Tuesday, October 29, 2013

On Lyric Poetry

By Mark Akenside


  Once more I join the Thespian choir,
  And taste the inspiring fount again:
  O parent of the Grecian lyre,
  Admit me to thy powerful strain—
  And lo, with ease my step invades
  The pathless vale and opening shades,
  Till now I spy her verdant seat;
  And now at large I drink the sound,
  While these her offspring, listening round.
  By turns her melody repeat.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Another On The Same

By John Milton

HERE lieth one who did most truly prove,
That he could never die while he could move,
So hung his destiny never to rot
While he might still jogg on, and keep his trot,
Made of sphear-metal, never to decay
Untill his revolution was at stay.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Lover And Birds

By William Allingham

Within a budding grove,
In April's ear sang every bird his best,
But not a song to pleasure my unrest,
Or touch the tears unwept of bitter love;
Some spake, methought, with pity, some as if in jest.
To every word
Of every bird
I listen'd, and replied as it behove.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Winter Song

By Robert Bloomfield

Dear Boy, throw that Icicle down,
And sweep this deep Snow from the door:
Old Winter comes on with a frown;
A terrible frown for the poor.
In a Season so rude and forlorn
How can age, how can infancy bear
The silent neglect and the scorn
Of those who have plenty to spare?

Fresh broach'd is my Cask of old Ale,
Well-tim'd now the frost is set in;
Here's Job come to tell us a tale,
We'll make him at home to a pin.
While my Wife and I bask o'er the fire,
The roll of the Seasons will prove,
That Time may diminish desire,
But cannot extinguish true love.

O the pleasures of neighbourly chat,
If you can but keep scandal away,
To learn what the world has been at,
And what the great Orators say;
Though the Wind through the crevices sing,
And Hail down the chimney rebound,
I'm happier than many a king
While the Bellows blow Bass to the sound.

Abundance was never my lot:
But out of the trifle that's given,
That no curse may alight on my Cot,
I'll distribute the bounty of Heaven:
The fool and the slave gather wealth;
But if I add nought to my store,
Yet while I keep conscience in health,
I've a Mine that will never grow poor.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

To My Old Oak Table

By Robert Bloomfield

Friend of my peaceful days! substantial friend,
Whom wealth can never change, nor int'rest bend,
I love thee like a child. Thou wert to me
The dumb companion of my misery,
And oftner of my joys;—then as I spoke,
I shar'd thy sympathy, Old Heart of Oak!
For surely when my labour ceas'd at night,
With trembling, feverish hands, and aching sight,
The draught that cheer'd me and subdu'd my care,
On thy broad shoulders thou wert proud to bear
O'er thee, with expectation's fire elate,
I've sat and ponder'd on my future fate:
On thee, with winter muffins for thy store,
I've lean'd, and quite forgot that I was poor.

Where dropp'd the acorn that gave birth to thee?
Can'st thou trace back thy line of ancestry?
We're match'd, old friend, and let us not repine,
Darkness o'erhangs thy origin and mine;
Both may be truly honourable: yet,
We'll date our honours from the day we met;
When, of my worldly wealth the parent stock,
Right welcome up the Thames from Woolwich Dock
Thou cam'st, when hopes ran high and love was young;
But soon our olive-branches round thee sprung;
Soon came the days that tried a faithful wife,
The noise of children, and the cares of life.
Then, midst the threat'nings of a wintry sky,
That cough which blights the bud of infancy,
The dread of parents, Rest's inveterate foe,
Came like a plague, and turn'd my songs to woe.

Rest! without thee what strength can long survive,
What spirit keep the flame of Hope alive?
The midnight murmur of the cradle gave
Sounds of despair; and chilly as the grave.
We felt its undulating blast arise,
Midst whisper'd sorrows and ten thousand sighs.
Expiring embers warn'd us each to sleep,
By turns to watch alone, by turns to weep,
By turns to hear, and keep from starting wild,
The sad, faint wailings of a dying child.
But Death, obedient to Heav'n's high command,
Withdrew his jav'lin, and unclench'd his hand;
The little sufferers triumph'd over pain,
Their mother smil'd, and bade me hope again.
Yet Care gain'd ground, Exertion triumph'd less,
Thick fell the gathering terrors of Distress;
Anxiety, and Griefs without a name,
Had made their dreadful inroads on my frame;
The creeping Dropsy, cold as cold could be,
Unnerv'd my arm, and bow'd my head to thee.
Thou to thy trust, old friend, hast not been true;
These eyes the bitterest tears they ever knew
Let fall upon thee; now all wip'd away;
But what from memory shall wipe out that day?
The great, the wealthy of my native land,
To whom a guinea is a grain of sand,
I thought upon them, for my thoughts were free,
But all unknown were then my woes and me.

