bident,
Triton his trumpet of a buckie,
Propin’d to him, was large and luckie:
Mars gave the glistring sword and dagger,
Wherewith some time he wont to swagger,
Cyclopean armour of Achilles,
Fair Venus purtrayed by Apelles,
The valiant Hectors weightie spear,
Wherewith he fought the Trojan war,
The fatall sword and seven fold shield
Of Ajax, who could never yeeld:
Yea more the great Herculean club
Brusde Hydra in the Lernè dub.

Hote Vulcan with his crooked heele
Bestow’d on him a tempred steele,
Cyclophes were the brethren Allans,
Who swore they swet more then ten gallons
In framing it upon their forge,
And tempring it for Master George:
But Aesculapius taught the lesson
How he should us’d in goodly fashion,
And bad extinguis’t in his ale,
When that he thought it pure and stale,
With a pugill of polypodium:
And Ceres brought a manufodium:
And will’d him tost it at his fire
And of such bread never to tyre;
Then Podalirius did conclude
That for his melt was soverainge good.

Gold hair’d Apollo did bestow
His mightie-sounding silver bow,
With musick instruments great store,
His harp, his cithar, and mandore,
His peircing arrowes and his quiver:
But Cupid shot him through the liver
And set him all up in à flame,
To follow à Peneïan Dame:
But being once repudiate
Did lurk within this Cabinet,
And there with many a sigh and groane,
Fierce Cupids wrong he did bemoane,
But this deep passion to rebet
Venus bestow’d her Amulet,
The firie flame for to beare downe,
Cold lactuce and pupuleum;
And thenceforth will’d the poplar tree
To him should consecrated be.

With twentie thousand pretious things,
Mercurius gave his staffe and wings:
And more this Cabine to decore,
Of curious staffs he gave fourescore,
Of clubs and cudgels contortized:
Some plaine worke, others crispe and frized,
Like Satyrs, dragons, flying fowles,
Like fishes, serpents, cats, and owles,
Like winged-horses, strange Chimaeraes,
Like Unicorns and fierce Pantheraes,
So livelike that a man would doubt,
If art or nature brought them out.

The monstrous branched great hart-horne,
Which on Acteon’s front was borne:
On which doth hing his velvet knapsca.
A scimitare cut like an haksaw,
Great bukies, partans, toes of lapstares,
Oster shells, ensignes for tapsters,
Gadie beeds and crystall glasses,
Stones, and ornaments for lasses,
Garlands made of summer flowres,
Propin’d him by his paramoürs,
With many other pretious thing,
Which all upon its branches hing:
So that it doth excell but scorne
The wealthie Amalthean horne.

This Cabine containes what you wish,
No place his ornaments doth misse,
For there is such varietie,
Looking breeds no sacietie.
In one nooke stands Loquhabrian axes,
And in another nooke the glaxe is.
Heere lyes a book they call the dennet,
There lyes the head of old Brown Kennet,
Here lyes a turkasse, and a hammer,
There lyes a Greek and Latine Grammer,
Heere hings an auncient mantua bannet,
There hings a Robin and a Iannet,
Upon a cord that’s strangular
A buffet stoole sexangular:
A foole muting in his owne hand;
Soft, soft my Muse, sound not this sand,
What ever matter come athorter,
Touch not I pray the iron morter.
His cougs, his dishes, and his caps,
A Totum, and some bairnes taps;
A gadareilie, and a whisle,
A trumpe, an Abercome mussell,
His hats, his hoods, his bels, his bones,
His allay bowles, and curling stones,
The sacred games to celebrat,
Which to the Gods are consecrat.

And more, this cabine to adorne,
Diana gave her hunting horne,
And that there should be no defect,
God Momus gift did not inlake:
Only * * * was to blame,
Who would bestow nothing for shame;
This Cabine was so cram’d with store
She could not enter at the doore.

