All biographies are different, although all lives are so alike.
We Are More Alike Than Unalike
Let the gong-gong ring through
The living rooms of Canada Singapore New Zealand
Russia India El Salvador Poland China Botswana Switzerland
England Papua New Guinea Brazil South Africa
Japan Australia Ireland France Vietnam America…
Let the gong-gong bring first
THE CHILDREN: Their seats are Ready!
Let the gong-gong bring first
THE CHILDREN from Thailand Italy Saudi Arabia The Beloved Country
The Hope The Land of Two Rivers Sao Tome &
Principe Seychelles Equatorial Guinea St Christopher and Nevis Kiribati
THE CHILDREN: Their seats are Ready!
From Yamoussoukro Antananarivo Edinburgh Ouagadougou Oslo
Bandung Karachi Abu Dhabi Lesotho Accra Kabul Harare Cairo
Kuala Lumpur Tel Aviv Lisbon Windhoek Abuja…
Let the gong-gong bring first
THE CHILDREN: Their seats are Ready!
Come all you children of the world
Come all you children and take your seats
Under the Big Tree of Durbars
Our newfound Village
Come all you children of the world
Come all you children and take your seats
Grandee Maya Angelou
Wanna tell you a Storyline: We are More Alike than Unalike!
- quotes about childhood
- quotes about Poland
- quotes about Switzerland
- quotes about New Zealand
- quotes about Brazil
- quotes about Vietnam
- quotes about Russia
- quotes about Ireland
- quotes about Italy
Both are evils alike.
To do and not to do.
To do what ought not to,
Not to do what ought to,
To neglect what ought not to,
To covet what ought not to,
Both are taboos alike.
To anger where it ought to,
To bear where it ought to,
Both are tact alike.
Of course, judgment differs.
Ocean and The Mind Of Man Are Both Alike
Ocean and the mind of man are both alike:
Under the ocean's bottom lies
the destructive fire, vadvaagni;
And in the breast of man doth rage
the fire of wrath.
When the fire breaks out, its flames
of angry, abusive words,
sear and scorch and burn.
But if one ponders unruffled and calm,
and weighs the words, though angry they be,
They have no substance, no, nor weight.
Not All Lives Are Lost
amazing but true,
some lives are not lost,
a revelation for you...
the truth is out there
waiting to be found
information not newly disclosed
revealing of previously hidden secrets?
know truth and the truth will set you free
I am the way the truth and the life
the spirit of the truth which the world cannot receive
because it neither beholds it or knows it
‘No one comes to the Father except through me’.
‘Yet as for me, I will exult... joyful in the God
of my salvation’. Truth who can know truth?
We Are Helpless
The might rule the world.
The time rules the might.
God is a witness.
All lives are helpless.
If I Ever Get To Look Back On All Of This
If I ever get to look back on all this
even if it's just to show me how wrong I was
about so much, how much I risked for so little,
I don't want to have been mean and petty here,
I don't want to have lived short-minded
as if my brain never grew to its proper height
and I had to live close to the ground
with burrowing wasps and centipedes
trading toxins in the grass like slumlords.
Tried to live like a magnanimous man
with an open hand whenever my luck kept pace
with my generosity. Didn't want to die
knowing nothing about the stars, that shining
that grew in time even brighter in the dark within.
Wanted to know the fury and compassion, genius,
the affable kindness, madness and love of humankind.
Used to say we were born to see and be happy,
and if you couldn't find a meaning that suited you,
make one up of your own. Don't waste
the great creative potential of the absurd
and try to fit yourself like a little polyp of sentience
into the fossilized coral reefs of the past.
Go for the galaxies. What's to lose?
If you're going to fall, fall from a height.
Sooner a brilliant failure than a mediocre flight.
You'd be surprised at what the timing of one comet
falling out of the black halo around the sun
can mean to millions watching down below for signs.
Sensible shoes, or starmud on your winged heels,
Icarus or Neil Armstrong using his foot
to take a big step for humankind, walk your mile
standing up as if you were scanning for leopards,
your simian continuum at a fork in the road.
Danger is a capricious muse, but it can still
rivet you with inspiration. The hunters get eyes.
You grow an exoskeleton, then rib
the walls and rafters of the house and soon
the sun decides where the windows are going to go.
The Hox genes talk, and you're the topic of conversation.
You start listening as if
you were listening in on yourself,
all those voices and things
for words you don't understand,
bliss, butterflies, sorrows and assassins,
the victimized heroes of egoistic tragedies,
and the poetry in the pity of unexpurgated passion.
Lovers in the last throes of unmitigated catastrophe.
The rush and turmoil of the picture-music
going on all the time, shapeshifting
from one musical scene into another
and even you with your hands over your ears
sick of listening to the cosmic hiss,
climactic cymbals in the great performance
just waiting to come together like a hadron collider
deep underground where black holes in space
are born of the impact. If you're not already
too calculating, or mesmerized like a stone bird
by the snake-eyes of the dice, put some money
down on yourself as if you had one to lose,
and if for nothing more than the exercise,
kiss your prophetic skulls for luck and let them roll.
And when you love, don't approach a seabed on the moon
with a spoonful of water you can both sip from.
Return like an ocean with a convincing atmosphere.
If fools rush in where angels fear to tread
the angels will follow soon enough, with blessings
on the horns of your head. Learn
every gesture of her eyes like pictographic signage,
of her heart, a grammar for two, of her mind
be the no one to lift its veils, of her body,
apprentice yourself to the genius of her starmud.
Everything that lives is a gesture of the absurd
the imagination delights in elaborating
like people with the personalities of apple-trees
or the encyclopedic prolixity of the Burgess Shale.
I am is not the cornerstone of anything.
I imagine. And the wind is the threshold of the tent
that sheds the desolation of a self like a flower
that blooms in fire. Why water a mirage? Live large.
Squander stars on your vision of this, swallow the abyss
to keep your emptiness well fed, let your wisdom
be the private life of space, your time on earth
be passage and transformation, and your heart
cherish the bliss of all, animate and inanimate alike,
who suffer the same dream of being awake that you do.
- quotes about monkeys
- quotes about calculations
- quotes about height
- quotes about tragedy
- quotes about comets
- quotes about luck
- quotes about galaxy
- quotes about music
Tirocinium; or, a Review of Schools
It is not from his form, in which we trace
Strength join'd with beauty, dignity with grace,
That man, the master of this globe, derives
His right of empire over all that lives.
That form, indeed, the associate of a mind
Vast in its powers, ethereal in its kind,
That form, the labour of Almighty skill,
Framed for the service of a freeborn will,
Asserts precedence, and bespeaks control,
But borrows all its grandeur from the soul.
Hers is the state, the splendour, and the throne,
An intellectual kingdom, all her own.
For her the memory fills her ample page
With truths pour’d down from every distant age;
For her amasses an unbounded store,
The wisdom of great nations, now no more;
Though laden, not encumber’d with her spoil;
Laborious, yet unconscious of her toil;
When copiously supplied, then most enlarged;
Still to be fed, and not to be surcharged.
For her the Fancy, roving unconfined,
The present muse of every pensive mind,
Works magic wonders, adds a brighter hue
To Nature’s scenes than Nature ever knew.
At her command winds rise and waters roar,
Again she lays them slumbering on the shore;
With flower and fruit the wilderness supplies,
Or bids the rocks in ruder pomp arise.
For her the Judgment, umpire in the strife
That Grace and Nature have to wage through life,
Quick-sighted arbiter of good and ill,
Appointed sage preceptor to the Will,
Condemns, approves, and, with a faithful voice,
Guides the decision of a doubtful choice.
Why did the fiat of a God give birth
To yon fair Sun and his attendant Earth?
And, when descending he resigns the skies,
Why takes the gentler Moon her turn to rise,
Whom Ocean feels through all his countless waves,
And owns her power on every shore he laves?
Why do the seasons still enrich the year,
Fruitful and young as in their first career?
Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees,
Rock’d in the cradle of the western breeze:
Summer in haste the thriving charge receives
Beneath the shade of her expanded leaves,
Till Autumn’s fiercer heats and plenteous dews
Dye them at last in all their glowing hues.—
‘Twere wild profusion all, and bootless waste,
Power misemploy’d, munificence misplaced,
Had not its Author dignified the plan,
And crown’d it with the majesty of man.
Thus form’d, thus placed, intelligent, and taught,
Look where he will, the wonders God has wrought,
The wildest scorner of his Maker’s laws
Finds in a sober moment time to pause,
To press the important question on his heart,
“Why form’d at all, and wherefore as thou art?”
If man be what he seems, this hour a slave,
The next mere dust and ashes in the grave;
Endued with reason only to descry
His crimes and follies with an aching eye;
With passions, just that he may prove, with pain,
The force he spends against their fury vain;
And if, soon after having burnt, by turns,
With every lust with which frail Nature burns,
His being end where death dissolves the bond,
The tomb take all, and all be blank beyond;
Then he, of all that Nature has brought forth,
Stands self-impeach’d the creature of least worth,
And, useless while he lives, and when he dies,
Brings into doubt the wisdom of the skies.
Truths that the learn’d pursue with eager thought
Are not important always as dear-bought,
Proving at last, though told in pompous strains,
A childish waste of philosophic pains;
But truths on which depends our main concern,
That ‘tis our shame and misery not to learn,
Shine by the side of every path we tread
With such a lustre, he that runs may read.
‘Tis true that, if to trifle life away
Down to the sunset of their latest day,
Then perish on futurity’s wide shore
Like fleeting exhalations, found no more,
Were all that Heaven required of human kind,
And all the plan their destiny design’d,
What none could reverence all might justly blame,
And man would breathe but for his Maker’s shame.
But reason heard, and nature well perused,
At once the dreaming mind is disabused.
If all we find possessing earth, sea, air,
Reflect His attributes who placed them there,
Fulfil the purpose, and appear design’d
Proofs of the wisdom of the all-seeing mind,
‘Tis plain the creature, whom he chose to invest
With kingship and dominion o’er the rest,
Received his nobler nature, and was made
Fit for the power in which he stands array’d;
That first, or last, hereafter, if not here,
He too might make his author’s wisdom clear,
Praise him on earth, or, obstinately dumb,
Suffer his justice in a world to come.
This once believed, ‘twere logic misapplied
To prove a consequence by none denied,
That we are bound to cast the minds of youth
Betimes into the mould of heavenly truth,
That taught of God they may indeed be wise,
Nor ignorantly wandering miss the skies.
In early days the conscience has in most
A quickness, which in later life is lost:
Preserved from guilt by salutary fears,
Or guilty, soon relenting into tears.
Too careless often, as our years proceed,
What friends we sort with, or what books we read,
Our parents yet exert a prudent care
To feed our infant minds with proper fare;
And wisely store the nursery by degrees
With wholesome learning, yet acquired with ease.
Neatly secured from being soil’d or torn
Beneath a pane of thin translucent horn,
A book (to please us at a tender age
‘Tis call’d a book, though but a single page)
Presents the prayer the Saviour deign’d to teach,
Which children use, and parsons—when they preach.
Lisping our syllables, we scramble next
Through moral narrative, or sacred text;
And learn with wonder how this world began,
Who made, who marr’d, and who has ransom’d man:
Points which, unless the Scripture made them plain,
The wisest heads might agitate in vain.
O thou, whom, borne on fancy’s eager wing
Back to the season of life’s happy spring,
I pleased remember, and, while memory yet
Holds fast her office here, can ne’er forget;
Ingenious dreamer, in whose well-told tale
Sweet fiction and sweet truth alike prevail;
Whose humorous vein, strong sense, and simple style,
May teach the gayest, make the gravest smile;
Witty, and well employ’d, and, like thy Lord,
Speaking in parables his slighted word;
I name thee not, lest so despised a name
Should move a sneer at thy deserved fame;
Yet e’en in transitory life’s late day,
That mingles all my brown with sober grey,
Revere the man whose Pilgrim marks the road,
And guides the Progress of the soul to God.
‘Twere well with most, if books that could engage
Their childhood pleased them at a riper age;
The man, approving what had charm’d the boy,
Would die at last in comfort, peace, and joy,
And not with curses on his heart, who stole
The gem of truth from his unguarded soul.
The stamp of artless piety impress’d
By kind tuition on his yielding breast,
The youth, now bearded and yet pert and raw,
Regards with scorn, though once received with awe;
And, warp’d into the labyrinth of lies,
That babblers, call’d philosophers, devise,
Blasphemes his creed, as founded on a plan
Replete with dreams, unworthy of a man.
Touch but his nature in its ailing part,
Assert the native evil of his heart,
His pride resents the charge, although the proof
Rise in his forehead, and seem rank enough:
Point to the cure, describe a Saviour’s cross
As God’s expedient to retrieve his loss,
The young apostate sickens at the view,
And hates it with the malice of a Jew.
How weak the barrier of mere nature proves,
Opposed against the pleasures nature loves!
While self-betray’d, and wilfully undone,
She longs to yield, no sooner woo’d than won.
Try now the merits of this blest exchange
Of modest truth for wit’s eccentric range.
Time was, he closed as he began the day,
With decent duty, not ashamed to pray;
The practice was a bond upon his heart,
A pledge he gave for a consistent part;
Nor could he dare presumptuously displease
A power confess’d so lately on his knees.
But now farewell all legendary tales,
The shadows fly, philosophy prevails;
Prayer to the winds, and caution to the waves;
Religion makes the free by nature slaves.
Priests have invented, and the world admired
What knavish priests promulgate as inspired;
Till Reason, now no longer overawed,
Resumes her powers, and spurns the clumsy fraud;
And, common sense diffusing real day,
The meteor of the Gospel dies away.
Such rhapsodies our shrewd discerning youth
Learn from expert inquirers after truth;
Whose only care, might truth presume to speak,
Is not to find what they profess to seek.
And thus, well tutor’d only while we share
A mother’s lectures and a nurse’s care;
And taught at schools much mythologic stuff,
But sound religion sparingly enough;
Our early notices of truth disgraced,
Soon lose their credit, and are all effaced.
Would you your son should be a sot or dunce,
Lascivious, headstrong, or all these at once;
That in good time the stripling’s finish’d taste
For loose expense and fashionable waste
Should prove your ruin, and his own at last;
Train him in public with a mob of boys,
Childish in mischief only and in noise,
Else of a mannish growth, and five in ten
In infidelity and lewdness men.
There shall he learn, ere sixteen winters old,
That authors are most useful pawn’d or sold;
That pedantry is all that schools impart,
But taverns teach the knowledge of the heart;
There waiter Dick, with bacchanalian lays,
Shall win his heart, and have his drunken praise,
His counsellor and bosom friend shall prove,
And some street-pacing harlot his first love.
Schools, unless discipline were doubly strong,
Detain their adolescent charge too long;
The management of tyros of eighteen
Is difficult, their punishment obscene.
The stout tall captain, whose superior size
The minor heroes view with envious eyes,
Becomes their pattern, upon whom they fix
Their whole attention, and ape all his tricks.
His pride, that scorns to obey or to submit,
With them is courage; his effrontery wit.
His wild excursions, window-breaking feats,
Robbery of gardens, quarrels in the streets,
His hairbreadth ‘scapes, and all his daring schemes,
Transport them, and are made their favourite themes.
In little bosoms such achievements strike
A kindred spark: they burn to do the like.
Thus, half accomplish’d ere he yet begin
To show the peeping down upon his chin;
And, as maturity of years comes on,
Made just the adept that you design’d your son;
To ensure the perseverance of his course,
And give your monstrous project all its force,
Send him to college. If he there be tamed,
Or in one article of vice reclaim’d,
Where no regard of ordinances is shown
Or look’d for now, the fault must be his own.
Some sneaking virtue lurks in him, no doubt,
Where neither strumpets’ charms, nor drinking bout,
Nor gambling practices can find it out.
Such youths of spirit, and that spirit too,
Ye nurseries of our boys, we owe to you:
Though from ourselves the mischief more proceeds,
For public schools ‘tis public folly feeds.
The slaves of custom and establish’d mode,
With packhorse constancy we keep the road,
Crooked or straight, through quags or thorny dells,
True to the jingling of our leader’s bells.
To follow foolish precedents, and wink
With both our eyes, is easier than to think;
And such an age as ours balks no expense,
Except of caution and of common sense;
Else sure notorious fact, and proof so plain,
Would turn our steps into a wiser train.
I blame not those who, with what care they can,
O’erwatch the numerous and unruly clan;
Or, if I blame, ‘tis only that they dare
Promise a work of which they must despair.
Have ye, ye sage intendants of the whole,
A ubiquarian presence and control,
Elisha’s eye, that, when Gehazi stray’d,
Went with him, and saw all the game he play’d?
Yes—ye are conscious; and on all the shelves
Your pupils strike upon have struck yourselves.
Or if, by nature sober, ye had then,
Boys as ye were, the gravity of men,
Ye knew at least, by constant proofs address’d
To ears and eyes, the vices of the rest.
But ye connive at what ye cannot cure,
And evils not to be endured endure,
Lest power exerted, but without success,
Should make the little ye retain still less.
Ye once were justly famed for bringing forth
Undoubted scholarship and genuine worth;
And in the firmament of fame still shines
A glory, bright as that of all the signs,
Of poets raised by you, and statesmen, and divines.
Peace to them all! those brilliant times are fled,
And no such lights are kindling in their stead.
Our striplings shine indeed, but with such rays
As set the midnight riot in a blaze;
And seem, if judged by their expressive looks,
Deeper in none than in their surgeons’ books.
Say, muse (for education made the song,
No muse can hesitate, or linger long),
What causes move us, knowing, as we must,
That these mémenageries all fail their trust,
To send our sons to scout and scamper there,
While colts and puppies cost us so much care?
Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise,
We love the play-place of our early days;
The scene is touching, and the heart is stone
That feels not at that sight, and feels at none.
The wall on which we tried our graving skill,
The very name we carved subsisting still;
The bench on which we sat while deep employ’d,
Though mangled, hack’d, and hew’d, not yet destroy’d;
The little ones, unbutton’d, glowing hot,
Playing our games, and on the very spot;
As happy as we once, to kneel and draw
The chalky ring, and knuckle down at taw;
To pitch the ball into the grounded hat,
Or drive it devious with a dexterous pat;
The pleasing spectacle at once excites
Such recollection of our own delights,
That, viewing it, we seem almost to obtain
Our innocent sweet simple years again.
This fond attachment to the well-known place,
Whence first we started into life’s long race,
Maintains its hold with such unfailing sway,
We feel it e’en in age, and at our latest day.
Hark! how the sire of chits, whose future share
Of classic food begins to be his care,
With his own likeness placed on either knee,
Indulges all a father’s heartfelt glee;
And tells them, as he strokes their silver locks,
That they must soon learn Latin, and to box;
Then turning, he regales his listening wife
With all the adventures of his early life;
His skill in coachmanship, or driving chaise,
In bilking tavern-bills, and spouting plays;
What shifts he used, detected in a scrape,
How he was flogg’d, or had the luck to escape;
What sums he lost at play, and how he sold
Watch, seals, and all—till all his pranks are told.
Retracing thus his frolics (‘tis a name
That palliates deeds of folly and of shame),
He gives the local bias all its sway;
Resolves that where he play’d his sons shall play,
And destines their bright genius to be shown
Just in the scene where he display’d his own.
The meek and bashful boy will soon be taught
To be as bold and forward as he ought;
The rude will scuffle through with ease enough,
Great schools suit best the sturdy and the rough.
Ah, happy designation, prudent choice,
The event is sure; expect it, and rejoice!
Soon see your wish fulfill’d in either child,
The pert made perter, and the tame made wild.
The great indeed, by titles, riches, birth,
Excused the incumbrance of more solid worth,
Are best disposed of where with most success
They may acquire that confident address,
Those habits of profuse and lewd expense,
That scorn of all delights but those of sense,
Which, though in plain plebeians we condemn,
With so much reason, all expect from them.
But families of less illustrious fame,
Whose chief distinction is their spotless name,
Whose heirs, their honours none, their income small,
Must shine by true desert, or not at all,
What dream they of, that, with so little care
They risk their hopes, their dearest treasure, there?
They dream of little Charles or William graced
With wig prolix, down flowing to his waist;
They see the attentive crowds his talents draw,
They hear him speak—the oracle of law.
The father, who designs his babe a priest,
Dreams him episcopally such at least;
And, while the playful jockey scours the room
Briskly, astride upon the parlour broom,
In fancy sees him more superbly ride
In coach with purple lined, and mitres on its side.
Events improbable and strange as these,
Which only a parental eye foresees,
A public school shall bring to pass with ease.
But how? resides such virtue in that air,
As must create an appetite for prayer?
And will it breathe into him all the zeal
That candidates for such a prize should feel,
To take the lead and be the foremost still
In all true worth and literary skill?
“Ah, blind to bright futurity, untaught
The knowledge of the World, and dull of thought!
Church-ladders are not always mounted best
By learned clerks and Latinists profess’d.
The exalted prize demands an upward look,
Not to be found by poring on a book.
Small skill in Latin, and still less in Greek,
Is more than adequate to all I seek.
Let erudition grace him, or not grace,
I give the bauble but the second place;
His wealth, fame, honours, all that I intend,
Subsist and centre in one point—a friend.
A friend, whate’er he studies or neglects,
Shall give him consequence, heal all defects.
His intercourse with peers and sons of peers—
There dawns the splendour of his future years:
In that bright quarter his propitious skies
Shall blush betimes, and there his glory rise.
Your Lordship, and Your Grace! what school can teach
A rhetoric equal to those parts of speech?
What need of Homer’s verse or Tully’s prose,
Sweet interjections! if he learn but those?
Let reverend churls his ignorance rebuke,
Who starve upon a dog’s-ear’d Pentateuch,
The parson knows enough who knows a duke.”
Egregious purpose! worthily begun
In barbarous prostitution of your son;
Press’d on his part by means that would disgrace
A scrivener’s clerk, or footman out of place,
And ending, if at last its end be gain’d,
In sacrilege, in God’s own house profaned.
It may succeed; and, if his sins should call
For more than common punishment, it shall;
The wretch shall rise, and be the thing on earth
Least qualified in honour, learning, worth,
To occupy a sacred, awful post,
In which the best and worthiest tremble most.
