Latest quotes | Random quotes | Vote! | Latest comments | Add quote

I did my best, and God did the rest.

quote by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Related quotes

Gold are not Silver

dust has to return, night has a day
as the sky in the heaven, the night has fall into darkness

the air blown to the highest height, the wave return to the shore
as the moutain tall looks in the ocean floor, the bird sings

man has to find, the destiny it brings
as the flowers that blooms, the stream goes to the river raged

birth that laugh, to the pangs it offers
as the gift tastes, the sweet rejoice in the halos of midst

brings as you gives, the heart that survive, to the laughter that pass by
make the best for everything you take, all are just fake, to what you made

the sounding joy you hears, is what you know that, all are just new, where everything will be for you

moment is true, time is made, days are counted, in the birth life
has started, live the best and God take the rest

air is but a breath in the end we will pass, clean the heart, the purest
soul make it last, for the gold is not silver and everything will turn to
dust

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

God Is The Main One

I know I am on no one's 'Favorite Things to Do' list.
It has been a long time since I've been twenty one.

I don't have money in the bank.
No home I own,
Or car to drive.
I am among many...
Who do what they can to survive.

My hair is grey,
And will hopefully turn white.
I've been married before!
Even done that twice.

But I do feel blessed,
With health I maintain.
I'm grateful to say...
'Thank God I've remain sane! '

My social life is zero.
And I'm no hero to no one.
However...
You are in no position to assess my life.
I enjoy the peace of mind I have.
And the things I do...
I like!

I don't apologize for anything done that I did.
When I walk I do that proudly.
Caring less about those who can not forget or forgive.

Today very few have options.
They have lived for things,
Now to find them meaningless.
And I may have nothing to show you I possess.
Although you appear to have everything.
Except the presence of happiness.
And a life without happiness...
Can not fully be expressed!

You see the sky?
Without a cloud and exposing Sun?
That's the way I feel!
Dismissing anyone who believes,
I'm the one they can look down upon.
Like others receiving judgements,
By those doing that as a means to have fun!

And God is the Main One in my life,
That's got me like that!
And I'll leave 'that' with you!
You can look away if you wish.
Since you have nothing...
To keep me here,
I find benefits or attract!

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

God Save The South

It was a red hot night night in mobile
Sweat glistened on the reverends chin
His mohair suit was shinin
He told us all about sin
It could be wall to wall in wall street
We could be livin hand to mouth
Jesus loved a yankee
But God saved the south
Across the street in the pool hall
Bubba put the eight ball down
Its a high five celebration
They passed the jack around
Its wall to wall in wall street
Were livin hand to mouth
Jesus loved a yankee
But God saved the south
God saved the south
Yankee boy shut your mouth
Yes, God saved the south
Yankee boy shut your mouth
Shut your mouth
Some long haired boys with guitars
Playin behind the chicken wire
Theyre goin up to new york city
Gonna sing about atlantas fire
It could be wall to wall in wall street
We could be livin hand to mouth
Jesus loved a yankee
But God saved the south
And God saved the south
Yankee boy shut your mouth
Yes, God saved the south
Yankee boy shut your mouth
Yes, God saved the south
Yankee boy shut your mouth
And God saved the south
So,yankee boy shut your mouth
And God saved the south
Yankee boy shut your mouth
Yes, God saved the south
So, yankee boy shut your mouth
God saved the south
So, yankee boy shut your mouth

song performed by NazarethReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

‘Happy Birthday, Dear Diana! ’

Your birthday makes you one year older, child!
Be happy that you know the world that’s wild;
Let knowledge make you wiser by the day;
Let truth and perseverance guide your way!

A lot of things good can be done on earth;
There is no time to fret or fume since birth;
Just do your duty and God does the rest;
Live with the hope that you can do your best!

Mere human toil can’t bring success in life;
Great patience works as balm amidst our strife;
The morrow will take care of itself dear;
Live for this day and spend life without fear!

‘Wish you a Happy Birthday, Dear Diana! ’

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Like The Rest Of Us

Being introduced,
Is similar to a new flavor tasted.
Everyone flatters.
And on their best of behaviors.

One can tell when familiarity sets in!
People begin to disrupt conversations.
Talk about others disrespectfully.
And think it okay to say what they please.
With a name dropping of those,
They have chosen to pick apart to dislike.
And expose.
Based upon innuendos.

However...
Being introduced,
Is similar to a new flavor tasted.
Everyone flatters.
And on their best of behaviors.

Until the flavor tasted becomes as common,
As taking a cheap shot at someone's expense.
Regardless if they are within listening distance.

'I remember when they first arrived on the scene.
They were so pleasant to have around then.
I liked them!
Now they have become,
Well...'

~Annoying?
Irritating?
Judgemental and opinionated?
Like the rest of us? ~

'No.
I was not going to say that.
I 'was' going to say...
Boring.
Plus...
They have this 'thing' about wanting meangingful conversation.
WHO are these people?
I tried insulting them...
And they just smiled.
How appalling can they get? '

~Well...
I'm open to learning a few lessons myself.
THAT would be refreshing.~

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Mom! I Repent For The Rest Of Life

Mom!
When my wings were strong and valiant
In fanciful flights into the fantasies of life
I miserably failed to gauge the pain
On your frail quills weakened on our dear cause
Nor could even grasp that i was ever
Both your strength and weakness
And I was dishonestly ignorant of
What you aspired for at the fag end of life
A few precious moments of my proximity every week
As a mild breeze to your sweating soul-
With my limbs now growing weak
I feel guilty to my core
AND REPENT FOR THE REST OF LIFE.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Outlet

like sweet apple taste
in the air, smell
like lemon in the eyes
of a dream

a dimension, beyond the
lines is an extension of
infinite power,
it start

live wire life, it gives, alive
fire it receive, a flame that
leads to eternity it
paves

in every moment, remember
is days to come,
that life is an outlet to be
extended to others

property of God is for all,
light has not to
be cooled, for life is to be
extended in every
page it fades

be a live wire, in every files
for God's shadow is
everybody's to be barrowed

make the best
for God take the rest....

you are God's property

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Our Team

We look like we know what we're doing
When they ask us to play
Only takes two or three minutes
To warm up and give it our best
And beat all the rest
The girls in the stands and all of our fans
We're for our team yeah
You'll never lose it
With us you're still number one
We run out onto the court
We're playing our favorite sport
We don't care about the big guys
We're taking them down to our size
And we get a rise
From the girls in the stands and all of our fans
Yeah
We're for our team yeah
You'll never lose it
With us you're still number one
Give it our best
And beat all the rest
For the girls in the stands and all of our fans
We're for our team yeah
You'll never lose it
With us you're still number one
You'll never lose it
With us you're still number one
You'll never lose it
With us you're still number one
You'll never lose it
With us you're still number one
sallysally@usa.net

song performed by Beach BoysReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Can You Live As Fast As Me

I believe in the power of rocknroll
I believe that exxon can save my soul
They pull your strings,
You just dont know it
They pull mine too,
But I try not to show it
I dont know what to say
When you take your light away
I try to do my very best
And to disregard the rest
When you leave what can you do?
When you dream what do you see?
Im afraid its just too new
Can you live as fast as me?
I believe in the power of rocknroll
I believe that exxon can save my soul
They pull your strings,
You just dont know it
They pull mine too,
But I try not to show it
I got my baby on a chain
Because it helps to ease the pain
Occams razor cuts so deep
Its the one thing I can keep
When you leave what can you do?
When you dream what do you see?
Im afraid its just too new
Can you live as fast as me?
I believe in the power of rocknroll
I believe that exxon can save my soul
They pull your strings,
You just dont know it
They pull mine too,
But I try not to show it
I dont know what to say
When you take your light away
I try to do my very best
And to disregard the rest
When you leave what can you do?
When you dream what do you see?
Im afraid its just too new
Can you live as fast as me?

song performed by Information SocietyReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Perfume 'A La Larissa

“A La Larissa” perfume has appeared!
The fragrance of it is great and neared.
It’s just for your elegance and intelligence.
It’s not for the masses!
It’s for the women in the evening dresses.
It’s for the ladies of extra classes.
This perfume is an explosion of warmth,
It gives you real sexual storms.
It gives you the enveloping notes,
It rises up your best emotes,
It’s a heady memorable ode,
It’s the mode of a highly sort of perfume.
You’ll feel comfortable with it at any ballroom.
It’s eccentric smell will make you feel so well.
When you are in the evening gown,
It will turn all heads on its own.
This perfume is really the best.
The best and… out of the rest!
Just a dropp of it and…you are on the top.
And a dropp and …you’ll be for sure the pop.
What a prestige! What a delight!
Magic perfume “ A La Larissa”! ! !
You can only hear men’s whisper:
She is a vanquisher!
Is she a princess from Saragossa?
Oh, no! This aroma is from Odessa!
It has the smell of the Black Sea.
It has the fragrance of an acacia tree.
“A La Larissa’ perfume is just fantastic!
It’s so poetic and esthetic!
It smells the rain, it smells the snow!
The world of all flowers it shows!
With “A La Larissa” you’ll understand
What real art is on our land.
Using “A La Larissa”
You’ll get the ocean of sensation.
You’ll get your impersa
And…it will cause a poet’s inspiration.
It will give you the best charm,
It will give you the tenderness alarm.
You’ll be out of masses an exception!
You’ll be … The Lady Perfection!

©Larisa Rzhepishevska (Odessa, Ukraine)
The 5th of October,2011

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

They Did The Best They Could

Those who say,
They can not understand...
Why their children lack respect and discipline,
Will always say they did the best they could...
To raise them to be good children.

But the teaching to them to be responsble men,
And women accountable for their actions?
Well...many with children are too busy,
Wanting their children to see them as their friends.
And not examples of adults to set for them.

