It's better to be known by six people for something you're proud of than to be known by sixty million for something you're not.
It's better to be known by six people for something you're proud of than by 60 million for something you're not.
Take criticism from whom it comes
if the people who criticize you are
not people you look up to, their
words should not disturb you
I accept my personality do not please
people I deal with - keep my ideas to
myself, started a new regime of self-
discipline, bury spontaneity
No more writing about my feelings, seek
substitute outlets, I believe in a better
realm than this faulty human one
which is so unsatisfactory
Withdrawing and living life in my head
I make life nice, when the process is
complete and I live in my head, I
am the happiest creature
Blind & Unkind
You inhale the toxic fumes,
I look away, and then resume to...
Do all the things that I told myself
I wouldnt ever do.
Why do I always believe,
That Im in love with everyone I see?
And, why did the next one have to be you?
Why do you believe that everything I say is
(chorus) why must I always do this?
Why do I put myself through this?
Love is blind and so unkind...
I never can make up my mind!
I undo the thought from my head,
Forgetting all you ever said.
Today its you, tomorrow someone else,
Maybe Im just better off by myself!
I forget that its just you...
And not some person that Ive always knew!
Love is blind... love is a lie!
Jane She Got Excavated
Jane she got excavated
By a trader dealing in old lines
Then she got a paper
From a mailer telling her more lies
Chorus (sing first half on first chorus):
So here we go
Down an endless road where we know
Nothing good here will ever grow
We're wasting our own time
And better know
Everyday life will carry on
Everyday when you're not so strong
You're wasting your own time
Says she knows more than she lets on
That's how she gets on when she is outside
When the wind comes on harder
She needs a shelter of their warm lies
She was taken last Sunday
To a safe place dealing in this line
Then she got her papers
From a faceless who won't tell her one more time
You Are As Old As I 'Is
You're trying to clutch onto time,
Like you are smuggling family heirlooms.
Better give that notion up!
The only thing that seems not to age,
Is your hair that you dye platinum today...
And next week it might be chestnut!
And makeup can not disguise...
You have not seen twenty-five,
In at least fifteen years.
Give or take a few Christmas seasons beyond that!
When a blind man can detect your age...
He can tell you've been around,
For many many years.
He knows there's more rings around you...
Than some trees you have outlived!
There's no need to break down in tears.
People can see you're 'not' my grand-daughter!
You appear like me...
You are as old as I 'is'!
So take that mud off your face!
I'm tired of shoveling up this place.
Better To Act Like We Never Met
Better to act like we never met,
time spent was filled with regret.
Better to have known not to play,
then waste my time with some people's games.
People walk around unconscious of their words and deeds,
better for you be the one who knows reality and supersedes,
and gets smart quick and cut them off from the beginning.
Written By Christina Sunrise on January 29,2012
Finding A Better Way
So many disappointments that I have from day to day
If I could make a change - I'd find a better way.
I would have made my dreams -long before my teens
Then I would have known what to do
And I would follow through.
But my dreams came in my older years
And that is when you have doubts and fears.
They say with age you build confidence.
That is not always true.
As you get older you don't know what to do.
This is the age of computers - and technology
Is reaching heights
You don't know who to turn to
Or how to even fight.
I know that education is so much more advanced
So put your mind to it
You may not get another chance.
Set that goal in your mind
Don't let that dream fall behind
Don't stop yourself before you've even begun
You can do it - you're the only one.
Visualize that dream in your mind
Then it won't be so hard to find.
Like a baby - you must first learn to crawl
Then walk, then run, and you will see
That it will come.
So many dreams have been left
On the wayside road of life
That when they recall
They have to struggle and fight.
True, But Little Known Facts
True, but little known facts
Our eyes are always the same size from birth
But our nose and our ears ne’er stop growing
Some facts to know, have very great worth
And others are not worth knowing
“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”
is another one you might not know yet
This saying might leave you a bit agog
Since it uses every letter of the alphabet
Babies are born without kneecaps
They go through a most curious stage
Where those patellas don’t start to show up
Until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age
If you’re an average American
Who endures Americas traffic-caused strife
The time that’s spent waiting at red lights
Is six months out of your life
If the population of China walked by you in single file
The line would never end because of the rate of birth
Yet some in that line would have to dally a while
To make all that giving birth to have worth
Great authors have quirks of little known publicity
Great authors keep us laughing and weeping
Charles Dickens had such an eccentricity
Charles always faced to the north while sleeping
Ancient Egyptians usually died by the age of thirty
And it wasn’t from booze or careless sex
They fashioned bed pillows of stone from the quarry
And shortened their lives by placing them under their necks
A curious fact from the world of flying
Airlines saved thousands by going cheapass
Took one olive out, and I swear I’m not lying
From each salad served in first class
- quotes about airlines
- quotes about birth
- quotes about population
- quotes about olives
- quotes about fashion
- quotes about China
- quotes about nose
- quotes about sex
Who Was This Man?
They didn’t know where he came from
No information could be found.
He just arrived - in the poor part of town.
They said he would appear when someone
Needed a hand, it was something
they could not understand.
Now! People’s faith was failing and
Everything seemed to be going wrong
But he would lift them up and
Encouraged them to be strong.
He was a bit different from
the others in the town.
Always with a hood, and had it pulled down.
The church was losing parishioners
And they had for quite some time.
Their faith was strong, but their minds were blind.
They needed something to touch the heart of man
Something that- could give a helping hand.
As the clergy thought about how
and what they could do.
This hooded man was looking for something too.
There was a family of eight who was
Being given a dispossess, he had to help them out
He knew he could not rest.
Parents with six children and not a bite to eat
To them a bag of potato chips, was really quite a treat.
He printed up circulars telling of their plight.
Asking the community to stand up and fight.
He created a meeting at the neighborhood church
He knew that it would get better
For it could not get much worse.
The church had not known of this meeting
When the people started to arrive.
This was the first time that people had to wait in line.
The preacher asked a parishioner:
What is this all about?
She then showed him the circular of this family s plight.
He then had a strange feeling, and his heart jumped with delight.
His prayers were being answered in a strange and blessed way.
He fell to his knees and he began to pray.
The people filled up the donation boxes
Until they overflowed, he had to call for some help
For it was a heavy load.
From the corner of his eye- he saw a figure
Blocking the entrance door,
And with a hood pulled down low.
It was a strange sight- it truly was a show.
He walked down the aisle to the preacher man
Looked up - then shook his hand.
He turned to the congregation and said:
HAVE FAITH IN ALL YOU DO
YOU CALLED OUT MY NAME AND I’VE
COME TO HELP YOU.
He took off his hood and just an aura of light was there
Then he vanished as quick as he appeared.
WHO WAS THIS MAN?
Artist: dj jazzy jeff and the fresh prince
Everywhere we go, downtown or to a show
We have two necessities, charlie mack and our limo
He's feared by suckers yet he's loved by kids
Pay attention and let me tell you who charlie mack
He is our homeboy from around the block
He's regarded through the city as the hip-hop cop
Height about 6'6", weight about 290
Everywhere i go, charlie mack is right behind me
He never laughs, never smiles nor sweats
He doesn't breaks arms or legs, only spines or necks
He once killed a man cause he would not let go of his eggo
Apollo creed is a sucker, charlie mack could beat drago
He could bench about three-hundred pounds
The cops all take a vacation, when charlie's in town
He's the toughest around, so everywhere that i go, he goes
He's charlie mack and he's the first out the limo
I guess you're wonderin why he's the first out
The limo, yo, let me give you this bit of info
So you'll know the things that charlie can do
And you'll know every single reason why he's down with the crew
The limo picks up about a half past six
With the radio blastin our latest hit
It's me, jeff, ready rock, omar and j.l.
Charlie mack is up front as we depart the hotel
First we cause chaos throughout the city streets
Then maybe stop at burger king for a bite to eat
And if somebody gets stupid while we're in the place
Charlie cancels his order and bites off their face
He's not a troublemaker, in fact, he's a troublebreaker
And if somebody gets dumb, well it'll only take a
Second or two, after some fools snaps
Law and order is restored by my hero charlie mack
Wheel off into the limo, and head for the jam
Charlie cracks all the knuckles, on both of his hands
And when we pull up to the show, the routine is unrehearsed
It's just natural that we let charlie hop our first
He clears the crowd without sayin a word
Man, that's the loudest silence i've ever heard
A lot of times guys test him, by tryin to bug
He just, leaves ring imprints, all over their mugs
He's a terminator, a hercules of sorts
Man to hell with chess, he likes physical sports
You may not have known before but now you know
The reason why charlie mack is the first out the limo
We'd like to apologize to all of our fans
But please don't touch us when we're at our jams
Cause charlie don't like folks around us when we're doin a show
And if he punches you, uh-oh, better get maaco!
Still you weak rap dudes tempers are hot
Just because i've got somethin that you ain't got
If you want to get physical, rowdy or try to bomb me
I won't get excited, i'll just say, "yo charlie!"
You shoulda been kind, you shouldn't have snapped
Charlie only hits you once and now you're takin a nap
And when he leaves you decaptitated, crushed in the dust
You'll look up, and see your girl in the limo with us
You may think that's enough boy but i think not
Charlie kick his face again i think you missed a spot
I roll down the limo window and yell, "by the way eyes
You'll see your girl bucknaked givin charlie a message"
I'm serious, i'm not jokin, no doubt
You know how many doubters bones have been broken
You may not have known before but now you know
The reason why charlie mack is the first out the limo
Charlie mack.. the first out the limo
He's charlie mack.. the first out the limo
In closing, we'd like to say this, to you bustaz
If you're skeptical you'll probably get beat up, plus kid
Embarassed and laughed at, by all of your friends
And if you cross charlie mack it's the beginning of the end
Of life as you know it, you might not die, sir
But if you're not dead, you'll wish you were
But if you still wanna bug out, homeboy let's go
You can bug with charlie mack cause he's the first out the limo
He's charlie mack
And he's the first out the limo
- quotes about rap
- quotes about music
- quotes about chess
- quotes about city
- quotes about radio
- quotes about art
- quotes about height
- quotes about childhood
The King Of Brentford’s Testament
The noble King of Brentford
Was old and very sick,
He summon'd his physicians
To wait upon him quick;
They stepp'd into their coaches
And brought their best physick.
They cramm'd their gracious master
With potion and with pill;
They drench'd him and they bled him;
They could not cure his ill.
'Go fetch,' says he, 'my lawyer,
I'd better make my will.'
The monarch's royal mandate
The lawyer did obey;
The thought of six-and-eightpence
Did make his heart full gay.
'What is't,' says he, 'your Majesty
Would wish of me to-day?'
'The doctors have belabor'd me
With potion and with pill:
My hours of life are counted,
O man of tape and quill!
Sit down and mend a pen or two,
I want to make my will.
'O'er all the land of Brentford
I'm lord, and eke of Kew:
I've three-per-cents and five-per-cents;
My debts are but a few;
And to inherit after me
I have but children two.
Prince Thomas is my eldest son,
A sober Prince is he,
And from the day we breech'd him
Till now, he's twenty-three,
He never caused disquiet
To his poor Mamma or me.
'At school they never flogg'd him,
At college, though not fast,
Yet his little-go and great-go
He creditably pass'd,
And made his year's allowance
For eighteen months to last.
'He never owed a shilling.
Went never drunk to bed,
He has not two ideas
Within his honest head—
In all respects he differs
From my second son, Prince Ned.
'When Tom has half his income
Laid by at the year's end,
Poor Ned has ne'er a stiver
That rightly he may spend,
But sponges on a tradesman,
Or borrows from a friend.
'While Tom his legal studies
Most soberly pursues,
Poor Ned most pass his mornings
A-dawdling with the Muse:
While Tom frequents his banker,
Young Ned frequents the Jews.
'Ned drives about in buggies,
Tom sometimes takes a 'bus;
Ah, cruel fate, why made you
My children differ thus?
Why make of Tom a DULLARD,
And Ned a GENIUS?'
'You'll cut him with a shilling,'
Exclaimed the man of wits:
'I'll leave my wealth,' said Brentford,
'Sir Lawyer, as befits;
And portion both their fortunes
Unto their several wits.'
'Your Grace knows best,' the lawyer said
'On your commands I wait.'
'Be silent, Sir,' says Brentford,
'A plague upon your prate!
Come take your pen and paper,
And write as I dictate.'
The will as Brentford spoke it
Was writ and signed and closed;
He bade the lawyer leave him,
And turn'd him round and dozed;
And next week in the churchyard
The good old King reposed.
Tom, dressed in crape and hatband,
Of mourners was the chief;
In bitter self-upbraidings
Poor Edward showed his grief:
Tom hid his fat white countenance
In his pocket-handkerchief.
Ned's eyes were full of weeping,
He falter'd in his walk;
Tom never shed a tear,
But onwards he did stalk,
As pompous, black, and solemn,
As any catafalque.
And when the bones of Brentford—
That gentle king and just—
With bell and book and candle
Were duly laid in dust,
'Now, gentleman,' says Thomas,
'Let business be discussed.
'When late our sire beloved
Was taken deadly ill,
Sir Lawyer, you attended him
(I mean to tax your bill);
And, as you signed and wrote it,
I prithee read the will.'
The lawyer wiped his spectacles,
And drew the parchment out;
And all the Brentford family
Sat eager round about:
Poor Ned was somewhat anxious,
But Tom had ne'er a doubt.
'My son, as I make ready
To seek my last long home,
Some cares I had for Neddy,
But none for thee, my Tom:
Sobriety and order
You ne'er departed from.
'Ned hath a brilliant genius,
And thou a plodding brain;
On thee I think with pleasure,
On him with doubt and pain.'
('You see, good Ned,' says Thomas,
'What he thought about us twain.'
'Though small was your allowance,
You saved a little store;
And those who save a little
Shall get a plenty more.'
As the lawyer read this compliment,
Tom's eyes were running o'er.
'The tortoise and the hare, Tom,
Set out, at each his pace;
The hare it was the fleeter,
The tortoise won the race;
And since the world's beginning
This ever was the case.
'Ned's genius, blithe and singing,
Steps gayly o'er the ground;
As steadily you trudge it
He clears it with a bound;
But dulness has stout legs, Tom,
And wind that's wondrous sound.
'O'er fruits and flowers alike, Tom,
You pass with plodding feet;
You heed not one nor t'other
But onwards go your beat,
While genius stops to loiter
With all that he may meet;
'And ever as he wanders,
Will have a pretext fine
For sleeping in the morning,
Or loitering to dine,
Or dozing in the shade,
Or basking in the shine.
'Your little steady eyes, Tom,
Though not so bright as those
That restless round about him
His flashing genius throws,
Are excellently suited
To look before your nose.
'Thank heaven, then, for the blinkers
It placed before your eyes;
The stupidest are weakest,
The witty are not wise;
Oh, bless your good stupidity,
It is your dearest prize!