This prettie want for to supplie
A privie parlour stands neere by,
In which there is in order plac’t
Phoebus with the nine Muses grac’t,
In compasse, siting like a crown.
This is the place of great renown:
Heere all good learning is inschrynd,
And all grave wisedome is confin’d,
Clio with stories ancient times,
Melpomené with Tragick lines,
Wanton Thalia’s comedies,
Euterpe’s sweetest harmonies,
Terpsichore’s heart-moving cithar,
Lovely Erato’s numbring meeter,
Caliope’s heroick songs,
Vranias heavenly motions;
Polymnia in various musick
Paints all with flowres of Rhetorick,
Amidst sits Phoebus laureat,
Crown’d with the whole Pierian State.
Here’s Galene and Hippocrates,
Divine Plato and Socrates,
Th’ Arabian skill and exccellence,
The Greek and Romane eloquence,
With manie worthie worke and storie
Within this place inaccessorie.

These models, in this Cabine plac’d,
Are with the world’s whole wonders grac’d:
What curious art or nature framd,
What monster hath beene taught or tamd,
What Polycletus in his time,
What Archimedes rich ingine,
Who taught the Art of menadrie
The Syracusan synedrie.
What Gods or mortals did forth bring
It in this cabinet doth hing,
Whose famous relicts are all flowr’d,
And all with precious pouldar stowr’d:
And richly deckt with curious hingers,
Wrought by Arachne’s nimble fingers.

This is his store-house and his treasure,
This is his Paradise of pleasure,
This is the Arcenall of Gods,
Of all the world this is the oddes:
This is the place Apollo chuses,
This is the residence of Muses:
And to conclude all this in one,
This is the Romaine Pantheon.

From: Adamson, Henry, The muses threnodie, or, mirthfull mournings, on the death of Master Gall Containing varietie of pleasant poëticall descriptions, morall instructions, historiall narrations, and divine observations, with the most remarkable antiquities of Scotland, especially at Perth, 2003, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. [unnumbered].

Date: 1638

By: Henry Adamson (1581-1639)

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Done Drinking My New Year’s Wine by Lu You

Done drinking my New Year’s wine,
truly now an eighty-year-old man,
Used to worry outspokenness would be my death,
now content just to be poor and write poems.
Rice cheap — that means no thieves this year;
cloudy skies foretell another good harvest.
Something in the food bowl — what other cares?
Smiling, happy, I tag along with the young boys.


Date: 1204 (original); 2007 (translation)

By: Lu You (1125-1209)

Translated by: Burton DeWitt Watson (1925-2017)

Friday, 18 August 2017

I.47 by Marcus Valerius Martialis

Doctor Diaulus has changed his trade:
He now is a mortician,
With the same results he got before
As a practicing physician.

From: Wender, Dorothea (transl. and ed.), Roman Poetry from the Republic to the Silver Age, 1991, Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale and Edwardsville, p. 124.

Date: 86 (original in Latin); 1980 (translation in English)

By: Marcus Valerius Martialis (c39-c103)

Translated by: Dorothea Schmidt Wender (1934-2003)

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Fragment 4 by Simonides of Ceos

Who at Thermopylæ stood side by side,
And fought together and together died,
Under earth-barrows now are laid in rest,
Their chance thrice-glorious, and their fate thrice-blest:
No tears for them, but memory’s loving gaze;
For them no pity, but proud hymns of praise.
Time shall not sweep this monument away—
Time the destroyer; no, nor dank decay.
This not alone heroic ashes holds;
Greece’s own glory this earth-shrine enfolds—
Leonidas, the Spartan king; a name
Of boundless honour and eternal fame.

From: Fitz-Gerald, Maurice Purcell (transl. and ed.), The Crowned Hippolytus of Euripides, Together with a Selection from the Pastoral and Lyric Poets of Greece, Translated into English Verse, 1867, Chapman and Hall: London, p. 211.

