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Edmond de Goncourt

Historians tell the story of the past, novelists the story of the present.

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His Story

Yo, this is a story of a male female threat to society
You know being misjudged and not respected for what we are
But I want to send this special shout out to my girl tawana brawley
Cause no matter what we say or what we do
Theyll always believe his story (ow)
Chorus:
His story (yeahee, yeahee, yeahee)
Hist story (ow)
Theyre gonna believe
His story
His story
Why does it have to be that we get labeled for what we do
Its hard enough for us to be ourselves without being used
Girls have an image too
But when they get mad at you
There is no telling what theyll say to hurt you
This is a story of a male female threat to society
Why you wanna go and tell a lie on me? (yeahee, yeah, oooh)
His story over mine his story will be his story
And my story is a waste of time (aaaah-aah-aah)
Theyre gonna believe
Chorus
Sometimes I feel like there is no reason for me to explain
No matter how much we complain
You know it all stays the same
They try to call us freaks
Why does it have to be
We cant get justified until we speak up (oooh)
This is a story of a male female threat to society
Why you wanna go and tell a lie on me? (yeahee, yeah, oooh)
His story over mine his story will be his story
And my story is a waste of time (aaaah-aah-aah)
(you know its just a waste of my time)
Theyre gonna believe
His story over mine
So what you gonna do
Dont let it take over you (hey)
My story is a waste of time
Its hard enough to be ourselves without being used
So yo take it from me
Dont be a victim of society
You cant put yourself in a position to be neglected
And disrespected
You have to do whats not expected
Alright
Or all be his story
His story over mine
His story will be his story
(this is a story of) how could you do this to us
Theyre gonna believe

[...] Read more

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Byron

Canto the Eighth

I
Oh blood and thunder! and oh blood and wounds!
These are but vulgar oaths, as you may deem,
Too gentle reader! and most shocking sounds:
And so they are; yet thus is Glory's dream
Unriddled, and as my true Muse expounds
At present such things, since they are her theme,
So be they her inspirers! Call them Mars,
Bellona, what you will -- they mean but wars.

II
All was prepared -- the fire, the sword, the men
To wield them in their terrible array.
The army, like a lion from his den,
March'd forth with nerve and sinews bent to slay, --
A human Hydra, issuing from its fen
To breathe destruction on its winding way,
Whose heads were heroes, which cut off in vain
Immediately in others grew again.

III
History can only take things in the gross;
But could we know them in detail, perchance
In balancing the profit and the loss,
War's merit it by no means might enhance,
To waste so much gold for a little dross,
As hath been done, mere conquest to advance.
The drying up a single tear has more
Of honest fame, than shedding seas of gore.

IV
And why? -- because it brings self-approbation;
Whereas the other, after all its glare,
Shouts, bridges, arches, pensions from a nation,
Which (it may be) has not much left to spare,
A higher title, or a loftier station,
Though they may make Corruption gape or stare,
Yet, in the end, except in Freedom's battles,
Are nothing but a child of Murder's rattles.

V
And such they are -- and such they will be found:
Not so Leonidas and Washington,
Whose every battle-field is holy ground,
Which breathes of nations saved, not worlds undone.
How sweetly on the ear such echoes sound!
While the mere victor's may appal or stun
The servile and the vain, such names will be
A watchword till the future shall be free.

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Byron

Canto the Fifth

I
When amatory poets sing their loves
In liquid lines mellifluously bland,
And pair their rhymes as Venus yokes her doves,
They little think what mischief is in hand;
The greater their success the worse it proves,
As Ovid's verse may give to understand;
Even Petrarch's self, if judged with due severity,
Is the Platonic pimp of all posterity.

II
I therefore do denounce all amorous writing,
Except in such a way as not to attract;
Plain -- simple -- short, and by no means inviting,
But with a moral to each error tack'd,
Form'd rather for instructing than delighting,
And with all passions in their turn attack'd;
Now, if my Pegasus should not be shod ill,
This poem will become a moral model.