'And...
How many children do you have? '

None.

'OH?
And you think you can speak on this,
From a position of authority? '

No.
I speak from a position of having peace of mind.
I will never be envious of those emotionally manipulated,
For the rest of their lives.
However...
I have often wanted grandchildren.

'But...
Wouldn't you have to have children FIRST? '

And that one 'detail' alone...
Is the reason why,
I chose to keep my peace of mind.

'It's never too late you know? '

Didn't you just hear me say,
I chose to keep my peace of mind,
Over sitting in a prison cell for the rest of my life?

'No.
I didn't hear that last statement.'

It came to me quickly as a vision.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Where Did The Echo Of Laughter Go

My mind, and thoughts float
all in darkness these days.
I do not have any ambition
left in me.

My mind slumbers the days
away.
I've been disconsolate
for so long.

God give me the will
to drag these old
bones from this bed.

I want to unlock and open
that window,
to life, and laughter.
once again.

I want and need to feel
alive again.


People use to say
I was funny.
Where did the echo
of my laughter go?

I use to think laughter
was part of life.I use
to laugh at a funny
joke.

lugubrious is not
what I want now
in life.

My window is only
open to laughter
and blue sky.
now.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Where Did The Love Go

Where did the love go, what made the love you had go
My heart once more shattered, please tell me it isn't so
My bruised and broken heart bleed tears for what should have been forever
You promised in front of God to love me through thick and thin
I'ts over for you, For me it just begins

I shall never love another, just live day to day with all this pain
I'm so tired of loving alone, it just hurts too bad, I'm not to blame
You've let me go, even though i'm still here
I will continue to hang on no matter where you steer

I am a walking robot in your world, I will not show defeat
I will act like I don't care, I will not let you see my heartbeat
You will be dead to my heart, I will smile through my mask
You really lost this time love, I cannot afford to love, it's become a task!

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Ape And God

Son put a poser up to me
That made me scratch my head:
"God made the whole wide world," quoth he;
"That's right, my boy," I said.
Said son: "He mad the mountains soar,
And all the plains lie flat;
But Dad, what did he do before
He did all that?

Said I: "Creation was his biz;
He set the stars to shine;
The sun and moon and all that is
Were His unique design.
The Cosmos is his concrete thought,
The Universe his chore..."
Said Son: "I understand, but what
Did He before?"

I gave it up; I could not cope
With his enquiring prod,
And must admit I've little hope
Of understanding God.
Indeed I find more to my mind
The monkey in the tree
In whose crude form Nature defined
Our human destiny.

Thought I: "Why search for Deity
In visionary shape?
'Twould better be if we could see
The angel in the ape.
Let mystic seek a God above:
Far wiser he who delves,
To find in kindliness and love
God in ourselves."

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

When Did the Age of Bigoted Prudery Begin?

There was a lot of begetting to be gotten,
In those biblical days of yore.
With sexual entanglements experienced.
And less monitoring of it.

Today there is a fascination,
With what is between whose legs.
And the size and freshness of it.

As those who stride with self righteousness...
Seem to pinch a little tighter,
Those corks held snuggly in stiffened butts.
With the hopes that their praises to the Lord...
Will pierce through the heavens.
And those who are no longer virgins...
Will find themselves forgiven for being gratified.
And enjoying the act of sex!

'When did the Age of Bigoted Prudery begin? '

During the time those selected for loans
Were declared to have good credit.
And 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas'
Became quite a successful adventure for some.

And I might add,
In the 'Bible Belt'!
Where it is known...
They wet and wear their sheets!

'Isn't that hypocritical?
To both hate and degrade themselves,
By the obviousness of their own actions?

No!
You remember Casper the Ghost?
Cute and mischievous.
A little 'freaky' but amusing as well.
Had good intentions.
But no one understood why he just couldn't stay,
On the other side!
And leave well enough alone.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Seeking the Best and Freshest Poontang They Could Get

Loose poontang was all over the place.
Some was sold but most was given away.

The sailors would dock upon these shores...
Many years ago!
Seeking the best and freshest poontang they could get.
And leaving the townspeople with resources...
Some hoarded and most adored for the ease,
This abundance left them...
To feed their sleazy greedy needs!

The critics wished to address,
The freshness of the poontang.
Disclaiming this did not represent...
Images they declared misunderstood when presented.
They wanted it to be widely known...
They are of the self righteous kind!
At least the wanted this kept charaded.

But no one would deny,
The poontang kept their manicured pretentions...
From taking an economic nose dive.
And those who came to taste and marvel the poontang agreed...
This adventure was no different than casinos.
And perhaps legalizing this mischief,
Would increase their incomes and not have their dollars bleed.

And so it was!
Poontang began to lift low spirits.
Thus providing another rewritten chapter...
To raise the stakes.
And erase the already lowered levels of tolerance!
Afterall...
It is about that dollar!
And how to achieve getting it without offending dignities!

Even the gutter can become cherished,
When the status of it is upgraded!
And marketed as such!
Giving it a refurbished quality of class and snob appeal!
Everyone will want to have a piece of it!
And so the gutters too,
Were painted to induce captivating reflections of rainbows.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Triumphs Of Philamore And Amoret. To The Noblest Of Our Youth And Best Of Friends, Charles Cotton, Esquire. Being At Berisford, At His House In Straffordshire. From London. A Poem

Sir, your sad absence I complain, as earth
Her long-hid spring, that gave her verdures birth,
Who now her cheerful aromatick head
Shrinks in her cold and dismal widow'd bed;
Whilst the false sun her lover doth him move
Below, and to th' antipodes make love.

What fate was mine, when in mine obscure cave
(Shut up almost close prisoner in a grave)
Your beams could reach me through this vault of night,
And canton the dark dungeon with light!
Whence me (as gen'rous Spahys) you unbound,
Whilst I now know my self both free and crown'd.

But as at Meccha's tombe, the devout blind
Pilgrim (great husband of his sight and mind)
Pays to no other object this chast prise,
Then with hot earth anoynts out both his eyes:
So having seen your dazling glories store,
It is enough, and sin for to see more.

Or, do you thus those pretious rayes withdraw
To whet my dull beams, keep my bold in aw?
Or, are you gentle and compassionate,
You will not reach me Regulus his fate?
Brave prince! who, eagle-ey'd of eagle kind,
Wert blindly damn'd to look thine own self blind!

But oh, return those fires, too cruel-nice!
For whilst you fear me cindars, see, I'm ice!
A nummed speaking clod and mine own show,
My self congeal'd, a man cut out in snow:
Return those living fires. Thou, who that vast
Double advantage from one-ey'd Heav'n hast,
Look with one sun, though 't but obliquely be,
And if not shine, vouchsafe to wink on me.

Perceive you not a gentle, gliding heat,
And quick'ning warmth, that makes the statua sweat;
As rev'rend Ducaleon's black-flung stone,
Whose rough outside softens to skin, anon
Each crusty vein with wet red is suppli'd,
Whilst nought of stone but in its heart doth 'bide.

So from the rugged north, where your soft stay
Hath stampt them a meridian and kind day;
Where now each A LA MODE inhabitant
Himself and 's manners both do pay you rent,
And 'bout your house (your pallace) doth resort,
And 'spite of fate and war creates a court.

So from the taught north, when you shall return,
To glad those looks that ever since did mourn,
When men uncloathed of themselves you'l see,
Then start new made, fit, what they ought to be;
Hast! hast! you, that your eyes on rare sights feed:
For thus the golden triumph is decreed.

The twice-born god, still gay and ever young,
With ivie crown'd, first leads the glorious throng:
He Ariadne's starry coronet
Designs for th' brighter beams of Amoret;
Then doth he broach his throne, and singing quaff
Unto her health his pipe of god-head off.

Him follow the recanting, vexing Nine
Who, wise, now sing thy lasting fame in wine;
Whilst Phoebus, not from th' east, your feast t' adorn,
But from th' inspir'd Canaries, rose this morn.

Now you are come, winds in their caverns sit,
And nothing breaths, but new-inlarged wit.
Hark! One proclaims it piacle to be sad,
And th' people call 't religion to be mad.

But now, as at a coronation,
When noyse, the guard, and trumpets are oreblown,
The silent commons mark their princes way,
And with still reverence both look and pray;
So they amaz'd expecting do adore,
And count the rest but pageantry before.

Behold! an hoast of virgins, pure as th' air
In her first face, ere mists durst vayl her hair:
Their snowy vests, white as their whiter skin,
Or their far chaster whiter thoughts within:
Roses they breath'd and strew'd, as if the fine
Heaven did to earth his wreath of swets resign;
They sang aloud: "THRICE, OH THRICE HAPPY, THEY
THAT CAN, LIKE THESE, IN LOVE BOTH YIELD AND SWAY."

Next herald Fame (a purple clowd her bears),
In an imbroider'd coat of eyes and ears,
Proclaims the triumph, and these lovers glory,
Then in a book of steel records the story.

And now a youth of more than god-like form
Did th' inward minds of the dumb throng alarm;
All nak'd, each part betray'd unto the eye,
Chastly: for neither sex ow'd he or she.
And this was heav'nly love. By his bright hand,
A boy of worse than earthly stuff did stand;
His bow broke, his fires out, and his wings clipt,
And the black slave from all his false flames stript;
Whose eyes were new-restor'd but to confesse
This day's bright blisse, and his own wretchednesse;
Who, swell'd with envy, bursting with disdain,
Did cry to cry, and weep them out again.

