Lachlan passed away in January 2010.  As a memorial, this site remains as he left it.
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Refer also:


Poetry


Poetry Terminology: iambic tetrameter; iambic trimeter; etc.

(Search on "scansion")


WH Auden

  • A Small Anthology of Poems - http://www.wmich.edu/english/tchg/lit/pms/index.html
  • Auden - http://audensociety.org/poems.html
  • Auden - http://redfrog.norconnect.no/~poems/poets/w_h_auden.html
  • Poets Index - http://redfrog.norconnect.no/~poems/poets/index.html

  • "Twelve Songs" - WH Auden

  • "Refugee Blues" - WH Auden

  • "Musee des Beaux Arts" - WH Auden

  • "The Unknown Citizen" - WH Auden

  • "It's no use raising a shout." - WH Auden
    • http://www.csd.net/~connect2/quotes2.html
    • http://www.angelfire.com/bc/dreamland/poems.html

    • It's no use raising a shout.
      No, Honey, you can cut that right out.
      I don't want any more hugs;
      Make me some fresh tea, fetch me some rugs.
      Here am I, here are you:
      But what does it mean? What are we going to do?
      
      It wasn't always like this? 
      Perhaps it wasn't, but it is. 
      Put the car away; when life fails, 
      What's the good of going to Wales? 
      Here am I, here are you; 
      But what does it mean? What are we going to do? 
      
      A long time ago I told my mother
      I was leaving home to find another:
      I never answered her letter
      But I never found a better.
      Here am I, here are you:
      But what does it mean? What are we going to do?
      
      In my spine there was a base;
      And I knew the general's face:
      But they've severed all the wires,
      And I can't tell what the general desires.
      Here am I, here are you:
      But what does it mean? What are we going to do?
      
      In my veins there is a wish,
      And a memory of fish:
      When I lie crying on the floor,
      It says, "You've often done this before."
      Here am I, here are you:
      But what does it mean? What are we going to do?
      
      A bird used to visit this shore:
      It isn't going to come any more.
      I've come a very long way to prove
      No land, no water, and no love.
      Here am I, here are you:
      But what does it mean? What are we going to do?
      


  • "We Too Had Known Golden Hours" - WH Auden


  • "The Average" - WH Auden
    His peasant parents killed themselves with toil
    To let their darling leave a stingy soil
    For any of those smart professions which
    Encourage shallow breathing, and grow rich.
    
    The pressure of their fond ambition made
    Their shy and country-loving child afraid
    No sensible career was good enough,
    Only a hero could deserve such love.
    
    So here he was without maps or supplies,
    A hundred miles from any decent town;
    The desert glares into his blood-shot eyes;
    
    The silence roared displeasure: looking down,
    He saw the shadow of an Average Man
    Attempting the exceptional, and ran.
    


  • "September 1, 1939" - WH Auden (From Another Time by W. H. Auden)
    I sit in one of the dives
    On Fifty-second Street
    Uncertain and afraid
    As the clever hopes expire
    Of a low dishonest decade:
    Waves of anger and fear
    Circulate over the bright 
    And darkened lands of the earth,
    Obsessing our private lives;
    The unmentionable odour of death
    Offends the September night.
    
    Accurate scholarship can 
    Unearth the whole offence
    From Luther until now
    That has driven a culture mad,
    Find what occurred at Linz,
    What huge imago made
    A psychopathic god:
    I and the public know
    What all schoolchildren learn,
    Those to whom evil is done
    Do evil in return. 
    
    Exiled Thucydides knew
    All that a speech can say
    About Democracy,
    And what dictators do,
    The elderly rubbish they talk
    To an apathetic grave;
    Analysed all in his book,
    The enlightenment driven away,
    The habit-forming pain,
    Mismanagement and grief:
    We must suffer them all again.
    
    Into this neutral air
    Where blind skyscrapers use
    Their full height to proclaim
    The strength of Collective Man,
    Each language pours its vain
    Competitive excuse:
    But who can live for long
    In an euphoric dream;
    Out of the mirror they stare,
    Imperialism's face
    And the international wrong.
    
    Faces along the bar
    Cling to their average day:
    The lights must never go out,
    The music must always play,
    All the conventions conspire 
    To make this fort assume
    The furniture of home;
    Lest we should see where we are,
    Lost in a haunted wood,
    Children afraid of the night
    Who have never been happy or good.
    
    The windiest militant trash
    Important Persons shout
    Is not so crude as our wish:
    What mad Nijinsky wrote
    About Diaghilev
    Is true of the normal heart;
    For the error bred in the bone
    Of each woman and each man
    Craves what it cannot have,
    Not universal love
    But to be loved alone.
    
    From the conservative dark
    Into the ethical life
    The dense commuters come,
    Repeating their morning vow;
    "I will be true to the wife,
    I'll concentrate more on my work,"
    And helpless governors wake
    To resume their compulsory game:
    Who can release them now,
    Who can reach the deaf,
    Who can speak for the dumb?
    
    All I have is a voice
    To undo the folded lie,
    The romantic lie in the brain
    Of the sensual man-in-the-street
    And the lie of Authority
    Whose buildings grope the sky:
    There is no such thing as the State
    And no one exists alone;
    Hunger allows no choice
    To the citizen or the police;
    We must love one another or die.
    
    Defenceless under the night
    Our world in stupor lies;
    Yet, dotted everywhere,
    Ironic points of light
    Flash out wherever the Just
    Exchange their messages:
    May I, composed like them
    Of Eros and of dust,
    Beleaguered by the same
    Negation and despair,
    Show an affirming flame.
    


Epitaph On A Tyrant - W. H. Auden

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

Written c. 1939

James Shirley (1596-1666)

  • James Shirley (1596-1666) - Death the Leveller
    (excerpt from "The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses") http://sailor.gutenberg.org/etext98/pgbev10.txt

    THE glories of our blood and state
      Are shadows, not substantial things;
    There is no armour against Fate;
      Death lays his icy hand on kings:
            Sceptre and Crown
            Must tumble down,
      And in the dust be equal made
    With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
    
    Some men with swords may reap the field,
      And plant fresh laurels where they kill:
    But their strong nerves at last must yield;
      They tame but one another still:
            Early or late
            They stoop to fate,
    And must give up their murmuring breath
    When they, pale captives, creep to death.
    
    The garlands wither on your brow,
      Then boast no more your mighty deeds!
    Upon Death's purple altar now
      See where the victor-victim bleeds.
            Your heads must come
            To the cold tomb:
    Only the actions of the just
    Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.
    

Jonathon Swift (1667-1745)

  • Jonathon Swift (1667-1745) - A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General
    http://www.library.utoronto.ca/www/utel/RP/poems/swift1b.html
    "His Grace! impossible! what, dead!
    Of old age too, and in his bed!
    And could that mighty warrior fall,
    And so inglorious, after all?
    Well, since he's gone, no matter how,
    The last loud trump must wake him now;
    And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,
    He'd wish to sleep a little longer.
    And could he be indeed so old
    As by the newspapers we're told?
    Threescore, I think, is pretty high;
    'Twas time in conscience he should die!
    This world he cumber'd long enough;
    He burnt his candle to the snuff;
    And that's the reason, some folks think,
    He left behind so great a stink.
    Behold his funeral appears,
    Nor widows' sighs, nor orphans' tears,
    Wont at such times each heart to pierce,
    Attend the progress of his hearse.
    But what of that? his friends may say,
    He had those honours in his day.
    True to his profit and his pride,
    He made them weep before he died
    
    Come hither, all ye empty things!
    Ye bubbles rais'd by breath of kings!
    Who float upon the tide of state;
    Come hither, and behold your fate!
    Let pride be taught by this rebuke,
    How very mean a thing's a duke;
    From all his ill-got honours flung,
    Turn'd to that dirt from whence he sprung"

John Dowland (1563 - 1626)


Robert Graves

  • Robert Graves - "FAIRIES AND FUSILIERS", Columbia University http://www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/graves/ | http://www.bartleby.com/120/index.html
    • 1915

    • I've watched the Seasons passing slow, so slow,
      In the fields between La Bassťe and Bethune;
      Primroses and the first warm day of Spring,
      Red poppy floods of June,
      August, and yellowing Autumn, so
      To Winter nights knee-deep in mud or snow,
      And you've been everything.
      
      Dear, you've been everything that I most lack
      In these soul-deadening trenches - pictures, books,
      Music, the quiet of an English wood,
      Beautiful comrade-looks,
      The narrow, bouldered mountain-track,
      The broad, full-bosomed ocean, green and black,
      And Peace, and all thatís good.
      
  • When I'm Killed

  • WHEN Iím killed, donít think of me
    Buried there in Cambrin Wood,
    Nor as in Zion think of me
    With the Intolerable Good.
    And thereís one thing that I know well,
    Iím damned if Iíll be damned to Hell!
     
    So when Iím killed, donít wait for me,
    Walking the dim corridor;
    In Heaven or Hell, donít wait for me,
    Or you must wait for evermore.
    Youíll find me buried, living-dead
    In these verses that youíve read.
     
    So when Iím killed, donít mourn for me,
    Shot, poor lad, so bold and young,
    Killed and gone - donít mourn for me.
    On your lips my life is hung:
    O friends and lovers, you can save
    Your playfellow from the grave.
    


Siegfried Sassoon


On Passing the New Menin Gate by Siegfried Sassoon (1886 - 1967)

Who will remember, passing through this Gate,
the unheroic dead who fed the guns ?
Who shall absolve the foulness of their fate, -
Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones ?
    Crudely renewed, the Salient holds its own.
    Paid are its dim defenders by this pomp;
    Paid, with a pile of peace-complacent stone,
    The armies who endured that sullen swamp.

Here was the world's worst wound. And here with pride
'Their name liveth for ever', the Gateway claims.
Was ever an immolation so belied
as these intolerably nameless names ?
Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime
Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.


'They' by Siegfried Sassoon (1886 - 1967)

     The Bishop tells us: `When the boys come back 
     They will not be the same; for they'll have fought 
     In a just cause: they lead the last attack 
     On Anti-Christ; their comrades' blood has bought 
     New right to breed an honourable race,
      They have challenged Death and dared him face to face.'
      
     `We're none of us the same!' the boys reply. 
     `For George lost both his legs; and Bill's stone blind; 
     Poor Jim's shot through the lungs and like to die; 
     And Bert's gone syphilitic: you'll not find 
     A chap who's served that hasn't found some change.' 
     And the Bishop said: `The ways of God are strange!'


