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Well, I love having kids. But I have the advantage of having a lot of help, a real hands-on husband and small children whom I can easily manipulate.

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I Love my Life, but not too well

I love my life, but not too well
To give it to thee like a flower,
So it may pleasure thee to dwell
Deep in its perfume but an hour.
I love my life, but not too well.

I love my life, but not too well
To sing it note by note away,
So to thy soul the song may tell
The beauty of the desolate day.
I love my life, but not too well.

I love my life, but not too well
To cast it like a cloak on thine,
Against the storms that sound and swell
Between thy lonely heart and mine.
I love my life, but not too well.

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Patrick White

Don't Think I Owed It To Myself, But I Have Endured

Don't think I owed it to myself, but I have endured.
Scarred and broken and as full of escarpments
some bad mason laid in like a Cubist stairwell
in the Canadian Shield. Experience the sum
of all my failures, it's a strange book to quote from.
I tell people not to listen to anything but their own hearts,
but they take that as a sign of creative sincerity
and continue to listen out of the corners of their lives,
defying my unmastery by paying stricter attention.
You'd think someone who had lived sixty four years the hard way
like a wild mountain goat on a high, noble path
the rest of the herd doesn't take much anymore
as they did when the more siderealized shepherds
used to drive them to the Zen pastures of the moon,
would have his act down pat by now.

Still got a few gamma ray bursts of demonic energy
left in me yet, a black revolver of comets left in the clip
to take a few more pot shots on a drive by at the sun just for fun
as it's going down like a mailbox at the side of the road
with a waning rooster painted on it like a fire hydrant.
You can spend your whole life as preparation
for a moment that never comes. Some people
don't want to catch up to their star.
They just want to follow it as far as they can go.
They want to explore the offroad mysteries along the way.
Some ghosts radiate like well known constellations
and others roses in the dark that are just as happy to emanate.

Not in the habit of judging the ashes of others
by their constellations or their urns,
I've had more of a precessional inclination
to scatter them like seagulls on the wind
just to watch them hover motionless over a precipice,
each fixed in space like a mobile of sheet music
or the paradigmatic silence of a symphony
living the moment like a riff in the heart of time.
Wherever I've gone I've tried to leave signs
of where I'd been as delusory clues for those
sleeping walking in their delusional lostness,
roomy, lunar waterpalaces of the mind to move into
with more infinitely spacious windows
than there are condemned houses
in the slums of the usual zodiac of clockwork origins.

Not infrequently I can see time in a better light
than it deserves, and I like people that have been
sand blasted in the tide like a piece of broken glass
that washed up on the beach without losing its translucency.
An alumnus of the underground schools
for the occult science of new moons,
every moment of my life since
I've been the master apprentice of my own dark beginnings.
The serpent fire at the base of my spine woke up
like a fire alarm in the hallway of a burning house
shrieking for life at the window, and my vertebrae,
playing by ear, the silver-tongued flute,
and the picture-music within me, the snake-charmer,
swaying like a river reed going with the flow
to keep me on the same wavelength as lightning
looking for a place to strike, intrigued and alive.

It's the arrogance of consciousness to think
it's anymore than an eddy in the mindstream
that's got intimate connections with the greater sea of awareness
it's heading toward like a maple leaf with a flightplan
that's got nothing to do with how things fall out.
The world turns and things are relegated
to stolen milk cartons like old albums weaned
from the nippled turn tables of a breast implant.
The past is a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces
keep changing shape like the fossils of a man
who isn't comfortable in his death bed.

Over the course of time this vale of tears
slowly evaporates spiritually into the heat
like heart-shaped morning glory leaves
steaming into the dawn
like ghosts that had to get back to their graves,
arising off the lake like a mass exorcism,
or the third eye of the sun that shines at midnight
from the bottom up on the roots of the earth
as if it were trying to teach blind, star-nosed moles
to see the stars burning in the day
from the bottom of a dry housewell
that echoes like a firefly in the spider mount
of a hollow telescope listening to the cosmic hiss
of a message it's waiting to receive
that's already been delivered
like a star that's strong and true,
but apocalyptically behind the times
as if one person's past were another person's present
and past and future and present
were all living co-terminously in the moment
like the triune identity of time looking three ways,
and probably more if you were take its lifemask off,
simultaneously, so when the wind blows
through my musical skull in this celestial desert of stars
because I listen attentively to the lyrics
like a nightbird waiting for an answer
to its amorous enquiry, I know I'm not
singing out of my ears just to overhear myself talk.
My world's been complete since the Big Bang
and everything after, the prophetic echo
of a future memory of cosmic events
that happened without me billions of light years ago.

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I Love You Honey But I Hate Your Friends

Words and music by rick nielsen
I love you honey but I hate your friends
I love you honey but theyll be the end of me
Oh yeah
I love you honey but I hate those friends
That fat cat frank got a heart of gold
Hes got a head of lead, hes young but he acts old
That limp wristed two-fisted diplomat
Better draw a map, to see where hes at
Around and round when he rambles on
bout the latest deal we should be in on
We shouldnt give him the time of day
He doesnt give a damn if we sink or swim
I love you honey but I hate your friends
I love you honey but theyll be the end of me
Oh yeah
I love you honey but I hate your friends
Did some toot, yeah we had a blow
Look man, no holes, real nose
When he says hi he really means the moon
He was there long before armstrong
He stays loose, he says, fill her up
For eternal youth from those swiss docs.
Hes thirty but he feels like sixteen
Check it out: yep, hundred-n-sixteen!
I love you honey but I hate your friends
I love you honey but theyll be the end of me
Oh yeah
I love you honey, lets dance
I love you honey but I hate your friends
I love you honey but theyll be the end of me
Oh yeah yeah
I love you honey but I hate your friends
Lets see, theres miss tique and miss informed
General disaster, mister know-it-all
Missus a lot and private stock
Corporal punishment bout to blow his mind
Mister mock, mister completely,
Miss de plot, miss story,
Mister call, mister de gaulle,
The aging mister martin and that aint all
I love you honey but I hate your friends
I love you honey but theyll be the end of me
Oh yeah
I love you honey but I hate those friends
I love you honey but I hate your friends
I love you honey but theyll be the end of me
Oh yeah
I love you honey but I hate your friends
I love you honey but I hate your friends
They love your money
But theyll be the end of me, oh yeah
I love you honey but I hate your friends

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All But Lost In The Searching

impressive and enduring
her confidence betrays nothing
for she is strong
self assured
keen to the ways of her environment
her survival instincts thrive off the energy her being exudes
she gives of herself until there is nothing left
knowing life and exactly what she's after
Lioness of glamorous grammar
her words warrant
one's full awareness
astute substance her smile
subtle secret keeper
mute swan murmuring to herself
the echo of Eratos soff stringed kithara
the roar of her deafening heart
defines her road to healing
presence of mind
portrayal of a goddess
musing queen of wit
romance and dream
tacit charm silent stare
her aura teases and tickles the air
allusive nature stripped down and bare
at times so simple
so solid to touch
and yet what distances manifest
closeness approaching coldness
a sureness approaching death
waters iced over in winter
rivers at a standstill
two roads no longer intersect
at war with the misunderstood
indirect and unexpressed
alien refugees of unbalanced bodily chemistry
moment to moment crossing borders of chance
blank pages, bags packed
chasing story book endings
searching for deeper meaning hidden between the lines
with a kiss her lips gloss over those words she once felt
now her love seems all but lost in the searching

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For Me To Love You Baby, You Simply Have To Tell All The Lies....

so you are the topnotch of my choice
i have many of your kind of my illusions,
but you make it inside my heart and i feel so blessed
having you inside me, like i am a cup filled with honey
and you are not spilled even if i have to run away
fast like a water ski,
i like your form most, i set aside content,
form is more satisfying, with content i really have to wait a little longer, like talking to you, and listening and
appreciating,
and i have no time for all these sweet-nothings,
it is the form of your body, and it is the most important thing to me now, i who is lost in my
hunger-desire, own you love you take you forever whispers.

you know the truth, i never touched you.

when i leave this room and then they ask if i am a brute
a beast, a tiger with sharp killer teeth or a lion with a
sharp lovers claw, or an elephant with an ivory tusk that
amazes a lady hunter rolling in the hills like a top,
....tell them, i am all those metaphors.

for me to love you baby, you simply have to lie.

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I Have The Sole Right To Protect You

Many people would like to have you,

A girl is fond of having you
to beautify her hair on her head,

A lover would like to impress his girl
and offer her, A ROSE, to get her love,

A leader, Jawaharlal Nehru, kept you
with pleasure close to his heart,

But, O'.. I have the sole right to protect you,
Said the thorn in the stock of flower ROSE!

