It takes a lot of work to put together a marriage, to put together a family and a home.
Christmas Lesson 2008
Years ago I opened a special Christmas present.
It was from my uncle, sort of a surprise.
All that was inside was a deck of playing cards.
Maybe he hadn't seen my list or knew my size.
When I thanked him anyway he said,
'Do you knew how to play
Cards for pushups? '
As he smiled in his way.
Cards for pushups?
It can get pretty hard.
You shuffle, turn one over.
Do what's in the card.
Ace, do 15. Face card, do 10.
Others by the numbers count.
Takes a lot of work for two
As the discards start to mount.
It's not like poker.
No bluff to call.
When it's your turn,
You have to do them all.
Who wins doesn't matter,
As I now explain to my grandson,
'The object is just don't quit
Until the deck is done.'
I'd like to be rich. I'd like a lot of money to put into my physicals and to buy food for all my friends.
Don't put up my Thread and Needle
Don't put up my Thread and Needle—
I'll begin to Sew
When the Birds begin to whistle—
These were bent—my sight got crooked—
When my mind—is plain
I'll do seams—a Queen's endeavor
Would not blush to own—
Hems—too fine for Lady's tracing
To the sightless Knot—
Tucks—of dainty interspersion—
Like a dotted Dot—
Leave my Needle in the furrow—
Where I put it down—
I can make the zigzag stitches
Straight—when I am strong—
Till then—dreaming I am sewing
Fetch the seam I missed—
Closer—so I—at my sleeping—
Still surmise I stitch—
i was downstairs
in the greenroom
waiting for you
i said hello
to your family
i said hello
to your friends
i said hello
to this situation
that never yields
now it's easy
for me to tell you
that my love for you
but i once stumbled
on these feelings
(on these feelings)
and i once stumbled
on these words
(on these words)
don't ever stumble on
yeah you were so
all those words
just to tell me no
and you were so
with all of the others
who said you weren't broken
oh they just let you go
yeah you were so
all of those words
just to tell me no
and you were so
with all of the others
who said you weren't broken
oh they just let you go
when you're three days
down the highway
and you're looking
like i feel
and it takes a lot
(takes a lot)
to keep it going
it takes a lot
(takes a lot)
to keep it real
take some time
(take some time)
and learn to yield
Who I am
Who I am is a girl who cries.
Who never seems to be happy
with whom I am.
Who I am is a girl that is beaten.
Not physically, but emotionally.
Whatever I do, it’s not good enough.
Self esteem down so far, for anyone
to bring it up.
Who I am is a nice girl.
To nice for anyone to take seriously.
To nice to stand up for myself
when others bring me down.
Who I am is a girl in pain.
Always being put down by family
Nobody appreciates anymore what
Being laughed at, made fun of
just because you were a little different.
Not what the popular girls were like,
or everyone else, so you had to suffer.
Who I am is a girl who is laid back.
Like an ocean on a bright sunny day.
as it looks so peaceful,
and you just want to look at it all day.
Who I am is a girl who fights
in what I believe in.
Never down for the count.
Always there by your side.
Who I am is someone you can trust.
I will never give up on you,
and I will never lose faith in you.
The Working Man
Close your eyes my weary one
Rest your head and sleep
Although your day is done
Tomorrow, you might sit and weep.
Because outside your window,
There stand many barren trees
Looking like the empty hopes,
With the leaves, dying like dreams.
I have live many years
Seen and shed many tears,
With bloody hands and busted bones,
And I have heard, that painful moan.
So rest your head my tired Man
And close your eyes and cry,
Because many families I have seen fed,
When only the Fathers had died.
And I have seen the working man
Working hard with other men at their side,
While fighting to protect and defend what they own
With only GOD, upon their side.
So close you're eyes a father
Clasp your hands together and pray,
Pray for your wife and for your Children
And pray to greet them another day.
As we have fought the battles
To put our country back on her feet
But now again, we are forsaken
So close your eyes, and weep.
But then their is your Family
And the home where you do live,
Be proud you were there when tomorrow came
And many will be proud, that you had lived.
Open your eyes my weary one
Stand up and clap your hand
Be proud of what that you have built
But be prouder because you are a working Man.
So give a laugh and and then give a cheer
For together once again we made our stand,
And forget about your worries and your fears
Because GOD does not forsake, a working Man.
Randy L. McClave
Work To Do
I cant wait to get home to you
I got so much work to do, work
Im taking care of business baby cant you see
I goota make it for you, and I gotta make it for me
Sometimes it may seem boy Im neglecting you
But Id love to spend more time
But I got so much to do
Ooh, I got work to do, I got work baby
I got work to do, I got a job yeah
I got work to do, said I got work to do
Oh Im out here trying to make it baby cant you see
It takes a lot of money to make it lets talk truthfully
So keep your love light burning
Oh you gotta have a little faith
You might as well get used to me coming home a little late, oh
Ooh, I got work to do, I got work baby
I got work to do, I got a job yeah
I got work to do, said I got work to do
I cant wait to get home to you
I got so much work to do
Written by isley/isley/isley
Work To Do
I'm taking care of business, baby can't you see
I gotta make it for you, and I gotta make it for me
Sometimes it may seem girl I'm neglecting you
I'd love to spend more time
But I got so many things to do
Ooh, I got work to do, I got work baby
I got a job yeah I got work to do,
said I got work to do
Oh I'm out here trying to make it, baby can't you see
It takes a lot of money to make, it let's talk truthfully
So keep your love light burning
And a little food hot in my plate
You might as well get used to me coming home a little late, oh
Ooh, I got work to do, I got work baby
I got a job, yeah I got work to do
I got work to do, everybody's got work to do
I'm taking care of business baby can't you see
I gotta make it for you,I gotta make it for me
Don't wanna make you feel I'm neglecting you
I'd love to spend more time, oh
But I got so many things to do
O Little Sister
O little sister you're an alley-cat alto-sax
howling on the fire escape
under a blue moon
that's driven you into heat
just outside my window
for that arsonist boyfriend of yours
who used to puke in my potted geraniums
every time the two of you got drunk enough
to crash across my coffee-table laughing
even with each other for a crutch
you haven't got a leg to stand on.
I was charmed by your romantic desolation.
I was intrigued by how much original sincerity
you both saw fit to squander on a cliche.
C'est la vie, c'est l'amor, c'est le guerre.
Elvis Presley is well and living in Tweed.
And Arthur Rimbaud is running guns
with Jim Morrison in Ethiopia for Al-Shabab.
Most people work harder at hope
than they do at achieving their downfall
and you were a fire hydrant
and now you haven't got a hose.
No pun intended
I've known you too long
to see you this upended slurring your words
like the simultaneous translator
of an hourglass speaking
out of both sides of its mouth at once.
I don't know why he left you.
Maybe there was nothing left to put out.
You burned out.
A piece flew off your heat shield upon re-entry.
Maybe any man who couldn't hold his liquor
realizes sooner than later he couldn't hold you.
I don't know.
Go ask my geraniums.
They've got more to say about him than I do.
You make your death bed.
You got to die in it.
Next time build your house on stilts
in Stanthorpe Queensland
to keep the snakes away from your pillow.
What can I say?
He had a shoulder on his chip
that just couldn't hold his end of the world up?
And don't get me wrong.
I'm not laughing at your pain.
I don't laugh at pain.
Pain is pain.
Who hasn't gone swimming with dolphins
in the saturnine seas of Titan
or dropped a comet like a match
on a methane moon of Neptune?
Endomorphs and dopamines
can make you do a lot of funny things
that love is at a loss for words to justify.
Even if just for one wild night
of occult hunting magic
everyone longs to run with the wolves.
And howl, o little sister, you can hear them howling
in their blood agony at the waxing moon
as if something had died within them
that was so deep and crucial
it tore their hearts out
in an ecstasy of unrepentant pain.
And many many years later
when the solid abyss and hollowness of life
has grown even greater
you can still hear their voices
screaming like winter winds
above the timber-line
so high-pitched no echo
has ever been able to reach that high again
without shattering like a night bird
against the mirage of the open sky in the window.
Like you, little sister, now.
I'm not a sump-pump for anybody's tears
not even my own
but I've been known
to throw a little heavy water
on a nuclear meltdown every now and again.
Pain. Separation. Loss. Dream death
you keep reliving like an afterlife in your sleep
you're dying to wake up from
like a coma that's lost everything worth waking up to.
Not two. Not two. Not two.
That's the way it is here.
That's as far as words go.
That's where Statius takes over
from Vergil on the nightshift
and the stars nod off like children
who couldn't finish the story
and the quality of the poetry drops
as dark genius opts out
of the company of bright mediocrities
trying too hard to make it a better world
than it needs to be.
For things it didn't do.
And in a merciful world
that lived up to its teachings
and didn't shrink the heart
with fear of its own extremes
while everything else is expanding
shouldn't be asked to suffer like a placebo
in the glands of spurious cure.
And, yes, I know sometimes
it's hard to keep up with the mysteries
like the elements of life on a geometric scale.
How many jugulars does a woman have
for someone to cut
like the downed powerlines
of the Medusa's head
for having cast the first stone at herself?
You can wake the serpent fire
at the base of your spine
just above your coccyx
the hardest bone in your body
the little throne
the modest gravestone
you'll be resurrected on
when you're summoned from the dead,
but you can't train love
to bite the people you want it too
and run like an antidote to the rescue.
That's why you're getting high
on your own poison right now.
That's why your drunken tears
oscillate between a broken chandelier
that's bleeding out
and acid rain that burns like love
congealing into a new ice age.
However deep you dig the grave
to bury someone you once really loved
even a desert at night
when the stars weren't looking
wouldn't be enough to fill it in.
It's a wound without scar tissue
for the rest of your life.
The ghosts keep being pulled out of the box
like that kleenex you keep using
to dry your eyes at this seance
you've called on the spur of the moment
to be appalled by how lonely it is
to plead with the dead for severance.
Life's A Genius
Life's a genius.
Not a mediocrity
looking for reasons to live in the morning.
Life's not a plan.
It's a spirit that doesn't need one
whether things go right or wrong.
Life is light and water.
It delights in going everywhere at once.
Mediocrities have genius
but they don't know how
to play with it like a child.
Their eyes peek
through knotholes in the fence
but they sacrifice their longing
on the conventional altars of common-sense
and never throw the ball back over the hills
like the moon coming up
or the sun going down
without worrying about
breaking the neighbours'windows.
Life throws whole mountains around
and turns the cornerstones into quicksand
and goes down with Atlantis
only to come up again like Moby Dick
spewing stars out of its blowhole.
Mediocrity has its feet planted firmly on the ground.
It never goes anywhere it hasn't gone before.
It's the kind of fire
that sleeps with an extinquisher
in case things get too hot to put out.
But life's the kind of genius
that gives like an apple-tree
that fully expresses itself
through infinitely more
than four seasons
no two alike
without caring if it's of any benefit to anyone.
Mediocrity's stunned by the blossoms.
Genius tastes the fruit.
Life's the kind of fire
that doesn't have a root
you can pull up and take home with you
to add to your garden
like a new word to your vocabulary.
Mediocrity spells it out.
But genius is the dream grammar
of a spiritual alphabet
that isn't used to taking orders.
It doesn't have twenty-six words for inspiration
like potted geraniums all in a row
and only one for freedom
it weeds out like morning glory
whose vagrancy threatens
to overwhelm the rest
with a longing
for the happier memories of their homelessness.
Mediocrity's a highway lined with roadkill.
Genius is a river
that goes around
not through the hill
and though there are fleets of waterlilies all along its banks
that gather like the Spanish Armada every year
to burn the infidel irises on the far shore
back into the true church
they never set sail.
They stay anchored to the coast
like loveletters from buddhas upstream
rooted in the flowing.
Mediocrity writes a great poem.
Genius lets the poem write itself.
Mediocrity signs its own vanity.
like a work done well.
But genius doesn't have
anything to sell
that ever belonged to anyone
in the first place.
Life is the generosity of space
that blows stars in your face
and gives you the eyes to see them.
Mediocrity confines the muses to a hareem
to compel their obedience.
Mediocrity is a great sea without any tides.
Genius sleeps with women
it never thinks of as brides
because it can feel their power
like a waterbird feels the waves
breathing like the sea beneath it
wild and profound
oceans in the black rose
dripping like the blood
of enlightened virgins
from Kali the Crone Destroyer's mouth
eating her own like the moon
as if she were life itself.
Mediocrity never includes
enough destruction in its creations
to be credible.
It goes along with the swans
like afterlives in the moonlight
but not the snapping turtles
that drag them down into the mud
like constellations brought back to earth like kites.
Mediocrity defangs the moon.
Genius flows down
its first and last crescents like blood
knowing one fang kills you
and the other heals you for good.
Mediocrity is hemmed in
by thresholds it never crosses.
It never colours outside the lines
into the negative space
of the forbidden white beyond.
It's never gone gone gone forever gone beyond.
It's a star with a lazy eye in an expanding universe.
It never reads the writing on the wall
between the lines
It's afraid of the dark.
It fills whole galleries
with works like arks
with two of every kind
that are signed like truces
it made with its imagination
as if the imagination
ever kept its word
to anyone who was afraid of it.
Mediocrity keeps an eye on itself
like a documentary.
It comes to the right door
but it never gains entry.
It's lost in the labyrinth
of its own fingerprints.
It leaves too much evidence
at the scene of the crime
and turns over on genius
at the dropp of a dime
for getting away with everything
like the mastermind behind it all.
Mediocrity sings like a canary in a coal-mine.
Genius howls at the moon
among the mountains
high above the timberline
where she takes
her first and last crescents off
like handcuffs off an escaped convict.
as if it's always
making up an alibi
for something it never did.
It's easier to lie about a sin of omission
than it is to tell the truth
as if you weren't signing
a celebrity confession.
Genius lives out in the open
where everything's well hid
like a mason jar full of fireflies
without a lid.
Mediocrity hugs the shore
like a lighthouse
that's afraid of everything
it can't shine a light on.
Mediocrity shows you its scars.
Genius shows you the wound.
that the universe
got as far as it did on its own.
Genius walks the rest of the way alone
and doesn't care if the path it's on
reads like an exit or an entrance.
Mediocrity looks for acceptance.
Genius throws the audience out the window
like an old typewriter with keys missing
and all its loved ones
smiling in the front row
as if they were in on the know
and sits down by itself at the piano
and lets the silence play
whatever it wants
all night long.
Mediocrity makes a big splash
like an inert gas
in a flickering neon sign
advertising one night stands
in a cheap roadside motel.
Genius shapes space like black matter
that stays hidden
on the far side of gravity
behind the leaves
that grow on its boughs like galaxies
that wait like nests in the treetops
for the shamans babies and birds
to fill their bright vacancy
with the dark abundance
of a language older than words.
There are lyrical swords
that have mastered the art
of writing their eloquent history
in scars that pre-date cuneiform.
That's one muse.
And when the dark mother
who gave birth
to the ten thousand things
whispered the mystery of the universe
into her own ear
she said it in stars.
And when you listen to the moon
as she summons her own
like lost echoes and mad shadows
to the fullness welling up inside her
she sheds her eyelids like loveletters
she's read over and over again
out loud to the lunatics
like cracks in a dry creekbed
or a prophetic skull
waiting for rain.
She's beauty pain and death
all rolled up into one
black rose of inspiration
she hands out
to those of us she loves
like an eclipse
without an explanation.
Mediocrity doesn't understand this.
Three lucidities in one black mirror
before the arising of signs
and all it's looking for
is its likeness
in the meaning of everything.
Humans may have been created
in the image of God
but the world's not created
in the image of humans.
It's a lot crazier than that.
Mediocrity makes a habit of significance
to justify its eyes
to the nightwatchman in the mirrors.
Genius pulls the hat out of the rabbit
and the magician disappears.
At a utter lost in my own country (in answer to Kelwyn Sole)
I. Outside on the porch little bells dangle in the wind
Outside on the porch little bells
dangle in the wind
(a new expensive set that you have bought)
that we hear chiming even in our bedroom.
My eyes follow you while you
dress in a bathing suit
to plunge into the neighbour’s pool
and later I climb over the wall to join you.
You slice spinach, feta cheese, along with
mushrooms, onions and tomatoes with quick
chopping movements and everything
goes into a shining frying pan
and on the porch
we watch the setting sun
enjoying our meal
with some glasses of sweet wine
and later while we watch Dr. House
you lie with your head on my chest
and after a while we begin to kiss,
to caress and to undress.
II. Passion sweeps us away
Passion sweeps us away
while only the dogs
and the big yellow moon watches
until spent, we lie against each other
and you tell me
of the difficulty of your childhood days,
of a father who liquor turned
into a kind of thoughtless man
but how he could excel in poetry,
still at times tried to live
in the ways of God
and that you really loved him
and I tell you about growing up
without a father, about how my mother
did her very best to offer us
a great kind of life
about the destruction, the desolation
and the impact of war,
of being a soldier
of killing another human being
about being shell-shocked,
with bullets whistling over your head,
about my friends, comrades
being shot dead
while somewhere else
people are eating out in restaurants,
are visiting movie houses,
are dancing or watching a television show.
III. Outside gardenias are waving against the windows
The noise of the machines outside
almost sound like the echo’s
of our hearts and on the dressing-table
there is a vase with deep red roses
while your body sticks to mine,
I see the grace with which you are breathing
and in your golden eyes there’s a lovely spark
that reminds me how splendid it is
to be young, to know that we are living
and when you later doze off against me
your breath whispers ingrained into me
like a sweet melody
and outside gardenias wave against the windows
in a bushy pergola while I play with a nipple.
IV. I make tea for us
I make tea for us
and you say that only I can make tea like this,
you eat some of my rusks
while our hands are just touching each other’s
and it’s already after nine
that you have returned from the gym
and you turn the teaspoon
around and around
while you look at me with big eyes
and I wonder what you want to tell me,
see your eyes disappearing before mine;
you are tired and want to go and sleep in your house
and early in the morning I get an electronic letter
telling me that our relationship has ended.
V. I know
I know that people
sometimes do things
to get someone back
or to let the self dominate
or just because it’s possible
so as if they are totally free
of each other in a relationship
just turns around the self and me.
Not apart from the damage
that it leaves
or the great impact
that this destruction brings
as if deeds
do not have consequences
and all the time circle out wider
and yesterday, today and tomorrow
are to infinity the same
and it’s a fact
that the reasons at times
go beyond comprehension
and the answers
sometimes for ever
stay away from you.
VI. Eyes full of water confuse the picture that I keep
Eyes full of water confuse the picture that I keep
when I leave Pretoria on my motorbike,
when I say farewell to you,
at speed cut past cars on the highway
where your auburn hair is now sun-drenched
but destiny throws out its dice,
while I am already missing you
and I have got to jump to where it throws my life
and the black road twists like a snake,
still the sun is hot in a cobalt blue sky,
while the motorbike takes my full attention
and I see a swarm of birds flying up high;
part of my life buzzes past with the wheels,
while you stay behind.
VII. I am already sleeping when you phone
I am already sleeping when you phone
(as if I have left you by my own choice)
you tell me about your loneliness,
say that you are missing me a lot,
that you are alone and do not want to affront me
and it’s as if the walls are folding in on you,
but the conversation is really saying
that you now see things in a different light
and I realize that you are scared and your voice becomes thin,
is full of uncertainties and you want to know if I have got someone else,
in the distance over the phone I hear lightning bashing down,
the cat comes in through the window and climbs on the sideboard,
I see that the big old clock pointing to after eleven
and I put the telephone down and wonder why you are phoning?
VIII. I lost you suddenly
I lost you suddenly
when I was again without a contracted job
and this crisis (of being without work)
happens over and over again
and every time I have got to start from scratch,
while I am looking in confusion in the fog of live
that folds around me for meaning,
to something new to encourage me.
You say that you also now at times
listen to Handel’s water music
and although it is beautiful, there is pain for me in it,
everything between us feels so final and settled,
it is as if your voice has stopped whispering in the evening wind
and it is as if that music starts my sadness.
IX. Near Shoprite
In the parking aria near to Shoprite
in a remote corner three white people are sitting
with plastic bags, blankets,
unshaved, with uncombed hair,
two men and a woman
and the leader of the little group
turns tobacco from cigarette stubs
that they have picked up
into an old glass jar.
Later they make cigarettes
from a old telephone guide and late afternoon,
sometimes at sundown,
this is their gathering place
and I see him drawing a match
against the sole of his worn leather shoe,
later they ask at DJ’s
if the black café owner has some leftovers
that he would throw away anyway.
They ask me for cigarettes
and I cannot help them
as I do not smoke,
I do not even have enough money on me
to buy a bread for them
of maybe a litre of milk,
I see how they try and make sheltering
from boxes for the night
and wonder where they hide
against the winter chill,
about what they do when it rains?
I long to have a conversation with you
and get an electronic mail
at the Internet café and you say
that you have got a lot of time,
have thought about the problems
that you find
in your own personality
and I wonder about your relationship
with your new friend,
who is probably working in Nelspruit,
but it’s not my concern.
X. Away I am drawn from your words
Away I am drawn from your words,
by deeds that I cannot make undone
as if the truth is taken
away by the torment flowing from
the words you are telling,
a tempest now enkindled
in your heart.
I did not choose to part
but are like a sawn off tree
falling where destiny demands,
not where my desire wants,
grasping ever grasping
for the way that life used to be,
trying to have you close to me.
XI. How sad it is
How sad it is when fog the whole morning
hangs over this autumn,
and now I wonder where did I fit into your life
or were we just for moments, caught in each other?
Today I wonder about you
who with golden eyes could shine over my whole world,
see a couple of rainbows
where light comes down through the clouds,
and now after almost a year
I get an answer on my comment at your “ordinary woman”
and I am sorry that my words then did not spare you
and now wonder about the meaning of your words
where your write: this poem is for you
wishing me well and I remember our times together.
XII. Is it you or I?
How did I have to know
carries no meaning to you
and what was between us
you viewed as a prison
as if I am not even
a little bit in the picture
and the Lord God
does not behold everything,
still I wonder
who in the end
will suffer the most
is it you or I?
XIII. What is left to say?
What is left to say
that compulsively I wanted to get on my motorbike,
that today I wanted to love you like yesterday,
wanted to ride all the way to you, past the distant horizon?
That when dusk came I was wondering
if you are missing me,
that I was astounded by the beauty of the setting sun
and I wonder if the clouds are just as pretty, at the place where you are?