And now what heav'n must I invade, what sphere
Rifle of all her stars, t' inthrone her there?
No! Phoebus, by thy boys fate we beware
Th' unruly flames o'th' firebrand, thy carr;
Although, she there once plac'd, thou, Sun, shouldst see
Thy day both nobler governed and thee.
Drive on, Bootes, thy cold heavy wayn,
Then grease thy wheels with amber in the main,
And Neptune, thou to thy false Thetis gallop,
Appollo's set within thy bed of scallop:
Whilst Amoret, on the reconciled winds
Mounted, and drawn by six caelestial minds,
She armed was with innocence and fire,
That did not burn; for it was chast desire;
Whilst a new light doth gild the standers by.
Behold! it was a day shot from her eye;
Chafing perfumes oth' East did throng and sweat,
But by her breath they melting back were beat.
A crown of yet-nere-lighted stars she wore,
In her soft hand a bleeding heart she bore,
And round her lay of broken millions more;
Then a wing'd crier thrice aloud did call:
LET FAME PROCLAIM THIS ONE GREAT PRISE FOR ALL.

By her a lady that might be call'd fair,
And justly, but that Amoret was there,
Was pris'ner led; th' unvalewed robe she wore
Made infinite lay lovers to adore,
Who vainly tempt her rescue (madly bold)
Chained in sixteen thousand links of gold;
Chrysetta thus (loaden with treasures) slave
Did strow the pass with pearls, and her way pave.

But loe! the glorious cause of all this high
True heav'nly state, brave Philamore, draws nigh,
Who, not himself, more seems himself to be,
And with a sacred extasie doth see!
Fix'd and unmov'd on 's pillars he doth stay,
And joy transforms him his own statua;
Nor hath he pow'r to breath [n]or strength to greet
The gentle offers of his Amoret,
Who now amaz'd at 's noble breast doth knock,
And with a kiss his gen'rous heart unlock;
Whilst she and the whole pomp doth enter there,
Whence her nor Time nor Fate shall ever tear.
But whether am I hurl'd? ho! back! awake
From thy glad trance: to thine old sorrow take!
Thus, after view of all the Indies store,
The slave returns unto his chain and oar;
Thus poets, who all night in blest heav'ns dwell,
Are call'd next morn to their true living hell;
So I unthrifty, to myself untrue,
Rise cloath'd with real wants, 'cause wanting you,
And what substantial riches I possesse,
I must to these unvalued dreams confesse.

But all our clowds shall be oreblown, when thee
In our horizon bright once more we see;
When thy dear presence shall our souls new-dress,
And spring an universal cheerfulnesse;
When we shall be orewhelm'd in joy, like they
That change their night for a vast half-year's day.

Then shall the wretched few, that do repine,
See and recant their blasphemies in wine;
Then shall they grieve, that thought I've sung too free,
High and aloud of thy true worth and thee,
And their fowl heresies and lips submit
To th' all-forgiving breath of Amoret;
And me alone their angers object call,
That from my height so miserably did fall;
And crie out my invention thin and poor,
Who have said nought, since I could say no more.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The God Of The Poor

There was a lord that hight Maltete,
Among great lords he was right great,
On poor folk trod he like the dirt,
None but God might do him hurt.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

With a grace of prayers sung loud and late
Many a widow’s house he ate;
Many a poor knight at his hands
Lost his house and narrow lands.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

He burnt the harvests many a time,
He made fair houses heaps of lime;
Whatso man loved wife or maid
Of Evil-head was sore afraid.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

He slew good men and spared the bad;
Too long a day the foul dog had,
E’en as all dogs will have their day;
But God is as strong as man, I say.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

For a valiant knight, men called Boncoeur,
Had hope he should not long endure,
And gathered to him much good folk,
Hardy hearts to break the yoke.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

But Boncoeur deemed it would be vain
To strive his guarded house to gain;
Therefore, within a little while,
He set himself to work by guile.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

He knew that Maltete loved right well
Red gold and heavy. If from hell
The Devil had cried, “Take this gold cup,”
Down had he gone to fetch it up.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

Twenty poor men’s lives were nought
To him, beside a ring well wrought.
The pommel of his hunting-knife
Was worth ten times a poor man’s life.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

A squire new-come from over-sea
Boncoeur called to him privily,
And when he knew his lord’s intent,
Clad like a churl therefrom he went.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

But when he came where dwelt Maltete,
With few words did he pass the gate,
For Maltete built him walls anew,
And, wageless, folk from field he drew.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

Now passed the squire through this and that,
Till he came to where Sir Maltete sat,
And over red wine wagged his beard:
Then spoke the squire as one afeard.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Lord, give me grace, for privily
I have a little word for thee.”
“Speak out,” said Maltete, “have no fear,
For how can thy life to thee be dear?”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Such an one I know,” he said,
“Who hideth store of money red.”
Maltete grinned at him cruelly:
“Thou florin-maker, come anigh.”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“E’en such as thou once preached of gold,
And showed me lies in books full old,
Nought gat I but evil brass,
Therefore came he to the worser pass.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Hast thou will to see his skin?
I keep my heaviest marks therein,
For since nought else of wealth had he,
I deemed full well he owed it me.”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Nought know I of philosophy,”
The other said, “nor do I lie.
Before the moon begins to shine,
May all this heap of gold be thine.”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Ten leagues from this a man there is,
Who seemeth to know but little bliss,
And yet full many a pound of gold
A dry well nigh his house doth hold.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“John-a-Wood is he called, fair lord,
Nor know I whence he hath this hoard.”
Then Maltete said, “As God made me,
A wizard over-bold is he!”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“It were a good deed, as I am a knight,
To burn him in a fire bright;
This John-a-Wood shall surely die,
And his gold in my strong chest shall lie.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“This very night, I make mine avow,
The truth of this mine eyes shall know.”
Then spoke an old knight in the hall,
“Who knoweth what things may befall?”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

I rede thee go with a great rout,
For thy foes they ride thick about.”
“Thou and the devil may keep my foes,
Thou redest me this gold to lose.
Deus est Deus pauperum.”

I shall go with but some four or five,
So shall I take my thief alive.
For if a great rout he shall see,
Will he not hide his wealth from me?”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

The old knight muttered under his breath,
“Then mayhap ye shall but ride to death.”
But Maltete turned him quickly round,
“Bind me this gray-beard under ground!
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Because ye are old, ye think to jape.
Take heed, ye shall not long escape.
When I come back safe, old carle, perdie,
Thine head shall brush the linden-tree.”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

Therewith he rode with his five men,
And Boncoeur’s spy, for good leagues ten,
Until they left the beaten way,
And dusk it grew at end of day.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

There, in a clearing of the wood,
Was John’s house, neither fair nor good.
In a ragged plot his house anigh,
Thin coleworts grew but wretchedly.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

John-a-Wood in his doorway sat,
Turning over this and that,
And chiefly how he best might thrive,
For he had will enough to live.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

Green coleworts from a wooden bowl
He ate; but careful was his soul,
For if he saw another day,
Thenceforth was he in Boncoeur’s pay.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

So when he saw how Maltete came,
He said, “Beginneth now the game!”
And in the doorway did he stand
Trembling, with hand joined fast to hand.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

When Maltete did this carle behold
Somewhat he doubted of his gold,
But cried out, “Where is now thy store
Thou hast through books of wicked lore?”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

Then said the poor man, right humbly,
“Fair lord, this was not made by me,
I found it in mine own dry well,
And had a mind thy grace to tell.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Therefrom, my lord, a cup I took
This day, that thou thereon mightst look,
And know me to be leal and true,”
And from his coat the cup he drew.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

Then Maltete took it in his hand,
Nor knew he ought that it used to stand
On Boncoeur’s cupboard many a day.
“Go on,” he said, “and show the way.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Give me thy gold, and thou shalt live,
Yea, in my house thou well mayst thrive.”
John turned about and ’gan to go
Unto the wood with footsteps slow.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

But as they passed by John’s woodstack,
Growled Maltete, “Nothing now doth lack
Wherewith to light a merry fire,
And give my wizard all his hire.”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

The western sky was red as blood,
Darker grew the oaken-wood;
“Thief and carle, where are ye gone?
Why are we in the wood alone?
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“What is the sound of this mighty horn?
Ah, God! that ever I was born!
The basnets flash from tree to tree;
Show me, thou Christ, the way to flee!”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

Boncoeur it was with fifty men;
Maltete was but one to ten,
And his own folk prayed for grace,
With empty hands in that lone place.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Grace shall ye have,” Boncoeur said,
“All of you but Evil-head.”
Lowly could that great lord be,
Who could pray so well as he?
Deus est Deus pauperum.

Then could Maltete howl and cry,
Little will he had to die.
Soft was his speech, now it was late,
But who had will to save Maltete?
Deus est Deus pauperum.

They brought him to the house again,
And toward the road he looked in vain.
Lonely and bare was the great highway,
Under the gathering moonlight grey.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

They took off his gilt basnet,
That he should die there was no let;
They took off his coat of steel,
A damned man he well might feel.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Will ye all be rich as kings,
Lacking naught of all good things?”
“Nothing do we lack this eve;
When thou art dead, how can we grieve?”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Let me drink water ere I die,
None henceforth comes my lips anigh.”
They brought it him in that bowl of wood.
He said, “This is but poor men’s blood!”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

They brought it him in the cup of gold.
He said, “The women I have sold
Have wept it full of salt for me;
I shall die gaping thirstily.”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

On the threshold of that poor homestead
They smote off his evil head;
They set it high on a great spear,
And rode away with merry cheer.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

At the dawn, in lordly state,
They rode to Maltete’s castle-gate.
“Whoso willeth laud to win,
Make haste to let your masters in!”
Deus est Deus pauperum.

Forthwith opened they the gate,
No man was sorry for Maltete.
Boncoeur conquered all his lands,
A good knight was he of his hands.
Dens est Deus pauperum.