'And though my lands are wide,
And plenty is my gold,
Still better gifts from Nature,
My Thomas, do you hold—
A brain that's thick and heavy,
A heart that's dull and cold.
'Too dull to feel depression,
Too hard to heed distress,
Too cold to yield to passion
Or silly tenderness.
March on—your road is open
To wealth, Tom, and success.
'Ned sinneth in extravagance,
And you in greedy lust.'
('I' faith,' says Ned, 'our father
Is less polite than just.')
'In you, son Tom, I've confidence,
But Ned I cannot trust.
'Wherefore my lease and copyholds,
My lands and tenements,
My parks, my farms, and orchards,
My houses and my rents,
My Dutch stock and my Spanish stock,
My five and three per cents,
'I leave to you, my Thomas'—
('What, all?' poor Edward said.
'Well, well, I should have spent them,
And Tom's a prudent head')—
'I leave to you, my Thomas,—
To you in TRUST for Ned.'
The wrath and consternation
What poet e'er could trace
That at this fatal passage
Came o'er Prince Tom his face;
The wonder of the company,
And honest Ned's amaze!
''Tis surely some mistake,'
Good-naturedly cries Ned;
The lawyer answered gravely,
''Tis even as I said;
'Twas thus his gracious Majesty
Ordain'd on his death-bed.
'See, here the will is witness'd,
And here's his autograph.'
'In truth, our father's writing,'
Says Edward, with a laugh;
'But thou shalt not be a loser, Tom,
We'll share it half and half.'
'Alas! my kind young gentleman,
This sharing cannot be;
'Tis written in the testament
That Brentford spoke to me,
'I do forbid Prince Ned to give
Prince Tom a halfpenny.
''He hath a store of money,
But ne'er was known to lend it;
He never help'd his brother;
The poor he ne'er befriended;
He hath no need of property
Who knows not how to spend it.
''Poor Edward knows but how to spend,
And thrifty Tom to hoard;
Let Thomas be the steward then,
And Edward be the lord;
And as the honest laborer
Is worthy his reward,
''I pray Prince Ned, my second son,
And my successor dear,
To pay to his intendant
Five hundred pounds a year;
And to think of his old father,
And live and make good cheer.''
Such was old Brentford's honest testament,
He did devise his moneys for the best,
And lies in Brentford church in peaceful rest.
Prince Edward lived, and money made and spent;
But his good sire was wrong, it is confess'd
To say his son, young Thomas, never lent.
He did. Young Thomas lent at interest,
And nobly took his twenty-five per cent.
Long time the famous reign of Ned endured
O'er Chiswick, Fulham, Brentford, Putney, Kew,
But of extravagance he ne'er was cured.
And when both died, as mortal men will do,
'Twas commonly reported that the steward
Was very much the richer of the two.
The Ear-Maker And The Mould-Mender
WHEN William went from home (a trader styled):
Six months his better half he left with child,
A simple, comely, modest, youthful dame,
Whose name was Alice; from Champaign she came.
Her neighbour Andrew visits now would pay;
With what intention, needless 'tis to say:
A master who but rarely spread his net,
But, first or last, with full success he met;
And cunning was the bird that 'scaped his snare;
Without surrendering a feather there.
QUITE raw was Alice; for his purpose fit;
Not overburdened with a store of wit;
Of this indeed she could not be accused,
And Cupid's wiles by her were never used;
Poor lady, all with her was honest part,
And naught she knew of stratagem or art.
HER husband then away, and she alone,
This neighbour came, and in a whining tone,
To her observed, when compliments were o'er:--
I'm all astonishment, and you deplore,
To find that neighbour William's gone from hence,
And left your child's completing in suspense,
Which now you bear within, and much I fear,
That when 'tis born you'll find it wants an ear.
Your looks sufficiently the fact proclaim,
For many instances I've known the same.
Good heav'ns! replied the lady in a fright;
What say you, pray?--the infant won't be right!
Shall I be mother to a one-eared child?
And know you no relief that's certain styled?
Oh yes, there is, rejoined the crafty knave,
From such mishap I can the baby save;
Yet solemnly I vow, for none but you
I'd undertake the toilsome job to do.
The ills of others, if I may be plain,
Except your husband's, never give me pain;
But him I'd serve for ever, while I've breath;
To do him good I'd e'en encounter death.
Now let us see, without more talk or fears,
If I know how to forge the bantling ears.
Remember, cried the wife, to make them like.
Leave that to me, said he, I'll justly strike.
Then he prepared for work; the dame gave way;
Not difficult she proved:--well pleased she lay;
Philosophy was never less required,
And Andrew's process much the fair admired,
Who, to his work extreme attention paid;
'Twas now a tendon; then a fold he made,
Or cartilage, of which he formed enough,
And all without complaining of the stuff.
To-morrow we will polish it, said he:
Then in perfection soon the whole will be;
And from repeating this so oft, you'll get
As perfect issue as was ever met.
I'm much obliged to you, the wife replied,
A friend is good in whom we may confide.
NEXT day, when tardy Time had marked the hour;
That Andrew hoped again to use his pow'r,
He was not plunged in sleep, but briskly flew,
His purpose with the charmer to pursue.
Said he, all other things aside I've laid,
This ear to finish, and to lend you aid.
And I, the dame replied, was on the eve,
To send and beg you not the job to leave;
Above stairs let us go:--away they ran,
And quickly recommenced as they began.
The work so oft was smoothed, that Alice showed
Some scruples lest the ear he had bestowed
Should do too much, and to the wily wight,
She said, so little you the labour slight,
'Twere well if ears no more than two appear;
Of that, rejoined the other, never fear;
I've guarded thoroughly against defects,
Mistake like that shall ne'er your senses vex.
THE ear howe'er was still in hand the same,
When from his journey home the husband came.
Saluted Alice, who with anxious look,
Exclaimed,--your work how finely you forsook,
And, but for neighbour Andrew's kindness here,
Our child would incomplete have been--an ear,
I could not let a thing remain like this,
And Andrew would not be to friends remiss,
But, worthy man, he left his thriving trade,
And for the babe a proper ear has made.
THE husband, not conceiving how his wife,
Could be so weak and ignorant of life,
The circumstances made her fully tell,
Repeat them o'er and on each action dwell.
Enraged at length, a pistol by the bed
He seized and swore at once he'd shoot her dead.
The belle with tears replied, howe'er she'd swerved,
Such cruel treatment never she deserved.
Her innocence, and simple, gentle way,
At length appeared his frantick rage to lay.
What injury, continued she, is done?
The strictest scrutiny I would not shun;
Your goods and money, ev'ry thing is right;
And Andrew told me, nothing he would slight;
That you would find much more than you could want;
And this I hope to me you'll freely grant;
If falsehood I advance, my life I'll lose;
Your equity, I trust, will me excuse.
A LITTLE cooled, then William thus replied,
We'll say no more; you have been drawn aside;
What passed you fancied acting for the best,
And I'll consent to put the thing at rest;
To nothing good such altercations tend;
I've but a word: to that attention lend;
Contrive to-morrow that I here entrap
This fellow who has caused your sad mishap;
You'll utter not a word of what I've said;
Be secret or at once I'll strike you dead.
Adroitly you must act: for instance say;
I'm on a second journey gone away;
A message or a letter to him send,
Soliciting that he'll on you attend,
That something you have got to let him know;--
To come, no doubt, the rascal won't be slow;
Amuse him then with converse most absurd,
But of the EAR remember,--not a word;
That's finished now, and nothing can require;
You'll carefully perform what I desire.
Poor innocent! the point she nicely hit;
Fear oft gives simpletons a sort of wit.
THE arch gallant arrived; the husband came
Ascended to the room where sat his dame;
Much noise he made, his coming to announce;
The lover, terrified, began to bounce;
Now here, now there, no shelter could he meet;
Between the bed and wall he put his feet,
And lay concealed, while William loudly knocked;
Fair Alice readily the door unlocked,
And, pointing with her hand, informed the spouse,
Where he might easily his rival rouse.
THE husband ev'ry way was armed so well,
He four such men as Andrew could repel;
In quest of succour howsoe'er he went:
To kill him surely William never meant,
But only take an ear, or what the Turks,
Those savage beasts, cut off from Nature's works;
Which doubtless must be infinitely worse
Infernal practice and continual curse.
'Twas this he whispered should be Andrew's doom,
When with his easy wife he left the room;
She nothing durst reply: the door he shut,
And our gallant 'gan presently to strut,
Around and round, believing all was right,
And William unacquainted with his plight.
THE latter having well the project weighed,
Now changed his plan, and other schemes surveyed;
Proposed within himself revenge to take,
With less parade:--less noise it then would make,
And better fruit the action would produce,
Than if he were apparently profuse.
Said he to Alice, go and seek his wife;
To her relate the whole that caused our strife;
Minutely all from first to last detail;
And then the better on her to prevail,
To hasten here, you'll hint that you have fears,
That Andrew risks the loss of--more than ears,
For I have punishment severe in view,
Which greatly she must wish I should not do;
But if an ear-maker, like this, is caught,
The worst of chastisement is always sought;
Such horrid things as scarcely can be said:
They make the hair to stand upon the head;
That he's upon the point of suff'ring straight,
And only for her presence things await;
That though she cannot all proceedings stay,
Perhaps she may some portion take away.
Go, bring her instantly, haste quickly, run;
And, if she comes, I'll pardon what's been done.
WITH joy to Andrew's house fair Alice went;
The wife to follow her appeared content;
Quite out of breath, alone she ran up stairs,
And, not perceiving him who shared her cares;
Believed he was imprisoned in a room;
And while with fear she trembled for his doom;
The master (having laid aside his arms)
Now came to compliment the lady's charms;
He gave the belle a chair, who looked most nice:--
Said he, ingratitude's the worst of vice;
To me your husband has been wondrous kind;
So many services has done I find,
That, ere you leave this house, I'd wish to make
A little return, and this you will partake.
When I was absent from my loving dear,
Obligingly he made her babe an ear.
The compliment of course I must admire;
Retaliation is what I desire,
And I've a thought:--your children all have got
The nose a little short, which is a blot;
A fault within the mould no doubt's the cause,
Which I can mend, and any other flaws.
The business now let's execute I pray,
On which the dame he took without delay,
And placed her near where Andrew hid his head,
Then 'gan to operate as he was led.
THE, lady patiently his process bore,
And blessed her stars that Andrew's risk was o'er
That she had thus the dire return received,
And saved the man for whom her bosom grieved.
So much emotion William seemed to feel,
No grace he gave, but all performed with zeal;
Retaliated ev'ry way so well,
He measure gave for measure:--ell for ell.
How true the adage, that revenge is sweet!
The plan he followed clearly was discrete;
For since he wished his honour to repair:--
Of any better way I'm not aware.
THE whole without a murmur Andrew viewed,
And thanked kind Heav'n that nothing worse ensued;
One ear most readily he would have lost,
Could he be certain that would pay the cost.
He thought 'twould lucky be, could he get out,
For all considered, better 'twere no doubt,
Howe'er ridiculous the thing appears,
To have a pair of horns than lose his ears.
By the Fire-side
How well I know what I mean to do
When the long dark Autumn evenings come:
And where, my soul, is thy pleasant hue?
With the music of all thy voices, dumb
In life's November too!
I shall be found by the fire, suppose,
O'er a great wise book as beseemeth age,
While the shutters flap as the cross-wind blows
And I turn the page, and I turn the page,
Not verse now, only prose!
Till the young ones whisper, finger on lip,
"There he is at it, deep in Greek:
Now then, or never, out we slip
To cut from the hazels by the creek
A mainmast for our ship!"
I shall be at it indeed, my friends:
Greek puts already on either side
Such a branch-work forth as soon extends
To a vista opening far and wide,
And I pass out where it ends.
The outside-frame, like your hazel-trees:
But the inside-archway widens fast,
And a rarer sort succeeds to these,
And we slope to Italy at last
And youth, by green degrees.
I follow wherever I am led,
Knowing so well the leader's hand:
Oh woman-country, wooed not wed,
Loved all the more by earth's male-lands,
Laid to their hearts instead!
Look at the ruined chapel again
Half way up in the Alpine gorge!
Is that a tower, I point you plain,
Or is it a mill, or an iron forge
Breaks solitude in vain?
A turn, and we stand in the heart of things;
The woods are round us, heaped and dim;
From slab to slab how it slips and springs,
The thread of water single and slim,
Thro' the ravage some torrent brings!
Does it feed the little lake below?
That speck of white just on its marge
Is Pella; see, in the evening glow
How sharp the silver spear-heads charge
When Alp meets Heaven in snow!
On our other side is the straight-up rock;
And a path is kept 'twixt the gorge and it
By boulder-stones where lichens mock
The marks on a moth, and small ferns fit
Their teeth to the polished block.
Oh the sense of the yellow mountain-flowers,
And the thorny balls, each three in one,
The chestnuts throw on our path in showers!
For the drop of the woodland fruit's begun
These early November hours,
That crimson the creeper's leaf across
Like a splash of blood, intense, abrupt,
O'er a shield else gold from rim to boss,
And lay it for show on the fairy-cupped
Elf-needled mat of moss,
By the rose-flesh mushrooms, undivulged
Last evening—nay, in to-day's first dew
Yon sudden coral nipple bulged
Where a freaked fawn-coloured flaky crew
Of toadstools peep indulged.
And yonder, at foot of the fronting ridge
That takes the turn to a range beyond,
Is the chapel reached by the one-arched bridge
Where the water is stopped in a stagnant pond
Danced over by the midge.
The chapel and bridge are of stone alike,
Blackish gray and mostly wet;
Cut hemp-stalks steep in the narrow dyke.
See here again, how the lichens fret
And the roots of the ivy strike!
Poor little place, where its one priest comes
On a festa-day, if he comes at all,
To the dozen folk from their scattered homes,
Gathered within that precinct small
By the dozen ways one roams—
To drop from the charcoal-burners' huts,
Or climb from the hemp-dressers' low shed,
Leave the grange where the woodman stores his nuts,
Or the wattled cote where the fowlers spread
Their gear on the rock's bare juts.
It has some pretension too, this front,
With its bit of fresco half-moon-wise
Set over the porch, Art's early wont:
'Tis John in the Desert, I surmise,
But has borne the weather's brunt—
Not from the fault of the builder, though,
For a pent-house properly projects
Where three carved beams make a certain show,
Dating—good thought of our architect's—
'Five, six, nine, he lets you know.
And all day long a bird sings there,
And a stray sheep drinks at the pond at times;
The place is silent and aware;
It has had its scenes, its joys and crimes,
But that is its own affair.
My perfect wife, my Leonor,
Oh heart, my own, oh eyes, mine too,
Whom else could I dare look backward for,
With whom beside should I dare pursue
The path gray heads abhor?
For it leads to a crag's sheer edge with them;
Youth, flowery all the way, there stops—
Not they; age threatens and they contemn,
Till they reach the gulf wherein youth drops,
One inch from life's safe hem!