The royal letters are a thing of course,
A king, that would, might recommend his horse;
And deans, no doubt, and chapters, with one voice,
As bound in duty, would confirm the choice.
Behold your bishop! well he plays his part,
Christian in name, and infidel in heart,
Ghostly in office, earthly in his plan,
A slave at court, elsewhere a lady’s man.
Dumb as a senator, and as a priest
A piece of mere church furniture at best;
To live estranged from God his total scope,
And his end sure, without one glimpse of hope.
But, fair although and feasible it seem,
Depend not much upon your golden dream;
For Providence, that seems concern’d to exempt
The hallow’d bench from absolute contempt,
In spite of all the wrigglers into place,
Still keeps a seat or two for worth and grace;
And therefore ‘tis, that, though the sight be rare,
We sometimes see a Lowth or Bagot there.
Besides, school friendships are not always found,
Though fair in promise, permanent and sound;
The most disinterested and virtuous minds,
In early years connected, time unbinds,
New situations give a different cast
Of habit, inclination, temper, taste;
And he, that seem’d our counterpart at first,
Soon shows the strong similitude reversed.
Young heads are giddy, and young hearts are warm,
And make mistakes for manhood to reform.
Boys are, at best, but pretty buds unblown,
Whose scent and hues are rather guess’d than known;
Each dreams that each is just what he appears,
But learns his error in maturer years,
When disposition, like a sail unfurl’d,
Shows all its rents and patches to the world.
If, therefore, e’en when honest in design,
A boyish friendship may so soon decline,
‘Twere wiser sure to inspire a little heart
With just abhorrence of so mean a part,
Than set your son to work at a vile trade
For wages so unlikely to be paid.
Our public hives of puerile resort,
That are of chief and most approved report,
To such base hopes, in many a sordid soul,
Owe their repute in part, but not the whole.
A principle, whose proud pretensions pass
Unquestion’d, though the jewel be but glass—
That with a world, not often over-nice,
Ranks as a virtue, and is yet a vice;
Or rather a gross compound, justly tried,
Of envy, hatred, jealousy, and pride—
Contributes most, perhaps, to enhance their fame;
And emulation is its specious name.
Boys, once on fire with that contentious zeal,
Feel all the rage that female rivals feel;
The prize of beauty in a woman’s eyes
Not brighter than in theirs the scholar’s prize.
The spirit of that competition burns
With all varieties of ill by turns;
Each vainly magnifies his own success,
Resents his fellow’s, wishes it were less,
Exults in his miscarriage if he fail,
Deems his reward too great if he prevail,
And labours to surpass him day and night,
Less for improvement than to tickle spite.
The spur is powerful, and I grant its force;
It pricks the genius forward in its course,
Allows short time for play, and none for sloth;
And, felt alike by each, advances both:
But judge, where so much evil intervenes,
The end, though plausible, not worth the means.
Weigh, for a moment, classical desert
Against a heart depraved and temper hurt;
Hurt too perhaps for life; for early wrong
Done to the nobler part affects it long;
And you are staunch indeed in learning’s cause,
If you can crown a discipline, that draws
Such mischiefs after it, with much applause.
Connexion form’d for interest, and endear’d
By selfish views, thus censured and cashier’d;
And emulation, as engendering hate,
Doom’d to a no less ignominious fate:
The props of such proud seminaries fall,
The Jachin and the Boaz of them all.
Great schools rejected then, as those that swell
Beyond a size that can be managed well,
Shall royal institutions miss the bays,
And small academies win all the praise?
Force not my drift beyond its just intent,
I praise a school as Pope a government;
So take my judgment in his language dress’d,
“Whate’er is best administer’d is best.”
Few boys are born with talents that excel,
But all are capable of living well;
Then ask not, whether limited or large;
But, watch they strictly, or neglect their charge?
If anxious only that their boys may learn,
While morals languish, a despised concern,
The great and small deserve one common blame,
Different in size, but in effect the same.
Much zeal in virtue’s cause all teachers boast,
Though motives of mere lucre sway the most;
Therefore in towns and cities they abound,
For there the game they seek is easiest found;
Though there, in spite of all that care can do,
Traps to catch youth are most abundant too.
If shrewd, and of a well-constructed brain,
Keen in pursuit, and vigorous to retain,
Your son come forth a prodigy of skill;
As, wheresoever taught, so form’d, he will;
The pedagogue, with self-complacent air,
Claims more than half the praise as his due share.
But if, with all his genius, he betray,
Not more intelligent than loose and gay,
Such vicious habits as disgrace his name,
Threaten his health, his fortune, and his fame;
Though want of due restraint alone have bred
The symptoms that you see with so much dread;
Unenvied there, he may sustain alone
The whole reproach, the fault was all his own.
Oh! ‘tis a sight to be with joy perused,
By all whom sentiment has not abused;
New-fangled sentiment, the boasted grace
Of those who never feel in the right place;
A sight surpass’d by none that we can show,
Though Vestris on one leg still shine below;
A father blest with an ingenuous son,
Father, and friend, and tutor, all in one.
How!—turn again to tales long since forgot,
Aesop, and Phaedrus, and the rest?—Why not?
He will not blush, that has a father’s heart,
To take in childish plays a childish part;
But bends his sturdy back to any toy
That youth takes pleasure in, to please his boy:
Then why resign into a stranger’s hand
A task as much within your own command,
That God and nature, and your interest too,
Seem with one voice to delegate to you?
Why hire a lodging in a house unknown
For one whose tenderest thoughts all hover round your own?
This second weaning, needless as it is,
How does it lacerate both your heart and his!
The indented stick, that loses day by day,
Notch after notch, till all are smoothed away,
Bears witness, long ere his dismission come,
With what intense desire he wants his home.
But though the joys he hopes beneath your roof
Bid fair enough to answer in the proof,
Harmless, and safe, and natural, as they are,
A disappointment waits him even there:
Arrived, he feels an unexpected change;
He blushes, hangs his head, is shy and strange
No longer takes, as once, with fearless ease,
His favourite stand between his father’s knees,
But seeks the corner of some distant seat,
And eyes the door, and watches a retreat,
And, least familiar where he should be most,
Feels all his happiest privileges lost.
Alas, poor boy!—the natural effect
Of love by absence chill’d into respect.
Say, what accomplishments, at school acquired,
Brings he, to sweeten fruits so undesired?
Thou well deserv’st an alienated son,
Unless thy conscious heart acknowledge—none;
None that, in thy domestic snug recess,
He had not made his own with more address,
Though some, perhaps, that shock thy feeling mind,
And better never learn’d, or left behind.
Add too, that, thus estranged, thou canst obtain
By no kind arts his confidence again;
That here begins with most that long complaint
Of filial frankness lost, and love grown faint,
Which, oft neglected, in life’s waning years
A parent pours into regardless ears.
Like caterpillars, dangling under trees
By slender threads, and swinging in the breeze,
Which filthily bewray and sore disgrace
The boughs in which are bred the unseemly race;
While every worm industriously weaves
And winds his web about the rivell’d leaves;
So numerous are the follies that annoy
The mind and heart of every sprightly boy;
Imaginations noxious and perverse,
Which admonition can alone disperse.
The encroaching nuisance asks a faithful hand,
Patient, affectionate, of high command,
To check the procreation of a breed
Sure to exhaust the plant on which they feed.
‘Tis not enough that Greek or Roman page,
At stated hours, his freakish thoughts engage;
E’en in his pastimes he requires a friend
To warn, and teach him safely to unbend;
O’er all his pleasures gently to preside,
Watch his emotions, and control their tide;
And levying thus, and with an easy sway,
A tax of profit from his very play,
To impress a value, not to be erased,
On moments squander’d else, and running all to waste.
And seems it nothing in a father’s eye
That unimproved those many moments fly?
And is he well content his son should find
No nourishment to feed his growing mind,
But conjugated verbs and nouns declined?
For such is all the mental food purvey’d
By public hackneys in the schooling trade;
Who feed a pupil’s intellect with store
Of syntax truly, but with little more;
Dismiss their cares when they dismiss their flock,
Machines themselves, and govern’d by a clock.
Perhaps a father, blest with any brains,
Would deem it no abuse, or waste of pains,
To improve this diet, at no great expense,
With savoury truth and wholesome common sense;
To lead his son, for prospects of delight,
To some not steep, though philosophic, height,
Thence to exhibit to his wondering eyes
Yon circling worlds, their distance and their size,
The moons of Jove, and Saturn’s belted ball,
And the harmonious order of them all;
To show him in an insect or a flower
Such microscopic proof of skill and power
As, hid from ages past, God now displays
To combat atheists with in modern days;
To spread the earth before him, and commend,
With designation of the finger’s end,
Its various parts to his attentive note,
Thus bringing home to him the most remote;
To teach his heart to glow with generous flame,
Caught from the deeds of men of ancient fame;
And, more than all, with commendation due,
To set some living worthy in his view,
Whose fair example may at once inspire
A wish to copy what he must admire.
Such knowledge, gain’d betimes, and which appears,
Though solid, not too weighty for his years,
Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport,
When health demands it, of athletic sort,
Would make him—what some lovely boys have been,
And more than one perhaps that I have seen—
An evidence and reprehension both
Of the mere schoolboy’s lean and tardy growth.
Art thou a man professionally tied,
With all thy faculties elsewhere applied,
Too busy to intend a meaner care
Than how to enrich thyself, and next thine heir;
Or art thou (as, though rich, perhaps thou art)
But poor in knowledge, having none to impart:—
Behold that figure, neat, though plainly clad;
His sprightly mingled with a shade of sad;
Not of a nimble tongue, though now and then
Heard to articulate like other men;
No jester, and yet lively in discourse,
His phrase well chosen, clear, and full of force;
And his address, if not quite French in ease,
Not English stiff, but frank, and form’d to please;
Low in the world, because he scorns its arts;
A man of letters, manners, morals, parts;
Unpatronised, and therefore little known;
Wise for himself and his few friends alone
In him thy well-appointed proxy see,
Arm’d for a work too difficult for thee;
Prepared by taste, by learning, and true worth,
To form thy son, to strike his genius forth;
Beneath thy roof, beneath thine eye, to prove
The force of discipline when back’d by love;
To double all thy pleasure in thy child,
His mind inform’d, his morals undefiled.
Safe under such a wing, the boy shall show
No spots contracted among grooms below,
Nor taint his speech with meannesses, design’d
By footman Tom for witty and refined.
There, in his commerce with liveried herd,
Lurks the contagion chiefly to be fear’d;
For since (so fashion dictates) all, who claim
A higher than a mere plebeian fame,
Find it expedient, come what mischief may,
To entertain a thief or two in pay
(And they that can afford the expense of more,
Some half a dozen, and some half a score),
Great cause occurs to save him from a band
So sure to spoil him, and so near at hand;
A point secured, if once he be supplied
With some such Mentor always at his side.
Are such men rare? perhaps they would abound
Were occupation easier to be found,
Were education, else so sure to fail,
Conducted on a manageable scale,
And schools, that have outlived all just esteem,
Exchanged for the secure domestic scheme.—
But, having found him, be thou duke or earl,
Show thou hast sense enough to prize the pearl,
And, as thou wouldst the advancement of thine heir
In all good faculties beneath his care,
Respect, as is but rational and just,
A man deem’d worthy of so dear a trust.
Despised by thee, what more can he expect
From youthful folly than the same neglect?
A flat and fatal negative obtains
That instant upon all his future pains;
His lessons tire, his mild rebukes offend,
And all the instructions of thy son’s best friend
Are a stream choked, or trickling to no end.
Doom him not then to solitary meals;
But recollect that he has sense, and feels
And that, possessor of a soul refined,
An upright heart, and cultivated mind,
His post not mean, his talents not unknown,
He deems it hard to vegetate alone.
And, if admitted at thy board he sit,
Account him no just mark for idle wit;
Offend not him, whom modesty restrains
From repartee, with jokes that he disdains;
Much less transfix his feelings with an oath;
Nor frown, unless he vanish with the cloth.—
And, trust me, his utility may reach
To more than he is hired or bound to teach;
Much trash unutter’d, and some ills undone,
Through reverence of the censor of thy son.
But, if thy table be indeed unclean,
Foul with excess, and with discourse obscene,
And thou a wretch, whom, following her old plan,
The world accounts an honourable man,
Because forsooth thy courage has been tried,
And stood the test, perhaps on the wrong side;
Though thou hadst never grace enough to prove
That any thing but vice could win thy love;—
Or hast thou a polite, card-playing wife,
Chain’d to the routs that she frequents for life;
Who, just when industry begins to snore,
Flies, wing’d with joy, to some coach-crowded door;
And thrice in every winter throngs thine own
With half the chariots and sedans in town;
Thyself meanwhile e’en shifting as thou may’st;
Not very sober though, nor very chaste;
Or is thine house, though less superb thy rank,
If not a scene of pleasure, a mere blank,
And thou at best, and in thy soberest mood,
A trifler vain, and empty of all good;—
Though mercy for thyself thou canst have none,
Here Nature plead, show mercy to thy son.
Saved from his home, where every day brings forth
Some mischief fatal to his future worth,
Find him a better in a distant spot,
Within some pious pastor’s humble cot,
Where vile example (yours I chiefly mean,
The most seducing, and the oftenest seen)
May never more be stamp’d upon his breast,
Not yet perhaps incurably impress’d.
Where early rest makes early rising sure,
Disease or comes not, or finds easy cure,
Prevented much by diet neat and clean;
Or, if it enter, soon starved out again:
Where all the attention of his faithful host,
Discreetly limited to two at most,
May raise such fruits as shall reward his care,
And not at last evaporate in air:
Where, stillness aiding study, and his mind
Serene, and to his duties much inclined,
Not occupied in day dreams, as at home,
Of pleasures past, or follies yet to come,
His virtuous toil may terminate at last
In settled habit and decided taste.—
But whom do I advise? the fashion-led,
The incorrigibly wrong, the deaf, the dead!
Whom care and cool deliberation suit
Not better much than spectacles a brute;
Who if their sons some slight tuition share,
Deem it of no great moment whose, or where;
Too proud to adopt the thoughts of one unknown,
And much too gay to have any of their own.
But courage, man! methought the Muse replied,
Mankind are various, and the world is wide:
The ostrich, silliest of the feather’d kind,
And form’d of God without a parent’s mind,
Commits her eggs, incautious, to the dust,
Forgetful that the foot may crush the trust;
And, while on public nurseries they rely,
Not knowing, and too oft not caring, why,
Irrational in what they thus prefer,
No few, that would seem wise, resemble her.
But all are not alike. Thy warning voice
May here and there prevent erroneous choice;
And some perhaps, who, busy as they are,
Yet make their progeny their dearest care
(Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills may reach
Their offspring, left upon so wild a beach),
Will need no stress of argument to enforce
The expedience of a less adventurous course:
The rest will slight thy counsel, or condemn;
But they have human feelings—turn to them.
To you, then, tenants of life’s middle state,
Securely placed between the small and great,
Whose character yet undebauch’d, retains
Two-thirds of all the virtue that remains,
Who, wise yourselves, desire your sons should learn
Your wisdom and your ways—to you I turn.
Look round you on a world perversely blind;
See what contempt is fallen on human kind;
See wealth abused, and dignities misplaced,
Great titles, offices, and trusts disgraced,
Long lines of ancestry, renown’d of old,
Their noble qualities all quench’d and cold;
See Bedlam’s closeted and handcuff’d charge
Surpass’d in frenzy by the mad at large;
See great commanders making war a trade,
Great lawyers, lawyers without study made;
Churchmen, in whose esteem their best employ
Is odious, and their wages all their joy,
Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves
With Gospel lore, turn infidels themselves;
See womanhood despised, and manhood shamed
With infamy too nauseous to be named,
Fops at all corners, ladylike in mien,
Civeted fellows, smelt ere they are seen,
Else coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue
On fire with curses, and with nonsense hung,
Now flush’d with drunkenness, now with bunnydom pale,
Their breath a sample of last night’s regale;
See volunteers in all the vilest arts,
Men well endow’d, of honourable parts,
Design’d by Nature wise, but self-made fools;
All these, and more like these, were bred at schools.
And if it chance, as sometimes chance it will,
That though school-bred the boy be virtuous still;
Such rare exceptions, shining in the dark,
Prove, rather than impeach, the just remark:
As here and there a twinkling star descried
Serves but to show how black is all beside.
Now look on him, whose very voice in tone
Just echoes thine, whose features are thine own,
And stroke his polish’d cheek of purest red,
And lay thine hand upon his flaxen head,
And say, My boy, the unwelcome hour is come,
When thou, transplanted from thy genial home,
Must find a colder soil and bleaker air,
And trust for safety to a stranger’s care;
What character, what turn thou wilt assume
From constant converse with I know not whom;
Who there will court thy friendship, with what views,
And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt choose;
Though much depends on what thy choice shall be,
Is all chance-medley, and unknown to me.
Canst thou, the tear just trembling on thy lids,
And while the dreadful risk foreseen forbids;
Free too, and under no constraining force,
Unless the sway of custom warp thy course;
Lay such a stake upon the losing side,
Merely to gratify so blind a guide?
Thou canst not! Nature, pulling at thine heart,
Condemns the unfatherly, the imprudent part.
Though wouldst not, deaf to Nature’s tenderest plea,
Turn him adrift upon a rolling sea,
Nor say, Go thither, conscious that there lay
A brood of asps, or quicksands in his way;
Then, only govern’d by the self-same rule
Of natural pity, send him not to school.
No—guard him better. Is he not thine own,
Thyself in miniature, thy flesh, thy bone?
And hopest thou not (‘tis every father’s hope)
That, since thy strength must with thy years elope,
And thou wilt need some comfort to assuage
Health’s last farewell, a staff of thine old age,
That then, in recompence of all thy cares,
Thy child shall show respect to thy grey hairs,
Befriend thee, of all other friends bereft,
And give thy life its only cordial left?
Aware then how much danger intervenes,
To compass that good end, forecast the means.
His heart, now passive, yields to thy command;
Secure it thine, its key is in thine hand;
If thou desert thy charge, and throw it wide,
Nor heed what guests there enter and abide,
Complain not if attachments lewd and base
Supplant thee in it and usurp thy place.
But, if thou guard its sacred chambers sure
From vicious inmates and delights impure,
Either his gratitude shall hold him fast,
And keep him warm and filial to the last;
Or, if he prove unkind (as who can say
But, being man, and therefore frail, he may?),
One comfort yet shall cheer thine aged heart,
Howe’er he slight thee, thou hast done thy part.
Oh, barbarous! wouldst thou with a Gothic hand
Pull down the schools—what!—all the schools i’ th’ land;
Or throw them up to livery-nags and grooms,
Or turn them into shops and auction-rooms?
A captious question, sir (and yours is one),
Deserves an answer similar, or none.
Wouldst thou, possessor of a flock, employ
(Apprised that he is such) a careless boy,
And feed him well, and give him handsome pay,
Merely to sleep, and let them run astray?
Survey our schools and colleges, and see
A sight not much unlike my simile.
From education, as the leading cause,
The public character its colour draws;
Thence the prevailing manners take their cast,
Extravagant or sober, loose or chaste.
And though I would not advertise them yet,
Nor write on each— This Building to be Let ,
Unless the world were all prepared to embrace
A plan well worthy to supply their place;
Yet, backward as they are, and long have been,
To cultivate and keep the morals clean
(Forgive the crime), I wish them, I confess,
Or better managed, or encouraged less.
Ch 07 On The Effects Of Education Story 06
A padshah entrusted a tutor with the care of his son, saying: ‘This is thy son. Educate him as if he were one of thy own children.’ He kept the prince for some years and strove to instruct him but could effect nothing, whilst the sons of the tutor made the greatest progress in accomplishments and eloquence. The king reproved and threatened the learned man with punishment, telling him that he had acted contrary to his promise and had been unfaithful. He replied: ‘O king, the instruction is the same but the natures are different.’
Although both silver and gold come from stones
All stones do not contain silver and gold.
Canopus is shining upon the whole world
But produces in some places sack-leather and in others adim.
The Reality of A Dream.
The poison crown that bound my head,
did bring a sober theme,
'all the less, is of loving said,
a dream is left a dream'.
So in my strength, I broke the ring,
with all the fair alarms,
as crownless was a lovers king,
a king -to loving arms.
I feared now not, the roaring hall,
equivalent to decay,
but all the wealth to me was pall,
the poison and -delay.
Days on which we as winters wept,
Do rest those silver trees,
the suns that had us burning kept,
now dance the summers breeze.
I ran across to foreign lands,
to then my life pursue;
how homes are there in wishing sands
I wish! -I always knew.
There is no more a different state,
-two lives with joy ascend;
never does us hurt, a vermin's hate,
its self when love defends.
Yet, see the moon in golden heels,
when I am calm and wise,
I cherish now how dreaming feels;
a dream -with open eyes.
R.N.Khan, © 2011
I Want Out
I want out
(m&l - hansen)
From all lives beginning on
We are pushed in little forms
No one asks us how we like to be
In school they teach us what to think
But everyone says different things
But theyre all convinced that
Theyre the ones to see
So they keep talking and they never stop
And at certains point you give it up
So the only thing thats left to think is this
I want out... to live my life alone
I want out... leave me be
I want out... to do things on my own
I want out... to live my life and to be free
People tell me a and b
They tell me how I have to see
Things that I have seen already clear
So they push me then from side to side
Theyre pushing me from black to white
Theyre pushingtil theres nothing more to hear
But dont push me to the maximum
Shut your mouth and take it home
cause I decide the way things gonna be
I want out... to live my life alone
I want out... leave me be
I want out... to do things on my own
I want out... to live my life and to be free
Theres a million ways to see the things in life
A million ways to be the fool
In the end of it, none of us is right
Sometimes we need to be alone
I want out... to live my life alone
I want out... leave me be
I want out... to do things on my own
I want out... to live my life and to be free
Through God’s Glory we shall shine, up in the Heavens for all of time.
Saved by Christ’s matchless Love, to shine forever in Heaven above.
Though the wicked don’t understand, we give Glory to the Son of Man.
Although He lives, He died for us, bringing Glory to our frames of dust.
Some wake to everlasting contempt; refusing the Son, God had sent.
While all men who believe in Christ, will rise above to Everlasting Life.
Although by men He was despised, Christ will capture all men’s eyes.
When in His Glory, God will come, through the Glory of Christ His Son.