Glory of Women by Siegfried Sassoon (1886 - 1967)

You love us when we're heroes, home on leave, 
Or wounded in a mentionable place. 
You worship decorations; you believe 
That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace. 
You make us shells. You listen with delight, 
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled. 
You crown our distant ardours while we fight, 
And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed. 
You can't believe that British troops 'retire' 
When hell's last horror breaks them, and they run, 
Trampling the terrible corpses--blind with blood. 
O German mother dreaming by the fire, 
While you are knitting socks to send your son 
His face is trodden deeper in the mud. 

Wilfred Owen

  • Lost Poets of the Great War (electronic book) - http://www.cc.emory.edu/ENGLISH/LostPoets/
  • Trenches on the Web - http://www.worldwar1.com
  • Owen and W.B. Yeats - http://www.emory.edu/ENGLISH/LostPoets/Yeats.html
  • A Wilfred Owen Page by Eric Laermans - http://home.tiscalinet.be/ericlaermans/cultural/owen.html
  • Wilfred Owen (1893-Nov. 4, 1918) - SELECTED POETRY OF WILFRED OWEN http://library.utoronto.ca/www/utel/rp/authors/owen.html
    "Move him into the sun--
    Gently its touch awoke him once,
    At home, whispering of fields unsown.
    Always it awoke him, even in France,
    Until this morning and this snow.
    If anything might rouse him now
    The kind old sun will know.
    
    Think how it wakes the seeds--
    Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
    Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
    Full-nerved,--still warm,--too hard to stir?
    Was it for this the clay grew tall?
    --O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
    To break earth's sleep at all?"
  • Greater Love
    "Red lips are not so red
    As the stained stones kissed by the English dead.
    Kindness of wooed and wooer
    Seems shame to their love pure.
    O Love, your eyes lose lure
    When I behold eyes blinded in my stead!
    
    Your slender attitude
    Trembles not exquisite like limbs knife-skewed,
    Rolling and rolling there
    Where God seems not to care;
    Till the firece love they bear
    Cramps them in death's extreme decrepitude
    
    Your voice sings not to soft,-
    Though even as wind murmuring through raftered loft,-
    Your dear voice is not dear,
    Gentle, and evening clear,
    As theirs whom none now hear,
    Now earth has stopped their piteous mouths that coughed.
    
    Heart, you were never hot
    Nor large, nor full like hearts made great with shot;
    And though your hand be pale,
    Paler are all which trail
    Your cross through flame and hail:
    Weep, you may weep, for you may touch them not."
  • Apologia Pro Pemate Meo
    "I, too saw God through mud,-
    The mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled.
    War brought more glory to their eyes than blood,
    And gave their laughs more glee than shakes a child.
    
    Merry it was to laugh there-
    When death becomes absurd and life absurder.
    For power was on us as we slashed bones bare
    Not to feel sickness or remorse or murder.
    
    I, too, have dropped off fear-
    Behind the barrage, dead as my platoon,
    And sailed by spirit surging light and clear
    Past the entanglement where hopes lay strewn;
    
    And witnessed exultation-
    Faces that used to curse me, scowl for scowl,
    Shine and lift up with passion of oblation,
    Seraphic for an hour; though they were foul.
    
    I have made fellowships-
    Untold of happy lovers in old song.
    For love is not the binding of fair lips
    With the soft silk of eyes that look and long.
    
    By Joy, whoe ribbon slips,-
    But wound the war's hard wire whose stakes are strong;
    Bound with the bandage of the arm that drips;
    Knit in the webbing of the rifle-throng.
    
    I have perceived much beauty
    In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight;
    Heard music in the silentness of duty;
    Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddist spate.
    
    Nethertheless, except you share
    With them in hell the sorrowful dark of hell,
    Whose world is but the trembling of a flare,
    And heaven but as the highway for a shell,
    
    You shall not hear their mirth:
    You shall not come to think them well content
    By any jest of mine.  These men are worth
    Your tears.  You are not worth their merriment."
    
    November 1917
  • Mental Cases
    "Who are these?  Why sit they here in twilight?
    Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows,
    Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish,
    Baring teeth that leer like skulls' teeth wicked?
    Stroke on stroke of pain,-but what slow panic,
    Gouged these chasms rough their fretted sockets?
    Ever from their hair and through their hands' palms
    Misery swelters.  Surely we have perished
    Sleeping, and walk hell; but who these hellish?
    
    -These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
    Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
    Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
    Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander,
    Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter.
    Always they must see these things and hear them,
    Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles,
    Carnage incomparable, and human squander
    Rucked too thick for these men's extrication.
    
    Therefore still their eyeballs shrink tormented
    Back into their brains, because on their sense
    Sunlight seems a blook-smear; bight comes blood-black;
    Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh.
    -Thus their heads wear this hilarious, hideous,
    Awful falseness of set-smiling corpses.
    -Thus their hands are plucking at each other;
    Picking at the rope-knouts of their scourging;
    Snatching after us who smote them, brother,
    Pawing us who dealt them war and madness."

A.E. Houseman

  • Refer - http://www.vanceandheather.com/houseman.html

  • "Alfred Edward Housman was born in a village in rural Shropshire, England in 1859. As a student at Oxford, he distinguished himself as a promising scholar of classics, though crises of a personal nature caused him to fail his final exams. Housman was determined to overcome this failing. When not working at the British Patent office Housman wrote scholarly articles, and published many of them to very high regard from those in academic circles. He was invited to teach at the University of London as a professor of Latin, and soon stepped up to Cambridge University, to retire to the life of a shy academic. He published only two volumes of poetry -- A Shropshire Lad in 1898 and Last Poems in 1922 -- yet these were instantly and enormously popular. However successful he was, the tone of his poems remained that of the Latin poets he admired: that life is short and often, inexplicably, comes to a bad end.
    He died in 1936. "


    THE Laws of God...
    
    THE laws of God, the laws of man,
    He may keep that will and can;
    Not I: let God and man decree
    Laws for themselves and not for me;
    And if my ways are not as theirs
    Let them mind their own affairs.
    Their deeds I judge and much condemn,
    Yet when did I make laws for them?
    Please yourselves, say I, and they
    Need only look the other way.
    But no, they will not; they must still
    Wrest their neighbour to their will,
    And make me dance as they desire
    With jail and gallows and hell-fire.
    And how am I to face the odds
    Of man's bedevilment and God's?
    I, a stranger and afraid
    In a world I never made.
    They will be master, right or wrong;
    Though both are foolish, both are strong.
    And since, my soul, we cannot flee
    To Saturn nor to Mercury,
    Keep we must, if keep we can,
    These foreign laws of God and man. 
    

John Betjeman (1906 - 1984)


  • Business Girls by John Betjeman
  • Refer - http://www.kategreen.org.uk/Business%20Girls.htm

  •     From the geyser ventilators
       Autumn winds are blowing down
        On a thousand business women
        Having baths in Camden Town.
    
       Waste pipes chuckle into runnels,
       Steamís escaping here and there,
     Morning trains through Camden cutting
      Shake the Crescent and the Square.
    
        Early nip of changeful autumn,
     Dahlias glimpsed through garden doors,
       At the back precarious bathrooms
         Jutting out from upper floors;
    
        And behind their frail partitions
         Business women lie and soak,
      Seeing through the draughty skylight
       Flying clouds and railway smoke.
    
      Rest you there, poor unbelovíd ones,
          Lap your loneliness in heat.
        All too soon the tiny breakfast,
         Trolley-bus and windy street!
    


  • Slough - 1937
  • "John Betjeman published his poem about Slough in 1937 in the collected works "Continual Dew". Slough was becoming increasingly industrialised and some housing conditions were very cramped. In willing the destruction of Slough, Betjeman urges the bombs to pick out the vulgar profiteers but to spare the bald young clerks. He really was very fond of his fellow human beings. Slough is much improved nowadays and he might be pleasantly surprised by a stroll there."

  • Refer - http://www-cdr.stanford.edu/intuition/Slough.html

  • Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
    It isn't fit for humans now, 
    There isn't grass to graze a cow. 
    Swarm over, Death!
    
    Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
    Those air-conditioned, bright canteens, 
    Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans, 
    Tinned minds, tinned breath. 
    
    Mess up the mess they call a town-
    A house for ninety-seven down
    And once a week a half a crown 
    For twenty years. 
    
    And get that man with double chin
    Who'll always cheat and always win, 
    Who washes his repulsive skin 
    In women's tears: 
    
    And smash his desk of polished oak
    And smash his hands so used to stroke
    And stop his boring dirty joke
    And make him yell. 
    
    But spare the bald young clerks who add
    The profits of the stinking cad;
    It's not their fault that they are mad, 
    They've tasted Hell. 
    
    It's not their fault they do not know 
    The birdsong from the radio, 
    It's not their fault they often go 
    To Maidenhead 
    
    And talk of sport and makes of cars
    In various bogus-Tudor bars 
    And daren't look up and see the stars
    But belch instead. 
    
    In labour-saving homes, with care
    Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
    And dry it in synthetic air
    And paint their nails. 
    
    Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
    To get it ready for the plough.
    The cabbages are coming now;
    The earth exhales. 
    


  • "In Westminster Abbey" - John Betjeman
    • http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/613.html
    • http://www.pmms.cam.ac.uk/~gjm11/poems/wabbey

      Let me take this other glove off
        As the vox humana swells,
      And the beauteous fields of Eden
        Bask beneath the Abbey bells.
      Here, where England's statesmen lie,
      Listen to a lady's cry.
      
      Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans,
        Spare their women for Thy Sake,
      And if that is not too easy
        We will pardon Thy Mistake.
      But, gracious Lord, whate'er shall be,
      Don't let anyone bomb me.
      
      Keep our Empire undismembered
        Guide our Forces by Thy Hand,
      Gallant blacks from far Jamaica,
        Honduras and Togoland;
      Protect them Lord in all their fights,
      And, even more, protect the whites.
      
      Think of what our Nation stands for,
        Books from Boots' and country lanes,
      Free speech, free passes, class distinction,
        Democracy and proper drains.
      Lord, put beneath Thy special care
      One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square.
      
      Although dear Lord I am a sinner,
        I have done no major crime;
      Now I'll come to Evening Service
        Whensoever I have the time.
      So, Lord, reserve for me a crown,
      And do not let my shares go down.
      