III
The European with the Asian shore
Sprinkled with palaces; the ocean stream
Here and there studded with a seventy-four;
Sophia's cupola with golden gleam;
The cypress groves; Olympus high and hoar;
The twelve isles, and the more than I could dream,
Far less describe, present the very view
Which charm'd the charming Mary Montagu.

IV
I have a passion for the name of "Mary,"
For once it was a magic sound to me;
And still it half calls up the realms of fairy,
Where I beheld what never was to be;
All feelings changed, but this was last to vary,
A spell from which even yet I am not quite free:
But I grow sad -- and let a tale grow cold,
Which must not be pathetically told.

V
The wind swept down the Euxine, and the wave
Broke foaming o'er the blue Symplegades;
'T is a grand sight from off the Giant's Grave
To watch the progress of those rolling seas
Between the Bosphorus, as they lash and lave
Europe and Asia, you being quite at ease;
There's not a sea the passenger e'er pukes in,
Turns up more dangerous breakers than the Euxine.

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Byron

Don Juan: Canto The Fifth

When amatory poets sing their loves
In liquid lines mellifluously bland,
And pair their rhymes as Venus yokes her doves,
They little think what mischief is in hand;
The greater their success the worse it proves,
As Ovid's verse may give to understand;
Even Petrarch's self, if judged with due severity,
Is the Platonic pimp of all posterity.

I therefore do denounce all amorous writing,
Except in such a way as not to attract;
Plain- simple- short, and by no means inviting,
But with a moral to each error tack'd,
Form'd rather for instructing than delighting,
And with all passions in their turn attack'd;
Now, if my Pegasus should not be shod ill,
This poem will become a moral model.

The European with the Asian shore
Sprinkled with palaces; the ocean stream
Here and there studded with a seventy-four;
Sophia's cupola with golden gleam;
The cypress groves; Olympus high and hoar;
The twelve isles, and the more than I could dream,
Far less describe, present the very view
Which charm'd the charming Mary Montagu.

I have a passion for the name of 'Mary,'
For once it was a magic sound to me;
And still it half calls up the realms of fairy,
Where I beheld what never was to be;
All feelings changed, but this was last to vary,
A spell from which even yet I am not quite free:
But I grow sad- and let a tale grow cold,
Which must not be pathetically told.

The wind swept down the Euxine, and the wave
Broke foaming o'er the blue Symplegades;
'T is a grand sight from off 'the Giant's Grave
To watch the progress of those rolling seas
Between the Bosphorus, as they lash and lave
Europe and Asia, you being quite at ease;
There 's not a sea the passenger e'er pukes in,
Turns up more dangerous breakers than the Euxine.

'T was a raw day of Autumn's bleak beginning,
When nights are equal, but not so the days;
The Parcae then cut short the further spinning
Of seamen's fates, and the loud tempests raise
The waters, and repentance for past sinning

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Mostly Slavonic

I.—
Peter Michaelov

It was Peter the Barbarian put an apron in his bag
And rolled up the honoured bundle that Australians call a swag;
And he tramped from Darkest Russia, that it might be dark no more,
Dreaming of a port, and shipping, as no monarch dreamed before.
Of a home, and education, and of children staunch and true,
Like my father in the fifties—and his name was Peter, too.
(He could build a ship—or fiddle, out of wood, or bark, or hide—.
Sail one round the world and play the other one at eventide.)

Russia’s Peter (not my father) went to Holland in disguise,
Where he laboured as a shipwright underneath those gloomy skies;
Later on he went to England (which the Kaiser now—condemns)
Where he studied as a ship-smith by old Deptford on the Thames—
And no doubt he knew the rope-walk—(and the rope’s end too, he knew)—
Learned to build a ship and sail it—learned the business through and through.
And I’d like to say my father mastered navigation too.
(He was born across in Norway, educated fairly well,
And he grafted in a ship-yard by the Port of Arundel.)