What is left to say
when I am still wondering where the end between us started,
wonder about opportunities left in this country,
and now I am a stranger to you whom I once loved?
Maybe He had driven us apart,
or maybe you had mutated away?
[Reference: Uttara by Kelwyn Sole.]
The Monks Of Catalonia
TO you, my friends, allow me to detail,
The feats of monks in Catalonia's vale,
Where oft the holy fathers pow'rs displayed,
And showed such charity to wife and maid,
That o'er their minds sweet fascination reigned,
And made them think, they Paradise had gained.
SUCH characters oft preciously advise,
And youthful easy female minds surprise,
The beauteous FAIR encircle with their net,
And, of the feeling heart, possession get:
Work in the holy vineyard, you may guess,
And, as our tale will show, with full success.
IN times of old, when learning 'mong the FAIR,
Enough to read the testament, was rare,
(Times howsoe'er thought difficult to quote,)
A swarm of monks of gormandizing note,
Arrived and fixed themselves within a town,
For young and beauteous belles of great renown,
While, of gallants, there seemed but very few,
Though num'rous aged husbands you might view.
A NOBLE chapel soon the fathers raised,
To which the females ran and highly praised,
Surveyed it o'er and confidently thought,
'Twas there, of course, salvation should be sought.
And when their faith had thoroughly been proved,
To gain their point the monks the veil removed.--
Good father Andrew scorned to use finesse,
And in discourse the sex would thus address.
IF any thing prevent your sov'reign bliss,
And Paradise incautiously you miss,
Most certainly the evil will arise,
From keeping for your husbands large supplies,
Of what a surplus you have clearly got,
And more than requisite to them allot,
Without bestowing on your trusty friends,
The saving that to no one blessings lends.
PERHAPS you'll tell me, marriage boons we shun;
'Tis true, and Heav'n be praised enough is done,
Without those duties to require our share
You know from direful sin we guard the FAIR.
Ingratitude 's declared the height of crimes,
And God pronounced it such in early times;
For this eternally was Satan curst;
Howe'er you err, be careful of the worst.
Return to Heav'n your thanks for bounteous care,
And then to us a tithe of surplus spare,
Which costs you nothing worth a moment's thought;
And marks the zeal with which our faith is taught,
A claim legitimate our order opes,
Bestowed, for holy offices, by popes,
No charitable gift, but lawful right:
Priests well supported are a glorious sight.
Four times a year, exactly to a day,
Each wife this tithe should personally pay
Our holy saint requires that you submit:
'Tis founded on decrees of holy writ.
All Nature carefully the law reveres,
That gratitude and fealty endears.
NOW marriage works we rank as an estate,
And tithe is due for that at any rate.
We'll take it patiently, whate'er the toil:
Nor be o'er nice about the justful spoil.
Our order have not, you must surely know,
By many comforts, what we wish below.
'TIS right, however, that I now suggest,
Whatever passes must not be expressed;
But naught to husbands, parents, friends, reveal;
From ev'ry one the mysterious conceal.
Three words th' apostle taught: be these your care;
FAITH, CHARITY, and PRUDENCE learn to share.
THE holy father, by his fine discourse,
Delivered with the most impressive force,
Gave wonderous satisfaction and surprise,
And passed with all for Solomon the wise;
Few slept while Andrew preached, and ev'ry wife,
His precepts guarded as she would her life;
And these not solely treasured in the mind,
But showed to practise them the heart inclined,
Each hastened tithe to bring without delay,
And quarrelled who should be the first to pay;
Loud murmurs rang, and many city dames,
Were forced to keep till morn the friar's claims,
And HOLY CHURCH, not knowing what to do,
Such numbers seemed to be in paying cue,
At length was forced, without restraint, to say,
The Lord commands that, till a future day,
You give us time to breathe:--so large the lot,
To serve for present we enough have got;
Too much the whole at once, but by degrees,
Your tithe we'll take and all contrive to please.
With us arrange the hour you would be here,
And some to-day:--to-morrow more we'll cheer;
The whole in order, and you'll clearly see,
That SOFTLY with FAIRLY best agree.
THE sex inclined to follow this advice;
About receipts however they were not nice;
The entertainment greatly was admired,
And pure devotion all their bosoms fired,
A glass of cordial some apart received;
Good cheer was given, may be well believed;
Ten youthful dames brisk friar Fripart took,
Gay, airy, and engaging ev'ry look,
Who paid with pleasure all the monk could wish;
Some had fifteen:--some twelve to taste their dish;
Good friar Rock had twenty for his share,
And gave such satisfaction to the FAIR,
That some, to show they never grudged the price,
And proved their punctuality,--paid twice.
So much indeed, that satiated with ways,
That six long months engaged their nights and days:
They gladly credit would have given now,
But found the ladies would not this allow,
Believing it most positively wrong,
To keep whate'er might to the church belong.
No tithe arrears were any where around,
So zealous were the dames in duty found,
They often in advance paid holy dues,
How pure the monks!--how just the ladies views!
The friars used despatch alone with those,
That for their fascinating charms they chose,
And sent the sempiternals to bestow,
The tribute they had brought on those below,
For in the refuse tithes that were their lot,
The laicks oft pleasant pickings got.
In short 'twas difficult to say,
What charity was shown from day to day.
IT happened that one night a married dame,
Desirous to convey the monks their claim,
And walking with her spouse just by the spot,
Where dwelled the arch contrivers of the plot,
Good Heavens! said she, I well remember now,
I've business with a friar here, I vow;
'Twill presently be done if you'll but wait;
Religious duties we must ne'er abate.
What duties? cried the husband with surprise;
You're surely mad:--'tis midnight I surmise;
Confess yourself to-morrow if required;
The holy fathers are to bed retired.
That makes no difference, the lady cried.--
I think it does, the husband straight replied,
And thither I'll not let you go to-night:--
What heinous sins so terribly affright,
That in such haste the mind you wish to ease?
To-morrow morn repair whene'er you please:
YOU do me wrong, rejoined the charming fair;
I neither want confession nor a prayer,
But anxiously desire what is due to pay;
For if incautiously I should delay,
Long time 'would be ere I the monk should see,
With other matters he'll so busy be.
But what can you the holy fathers owe?
To which the lady said:--what don't you know?
A tithe, my dear, the friars always claim.--
What tithe? cried he; it surely has a name.
Not know! astonishingly, replied the wife.--
To which the husband answered:--On my life,
That women friars pay is very strange;
Will you particulars with me arrange?
How cunningly, said she, you seem to act;
Why clearly you're acquainted with the fact?
'Tis Hymeneal works:--What works? cried he--
Lord! said the dame, assuredly you see,
Why I had paid an hour ago or more
And you've prevented me when at the door;
I'm sure, of those who owe, I'm not the worst,
For I, in paying, always was the first.
THE husband quite astonished now appeared;
At once a hundred diff'rent ills he feared;
But questioning his wife howe'er, he found,
That many other dames who lived around,
Like her; in paying tithes, the monks obeyed,
Which consolation to his breast conveyed.
Poor innocent! she nothing wished to hide;
Said she, not one but tithe they make provide;
Good friar Aubrey takes your sister's dues;
To father Fabry Mrs. B's accrues;
The mayoress friar William likes to greet,
A monk more handsome scarcely you will meet;
And I to friar Gerard always go;
I wished this night to pay him all I owe.
ALAS! when tongues unbridled drop disguise,
What direful ills, what discords oft arise!
The cunning husband having thus obtained,
Particulars of what the fathers gained,
At first designed in secret to disclose,
Those scenes of fraud and matrimonial woes:
The mayor and citizens should know, he thought;
What dues were paid: what tithes the friars sought;
But since 'twas rather difficult to place,
Full credence, at the first, in such a case,
He judged it best to make the fellow speak,
To whom his wife had shown herself so weak.
FOR father Gerard in the morn he sent,
Who, unsuspecting, to the husband went,
When, in the presence of the injured wife,
He drew his sword and swore he'd take his life,
Unless the mystery he would disclose,
Which he reluctantly through terror chose.
Then having bound the friar hand and foot,
And in another room his lady put,
He sallied forth his hapless lot to tell,
And to the mayor exposed the wily spell;
The corporation next; then up and down,
The secret he divulged throughout the town.
A CRY for vengeance presently was heard;
The whole at once to slaughter, some preferred
While others would the place with fire surround,
And burn the house with those within it found.
Some wished to drown them, bound within their dress;
With various other projects you may guess;
But all agreed that death should be their lot,
And those for burning had most voices got.
WITHOUT delay they to the convent flew;
But when the holy mansion came in view,
Respect, the place of execution changed;
A citizen his barn for this arranged;
The crafty crew together were confined,
And in the blaze their wretched lives resigned,
While round the husbands danced at sound of drum,
And burnt whatever to their hands had come;
Naught 'scaped their fury, monks of all degrees,
Robes, mantles, capuchins, and mock decrees:
All perished properly within the flames;
But nothing more I find about the dames;
And friar Gerard, in another place,
Had met apart his merited disgrace.
The Borough. Letter XI: Inns
All the comforts of life in a Tavern are known,
'Tis his home who possesses not one of his own;
And to him who has rather too much of that one,
'Tis the house of a friend where he's welcome to
The instant you enter my door you're my Lord,
With whose taste and whose pleasure I'm proud to
And the louder you call, and the longer you stay,
The more I am happy to serve and obey.
To the house of a friend if you're pleased to
You must all things admit, you must all tilings
You must pay with observance the price of your
You must eat what is praised, and must praise what
But here you may come, and no tax we require,
You may loudly condemn what you greatly admire;
You may growl at our wishes and pains to excel,
And may snarl at the rascals who please you so
At your wish we attend, and confess that your
On the nation's affairs might the minister teach;
His views you may blame, and his measures oppose,
There's no Tavern-treason--you're under the Rose;
Should rebellions arise in your own little state,
With me you may safely their consequence wait;
To recruit your lost spirits 'tis prudent to come,
And to fly to a friend when the devil's at home.
That I've faults is confess'd; but it won't be
'Tis my interest the faults of my neighbours to
If I've sometimes lent Scandal occasion to prate,
I've often conceal'd what she lov'd to relate;
If to Justice's bar some have wander'd from mine,
'Twas because the dull rogues wouldn't stay by
And for brawls at my house, well the poet explains,
That men drink shallow draughts, and so madden
MUCH do I need, and therefore will I ask,
A Muse to aid me in my present task;
For then with special cause we beg for aid,
When of our subject we are most afraid:
INNS are this subject--'tis an ill-drawn lot,
So, thou who gravely triflest, fail me not;
Fail not, but haste, and to my memory bring
Scenes yet unsung, which few would choose to sing;
Thou mad'st a Shilling splendid; thou hast thrown
On humble themes the graces all thine own;
By thee the Mistress of a Village-school
Became a queen enthroned upon her stool;
And far beyond the rest thou gav'st to shine
Belinda's Lock--that deathless work was thine.
Come, lend thy cheerful light, and give to
These seats of revelry, these scenes of ease;
Who sings of Inns much danger has to dread,
And needs assistance from the fountain-head.
High in the street, o'erlooking all the place,
The rampant Lion shows his kingly face;
His ample jaws extend from side to side,
His eyes are glaring, and his nostrils wide;
In silver shag the sovereign form is dress'd,
A mane horrific sweeps his ample chest;
Elate with pride, he seems t'assert his reign,
And stands the glory of his wide domain.
Yet nothing dreadful to his friends the sight,
But sign and pledge of welcome and delight.
To him the noblest guest the town detains
Flies for repast, and in his court remains;
Him too the crowd with longing looks admire,
Sigh for his joys, and modestly retire;
Here not a comfort shall to them be lost
Who never ask or never feel the cost.
The ample yards on either side contain
Buildings where order and distinction reign; -
The splendid carriage of the wealthier guest,
The ready chaise and driver smartly dress'd;
Whiskeys and gigs and curricles are there,
And high-fed prancers many a raw-boned pair.
On all without a lordly host sustains
The care of empire, and observant reigns;
The parting guest beholds him at his side,
With pomp obsequious, bending in his pride;
Round all the place his eyes all objects meet,
Attentive, silent, civil, and discreet.
O'er all within the lady-hostess rules,
Her bar she governs, and her kitchen schools;
To every guest th' appropriate speech is made,
And every duty with distinction paid;
Respectful, easy, pleasant, or polite -
'Your honour's servant'--'Mister Smith, good night
Next, but not near, yet honour'd through the
There swing, incongruous pair! the Bear and Crown:
That Crown suspended gems and ribands deck,
A golden chain hangs o'er that furry neck:
Unlike the nobler beast, the Bear is bound,
And with the Crown so near him, scowls uncrown'd;
Less his dominion, but alert are all
Without, within, and ready for the call;
Smart lads and light run nimbly here and there,
Nor for neglected duties mourns the Bear.
To his retreats, on the Election-day,
The losing party found their silent way;
There they partook of each consoling good,
Like him uncrown'd, like him in sullen mood -
Threat'ning, but bound.--Here meet a social kind,
Our various clubs for various cause combined;
Nor has he pride, but thankful takes as gain
The dew-drops shaken from the Lion's mane:
A thriving couple here their skill display,
And share the profits of no vulgar sway.
Third in our Borough's list appears the sign
Of a fair queen--the gracious Caroline;
But in decay--each feature in the face
Has stain of Time, and token of disgrace.
The storm of winter, and the summer-sun,
Have on that form their equal mischief done;
The features now are all disfigured seen,
And not one charm adorns th' insulted queen.
To this poor face was never paint applied,
Th' unseemly work of cruel Time to hide;
Here we may rightly such neglect upbraid,
Paint on such faces is by prudence laid.
Large the domain, but all within combine
To correspond with the dishonoured sign;
And all around dilapidates; you call -
But none replies--they're inattentive all:
At length a ruin'd stable holds your steed,
While you through large and dirty rooms proceed,
Spacious and cold; a proof they once had been
In honour,--now magnificently mean;
Till in some small half-furnish'd room you rest,
Whose dying fire denotes it had a guest.
In those you pass'd, where former splendour
You saw the carpets torn, the paper stain'd;
Squares of discordant glass in windows fix'd,
And paper oil'd in many a space betwixt;
A soil'd and broken sconce, a mirror crack'd,
With table underpropp'd, and chairs new back'd;
A marble side-slab with ten thousand stains,
And all an ancient Tavern's poor remains.
With much entreaty, they your food prepare,
And acid wine afford, with meagre fare;
Heartless you sup; and when a dozen times
You've read the fractured window's senseless
Have been assured that Phoebe Green was fair,
And Peter Jackson took his supper there;
You reach a chilling chamber, where you dread
Damps, hot or cold, from a tremendous bed;
Late comes your sleep, and you are waken'd soon
By rustling tatters of the old festoon.
O'er this large building, thus by time defaced,
A servile couple has its owner placed,
Who not unmindful that its style is large,
To lost magnificence adapt their charge:
Thus an old beauty, who has long declined,
Keeps former dues and dignity in mind;
And wills that all attention should be paid
For graces vanish'd and for charms decay'd.
Few years have pass'd, since brightly 'cross the
Lights from each window shot the lengthen'd ray,
And busy looks in every face were seen,
Through the warm precincts of the reigning Queen;
There fires inviting blazed, and all around
Was heard the tinkling bells' seducing sound;
The nimble waiters to that sound from far
Sprang to the call, then hasteri'd to the bar,
Where a glad priestess of the temple sway'd,
The most obedient, and the most obey'd;
Rosy and round, adorn'd in crimson vest,
And flaming ribands at her ample breast:
She, skill'd like Circe, tried her guests to move,
With looks of welcome and with words of love;
And such her potent charms, that men unwise
Were soon transform'd and fitted for the sties.
Her port in bottles stood, a well-stain'd row,
Drawn for the evening from the pipe below;
Three powerful spirits filled a parted case,
Some cordial bottles stood in secret place;
Fair acid-fruits in nets above were seen,
Her plate was splendid, and her glasses clean;
Basins and bowls were ready on the stand,
And measures clatter'd in her powerful hand.
Inferior Houses now our notice claim,
But who shall deal them their appropriate fame?
Who shall the nice, yet known distinction, tell,
Between the peal complete and single Bell?
Determine ye, who on your shining nags
Wear oil-skin beavers, and bear seal-skin bags;
Or ye, grave topers, who with coy delight
Snugly enjoy the sweetness of the night;
Ye travellers all, superior Inns denied
By moderate purse, the low by decent pride;
Come and determine,--will you take your place
At the full Orb, or half the lunar Face?
With the Black-Boy or Angel will ye dine?
Will ye approve the Fountain or the Vine?
Horses the white or black will ye prefer?
The Silver-Swan or Swan opposed to her -
Rare bird! whose form the raven-plumage decks,
And graceful curve her three alluring necks?
All these a decent entertainment give,
And by their comforts comfortably live.
Shall I pass by the Boar?--there are who cry,
'Beware the Boar,' and pass determined by:
Those dreadful tusks, those little peering eyes
And churning chaps, are tokens to the wise.
There dwells a kind old Aunt, and there you see
Some kind young Nieces in her company;
Poor village nieces, whom the tender dame
Invites to town, and gives their beauty Fame;
The grateful sisters feel th' important aid,
And the good Aunt is flatter'd and repaid.
What, though it may some cool observers strike,
That such fair sisters should be so unlike;
That still another and another comes,
And at the matron's tables smiles and blooms;
That all appear as if they meant to stay
Time undefined, nor name a parting day;
And yet, though all are valued, all are dear,
Causeless, they go, and seldom more appear.
Yet let Suspicion hide her odious head,
And Scandal vengeance from a burgess dread;
A pious friend, who with the ancient dame
At sober cribbage takes an evening game;
His cup beside him, through their play he quaffs,
And oft renews, and innocently laughs;
Or growing serious, to the text resorts,
And from the Sunday-sermon makes reports;
While all, with grateful glee, his wish attend,
A grave protector and a powerful friend:
But Slander says, who indistinctly sees,
Once he was caught with Sylvia on his knees; -
A cautious burgess with a careful wife
To be so caught!--'tis false, upon my life.
Next are a lower kind, yet not so low
But they, among them, their distinctions know;
And when a thriving landlord aims so high,
As to exchange the Chequer for the Pye,
Or from Duke William to the Dog repairs,
He takes a finer coat and fiercer airs.
Pleased with his power, the poor man loves to
What favourite Inn shall share his evening's pay;
Where he shall sit the social hour, and lose
His past day's labours and his next day's views.
Our Seamen too have choice; one takes a trip
In the warm cabin of his favourite Ship;
And on the morrow in the humbler Boat
He rows till fancy feels herself afloat;
Can he the sign--Three Jolly Sailors--pass,
Who hears a fiddle and who sees a lass?
The Anchor too affords the seaman joys,
In small smoked room, all clamour, crowd, and
Where a curved settle half surrounds the fire,
Where fifty voices purl and punch require;
They come for pleasure in their leisure hour,
And they enjoy it to their utmost power;
Standing they drink, they swearing smoke, while all
Call, or make ready for a second call:
There is no time for trifling--'Do ye see?
We drink and drub the French extempore.'
See! round the room, on every beam and balk,
Are mingled scrolls of hieroglyphic chalk;
Yet nothing heeded--would one stroke suffice
To blot out all, here honour is too nice, -
'Let knavish landsmen think such dirty things,
We're British tars, and British tars are kings.'
But the Green-Man shall I pass by unsung,
Which mine own James upon his sign-post hung?
His sign his image,--for he was once seen
A squire's attendant, clad in keeper's green;
Ere yet, with wages more and honour less,
He stood behind me in a graver dress.
James in an evil hour went forth to woo
Young Juliet Hart, and was her Romeo:
They'd seen the play, and thought it vastly sweet
For two young lovers by the moon to meet;
The nymph was gentle, of her favours free,
E'en at a word--no Rosalind was she;
Nor, like that other Juliet, tried his truth
With--'Be thy purpose marriage, gentle youth?'
But him received, and heard his tender tale,
When sang the lark, and when the nightingale;
So in few months the generous lass was seen
I' the way that all the Capulets had been.
Then first repentance seized the amorous man,
And--shame on love!--he reason'd and he ran;
The thoughtful Romeo trembled for his purse,
And the sad sounds, 'for better and for worse.'
Yet could the Lover not so far withdraw,
But he was haunted both by Love and Law;
Now Law dismay'd him as he view'd its fangs,
Now Pity seized him for his Juliet's pangs;
Then thoughts of justice and some dread of jail,
Where all would blame him, and where none might
These drew him back, till Juliet's hut appear'd,
Where love had drawn him when he should have
There sat the father in his wicker throne,
Uttering his curses in tremendous tone:
With foulest names his daughter he reviled,
And look'd a very Herod at the child:
Nor was she patient, but with equal scorn,
Bade him remember when his Joe was born:
Then rose the mother, eager to begin
Her plea for frailty, when the swain came in.
To him she turn'd, and other theme began,
Show'd him his boy, and bade him be a man;
'An honest man, who, when he breaks the laws,
Will make a woman honest if there's cause.'
With lengthen'd speech she proved what came to pass
Was no reflection on a loving lass:
'If she your love as wife and mother claim,
What can it matter which was first the name?
But 'tis most base, 'tis perjury and theft,
When a lost girl is like a widow left;
The rogue who ruins .. ' here the father found
His spouse was treading on forbidden ground.
'That's not the point,' quoth he, 'I don't
My good friend Fletcher to be one of those;
What's done amiss he'll mend in proper time -
I hate to hear of villany and crime:
'Twas my misfortune, in the days of youth,
To find two lasses pleading for my truth;
The case was hard, I would with all my soul
Have wedded both, but law is our control;
So one I took, and when we gain'd a home,
Her friend agreed--what could she more?--to come;
And when she found that I'd a widow'd bed,
Me she desired--what could I less?--to wed.
An easier case is yours: you've not the smart
That two fond pleaders cause in one man's heart.
You've not to wait from year to year distress'd,
Before your conscience can be laid at rest;
There smiles your bride, there sprawls your new-
A ring, a licence, and the thing is done.' -
'My loving James,'--the Lass began her plea,
I'll make thy reason take a part with me;
Had I been froward, skittish, or unkind,
Or to thy person or thy passion blind;
Had I refused, when 'twas thy part to pray,
Or put thee off with promise and delay;
Thou might'st in justice and in conscience fly,
Denying her who taught thee to deny:
But, James, with me thou hadst an easier task,
Bonds and conditions I forbore to ask;
I laid no traps for thee, no plots or plans,
Nor marriage named by licence or by banns;
Nor would I now the parson's aid employ,
But for this cause,'--and up she held her boy.