      I will labour for Thy Kingdom,
        Help our lads to win the war,
      Send white feathers to the cowards
        Join the Women's Army Corps,
      Then wash the steps around Thy Throne
      In the Eternal Safety Zone.
      
      Now I feel a little better,
        What a treat to hear Thy Word,
      Where the bones of leading statesmen
        Have so often been interr'd.
      And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait
      Because I have a luncheon date.
      


  • "Diary of a Church Mouse" - John Betjeman
    • http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/poetry/outloud/betjeman.shtml

    • Here among long-discarded cassocks,
      Damp stools, and half-split open hassocks,
      Here where the Vicar never looks
      I nibble through old service books.
      Lean and alone I spend my days
      Behind this Church of England baize.
      I share my dark forgotten room
      With two oil-lamps and half a broom.
      The cleaner never bothers me,
      So here I eat my frugal tea.
      My bread is sawdust mixed with straw;
      My jam is polish for the floor.
      Christmas and Easter may be feasts 
      For congregations and for priests,
      And so may Whitsun. All the same,
      They do not fill my meagre frame.
      For me the only feast at all
      Is Autumn's Harvest Festival,
      When I can satisfy my want
      With ears of corn around the font.
      I climb the eagle's brazen head
      To burrow through a loaf of bread.
      I scramble up the pulpit stair
      And gnaw the marrows hanging there.
      It is enjoyable to taste
      These items ere they go to waste,
      But how annoying when one finds
      That other mice with pagan minds
      Come into church my food to share
      Who have no proper business there.
      Two field mice who have no desire
      To be baptized, invade the choir.
      A large and most unfriendly rat
      Comes in to see what we are at.
      He says he thinks there is no God
      And yet he comes...it's rather odd.
      This year he stole a sheaf of wheat
      (It screened our special preacher's seat),
      And prosperous mice from fields away
      Come in to hear the organ play,
      And under cover of its notes
      Ate through the altar's sheaf of oats.
      A Low Church mouse, who thinks that I
      Am too papistical, and High,
      Yet somehow doesn't think it wrong
      To munch through Harvest Evensong,
      While I, who starve the whole year through,
      Must share my food with rodents who
      Except at this time of the year
      Not once inside the church appear.
      Within the human world I know
      Such goings-on could not be so,
      For human beings only do
      What their religion tells them to.
      They read the Bible every day
      And always, night and morning, pray,
      And just like me, the good church mouse,
      Worship each week in God's own house,
      But all the same it's strange to me
      How very full the church can be
      With people I don't see at all
      Except at Harvest Festival. 
      


  • "Christmas" - John Betjeman

  • "On a Portrait of a Deaf Man" - John Betjeman

Lewis Carroll


Louis MacNeice (1907 -1963)

  • Louis MacNeice Fact Page - http://members.aol.com/carrickman/macneice.htm

  • Louis MacNeice - "Prayer before Birth" - http://www.artofeurope.com/macneice/mac1.htm

  •      I am not yet born; O hear me.
         Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
              club-footed ghoul come near me.
    
         I am not yet born, console me.
         I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
              with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
                 on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.
    
         I am not yet born; provide me
         With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
              to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
                 in the back of my mind to guide me.
    
         I am not yet born; forgive me
         For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
              when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
                 my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
                    my life when they murder by means of my
                       hands, my death when they live me.
    
         I am not yet born; rehearse me
         In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
              old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
                 frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
                     waves call me to folly and the desert calls
                       me to doom and the beggar refuses
                          my gift and my children curse me.
    
         I am not yet born; O hear me,
         Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
              come near me.
    
         I am not yet born; O fill me
         With strength against those who would freeze my
              humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
                 would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
                    one face, a thing, and against all those
                       who would dissipate my entirety, would
                          blow me like thistledown hither and
                             thither or hither and thither
                                like water held in the
                                   hands would spill me.
    
         Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
         Otherwise kill me.
    

A. D. Hope


Henry Lawson

  • Faces in the Street by Henry Lawson

    HTMLized by birjt@alinga.newcastle.edu.au - Friday, November 12, 1999 
    
    Original text from The Project Gutenberg Etext
    
    entered/proofed by A. Light, alight@cybernetics.net
    proofed by L. Bowser (bowser@mars.senecac.on.ca)
    
    In the Days When the World was Wide and Other Verses (2 ed.)
    by Henry Lawson [Australian house-painter, author and poet -- 1867-1922.]
    First Edition printed February 1896,
    Reprinted August 1896, October 1896, March 1898, and November 1898;
    Revised Edition, January 1900;
    Reprinted May 1903, February 1910, June 1912, and July 1913.
    

  • 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.

  • Australian Bards and Bush Reviewers by Henry Lawson

  • In the Days When the World was Wide and Other Verses (2 ed.) by Henry Lawson [Australian house-painter, author and poet -- 1867-1922.] : http://www.gutenberg.cyberxs.nl/etext95/file.html?file=dwwww11.txt

    While you use your best endeavour to immortalise in verse
    The gambling and the drink which are your country's greatest curse,
    While you glorify the bully and take the spieler's part --
    You're a clever southern writer, scarce inferior to Bret Harte.
    
    If you sing of waving grasses when the plains are dry as bricks,
    And discover shining rivers where there's only mud and sticks;
    If you picture `mighty forests' where the mulga spoils the view --
    You're superior to Kendall, and ahead of Gordon too.
    
    If you swear there's not a country like the land that gave you birth,
    And its sons are just the noblest and most glorious chaps on earth;
    If in every girl a Venus your poetic eye discerns,
    You are gracefully referred to as the `young Australian Burns'.
    
    But if you should find that bushmen -- spite of all the poets say --
    Are just common brother-sinners, and you're quite as good as they --
    You're a drunkard, and a liar, and a cynic, and a sneak,
    Your grammar's simply awful and your intellect is weak.
    


Robert Louis Stevenson


As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear, he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.


Requiem - Robert Louis Stevenson. 1850-1894

UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
  And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
  And the hunter home from the hill.

Charles GD Roberts

      Bat, Bat, Come Under my Hat

      Twelve good friends
      Passed under her hat,
      And devil a one of them
      Knew where he was at.

      Had they but known,
      Then had they known all things, --
      The littleness of great things,
      The unmeasured immensity of small things.
      They had known the Where and the Why,
      The When and the Wherefore,
      And how the Eternal
      Conceived the Eternal, and therefore
      Beginning began the Beginning;
      They had apprehended
      The ultimate virtue of sinning;
      They had caught the whisper
      That Vega vibrates to Arcturus,
      Piercing the walls
      Of heavy flesh that immure us.

      But if they had known,
      Then had there been no mystery;
      And Life had been poorer,
      And laughter unsurer,
      And the shadow of death securer,
      By lack of this brief history.

William Blake (1757-1827)

  • William Blake - Auguries of Innocence - http://stellar-one.com/poems/auguries_of_innocence__william_blake.htm
  • William Blake - Auguries of Innocence - http://ash.xanthia.com/nazgsoul.html#Poetry from ashspace | http://ash.xanthia.com/blake.html
  • William Blake - Auguries of Innocence - http://neuro.ohbi.net/english_poem/auguries_of_innocence_blake.htm
  • William Blake - Auguries of Innocence - http://www.4literature.net/William_Blake/Auguries_of_Innocence/

  • William Blake - Auguries of Innocence - http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display/poem161.html
    • This poem was first published by Rossetti in his edition in Gilchrist's Life of William Blake, 1863. It was edited from a MS. in fair draft written by Blake probably during his stay at Felpham (1800-3), and later known as the Pickering MS., from a Mr. B. J. Pickering who bought it and published an edition of it, more accurate than Rossetti's, in 1866.

        Auguries of Innocence
    
    To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
    And Eternity in an hour. 
      
    A Robin Red breast in a Cage 
    Puts all Heaven in a Rage. 
    A dove house fill'd with doves & Pigeons 
    Shudders Hell thro' all its regions. 
    A dog starv'd at his Master's Gate 
    Predicts the ruin of the State. 
    A Horse misus'd upon the Road 
    Calls to Heaven for Human blood. 
    Each outcry of the hunted Hare 
    A fibre from the Brain does tear. 
    A Skylark wounded in the wing, 
    A Cherubim does cease to sing. 
    The Game Cock clipp'd and arm'd for fight 
    Does the Rising Sun affright. 
    Every Wolf's & Lion's howl 
    Raises from Hell a Human Soul. 
    The wild deer, wand'ring here & there, 
    Keeps the Human Soul from Care. 
    The Lamb misus'd breeds public strife 
    And yet forgives the Butcher's Knife. 
    The Bat that flits at close of Eve 
    Has left the Brain that won't believe. 
    The Owl that calls upon the Night 
    Speaks the Unbeliever's fright. 
    He who shall hurt the little Wren 
    Shall never be belov'd by Men. 
    He who the Ox to wrath has mov'd 
    Shall never be by Woman lov'd. 
    The wanton Boy that kills the Fly 
    Shall feel the Spider's enmity. 
    He who torments the Chafer's sprite 
    Weaves a Bower in endless Night. 
    The Catterpillar on the Leaf 
    Repeats to thee thy Mother's grief. 
    Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly, 
    For the Last Judgement draweth nigh. 
    He who shall train the Horse to War 
    Shall never pass the Polar Bar. 
    The Beggar's Dog & Widow's Cat, 
    Feed them & thou wilt grow fat. 
    The Gnat that sings his Summer's song 
    Poison gets from Slander's tongue. 
    The poison of the Snake & Newt 
    Is the sweat of Envy's Foot. 
    The poison of the Honey Bee 
    Is the Artist's Jealousy. 
    The Prince's Robes & Beggars' Rags 
    Are Toadstools on the Miser's Bags. 
    A truth that's told with bad intent 
    Beats all the Lies you can invent. 
    It is right it should be so; 
    Man was made for Joy & Woe; 
    And when this we rightly know 
    Thro' the World we safely go. 
    Joy & Woe are woven fine, 
    A Clothing for the Soul divine; 
    Under every grief & pine 
    Runs a joy with silken twine. 
    The Babe is more than swadling Bands; 
    Throughout all these Human Lands 
    Tools were made, & born were hands, 
    Every Farmer Understands. 
    Every Tear from Every Eye 
    Becomes a Babe in Eternity. 
    This is caught by Females bright 
    And return'd to its own delight. 
    The Bleat, the Bark, Bellow & Roar 
    Are Waves that Beat on Heaven's Shore. 
    The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath 
    Writes Revenge in realms of death. 
    The Beggar's Rags, fluttering in Air, 
    Does to Rags the Heavens tear. 
    The Soldier arm'd with Sword & Gun, 
    Palsied strikes the Summer's Sun. 
    The poor Man's Farthing is worth more 
    Than all the Gold on Afric's Shore. 
    One Mite wrung from the Labrer's hands 
    Shall buy & sell the Miser's lands: 
    Or, if protected from on high, 
    Does that whole Nation sell & buy. 
    He who mocks the Infant's Faith 
    Shall be mock'd in Age & Death. 
    He who shall teach the Child to Doubt 
    The rotting Grave shall ne'er get out. 
    He who respects the Infant's faith 
    Triumph's over Hell & Death. 
    The Child's Toys & the Old Man's Reasons 
    Are the Fruits of the Two seasons. 
    The Questioner, who sits so sly, 
    Shall never know how to Reply. 
    He who replies to words of Doubt 
    Doth put the Light of Knowledge out. 
    The Strongest Poison ever known 
    Came from Caesar's Laurel Crown. 
    Nought can deform the Human Race 
    Like the Armour's iron brace. 
    When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow 
    To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow. 
    A Riddle or the Cricket's Cry 
    Is to Doubt a fit Reply. 
    The Emmet's Inch & Eagle's Mile 
    Make Lame Philosophy to smile. 
    He who Doubts from what he sees 
    Will ne'er believe, do what you Please. 
    If the Sun & Moon should doubt 
    They'd immediately Go out. 
    To be in a Passion you Good may do, 
    But no Good if a Passion is in you. 
    The Whore & Gambler, by the State 
    Licenc'd, build that Nation's Fate. 
    The Harlot's cry from Street to Street 
    Shall weave Old England's winding Sheet. 
    The Winner's Shout, the Loser's Curse, 
    Dance before dead England's Hearse. 
    Every Night & every Morn 
    Some to Misery are Born. 
    Every Morn & every Night 
    Some are Born to sweet Delight. 
    Some ar Born to sweet Delight, 
    Some are born to Endless Night. 
    We are led to Believe a Lie 
    When we see not Thro' the Eye 
    Which was Born in a Night to Perish in a Night 
    When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light. 
    God Appears & God is Light 
    To those poor Souls who dwell in the Night, 
    But does a Human Form Display 
    To those who Dwell in Realms of day. 
    