Good men he loved, and hated bad;
Joyful days and sweet he had;
Good deeds did he plenteously;
Beneath him folk lived frank and free.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

He lived long, with merry days;
None said aught of him but praise.
God on him have full mercy;
A good knight merciful was he.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

The great lord, called Maltete, is dead;
Grass grows above his feet and head,
And a holly-bush grows up between
His rib-bones gotten white and clean.
Deus est Deus pauperum.

A carle’s sheep-dog certainly
Is a mightier thing than he.
Till London-bridge shall cross the Nen,
Take we heed of such-like men.
Dens est Deus pauperum.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
John Dryden

Palamon And Arcite; Or The Knight's Tale. From Chaucer. In Three Books. Book II.

While Arcite lives in bliss, the story turns
Where hopeless Palamon in prison mourns.
For six long years immured, the captive knight
Had dragged his chains, and scarcely seen the light:
Lost liberty and love at once he bore;
His prison pained him much, his passion more:
Nor dares he hope his fetters to remove,
Nor ever wishes to be free from love.
But when the sixth revolving year was run,
And May within the Twins received the sun,
Were it by Chance, or forceful Destiny,
Which forms in causes first whate'er shall be,
Assisted by a friend one moonless night,
This Palamon from prison took his flight:
A pleasant beverage he prepared before
Of wine and honey mixed, with added store
Of opium; to his keeper this he brought,
Who swallowed unaware the sleepy draught,
And snored secure till morn, his senses bound
In slumber, and in long oblivion drowned.
Short was the night, and careful Palamon
Sought the next covert ere the rising sun.
A thick-spread forest near the city lay,
To this with lengthened strides he took his way,
(For far he could not fly, and feared the day.)

Safe from pursuit, he meant to shun the light,
Till the brown shadows of the friendly night
To Thebes might favour his intended flight.
When to his country come, his next design
Was all the Theban race in arms to join,
And war on Theseus, till he lost his life,
Or won the beauteous Emily to wife.
Thus while his thoughts the lingering day beguile,
To gentle Arcite let us turn our style;
Who little dreamt how nigh he was to care,
Till treacherous fortune caught him in the snare.
The morning-lark, the messenger of day,
Saluted in her song the morning gray;
And soon the sun arose with beams so bright,
That all the horizon laughed to see the joyous sight;
He with his tepid rays the rose renews,
And licks the dropping leaves, and dries the dews;
When Arcite left his bed, resolved to pay
Observance to the month of merry May,
Forth on his fiery steed betimes he rode,
That scarcely prints the turf on which he trod:
At ease he seemed, and prancing o'er the plains,
Turned only to the grove his horse's reins,
The grove I named before, and, lighting there,
A woodbind garland sought to crown his hair;
Then turned his face against the rising day,
And raised his voice to welcome in the May:
“For thee, sweet month, the groves green liveries wear,
If not the first, the fairest of the year:
For thee the Graces lead the dancing hours,
And Nature's ready pencil paints the flowers:
When thy short reign is past, the feverish sun
The sultry tropic fears, and moves more slowly on.
So may thy tender blossoms fear no blight,
Nor goats with venomed teeth thy tendrils bite,
As thou shalt guide my wandering feet to find
The fragrant greens I seek, my brows to bind.”
His vows addressed, within the grove he strayed,
Till Fate or Fortune near the place conveyed
His steps where secret Palamon was laid.
Full little thought of him the gentle knight,
Who flying death had there concealed his flight,
In brakes and brambles hid, and shunning mortal sight;
And less he knew him for his hated foe,
But feared him as a man he did not know.
But as it has been said of ancient years,
That fields are full of eyes and woods have ears,
For this the wise are ever on their guard,
For unforeseen, they say, is unprepared.
Uncautious Arcite thought himself alone,
And less than all suspected Palamon,
Who, listening, heard him, while he searched the grove,
And loudly sung his roundelay of love:
But on the sudden stopped, and silent stood,
(As lovers often muse, and change their mood
Now high as heaven, and then as low as hell,
Now up, now down, as buckets in a well:
For Venus, like her day, will change her cheer,
And seldom shall we see a Friday clear.
Thus Arcite, having sung, with altered hue
Sunk on the ground, and from his bosom drew
A desperate sigh, accusing Heaven and Fate,
And angry Juno's unrelenting hate:
“Cursed be the day when first I did appear;
Let it be blotted from the calendar,
Lest it pollute the month, and poison all the year.
Still will the jealous Queen pursue our race?
Cadmus is dead, the Theban city was:
Yet ceases not her hate; for all who come
From Cadmus are involved in Cadmus' doom.
I suffer for my blood: unjust decree,
That punishes another's crime on me.
In mean estate I serve my mortal foe,
The man who caused my country's overthrow.
This is not all; for Juno, to my shame,
Has forced me to forsake my former name;
Arcite I was, Philostratus I am.
That side of heaven is all my enemy:
Mars ruined Thebes; his mother ruined me.
Of all the royal race remains but one
Besides myself, the unhappy Palamon,
Whom Theseus holds in bonds and will not free;
Without a crime, except his kin to me.
Yet these and all the rest I could endure;
But love's a malady without a cure:
Fierce Love has pierced me with his fiery dart,
He fires within, and hisses at my heart.
Your eyes, fair Emily, my fate pursue;
I suffer for the rest, I die for you.
Of such a goddess no time leaves record,
Who burned the temple where she was adored:
And let it burn, I never will complain,
Pleased with my sufferings, if you knew my pain.”
At this a sickly qualm his heart assailed,
His ears ring inward, and his senses failed.
No word missed Palamon of all he spoke;
But soon to deadly pale he changed his look:
He trembled every limb, and felt a smart,
As if cold steel had glided through his heart;
Nor longer stayed, but starting from his place,
Discovered stood, and showed his hostile face:
“False traitor, Arcite, traitor to thy blood,
Bound by thy sacred oath to seek my good,
Now art thou found forsworn for Emily,
And darest attempt her love, for whom I die.
So hast thou cheated Theseus with a wile,
Against thy vow, returning to beguile
Under a borrowed name: as false to me,
So false thou art to him who set thee free.
But rest assured, that either thou shalt die,
Or else renounce thy claim in Emily;
For, though unarmed I am, and freed by chance,
Am here without my sword or pointed lance,
Hope not, base man, unquestioned hence to go,
For I am Palamon, thy mortal foe.”
Arcite, who heard his tale and knew the man,
His sword unsheathed, and fiercely thus began:
“Now, by the gods who govern heaven above,
Wert thou not weak with hunger, mad with love,
That word had been thy last; or in this grove
This hand should force thee to renounce thy love;
The surety which I gave thee I defy:
Fool, not to know that love endures no tie,
And Jove but laughs at lovers' perjury.
Know, I will serve the fair in thy despite:
But since thou art my kinsman and a knight,
Here, have my faith, to-morrow in this grove
Our arms shall plead the titles of our love:
And Heaven so help my right, as I alone
Will come, and keep the cause and quarrel both unknown,
With arms of proof both for myself and thee;
Choose thou the best, and leave the worst to me.
And, that at better ease thou mayest abide,
Bedding and clothes I will this night provide,
And needful sustenance, that thou mayest be
A conquest better won, and worthy me.”

His promise Palamon accepts; but prayed,
To keep it better than the first he made.
Thus fair they parted till the morrow's dawn;
For each had laid his plighted faith to pawn;
Oh Love! thou sternly dost thy power maintain,
And wilt not bear a rival in thy reign!
Tyrants and thou all fellowship disdain.
This was in Arcite proved and Palamon:
Both in despair, yet each would love alone.
Arcite returned, and, as in honour tied,
His foe with bedding and with food supplied;
Then, ere the day, two suits of armour sought,
Which borne before him on his steed he brought:
Both were of shining steel, and wrought so pure
As might the strokes of two such arms endure.
Now, at the time, and in the appointed place,
The challenger and challenged, face to face,
Approach; each other from afar they knew,
And from afar their hatred changed their hue.
So stands the Thracian herdsman with his spear,
Full in the gap, and hopes the hunted bear,
And hears him rustling in the wood, and sees
His course at distance by the bending trees:
And thinks, Here comes my mortal enemy,
And either he must fall in fight, or I:
This while he thinks, he lifts aloft his dart;
A generous chillness seizes every part,
The veins pour back the blood, and fortify the heart.