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George Meredith

Modern Love X: But Where Began the Change

But where began the change; and what's my crime?
The wretch condemned, who has not been arraigned,
Chafes at his sentence. Shall I, unsustained,
Drag on Love's nerveless body thro' all time?
I must have slept, since now I wake. Prepare,
You lovers, to know Love a thing of moods:
Not like hard life, of laws. In Love's deep woods,
I dreamt of loyal Life:--the offence is there!
Love's jealous woods about the sun are curled;
At least, the sun far brighter there did beam.
My crime is, that the puppet of a dream,
I plotted to be worthy of the world.
Oh, had I with my darling helped to mince
The facts of life, you still had seen me go
With hindward feather and with forward toe,
Her much-adored delightful Fairy Prince!

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Droop'st thou and fail'st? but these have never tired

Droop'st thou and fail'st? but these have never tired;
winds of the region, free, they shine and sing,
unurged, unguerdon'd: hast thou then desired
to be with them and trail'st a useless wing?
Self-pity hath thee in her clinging damp,
and makes a siren-music of thy woes
to lure thy feet into that reptile-swamp
where rancour's muddy stream, festering, throes.
Cunning is her condolence with the snarl
of canker'd memory or the soft tear
for vanisht sweetness: come, an honest parle,
air for thy ailment! make these wrongs appear.
Ay, this hath spat at thee, and that hath flung
his native mud, and that with bilious guile
most plausible — what! hast thou loved and sung
as was in thee, and need'st do else than smile?
(Heed not that subtle demon that would prompt
to measure thee by them; so humbled yet
thou art not, nor so beggar'd thine accompt:
what thou art, that thou hast, and know'st thy debt.)
And in thy house of love the venom'd dart
was thrust within thy side — Even so! must then
the gather'd ripeness of thy mind and heart
be turn'd to flies? that is no way for men.
Who said, and rid himself of usual awe,
I prize not man, save as his metal rings
of god or hero? Hast thou made a law,
live by thy law: 'tis carrion hath no wings.

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The well of love

I think in these quiet moments of the night
That love and despise are two feelings of close side
Although we prefer one and shun the other
Nevertheless we do confuse between one another
 
Like two branches emerging from the same trunk
Of tree, nourished by roots of the same rank
Yet they are so different upon our mood.
Love turns its head towards the EAST
The dawn of day, the sun of new hopes
Despise turns its head towards the west
The end of the day, the dusk before the dark
The pause, the end, the death
The cease, the change.......
 
There is a change, and I am left poor
The love that had been, nor long ago
A fountain at my heart's door
Whose only tread was to flow
And flow it did; not taking heed
Of storms of tempests
Of its own bounty, or my need
 
What happy moments I knew
What divine thoughts I drew
From its existence
Blessed was I then all bliss above
Now for this consecrated Fount
Of murmuring, sparkling, living love
What have I left with? Shall I dare tell?
A comfort less and a hidden well
 
Yes a well of love
I guess
It may be still deep
With water fresh and distilled
I trust it is, and never dry
What it matters if the waters sleep?
In silence and in obscurity of its deep
Such a change, at the very door
Of my fond heart, has made me poor


copy rights 2010

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Didnt Have The Heart

Verse1:
I found somebody new
Though you mustnt believe
That means Im over you
I know that in time
Well figure it out
Youll read my mind
And though Ill wait for that day
Without making a sound
I dont want to be
The one whos letting you down
I just want you to know
The reason behind the rhyme
Chorus:
Its not that
I didnt have the time
Didnt have the love
I didnt have the strength
Not to fall apart
Its not that I dont care
Its just I wouldnt dare
Cause I just dont have the heart
Verse2:
Love is not black and white
Youd believe that its true
If you saw me tonight
I struggle with what is real
But the logical side
Doesnt stop what I feel
And though youre holding your breath
To be given a sign
Your heart cannot be
Broken in pieces like mine
I just want you to know
The reason behind the rhyme
Chorus:
Its not that
I didnt have the time
Didnt have the love
I just didnt have the strength
Not to fall apart
Its not that I dont care
Its just I wouldnt dare
Cause I just dont have the heart
Bridge:
Loving you was more than I could stand
I was scared my heart was in your hand
But I know now
I figured it out
Beyond a shadow of a doubt
I must let go
Chorus:
Yes I had the time
Yes I had the love
I just didnt have the strength
Not to fall apart
Its not that I dont care
Its just I wouldnt dare
Cause I just dont have the heart
I dont have the heart

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Love Me Madly

YOU KNOW YOUR MAKING ME NERVOUS,
I DON'T KNOW IF THE WORLD DESERVES US,
YOUR'E DOING THINGS I WOULDN'T MENTION,
YOU HAVE A HUNGER FOR ATTENTION.
YOU KNOW YOUR'E MAKING ME FRANTIC,
IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE ROMANTIC?
YOUR'E LIKE THE WOMAN OUT OF SPECIES,
I THINK I'M GONNA GO TO PIECES.
YOU NEVER DO RIGHT,
YOUR'E DOING WRONG,
YOU'D BETTER GET BACK WHERE YOU BELONG,
YOU NEVER DO RIGHT,
YOUR'E DOING WRONG
THEN RUNNING TO ME.
LOVE ME WELL OR LOVE ME BADLY,
PLEASE DON'T ALWAYS LOVE ME MADLY,
STAY FOR LIFE OR LEAVE ME SADLY,
DO YOU HAVE TO?
YOU KNOW YOUR MAKING ME ANXIOUS,
YOU KNOW THAT EVERYBODY BLANKS US,
YOUR LIKE A COCKTAIL SET ATTILA,
A KIND OF HOLYCON GUERILLA,
YOU KNOW I'M HEADING FOR A CRACKUP,
YOUR'E GETTING EVERYBODYS BACK UP,
I'M GETTING READY FOR A FREAKOUT,
WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOUR'E RIGHT TO SPEAKOUT?
YOU NEVER BACK DOWN YOU'D RATHER FIGHT,
YOUR READY FOR COMBAT DAY OR NIGHT,
YOU NEVER BACK DOWN,
YOU START THE FIGHT,
THEN RUN BEHIND ME.
LOVE ME WELL OR LOVE ME BADLY,
DO YOU HAVE TO LOVE ME MADLY?
STAY FOR LIFE OR LEAVE ME SADLY,
DO YOU HAVE TO?
I FEEL I'M GETTING RATHER TENSE,
AT THE TURN OF THESE EVENTS,
I WANT TO RUN AWAY AND HIDE,
BUT YOU KEEP DRAGGING ME INSIDE,
I'M TETHERED TO A TRAINEE HELLCAT,
I'M FEELING JEALOUS OF THE DOORMAT,
I'M NEARLY FAINTING WITH THE TENSION,
ONE DAY WE'LL END UP IN DETENTION,
YOU NEVER BACK DOWN YOU'D RATHER FIGHT,
YOUR READY FOR COMBAT DAY OR NIGHT,
YOU NEVER BACK DOWN,
YOU START THE FIGHT,
THEN RUN BEHIND ME.
LOVE ME WELL OR LOVE ME BADLY,
DO YOU HAVE TO LOVE ME MADLY?
STAY FOR LIFE OR LEAVE ME SADLY,
PLEASE DON'T ALWAYS LOVE ME MADLY,
LOVE ME WELL OR LOVE ME BADLY,
DO YOU HAVE TO LOVE ME MADLY,
BE MY FRIEND REJECT ME GLADLY,
PLEASE DON'T ALWAYS LOVE ME MADLY,
LOVE........ME MADLY
LOVE........ME MADLY
LOVE........ME MADLY
LOVE........ME MADLY
LOVE........ME MADLY
( CONTINUES TILL IT FADES )

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Women's Liberation

Talk to me about the feminist movement,
the gubba middle class
hetero sexual revolution
way back in the seventies
when men wore tweed jackets with
leather elbows, and the women, well
I don’t remember or maybe I just don’t care
or can’t relate.
Now what were those white women on about?
What type of neurosis was fashionable back then?
So maybe I was only a school kid; and kids, like women,
have got on thing that joins that schemata,
like we’re not worth listening to,
and who wants to liberate women and children
what will happen in an egalitarian society
if the women and the kids start becoming complacent
in that they believe they should have rights
and economic independence,
and what would these middle class kids and white women do
with liberation, with freedom, with choices of
do I stay with my man, do I fall in love with other
white middle class women, and it wouldn’t matter if
my new woman had kids or maybe even kids and dogs
Yes I’m for the women’s movement
I want to be free and wear dunlop tennis shoes.
And indigenous women, well surely, the liberation
of white women includes all women regardless . . .
It doesn’t, well that’s not for me to deal with
I mean how could I, a white middle class woman,
who is deciding how can I budget when my man won’t
pay the school fees and the diner’s card club simply
won’t extend credit.
I don’t even know if I’m capable
of understanding
Aborigines, in Victoria?
Aboriginal women, here, I’ve never seen one,
and if I did, what would I say,
damned if I’m going to feel guilty, for wanting something
better for me, for women in general, not just white
middle class Volvo driving, part time women’s studies
students
Maybe I didn’t think, maybe I thought women in general
meant, Aboriginal women, the Koori women in Victoria
Should I apologise
should I feel guilty
Maybe the solution is to sponsor
a child through world vision.
Yes that’s probably best,
I feel like I could cope with that,
Look, I’d like to do something for our Aborigines
but I haven’t even met one,
and if I did I would say
all this business about land rights, maybe I’m a bit
scared, what’s it mean, that some day I’ll wake up
and there will be this flag, what is it, you know
red, black and that yellow circle, staked out front
and then what, Okay I’m sorry, I feel guilt
is that what I should be shouting
from the top of the rialto building
The women’s movement saved me
maybe the 90s will be different.
I’m not sure what I mean, but I know that although
it’s not just a women’s liberation that will free us
it’s a beginning