When He returns to earth we’ll see, Christ in all His Glory and Majesty.
We shall shine in the Glory of, the One who died, to show God’s Love.
Men, who lead men to righteousness, will by God be eternally blessed.
For they will be purified and refined, to shine as the stars for all of time.
The Lord is watching from His Throne, noting the lives of His very own.
In His presence was written a scroll, what He remembers of every soul.
Noting men whose hearts implored, His mercy as they sought The Lord.
For in their heart was a reverent fear, knowing judgment was soon near.
They feared God honoring His Name, living above reproach and shame.
Knowing this, God said ‘they are mine”, to be His treasure for all of time.
God will distinguish the wicked from, the righteous belonging to His Son.
To shine like the Heavens forevermore, with God’s Son, Christ our Lord.
You heard me screaming-
I could not hear
Your silent tears, and
You read my despair and
Hopelessness in the
As you glanced, though
My ebony eyes –
A soul wracked with pain, and
A heart sinking with
Concern and the
Love I could never see until
A few days before you passed-
It was only when you were dying that
I became aware of your profound love for me-
Trees stark against a lead hued sky, and
A mixture of sleet, snow and rain
Would fall from the dark and ominous clouds.
Fog descended over the
Buildings that surrounded ours- while
Cars skated down and up the
People ambled aimlessly
Along the damp and filthy city sidewalks,
While days just passed slowly and quickly
As in a slow motion picture
You would exit the bathroom,
Towels hung in disarray on the towel bars and
Sheets on the bed lay rumpled,
Where none but a shadow of where you had slept remained-
Though only a few hours,
Interrupted by the pain, anguish and desolation
That was so obviously eminent behind
Your pallid face, from which
All expression and life had been erased –
Today I am still screaming though the sounds have been muted by
My efforts to conceal the
War that still wages inside my befuddled mind-
I once believed that you were my enemy and my
Reluctant caretaker until I read the letter
Inscribed on that scrap torn from that yellow legal pad-
Your pen spoke honestly and frankly of
Your love and devotion to me,
That I did not see- until that final moment when
The snow began to fall hard and the wind
Would rattle the storm windows,
That had never been cleaned-
Looking outside those windows now
I can still see the cars racing up and down the street,
People walking in a stupor
Perhaps wishing the winter would end-
And this is a winter that I would never forget-
Only because I finally realized that
You were the only mother I ever had and that
I was your one and only child-
You gave birth to me and
Gave me a beautiful name-
At this very moment
I love you as much as I have finally realized that
I was none but precious to you- although
Our lives together had been a nightmare.
Sleet, snow and freezing rain
Are rudely hitting the windowpanes and
I remember that day I lost my sanity,
It was also on a cold January day-
Hope was blinded by a snowstorm and
Tears were falling like sleet would
Hard upon the pavement-
I look up into the steel-hued sky and
Whisper none but a prayer and
Three words “I love you, ” and to myself,
“Can you hear me? ” and
I know the answer inside my breaking heart, as I
Walk away while
Darkness descends over the city on this bleak and dreary winter’s night…
The Contented Man's Morice
False world, thy malice I espie
With what thou hast designed;
And therein with thee to comply,
Who likewise are combined:
But, do thy worst, I thee defie,
Thy mischiefs are confined.
From me, thou my estate hast torn,
By cheatings me beguiled:
Me thou hast also made thy scorn;
With troubles me turmoiled:
But to an heritage I'm born,
That never can be spoiled.
So wise I am not, to be mad,
Though great are my oppressions;
Nor so much fool as to be sad,
Though robb'd of my possessions:
For, cures for all sores may be had,
And grace for all transgressions.
These words in youth my motto were,
And mine in age I'll make them, -
I neither have, nor want, nor care;
When also first I spake them,
I thought things would be as they are,
And meekly therefore take them.
The riches I possess this day
Are no such goods of fortune
As kings can give or take away,
Or tyrants make uncertain:
For hid within myself are they
Behinde an unseen curtain.
Of my degree, but few or none
Were dayly so frequented;
But now I'm left of every one,
And therewith well contented:
For, when I am with God alone,
Much folly is prevented.
Then, why should I give way to grief?
Come, strike up pipe and tabor
He that affecteth God in chief,
And as himself his neighbour,
May still enjoy a happy life,
Although he lives by labor.
Not me alone have they made poor,
By whom I have been cheated;
But very many thousands more
Are of their hopes defeated;
Who little dreamed heretofore
Of being so ill treated.
Then, if my courage should be less
Than theirs who never prized
The resolutions I profess
(And almost idolized),
I well deserv'd in my distress
To be of all despised.
Our sad complaints, our sighs and tears,
Make meat nor clothing cheaper:
Vain are our earthly hopes and fears,
This life is but a vapor;
And therefore, in despight of cares,
I'll sing, and dance, and caper.
Though food nor raiment left me were,
I would of wants be dreadless;
For when I quickly should be there
Where bread and cloth are needless;
And in those blessings have my share,
Whereof most men are heedless.
I then should that attain unto
For which I now endeavour;
From my false lovers thither go,
Where friendship faileth never:
And, through a few short pangs of woe,
To joys that last for ever.
For service done, and love exprest,
(Though very few regard it)
My country owes me bread, at least;
But if I be debarr'd it,
Good conscience is a dayly feast
And sorrow never marr'd it.
My grand oppressors had a thought,
When riches they bereaved,
That then, my ruine had been wrought;
But, they are quite deceived:
For them the devil much mis-taught
When that weak snare they weaved.
If in those courses I had gone
Wherein they are employed,
Till such achievements had been won
As are by them enjoyed,
They might have wager'd ten to one
I should have been destroyed.
But proofs have now confirmed me
How much our vice offendeth,
And what small helps our virtues be
To that which God intendeth,
Till he himself shall make us free,
And our defects amendeth.
Not one is from corruption clear;
Men are depraved wholly,
Mere cruelties their mercies are
Their wisdom is but folly;
And, when most righteous they appear,
Then are they most unholy.
There is no trust in temp'ral things,
For they are all unsteady:
That no assurance from them springs,
Too well I find already;
And that ev'n parliaments and kings
Are frail, or false, or giddy.
All stands upon a tott'ring wheel,
Which never fixt abideth;
Both commonweals and kingdoms reel:
He that in them confideth,
(Or trusts their faith) shall mischiefs feel,
With which soe'er he sideth.
This wit I long ago was taught,
But then I would not heed it:
Experience must by fools be bought,
Else they'll not think they need it.
By this means was my ruin wrought;
Yet they are knaves who did it.
When to the ground deprest I was,
Our mushrooms and our bubbles,
Whom neither truth, nor wit, nor grace,
But wealth and pride ennobles
As cruel were as they are base,
And jeer'd me in my troubles.
And when their hate these had made known,
New mischiefs it begat me:
For ev'ry rascal durty clown
Presumed to amate me;
And all the curs about the town
Grinn'd, snarl'd, and barked at me.
Since, therefore, 'tis not in my power,
(Though oft I fore-discern them)
To shun the world's despights one hour,
Thus into mirth I'll turn them;
And neither grieve, nor pout, nor lowre,
But laugh, and sing, and scorn them.
This fit, at sev'nty years and two,
And thus to spend my hours,
The world's contempt inclines me to,
Whilst she my state devours;
If this be all that she can do,
A fig for all her powers.
Yet I and shee, my well agree,
Though we have much contented;
Upon as equal terms are we
As most who have offended:
For, I sleight her, and she sleights me,
And there's my quarel ended.
This only doth my mirth allay,
I am to some engaged,
Who sigh and weep, and suffer may,
Whilst thus I sing incaged:
But I've a God, and so have they
By whom that care's asswaged.
And he that gives us in these days
New lords, may give us new laws;
So that our present puppet-plays,
Our whimsies, brauls, and gew-gaws,
May turned be to songs of praise,
And holy hallelujahs.
The Happiest Girl in the World
A week ago; only a little week:
it seems so much much longer, though that day
is every morning still my yesterday;
as all my life 'twill be my yesterday,
for all my life is morrow to my love.
Oh fortunate morrow! Oh sweet happy love!
A week ago; and I am almost glad
to have him now gone for this little while,
that I may think of him and tell myself
what to be his means, now that I am his,
and know if mine is love enough for him,
and make myself believe it all is true.
A week ago; and it seems like a life,
and I have not yet learned to know myself:
I am so other than I was, so strange,
grown younger and grown older all in one;
and I am not so sad and not so gay;
and I think nothing, only hear him think.
That morning, waking, I remembered him
"Will he be here to-day? he often comes; --
and is it for my sake or to kill time?"
and, wondering "Will he come?" I chose the dress
he seemed to like the best, and hoped for him;
and did not think I could quite love him yet.
And did I love him then with all my heart?
or did I wait until he held my hands
and spoke "Say, shall it be?" and kissed my brow,
and I looked at him and he knew it all?
And did I love him from the day we met?
but I more gladly danced with some one else
who waltzed more smoothly and was merrier:
and did I love him when he first came here?
but I more gladly talked with some one else
whose words were readier and who sought me more.
When did I love him? How did it begin?
The small green spikes of snowdrops in the spring
are there one morning ere you think of them;
still we may tell what morning they pierced up:
June rosebuds stir and open stealthily,
and every new blown rose is a surprise;
still we can date the day when one unclosed:
but how can I tell when my love began?
Oh, was it like the young pale twilight star
that quietly breaks on the vacant sky,
is sudden there and perfect while you watch,
and, though you watch, you have not seen it dawn,
the star that only waited and awoke?
But he knows when he loved me; for he says
the first time we had met he told a friend
"The sweetest dewy daisy of a girl,
but not the solid stuff to make a wife;"
and afterwards the first time he was here,
when I had slipped away into our field
to watch alone for sunset brightening on
and heard them calling me, he says he stood
and saw me come along the coppice walk
beneath the green and sparkling arch of boughs,
and, while he watched the yellow lights that played
with the dim flickering shadows of the leaves
over my yellow hair and soft pale dress,
flitting across me as I flitted through,
he whispered inly, in so many words,
"I see my wife; this is my wife who comes,
and seems to bear the sunlight on with her:"
and that was when he loved me, so he says.
Yet is he quite sure? was it only then?
and had he had no thought which I could feel?
for why was it I knew that he would watch,
and all the while thought in my silly heart,
as I advanced demurely, it was well
I had on the pale dress with sweeping folds
which took the light and shadow tenderly,
and that the sunlights touched my hair and cheek,
because he'd note it all and care for it?
Oh vain and idle poor girl's heart of mine,
content with that coquettish mean content!
He, with his man's straight purpose, thinking "wife,"
and I but that 'twas pleasant to be fair
and that 'twas pleasant he should count me fair.
But oh, to think he should be loving me
and I be no more moved out of myself!
The sunbeams told him, but they told me nought,
except that maybe I was looking well.
And oh had I but known! Why did no bird,
trilling its own sweet lovesong, as I passed,
so musically marvellously glad,
sing one for me too, sing me "It is he,"
sing "Love him," and "You love him: it is he,"
that I might then have loved him when he loved,
that one dear moment might be date to both?
And must I not be glad he hid his thought
and did not tell me then, when it was soon
and I should have been startled, and not known
how he is just the one man I can love,
and, only with some pain lest he were pained,
and nothing doubting, should have answered "No."
How strange life is! I should have answered "No."
Oh, can I ever be half glad enough
he is so wise and patient and could wait!
He waited as you wait the reddening fruit
which helplessly is ripening on the tree,
and not because it tries or longs or wills,
only because the sun will shine on it:
but he who waited was himself that sun.
Oh was it worth the waiting? was it worth?
For I am half afraid love is not love,
this love which only makes me rest in him
and be so happy and so confident,
this love which makes me pray for longest days
that I may have them all to use for him,
this love which almost makes me yearn for pain
that I might have borne something for his sake,
this love which I call love, is less than love.
Where are the fires and fevers and the pangs?
where is the anguish of too much delight,
and the delirious madness at a kiss,
the flushing and the paling at a look,
and passionate ecstasy of meeting hands?
where is the eager weariness at time
that will not bate a single measured hour
to speed to us the far-off wedding day?
I am so calm and wondering, like a child
who, led by a firm hand it knows and trusts
along a stranger country beautiful
with a bewildering beauty to new eyes
if they be wise to know what they behold,
finds newness everywhere but no surprise,
and takes the beauty as an outward part
of being led so kindly by the hand.
I am so cold: is mine but a child's heart,
and not a woman's fit for such a man?
Alas am I too cold, am I too dull,
can I not love him as another could?
And oh, if love be fire, what love is mine
that is but like the pale subservient moon
who only asks to be earth's minister?
And, oh, if love be whirlwind, what is mine
that is but like a little even brook
which has no aim but flowing to the sea,
and sings for happiness because it flows?
Ah well, I would that I could love him more
and not be only happy as I am;
I would that I could love him to his worth,
with that forgetting all myself in him,
that subtle pain of exquisite excess,
that momentary infinite sharp joy,
I know by books but cannot teach my heart:
and yet I think my love must needs be love,
since he can read me through -- oh happy strange,
my thoughts that were my secrets all for me
grown instantly his open easy book! --
since he can read me through, and is content.
And yesterday, when they all went away,
save little Amy with her daisy chains,
and left us in that shadow of tall ferns,
and the child, leaning on me, fell asleep,
and I, tired by the afternoon long walk,
said "I could almost gladly sleep like her,"
did he not answer, drawing down my head,
"Sleep, darling, let me see you rest on me,"
and when the child, awaking, wakened me,
did he not say "Dear, you have made me glad,
for, seeing you so sleeping peacefully,
I feel that you do love me utterly,
no questionings, no regrettings, but at rest."
Oh yes, my good true darling, you spoke well
"No questionings, no regrettings, but at rest:"
what should I question, what should I regret,
now I have you who are my hope and rest?
I am the feathery wind-wafted seed
that flickered idly half a merry morn,
now thralled into the rich life-giving earth
to root and bud and waken into leaf
and make it such poor sweetness as I may;
the prisoned seed that never more shall float
the frolic playfellow of summer winds
and mimic the free changeful butterfly;
the prisoned seed that prisoned finds its life
and feels its pulses stir, and grows, and grows.
Oh love, who gathered me into yourself,
oh love, I am at rest in you, and live.
And shall I for so many coming days
be flower and sweetness to him? Oh pale flower,
grow, grow, and blossom out, and fill the air,
feed on his richness, grow, grow, blossom out,
and fill the air, and be enough for him.
Oh crystal music of the air-borne lark,
so falling, nearer, nearer, from the sky,
are you a message to me of dear hopes?
oh trilling gladness, flying down to earth,
have you brought answer of sweet prophecy?
have you brought answer to the thoughts in me?
Oh happy answer, and oh happy thoughts!
and which is the bird's carol, which my heart's?
My love, my love, my love! And I shall be
so much to him, so almost everything:
and I shall be the friend whom he will trust,
and I shall be the child whom he will teach,
and I shall be the servant he will praise,
and I shall be the mistress he will love,
and I shall be his wife. Oh days to come,
will ye not pass like gentle rhythmic steps
that fall to sweetest music noiselessly?
But I have known the lark's song half sound sad,
and I have seen the lake, which rippled sun,
toss dimmed and purple in a sudden wind;
and let me laugh a moment at my heart
that thinks the summer-time must all be fair,
that thinks the good days always must be good:
yes let me laugh a moment -- may be weep.
But no, but no, not laugh; for through my joy
I have been wise enough to know the while
some tears and some long hours are in all lives,
in every promised land some thorn plants grow,
some tangling weeds as well as laden vines:
and no, not weep; for is not my land fair,
my land of promise flushed with fruit and bloom?
and who would weep for fear of scattered thorns?
and very thorns bear oftentimes sweet fruits.
Oh the black storm that breaks across the lake
ruffles the surface, leaves the deeps at rest --
deep in our hearts there always will be rest:
oh summer storms fall sudden as they rose,
the peaceful lake forgets them while they die --
our hearts will always have it summer time.
All rest, all summer time. My love, my love,
I know it will be so; you are so good,
and I, near you, shall grow at last like you;
and you are tender, patient -- oh I know
you will bear with me, help me, smile to me,
and let me make you happy easily;
and I, what happiness could I have more
than that dear labour of a happy wife?
I would not have another. Is it wrong,
and is it selfish that I cannot wish,
that I, who yet so love the clasping hand
and innocent fond eyes of little ones,
I cannot wish that which I sometimes read
is women's dearest wish hid in their love,
to press a baby creature to my breast?
Oh is it wrong? I would be all for him,
not even children coming 'twixt us two
to call me from his service to serve them;
and maybe they would steal too much of love,
for, since I cannot love him now enough,
what would my heart be halved? or would it grow?
But he perhaps would love me something less,
finding me not so always at his side.
Together always, that was what he said;
together always. Oh dear coming days!
O dear dear present days that pass too fast,
although they bring such rainbow morrows on!
that pass so fast, and yet, I know not why,
seem always to encompass so much time.
And I should fear I were too happy now,
and making this poor world too much my Heaven,
but that I feel God nearer and it seems
as if I had learned His love better too.
So late already! The sun dropping down,
and under him the first long line of red --
my truant should be here again by now,
is come maybe. I will not seek him, I;
he would be vain and think I cared too much;
I will wait here, and he shall seek for me,
and I will carelessly -- Oh his dear step --
he sees me, he is coming; my own love!
Visions of the Daughters of Albion
The Eye sees more than the heart knows.
I loved Theotormon
And I was not ashamed
I trembled in my virgin fears
And I hid in Leutha's Vale!
I plucked Leutha's flower,
And I rose up from the vale;
But the terrible thunders tore
My virgin mantle in twain.
Enslav'd, the Daughters of Albion weep; a trembling lamentation
Upon their mountains; in their valleys, sighs towards America.
For the soft soul of America, Oothoon wanderd in woe,
Along the vales of Leutha seeking flowers to comfort her;
And thus she spoke to the bright Marygold of Leutha's vale
Art thou a flower! art though a nymph! I see thee now a flower;
Now a nymph! I dare not pluck thee from thy dewy bed!
The Golden nymph replied; pluck thou my flower Oothoon the mild
Another flower shall spring. because the soul of sweet delight
Can never pass away, she ceas'd & closed her golden shrine.
Then Oothoon pluck'd the flower saying, I pluck thee from thy bed
Sweet flower. and put thee here to glow between my breasts
And thus I turn to where my whole soul seeks.
Over the waves she went in wing'd exulting swift delight;
And over Theotormon's reign, took her impetuous course.
Bromion rent her with his thunders. on his stormy bed
Lay the faint maid, and soon her woes apalld his thunders hoarse
Bromion spoke. behold this harlot here on Bromions bed.
And let the jealous dolphins sport around the lovely maid:
Thy soft American plains are mine, and mine thy north & south:
Stampt with my signet are the swarthy children of the sun;
They are obedient, they resist not, they obey the scourge:
Their daughters worship terrors and obey the violent:
Now thou maist marry Bromions harlot, and protect the child
Of Bromions rage, that Oothoon shall put forth in nine moons time
Then storms rent Theotormons limbs; he rolld his waves around.
And folded his black jealous waters round the adulterate pair
Bound back to back in Bromions caves terror & meekness dwell
At entrance Theotormon sits wearing the threshold hard
With secret tears; beneath him sound like waves on a desart shore
The voice of slaves beneath the sun, and children bought with money,
That shiver in religious caves beneath the burning fores
Of lust, that belch incessant from the summits of the earth
Oothoon weeps not. she cannot weep! her tears are locked up;
But she can howl incessant writhing her soft snowy limbs.
And calling Theotormons Eagles to prey upon her flesh.
I call with holy voice! kings of the sounding air,
Rend away this defiled bosom that I may reflect,
The image of Theotormon on my pure transparent breast.
The Eagles at her call desced & rend their bleeding prey;
Theotormon severely smiles. Her soul reflects the smile;
As the clear spring muddled with feet of beasts grows pure & smiles
The Daughters of Albion hear her woes, & eccho back her sighs.
Why does Theotormon sit weeping upon the threshold:
And Oothoon hovers by his side, perswading him in vain:
I cry arise O Theotormon for the village dog
Barks at the breaking day. the nightingale has done lamenting
The lark does rustle in the ripe corn, and the Eagle returns
From nightly prey, and lifts his golden beak to the pure east;
Shaking the dust from his immortal points to awake
The sun that sleeps too long. Arise my Theotormon I am pure.
Because the night is gone that closed me in its deadly black.
They told me that the night & day were all that I could see;
They told me that I had five senses to inclose me up.
And they inclos'd my infinite brain into a narrow circle,
And sunk my heart into the Abyss, a red round globe hot burning
Till all from life I was obliterated and erased.
Instead of morn arises a bright shadow, like an eye
In the eastern cloud: instead of night a sickly charnel house;
That Theotormon hears me not! to him the night and morn
Are both alike: A night of sighs, a morning of fresh tears;
And none but Bromion can hear my lamentations.
With what sense is it that the chicken shuns the ravenous hawk?
With what sense does the tame pigeon measure out the expanse?
With what sense does the bee form cells? have not the mouse & frog
Eyes and ears and sense of touch? yet are their habitations.
And their pursuits, as different as their forms and as their joys:
Ask the wild ass why he refuses burdens: and the meek camel
Why he loves man: is it because of eye ear mouth or skin
Or breathing nostrils? No, for these the wolf and tyger have.
Ask the blind worm the secrets of the grave, and why her spires
Love to curl round the bones of death! and ask the rav'nous snake
Where she gets poison: & the wing'd eagle why he loves the sun
And then tell me the thoughts of man, which have been hid of old.
Silent I hover all the night, and all day could be silent,
If Theotormon once would turn his loved eyes upon me;
How can I be defild when I reflect my image pure?
Sweetest the fruit that the worms feeds on. & the soul prey'd on by woe
By the red earth of our immortal river: I bathe my wings,
And I am white and pure to hover round Theotormons breast.
Then Theotormon broke his silence, and he answered.
Tell me what is the night or day to one o'erflowd with woe?
Tell me what is a thought? & of what substance is it made?
Tell me what is a joy? & in what gardens do joys grow?