“Peter Michaelov” (not Larsen) his work was by no means done;
For he learned to make a ploughshare, and he learned to make a gun.
Russian soldiers must have clothing, so he laboured at the looms,
And he studied, after hours, building forts and building booms.
He would talk with all and sundry, merchants and adventurers—
Whaling men from Nova Scotia, and with ancient mariners.
Studied military systems (of which Austria’s was the best).
Hospitals and even bedlams—class distinctions and the rest.

There was nothing he neglected that was useful to be known—
And he even studied Wowsers, who had no creed of his own.
And, lest all that he accomplished should as miracles appear,
It must always be remembered he’d a secret Fund for Beer.
When he tramped to toil and exile he was only twenty-five,
With a greater, grander object than had any man alive.
And perhaps the lad was bullied, and was sad for all we know—
Though it isn’t very likely that he’d take a second blow.
He had brains amongst the brainless, and, what that thing means I knew,
For before I found my kingdom, I had slaved in workshops too.

But they never dreamed, the brainless, boors that used to sneer and scoff,
That the dreamy lad beside them—known as “Dutchy Mickyloff”—
Was a genius and a poet, and a Man—no matter which—
Was the Czar of all the Russias!—Peter Michaelovich.


Sweden struck ere he was ready—filled the land with blood and tears—
But he broke the power of Sweden though it took him nine long years.

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Byron

Canto the Second

I
Oh ye! who teach the ingenuous youth of nations,
Holland, France, England, Germany, or Spain,
I pray ye flog them upon all occasions,
It mends their morals, never mind the pain:
The best of mothers and of educations
In Juan's case were but employ'd in vain,
Since, in a way that's rather of the oddest, he
Became divested of his native modesty.

II
Had he but been placed at a public school,
In the third form, or even in the fourth,
His daily task had kept his fancy cool,
At least, had he been nurtured in the north;
Spain may prove an exception to the rule,
But then exceptions always prove its worth -—
A lad of sixteen causing a divorce
Puzzled his tutors very much, of course.

III
I can't say that it puzzles me at all,
If all things be consider'd: first, there was
His lady-mother, mathematical,
A—never mind; his tutor, an old ass;
A pretty woman (that's quite natural,
Or else the thing had hardly come to pass);
A husband rather old, not much in unity
With his young wife—a time, and opportunity.

IV
Well—well, the world must turn upon its axis,
And all mankind turn with it, heads or tails,
And live and die, make love and pay our taxes,
And as the veering wind shifts, shift our sails;
The king commands us, and the doctor quacks us,
The priest instructs, and so our life exhales,
A little breath, love, wine, ambition, fame,
Fighting, devotion, dust,—perhaps a name.

V
I said that Juan had been sent to Cadiz -—
A pretty town, I recollect it well -—
'T is there the mart of the colonial trade is
(Or was, before Peru learn'd to rebel),
And such sweet girls—I mean, such graceful ladies,
Their very walk would make your bosom swell;
I can't describe it, though so much it strike,
Nor liken it—I never saw the like:

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Constant Time

Time past and the future give way to this present picture,
But can somebody tell me how to recognize that gate that leads to the bed of roses,
We speak about the future like the past is a grain of sand on the shore,
Washed away by the ocean tide,
Giving way to new grains to make a portrait of the present,
These past memories stay deep in our heart like the depths of the ocean,
Though it gets washed back to shore ones in a blue moon,
Reminding us that our past is a standard measurement of our strength,


Time moves so fast making the past to fade away,
this makes us seem so secured about the present,
Forgetting the fact that our present becomes our past that was once a present from nature as a new day,
Some take the future to be a dream and a wish,
But I take my future to be what I see when I stand from the bottom of the mountain to look at the top,
And my past to be the depth of the ocean that can always be washed ashore …
The only thing I can control is my present,
Yes cos my mind controls my hands to give you a flash of what goes on in my head
Like this words i write to you was once my future and will become my past, making my future my past and my past my future..So ironical isn’t it?