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Love Having You Around

Please,
Mama, mama, mama,
Mama, mama, baby,
Baby, baby, baby,
Mama, mama, mama,
Baby, baby, baby,
Listen baby,
Every day I want to fly my kite,
Every day I want to fly my kite,
An every day I want to get on my camel an ride.
Oo yea
Every day I want to shake your hand, yea, yea, yea,
For in the world makin me a better man,
An every day I want to get on my camel an ride
(on my camel ride, on my camel)
Oo baby
And when the day is through,
Nothin to do, sit around groovin with you,
And I say it cause I love having you around,
And I say it cause I love having you around. yea
Everyday I want to be your friend, (be your friend)
cause you have stuck with me through thick and thin
An every day I want a smile in your lovely brown eyes,
(smile at your lovely brown eyes)
Oh yea
Every day Im gonna give my share,
cause I know your gonna take me there, (hey, hey)
An every day I want to get on my camel an ride, oo
(get on my camel)
And when the day is done,
Nothin to do, spend all my time just loving you, (oh, yea)
An I say it cause I love having you around, mm baby
And I say it cause I love oo having you around
Yea, yea, yea, yea, yea
Yea, yea, yea
An in the end I know youll be with me,
cause you made my soul so free, (so everyday)
An every day I wanna get on my camel an ride, yea
(on my camel)
And when the day is through,
Nothin to do, spend all my time just lovin you
An I say it cause I love yea having you around.
(love having you around)
And I say it cause I love having you around yea, yea, yea
An I say it cause I love having you around (having you around baby)
And I say it cause I love (cant you hear me people? ) having you around
(cant you hear me people? )
And I say it cause I love having you around
(cant you hear me say it? cant you hear me say it baby? )
And I say it cause I love having you around
(an I say it, I say it, oo baby, baby, baby baby, baby)
An I say it, (say it, say it, say it, baby, baby baby)
An I say it, (say it, say it, say it, baby, baby baby)
An I say it, cause I love (say it, say it, again)
Having you around (say it, say it, just say it, say it, baby)
An I say it, cause I love (say it, an I keep saying it, I keep saying it)
Having you around (say it)
An I say it, cause I love (say it, say it)
Having you around (say it, yea, yea, help me baby)
An I say it cause I love (thank god, for the one you love)
Having you around (than god, for the one you love)
An I say it cause I love (che-rish for the one you love)
Having you around (I love my baby, love my baby, funky, funky, funky, yea)
(let me play, we just say, let me play)
And when the day is done, yea
Nothin to do, spend all my time making loving you,
An I say it cause I love having you around, (having you around)
An I say it cause I love having you around
An I say it cause I love having you around (my baby)
An I say it cause I love having you around
An I say it cause I love having you around
(baby stay around, baby stay right here, need you here, keep you right here)
An I say it cause I love having you around
All right
Aint got the words
(baby youre starting gabling, baby nobody)
Mm baby
Mmm
Mmm
(spoken: the preceding has been put here on tape, to let
You all know that I say it to her because I love her,
Can you dig it? can you get to that? even when shes messin around
He likes having her around even when shes messing around,
Which is very often, that what shes doing, the motion
...when shes messing around)
Ma get m a
Trust in su
An ellu
M a too
S m a

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Patrick White

The Day An Empty Envelope

The day an empty envelope, the clouds
islands of their own in a slow wind,
gathering out of nothing, going anywhere
the blue conception of the dispersing sky urges
above the green, summer turmoil of the trees.
I wake up wondering if love is just a word
or a whisper of smoke from distant mountains
or a tuberous begonia someone tore up last night
in their madness to dramatize their exit out of ecstasy,
their roses, scalded lobsters, their heart
torn like a soggy dawn in the pincers of the moon.

And I have been here before at the end
of these long wharves pillared in departure,
standing firmly fixed in the tides of sorrow,
saying goodbye to the sky and the sea
that have cried enough stars for the night
to remember its light is the taste of oblivion.
The air breathes you in like an anchor of mist
and all the words we released like vows
gently unhooking their wings from the fishing nets
we found abandoned in the wake of a lunar desert
that had wandered off like an arsonist in the archives of its tears,
are pens that have flooded in our pockets of blood like oilslicks,
not the feather of song left that could fly.

And I should thank you for the bouquet of corals
you gave me like an island in a ocean of ashes,
and the nights my heart was a frenzy of mating eels
thrashing the silver waves in a ferocity of transcendence,
a rabble of moonlit tongues, that made me feel
the hanged man was at last a key someone would risk,
a boat moored to the wind that had at last found a door
with the eye of a water-lock and the Gulf Stream
of an infinite threshold it would take a galaxy to cross,
and there were voyages I dreamed, o, I dreamed
of naming continents after you, oceans on the moon
that teemed with startling new forms of luminous life
that did not salivate for each other like arrows on a food chain
but fell from the intensity of our wishing like rain.

I wanted to add your fire to mine on a pyre of thorns
and mounting the last constellation uttered in bliss
by the mouth of a burning rose immolated in her own beauty
rise like a kite trailing a thread of blood to show the stars
how to weave a life that breathes like silk
out of the mulberry cocoons of their nebular cradles,
auroras exhaled like the veils and ghosts of riverine light
that disclose the grace of a woman, secret by secret,
until even the stars are homeless gestures of ash,
crowns of flame enthroned in the abysmal domains
of the radiant mystery they could draw from
like water from the wells of your eyes
to refute the claws of time and space with flowers.

And it's been four starless nights, four bleached days
since I last heard from you, no word, no sail, no wick,
no eyelid of a candle to open the darkness like a dream,
not a chromosome in a fortune-cookie to dispell my fate,
only the incremental atrocity of the cruel silence that salts the garden
with the radioactive fall-out of your nuclear absence
so that even my shadow glows like a sunspot that won't wash off.

And I must tell myself you're not the queen caprice
of a cherry in a hive of chocolate leaking honey
all over the sticky page of a theatrical candy-wrapper
blowing up the road like the obsolete playbill of a cliche
well attended by the ants who traffic in sugar.
I must tell myself over and over again like a wheel,
not to save myself like an enlightened pagoda
in a corner of the cones of the fools who wear
their disasters like the paper headlines of a daily heart,
not to adorn death with the lies of wounded heroes,
for I am a small planet of haunted wines
you can burst against the roof of your mouth like a grape,
and far too acquainted with eclipses and cremations
to exalt my ashes with the consolations of a reviving phoenix,
tell myself not to lawyer my sorrow with a congress of crows,
and in a crowd of placards and protesters, pretend that I am brave,
that my cause is just, that the world you've left me needs to be saved;
or that I can save it from myself like an arsonist
by learning how to swallow it like fire,
not to incriminate you among the cap-gun terrorists
who rage like chains in the doorways of their emergency exits,
their hearts boiling hand-picked scorpions like blackberries
to mitigate the acids of their glass wounds,
but to believe you're still out there somewhere like a road
that has wandered off in a wilderness of directions,
though the mountains and trees all point the stars out to you,
that cannot conceive of where it leads until we both walk it.

I want to believe there's no bodycount
behind the words of love you send me like refugees
that gather in the valleys of my heart like liberated fireflies,
that the lampshades of your poems are not wrapped in human skin
with a star pricked out by fangs and the repeating decimal
of a genocidal number too powerless to stop itself
from biting at the running sore of its own ulcerations.

I have never seen your face, heard your voice,
the wind more intimate with your skin than my longing,
but I have felt the stars within brighten in your presence
when all I could be to you over the miles, lives, the worn shoes,
was someone who charged space with gusts of ionic affinities,
hoping somehow the atoms knew, the rain, the hill in the fog
calling out to the drifting lifeboat with a disembodied voice
that there was yet a breath within a breath, a light within the light,
what I was before I was born to reach out empty-handed like this
to create you out of the nothing I am, a marvel more than me,
a clear fire that burns invisibly like breath on a windowpane,
the exhalation of a ghost startled by a spirit that lives
within and beyond it in a continuum of vital strangers,
closer to us than the patches on the underside of our eyelids.