And in what rivers swim the sorrows? and upon what mountains
Wave shadows of discontent? and in what houses dwell the wretched
Drunken with a woe forgotten. and shut up from cold despair,
Tell me where dwell the thoughts forgotten till thou call them forth
Tell me where dwell the joys of old! & where the ancient loves?
And when will they renew again & the night of oblivion past?
That I might traverse times and spaces far remote and bring
Comforts into a pre[s]ent sorrow and a night of pain
Where goest thou O thought! to what remote land is thy flight?
If thou returnest to the present moment of affliction
Wilt thou bring comforts on thy wings, and dews and honey and balm;
Or poison from the desart wilds, from the eyes of the envier.
Then Bromion said: and shook the cavern with his lamentation
Thou knowest that the ancient trees seen by thy eyes have fruit;
But knowest thou that trees and fruit flourish upon the earth
To gratify senses unknown? trees beasts and birds unknown:
Unknown, not unperceived, spread in the infinite microscope,
In places yet unvisited by the voyager. and in worlds
Over another kind of seas, and in atmospheres unknown.
Ah! are there other wars, beside the wars of sword and fire!
And are there other sorrows, beside the sorrows of poverty?
And are there other joys, beside the joys of riches and ease?
And is there not one law for both the lion and the ox?
And is there not eternal fire, and eternal chains?
To bind the phantoms of existence from eternal life?
Then Oothoon waited silent all the day, and all the night,
But when the morn arose, her lamentation renewd,
The Daughters of Albion hear her woes, & eccho back her sighs.
O Urizen! Creator of men! mistaken Demon of heaven;
Thy joys are tears! thy labour vain, to form men to thine image.
How can one absorb another? are not different joys
Holy, eternal, infinite! and each joy is a Love.
Does not the great mouth laugh at a gift? & the narrow eyelids mock
At the labour that is above payment, and wilt thou take the ape
For thy councellor? or the dog. for a schoolmaster to thy children?
Does he who contemns poverty, and he who turns with abhorrence
From usury: feel the same passion or are they moved alike?
How can the giver of gifts experience the delights of the merchant?
How the industrious citizen the pains of the husbandman.
How different far the fat fed hireling with hollow drum;
Who buys whole corn fields into wastes, and sings upon the heath:
How different their eye and ear! how different the world to them!
With what sense does the person claim the labour of the farmer?
What are his nets & gins & traps, & how does he surround him
With cold floods of abstraction, and with forests of solitude,
To build him castles and high spires, where kings & priests may dwell.
Till she who burns with youth, and knows no fixed lot; is bound
In spells of law to one she loaths: and must she drag the chain
Of life, in weary lust! must chilling murderous thoughts, obscure
The clear heaven of her eternal spring! to bear the wintry rage
Of a harsh terror driv'n to madness, bound to hold a rod
Over her shrinking shoulders all the day; and all the night
To turn the wheel of false desire: and longings that wake her womb
To the abhorred birth of cherubs in the human form
That live a pestilence & die a meteor & are no more.
Till the child dwell with one he hates, and do all the deeds he loaths
And the impure scourge force his seed into its unripe birth
E'er yet his eyelids can behold the arrows of the day.
Does the whale worship at thy footsteps as the hungry dog?
Or does he scent the mountain prey, because his nostrils wide
Draw in the ocean? does his eye discern the flying cloud
As the ravens eye? or does he measure the expanse like the vulture?
Does the still spider view the cliffs where eagles hide their young?
Or does the fly rejoice, because the harvest is brought in?
Does not the eagle scorn the earth & despise the treasures beneath?
But the mole knoweth what is there, & the worm shall tell it thee.
Does not the worm erect a pillar in the mouldering church yard?
And a palace of eternity in the jaws of the hungry grave
Over his porch these words are written. Take thy bliss O Man!
And sweet shall be thy taste & sweet thy infant joys renew!
Infancy, fearless, lustful, happy! nestling for delight
In laps of pleasure; Innocence! honest, open, seeking
The vigorous joys of morning light; open to virgin bliss.
Who taught thee modesty, subtil modesty! child of night & sleep
When thou awakest. wilt thou dissemble all thy secret joys
Or wert thou not awake when all this mystery was disclos'd!
Then com'st thou forth a modest virgin knowing to dissemble
With nets found under thy night pillow, to catch virgin joy,
And brand it with the name of whore: & sell it in the night,
In silence, ev'n without a whisper, and in seeming sleep,
Religious dream and holy vespers, light thy smoky fires:
Once were thy fires lighted by the eyes of honest morn
And does my Theotormon seek this hypocrite modesty!
This knowing, artful, secret. fearful, cautious, trembling hypocrite.
Then is Oothoon a whore indeed! and all the virgin joys
Of life are harlots: and Theotormon is a sick mans dream
And Oothoon is the crafty slave of selfish holiness.
But Oothoon is not so, a virgin fill'd with virgin fancies
Open to joy and to delight where ever beauty appears
If in the morning sun I find it; there my eyes are fix'd
In happy copulation; if in evening mild, wearied with work;
Sit on a bank and draw the pleasures of this free born joy.
The moment of desire! the moment of desire! The virgin
That pines for man; shall awaken her womb to enormous joys
In the secret shadows of her chamber; the yout shut up from
The lustful joy, shall forget to generate, & create an amorous image
In the shadows of his curtains and in the folds of his silent pillow.
Are not these the places of religion? the rewards of continence!
The self enjoyings of self denial? Why dost thou seek religion?
Is it because acts are not lovely, that thou seekest solitude,
Where the horrible darkness is impressed with reflections of desire.
Father of Jealousy, be thou accursed from the earth!
Why hast thou toaught my Theotormon this accursed thing?
Till beauty fades from off my shoulders darken'd and cast out,
A solitary shadow wailing on the margin of non-entity.
I cry, Love! Love! Love! happy happy Love! free as the mountain wind!
Can that be Love, that drinks another as a sponge drinks water?
That clouds with jealousy his nights, with weepings all the day:
To spin a web of age around him, grey and hoary! dark!
Till his eyes sicken at the fruit that hangs before his sight.
Such is self-love that envies all! a creeping skeleton
With lamplike eyes watching around the frozen marriage bed.
But silken nets and traps of adamant will Oothoon spread,
And catch for the girls of mild silver, or of furious gold;
I'll lie beside thee on a bank & view their wanton play
In lovely copulation bliss on bliss with Theotormon;
Red as the rosy morning, lustful as the first born beam,
Oothoon shall view his dear delight, nor e'er with jealous cloud
Come in the heavens of generous love; nor selfish blightings bring.
Does the sun walk in glorious raiment, on the secret floor
Where the cold miser spreads his gold? or does the bright cloud drop
On his stone threshold? does his eye behold the beam that brings
Expansion to the eye of pity? or will he bind himself
Beside the ox to thy hard furrow? does not that mild beam blot
The bat, the owl, the glowing tyger, and the king of night.
The sea fowl takes the wintry blast. for a cov'ring to her limbs:
And the wild snake, the pestilence to adorn him with gems & gold.
And trees. & birds. & beasts, & men. behold their eternal joy.
Arise you little glancing wings, and sing your infant joy!
Arise and drink your bliss. For everything that lives is holy!
Thus every morning wails Oothoon. but Theotormon sits
Upon the margind ocean conversing with shadows dire,
The Daughters of Albion hear her woes, & eccho back her sighs.
The Borough. Letter XXIV: Schools
To every class we have a School assign'd,
Rules for all ranks and food for every mind:
Yet one there is, that small regard to rule
Or study pays, and still is deem'd a School:
That, where a deaf, poor, patient widow sits,
And awes some thirty infants as she knits;
Infants of humble, busy wives, who pay
Some trifling price for freedom through the day:
At this good matron's hut the children meet,
Who thus becomes the mother of the street:
Her room is small they cannot widely stray, -
Her threshold high they cannot run away:
Though deaf, she sees the rebel-heroes shout, -
Though lame, her white rod nimbly walks about;
With band of yarn she keeps offenders in,
And to her gown the sturdiest rogue can pin:
Aided by these, and spells, and tell-tale birds,
Her power they dread and reverence her words.
To Learning's second seats we now proceed,
Where humming students gilded primers read;
Or books with letters large and pictures gay,
To make their reading but a kind of play -
'Reading made easy,' so the titles tell;
But they who read must first begin to spell:
There may be profit in these arts, but still
Learning is labour, call it what you will;
Upon the youthful mind a heavy load,
Nor must we hope to find the royal road.
Some will their easy steps to science show,
And some to heav'n itself their by-way know;
Ah! trust them not,--who fame or bliss would share,
Must learn by labour, and must live by care.
Another matron, of superior kind,
For higher schools prepares the rising mind;
Preparatory she her Learning calls,
The step first made to colleges and halls.
She early sees to what the mind will grow,
Nor abler judge of infant-powers I know:
She sees what soon the lively will impede,
And how the steadier will in turn succeed;
Observes the dawn of wisdom, fancy, taste,
And knows what parts will wear, and what will
She marks the mind too lively, and at once
Sees the gay coxcomb and the rattling dunce.
Long has she lived, and much she loves to trace
Her former pupils, now a lordly race;
Whom when she sees rich robes and furs bedeck,
She marks the pride which once she strove to check.
A Burgess comes, and she remembers well
How hard her task to make his worship spell;
Cold, selfish, dull, inanimate, unkind,
'Twas but by anger he display'd a mind:
Now civil, smiling, complaisant, and gay,
The world has worn th' unsocial crust away:
That sullen spirit now a softness wears,
And, save by fits, e'en dulness disappears:
But still the matron can the man behold,
Dull, selfish, hard, inanimate, and cold.
A Merchant passes,--'Probity and truth,
Prudence and patience, mark'd thee from thy youth.'
Thus she observes, but oft retains her fears
For him, who now with name unstain'd appears:
Nor hope relinquishes, for one who yet
Is lost in error and involved in debt;
For latent evil in that heart she found,
More open here, but here the core was sound.
Various our Day-Schools: here behold we one
Empty and still: --the morning duties done,
Soil'd, tatter'd, worn, and thrown in various
Appear their books, and there confusion sleeps;
The workmen all are from the Babel fled,
And lost their tools, till the return they dread:
Meantime the master, with his wig awry,
Prepares his books for business by-and-by:
Now all th' insignia of the monarch laid
Beside him rest, and none stand by afraid;
He, while his troop light-hearted leap and play,
Is all intent on duties of the day;
No more the tyrant stern or judge severe,
He feels the father's and the husband's fear.
Ah! little think the timid trembling crowd,
That one so wise, so powerful, and so proud,
Should feel himself, and dread the humble ills
Of rent-day charges, and of coalman's bills;
That while they mercy from their judge implore,
He fears himself--a knocking at the door;
And feels the burthen as his neighbour states
His humble portion to the parish-rates.
They sit th' alloted hours, then eager run,
Rushing to pleasure when the duty's done;
His hour of leisure is of different kind,
Then cares domestic rush upon his mind,
And half the ease and comfort he enjoys,
Is when surrounded by slates, books, and boys.
Poor Reuben Dixon has the noisiest school
Of ragged lads, who ever bow'd to rule;
Low in his price--the men who heave our coals,
And clean our causeways, send him boys in shoals;
To see poor Reuben, with his fry beside, -
Their half-check'd rudeness and his half-scorn'd
Their room, the sty in which th' assembly meet,
In the close lane behind the Northgate-street;
T'observe his vain attempts to keep the peace,
Till tolls the bell, and strife and troubles cease,
Calls for our praise; his labour praise deserves,
But not our pity; Reuben has no nerves:
'Mid noise and dirt, and stench, and play, and
He calmly cuts the pen or views the slate.
But Leonard!--yes, for Leonard's fate I grieve,
Who loaths the station which he dares not leave:
He cannot dig, he will not beg his bread,
All his dependence rests upon his head;
And deeply skill'd in sciences and arts,
On vulgar lads he wastes superior parts.
Alas! what grief that feeling mind sustains,
In guiding hands and stirring torpid brains;
He whose proud mind from pole to pole will move,
And view the wonders of the worlds above;
Who thinks and reasons strongly: --hard his fate,
Confined for ever to the pen and slate:
True, he submits, and when the long dull day
Has slowly pass'd, in weary tasks, away,
To other worlds with cheerful view he looks,
And parts the night between repose and books.
Amid his labours, he has sometimes tried
To turn a little from his cares aside;
Pope, Milton, Dryden, with delight has seized,
His soul engaged and of his trouble eased:
When, with a heavy eye and ill-done sum,
No part conceived, a stupid boy will come;
Then Leonard first subdues the rising frown,
And bids the blockhead lay his blunders down;
O'er which disgusted he will turn his eye,
To his sad duty his sound mind apply,
And, vex'd in spirit, throw his pleasures by.
Turn we to Schools which more than these afford
The sound instruction and the wholesome board;
And first our School for Ladies;--pity calls
For one soft sigh, when we behold these walls,
Placed near the town, and where, from window high,
The fair, confined, may our free crowds espy,
With many a stranger gazing up and down,
And all the envied tumult of the town;
May, in the smiling summer-eve, when they
Are sent to sleep the pleasant hours away,
Behold the poor (whom they conceive the bless'd)
Employ'd for hours, and grieved they cannot rest.
Here the fond girl, whose days are sad and few
Since dear mamma pronounced the last adieu,
Looks to the road, and fondly thinks she hears
The carriage-wheels, and struggles with her tears:
All yet is new, the misses great and small,
Madam herself, and teachers, odious all;
From laughter, pity, nay command, she turns,
But melts in softness, or with anger burns;
Nauseates her food, and wonders who can sleep
On such mean beds, where she can only weep:
She scorns condolence--but to all she hates
Slowly at length her mind accommodates;
Then looks on bondage with the same concern
As others felt, and finds that she must learn
As others learn'd--the common lot to share,
To search for comfort and submit to care.
There are, 'tis said, who on these seats attend,
And to these ductile minds destruction vend;
Wretches--(to virtue, peace, and nature, foes) -
To these soft minds, their wicked trash expose;
Seize on the soul, ere passions take the sway,
And lead the heart, ere yet it feels, astray:
Smugglers obscene!--and can there be who take
Infernal pains the sleeping vice to wake?
Can there be those by whom the thought defiled
Enters the spotless bosom of a child?
By whom the ill is to the heart conveyed,
Who lend the foe, not yet in arms, their aid;
And sap the city-walls before the siege be laid?
Oh! rather skulking in the by-ways steal,
And rob the poorest traveller of his meal;
Burst through the humblest trader's bolted door;
Bear from the widow's hut her winter-store;
With stolen steed, on highways take your stand,
Your lips with curses arm'd, with death your hand;
Take all but life--the virtuous more would say,
Take life itself, dear as it is, away,
Rather than guilty thus the guileless soul betray.
Years pass away--let us suppose them past,
Th' accomplish'd nymph for freedom looks at last;
All hardships over, which a school contains,
The spirit's bondage and the body's pains;
Where teachers make the heartless, trembling set
Of pupils suffer for their own regret;
Where winter's cold, attack'd by one poor fire,
Chills the fair child, commanded to retire;
She felt it keenly in the morning-air,
Keenly she felt it at the evening prayer.
More pleasant summer; but then walks were made,
Not a sweet ramble, but a slow parade;
They moved by pairs beside the hawthorn-hedge,
Only to set their feelings on an edge;
And now at eve, when all their spirits rise,
Are sent to rest, and all their pleasure dies;
Where yet they all the town-alert can see,
And distant plough-boys pacing o'er the lea.
These and the tasks successive masters brought -
The French they conn'd, the curious works they
The hours they made their taper fingers strike
Note after note, all dull to them alike;
Their drawings, dancings on appointed days,
Playing with globes, and getting parts of plays:
The tender friendships made 'twixt heart and heart,
When the dear friends had nothing to impart: -
All! all! are over;--now th' accomplish'd maid
Longs for the world, of nothing there afraid:
Dreams of delight invade her gentle breast,
And fancied lovers rob the heart of rest;
At the paternal door a carriage stands,
Love knits their hearts and Hymen joins their
Ah! world unknown! how charming is thy view,
Thy pleasures many, and each pleasure new:
Ah! world experienced! what of thee is told?
How few thy pleasures, and those few how old!
Within a silent street, and far apart
From noise of business, from a quay or mart,
Stands an old spacious building, and the din
You hear without, explains the work within;
Unlike the whispering of the nymphs, this noise
Loudly proclaims a 'Boarding-School for Boys;'
The master heeds it not, for thirty years
Have render'd all familiar to his ears;
He sits in comfort, 'mid the various sound
Of mingled tones for ever flowing round:
Day after day he to his task attends, -
Unvaried toil, and care that never ends:
Boys in their works proceed; while his employ
Admits no change, or changes but the boy;
Yet time has made it easy;--he beside
Has power supreme, and power is sweet to pride:
But grant him pleasure; what can teachers feel,
Dependent helpers always at the wheel?
Their power despised, their compensation small,
Their labour dull, their life laborious all;
Set after set the lower lads to make
Fit for the class which their superiors take;
The road of learning for a time to track
In roughest state, and then again go back:
Just the same way, on other troops to wait, -
Attendants fix'd at learning's lower gate.
The Day-tasks now are over--to their ground
Rush the gay crowd with joy-compelling sound;
Glad to elude the burthens of the day,
The eager parties hurry to their play:
Then in these hours of liberty we find
The native bias of the opening mind;
They yet possess not skill the mask to place,
And hide the passions glowing in the face;
Yet some are found--the close, the sly, the mean,
Who know already all must not be seen.
Lo! one who walks apart, although so young,
He lays restraint upon his eye and tongue,
Nor will he into scrapes or dangers get,
And half the school are in the stripling's debt:
Suspicious, timid, he is much afraid
Of trick and plot: --he dreads to be betray'd:
He shuns all friendship, for he finds they lend
When lads begin to call each other friend:
Yet self with self has war; the tempting sight
Of fruit on sale provokes his appetite; -
See! how he walks the sweet seduction by;
That he is tempted, costs him first a sigh, -
'Tis dangerous to indulge, 'tis grievous to deny!
This he will choose, and whispering asks the price,
The purchase dreadful, but the portion nice:
Within the pocket he explores the pence;
Without, temptation strikes on either sense,
The sight, the smell;--but then he thinks again
Of money gone! while fruit nor taste remain.
Meantime there comes an eager thoughtless boy,
Who gives the price and only feels the joy:
Example dire: the youthful miser stops
And slowly back the treasured coinage drops:
Heroic deed! for should he now comply,
Can he tomorrow's appetite deny?
Beside, these spendthrifts who so freely live,
Cloy'd with their purchase, will a portion give: -
Here ends debate, he buttons up his store,
And feels the comfort that it burns no more.
Unlike to him the Tyrant-boy, whose sway
All hearts acknowledge; him the crowds obey:
At his command they break through every rule;
Whoever governs, he controls the school:
'Tis not the distant emperor moves their fear,
But the proud viceroy who is ever near.
Verres could do that mischief in a day,
For which not Rome, in all its power, could pay;
And these boy-tyrants will their slaves distress,
And do the wrongs no master can redress:
The mind they load with fear; it feels disdain
For its own baseness; yet it tries in vain
To shake th' admitted power: --the coward comes
'Tis more than present pain these tyrants give,
Long as we've life some strong impressions live;
And these young ruffians in the soul will sow
Seeds of all vices that on weakness grow.
Hark! at his word the trembling younglings flee,
Where he is walking none must walk but he;
See! from the winter fire the weak retreat,
His the warm corner, his the favourite seat,
Save when he yields it to some slave to keep
Awhile, then back, at his return, to creep:
At his command his poor dependants fly,
And humbly bribe him as a proud ally;
Flatter'd by all, the notice he bestows,
Is gross abuse, and bantering and blows;
Yet he's a dunce, and, spite of all his fame
Without the desk, within he feels his shame:
For there the weaker boy, who felt his scorn,
For him corrects the blunders of the morn;
And he is taught, unpleasant truth! to find
The trembling body has the prouder mind.
Hark! to that shout, that burst of empty noise,
From a rude set of bluff, obstreperous boys;
They who, like colts let loose, with vigour bound,
And thoughtless spirit, o'er the beaten ground;
Fearless they leap, and every youngster feels
His Alma active in his hands and heels.
These are the sons of farmers, and they come
With partial fondness for the joys of home;
Their minds are coursing in their fathers' fields,
And e'en the dream a lively pleasure yields;
They, much enduring, sit th' allotted hours,
And o'er a grammar waste their sprightly powers;
They dance; but them can measured steps delight,
Whom horse and hounds to daring deeds excite?
Nor could they bear to wait from meal to meal,
Did they not slily to the chamber steal,
And there the produce of the basket seize,
The mother's gift! still studious of their ease.
Poor Alma, thus oppress'd forbears to rise,
But rests or revels in the arms and thighs.
'But is it sure that study will repay
The more attentive and forbearing?'--Nay!
The farm, the ship, the humble shop, have each
Gains which severest studies seldom reach.
At College place a youth, who means to raise
His state by merit and his name by praise;
Still much he hazards; there is serious strife
In the contentions of a scholar's life:
Not all the mind's attention, care, distress,
Nor diligence itself, ensure success:
His jealous heart a rival's powers may dread,
Till its strong feelings have confused his head,
And, after days and months, nay, years of pain,
He finds just lost the object he would gain.
But grant him this and all such life can give,
For other prospects he begins to live;
Begins to feel that man was form'd to look
And long for other objects than a book:
In his mind's eye his house and glebe he sees,
And farms and talks with farmers at his ease;
And time is lost, till fortune sends him forth
To a rude world unconscious of his worth;
There in some petty parish to reside,
The college boast, then turn'd the village guide:
And though awhile his flock and dairy please,
He soon reverts to former joys and ease,
Glad when a friend shall come to break his rest,
And speak of all the pleasures they possess'd,
Of masters, fellows, tutors, all with whom
They shared those pleasures, never more to come;
Till both conceive the times by bliss endear'd,
Which once so dismal and so dull appear'd.
But fix our Scholar, and suppose him crown'd
With all the glory gain'd on classic ground;
Suppose the world without a sigh resign'd,
And to his college all his care confined;
Give him all honours that such states allow,
The freshman's terror and the tradesman's bow;
Let his apartments with his taste agree,
And all his views be those he loves to see;
Let him each day behold the savoury treat,
For which he pays not, but is paid to eat;
These joys and glories soon delight no more,
Although, withheld, the mind is vex'd and sore;
The honour too is to the place confined,
Abroad they know not each superior mind:
Strangers no wranglers in these figures see,
Nor give they worship to a high degree;
Unlike the prophet's is the scholar's case,
His honour all is in his dwelling-place:
And there such honours are familiar things;
What is a monarch in a crowd of kings?