Date: c480 BCE (original in Greek); 1867 (translation in English)

By: Simonides of Ceos (c556-468 BCE)

Translated by: Maurice Noel Ryder Purcell FitzGerald (1835-1877)

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Woman the Barricades by Rachel Warriner

And so you say this
Like it means something
Those dark made words
Our left side
Much regarded
Oh my
Left none of that in

But then this was ever
About our reasons
Not made night broken
There is melancholy
She says proudly
Left boot

Pointing and pouting
We mark back friendly
Misjudging bores and idiots
There is nothing here
I can not strike it
No matter
too late for me now
Sigh, wail, yawn bed

Your people not mine
There is no fallacy
Our win leant
Scored and scoured
Feigning reluctance
So curly
Our more marks made lively
Our turn and tour.


Date: 2015

By: Rachel Warriner (19??- )

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Lines on Retirement, After Reading “Lear” by David John Murray Wright

For Richard Pacholski

Avoid storms. And retirement parties.
You can’t trust the sweetnesses your friends will
offer, when they really want your office,
which they’ll redecorate. Beware the still
untested pension plan. Keep your keys. Ask
for more troops than you think you’ll need. Listen
more to fools and less to colleagues. Love your
youngest child the most, regardless. Back to
storms: dress warm, take a friend, don’t eat the grass,
don’t stand near tall trees, and keep the yelling
down—the winds won’t listen, and no one will
see you in the dark. It’s too hard to hear
you over all the thunder. But you’re not
Lear, except that we can’t stop you from what
you’ve planned to do. In the end, no one leaves
the stage in character—we never see
the feather, the mirror held to our lips.
So don’t wait for skies to crack with sun. Feel
the storm’s sweet sting invade you to the skin,
the strange, sore comforts of the wind. Embrace
your children’s ragged praise and that of friends.
Go ahead, take it off, take it all off.
Run naked into tempests. Weave flowers
into your hair. Bellow at cataracts.
If you dare, scream at the gods. Babble as
if you thought words could save. Drink rain like cold
beer. So much better than making theories.
We’d all come with you, laughing, if we could.


Date: 1992

By: David John Murray Wright (1920-1974)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Fading Beauty by Richard Abbot

Fading beauty, bending o’er thee,
Here before high heaven I swear,
Doubt me not, love, I adore thee,
Thou art still my joy and care.
Still devoted and unchanging,
Through all change my heart shall be,
Nor, through all my fancies ranging
Can it rest on aught but thee.

Fading beauty! nay, not fading,
‘Tis but change of loveliness,
And my heart needs no persuading,
To believe thy charms no less.
True, the rose is turning whiter,
True, thy locks are silvery now,
But thy loving eyes, once brighter,
Still with love to me o’erflow.

Fading beauty! still unfaded,
Still the charms of riper years
Keep the light of love unshaded,
While thy beauty brighter wears;
And, though time at length succeed in
Leading captive thee, my bride,
Shall not I the same path tread in,
Linked for ever by thy side?

From: Andrews, William (ed.), North Country Poets: Poems and Biographies of Natives or Residents of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, Lancashire and Yorkshire, Volume 2, 1889, Simpkin, Marshall & Co: London, pp. 69-70.

Date: c1875

By: Richard Abbot (1818-1904)

Sunday, 13 August 2017

A Song on an Old Razor, which, from Time to Time, was Used to Cut Candle; and, being New Ground, Proved an Extraordinary Good One by W. Adkins

Says my mother, why, pray,
Are. you not shav’d to-day?
On which I began for to mutter;
Pray, mother, a-done,
For as I’m your son,
I fear I have lost candle-cutter.

Long time was mislaid,
Which made me afraid
She was lost—I knew not where I put her;
‘Till to-day by good hap,
Just under my cap,
I espy’d my old friend, candle-cutter.