With me, youth led . . . I will speak now,
No longer watch you as you sit
Reading by fire-light, that great brow
And the spirit-small hand propping it
Mutely, my heart knows how—
When, if I think but deep enough,
You are wont to answer, prompt as rhyme;
And you, too, find without rebuff
The response your soul seeks many a time
Piercing its fine flesh-stuff.
My own, confirm me! If I tread
This path back, is it not in pride
To think how little I dreamed it led
To an age so blest that, by its side,
Youth seems the waste instead?
My own, see where the years conduct!
At first, 'twas something our two souls
Should mix as mists do; each is sucked
In each now: on, the new stream rolls,
Whatever rocks obstruct.
Think, when our one soul understands
The great Word which makes all things new,
When earth breaks up and Heaven expands,
How will the change strike me and you
In the house not made with hands?
Oh I must feel your brain prompt mine,
Your heart anticipate my heart,
You must be just before, in fine,
See and make me see, for your part,
New depths of the Divine!
But who could have expected this
When we two drew together first
Just for the obvious human bliss,
To satisfy life's daily thirst
With a thing men seldom miss?
Come back with me to the first of all,
Let us lean and love it over again,
Let us now forget and now recall,
Break the rosary in a pearly rain,
And gather what we let fall!
What did I say?—that a small bird sings
All day long, save when a brown pair
Of hawks from the wood float with wide wings
Strained to a bell: 'gainst the noonday glare
You count the streaks and rings.
But at afternoon or almost eve
'Tis better; then the silence grows
To that degree, you half believe
It must get rid of what it knows,
Its bosom does so heave.
Hither we walked, then, side by side,
Arm in arm and cheek to cheek,
And still I questioned or replied,
While my heart, convulsed to really speak,
Lay choking in its pride.
Silent the crumbling bridge we cross,
And pity and praise the chapel sweet,
And care about the fresco's loss,
And wish for our souls a like retreat,
And wonder at the moss.
Stoop and kneel on the settle under,
Look through the window's grated square:
Nothing to see! For fear of plunder,
The cross is down and the altar bare,
As if thieves don't fear thunder.
We stoop and look in through the grate,
See the little porch and rustic door,
Read duly the dead builder's date;
Then cross the bridge we crossed before,
Take the path again—but wait!
Oh moment, one and infinite!
The water slips o'er stock and stone;
The West is tender, hardly bright:
How grey at once is the evening grown—
One star, its chrysolite!
We two stood there with never a third,
But each by each, as each knew well:
The sights we saw and the sounds we heard,
The lights and the shades made up a spell
Till the trouble grew and stirred.
Oh, the little more, and how much it is!
And the little less, and what worlds away!
How a sound shall quicken content to bliss,
Or a breath suspend the blood's best play,
And life be a proof of this!
Had she willed it, still had stood the screen
So slight, so sure, 'twixt my love and her:
I could fix her face with a guard between,
And find her soul as when friends confer,
Friends—lovers that might have been.
For my heart had a touch of the woodland-time,
Wanting to sleep now over its best.
Shake the whole tree in the summer-prime,
But bring to the last leaf no such test!
"Hold the last fast!" says the rhyme.
For a chance to make your little much,
To gain a lover and lose a friend,
Venture the tree and a myriad such,
When nothing you mar but the year can mend:
But a last leaf—fear to touch!
Yet should it unfasten itself and fall
Eddying down till it find your face
At some slight wind—best chance of all!
Be your heart henceforth its dwelling-place
You trembled to forestall!
Worth how well, those dark grey eyes,
That hair so dark and dear, how worth
That a man should strive and agonize,
And taste a very hell on earth
For the hope of such a prize!
You might have turned and tried a man,
Set him a space to weary and wear,
And prove which suited more your plan,
His best of hope or his worst despair,
Yet end as he began.
But you spared me this, like the heart you are,
And filled my empty heart at a word.
If two lives join, there is oft a scar,
They are one and one, with a shadowy third;
One near one is too far.
A moment after, and hands unseen
Were hanging the night around us fast;
But we knew that a bar was broken between
Life and life: we were mixed at last
In spite of the mortal screen.
The forests had done it; there they stood;
We caught for a moment the powers at play:
They had mingled us so, for once and for good,
Their work was done—we might go or stay,
They relapsed to their ancient mood.
How the world is made for each of us!
How all we perceive and know in it
Tends to some moment's product thus,
When a soul declares itself—to wit,
By its fruit—the thing it does!
Be hate that fruit or love that fruit,
It forwards the general deed of man,
And each of the Many helps to recruit
The life of the race by a general plan;
Each living his own, to boot.
I am named and known by that hour's feat;
There took my station and degree;
So grew my own small life complete,
As nature obtained her best of me—
One born to love you, sweet!
And to watch you sink by the fire-side now
Back again, as you mutely sit
Musing by fire-light, that great brow
And the spirit-small hand propping it,
Yonder, my heart knows how!
So the earth has gained by one man the more,
And the gain of earth must be heaven's gain too;
And the whole is well worth thinking o'er
When the autumn comes: which I mean to do
One day, as I said before.
Meditations In A Snake Pit Of Dissonant Wavelengths
Meditations in a snake pit of dissonant wavelengths.
An anti-Zen photo-op of enlightened dark energy.
Does a clean slate mean
there’s no starlight in the windows,
no fossils in the Burgess Shale,
no kings with any grave goods in any of these hills?
And I suppose I forgave you some time ago
but if I did
you’ll forgive me if I forgot.
Things have been intense over the past few years.
I’ve been living secretly underground like a nail
driven into the heartwood of an old growth forest
I don’t want them to cut down
whether it’s the tree on the moon
or Clayquot Sound.
Most people’s relationships
are mediocre books with purple passages.
Ours was a purple book with all the pictures torn out.
And that’s o.k. too, and that’s o.k. too,
and that’s o.k. too
I keep repeating like a mantra to myself
trying to zone out into a trance
that helps me feel as numb as a frozen gum
whenever I remember you in moonlight
with my eyes half shut
and my heart not as wide open as it used to be.
My eyes focus on a memory but it seems
they’re just seeing for show
and there’s no insight in it
neither they nor I want the courage to know.
And I guess it’s you I’m talking to here
or this simulacrum of what I remember of you
that’s kept on growing inside me
like a ghost that hasn’t made its peace with me yet
or maybe just this void I imagine
among billions of eyes
has yours in it too
and the way things are inchoately connected
somehow resonates vestigially
on the same wavelength you and I used to.
But even if nothing and no one are there anymore
that’s o.k., that’s o.k., that’s o.k., too.
I’m not going to break my teeth on a koan with a time-lock
I’m not going to give myself a concussion
knocking on a door from the inside
to get someone to open it and let me out.
The last time I did that
you were the storm that took me in again.
You were the third eye of the hurricane
and I was the star you washed out of it
because you couldn’t make it fit
that cocaine constellation
you liked to buff with fairy dust
before you took it to the streets
to find a black market for inspiration.
I was never desperate enough in those days
to keep up with you in your moodswings
so I tried to get behind you and push
your voice out onto a stage equal to your talent
and you wowed them. You did.
You had them standing up on the tables
and afraid to come out of the green room.
And I especially liked it when you dedicated
Walking in the Rain to me
and ever since I’ve listened to it
like a gnostic gospel I buried in the desert
to keep from using it like a sacred text to start a fire.
Hey, but two days later you turned from a hit
into an atomic albino Queen Cobra Apache-Aztec witch
with your fangs stuck like a wishbone
in the throat of your voice coach
for not singing as well as he listens
to what the lyrics of your raving hysterics meant
between the lines when you were coming down
like a junkie in a decaying orbit
that didn’t make it all the way to the moon.
Living with you then
once you got back on the blow
was like walking across a mine field
covered in blood-stained snow.
A black rose with the bite of a rattlesnake.
The thorns of a Yaqui mesquite cactus
like the tongue piercings of a prophetic skull
trying to make itself known
like a hidden secret in a savage language
written on flesh and bone.
Remember that night you slashed my sportsjacket
down the spine with one eagle-feathered swoop of the knife
for doing the dishes that had sat
growing green mould like alien life
in a junkyard of contaminated space parts
because you didn’t want to be taxed like a dealer
with the same chores as everyone else?
I liked painting all night at the kitchen table
with you watching me
like a kataba worm at the bottom of a bottle of tequila
wondering whether I was toxic to eat or not.
I painted you four by six foot love notes
on square-riggers of canvas that ran before the wind
like the skull and crossbones from the slower angel fleets
trying to regain command of their own lifeboats
to rescue our relationship.
But that’s o.k. that’s o.k., that’s o.k., too.
I’ve deepened my perspective
like a shipwreck on the moon
inundated by shadows below deck
with none of my water gates and fire walls in tact.
It took more light years traversing the void
without a point of origin or destination
to ever make me feel off course
because in any dimension
and every direction
one move was as good as another
before the cosmic mystery
dwindled into the mundane fact
of the aerial perspective I put behind me
when I painted time blue to keep it in the distance.
Just as I was happy you were gone with our son
like d.n.a. evidence
we did have something to say to each other once
before the house burned down with me in it
spitting into the ashes of a demonic failure
to immolate me at the stake of a familial heresy
while the birds were dropping in mid flight
at forty below outside.
I was far from a daycare father
but I hoisted him up on my shoulders in pride
as if the weight of the world were nothing
but the bubble of a laughing boy
goading an elephant with no sense of gravity
into a full gallop before he starts flapping his ears.
But that’s o.k., that’s o.k., that’s o.k. too.
If you walk it long enough alone
you’ll find there’s more dust on the road
than you’ve got tears to keep it down.
People might want to cling to your skin like cornerstones
and you might rather want to be keel-hauled on the moon
than wash your hands of them.
Sometimes the heart thinks it’s indelible.
The stars have fixed the tats for life
and all you’ve got to do is connect the dots
to see what constellations have been revealed
as signs of love’s misplaced centricity.
And then one day gone.
Who knows where?
There was a bubble, a gravitational eye,
A birthday balloon full of laughing gas,
a shepherd moon with an oceanic vision of life,
the impression of scarlet lipstick
like rose petals on a white kleenex
beside a make-up mirror
that managed your campaign of faces
like a drug cartel running for mayor of Shangrila.
Glacial ages of archival snowfall
sublimate like dry ice into thin air
like dreamers at their own exorcism
like the ghosts of wild swans
evaporating off the Rideau in the morning
without warning, one moment there, incredibly
the waterbirds, the light, the shapeshifting clouds,
the pudgy hands of a child
that hasn’t yet learned to make a fist
and the body of a woman with a taped wrist.
A fish jumps and disappears like a comet
back into a starmap of black holes
that plumbs the depths of your soul
from top to bottom
like skin-divers dragging the river
for the corpses of nightclub owners in Hull.
Forgiven, forgotten, foretold and fulfilled,
no more bones to make of it,
when you weren’t the blue lapis lazuli mask
of a jaguar goddess in heat
you prowled nocturnally like a smile
through shady emotions on the bestial floor
and you killed, not so much out of appetite
or to propitiate some ancient instinct in blood
but for the thrill of it, the rush, the ride
because you could, just because you could.
And no divinity was served.
You didn’t sleep with men.
You dragged them off into the bushes by their necks.
And that’s o.k., that’s o.k., that’s o.k. too.
The last time I saw you
you were draping yourself like an oilslick
over the shoulders of a bad movie
who was trying to man up among coke dealers
in a nightclub where people danced out of desperation
because everyone there had the lifespan
of a photo-op in the fast lane.
You wanted me to see
though I thought you overstated it a bit
how wonderful it was to be free of me
and spend the rest of your afterlife in theatre.
You couldn’t have been pleased
to see me with another woman
though I swear I didn’t know
you were going to be there.
I made a cold truce with the world’s brutality
and moved deep into the country
to mime the moonlight on the winter snow
where fate ran a cleaner casino than destiny.
At least the mouse knew
when it was being torn into pieces of Orphic meat
as the fragrance of hot blood steamed starward
it wasn’t being consumed by a coke rage
and the owl needed to eat.
A thousand re runs of that night
have tempted me to say something magnanimous
and make a gracious bow from the audience
as I headed for the emergency exit
knowing that was it for good between us
and what was left could only get worse.
Time is a stem cell in a shopping mall
that waits like a terrorist in all of us
outside an abortion clinic
for the right opportunity
to replicate the lack of heart
that just couldn’t go through with it.
Born in fire eventually
the salamander grows back its tail
to keep the phoenix intrigued
with the resurrection of its body parts.
No need to talk of a soul.
The fire-pits are full of bloodless abstractions
that burn without smoke or flame
like the jinn in the Koran
some good some bad
some grant wishes like new lamps for old
and some are weaving snakey emeralds
into the imageless wavelengths of their flying carpets
to tie up loose ends in their threadbare snake pits
by looking for live embers
in the ashes of a long firewalk
and more in the way of a Zen mondo
than a black mass in the way I put them out
to see more clearly what I’m stepping on in the dark
than I used to give a second thought to
and be able to say with genuine conviction
even if I do by some mistake
that’s o.k., that’s o.k., that’s o.k. too.
Namu amida butsu.
Given all I lived through with you
it’s easy for a retroactively enlightened man
to understand why you had to lie to stay true to your public.
You had the radioactive charisma
of a terrorist movie star up for an Oscar.
And I was the donkey you wanted to smuggle your amps in.
I may be slow, but I’m as thorough as a fuse-box
when it comes to snake charming circuit-breakers
so that the lights go out
long before the music’s over
and the real stars emerge from hiding
from the aftermath of your blazing
with google maps and cellphones.
There are darker intensities
and gentler lucidities
wired in parallel to the universe
like black matter to our synaptic neurons.
I snapped out of you like a lightning bolt
but it hurt to wake up from a coma and learn
you’d gone off like an i.e.d. after the big event.
Things that shine for themselves
like the light of a dream
in the sunless depths of the sea
or the T Tauri stars in the Pleiades
are better seen with the spotlight off than on.
And I don’t know why.
Maybe you suffered from stagefright
but you always killed the messenger
by sending a lighthouse
to do the job of a firefly
when a blasting cap in a beaver dam
would have done the same collateral damage.
But that’s o.k., that’s o.k., that’s o.k. too.
Two fools saw their names in light.
The bright one reached up for stardom.
The dark one looked down for insight.
The donkey looks into the well.
The well looks back at the donkey.
And things just go off by themselves.
The Cemetary Of Eylau
This to my elder brothers, schoolboys gay,
Was told by Uncle Louis on a day;
He bid me play, with tender voice and bland,
Thinking me still too young to understand.
Howe'er, I listened, and his tale was this:—
'A battle? Bah!—and know you what it is?
A deal of smoke. You rise at dawn, and late
You go to bed. Here's one that I'll relate:
The battle is called Eylau. As I wot,
I then was captain, and the Cross had got;
Yes, I was captain,—after all, in war
Man but a shadow is, and does not score;
But ne'er mind me. Eylau, you understand,
Is part of Prussia,—water, wood, and land,
Ice, winter everywhere, and rain, and snow.