    Be wary - a cut down version of "Auguries of Innocence" found on quite a few websites?

          Auguries of Innocence
    
    
           To see a world in a grain of sand
            And a heaven in a wild flower,
         Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
              And eternity in an hour. 
    
             A robin redbreast in a cage
              Puts all Heaven in a rage.
       A dove house fill'd with doves and pigeons
           Shudders Hell thro' all its regions.
           A dog starv'd at his master's gate
            Predicts the ruin of the state.
            A horse misus'd upon the road
          Calls to Heaven for human blood.
            Each outcry of the hunted hare
           A fibre from the brain does tear.
           A skylark wounded in the wing,
           A Cherubim does cease to sing.
       The game cock clipp'd and arm'd for fight
             Does the rising Sun affright.
             Every wolf's and lion's howl
           Raises from Hell a human soul. 
    
           He who respects the infant's faith
            Triumphs over Hell and Death.
       The child's toys and the old man's reasons
           Are the fruits of the two seasons.
           The questioner, who sits so sly,
           Shall never know how to reply.
          He who replies to words of doubt
         Doth put the light of Knowledge out.
           The strongest poison ever known
          Came from Caesar's laurel crown,
          Nought can deform the human race
           Like to the armour's iron brace.
         When gold and gems adorn the plow
           To peaceful arts shall Envy bow.
             A riddle or the cricket's cry
               Is to doubt a fit reply.
           The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
           Make lame Philosophy to smile.
          He who doubts from what he sees
         Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
          If the Sun and Moon should doubt,
             They'd immediately go out.
         To be in a passion you good may do,
          But no good if a passion is in you.
         The whore and gambler, by the state
           Licens'd, build that nation's fate.
         The harlot's cry from street to street,
        Shall weave Old England's winding sheet.
         The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
         Dance before dead England's hearse.
             Every night and every morn
              Some to misery are born.
             Every morn and every night
           Some are born to sweet delight.
           Some are born to sweet delight,
           Some are born to endless night.
             We are led to believe a lie
            When we see not thro' the eye
      Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
         When the Soul slept in beams of light.
            God appears and God is light
        To those poor souls who dwell in night,
            But does a human form display
         To those who dwell in realms of day.


augury: n.; pl. auguries [L. augurium, divination from augur, an augur]

  1. the art or practice of foretelling events by signs or omens
    She knew by augury divine. - Swift
  2. that which forebodes; that from which a prediction is drawn; and omen; portent.
    Sad auguries of winter thence she drew. - Dryden
  3. a formal ceremony conducted by an auger.


London

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.

How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every black'ning Church appalls;
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot's curse
Blasts the new born Infant's tear,
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.


A Poison Tree 

I was angry with my friend: 
I told my wrath, my wrath did end. 
I was angry with my foe; 
I told it not, my wrath did grow. 

And I water'd it in fears, 
Night & morning with my tears; 
And I sunned it with my smiles 
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night, 
Till it bore an apple bright; 
And my foe beheld it shine, 
And he knew that it was mine, 

And into my garden stole 
When the night had veil'd the pole: 
In the morning glad I see 
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree 

City of Dreadful Night (1874) by James Thomson (1834-1882)

Refer City of Dreadful Night by James Thomson webpage.

Refer Poetry of London - London and Literature in the Nineteenth Century


Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909)

  • An Algernon Swinburne site - http://landow.stg.brown.edu/victorian/decadence/swinburne/acsov.html

  • "Poems and ballads" by Algernon Charles Swinburne (London: Edward Moxon & Co., Dover Street. 1866.) - http://www.people.virginia.edu/~bpn2f/Swinburne/1866.html

  • Algernon Swinburne - The Garden of Proserpine - http://www.crocker.com/~lwm/proserpine.html
      The Garden of Proserpine
    
    Here, where the world is quiet;
      Here, where all trouble seems
    Dead winds' and spent waves' riot
      In doubtful dreams of dreams;
    I watch the green field growing
    For reaping folk and sowing
    For harvest-time and mowing,
      A sleepy world of streams.
    
    I am tired of tears and laughter,
      And men that laugh and weep;
    Of what may come hereafter
      For men that sow to reap:
    I am weary of days and hours,
    Blown buds of barren flowers,
    Desires and dreams and powers
      And everything but sleep.
    
    Here life has death for neighbor,
      And far from eye or ear
    Wan waves and wet winds labor,
      Weak ships and spirits steer;
    They drive adrift, and whither
    They wot not who make thither;
    But no such winds blow hither,
      And no such things grow here.
    
    No growth of moor or coppice,
      No heather-flower or vine,
    But bloomless buds of poppies,
      Green grapes of Proserpine,
    Pale beds of blowing rushes,
    Where no leaf blooms or blushes
    Save this whereout she crushes
      For dead men deadly wine.
    
    Pale, without name or number,
      In fruitless fields of corn,
    They bow themselves and slumber
      All night till light is born;
    And like a soul belated,
    In hell and heaven unmated,
    By cloud and mist abated
      Comes out of darkness morn.
    
    Though one were strong as seven,
      He too with death shall dwell,
    Nor wake with wings in heaven,
      Nor weep for pains in hell;
    Though one were fair as roses,
    His beauty clouds and closes;
    And well though love reposes,
      In the end it is not well.
    
    Pale, beyond porch and portal,
      Crowned with calm leaves she stands
    Who gathers all things mortal
      With cold immortal hands;
    Her languid lips are sweeter
    Than love's who fears to greet her,
    To men that mix and meet her
      From many times and lands.
    
    She waits for each and other,
      She waits for all men born;
    Forgets the earth her mother,
      The life of fruits and corn;
    And spring and seed and swallow
    Take wing for her and follow
    Where summer song rings hollow
      And flowers are put to scorn.
    
    There go the loves that wither,
      The old loves with wearier wings;
    And all dead years draw thither,
      And all disastrous things;
    Dead dreams of days forsaken,
    Blind buds that snows have shaken,
    Wild leaves that winds have taken,
      Red strays of ruined springs.
    
    We are not sure of sorrow;
      And joy was never sure;
    To-day will die to-morrow;
      Time stoops to no man's lure;
    And love, grown faint and fretful,
    With lips but half regretful
    Sighs, and with eyes forgetful
      Weeps that no loves endure.
    
    From too much love of living,
      From hope and fear set free,
    We thank with brief thanksgiving
      Whatever gods may be
    That no life lives for ever;
    That dead men rise up never;
    That even the weariest river
      Winds somewhere safe to sea.
    
    Then star nor sun shall waken,
      Nor any change of light:
    Nor sound of waters shaken,
      Nor any sound or sight:
    Nor wintry leaves nor vernal,
    Nor days nor things diurnal;
    Only the sleep eternal
      In an eternal night.


Robert Herrick (1591 to 1674)


Hilaire Belloc

Lord Finchley

Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light
Himself. It struck him dead: And serve him right!
It is the business of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan.


From "The Modern Traveller" by Hilaire Belloc

Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not

Francois Villon (15th Century French Poet)


Edwin Brock

_Five Ways to Kill a Man_             Edwin Brock

There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.
You can make him carry a plank of wood
to the top of a hill and nail him to it. To do this
properly you require a crowd of people
wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak
to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one
man to hammer the nails home.

Or you can take a length of steel,
shaped and chased in a traditional way,
and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.
But for this you need white horses,
English trees, men with bows and arrows,
at least two flags, a prince, and a
castle to hold your banquet in.

Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind
allows, blow gas at him. But then you need
a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,
not to mention black boots, bomb craters,
more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs
and some round hats made of steel.

In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly
miles above your victim and dispose of him by
pressing one small switch. All you then
require is an ocean to separate you, two
systems of government, a nation's scientists,
several factories, a psychopath and
land that no-one needs for several years.

These are, as I began, cumbersome ways
to kill a man. Simpler, direct, and much more neat
is to see that he is living somewhere in the middle
of the twentieth century, and leave him there.