Thus pale they meet; their eyes with fury burn;
None greets, for none the greeting will return;
But in dumb surliness each armed with care
His foe professed, as brother of the war;
Then both, no moment lost, at once advance
Against each other, armed with sword and lance:
They lash, they foin, they pass, they strive to bore
Their corslets, and the thinnest parts explore.
Thus two long hours in equal arms they stood,
And wounded wound, till both are bathed in blood
And not a foot of ground had either got,
As if the world depended on the spot.
Fell Arcite like an angry tiger fared,
And like a lion Palamon appeared:
Or, as two boars whom love to battle draws,
With rising bristles and with frothy jaws,
Their adverse breasts with tusks oblique they wound
With grunts and groans the forest rings around.
So fought the knights, and fighting must abide,
Till Fate an umpire sends their difference to decide.
The power that ministers to God's decrees,
And executes on earth what Heaven foresees,
Called Providence, or Chance, or Fatal sway,
Comes with resistless force, and finds or makes her way.
Nor kings, nor nations, nor united power
One moment can retard the appointed hour,
And some one day, some wondrous chance appears,
Which happened not in centuries of years:
For sure, whate'er we mortals hate or love
Or hope or fear depends on powers above:
They move our appetites to good or ill,
And by foresight necessitate the will.
In Theseus this appears, whose youthful joy
Was beasts of chase in forests to destroy;
This gentle knight, inspired by jolly May,
Forsook his easy couch at early day,
And to the wood and wilds pursued his way.
Beside him rode Hippolita the queen,
And Emily attired in lively green,
With horns and hounds and all the tuneful cry,
To hunt a royal hart within the covert nigh:
And, as he followed Mars before, so now
He serves the goddess of the silver bow.
The way that Theseus took was to the wood,
Where the two knights in cruel battle stood:
The laund on which they fought, the appointed place
In which the uncoupled hounds began the chase.
Thither forth-right he rode to rouse the prey,
That shaded by the fern in harbour lay;
And thence dislodged, was wont to leave the wood
For open fields, and cross the crystal flood.
Approached, and looking underneath the sun,
He saw proud Arcite and fierce Palamon,
In mortal battle doubling blow on blow;
Like lightning flamed their fauchions to and fro,
And shot a dreadful gleam; so strong they strook,
There seemed less force required to fell an oak.
He gazed with wonder on their equal might,
Looked eager on, but knew not either knight.
Resolved to learn, he spurred his fiery steed
With goring rowels to provoke his speed.
The minute ended that began the race,
So soon he was betwixt them on the place;
And with his sword unsheathed, on pain of life
Commands both combatants to cease their strife;
Then with imperious tone pursues his threat:
“What are you? why in arms together met?
How dares your pride presume against my laws,
As in a listed field to fight your cause,
Unasked the royal grant; no marshal by,
As knightly rites require, nor judge to try?”
Then Palamon, with scarce recovered breath,
Thus hasty spoke: “We both deserve the death,
And both would die; for look the world around,
And pity soonest runs in gentle minds;
Then reasons with himself; and first he finds
His passion cast a mist before his sense,
And either made or magnified the offence.
Offence? Of what? To whom? Who judged the cause?
The prisoner freed himself by Nature's laws;
Born free, he sought his right; the man he freed
Was perjured, but his love excused the deed:
Thus pondering, he looked under with his eyes,
And saw the women's tears, and heard their cries,
Which moved compassion more; he shook his head,
And softly sighing to himself he said:

Curse on the unpardoning prince, whom tears can draw
“To no remorse, who rules by lion's law;
And deaf to prayers, by no submission bowed,
Rends all alike, the penitent and proud!”
At this with look serene he raised his head;
Reason resumed her place, and passion fled:
Then thus aloud he spoke:—” The power of Love,
“In earth, and seas, and air, and heaven above,
Rules, unresisted, with an awful nod,
By daily miracles declared a god;
He blinds the wise, gives eye-sight to the blind;
And moulds and stamps anew the lover's mind.
Behold that Arcite, and this Palamon,
Freed from my fetters, and in safety gone,
What hindered either in their native soil
At ease to reap the harvest of their toil?
But Love, their lord, did otherwise ordain,
And brought them, in their own despite again,
To suffer death deserved; for well they know
'Tis in my power, and I their deadly foe.
The proverb holds, that to be wise and love,
Is hardly granted to the gods above.
See how the madmen bleed! behold the gains
With which their master, Love, rewards their pains!
For seven long years, on duty every day,
Lo! their obedience, and their monarch's pay!
Yet, as in duty bound, they serve him on;
And ask the fools, they think it wisely done;
Nor ease nor wealth nor life it self regard,
For 'tis their maxim, love is love's reward.
This is not all; the fair, for whom they strove,
Nor knew before, nor could suspect their love,
Nor thought, when she beheld the fight from far,
Her beauty was the occasion of the war.
But sure a general doom on man is past,
And all are fools and lovers, first or last:
This both by others and my self I know,
For I have served their sovereign long ago;
Oft have been caught within the winding train
Of female snares, and felt the lover's pain,
And learned how far the god can human hearts constrain.
To this remembrance, and the prayers of those
Who for the offending warriors interpose,
I give their forfeit lives, on this accord,
To do me homage as their sovereign lord;
And as my vassals, to their utmost might,
Assist my person and assert my right.”
This freely sworn, the knights their grace obtained;
Then thus the King his secret thought explained:
“If wealth or honour or a royal race,
Or each or all, may win a lady's grace,
Then either of you knights may well deserve
A princess born; and such is she you serve:
For Emily is sister to the crown,
And but too well to both her beauty known:
But should you combat till you both were dead,
Two lovers cannot share a single bed
As, therefore, both are equal in degree,
The lot of both be left to destiny.
Now hear the award, and happy may it prove
To her, and him who best deserves her love.
Depart from hence in peace, and free as air,
Search the wide world, and where you please repair;
But on the day when this returning sun
To the same point through every sign has run,
Then each of you his hundred knights shall bring
In royal lists, to fight before the king;
And then the knight, whom Fate or happy Chance
Shall with his friends to victory advance,
And grace his arms so far in equal fight,
From out the bars to force his opposite,
Or kill, or make him recreant on the plain,
The prize of valour and of love shall gain;
The vanquished party shall their claim release,
And the long jars conclude in lasting peace.
The charge be mine to adorn the chosen ground,
The theatre of war, for champions so renowned;
And take the patron's place of either knight,
With eyes impartial to behold the fight;
And Heaven of me so judge as I shall judge aright.
If both are satisfied with this accord,
Swear by the laws of knighthood on my sword.”

Who now but Palamon exults with joy?
And ravished Arcite seems to touch the sky.
The whole assembled troop was pleased as well,
Extolled the award, and on their knees they fell
To bless the gracious King. The knights, with leave
Departing from the place, his last commands receive;
On Emily with equal ardour look,
And from her eyes their inspiration took:
From thence to Thebes' old walls pursue their way,
Each to provide his champions for the day.

It might be deemed, on our historian's part,
Or too much negligence or want of art,
If he forgot the vast magnificence
Of royal Theseus, and his large expense.
He first enclosed for lists a level ground,
The whole circumference a mile around;
The form was circular; and all without
A trench was sunk, to moat the place about.
Within, an amphitheatre appeared,
Raised in degrees, to sixty paces reared:
That when a man was placed in one degree,
Height was allowed for him above to see.

Eastward was built a gate of marble white;
The like adorned the western opposite.
A nobler object than this fabric was
Rome never saw, nor of so vast a space:
For, rich with spoils of many a conquered land,
All arts and artists Theseus could command,
Who sold for hire, or wrought for better fame;
The master-painters and the carvers came.
So rose within the compass of the year
An age's work, a glorious theatre.
Then o'er its eastern gate was raised above
A temple, sacred to the Queen of Love;
An altar stood below; on either hand
A priest with roses crowned, who held a myrtle wand.

The dome of Mars was on the gate opposed,
And on the north a turret was enclosed
Within the wall of alabaster white
And crimson coral, for the Queen of Night,
Who takes in sylvan sports her chaste delight.

Within those oratories might you see
Rich carvings, portraitures, and imagery;
Where every figure to the life expressed
The godhead's power to whom it was addressed.
In Venus' temple on the sides were seen
The broken slumbers of enamoured men;
Prayers that even spoke, and pity seemed to call,
And issuing sighs that smoked along the wall;
Complaints and hot desires, the lover's hell,
And scalding tears that wore a channel where they fell;
And all around were nuptial bonds, the ties
Of love's assurance, and a train of lies,
That, made in lust, conclude in perjuries;
Beauty, and Youth, and Wealth, and Luxury,
And sprightly Hope and short-enduring Joy,
And Sorceries, to raise the infernal powers,
And Sigils framed in planetary hours;
Expense, and After-thought, and idle Care,
And Doubts of motley hue, and dark Despair;
Suspicions and fantastical Surmise,
And Jealousy suffused, with jaundice in her eyes,
Discolouring all she viewed, in tawny dressed,
Down-looked, and with a cuckow on her fist.
Opposed to her, on the other side advance
The costly feast, the carol, and the dance,
Minstrels and music, poetry and play,
And balls by night, and turnaments by day.
All these were painted on the wall, and more;
With acts and monuments of times before;
And others added by prophetic doom,
And lovers yet unborn, and loves to come:
For there the Idalian mount, and Citheron,
The court of Venus, was in colours drawn;
Before the palace gate, in careless dress
And loose array, sat portress Idleness;
There by the fount Narcissus pined alone;
There Samson was; with wiser Solomon,
And all the mighty names by love undone.
Medea's charms were there; Circean feasts,
With bowls that turned enamoured youths to beasts.
Here might be seen, that beauty, wealth, and wit,
And prowess to the power of love submit;
The spreading snare for all mankind is laid,
And lovers all betray, and are betrayed.
The Goddess' self some noble hand had wrought;
Smiling she seemed, and full of pleasing thought;
From ocean as she first began to rise,
And smoothed the ruffled seas, and cleared the skies,
She trod the brine, all bare below the breast,
And the green waves but ill-concealed the rest:
A lute she held; and on her head was seen
A wreath of roses red and myrtles green;
Her turtles fanned the buxom air above;
And by his mother stood an infant Love,
With wings unfledged; his eyes were banded o'er,
His hands a bow, his back, a quiver bore,
Supplied with arrows bright and keen, a deadly store.