'Well, we were camped a ruined wall below,
And round the ancient belfry tombs appear.
Bénigssens' tactics were, first to come near,
Then fly. The Emperor such arts disdains,
And the snow whitened over all the plains.
Spy-glass in hand, Napoleon passed our way;
The guard declared, 'To-morrow is the day.'
Old men and women fled in troops confused
With children. I looked on the graves and mused.
The night-fires lit, and colonel bending o'er,
Cried, 'Hugo!' Here!' 'How many men?' 'Six score.'
'Well, your entire company take round,
And there get killed.' 'Where?' 'In the burial-ground.'
I answered, 'Apter place you could not find.'
I had my flask; we drank; an icy wind
Blew. He said, 'Captain, death is close at hand.
Life's pleasant—'tis a thing you understand;
But none dies better than your jolly blade:
I give my heart, but sell my skin,' he said.
'Let's woman toast!—your post's the worst of all.'
(Our colonel oft a merry jest let fall.)
He adds, 'The foe from ditch and wall keep back;
Stay, there, 'tis rather open to attack.
This graveyard of the battle is the key;
Keep it.' 'We will.' 'Some straw will handy be.'
'We've none.' 'Sleep on the ground. Now tell me this:
Your drummer, is he brave?' 'As Barra is!'
'Good! Let him blindly, madly sound the charge:
Noise must be great when numbers are not large.
D'ye hear, you little scamp, what you are bid?'
'Yes, Captain,' said the grinning child, half hid
In snow and rime. The colonel then went on:
'The battle will be fought with guns alone;
I myself like cold steel, and hate the way
In which the dastard shells are made to slay.
Valiant the sword,—the shell's a traitor. Well,
The emperor sees to that. Naught more to tell,
And so, good-bye. The post you will not leave,
Nor budge a foot, till six to-morrow eve.'
The colonel left. I cried, 'Right turn!' and thence
We soon all entered in that narrow fence;
Grass walled around, a church amid the sod;
In gloom, and o'er the graves, the Blessed God.
'A sombre yard, with many a snowy plate,
Looked somewhat like the sea. We crenolate
The wall. I order all things, and decide
The ambulance shall 'neath the cross abide.
'We'll sup, then rest,' I said. Snow lay about;
Our clothes mere rags. 'Tis very fine, no doubt,
But still unpleasant when the weather's bad.
I made my pillow of a grave, and had
My feet benumbed,—my boots had lost their sole;
And captain soon and soldier, cheek by jowl,
No longer stirred, each sleeping o'er a corse.
So soldiers sleep; they neither know remorse,
Pity, nor fear,—not being in command;
And frozen by the snow, or burnt by sand,
They sleep. Besides, fighting keen joy supplies.
I said, 'Good-night,' and then I shut my eyes.
War has no time for pantomimes inept.
It snowed; the sky was sullen, and we slept.
Some tools we found, and made a mighty flame;
My drummer poked it up, and to me came,
To cast the reckoning as best he can.
Sons a great soldier was the little man!
The crucifix looked like a gibbet vast;
The snow still fell; the fire died out at last.
For how long time it was we slumbered so,
I say, the devil take me if I know!
Soundly we slept. In sleep is death rehears'd
'Tis good in war. I was right cold at first,
Then dreamt, and fancied many a skeleton
And spectre that great epaulets had on.
Slowly, though I upon my pillow lay,
I had a feeling as of coming day;
My lids, though closed, a sense of radiance found.
Sudden, through sleep a deep and sullen sound
Roused me,—'twas like a cannon's distant roar.
I woke, and something white was gathered o'er
My eyes. The snow, with soft and gentle fall,
During the silent night had wrapped us all
In shrouds. I start, and shake the snow away.
A bullet coming, whence I cannot say,
Awoke me quite. I bid it pass at large,
And cried, 'Drummer, get up, and sound the charge!'
'Then six score heads (as isles from ocean) all
Rose from the snow; the sergeant sounds the call.
The dawn then rose, red and with joyance glad,
As 'twere a bloody mouth with smiling clad.
My thoughts ran to my mother, and the wind
Seemed whispering to me, 'Oft in war we find
That with the rise of day death too doth rise.'
I mused; at first around all quiet lies,
Those cannon-shots only as signals were:
Before the ball, at times, some bars we hear,
Some prelude dancing with unmeaning strains.
The night had clogged the blood within our veins,
But coming battle made it hotly course.
The army 'gainst us came in all its force.
We held the key. A handful were my men,
On whom the shells, like woodman's axe, were then
About to rage. I wished myself elsewhere.
My men to skirmish, by the wall with care
I placed, who confidence and solace found
In hoped promotion, bought by grievous wound:
In war you confront death to clutch at fame.
My young lieutenant, from St. Cyr, who came,
Said to me, 'Morn, how sweet a thing I think!
How charming the sun's rays! The snow is pink;
Captain, all laughs, and shines. How fresh the air;
How white the fields; how peaceful, pure, and fair!'
I answered, 'Soon 'twill all to horror change.'
My thought were of the Rhine, the Alpine range,
The Adige, and our dreadful wars of yore.
'The battle burst: six hundred throats and more,
Enormous, belching forth the fire that fills
Their mouths, together clamoured from the hills;
All the whole plain one smoking gulf was seen.
My drummer beat the charge with fury keen.
With cannons mixed the trumpets proudly sound,
And the shells rained upon our burial ground
As if they wished to kill the very grave;
The rooks desert the tower theirs lives to save.
I recollect a shell burst in the earth,
And the corpse, started, rose form out his berth,
As if man's racket woke him in the tomb.
Then the fog hid the sunshine. Ball and bomb
Produced a noise dread, inconceivable.
Berthier, Prince of the Empire, Vice-Constable,
Charged on our right a Hanoverian corps
With thirty squadrons. These you saw no more,
Save the thickest, darkest mist, starred o'er by shell,
So wholly had the strife and battle fell
Within that tragic mist been lost to view.
A cloud fallen on the earth spread round and grew
From smoke which myriad cannons vomited.
Children, 'twas under this the armies bled.
Soft as the down floated the snow that night.
Good faith! we killed each other as we might:
We did our best. The dark and ruins through,
I saw my men like shadows come and go,—
Ghosts, like espaliers, which on walls you range.
The field brought to me musings deep and strange,—
Phantoms above, and the still dead below.
Some blazing cottages at distance glow.
The fog, through which was heard the mountain horn,
E'en thicker than before was towards us borne.
We now saw nothing but our burial ground;
We had the wall at mid-day for our bound.
As by a great black hand, so by the night
We were enclosed, and all things fade from sight.
Our church some seagirt rock appeared to be.
The bullets through the fog too closely see:
They keep us company, crushed the church roof
And shattered the stone cross, and gave us proof
That we were not alone on that dread plain.
We hungered, but no soup at hand,—'tis vain
To look for food in such a place. And worse,
The hail of balls fell with redoubled force.
Bullets are awkward. Down they rain a-pelt;
Only what falls, and is unpleasant felt,
Are grains of flame, not sprinklings of a shower.
We were like men whose eyes are bandaged o'er.
All fell to pieces 'neath the shells,—the trees,
The church, the tower; and I found decrease
The shadows which I saw around the place.
From time to time one fell. 'Death kills apace,'
A sergeant says, like wolf ta'en in a net;
And as his sight the tombs snow-covered met,
'Why place us where already is complete
The tale of guests?'—Man's lot is like to wheat,
Thus to be mowed, and not the scythe to see.
Some shadows yet in the gloom living be;
The scamp, my drummer, still his might employed.
We fired above the wall, now nigh destroyed.
Children, you have a garden: shot and ball
Rained on us, guardians of that fatal wall,
As you drench flowers with your water pot,
'Till six o'clock you must not leave the spot,'
This order all my thoughts were fixed upon.—
The lightnings flash 'mid feathers of the swan;
And 'mid the dark, the bullets' flaming track
Were all my eyes could see. 'Let us attack!'
The sergeant cried. 'Whom?—for I no one see.'
'I hear their voice, they trumpet bray,' said he,
'Let us rush forth! Shot, shell, upon us rain;
Death spits upon us here,' 'Let us remain.'
I add, 'The battle's brunt by us is borne.
We hold the key.' 'My patience well-nigh worn.'
The sergeant said.—Black were the fields, the sky,
But though full night, the evening was not nigh.
'Till six o'clock,' low to myself I said.
'By Jove! few better chances can be had
To advance,' said my lieutenant; when a ball
Carried him off. I felt no hope at all
Of winning. Victory is an arrant jade.
A pallid glare, which through the fog was made,
Vaguely lit up the graveyard; but afar
Was naught distinct, save that we needed air
To concentrate upon our heads the bombs.
The emperor placed us there among the tombs,
Alone, riddled with shot, which we returned;
But what he did with us we ne'er discerned.
We were the target midmost in that fight;
And to hold good, and battle on till night,
Till six o'clock to live the hours through,
Meanwhile to kill, was what we had to do.
Fierce, powder-blackened, shot we as we might,
And took but time our cartridges to bite;
Without a word our soldiers fought and died.
'Sergeant, d'ye see the foe retreat?' I cried.
'No.' 'What, then?' 'Naught.' 'Nor I.' 'A deluge?' 'Yes,
Of fire.' 'See you our men?' 'No, but I guess
From how the volleys sound, we're forty good,'
Cried a brave grumbler, who beside me stood.
(He'd won his stripes.) 'At most you'll thirty find.'
And all was snow and night; the piercing wind
Blew; and while shivering, we the rain-drops track,
A gulf of while spots 'gainst abyss of black.
Howe'er, the battle seemed becoming worse;
A kingdom perished 'neath an empire's force.
Behind the veil you guessed some dread event,
As lions upon mutual slaughter bent.
'Twas like the ancient giants' fabled war;
You heard discharges pealing near and far,
The crash of ruins,—the outskirts of the town
Of Eylau set on fire and burning down.
The drums their dreadful music now surpass,
Six hundred cannon make the unceasing bass.
'We killed each other; nothing yet was known
By France, that hour her greatest stake was thrown.
Was the good God on high against or for?
How dark! I pulled my watch out o'er and o'er.
At times the silent field gave forth a cry,—
Some fallen body writhed in agony;
Fast, one by one shot down, we met our doom;
Death-rattles filled the vast sepulchral gloom.
Kings have their soldiers as you have your toys.
I raised my sword, and shouting, 'Courage, boys!'
I waved it o'er my head. Strife now I wage,
Intoxicated, deaf, with so much rage;
Blow following blow by shot and shell were dealt.
Sudden, my arm—my right arm—hung. I felt
My sword drop to my feet upon the sward:
My arm was broken. I picked up my sword
With the other hand, and, 'Friends,' I gaily cried,
'To get this broken too is not denied.'
Then I began to laugh,—a useful whim;
For soldiers are not pleased to lose a lim,
And when their chief is wounded, rather glad.
How fled the time? One only hand I had,—
That my sword needed, whatsoe'er betide;
The other, drenched in blood, hung by my side.
I could no longer get my watch. When, lo!
My drummer stopped. 'Knave, are you frightened?' 'No;
I'm hungry,' said the child. Just then the plain
Seemed rocked and shaken, and was filled amain
With such a cry as up to heaven rose.
I felt myself grow weak,—the whole man goes
From out a wound. A broken arm, it drains.
To talk with some one when you're faint, sustains.
My sergeant spoke to me. At hazard, 'Yea,'
I cried; I did not want to faint away.
'Sudden the noise left off; the night less black.
'Victory!' they shout. I shouted 'Victory!' back;
And then some lights approaching us, I see.
Bleeding, upon one hand and either knee
I crawled, and cried, 'How do we stand?' and then
I added, 'All rise up, and count, my men.'
'Here!' said the sergeant. 'Here!' my scamp replied.
The colonel, sword in hand, stood by my side.
'Tell me by whom the victory was gained.'
'By you,' he said. The snow with blood was stained.
'Hugo, that's you; for 'tis your voice,' said he.
'Yes.' 'And how many are living?' 'Three.'
IN seventy five the Critick of our years
Commenc'd our war with Phillip and his peers.
Whither the sun in Leo had inspir'd
A feav'rish heat, and Pagan spirits fir'd?
Whither some Romish Agent hatcht the plot?
Or whither they themselves? appeareth not.
Whither our infant thrivings did invite?
Or whither to our lands pretended right?
Is hard to say; but Indian spirits need
No grounds but lust to make a Christian bleed.
And here methinks I see this greazy Lout
With all his pagan slaves coil'd round about,
Assuming all the majesty his throne
Of rotten stump, or of the rugged stone
Could yield; casting some bacon-rine-like looks,
Enough to fright a Student from his books,
Thus treat his peers, and next to them his Commons,
Kennel'd together all without a summons.
"My friends, our Fathers were not half so wise
As we our selves who see with younger eyes.
They sel our land to english man who teach
Our nation all so fast to pray and preach:
Of all our countrey they enjoy the best,
And quickly they intend to have the rest.
This no wunnegin, so big matchit law,
Which our old fathers fathers never saw.
These english make and we must keep them too,
Which is too hard for them or us to doe,
We drink we so big whipt, but english they
Go sneep, no more, or else a little pay.
Me meddle Squaw me hang'd, our fathers kept
What Squaws they would whither they wakt or slept.
Now if you'le fight Ile get you english coats,
And wine to drink out of their Captains throats.
The richest merchants houses shall be ours,
Wee'l ly no more on matts or dwell in bowers
Wee'l have their silken wives take they our Squaws,
They shall be whipt by virtue of our laws.
If ere we strike tis now before they swell
To greater swarmes then we know how to quell.
This my resolve, let neighbouring Sachems know,
And every one that hath club, gun or bow."
This was assented to, and for a close
He strokt his smutty beard and curst his foes.
This counsel lightning like their tribes invade,
And something like a muster's quickly made,
A ragged regiment, a naked swarm,
Whome hopes of booty doth with courage arm,
Set forthwith bloody hearts, the first they meet
Of men or beasts they butcher at their feet.
They round our skirts, they pare, they fleece they kil,
And to our bordering towns do what they will.
Poor Hovills (better far then Caesars court
In the experience of the meaner sort)
Receive from them their doom next execution,
By flames reduc'd to horror and confusion:
Here might be seen the smoking funeral piles
Of wildred towns pitcht distant many miles.
Here might be seen the infant from the breast
Snatcht by a pagan hand to lasting rest:
The mother Rachel-like shrieks out my child
She wrings her hands and raves as she were wild.
The bruitish wolves suppress her anxious moan
By crueltyes more deadly of her own.
Will she or nill the chastest turtle must
Tast of the pangs of their unbridled lust.
From farmes to farmes, from towns to towns they post,
They strip, they bind, they ravish, flea and roast.
The beasts which wont their masters crib to know,
Over the ashes of their shelters low.