Max Ehrmann (1872 - 1945)

  • Desiderata
  • (From the Alt.Usage.English FAQ: "Desiderata" was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). In 1956, the rector of St. Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of mimeographed inspirational material for his congregation. Someone who subsequently printed it asserted that it was found in Old St. Paul's Church, dated 1692. The year 1692 was the founding date of the church and has nothing to do with the poem. See Fred D. Cavinder, "Desiderata", TWA Ambassador, Aug. 1973, pp. 14-15.)
  • Refer - Undesiderata - http://www-sccm.stanford.edu/Students/aczon/undes.html

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)

(from "Echoes")

  • Refer: http://shift.merriweb.com.au/books/henley/
  • "William Ernest Henley was an English editor, writer, playwright and poet - he claimed that he "found himself in 1877 so utterly unmarketable that he had to own himself beaten in art and to addict himself to journalism for the next 10 years."

    He was first published by Leslie Stephen in the Cornhill Magazine, then in London (a magazine he started and edited 1877-81, which the 11th ed Brittanica descibed as "being of a type found more usually in Paris than London, in that it was written for its contributors than the general public") and then in the Magazine of art (ed from 1882-86). He was literary editor in The Scots Observer thereafter.

    He is chiefly remembered (if at all) for his famous poem Invictus and for a feud with Robert Louis Stevenson, his one-time greatest friend."

  • IV - I. M. R.T. Hamilton Bruce (1846-1899) [Invictus] (To R. T. H. B.)

    Out of the night that covers me, 
      Black as the Pit from pole to pole, 
    I thank whatever gods may be 
      For my unconquerable soul. 
      
    In the fell clutch of circumstance 
      I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
    Under the bludgeonings of chance 
      My head is bloody, but unbowed. 
      
    Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
      Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
    And yet the menace of the years 
      Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. 
      
    It matters not how strait the gate, 
      How charged with punishments the scroll, 
    I am the master of my fate: 
      I am the captain of my soul.
    1875

  • XLVII - Crosses and troubles a-many have proved me.

    Crosses and troubles a-many have proved me. 
    One or two women (God bless them !) have loved me. 
    I have worked and dreamed, and I 've talked at will. 
    Of art and drink I have had my fill. 
    I 've comforted here, and I 've succoured there. 
    I've faced my foes, and I've backed my friends. 
    I 've blundered, and sometimes made amends. 
    I have prayed for light, and I 've known despair. 
    Now I look before, as I look behind, 
    Come storm, come shine, whatever befall, 
    With a grateful heart and a constant mind, 
    For the end I know is the best of all. 
      1888-1889
  • IX - MADAM Life's a piece in bloom (To W. R.)

    MADAM Life's a piece in bloom 
      Death goes dogging everywhere: 
    She 's the tenant of the room, 
      He 's the ruffian on the stair. 
    You shall see her as a friend, 
      You shall bilk him once and twice; 
    But he 'll trap you in the end, 
      And he 'll stick you for her price. 
    With his kneebones at your chest, 
      And his knuckles in your throat, 
    You would reason - plead - protest! 
      Clutching at her petticoat; 
    But she's heard it all before, 
      Well she knows you've had your fun, 
    Gingerly she gains the door, 
      And your little job is done. 
        1877
  • XXX - KATE-A-WHIMSIES, John-a-Dreams,

    KATE-A-WHIMSIES, John-a-Dreams, 
    Still debating, still delay, 
    And the world's a ghost that gleams - 
    Wavers - vanishes away! 
    We must live while live we can; 
    We should love while love we may. 
    Dread in women, doubt in man . 
    So the Infinite runs away.

W. B. Yeats (1865 -1939)

WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep
  And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
  And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
  And loved your beauty with love false or true;
  But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
  Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
  And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


Hurrah for revolution and more cannon-shot!
   A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot.
     Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again!
The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.


I know that I shall meet my fate 
Somewhere among the clouds above; 
Those that I fight I do not hate, 
Those that I guard I do not love; 
My country is Kiltartan Cross, 
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor, 
No likely end could bring them loss 
Or leave them happier than before. 
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, 
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds, 
A lonely impulse of delight 
Drove to this tummult in the clouds; 
I balanced all, brought all to mind, 
The years to come seemed waste of breath, 
A waste of breath the years behind 
In balance with this life, this death. 

T. S. Eliot

Defense of the Islands

(extracted from: T. S. Eliot collected poems 1909-1962. Published by Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc. 757 Third Avenue, N.Y. 10017, Forteenth Printing, 1970)

Defense of the islands cannot pretend to be verse, but its
date - just after the evacuation from Dunkirk - and
occasion have for me a significance which makes me wish
to preserve it. McKnight Kauffer was then working for
the Ministry of Information. At his request I wrote these
lines to accompany an exhibition in New York of
photographs illustrating the war effort in Britain. They
were subsequently published in Britain at War (the Museum
of Modern Art, New York, 1941). I now dedicate
them to the memory of Edward McKnight Kauffer

Let these memorials of built stone - music's
enduring instrument, of many centuries of
patient cultivation of earth, of English
verse

be joined with the memory of this defense of
the islands

and the memory of those appointed to the grey
ships - battleship, merchantman, trawler -
contributing their share to the ages' pavement
of British bone on the sea floor

and of those who, in man's newest form of gamble
with death, fight the power of darkness in air
and fire

and of those who have followed their forebears
to Flanders and France, those undefeated in de-
feat, unalterable in triumph, changing nothing
of their ancestors' ways but the weapons

and those again for whom the paths of glory are
the lanes and streets of Britain:

to say, to the past and the future generations
of our kin and of our speech, that we took up
our positions, in obedience to instructions.


As referenced in some of T.S. Eliot's poetry: "Jew of Malta" by Christopher Marlowe, (1564-1593)

"Jew of Malta": Extract from ACT IV.

     Enter BARABAS<125> and ITHAMORE.  Bells within.

BARABAS. There is no music to  a Christian's knell:
How sweet the bells ring, now the nuns are dead,
That sound at other times like tinkers' pans!
I was afraid the poison had not wrought,
Or, though it wrought, it would have done no good,
For every year they swell, and yet they live:
Now all are dead, not one remains alive.

ITHAMORE.
That's brave, master:  but think you it will not be known?

BARABAS. How can it, if we two be secret?

ITHAMORE. For my part, fear you not.

BARABAS. I'd cut thy throat, if I did.

ITHAMORE. And reason too.
But here's a royal monastery hard by;
Good master, let me poison all the monks.

BARABAS. Thou shalt not need; for, now the nuns are dead,
They'll die with grief.

ITHAMORE. Do you not sorrow for your daughter's death?

BARABAS. No, but I grieve because she liv'd so long,
An Hebrew born, and would become a Christian:
Cazzo,<127> diabolo!

ITHAMORE.
Look, look, master; here come two religious caterpillars.

     Enter FRIAR JACOMO and FRIAR BARNARDINE.

BARABAS. I smelt 'em ere they came.

ITHAMORE. God-a-mercy, nose!  Come, let's begone.

FRIAR BARNARDINE. Stay, wicked Jew; repent, I say, and stay.

FRIAR JACOMO. Thou hast offended, therefore must be damn'd.

BARABAS. I fear they know we sent the poison'd broth.

ITHAMORE. And so do I, master; therefore speak 'em fair.

FRIAR BARNARDINE. Barabas, thou hast--

FRIAR JACOMO. Ay, that thou hast--

BARABAS. True, I have money; what though I have?

FRIAR BARNARDINE. Thou art a--

FRIAR JACOMO. Ay, that thou art, a--

BARABAS. What needs all this? I know I am a Jew.

FRIAR BARNARDINE. Thy daughter--

FRIAR JACOMO. Ay, thy daughter--

BARABAS. O, speak not of her! then I die with grief.

FRIAR BARNARDINE. Remember that--

FRIAR JACOMO. Ay, remember that--

BARABAS. I must needs say that I have been a great usurer.

FRIAR BARNARDINE. Thou hast committed--

BARABAS. Fornication:  but that was in another country;
And besides, the wench is dead.

The Twa Corbies by ANON

(Refer: Francis Turner Palgrame "The Golden Treasury: With a Fifth Book selected by John Press", 1964, Oxford University Press, reprinted 1982, ISBN 0 19 250900 4)

As I was walking all alane
I heard twa corbies making a mane;
The tane unto the t'other say
'Where sall we gang and dine today?'

'--In behint yon auld fail dyke,
I wot there lies a new-slain Knight
And naebody kend that he lies there,
But his hawk, his hound, and lady fair.

'His hound is to the hunting gane,
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
His lady's ta'en another mate,
So we may mak our dinner sweet.

'Ye'll sit on his white hause-bane,
And I'll pick out his bonny blue een:
Wi'ae lock o' his gowden hair
We'll theek our nest where it grows bare,

'Mony a one for him makes mane,
But nane sall ken where he is gane;
O'er his white banes, when they are bare,
The wind sall blaw for evermair'.

Lord Ullin's Daughter by Thomas Campbell (1777-1844)

 A Chieftain, to the Highlands bound,
       Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry!
 And I'll give thee a silver pound
       To row us o'er the ferry!" --

 "Now, who be ye, would cross Lochgyle,
       This dark and stormy weather?"
 "O, I'm the chief of Ulva's isle,
       And this, Lord Ullin's daughter. --

 "And fast before her father's men
       Three days we've fled together,
 For should he find us in the glen,
       My blood would stain the heather.

 "His horsemen hard behind us ride;
       Should they our steps discover,
 Then who will cheer my bonny bride
       When they have slain her lover?" --

 Out spoke the hardy Highland wight, --
       "I'll go, my chief --I'm ready: --
It is not for your silver bright;
       But for your winsome lady:

 "And by my word! the bonny bird
       In danger shall not tarry;
 So, though the waves are raging white,
       I'll row you o'er the ferry." --

 By this the storm grew loud apace,
       The water-wraith was shrieking;
 And in the scowl of heaven each face
       Grew dark as they were speaking.

 But still as wilder blew the wind,
       And as the night grew drearer,
 Adown the glen rode armŤd men,
       Their trampling sounded nearer. --

 "O haste thee, haste!" the lady cries,
       "Though tempests round us gather;
 I'll meet the raging of the skies,
       But not an angry father." --

 The boat has left a stormy land,
       A stormy sea before her, --
 When, O! too strong for human hand,
       The tempest gather'd o'er her.