I don't know what I am to you; though I have hoped
and you have said things to me I could only disappoint,
but they have made me want to drink your face from my bare hands,
they have made me a fountain and a vine, a door that bleeds
among the quicksand foundation-stones waiting out the mountain,
and my heart was a pauper lavish with revelation, a glove
that felt the universe fit it like your hand, and the answers,
were as evident as birds gathering seeds in an open furrow.

We have grown over the months like the rain together
and maybe now we fall, maybe now this alloy of water
is to be threshed by the wind like wild rice
shaken into a birchbark prow of aboriginal moonlight,
and the waterlilies have finished blooming like asterisks
and the stirling is marred by the acids of black fingerprints,
and a patina of commonality makes the moon a cold stone,
but there's a pause between accountable heartbeats,
a world between waking and dreaming, exits and entrances,
where I think everything returns without having left
like stars paled in the blazing of a lesser light that thrives,
and the heart receives itself back into its own hands like a ball,
and even in the rain-soaked journals of the autumn leaves,
the wind still addresses the flowers with its inconstancy,
and hands still find each other across the dangerous table
like the lost receiving the lost in a place of belonging
that is a stranger to them both on the same side of the river.

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The Lay of St. Odille

Odille was a maid of a dignified race;
Her father, Count Otto, was lord of Alsace;
Such an air, such a grace,
Such a form, such a face,
All agreed 'twere a fruitless endeavour to trace
In the Court, or within fifty miles of the place.
Many ladies in Strasburg were beautiful, still
They were beat all to sticks by the lovely Odille.

But Odille was devout, and, before she was nine,
Had 'experienced a call' she consider'd divine,
To put on the veil at St. Ermengarde's shrine.--
Lords, Dukes, and Electors, and Counts Palatine
Came to seek her in marriage from both sides the Rhine;
But vain their design,
They are all left to pine,
Their oglings and smiles are all useless; in fine,
Not one of these gentlefolks, try as they will,
Can draw 'Ask my papa' from the cruel Odille.

At length one of her suitors, a certain Count Herman,
A highly respectable man as a German,
Who smoked like a chimney, and drank like a merman,
Paid his court to her father, conceiving his firman
Would soon make her bend,
And induce her to lend
An ear to a love-tale in lieu of a sermon.
He gained the old Count, who said, 'Come, Mynheer, fill!--
Here's luck to yourself and my daughter Odille!'

The lady Odille was quite nervous with fear
When a little bird whisper'd that toast in her ear;
She murmur'd 'Oh, dear!
My papa has got queer,
I am sadly afraid, with that nasty strong beer!
He's so very austere, and severe, that it's clear
If he gets in his 'tantrums,' I can't remain here;
But St. Ermengarde's convent is luckily near;
It were folly to stay,
Pour prendre congé,
I shall put on my bonnet, and e'en run away!'
-- She unlock'd the back door, and descended the hill,
On whose crest stood the towers of the sire of Odille.

When he found she'd levanted, the Count of Alsace
At first turn'd remarkably red in the face;
He anathematized, with much unction and grace,
Every soul who came near, and consign'd the whole race
Of runaway girls to a very warm place.
With a frightful grimace
He gave orders for chase.
His vassals set off at a deuce of a pace,
And of all whom they met, high or low, Jack or Jill,
Ask'd, 'Pray, have you seen anything of Odille?'--

Now I think I've been told,-- for I'm no sporting man,--
That the 'knowing-ones' call this by far the best plan,
'Take the lead and then keep it!'-- that is if you can.--
Odille thought so too, so she set off and ran;
Put her best leg before,
Starting at score,
As I said some lines since, from that little back door,
And not being missed until half after four,
Had what hunters call 'law' for a good hour and more;
Doing her best,
Without stopping to rest,
Like 'young Lochinvar who came out of the West,'
''Tis done! I am gone!-- over briar, brook, and rill!
They'll be sharp lads who catch me!' said young Miss Odille.

But you've all read in Æsop, or Phædrus, or Gay,
How a tortoise and hare ran together one day,
How the hare, 'making play,
Progress'd right slick away,'
As 'them tarnation chaps' the Americans say;
While the tortoise, whose figure is rather outré
For racing, crawled straight on, without let or stay,
Having no post-horse duty or turnpikes to pay,
Till ere noon's ruddy ray
Changed to eve's sober grey,
Though her form and obesity caused some delay,
Perseverance and patience brought up her lee-way,
And she chased her fleet-footed 'praycursor,' until
She o'ertook her at last;-- so it fared with Odille.

For although, as I said, she ran gaily at first,
And show'd no inclination to pause, if she durst;
She at length felt opprest with the heat, and with thirst
Its usual attendant; nor was that the worst,
Her shoes went down at heel;-- at last one of them burst.
Now a gentleman smiles
At a trot of ten miles;
But not so the Fair; then consider the stiles,
And as then ladies seldom wore things with a frill
Round the ancle, these stiles sadly bother'd Odille.

Still, despite all the obstacles placed in her track,
She kept steadily on, though the terrible crack
In her shoe made of course her progression more slack,
Till she reached the Swartz Forest (in English The Black);
I cannot divine
How the boundary line
Was passed which is somewhere there formed by the Rhine.
Perhaps she'd the knack
To float o'er on her back.
Or perhaps crossed the old bridge of boats at Brisach,
(Which Vauban some years after secured from attack,
By a bastion of stone which the Germans call 'Wacke,')
All I know is she took not so much as a snack,
Till hungry and worn, feeling wretchedly ill,
On a mountain's brow sank down the weary Odille.

I said on its 'brow,' but I should have said 'crown,'
For 'twas quite on the summit, bleak, barren, and brown,
And so high that 'twas frightful indeed to look down
Upon Friburg, a place of some little renown,
That lay at its foot; but imagine the frown
That contracted her brow, when full many a clown
She perceived coming up from that horrid post-town.
They had followed her trail,
And now thought without fail,
As little boys say, to 'lay salt on her tail;'
While the Count, who knew no other law but his will,
Swore that Herman that evening should marry Odille.

Alas, for Odille; poor dear! what could she do?
Her father's retainers now had her in view,
As she found from their raising a joyous halloo;
While the Count, riding on at the head of his crew,
In their snuff-coloured doublets and breeches of blue,
Was huzzaing and urging them on to pursue.--
What, indeed, could she do?
She very well knew
If they caught her how much she should have to go through;
But then -- she'd so shocking a hole in her shoe!
And to go further on was impossible;-- true
She might jump o'er the precipice; still there are few
In her place who could manage their courage to screw
Up to bidding the world such a sudden adieu:
Alack! how she envied the birds as they flew;
No Nassau balloon with its wicker canoe
Came to bear her from him she loathed worse than a Jew;
So she fell on her knees in a terrible stew,
Crying 'Holy St. Ermengarde!
Oh, from these vermin guard
Her whose last hope rests entirely on you!
Don't let papa catch me, dear Saint!-- rather kill
At once, sur le champ, your devoted Odille!'

Its delightful to see those who strive to oppress
Get baulk'd when they think themselves sure of success.
The Saint came to the rescue! I fairly confess
I don't see, as a Saint, how she well could do less
Than to get such a votary out of her mess.
Odille had scarce closed her pathetic address
When the rock, gaping wide as the Thames at Sheerness,
Closed again, and secured her within its recess,
In a natural grotto,
Which puzzled Count Otto,
Who could not conceive where the deuce she had got to.
'Twas her voice!-- but 'twas Vox et præterea Nil!
Nor could any one guess what was gone with Odille.

Then burst from the mountain a splendour that quite
Eclipsed in its brilliance the finest Bude light,
And there stood St. Ermengarde drest all in white,
A palm-branch in her left hand, her beads in her right;
While with faces fresh gilt, and with wings burnish'd bright,
A great many little boys' heads took their flight
Above and around to a very great height,
And seem'd pretty lively considering their plight,
Since every one saw,
With amazement and awe,
They could never sit down, for they hadn't de quoi.
All at the sight,
From the knave to the knight,
Felt a very unpleasant sensation called fright;
While the Saint, looking down,
With a terrible frown,
Said, 'My Lords you are done most remarkably brown!--
I am really ashamed of you both; my nerves thrill
At your scandalous conduct to poor dear Odille!

Come, make yourselves scarce! it is useless to stay,
You will gain nothing here by a longer delay.
'Quick! Presto! Begone!' as the conjurors say;
For as to the lady, I've stow'd her away
In this hill, in a stratum of London blue clay;
And I shan't, I assure you, restore her to day
Till you faithfully promise no more to say Nay,
But declare, 'If she will be a nun, why she may.'
For this you've my word, and I never yet broke it,
So put that in your pipe, my Lord Otto, and smoke it!--
One hint to your vassals,-- a month at 'the Mill'
Shall be nuts to what they'll get who worry Odille!'