What the inexorable flames doe spare
More cruel Heathen lug away for fare.
These tidings ebbing from the outward parts
Makes trades-men cast aside their wonted Arts
And study armes: the craving merchants plot
Not to augment but keep what they have got.
And every soul which hath but common sence
Thinks it the time to make a just defence.
Alarums every where resound in streets,
From West sad tidings with the Eastern meets.
Our common fathers in their Councels close
A martial treaty with the pagan foes,
All answers center here that fire and sword
Must make their Sachem universal Lord.
This armes the english with a resolution
To give the vaporing Scab a retribution.
Heav'ns they consult by prayer, the best design
A furious foe to quel or undermine.
RESOLV'D that from the Massachusets bands
Be prest on service some Herculean hands
And certainly he wel deserv'd a jerke
That slipt the Collar from so good a work.
Some Volunteers, some by compulsion goe
To range the hideous forrest for a foe.
The tender Mother now's all bowels grown,
Clings to her son as if they'd melt in one.
Wives claspe about their husbands as the vine
Huggs the fair elm, while tears burst out like wine.
The new-sprung love in many a virgin heart
Swels to a mountain when the lovers part.
Nephews and kindred turn all springs of tears,
Their hearts are so surpriz'd with panick fears.
But dolefull shrieks of captives summon forth
Our walking castles, men of noted worth,
Made all of life, each Captain was a Mars,
His name too strong to stand on waterish verse:
Due praise I leave to some poetick hand
Whose pen and witts are better at command.
Methinks I see the Trojan-horse burst ope,
And such rush forth as might with giants cope:
These first the natives treachery felt, too fierce
For any but eye-witness to rehearse.
Yet sundry times in places where they came
Upon the Indian skins they carv'd their name.
The trees stood Centinels and bullets flew
From every bush (a shelter for their crew)
Hence came our wounds and deaths from every side
While skulking enemies squat undiscri'd,
That every stump shot like a musketeer,
And bowes with arrows every tree did bear
The swamps were Courts of Guard, thither retir'd
The stragling blew-coats when their guns were fir'd,
In dark Meanders, and these winding groves,
Where Beares and panthers with their Monarch moves
These far more cruel slily hidden lay,
Expecting english men to move that way.
One party lets them slip, the other greets
Them with the next thing to their winding-sheets;
Most fall, the rest thus startled back return,
And from their by past foes receive an urn.
Here fel a Captain, to be nam'd with tears,
Who for his Courage left not many peers,
With many more who scarce a number left
To tell how treacherously they were bereft.
This flusht the pagan courage, now they think
The victory theirs, not lacking meat or drink.
The ranging wolves find here and there a prey,
And having fil'd their paunch they run away
By their Hosts light, the thanks which they return
Is to lead Captives and their taverns burn.
Many whose thrift had stor'd for after use
Sustain their wicked plunder and abuse.
Poor people spying an unwonted light,
Fearing a Martyrdom, in sudden fright
Leap to the door to fly, but all in vain,
They are surrounded with a pagan train;
Their first salute is death, which if they shun
Some are condemn'd the Gauntelet to run;
Death would a mercy prove to such as those
Who feel the rigour of such hellish foes.
Posts daily on their Pegasean Steeds
Bring sad reports of worse then Nero's deeds,
Such bruitish Murthers as would paper stain
Not to be heard in a Domitians Reign.
The field which nature hid is common laid,
And Mothers bodies ript for lack of aid.
The secret Cabinets which nature meant
To hide her master piece is open rent,
The half formd Infant there receives a death
Before it sees the light or draws its breath,
Many hot welcomes from the natives arms
Hid in their sculking holes many alarms
Our brethren had, and weary weary trants,
Sometimes in melting heats and pinching wants:
Sometimes the clouds with sympathizing tears
Ready to burst discharg'd about their ears:
Sometimes on craggy hills, anon in bogs
And miery swamps better befitting hogs,
And after tedious Marches little boast
Is to be heard of stewd or bakt or roast,
Their beds are hurdles, open house they keep
Through shady boughs the stars upon them peep,
Their chrystal drink drawn from the mothers breast
Disposes not to mirth but sleep and rest.
Thus many dayes and weeks, some months run out
To find and quell the vagabonding rout,
Who like inchanted Castles fair appear,
But all is vanisht if you come but near,
Just so we might the Pagan Archers track
With towns and merchandize upon their back;
And thousands in the South who settled down
To all the points and winds are quickly blown.
At many meetings of their fleeting crew,
From whom like haile arrows and bullets flew:
The English courage with whole swarms dispute,
Hundreds they hack in pieces in pursuit.
Sed haud impunè, English sides do feel
As well as tawny skins the lead and steel
And some such gallant Sparks by bullets fell,
As might have curst the powder back to Hell:
Had only Swords these skirmishes decided
All Pagan Sculls had been long since divided.
The lingring war out-lives the Summer sun,
Who hence departs hoping it might be done,
Ere his return at Spring but ah hee'l find
The Sword still drawn, men of unchanged mind.
Cold winter now nibbles at hands and toes
And shrewdly pinches both our friends and foes.
Fierce Boreas whips the Pagan tribe together
Advising them to fit for foes and weather:
The axe which late had tasted Christian bloud
Now sets its steely teeth to feast on wood.
The forests suffer now, by waight constrein'd
To kiss the earth with souldiers lately brain'd.
The lofty oakes and ash doe wagge the head
To see so many of their neighbours dead;
Their fallen carcasses are caried thence
To stand our enemies in their defence.
Their Myrmidons inclos'd with clefts of trees
Are busie like the ants or nimble bees:
And first they limber poles fix in the ground,
In figure of the heavens convex: all round
They draw their arras-matts and skins of beasts,
And under these the Elves do make their nests.
Rome took more time to grow then twice six hours,
But half that time will serve for indian bowers.
A Citty shall be rear'd in one dayes space
As shall an hundred english men out-face.
Canonicus precincts there swarmes unite,
Rather to keep a winter guard then fight.
A dern and dismal swamp some Scout had found
Whose bosome was a spot of rising ground
Hedg'd up with mighty oakes, maples and ashes,
Nurst up with springs, quick boggs and miery plashes,
A place which nature coyn'd on very nonce
For tygers not for men to be a sconce.
Twas here these Monsters shapt and fac'd like men
Took up there Rendezvouz and brumal den,
Deeming the depth of snow, hail, frost and ice
Would make our Infantry more tame and wise
Then by forsaking beds and loving wives,
Meerly for indian skins to hazzard lives:
These hopes had something calm'd the boiling passion
Of this incorrigible warlike nation.
During this short Parenthesis of peace
Our forces found, but left him not at ease.
Here english valour most illustrious shone,
Finding their numbers ten times ten to one.
A shower of leaden hail our captains feel
Which made the bravest blades among us reel.
Like to some ant-hill newly spurn'd abroad,
Where each takes heels and bears away his load:
Instead of plate and jewels, indian trayes
With baskets up they snatch and run their wayes.
Sundry the flames arrest and some the blade,
By bullets heaps on heaps of Indians laid.
The Flames like lightening in their narrow streets
Dart in the face of every one it meets.
Here might be heard an hideous indian cry,
Of wounded ones who in the Wigwams fry.
Had we been Canibals here might we feast
On brave Westphalia gammons ready drest.
The tauny hue is Ethiopick made
Of such on whome Vulcan his clutches laid.
There fate was sudden, our advantage great
To give them once for all a grand defeat;
But tedious travell had so crampt our toes
It was too hard a task to chase the foes.
Distinctness in the numbers of the slain,
Or the account of Pagans which remain
Are both uncertain, losses of our own
Are too too sadly felt, too sadly known.
War digs a common grave for friends and foes,
Captains in with the common souldier throws.
Six of our Leaders in the first assault
Crave readmission to their Mothers Vault
Who had they fell in antient Homers dayes
Had been enrol'd with Hecatombs of praise.
As clouds disperst, the natives troops divide,
And like the streames along the thickets glide.
Some breathing time we had, and short God knowes
But new alarums from recruited foes
Bounce at our eares, the mounting clouds of smoak
From martyr'd townes the heav'ns for aid invoke:
Churches, barns, houses with most ponderous things
Made volatile fly ore the land with wings.
Hundreds of cattle now they sacrifice
For aiery spirits up to gormandize;
And to the Molech of their hellish guts,
Which craves the flesh in gross, their ale in butts.
Lancaster, Medfield, Mendon wildred Groton,
With many Villages by me not thought on
Dy in their youth by fire that usefull foe,
Which this grand cheat the world will overflow.
The wandring Priest to every one he meets
Preaches his Churches funeral in the streets.
Sheep from their fold are frighted, Keepers too
Put to their trumps not knowing what to doe.
This monster Warre hath hatcht a beauteous dove
In dogged hearts, of most unfeigned love,
Fraternal love the livery of a Saint
Being come in fashion though by sad constraint,
Which if it thrive and prosper with us long
Will make New-England forty thousand strong.
But off the Table hand, let this suffice
As the abridgment of our miseryes.
If Mildew, Famine, Sword, and fired Townes,
If Slaughter, Captivating, Deaths and wounds,
If daily whippings once reform our wayes,
These all will issue in our Fathers Praise;
If otherwise, the sword must never rest
Till all New-Englands Glory it divest.
This above all remember: they will be very brave men,
And you will be facing them. You must not despise them.
I am, as you know, like all true professional soldiers,
A profoundly religious man: the true soldier has to be.
And I therefore believe the war will be over by Easter Monday.
But I must in fairness state that a number of my brother-officers,
No less religious than I, believe it will hold out till Whitsun.
Others, more on the agnostic side (and I do not contemn them)
Fancy the thing will drag on till August Bank Holiday.
Be that as it may, some time in the very near future,
We are to expect Invasion ... and invasion not from the sea.
Vast numbers of troops will be dropped, probably from above,
Superbly equipped, determined and capable; and this above all,
Remember: they will be very brave men, and chosen as such.
You must not, of course, think I am praising them.
But what I have said is basically fundamental
To all I am about to reveal: the more so, since
Those of you that have not seen service overseas—
Which is the case with all of you, as it happens—this is the first time
You will have confronted them. My remarks are aimed
At preparing you for that.
Everyone, by the way, may smoke,
And be as relaxed as you can, like myself.
I shall wander among you as I talk and note your reactions.
Do not be nervous at this: this is a thing, after all,
We are all in together.
I want you to note in your notebooks, under ten separate headings,
The ten points I have to make, remembering always
That any single one of them may save your life. Is everyone ready?
Very well then.
The term, Psychological Warfare
Comes from the ancient Greek: psycho means character
And logical, of course, you all know. We did not have it
In the last conflict, the fourteen-eighteen affair,
Though I myself was through it from start to finish. (That is point one.)
I was, in fact, captured—or rather, I was taken prisoner—
In the Passchendaele show (a name you will all have heard of)
And in our captivity we had a close opportunity
(We were all pretty decently treated. I myself
Was a brigadier at the time: that is point two)
An opportunity I fancy I was the only one to appreciate
Of observing the psychiatry of our enemy
(The word in those days was always psychology,
A less exact description now largely abandoned). And though the subject
Is a highly complex one, I had, it was generally conceded,
A certain insight (I do not know how, but I have always, they say,
Had a certain insight) into the way the strangest things ebb up
From what psychoanalysts now refer to as the self-conscious.
It is possibly for this reason that I have been asked
To give you the gist of the thing, the—how shall I put it?—
I was not of course captured alone
(Note that as point three) so that I also observed
Not only the enemy's behaviour; but ours. And gradually, I concluded
That we all of us have, whether we like it or lump it,
Our own individual psychiatry, given us, for better or worse,
By God Almighty. I say this reverently; you often find
These deeper themes of psychiatry crudely but well expressed
In common parlance. People say: 'We are all as God made us.'
And so they are. So are the enemy. And so are some of you.
This I in fact observed: point four. Not only the enemy
Had their psychiatry, but we, in a different sense,
Had ours. And I firmly believe you cannot (point six) master
Their psychiatry before you have got the gist of your own.
Let me explain more fully: I do not mean to imply
That any, or many, of you are actually mentally ill.
Though that is what the name would imply. But we, your officers,
Have to be aware that you, and many of your comrades,
May have a sudden psychiatry which, sometimes without warning,
May make you feel (and this is point five) a little bit odd.
I do not mean that in the sense of anything nasty:
I am not thinking of those chaps with their eyes always on each other
(Sometimes referred to as homosensualists
And easily detected by the way they lace up their boots)
But in the sense you may all feel a little disturbed,
Without knowing why, a little as if you were feeling an impulse,
Without knowing why: the term for this is ambivalence.
Often referred to for some mysterious reason,
By the professionals as Amby Valence,
As though they were referring to some nigger minstrel.
(Not, of course, that I have any colour prejudice:
After all, there are four excellent West Nigerians among you,
As black as your boot: they are not to blame for that.)
At all events this ambivalence is to be avoided.
Note that as point seven: I think you all know what I mean:
In the Holy Scriptures the word begins with an O,
Though in modern parlance it usually begins with an M.
You have most of you done it absentmindedly at some time or another,
But repeated, say, four times a day, it may become almost a habit,
Especially prone to by those of sedentary occupation,
By pale-faced clerks or schoolmasters, sitting all day at a desk,
Which is not, thank God, your position: you are always
More or less on the go: and that is what
(Again deep in the self-conscious) keeps you contented and happy here.
Even so, should you see some fellow-comrade
Give him all the help you can. In the spiritual sense, I mean,
With a sympathetic word or nudge, inform him in a manly fashion
'Such things are for boys, not men, lad.'
Everyone, eyes front!
I pause, gentlemen.
I pause. I am not easily shocked or taken aback,
But even while I have been speaking of this serious subject
I observe that one of you has had the effrontery—
Yes, you at the end of row three! No! Don't stand up, for God's sake, man,
And don't attempt to explain. Just tuck it away,
And try to behave like a man. Report to me
At eighteen hundred hours. The rest of you all eyes front.
I proceed to point six.
The enemy itself,
I have reason to know is greatly prone to such actions.
It is something we must learn to exploit: an explanation, I think,
Is that they are, by and large, undeveloped children,
Or adolescents, at most. It is perhaps to do with physique,
And we cannot and must not ignore their physique as such.
(Physique, of course, being much the same as psychiatry.)
They are usually blond, and often extremely well-made,
With large blue eyes and very white teeth,
And as a rule hairless chests, and very smooth, muscular thighs,
And extremely healthy complexions, especially when slightly sunburnt.
I am convinced there is something in all this that counts for something.
Something probably deep in the self-conscious of all of them.
Undeveloped children, I have said, and like children,
As those of you with families will know,
They are sometimes very aggressive, even the gentlest of them.
All the same we must not exaggerate; in the words of Saint Matthew:
'Clear your minds of cant.' That is point five: note it down.