Standing here I sure know 1 thing,
I will reach the top by that foot path,
Yes of course it’s not to mean that I wouldn’t fall,
But I have to break myself off my present past and walk with grace to stand where I belong,
There where I am the king of my destiny,
The past is just going to be a page of memories,
And my future will become my present making time constant in my head,
Because I stand on my past which was once my present and my present which was once my future, making time equal and constant
As I flip thru this page of life,

By: ade

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Byron

Canto the Sixteenth

I
The antique Persians taught three useful things,
To draw the bow, to ride, and speak the truth.
This was the mode of Cyrus, best of kings --
A mode adopted since by modern youth.
Bows have they, generally with two strings;
Horses they ride without remorse or ruth;
At speaking truth perhaps they are less clever,
But draw the long bow better now than ever.

II
The cause of this effect, or this defect, --
"For this effect defective comes by cause," --
Is what I have not leisure to inspect;
But this I must say in my own applause,
Of all the Muses that I recollect,
Whate'er may be her follies or her flaws
In some things, mine's beyond all contradiction
The most sincere that ever dealt in fiction.

III
And as she treats all things, and ne'er retreats
From any thing, this epic will contain
A wilderness of the most rare conceits,
Which you might elsewhere hope to find in vain.
'T is true there be some bitters with the sweets,
Yet mix'd so slightly, that you can't complain,
But wonder they so few are, since my tale is
"De rebus cunctis et quibusdam aliis."

IV
But of all truths which she has told, the most
True is that which she is about to tell.
I said it was a story of a ghost --
What then? I only know it so befell.
Have you explored the limits of the coast,
Where all the dwellers of the earth must dwell?
'T is time to strike such puny doubters dumb as
The sceptics who would not believe Columbus.

V
Some people would impose now with authority,
Turpin's or Monmouth Geoffry's Chronicle;
Men whose historical superiority
Is always greatest at a miracle.
But Saint Augustine has the great priority,
Who bids all men believe the impossible,
Because 't is so. Who nibble, scribble, quibble, he
Quiets at once with "quia impossibile."

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Byron

Don Juan: Canto The Sixteenth

The antique Persians taught three useful things,
To draw the bow, to ride, and speak the truth.
This was the mode of Cyrus, best of kings--
A mode adopted since by modern youth.
Bows have they, generally with two strings;
Horses they ride without remorse or ruth;
At speaking truth perhaps they are less clever,
But draw the long bow better now than ever.

The cause of this effect, or this defect,--
'For this effect defective comes by cause,'--
Is what I have not leisure to inspect;
But this I must say in my own applause,
Of all the Muses that I recollect,
Whate'er may be her follies or her flaws
In some things, mine's beyond all contradiction
The most sincere that ever dealt in fiction.

And as she treats all things, and ne'er retreats
From any thing, this epic will contain
A wilderness of the most rare conceits,
Which you might elsewhere hope to find in vain.
'Tis true there be some bitters with the sweets,
Yet mix'd so slightly, that you can't complain,
But wonder they so few are, since my tale is
'De rebus cunctis et quibusdam aliis.'

But of all truths which she has told, the most
True is that which she is about to tell.
I said it was a story of a ghost--
What then? I only know it so befell.
Have you explored the limits of the coast,
Where all the dwellers of the earth must dwell?
'Tis time to strike such puny doubters dumb as
The sceptics who would not believe Columbus.

Some people would impose now with authority,
Turpin's or Monmouth Geoffry's Chronicle;
Men whose historical superiority
Is always greatest at a miracle.
But Saint Augustine has the great priority,
Who bids all men believe the impossible,
Because 'tis so. Who nibble, scribble, quibble, he
Quiets at once with 'quia impossibile.'

