Hold Hard, These Ancient Minutes In the Cuckoo's Month
Hold hard, these ancient minutes in the cuckoo's month,
Under the lank, fourth folly on Glamorgan's hill,
As the green blooms ride upward, to the drive of time;
Time, in a folly's rider, like a county man
Over the vault of ridings with his hound at heel,
Drives forth my men, my children, from the hanging south.
Country, your sport is summer, and December's pools
By crane and water-tower by the seedy trees
Lie this fifth month unstaked, and the birds have flown;
Hold hard, my country children in the world of tales,
The greenwood dying as the deer fall in their tracks,
The first and steepled season, to the summer's game.
And now the horns of England, in the sound of shape,
Summon your snowy horsemen, and the four-stringed hill,
Over the sea-gut loudening, sets a rock alive;
Hurdles and guns and railings, as the boulders heave,
Crack like a spring in vice, bone breaking April,
Spill the lank folly's hunter and the hard-held hope.
Down fall four padding weathers on the scarlet lands,
Stalking my children's faces with a tail of blood,
Time, in a rider rising, from the harnessed valley;
Hold hard, my country darlings, for a hawk descends,
Golden Glamorgan straightens, to the falling birds.
Your sport is summer as the spring runs angrily.
Chi vuol conoscer, donne, il mio signoreGaspara Stampa
Chi vuol conoscer, donne, il mio signore,
miri un signor di vago e dolce aspetto,
giovane d’ anni e vecchio d’ intelletto,
imagin della gloria e del valore:
di pelo biondo e di vivo colore,
di persona alta e spazïoso petto,
e finalmente in ogni opra perfetto,
fuor che un poco, oimè lassa! empio in amore.
E chi vuol poi conoscer me, rimiri
una donna in effetti ed in sembiante
imagin della morte e de’ martiri;
un albergo de fè salda e costante,
una che, perchè pianga, arda e sospiri,
non fa pietoso il suo crudele amante. ( Translation by Lorna de LucchiCollapse )
Poor Poet-Ape, that would be thought our chief,
Whose works are e'en the frippery of wit,
From brokage is become so bold a thief,
As we, the robb'd, leave rage, and pity it.
At first he made low shifts, would pick and glean,
Buy the reversion of old plays; now grown
To a little wealth, and credit in the scene,
He takes up all, makes each man's wit his own:
And, told of this, he slights it. Tut, such crimes
The sluggish gaping auditor devours;
He marks not whose 'twas first: and after-times
May judge it to be his, as well as ours.
Fool! as if half eyes will not know a fleece
From locks of wool, or shreds from the whole piece?
From the Dark Tower
We shall not always plant while others reap
The golden increment of bursting fruit,
Not always countenance, abject and mute,
That lesser men should hold their brothers cheap;
Not everlastingly while others sleep
Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute,
Not always bend to some more subtle brute;
We were not made eternally to weep.
The night whose sable breast relieves the stark,
White stars is no less lovely being dark,
And there are buds that cannot bloom at all
In light, but crumple, piteous, and fall;
So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds,
And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.
Sonnet: To the Poppy
While summer roses all their glory yield
To crown the votary of love and joy,
Misfortune’s victim hails, with many a sigh,
Thee, scarlet Poppy of the pathless field,
Gaudy, yet wild and lone; no leaf to shield
Thy flaccid vest that, as the gale blows high,
Flaps, and alternate folds around thy head.
So stands in the long grass a love-crazed maid,
Smiling aghast; while stream to every wind
Her garish ribbons, smeared with dust and rain;
But brain-sick visions cheat her tortured mind,
And bring false peace. Thus, lulling grief and pain,
Kind dreams oblivious from thy juice proceed,
Thou flimsy, showy, melancholy weed.
It was as though you struggled against
fierce current jagged with debris
to save me then. I am desperate still.
Old age -- the elegy time -- that brings
a sense of shores receding? But no.
What rends my spirit like beast-
angel, angel-beast has for
a lifetime nurtured and tormented me.
-- This tells you nothing, tells you all,
leaves unresolved a thing absurd,
in truth grotesque. You have risked pain
because of it, are yet compassionate.