Do not take any notice of claptrap in the press
Especially the kind that implies that the enemy will come here,
Solely with the intention of raping your sisters.
I do not know why it is always sisters they harp on:
I fancy it must ebb up from someone's self-conscious.
It is a patent absurdity for two simple reasons: (a)
They cannot know in advance what your sisters are like:
And (b) some of you have no sisters. Let that be the end of that.
There are much darker things than that we have to think of.
It is you they consider the enemy, you they are after.
And though, as Britishers, you will not be disposed to shoot down
A group of helpless men descending from the heavens,
Do not expect from them—and I am afraid I have to say this—gratitude:
They are bound to be over-excited,
As I said, adolescently aggressive, possibly drugged,
And later, in a macabre way, grotesquely playful.
Try to avoid being playfully kicked in the crutch,
Which quite apart from any temporary discomfort,
May lead to a hernia. I do not know why you should laugh.
I once had a friend who, not due to enemy action
But to a single loud sneeze, entirely his own, developed a hernia,
And had to have great removals, though only recently married.
(I am sorry, gentlemen, but anyone who finds such things funny
Ought to suffer them and see. You deserve the chance to.
I must ask you all to extinguish your cigarettes.)
There are other unpleasant things they may face you with.
You may, as I did in the fourteen-eighteen thing,
Find them cruelly, ruthlessly, starkly obsessed with the arts,
Music and painting, sculpture and the writing of verses,
Please, do not stand for that.
Our information is
That the enemy has no such rules, though of course they may have.
We must see what they say when they come. There can, of course,
Be no objection to the more virile arts:
In fact in private life I am very fond of the ballet,
Whose athleticism, manliness and sense of danger
Is open to all of us to admire. We had a ballet-dancer
In the last mob but three, as you have doubtless heard.
He was cruelly teased and laughed at—until he was seen in the gym.
And then, my goodness me! I was reminded of the sublime story
Of Samson, rending the veil of the Temple.
I do not mean he fetched the place actually down; though he clearly did what he could.
Though for some other reason I was never quite clear about,
And in spite of my own strong pressure on the poor lad's behalf,
And his own almost pathetic desire to stay on with us,
He was, in fact, demobilized after only three weeks' service,
Two and a half weeks of which he spent in prison.
Such are war's tragedies: how often we come upon them!
(Everyone may smoke again, those that wish.)
This brings me to my final point about the psychiatry
Of our formidable foe. To cope with it,
I know of nothing better than the sublime words of Saint Paul
In one of his well-known letters to the Corinthians:
'This above all, to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day
No man can take thee in.'
'This above all': what resonant words those are!
They lead me to point nine, which is a thing
I may have a special thing about, but if so,
Remember this is not the first war I have been through.
I refer (point nine this is) to the question of dignity.
Dignity. Human dignity. Yours. Never forget it, men.
Let it sink deep into your self-consciousness,
While still remaining plentifully available on the surface,
In the form of manly politeness. I mean, in particular, this:
Never behave in a manner to evoke contempt
Before thine enemy. Our enemy, I should say.
Comrades, and brothers-in-arms,
And those especially who have not understood my words,
You were not born to live like cowards or cravens:
Let me exhort you: never, whatever lies you have heard,
Be content to throw your arms on the ground and your other arms into the air and squawk 'Kaputt!'
It is unsoldierly, unwarlike, vulgar, and out of date,
And may make the enemy laugh. They have a keen sense of humour,
Almost (though never quite, of course) as keen as our own.
No: when you come face to face with the foe, remember dignity,
And though a number of them do fortunately speak English,
Say, proudly, with cold politeness, in the visitor's own language:
'Ich ergebe mich.' Ich meaning I,
Ergebe meaning surrender, and mich meaning me.
Ich ergebe mich.' Do not forget the phrase.
Practise it among yourselves: do not let it sound stilted,
Make it sound idiotish, as if you were always saying it,
Only always cold in tone: icy, if necessary:
It is such behaviour that will make them accord you
The same respect that they accorded myself,
At Passchendaele. (Incidentally,
You may also add the word nicht if you feel inclined to,
Nicht meaning not. It will amount to much the same thing.)
Dignity, then, and respect: those are the final aims
Of psychiatric relations, and psychological warfare.
They are the fundamentals also of our religion.
I may have mentioned my own religious intuitions:
They are why I venture to think this terrible war will be over
On Easter Monday, and that the invasion will take place
On either Maundy Thursday or Good Friday,
Probably the Thursday, which in so very many
Of our great, brave, proud, heroic and battered cities,
Is early closing day, as the enemy may have learnt from their agents.
Alas, there may be many such days in the immediate future.
But remember this in the better world we all have to build,
And build by ourselves alone—for the government
May well in the next few weeks have withdrawn to Canada—
What did you say? The man in row five. He said something.
Stand up and repeat what you said.
I said 'And a sodding good job', sir, I said, sir.
I have not asked anyone for political comments, thank you,
However apt. Sit down. I was saying:
That in the better world we all have to try to build
After the war is over, whether we win or lose,
Or whether we all agree to call it a draw,
We shall have to try our utmost to get used to each other,
To live together with dignity and respect.
As our Lord sublimely said in one of his weekly Sermons on the Mount
Outside Jerusalem (where interestingly enough,
I was stationed myself for three months in 1926):
'A thirteenth commandment I give you (this is point ten)
That ye love one another.' Love, in Biblical terms,
Meaning of course not quite what it means today,
But precisely what I have called dignity and respect.
And that, men, is the great psychiatrical problem before you:
Of how on God's earth we shall ever learn to attain some sort
And due respect.
Thank you; God bless you, men. Good afternoon.
Now, as the elder lights the fresh cigar
Conducive to resource, and saunteringly
Betakes him to the left-hand backward path,—
While, much sedate, the younger strides away
To right and makes for—islanded in lawn
And edged with shrubbery—the brilliant bit
Of Barry's building that's the Place,—a pair
Of women, at this nick of time, one young,
One very young, are ushered with due pomp
Into the same Inn-parlour—"disengaged
Entirely now!" the obsequious landlord smiles,
"Since the late occupants—whereof but one
Was quite a stranger!"—(smile enforced by bow)
"Left, a full two hours since, to catch the train,
Probably for the stranger's sake!" (Bow, smile,
And backing out from door soft closed behind.)
Woman and girl, the two, alone inside,
Begin their talk: the girl, with sparkling eyes—
"Oh, I forewent him purposely! but you,
Who joined at—journeyed from the Junction here—
I wonder how he failed your notice. Few
Stop at our station: fellow-passengers
Assuredly you were—I saw indeed
His servant, therefore he arrived all right.
I wanted, you know why, to have you safe
Inside here first of all, so dodged about
The dark end of the platform; that's his way—
To swing from station straight to avenue
And stride the half a mile for exercise.
I fancied you might notice the huge boy.
He soon gets o'er the distance; at the house
He'll hear I went to meet him and have missed;
He'll wait. No minute of the hour's too much
Meantime for our preliminary talk:
First word of which must be—O good beyond
Expression of all goodness—you to come!"
The elder, the superb one, answers slow.
"There was no helping that. You called for me,
Cried, rather: and my old heart answered you.
Still, thank me! since the effort breaks a vow—
At least, a promise to myself."
How selfish get you happy folks to be!
If I should love my husband, must I needs
Sacrifice straightway all the world to him,
As you do? Must I never dare leave house
On this dread Arctic expedition, out
And in again, six mortal hours, though you—
You even, my own friend for evermore,
Adjure me—fast your friend till rude love pushed
Poor friendship from her vantage—just to grant
The quarter of a whole day's company
And counsel? This makes counsel so much more
Need and necessity. For here's my block
Of stumbling: in the face of happiness
So absolute, fear chills me. If such change
In heart be but love's easy consequence,
Do I love? If to marry mean—let go
All I now live for, should my marriage be?"
The other never once has ceased to gaze
On the great elm-tree in the open, posed
Placidly full in front, smooth bole, broad branch,
And leafage, one green plenitude of May.
The gathered thought runs into speech at last.
"O you exceeding beauty, bosomful
Of lights and shades, murmurs and silences,
Sun-warmth, dew-coolness,—squirrel, bee and bird,
High, higher, highest, till the blue proclaims
'Leave earth, there's nothing better till next step
Heavenward!'—so, off flies what has wings to help!"
And henceforth they alternate. Says the girl—
"That's saved then: marriage spares the early taste."
"Four years now, since my eye took note of tree!"
"If I had seen no other tree but this
My life-long, while yourself came straight, you said,
From tree which overstretched you and was just
One fairy tent with pitcher-leaves that held
Wine, and a flowery wealth of suns and moons,
And magic fruits whereon the angels feed—
I looking out of window on a tree
Like yonder—otherwise well-known, much-liked,
Yet just an English ordinary elm—
What marvel if you cured me of conceit
My elm's bird bee and squirrel tenantry
Was quite the proud possession I supposed?
And there is evidence you tell me true,
The fairy marriage-tree reports itself
Good guardian of the perfect face and form,
Fruits of four years' protection! Married friend,
You are more beautiful than ever!"
I think that likely. I could well dispense
With all thought fair in feature, mine or no,
Leave but enough of face to know me by—
With all found fresh in youth except such strength
As lets a life-long labour earn repose
Death sells at just that price, they say; and so,
Possibly, what I care not for, I keep."
"How you must know he loves you! Chill, before,
Fear sinks to freezing. Could I sacrifice—
Assured my lover simply loves my soul—
One nose-breadth of fair feature? No, indeed!
Your own love..."
"The preliminary hour—
Don't waste it!"
"But I can't begin at once!
The angel's self that comes to hear me speak
Drives away all the care about the speech.
What an angelic mystery you are—
Now—that is certain! when I knew you first,
No break of halo and no bud of wing!
I thought I knew you, saw you, round and through,
Like a glass ball; suddenly, four years since,
You vanished, how and whither? Mystery!
Wherefore? No mystery at all: you loved,
Were loved again, and left the world of course,—
Who would not? Lapped four years in fairyland,
Out comes, by no less wonderful a chance,
The changeling, touched athwart her trellised bliss
Of blush-rose bower by just the old friend's voice
That's now struck dumb at her own potency.
I talk of my small fortunes? Tell me yours—
Rather! The fool I ever was—I am,
You see that: the true friend you ever had,
You have, you also recognize. Perhaps,
Giving you all the love of all my heart,
Nature, that's niggard in me, has denied
The after-birth of love there's someone claims,
—This huge boy, swinging up the avenue;
And I want counsel—is defect in me,
Or him who has no right to raise the love?
My cousin asks my hand: he's young enough,
Handsome,—my maid thinks,—manly's more the word:
He asked my leave to 'drop' the elm-tree there,
Some morning before breaktast. Gentleness
Goes with the strength, of course. He's honest too,
Limpidly truthful. For ability—
All's in the rough yet. His first taste of life
Seems to have somehow gone against the tongue:
He travelled, tried things—came back, tried still more—
He says he's sick of all. He's fond of me
After a certain careless-earnest way
I like: the iron's crude,—no polished steel
Somebody forged before me. I am rich—
That's not the reason, he's far richer: no,
Nor is it that he thinks me pretty,—frank
Undoubtedly on that point! He saw once
The pink of face-perfection—oh, not you—
Content yourself, my beauty!—for she proved
So thoroughly a cheat, his charmer ... nay,
He runs into extremes, I'll say at once,
Lest you say! Well, I understand he wants.
Someone to serve, something to do: and both
Requisites so abound in me and mine
That here's the obstacle which stops consent—
The smoothness is too smooth, and I mistrust
The unseen cat beneath the counterpane.
Therefore I thought—'Would she but judge for me,
Who, judging for herself, succeeded so!'
Do I love him, does he love me, do both
Mistake for knowledge—easy ignorance?
Appeal to the proficient in each art!
I got rough-smooth through a piano-piece,
Rattled away last week till tutor came,
Heard me to end, then grunted 'Ach, mein Gott!
Sagen Sie "easy"? Every note is wrong!
All thumped mit wrist: we'll trouble fingers now!
The Fraulein will please roll up Raff again
And exercise at Czerny for one month!'
Am I to roll up cousin, exercise
At Trollope's novels for a month? Pronounce!"
"Now, place each in the right position first,
Adviser and advised one! I perhaps
Am three—nay, four years older; am, beside,
A wife: advantages—to balance which,
You have a full fresh joyous sense of life
That finds you out life's fit food everywhere,
Detects enjoyment where I, slow and dull,
Fumble at fault. Already, these four years,
Your merest glimpses at the world without
Have shown you more than ever met my gaze;
And now, by joyance you inspire joy,—learn
While you profess to teach, and teach, although
Avowedly a learner. I am dazed
Like any owl by sunshine which just sets
The sparrow preening plumage! Here's to spy
—Your cousin! You have scanned him all your life,
Little or much; I never saw his face.
You have determined on a marriage—used
Deliberation therefore—I'll believe
No otherwise, with opportunity
For judgment so abounding! Here stand I—
Summoned to give my sentence, for a whim,
(Well, at first cloud-fleck thrown athwart your blue)
On what is Strangeness' self tome,—say 'Wed!'
Or 'Wed not!' whom you promise I shall judge
Presently, at propitious lunch-time, just
While he carves chicken! Sends he leg for wing?
That revelation into character
And conduct must suffice me! Quite as well
Consult with yonder solitary crow
That eyes us from your elm-top!"
"Still the same!
Do you remember, at the library
We saw together somewhere, those two books
Somebody said were notice-worthy? One
Lay wide on table, sprawled its painted leaves
For all the world's inspection; shut on shelf
Reclined the other volume, closed, clasped, locked—
Clear to be let alone. Which page had we
Preferred the turning over of? You were,
Are, ever will be the locked lady, hold
Inside you secrets written,—soul absorbed,
My ink upon your blotting-paper. I—
What trace of you have I to show in turn?
Delicate secrets! No one juvenile
Ever essayed at croquet and performed
Superiorly but I confided you
The sort of hat he wore and hair it held.
While you? One day a calm note comes by post—
'I am just married, you may like to hear.'
Most men would hate you, or they ought; we love
What we fear,—I do! 'Cold' I shall expect
My cousin calls you. I—dislike not him,
But (if I comprehend what loving means)
Love you immeasurably more—more—more
Than even he who, loving you his wife,
Would turn up nose at me impertinent,
Frivolous, forward—loves that excellence
Of all the earth he bows in worship to!
And who's this paragon of privilege?
Simply a country parson: his the charm
That worked the miracle! Oh, too absurd—
But that you stand before me as you stand!
Such beauty does prove something, everything!
Beauty's the prize-flower which dispenses eye
From peering into what has nourished root—
Dew or manure: the plant best knows its place.
Enough, from teaching youth and tending age
And hearing sermons,—haply writing tracts,—
From such strange love-besprinkled compost, lo,
Out blows this triumph! Therefore love's the soil
Plants find or fail of. You, with wit to find,
Exercise wit on the old friend's behalf,
Keep me from failure! Scan and scrutinize
This cousin! Surely he's as worth your pains
To study as my elm-tree, crow and all,
You still keep staring at! I read your thoughts!"