And therefore, mortals, cavil not at all;
Believe:--if 'tis improbable you must,
And if it is impossible, you shall:
'Tis always best to take things upon trust.
I do not speak profanely, to recall

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Why Washington Retreated

1775

Said Congress to George Washington:
"To set this country free,
You'll have to whip the Britishers
And chase them o'er the sea."
"Oh, very well," said Washington,
"I'll do the best I can.
I'll slam and bang those Britishers
And whip them to a man."

1777

Said Congress to George Washington:
"The people all complain;
Why don't you fight? You but retreat
And then retreat again."
"That can't be helped," said Washington,
"As you will quite agree
When you see how the novelists
Have mixed up things for me."

Said Congress to George Washington:
"Pray make your meaning clear."
Said Washington: "Why, certainly --
But pray excuse this tear.
Of course we know," said Washington,
"The object of this war --
It is to furnish novelists
With patriotic lore."

Said Congress to George Washington:
"Yes! yes! but pray proceed."
Said Washington: "My part in it
Is difficult indeed,
For every hero in the books
Must sometime meet with me,
And every sweet-faced heroine
I must kiss gallantly."

Said Congress to George Washington:
"But why must you retreat?"
Said Washington: "One moment, please,
My story to complete.
These hero-folk are scattered through
The whole United States;
At every little country town
A man or maiden waits."

To Congress said George Washington:

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Graham Greene

A petty reason perhaps why novelists more and more try to keep a distance from journalists is that novelists are trying to write the truth and journalists are trying to write fiction.

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Write Yours Now

The 'Journal of Death Studies' for April2004
(maybe you read it? It's in the
hospital library, top shelf
just out of wheelchair reach,
on the shelf labelled 'Reference')
observed that

nonfiction writers tend to die, factually, at sixty-eight;
novelists tie it all up at sixty-six;
playwrights lower the curtain at sixty-three,
and poets close their stanzas at sixty-two.
Well, thanks..

six years - looking on the bright side -
for your favourite biographer to write you up;
four years for novelists to borrow
your untidy life and win the Booker Prize;
a year for playwrights to emulate
the bitter dialogue of your later,
less romantic household years
with less fear of being sued.

Those whom the gods love, die young,
said the optimistic poet
shortly before he died.

for PoHo, who gave me the damn book with the reference in.
And yes, I wondered too..

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Na Tian Piet's Sha'er Of The Late Sultan Abu Bakar Of Johor

In the name of God, let his word begin:
Praise be to God, let praises clear ring;
May our Lord, Jesus Christ's[8] blessings
Guide my pen through these poetizings!

This sha'er is an entirely new composition
Composed by myself, no fear of imitation.
It's Allah's name, I will keep calling out
While creating this poem to avoid confusion.

This story I'm relating at the present moment
I copy not, nor is it by other hands wrought;
Nothing whatsoever is here laid out
That hereunder is not clearly put forth.

Not that I am able to create with much ease,
To all that's to come I'm yet not accustomed;
Why, this sha'er at this time is being composed
Only to console my heart which is heavily laden.

I'm a peranakan[9], of Chinese origin,
Hardly perfect in character and mind;
I find much that I can not comprehend,
I'm not a man given to much wisdom.

Na Tian Piet[10] is what I go by name
I have in the past composed stories and poems;
Even when explained to - most stupid I remain
The more I keep talking the less I understand.

I was born in times gone by
In the country known as Bencoolen[11];
Indeed, I am more than stupid:
Ashamed am I composing this lay.

Twenty-four years have gone by
Since I moved to the island of Singapore;
My wife and children accompanied me
To Singapore, a most lovely country.

I stayed in Riau[12] for some time
Together with my wife and children;
Two full years in Riau territory,
Back to Singapore my legs carried me.

At the time when Acheh[13] was waging war
I went there with goods to trade,
I managed to sell them at exhorbitant prices:
Great indeed were the profits I made.

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Our American past always speaks to us with two voices the voice of the past, and the voice of the present. We are always asking two quite different questions. Historians reading the words of John Winthrop usually ask, What did they mean to him Citizens ask, What do they mean to us Historians are trained to seek the original meaning all of us want to know the present meaning.