Motives like these could heart of flesh resist?
James took the infant and in triumph kiss'd;
Then to his mother's arms the child restored,
Made his proud speech and pledged his worthy word.
'Three times at church our banns shall publish'd
Thy health be drunk in bumpers three times three;
And thou shalt grace (bedeck'd in garments gay)
The christening-dinner on the wedding-day.'
James at my door then made his parting bow,
Took the Green-Man, and is a master now.
All is well—in a prison—to-night, and the warders are crying ‘All’s Well!’
I must speak, for the sake of my heart—if it’s but to the walls of my cell.
For what does it matter to me if to-morrow I go where I will?
I’m as free as I ever shall be—there is naught in my life to fulfil.
I am free! I am haunted no more by the question that tortured my brain:
‘Are you sane of a people gone mad? or mad in a world that is sane?’
I have had time to rest—and to pray—and my reason no longer is vext
By the spirit that hangs you one day, and would hail you as martyr the next.
Are the fields of my fancy less fair through a window that’s narrowed and barred?
Are the morning stars dimmed by the glare of the gas-light that flares in the yard?
No! And what does it matter to me if to-morrow I sail from the land?
I am free, as I never was free! I exult in my loneliness grand!
Be a saint and a saviour of men—be a Christ, and they’ll slander and rail!
Only Crime’s understood in the world, and a man is respected—in gaol.
But I find in my raving a balm—in the worst that has come to the worst—
Let me think of it all—I grow calm—let me think it all out from the first.
Beyond the horizon of Self do the walls of my prison retreat,
And I stand in a gap of the hills with the scene of my life at my feet;
The range to the west, and the Peak, and the marsh where the dark ridges end,
And the spurs running down to the Creek, and the she-oaks that sigh in the bend.
The hints of the river below; and, away on the azure and green,
The old goldfield of Specimen Flat, and the township—a blotch on the scene;
The store, the hotels, and the bank—and the gaol and the people who come
With the weatherboard box and the tank—the Australian idea of home:
The scribe—spirit-broken; the ‘wreck,’ in his might-have-been or shame;
The townsman ‘respected’ or worthy; the workman respectful and tame;
The boss of the pub with his fine sense of honour, grown moral and stout,
Like the spielers who came with the ‘line,’ on the cheques that were made farther out.
The clever young churchman, despised by the swaggering, popular man;
The doctor with hands clasped behind, and bowed head, as if under a ban;
The one man with the brains—with the power to lead, unsuspected and dumb,
Whom Fate sets apart for the Hour—the man for the hour that might come.
The old local liar whose story was ancient when Egypt was young,
And the gossip who hangs on the fence and poisons God’s world with her tongue;
The haggard bush mother who’d nag, though a husband or child be divine,
And who takes a fierce joy in a rag of the clothes on the newcomer’s line.
And a lad with a cloud on his heart who was lost in a world vague and dim—
No one dreamed as he drifted apart that ’twas genius the matter with him;
Who was doomed, in that ignorant hole, to its spiritless level to sink,
Till the iron had entered his soul, and his brain found a refuge in drink.
Perhaps I was bitter because of the tongues of disgrace in the town—
Of a boy-nature misunderstood and its nobler ambitions sneered
Of the sense of injustice that stings till it ends in the creed of the push—
I was born in that shadow that clings to the old gully homes in the bush.
And I was ambitious. Perhaps as a boy I could see things too plain—
How I wished I could write of the truths—of the visions—that haunted my brain!
Of the bush-buried toiler denied e’en the last loving comforts of all—
Of my father who slaved till he died in the scrub by his wedges and maul.
Twenty years, and from daylight till dark—twenty years it was split, fence, and grub,
And the end was a tumble-down hut and a bare, dusty patch in the scrub.
’Twas the first time he’d rested, they said, but the knit in his forehead was deep,
And to me the scarred hands of the dead seemed to work as I’d seen them in sleep.
And the mother who toiled by his side, through hardship and trouble and drought,
And who fought for the home when he died till her heart—not her spirit—wore out:
I am shamed for Australia and haunted by the face of the haggard bush wife—
She who fights her grim battle undaunted because she knows nothing of life.
By the barren track travelled by few men—poor victims of commerce, unknown—
E’en the troubles that woman tells woman she suffers, unpitied, alone;
Heart-dumbed and mind-dulled and benighted, Eve’s beauty in girlhood destroyed!
Till the wrongs never felt shall be righted—and the peace never missed be enjoyed.
There was no one to understand me. I was lonely and shy as a lad,
Or I lived in a world that was wider than ours; so of course I was ‘mad.’
Who is not understood is a ‘crank’—so I suffered the tortures of men
Doomed to think in the bush, till I drank and went wrong—I grew popular then.
There was Doctor Lebenski, my friend—and the friend, too, of all who were down—
Clever, gloomy, and generous drunkard—the pride and disgrace of the town.
He had been through the glory and shame of a wild life by city and sea,
And the tales of the land whence he came had a strong fascination for me.
And often in yarning or fancy, when she-oaks grew misty and dim,
From the forest and straight for the camp of the Cossack I’ve ridden with him:
Ridden out in the dusk with a score, ridden back ere the dawning with ten—
Have struck at three kingdoms and Fate for the fair land of Poland again!
He’d a sorrow that drink couldn’t drown—that his great heart was powerless to fight—
And I gathered the threads ’twixt the long, pregnant puffs of his last pipe at night;
For he’d say to me, sadly: ‘Jack Drew’—then he’d pause, as to watch the smoke curl—
‘If a good girl should love you, be true—though you die for it—true to the girl!
‘A man may be false to his country—a man may be false to his friend:
‘Be a vagabond, drunkard, a spieler—yet his soul may come right in the end;
‘But there is no prayer, no atonement, no drink that can banish the shade
‘From your side, if you’ve one spark of manhood, of a dead girl that you have betrayed.’
‘One chance for a fortune,’ we’re told, in the lives of the poorest of men—
There’s a chance for a heaven on earth that comes over and over again!
’Twas for Ruth, the bank manager’s niece, that the wretched old goldfield grew fair,
And she came like an angel of peace in an hour of revengeful despair.
A girl as God made her, and wise in a faith that was never estranged—
From childhood neglected and wronged, she had grown with her nature unchanged;
And she came as an angel of Hope as I crouched on Eternity’s brink,
And the loaded revolver and rope were parts of the horrors of drink.
I was not to be trusted, they said, within sight of a cheque or a horse,
And the worst that was said of my name all the gossips were glad to endorse.
But she loved me—she loved me! And why? Ask the she-oaks that sighed in the bends—
We had suffered alike, she and I, from the blindness of kinsfolk and friends.
A girlhood of hardship and care, for she gave the great heart of a child
To a brother whose idol was Self, and a brother good-natured but ‘wild;’—
And a father who left her behind when he’d suffered too much from the moan
Of a mother grown selfish and blind in her trouble—’twas always her own.
She was brave, and she never complained, for the hardships of youth that had driven
My soul to the brink of perdition, but strengthened the girl’s faith in Heaven.
In the home that her relatives gave she was tortured each hour of her life.
By her cruel dependence—the slave of her aunt, the bank-manager’s wife.
Does the world know how easy to lead and how hard to be driven are men?
She was leading me back with her love, to the faith of my childhood again!
To my boyhood’s neglected ideal—to the hopes that were strangled at birth,
To the good and the truth of the real—to the good that was left on the earth.
And the sigh of the oaks seemed a hymn, and the waters had music for me
As I sat on the grass at her feet, and rested my head on her knee;
And we seemed in a dreamland apart from the world’s discontent and despair,
For the cynic went out of my heart at the touch of her hand on my hair.
She would talk like a matron at times, and she prattled at times like a child:
‘I will trust you—I know you are good—you have only been careless and wild—
‘You are clever—you’ll rise in the world—you must think of your future and me—
‘You will give up the drink for my sake, and you don’t know how happy we’ll be!’
‘I can work, I will help you,’ she said, and she’d plan out our future and home,
But I found no response in my heart save the hungry old craving to roam.
Would I follow the paths of the dead? I was young yet. Would I settle down
To the life that our parents had led by the dull, paltry-spirited town?
For the ghost of the cynic was there, and he waited and triumphed at last—
One night—I’d been drinking, because of a spectre that rose from the past—
My trust had so oft been betrayed: that at last I had turned to distrust—
My sense of injustice so keen that my anger was always unjust.
Would I sacrifice all for a wife, who was free now to put on my hat
And to go far away from the life—from the home life of Specimen Flat?
Would I live as our fathers had lived to the finish? And what was it worth?
A woman’s reproach in the end—of all things most unjust on the earth.
The old rebel stirred in my blood, and he whispered, ‘What matter?’ ‘Why not?’
And she trembled and paled, for the kiss that I gave her was reckless and hot.
And the angel that watched o’er her slept, and the oaks sighed aloud in the creek
As we sat in a shadow that crept from a storm-cloud that rose on the Peak.
There’s a voice warns the purest and best of their danger in love or in strife,
But that voice is a knell to her honour who loves with the love of her life!
And ‘Ruth—Ruth!’ I whispered at last in a voice that was not like my own—
She trembled and clung to me fast with a sigh that was almost a moan.
While you listen and doubt, and incline to the devil that plucks at your sleeve—
When the whispers of angels have failed—then Heaven speaks once I believe.
The lightning leapt out—in a flash only seen by those ridges and creeks,
And the darkness shut down with a crash that I thought would have riven the peaks.
By the path through the saplings we ran, as the great drops came pattering down,
To the first of the low-lying ridges that lay between us and the town;
Where she suddenly drew me aside with that beautiful instinct of love
As the clatter of hoofs reached our ears—and a horseman loomed darkly above.
’Twas the Doctor: he reined up and sat for the first moment pallid and mute,
Then he lifted his hand to his hat with his old-fashioned martial salute,
And he said with a glance at the ridge, looming black with its pine-tops awhirl,
‘Take my coat, you are caught in the storm!’ and he whispered, ‘Be true to the girl!’
He rode on—to a sick bed, maybe some twenty miles back in the bush,
And we hurried on through the gloom, and I still seemed to hear in the ‘woosh’
Of the wind in the saplings and oaks, in the gums with their top boughs awhirl—
In the voice of the gathering tempest—the warning, ‘Be true to the girl!’
And I wrapped the coat round her, and held her so close that I felt her heart thump
When the lightning leapt out, as we crouched in the lee of the shell of a stump—
And there seemed a strange fear in her eyes and the colour had gone from her cheek—
And she scarcely had uttered a word since the hot brutal kiss by the creek.
The storm rushed away to the west—to the ridges drought-stricken and dry—
To the eastward loomed far-away peaks ’neath the still starry arch of the sky;
By the light of the full moon that swung from a curtain of cloud like a lamp,
I saw that my tent had gone down in the storm, as we passed by the camp.
’Tis a small thing, or chance, such as this, that decides between hero and cur
In one’s heart. I was wet to the skin, and my comfort was precious to her.
And her aunt was away in the city—the dining-room fire was alight,
And the uncle was absent—he drank with some friends at the Royal that night.
He came late, and passed to his room without glancing at her or at me—
Too straight and precise, be it said, for a man who was sober to be.
Then the drop of one boot on the floor (there was no wife to witness his guilt),
And a moment thereafter a snore that proclaimed that he slept on the quilt.
Was it vanity, love, or revolt? Was it joy that came into my life?
As I sat there with her in my arms, and caressed her and called her ‘My wife!’
Ah, the coward! But my heart shall bleed, though I live on for fifty long years,
For she could not cry out, only plead with eyes that were brimming with tears.
Not the passion so much brings remorse, but the thought of the treacherous part
I’d have played in a future already planned out—ay! endorsed in my heart!
When a good woman falls for the sake of a love that has blinded her eyes,
There is pardon, perhaps, for his lust; but what heaven could pardon the lies?
And ‘What does it matter?’ I said. ‘You are mine, I am yours—and for life.
‘He is drunk and asleep—he won’t hear, and to morrow you shall be my wife!’
There’s an hour in the memory of most that we hate ever after and loathe—
’Twas the daylight that came like a ghost to her window that startled us both.
Twixt the door of her room and the door of the office I stood for a space,
When a treacherous board in the floor sent a crack like a shot through the place!—
Then the creak of a step and the click of a lock in the manager’s room—
I grew cold to the stomach and sick, as I trembled and shrank in the gloom.
He faced me, revolver in hand—‘Now I know you, you treacherous whelp!
‘Stand still, where you are, or I’ll fire!’ and he suddenly shouted for help.
‘Help! Burglary!’ Yell after yell—such a voice would have wakened the tomb;
And I heard her scream once, and she fell like a log on the floor of her room!
And I thought of her then like a flash—of the foul fiend of gossip that drags
A soul to perdition—I thought of the treacherous tongues of the hags;
She would sacrifice all for my sake—she would tell the whole township the truth.
I’d escape, send the Doctor a message and die—ere they took me—for Ruth!
Then I rushed him—a struggle—a flash—I was down with a shot in my arm—
Up again, and a desperate fight—hurried footsteps and cries of alarm!
A mad struggle, a blow on the head—and the gossips will fill in the blank
With the tale of the capture of Drew on the night he broke into the bank.
In the cell at the lock-up all day and all night, without pause through my brain
Whirled the scenes of my life to the last one—and over and over again
I paced the small cell, till exhaustion brought sleep—and I woke to the past
Like a man metamorphosed—clear-headed, and strong in a purpose at last.
She would sacrifice all for my sake—she would tell the whole township the truth—
In the mood I was in I’d have given my life for a moment with Ruth;
But still, as I thought, from without came the voice of the constable’s wife;
‘They say it’s brain fever, poor girl, and the doctor despairs of her life.’
‘He has frightened the poor girl to death—such a pity—so pretty and young,’
So the voice of a gossip chimed in: ‘And the wretch! he deserves to be hung.
‘They were always a bad lot, the Drews, and I knowed he was more rogue than crank,
‘And he only pretended to court her so’s to know his way into the bank!’
Came the doctor at last with his voice hard and cold and a face like a stone—
Hands behind, but it mattered not then—’twas a fight I must fight out alone:
‘You have cause to be thankful,’ he said, as though speaking a line from the past—
‘She was conscious an hour; she is dead, and she called for you, Drew, till the last!
‘Ay! And I knew the truth, but I lied. She fought for the truth, but I lied;
‘And I said you were well and were coming, and, listening and waiting, she died.
‘God forgive you! I warned you in time. You will suffer while reason endures:
‘For the rest, you will know only I have the key of her story—and yours.’
The curious crowd in the court seemed to me but as ghosts from the past,
As the words of the charge were read out, like a hymn from the first to the last;
I repeated the words I’d rehearsed—in a voice that seemed strangely away—
In their place, ‘I am guilty,’ I said; and again, ‘I have nothing to say.’
I realised then, and stood straight—would I shrink from the eyes of the clown—
From the eyes of the sawney who’d boast of success with a girl of the town?
But there is human feeling in men which is easy, or hard, to define:
Every eye, as I glanced round the court, was cast down, or averted from mine.
Save the doctor’s—it seemed to me then as if he and I stood there alone—
For a moment he looked in my eyes with a wonderful smile in his own,
Slowly lifted his hand in salute, turned and walked from the court-room, and then
From the rear of the crowd came the whisper: ‘The Doctor’s been boozing again!’
I could laugh at it then from the depth of the bitterness still in my heart,
At the ignorant stare of surprise, at the constables’ ‘Arder in Car-rt!’
But I know. Oh, I understand now how the poor tortured heart cries aloud
For a flame from High Heaven to wither the grin on the face of a crowd.
Then the Judge spoke harshly; I stood with my fluttering senses awhirl:
My crime, he said sternly, had cost the young life of an innocent girl;
I’d brought sorrow and death to a home, I was worse than a murderer now;
And the sentence he passed on me there was the worst that the law would allow.
Let me rest—I grow weary and faint. Let me breathe—but what value is breath?
Ah! the pain in my heart—as of old; and I know what it is—it is death.
It is death—it is rest—it is sleep. ’Tis the world and I drifting apart.
I have been through a sorrow too deep to have passed without breaking my heart.
There’s a breeze! And a light without bars! Let me drink the free air till I drown.
’Tis the she-oaks—the Peak—and the stars. Lo, a dead angel’s spirit floats down!
This will pass—aye, and all things will pass. Oh, my love, have you come back to me?
I am tired—let me lie on the grass at your feet, with my head on your knee.
‘I was wrong’—the words lull me to sleep, like the words of a lullaby song—
I was wrong—but the iron went deep in my heart ere I knew I was wrong.
I rebelled, but I suffered in youth, and I suffer too deeply to live:
You’ll forgive me, and pray for me, Ruth—for you loved me—and God will forgive.
The Wind And The Whirlwind
I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
I have a cause to plead. But to what ears?
How shall I move a world by lamentation,
A world which heeded not a Nation's tears?
How shall I speak of justice to the aggressors,
Of right to Kings whose rights include all wrong,
Of truth to Statecraft, true but in deceiving,
Of peace to Prelates, pity to the Strong?
Where shall I find a hearing? In high places?
The voice of havock drowns the voice of good.
On the throne's steps? The elders of the nation
Rise in their ranks and call aloud for blood.
Where? In the street? Alas for the world's reason!
Not Peers not Priests alone this deed have done.
The clothes of those high Hebrews stoning Stephen
Were held by all of us,--ay every one.
Yet none the less I speak. Nay, here by Heaven
This task at least a poet best may do,
To stand alone against the mighty many,
To force a hearing for the weak and few.
Unthanked, unhonoured,--yet a task of glory,
Not in his day, but in an age more wise,
When those poor Chancellors have found their portion
And lie forgotten in their dust of lies.
And who shall say that this year's cause of freedom
Lost on the Nile has not as worthy proved
Of poet's hymning as the cause which Milton
Sang in his blindness or which Dante loved?
The fall of Guelph beneath the spears of Valois,
Freedom betrayed, the Ghibelline restored:
Have we not seen it, we who caused this anguish,
Exile and fear, proscription and the sword?
Or shall God less avenge in their wild valley
Where they lie slaughtered those poor sheep whose fold
In the grey twilight of our wrath we harried
To serve the worshippers of stocks and gold?
This fails. That finds its hour. This fights. That falters.
Greece is stamped out beneath a Wolseley's heels.
Or Egypt is avenged of her long mourning,
And hurls her Persians back to their own keels.
'Tis not alone the victor who is noble.
'Tis not alone the wise man who is wise.
There is a voice of sorrow in all shouting,
And shame pursues not only him who flies.
To fight and conquer: 'tis the boast of heroes.
To fight and fly: of this men do not speak.
Yet shall there come a day when men shall tremble
Rather than do misdeeds upon the weak,
A day when statesmen baffled in their daring
Shall rather fear to wield the sword in vain
Than to give back their charge to a hurt nation,
And own their frailties, and resign their reign,
A day of wrath when all fame shall remember
Of this year's work shall be the fall of one
Who, standing foremost in her paths of virtue,
Bent a fool's knee at War's red altar--stone,
And left all virtue beggared in his falling,
A sign to England of new griefs to come,
Her priest of peace who sold his creed for glory
And marched to carnage at the tuck of drum.
Therefore I fear not. Rather let this record
Stand of the past, ere God's revenge shall chase
From place to punishment His sad vicegerents
Of power on Earth.--I fling it in their face!
I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
Out of the East a twilight had been born.
It was not day. Yet the long night was waning,
And the spent nations watched it less forlorn.
Out of the silence of the joyless ages
A voice had spoken, such as the first bird
Speaks to the woods, before the morning wakens,
And the World starting to its feet had heard.
Men hailed it as a prophecy. Its utterance
Was in that tongue divine the Orient knew.
It spoke of hope. Men hailed it as a brother's.
It spoke of happiness. Men deemed it true.
There in the land of Death, where toil is cradled,
That tearful Nile, unknown to Liberty,
It spoke in passionate tones of human freedom,
And of those rights of Man which cannot die,
Till from the cavern of long fear, whose portals
Had backward rolled, and hardly yet aloud,
Men prisoned stole like ghosts and joined the chorus,
And chaunted trembling, each man in his shroud:
Justice and peace, the brotherhood of nations,
Love and goodwill of all mankind to man:
These were the words they caught and echoed strangely,
Deeming them portions of some Godlike plan,
A plan thus first to their own land imparted.
They did not know the irony of Fate,
The mockery of man's freedom, and the laughter
Which greets a brother's love from those that hate.
Oh for the beauty of hope's dreams! The childhood
Of that old land, long impotent in pain,
Cast off its slough of sorrow with its silence,
And laughed and shouted and grew new again.
And in the streets, where still the shade of Pharaoh
Stalked in his sons, the Mamelukian horde,
Youth greeted youth with words of exultation
And shook his chains and clutched as for a sword:
Student and merchant, Jew, and Copt, and Moslem,
All whose scarred backs had bent to the same rod,
Fired with one mighty thought, their feuds forgotten,
Stood hand in hand and praising the same God.
I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
As in the days of Moses in the land,
God sent a man of prayer before his people
To speak to Pharaoh, and to loose his hand.
Injustice, that hard step--mother of heroes,
Had taught him justice. Him the sight of pain
Moved unto anger, and the voice of weeping
Made his eyes weep as for a comrade slain.
A soldier in the bands of his proud masters
It was his lot to serve. But of his soul
None owned allegiance save the Lord of Armies.
No worship from his God's might him cajole.
Strict was his service. In the law of Heaven
He comfort took and patience under wrong.
And all men loved him for his heart unquailing,
And for the words of pity on his tongue.
Knowledge had come to him in the night--watches,
And strength with fasting, eloquence with prayer.
He stood a Judge from God before the strangers,
The one just man among his people there.
Strongly he spoke: ``Now, Heaven be our witness!
Egypt this day has risen from her sleep.
She has put off her mourning and her silence.
It was no law of God that she should weep.
``It was no law of God nor of the Nations
That in this land, alone of the fair Earth,
The hand that sowed should reap not of its labour,
The heart that grieved should profit not of mirth.
``How have we suffered at the hands of strangers,
Binding their sheaves, and harvesting their wrath!
Our service has been bitter, and our wages
Hunger and pain and nakedness and drouth.
``Which of them pitied us? Of all our princes,
Was there one Sultan listened to our cry?
Their palaces we built, their tombs, their temples.
What did they build but tombs for Liberty?