But in the dome of mighty Mars the red
With different figures all the sides were spread;
This temple, less in form, with equal grace,
Was imitative of the first in Thrace;
For that cold region was the loved abode
And sovereign mansion of the warrior god.
The landscape was a forest wide and bare,
Where neither beast nor human kind repair,
The fowl that scent afar the borders fly,
And shun the bitter blast, and wheel about the sky.
A cake of scurf lies baking on the ground,
And prickly stubs, instead of trees, are found;
Or woods with knots and knares deformed and old,
Headless the most, and hideous to behold;
A rattling tempest through the branches went,
That stripped them bare, and one sole way they bent.
Heaven froze above severe, the clouds congeal,
And through the crystal vault appeared the standing hail.
Such was the face without: a mountain stood
Threatening from high, and overlooked the wood:
Beneath the lowering brow, and on a bent,
The temple stood of Mars armipotent;
The frame of burnished steel, that cast a glare
From far, and seemed to thaw the freezing air.
A straight long entry to the temple led,
Blind with high walls, and horror over head;
Thence issued such a blast, and hollow roar,
As threatened from the hinge to heave the door;
In through that door a northern light there shone;
'Twas all it had, for windows there were none.
The gate was adamant; eternal frame,
Which, hewed by Mars himself, from Indian quarries came,
The labour of a God; and all along
Tough iron plates were clenched to make it strong.
A tun about was every pillar there;
A polished mirror shone not half so clear.
There saw I how the secret felon wrought,
And treason labouring in the traitor's thought,
And midwife Time the ripened plot to murder brought.
There the red Anger dared the pallid Fear;
Next stood Hypocrisy, with holy leer,
Soft, smiling, and demurely looking down,
But hid the dagger underneath the gown;
The assassinating wife, the household fiend;
And far the blackest there, the traitor-friend.
On the other side there stood Destruction bare,
Unpunished Rapine, and a waste of war;
Contest with sharpened knives in cloisters drawn,
And all with blood bespread the holy lawn.
Loud menaces were heard, and foul disgrace,
And bawling infamy, in language base;
Till sense was lost in sound, and silence fled the place.
The slayer of himself yet saw I there,
The gore congealed was clotted in his hair;
With eyes half closed and gaping mouth he lay,
And grim as when he breathed his sullen soul away.
In midst of all the dome, Misfortune sate,
And gloomy Discontent, and fell Debate,
And Madness laughing in his ireful mood;
And armed Complaint on theft; and cries of blood.
There was the murdered corps, in covert laid,
And violent death in thousand shapes displayed:
The city to the soldier's rage resigned;
Successless wars, and poverty behind:
Ships burnt in fight, or forced on rocky shores,
And the rash hunter strangled by the boars:
The new-born babe by nurses overlaid;
And the cook caught within the raging fire he made.
All ills of Mars' his nature, flame and steel;
The gasping charioteer beneath the wheel
Of his own car; the ruined house that falls
And intercepts her lord betwixt the walls:
The whole division that to Mars pertains,
All trades of death that deal in steel for gains
Were there: the butcher, armourer, and smith,
Who forges sharpened fauchions, or the scythe.
The scarlet conquest on a tower was placed,
With shouts and soldiers' acclamations graced:
A pointed sword hung threatening o'er his head,
Sustained but by a slender twine of thread.
There saw I Mars his ides, the Capitol,
The seer in vain foretelling Caesar's fall;
The last Triumvirs, and the wars they move,
And Antony, who lost the world for love.
These, and a thousand more, the fane adorn;
Their fates were painted ere the men were born,
All copied from the heavens, and ruling force
Of the red star, in his revolving course.
The form of Mars high on a chariot stood,
All sheathed in arms, and gruffly looked the god;
Two geomantic figures were displayed
Above his head, a warrior and a maid,
One when direct, and one when retrograde.

Tired with deformities of death, I haste
To the third temple of Diana chaste.
A sylvan scene with various greens was drawn,
Shades on the sides, and on the midst a lawn;
The silver Cynthia, with her nymphs around,
Pursued the flying deer, the woods with horns resound:
Calisto there stood manifest of shame,
And, turned a bear, the northern star became:
Her son was next, and, by peculiar grace,
In the cold circle held the second place;
The stag Actson in the stream had spied
The naked huntress, and for seeing died;
His hounds, unknowing of his change, pursue
The chase, and their mistaken master slew.
Peneian Daphne too, was there to see,
Apollo's love before, and now his tree.
The adjoining fane the assembled Greeks expressed,
And hunting of the Calydonian beast.
OEnides' valour, and his envied prize;
The fatal power of Atalanta's eyes;
Diana's vengeance on the victor shown,
The murderess mother, and consuming son;
The Volscian queen extended on the plain,
The treason punished, and the traitor slain.
The rest were various huntings, well designed,
And savage beasts destroyed, of every kind.
The graceful goddess was arrayed in green;
About her feet were little beagles seen,
That watched with upward eyes the motions of their Queen.
Her legs were buskined, and the left before,
In act to shoot; a silver bow she bore,
And at her back a painted quiver wore.
She trod a wexing moon, that soon would wane,
And, drinking borrowed light, be filled again;
With downcast eyes, as seeming to survey
The dark dominions, her alternate sway.
Before her stood a woman in her throes,
And called Lucina's aid, her burden to disclose.
All these the painter drew with such command,
That Nature snatched the pencil from his hand,
Ashamed and angry that his art could feign,
And mend the tortures of a mother's pain.
Theseus beheld the fanes of every god,
And thought his mighty cost was well bestowed.
So princes now their poets should regard;
But few can write, and fewer can reward.

The theatre thus raised, the lists enclosed,
And all with vast magnificence disposed,
We leave the monarch pleased, and haste to bring
The knights to combat, and their arms to sing.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
John Dryden

Palamon And Arcite; Or, The Knight's Tale. From Chaucer. In Three Books. Book I.

In days of old there lived, of mighty fame,
A valiant Prince, and Theseus was his name;
A chief, who more in feats of arms excelled,
The rising nor the setting sun beheld.
Of Athens he was lord; much land he won,
And added foreign countries to his crown.
In Scythia with the warrior Queen he strove,
Whom first by force he conquered, then by love;
He brought in triumph back the beauteous dame,
With whom her sister, fair Emilia, came.
With honour to his home let Theseus ride,
With Love to friend, and Fortune for his guide,
And his victorious army at his side.
I pass their warlike pomp, their proud array,
Their shouts, their songs, their welcome on the way;
But, were it not too long, I would recite
The feats of Amazons, the fatal fight
Betwixt the hardy Queen and hero Knight;
The town besieged, and how much blood it cost
The female army, and the Athenian host;
The spousals of Hippolyta the Queen;
What tilts and turneys at the feast were seen;
The storm at their return, the ladies' fear:
But these and other things I must forbear.

The field is spacious I design to sow
With oxen far unfit to draw the plough:
The remnant of my tale is of a length
To tire your patience, and to waste my strength;
And trivial accidents shall be forborn,
That others may have time to take their turn,
As was at first enjoined us by mine host,
That he, whose tale is best and pleases most,
Should win his supper at our common cost.
And therefore where I left, I will pursue
This ancient story, whether false or true,
In hope it may be mended with a new.
The Prince I mentioned, full of high renown,
In this array drew near the Athenian town;
When, in his pomp and utmost of his pride
Marching, he chanced to cast his eye aside,
And saw a quire of mourning dames, who lay
By two and two across the common way:
At his approach they raised a rueful cry,
And beat their breasts, and held their hands on high,
Creeping and crying, till they seized at last
His courser's bridle and his feet embraced.
“Tell me,” said Theseus, “what and whence you are,
And why this funeral pageant you prepare?
Is this the welcome of my worthy deeds,
To meet my triumph in ill-omened weeds?
Or envy you my praise, and would destroy
With grief my pleasures, and pollute my joy?
Or are you injured, and demand relief?
Name your request, and I will ease your grief.”
The most in years of all the mourning train
Began; but swounded first away for pain;
Then scarce recovered spoke: “Nor envy we
“Thy great renown, nor grudge thy victory;
'Tis thine, O King, the afflicted to redress,
And fame has filled the world with thy success:
We wretched women sue for that alone,
Which of thy goodness is refused to none;
Let fall some drops of pity on our grief,
If what we beg be just, and we deserve relief;
For none of us, who now thy grace implore,
But held the rank of sovereign queen before;
Till, thanks to giddy Chance, which never bears
That mortal bliss should last for length of years,
She cast us headlong from our high estate,
And here in hope of thy return we wait,
And long have waited in the temple nigh,
Built to the gracious goddess Clemency.
But reverence thou the power whose name it bears,
Relieve the oppressed, and wipe the widows' tears.
I, wretched I, have other fortune seen,
The wife of Capaneus, and once a Queen;
At Thebes he fell; cursed be the fatal day!
And all the rest thou seest in this array
To make their moan their lords in battle lost,
Before that town besieged by our confederate host.
But Creon, old and impious, who commands
The Theban city, and usurps the lands,
Denies the rites of funeral fires to those
Whose breathless bodies yet he calls his foes.
Unburned, unburied, on a heap they lie;
Such is their fate, and such his tyranny;
No friend has leave to bear away the dead,
But with their lifeless limbs his hounds are fed.”
At this she shrieked aloud; the mournful train
Echoed her grief, and grovelling on the plain,
With groans, and hands upheld, to move his mind,
Besought his pity to their helpless kind.

The Prince was touched, his tears began to flow,
And, as his tender heart would break in two,
He sighed; and could not but their fate deplore,
So wretched now, so fortunate before.
Then lightly from his lofty steed he flew,
And raising one by one the suppliant crew,
To comfort each, full solemnly he swore,
That by the faith which knights to knighthood bore,
And whate'er else to chivalry belongs,
He would not cease, till he revenged their wrongs;
That Greece should see performed what he declared,
And cruel Creon find his just reward.
He said no more, but shunning all delay
Rode on, nor entered Athens on his way;
But left his sister and his queen behind,
And waved his royal banner in the wind,
Where in an argent field the God of War
Was drawn triumphant on his iron car.
Red was his sword, and shield, and whole attire,
And all the godhead seemed to glow with fire;
Even the ground glittered where the standard flew,
And the green grass was dyed to sanguine hue.
High on his pointed lance his pennon bore
His Cretan fight, the conquered Minotaur:
The soldiers shout around with generous rage,
And in that victory their own presage.
He praised their ardour, inly pleased to see
His host, the flower of Grecian chivalry.
All day he marched, and all the ensuing night,
And saw the city with returning light.
The process of the war I need not tell,
How Theseus conquered, and how Creon fell;
Or after, how by storm the walls were won,
Or how the victor sacked and burned the town;
How to the ladies he restored again
The bodies of their lords in battle slain;
And with what ancient rites they were interred;
All these to fitter time shall be deferred:
I spare the widows' tears, their woful cries,
And howling at their husbands' obsequies;
How Theseus at these funerals did assist,
And with what gifts the mourning dames dismissed.