The Saint disappear'd as she ended, and so
Did the little boys' heads, which, above and below,
As I told you a very few stanzas ago,
Had been flying about her, and jumping Jem Crow;
Though, without any body, or leg, foot, or toe,
How they managed such antics, I really don't know;
Be that as it may, they all 'melted like snow
Off a dyke,' as the Scotch say in sweet Edinbro'.
And there stood the Count,
With his men on the mount,
Just like 'twenty-four jackasses all on a row.'
What was best to be done?--' twas a sad bitter pill;
But gulp it he must, or else lose his Odille.

The lord of Alsace therefore alter'd his plan,
And said to himself, like a sensible man,
'I can't do as I would,-- I must do as I can;'
It will not do to lie under any Saint's ban,
For your hide, when you do, they all manage to tan;
So Count Herman must pick up some Betsey or Nan,
Instead of my girl,-- some Sue, Polly, or Fan;--
If he can't get the corn he must do with the bran,
And make shift with the pot if he can't have the pan.
After words such as these
He went down on his knees,
And said, 'Blessed St. Ermengarde, just as you please--
They shall build a new convent,-- I'll pay the whole bill,
(Taking discount,)-- its Abbess shall be my Odille!'

There are some of my readers, I'll venture to say,
Who have never seen Friburg, though some of them may,
And others 'tis likely may go there some day.
Now if ever you happen to travel that way
I do beg and pray,--' twill your pains well repay,--
That you'll take what the Cockney folks call a 'po-shay,'
(Though in Germany these things are more like a dray);
You may reach this same hill with a single relay,--
And do look how the rock,
Through the whole of its block,
Is split open as though by some violent shock
From an earthquake, or lightning, or horrid hard knock
From the club-bearing fist of some jolly old cock
Of a Germanized giant, Thor, Woden, or Lok;
And see how it rears
Its two monstrous great ears,
For when once you're between them such each side appears;
And list to the sound of the water one hears
Drip, drip from the fissures, like rain-drops or tears:
-- Odille's, I believe,-- which have flow'd all these years;
-- I think they account for them so;-- but the rill
I'm sure is connected some way with Odille.


Moral.

Now then for a moral, which always arrives
At the end, like the honey bees take to their hives,
And the more one observes it the better one thrives.--
We have all heard it said in the course of our lives
'Needs must when a certain old gentleman drives,'
'Tis the same with a lady,-- if once she contrives
To get hold of the ribands, how vainly one strives
To escape from her lash, or to shake off her gyves.
Then let's act like Count Otto, and while one survives
Succumb to our She-Saints -- videlicet wives.
(Aside.)
That is if one has not a 'good bunch of fives.'--
(I can't think how that last line escaped from my quill,
For I am sure it has nothing to do with Odille.)
Now young ladies to you!--
Don't put on the shrew!
And don't be surprised if your father looks blue
When you're pert, and won't act as he wants you to do!
Be sure that you never elope;-- there are few,--
Believe me you'll find what I say to be true,--
Who run restive, but find as they bake they must brew,
And come off at the last with 'a hole in their shoe;'
Since not even Clapham, that sanctified ville,
Can produce enough Saints to save every Odille

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La Fontaine

The Three Gossips' Wager

AS o'er their wine one day, three gossips sat,
Discoursing various pranks in pleasant chat,
Each had a loving friend, and two of these
Most clearly managed matters at their ease.

SAID one, a princely husband I have got.
A better in the world there's surely not;
With him I can adjust as humour fits,
No need to rise at early dawn, like cits,
To prove to him that two and three make four,
Or ask his leave to ope or shut the door.

UPON my word, replied another fair,
If he were mine, I openly declare,
To judge from what so pleasantly you say,
I'd make a present of him new-year's day.
For pleasure never gives me full delight,
Unless a little pain the bliss invite.
No doubt your husband moves as he is led;
Thank heav'n a different mortal claims my bed;
To take him in, great nicety we need;
But howsoe'er, at times I can succeed;
The satisfaction doubly then is felt:--
In fond emotion bosoms freely melt.
With neither of you, husband or gallant,
Would I exchange, though these so much you vaunt.

ON this, the third with candour interfer'd;
She thought that oft the god of love appear'd,
Good husbands playfully to fret and vex,
Sometimes to rally couples: then perplex;
But warmer as the conversation grew,
She, anxious that each disputant might view
Herself victorious, (or believe it so,)
Exclaim'd, if either of you wish to show
Who's in the right, with argument have done,
And let us practise some new scheme of fun,
To dupe our husbands; she who don't succeed
Shall pay a forfeit; all replied, "Agreed."
But then, continued she, we ought to take
An oath, that we will full discov'ry make,
To one another of the various facts,
Without disguising even trifling acts.
And then, good upright Macae shall decide;
Thus things arrang'd, the ladies homeward plied.

SHE, 'mong the three, who felt the most constraint
Ador'd a youth, contemporaries paint,
Well made and handsome, but with beardless chin,
Which led the pair a project to begin;
For yet no opportunity they'd found,
T' enjoy their wishes, save by stealth around;
Most ardently she sought to be at ease,
And 'twas agreed the lucky thought to seize
That like a chambermaid he should be dress'd,
And then proceed to execute the jest,
Attend upon the wily, wedded pair,
And offer services with modest air
And downcast eyes; the husband on her leer'd,
And in her favour prepossess'd appear'd,
In hopes one day, to find those pleasing charms
Resign'd in secret to his longing arms.
Such pretty cheeks and sparkling eyes he thought,
Had ne'er till then his roving fancy caught;
The girl was hir'd, but seemingly with pain,
Since PRUDENCE ultimately might complain,
That (maid and master both so very young)
'Twould not be wonderful if things went wrong.

AT first the husband inattention show'd,
And scarcely on the maid a look bestow'd;
But presently he chang'd his conduct quite,
And presents gave, with promises not slight;
At length the servant feign'd to lend an ear,
And anxious seem'd obliging to appear.

THE trap our cunning lovers having laid,
One eve this message brought the smiling maid;
My lady, sir, is ill, and rest requires,
To sleep alone to-night she much desires.
To grant the master's wish the girl was led,
And they together hurried off to bed.

THE husband 'tween the sheets himself had plac'd;
The nymph was in her petticoat, unlac'd;
When suddenly appear'd the wily wife,
And promis'd harmony was turn'd to strife.
Are these your freaks, cried she with mark'd surprise;
Your usual dish it seems then don't suffice;
You want, indeed, to have some nicer fare?
A little sooner, by the saints I swear,
You'd me a pretty trick, 'tis clear, have shown,
And doubtless, then, tit bits to keep been prone.
This, howsoe'er, to get you're not design'd,
So elsewhere you may try what you can find.
And as to you, miss Prettyface, you jade,
Good heav'ns! to think a paltry servant maid
Should rival me? I'll beat you black and blue!
The bread I eat, indeed, must be for you?
But I know better, and indeed am clear,
Not one around will fancy I appear
So void of charms, so faded, wither'd, lost,
That I should out of doors at once be tost;
But I will manage matters:--I design
This girl no other bed shall have than mine;
Then who so bold to touch her there will dare?
Come, Miss, let's to my room at once repair;
Away--your things to-morrow you can seek;
If scandal 'twould spread around, I'd wreak
My vengeance instantly, and turn you out;
But I am lenient, and desire no rout;
Perhaps your ruin may be sav'd by care;
So night and day your company I'll share;
No more my bosom then will feel dismay,
For I shall see that you no frolicks play.

ON this the trembling girl, o'ercome with fears;
Held down her head and seem'd to hide her tears;
Pick'd up her clothes and quickly stole away,
As if afraid her mistress more might say;
And hop'd to act the maid while Sol gave light,
But play at ease the fond gallant at night;
At once she fill'd two places in the house,
And thought in both the husband she should chouse,
Who bless'd his stars that he'd escap'd so well,
And sneak'd alone to rest within his cell,
While our gay, am'rous pair advantage took,
To play at will, and ev'ry solace hook,
Convinc'd most thoroughly, once lovers kiss'd,
That OPPORTUNITY should n'er be miss'd.
Here ends the trick our wily gossip play'd;
But now let's see the plot another laid.

THE second dame, whose husband was so meek,
That only from her lips the truth he'd seek,
When seated with him 'neath a pear tree's shade,
Contriv'd at ease and her arrangement made.
The story I shall presently relate;
The butler, strong, well dress'd, and full of prate:
Who often made the other servants trot,
Stood near when madam hit upon her plot,
To whom she said, I wish the fruit to taste;
On which the man prepar'd with ev'ry haste,
To climb the tree, and off the produce shook;
But while above, the fellow gave a look
Upon the ground below, and feign'd he saw
The spouse and wife--do more than kiss and paw:
The servant rubb'd his eyes, as if in doubt,
And cried: why truly, sir, if you're so stout,
That you must revel 'mid your lady's charms,
Pray elsewhere take her to your longing arms,
Where you at ease may frolick hours or days,
Without my witnessing your loving ways;
Indeed, I'm quite surprised at what I spy
In publick, 'neath a tree such pranks to try!
And, if you don't a servant's presence heed,
With decency howe'er you should proceed.
What, still go on? for shame, I say, for shame!
Pray wait till by and by; you're much to blame;
Besides, the nights are long enough you'll find;
Heav'n genial joys for privacy design'd;
And why this place, when you've nice chambers got?
What, cried the lady, says this noisy sot?
He surely dreams; Where can he learn these tales?
Come down; let's see what 'tis the fellow ails.
Down William came. How? said the master, how?
Are we at play?