I will no longer ask for more
than you have freely given or can give.
in honor of the birthday boy (observed)
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
By a forest as I gan fareAnon. English, 15th c.
By a forest as I gan fare,
Walking all myselven alone,
I hard a morning of an hare,
Roufully schew mad here mone.
"Dereworth God, how schal I leve
And leid my life in lond?
Frow dale to doune I am idreve;
I not where I may site or stond!
I may nother rest nor slepe
By no vallay that is so derne,
Nor no covert may me kepe,
But ever I rene fro herne to herne.( Honteres will not heire ther Masse...Collapse )
A shilling life will give you all the facts:
How Father beat him, how he ran away,
What were the struggles of his youth, what acts
Made him the greatest figure of his day:
Of how he fought, fished, hunted, worked all night,
Though giddy, climbed new mountains; named a sea:
Some of the last researchers even write
Love made him weep his pints like you and me.
With all his honours on, he sighed for one
Who, say astonished critics, lived at home;
Did little jobs about the house with skill
And nothing else; could whistle; would sit still
Or potter round the garden; answered some
Of his long marvellous letters but kept none.
The FlowerGeorge Herbert
How fresh, oh Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! even as the flowers in spring;
To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.
Who would have thought my shriveled heart
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
Quite underground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown,
Where they together
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
Killing and quickening, bringing down to hell
And up to heaven in an hour;
Making a chiming of a passing-bell.
We say amiss
This or that is:
Thy word is all, if we could spell.( Oh that I once past changing were...Collapse )
Ikon: The Harrowing of Hell
Down through the tomb's inward arch
He has shouldered out into Limbo
to gather them, dazed, from dreamless slumber:
the merciful dead, the prophets,
the innocents just His own age and those
unnumbered others waiting here
unaware, in an endless void He is ending
now, stooping to tug at their hands,
to pull them from their sarcophagi,
dazzled, almost unwilling. Didmas,
neighbor in death, Golgotha dust
still streaked on the dried sweat of his body
no one had washed and anointed, is here,
for sequence is not known in Limbo;
the promise, given from cross to cross
at noon, arches beyond sunset and dawn.
All these He will swiftly lead
to the Paradise road: they are safe.
That done, there must take place that struggle
no human presumes to picture:
living, dying, descending to rescue the just
from shadow, were lesser travails than this:
to break through earth and stone of the faithless world
back to the cold sepulchre, tearstained
stifling shroud; to break from them
back into breath and heartbeat, and walk
the world again, closed into days and weeks again,
wounds of His anguish open, and Spirit
streaming through every cell of flesh
so that if mortal sight could bear
to perceive it, it would be seen
His mortal flesh was lit from within, now,
and aching for home. He must return,
first, in Divine patience, and know
hunger again, and give
to humble friends the joy
of giving Him food -- fish and a honeycomb.
Still Falls the Rain
(The Raids, 1940: Night and Dawn)Edith Sitwell
Still falls the Rain -
Dark as the world of man, black as our loss –
Blind as the nineteen hundred and forty nails upon the Cross.
Still falls the Rain
With a sound like the pulse of the heart that is changed to the hammer beat
In the Potter's Field, and the sound of the impious feet.
On the Tomb:
Still falls the rain
In the Field of Blood where the small hopes breed and the human brain
Nurtures its greed, that worm with the brow of Cain.
Still falls the Rain
At the feet of the Starved Man hung upon the Cross,
Christ that each day, each night, nails there, have mercy on us –
On Dives and on Lazarus:
Under the Rain the sore and the gold are as one.( Still falls the Rain...Collapse )
Holy Thursday (Songs of Experience)
Is this a holy thing to see
In a rich and fruitful land,
Babes reduced to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?
Is that trembling cry a song?
Can it be a song of joy?
And so many children poor?
It is a land of poverty!
And their sun does never shine,
And their fields are bleak and bare,
And their ways are filled with thorns:
It is eternal winter there.
For where'er the sun does shine,
And where'er the rain does fall,
Babes should never hunger there,
Nor poverty the mind appall.