"At first! 'Would, tree, a-top of thee
I winged were, like crow perched moveless there,
And so could straightway soar, escape this bore,
Back to my nest where broods whom I love best—
The parson o'er his parish—garish—rarish—'
Oh I could bring the rhyme in if I tried:
The Album here inspires me! Quite apart
From lyrical expression, have I read
The stare aright, and sings not soul just so? "
"Or rather so? 'Cool comfortable elm
That men make coffins out of,—none for me
At thy expense, so thou permit I glide
Under thy ferny feet, and there sleep, sleep,
Nor dread awaking though in heaven itself!' "
The younger looks with face struck sudden white.
The elder answers its inquiry.
You are a guesser, not a 'clairvoyante,'
I'll so far open you the locked and shelved
Volume, my soul, that you desire to see,
As let you profit by the title-page—"
"Inferno!—All which comes
Of tempting me to break my vow. Stop here!
Friend, whom I love the best in the whole world,
Come at your call, be sure that I will do
At your requirement—see and say my mind.
It may be that by sad apprenticeship
I have a keener sense: I'll task the same.
Only indulge me—here let sight and speech
Happen—this Inn is neutral ground, you know!
I cannot visit the old house and home,
Encounter the old sociality
Abjured for ever. Peril quite enough
In even this first—last, I pray it prove—
Renunciation of my solitude!
Back, you, to house and cousin! Leave me here,
Who want no entertainment, carry still
My occupation with me. While I watch
The shadow inching round those ferny feet,
Tell him 'A school-friend wants a word with me
Up at the inn: time, tide and train won't wait:
I must go see her—on and off again—
You'll keep me company?' Ten minutes' talk,
With you in presence, ten more afterward
With who, alone, convoys me station-bound,
And I see clearly—to say honestly
To-morrow: pen shall play tongue's part, you know!
Go—quick! for I have made our hand-in-hand
Return impossible. So scared you look,—
If cousin does not greet you with 'What ghost
Has crossed your path?' I set him down obtuse."
And after one more look, with face still white,
The younger does go, while the elder stands
Occupied by the elm at window there.
The Borough. Letter XIII: The Alms-House And Trustees
LEAVE now our streets, and in yon plain behold
Those pleasant Seats for the reduced and old;
A merchant's gift, whose wife and children died,
When he to saving all his powers applied;
He wore his coat till bare was every thread,
And with the meanest fare his body fed.
He had a female cousin, who with care
Walk'd in his steps, and learn'd of him to spare;
With emulation and success they strove,
Improving still, still seeking to improve,
As if that useful knowledge they would gain -
How little food would human life sustain:
No pauper came their table's crumbs to crave;
Scraping they lived, but not a scrap they gave:
When beggars saw the frugal Merchant pass,
It moved their pity, and they said, 'Alas!
Hard is thy fate my brother,' and they felt
A beggar's pride as they that pity dealt.
The dogs, who learn of man to scorn the poor,
Bark'd him away from every decent door;
While they who saw him bare, but thought him rich,
To show respect or scorn, they knew not which.
But while our Merchant seemed so base and mean,
He had his wanderings, sometimes 'not unseen;'
To give in secret was a favourite act,
Yet more than once they took him in the fact
To scenes of various woe he nightly went,
And serious sums in healing misery spent;
Oft has he cheer'd the wretched at a rate
For which he daily might have dined on plate;
He has been seen--his hair all silver-white,
Shaking and shining--as he stole by night,
To feed unenvied on his still delight.
A twofold taste he had; to give and spare,
Both were his duties, and had equal care;
It was his joy to sit alone and fast,
Then send a widow and her boys repast:
Tears in his eyes would spite of him appear,
But he from other eyes has kept the tear:
All in a wint'ry night from far he came,
To soothe the sorrows of a suffering dame;
Whose husband robb'd him, and to whom he meant
A ling'ring, but reforming punishment:
Home then he walked, and found his anger rise
When fire and rushlight met his troubled eyes;
But these extinguish'd, and his prayer address'd
To Heaven in hope, he calmly sank to rest.
His seventieth year was pass'd and then was seen
A building rising on the northern green;
There was no blinding all his neighbours' eyes,
Or surely no one would have seen it rise:
Twelve rooms contiguous stood, and six were near,
There men were placed, and sober matrons here:
There were behind small useful gardens made,
Benches before, and trees to give them shade;
In the first room were seen above, below,
Some marks of taste, a few attempts at show.
The founder's picture and his arms were there
(Not till he left us), and an elbow'd chair;
There, 'mid these signs of his superior place,
Sat the mild ruler of this humble race.
Within the row are men who strove in vain,
Through years of trouble, wealth and ease to gain;
Less must they have than an appointed sum,
And freemen been, or hither must not come;
They should be decent, and command respect,
(Though needing fortune), whom these doors protect,
And should for thirty dismal years have tried
For peace unfelt and competence denied.
Strange! that o'er men thus train'd in sorrow's
Power must be held, and they must live by rule;
Infirm, corrected by misfortunes, old,
Their habits settled and their passions cold;
Of health, wealth, power, and worldly cares bereft,
Still must they not at liberty be left;
There must be one to rule them, to restrain
And guide the movements of his erring train.
If then control imperious, check severe,
Be needed where such reverend men appear;
To what would youth, without such checks, aspire,
Free the wild wish, uncurb'd the strong desire?
And where (in college or in camp) they found
The heart ungovern'd and the hand unbound?
His house endow'd, the generous man resign'd
All power to rule, nay power of choice declined;
He and the female saint survived to view
Their work complete, and bade the world adieu!
Six are the Guardians of this happy seat,
And one presides when they on business meet;
As each expires, the five a brother choose;
Nor would Sir Denys Brand the charge refuse;
True, 'twas beneath him, 'but to do men good
Was motive never by his heart withstood:'
He too is gone, and they again must strive
To find a man in whom his gifts survive.
Now, in the various records of the dead,
Thy worth, Sir Denys, shall be weigh'd and read;
There we the glory of thy house shall trace,
With each alliance of thy noble race.
Yes! here we have him!--'Came in William's
The Norman Brand; the blood without a stain;
From the fierce Dane and ruder Saxon clear,
Pict, Irish, Scot, or Cambrian mountaineer:
But the pure Norman was the sacred spring,
And he, Sir Denys, was in heart a king:
Erect in person and so firm in soul,
Fortune he seem'd to govern and control:
Generous as he who gives his all away,
Prudent as one who toils for weekly pay;
In him all merits were decreed to meet,
Sincere though cautious, frank and yet discreet,
Just all his dealings, faithful every word,
His passions' master, and his temper's lord.'
Yet more, kind dealers in decaying fame?
His magnanimity you next proclaim;
You give him learning, join'd with sound good
And match his wealth with his benevolence;
What hides the multitude of sins, you add,
Yet seem to doubt if sins he ever had.
Poor honest Truth! thou writ'st of living men,
And art a railer and detractor then;
They die, again to be described, and now
A foe to merit and mankind art thou!
Why banish Truth? It injures not the dead,
It aids not them with flattery to be fed;
And when mankind such perfect pictures view,
They copy less, the more they think them true.
Let us a mortal as he was behold,
And see the dross adhering to the gold;
When we the errors of the virtuous state,
Then erring men their worth may emulate.
View then this picture of a noble mind,
Let him be wise, magnanimous, and kind;
What was the wisdom? Was it not the frown
That keeps all question, all inquiry down?
His words were powerful and decisive all,
But his slow reasons came for no man's call.
''Tis thus,' he cried, no doubt with kind intent,
To give results and spare all argument: -
'Let it be spared--all men at least agree
Sir Denys Brand had magnanimity:
His were no vulgar charities; none saw
Him like the Merchant to the hut withdraw;
He left to meaner minds the simple deed,
By which the houseless rest, the hungry feed
His was a public bounty vast and grand,
'Twas not in him to work with viewless hand;
He raised the Room that towers above the street,
A public room where grateful parties meet;
He first the Life-boat plann'd; to him the place
Is deep in debt--'twas he revived the Race;
To every public act this hearty friend
Would give with freedom or with frankness lend;
His money built the Jail, nor prisoner yet
Sits at his ease, but he must feel the debt;
To these let candour add his vast display;
Around his mansion all is grand and gay,
And this is bounty with the name of pay.'
I grant the whole, nor from one deed retract,
But wish recorded too the private act:
All these were great, but still our hearts approve
Those simpler tokens of the Christian love;
'Twould give me joy some gracious deed to meet
That has not call'd for glory through the street:
Who felt for many, could not always shun,
In some soft moment, to be kind to one;
And yet they tell us, when Sir Denys died,
That not a widow in the Borough sigh'd;
Great were his gifts, his mighty heart I own,
But why describe what all the world has known?
The rest is petty pride, the useless art
Of a vain mind to hide a swelling heart:
Small was his private room: men found him there
By a plain table, on a paltry chair;
A wretched floor-cloth, and some prints around,
The easy purchase of a single pound:
These humble trifles and that study small
Make a strong contrast with the servants' hall;
There barely comfort, here a proud excess,
The pompous seat of pamper'd idleness,
Where the sleek rogues with one consent declare,
They would not live upon his honour's fare;
He daily took but one half hour to dine,
On one poor dish and some three sips of wine;
Then he'd abuse them for their sumptuous feasts,
And say, 'My friends! you make yourselves like
One dish suffices any man to dine,
But you are greedy as a herd of swine;
Learn to be temperate.'--Had they dared t'obey,
He would have praised and turn'd them all away.
Friends met Sir Denys riding in his ground,
And there the meekness of his spirit found:
For that gray coat, not new for many a year,
Hides all that would like decent dress appear;
An old brown pony 'twas his will to ride,
Who shuffled onward, and from side to side;
A five-pound purchase, but so fat and sleek,
His very plenty made the creature weak.
'Sir Denys Brand! and on so poor a steed!'
'Poor! it may be--such things I never heed:'
And who that youth behind, of pleasant mien,
Equipped as one who wishes to be seen,
Upon a horse, twice victor for a plate,
A noble hunter, bought at dearest rate? -
Him the lad fearing yet resolved to guide,
He curbs his spirit while he strokes his pride.
'A handsome youth, Sir Denys; and a horse
Of finer figure never trod the course, -
Yours, without question?'--'Yes! I think a groom
Bought me the beast; I cannot say the sum
I ride him not; it is a foolish pride
Men have in cattle--but my people ride;
The boy is--hark ye, sirrah! what's your name?
Ay, Jacob, yes! I recollect--the same;
As I bethink me now, a tenant's son -
I think a tenant,--is your father one?'
There was an idle boy who ran about,
And found his master's humble spirit out;
He would at awful distance snatch a look,
Then run away and hide him in some nook;
'For oh!' quoth he, 'I dare not fix my sight
On him, his grandeur puts me in a fright;
Oh! Mister Jacob, when you wait on him,
Do you not quake and tremble every limb?'
The Steward soon had orders--'Summers, see
That Sam be clothed, and let him wait on me.'
Sir Denys died, bequeathing all affairs
In trust to Laughton's long-experienced cares;
Before a Guardian, and Sir Denys dead,
All rule and power devolved upon his head,
Numbers are call'd to govern, but in fact
Only the powerful and assuming act.
Laughton, too wise to be a dupe to fame,
Cared not a whit of what descent he came,
Till he was rich; he then conceived the thought
To fish for pedigree, but never caught:
All his desire, when he was young and poor,
Was to advance; he never cared for more:
'Let me buy, sell, be factor, take a wife,
Take any road, to get along in life.'
Was he a miser then? a robber? foe
To those who trusted? a deceiver?--No!
He was ambitious; all his powers of mind
Were to one end controll'd, improved, combined;
Wit, learning, judgment, were, by his account,
Steps for the ladder he design'd to mount;
Such step was money: wealth was but his slave,
For power he gain'd it, and for power he gave:
Full well the Borough knows that he'd the art
Of bringing money to the surest mart;
Friends too were aids,--they led to certain ends,
Increase of power and claim on other friends.
A favourite step was marriage: then he gain'd
Seat in our Hall, and o'er his party reign'd;
Houses and land he bought, and long'd to buy,
But never drew the springs of purchase dry,
And thus at last they answer'd every call,
The failing found him ready for their fall:
He walks along the street, the mart, the quay,
And looks and mutters, 'This belongs to me.'
His passions all partook the general bent;
Interest inform'd him when he should resent,
How long resist, and on what terms relent:
In points where he determined to succeed,
In vain might reason or compassion plead;
But gain'd his point, he was the best of men,
'Twas loss of time to be vexatious then:
Hence he was mild to all men whom he led,
Of all who dared resist, the scourge and dread.
Falsehood in him was not the useless lie
Of boasting pride or laughing vanity:
It was the gainful, the persuading art,
That made its way and won the doubting heart,
Which argued, soften'd, humbled, and prevail'd,
Nor was it tried till ev'ry truth had fail'd;
No sage on earth could more than he despise
Degrading, poor, unprofitable lies.
Though fond of gain, and grieved by wanton
To social parties he had no distaste;
With one presiding purpose in his view,
He sometimes could descend to trifle too!
Yet, in these moments, he had still the art
To ope the looks and close the guarded heart;
And, like the public host, has sometimes made
A grand repast, for which the guests have paid.
At length, with power endued and wealthy grown,
Frailties and passions, long suppress'd, were
Then to provoke him was a dangerous thing,
His pride would punish, and his temper sting;
His powerful hatred sought th' avenging hour,
And his proud vengeance struck with all his power,
Save when th' offender took a prudent way
The rising storm of fury to allay:
This might he do, and so in safety sleep,
By largely casting to the angry deep;
Or, better yet (its swelling force t'assuage),
By pouring oil of flattery on its rage.
And now, of all the heart approved, possess'd,
Fear'd, favour'd, follow'd, dreaded, and caress'd,
He gently yields to one mellifluous joy,
The only sweet that is not found to cloy,
Bland adulation!--other pleasures pall
On the sick taste, and transient are they all;
But this one sweet has such enchanting power,
The more we take, the faster we devour:
Nauseous to those who must the dose apply,
And most disgusting to the standers-by;
Yet in all companies will Laughton feed,
Nor care how grossly men perform the deed.
As gapes the nursling, or, what comes more near,
Some Friendly-Island chief, for hourly cheer;
When wives and slaves, attending round his seat,
Prepare by turns the masticated meat;
So for this master, husband, parent, friend,
His ready slaves their various efforts blend,
And, to their lord still eagerly inclined,
Pour the crude trash of a dependent mind.