``To live in ignorance, to die by service,
To pay our tribute and our stripes receive:
This was the ransom of our toil in Eden,
This, and our one sad liberty--to grieve.
``We have had enough of strangers and of princes
Nursed on our knees and lords within our house.
The bread which they have eaten was our children's,
For them the feasting and the shame for us.
``The shadow of their palaces, fair dwellings
Built with our blood and kneaded with our tears,
Darkens the land with darkness of Gehennem,
The lust, the crime, the infamy of years.
``Did ye not hear it? From those muffled windows
A sound of women rises and of mirth.
These are our daughters--ay our sons--in prison,
Captives to shame with those who rule the Earth.
``The silent river, by those gardens lapping,
To--night receives its burden of new dead,
A man of age sent home with his lord's wages,
Stones to his feet, a grave--cloth to his head.
``Walls infamous in beauty, gardens fragrant
With rose and citron and the scent of blood.
God shall blot out the memory of all laughter,
Rather than leave you standing where you stood.
``We have had enough of princes and of strangers,
Slaves that were Sultans, eunuchs that were kings,
The shame of Sodom is on all their faces.
The curse of Cain pursues them, and it clings.
``Is there no virtue? See the pale Greek smiling.
Virtue for him is as a tale of old.
Which be his gods? The cent per cent in silver.
His God of gods? The world's creator, Gold.
``The Turk that plunders and the Frank that panders,
These are our lords who ply with lust and fraud.
The brothel and the winepress and the dancers
Are gifts unneeded in the lands of God.
``We need them not. We heed them not. Our faces
Are turned to a new Kebla, a new truth,
Proclaimed by the one God of all the nations
To save His people and renew their youth.
``A truth which is of knowledge and of reason;
Which teaches men to mourn no more and live;
Which tells them of things good as well as evil,
And gives what Liberty alone can give,
``The counsel to be strong, the will to conquer,
The love of all things just and kind and wise,
Freedom for slaves, fair rights for all as brothers,
The triumph of things true, the scorn of lies.
``O men, who are my brethren, my soul's kindred!
That which our fathers dreamed of as a dream,
The sun of peace, and justice, has arisen,
And God shall work in you His perfect scheme.
``The rulers of your Earth shall cease deceiving,
The men of usury shall fly your land.
Your princes shall be numbered with your servants,
And peace shall guide the sword in your right hand.
``You shall become a nation with the nations.
Lift up your voices, for the night is past.
Stretch forth your hands. The hands of the free peoples
Have beckoned you the youngest and the last.
``And in the brotherhood of Man reposing,
Joined to their hopes and nursed in their new day,
The anguish of the years shall be forgotten
And God, with these, shall wipe your tears away.''
I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
How shall I tell the mystery of guile,
The fraud that fought, the treason that disbanded,
The gold that slew the children of the Nile?
The ways of violence are hard to reckon,
And men of right grow feeble in their will,
And Virtue of her sons has been forsaken,
And men of peace have turned aside to kill.
How shall I speak of them, the priests of Baal,
The men who sowed the wind for their ill ends!
The reapers of the whirlwind in that harvest
Were all my countrymen, were some my friends.
Friends, countrymen and lovers of fair freedom,
Souls to whom still my soul laments and cries!
I would not tell the shame of your false dealings,
Save for the blood which clamours to the skies.
A curse on Statecraft, not on you, my Country!
The men you slew were not more foully slain
Than was your honour at their hands you trusted.
They died, you conquered,--both alike in vain.
Crimes find accomplices, and Murder weapons.
The ways of Statesmen are an easy road.
All swords are theirs, the noblest with the neediest.
And those who serve them best are men of good.
What need to blush, to trifle with dissembling?
A score of honest tongues anon shall swear.
Blood flows. The Senate's self shall spread its mantle
In the world's face, nor own a Caesar there.
``Silence! Who spoke?'' ``The voice of one disclosing
A truth untimely.'' ``With what right to speak?
Holds he the Queen's commission?'' ``No, God's only.''
A hundred hands shall smite him on the cheek.
The ``truth'' of Statesmen is the thing they publish,
Their ``falsehood'' the thing done they do not say,
Their ``honour'' what they win from the world's trouble,
Their ``shame'' the ``ay'' which reasons with their ``nay.''
Alas for Liberty, alas for Egypt!
What chance was yours in this ignoble strife?
Scorned and betrayed, dishonoured and rejected,
What was there left you but to fight for life?
The men of honour sold you to dishonour.
The men of truth betrayed you with a kiss.
Your strategy of love too soon outplotted,
What was there left you of your dreams but this?
You thought to win a world by your fair dealing,
To conquer freedom with no drop of blood.
This was your crime. The world knows no such reasoning.
It neither bore with you nor understood.
Your Pharaoh with his chariots and his dancers,
Him they could understand as of their kin.
He spoke in their own tongue and as their servant,
And owned no virtue they could call a sin.
They took him for his pleasure and their purpose.
They fashioned him as clay to their own pride.
His name they made a cudgel to your hurting,
His treachery a spear--point to your side.
They knew him, and they scorned him and upheld him.
They strengthened him with honours and with ships.
They used him as a shadow for seditions.
They stabbed you with the lying of his lips.
Sad Egypt! Since that night of misadventure
Which slew your first--born for your Pharaoh's crime,
No plague like this has God decreed against you,
No punishment of all foredoomed in Time.
I have a thing to say. Oh how to say it!
One summer morning, at the hour of prayer,
And in the face of Man and Man's high Maker,
The thunder of their cannon rent the air.
The flames of death were on you and destruction.
A hail of iron on your heads they poured.
You fought, you fell, you died until the sunset;
And then you fled forsaken of the Lord.
I care not if you fled. What men call courage
Is the least noble thing of which they boast.
Their victors always are great men of valour.
Find me the valour of the beaten host!
It may be you were cowards. Let them prove it,--
What matter? Were you women in the fight,
Your courage were the greater that a moment
You steeled your weakness in the cause of right.
Oh I would rather fly with the first craven
Who flung his arms away in your good cause,
Than head the hottest charge by England vaunted
In all the record of her unjust wars!
Poor sheep! they scattered you. Poor slaves! they bowed you.
You prayed for your dear lives with your mute hands.
They answered you with laughter and with shouting,
And slew you in your thousands on the sands.
They led you with arms bound to your betrayer:
His slaves, they said, recaptured for his will.
They bade him to take heart and fill his vengeance.
They gave him his lost sword that he might kill.
They filled for him his dungeons with your children.
They chartered him new gaolers from strange shores:
The Arnaout and the Cherkess for his minions,
Their soldiers for the sentries at his doors.
He plied you with the whip, the rope, the thumb--screw.
They plied you with the scourging of vain words.
He sent his slaves, his eunuchs, to insult you.
They sent you laughter on the lips of Lords.
They bound you to the pillar of their firmans.
They placed for sceptre in your hand a pen.
They cast lots for the garments of your treaties,
And brought you naked to the gaze of men.
They called on your High Priest for your death mandate.
They framed indictments on you from your laws.
For him men loved they offered a Barabbas.
They washed their hands and found you without cause.
They scoffed at you and pointed in derision,
Crowned with their thorns and nailed upon their tree.
And at your head their Pilate wrote the inscription:
``This is the land restored to Liberty!''
Oh insolence of strength! Oh boast of wisdom!
Oh poverty in all things truly wise!
Thinkest thou, England, God can be outwitted
For ever thus by him who sells and buys?
Thou sellest the sad nations to their ruin.
What hast thou bought? The child within the womb,
The son of him thou slayest to thy hurting,
Shall answer thee, ``An Empire for thy tomb.''
Thou hast joined house to house for thy perdition.
Thou hast done evil in the name of right.
Thou hast made bitter sweet and the sweet bitter,
And called light darkness and the darkness light.
Thou art become a by--word for dissembling,
A beacon to thy neighbours for all fraud.
Thy deeds of violence men count and reckon.
Who takes the sword shall perish by the sword.
Thou hast deserved men's hatred. They shall hate thee.
Thou hast deserved men's fear. Their fear shall kill.
Thou hast thy foot upon the weak. The weakest
With his bruised head shall strike thee on the heel.
Thou wentest to this Egypt for thy pleasure.
Thou shalt remain with her for thy sore pain.
Thou hast possessed her beauty. Thou wouldst leave her.
Nay. Thou shalt lie with her as thou hast lain.
She shall bring shame upon thy face with all men.
She shall disease thee with her grief and fear.
Thou shalt grow sick and feeble in her ruin.
Thou shalt repay her to the last sad tear.
Her kindred shall surround thee with strange clamours,
Dogging thy steps till thou shalt loathe their din.
The friends thou hast deceived shall watch in anger.
Thy children shall upbraid thee with thy sin.
All shall be counted thee a crime,--thy patience
With thy impatience. Thy best thought shall wound.
Thou shalt grow weary of thy work thus fashioned,
And walk in fear with eyes upon the ground.
The Empire thou didst build shall be divided.
Thou shalt be weighed in thine own balances
Of usury to peoples and to princes,
And be found wanting by the world and these.
They shall possess the lands by thee forsaken
And not regret thee. On their seas no more
Thy ships shall bear destruction to the nations,
Or thy guns thunder on a fenceless shore.
Thou hadst no pity in thy day of triumph.
These shall not pity thee. The world shall move
On its high course and leave thee to thy silence,
Scorned by the creatures that thou couldst not love.
Thy Empire shall be parted, and thy kingdom.
At thy own doors a kingdom shall arise,
Where freedom shall be preached and the wrong righted
Which thy unwisdom wrought in days unwise.
Truth yet shall triumph in a world of justice.
This is of faith. I swear it. East and west
The law of Man's progression shall accomplish
Even this last great marvel with the rest.
Thou wouldst not further it. Thou canst not hinder.
If thou shalt learn in time, thou yet shalt live.
But God shall ease thy hand of its dominion,
And give to these the rights thou wouldst not give.
The nations of the East have left their childhood.
Thou art grown old. Their manhood is to come;
And they shall carry on Earth's high tradition
Through the long ages when thy lips are dumb,
Till all shall be wrought out. O Lands of weeping,
Lands watered by the rivers of old Time,
Ganges and Indus and the streams of Eden,
Yours is the future of the world's sublime.
Yours was the fount of man's first inspiration,
The well of wisdom whence he earliest drew.
And yours shall be the flood--time of his reason,
The stream of strength which shall his strength renew.
The wisdom of the West is but a madness,
The fret of shallow waters in their bed.
Yours is the flow, the fulness of Man's patience
The ocean of God's rest inherited.
And thou too, Egypt, mourner of the nations,
Though thou hast died to--day in all men's sight,
And though upon thy cross with thieves thou hangest,
Yet shall thy wrong be justified in right.
'Twas meet one man should die for the whole people.
Thou wert the victim chosen to retrieve
The sorrows of the Earth with full deliverance.
And, as thou diest, these shall surely live.
Thy prophets have been scattered through the cities.
The seed of martyrdom thy sons have sown
Shall make of thee a glory and a witness
In all men's hearts held captive with thine own.
Thou shalt not be forsaken in thy children.
Thy righteous blood shall fructify the Earth.
The virtuous of all lands shall be thy kindred,
And death shall be to thee a better birth.
Therefore I do not grieve. Oh hear me, Egypt!
Even in death thou art not wholly dead.
And hear me, England! Nay. Thou needs must hear me.
I had a thing to say. And it is said.
The Believer's Jointure : Chapter I.
Containing the Privileges of the Believer that is espoused to Christ by faith of divine operation.
The Believer's perfect beauty, free acceptance, and full security, through the imputation of Christ's perfect righteousness, though imparted grace be imperfect.
O Happy soul, Jehovah's bride,
The Lamb's beloved spouse;
Strong consolation's flowing tide,
Thy Husband thee allows.
In thee, though like thy father's race,
By nature black as hell;
Yet now so beautify'd by grace,
Thy Husband loves to dwell.
Fair as the moon thy robes appear,
While graces are in dress:
Clear as the sun, while found to wear
Thy Husband's righteousness.
Thy moon-like graces, changing much,
Have here and there a spot;
Thy sun-like glory is not such,
Thy Husband changes not.
Thy white and ruddy vesture fair
Outvies the rosy leaf;
For 'mong ten thousand beauties rare
Thy Husband is the chief.
Cloth'd with the sun, thy robes of light
The morning rays outshine:
The lamps of heav'n are not so bright,
Thy Husband decks thee fine.
Though hellish smoke thy duties stain,
And sin deforms thee quite;
Thy Surety's merit makes thee clean,
Thy Husband's beauty white.
Thy pray'rs and tears, nor pure, nor good,
But vile and loathsome seem;
Yet, gain by dipping in his blood,
Thy Husband's high esteem.
No fear thou starve, though wants be great,
In him thou art complete;
Thy hungry soul may hopeful wait,
Thy Husband gives thee meat.
Thy money, merit, pow'r, and pelf,
Were squander'd by thy fall;
Yet, having nothing in thyself,
Thy Husband is thy all.
Law-precepts, threats, may both beset
To crave of thee their due;
But justice, for thy double debt,
Thy Husband did pursue.
Though justice stern as much belong,
As mercy, to a God;
Yet justice suffer'd here no wrong,
Thy Husband's back was broad.
He bore the load of wrath alone,
That mercy might take vent;
Heav'n's pointed arrows all upon
Thy Husband's heart were spent.
No partial pay could justice still,
No farthing was retrench'd:
Vengeance exacted all, until
Thy Husband all advanc'd.
He paid in liquid golden red
Each mite the law requir'd,
Till with a loud
Thy Husband's breathe expir'd.
No process more the law can tent;
Thou stand'st within its verge,
And mayst at pleasure now present
Th Husband's full discharge,
Though new contracted guilt beget
New fears of divine ire;
Yet fear thou not, though drown'd in debt,
Thy Husband is the payer.
God might in rigour thee indite
Of highest crimes and flaws;
But on thy head no curse can light,
Thy Husband is the cause.
Christ the Believer's friend, prophet, priest, king, defence, guide, guard, help, and healer.
Dear soul, when all the human race
Lay welt'ring in their gore,
Vast numbers, in that dismal case,
Thy Husband passed o'er.
But, pray, why did he thousands pass,
And set his heart on thee?
The deep, the searchless reason was,
Thy Husband's love is free.
The forms of favour, names of grace,
And offices of love,
He bears for thee, with open face,
Thy Husband's kindness prove.
'Gainst darkness black, and error blind,
Thou hast a Sun and Shield:
And, to reveal the Father's mind,
Thy Husband's Prophet seal'd.
He likewise to procure thy peace,
And save from sin's arrest,
Resign'd himself a sacrifice;
Thy Husband is thy Priest.
And that he might thy will subject,
And sweetly captive bring;
Thy sins subdue, his throne erect,
Thy Husband is thy King.
Though num'rous and assaulting foes
Thy joyful peace may mar:
And thou a thousand battles lose,
Thy Husband wins the war.
Hell's forces, with thy mind appal,
His arm can soon dispatch;
How strong soe'er, yet for them all,
Thy Husband's more than match.
Though secret lusts, with hid contest,
By heavy groans reveal'd,
And devil's rage; yet, do their best
Thy Husband keeps the field.
When in desertion's ev'ning dark,
Thy steps are apt to slide,
His conduct seek, his counsel mark;
Thy Husband is thy guide.
In doubts, renouncing self-conceit,
His word and Spirit prize:
He never counsell'd wrong as yet,
Thy Husband is so wise.
When weak, thy refuge seest at hand,
Yet cannot run the length:
Thy Husband is thy strength.
When shaking storms annoy thy heart,
His word commands a calm:
When bleeding wounds, to ease thy smart,
Thy Husband's blood is balm.
Trust creatures not, to help thy thrall
Nor to assuage thy grief:
Use means, but look beyond them all,
Thy Husband's thy relief.
If Heav'n prescribe a bitter drug,
Fret not with froward will:
This carriage may thy cure prorogue;
Thy Husband wants not skill.
He sees the sore, he knows the cure
Will most adapted be;
'Tis then most reasonable, sure,
Thy Husband choose for thee.
Friendship is in his chastisements,
And favour in his frowns;
Thence judge not that in heavy plaints,
Thy Husband thee disowns.
The deeper his sharp lancet go
In ripping up thy wound,
The more thy healing shall unto
Thy Husband's praise redound.
Christ the Believer's wonderful physician, and wealthy friend.
Kind Jesus empties whom he'll find,
Casts down whom he will raise;
He quickens whom he seems to kill;
Thy Husband thus gets praise.
When awful rods are in his hand,
There's mercy in his mind;
When clouds upon his brow do stand,
Thy Husband's heart is kind.
In various changes to and fro,
He'll ever constant prove;
Nor can his kindness come and go,
Thy Husband's name is
His friends, in most afflicted lot
His favour most have felt;
For when they're try'd in furnace hot,
Thy Husband's bowels melt.
When he his bride or wounds or heals,
Heart-kindness does him move;
And wraps in frowns as well as smiles,
Thy Husband's lasting love.
In's hand no cure could ever fail,
Though of a hopeless state;
He can in desp'rate cases heal,
Thy Husband's art's so great.
The medicine he did prepare,
Can't fail to work for good:
O balsam pow'rful, precious, rare,
Thy Husband's sacred blood:
Which freely from his broached breast
Gush'd out like pent-up fire.
His cures are best, his wages least,
Thy Husband takes no hire.
Thou hast no worth, no might, no good,
His favour to procure:
But see his store, his pow'r, his blood!
Thy Husband's never poor.
Himself he humbled wondrously
Once to the lowest pitch,
That bankrupts through his poverty
Thy Husband might enrich.
His treasure is more excellent
Than hills of Ophir gold:
In telling stores were ages spent,
Thy Husband's can't be told.
All things that fly on wings of fame,
Compar'd with this are dross;
Thy searchless riches in his name
Thy Husband doth engross.
The great Immanuel, God-man,
Includes such store divine,
Angels and saints will never scan
Thy Husband's golden mine.
He's full of grace and truth indeed,
Of spirit, merit, might;
Of all the wealth that bankrupts need,
Thy Husband's heir by right.
Though Heav'n's his throne, he came from thence,
To seek and save the lost;
Whatever be the vast expence,
Thy Husband's at the cost.
Pleas'd to expend each drop of blood
That fill'd his royal veins,
He frank the sacred victim stood;
Thy Husband spar'd no pains.
His cost immense was in thy place,
Thy freedom cost his thrall;
Thy glory cost him deep disgrace,
Thy Husband paid for all.
The Believer's safety under the covert of Christ's atoning Blood, and powerful Intercession.
When Heav'n proclaim'd hot war and wrath,
And sin increas'd the strife;
By rich obedience unto death,
Thy Husband bought thy life.
The charges could not be abridg'd,
But on these noble terms;
Which all that prize, are hugg'd amidst,
Thy Husband's folded arms.
When law condemns, and justice too
To prison would thee bale;
As sureties kind for bankrupts do,
Thy Husband offers bail.
God on these terms is reconcil'd,
And thou his heart hast won;
In Christ thou art his favour'd child,
Thy Husband is his son.
Vindictive wrath is whole appeas'd,
Thou need'st not then be mov'd;
In Jesus always he's well pleas'd,
Thy Husband his Belov'd.
What can be laid unto thy charge,
When God does not condemn?
Bills of complaint, though foes enlarge,
Thy Husband answers them.
When fear thy guilty mind confounds,
Full comfort this may yield,
Thy ranson-bill with blood and wounds
Thy Husband kind has seal'd.
His promise is the fair extract
Thou hast at hand to shew;
Stern justice can no more exact,
Thy Husband paid its due.
No terms he left thee to fulil,
No clog to mar thy faith;
His bond is sign'd, his latter-will
Thy Husband seal'd by death.
The great condition of the band,
Of promise and of bliss,
Is wrought by him, and brought to hand,
Thy Husband's righteousness.
When therefore press'd in time of need,
To sue the promis'd good,
Thou hast no more to do but plead
Th Husband's sealing blood.
This can thee more to God commend,
And cloudy wrath dispel,
Than e'er thy sinning could offend;
Thy Husband vanquish'd hell.
When vengeance seems, for broken laws,
To light on thee with dread;
Let Christ be umpire of thy cause,
Thy Husband well can plead.
He pleads his righteousness, that brought
All rents the law could crave;
Whate'er its precepts, threat'nings, sought,
Thy Husband fully gave.
Did holiness in precepts stand,
And for perfection call,
Justice in threat'nings death demand?
Thy Husband gave it all.
His blood the fiery law did quench,
Its summons need not scare;
Tho't cite thee to Heav'n's awful bench,
Thy Husband's at the bar.
This Advocate has much to say,
His clients need not fear;
For God the Father hears him ay,
Thy Husband hath his ear.
A cause fail'd never in his hand,
So strong his pleading is;
His Father grants his whole demand,
Thy Husband's will is his.
Hell-forces all may rendezvous,
Accusers may combine;
Yet fear thou not, who art his spouse,
Thy Husband's cause is thine.
By solemn oath Jehovah did
His priesthood ratify;
Let earth and hell then counterplead,
Thy Husband gains the plea.
The Believer's Faith and Hope encouraged, even in the darkest nights of desertion and distress.
The cunning serpent may accuse,
But never shall succeed;
The God of peace will Satan bruise,
Thy Husband broke his head.
Hell-furies threaten to devour,
Like lions robb'd of whelps:
But, lo! in ev'ry per'lous hour
Thy Husband always helps.
That feeble faith may never fail,
Thine Advocate has pray'd;
Though winnowing tempest may assail,
Thy Husband's near to aid.
Though grievous trials grow apace,
And put thee to a stand;
Thou mayst rejoice, in ev'ry case
Thy Husband's help's at hand.
Trust, though, when in desertion dark
No transient ray, no glim'ring spark;
Thy Husband is thy light.
His beams anon the clouds will rent,
And through the vapours run;
For of the brightest firmament
Thy Husband is the Sun.
Without the Sun who mourning go,
And scarce the way can find,
He brings through paths they do not know;
Thy Husband leads the blind.
Through fire and water he with skill
Brings to a wealthy land;
Rude flames and roaring floods, Be Still,
Thy Husband can command.
When sin disorders heavy brings,
That press thy soul with weight;
Then mind how many crooked things
Thy Husband has made straight.
Still look to him with longing eyes,
Though both thine eyes should fail;
Cry, and at length, though not thy cries,
Thy Husband shall prevail.
Still hope for favour at his hand,
Though favour don't appear;
When help seems most aloft to stand,
Thy Husband's then most near.