Come hither to me,
And I’ll shave presently;
Look fierce as a crow in a gutter;
Now Scott may be hang’d,
The Black Barber be damn’d,
For I have found my old friend candle-cutter.

No more of my beard,
Dear girls, be afraid,
For my chin is as soft as new butter:
Don’t say I’m uncouth,
For my skin is quite smooth,
By the help of my friend, candle-cutter.

Then tune up your voice,
In praises most choice,
And those that can sing, let them sputter:
Sure never was seen,
A razor so keen,
Or could shave like the brave candle-cutter.

From: Adkins, W., The Hortonian Miscellany: Being a Collection of Original Poems, Tales, &c, 1767, W. Bingley: London, pp. 73-74.

Date: 1767

By: W. Adkins (fl. 1767)

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Londineses Lacrymæ: Londons Second Tears Mingled with her Ashes by John Crouch

Thou Queen of Cities, whose unbounded fame
Shadow’d thy Country and thy Countries Name!
London! that word fill’d the vast Globe; Japan
Saluted Londoner for English-man.
‘Twas thy peculiar, and unrivall’d pride
At greatest distance to be magnify’d.
When thy next Christian Sister scarce do’s know
Whether there be another World or no:
When the false Dutch more known in Forreign parts,
Buy scorn with gold; Merchants of wealth not hearts.
Good Heavens, good in the most severe Decree!
Must London first burn in Epitomie,
And then in gross? Must, O sharp vengeance! Must
The Glory of the World kiss her own dust?
Shall then this Mole-Hill, and it’s Ants expire
By parcels, some by water, some by fire?
Or do great things, like restless Circles, tend
From their first point, unto the last, their End?
When neither Forreign nor Domestick Wars,
The Distillations of malignant Stars,
Thunder from Heaven, nor it’s Terrestial Ape
Gun-powder, could thy total ruine shape;
Nor the long smotherings of Fanatick heats,
Which when they broke out ended in cold sweats:
Shall Balls of Sulphur (Hells blew Tapers) light
Poor London to its fun’ral in one night?
Shall Britains great Metropolis become
Alike in both her Fortunes to old Rome?
Whose Seat (if we believe Antiquitie)
Is full as old, though not so proud as she;
Surviv’d the Cornucopia of her Hills:
Time, strongest Towns, as well as Bodies, kills!
But when her Life had drawn so long a breath,
Must she be mow’d down by a sudden Death?
Three days undo three thousand years? O yes,
One day (when that one comes) shall more than this;
Shall make the World one fatal Hearth, That Day
The last that ever Hearth shall Tribute pay;
Though now as just as Law; (And they that Curse
This Duty, may they want both Hearth and Purse.)
But as in three days our Jerus’lem fell,
And gave the World an easie miracle:
So three (O golden Number) years being gone,
Shall spring old London’s Resurrection.
Now (dearest City) let my Pencil trace
The scatter’d lines of thy dis-figur’d Face;
Dropping tears as I pass; tears shed too late
To quench thy Heats, and bribe thy stubborn fate!
This dreadful Fire first seiz’d a narrow Lane,
As if the Dutch or French had laid a Train.
But grant they or that Boutifeu their Roy,
Form’d this Cheval for Britain’s envy’d Troy;
These might the stroke, did not the wound dispense,
Were but the Vulcans of Jove’s Providence.
Sin was the Common Cause, no faction freed;
Here all dissenting Parties were agreed.
And let the Author of our welfare, be
The welcome Author of our Miserie!
Rather than Enemies, who but fulfil
Heavens just decrees, more by Instinct then Skill!
The fierce flame gathering strength had warm’d th’Air
And chill’d the people into cold despair:
With swift wing from it straitned Corner posts,
And forth-with Fish-street and fat East-cheap rosts.
Sunday (to scourge our guilty Rest with shame)
Had giv’n, full dispensation to the flame.