WILLIAM

Not now, sir, no, not now.

HUSBAND

Why, when then, friend?

WILLIAM

While I was in the tree,
Alive, sir, flay me, if I did not see
You on the verdant lawn my lady lay,
And kiss, and toy, and other frolicks play.

WIFE

'Twere surely better if thou held'st thy tongue,
Or thou'lt a beating get before 'tis long.

HUSBAND

No, no, my dear, he's mad, and I design
The fellow in a madhouse to confine.

WILLIAM
Is't folly, pray, to see what we behold?

WIFE

What hast thou seen?

WILLIAM

What I've already told:--
My master and yourself at Cupid's game,
Or else the tree 's enchanted I proclaim.

WIFE

ENCHANTED! nonsense; such a sight to see!

HUSBAND

To know the truth myself, I'll climb the tree,
Then you the fact will quickly from me learn;
We may believe what we ourselves discern.

SOON as the master they above descried,
And that below our pair he sharply eyed,
The butler took the lady in his arms,
And grew at once familiar with her charms;
At sight of this the husband gave a yell:
Made haste to reach the ground, and nearly fell;
Such liberties he wish'd at once to stop,
Since what he'd seen had nearly made him drop.
How! how!--cried he:--what, e'en before my sight?
What can you mean? said she without affright.

HUSBAND

DAR'ST thou to ask again?

WIFE

AND why not, pray?

HUSBAND

FINE, pretty doings!--Presently you'll say;
That what I've seen 'tis folly to believe.

WIFE

Too much is this:--such accusations grieve.

HUSBAND

Thou did'st most clearly suffer his embrace.

WIFE
I? WHY, you dream!

HUSBAND

This seems a curious case.
MY reason's flown'! or have I lost my eyes?

WIFE

CAN you suppose my character I prize
So very little, that these pranks I'd play
Before your face, when I might ev'ry day
Find minutes to divert myself at will,
And (if lik'd such frolicks) take my fill?

HUSBAND

I KNOW not what to think nor what to do;
P'rhaps this same tree can tricks at will pursue;
Let's see again; aloft he went once more,
And William acted as he'd done before;
But now the husband saw the playful squeeze;
Without emotion, and returned at ease.
To find the cause, said he, no longer try,
The tree's enchanted, we may well rely.

SINCE, that's the fact, replied the cunning jade;
To burn it, quickly William seek fort aid;
The tree accurst no longer shall remain;
Her will the servant wish'd not to restrain,
But soon some workmen brought, who felled the tree;
And wondered what the fault our fair could see.
Down hew it, cried the lady, that's your task;
More concerns you not; folly 'tis to ask.

OUR second gossip thus obtained success;
But now the third: we'll see if she had less:
To female friends she often visits paid,
And various pastimes there had daily play'd;
A leering lover who was weary grown,
Desired ONE night she'd meet him quite alone.
TWO, if you will, replied the smiling fair;
A trifle 'tis you ask, and I'll repair
Where'er you wish, and we'll recline at ease;
My husband I can manage, if I please,
While thus engag'd.--The parties soon agreed;
But still the lady for her wits had need,
Since her dear man from home but rarely went,
No pardons sought at Rome, but was content
With what he nearer got, while his sweet wife
More fondness mark'd for gratifying life,
And ever anxious, warmest zeal to show,
Was always wishing distant scenes to know;
As pilgrim oft she'd trod a foreign road,
But now desir'd those ancient ways t'explode;
A plan more rare and difficult she sought,
And round her toe our wily dame bethought,
To tie a pack-thread, fasten'd to the door,
Which open'd to the street: then feign'd to snore
Beside her husband, Harry Berlinguier,
(So, usually, they nam'd her wedded dear.)

HOWE'ER, so cunningly with him she dealt,
That Harry turn'd, and soon the pack-thread felt,
Which rais'd distrust, and led him to suspect
Some bad design the thread was meant t'effect.

A LITTLE time, as if asleep, he lay
Considering how to act, or what to say;
Then rose, (his spouse believing not awake,)
And softly treading, lest the room should shake;
The pack-thread follow'd to the outer door,
And thence concluded (what he might deplore,)
That his dear partner from her faith would stray,
And some gallant that night design'd to play
The lover's part and draw the secret clue,
When she would rise, and with him freaks pursue,
While he (good husband!) quietly in bed
Might sleep, not dreaming that his wife had fled.

FOR otherwise, what use such pains to take?
A visit cuckoldom, perhaps, might make;
An honour that he'd willingly decline;
On which he studied how to countermine;
And like a sentinel mov'd to and fro',
To watch if any one would thither go
To pull the string, that he could see with ease,
And then he'd instantly the culprit seize.

THE, reader will perceive, we may suppose,
Besides the entrance which the husband chose,
On t'other side a door, where our gallant
Could enter readily, as he might want,
And there the spark a chambermaid let in:--
Oft servants prone are found a bribe to win.

WHILE Berlinguier thus watch'd around and round;
The friends with one another pleasures found;
But heav'n alone knows how nor what they were:--
No fact transpir'd save all was free from care;
So well the servant kept the careful watch,
That not a chance was given the pair to catch:

THE spark at dawn the lady left alone,
And ere the husband came the bird was flown;
Then Harry, weary, took his place again,
Complaining, that he'd felt such racking pain,
And dreading, lest alarms her breast should seize,
Within another room he'd sought for ease.

Two days had pass'd, when madam thought once more,
To set the thread, as she had done before;
He left the bed, pretending he was sick,
Resumed his post; again the lover came,
And, with my lady, play'd the former game.

THE scheme so well succeeded, that the pair
Thrice wish'd to try the wily pack-thread snare;
The husband with the cholic mov'd away,
His place the bold gallant resum'd till day.

AT length their ardour 'gan, it seems, to cool,
And Harry, they no longer tried to fool;
'Twas time to seek the myst'ry of the plot,
Since, to three acts, the comedy was got.

AT midnight, when the spark had left the bed;
A servant, by his orders, drew the thread;
On whom the husband, without fear, laid hold,
And with him enter'd like a soldier bold,
Not then supposing he'd a valet seiz'd;
Well tim'd it prov'd, howe'er;--the lady pleas'd
Her voice to raise, on hearing what was said,
And through the house confusion quickly spread.

THE valet now before them bent the knee,
And openly declar'd, he came to see
The chambermaid, whom he was wont to greet,
And by the thread to rouse when time to meet:

ARE these your knavish tricks, replied the dame,
With eyes upon her maid that darted flame;
When I by chance observ'd about your toe,
A thread one night, I then resolv'd to know
Your scheme in full, and round my own I tied
A clue, on which I thoroughly relied,
To catch this gay gallant, that you pretend
Your husband will become, I apprehend.

Be that as 'twill, to-night from hence you go.
My dear, said Berlinguier, I'd fain say no;
Let things remain until to-morrow, pray
And then my lady presently gave way.
A fortune Harry on the girl bestow'd;
The like our valet to his master ow'd;
To church the happy couple smiling went:--
They'd known each other long, and were content.

THUS ended then, the third and last amour;
The trio hasten'd Macae to implore,
To say which gain'd the bet, who soon replied:--
I find it, friends, not easy to decide.

THE case hangs up, and there will long remain;
'Tis often thus when justice we'd obtain.

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St. Dorothy

IT HATH been seen and yet it shall be seen
That out of tender mouths God’s praise hath been
Made perfect, and with wood and simple string
He hath played music sweet as shawm-playing
To please himself with softness of all sound;
And no small thing but hath been sometime found
Full sweet of use, and no such humbleness
But God hath bruised withal the sentences
And evidence of wise men witnessing;
No leaf that is so soft a hidden thing
It never shall get sight of the great sun;
The strength of ten has been the strength of one,
And lowliness has waxed imperious.

There was in Rome a man Theophilus
Of right great blood and gracious ways, that had
All noble fashions to make people glad
And a soft life of pleasurable days;
He was a goodly man for one to praise,
Flawless and whole upward from foot to head;
His arms were a red hawk that alway fed
On a small bird with feathers gnawed upon,
Beaten and plucked about the bosom-bone
Whereby a small round fleck like fire there was:
They called it in their tongue lampadias;
This was the banner of the lordly man.
In many straits of sea and reaches wan
Full of quick wind, and many a shaken firth,
It had seen fighting days of either earth,
Westward or east of waters Gaditane
(This was the place of sea-rocks under Spain
Called after the great praise of Hercules)
And north beyond the washing Pontic seas,
Far windy Russian places fabulous,
And salt fierce tides of storm-swoln Bosphorus.