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Fundamental of Liar Chapter LXXX: Story

Story about future is called imagination
Story about past is called memories
Story about present is called reality
Story that becomes true is called prophecy
Story that becomes unfulfilled is called regret
Story that becomes no end is called boasting
Small story is called experience
Epic story is called history
Forgotten story is called lesson
Story that becomes obsession is called ambition
Story that becomes untold is called secret
Story that becomes go its own way is called life

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Be ever enthused to be in touch with future

Be ever enthused to be in touch with future

Future
Philosophers say
Is an illusion
For each second that is in the coming
Is uncertain
Hazy and a mirage

Past is lost
And it is spilt milk
Nothing can be done
With the past
Each previous second is as past
As the previous century

They suggest
For keeping up with the pace of time
It would be wise
Not to dream of the future
And not to lament on the past
Enjoy the present

It is easier said than done
We keep busy thinking
Either about the future
Or keep grumbling with the past
Memory and acquired experience
Will not allow us
To thoughtfully digest
Events occurring at the present

It is also not debatable
The quality of the present second
Depends on
The quality of the efforts
Made in the previous second

Where we are and
What we are
All because of our
Struggle or otherwise
In the past

Past experience and
Our present standing
Take us where we will be tomorrow

It will not be unwise
To a dream a future

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Prejudice

IN yonder red-brick mansion, tight and square,
Just at the town's commencement, lives the mayor.
Some yards of shining gravel, fenced with box,
Lead to the painted portal--where one knocks :
There, in the left-hand parlour, all in state,
Sit he and she, on either side the grate.
But though their goods and chattels, sound and new,
Bespeak the owners very well to do,
His worship's wig and morning suit betray
Slight indications of an humbler day

That long, low shop, where still the name appears,
Some doors below, they kept for forty years :
And there, with various fortunes, smooth and rough,
They sold tobacco, coffee, tea, and snuff.
There labelled drawers display their spicy row--
Clove, mace, and nutmeg : from the ceiling low
Dangle long twelves and eights , and slender rush,
Mix'd with the varied forms of genus brush ;
Cask, firkin, bag, and barrel, crowd the floor,
And piles of country cheeses guard the door.
The frugal dames came in from far and near,
To buy their ounces and their quarterns here.
Hard was the toil, the profits slow to count,
And yet the mole-hill was at last a mount.
Those petty gains were hoarded day by day,
With little cost, for not a child had they ;
Till, long proceeding on the saving plan,
He found himself a warm, fore-handed man :
And being now arrived at life's decline,
Both he and she, they formed the bold design,
(Although it touched their prudence to the quick)
To turn their savings into stone and brick.
How many an ounce of tea and ounce of snuff,
There must have been consumed to make enough !

At length, with paint and paper, bright and gay,
The box was finished, and they went away.
But when their faces were no longer seen
Amongst the canisters of black and green ,
--Those well-known faces, all the country round--
'Twas said that had they levelled to the ground
The two old walnut trees before the door,
The customers would not have missed them more.
Now, like a pair of parrots in a cage,
They live, and civic honours crown their age :
Thrice, since the Whitsuntide they settled there,
Seven years ago, has he been chosen mayor ;
And now you'd scarcely know they were the same ;
Conscious he struts, of power, and wealth, and fame ;

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The Secret of Time and its Passage

Memory defeats passage of time

Hurts and pains enliven passed times and events
In the form of aches, and rarely are enlivened pleasant experiences had;

Anxiety, fear, apprehension constitute the future;

Past and future are thought forms
In the present continuous,
Arising out of earlier experiences,
And doubts and imaginations about the imminent,
Are mere mental projections
In the present;

The present continuously changes
Every one tenth of a second
As a pulse series of awareness
Replacing past dissolving into future;

Events took place and the ones we imagine may happen
Respectively create memory,
And doubts, fears and expectations;