In cases hopeless-like, faint hopes
May fail, and fears annoy:
But most when stript of earthly props,
Thy Husband thou'lt enjoy.
If providence the promise thwart,
And yet thy humbled mind
'Gainst hope believes in hope, thou art
Thy Husband's dearest friend.
Art thou a weakling, poor and faint,
In jeopardy each hour!
Let not thy weakness move thy plaint,
Thy Husband has the pow'r.
Dread not the foes that foil'd thee long,
Will ruin thee at length:
When thou art weak, then art thou strong;
Thy Husband is thy strength.
When foes are mighty, many too,
Don't fear, nor quit the field;
'Tis not with thee they have to do,
Thy Husband is thy shield.
'Tis hard to fight against an host,
Or strive against the stream;
But, lo! when all seems to be lost,
Thy Husband will redeem.
Benefits accruing to Believers from the offices, names, natures, and sufferings of Christ.
Art thou by lusts a captive led,
Which breeds thy deepest grief?
To ransom captives is his trade,
Thy Husband's thy relief.
His precious name is Jesus, why?
Because he saves from sin;
Redemption-right he won't deny,
Thy Husband's near of kin.
His wounds have sav'd thee once from woes,
His blood from vengeance screen'd;
When heav'n, and earth, and hell were foes,
Thy Husband was a friend:
And will thy Captain now look on,
And see thee trampled down?
When lo! thy Champion has the throne,
Thy Husband wears the crown.
Yield not, though cunning Satan bribe,
Or like a lion roar;
The Lion strong of Judah's tribe,
Thy Husband goes before.
And that he never will forsake,
His credit fair he pawn'd;
In hottest broils, then, courage take,
Thy Husband's at thy hand.
No storm needs drive thee to a strait,
Who dost his aid invoke:
Fierce winds may blow, proud wave may beat,
Thy Husband is a rock.
Renounce thine own ability,
Lean to his promis'd might;
The strength of Israel cannot lie,
Thy Husband's pow'r is plight.
An awful truth does here present,
Whoever think it odd;
In him thou art omnipotent,
Thy Husband is a God.
Jehovah's strength is in thy Head,
Which faith may boldly scan;
God in thy nature does reside,
Thy Husband is a man.
Thy flesh is his, his Spirit thine;
And that you both are one,
One body, spirit, temple, vine,
Thy Husband deigns to own.
Kind he assum'd thy flesh and blood,
This union to pursue;
And without shame his brotherhood
Thy Husband does avow.
He bore the cross, thy crown to win,
His blood he freely spilt;
The holy one, assuming sin,
Thy Husband bore the guilt.
Lo! what a bless'd exchange is this!
What wisdom shines therein!
That thou might'st be made righteousness
Thy Husband was made sin.
Thy God of joy a man of grief,
Thy sorrows to discuss;
Pure innocence hang'd as a thief:
Thy Husband lov'd thee thus.
Bright beauty had his visage marr'd,
His comely form abus'd:
True rest was from all rest debarr'd,
Thy Husband's heel was bruis'd.
The God of blessings was a curse,
The Lord of lords a drudge,
The heir of all things poor in purse:
Thy Husband did not grudge.
The Judge of all condemned was,
The Lord immortal slain:
No favour, in thy woful cause,
Thy Husband did obtain.
Christ's Sufferings further improved; and Believers called to live by faith, both when they have, and want sensible influences.
Loud praises sing, without surcease,
To him that frankly came,
And gave his soul a sacrifice;
Thy Husband was the Lamb.
What waken'd vengeance could denounce,
All round him did beset;
And never left his soul, till once
Thy Husband paid the debt.
And though new debt thou still contract,
And run deep arrears;
Yet all thy burdens on his back
Thy Husband always bears.
Thy Judge will ne'er demand of thee
Two payments for one debt;
Thee with one victim wholly free
Thy Husband kindly set.
That no grim vengeance might thee meet,
Thy Husband met with all;
And, that thy soul might drink the sweet,
Thy Husband drank the gall.
Full breasts of joy he loves t' extend,
Like to a kindly nurse;
And, that thy bliss might full be gain'd,
Thy Husband was a curse.
Thy sins he glu'd unto the tree,
His blood this virtue hath;
For, that thy heart to sin might die,
Thy Husband suffer'd death.
To purchase fully all thy good,
All evil him befel;
To win thy heav'n with streams of blood,
Thy Husband quenched hell.
That this kind Days-Man in one band
Might God and man betroth,
He on both parties lays his hand,
Thy Husband pleases both.
The blood that could stern justice please,
And law-demands fulfil,
Can also guilty conscience ease;
Thy Husband clears the bill.
Thy highest glory is obtain'd
By his abasement deep:
And, that thy tears might all be drain'd,
Thy Husband chose to weep.
His bondage all thy freedom bought,
He stoop'd so lowly down:
His grappling all thy grandeur brought,
Thy Husband's cross, thy crown.
'Tis by his shock thy sceptre sways,
His warfare ends thy strife;
His poverty thy wealth conveys,
Thy Husband's death's thy life.
Do mortal damps invade thy heart,
And deadness seize thee sore?
Rejoice in this, that life t' impart
Thy Husband eas in store.
And when new life imparted seems
Establish'd as a rock,
Boast in the Fountain, not the streams;
Thy Husband is thy stock.
The streams may take a various turn,
The Fountain never moves:
Cease then, o'er failing streams to mourn,
Thy Husband thus thee proves.
That glad thou may'st, when drops are gone,
Joy in the spacious sea:
When incomes fail, then still upon
Thy Husband keep thine eye.
But can't thou look, nor moan thy strait,
So dark's the dismal hour?
Yet, as thou'rt able, cry, and wait
Thy Husband's day of pow'r.
Tell him, though sin prolong the term,
Yet love can scarce delay:
Thy want, his promise, all affirm,
Thy Husband must not stay.
Christ the Believer's enriching Treasure.
Kind Jesus lives, thy life to be
Who mak'st him thy refuge:
And, when he comes, thou'lt joy to see,
Thy Husband shall be judge.
Should passing troubles thee annoy,
Without, within, or both?
Since endless life thou'lt then enjoy,
Thy Husband pledg'd his truth.
What! won't he ev'n in time impart
That's for thy real good?
He gave his love, he gave his heart,
Thy Husband gave his blood.
He gives himself, and what should more?
What can he then refuse?
If this won't please thee, ah! how sore
Thy Husband dost abuse!
Earth's fruit, heav'n's dew he won't deny,
Whose eyes thy need behold:
Nought under or above the sky
Thy Husband will with-hold.
Dost losses grieve? Since all is thine,
What loss can thee befall?
All things for good to thee combine,
Thy Husband orders all.
Thou'rt not put off with barren leaves,
Or dung of earthly-pelf;
More wealth than heav'n and earth he gives,
Thy Husband's thine himself.
Thou hast enough to stay thy plaint,
Else thou complain'st of ease;
For, having all, don't speak of want,
Thy Husband may suffice.
From this thy store, believing, take
Wealth to the utmost pitch:
The gold of Ophir cannot make,
Thy Husband makes thee rich.
Some, flying gains acquire by pains,
And, some by plund'ring toil;
Such treasure fades, but thine remains,
Thy Husband's cannot spoil.
Christ the Believer's adorning Garment.
Yea, thou excell'st in rich attire
The lamp that lights the globe:
Thy sparkling garment heav'ns admire,
Thy Husband is thy robe.
This raiment never waxes old,
'Tis always new and clean:
From summer-heat, and winter-cold,
Thy Husband can thee screen.
All who the name of worthies bore,
Since Adam was undrest,
No worth acquir'd, but as they wore
Thy Husband's purple vest.
This linen fine can beautify
The soul with sin begirt;
O bless his name, that e'er on thee
Thy Husband spread his skirt.
Are dung-hills deck'd with flow'ry glore,
Which Solomon's outvie?
Sure thine is infinitely more,
Thy Husband decks the sky.
Thy hands could never work the dress,
By grace alone thou'rt gay;
Grace vents and reigns through righteousness;
Thy Husband's bright array.
To spin thy robe no more dost need
Than lilies toil for theirs;
Out of his bowels ev'ry thread
Thy Husband thine prepares.
Christ the Believer's sweet Nourishment
Thy food, conform to thine array,
Is heav'nly and divine;
On pastures green, where angels play,
Thy Husband feeds thee fine.
Angelic food may make thee fair,
And look with cheerful face:
The bread of life, the double share,
Thy Husband's love and grace.
What can he give or thou desire,
More than his flesh and blood?
Let angels wonder, saints admire,
Thy Husband is thy food.
His flesh the incarnation bears,
From whence thy feeding flows;
His blood the satisfaction clear;
Thy Husband both bestows.
Th' incarnate God a sacrifice
To turn the wrathful tide,
Is food for faith; that may suffice
Thy Husband's guilty bride.
This strength'ning food may fit and fence
For work and war to come;
Till through the crowd, some moments hence,
Thy Husband bring thee home:
Where plenteous feasting will succeed
To scanty feeding here:
And joyful at the table-head
Thy Husband fair appear.
The crumbs to banquets will give place,
And drops to rivers new;
While heart and eye will, face to face,
Thy Husband ever view.
Paradise Regained: The Second Book
Meanwhile the new-baptized, who yet remained
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen
Him whom they heard so late expressly called
Jesus Messiah, Son of God, declared,
And on that high authority had believed,
And with him talked, and with him lodged—I mean
Andrew and Simon, famous after known,
With others, though in Holy Writ not named—
Now missing him, their joy so lately found,
So lately found and so abruptly gone,
Began to doubt, and doubted many days,
And, as the days increased, increased their doubt.
Sometimes they thought he might be only shewn,
And for a time caught up to God, as once
Moses was in the Mount and missing long,
And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels
Rode up to Heaven, yet once again to come.
Therefore, as those young prophets then with care
Sought lost Eliah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara—in Jericho
The city of palms, AEnon, and Salem old,
Machaerus, and each town or city walled
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
Or in Peraea—but returned in vain.
Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek,
Where winds with reeds and osiers whispering play,
Plain fishermen (no greater men them call),
Close in a cottage low together got,
Their unexpected loss and plaints outbreathed:—
"Alas, from what high hope to what relapse
Unlooked for are we fallen! Our eyes beheld
Messiah certainly now come, so long
Expected of our fathers; we have heard
His words, his wisdom full of grace and truth.
'Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand;
The kingdom shall to Israel be restored:'
Thus we rejoiced, but soon our joy is turned
Into perplexity and new amaze.
For whither is he gone? what accident
Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire
After appearance, and again prolong
Our expectation? God of Israel,
Send thy Messiah forth; the time is come.
Behold the kings of the earth, how they oppress
Thy Chosen, to what highth their power unjust
They have exalted, and behind them cast
All fear of Thee; arise, and vindicate
Thy glory; free thy people from their yoke!
But let us wait; thus far He hath performed—
Sent his Anointed, and to us revealed him
By his great Prophet pointed at and shown
In public, and with him we have conversed.
Let us be glad of this, and all our fears
Lay on his providence; He will not fail,
Nor will withdraw him now, nor will recall—
Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence:
Soon we shall see our hope, our joy, return."
Thus they out of their plaints new hope resume
To find whom at the first they found unsought.
But to his mother Mary, when she saw
Others returned from baptism, not her Son,
Nor left at Jordan tidings of him none,
Within her breast though calm, her breast though pure,
Motherly cares and fears got head, and raised
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad:—
"Oh, what avails me now that honour high,
To have conceived of God, or that salute,
'Hail, highly favoured, among women blest!'
While I to sorrows am no less advanced,
And fears as eminent above the lot
Of other women, by the birth I bore:
In such a season born, when scarce a shed
Could be obtained to shelter him or me
From the bleak air? A stable was our warmth,
A manger his; yet soon enforced to fly
Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king
Were dead, who sought his life, and, missing, filled
With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem.
From Egypt home returned, in Nazareth
Hath been our dwelling many years; his life
Private, unactive, calm, contemplative,
Little suspicious to any king. But now,
Full grown to man, acknowledged, as I hear,
By John the Baptist, and in public shewn,
Son owned from Heaven by his Father's voice,
I looked for some great change. To honour? no;
But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold,
That to the fall and rising he should be
Of many in Israel, and to a sign
Spoken against—that through my very soul
A sword shall pierce. This is my favoured lot,
My exaltation to afflictions high!
Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest!
I will not argue that, nor will repine.
But where delays he now? Some great intent
Conceals him. When twelve years he scarce had seen,
I lost him, but so found as well I saw
He could not lose himself, but went about
His Father's business. What he meant I mused—
Since understand; much more his absence now
Thus long to some great purpose he obscures.
But I to wait with patience am inured;
My heart hath been a storehouse long of things
And sayings laid up, pretending strange events."
Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind
Recalling what remarkably had passed
Since first her Salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly composed awaited the fulfilling:
The while her Son, tracing the desert wild,
Sole, but with holiest meditations fed,
Into himself descended, and at once
All his great work to come before him set—
How to begin, how to accomplish best
His end of being on Earth, and mission high.
For Satan, with sly preface to return,
Had left him vacant, and with speed was gone
Up to the middle region of thick air,
Where all his Potentates in council sate.
There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy,
Solicitous and blank, he thus began:—
"Princes, Heaven's ancient Sons, AEthereal Thrones—
Daemonian Spirits now, from the element
Each of his reign allotted, rightlier called
Powers of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth beneath
(So may we hold our place and these mild seats
Without new trouble!)—such an enemy
Is risen to invade us, who no less
Threatens than our expulsion down to Hell.
I, as I undertook, and with the vote
Consenting in full frequence was impowered,
Have found him, viewed him, tasted him; but find
Far other labour to be undergone
Than when I dealt with Adam, first of men,
Though Adam by his wife's allurement fell,
However to this Man inferior far—
If he be Man by mother's side, at least
With more than human gifts from Heaven adorned,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am returned, lest confidence
Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure
Of like succeeding here. I summon all
Rather to be in readiness with hand
Or counsel to assist, lest I, who erst
Thought none my equal, now be overmatched."
So spake the old Serpent, doubting, and from all
With clamour was assured their utmost aid
At his command; when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest Spirit that fell,
The sensualest, and, after Asmodai,
The fleshliest Incubus, and thus advised:—
"Set women in his eye and in his walk,
Among daughters of men the fairest found.
Many are in each region passing fair
As the noon sky, more like to goddesses
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet,
Expert in amorous arts, enchanting tongues
Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild
And sweet allayed, yet terrible to approach,
Skilled to retire, and in retiring draw
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the power to soften and tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve,
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, resolutest breast,
As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguiled the heart
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build,
And made him bow, to the gods of his wives."
To whom quick answer Satan thus returned:—
"Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st
All others by thyself. Because of old
Thou thyself doat'st on womankind, admiring
Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace,
None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys.
Before the Flood, thou, with thy lusty crew,
False titled Sons of God, roaming the Earth,
Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men,
And coupled with them, and begot a race.
Have we not seen, or by relation heard,
In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st,
In wood or grove, by mossy fountain-side,
In valley or green meadow, to waylay
Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene,
Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa,
Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more
Too long—then lay'st thy scapes on names adored,
Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,
Satyr, or Faun, or Silvan? But these haunts
Delight not all. Among the sons of men
How many have with a smile made small account
Of beauty and her lures, easily scorned
All her assaults, on worthier things intent!
Remember that Pellean conqueror,
A youth, how all the beauties of the East
He slightly viewed, and slightly overpassed;
How he surnamed of Africa dismissed,
In his prime youth, the fair Iberian maid.
For Solomon, he lived at ease, and, full
Of honour, wealth, high fare, aimed not beyond
Higher design than to enjoy his state;
Thence to the bait of women lay exposed.
But he whom we attempt is wiser far
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Made and set wholly on the accomplishment
Of greatest things. What woman will you find,
Though of this age the wonder and the fame,
On whom his leisure will voutsafe an eye
Of fond desire? Or should she, confident,
As sitting queen adored on Beauty's throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
To enamour, as the zone of Venus once
Wrought that effect on Jove (so fables tell),
How would one look from his majestic brow,
Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill,
Discountenance her despised, and put to rout
All her array, her female pride deject,
Or turn to reverent awe! For Beauty stands
In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive; cease to admire, and all her plumes
Fall flat, and shrink into a trivial toy,
At every sudden slighting quite abashed.
Therefore with manlier objects we must try
His constancy—with such as have more shew
Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise
(Rocks whereon greatest men have oftest wrecked);
Or that which only seems to satisfy
Lawful desires of nature, not beyond.
And now I know he hungers, where no food
Is to be found, in the wide Wilderness:
The rest commit to me; I shall let pass
No advantage, and his strength as oft assay."
He ceased, and heard their grant in loud acclaim;
Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band
Of Spirits likest to himself in guile,
To be at hand and at his beck appear,
If cause were to unfold some active scene
Of various persons, each to know his part;
Then to the desert takes with these his flight,
Where still, from shade to shade, the Son of God,
After forty days' fasting, had remained,
Now hungering first, and to himself thus said:—
"Where will this end? Four times ten days I have passed
Wandering this woody maze, and human food
Nor tasted, nor had appetite. That fast
To virtue I impute not, or count part
Of what I suffer here. If nature need not,
Or God support nature without repast,
Though needing, what praise is it to endure?
But now I feel I hunger; which declares
Nature hath need of what she asks. Yet God
Can satisfy that need some other way,
Though hunger still remain. So it remain
Without this body's wasting, I content me,
And from the sting of famine fear no harm;
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed
Me hungering more to do my Father's will."
It was the hour of night, when thus the Son
Communed in silent walk, then laid him down
Under the hospitable covert nigh
Of trees thick interwoven. There he slept,
And dreamed, as appetite is wont to dream,
Of meats and drinks, nature's refreshment sweet.
Him thought he by the brook of Cherith stood,
And saw the ravens with their horny beaks
Food to Elijah bringing even and morn—
Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they brought;
He saw the Prophet also, how he fled
Into the desert, and how there he slept
Under a juniper—then how, awaked,
He found his supper on the coals prepared,
And by the Angel was bid rise and eat,
And eat the second time after repose,
The strength whereof sufficed him forty days:
Sometimes that with Elijah he partook,
Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse.
Thus wore out night; and now the harald Lark
Left his ground-nest, high towering to descry
The Morn's approach, and greet her with his song.
As lightly from his grassy couch up rose
Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream;
Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting waked.
Up to a hill anon his steps he reared,
From whose high top to ken the prospect round,
If cottage were in view, sheep-cote, or herd;
But cottage, herd, or sheep-cote, none he saw—
Only in a bottom saw a pleasant grove,
With chaunt of tuneful birds resounding loud.
Thither he bent his way, determined there
To rest at noon, and entered soon the shade
High-roofed, and walks beneath, and alleys brown,
That opened in the midst a woody scene;
Nature's own work it seemed (Nature taught Art),
And, to a superstitious eye, the haunt
Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs. He viewed it round;
When suddenly a man before him stood,
Not rustic as before, but seemlier clad,
As one in city or court or palace bred,
And with fair speech these words to him addressed:—
"With granted leave officious I return,
But much more wonder that the Son of God
In this wild solitude so long should bide,
Of all things destitute, and, well I know,
Not without hunger. Others of some note,
As story tells, have trod this wilderness:
The fugitive Bond-woman, with her son,
Outcast Nebaioth, yet found here relief
By a providing Angel; all the race
Of Israel here had famished, had not God
Rained from heaven manna; and that Prophet bold,
Native of Thebez, wandering here, was fed
Twice by a voice inviting him to eat.
Of thee those forty days none hath regard,
Forty and more deserted here indeed."
To whom thus Jesus:—"What conclud'st thou hence?
They all had need; I, as thou seest, have none."
"How hast thou hunger then?" Satan replied.
"Tell me, if food were now before thee set,
Wouldst thou not eat?" "Thereafter as I like
the giver," answered Jesus. "Why should that
Cause thy refusal?" said the subtle Fiend.
"Hast thou not right to all created things?
Owe not all creatures, by just right, to thee
Duty and service, nor to stay till bid,
But tender all their power? Nor mention I
Meats by the law unclean, or offered first
To idols—those young Daniel could refuse;
Nor proffered by an enemy—though who
Would scruple that, with want oppressed? Behold,
Nature ashamed, or, better to express,
Troubled, that thou shouldst hunger, hath purveyed
From all the elements her choicest store,
To treat thee as beseems, and as her Lord
With honour. Only deign to sit and eat."
He spake no dream; for, as his words had end,
Our Saviour, lifting up his eyes, beheld,
In ample space under the broadest shade,
A table richly spread in regal mode,
With dishes piled and meats of noblest sort
And savour—beasts of chase, or fowl of game,
In pastry built, or from the spit, or boiled,
Grisamber-steamed; all fish, from sea or shore,
Freshet or purling brook, of shell or fin,
And exquisitest name, for which was drained
Pontus, and Lucrine bay, and Afric coast.
Alas! how simple, to these cates compared,
Was that crude Apple that diverted Eve!
And at a stately sideboard, by the wine,
That fragrant smell diffused, in order stood
Tall stripling youths rich-clad, of fairer hue
Than Ganymed or Hylas; distant more,
Under the trees now tripped, now solemn stood,
Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades
With fruits and flowers from Amalthea's horn,
And ladies of the Hesperides, that seemed
Fairer than feigned of old, or fabled since
Of faery damsels met in forest wide
By knights of Logres, or of Lyones,
Lancelot, or Pelleas, or Pellenore.
And all the while harmonious airs were heard
Of chiming strings or charming pipes; and winds
Of gentlest gale Arabian odours fanned
From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells.
Such was the splendour; and the Tempter now
His invitation earnestly renewed:—
"What doubts the Son of God to sit and eat?
These are not fruits forbidden; no interdict
Defends the touching of these viands pure;
Their taste no knowledge works, at least of evil,
But life preserves, destroys life's enemy,
Hunger, with sweet restorative delight.
All these are Spirits of air, and woods, and springs,
Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay
Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord.
What doubt'st thou, Son of God? Sit down and eat."
To whom thus Jesus temperately replied:—
"Said'st thou not that to all things I had right?
And who withholds my power that right to use?
Shall I receive by gift what of my own,
When and where likes me best, I can command?
I can at will, doubt not, as soon as thou,
Command a table in this wilderness,
And call swift flights of Angels ministrant,
Arrayed in glory, on my cup to attend:
Why shouldst thou, then, obtrude this diligence
In vain, where no acceptance it can find?