Now as this lord came straying in Rome town
He saw a little lattice open down
And after it a press of maidens’ heads
That sat upon their cold small quiet beds
Talking, and played upon short-stringèd lutes;
And other some ground perfume out of roots
Gathered by marvellous moons in Asia;
Saffron and aloes and wild cassia,
Coloured all through and smelling of the sun;
And over all these was a certain one
Clothed softly, with sweet herbs about her hair
And bosom flowerful; her face more fair
Than sudden-singing April in soft lands:
Eyed like a gracious bird, and in both hands
She held a psalter painted green and red.

This Theophile laughed at the heart, and said;
Now God so help me hither and St. Paul,
As by the new time of their festival
I have good will to take this maid to wife.
And herewith fell to fancies of her life
And soft half-thoughts that ended suddenly.
This is man’s guise to please himself, when he
Shall not see one thing of his pleasant things,
Nor with outwatch of many travailings
Come to be eased of the least pain he hath
For all his love and all his foolish wrath
And all the heavy manner of his mind.
Thus is he like a fisher fallen blind
That casts his nets across the boat awry
To strike the sea, but lo, he striketh dry
And plucks them back all broken for his pain
And bites his beard and casts across again
And reaching wrong slips over in the sea.
So hath this man a strangled neck for fee,
For all his cost he chuckles in his throat.

This Theophile that little hereof wote
Laid wait to hear of her what she might be:
Men told him she had name of Dorothy,
And was a lady of a worthy house.
Thereat this knight grew inly glorious
That he should have a love so fair of place.
She was a maiden of most quiet face,
Tender of speech, and had no hardihood
But was nigh feeble of her fearful blood;
Her mercy in her was so marvellous
From her least years, that seeing her school-fellows
That read beside her stricken with a rod,
She would cry sore and say some word to God
That he would ease her fellow of his pain.
There is no touch of sun or fallen rain
That ever fell on a more gracious thing.

In middle Rome there was in stone-working
The church of Venus painted royally.
The chapels of it were some two or three,
In each of them her tabernacle was
And a wide window of six feet in glass
Coloured with all her works in red and gold.
The altars had bright cloths and cups to hold
The wine of Venus for the services,
Made out of honey and crushed wood-berries
That shed sweet yellow through the thick wet red,
That on high days was borne upon the head
Of Venus’ priest for any man to drink;
So that in drinking he should fall to think
On some fair face, and in the thought thereof
Worship, and such should triumph in his love.
For this soft wine that did such grace and good
Was new trans-shaped and mixed with Love’s own blood,
That in the fighting Trojan time was bled;
For which came such a woe to Diomed
That he was stifled after in hard sea.
And some said that this wine-shedding should be
Made of the falling of Adonis’ blood,
That curled upon the thorns and broken wood
And round the gold silk shoes on Venus’ feet;
The taste thereof was as hot honey sweet
And in the mouth ran soft and riotous.
This was the holiness of Venus’ house.

It was their worship, that in August days
Twelve maidens should go through those Roman ways
Naked, and having gold across their brows
And their hair twisted in short golden rows,
To minister to Venus in this wise:
And twelve men chosen in their companies
To match these maidens by the altar-stair,
All in one habit, crowned upon the hair.
Among these men was chosen Theophile.

This knight went out and prayed a little while,
Holding queen Venus by her hands and knees;
I will give thee twelve royal images
Cut in glad gold, with marvels of wrought stone
For thy sweet priests to lean and pray upon,
Jasper and hyacinth and chrysopras,
And the strange Asian thalamite that was
Hidden twelve ages under heavy sea
Among the little sleepy pearls, to be
A shrine lit over with soft candle-flame
Burning all night red as hot brows of shame,
So thou wilt be my lady without sin.
Goddess that art all gold outside and in,
Help me to serve thee in thy holy way.
Thou knowest, Love, that in my bearing day
There shone a laughter in the singing stars
Round the gold-ceilèd bride-bed wherein Mars
Touched thee and had thee in your kissing wise.
Now therefore, sweet, kiss thou my maiden’s eyes
That they may open graciously towards me;
And this new fashion of thy shrine shall be
As soft with gold as thine own happy head.

The goddess, that was painted with face red
Between two long green tumbled sides of sea,
Stooped her neck sideways, and spake pleasantly:
Thou shalt have grace as thou art thrall of mine.
And with this came a savour of shed wine
And plucked-out petals from a rose’s head:
And softly with slow laughs of lip she said,
Thou shalt have favour all thy days of me.

Then came Theophilus to Dorothy,
Saying: O sweet, if one should strive or speak
Against God’s ways, he gets a beaten cheek
For all his wage and shame above all men.
Therefore I have no will to turn again
When God saith “go,” lest a worse thing fall out.
Then she, misdoubting lest he went about
To catch her wits, made answer somewhat thus:
I have no will, my lord Theophilus,
To speak against this worthy word of yours;
Knowing how God’s will in all speech endures,
That save by grace there may no thing be said.
Then Theophile waxed light from foot to head,
And softly fell upon this answering.
It is well seen you are a chosen thing
To do God service in his gracious way.
I will that you make haste and holiday
To go next year upon the Venus stair,
Covered none else, but crowned upon your hair,
And do the service that a maiden doth.
She said: but I that am Christ’s maid were loth
To do this thing that hath such bitter name.
Thereat his brows were beaten with sore shame
And he came off and said no other word.
Then his eyes chanced upon his banner-bird,
And he fell fingering at the staff of it
And laughed for wrath and stared between his feet,
And out of a chafed heart he spake as thus:
Lo how she japes at me Theophilus,
Feigning herself a fool and hard to love;
Yet in good time for all she boasteth of
She shall be like a little beaten bird.
And while his mouth was open in that word
He came upon the house Janiculum,
Where some went busily, and other some
Talked in the gate called the gate glorious.
The emperor, which was one Gabalus,
Sat over all and drank chill wine alone.
To whom is come Theophilus anon,
And said as thus: Beau sire, Dieu vous aide.
And afterward sat under him, and said
All this thing through as ye have wholly heard.

This Gabalus laughed thickly in his beard.
Yea, this is righteousness and maiden rule.
Truly, he said, a maid is but a fool.
And japed at them as one full villainous,
In a lewd wise, this heathen Gabalus,
And sent his men to bind her as he bade.
Thus have they taken Dorothy the maid,
And haled her forth as men hale pick-purses:
A little need God knows they had of this,
To hale her by her maiden gentle hair.
Thus went she lowly, making a soft prayer,
As one who stays the sweet wine in his mouth,
Murmuring with eased lips, and is most loth
To have done wholly with the sweet of it.

Christ king, fair Christ, that knowest all men’s wit
And all the feeble fashion of my ways,
O perfect God, that from all yesterdays
Abidest whole with morrows perfected,
I pray thee by thy mother’s holy head
Thou help me to do right, that I not slip:
I have no speech nor strength upon my lip,
Except thou help me who art wise and sweet.
Do this too for those nails that clove thy feet,
Let me die maiden after many pains.
Though I be least among thy handmaidens,
Doubtless I shall take death more sweetly thus.

Now have they brought her to King Gabalus,
Who laughed in all his throat some breathing-whiles:
By God, he said, if one should leap two miles,
He were not pained about the sides so much.
This were a soft thing for a man to touch.
Shall one so chafe that hath such little bones?
And shook his throat with thick and chuckled moans
For laughter that she had such holiness.
What aileth thee, wilt thou do services?
It were good fare to fare as Venus doth.

Then said this lady with her maiden mouth,
Shamefaced, and something paler in the cheek:
Now, sir, albeit my wit and will to speak
Give me no grace in sight of worthy men,
For all my shame yet know I this again,
I may not speak, nor after downlying
Rise up to take delight in lute-playing,
Nor sing nor sleep, nor sit and fold my hands,
But my soul in some measure understands
God’s grace laid like a garment over me.
For this fair God that out of strong sharp sea
Lifted the shapely and green-coloured land,
And hath the weight of heaven in his hand
As one might hold a bird, and under him
The heavy golden planets beam by beam
Building the feasting-chambers of his house,
And the large world he holdeth with his brows
And with the light of them astonisheth
All place and time and face of life and death
And motion of the north wind and the south,
And is the sound within his angel’s mouth
Of singing words and words of thanksgiving,
And is the colour of the latter spring
And heat upon the summer and the sun,
And is beginning of all things begun
And gathers in him all things to their end,
And with the fingers of his hand doth bend
The stretched-out sides of heaven like a sail,
And with his breath he maketh the red pale
And fills with blood faint faces of men dead,
And with the sound between his lips are fed
Iron and fire and the white body of snow,
And blossom of all trees in places low,
And small bright herbs about the little hills,
And fruit pricked softly with birds’ tender bills,
And flight of foam about green fields of sea,
And fourfold strength of the great winds that be
Moved always outward from beneath his feet,
And growth of grass and growth of sheavèd wheat
And all green flower of goodly-growing lands;
And all these things he gathers with his hands
And covers all their beauty with his wings;
The same, even God that governs all these things,
Hath set my feet to be upon his ways.
Now therefore for no painfulness of days
I shall put off this service bound on me.
Also, fair sir, ye know this certainly,
How God was in his flesh full chaste and meek
And gave his face to shame, and either cheek
Gave up to smiting of men tyrannous.