Like other sovereigns he's by forms address'd,
By statutes governed and with rules oppress'd.
When all these forms and duties die away,
And the day passes like the former day,
Then of exterior things at once bereft,
He's to himself and one attendant left;
Nay, John too goes; nor aught of service more
Remains for him; he gladly quits the door,
And, as he whistles to the college-gate,
He kindly pities his poor master's fate.
Books cannot always please, however good;
Minds are not ever craving for their food;
But sleep will soon the weary soul prepare
For cares to-morrow that were this day's care:
For forms, for feasts, that sundry times have past,
And formal feasts that will for ever last.
'But then from Study will no comforts rise?' -
Yes! such as studious minds alone can prize;
Comforts, yea!--joys ineffable they find,
Who seek the prouder pleasures of the mind:
The soul, collected in those happy hours,
Then makes her efforts, then enjoys her powers;
And in those seasons feels herself repaid,
For labours past and honours long delay'd.
No! 'tis not worldly gain, although by chance
The sons of learning may to wealth advance;
Nor station high, though in some favouring hour
The sons of learning may arrive at power;
Nor is it glory, though the public voice
Of honest praise will make the heart rejoice:
But 'tis the mind's own feelings give tho joy,
Pleasures she gathers in her own employ -
Pleasures that gain or praise cannot bestow,
Yet can dilate and raise them when they flow.
For this the Poet looks thy world around,
Where form and life and reasoning man are found;
He loves the mind, in all its modes, to trace,
And all the manners of the changing race;
Silent he walks the road of life along,
And views the aims of its tumultuous throng:
He finds what shapes the Proteus-passions take,
And what strange waste of life and joy they make,
And loves to show them in their varied ways,
With honest blame or with unflattering praise:
'Tis good to know, 'tis pleasant to impart,
These turns and movements of the human heart:
The stronger features of the soul to paint,
And make distinct the latent and the faint;
MAN AS HE IS, to place in all men's view,
Yet none with rancour, none with scorn pursue:
Nor be it ever of my Portraits told -
'Here the strong lines of malice we behold.'
This let me hope, that when in public view
I bring my Pictures, men may feel them true:
'This is a likeness,' may they all declare,
'And I have seen him, but I know not where:'
For I should mourn the mischief I had done,
If as the likeness all would fix on one.
Man's Vice and Crime I combat as I can,
But to his GOD and conscience leave the Man;
I search (a Quixote!) all the land about,
To find its Giants and Enchanters out, -
(The Giant-Folly, the Enchanter-Vice,
Whom doubtless I shall vanquish in a trice -
But is there man whom I would injure?--No!
I am to him a fellow, not a foe, -
A fellow-sinner, who must rather dread
The bolt, than hurl it at another's head.
No! let the guiltless, if there such be found,
Launch forth the spear, and deal the deadly wound.
How can I so the cause of Virtue aid,
Who am myself attainted and afraid?
Yet as I can, I point the powers of rhyme,
And, sparing criminals, attack the crime.
The Odyssey: Book 3
But as the sun was rising from the fair sea into the firmament of
heaven to shed Blight on mortals and immortals, they reached Pylos the
city of Neleus. Now the people of Pylos were gathered on the sea shore
to offer sacrifice of black bulls to Neptune lord of the Earthquake.
There were nine guilds with five hundred men in each, and there were
nine bulls to each guild. As they were eating the inward meats and
burning the thigh bones [on the embers] in the name of Neptune,
Telemachus and his crew arrived, furled their sails, brought their
ship to anchor, and went ashore.
Minerva led the way and Telemachus followed her. Presently she said,
"Telemachus, you must not be in the least shy or nervous; you have
taken this voyage to try and find out where your father is buried
and how he came by his end; so go straight up to Nestor that we may
see what he has got to tell us. Beg of him to speak the truth, and
he will tell no lies, for he is an excellent person."
"But how, Mentor," replied Telemachus, "dare I go up to Nestor,
and how am I to address him? I have never yet been used to holding
long conversations with people, and am ashamed to begin questioning
one who is so much older than myself."
"Some things, Telemachus," answered Minerva, "will be suggested to
you by your own instinct, and heaven will prompt you further; for I am
assured that the gods have been with you from the time of your birth
She then went quickly on, and Telemachus followed in her steps
till they reached the place where the guilds of the Pylian people were
assembled. There they found Nestor sitting with his sons, while his
company round him were busy getting dinner ready, and putting pieces
of meat on to the spits while other pieces were cooking. When they saw
the strangers they crowded round them, took them by the hand and
bade them take their places. Nestor's son Pisistratus at once
offered his hand to each of them, and seated them on some soft
sheepskins that were lying on the sands near his father and his
brother Thrasymedes. Then he gave them their portions of the inward
meats and poured wine for them into a golden cup, handing it to
Minerva first, and saluting her at the same time.
"Offer a prayer, sir," said he, "to King Neptune, for it is his
feast that you are joining; when you have duly prayed and made your
drink-offering, pass the cup to your friend that he may do so also.
I doubt not that he too lifts his hands in prayer, for man cannot live
without God in the world. Still he is younger than you are, and is
much of an age with myself, so I he handed I will give you the
As he spoke he handed her the cup. Minerva thought it very right and
proper of him to have given it to herself first; she accordingly began
praying heartily to Neptune. "O thou," she cried, "that encirclest the
earth, vouchsafe to grant the prayers of thy servants that call upon
thee. More especially we pray thee send down thy grace on Nestor and
on his sons; thereafter also make the rest of the Pylian people some
handsome return for the goodly hecatomb they are offering you. Lastly,
grant Telemachus and myself a happy issue, in respect of the matter
that has brought us in our to Pylos."
When she had thus made an end of praying, she handed the cup to
Telemachus and he prayed likewise. By and by, when the outer meats
were roasted and had been taken off the spits, the carvers gave
every man his portion and they all made an excellent dinner. As soon
as they had had enough to eat and drink, Nestor, knight of Gerene,
began to speak.
"Now," said he, "that our guests have done their dinner, it will
be best to ask them who they are. Who, then, sir strangers, are you,
and from what port have you sailed? Are you traders? or do you sail
the seas as rovers with your hand against every man, and every man's
hand against you?"
Telemachus answered boldly, for Minerva had given him courage to ask
about his father and get himself a good name.
"Nestor," said he, "son of Neleus, honour to the Achaean name, you
ask whence we come, and I will tell you. We come from Ithaca under
Neritum, and the matter about which I would speak is of private not
public import. I seek news of my unhappy father Ulysses, who is said
to have sacked the town of Troy in company with yourself. We know what
fate befell each one of the other heroes who fought at Troy, but as
regards Ulysses heaven has hidden from us the knowledge even that he
is dead at all, for no one can certify us in what place he perished,
nor say whether he fell in battle on the mainland, or was lost at
sea amid the waves of Amphitrite. Therefore I am suppliant at your
knees, if haply you may be pleased to tell me of his melancholy end,
whether you saw it with your own eyes, or heard it from some other
traveller, for he was a man born to trouble. Do not soften things
out of any pity for me, but tell me in all plainness exactly what
you saw. If my brave father Ulysses ever did you loyal service, either
by word or deed, when you Achaeans were harassed among the Trojans,
bear it in mind now as in my favour and tell me truly all."
"My friend," answered Nestor, "you recall a time of much sorrow to
my mind, for the brave Achaeans suffered much both at sea, while
privateering under Achilles, and when fighting before the great city
of king Priam. Our best men all of them fell there- Ajax, Achilles,
Patroclus peer of gods in counsel, and my own dear son Antilochus, a
man singularly fleet of foot and in fight valiant. But we suffered
much more than this; what mortal tongue indeed could tell the whole
story? Though you were to stay here and question me for five years, or
even six, I could not tell you all that the Achaeans suffered, and you
would turn homeward weary of my tale before it ended. Nine long
years did we try every kind of stratagem, but the hand of heaven was
against us; during all this time there was no one who could compare
with your father in subtlety- if indeed you are his son- I can
hardly believe my eyes- and you talk just like him too- no one would
say that people of such different ages could speak so much alike. He
and I never had any kind of difference from first to last neither in
camp nor council, but in singleness of heart and purpose we advised
the Argives how all might be ordered for the best.
"When however, we had sacked the city of Priam, and were setting
sail in our ships as heaven had dispersed us, then Jove saw fit to vex
the Argives on their homeward voyage; for they had Not all been either
wise or understanding, and hence many came to a bad end through the
displeasure of Jove's daughter Minerva, who brought about a quarrel
between the two sons of Atreus.
"The sons of Atreus called a meeting which was not as it should
be, for it was sunset and the Achaeans were heavy with wine. When they
explained why they had called- the people together, it seemed that
Menelaus was for sailing homeward at once, and this displeased
Agamemnon, who thought that we should wait till we had offered
hecatombs to appease the anger of Minerva. Fool that he was, he
might have known that he would not prevail with her, for when the gods
have made up their minds they do not change them lightly. So the two
stood bandying hard words, whereon the Achaeans sprang to their feet
with a cry that rent the air, and were of two minds as to what they
"That night we rested and nursed our anger, for Jove was hatching
mischief against us. But in the morning some of us drew our ships into
the water and put our goods with our women on board, while the rest,
about half in number, stayed behind with Agamemnon. We- the other
half- embarked and sailed; and the ships went well, for heaven had
smoothed the sea. When we reached Tenedos we offered sacrifices to the
gods, for we were longing to get home; cruel Jove, however, did not
yet mean that we should do so, and raised a second quarrel in the
course of which some among us turned their ships back again, and
sailed away under Ulysses to make their peace with Agamemnon; but I,
and all the ships that were with me pressed forward, for I saw that
mischief was brewing. The son of Tydeus went on also with me, and
his crews with him. Later on Menelaus joined us at Lesbos, and found
us making up our minds about our course- for we did not know whether
to go outside Chios by the island of Psyra, keeping this to our
left, or inside Chios, over against the stormy headland of Mimas. So
we asked heaven for a sign, and were shown one to the effect that we
should be soonest out of danger if we headed our ships across the open
sea to Euboea. This we therefore did, and a fair wind sprang up
which gave us a quick passage during the night to Geraestus, where
we offered many sacrifices to Neptune for having helped us so far on
our way. Four days later Diomed and his men stationed their ships in
Argos, but I held on for Pylos, and the wind never fell light from the
day when heaven first made it fair for me.
"Therefore, my dear young friend, I returned without hearing
anything about the others. I know neither who got home safely nor
who were lost but, as in duty bound, I will give you without reserve
the reports that have reached me since I have been here in my own
house. They say the Myrmidons returned home safely under Achilles' son
Neoptolemus; so also did the valiant son of Poias, Philoctetes.
Idomeneus, again, lost no men at sea, and all his followers who
escaped death in the field got safe home with him to Crete. No
matter how far out of the world you live, you will have heard of
Agamemnon and the bad end he came to at the hands of Aegisthus- and
a fearful reckoning did Aegisthus presently pay. See what a good thing
it is for a man to leave a son behind him to do as Orestes did, who
killed false Aegisthus the murderer of his noble father. You too,
then- for you are a tall, smart-looking fellow- show your mettle and
make yourself a name in story."
"Nestor son of Neleus," answered Telemachus, "honour to the
Achaean name, the Achaeans applaud Orestes and his name will live
through all time for he has avenged his father nobly. Would that
heaven might grant me to do like vengeance on the insolence of the
wicked suitors, who are ill treating me and plotting my ruin; but
the gods have no such happiness in store for me and for my father,
so we must bear it as best we may."
"My friend," said Nestor, "now that you remind me, I remember to
have heard that your mother has many suitors, who are ill disposed
towards you and are making havoc of your estate. Do you submit to this
tamely, or are public feeling and the voice of heaven against you? Who
knows but what Ulysses may come back after all, and pay these
scoundrels in full, either single-handed or with a force of Achaeans
behind him? If Minerva were to take as great a liking to you as she
did to Ulysses when we were fighting before Troy (for I never yet
saw the gods so openly fond of any one as Minerva then was of your
father), if she would take as good care of you as she did of him,
these wooers would soon some of them him, forget their wooing."
Telemachus answered, "I can expect nothing of the kind; it would
be far too much to hope for. I dare not let myself think of it. Even
though the gods themselves willed it no such good fortune could befall
On this Minerva said, "Telemachus, what are you talking about?
Heaven has a long arm if it is minded to save a man; and if it were
me, I should not care how much I suffered before getting home,
provided I could be safe when I was once there. I would rather this,
than get home quickly, and then be killed in my own house as Agamemnon
was by the treachery of Aegisthus and his wife. Still, death is
certain, and when a man's hour is come, not even the gods can save
him, no matter how fond they are of him."
"Mentor," answered Telemachus, "do not let us talk about it any
more. There is no chance of my father's ever coming back; the gods
have long since counselled his destruction. There is something else,
however, about which I should like to ask Nestor, for he knows much
more than any one else does. They say he has reigned for three
generations so that it is like talking to an immortal. Tell me,
therefore, Nestor, and tell me true; how did Agamemnon come to die
in that way? What was Menelaus doing? And how came false Aegisthus
to kill so far better a man than himself? Was Menelaus away from
Achaean Argos, voyaging elsewhither among mankind, that Aegisthus took
heart and killed Agamemnon?"
"I will tell you truly," answered Nestor, "and indeed you have
yourself divined how it all happened. If Menelaus when he got back
from Troy had found Aegisthus still alive in his house, there would
have been no barrow heaped up for him, not even when he was dead,
but he would have been thrown outside the city to dogs and vultures,
and not a woman would have mourned him, for he had done a deed of
great wickedness; but we were over there, fighting hard at Troy, and
Aegisthus who was taking his ease quietly in the heart of Argos,
cajoled Agamemnon's wife Clytemnestra with incessant flattery.
"At first she would have nothing to do with his wicked scheme, for
she was of a good natural disposition; moreover there was a bard
with her, to whom Agamemnon had given strict orders on setting out for
Troy, that he was to keep guard over his wife; but when heaven had
counselled her destruction, Aegisthus thus this bard off to a desert
island and left him there for crows and seagulls to batten upon- after
which she went willingly enough to the house of Aegisthus. Then he
offered many burnt sacrifices to the gods, and decorated many
temples with tapestries and gilding, for he had succeeded far beyond
"Meanwhile Menelaus and I were on our way home from Troy, on good
terms with one another. When we got to Sunium, which is the point of
Athens, Apollo with his painless shafts killed Phrontis the
steersman of Menelaus' ship (and never man knew better how to handle a
vessel in rough weather) so that he died then and there with the
helm in his hand, and Menelaus, though very anxious to press
forward, had to wait in order to bury his comrade and give him his due
funeral rites. Presently, when he too could put to sea again, and
had sailed on as far as the Malean heads, Jove counselled evil against
him and made it it blow hard till the waves ran mountains high. Here
he divided his fleet and took the one half towards Crete where the
Cydonians dwell round about the waters of the river Iardanus. There is
a high headland hereabouts stretching out into the sea from a place
called Gortyn, and all along this part of the coast as far as Phaestus
the sea runs high when there is a south wind blowing, but arter
Phaestus the coast is more protected, for a small headland can make
a great shelter. Here this part of the fleet was driven on to the
rocks and wrecked; but the crews just managed to save themselves. As
for the other five ships, they were taken by winds and seas to
Egypt, where Menelaus gathered much gold and substance among people of
an alien speech. Meanwhile Aegisthus here at home plotted his evil
deed. For seven years after he had killed Agamemnon he ruled in
Mycene, and the people were obedient under him, but in the eighth year
Orestes came back from Athens to be his bane, and killed the
murderer of his father. Then he celebrated the funeral rites of his
mother and of false Aegisthus by a banquet to the people of Argos, and
on that very day Menelaus came home, with as much treasure as his
ships could carry.
"Take my advice then, and do not go travelling about for long so far
from home, nor leave your property with such dangerous people in
your house; they will eat up everything you have among them, and you
will have been on a fool's errand. Still, I should advise you by all
means to go and visit Menelaus, who has lately come off a voyage among
such distant peoples as no man could ever hope to get back from,
when the winds had once carried him so far out of his reckoning;
even birds cannot fly the distance in a twelvemonth, so vast and
terrible are the seas that they must cross. Go to him, therefore, by
sea, and take your own men with you; or if you would rather travel
by land you can have a chariot, you can have horses, and here are my
sons who can escort you to Lacedaemon where Menelaus lives. Beg of him
to speak the truth, and he will tell you no lies, for he is an
As he spoke the sun set and it came on dark, whereon Minerva said,
"Sir, all that you have said is well; now, however, order the
tongues of the victims to be cut, and mix wine that we may make
drink-offerings to Neptune, and the other immortals, and then go to
bed, for it is bed time. People should go away early and not keep late
hours at a religious festival."
Thus spoke the daughter of Jove, and they obeyed her saying. Men
servants poured water over the hands of the guests, while pages filled
the mixing-bowls with wine and water, and handed it round after giving
every man his drink-offering; then they threw the tongues of the
victims into the fire, and stood up to make their drink-offerings.
When they had made their offerings and had drunk each as much as he
was minded, Minerva and Telemachus were forgoing on board their
ship, but Nestor caught them up at once and stayed them.
"Heaven and the immortal gods," he exclaimed, "forbid that you
should leave my house to go on board of a ship. Do you think I am so
poor and short of clothes, or that I have so few cloaks and as to be
unable to find comfortable beds both for myself and for my guests? Let
me tell you I have store both of rugs and cloaks, and shall not permit
the son of my old friend Ulysses to camp down on the deck of a ship-
not while I live- nor yet will my sons after me, but they will keep
open house as have done."
Then Minerva answered, "Sir, you have spoken well, and it will be
much better that Telemachus should do as you have said; he, therefore,
shall return with you and sleep at your house, but I must go back to
give orders to my crew, and keep them in good heart. I am the only
older person among them; the rest are all young men of Telemachus' own
age, who have taken this voyage out of friendship; so I must return to
the ship and sleep there. Moreover to-morrow I must go to the
Cauconians where I have a large sum of money long owing to me. As
for Telemachus, now that he is your guest, send him to Lacedaemon in a
chariot, and let one of your sons go with him. Be pleased also to
provide him with your best and fleetest horses."
When she had thus spoken, she flew away in the form of an eagle, and
all marvelled as they beheld it. Nestor was astonished, and took
Telemachus by the hand. "My friend," said he, "I see that you are
going to be a great hero some day, since the gods wait upon you thus
while you are still so young. This can have been none other of those
who dwell in heaven than Jove's redoubtable daughter, the
Trito-born, who showed such favour towards your brave father among the
Argives." "Holy queen," he continued, "vouchsafe to send down thy
grace upon myself, my good wife, and my children. In return, I will
offer you in sacrifice a broad-browed heifer of a year old,
unbroken, and never yet brought by man under the yoke. I will gild her
horns, and will offer her up to you in sacrifice."
Thus did he pray, and Minerva heard his prayer. He then led the
way to his own house, followed by his sons and sons-in-law. When
they had got there and had taken their places on the benches and
seats, he mixed them a bowl of sweet wine that was eleven years old
when the housekeeper took the lid off the jar that held it. As he
mixed the wine, he prayed much and made drink-offerings to Minerva,
daughter of Aegis-bearing Jove. Then, when they had made their
drink-offerings and had drunk each as much as he was minded, the
others went home to bed each in his own abode; but Nestor put
Telemachus to sleep in the room that was over the gateway along with
Pisistratus, who was the only unmarried son now left him. As for
himself, he slept in an inner room of the house, with the queen his
wife by his side.
Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared,
Nestor left his couch and took his seat on the benches of white and
polished marble that stood in front of his house. Here aforetime sat
Neleus, peer of gods in counsel, but he was now dead, and had gone
to the house of Hades; so Nestor sat in his seat, sceptre in hand,
as guardian of the public weal. His sons as they left their rooms
gathered round him, Echephron, Stratius, Perseus, Aretus, and
Thrasymedes; the sixth son was Pisistratus, and when Telemachus joined
them they made him sit with them. Nestor then addressed them.
"My sons," said he, "make haste to do as I shall bid you. I wish
first and foremost to propitiate the great goddess Minerva, who
manifested herself visibly to me during yesterday's festivities. Go,
then, one or other of you to the plain, tell the stockman to look me
out a heifer, and come on here with it at once. Another must go to
Telemachus's ship, and invite all the crew, leaving two men only in
charge of the vessel. Some one else will run and fetch Laerceus the
goldsmith to gild the horns of the heifer. The rest, stay all of you
where you are; tell the maids in the house to prepare an excellent
dinner, and to fetch seats, and logs of wood for a burnt offering.
Tell them also- to bring me some clear spring water."
On this they hurried off on their several errands. The heifer was
brought in from the plain, and Telemachus's crew came from the ship;
the goldsmith brought the anvil, hammer, and tongs, with which he
worked his gold, and Minerva herself came to the sacrifice. Nestor
gave out the gold, and the smith gilded the horns of the heifer that
the goddess might have pleasure in their beauty. Then Stratius and
Echephron brought her in by the horns; Aretus fetched water from the
house in a ewer that had a flower pattern on it, and in his other hand
he held a basket of barley meal; sturdy Thrasymedes stood by with a
sharp axe, ready to strike the heifer, while Perseus held a bucket.
Then Nestor began with washing his hands and sprinkling the barley
meal, and he offered many a prayer to Minerva as he threw a lock
from the heifer's head upon the fire.
When they had done praying and sprinkling the barley meal
Thrasymedes dealt his blow, and brought the heifer down with a
stroke that cut through the tendons at the base of her neck, whereon
the daughters and daughters-in-law of Nestor, and his venerable wife
Eurydice (she was eldest daughter to Clymenus) screamed with
delight. Then they lifted the heifer's head from off the ground, and
Pisistratus cut her throat. When she had done bleeding and was quite
dead, they cut her up. They cut out the thigh bones all in due course,
wrapped them round in two layers of fat, and set some pieces of raw
meat on the top of them; then Nestor laid them upon the wood fire
and poured wine over them, while the young men stood near him with
five-pronged spits in their hands. When the thighs were burned and
they had tasted the inward meats, they cut the rest of the meat up
small, put the pieces on the spits and toasted them over the fire.