Sir Walter Ralegh
Calling to mind, my eyes went long about
To cause my heart to forsake my breast,
All in a rage I sought to pull them out,
As who had been such traitors to my rest:
What could they say to win again my grace?
Forsooth, that they had seen my mistress' face.
Another time, my heart I called to mind,
Thinking that he this woe on me had brought,
Because that he to love his force resigned,
When of such wars my fancy never thought:
What could he say when I would him have slain?
That he was hers, and had forgone my chain.
At last, when I perceived both eyes and heart
Excuse themselves, as guiltless of my ill,
I found myself the cause of all my smart,
And told myself that I myself would kill:
Yet when I saw myself to you was true,
I loved myself, because myself loved you.
La Vita Nuova XVDante Alighieri
Ciò che m'incontra, ne la mente more,
quand'i' vegno a veder voi, bella gioia;
e quand'io vi son presso, i' sento Amore
che dice: « Fuggi, se 'l perir t'è noia ».
Lo viso mostra lo color del core,
che, tramortendo, ovunque pò s'appoia;
e per la ebrietà del gran tremore
le pietre par che gridin: Moia, moia.
Peccato face chi allora mi vide,
se l'alma sbigottita non conforta,
sol dimostrando che di me li doglia,
per la pietà, che 'l vostro gabbo ancide,
la qual si cria ne la vista morta
de li occhi, c'hanno di lor morte voglia. ( Translation by A.S. KlineCollapse )
Sonnet XXVIII from Astrophil and Stella
Sir Philip Sidney
You that with allegory's curious frame
Of others' children changelings use to make,
With me those pains, for God's sake, do not take;
I list not dig so deep for brazen fame.
When I say Stella, I do mean the same
Princess of beauty for whose only sake
The reins of love I love, though never slake,
And joy therein, though nations count it shame.
I beg no subject to use eloquence,
Nor in hid ways do guide philosophy;
Look at my hands for no such quintessence,
But know that I in pure simplicity
Breathe out the flames which burn within my heart,
Love only reading unto me this art.
Now wolde I faine sum merthes makAnon. English, 15th c.
Now wolde I faine sum merthes mak,
All only for my ladys sak
When I her see;
But nowe I am so far fro her
It will not be.
Thow I be far out of her sight,
I am her man both day and night,
And so wol be.
Therfore wolde as I love her
She loved me.
Whan she is mery, than am I gladde,
Whan she is sorry, than am I shadde,
And cause is why:
For he liveth not that loved her
So well as I.( She seith that she hath seen it write...Collapse )
Sing, Ballad-singer, raise a hearty tune;
Make me forget that there was ever a one
I walked with in the meek light of the moon
When the day's work was done.
Rhyme, Ballad-rhymer, start a country song;
Make me forget that she whom I loved well
Swore she would love me dearly, love me long,
Then -- what I cannot tell!
Sing, Ballad-singer, from your little book;
Make me forget those heart-breaks, achings, fears;
Make me forget her name, her sweet sweet look -
Make me forget her tears.
If poisonous minerals, and if that tree
If poisonous minerals, and if that tree
Whose fruit threw death on else immortal us,
If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
Cannot be damn'd, alas, why should I be?
Why should intent or reason, born in me,
Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous?
And mercy being easy, and glorious
To God, in his stern wrath why threatens he?
But who am I, that dare dispute with thee,
O God? Oh, of thine only worthy blood
And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
And drown in it my sins' black memory.
That thou remember them, some claim as debt;
I think it mercy, if thou wilt forget.
I have no conscience because I
always chew my pencil. Can we say
with black lines on it
is like a human body? This question
not to be decided by pointing
at a tree nor yet by a description
of simple pleasures.
Smell of retrieval. Led to expect the wrong
answer. An arsenal without purpose
but why yes please.
There is no touching the black box.
The tree not pointed at lives
in your bringing up the subject
and leaves space for need, falling.
The white ground. The waning heat.
to say the history of the world.
Or that grammar
milks essence into propositions
of human kindness.
The difficulty here's not true or false
but that the picture's in the foreground
and its sense back where the gestures link
so closely to the bone
The application is not easy.