Thus when the victor chief had Creon slain,
And conquered Thebes, he pitched upon the plain
His mighty camp, and when the day returned,
The country wasted and the hamlets burned,
And left the pillagers, to rapine bred,
Without control to strip and spoil the dead.

There, in a heap of slain, among the rest
Two youthful knights they found beneath a load oppressed
Of slaughtered foes, whom first to death they sent,
The trophies of their strength, a bloody monument.
Both fair, and both of royal blood they seemed,
Whom kinsmen to the crown the heralds deemed;
That day in equal arms they fought for fame;
Their swords, their shields, their surcoats were the same:
Close by each other laid they pressed the ground,
Their manly bosoms pierced with many a grisly wound;
Nor well alive nor wholly dead they were,
But some faint signs of feeble life appear;
The wandering breath was on the wing to part,
Weak was the pulse, and hardly heaved the heart.
These two were sisters' sons; and Arcite one,
Much famed in fields, with valiant Palamon.
From these their costly arms the spoilers rent,
And softly both conveyed to Theseus' tent:
Whom, known of Creon's line and cured with care,
He to his city sent as prisoners of the war;
Hopeless of ransom, and condemned to lie
In durance, doomed a lingering death to die.

This done, he marched away with warlike sound,
And to his Athens turned with laurels crowned,
Where happy long he lived, much loved, and more renowned.
But in a tower, and never to be loosed,
The woful captive kinsmen are enclosed.

Thus year by year they pass, and day by day,
Till once ('twas on the morn of cheerful May)
The young Emilia, fairer to be seen
Than the fair lily on the flowery green,
More fresh than May herself in blossoms new,
(For with the rosy colour strove her hue,)
Waked, as her custom was, before the day,
To do the observance due to sprightly May;
For sprightly May commands our youth to keep
The vigils of her night, and breaks their sluggard sleep;
Each gentle breast with kindly warmth she moves;
Inspires new flames, revives extinguished loves.
In this remembrance Emily ere day
Arose, and dressed herself in rich array;
Fresh as the month, and as the morning fair,
Adown her shoulders fell her length of hair:
A ribband did the braided tresses bind,
The rest was loose, and wantoned in the wind:
Aurora had but newly chased the night,
And purpled o'er the sky with blushing light,
When to the garden-walk she took her way,
To sport and trip along in cool of day,
And offer maiden vows in honour of the May. 190

At every turn she made a little stand,
And thrust among the thorns her lily hand
To draw the rose; and every rose she drew,
She shook the stalk, and brushed away the dew;

Then party-coloured flowers of white and red
She wove, to make a garland for her head:
This done, she sung and carolled out so clear,
That men and angels might rejoice to hear;
Even wondering Philomel forgot to sing,
And learned from her to welcome in the spring.
The tower, of which before was mention made,
Within whose keep the captive knights were laid,
Built of a large extent, and strong withal,
Was one partition of the palace wall;
The garden was enclosed within the square,
Where young Emilia took the morning air.

It happened Palamon, the prisoner knight,
Restless for woe, arose before the light,
And with his jailor's leave desired to breathe
An air more wholesome than the damps beneath.
This granted, to the tower he took his way,
Cheered with the promise of a glorious day;
Then cast a languishing regard around,
And saw with hateful eyes the temples crowned
With golden spires, and all the hostile ground.
He sighed, and turned his eyes, because he knew
'Twas but a larger jail he had in view;
Then looked below, and from the castle's height
Beheld a nearer and more pleasing sight;
The garden, which before he had not seen,
In spring's new livery clad of white and green,
Fresh flowers in wide parterres, and shady walks between.
This viewed, but not enjoyed, with arms across
He stood, reflecting on his country's loss;
Himself an object of the public scorn,
And often wished he never had been born.
At last (for so his destiny required),
With walking giddy, and with thinking tired,

He through a little window cast his sight,
Though thick of bars, that gave a scanty light;
But even that glimmering served him to descry
The inevitable charms of Emily.

Scarce had he seen, but, seized with sudden smart,
Stung to the quick, he felt it at his heart;
Struck blind with overpowering light he stood,
Then started back amazed, and cried aloud.

Young Arcite heard; and up he ran with haste,
To help his friend, and in his arms embraced;
And asked him why he looked so deadly wan,
And whence, and how, his change of cheer began?
Or who had done the offence? “But if,” said he,
“Your grief alone is hard captivity,
For love of Heaven with patience undergo
A cureless ill, since Fate will have it so:
So stood our horoscope in chains to lie,
And Saturn in the dungeon of the sky,
Or other baleful aspect, ruled our birth,
When all the friendly stars were under earth;
Whate'er betides, by Destiny 'tis done;
And better bear like men than vainly seek to shun.”
Nor of my bonds,” said Palamon again,
Nor of unhappy planets I complain;
But when my mortal anguish caused my cry,
The moment I was hurt through either eye;
Pierced with a random shaft, I faint away,
And perish with insensible decay:
A glance of some new goddess gave the wound,
Whom, like Actaeon, unaware I found.
Look how she walks along yon shady space;
Not Juno moves with more majestic grace,
And all the Cyprian queen is in her face.
If thou art Venus (for thy charms confess
That face was formed in heaven), nor art thou less,
Disguised in habit, undisguised in shape,
O help us captives from our chains to scape!
But if our doom be past in bonds to lie
For life, and in a loathsome dungeon die,
Then be thy wrath appeased with our disgrace,
And show compassion to the Theban race,
Oppressed by tyrant power!”—While yet he spoke,
Arcite on Emily had fixed his look;
The fatal dart a ready passage found
And deep within his heart infixed the wound:
So that if Palamon were wounded sore,
Arcite was hurt as much as he or more:
Then from his inmost soul he sighed, and said,
The beauty I behold has struck me dead:
Unknowingly she strikes, and kills by chance;
Poison is in her eyes, and death in every glance.
Oh, I must ask; nor ask alone, but move
Her mind to mercy, or must die for love.”

Thus Arcite: and thus Palamon replies
(Eager his tone, and ardent were his eyes,)
“Speakest thou in earnest, or in jesting vein?”
“Jesting,” said Arcite, “suits but ill with pain.”
“It suits far worse,” (said Palamon again,
And bent his brows,) “with men who honour weigh,
Their faith to break, their friendship to betray;
But worst with thee, of noble lineage born,
My kinsman, and in arms my brother sworn.
Have we not plighted each our holy oath,
That one should be the common good of both;
One soul should both inspire, and neither prove
His fellow's hindrance in pursuit of love?
To this before the Gods we gave our hands,
And nothing but our death can break the bands.

This binds thee, then, to farther my design,
As I am bound by vow to farther thine:
Nor canst, nor darest thou, traitor, on the plain
Appeach my honour, or thy own maintain,
Since thou art of my council, and the friend
Whose faith I trust, and on whose care depend.
And wouldst thou court my lady's love, which I
Much rather than release, would choose to die?
But thou, false Arcite, never shalt obtain,
Thy bad pretence; I told thee first my pain:
For first my love began ere thine was born;
Thou as my council, and my brother sworn,
Art bound to assist my eldership of right,
Or justly to be deemed a perjured knight.”

Thus Palamon: but Arcite with disdain
In haughty language thus replied again:
“Forsworn thyself: the traitor's odious name
I first return, and then disprove thy claim.
If love be passion, and that passion nurst
With strong desires, I loved the lady first.
Canst thou pretend desire, whom zeal inflamed
To worship, and a power celestial named?
Thine was devotion to the blest above,
I saw the woman, and desired her love;
First owned my passion, and to thee commend
The important secret, as my chosen friend.
Suppose (which yet I grant not) thy desire
A moment elder than my rival fire;
Can chance of seeing first thy title prove?
And knowst thou not, no law is made for love?
Law is to things which to free choice relate;
Love is not in our choice, but in our fate;
Laws are not positive; love's power we see
Is Nature's sanction, and her first decree,
Each day we break the bond of human laws
For love, and vindicate the common cause.
Laws for defence of civil rights are placed,
Love throws the fences down, and makes a general waste.
Maids, widows, wives without distinction fall;
The sweeping deluge, love, comes on and covers all.
If then the laws of friendship I transgress,
I keep the greater, while I break the less;
And both are mad alike, since neither can possess.
Both hopeless to be ransomed, never more
To see the sun, but as he passes o'er.
Like Asop's hounds contending for the bone,
Each pleaded right, and would be lord alone;
The fruitless fight continued all the day,
A cur came by and snatched the prize away.
As courtiers therefore justle for a grant,
And when they break their friendship, plead their want,
So thou, if Fortune will thy suit advance,
Love on, nor envy me my equal chance:
For I must love, and am resolved to try
My fate, or failing in the adventure die.”

Great was their strife, which hourly was renewed,
Till each with mortal hate his rival viewed:
Now friends no more, nor walking hand in hand;
But when they met they made a surly stand,
And glared like Angry lions as they passed,
And wished that every look might be their last.

It chanced at length, Pirithous came to attend
This worthy Theseus, his familiar friend:
Their love in early infancy began,
And rose as childhood ripened into man,
Companions of the war; and loved so well,
That when one died, as ancient stories tell,
His fellow to redeem him went to hell.