And with my hunger what hast thou to do?
Thy pompous delicacies I contemn,
And count thy specious gifts no gifts, but guiles."
To whom thus answered Satan, male-content:—
"That I have also power to give thou seest;
If of that power I bring thee voluntary
What I might have bestowed on whom I pleased,
And rather opportunely in this place
Chose to impart to thy apparent need,
Why shouldst thou not accept it? But I see
What I can do or offer is suspect.
Of these things others quickly will dispose,
Whose pains have earned the far-fet spoil." With that
Both table and provision vanished quite,
With sound of harpies' wings and talons heard;
Only the importune Tempter still remained,
And with these words his temptation pursued:—
"By hunger, that each other creature tames,
Thou art not to be harmed, therefore not moved;
Thy temperance, invincible besides,
For no allurement yields to appetite;
And all thy heart is set on high designs,
High actions. But wherewith to be achieved?
Great acts require great means of enterprise;
Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of birth,
A carpenter thy father known, thyself
Bred up in poverty and straits at home,
Lost in a desert here and hunger-bit.
Which way, or from what hope, dost thou aspire
To greatness? whence authority deriv'st?
What followers, what retinue canst thou gain,
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude,
Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost?
Money brings honour, friends, conquest, and realms.
What raised Antipater the Edomite,
And his son Herod placed on Juda's throne,
Thy throne, but gold, that got him puissant friends?
Therefore, if at great things thou wouldst arrive,
Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap—
Not difficult, if thou hearken to me.
Riches are mine, fortune is in my hand;
They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain,
While virtue, valour, wisdom, sit in want."
To whom thus Jesus patiently replied:—
"Yet wealth without these three is impotent
To gain dominion, or to keep it gained—
Witness those ancient empires of the earth,
In highth of all their flowing wealth dissolved;
But men endued with these have oft attained,
In lowest poverty, to highest deeds—
Gideon, and Jephtha, and the shepherd lad
Whose offspring on the throne of Juda sate
So many ages, and shall yet regain
That seat, and reign in Israel without end.
Among the Heathen (for throughout the world
To me is not unknown what hath been done
Worthy of memorial) canst thou not remember
Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus?
For I esteem those names of men so poor,
Who could do mighty things, and could contemn
Riches, though offered from the hand of kings.
And what in me seems wanting but that I
May also in this poverty as soon
Accomplish what they did, perhaps and more?
Extol not riches, then, the toil of fools,
The wise man's cumbrance, if not snare; more apt
To slacken virtue and abate her edge
Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise.
What if with like aversion I reject
Riches and realms! Yet not for that a crown,
Golden in shew, is but a wreath of thorns,
Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights,
To him who wears the regal diadem,
When on his shoulders each man's burden lies;
For therein stands the office of a king,
His honour, virtue, merit, and chief praise,
That for the public all this weight he bears.
Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules
Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king—
Which every wise and virtuous man attains;
And who attains not, ill aspires to rule
Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes,
Subject himself to anarchy within,
Or lawless passions in him, which he serves.
But to guide nations in the way of truth
By saving doctrine, and from error lead
To know, and, knowing, worship God aright,
Is yet more kingly. This attracts the soul,
Governs the inner man, the nobler part;
That other o'er the body only reigns,
And oft by force—which to a generous mind
So reigning can be no sincere delight.
Besides, to give a kingdom hath been thought
Greater and nobler done, and to lay down
Far more magnanimous, than to assume.
Riches are needless, then, both for themselves,
And for thy reason why they should be sought—
To gain a sceptre, oftest better missed."
Resignation Pt 1
The days how few, how short the years
Of man's too rapid race!
Each leaving, as it swiftly flies,
A shorter in its place.
They who the longest lease enjoy,
Have told us with a sigh,
That to be born seems little more
Than to begin to die.
Numbers there are who feel this truth
With fears alarm'd; and yet,
In life's delusions lull'd asleep,
This weighty truth forget:
And am not I to these akin?
Age slumbers o'er the quill;
Its honour blots, whate'er it writes,
And am I writing still?
Conscious of nature in decline,
And languor in my thoughts;
To soften censure, and abate
Its rigour on my faults
Permit me, madam! ere to you
The promis'd verse I pay,
To touch on felt infirmity,
Sad sister of decay.
One world deceas'd, another born,
Like Noah they behold,
O'er whose white hairs, and furrow'd brows,
Too many suns have roll'd:
Happy the patriarch! he rejoic'd
His second world to see:
My second world, though gay the scene,
Can boast no charms for me.
To me this brilliant age appears
With desolation spread;
Near all with whom I liv'd, and smil'd,
Whilst life was life, are dead;
And with them died my joys; the grave
Has broken nature's laws;
And clos'd, against this feeble frame,
Its partial cruel jaws;
Cruel to spare! condemn'd to life!
A cloud impairs my sight;
My weak hand disobeys my will,
And trembles as I write.
What shall I write? Thalia, tell;
Say, long abandon'd muse!
What field of fancy shall I range?
What subject shall I choose?
A choice of moment high inspire,
And rescue me from shame,
For doting on thy charms so late,
By grandeur in my theme.
Beyond the themes, which most admire,
Which dazzle, or amaze,
Beyond renown'd exploits of war,
Bright charms, or empire's blaze,
Are themes, which, in a world of woe
Can best appease our pain;
And, in an age of gaudy guilt,
Gay folly's flood restrain;
Amidst the storms of life support
A calm, unshaken mind;
And with unfading laurels crown
The brow of the resign'd.
O resignation! yet unsung,
Untouch'd by former strains;
Though claiming every muse's smile,
And every poet's pains,
Beneath life's evening, solemn shade,
I dedicate my page
To thee, thou safest guard of youth!
Thou sole support of age!
All other duties crescents are
Of virtue faintly bright,
The glorious consummation, thou!
Which fills her orb with light:
How rarely fill'd! the love divine
In evils to discern,
This the first lesson which we want,
The latest, which we learn;
A melancholy truth! for know,
Could our proud hearts resign,
The distance greatly would decrease
'Twixt human and divine.
But though full noble is my theme,
Full urgent is my call
To soften sorrow, and forbid
The bursting tear to fall:
The task I dread; dare I to leave
Of humble prose the shore,
And put to sea? a dangerous sea?
What throngs have sunk before!
How proud the poet's billow swells!
The God! the God! his boast:
A boast how vain! What wrecks abound!
Dead bards stench every coast.
What then am I? Shall I presume,
On such a moulten wing,
Above the general wreck to rise,
And in my winter, sing;
When nightingales, when sweetest bards
Confine their charming song
To summer's animating heats,
Content to warble young?
Yet write I must; a lady(49) sues;
How shameful her request!
My brain in labour for dull rhyme!
Hers teeming with the best!
But you a stranger will excuse,
Nor scorn his feeble strain;
To you a stranger, but, through fate,
No stranger to your pain.
The ghost of grief deceas'd ascends,
His old wound bleeds anew;
His sorrows are recall'd to life
By those he sees in you;
Too well he knows the twisting strings
Of ardent hearts combin'd
When rent asunder, how they bleed,
How hard to be resign'd:
Those tears you pour, his eyes have shed;
The pang you feel, he felt;
Thus nature, loud as virtue, bids
His heart at yours to melt.
But what can heart, or head, suggest?
What sad experience say?
Through truths austere, to peace we work
Our rugged, gloomy way:
What are we? whence? for what? and whither?
Who know not, needs must mourn;
But thought, bright daughter of the skies!
Can tears to triumph turn.
Thought is our armour, 'tis the mind's
When, sent by fate, we meet our foes,
In sore affliction's field;
It plucks the frightful mask from ills,
Forbids pale fear to hide,
Beneath that dark disguise, a friend,
Which turns affection's tide.
Affection frail! train'd up by sense,
From reason's channel strays:
And whilst it blindly points at peace,
Our peace to pain betrays.
Thought winds its fond, erroneous stream
From daily dying flowers,
To nourish rich immortal blooms,
In amaranthine bowers;
Whence throngs, in ecstasy, look down
On what once shock'd their sight;
And thank the terrors of the past
For ages of delight.
All withers here; who most possess
Are losers by their gain,
Stung by full proof, that, bad at best,
Life's idle all is vain:
Vain, in its course, life's murmuring stream;
Did not its course offend,
But murmur cease; life, then, would seem
Still vainer, from its end.
How wretched! who, through cruel fate,
Have nothing to lament!
With the poor alms this world affords
Had not the Greek his world mistook,
His wish had been most wise;
To be content with but one world,
Like him, we should despise.
Of earth's revenue would you state
A full account and fair?
We hope; and hope; and hope; then cast
The total up---
Since vain all here, all future, vast,
Embrace the lot assign'd;
Heaven wounds to heal; its frowns are friends;
Its stroke severe, most kind.
But in laps'd nature rooted deep,
Blind error domineers;
And on fools' errands, in the dark,
Sends out our hopes and fears;
Bids us for ever pains deplore,
Our pleasures overprize;
These oft persuade us to be weak;
Those urge us to be wise.
From virtue's rugged path to right
By pleasure are we brought,
To flowery fields of wrong, and there
Pain chides us for our fault:
Yet whilst it chides, it speaks of peace
If folly is withstood;
And says, time pays an easy price,
For our eternal good.
In earth's dark cot, and in an hour,
And in delusion great,
What an economist is man
To spend his whole estate,
And beggar an eternity!
For which as he was born,
More worlds than one against it weigh'd,
As feathers he should scorn.
Say not, your loss in triumph leads
Religion's feeble strife;
Joys future amply reimburse
Joys bankrupts of this life.
But not deferr'd your joy so long,
It bears an early date;
Affliction's ready pay in hand,
Befriends our present state;
What are the tears, which trickle down
Her melancholy face,
Like liquid pearl? Like pearls of price,
They purchase lasting peace.
Grief softens hearts, and curbs the will,
Impetuous passion tames,
And keeps insatiate, keen desire
From launching in extremes.
Through time's dark womb, our judgment right,
If our dim eye was thrown,
Clear should we see, the will divine
Has but forestall'd our own;
At variance with our future wish,
Self-sever'd we complain;
If so, the wounded, not the wound,
Must answer for the pain:
The day shall come, and swift of wing,
Though you may think it slow,
When, in the list of fortune's smiles,
You'll enter frowns of woe.
For mark the path of Providence;
This course it has pursued-
'Pain is the parent, woe the womb,
Of sound, important good:'
Our hearts are fasten'd to this world
By strong and endless ties:
And every sorrow cuts a string,
And urges us to rise:
'Twill sound severe-Yet rest assur'd
I'm studious of your peace;
Though I should dare to give you joy-
Yes, joy of his decease:
An hour shall come, (you question this,)
An hour, when you shall bless,
Beyond the brightest beams of life,
Dark days of your distress.
Hear then without surprise a truth,
A daughter truth to this,
Swift turns of fortune often tie
A bleeding heart to bliss:
Esteem you this a paradox?
My sacred motto read;
A glorious truth! divinely sung
By one, whose heart had bled;
To resignation swift he flew,
In her a friend he found,
A friend, which bless'd him with a smile
When gasping with his wound.
On earth nought precious is obtain'd
But what is painful too;
By travel, and to travel born,
Our sabbaths are but few:
To real joy we work our way,
Encountering many a shock,
Ere found what truly charms; as found
A Venus in the block.
In some disaster, some severe
Appointment for our sins,
That mother blessing, (not so call'd,)
True happiness, begins.
No martyr e'er defied the flames,
By stings of life unvext;
First rose some quarrel with this world,
Then passion for the next.
You see, then, pangs are parent pangs,
The pangs of happy birth;
Pangs, by which only can be born
True happiness on earth.
The peopled earth look all around,
Or through time's records run!
And say, what is a man unstruck?
It is a man undone.
This moment, am I deeply stung-
My bold pretence is tried;
When vain man boasts, heaven puts to proof
The vauntings of his pride;
Now need I, madam! your support.-
How exquisite the smart;
How critically tim'd the news(50)
Which strikes me to the heart!
The pangs of which I spoke, I feel:
If worth like thine is born,
O long-belov'd! I bless the blow,
And triumph, whilst I mourn.
Nor mourn I long; by grief subdued,
By reason's empire shown;
Deep anguish comes by heaven's decree,
Continues by our own;
And when continued past its point,
Indulg'd in length of time,
Grief is disgrac'd, and, what was fate,
Corrupts into a crime:
And shall I, criminally mean,
Myself and subject wrong?
No; my example shall support
The subject of my song.
Madam! I grant your loss is great;
Nor little is your gain?
Let that be weigh'd; when weigh'd aright,
It richly pays your pain:
When heaven would kindly set us free,
And earth's enchantment end;
It takes the most effectual means,
And robs us of a friend.
But such a friend! and sigh no more?
'Tis prudent; but severe:
Heaven aid my weakness, and I drop
All sorrow-with this tear.
Perhaps your settled grief to soothe,
I should not vainly strive,
But with soft balm your pain assuage,
Had he been still alive;
Whose frequent aid brought kind relief,
In my distress of thought,
Ting'd with his beams my cloudy page,
And beautified a fault:
To touch our passions' secret springs
Was his peculiar care;
And deep his happy genius div'd
In bosoms of the fair;
Nature, which favours to the few,
All art beyond, imparts,
To him presented, at his birth,
The key of human hearts.
But not to me by him bequeath'd
His gentle, smooth address;
His tender hand to touch the wound
In throbbing of distress;
Howe'er, proceed I must, unbless'd
With Esculapian art:
Know, love sometimes, mistaken love!
Plays disaffection's part:
Nor lands, nor seas, nor suns, nor stars,
Can soul from soul divide;
They correspond from distant worlds,
Though transports are denied:
Are you not, then, unkindly kind?
Is not your love severe?
O! stop that crystal source of woe;
Nor wound him with a tear.
As those above from human bliss
Receive increase of joy;
May not a stroke from human woe,
In part, their peace destroy?
He lives in those he left;-to what?
Your, now, paternal care,
Clear from its cloud your brighten'd eye,
It will discern him there;
In features, not of form alone,
But those, I trust, of mind;
Auspicious to the public weal,
And to their fate resign'd.
Think on the tempests he sustain'd;
Revolve his battles won;
And let those prophesy your joy
From such a father's son:
Is consolation what you seek?
Fan, then, his martial fire:
And animate to flame the sparks
Bequeath'd him by his sire:
As nothing great is born in haste,
Wise nature's time allow;
His father's laurels may descend,
And flourish on his brow.
Nor, madam! be surpris'd to hear
That laurels may be due
Not more to heroes of the field,
(Proud boasters!) than to you:
Tender as is the female frame,
Like that brave man you mourn,
You are a soldier, and to fight
Superior battles born;
Beneath a banner nobler far
Than ever was unfurl'd
In fields of blood; a banner bright!
High wav'd o'er all the world.
It, like a streaming meteor, casts
A universal light;
Sheds day, sheds more, eternal day
On nations whelm'd in night.
Beneath that banner, what exploit
Can mount our glory higher,
Than to sustain the dreadful blow,
When those we love expire?
Go forth a moral Amazon;
Arm'd with undaunted thought;
The battle won, though costing dear,
You'll think it cheaply bought:
The passive hero, who sits down
Unactive, and can smile
Beneath affliction's galling load,
Out-acts a Caesar's toil:
The billows stain'd by slaughter'd foes
Inferior praise afford;
Reason's a bloodless conqueror,
More glorious than the sword.
Nor can the thunders of huzzas,
From shouting nations, cause
Such sweet delight, as from your heart
Soft whispers of applause:
The dear deceas'd so fam'd in arms,
With what delight he'll view
His triumphs on the main outdone,
Thus conquer'd, twice, by you.
Share his delight; take heed to shun
Of bosoms most diseas'd
That odd distemper, an absurd
Reluctance to be pleas'd:
Some seem in love with sorrow's charms,
And that foul fiend embrace:
This temper let me justly brand,
And stamp it with disgrace:
Sorrow! of horrid parentage!
Thou second-born of hell!
Against heaven's endless mercies pour'd
How dar'st thou to rebel?
From black and noxious vapours bred,
And nurs'd by want of thought,
And to the door of phrensy's self
By perseverance brought,
Thy most inglorious, coward tears
From brutal eyes have ran:
Smiles, incommunicable smiles!
Are radiant marks of man;
They cast a sudden glory round
Th' illumin'd human face;
And light in sons of honest joy
Some beams of Moses' face:
Is resignation's lesson hard?
Examine, we shall find
That duty gives up little more
Than anguish of the mind;
Resign; and all the load of life
That moment you remove,
Its heavy tax, ten thousand cares
Devolve on one above;
Who bids us lay our burthen down
On his almighty hand,
Softens our duty to relief,
To blessing a command.
For joy what cause! how every sense
Is courted from above
The year around, with presents rich,
The growth of endless love!
But most o'erlook the blessings pour'd,
Forget the wonders done,
And terminate, wrapp'd up in sense,
Their prospect at the sun;
From that, their final point of view,
From that their radiant goal,
On travel infinite of thought,
Sets out the nobler soul,
Broke loose from time's tenacious ties,
And earth's involving gloom,
To range at last its vast domain,
And talk with worlds to come:
They let unmark'd, and unemploy'd,
Life's idle moments run;
And doing nothing for themselves,
Imagine nothing done;
Fatal mistake! their fate goes on,
Their dread account proceeds,
And their not doing is set down
Amongst their darkest deeds;
Though man sits still, and takes his ease;
God is at work on man;
No means, no moment unemployed,
To bless him, if he can.
But man consents not, boldly bent
To fashion his own fate;
Man, a mere bungler in the trade,
Repents his crime too late;
Hence loud laments: let me thy cause,
Indulgent father! plead;
Of all the wretches we deplore,
Not one by thee was made.
What is thy whole creation fair?
Of love divine the child;
Love brought it forth; and, from its birth,
Has o'er it fondly smil'd:
Now, and through periods distant far,
Long ere the world began,
Heaven is, and has in travail been,
Its birth the good of man;
Man holds in constant service bound
The blustering winds and seas;
Nor suns disdain to travel hard
Their master, man, to please:
To final good the worst events
Through secret channels run;
Finish for man their destin'd course,
As 'twas for man begun.
One point (observ'd, perhaps, by few)
Has often smote, and smites
My mind, as demonstration strong;
That heaven in man delights:
What's known to man of things unseen,
Of future worlds, or fates?
So much, nor more, than what to man's
Sublime affairs relates;
What's revelation then? a list,
An inventory just
Of that poor insect's goods, so late
Call'd out of night and dust.
What various motives to rejoice!
To render joy sincere,
Has this no weight? our joy is felt
Beyond this narrow sphere:
Would we in heaven new heaven create,
And double its delight?
A smiling world, when heaven looks down,
How pleasing in its sight!
Angels stoop forward from their thrones
To hear its joyful lays;
As incense sweet enjoy, and join,
Its aromatic praise:
Have we no cause to fear the stroke
Of heaven's avenging rod,
When we presume to counteract
A sympathetic God?
If we resign, our patience makes
His rod an armless wand;
If not, it darts a serpent's sting,
Like that in Moses' hand;
Like that, it swallows up whate'er
Earth's vain magicians bring,
Whose baffled arts would boast below
Of joys a rival spring.
Consummate love! the list how large
Of blessings from thy hand!
To banish sorrow, and be blest,
Is thy supreme command.
Are such commands but ill obey'd?
Of bliss, shall we complain?
The man, who dares to be a wretch,
Deserves still greater pain.
Joy is our duty, glory, health;
The sunshine of the soul;
Our best encomium on the power
Who sweetly plans the whole:
Joy is our Eden still possess'd:
Begone, ignoble grief!
'Tis joy makes gods, and men exalts,
Their nature, our relief;
Relief, for man to that must stoop,
And his due distance know;
Transport's the language of the sides,
Content the style below.
Content is joy, and joy in pain
Is joy and virtue too;
Thus, whilst good present we possess,
More precious we pursue:
Of joy the more we have in hand,
The more have we to come;
Joy, like our money, interest bears,
Which daily swells the sum.
'But how to smile; to stem the tide
Of nature in our veins;
Is it not hard to weep in joy?
What then to smile in pains?'
Victorious joy! which breaks the clouds,
And struggles through a storm;
Proclaims the mind as great, as good
And bids it doubly charm:
If doubly charming in our sex,
A sex, by nature, bold;
What then in yours? 'tis diamond there
Triumphant o'er our gold.
And should not this complaint repress,
And check the rising sigh?
Yet farther opiate to your pain
I labour to supply.
Since spirits greatly damp'd distort
Ideas of delight,
Look through the medium of a friend,
To set your notions right:
As tears the sight, grief dims the soul;
Its object dark appears;
True friendship, like a rising sun,
The soul's horizon clears.
A friend's an optic to the mind
With sorrow clouded o'er;
And gives it strength of sight to see
Redress unseen before.
Reason is somewhat rough in man;
Extremely smooth and fair,
When she, to grace her manly strength,
Assumes a female air:
A friend(51) you have, and I the same,
Whose prudent, soft address
Will bring to life those healing thoughts
Which died in your distress;
That friend, the spirit of my theme
Extracting for your ease,
Will leave to me the dreg, in thoughts
Too common; such as these:
Let those lament to whom full bowls
Of sparkling joys are given;
That triple bane inebriates life,
Imbitters death, and hazards heaven:
Woe to the soul at perfect ease!
'Tis brewing perfect pains;
Lull'd reason sleeps, the pulse is king;
Despotic body reigns;
Have you(52) ne'er pitied joy's gay scenes,
And deem'd their glory dark?
Alas! poor envy! she's stone-blind,
And quite mistakes her mark:
Her mark lies hid in sorrow's shades,
But sorrow well subdu'd;
And in proud fortune's frown defied
By meek, unborrow'd good.
By resignation; all in that
A double friend may find,
A wing to heaven, and, while on earth,
The pillow of mankind:
On pillows void of down, for rest
Our restless hopes we place;
When hopes of heaven lie warm at heart,
Our hearts repose in peace:
The peace, which resignation yields,
Who feel alone can guess;
'Tis disbeliev'd by murmuring minds,
They must conclude it less:
The loss, or gain, of that alone
Have we to hope or fear;
That fate controls, and can invert
The seasons of the year:
O! the dark days, the year around,
Of an impatient mind!
Thro' clouds, and storms, a summer breaks,
To shine on the resign'd:
While man by that of every grace,
And virtue, is possess'd;
Foul vice her pandaemonium builds
In the rebellious breast;
By resignation we defeat
The worst that can annoy;
And suffer, with far more repose,
Than worldlings can enjoy.