 And still they row'd amidst the roar
       Of waters fast prevailing:
 Lord Ullin reach'd that fatal shore, --
       His wrath was changed to wailing.

 For, sore dismay'd through storm and shade,
       His child he did discover: --
 One lovely hand she stretch'd for aid,
       And one was round her lover.

 "Come back! come back!" he cried in grief
       "Across this stormy water:
 And I'll forgive your Highland chief,
       My daughter! -- O my daughter!"

 'Twas vain: the loud waves lash'd the shore,
       Return or aid preventing:
 The waters wild went o'er his child,
       And he was left lamenting.

On Living Too Long by Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864)

IS it not better at an early hour
  In its calm cell to rest the weary head,
While birds are singing and while blooms the bower,
  Than sit the fire out and go starvíd to bed?

Stevie Smith (1903 - 1971)

(Refer: Francis Turner Palgrame "The Golden Treasury: With a Fifth Book selected by John Press", 1964, Oxford University Press, reprinted 1982, ISBN 0 19 250900 4)

Not Waving but Drowning - Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.


Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

(Refer: Francis Turner Palgrame "The Golden Treasury: With a Fifth Book selected by John Press", 1964, Oxford University Press, reprinted 1982, ISBN 0 19 250900 4)

and

Past and Present / I Remember, I Remember - Thomas Hood

I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon
Nor bought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember
The roses, red and white,
The violets, and the lily-cups--
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,--
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember
Where I was used to swing,
And throught the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow.

I remember, I remember
The fir frees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from Heaven
Than when I was a boy.


The Song of the Shirt! - Thomas Hood

  • Selected Poetry of Thomas Hood (1799-1845): http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/poems/hood3b.html

  • "Inspired by an incident which had newly drawn public attention to the condition of some workers in London. A woman with a starving infant at the breast `was charged at the Lambeth Police-court with pawning her master's goods, for which she had to give two pounds security. Her husband had died by an accident, and left her with two children to support, and she obtained by her needle for the maintenance of herself and family what her master called the good living of seven shillings a week.'"


Gold! - Thomas Hood

Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! 
Bright and yellow, hard and cold
Molten, graven, hammered and rolled,
Heavy to get and light to hold,
Hoarded, bartered, bought and sold,
Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled,
Spurned by young, but hung by old
To the verge of a church yard mold;
Price of many a crime untold.
Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! 
Good or bad a thousand fold!
  How widely it agencies vary,
To save - to ruin - to curse - to bless -
As even its minted coins express :
Now stamped with the image of Queen Bess,
  And now of a bloody Mary.

William Allingham, A Memory

FOUR ducks on a pond,
A grass bank beyond,
A blue sky of spring,
White clouds on the wing:
What a little thing
To remember for years,
To remember with tears! 

G.K. Chesterton (1874 - 1936)

The Secret People - G. K. Chesterton   (1874 - 1936)

Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget,
For we are the people of England, that never has spoken yet.
There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.

The fine French kings came over in a flutter of flags and dames.
We liked their smiles and battles, but we never could say their names.
The blood ran red to Bosworth and the high French lords went down;
There was naught but a naked people under a naked crown.
And the eyes of the King's Servants turned terribly every way,
And the gold of the King's Servants rose higher every day.
They burnt the homes of the shaven men, that had been quaint and kind,
Till there was no bed in a monk's house, nor food that man could find.
The inns of God where no man paid, that were the wall of the weak,
The King's Servants ate them all. And still we did not speak.

And the face of the King's Servants grew greater than the King:
He tricked them, and they trapped him, and stood round him in a ring.
The new grave lords closed round him, that had eaten the abbey's fruits,
And the men of the new religion, with their Bibles in their boots,
We saw their shoulders moving, to menace or discuss,
And some were pure and some were vile; but none took heed of us.
We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale;
And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.

A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people's reign:
And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and never scorned us again.
Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
The strange fierce face of the Frenchman who knew for what he fought,
And the man who seemed to be more than man we strained against and broke;
And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.

Our path of glory ended; we never heard guns again.
But the squire seemed struck in the saddle; he was foolish, as if in pain.
He leaned on a staggering lawyer, he clutched a cringing Jew,
He was stricken; it may be, after all, he was stricken at Waterloo.
Or perhaps the shades of the shaven men, whose spoil is in his house,
Come back in shining shapes at last to spoil his last carouse:
We only know the last sad squires ride slowly towards the sea,
And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we.

They have given us into the hands of the new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger and honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evenings; and they know no songs.

We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia's wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God's scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.


For a War Memorial  - Gilbert Keith Chesterton   (1874 - 1936)

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/For_a_War_Memorial

Suggested inscription probably not selected by the Committee.

The hucksters haggle in the mart
The cars and carts go by;
Senates and schools go droning on;
For dead things cannot die.

A storm stooped on the place of tombs
With bolts to blast and rive;
But these be names of many men
The lightning found alive.

If usurers rule and rights decay
And visions view once more
Great Carthage like a golden shell
Gape hollow on the shore,

Still to the last of crumbling time
Upon this stone be read
How many men of England died
To prove they were not dead.

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

The sea is calm to-night.  
The tide is full, the moon lies fair  
Upon the straits;--on the French coast the light  
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,  
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.  
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!  
Only, from the long line of spray  
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,  
Listen! you hear the grating roar  
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,  
At their return, up the high strand,  
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,  
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring  
The eternal note of sadness in.  

Sophocles long ago  
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought  
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow  
Of human misery; we  
Find also in the sound a thought,  
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.  

The Sea of Faith  
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore  
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.  
But now I only hear  
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,  
Retreating, to the breath  
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear  
And naked shingles of the world.  

Ah, love, let us be true  
To one another! for the world, which seems  
To lie before us like a land of dreams,  
So various, so beautiful, so new,  
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,  
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;  
And we are here as on a darkling plain  
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,  
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

The Builders

All are architects of Fate,
  Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
  Some with ornaments of rhyme. 

Nothing useless is, or low;
  Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
  Strengthens and supports the rest. 

For the structure that we raise,
  Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
  Are the blocks with which we build. 

Truly shape and fashion these;
  Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
  Such things will remain unseen. 

In the elder days of Art,
  Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
  For the Gods see everywhere. 

Let us do our work as well,
  Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
  Beautiful, entire, and clean. 

Else our lives are incomplete,
  Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
  Stumble as they seek to climb. 

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
  With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
  Shall to-morrow find its place. 

Thus alone can we attain
  To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
  And one boundless reach of sky. 

Ivor Gurney (1890 - 1937)

"From the trenches of war, on a page of a letter which is spattered and
stained, with the note, "Bully beef at fault," one finds the following poem:"

Beauty 

I cannot live with Beauty out of mind. 
I search for her and desire her all the day; 
Beauty, the choicest treasure you may find, 
Most joyous and sweetest word his lips can say. 
The crowded heart in me is quick with visions 
And sweetest music born of a brighter day. 

But though the trees have long since lost their green 
And I, the exile, can but dream of things 
Grown magic in the mind; I watch the sheen 
Of frost, and hear the song Orion sings. 
Yet O, the star-born passion of Beethoven, 
Man's consolation sung on the quivering strings. 

Beauty immortal, not to be hid, desire 
Of all men, each in his fashion, give me the strong 
Thirst past satisfaction for thee, and fire 
Not to be quenched . . . . O lift me, bear me along, 
Touch me, make me worthy that men may seek me 
For Beauty, Mistress Immortal, Healer of Wrong. 

Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881)

God, give us men!

God, give us men! A time like this demands 
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands; 
Men whom the lust of office does not kill; 
Men whom the spoils of office can not buy; 
Men who possess opinions and a will; 
Men who have honor; men who will not lie; 
Men who can stand before a demagogue 
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking! 
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog 
In public duty, and in private thinking; 
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds, 
Their large professions and their little deeds, 
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps, 
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps. 

Philip Larkin (1922 - 1985)


John Donne (1572-1631)

Meditation 17 / XVII. MEDITATION

Now, this Bell tolling softly for another, saies to me, Thou must die.

PERCHANCE hee for whom this Bell tolls, may be so ill, as that he knowes not it tolls for him; And perchance I may thinke my selfe so much better than I am, as that they who are about mee, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for mee, and I know not that. The Church is Catholike, universall, so are all her Actions; All that she does, belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concernes mee; for that child is thereby connected to that Head which is my Head too, and engraffed into that body, whereof I am a member. And when she buries a Man, that action concernes me: All mankinde is of one Author, and is one volume; when one Man dies, one Chapter is not torne out of the booke, but translated into a better language; and every Chapter must be so translated; God emploies several translators; some peeces are translated by age, some by sicknesse, some by warre, some by justice; but Gods hand is in every translation; and his hand shall binde up all our scattered leaves againe, for that Librarie where every booke shall lie open to one another: As therefore the Bell that rings to a Sermon, calls not upon the Preacher onely, but upon the Congregation to come; so this Bell calls us all: but how much more mee, who am brought so neere the doore by this sicknesse. There was a contention as farre as a suite, (in which both pietie and dignitie, religion, and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious Orders should ring to praiers first in the Morning; and it was that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignitie of this Belle that tolls for our evening prayer, wee would bee glad to make it ours, by rising early, in that application, that it might bee ours, as wel as his, whose indeed it is. The Bell doth toll for him that thinkes it doth; and though it intermit againe, yet from that minute, that that occasion wrought upon him, hee is united to God. Who casts not up his Eye to the Sunne when it rises? but who takes off his Eye from a Comet when that breakes out? Who bends not his eare to any bell, which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell, which is passing a peece of himselfe out of this world?

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a begging of Miserie or a borrowing of Miserie, as though we were not miserable enough of our selves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the Miserie of our Neighbours.

Truly it were an excusable covetousnesse if wee did; for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured, and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into currant Monies, his treasure will not defray him as he travells. Tribulation is Treasure in the nature of it, but it is not currant money in the use of it, except wee get nearer and nearer our home, Heaven, by it. Another man may be sicke too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a Mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out, and applies that gold to mee: if by this consideration of anothers danger, I take mine owne into contemplation, and so secure my selfe, by making my recourse to my God, who is our onely securitie.


Nunc lento sonitu dicunt, morieris.
Now this bell tolling softly for another, says to me, thou must die.

Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me and see my state may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that head which is my head too, and ingrafted into the body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated. God employs several translaters; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As therefore the bell that rings a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. There was a contention as far as a suit (in which piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as wellas his whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? But who takes off his eye from a comet when that out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? But who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. Niether can we call this a begging of misery or a borrowing of misery, as though we are not miserable enough of ourselves but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbors.

Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did; for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current moneys, his treasure will not defray him as he travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels as gold in a mine and be of no use to him: but this bell that tells me of his affliction digs out and applies that gold to me, if by this consideration of another's dangers I take mine own into contemplation and so secure myself by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.


Delmore Schwartz (1913-1966)

Calmly We Walk Through This April's Day - Delmore Schwartz (1913-1966)

Calmly we walk through this April's day,
Metropolitan poetry here and there,
In the park sit pauper and rentier,
The screaming children, the motor-car
Fugitive about us, running away,
Between the worker and the millionaire
Number provides all distances,
It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now,
Many great dears are taken away,
What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn...)
Besides the photo and the memory?
(...that time is the fire in which we burn.)

(This is the school in which we learn...)
What is the self amid this blaze?
What am I now that I was then
Which I shall suffer and act again,
The theodicy I wrote in my high school days
Restored all life from infancy,
The children shouting are bright as they run
(This is the school in which they learn . . .)
Ravished entirely in their passing play!
(...that time is the fire in which they burn.)

Avid its rush, that reeling blaze!
Where is my father and Eleanor?
Not where are they now, dead seven years,
But what they were then?
                                 No more? No more?
From Nineteen-Fourteen to the present day,
Bert Spira and Rhoda consume, consume
Not where they are now (where are they now?)
But what they were then, both beautiful;

Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.


All Night, All Night - Delmore Schwartz (1913-1966)

"I have been one acquainted with the night" - Robert Frost

Rode in the train all night, in the sick light. A bird
Flew parallel with a singular will. In daydream's moods and attitudes
The other passengers slumped, dozed, slept, read,
Waiting, and waiting for place to be displaced
On the exact track of safety or the rack of accident.

Looked out at the night, unable to distinguish
Lights in the towns of passage from the yellow lights
Numb on the ceiling. And the bird flew parallel and still
As the train shot forth the straight line of its whistle,
Forward on the taut tracks, piercing empty, familiar --

The bored center of this vision and condition looked and looked
Down through the slick pages of the magazine (seeking
The seen and the unseen) and his gaze fell down the well
Of the great darkness under the slick glitter,
And he was only one among eight million riders and readers.

And all the while under his empty smile the shaking drum
Of the long determined passage passed through him
By his body mimicked and echoed. And then the train
Like a suddenly storming rain, began to rush and thresh--
The silent or passive night, pressing and impressing
The patients' foreheads with a tightening-like image
Of the rushing engine proceeded by a shaft of light
Piercing the dark, changing and transforming the silence
Into a violence of foam, sound, smoke and succession.

A bored child went to get a cup of water,
And crushed the cup because the water too was
Boring and merely boredom's struggle.
The child, returning, looked over the shoulder
Of a man reading until he annoyed the shoulder.
A fat woman yawned and felt the liquid drops
Drip down the fleece of many dinners.

And the bird flew parallel and parallel flew
The black pencil lines of telephone posts, crucified,
At regular intervals, post after post
Of thrice crossed, blue-belled, anonymous trees.

And then the bird cried as if to all of us:

O your life, your lonely life
What have you ever done with it,
And done with the great gift of consciousness?
What will you ever do with your life before death's knife
Provides the answer ultimate and appropriate?

As I for my part felt in my heart as one who falls,
Falls in a parachute, falls endlessly, and feel the vast
Draft of the abyss sucking him down and down, 
An endlessly helplessly falling and appalled clown:

This is the way that night passes by, this 
Is the overnight endless trip to the famous unfathomable abyss.

Stephen Crane

The Heart - by Stephen Crane

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter-bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

William Drummond (1585-1649)

Madrigal

My thoughts hold mortal strife;
I do detest my life,
And with lamenting cries
Peace to my soul to bring
Oft call that prince which here doth monarchize;
--But he, grim grinning King,
Who caitiffs scorns, and doth the blest surprise,
Late having deck'd with beauty's rose his tomb,
Disdains to crop a weed, and will not come.

Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (Robert Frost 1874-1963)

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


Acquainted with the Night (Robert Frost 1874-1963)

 
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light. 

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. 

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street, 

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
O luminary clock against the sky 

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.


The Road Less Travelled (Robert Frost 1874-1963)

 
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
   And sorry I could not travel both
   And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
 To where it bent in the undergrowth.

  Then took the other, as just as fair,
 And having perhaps the better claim,
  For it was grassy, and wanted wear
  Though as for that the passing there
 Had worn them really about the same,

    Both that morning equally lay
 In leaves no step had trodden black.
  Oh, I kept the first for another day;
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
 I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
   Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
   I took the road less traveled by,
 And that has made all the difference. 

Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861)

The Latest Decalogue by Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861)

Thou shalt have one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two?
No graven images may be
Worshipp'd, except the currency:
Swear not at all; for, for thy curse
Thine enemy is none the worse:
At church on Sunday to attend
Will serve to keep the world thy friend:
Honour thy parents; that is, all
From whom advancement may befall:
Thou shalt not kill; but need'st not strive
Officiously to keep alive:
Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it:
Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,
When it's so lucrative to cheat:
Bear not false witness; let the lie
Have time on its own wings to fly:
Thou shalt not covert; but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.


Note:
  One of the two extant manuscripts has four additional lines, not printed
  in any early edition of Clough, summarizing his decalogue in an ironic
  restatement of the two great commandments of the law (Matthew 22: 37-39):

   The sum of all is, thou shalt love,
   If any body, God above:
   At any rate shall never labour
   More than thyself to love thy neighbour."


There is no god, the wicked sayeth by Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861)

(From Dipsychus, Scene VI)

"There is no God," the wicked saith,
    "And truly it's a blessing,
For what He might have done with us
    It's better only guessing."

"There is no God," a youngster thinks,
    "or really, if there may be,
He surely did not mean a man
    Always to be a baby."

"There is no God, or if there is,"
    The tradesman thinks, "'twere funny
If He should take it ill in me
    To make a little money."

"Whether there be," the rich man says,
    "It matters very little,
For I and mine, thank somebody,
    Are not in want of victual."

Some others, also, to themselves,
    Who scarce so much as doubt it,
Think there is none, when they are well,
    And do not think about it.

But country folks who live beneath
    The shadow of the steeple;
The parson and the parson's wife,
    And mostly married people;

Youths green and happy in first love,
    So thankful for illusion;
And men caught out in what the world
    Calls guilt, in first confusion;

And almost everyone when age,
    Disease, or sorrows strike him,
Inclines to think there is a God,
    Or something very like Him.


Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth by Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861)

Say not the struggle nought availeth 
The labour and the wounds are vain, 
The enemy faints not, nor faileth, 
And as things have been, things remain. 
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; 
It may be, in yon smoke concealed, 
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers, 
And, but for you, possess the field. 
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, 
Seem here no painful inch to gain, 
Far back through creeks and inlets making 
Comes silent, flooding in, the main. 
And not by eastern windows only, 
When daylight comes, comes in the light, 
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, 
But westward, look, the land is bright. 

Robert W. Service


Henry Reed (1914 - 1986)

I. Naming of Parts by Henry Reed (1914 - 1986)

I Naming of Parts

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday, 
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning, 
We shall have what to do after firing. But today, 
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica 
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens, 
And today we have naming of parts. 

This is the lower sling swivel. And this 
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see, 
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel, 
Which in your case you have not got. The branches 
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures, 
Which in our case we have not got. 

This is the safety-catch, which is always released 
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me 
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy 
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms 
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see 
Any of them using their finger. 

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this 
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it 
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this 
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards 
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers: 
They call it easing the Spring. 

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy 
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt, 
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance, 
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom 
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards, 
For today we have naming of parts. 

Sir Henry Newbolt (1862 to 1938)

Vitai Lampada

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night
   Ten to make and the match to win --
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
   An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
   Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote
   "Play up! play up! and play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red, --
   Red with the wreck of a square that broke;--
The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
   And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
   And England's far, and Honor a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks,
   "Play up! play up! and play the game!"

This is the word that year by year
   While in her place the School is set
Every one of her sons must hear,
   And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
   Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind--
   "Play up! play up! and play the game!"

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

The Brook

I come from haunts of coot and hern, 
I make a sudden sally 
And sparkle out among the fern, 
To bicker down a valley. 

By thirty hills I hurry down, 
Or slip between the ridges, 
By twenty thorpes, a little town, 
And half a hundred bridges. 

Till last by Philip's farm I flow 
To join the brimming river, 
For men may come and men may go, 
But I go on for ever. 

I chatter over stony ways, 
In little sharps and trebles, 
I bubble into eddying bays, 
I babble on the pebbles. 

With many a curve my banks I fret 
By many a field and fallow, 
And many a fairy foreland set 
With willow-weed and mallow. 

I chatter, chatter, as I flow 
To join the brimming river, 
For men may come and men may go, 
But I go on for ever. 

I wind about, and in and out, 
With here a blossom sailing, 
And here and there a lusty trout, 
And here and there a grayling, 

And here and there a foamy flake 
Upon me, as I travel 
With many a silvery waterbreak 
Above the golden gravel, 

And draw them all along, and flow 
To join the brimming river 
For men may come and men may go, 
But I go on for ever. 

I steal by lawns and grassy plots, 
I slide by hazel covers; 
I move the sweet forget-me-nots 
That grow for happy lovers. 

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance, 
Among my skimming swallows; 
I make the netted sunbeam dance 
Against my sandy shallows. 

I murmur under moon and stars 
In brambly wildernesses; 
I linger by my shingly bars; 
I loiter round my cresses; 

And out again I curve and flow 
To join the brimming river, 
For men may come and men may go, 
But I go on for ever.

Israel Zangwill

The world bloodily-minded,
  The Church dead or polluted,
The blind leading the blinded,
  And the deaf dragging the muted

  • Shelley - Complete Poetical Works at Bartleby Library, Columbia University http://www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/shelley/
    "'....I was an infant when my mother went
       To see an atheist burned. She took me there.
       The dark-robed priests were met around the pile;
       The multitude was gazing silently;
       And as the culprit passed with dauntless mien,
       Tempered disdain in his unaltering eye,
       Mixed with a quiet smile, shone calmly forth;
       The thirsty fire crept round his manly limbs;
       His resolute eyes were scorched to blindness soon;
       His death-pang rent my heart! the insensate mob  
       Uttered a cry of triumph, and I wept.
       "Weep not, child!" cried my mother, "for that man
       Has said, There is no God....."'"