But to pursue my tale: to welcome home
His warlike brother is Pirithous come:
Arcite of Thebes was known in arms long since,
And honoured by this young Thessalian prince.
Theseus, to gratify his friend and guest,
Who made our Arcite's freedom his request,
Restored to liberty the captive knight,
But on these hard conditions I recite:
That if hereafter Arcite should be found
Within the compass of Athenian ground,
By day or night, or on whate'er pretence,
His head should pay the forfeit of the offence.
To this Pirithous for his friend agreed,
And on his promise was the prisoner freed.

Unpleased and pensive hence he takes his way,
At his own peril; for his life must pay.
Who now but Arcite mourns his bitter fate,
Finds his dear purchase, and repents too late?
“What have I gained,” he said, “in prison pent,
If I but change my bonds for banishment?
And banished from her sight, I suffer more
In freedom than I felt in bonds before;
Forced from her presence and condemned to live,
Unwelcome freedom and unthanked reprieve:
Heaven is not but where Emily abides,
And where she's absent, all is hell besides.
Next to my day of birth, was that accurst
Which bound my friendship to Pirithous first:
Had I not known that prince, I still had been
In bondage and had still Emilia seen:
For though I never can her grace deserve,
'Tis recompense enough to see and serve.
O Palamon, my kinsman and my friend,
How much more happy fates thy love attend I

Thine is the adventure, thine the victory,
Well has thy fortune turned the dice for thee:
Thou on that angel's face mayest feed thy eyes,
In prison, no; but blissful paradise!
Thou daily seest that sun of beauty shine,
And lovest at least in love's extremest line.
I mourn in absence, love's eternal night;
And who can tell but since thou hast her sight,
And art a comely, young, and valiant knight,
Fortune (a various power) may cease to frown,
And by some ways unknown thy wishes crown?
But I, the most forlorn of human kind,
Nor help can hope nor remedy can find;
But doomed to drag my loathsome life in care,
For my reward, must end it in despair.
Fire, water, air, and earth, and force of fates
That governs all, and Heaven that all creates,
Nor art, nor Nature's hand can ease my grief;
Nothing but death, the wretch's last relief:
Then farewell youth, and all the joys that dwell
With youth and life, and life itself, farewell!
But why, alas! do mortal men in vain
Of Fortune, Fate, or Providence complain?
God gives us what he knows our wants require,
And better things than those which we desire:
Some pray for riches; riches they obtain;
But, watched by robbers, for their wealth are slain;
Some pray from prison to be freed; and come,
When guilty of their vows, to fall at home;
Murdered by those they trusted with their life,
A favoured servant or a bosom wife.
Such dear-bought blessings happen every day,
Because we know not for what things to pray.
Like drunken sots about the streets we roam:

“Well knows the sot he has a certain home,
Yet knows not how to find the uncertain place,
And blunders on and staggers every pace.
Thus all seek happiness; but few can find,
For far the greater part of men are blind.
This is my case, who thought our utmost good
Was in one word of freedom understood:
The fatal blessing came: from prison free,
I starve abroad, and lose the sight of Emily.”

Thus Arcite: but if Arcite thus deplore
His sufferings, Palamon yet suffers more.
For when he knew his rival freed and gone,
He swells with wrath; he makes outrageous moan;
He frets, he fumes, he stares, he stamps the ground;
The hollow tower with clamours rings around:
With briny tears he bathed his fettered feet,
And dropped all o'er with agony of sweat.
“Alas!” he cried, “I, wretch, in prison pine,
Too happy rival, while the fruit is thine:
Thou livest at large, thou drawest thy native air,
Pleased with thy freedom, proud of my despair:
Thou mayest, since thou hast youth and courage joined,
A sweet behaviour and a solid mind,
Assemble ours, and all the Theban race,
To vindicate on Athens thy disgrace;
And after (by some treaty made) possess
Fair Emily, the pledge of lasting peace.
So thine shall be the beauteous prize, while I
Must languish in despair, in prison die.
Thus all the advantage of the strife is thine,
Thy portion double joys, and double sorrows mine.”

The rage of jealousy then fired his soul,
And his face kindled like a burning coal
Now cold despair, succeeding in her stead,
To livid paleness turns the glowing red.
His blood, scarce liquid, creeps within his veins,
Like water which the freezing wind constrains.
Then thus he said: “Eternal Deities,
“Who rule the world with absolute decrees,
And write whatever time shall bring to pass
With pens of adamant on plates of brass;
What is the race of human kind your care
Beyond what all his fellow-creatures are?
He with the rest is liable to pain,
And like the sheep, his brother-beast, is slain.
Cold, hunger, prisons, ills without a cure,
All these he must, and guiltless oft, endure;
Or does your justice, power, or prescience fail,
When the good suffer and the bad prevail?
What worse to wretched virtue could befal,
If Fate or giddy Fortune governed all?
Nay, worse than other beasts is our estate:
Them, to pursue their pleasures, you create;
We, bound by harder laws, must curb our will,
And your commands, not our desires, fulfil:
Then, when the creature is unjustly slain,
Yet, after death at least, he feels no pain;
But man in life surcharged with woe before,
Not freed when dead, is doomed to suffer more.
A serpent shoots his sting at unaware;
An ambushed thief forelays a traveller;
The man lies murdered, while the thief and snake,
One gains the thickets, and one thrids the brake.
This let divines decide; but well I know,
Just or unjust, I have my share of woe,
Through Saturn seated in a luckless place,
And Juno's wrath that persecutes my race;
Or Mars and Venus in a quartil, move
My pangs of jealousy for Arcite's love,”

Let Palamon oppressed in bondage mourn,
While to his exited rival we return.
By this the sun, declining from his height,
The day had shortened to prolong the night:
The lengthened night gave length of misery,
Both to the captive lover and the free:
For Palamon in endless prison mourns,
And Arcite forfeits life if he returns;
The banished never hopes his love to see,
Nor hopes the captive lord his liberty.
'Tis hard to say who suffers greater pains;
One sees his love, but cannot break his chains;
One free, and all his motions uncontrolled,
Beholds whate'er he would but what he would behold.
Judge as you please, for I will haste to tell
What fortune to the banished knight befel.
When Arcite was to Thebes returned again,
The loss of her he loved renewed his pain;
What could be worse than never more to see
His life, his soul, his charming Emily?
He raved with all the madness of despair,
He roared, he beat his breast, he tore his hair.
Dry sorrow in his stupid eyes appears,
For wanting nourishment, he wanted tears;
His eyeballs in their hollow sockets sink,
Bereft of sleep; he loathes his meat and drink;
He withers at his heart, and looks as wan
As the pale spectre of a murdered man:
That pale turns yellow, and his face receives
The faded hue of sapless boxen leaves;
In solitary groves he makes his moan,
Walks early out, and ever is alone;
Nor, mixed in mirth, in youthful pleasure shares,
But sighs when songs and instruments he hears.

His spirits are so low, his voice is drowned,
He hears as from afar, or in a swound,
Like the deaf murmurs of a distant sound:
Uncombed his locks, and squalid his attire,
Unlike the trim of love and gay desire;
But full of museful mopings, which presage
The loss of reason and conclude in rage.

This when he had endured a year and more,
Now wholly changed from what he was before,
It happened once, that, slumbering as he lay,
He dreamt (his dream began at break of day)
That Hermes o'er his head in air appeared,
And with soft words his drooping spirits cheered;
His hat adorned with wings disclosed the god,
And in his hand he bore the sleep-compelling rod;
Such as he seemed, when, at his sire's command,
On Argus' head he laid the snaky wand.
“Arise,” he said, “to conquering Athens go;
There Fate appoints an end of all thy woe.”
The fright awakened Arcite with a start,
Against his bosom bounced his heaving heart;
But soon he said, with scarce recovered breath,
And thither will I go to meet my death,
Sure to be slain; but death is my desire,
Since in Emilia's sight I shall expire.”
By chance he spied a mirror while he spoke,
And gazing there beheld his altered look;
Wondering, he saw his features and his hue
So much were changed, that scarce himself he knew.
A sudden thought then starting in his mind,
“Since I in Arcite cannot Arcite find,
The world may search in vain with all their eyes,
But never penetrate through this disguise.
Thanks to the change which grief and sickness give,
In low estate I may securely live,
And see, unknown, my mistress day by day.”
He said, and clothed himself in coarse array,
A labouring hind in show; then forth he went,
And to the Athenian towers his journey bent:
One squire attended in the same disguise,
Made conscious of his master's enterprise.
Arrived at Athens, soon he came to court,
Unknown, unquestioned in that thick resort:
Proffering for hire his service at the gate,
To drudge, draw water, and to run or wait.

So fair befel him, that for little gain
He served at first Emilia's chamberlain;
And, watchful all advantages to spy,
Was still at hand, and in his master's eye;
And as his bones were big, and sinews strong,
Refused no toil that could to slaves belong;
But from deep wells with engines water drew,
And used his noble hands the wood to hew.
He passed a year at least attending thus
On Emily, and called Philostratus.
But never was there man of his degree
So much esteemed, so well beloved as he.
So gentle of condition was he known,
That through the court his courtesy was blown:
All think him worthy of a greater place,
And recommend him to the royal grace;
That exercised within a higher sphere,
His virtues more conspicuous might appear.
Thus by the general voice was Arcite praised,
And by great Theseus to high favour raised;
Among his menial servants first enrolled,
And largely entertained with sums of gold:
Besides what secretly from Thebes was sent,

Of his own income and his annual rent.
This well employed, he purchased friends and fame,
But cautiously concealed from whence it came.
Thus for three years he lived with large increase
In arms of honour, and esteem in peace;
To Theseus' person he was ever near,
And Theseus for his virtues held him dear.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
 

Search


Recent searches | Top searches