Now London-Bridge (expected to provide
Auxiliar forces from the other side)
Alarum’d by the fall of Neighb’ring Bells
Takes fire, and sinks into its stony Cells;
Blocks up the way with rubbish, and dire flames,
Threatning to choke his undermining Thames.
Southwark, shut out, on it’s own banks appear’d
As once when fiery Cromwell domineer’d.
Thames-street hastens it ashes, to prevent
All aids and succours from the River sent.
The heated wind his flaming arrows cast,
Which snatch’d both ends, and burnt the middle last.
Now the proud flame had took the open field
And after hearts were vanquish’d, all things yeild!
Rores thorough Cannon-street and Lombardie
Triumphing o’re the Cities Liberty.
This fiery Dragon, higher still it flyes,
The more extends his wings, and louder cryes.
Just so that spark of Treason, (first supprest
In the dark angles of some private brest)
Breaks through the Mouth and Nostrills into Squibs,
And having fir’d the Author’s reins and ribs,
Kindles from man to man by subtile Art,
Till Rebells are become the major part:
Thus late Fanaticks in their Zeal of pride
March from close Wood-street into broad Cheap-side.
Now all in Coaches, Carrs, and Waggons flye,
London is sack’d withour an Enemy.
All things of beauty, shatter’d lost and gone;
Little of London whole but London-stone.
As if those Bull-works of her Wall and Thames
Serv’d but to Circle, and besiege her flames!
Such active Rams beat from each opposite Wall,
You would have judg’d the fire an Animal.
When (strangely) it from adverse Windows ror’d:
Neighbour his Neighbour kindl’d and devour’d.
Houses the Churches, Churches Houses fir’d,
While profane Sparks against divine conspir’d.
This devastation makes one truth appear,
How sanctimonious our fore-fathers were;
How thick they built their Temples, long conceal’d
By lofty Buildings, now in flames reveal’d.
Then one small Church serv’d many Preists, but they
The truth is, eat not rost meat every day.
Now the profane, not superstitious Rout
(Whose faith ascends no higher than to doubt)
May, without help of weekly papers, tell
Their Churches, to their Eyes made visible.
Our Non-conformists (if not harden’d) may
Scatter some tears, where once they scorn’d to pray.
Now the Imperious Element did range
Without Controle, kept a full Ev’ning Change.
Where the religious Spices for some Hours,
Seem’d to burn Incense to th’ incensed Powers.
At last the flame grown quite rebellious, calls
Our Sacred Monarchs to new Funeralls.
The Conquerour here Conquer’d, tumbles down
As Conscious of the burthen of a Crown.
Only the good old Founder, standing low,
His Station kept, and saw the dismal Show.
Though the Change broke, he’s not one penny worse,
Stands firm resolv’d to visit his new Burse.
Which by her Opticks happily was sav’d,
And for the honour of the City pav’d.
Here a good sum of active Silver rais’d
Th’ ingenious Beggar, and wise Donors prais’d.
All fall to work, assisted by the Guard,
To whom, and money, nothing seemed hard.
Here fires met fires, but industry reclaims
Lost hope, and quench’d a Parliament of flames.
Mean time the Neighb’ring Steeple trembling stood,
Defended not by Stone, nor Brick, but Wood:
Yet was secure ’cause low; to let us see
What safety waits upon humilitie!
When Lawrence, Three-Cranes, Cornhill, lofty Bow,
Are all chastis’d, for making a proud show.
One Steeple lost its Church, but not one Bell;
Reserv’d by fate to Ring the City’s Knell.
Now the Circumference from every part
The Center scalds; poor London pants at heart!
Cheapside the fair, is at a fatal loss
Wants the old blessing of her golden Cross.
Poor Paul the Aged has been sadly tost,
Reform’d, then after Reformation lost;
Plac’d in a Circle of Heaven’s fiery wrath:
The Saint was tortur’d when he broke his Faith!