Meanwhile lovely Polycaste, Nestor's youngest daughter, washed
Telemachus. When she had washed him and anointed him with oil, she
brought him a fair mantle and shirt, and he looked like a god as he
came from the bath and took his seat by the side of Nestor. When the
outer meats were done they drew them off the spits and sat down to
dinner where they were waited upon by some worthy henchmen, who kept
pouring them out their wine in cups of gold. As soon as they had had
had enough to eat and drink Nestor said, "Sons, put Telemachus's
horses to the chariot that he may start at once."
Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said, and yoked the
fleet horses to the chariot. The housekeeper packed them up a
provision of bread, wine, and sweetmeats fit for the sons of
princes. Then Telemachus got into the chariot, while Pisistratus
gathered up the reins and took his seat beside him. He lashed the
horses on and they flew forward nothing loth into the open country,
leaving the high citadel of Pylos behind them. All that day did they
travel, swaying the yoke upon their necks till the sun went down and
darkness was over all the land. Then they reached Pherae where Diocles
lived, who was son to Ortilochus and grandson to Alpheus. Here they
passed the night and Diocles entertained them hospitably. When the
child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn; appeared, they again yoked their
horses and drove out through the gateway under the echoing
gatehouse. Pisistratus lashed the horses on and they flew forward
nothing loth; presently they came to the corn lands Of the open
country, and in the course of time completed their journey, so well
did their steeds take them.
Now when the sun had set and darkness was over the land,
Hudibras: Part 2 - Canto I
The Knight by damnable Magician,
Being cast illegally in prison,
Love brings his Action on the Case.
And lays it upon Hudibras.
How he receives the Lady's Visit,
And cunningly solicits his Suite,
Which she defers; yet on Parole
Redeems him from th' inchanted Hole.
But now, t'observe a romantic method,
Let bloody steel a while be sheathed,
And all those harsh and rugged sounds
Of bastinadoes, cuts, and wounds,
Exchang'd to Love's more gentle stile,
To let our reader breathe a while;
In which, that we may be as brief as
Is possible, by way of preface,
Is't not enough to make one strange,
That some men's fancies should ne'er change,
But make all people do and say
The same things still the self-same way
Some writers make all ladies purloin'd,
And knights pursuing like a whirlwind
Others make all their knights, in fits
Of jealousy, to lose their wits;
Till drawing blood o'th' dames, like witches,
Th' are forthwith cur'd of their capriches.
Some always thrive in their amours
By pulling plaisters off their sores;
As cripples do to get an alms,
Just so do they, and win their dames.
Some force whole regions, in despight
O' geography, to change their site;
Make former times shake hands with latter,
And that which was before, come after.
But those that write in rhime, still make
The one verse for the other's sake;
For, one for sense, and one for rhime,
I think's sufficient at one time.
But we forget in what sad plight
We whilom left the captiv'd Knight
And pensive Squire, both bruis'd in body,
And conjur'd into safe custody.
Tir'd with dispute and speaking Latin,
As well as basting and bear-baiting,
And desperate of any course,
To free himself by wit or force,
His only solace was, that now
His dog-bolt fortune was so low,
That either it must quickly end
Or turn about again, and mend;
In which he found th' event, no less
Than other times beside his guess.
There is a tall long sided dame
(But wond'rous light,) ycleped Fame
That, like a thin camelion, boards
Herself on air, and eats her words;
Upon her shoulders wings she wears
Like hanging-sleeves, lin'd through with ears,
And eyes, and tongues, as poets list,
Made good by deep mythologist,
With these she through the welkin flies,
And sometimes carries truth, oft lies
With letters hung like eastern pigeons,
And Mercuries of furthest regions;
Diurnals writ for regulation
Of lying, to inform the nation;
And by their public use to bring down
The rate of whetstones in the kingdom.
About her neck a pacquet-male,
Fraught with advice, some fresh, some stale,
Of men that walk'd when they were dead,
And cows of monsters brought to bed;
Of hail-stones big as pullets eggs,
And puppies whelp'd with twice two legs;
A blazing star seen in the west,
By six or seven men at least.
Two trumpets she does sound at once,
But both of clean contrary tones;
But whether both with the same wind,
Or one before, and one behind,
We know not; only this can tell,
The one sounds vilely, th' other well;
And therefore vulgar authors name
Th' one Good, the other Evil, Fame.
This tattling gossip knew too well
What mischief HUDIBRAS befell.
And straight the spiteful tidings bears
Of all to th' unkind widow's ears.
DEMOCRITUS ne'er laugh'd so loud
To see bawds carted through the crowd,
Or funerals with stately pomp
March slowly on in solemn dump,
As she laugh'd out, until her back,
As well as sides, was like to crack.
She vow'd she would go see the sight,
And visit the distressed Knight;
To do the office of a neighbour,
And be a gossip at his labour;
And from his wooden jail, the stocks,
To set at large his fetter-locks;
And, by exchange, parole, or ransom,
To free him from th' enchanted mansion.
This b'ing resolv'd, she call'd for hood
And usher, implements abroad
Which ladies wear, beside a slender
Young waiting damsel to attend her;
All which appearing, on she went,
To find the Knight in limbo pent.
And 'twas not long before she found
Him, and the stout Squire, in the pound;
Both coupled in enchanted tether,
By further leg behind together
For as he sat upon his rump,
His head like one in doleful dump,
Between his knees, his hands apply'd
Unto his ears on either side;
And by him, in another hole,
Afflicted RALPHO, cheek by jowl;
She came upon him in his wooden
Magician's circle on the sudden,
As spirits do t' a conjurer,
When in their dreadful shapes th' appear.
No sooner did the Knight perceive her,
But straight he fell into a fever,
Inflam'd all over with disgrace,
To be seen by her in such a place;
Which made him hang his head, and scoul,
And wink, and goggle like an owl.
He felt his brains begin to swim,
When thus the dame accosted him:
This place (quoth she) they say's enchanted,
And with delinquent spirits haunted,
That here are ty'd in chains, and scourg'd,
Until their guilty crimes be purg'd.
Look, there are two of them appear,
Like persons I have seen somewhere.
Some have mistaken blocks and posts
For spectres, apparitions, ghosts,
With saucer eyes, and horns; and some
Have heard the Devil beat a drum:
But if our eyes are not false glasses,
That give a wrong account of faces,
That beard and I should be acquainted,
Before 'twas conjur'd or enchanted;
For though it be disfigur'd somewhat,
As if 't had lately been in combat,
It did belong to a worthy Knight
Howe'er this goblin has come by't.
When HUDIBRAS the Lady heard
Discoursing thus upon his beard,
And speak with such respect and honour,
Both of the beard and the beard's owner,
He thought it best to set as good
A face upon it as he cou'd,
And thus he spoke: Lady, your bright
And radiant eyes are in the right:
The beard's th' identic beard you knew,
The same numerically true:
Nor is it worn by fiend or elf,
But its proprietor himself.
O, heavens! quoth she, can that be true?
I do begin to fear 'tis you:
Not by your individual whiskers,
But by your dialect and discourse,
That never spoke to man or beast
In notions vulgarly exprest.
But what malignant star, alas
Has brought you both to this sad pass?
Quoth he, The fortune of the war,
Which I am less afflicted for,
Than to be seen with beard and face,
By you in such a homely case.
Quoth she, Those need not he asham'd
For being honorably maim'd,
If he that is in battle conquer'd,
Have any title to his own beard;
Though yours be sorely lugg'd and torn,
It does your visage more adorn
Than if 'twere prun'd, and starch'd, and lander'd,
And cut square by the Russian standard.
A torn beard's like a tatter'd ensign,
That's bravest which there are most rents in.
That petticoat about your shoulders
Does not so well become a souldier's;
And I'm afraid they are worse handled
Although i' th' rear; your beard the van led;
And those uneasy bruises make
My heart for company to ake,
To see so worshipful a friend
I' th' pillory set, at the wrong end.
Quoth HUDIBRAS, This thing call'd pain
Is (as the learned Stoicks maintain)
Not bad simpliciter, nor good,
But merely as 'tis understood.
Sense is deceitful, and may feign,
As well in counterfeiting pain
As other gross phenomenas,
In which it oft mistakes the case.
But since the immortal intellect
(That's free from error and defect,
Whose objects still persist the same)
Is free from outward bruise and maim,
Which nought external can expose
To gross material bangs or blows,
It follows, we can ne'er be sure,
Whether we pain or not endure;
And just so far are sore and griev'd,
As by the fancy is believ'd.
Some have been wounded with conceit,
And dy'd of mere opinion straight;
Others, tho' wounded sore in reason,
Felt no contusion, nor discretion.
A Saxon Duke did grow so fat,
That mice (as histories relate)
Eat grots and labyrinths to dwell in
His postick parts without his feeling:
Then how is't possible a kick
Should e'er reach that way to the quick?
Quoth she, I grant it is in vain.
For one that's basted to feel pain,
Because the pangs his bones endure
Contribute nothing to the cure:
Yet honor hurt, is wont to rage
With pain no med'cine can asswage.
Quoth he, That honour's very squeamish
That takes a basting for a blemish;
For what's more hon'rable than scars,
Or skin to tatters rent in wars?
Some have been beaten till they know
What wood a cudgel's of by th' blow;
Some kick'd until they can feel whether
A shoe be Spanish or neat's leather;
And yet have met, after long running,
With some whom they have taught that cunning.
The furthest way about t' o'ercome,
In the end does prove the nearest home.
By laws of learned duellists,
They that are bruis'd with wood or fists,
And think one beating may for once
Suffice, are cowards and pultroons:
But if they dare engage t' a second,
They're stout and gallant fellows reckon'd.
Th' old Romans freedom did bestow,
Our princes worship, with a blow.
King PYRRHUS cur'd his splenetic
And testy courtiers with a kick.
The NEGUS, when some mighty lord
Or potentate's to be restor'd
And pardon'd for some great offence,
With which be's willing to dispense,
First has him laid upon his belly,
Then beaten back and side to a jelly;
That done, he rises, humbly bows,
And gives thanks for the princely blows;
Departs not meanly proud, and boasting
Of this magnificent rib-roasting.
The beaten soldier proves most manful,
That, like his sword, endures the anvil,
And justly's held more formidable,
The more his valour's malleable:
But he that fears a bastinado
Will run away from his own shadow:
And though I'm now in durance fast,
By our own party basely cast,
Ransom, exchange, parole refus'd,
And worse than by the enemy us'd;
In close catasta shut, past hope
Of wit or valour to elope;
As beards the nearer that they tend
To th' earth still grow more reverend;
And cannons shoot the higher pitches,
The lower we let down their breeches;
I'll make this low dejected fate
Advance me to a greater height.
Quoth she, Y' have almost made me in love
With that which did my pity move.
Great wits and valours, like great states,
Do sometimes sink with their own weights:
Th' extremes of glory and of shame,
Like East and West, become the same:
No Indian Prince has to his palace
More foll'wers than a thief to th' gallows,
But if a beating seem so brave,
What glories must a whipping have
Such great atchievements cannot fail
To cast salt on a woman's tail:
For if I thought your nat'ral talent
Of passive courage were so gallant,
As you strain hard to have it thought,
I could grow amorous, and dote.
When HUDIBRAS this language heard,
He prick'd up's ears and strok'd his beard;
Thought he, this is the lucky hour;
Wines work when vines are in the flow'r;
This crisis then I'll set my rest on,
And put her boldly to the question.
Madam, what you wou'd seem to doubt,
Shall be to all the world made out,
How I've been drubb'd, and with what spirit
And magnanimity I bear it;
And if you doubt it to be true,
I'll stake myself down against you:
And if I fail in love or troth,
Be you the winner, and take both.
Quoth she, I've beard old cunning stagers
Say, fools for arguments use wagers;
And though I prais'd your valour, yet
I did not mean to baulk your wit;
Which, if you have, you must needs know
What I have told you before now,
And you b' experiment have prov'd,
I cannot love where I'm belov'd.
Quoth HUDIBRAS, 'tis a caprich
Beyond th' infliction of a witch;
So cheats to play with those still aim
That do not understand the game.
Love in your heart as icily burns
As fire in antique Roman urns,
To warm the dead, and vainly light
Those only that see nothing by't.
Have you not power to entertain,
And render love for love again;
As no man can draw in his breath
At once, and force out air beneath?
Or do you love yourself so much,
To bear all rivals else a grutch?
What fate can lay a greater curse
Than you upon yourself would force?
For wedlock without love, some say,
Is but a lock without a key.
It is a kind of rape to marry
One that neglects, or cares not for ye:
For what does make it ravishment,
But b'ing against the mind's consent?
A rape that is the more inhuman
For being acted by a woman.
Why are you fair, but to entice us
To love you, that you may despise us?
But though you cannot Love, you say,
Out of your own fanatick way,
Why should you not at least allow
Those that love you to do so too?
For, as you fly me, and pursue
Love more averse, so I do you;
And am by your own doctrine taught
To practise what you call a fau't.
Quoth she, If what you say is true,
You must fly me as I do you;
But 'tis not what we do, but say,
In love and preaching, that must sway.
Quoth he, To bid me not to love,
Is to forbid my pulse to move,
My beard to grow, my ears to prick up,
Or (when I'm in a fit) to hickup:
Command me to piss out the moon,
And 'twill as easily be done:
Love's power's too great to be withstood
By feeble human flesh and blood.
'Twas he that brought upon his knees
The hect'ring, kill-cow HERCULES;
Transform'd his leager-lion's skin
T' a petticoat, and made him spin;
Seiz'd on his club, and made it dwindle
T' a feeble distaff, and a spindle.
'Twas he that made emperors gallants
To their own sisters and their aunts;
Set popes and cardinals agog,
To play with pages at leap-frog.
'Twas he that gave our Senate purges,
And flux'd the House of many a burgess;
Made those that represent the nation
Submit, and suffer amputation;
And all the Grandees o' the Cabal
Adjourn to tubs at Spring and Fall.
He mounted Synod-Men, and rode 'em
To Dirty-Lane and Little Sodom;
Made 'em curvet like Spanish jenets,
And take the ring at Madam [Bennet's]
'Twas he that made Saint FRANCIS do
More than the Devil could tempt him to,
In cold and frosty weather, grow
Enamour'd of a wife of snow;
And though she were of rigid temper,
With melting flames accost and tempt her;
Which after in enjoyment quenching,
He hung a garland on his engine
Quoth she, If Love have these effects,
Why is it not forbid our sex?
Why is't not damn'd and interdicted,
For diabolical and wicked?
And sung, as out of tune, against,
As Turk and Pope are by the Saints?
I find I've greater reason for it,
Than I believ'd before t' abhor it.
Quoth HUDIBRAS, These sad effects
Spring from your Heathenish neglects
Of Love's great pow'r, which he returns
Upon yourselves with equal scorns;
And those who worthy lovers slight,
Plagues with prepost'rous appetite.
This made the beauteous Queen of Crete
To take a town-bull for her sweet,
And from her greatness stoop so low,
To be the rival of a cow:
Others to prostitute their great hearts,
To he baboons' and monkeys' sweet-hearts;
Some with the Dev'l himself in league grow,
By's representative a Negro.
'Twas this made vestal-maids love-sick,
And venture to be bury'd quick:
Some by their fathers, and their brothers,
To be made mistresses and mothers.
'Tis this that proudest dames enamours
On lacquies and valets des chambres;
Their haughty stomachs overcomes,
And makes 'em stoop to dirty grooms;
To slight the world, and to disparage
Claps, issue, infamy, and marriage.
Quoth she, These judgments are severe,
Yet such as I should rather bear,
Than trust men with their oaths, or prove
Their faith and secresy in love,
Says he, There is as weighty reason
For secresy in love as treason.
Love is a burglarer, a felon,
That at the windore-eyes does steal in
To rob the heart, and with his prey
Steals out again a closer way,
Which whosoever can discover,
He's sure (as he deserves) to suffer.
Love is a fire, that burns and sparkles
In men as nat'rally as in charcoals,
Which sooty chymists stop in holes
When out of wood they extract coals:
So lovers should their passions choak,
That, tho' they burn, they may not smoak.
'Tis like that sturdy thief that stole
And dragg'd beasts backwards into's hole:
So Love does lovers, and us men
Draws by the tails into his den,
That no impression may discover,
And trace t' his cave, the wary lover,
But if you doubt I should reveal
What you entrust me under seal.
I'll prove myself as close and virtuous
As your own secretary ALBERTUS.
Quoth she, I grant you may be close
In hiding what your aims propose.
Love-passions are like parables,
By which men still mean something else,
Though love be all the world's pretence,
Money's the mythologick sense;
The real substance of the shadow,
Which all address and courtship's made to.
Thought he, I understand your play,
And how to quit you your own way:
He that will win his dame, must do
As Love does when he bends his bow;
With one hand thrust the lady from,
And with the other pull her home.
I grant, quoth he, wealth is a great
Provocative to am'rous heat.
It is all philters, and high diet,
That makes love rampant, and to fly out:
'Tis beauty always in the flower,
That buds and blossoms at fourscore:
'Tis that by which the sun and moon
At their own weapons are out-done:
That makes Knights-Errant fall in trances,
And lay about 'em in romances:
'Tis virtue, wit, and worth, and all
That men divine and sacred call:
For what is worth in any thing,
But so much money as 'twill bring?
Or what, but riches is there known,
Which man can solely call his own
In which no creature goes his half;
Unless it be to squint and laugh?
I do confess, with goods and land,
I'd have a wife at second-hand;
And such you are. Nor is 't your person
My stomach's set so sharp and fierce on;
But 'tis (your better part) your riches,
That my enamour'd heart bewitches.
Let me your fortune but possess,
And settle your person how you please:
Or make it o'er in trust to th' Devil;
You'll find me reasonable and civil.
Quoth she, I like this plainness better
Than false mock-passion, speech, or letter,
Or any feat of qualm or sowning,
But hanging of yourself, or drowning.
Your only way with me to break
Your mind, is breaking of your neck;
For as when merchants break, o'erthrown,
Like nine-pins they strike others down,
So that would break my heart; which done,
My tempting fortune is your own,
These are but trifles: ev'ry lover
Will damn himself over and over,
And greater matters undertake
For a less worthy mistress' sake:
Yet th' are the only ways to prove
Th' unfeign'd realities of love:
For he that hangs, or beats out's brains,
The Devil's in him if he feigns.
Quoth HUDIBRAS, This way's too rough
For mere experiment and proof:
It is no jesting, trivial matter,
To swing t' th' air, or douce in Water,
And, like a water-witch, try love;
That's to destroy, and not to prove;
As if a man should be dissected
To find what part is disaffected.
Your better way is to make over,
In trust, your fortune to your lover.
Trust is a trial; if it break,
'Tis not so desp'rate as a neck.
Beside, th' experiment's more certain;
Men venture necks to gain a fortune:
The soldier does it ev'ry day.
(Eight to the week) for sixpence pay:
Your pettifoggers damn their souls,
To share with knaves in cheating fools:
And merchants, vent'ring through the main,
Slight pirates, rocks, and horns, for gain.
This is the way I advise you to:
Trust me, and see what I will do.
Quoth she, I should be loth to run
Myself all th' hazard, and you none;
Which must be done, unless some deed
Of your's aforesaid do precede.
Give but yourself one gentle swing
For trial, and I'll cut the string:
Or give that rev'rend head a maul,
Or two, or three, against a wall,
To shew you are a man of mettle,
And I'll engage myself to settle.
Quoth he, My head's not made of brass,
As Friar BACON'S noodle was;
Nor (like the Indian's skull) so tough
That, authors say, 'twas musket-proof,
As yet on any new adventure,
As it had need to be, to enter.
You see what bangs it has endur'd,
That would, before new feats, be cur'd.
But if that's all you stand upon,
Here, strike me luck, it shall be done.
Quoth she, The matter's not so far gone
As you suppose: Two words t' a bargain:
That may be done, and time enough,
When you have given downright proof;
And yet 'tis no fantastic pique
I have to love, nor coy dislike:
'Tis no implicit, nice aversion
T' your conversation, mein, or person,
But a just fear, lest you should prove
False and perfidious in love:
For if I thought you could be true,
I could love twice as much as you.
Quoth he, My faith as adamanatine,
As chains of destiny, I'll maintain:
True as APOLLO ever spoke,
Or Oracle from heart of oak;
And if you'll give my flame but vent,
Now in close hugger-mugger pent,
And shine upon me but benignly,
With that one, and that other pigsney,
The sun and day shall sooner part,
Than love or you shake off my heart;
The sun, that shall no more dispense
His own but your bright influence.
I'll carve your name on barks of trees,
With true-loves-knots and flourishes,
That shall infuse eternal spring,
And everlasting flourishing:
Drink ev'ry letter on't in stum,
And make it brisk champaign become;
Where-e'er you tread, your foot shall set
The primrose and the violet:
All spices, perfumes, and sweet powders,
Shall borrow from your breath their odours:
Nature her charter shall renew,
And take all lives of things from you;
The world depend upon your eye,
And when you frown upon it, die:
Only our loves shall still survive,
New worlds and natures to out-live:
And, like to heralds' moons, remain
All crescents, without change or wane.
Hold, hold, quoth she; no more of this,
Sir Knight; you take your aim amiss:
For you will find it a hard chapter
To catch me with poetic rapture,
In which your mastery of art
Doth shew itself, and not your heart:
Nor will you raise in mine combustion
By dint of high heroic fustian.
She that with poetry is won,
Is but a desk to write upon;
And what men say of her, they mean
No more than on the thing they lean.
Some with Arabian spices strive
T' embalm her cruelly alive;
Or season her, as French cooks use
Their haut-gousts, bouillies, or ragousts:
Use her so barbarously ill,
To grind her lips upon a mill,
Until the facet doublet doth
Fit their rhimes rather than her mouth:
Her mouth compar'd to an oyster's, with
A row of pearl in't - stead of teeth.
Others make posies of her cheeks,
Where red and whitest colours mix;
In which the lily, and the rose,
For Indian lake and ceruse goes.