Thus the egoistic mind drawing us into the past or future
And seldom allowing us to live in the present
And enjoy current bliss, peace and silence
Creating whirlpool of time and its passage
Never lets us transcend the notion of time
And its passage;

But the reality is,
Present continuous being
One-tenth of a second,
The past over and the future yet to dawn;

Realization of this secret of
Passage of time, past, present and future
As mere thought forms in the present,
Sets in us peace, bliss and quietude
And we face life cheerfully
Transcending mental suggestions
And enjoy the present in calmness,
Peace, bliss, silence, in unoccupied awareness
As contented and content-free state of mind

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Byron

Canto the Fourth

I
Nothing so difficult as a beginning
In poesy, unless perhaps the end;
For oftentimes when Pegasus seems winning
The race, he sprains a wing, and down we tend,
Like Lucifer when hurl'd from heaven for sinning;
Our sin the same, and hard as his to mend,
Being pride, which leads the mind to soar too far,
Till our own weakness shows us what we are.

II
But Time, which brings all beings to their level,
And sharp Adversity, will teach at last
Man, -- and, as we would hope, -- perhaps the devil,
That neither of their intellects are vast:
While youth's hot wishes in our red veins revel,
We know not this -- the blood flows on too fast;
But as the torrent widens towards the ocean,
We ponder deeply on each past emotion.

III
As boy, I thought myself a clever fellow,
And wish'd that others held the same opinion;
They took it up when my days grew more mellow,
And other minds acknowledged my dominion:
Now my sere fancy "falls into the yellow
Leaf," and Imagination droops her pinion,
And the sad truth which hovers o'er my desk
Turns what was once romantic to burlesque.

IV
And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
'T is that I may not weep; and if I weep,
'T is that our nature cannot always bring
Itself to apathy, for we must steep
Our hearts first in the depths of Lethe's spring,
Ere what we least wish to behold will sleep:
Thetis baptized her mortal son in Styx;
A mortal mother would on Lethe fix.

V
Some have accused me of a strange design
Against the creed and morals of the land,
And trace it in this poem every line:
I don't pretend that I quite understand
My own meaning when I would be very fine;
But the fact is that I have nothing plann'd,
Unless it were to be a moment merry,
A novel word in my vocabulary.

[...] Read more

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Byron

Canto the Seventh

I
O Love! O Glory! what are ye who fly
Around us ever, rarely to alight?
There's not a meteor in the polar sky
Of such transcendent and more fleeting flight.
Chill, and chain'd to cold earth, we lift on high
Our eyes in search of either lovely light;
A thousand and a thousand colours they
Assume, then leave us on our freezing way.

II
And such as they are, such my present tale is,
A non-descript and ever-varying rhyme,
A versified Aurora Borealis,
Which flashes o'er a waste and icy clime.
When we know what all are, we must bewail us,
But ne'ertheless I hope it is no crime
To laugh at all things -- for I wish to know
What, after all, are all things -- but a show?

III
They accuse me -- Me -- the present writer of
The present poem -- of -- I know not what --
A tendency to under-rate and scoff
At human power and virtue, and all that;
And this they say in language rather rough.
Good God! I wonder what they would be at!
I say no more than hath been said in Danté's
Verse, and by Solomon and by Cervantes;

IV
By Swift, by Machiavel, by Rochefoucault,
By Fénélon, by Luther, and by Plato;
By Tillotson, and Wesley, and Rousseau,
Who knew this life was not worth a potato.
'T is not their fault, nor mine, if this be so --
For my part, I pretend not to be Cato,
Nor even Diogenes. -- We live and die,
But which is best, you know no more than I.

V
Socrates said, our only knowledge was
"To know that nothing could be known;" a pleasant
Science enough, which levels to an ass
Each man of wisdom, future, past, or present.
Newton (that proverb of the mind), alas!
Declared, with all his grand discoveries recent,
That he himself felt only "like a youth
Picking up shells by the great ocean -- Truth."

[...] Read more

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