From small experience this I speak;
O! grant to those I love
Experience fuller far, ye powers,
Who form our fates above!
My love were due, if not to those
Who, leaving grandeur, came
To shine on age in mean recess,
And light me to my theme!
A theme themselves! A theme, how rare!
The charms, which they display,
To triumph over captive heads,
Are set in bright array:
With his own arms proud man's o'ercome,
His boasted laurels die:
Learning and genius, wiser grown,
To female bosoms fly.
This revolution, fix'd by fate,
In fable was foretold;
The dark prediction puzzled wits,
Nor could the learn'd unfold:
But as those ladies'(53) works I read,
They darted such a ray,
The latent sense burst out at once,
And shone in open day:
So burst, full ripe, distended fruits,
When strongly strikes the sun;
And from the purple grape unpress'd
Spontaneous nectars run.
Pallas, ('tis said,) when Jove grew dull,
Forsook his drowsy brain;
And sprightly leap'd into the throne
Of wisdom's brighter reign;
Her helmet took; that is, shot rays
Of formidable wit;
And lance,-or, genius most acute,
Which lines immortal writ;
And gorgon shield,-or, power to fright
Man's folly, dreadful shone,
And many a blockhead (easy change!)
Turn'd, instantly, to stone.
Our authors male, as, then, did Jove,
Now scratch a damag'd head,
And call for what once quarter'd there,
But find the goddess fled.
The fruit of knowledge, golden fruit!
That once forbidden tree,
Hedg'd-in by surly man, is now
To Britain's daughters free:
In Eve (we know) of fruit so fair
The noble thirst began;
And they, like her, have caus'd a fall,
A fall of fame in man:
And since of genius in our sex,
O Addison! with thee
The sun is set; how I rejoice
This sister lamp to see!
It sheds, like Cynthia, silver beams
On man's nocturnal state;
His lessen'd light, and languid powers,
I show, whilst I relate.
The Iliad: Book 7
With these words Hector passed through the gates, and his brother
Alexandrus with him, both eager for the fray. As when heaven sends a
breeze to sailors who have long looked for one in vain, and have
laboured at their oars till they are faint with toil, even so
welcome was the sight of these two heroes to the Trojans.
Thereon Alexandrus killed Menesthius the son of Areithous; he
lived in Ame, and was son of Areithous the Mace-man, and of
Phylomedusa. Hector threw a spear at Eioneus and struck him dead
with a wound in the neck under the bronze rim of his helmet.
Glaucus, moreover, son of Hippolochus, captain of the Lycians, in hard
hand-to-hand fight smote Iphinous son of Dexius on the shoulder, as he
was springing on to his chariot behind his fleet mares; so he fell
to earth from the car, and there was no life left in him.
When, therefore, Minerva saw these men making havoc of the
Argives, she darted down to Ilius from the summits of Olympus, and
Apollo, who was looking on from Pergamus, went out to meet her; for he
wanted the Trojans to be victorious. The pair met by the oak tree, and
King Apollo son of Jove was first to speak. "What would you have
said he, "daughter of great Jove, that your proud spirit has sent
you hither from Olympus? Have you no pity upon the Trojans, and
would you incline the scales of victory in favour of the Danaans?
Let me persuade you- for it will be better thus- stay the combat for
to-day, but let them renew the fight hereafter till they compass the
doom of Ilius, since you goddesses have made up your minds to
destroy the city."
And Minerva answered, "So be it, Far-Darter; it was in this mind
that I came down from Olympus to the Trojans and Achaeans. Tell me,
then, how do you propose to end this present fighting?"
Apollo, son of Jove, replied, "Let us incite great Hector to
challenge some one of the Danaans in single combat; on this the
Achaeans will be shamed into finding a man who will fight him."
Minerva assented, and Helenus son of Priam divined the counsel of
the gods; he therefore went up to Hector and said, "Hector son of
Priam, peer of gods in counsel, I am your brother, let me then
persuade you. Bid the other Trojans and Achaeans all of them take
their seats, and challenge the best man among the Achaeans to meet you
in single combat. I have heard the voice of the ever-living gods,
and the hour of your doom is not yet come."
Hector was glad when he heard this saying, and went in among the
Trojans, grasping his spear by the middle to hold them back, and
they all sat down. Agamemnon also bade the Achaeans be seated. But
Minerva and Apollo, in the likeness of vultures, perched on father
Jove's high oak tree, proud of their men; and the ranks sat close
ranged together, bristling with shield and helmet and spear. As when
the rising west wind furs the face of the sea and the waters grow dark
beneath it, so sat the companies of Trojans and Achaeans upon the
plain. And Hector spoke thus:-
"Hear me, Trojans and Achaeans, that I may speak even as I am
minded; Jove on his high throne has brought our oaths and covenants to
nothing, and foreshadows ill for both of us, till you either take
the towers of Troy, or are yourselves vanquished at your ships. The
princes of the Achaeans are here present in the midst of you; let him,
then, that will fight me stand forward as your champion against
Hector. Thus I say, and may Jove be witness between us. If your
champion slay me, let him strip me of my armour and take it to your
ships, but let him send my body home that the Trojans and their
wives may give me my dues of fire when I am dead. In like manner, if
Apollo vouchsafe me glory and I slay your champion, I will strip him
of his armour and take it to the city of Ilius, where I will hang it
in the temple of Apollo, but I will give up his body, that the
Achaeans may bury him at their ships, and the build him a mound by the
wide waters of the Hellespont. Then will one say hereafter as he sails
his ship over the sea, 'This is the monument of one who died long
since a champion who was slain by mighty Hector.' Thus will one say,
and my fame shall not be lost."
Thus did he speak, but they all held their peace, ashamed to decline
the challenge, yet fearing to accept it, till at last Menelaus rose
and rebuked them, for he was angry. "Alas," he cried, "vain braggarts,
women forsooth not men, double-dyed indeed will be the stain upon us
if no man of the Danaans will now face Hector. May you be turned every
man of you into earth and water as you sit spiritless and inglorious
in your places. I will myself go out against this man, but the
upshot of the fight will be from on high in the hands of the
With these words he put on his armour; and then, O Menelaus, your
life would have come to an end at the hands of hands of Hector, for he
was far better the man, had not the princes of the Achaeans sprung
upon you and checked you. King Agamemnon caught him by the right
hand and said, "Menelaus, you are mad; a truce to this folly. Be
patient in spite of passion, do not think of fighting a man so much
stronger than yourself as Hector son of Priam, who is feared by many
another as well as you. Even Achilles, who is far more doughty than
you are, shrank from meeting him in battle. Sit down your own
people, and the Achaeans will send some other champion to fight
Hector; fearless and fond of battle though he be, I ween his knees
will bend gladly under him if he comes out alive from the
hurly-burly of this fight."
With these words of reasonable counsel he persuaded his brother,
whereon his squires gladly stripped the armour from off his shoulders.
Then Nestor rose and spoke, "Of a truth," said he, "the Achaean land
is fallen upon evil times. The old knight Peleus, counsellor and
orator among the Myrmidons, loved when I was in his house to
question me concerning the race and lineage of all the Argives. How
would it not grieve him could he hear of them as now quailing before
Hector? Many a time would he lift his hands in prayer that his soul
might leave his body and go down within the house of Hades. Would,
by father Jove, Minerva, and Apollo, that I were still young and
strong as when the Pylians and Arcadians were gathered in fight by the
rapid river Celadon under the walls of Pheia, and round about the
waters of the river Iardanus. The godlike hero Ereuthalion stood
forward as their champion, with the armour of King Areithous upon
his shoulders- Areithous whom men and women had surnamed 'the
Mace-man,' because he fought neither with bow nor spear, but broke the
battalions of the foe with his iron mace. Lycurgus killed him, not
in fair fight, but by entrapping him in a narrow way where his mace
served him in no stead; for Lycurgus was too quick for him and speared
him through the middle, so he fell to earth on his back. Lycurgus then
spoiled him of the armour which Mars had given him, and bore it in
battle thenceforward; but when he grew old and stayed at home, he gave
it to his faithful squire Ereuthalion, who in this same armour
challenged the foremost men among us. The others quaked and quailed,
but my high spirit bade me fight him though none other would
venture; I was the youngest man of them all; but when I fought him
Minerva vouchsafed me victory. He was the biggest and strongest man
that ever I killed, and covered much ground as he lay sprawling upon
the earth. Would that I were still young and strong as I then was, for
the son of Priam would then soon find one who would face him. But you,
foremost among the whole host though you be, have none of you any
stomach for fighting Hector."
Thus did the old man rebuke them, and forthwith nine men started
to their feet. Foremost of all uprose King Agamemnon, and after him
brave Diomed the son of Tydeus. Next were the two Ajaxes, men
clothed in valour as with a garment, and then Idomeneus, and
Meriones his brother in arms. After these Eurypylus son of Euaemon,
Thoas the son of Andraemon, and Ulysses also rose. Then Nestor
knight of Gerene again spoke, saying: "Cast lots among you to see
who shall be chosen. If he come alive out of this fight he will have
done good service alike to his own soul and to the Achaeans."
Thus he spoke, and when each of them had marked his lot, and had
thrown it into the helmet of Agamemnon son of Atreus, the people
lifted their hands in prayer, and thus would one of them say as he
looked into the vault of heaven, "Father Jove, grant that the lot fall
on Ajax, or on the son of Tydeus, or upon the king of rich Mycene
As they were speaking, Nestor knight of Gerene shook the helmet, and
from it there fell the very lot which they wanted- the lot of Ajax.
The herald bore it about and showed it to all the chieftains of the
Achaeans, going from left to right; but they none of of them owned it.
When, however, in due course he reached the man who had written upon
it and had put it into the helmet, brave Ajax held out his hand, and
the herald gave him the lot. When Ajax saw him mark he knew it and was
glad; he threw it to the ground and said, "My friends, the lot is
mine, and I rejoice, for I shall vanquish Hector. I will put on my
armour; meanwhile, pray to King Jove in silence among yourselves
that the Trojans may not hear you- or aloud if you will, for we fear
no man. None shall overcome me, neither by force nor cunning, for I
was born and bred in Salamis, and can hold my own in all things."
With this they fell praying to King Jove the son of Saturn, and thus
would one of them say as he looked into the vault of heaven, "Father
Jove that rulest from Ida, most glorious in power, vouchsafe victory
to Ajax, and let him win great glory: but if you wish well to Hector
also and would protect him, grant to each of them equal fame and
Thus they prayed, and Ajax armed himself in his suit of gleaming
bronze. When he was in full array he sprang forward as monstrous
Mars when he takes part among men whom Jove has set fighting with
one another- even so did huge Ajax, bulwark of the Achaeans, spring
forward with a grim smile on his face as he brandished his long
spear and strode onward. The Argives were elated as they beheld him,
but the Trojans trembled in every limb, and the heart even of Hector
beat quickly, but he could not now retreat and withdraw into the ranks
behind him, for he had been the challenger. Ajax came up bearing his
shield in front of him like a wall- a shield of bronze with seven
folds of oxhide- the work of Tychius, who lived in Hyle and was by far
the best worker in leather. He had made it with the hides of seven
full-fed bulls, and over these he had set an eighth layer of bronze.
Holding this shield before him, Ajax son of Telamon came close up to
Hector, and menaced him saying, "Hector, you shall now learn, man to
man, what kind of champions the Danaans have among them even besides
lion-hearted Achilles cleaver of the ranks of men. He now abides at
the ships in anger with Agamemnon shepherd of his people, but there
are many of us who are well able to face you; therefore begin the
And Hector answered, "Noble Ajax, son of Telamon, captain of the
host, treat me not as though I were some puny boy or woman that cannot
fight. I have been long used to the blood and butcheries of battle.
I am quick to turn my leathern shield either to right or left, for
this I deem the main thing in battle. I can charge among the
chariots and horsemen, and in hand to hand fighting can delight the
heart of Mars; howbeit I would not take such a man as you are off
his guard- but I will smite you openly if I can."
He poised his spear as he spoke, and hurled it from him. It struck
the sevenfold shield in its outermost layer- the eighth, which was
of bronze- and went through six of the layers but in the seventh
hide it stayed. Then Ajax threw in his turn, and struck the round
shield of the son of Priam. The terrible spear went through his
gleaming shield, and pressed onward through his cuirass of cunning
workmanship; it pierced the shirt against his side, but he swerved and
thus saved his life. They then each of them drew out the spear from
his shield, and fell on one another like savage lions or wild boars of
great strength and endurance: the son of Priam struck the middle of
Ajax's shield, but the bronze did not break, and the point of his dart
was turned. Ajax then sprang forward and pierced the shield of Hector;
the spear went through it and staggered him as he was springing
forward to attack; it gashed his neck and the blood came pouring
from the wound, but even so Hector did not cease fighting; he gave
ground, and with his brawny hand seized a stone, rugged and huge, that
was lying upon the plain; with this he struck the shield of Ajax on
the boss that was in its middle, so that the bronze rang again. But
Ajax in turn caught up a far larger stone, swung it aloft, and
hurled it with prodigious force. This millstone of a rock broke
Hector's shield inwards and threw him down on his back with the shield
crushing him under it, but Apollo raised him at once. Thereon they
would have hacked at one another in close combat with their swords,
had not heralds, messengers of gods and men, come forward, one from
the Trojans and the other from the Achaeans- Talthybius and Idaeus
both of them honourable men; these parted them with their staves,
and the good herald Idaeus said, "My sons, fight no longer, you are
both of you valiant, and both are dear to Jove; we know this; but
night is now falling, and the behests of night may not be well
Ajax son of Telamon answered, "Idaeus, bid Hector say so, for it was
he that challenged our princes. Let him speak first and I will
accept his saying."
Then Hector said, "Ajax, heaven has vouchsafed you stature and
strength, and judgement; and in wielding the spear you excel all
others of the Achaeans. Let us for this day cease fighting;
hereafter we will fight anew till heaven decide between us, and give
victory to one or to the other; night is now falling, and the
behests of night may not be well gainsaid. Gladden, then, the hearts
of the Achaeans at your ships, and more especially those of your own
followers and clansmen, while I, in the great city of King Priam,
bring comfort to the Trojans and their women, who vie with one another
in their prayers on my behalf. Let us, moreover, exchange presents
that it may be said among the Achaeans and Trojans, 'They fought
with might and main, but were reconciled and parted in friendship.'
On this he gave Ajax a silver-studded sword with its sheath and
leathern baldric, and in return Ajax gave him a girdle dyed with
purple. Thus they parted, the one going to the host of the Achaeans,
and the other to that of the Trojans, who rejoiced when they saw their
hero come to them safe and unharmed from the strong hands of mighty
Ajax. They led him, therefore, to the city as one that had been
saved beyond their hopes. On the other side the Achaeans brought
Ajax elated with victory to Agamemnon.
When they reached the quarters of the son of Atreus, Agamemnon
sacrificed for them a five-year-old bull in honour of Jove the son
of Saturn. They flayed the carcass, made it ready, and divided it into
joints; these they cut carefully up into smaller pieces, putting
them on the spits, roasting them sufficiently, and then drawing them
off. When they had done all this and had prepared the feast, they
ate it, and every man had his full and equal share, so that all were
satisfied, and King Agamemnon gave Ajax some slices cut lengthways
down the loin, as a mark of special honour. As soon as they had had
enough to cat and drink, old Nestor whose counsel was ever truest
began to speak; with all sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he
addressed them thus:-
"Son of Atreus, and other chieftains, inasmuch as many of the
Achaeans are now dead, whose blood Mars has shed by the banks of the
Scamander, and their souls have gone down to the house of Hades, it
will be well when morning comes that we should cease fighting; we will
then wheel our dead together with oxen and mules and burn them not far
from the ships, that when we sail hence we may take the bones of our
comrades home to their children. Hard by the funeral pyre we will
build a barrow that shall be raised from the plain for all in
common; near this let us set about building a high wall, to shelter
ourselves and our ships, and let it have well-made gates that there
may be a way through them for our chariots. Close outside we will
dig a deep trench all round it to keep off both horse and foot, that
the Trojan chieftains may not bear hard upon us."
Thus he spoke, and the princess shouted in applause. Meanwhile the
Trojans held a council, angry and full of discord, on the acropolis by
the gates of King Priam's palace; and wise Antenor spoke. "Hear me
he said, "Trojans, Dardanians, and allies, that I may speak even as
I am minded. Let us give up Argive Helen and her wealth to the sons of
Atreus, for we are now fighting in violation of our solemn
covenants, and shall not prosper till we have done as I say."
He then sat down and Alexandrus husband of lovely Helen rose to
speak. "Antenor," said he, "your words are not to my liking; you can
find a better saying than this if you will; if, however, you have
spoken in good earnest, then indeed has heaven robbed you of your
reason. I will speak plainly, and hereby notify to the Trojans that
I will not give up the woman; but the wealth that I brought home
with her from Argos I will restore, and will add yet further of my
On this, when Paris had spoken and taken his seat, Priam of the race
of Dardanus, peer of gods in council, rose and with all sincerity
and goodwill addressed them thus: "Hear me, Trojans, Dardanians, and
allies, that I may speak even as I am minded. Get your suppers now
as hitherto throughout the city, but keep your watches and be wakeful.
At daybreak let Idaeus go to the ships, and tell Agamemnon and
Menelaus sons of Atreus the saying of Alexandrus through whom this
quarrel has come about; and let him also be instant with them that
they now cease fighting till we burn our dead; hereafter we will fight
anew, till heaven decide between us and give victory to one or to
Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. They took
supper in their companies and at daybreak Idaeus went his wa to the
ships. He found the Danaans, servants of Mars, in council at the stern
of Agamemnon's ship, and took his place in the midst of them. "Son
of Atreus," he said, "and princes of the Achaean host, Priam and the
other noble Trojans have sent me to tell you the saying of
Alexandrus through whom this quarrel has come about, if so be that you
may find it acceptable. All the treasure he took with him in his ships
to Troy- would that he had sooner perished- he will restore, and
will add yet further of his own, but he will not give up the wedded
wife of Menelaus, though the Trojans would have him do so. Priam
bade me inquire further if you will cease fighting till we burn our
dead; hereafter we will fight anew, till heaven decide between us
and give victory to one or to the other."
They all held their peace, but presently Diomed of the loud
war-cry spoke, saying, "Let there be no taking, neither treasure,
nor yet Helen, for even a child may see that the doom of the Trojans
is at hand."
The sons of the Achaeans shouted applause at the words that Diomed
had spoken, and thereon King Agamemnon said to Idaeus, "Idaeus, you
have heard the answer the Achaeans make you-and I with them. But as
concerning the dead, I give you leave to burn them, for when men are
once dead there should be no grudging them the rites of fire. Let Jove
the mighty husband of Juno be witness to this covenant."
As he spoke he upheld his sceptre in the sight of all the gods,
and Idaeus went back to the strong city of Ilius. The Trojans and
Dardanians were gathered in council waiting his return; when he
came, he stood in their midst and delivered his message. As soon as
they heard it they set about their twofold labour, some to gather
the corpses, and others to bring in wood. The Argives on their part
also hastened from their ships, some to gather the corpses, and others
to bring in wood.
The sun was beginning to beat upon the fields, fresh risen into
the vault of heaven from the slow still currents of deep Oceanus, when
the two armies met. They could hardly recognise their dead, but they
washed the clotted gore from off them, shed tears over them, and
lifted them upon their waggons. Priam had forbidden the Trojans to
wail aloud, so they heaped their dead sadly and silently upon the
pyre, and having burned them went back to the city of Ilius. The
Achaeans in like manner heaped their dead sadly and silently on the
pyre, and having burned them went back to their ships.
Now in the twilight when it was not yet dawn, chosen bands of the
Achaeans were gathered round the pyre and built one barrow that was
raised in common for all, and hard by this they built a high wall to
shelter themselves and their ships; they gave it strong gates that
there might be a way through them for their chariots, and close
outside it they dug a trench deep and wide, and they planted it within
Thus did the Achaeans toil, and the gods, seated by the side of Jove
the lord of lightning, marvelled at their great work; but Neptune,
lord of the earthquake, spoke, saying, "Father Jove, what mortal in
the whole world will again take the gods into his counsel? See you not
how the Achaeans have built a wall about their ships and driven a
trench all round it, without offering hecatombs to the gods? The The
fame of this wall will reach as far as dawn itself, and men will no
longer think anything of the one which Phoebus Apollo and myself built
with so much labour for Laomedon."
Jove was displeased and answered, "What, O shaker of the earth,
are you talking about? A god less powerful than yourself might be
alarmed at what they are doing, but your fame reaches as far as dawn
itself. Surely when the Achaeans have gone home with their ships,
you can shatter their wall and Ring it into the sea; you can cover the
beach with sand again, and the great wall of the Achaeans will then be
Thus did they converse, and by sunset the work of the Achaeans was
completed; they then slaughtered oxen at their tents and got their
supper. Many ships had come with wine from Lemnos, sent by Euneus
the son of Jason, born to him by Hypsipyle. The son of Jason freighted
them with ten thousand measures of wine, which he sent specially to
the sons of Atreus, Agamemnon and Menelaus. From this supply the
Achaeans bought their wine, some with bronze, some with iron, some
with hides, some with whole heifers, and some again with captives.
They spread a goodly banquet and feasted the whole night through, as
also did the Trojans and their allies in the city. But all the time
Jove boded them ill and roared with his portentous thunder. Pale
fear got hold upon them, and they spilled the wine from their cups
on to the ground, nor did any dare drink till he had made offerings to
the most mighty son of Saturn. Then they laid themselves down to
rest and enjoyed the boon of sleep.
The Odyssey: Book 9
And Ulysses answered, "King Alcinous, it is a good thing to hear a
bard with such a divine voice as this man has. There is nothing better
or more delightful than when a whole people make merry together,
with the guests sitting orderly to listen, while the table is loaded
with bread and meats, and the cup-bearer draws wine and fills his
cup for every man. This is indeed as fair a sight as a man can see.
Now, however, since you are inclined to ask the story of my sorrows,
and rekindle my own sad memories in respect of them, I do not know how
to begin, nor yet how to continue and conclude my tale, for the hand
of heaven has been laid heavily upon me.