The sun and moon by her bright eyes
Eclips'd, and darken'd in the skies,
Are but black patches, that she wears,
Cut into suns, and moons, and stars:
By which astrologers as well,
As those in Heav'n above, can tell
What strange events they do foreshow
Unto her under-world below.
Her voice, the music of the spheres,
So loud, it deafens mortals ears;
As wise philosophers have thought;
And that's the cause we hear it not.
This has been done by some, who those
Th' ador'd in rhime, would kick in prose;
And in those ribbons would have hung
On which melodiously they sung;
That have the hard fate to write best
Of those still that deserve it least;
It matters not how false, or forc'd:
So the best things be said o' th' worst:
It goes for nothing when 'tis said;
Only the arrow's drawn to th' bead,
Whether it be a swan or goose
They level at: So shepherds use
To set the same mark on the hip
Both of their sound and rotten sheep:
For wits, that carry low or wide,
Must be aim'd higher, or beside
The mark, which else they ne'er come nigh,
But when they take their aim awry.
But I do wonder you should choose
This way t' attack me with your Muse,
As one cut out to pass your tricks on,
With fulhams of poetic fiction:
I rather hop'd I should no more
Hear from you o' th' gallanting score:
For hard dry-bastings us'd to prove
The readiest remedies of love;
Next a dry-diet: but if those fail,
Yet this uneasy loop-hol'd jail,
In which ye are hamper'd by the fetlock,
Cannot but put y' in mind of wedlock;
Wedlock, that's worse than any hole here,
If that may serve you for a cooler,
T' allay your mettle, all agog
Upon a wife, the heavi'r clog:
Or rather thank your gentler fate,
That for a bruis'd or broken pate,
Has freed you from those knobs that grow
Much harder on the marry'd brow:
But if no dread can cool your courage,
From vent'ring on that dragon, marriage,
Yet give me quarter, and advance
To nobler aims your puissance:
Level at beauty and at wit;
The fairest mark is easiest hit.
Quoth HUDIBRAS, I'm beforehand
In that already, with your command
For where does beauty and high wit
But in your constellation meet?
Quoth she, What does a match imply,
But likeness and equality?
I know you cannot think me fit
To be th' yoke-fellow of your wit;
Nor take one of so mean deserts,
To be the partner of your parts;
A grace which, if I cou'd believe,
I've not the conscience to receive.
That conscience, quoth HUDIBRAS,
Is mis-inform'd: I'll state the case
A man may be a legal donor,
Of any thing whereof he's owner,
And may confer it where he lists,
I' th' judgment of all casuists,
Then wit, and parts, and valour, may
Be ali'nated, and made away,
By those that are proprietors,
As I may give or sell my horse.
Quoth she, I grant the case is true
And proper 'twixt your horse and you;
But whether I may take as well
As you may give away or sell?
Buyers you know are bid beware;
And worse than thieves receivers are.
How shall I answer hue and cry,
For a roan gelding, twelve hands high,
All spurr'd and switch'd, a lock on's hoof,
A sorrel mane? Can I bring proof
Where, when, by whom, and what y' were sold for,
And in the open market toll'd for?
Or should I take you for a stray,
You must be kept a year and day
(Ere I can own you) here i' the pound,
Where, if y' are sought, you may be found
And in the mean time I must pay
For all your provender and hay.
Quoth he, It stands me much upon
T' enervate this objection,
And prove myself; by topic clear
No gelding, as you would infer.
Loss of virility's averr'd
To be the cause of loss of beard,
That does (like embryo in the wom
Abortive on the chin become.
This first a woman did invent,
In envy of man's ornament;
SEMIRAMIS, of Babylon,
Who first of all cut men o' th' stone,
To mar their beards, and lay foundation
Of sow-geldering operation.
Look on this beard, and tell me whether
Eunuchs wear such, or geldings either?
Next it appears I am no horse;
That I can argue and discourse
Have but two legs, and ne'er a tail.
Quoth she, That nothing will avail
For some philosophers of late here,
Write, men have four legs by nature,
And that 'tis custom makes them go
Erron'ously upon but two;
As 'twas in Germany made good
B' a boy that lost himself in a wood,
And growing down to a man, was wont
With wolves upon all four to hunt.
As for your reasons drawn from tails,
We cannot say they're true or false,
Till you explain yourself, and show,
B' experiment, 'tis so or no.
Quoth he, If you'll join issue on't,
I'll give you satisfactory account;
So you will promise, if you lose,
To settle all, and be my spouse.
That never shall be done (quoth she)
To one that wants a tail, by me
For tails by nature sure were meant,
As well as beards, for ornament:
And though the vulgar count them homely,
In men or beast they are so comely,
So gentee, alamode, and handsome,
I'll never marry man that wants one;
And till you can demonstrate plain,
You have one equal to your mane,
I'll be torn piece-meal by a horse,
Ere I'll take you for better or worse.
The Prince of CAMBAY's daily food
Is asp, and basilisk, and toad;
Which makes him have so strong a breath,
Each night he stinks a queen to death;
Yet I shall rather lie in's arms
Than yours, on any other terms.
Quoth he, What nature can afford,
I shall produce, upon my word;
And if she ever gave that boon
To man, I'll prove that I have one
I mean by postulate illation,
When you shall offer just occasion:
But since y' have yet deny'd to give
My heart, your pris'ner, a reprieve,
But made it sink down to my heel,
Let that at least your pity feel;
And, for the sufferings of your martyr,
Give its poor entertainer quarter;
And, by discharge or main-prize, grant
Deliv'ry from this base restraint.
Quoth she, I grieve to see your leg
Stuck in a hole here like a peg;
And if I knew which way to do't
(Your honour safe) I'd let you out.
That Dames by jail-delivery
Of Errant-Knights have been set free,
When by enchantment they have been,
And sometimes for it too, laid in,
Is that which Knights are bound to do
By order, oath, and honour too:
For what are they renown'd, and famous else,
But aiding of distressed damosels?
But for a Lady no ways errant,
To free a Knight, we have no warrant
In any authentical romance,
Or classic author, yet of France;
And I'd be loth to have you break
An ancient custom for a freak,
Or innovation introduce
In place of things of antique use;
To free your heels by any course,
That might b' unwholesome to your spurs;
Which, if I should consent unto,
It is not in my pow'r to do;
For 'tis a service must be done ye
With solemn previous ceremony;
Which always has been us'd t' untie
The charms of those who here do lie
For as the ancients heretofore
To Honour's Temple had no door,
But that which thorough Virtue's lay,
So from this dungeon there's no way
To honour'd freedom, but by passing
That other virtuous school of lashing,
Where Knights are kept in narrow lists,
With wooden lockets 'bout their wrists;
In which they for a while are tenants,
And for their Ladies suffer penance:
Whipping, that's Virtue's governess,
Tutress of arts and sciences;
That mends the gross mistakes of Nature,
And puts new life into dull matter;
That lays foundation for renown,
And all the honours of the gown.
This suffer'd, they are set at large,
And freed with hon'rable discharge.
Then in their robes the penitentials
Are straight presented with credentials,
And in their way attended on
By magistrates of ev'ry town;
And, all respect and charges paid,
They're to their ancient seats convey'd.
Now if you'll venture, for my sake,
To try the toughness of your back,
And suffer (as the rest have done)
The laying of a whipping on,
(And may you prosper in your suit,
As you with equal vigour do't,)
I here engage myself to loose ye,
And free your heels from Caperdewsie.
But since our sex's modesty
Will not allow I should be by,
Bring me, on oath, a fair account,
And honour too, when you have done't,
And I'll admit you to the place
You claim as due in my good grace.
If matrimony and hanging go
By dest'ny, why not whipping too?
What med'cine else can cure the fits
Of lovers when they lose their wits?
Love is a boy by poets stil'd;
Then spare the rod and spoil the child.
A Persian emp'ror whipp'd his grannam
The sea, his mother VENUS came on;
And hence some rev'rend men approve
Of rosemary in making love.
As skilful coopers hoop their tubs
With Lydian and with Phrygian dubs,
Why may not whipping have as good
A grace, perform'd in time and mood,
With comely movement, and by art,
Raise passion in a lady's heart?
It is an easier way to make
Love by, than that which many take.
Who would not rather suffer whipping,
Than swallow toasts of bits of ribbon?
Make wicked verses, treats, and faces,
And spell names over with beer-glasses
Be under vows to hang and die
Love's sacrifice, and all a lie?
With china-oranges and tarts
And whinning plays, lay baits for hearts?
Bribe chamber-maids with love and money,
To break no roguish jests upon ye?
For lilies limn'd on cheeks, and roses,
With painted perfumes, hazard noses?
Or, vent'ring to be brisk and wanton,
Do penance in a paper lanthorn?
All this you may compound for now,
By suffering what I offer you;
Which is no more than has been done
By Knights for Ladies long agone.
Did not the great LA MANCHA do so
For the INFANTA DEL TOBOSO?
Did not th' illustrious Bassa make
Himself a slave for Misse's sake?
And with bull's pizzle, for her love,
Was taw 'd as gentle as a glove?
Was not young FLORIO sent (to cool
His flame for BIANCAFIORE) to school,
Where pedant made his pathic bum
For her sake suffer martyrdom?
Did not a certain lady whip
Of late her husband's own Lordship?
And though a grandee of the House,
Claw'd him with fundamental blows
Ty'd him stark naked to a bed-post,
And firk'd his hide, as if sh' had rid post
And after, in the sessions-court,
Where whipping's judg'd, had honour for't?
This swear you will perform, and then
I'll set you from th' inchanted den,
And the magician's circle clear.
Quoth he, I do profess and swear,
And will perform what you enjoin,
Or may I never see you mine.
Amen, (quoth she); then turn'd about,
And bid her Esquire let him out.
But ere an artist could be found
T' undo the charms another bound,
The sun grew low, and left the skies,
Put down (some write) by ladies eyes,
The moon pull'd off her veil of light
That hides her face by day from sight,
(Mysterious veil, of brightness made,
That's both her lustre and her shade,)
And in the lanthorn of the night
With shining horns hung out her light;
For darkness is the proper sphere,
Where all false glories use t' appear.
The twinkling stars began to muster,
And glitter with their borrow'd lustre,
While sleep the weary 'd world reliev'd,
By counterfeiting death reviv'd;
His whipping penance till the morn
Our vot'ry thought it best t' adjourn,
And not to carry on a work
Of such importance in the dark,
With erring haste, but rather stay,
And do't in th' open face of day;
And in the mean time go in quest
Of next retreat to take his rest.
Pharsalia - Book II: The Flight Of Pompeius
This was made plain the anger of the gods;
The universe gave signs Nature reversed
In monstrous tumult fraught with prodigies
Her laws, and prescient spake the coming guilt.
How seemed it just to thee, Olympus' king,
That suffering mortals at thy doom should know
By omens dire the massacre to come?
Or did the primal parent of the world
When first the flames gave way and yielding left
Matter unformed to his subduing hand,
And realms unbalanced, fix by stern decree'
Unalterable laws to bind the whole
(Himself, too, bound by law), so that for aye
All Nature moves within its fated bounds?
Or, is Chance sovereign over all, and we
The sport of Fortune and her turning wheel?
Whate'er be truth, keep thou the future veiled
From mortal vision, and amid their fears
May men still hope.
Thus known how great the woes
The world should suffer, from the truth divine,
A solemn fast was called, the courts were closed,
All men in private garb; no purple hem
Adorned the togas of the chiefs of Rome;
No plaints were uttered, and a voiceless grief
Lay deep in every bosom: as when death
Knocks at some door but enters not as yet,
Before the mother calls the name aloud
Or bids her grieving maidens beat the breast,
While still she marks the glazing eye, and soothes
The stiffening limbs and gazes on the face,
In nameless dread, not sorrow, and in awe
Of death approaching: and with mind distraught
Clings to the dying in a last embrace.
The matrons laid aside their wonted garb:
Crowds filled the temples -- on the unpitying stones
Some dashed their bosoms; others bathed with tears
The statues of the gods; some tore their hair
Upon the holy threshold, and with shrieks
And vows unceasing called upon the names
Of those whom mortals supplicate. Nor all
Lay in the Thunderer's fane: at every shrine
Some prayers are offered which refused shall bring
Reproach on heaven. One whose livid arms
Were dark with blows, whose cheeks with tears bedewed
And riven, cried, 'Beat, mothers, beat the breast,
Tear now the lock; while doubtful in the scales
Still fortune hangs, nor yet the fight is won,
You still may grieve: when either wins rejoice.'
Thus sorrow stirs itself.
Meanwhile the men
Seeking the camp and setting forth to war,
Address the cruel gods in just complaint.
'Happy the youths who born in Punic days
On Cannae's uplands or by Trebia's stream
Fought and were slain! What wretched lot is ours!
No peace we ask for: let the nations rage;
Rouse fiercest cities! may the world find arms
To wage a war with Rome: let Parthian hosts
Rush forth from Susa; Scythian Ister curb
No more the Massagete: unconquered Rhine
Let loose from furthest North her fair-haired tribes:
Elbe, pour thy Suevians forth! Let us be foes
Of all the peoples. May the Getan press
Here, and the Dacian there; Pompeius meet
The Eastern archers, Caesar in the West
Confront th' Iberian. Leave to Rome no hand
To raise against herself in civil strife.
Or, if Italia by the gods be doomed,
Let all the sky, fierce Parent, be dissolved
And falling on the earth in flaming bolts,
Their hands still bloodless, strike both leaders down,
With both their hosts! Why plunge in novel crime
To settle which of them shall rule in Rome?
Scarce were it worth the price of civil war
To hinder either.' Thus the patriot voice
Still found an utterance, soon to speak no more.
Meantime, the aged fathers o'er their fates
In anguish grieved, detesting life prolonged
That brought with it another civil war.
And thus spake one, to justify his fears:
'No other deeds the fates laid up in store
When Marius, victor over Teuton hosts,
Afric's high conqueror, cast out from Rome,
Lay hid in marshy ooze, at thy behest,
O Fortune! by the yielding soil concealed
And waving rushes; but ere long the chains
Of prison wore his weak and aged frame,
And lengthened squalor: thus he paid for crime
His punishment beforehand; doomed to die
Consul in triumph over wasted Rome.
Death oft refused him; and the very foe,
In act to murder, shuddered in the stroke
And dropped the weapon from his nerveless hand.
For through the prison gloom a flame of light
He saw; the deities of crime abhorred;
The Marius to come. A voice proclaimed
Mysterious, `Hold! the fates permit thee not
That neck to sever. Many a death he owes
To time's predestined laws ere his shall come;
Cease from thy madness. If ye seek revenge
For all the blood shed by your slaughtered tribes to
Let this man, Cimbrians, live out all his days.'
Not as their darling did the gods protect
The man of blood, but for his ruthless hand
Fit to prepare that sacrifice of gore
Which fate demanded. By the sea's despite
Borne to our foes, Jugurtha's wasted realm
He saw, now conquered; there in squalid huts
Awhile he lay, and trod the hostile dust
Of Carthage, and his ruin matched with hers:
Each from the other's fate some solace drew,
And prostrate, pardoned heaven. On Libyan soil
Fresh fury gathering, next, when Fortune smiled
The prisons he threw wide and freed the slaves.
Forth rushed the murderous bands, their melted chains
Forged into weapons for his ruffian needs.
No charge he gave to mere recruits in guilt
Who brought not to the camp some proof of crime.
How dread that day when conquering Marius seized
The city's ramparts! with what fated speed
Death strode upon his victims! plebs alike
And nobles perished; far and near the sword
Struck at his pleasure, till the temple floors
Ran wet with slaughter and the crimson stream
Befouled with slippery gore the holy walls.
No age found pity men of failing years,
Just tottering to the grave, were hurled to death;
From infants, in their being's earliest dawn,
The growing life was severed. For what crime?
Twas cause enough for death that they could die.
The fury grew: soon 'twas a sluggard's part
To seek the guilty: hundreds died to swell
The tale of victims. Shamed by empty hands,
The bloodstained conqueror snatched a reeking head
From neck unknown. One way of life remained,
To kiss with shuddering lips the red right hand.
Degenerate people! Had ye hearts of men,
Though ye were threatened by a thousand swords,
Far rather death than centuries of life
Bought at such price; much more that breathing space
Till Sulla comes again. But time would fail
In weeping for the deaths of all who fell.
Encircled by innumerable bands
Fell Baebius, his limbs asunder torn,
His vitals dragged abroad. Antonius too,
Prophet of ill, whose hoary head was placed,
Dripping with blood, upon the festal board.
There headless fell the Crassi; mangled frames
'Neath Fimbria's falchion: and the prison cells
Were wet with tribunes' blood. Hard by the fane
Where dwells the goddess and the sacred fire,
Fell aged Scaevola, though that gory hand
Had spared him, but the feeble tide of blood
Still left the flame alive upon the hearth.
That selfsame year the seventh time restored
The Consul's rods; that year to Marius brought
The end of life, when he at Fortune's hands
All ills had suffered; all her goods enjoyed.
'And what of those who at the Sacriport
And Colline gate were slain, then, when the rule
Of Earth and all her nations almost left
This city for another, and the chiefs
Who led the Samnite hoped that Rome might bleed
More than at Caudium's Forks she bled of old?
Then came great Sulla to avenge the dead,
And all the blood still left within her frame
Drew from the city; for the surgeon knife
Which shore the cancerous limbs cut in too deep,
And shed the life stream from still healthy veins.
True that the guilty fell, but not before
All else had perished. Hatred had free course
And anger reigned unbridled by the law.
The victor's voice spake once; but each man struck
Just as he wished or willed. The fatal steel
Urged by the servant laid the master low.
Sons dripped with gore of sires; and brothers fought
For the foul trophy of a father slain,
Or slew each other for the price of blood.
Men sought the tombs and, mingling with the dead,
Hoped for escape; the wild beasts' dens were full.
One strangled died; another from the height
Fell headlong down upon the unpitying earth,
And from the encrimsoned victor snatched his death:
One built his funeral pyre and oped his veins,
And sealed the furnace ere his blood was gone.
Borne through the trembling town the leaders' heads
Were piled in middle forum: hence men knew
Of murders else unpublished. Not on gates
Of Diomedes, tyrant king of Thrace,
Nor of Antaeus, Libya's giant brood,
Were hung such horrors; nor in Pisa's hall
Were seen and wept for when the suitors died.
Decay had touched the features of the slain
When round the mouldering heap, with trembling steps
The grief-struck parents sought and stole their dead.
I, too, the body of my brother slain
Thought to remove, my victim to the peace
Which Sulla made, and place his loved remains
On the forbidden pyre. The head I found,
But not the butchered corse.
'Why now renew
The tale of Catulus's shade appeased?
And those dread tortures which the living frame
Of Marius suffered at the tomb of him
Who haply wished them not? Pierced, mangled, torn --
Nor speech nor grasp was left: his every limb
Maimed, hacked and riven; yet the fatal blow
The murderers with savage purpose spared.
'Twere scarce believed that one poor mortal frame
Such agonies could bear e'er death should come.
Thus crushed beneath some ruin lie the dead;
Thus shapeless from the deep are borne the drowned.
Why spoil delight by mutilating thus,
The head of Marius? To please Sulla's heart
That mangled visage must be known to all.
Fortune, high goddess of Praeneste's fane,
Saw all her townsmen hurried to their deaths
In one fell instant. All the hope of Rome,
The flower of Latium, stained with blood the field
Where once the peaceful tribes their votes declared.
Famine and Sword, the raging sky and sea,
And Earth upheaved, have laid such numbers low:
But ne'er one man's revenge. Between the slain
And living victims there was space no more,
Death thus let slip, to deal the fatal blow.
Hardly when struck they fell; the severed head
Scarce toppled from the shoulders; but the slain
Blent in a weighty pile of massacre
Pressed out the life and helped the murderer's arm.
Secure from stain upon his lofty throne,
Unshuddering sat the author of the whole,
Nor feared that at his word such thousands fell.
At length the Tuscan flood received the dead
The first upon his waves; the last on those
That lay beneath them; vessels in their course
Were stayed, and while the lower current flowed
Still to the sea, the upper stood on high
Dammed back by carnage. Through the streets meanwhile
In headlong torrents ran a tide of blood,
Which furrowing its path through town and field
Forced the slow river on. But now his banks
No longer held him, and the dead were thrown
Back on the fields above. With labour huge
At length he struggled to his goal and stretched
In crimson streak across the Tuscan Sea.
'For deeds like these, shall Sulla now be styled
`Darling of Fortune', `Saviour of the State'?
For these, a tomb in middle field of Mars
Record his fame? Like horrors now return
For us to suffer; and the civil war
Thus shall be waged again and thus shall end.
Yet worse disasters may our fears suggest,
For now with greater carnage of mankind
The rival hosts in weightier battle meet.
To exiled Marius, successful strife
Was Rome regained; triumphant Sulla knew
No greater joy than on his hated foes
To wreak his vengeance with unsparing sword.
But these more powerful rivals Fortune calls
To worse ambitions; nor would either chief
For such reward as Sulla's wage the war.'
Thus, mindful of his youth, the aged man
Wept for the past, but feared the coming days.
Such terrors found in haughty Brutus' breast
No home. When others sat them down to fear
He did not so, but in the dewy night
When the great wain was turning round the pole
He sought his kinsman Cato's humble home.
Him sleepless did he find, not for himself
Fearing, but pondering the fates of Rome,
And deep in public cares. And thus he spake:
'O thou in whom that virtue, which of yore
Took flight from earth, now finds its only home,
Outcast to all besides, but safe with thee:
Vouchsafe thy counsel to my wavering soul
And make my weakness strength. While Caesar some,
Pompeius others, follow in the fight,
Cato is Brutus' guide. Art thou for peace,
Holding thy footsteps in a tottering world
Unshaken? Or wilt thou with the leaders' crimes
And with the people's fury take thy part,
And by thy presence purge the war of guilt?
In impious battles men unsheath the sword;
But each by cause impelled: the household crime;
Laws feared in peace; want by the sword removed;
And broken credit, that its ruin hides
In general ruin. Drawn by hope of gain,
And not by thirst for blood, they seek the camp.
Shall Cato for war's sake make war alone?
What profits it through all these wicked years
That thou hast lived untainted? This were all
Thy meed of virtue, that the wars which find
Guilt in all else, shall make thee guilty too.