  • Ozymandias - by Percy Shelley
    http://www.rc.umd.edu/rchs/reader/ozymandias.html

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.
    

  • "On a Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below." by Horace Smith (composed December 27, 1817):
    http://www.rc.umd.edu/rchs/reader/smith.html

    In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
    Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
    The only shadow that the Desert knows.
    "I am great Ozymandias," saith the stone,
    "The King of kings: this mighty city shows
    The wonders of my hand." The city's gone!
    Naught but the leg remaining to disclose
    The sight of that forgotten Babylon.
    We wonder, and some hunter may express
    Wonder like ours, when through the wilderness
    Where London stood, holding the wolf in chase,
    He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
    What wonderful, but unrecorded, race
    Once dwelt in that annihilated place.
    

Milton

Extract from "Paradise Lost":

I formed them free, and free they must remain 
Till they enthral themselves: I else must change 
Their nature, and revoke the high decree 
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordained 
Their freedom; they themselves ordained their fall. 

  • Casabianca by Felicia Hemans:
    http://www.members.home.net/mobrien55/boy.htm http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mmbt/women/hemans/works/hf-burning.html

  • "Notes: 1. Young Casabianca, a boy about thirteen years old, son of the admiral of the Orient, remained at his post (in the Battle of the Nile), after the ship had taken fire, and all the guns had been abandoned; and perished in the explosion of the vessel, when the flames had reached the powder."

    The Boy stood on the burning deck,
    Whence all but him had fled;
      The flame that lit the battle's wreck
         Shone round him o'er the dead.
    
       Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
     As born to rule the storm;
     A creature of heroic blood,
         A proud though childlike form.
    
      The flames rolled on; he would not go
     Without his father's word;
       That father, faint in death below,
     His voice no longer heard.
    
       He called aloud, "Say, Father, say,
      If yet my task be done'
       He knew not that the chieftain lay
       Unconscious of his son.
    
      "Speak, Father!" once again he cried,
       "If I may yet be gone"
       And but the booming shots replied,
         And fast the flames rolled on.
    
       Upon his brow he felt their breath,
       And in his waving hair,
     And looked from that lone post of death
     In still yet brave despair,
    
        And shouted but once more aloud,
      'My father! must I stay?"
    While oer him fast, through sail and shroud,
    The wreathing fires made way.
    
      They wrapt the ship in splendor wild,
    They caught the flag on high,
      And streamed above the gallant child,
      Like banners in the sky.
    
      There came a burst of thunder sound;
     The boy,-Oh! where was he?
        Ask of the winds, that far around
        With fragments strewed the sea,-
    
      With shroud and mast and pennon fair,
         That well had home their part,-
    But the noblest thing that perished there
         Was that young, faithful heart.

War

War

There's a soul in the Eternal,
Standing stiff before the King.
There's a little English maiden
Sorrowing.
There's a proud and tearless woman,
Seeing pictures in the fire.
There's a broken battered body
On the wire.

'Woodbine Willy'


Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895-1915)

When you see millions of the mouthless dead

When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things as other men have said,
That you'll remember. For you need not so.
Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.
Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.
Say only this, "They are dead." Then add thereto,
"yet many a better one has died before."
Then, scanning all the overcrowded mass, should you
Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
Great death has made all this for evermore.


Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918)

August 1914

What in our lives is burnt In the fire of this?
The heart's dear granary? The much we shall miss?

Three lives hath one life - Iron, honey, gold.
The gold, the honey gone - Left is the hard and cold.

Iron are our lives Molten right through our youth.
A burnt space through ripe fields, A fair mouth's broken tooth.

Arthur Symons

A Tune

A foolish rhythm turns in my idle head
As a wind-mill turns in the wind on an empty sky.
Why it is when love, which men call deathless, is dead,
That memory, men call fugitive, will not die?
Is love not dead? yet I hear that tune if I lie
Dreaming awake in the night on my lonely bed,
And as old thought turns with the old tune in my head
As a wind-mill turns in the wind on an empty sky.


On the Countess Dowager of Pembroke Epitaphs - William Browne, of Tavistock. 1588-1643

UNDERNEATH this sable herse
Lies the subject of all verse:
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother:
Death, ere thou hast slain another
Fair and learn'd and good as she,
Time shall throw a dart at thee.


On the Tombs in Westminster Abbey - Francis Beaumont. 1586-1616

MORTALITY, behold and fear!
What a change of flesh is here!
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within this heap of stones:
Here they lie had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to stir their hands:
Where from their pulpits seal'd with dust
They preach, 'In greatness is no trust.'
Here 's an acre sown indeed
With the richest, royall'st seed
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin:
Here the bones of birth have cried--
'Though gods they were, as men they died.'
Here are sands, ignoble things,
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings;
Here 's a world of pomp and state,
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.


Heraclitus - William (Johnson) Cory. 1823-1892

THEY told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed.
I wept as I remember'd how often you and I
Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky.

And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,
A handful of grey ashes, long, long ago at rest,
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.


Ernest H Crosby (1856 - 1907) (American Anti-Imperialist)

The Real "White Man's Burden"

Take up the White Man's burden; 
Send forth your sturdy sons, 
And load them down with whisky 
And Testaments and guns. 
Throw in a few diseases 
To spread in tropic climes, 
For there the healthy niggers 
Are quite behind the times.

And don't forget the factories. 
On those benighted shores 
They have no cheerful iron-mills 
Nor eke department stores. 
They never work twelve hours a day, 
And live in strange content, 
Altho they never have to pay 
A single cent of rent.

Take up the White Man's burden, 
And teach the Philippines 
What interest and taxes are 
And what a mortgage means. 
Give them electrocution chairs, 
And prisons, too, galore, 
And if they seem inclined to kick, 
Then spill their heathen gore.

They need our labor question, too, 
And politics and fraud, 
We've made a pretty mess at home; 
Let's make a mess abroad. 
And let us ever humbly pray 
The Lord of Hosts may deign 
To stir our feeble memories, 
Lest we forget -- the Maine.

Take up the White Man's burden; 
To you who thus succeed 
In civilizing savage hoards 
They owe a debt, indeed; 
Concessions, pensions, salaries, 
And privilege and right, 
With outstretched hands you raise to bless 
Grab everything in sight.

Take up the White Man's burden, 
And if you write in verse, 
Flatter your Nation's vices 
And strive to make them worse. 
Then learn that if with pious words 
You ornament each phrase, 
In a world of canting hypocrites 
This kind of business pays.

Coda - Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

             Coda

There's little in taking or giving,
There's little in water or wine;
This living, this living, this living,
Was never a project of mine.

O hard is the struggle and sparse is
The gain of the one at the top,
For art is a form of catharsis,
And love is a permanent flop.

And work is the province of cattle,
And rest's for the clam in the shell,
So I'm thinking of throwing the battle -
Would you kindly direct me to Hell?

Richard Cory by Edward Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

          Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory walked downtown
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from soul to crown,
Clean favored and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked ; 
But still, he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich -- yes, richer than a king --
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought he was everything
To make us wish we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head. 

"Then Hill tried, but hardly snatch'd from sight,
Instant buoys up, and rises into light;
He bears no token of the sabler streams,
And mounts far off, among the swans of Thames.
Far worse unhappy Diaper succeeds,
He search'd for coral, but he gather'd weeds.

Alexander Pope, from The Dunciad (1728) ll. 283-88"


In vain, in vain - the all-composing hour
Resistless falls: The Muse obeys the power.
She comes! she comes! the sable throne behold
Of Night primeval, and of Chaos old!
Before her, Fancy's gilded clouds decay,
And all its varying rainbows die away.
Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires,
The meteor drops, and in a flash expires.
As one by one, at dread Medea's strain,
The sickening stars fade off th' ethereal plain;
As Argus' eyes by Hermes' wand oppressed,
Closed one by one to everlasting rest;
Thus at her felt approach, and secret might,
Art after Art goes out, and all is Night.
See skulking Truth to her old cavern fled,
Mountains of Casuistry heaped o'er her head!
Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before,
Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.
Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,
And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense !
See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.
Religion blushing veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.
Nor public Flame, nor private , dares to shine;
Nor human Spark is left, nor Glimpse divine !

Lo! thy dread Empire, Chaos! is restored;
Light dies before thy uncreating word:
Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
And universal Darkness buries All. 

Alexander Pope, from The Dunciad (1728)"

A message from your steward

Welcome to the World
Enjoy your Life
Live as you may
Die with Dignity

Tea will be served shortly.

Also refer to Extracts from "Egypt, Greece and Rome Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean" by Charles Freeman (Pub. 1999)

  • Poetry/Writing extracts from two Ancient Romans; from:
    The Ascent of Science - Brian L. Silver, 1998
        ISBN 0-19-511699-2
        Page 179

    "I hate and I love,
    And if you ask why,
    I have no answers, but I discern,
    Can feel, my senses rooted in eternal torture."
     Catullus

  • "When human life was still oppressed, suffocated with the dead 
    weight of Religion, which had come down from the Heavens, 
    terrifying and hovering over mortal men, it was then that 
    a Greek had the courage to raise his eyes, mortal eyes, 
    and look Religion boldly in the face.  He was cowed neither 
    by the reputations of the Gods, nor the thunderbolts of 
    Heaven; their threats only sharpened his resolve to smash 
    down the gates that guard the secrets of the Natural World.  
    And his driving energy carried him through to victory.  He 
    passed beyond the diery regions surrounding the Earth
    and roamed in through through the immeasurable universe.  And 
    he returned in triumph, bringing back the spoils of victory, 
    explaining what is possible and what is not, what governs
    the potentialities of matter, and what are the deep and 
    inherent limits that dwell in all things.  And Religion was 
    trampled underfoot.  One man's victory put us on a level 
    with the Gods."
    Titus Lucretius Carus - writing on Epicurus
    
    "Lucretius, "On the Nature of the Universe ". Trans, by Ronald Latham.
    Penguin Books, 1951."



Refer also: World War One (WWI) Patriotic Poem on how "The Surreys Played the Game"


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