But let the Muse assign the man his due,
Worth he possess'd, nor were his virtues few: -
He sometimes help'd the injured in their cause;
His power and purse have back'd the failing laws;
He for religion has a due respect,
And all his serious notions, are correct;
Although he pray'd and languish'd for a son,
He grew resign'd when Heaven denied him one;
He never to this quiet mansion sends
Subject unfit, in compliment to friends;
Not so Sir Denys, who would yet protest
He always chose the worthiest and the best:
Not men in trade by various loss brought down,
But those whose glory once amazed the town,
Who their last guinea in their pleasures spent,
Yet never fell so low as to repent:
To these his pity he could largely deal,
Wealth they had known, and therefore want could
Three seats were vacant while Sir Denys reign'd,
And three such favourites their admission gain'd;
These let us view, still more to understand
The moral feelings of Sir Denys Brand.
DEDICATED TO MY FELLOW-TRAVELLERS IN AUGUST, 1858.
Wise and polite,--and if I drew
Their several portraits, you would own
Chaucer had no such worthy crew,
Nor Boccace in Decameron.
We crossed Champlain to Keeseville with our friends,
Thence, in strong country carts, rode up the forks
Of the Ausable stream, intent to reach
The Adirondac lakes. At Martin's Beach
We chose our boats; each man a boat and guide,--
Ten men, ten guides, our company all told.
Next morn, we swept with oars the Saranac,
With skies of benediction, to Round Lake,
Where all the sacred mountains drew around us,
Tahawus, Seaward, MacIntyre, Baldhead,
And other Titans without muse or name.
Pleased with these grand companions, we glide on,
Instead of flowers, crowned with a wreath of hills,
And made our distance wider, boat from boat,
As each would hear the oracle alone.
By the bright morn the gay flotilla slid
Through files of flags that gleamed like bayonets,
Through gold-moth-haunted beds of pickerel-flower,
Through scented banks of lilies white and gold,
Where the deer feeds at night, the teal by day,
On through the Upper Saranac, and up
Pere Raquette stream, to a small tortuous pass
Winding through grassy shallows in and out,
Two creeping miles of rushes, pads, and sponge,
To Follansbee Water, and the Lake of Loons.
Northward the length of Follansbee we rowed,
Under low mountains, whose unbroken ridge
Ponderous with beechen forest sloped the shore.
A pause and council: then, where near the head
On the east a bay makes inward to the land
Between two rocky arms, we climb the bank,
And in the twilight of the forest noon
Wield the first axe these echoes ever heard.
We cut young trees to make our poles and thwarts,
Barked the white spruce to weatherfend the roof,
Then struck a light, and kindled the camp-fire.
The wood was sovran with centennial trees,--
Oak, cedar, maple, poplar, beech and fir,
Linden and spruce. In strict society
Three conifers, white, pitch, and Norway pine,
Five-leaved, three-leaved, and two-leaved, grew thereby.
Our patron pine was fifteen feet in girth,
The maple eight, beneath its shapely tower.
'Welcome!' the wood god murmured through the leaves,--
'Welcome, though late, unknowing, yet known to me.'
Evening drew on; stars peeped through maple-boughs,
Which o'erhung, like a cloud, our camping fire.
Decayed millennial trunks, like moonlight flecks,
Lit with phosphoric crumbs the forest floor.
Ten scholars, wonted to lie warm and soft
In well-hung chambers daintily bestowed,
Lie here on hemlock-boughs, like Sacs and Sioux,
And greet unanimous the joyful change.
So fast will Nature acclimate her sons,
Though late returning to her pristine ways.
Off soundings, seamen do not suffer cold;
And, in the forest, delicate clerks, unbrowned,
Sleep on the fragrant brush, as on down-beds.
Up with the dawn, they fancied the light air
That circled freshly in their forest dress
Made them to boys again. Happier that they
Slipped off their pack of duties, leagues behind,
At the first mounting of the giant stairs.
No placard on these rocks warned to the polls,
No door-bell heralded a visitor,
No courier waits, no letter came or went,
Nothing was ploughed, or reaped, or bought, or sold;
The frost might glitter, it would blight no crop,
The falling rain will spoil no holiday.
We were made freemen of the forest laws,
All dressed, like Nature, fit for her own ends,
Essaying nothing she cannot perform.
In Adirondac lakes,
At morn or noon, the guide rows bareheaded:
Shoes, flannel shirt, and kersey trousers make
His brief toilette: at night, or in the rain,
He dons a surcoat which he doffs at morn:
A paddle in the right hand, or an oar,
And in the left, a gun, his needful arms.
By turns we praised the stature of our guides,
Their rival strength and suppleness, their skill
To row, to swim, to shoot, to build a camp,
To climb a lofty stem, clean without boughs
Full fifty feet, and bring the eaglet down:
Temper to face wolf, bear, or catamount,
And wit to track or take him in his lair.
Sound, ruddy men, frolic and innocent,
In winter, lumberers; in summer, guides;
Their sinewy arms pull at the oar untired
Three times ten thousand strokes, from morn to eve.
Look to yourselves, ye polished gentlemen!
No city airs or arts pass current here.
Your rank is all reversed: let men of cloth
Bow to the stalwart churls in overalls:
They are the doctors of the wilderness,
And we the low-prized laymen.
In sooth, red flannel is a saucy test
Which few can put on with impunity.
What make you, master, fumbling at the oar?
Will you catch crabs? Truth tries pretension here.
The sallow knows the basket-maker's thumb;
The oar, the guide's. Dare you accept the tasks
He shall impose, to find a spring, trap foxes,
Tell the sun's time, determine the true north,
Or stumbling on through vast self-similar woods
To thread by night the nearest way to camp?
Ask you, how went the hours?
All day we swept the lake, searched every cove,
North from Camp Maple, south to Osprey Bay,
Watching when the loud dogs should drive in deer,
Or whipping its rough surface for a trout;
Or bathers, diving from the rock at noon;
Challenging Echo by our guns and cries;
Or listening to the laughter of the loon;
Or, in the evening twilight's latest red,
Beholding the procession of the pines;
Or, later yet, beneath a lighted jack,
In the boat's bows, a silent night-hunter
Stealing with paddle to the feeding-grounds
Of the red deer, to aim at a square mist.
Hark to that muffled roar! a tree in the woods
Is fallen: but hush! it has not scared the buck
Who stands astonished at the meteor light,
Then turns to bound away,--is it too late?
Sometimes we tried our rifles at a mark,
Six rods, sixteen, twenty, or forty-five;
Sometimes our wits at sally and retort,
With laughter sudden as the crack of rifle;
Or parties scaled the near acclivities
Competing seekers of a rumoured lake,
Whose unauthenticated waves we named
Lake Probability,--our carbuncle,
Long sought, not found.
Two Doctors in the camp
Dissected the slain deer, weighed the trout's brain,
Captured the lizard, salamander, shrew,
Crab, mice, snail, dragon-fly, minnow, and moth;
Insatiate skill in water or in air
Waved the scoop-net, and nothing came amiss;
The while, one leaden pot of alcohol
Gave an impartial tomb to all the kinds.
Not less the ambitious botanist sought plants,
Orchis and gentian, fern, and long whip-scirpus,
Rosy polygonum, lake-margin's pride,
Hypnum and hydnum, mushroom, sponge, and moss,
Or harebell nodding in the gorge of falls.
Above, the eagle flew, the osprey screamed,
The raven croaked, owls hooted, the woodpecker
Loud hammered, and the heron rose in the swamp.
As water poured through the hollows of the hills
To feed this wealth of lakes and rivulets,
So Nature shed all beauty lavishly
From her redundant horn.
Lords of this realm,
Bounded by dawn and sunset, and the day
Rounded by hours where each outdid the last
In miracles of pomp, we must be proud,
As if associates of the sylvan gods.
We seemed the dwellers of the zodiac,
So pure the Alpine element we breathed,
So light, so lofty pictures came and went.
We trode on air, contemned the distant town,
Its timorous ways, big trifles, and we planned
That we should build, hard-by, a spacious lodge,
And how we should come hither with our sons,
Hereafter,--willing they, and more adroit.
Hard fare, hard bed, and comic misery,--
The midge, the blue-fly, and the mosquito
Painted our necks, hands, ankles, with red bands:
But, on the second day, we heed them not,
Nay, we saluted them Auxiliaries,
Whom earlier we had chid with spiteful names.
For who defends our leafy tabernacle
From bold intrusion of the travelling crowd,--
Who but the midge, mosquito, and the fly,
Which past endurance sting the tender cit,
But which we learn to scatter with a smudge,
Or baffle by a veil, or slight by scorn?
Our foaming ale we drunk from hunters' pans,
Ale, and a sup of wine. Our steward gave
Venison and trout, potatoes, beans, wheat-bread;
All ate like abbots, and, if any missed
Their wonted convenance, cheerly hid the loss
With hunters' appetite and peals of mirth.
And Stillman, our guides' guide, and Commodore,
Crusoe, Crusader, Pius AEneas, said aloud,
'Chronic dyspepsia never came from eating
Food indigestible':--then murmured some,
Others applauded him who spoke the truth.
Nor doubt but visitings of graver thought
Checked in these souls the turbulent heyday
'Mid all the hints and glories of the home.
For who can tell what sudden privacies
Were sought and found, amid the hue and cry
Of scholars furloughed from their tasks, and let
Into this Oreads' fended Paradise,
As chapels in the city's thoroughfares,
Whither gaunt Labour slips to wipe his brow,
And meditate a moment on Heaven's rest.
Judge with what sweet surprises Nature spoke
To each apart, lifting her lovely shows
To spiritual lessons pointed home.
And as through dreams in watches of the night,
So through all creatures in their form and ways
Some mystic hint accosts the vigilant,
Not clearly voiced, but waking a new sense
Inviting to new knowledge, one with old.
Hark to that petulant chirp! what ails the warbler?
Mark his capricious ways to draw the eye.
Now soar again. What wilt thou, restless bird,
Seeking in that chaste blue a bluer light,
Thirsting in that pure for a purer sky?
And presently the sky is changed; O world!
What pictures and what harmonies are thine!
The clouds are rich and dark, the air serene,
So like the soul of me, what if't were me?
A melancholy better than all mirth.
Comes the sweet sadness at the retrospect,
Or at the foresight of obscurer years?
Like yon slow-sailing cloudy promontory,
Whereon the purple iris dwells in beauty
Superior to all its gaudy skirts.
And, that no day of life may lack romance,
The spiritual stars rise nightly, shedding down
A private beam into each several heart.
Daily the bending skies solicit man,
The seasons chariot him from this exile,
The rainbow hours bedeck his glowing chair,
The storm-winds urge the heavy weeks along,
Suns haste to set, that so remoter lights
Beckon the wanderer to his vaster home.
With a vermilion pencil mark the day
When of our little fleet three cruising skiffs
Entering Big Tupper, bound for the foaming Falls
Of loud Bog River, suddenly confront
Two of our mates returning with swift oars.
One held a printed journal waving high
Caught from a late-arriving traveller,
Big with great news, and shouted the report
For which the world had waited, now firm fact,
Of the wire-cable laid beneath the sea,
And landed on our coast, and pulsating
With ductile fire. Loud, exulting cries
From boat to boat, and to the echoes round,
Greet the glad miracle. Thought's new-found path
Shall supplement henceforth all trodden ways,
Match God's equator with a zone of art,
And lift man's public action to a height
Worthy the enormous clouds of witnesses,
When linked hemispheres attest his deed.
We have few moments in the longest life
Of such delight and wonder as there grew,--
Nor yet unsuited to that solitude:
A burst of joy, as if we told the fact
To ears intelligent; as if gray rock
And cedar grove and cliff and lake should know
This feat of wit, this triumph of mankind;
As if we men were talking in a vein
Of sympathy so large, that ours was theirs,
And a prime end of the most subtle element
Were fairly reached at last. Wake, echoing caves!
Bend nearer, faint day-moon! Yon thundertops,
Let them hear well! 't is theirs as much as ours.
A spasm throbbing through the pedestals
Of Alp and Andes, isle and continent,
Urging astonished Chaos with a thrill
To be a brain, or serve the brain of man.
The lightning has run masterless too long;
He must to school, and learn his verb and noun,
And teach his nimbleness to earn his wage,
Spelling with guided tongue man's messages
Shot through the weltering pit of the salt sea.
And yet I marked, even in the manly joy
Of our great-hearted Doctor in his boat,
(Perchance I erred,) a shade of discontent;
Or was it for mankind a generous shame,
As of a luck not quite legitimate,
Since fortune snatched from wit the lion's part?
Was it a college pique of town and gown,
As one within whose memory it burned
That not academicians, but some lout,
Found ten years since the Californian gold?
And now, again, a hungry company
Of traders, led by corporate sons of trade,
Perversely borrowing from the shop the tools
Of science, not from the philosophers,
Had won the brightest laurel of all time.
'Twas always thus, and will be; hand and head
Are ever rivals: but, though this be swift,
The other slow,--this the Prometheus,
And that the Jove,--yet, howsoever hid,
It was from Jove the other stole his fire,
And, without Jove, the good had never been.
It is not Iroquois or cannibals,
But ever the free race with front sublime,
And these instructed by their wisest too,
Who do the feat, and lift humanity.
Let not him mourn who best entitled was,
Nay, mourn not one: let him exult,
Yea, plant the tree that bears best apples, plant,
And water it with wine, nor watch askance
Whether thy sons or strangers eat the fruit:
Enough that mankind eat, and are refreshed.
We flee away from cities, but we bring
The best of cities with us, these learned classifiers,
Men knowing what they seek, armed eyes of experts.
We praise the guide, we praise the forest life;
But will we sacrifice our dear-bought lore
Of books and arts and trained experiment,
Or count the Sioux a match for Agassiz?
O no, not we! Witness the shout that shook
Wild Tupper Lake; witness the mute all-hail
The joyful traveller gives, when on the verge
Of craggy Indian wilderness he hears
From a log-cabin stream Beethoven's notes
On the piano, played with master's hand.
'Well done!' he cries; 'the bear is kept at bay,
The lynx, the rattlesnake, the flood, the fire;
All the fierce enemies, ague, hunger, cold,
This thin spruce roof, this clayed log-wall,
This wild plantation will suffice to chase.
Now speed the gay celerities of art,
What in the desert was impossible
Within four walls is possible again,--
Culture and libraries, mysteries of skill,
Traditioned fame of masters, eager strife
Of keen competing youths, joined or alone
To outdo each other, and extort applause.
Mind wakes a new-born giant from her sleep.
Twirl the old wheels? Time takes fresh start again
On for a thousand years of genius more.'
The holidays were fruitful, but must end;
One August evening had a cooler breath;
Into each mind intruding duties crept;
Under the cinders burned the fires of home;
Nay, letters found us in our paradise;
So in the gladness of the new event
We struck our camp, and left the happy hills.
The fortunate star that rose on us sank not;
The prodigal sunshine rested on the land,
The rivers gambolled onward to the sea,
And Nature, the inscrutable and mute,
Permitted on her infinite repose
Almost a smile to steal to cheer her sons,
As if one riddle of the Sphinx were guessed.