"Firstly, then, I will tell you my name that you too may know it,
and one day, if I outlive this time of sorrow, may become my there
guests though I live so far away from all of you. I am Ulysses son
of Laertes, reknowned among mankind for all manner of subtlety, so
that my fame ascends to heaven. I live in Ithaca, where there is a
high mountain called Neritum, covered with forests; and not far from
it there is a group of islands very near to one another- Dulichium,
Same, and the wooded island of Zacynthus. It lies squat on the
horizon, all highest up in the sea towards the sunset, while the
others lie away from it towards dawn. It is a rugged island, but it
breeds brave men, and my eyes know none that they better love to
look upon. The goddess Calypso kept me with her in her cave, and
wanted me to marry her, as did also the cunning Aeaean goddess
Circe; but they could neither of them persuade me, for there is
nothing dearer to a man than his own country and his parents, and
however splendid a home he may have in a foreign country, if it be far
from father or mother, he does not care about it. Now, however, I will
tell you of the many hazardous adventures which by Jove's will I met
with on my return from Troy.
"When I had set sail thence the wind took me first to Ismarus, which
is the city of the Cicons. There I sacked the town and put the
people to the sword. We took their wives and also much booty, which we
divided equitably amongst us, so that none might have reason to
complain. I then said that we had better make off at once, but my
men very foolishly would not obey me, so they stayed there drinking
much wine and killing great numbers of sheep and oxen on the sea
shore. Meanwhile the Cicons cried out for help to other Cicons who
lived inland. These were more in number, and stronger, and they were
more skilled in the art of war, for they could fight, either from
chariots or on foot as the occasion served; in the morning, therefore,
they came as thick as leaves and bloom in summer, and the hand of
heaven was against us, so that we were hard pressed. They set the
battle in array near the ships, and the hosts aimed their
bronze-shod spears at one another. So long as the day waxed and it was
still morning, we held our own against them, though they were more
in number than we; but as the sun went down, towards the time when men
loose their oxen, the Cicons got the better of us, and we lost half
a dozen men from every ship we had; so we got away with those that
"Thence we sailed onward with sorrow in our hearts, but glad to have
escaped death though we had lost our comrades, nor did we leave till
we had thrice invoked each one of the poor fellows who had perished by
the hands of the Cicons. Then Jove raised the North wind against us
till it blew a hurricane, so that land and sky were hidden in thick
clouds, and night sprang forth out of the heavens. We let the ships
run before the gale, but the force of the wind tore our sails to
tatters, so we took them down for fear of shipwreck, and rowed our
hardest towards the land. There we lay two days and two nights
suffering much alike from toil and distress of mind, but on the
morning of the third day we again raised our masts, set sail, and took
our places, letting the wind and steersmen direct our ship. I should
have got home at that time unharmed had not the North wind and the
currents been against me as I was doubling Cape Malea, and set me
off my course hard by the island of Cythera.
"I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of nine days upon the
sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eater,
who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower. Here we landed to
take in fresh water, and our crews got their mid-day meal on the shore
near the ships. When they had eaten and drunk I sent two of my company
to see what manner of men the people of the place might be, and they
had a third man under them. They started at once, and went about among
the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the
lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring
about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened
to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the
Lotus-eater without thinking further of their return; nevertheless,
though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made
them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at
once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting
to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with
"We sailed hence, always in much distress, till we came to the
land of the lawless and inhuman Cyclopes. Now the Cyclopes neither
plant nor plough, but trust in providence, and live on such wheat,
barley, and grapes as grow wild without any kind of tillage, and their
wild grapes yield them wine as the sun and the rain may grow them.
They have no laws nor assemblies of the people, but live in caves on
the tops of high mountains; each is lord and master in his family, and
they take no account of their neighbours.
"Now off their harbour there lies a wooded and fertile island not
quite close to the land of the Cyclopes, but still not far. It is
overrun with wild goats, that breed there in great numbers and are
never disturbed by foot of man; for sportsmen- who as a rule will
suffer so much hardship in forest or among mountain precipices- do not
go there, nor yet again is it ever ploughed or fed down, but it lies a
wilderness untilled and unsown from year to year, and has no living
thing upon it but only goats. For the Cyclopes have no ships, nor
yet shipwrights who could make ships for them; they cannot therefore
go from city to city, or sail over the sea to one another's country as
people who have ships can do; if they had had these they would have
colonized the island, for it is a very good one, and would yield
everything in due season. There are meadows that in some places come
right down to the sea shore, well watered and full of luscious
grass; grapes would do there excellently; there is level land for
ploughing, and it would always yield heavily at harvest time, for
the soil is deep. There is a good harbour where no cables are
wanted, nor yet anchors, nor need a ship be moored, but all one has to
do is to beach one's vessel and stay there till the wind becomes
fair for putting out to sea again. At the head of the harbour there is
a spring of clear water coming out of a cave, and there are poplars
growing all round it.
"Here we entered, but so dark was the night that some god must
have brought us in, for there was nothing whatever to be seen. A thick
mist hung all round our ships; the moon was hidden behind a mass of
clouds so that no one could have seen the island if he had looked
for it, nor were there any breakers to tell us we were close in
shore before we found ourselves upon the land itself; when, however,
we had beached the ships, we took down the sails, went ashore and
camped upon the beach till daybreak.
"When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, we admired
the island and wandered all over it, while the nymphs Jove's daughters
roused the wild goats that we might get some meat for our dinner. On
this we fetched our spears and bows and arrows from the ships, and
dividing ourselves into three bands began to shoot the goats. Heaven
sent us excellent sport; I had twelve ships with me, and each ship got
nine goats, while my own ship had ten; thus through the livelong day
to the going down of the sun we ate and drank our fill,- and we had
plenty of wine left, for each one of us had taken many jars full
when we sacked the city of the Cicons, and this had not yet run out.
While we were feasting we kept turning our eyes towards the land of
the Cyclopes, which was hard by, and saw the smoke of their stubble
fires. We could almost fancy we heard their voices and the bleating of
their sheep and goats, but when the sun went down and it came on dark,
we camped down upon the beach, and next morning I called a council.
"'Stay here, my brave fellows,' said I, 'all the rest of you,
while I go with my ship and exploit these people myself: I want to see
if they are uncivilized savages, or a hospitable and humane race.'
"I went on board, bidding my men to do so also and loose the
hawsers; so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their
oars. When we got to the land, which was not far, there, on the face
of a cliff near the sea, we saw a great cave overhung with laurels. It
was a station for a great many sheep and goats, and outside there
was a large yard, with a high wall round it made of stones built
into the ground and of trees both pine and oak. This was the abode
of a huge monster who was then away from home shepherding his
flocks. He would have nothing to do with other people, but led the
life of an outlaw. He was a horrid creature, not like a human being at
all, but resembling rather some crag that stands out boldly against
the sky on the top of a high mountain.
"I told my men to draw the ship ashore, and stay where they were,
all but the twelve best among them, who were to go along with
myself. I also took a goatskin of sweet black wine which had been
given me by Maron, Apollo son of Euanthes, who was priest of Apollo
the patron god of Ismarus, and lived within the wooded precincts of
the temple. When we were sacking the city we respected him, and spared
his life, as also his wife and child; so he made me some presents of
great value- seven talents of fine gold, and a bowl of silver, with
twelve jars of sweet wine, unblended, and of the most exquisite
flavour. Not a man nor maid in the house knew about it, but only
himself, his wife, and one housekeeper: when he drank it he mixed
twenty parts of water to one of wine, and yet the fragrance from the
mixing-bowl was so exquisite that it was impossible to refrain from
drinking. I filled a large skin with this wine, and took a wallet full
of provisions with me, for my mind misgave me that I might have to
deal with some savage who would be of great strength, and would
respect neither right nor law.
"We soon reached his cave, but he was out shepherding, so we went
inside and took stock of all that we could see. His cheese-racks
were loaded with cheeses, and he had more lambs and kids than his pens
could hold. They were kept in separate flocks; first there were the
hoggets, then the oldest of the younger lambs and lastly the very
young ones all kept apart from one another; as for his dairy, all
the vessels, bowls, and milk pails into which he milked, were swimming
with whey. When they saw all this, my men begged me to let them
first steal some cheeses, and make off with them to the ship; they
would then return, drive down the lambs and kids, put them on board
and sail away with them. It would have been indeed better if we had
done so but I would not listen to them, for I wanted to see the
owner himself, in the hope that he might give me a present. When,
however, we saw him my poor men found him ill to deal with.
"We lit a fire, offered some of the cheeses in sacrifice, ate others
of them, and then sat waiting till the Cyclops should come in with his
sheep. When he came, he brought in with him a huge load of dry
firewood to light the fire for his supper, and this he flung with such
a noise on to the floor of his cave that we hid ourselves for fear
at the far end of the cavern. Meanwhile he drove all the ewes
inside, as well as the she-goats that he was going to milk, leaving
the males, both rams and he-goats, outside in the yards. Then he
rolled a huge stone to the mouth of the cave- so huge that two and
twenty strong four-wheeled waggons would not be enough to draw it from
its place against the doorway. When he had so done he sat down and
milked his ewes and goats, all in due course, and then let each of
them have her own young. He curdled half the milk and set it aside
in wicker strainers, but the other half he poured into bowls that he
might drink it for his supper. When he had got through with all his
work, he lit the fire, and then caught sight of us, whereon he said:
"'Strangers, who are you? Where do sail from? Are you traders, or do
you sail the as rovers, with your hands against every man, and every
man's hand against you?'
"We were frightened out of our senses by his loud voice and
monstrous form, but I managed to say, 'We are Achaeans on our way home
from Troy, but by the will of Jove, and stress of weather, we have
been driven far out of our course. We are the people of Agamemnon, son
of Atreus, who has won infinite renown throughout the whole world,
by sacking so great a city and killing so many people. We therefore
humbly pray you to show us some hospitality, and otherwise make us
such presents as visitors may reasonably expect. May your excellency
fear the wrath of heaven, for we are your suppliants, and Jove takes
all respectable travellers under his protection, for he is the avenger
of all suppliants and foreigners in distress.'
"To this he gave me but a pitiless answer, 'Stranger,' said he, 'you
are a fool, or else you know nothing of this country. Talk to me,
indeed, about fearing the gods or shunning their anger? We Cyclopes do
not care about Jove or any of your blessed gods, for we are ever so
much stronger than they. I shall not spare either yourself or your
companions out of any regard for Jove, unless I am in the humour for
doing so. And now tell me where you made your ship fast when you
came on shore. Was it round the point, or is she lying straight off
"He said this to draw me out, but I was too cunning to be caught
in that way, so I answered with a lie; 'Neptune,' said I, 'sent my
ship on to the rocks at the far end of your country, and wrecked it.
We were driven on to them from the open sea, but I and those who are
with me escaped the jaws of death.'
"The cruel wretch vouchsafed me not one word of answer, but with a
sudden clutch he gripped up two of my men at once and dashed them down
upon the ground as though they had been puppies. Their brains were
shed upon the ground, and the earth was wet with their blood. Then
he tore them limb from limb and supped upon them. He gobbled them up
like a lion in the wilderness, flesh, bones, marrow, and entrails,
without leaving anything uneaten. As for us, we wept and lifted up our
hands to heaven on seeing such a horrid sight, for we did not know
what else to do; but when the Cyclops had filled his huge paunch,
and had washed down his meal of human flesh with a drink of neat milk,
he stretched himself full length upon the ground among his sheep,
and went to sleep. I was at first inclined to seize my sword, draw it,
and drive it into his vitals, but I reflected that if I did we
should all certainly be lost, for we should never be able to shift the
stone which the monster had put in front of the door. So we stayed
sobbing and sighing where we were till morning came.
"When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, he again
lit his fire, milked his goats and ewes, all quite rightly, and then
let each have her own young one; as soon as he had got through with
all his work, he clutched up two more of my men, and began eating them
for his morning's meal. Presently, with the utmost ease, he rolled the
stone away from the door and drove out his sheep, but he at once put
it back again- as easily as though he were merely clapping the lid
on to a quiver full of arrows. As soon as he had done so he shouted,
and cried 'Shoo, shoo,' after his sheep to drive them on to the
mountain; so I was left to scheme some way of taking my revenge and
covering myself with glory.
"In the end I deemed it would be the best plan to do as follows. The
Cyclops had a great club which was lying near one of the sheep pens;
it was of green olive wood, and he had cut it intending to use it
for a staff as soon as it should be dry. It was so huge that we
could only compare it to the mast of a twenty-oared merchant vessel of
large burden, and able to venture out into open sea. I went up to this
club and cut off about six feet of it; I then gave this piece to the
men and told them to fine it evenly off at one end, which they
proceeded to do, and lastly I brought it to a point myself, charring
the end in the fire to make it harder. When I had done this I hid it
under dung, which was lying about all over the cave, and told the
men to cast lots which of them should venture along with myself to
lift it and bore it into the monster's eye while he was asleep. The
lot fell upon the very four whom I should have chosen, and I myself
made five. In the evening the wretch came back from shepherding, and
drove his flocks into the cave- this time driving them all inside, and
not leaving any in the yards; I suppose some fancy must have taken
him, or a god must have prompted him to do so. As soon as he had put
the stone back to its place against the door, he sat down, milked
his ewes and his goats all quite rightly, and then let each have her
own young one; when he had got through with all this work, he
gripped up two more of my men, and made his supper off them. So I went
up to him with an ivy-wood bowl of black wine in my hands:
"'Look here, Cyclops,' said I, you have been eating a great deal
of man's flesh, so take this and drink some wine, that you may see
what kind of liquor we had on board my ship. I was bringing it to
you as a drink-offering, in the hope that you would take compassion
upon me and further me on my way home, whereas all you do is to go
on ramping and raving most intolerably. You ought to be ashamed
yourself; how can you expect people to come see you any more if you
treat them in this way?'
"He then took the cup and drank. He was so delighted with the
taste of the wine that he begged me for another bowl full. 'Be so
kind,' he said, 'as to give me some more, and tell me your name at
once. I want to make you a present that you will be glad to have. We
have wine even in this country, for our soil grows grapes and the
sun ripens them, but this drinks like nectar and ambrosia all in one.'
"I then gave him some more; three times did I fill the bowl for him,
and three times did he drain it without thought or heed; then, when
I saw that the wine had got into his head, I said to him as
plausibly as I could: 'Cyclops, you ask my name and I will tell it
you; give me, therefore, the present you promised me; my name is
Noman; this is what my father and mother and my friends have always
"But the cruel wretch said, 'Then I will eat all Noman's comrades
before Noman himself, and will keep Noman for the last. This is the
present that I will make him.'
As he spoke he reeled, and fell sprawling face upwards on the
ground. His great neck hung heavily backwards and a deep sleep took
hold upon him. Presently he turned sick, and threw up both wine and
the gobbets of human flesh on which he had been gorging, for he was
very drunk. Then I thrust the beam of wood far into the embers to heat
it, and encouraged my men lest any of them should turn
faint-hearted. When the wood, green though it was, was about to blaze,
I drew it out of the fire glowing with heat, and my men gathered round
me, for heaven had filled their hearts with courage. We drove the
sharp end of the beam into the monster's eye, and bearing upon it with
all my weight I kept turning it round and round as though I were
boring a hole in a ship's plank with an auger, which two men with a
wheel and strap can keep on turning as long as they choose. Even
thus did we bore the red hot beam into his eye, till the boiling blood
bubbled all over it as we worked it round and round, so that the steam
from the burning eyeball scalded his eyelids and eyebrows, and the
roots of the eye sputtered in the fire. As a blacksmith plunges an axe
or hatchet into cold water to temper it- for it is this that gives
strength to the iron- and it makes a great hiss as he does so, even
thus did the Cyclops' eye hiss round the beam of olive wood, and his
hideous yells made the cave ring again. We ran away in a fright, but
he plucked the beam all besmirched with gore from his eye, and
hurled it from him in a frenzy of rage and pain, shouting as he did so
to the other Cyclopes who lived on the bleak headlands near him; so
they gathered from all quarters round his cave when they heard him
crying, and asked what was the matter with him.
"'What ails you, Polyphemus,' said they, 'that you make such a
noise, breaking the stillness of the night, and preventing us from
being able to sleep? Surely no man is carrying off your sheep?
Surely no man is trying to kill you either by fraud or by force?
"But Polyphemus shouted to them from inside the cave, 'Noman is
killing me by fraud! Noman is killing me by force!'
"'Then,' said they, 'if no man is attacking you, you must be ill;
when Jove makes people ill, there is no help for it, and you had
better pray to your father Neptune.'
"Then they went away, and I laughed inwardly at the success of my
clever stratagem, but the Cyclops, groaning and in an agony of pain,
felt about with his hands till he found the stone and took it from the
door; then he sat in the doorway and stretched his hands in front of
it to catch anyone going out with the sheep, for he thought I might be
foolish enough to attempt this.
"As for myself I kept on puzzling to think how I could best save
my own life and those of my companions; I schemed and schemed, as
one who knows that his life depends upon it, for the danger was very
great. In the end I deemed that this plan would be the best. The
male sheep were well grown, and carried a heavy black fleece, so I
bound them noiselessly in threes together, with some of the withies on
which the wicked monster used to sleep. There was to be a man under
the middle sheep, and the two on either side were to cover him, so
that there were three sheep to each man. As for myself there was a ram
finer than any of the others, so I caught hold of him by the back,
esconced myself in the thick wool under his belly, and flung on
patiently to his fleece, face upwards, keeping a firm hold on it all
"Thus, then, did we wait in great fear of mind till morning came,
but when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, the
male sheep hurried out to feed, while the ewes remained bleating about
the pens waiting to be milked, for their udders were full to bursting;
but their master in spite of all his pain felt the backs of all the
sheep as they stood upright, without being sharp enough to find out
that the men were underneath their bellies. As the ram was going
out, last of all, heavy with its fleece and with the weight of my
crafty self; Polyphemus laid hold of it and said:
"'My good ram, what is it that makes you the last to leave my cave
this morning? You are not wont to let the ewes go before you, but lead
the mob with a run whether to flowery mead or bubbling fountain, and
are the first to come home again at night; but now you lag last of
all. Is it because you know your master has lost his eye, and are
sorry because that wicked Noman and his horrid crew have got him
down in his drink and blinded him? But I will have his life yet. If
you could understand and talk, you would tell me where the wretch is
hiding, and I would dash his brains upon the ground till they flew all
over the cave. I should thus have some satisfaction for the harm a
this no-good Noman has done me.'
"As spoke he drove the ram outside, but when we were a little way
out from the cave and yards, I first got from under the ram's belly,
and then freed my comrades; as for the sheep, which were very fat,
by constantly heading them in the right direction we managed to
drive them down to the ship. The crew rejoiced greatly at seeing those
of us who had escaped death, but wept for the others whom the
Cyclops had killed. However, I made signs to them by nodding and
frowning that they were to hush their crying, and told them to get all
the sheep on board at once and put out to sea; so they went aboard,
took their places, and smote the grey sea with their oars. Then,
when I had got as far out as my voice would reach, I began to jeer
at the Cyclops.
"'Cyclops,' said I, 'you should have taken better measure of your
man before eating up his comrades in your cave. You wretch, eat up
your visitors in your own house? You might have known that your sin
would find you out, and now Jove and the other gods have punished
"He got more and more furious as he heard me, so he tore the top
from off a high mountain, and flung it just in front of my ship so
that it was within a little of hitting the end of the rudder. The
sea quaked as the rock fell into it, and the wash of the wave it
raised carried us back towards the mainland, and forced us towards the
shore. But I snatched up a long pole and kept the ship off, making
signs to my men by nodding my head, that they must row for their
lives, whereon they laid out with a will. When we had got twice as far
as we were before, I was for jeering at the Cyclops again, but the men
begged and prayed of me to hold my tongue.
"'Do not,' they exclaimed, 'be mad enough to provoke this savage
creature further; he has thrown one rock at us already which drove
us back again to the mainland, and we made sure it had been the
death of us; if he had then heard any further sound of voices he would
have pounded our heads and our ship's timbers into a jelly with the
rugged rocks he would have heaved at us, for he can throw them a
"But I would not listen to them, and shouted out to him in my
rage, 'Cyclops, if any one asks you who it was that put your eye out
and spoiled your beauty, say it was the valiant warrior Ulysses, son
of Laertes, who lives in Ithaca.'
"On this he groaned, and cried out, 'Alas, alas, then the old
prophecy about me is coming true. There was a prophet here, at one
time, a man both brave and of great stature, Telemus son of Eurymus,
who was an excellent seer, and did all the prophesying for the
Cyclopes till he grew old; he told me that all this would happen to me
some day, and said I should lose my sight by the hand of Ulysses. I
have been all along expecting some one of imposing presence and
superhuman strength, whereas he turns out to be a little insignificant
weakling, who has managed to blind my eye by taking advantage of me in
my drink; come here, then, Ulysses, that I may make you presents to
show my hospitality, and urge Neptune to help you forward on your
journey- for Neptune and I are father and son. He, if he so will,
shall heal me, which no one else neither god nor man can do.'
"Then I said, 'I wish I could be as sure of killing you outright and
sending you down to the house of Hades, as I am that it will take more
than Neptune to cure that eye of yours.'
"On this he lifted up his hands to the firmament of heaven and
prayed, saying, 'Hear me, great Neptune; if I am indeed your own
true-begotten son, grant that Ulysses may never reach his home
alive; or if he must get back to his friends at last, let him do so
late and in sore plight after losing all his men [let him reach his
home in another man's ship and find trouble in his house.']
"Thus did he pray, and Neptune heard his prayer. Then he picked up a
rock much larger than the first, swung it aloft and hurled it with
prodigious force. It fell just short of the ship, but was within a
little of hitting the end of the rudder. The sea quaked as the rock
fell into it, and the wash of the wave it raised drove us onwards on
our way towards the shore of the island.
"When at last we got to the island where we had left the rest of our
ships, we found our comrades lamenting us, and anxiously awaiting
our return. We ran our vessel upon the sands and got out of her on
to the sea shore; we also landed the Cyclops' sheep, and divided
them equitably amongst us so that none might have reason to
complain. As for the ram, my companions agreed that I should have it
as an extra share; so I sacrificed it on the sea shore, and burned its
thigh bones to Jove, who is the lord of all. But he heeded not my
sacrifice, and only thought how he might destroy my ships and my
"Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we
feasted our fill on meat and drink, but when the sun went down and
it came on dark, we camped upon the beach. When the child of
morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, I bade my men on board and
loose the hawsers. Then they took their places and smote the grey
sea with their oars; so we sailed on with sorrow in our hearts, but
glad to have escaped death though we had lost our comrades.