Still, Resignation was my dearest friend,
And Reason pointed to a glorious end;
With anxious sighs, a parent's hopes and pride,
I wish'd to live—I trust I could have died!
But winter's clouds pursu'd their stormy way,
And March brought sunshine with the length'ning day,
And bade my heart arise, that morn and night
Now throbb'd with irresistible delight.
Delightful 'twas to leave disease behind,
And feel the renovation of the mind!
To lead abroad upborne on Pleasure's wing,
Our children, midst the glories of the spring;
Our fellow sufferers, our only wealth,
To gather daisies in the breeze of health!

'Twas then, too, when our prospects grew so fair,
And Sabbath bells announc'd the morning pray'r;
Beneath that vast gigantic dome we bow'd,
That lifts its flaming cross above the cloud;
Had gain'd the centre of the checquer'd floor;—
That instant, with reverberating roar
Burst forth the pealing organ——mute we stood;—
The strong sensation boiling through my blood,
Rose in a storm of joy, allied to pain,
I wept, and worshipp'd GOD, and wept again;
And felt, amidst the fervor of my praise,
The sweet assurances of better days.

In that gay season, honest friend of mine,
I mark'd the brilliant sun upon thee shine;
Imagination took her flights so free,
Home was delicious with my book and thee,
The purchas'd nosegay, or brown ears of corn,
Were thy gay plumes upon a summer's morn,
Awakening memory, that disdains control,
They spoke the darling language of my soul:
They whisper'd tales of joy, of peace, of truth,
And conjur'd back the sunshine of my youth:
Fancy presided at the joyful birth,
I pour'd the torrent of my feelings forth;
Conscious of truth in Nature's humble track,
And wrote "The Farmer's Boy" upon thy back!
Enough, old friend:—thou'rt mine; and shalt partake,
While I have pen to write, or tongue to speak,
Whatever fortune deals me.—Part with thee!
No, not till death shall set my spirit free;
For know, should plenty crown my life's decline,
A most important duty may be thine:
Then, guard me from Temptation's base control,
From apathy and littleness of soul
The sight of thy old frame, so rough, so rode,
Shall twitch the sleeve of nodding Gratitude;
Shall teach me but to venerate the more
Honest Oak Tables and their guests—the poor:
Teach me unjust distinctions to deride,
And falsehoods gender'd in the brain of Pride;
Shall give to Fancy still the cheerful hour,
To Intellect, its freedom and its power;
To Hospitality's enchanting ring
A charm, which nothing but thyself can bring.
The man who would not look with honest pride
On the tight bark that stemm'd the roaring tide,
And bore him, when he bow'd the trembling knee,
Home, through the mighty perils of the sea,
I love him not.—He ne'er shall be my guest;
Nor sip my cup, nor witness how I'm blest;
Nor lean, to bring my honest friend to shame,
A sacrilegious elbow on thy frame;
But thou through life a monitor shalt prove,
Sacred to Truth, to Poetry, and Love.

Friday, March 22, 2013

After The War

By Walt Whitman

To the leavened soil they trod, calling, I sing, for the last;
Not cities, nor man alone, nor war, nor the dead:
But forth from my tent emerging for good—loosing, untying the tent-ropes;
In the freshness, the forenoon air, in the far-stretching circuits and
        vistas, again to peace restored;
To the fiery fields emanative, and the endless vistas beyond—to the south
        and the north;
To the leavened soil of the general Western World, to attest my songs,
To the average earth, the wordless earth, witness of war and peace,
To the Alleghanian hills, and the tireless Mississippi,
To the rocks I, calling, sing, and all the trees in the woods,
To the plain of the poems of heroes, to the prairie spreading wide,
To the far-off sea, and the unseen winds, and the sane impalpable air.
And responding they answer all, (but not in words,)
The average earth, the witness of war and peace, acknowledges mutely;
The prairie draws me close, as the father, to bosom broad, the son:—
The Northern ice and rain, that began me, nourish me to the end;
But the hot sun of the South is to ripen my songs.