At the East-End a spacious sheet of Lead
(Rent from the rest) his Altar canoped;
But from its Coale below strange fires did rise,
And the whole Temple prov’d the sacrifice.
Altars may others save, but cannot be
(When Heaven forsakes ’em) their own Sanctuarie!
Then was their doleful Musick as the Quire,
When the sweet Organs breath was turn’d to fire.
Was ‘t not enough the holy Church had been
Invaded in her Rites and Discipline?
Must her known Fundamentals be baptiz’d
In purging flames, and Paul’s School chatechiz’d?
She that had long her tardy Pupills stripp’d,
Is now her self with fiery Scorpions whipp’d.
But when I pass the sacred Martyrs West
I close my Eyes and smite my troubled Breast;
What shall we now for his dear Mem’ry do
When fire un-carves, and Stones are mortal too?
Let it stand un-repair’d, for ever keep
Its mournful dress, thus for its Founder weep.
By this time Lud with the next Newgate smokes,
And their dry Pris’ners in the Dungeon chokes;
Who left by Keepers to their own reprives
Broke Goale, not for their Liberty but Lives;
While good Eliza on the out-side Arch
Fir’d into th’ old Mode, stands in Yellow Starch.
Though fancy makes not Pictures live, or love,
Yet Pictures fancy’d may the fancy move:
Me-thinks the Queen on White-Hall cast her Eye;
An Arrow could not more directly flye.
But when she saw her Palace safe, her fears
Vanish, one Eye drops smiles, the other tears.
Where (Christ-Church) is thy half-Cathedral now?
Fallen too? then all but Heaven to Fate must bow!
Where is thy famous Hospital? must still
The greatest good be recompens’d with ill?
That House of Orphans clad in honest blew;
The World’s Example, but no parallel knew.
Cold Charity has been a long Complaint,
Here she was too warm like a martyr’d Saint.
Where are those stately Fabricks of our Halls,
Founders of sumptuous Feasts and Hospitalls?
Where is the Guild, that place of grand resort
For Civil Rights, the Royal Cities Court?
Forc’d to take Sanctuary in the Tower,
To show, what safety is in Regal Power!
Not Gog or Magog could defend it; These
Had they had sense, had been in Little-Ease.
Chymnies and shatter’d Walls we gaze upon
Our Bodie Politicks sad Skeleton!
Now was the dismal Conflagration stopp’d,
Having some branches of the Suburbs lopp’d.
Though most within the verge; As if th’ ad show’d
Their mutual freedome was to be destroy’d.
When after one dayes rest. The Temple smokes,
And with fresh fires and fears the Strand provokes
But with good Conduct all was slak’d that night
By one more valiant than a Templar Knight.
Here a brisk Rumour of affrighted Gold
Sent hundreds in; more Covetous than bold.
But a brave Seaman up the Tyles did skip
As nimbly as the Cordage of a Ship,
Bestrides the sings’d Hall on its highest ridge,
Moving as if he were on London-Bridge,
Or on the Narrow of a Skullers Keel:
Feels neither head nor heart nor spirits reel.
Had some few Thousands been as bold as hee,
And London, in her fiery Tryal free;
Then (with submission to the highest will)
London now buried had been living still.
Thus Chant the people, who are seldom wise
Till things be past, before-hand have no Eyes.
But when I sigh my self into a pause,
I find another more determin’d cause:
Had Tyber swell’d his monstrous Waves, and come
Over the seven Hills of our flaming Rome,
‘T had been in vain: no less than Noah’s flood.
Can quench flames kindled by a Martyr’s blood.
Now Loyal London has full Ransome paid
For that Defection the Disloyal made:
Whose Ashes hatch’d by a kind Monarch’s breath,
Shall rise a fairer Phoenix after Death.

From: Crouch, John, Londineses Lacrymæ Londons Second Tears Mingled with her Ashes: A Poem, 2007, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford.

Date: 1666

By: John Crouch (fl. 1660-1681)