Ye gods, permit not that this fatal strife
Should stir those hands to action! When the clouds
Of flying javelins hiss upon the air,
Let not a dart be thine; nor spent in vain
Such virtue! All the fury of the war
Shall launch itself on thee, for who, when faint
And wounded, would not rush upon thy sword,
Take thence his death, and make the murder thine?
Do thou live on thy peaceful life apart
As on their paths the stars unshaken roll.
The lower air that verges on the earth
Gives flame and fury to the levin bolt;
The deeps below the world engulph the winds
And tracts of flaming fire. By Jove's decree
Olympus rears his summit o'er the clouds:
In lowlier valleys storms and winds contend,
But peace eternal reigns upon the heights.
What joy for Caesar, if the tidings come
That such a citizen has joined the war?
Glad would he see thee e'en in Magnus' tents;
For Cato's conduct shall approve his own.
Pompeius, with the Consul in his ranks,
And half the Senate and the other chiefs,
Vexes my spirit; and should Cato too
Bend to a master's yoke, in all the world
The one man free is Caesar. But if thou
For freedom and thy country's laws alone
Be pleased to raise the sword, nor Magnus then
Nor Caesar shall in Brutus find a foe.
Not till the fight is fought shall Brutus strike,
Then strike the victor.'
Brutus thus; but spake
Cato from inmost breast these sacred words:
'Chief in all wickedness is civil war,
Yet virtue in the paths marked out by fate
Treads on securely. Heaven's will be the crime
To have made even Cato guilty. Who has strength
To gaze unawed upon a toppling world?
When stars and sky fall headlong, and when earth
Slips from her base, who sits with folded hands?
Shall unknown nations, touched by western strife,
And monarchs born beneath another clime
Brave the dividing seas to join the war?
Shall Scythian tribes desert their distant north,
And Getae haste to view the fall of Rome,
And I look idly on? As some fond sire,
Reft of his sons, compelled by grief, himself
Marshals the long procession to the tomb,
Thrusts his own hand within the funeral flames,
Soothing his heart, and, as the lofty pyre
Rises on high, applies the kindled torch:
Nought, Rome, shall tear thee from me, till I hold
Thy form in death embraced; and Freedom's name,
Shade though it be, I'll follow to the grave.
Yea! let the cruel gods exact in full
Rome's expiation: of no drop of blood
The war be robbed. I would that, to the gods
Of heaven and hell devoted, this my life
Might satisfy their vengeance. Decius fell,
Crushed by the hostile ranks. When Cato falls
Let Rhine's fierce barbarous hordes and both the hosts
Thrust through my frame their darts! May I alone
Receive in death the wounds of all the war!
Thus may the people be redeemed, and thus
Rome for her guilt pay the atonement due.
Why should men die who wish to bear the yoke
And shrink not from the tyranny to come?
Strike me, and me alone, of laws and rights
In vain the guardian: this vicarious life
Shall give Hesperia peace and end her toils.
Who then will reign shall find no need for war.
You ask, `Why follow Magnus? If he wins
He too will claim the Empire of the world.'
Then let him, conquering with my service, learn
Not for himself to conquer.' Thus he spoke
And stirred the blood that ran in Brutus' veins
Moving the youth to action in the war.
Soon as the sun dispelled the chilly night,
The sounding doors flew wide, and from the tomb
Of dead Hortensius grieving Marcia came.
First joined in wedlock to a greater man
Three children did she bear to grace his home:
Then Cato to Hortensius gave the dame
To be a fruitful mother of his sons
And join their houses in a closer tie.
And now the last sad offices were done
She came with hair dishevelled, beaten breast,
And ashes on her brow, and features worn
With grief; thus only pleasing to the man.
'When youth was in me and maternal power
I did thy bidding, Cato, and received
A second husband: now in years grown old
Ne'er to be parted I return to thee.
Renew our former pledges undefiled:
Give back the name of wife: upon my tomb
Let `Marcia, spouse to Cato,' be engraved.
Nor let men question in the time to come,
Did'st thou compel, or did I willing leave
My first espousals. Not in happy times,
Partner of joys, I come; but days of care
And labour shall be mine to share with thee.
Nor leave me here, but take me to the camp,
Thy fond companion: why should Magnus' wife
Be nearer, Cato, to the wars than thine?'
Although the times were warlike and the fates
Called to the fray, he lent a willing ear.
Yet must they plight their faith in simple form
Of law; their witnesses the gods alone.
No festal wreath of flowers crowned the gate
Nor glittering fillet on each post entwined;
No flaming torch was there, nor ivory steps,
No couch with robes of broidered gold adorned;
No comely matron placed upon her brow
The bridal garland, or forbad the foot
To touch the threshold stone; no saffron veil
Concealed the timid blushes of the bride;
No jewelled belt confined her flowing robe
Nor modest circle bound her neck; no scarf
Hung lightly on the snowy shoulder's edge
Around the naked arm. Just as she came,
Wearing the garb of sorrow, while the wool
Covered the purple border of her robe,
Thus was she wedded. As she greets her sons
So doth she greet her husband. Festal games
Graced not their nuptials, nor were friends and kin
As by the Sabines bidden: silent both
They joined in marriage, yet content, unseen
By any save by Brutus. Sad and stern
On Cato's lineaments the marks of grief
Were still unsoftened, and the hoary hair
Hung o'er his reverend visage; for since first
Men flew to arms, his locks were left unkempt
To stream upon his brow, and on his chin
His beard untended grew. 'Twas his alone
Who hated not, nor loved, for all mankind
To mourn alike. Nor did their former couch
Again receive them, for his lofty soul
E'en lawful love resisted. 'Twas his rule
Inflexible, to keep the middle path
Marked out and bounded; to observe the laws
Of natural right; and for his country's sake
To risk his life, his all, as not for self
Brought into being, but for all the world:
Such was his creed. To him a sumptuous feast
Was hunger conquered, and the lowly hut,
Which scarce kept out the winter, was a home
Equal to palaces: a robe of price
Such hairy garments as were worn of old:
The end of marriage, offspring. To the State
Father alike and husband, right and law
He ever followed with unswerving step:
No thought of selfish pleasure turned the scale
In Cato's acts, or swayed his upright soul.
Meanwhile Pompeius led his trembling host
To fields Campanian, and held the walls
First founded by the chief of Trojan race.
These chose he for the central seat of war,
Some troops despatching who might meet the foe
Where shady Apennine lifts up the ridge
Of mid Italia; nearest to the sky
Upsoaring, with the seas on either hand,
The upper and the lower. Pisa's sands
Breaking the margin of the Tuscan deep,
Here bound his mountains: there Ancona's towers
Laved by Dalmatian waves. Rivers immense,
In his recesses born, pass on their course,
To either sea diverging. To the left
Metaurus, and Crustumium's torrent, fall
And Sena's streams and Aufidus who bursts
On Adrian billows; and that mighty flood
Which, more than all the rivers of the earth,
Sweeps down the soil and tears the woods away
And drains Hesperia's springs. In fabled lore
His banks were first by poplar shade enclosed:
And when by Phaethon the waning day
Was drawn in path transverse, and all the heaven
Blazed with his car aflame, and from the depths
Of inmost earth were rapt all other floods,
Padus still rolled in pride of stream along.
Nile were no larger, but that o'er the sand
Of level Egypt he spreads out his waves;
Nor Ister, if he sought the Scythian main
Unhelped upon his journey through the world
By tributary waters not his own.
But on the right hand Tiber has his source,
Deep-flowing Rutuba, Vulturnus swift,
And Sarnus breathing vapours of the night
Rise there, and Liris with Vestinian wave
Still gliding through Marica's shady grove,
And Siler flowing through Salernian meads:
And Macra's swift unnavigable stream
By Luna lost in Ocean. On the Alps
Whose spurs strike plainwards, and on fields of Gaul
The cloudy heights of Apennine look down
In further distance: on his nearer slopes
The Sabine turns the ploughshare; Umbrian kine
And Marsian fatten; with his pineclad rocks
He girds the tribes of Latium, nor leaves
Hesperia's soil until the waves that beat
On Scylla's cave compel. His southern spurs
Extend to Juno's temple, and of old
Stretched further than Italia, till the main
O'erstepped his limits and the lands repelled.
But, when the seas were joined, Pelorus claimed
His latest summits for Sicilia's isle.
Caesar, in rage for war, rejoicing found
Foes in Italia; no bloodless steps
Nor vacant homes had pleased him; so his march
Were wasted: now the coming war was joined
Unbroken to the past; to force the gates
Not find them open, fire and sword to bring
Upon the harvests, not through fields unharmed
To pass his legions -- this was Caesar's joy;
In peaceful guise to march, this was his shame.
Italia's cities, doubtful in their choice,
Though to the earliest onset of the war
About to yield, strengthened their walls with mounds
And deepest trench encircling: massive stones
And bolts of war to hurl upon the foe
They place upon the turrets. Magnus most
The people's favour held, yet faith with fear
Fought in their breasts. As when, with strident blast,
A southern tempest has possessed the main
And all the billows follow in its track:
Then, by the Storm-king smitten, should the earth
Set Eurus free upon the swollen deep,
It shall not yield to him, though cloud and sky
Confess his strength; but in the former wind
Still find its master. But their fears prevailed,
And Caesar's fortune, o'er their wavering faith.
For Libo fled Etruria; Umbria lost
Her freedom, driving Thermus from her bounds;
Great Sulla's son, unworthy of his sire,
Feared at the name of Caesar: Varus sought
The caves and woods, when smote the hostile horse
The gates of Auximon; and Spinther driven
From Asculum, the victor on his track,
Fled with his standards, soldierless; and thou,
Scipio, did'st leave Nuceria's citadel
Deserted, though by bravest legions held
Sent home by Caesar for the Parthian war;
Whom Magnus earlier, to his kinsman gave
A loan of Roman blood, to fight the Gaul.
But brave Domitius held firm his post
Behind Corfinium's ramparts; his the troops
Who newly levied kept the judgment hall
At Milo's trial. When from far the plain
Rolled up a dusty cloud, beneath whose veil
The sheen of armour glistening in the sun,
Revealed a marching host. 'Dash down,' he cried,
Swift; as ye can, the bridge that spans the stream;
And thou, O river, from thy mountain source
With all thy torrents rushing, planks and beams
Ruined and broken on thy foaming breast
Bear onward to the sea. The war shall stop
Here, to our triumph; for this headlong chief
Here first at our firm bidding shall be stayed.'
He bade his squadrons, speeding from the walls,
Charge on the bridge: in vain: for Caesar saw
They sought to free the river from his chains
And bar his march; and roused to ire, he cried:
'Were not the walls sufficient to protect
Your coward souls? Seek ye by barricades
And streams to keep me back? What though the flood
Of swollen Ganges were across my path?
Now Rubicon is passed, no stream on earth
Shall hinder Caesar! Forward, horse and foot,
And ere it totters rush upon the bridge.'
Urged in their swiftest gallop to the front
Dashed the light horse across the sounding plain;
And suddenly, as storm in summer, flew
A cloud of javelins forth, by sinewy arms
Hurled at the foe; the guard is put to flight,
And conquering Caesar, seizing on the bridge,
Compels the enemy to keep the walls.
Now do the mighty engines, soon to hurl
Gigantic stones, press forward, and the ram
Creeps 'neath the ramparts; when the gates fly back,
And lo! the traitor troops, foul crime in war,
Yield up their leader. Him they place before
His proud compatriot; yet with upright form,
And scornful features and with noble mien,
He asks his death. But Caesar knew his wish
Was punishment, and pardon was his fear:
'Live though thou would'st not,' so the chieftain spake,
'And by my gift, unwilling, see the day:
Be to my conquered foes the cause of hope,
Proof of my clemency -- or if thou wilt
Take arms again -- and should'st thou conquer, count
This pardon nothing.' Thus he spake, and bade
Let loose the bands and set the captive free.
Ah! better had he died, and fortune spared
The Roman's last dishonour, whose worse doom
It is, that he who joined his country's camp
And fought with Magnus for the Senate's cause
Should gain for this -- a pardon! Yet he curbed
His anger, thinking, 'Wilt thou then to Rome
And peaceful scenes, degenerate? Rather war,
The furious battle and the certain end!
Break with life's ties: be Caesar's gift in vain.'
Pompeius, ignorant that his captain thus
Was taken, armed his levies newly raised
To give his legions strength; and as he thought
To sound his trumpets with the coming dawn,
To test his soldiers ere he moved his camp
Thus in majestic tones their ranks addressed:
'Soldiers of Rome! Avengers of her laws!
To whom the Senate gives no private arms,
Ask by your voices for the battle sign.
Fierce falls the pillage on Hesperian fields,
And Gallia's fury o'er the snowy Alps
Is poured upon us. Caesar's swords at last
Are red with Roman blood. But with the wound
We gain the better cause; the crime is theirs.
No war is this, but for offended Rome
We wreak the vengeance; as when Catiline
Lifted against her roofs the flaming brand
And, partner in his fury, Lentulus,
And mad Cethegus with his naked arm.
Is such thy madness, Caesar? when the Fates
With great Camillus' and Metellus' names
Might place thine own, dost thou prefer to rank
With Marius and Cinna? Swift shall be
Thy fall: as Lepidus before the sword
Of Catulus; or who my axes felt,
Carbo, now buried in Sicanian tomb;
Or who, in exile, roused Iberia's hordes,
Sertorius -- yet, witness Heaven, with these
I hate to rank thee; hate the task that Rome
Has laid upon me, to oppose thy rage.
Would that in safety from the Parthian war
And Scythian steppes had conquering Crassus come!
Then haply had'st thou fallen by the hand
That smote vile Spartacus the robber foe.
But if among my triumphs fate has said
Thy conquest shall be written, know this heart
Still sends the life blood coursing: and this arm
Still vigorously flings the dart afield.
He deems me slothful. Caesar, thou shalt learn
We brook not peace because we lag in war.
Old, does he call me? Fear not ye mine age.
Let me be elder, if his soldiers are.
The highest point a citizen can reach
And leave his people free, is mine: a throne
Alone were higher; whoso would surpass
Pompeius, aims at that. Both Consuls stand
Here; here for battle stand your lawful chiefs:
And shall this Caesar drag the Senate down?
Not with such blindness, not so lost to shame
Does Fortune rule. Does he take heart from Gaul:
For years on years rebellious, and a life
Spent there in labour? or because he fled
Rhine's icy torrent and the shifting pools
He calls an ocean? or unchallenged sought
Britannia's cliffs; then turned his back in flight?
Or does he boast because his citizens
Were driven in arms to leave their hearths and homes?
Ah, vain delusion! not from thee they fled:
My steps they follow -- mine, whose conquering signs
Swept all the ocean, and who, ere the moon
Twice filled her orb and waned, compelled to flight
The pirate, shrinking from the open sea,
And humbly begging for a narrow home
In some poor nook on shore. 'Twas I again
Who, happier far than Sulla, drave to death
That king who, exiled to the deep recess
Of Scythian Pontus, held the fates of Rome
Still in the balances. Where is the land
That hath not seen my trophies? Icy waves
Of northern Phasis, hot Egyptian shores,
And where Syene 'neath its noontide sun
Knows shade on neither hand: all these have learned
To fear Pompeius: and far Baetis' stream,
Last of all floods to join the refluent sea.
Arabia and the warlike hordes that dwell
Beside the Euxine wave: the famous land
That lost the golden fleece; Cilician wastes,
And Cappadocian, and the Jews who pray
Before an unknown God; Sophene soft --
All felt my yoke. What conquests now remain,
What wars not civil can my kinsman wage?'
No loud acclaim received his words, nor shout
Asked for the promised battle: and the chief
Drew back the standards, for the soldier's fears
Were in his soul alike; nor dared he trust
An army, vanquished by the fame alone
Of Caesar's powers, to fight for such a prize.
And as some bull, his early combat lost,
Forth driven from the herd, in exile roams
Through lonely plains or secret forest depths,
Whets on opposing trunks his growing horn,
And proves himself for battle, till his neck
Is ribbed afresh with muscle: then returns,
Defiant of the hind, and victor now
Leads wheresoe'er he will his lowing bands:
Thus Magnus, yielding to a stronger foe,
Gave up Italia, and sought in flight
Brundusium's sheltering battlements.
Here of old
Fled Cretan settlers when the dusky sail
Spread the false message of the hero dead;
Here, where Hesperia, curving as a bow,
Draws back her coast, a little tongue of land
Shuts in with bending horns the sounding main.
Yet insecure the spot, unsafe in storm,
Were it not sheltered by an isle on which
The Adriatic billows dash and fall,
And tempests lose their strength: on either hand
A craggy cliff opposing breaks the gale
That beats upon them, while the ships within
Held by their trembling cables ride secure.
Hence to the mariner the boundless deep
Lies open, whether for Corcyra's port
He shapes his sails, or for Illyria's shore,
And Epidamnus facing to the main
Ionian. Here, when raging in his might
Fierce Adria whelms in foam Calabria's coast,
When clouds tempestuous veil Ceraunus' height,
The sailor finds a haven.
When the chief
Could find no hope in battle on the soil
He now was quitting, and the lofty Alps
Forbad Iberia, to his son he spake,
The eldest scion of that noble stock:
'Search out the far recesses of the earth,
Nile and Euphrates, wheresoe'er the fame
Of Magnus lives, where, through thy father's deeds,
The people tremble at the name of Rome.
Lead to the sea again the pirate bands;
Rouse Egypt's kings; Tigranes, wholly mine,
And Pharnaces and all the vagrant tribes
Of both Armenias; and the Pontic hordes,
Warlike and fierce; the dwellers on the hills
Rhipaean, and by that dead northern marsh
Whose frozen surface bears the loaded wain.
Why further stay thee? Let the eastern world
Sound with the war, all cities of the earth
Conquered by me, as vassals, to my camp
Send all their levied hosts. And you whose names
Within the Latian book recorded stand,
Strike for Epirus with the northern wind;
And thence in Greece and Macedonian tracts,
(While winter gives us peace) new strength acquire
For coming conflicts.' They obey his words
And loose their ships and launch upon the main.
But Caesar's might, intolerant of peace
Or lengthy armistice, lest now perchance
The fates might change their edicts, swift pursued
The footsteps of his foe. To other men,
So many cities taken at a blow,
So many strongholds captured, might suffice;
And Rome herself, the mistress of the world,
Lay at his feet, the greatest prize of all.
Not so with Caesar: instant on the goal
He fiercely presses; thinking nothing done
While aught remained to do. Now in his grasp
Lay all Italia; -- but while Magnus stayed
Upon the utmost shore, his grieving soul
Deemed all was shared with him. Yet he essayed
Escape to hinder, and with labour vain
Piled in the greedy main gigantic rocks:
Mountains of earth down to the sandy depths
Were swallowed by the vortex of the sea;
Just as if Eryx and its lofty top
Were cast into the deep, yet not a speck
Should mark the watery plain; or Gaurus huge
Split from his summit to his base, were plunged
In fathomless Avernus' stagnant pool.
The billows thus unstemmed, 'twas Caesar's will
To hew the stately forests and with trees
Enchained to form a rampart. Thus of old
(If fame be true) the boastful Persian king
Prepared a way across the rapid strait
'Twixt Sestos and Abydos, and made one
The European and the Trojan shores;
And marched upon the waters, wind and storm
Counting as nought, but trusting his emprise
To one frail bridge, so that his ships might pass
Through middle Athos. Thus a mighty mole
Of fallen forests grew upon the waves,
Free until then, and lofty turrets rose,
And land usurped the entrance to the main.
This when Pompeius saw, with anxious care
His soul was filled; yet hoping to regain
The exit lost, and win a wider world
Wherein to wage the war, on chosen ships
He hoists the sails; these, driven by the wind
And drawn by cables fastened to their prows,
Scattered the beams asunder; and at night
Not seldom engines, worked by stalwart arms,
Flung flaming torches forth. But when the time
For secret flight was come, no sailor shout
Rang on the shore, no trumpet marked the hour,
No bugle called the armament to sea.
Already shone the Virgin in the sky
Leading the Scorpion in her course, whose claws
Foretell the rising Sun, when noiseless all
They cast the vessels loose; no song was heard
To greet the anchor wrenched from stubborn sand;
No captain's order, when the lofty mast
Was raised, or yards were bent; a silent crew
Drew down the sails which hung upon the ropes,
Nor shook the mighty cables, lest the wind
Should sound upon them. But the chief, in prayer,
Thus spake to Fortune: 'Thou whose high decree
Has made us exiles from Italia's shores,
Grant us at least to leave them.' Yet the fates
Hardly permitted, for a murmur vast
Came from the ocean, as the countless keels
Furrowed the waters, and with ceaseless splash
The parted billows rose again and fell.
Then were the gates thrown wide; for with the fates
The city turned to Caesar: and the foe,
Seizing the town, rushed onward by the pier
That circled in the harbour; then they knew
With shame and sorrow that the fleet was gone
And held the open: and Pompeius' flight
Gave a poor triumph.
Yet was narrower far
The channel which gave access to the sea
Than that Euboean strait whose waters lave
The shore by Chalcis. Here two ships stuck fast
Alone, of all the fleet; the fatal hook
Grappled their decks and drew them to the land,
And the first bloodshed of the civil war
Here left a blush upon the ocean wave.
As when the famous ship sought Phasis' stream
The rocky gates closed in and hardly gripped
Her flying stern; then from the empty sea
The cliffs rebounding to their ancient seat
Were fixed to move no more. But now the steps
Of morn approaching tinged the eastern sky
With roseate hues: the Pleiades were dim,
The wagon of the Charioteer grew pale,
The planets faded, and the silvery star
Which ushers in the day, was lost in light.
Then Magnus, hold'st the deep; yet not the same
Now are thy fates, as when from every sea
Thy fleet triumphant swept the pirate pest.
Tired of thy conquests, Fortune now no more
Shall smile upon thee. With thy spouse and sons,
Thy household gods, and peoples in thy train,
Still great in exile, in a distant land
Thou seek'st thy fated fall; not that the gods,
Wishing to rob thee of a Roman grave,
Decreed the strands of Egypt for thy tomb:
'Twas Italy they spared, that far away
Fortune on shores remote might hide her crime,
And Roman soil be pure of Magnus' blood.
To the biographer all lives bar none are dramatic constructions.