And here with a great voice this Gabalus
Cried out and said: By God’s blood and his bones,
This were good game betwixen night and nones
For one to sit and hearken to such saws:
I were as lief fall in some big beast’s jaws
As hear these women’s jaw-teeth chattering;
By God a woman is the harder thing,
One may not put a hook into her mouth.
Now by St. Luke I am so sore adrouth
For all these saws I must needs drink again.
But I pray God deliver all us men
From all such noise of women and their heat.
That is a noble scripture, well I weet,
That likens women to an empty can;
When God said that he was a full wise man.
I trow no man may blame him as for that.

And herewithal he drank a draught, and spat,
And said: Now shall I make an end hereof.
Come near all men and hearken for God’s love,
And ye shall hear a jest or twain, God wot.
And spake as thus with mouth full thick and hot;
But thou do this thou shalt be shortly slain.
Lo, sir, she said, this death and all his pain
I take in penance of my bitter sins.
Yea now, quoth Gabalus, this game begins.
Lo, without sin one shall not live a span.
Lo, this is she that would not look on man
Between her fingers folded in thwart wise.
See how her shame hath smitten in her eyes
That was so clean she had not heard of shame.
Certes, he said, by Gabalus my name,
This two years back I was not so well pleased.
This were good mirth for sick men to be eased
And rise up whole and laugh at hearing of.
I pray thee show us something of thy love,
Since thou wast maid thy gown is waxen wide.
Yea, maid I am, she said, and somewhat sighed,
As one who thought upon the low fair house
Where she sat working, with soft bended brows
Watching her threads, among the school-maidens.
And she thought well now God had brought her thence
She should not come to sew her gold again.

Then cried King Gabalus upon his men
To have her forth and draw her with steel gins.
And as a man hag-ridden beats and grins
And bends his body sidelong in his bed,
So wagged he with his body and knave’s head,
Gaping at her, and blowing with his breath.
And in good time he gat an evil death
Out of his lewdness with his cursèd wives:
His bones were hewn asunder as with knives
For his misliving, certes it is said.
But all the evil wrought upon this maid,
It were full hard for one to handle it.
For her soft blood was shed upon her feet,
And all her body’s colour bruised and faint.
But she, as one abiding God’s great saint,
Spake not nor wept for all this travail hard.
Wherefore the king commanded afterward
To slay her presently in all men’s sight.
And it was now an hour upon the night
And winter-time, and a few stars began.
The weather was yet feeble and all wan
For beating of a weighty wind and snow.
And she came walking in soft wise and slow,
And many men with faces piteous.
Then came this heavy cursing Gabalus,
That swore full hard into his drunken beard;
And faintly after without any word
Came Theophile some paces off the king.
And in the middle of this wayfaring
Full tenderly beholding her he said:

There is no word of comfort with men dead
Nor any face and colour of things sweet;
But always with lean cheeks and lifted feet
These dead men lie all aching to the blood
With bitter cold, their brows withouten hood
Beating for chill, their bodies swathed full thin:
Alas, what hire shall any have herein
To give his life and get such bitterness?
Also the soul going forth bodiless
Is hurt with naked cold, and no man saith
If there be house or covering for death
To hide the soul that is discomforted.

Then she beholding him a little said:
Alas, fair lord, ye have no wit of this;
For on one side death is full poor of bliss
And as ye say full sharp of bone and lean:
But on the other side is good and green
And hath soft flower of tender-coloured hair
Grown on his head, and a red mouth as fair
As may be kissed with lips; thereto his face
Is as God’s face, and in a perfect place
Full of all sun and colour of straight boughs
And waterheads about a painted house
That hath a mile of flowers either way
Outward from it, and blossom-grass of May
Thickening on many a side for length of heat,
Hath God set death upon a noble seat
Covered with green and flowered in the fold,
In likeness of a great king grown full old
And gentle with new temperance of blood;
And on his brows a purfled purple hood,
They may not carry any golden thing;
And plays some tune with subtle fingering
On a small cithern, full of tears and sleep
And heavy pleasure that is quick to weep
And sorrow with the honey in her mouth;
And for this might of music that he doth
Are all souls drawn toward him with great love
And weep for sweetness of the noise thereof
And bow to him with worship of their knees;
And all the field is thick with companies
Of fair-clothed men that play on shawms and lutes
And gather honey of the yellow fruits
Between the branches waxen soft and wide:
And all this peace endures in either side
Of the green land, and God beholdeth all.
And this is girdled with a round fair wall
Made of red stone and cool with heavy leaves
Grown out against it, and green blossom cleaves
To the green chinks, and lesser wall-weed sweet,
Kissing the crannies that are split with heat,
And branches where the summer draws to head.

And Theophile burnt in the cheek, and said:
Yea, could one see it, this were marvellous.
I pray you, at your coming to this house,
Give me some leaf of all those tree-branches;
Seeing how so sharp and white our weather is,
There is no green nor gracious red to see.

Yea, sir, she said, that shall I certainly.
And from her long sweet throat without a fleck
Undid the gold, and through her stretched-out neck
The cold axe clove, and smote away her head:
Out of her throat the tender blood full red
Fell suddenly through all her long soft hair.
And with good speed for hardness of the air
Each man departed to his house again.

Lo, as fair colour in the face of men
At seed-time of their blood, or in such wise
As a thing seen increaseth in men’s eyes,
Caught first far off by sickly fits of sight—
So a word said, if one shall hear aright,
Abides against the season of its growth.
This Theophile went slowly as one doth
That is not sure for sickness of his feet;
And counting the white stonework of the street,
Tears fell out of his eyes for wrath and love,
Making him weep more for the shame thereof
Than for true pain: so went he half a mile.
And women mocked him, saying: Theophile,
Lo, she is dead; what shall a woman have
That loveth such an one? so Christ me save,
I were as lief to love a man new-hung.
Surely this man has bitten on his tongue,
This makes him sad and writhled in his face.

And when they came upon the paven place
That was called sometime the place amorous
There came a child before Theophilus
Bearing a basket, and said suddenly:
Fair sir, this is my mistress Dorothy
That sends you gifts; and with this he was gone.
In all this earth there is not such an one
For colour and straight stature made so fair.
The tender growing gold of his pure hair
Was as wheat growing, and his mouth as flame.
God called him Holy after his own name;
With gold cloth like fire burning he was clad.
But for the fair green basket that he had,
It was filled up with heavy white and red;
Great roses stained still where the first rose bled,
Burning at heart for shame their heart withholds:
And the sad colour of strong marigolds
That have the sun to kiss their lips for love;
The flower that Venus’ hair is woven of,
The colour of fair apples in the sun,
Late peaches gathered when the heat was done
And the slain air got breath; and after these
The fair faint-headed poppies drunk with ease,
And heaviness of hollow lilies red.

Then cried they all that saw these things, and said
It was God’s doing, and was marvellous.
And in brief while this knight Theophilus
Is waxen full of faith, and witnesseth
Before the king of God and love and death,
For which the king bade hang him presently.
A gallows of a goodly piece of tree
This Gabalus hath made to hang him on.
Forth of this world lo Theophile is gone
With a wried neck, God give us better fare
Than his that hath a twisted throat to wear;
But truly for his love God hath him brought
There where his heavy body grieves him nought
Nor all the people plucking at his feet;
But in his face his lady’s face is sweet,
And through his lips her kissing lips are gone:
God send him peace, and joy of such an one.

This is the story of St. Dorothy.
I will you of your mercy pray for me
Because I wrote these sayings for your grace,
That I may one day see her in the face.

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The Princess (part 2)

At break of day the College Portress came:
She brought us Academic silks, in hue
The lilac, with a silken hood to each,
And zoned with gold; and now when these were on,
And we as rich as moths from dusk cocoons,
She, curtseying her obeisance, let us know
The Princess Ida waited: out we paced,
I first, and following through the porch that sang
All round with laurel, issued in a court
Compact of lucid marbles, bossed with lengths
Of classic frieze, with ample awnings gay
Betwixt the pillars, and with great urns of flowers.
The Muses and the Graces, grouped in threes,
Enringed a billowing fountain in the midst;
And here and there on lattice edges lay
Or book or lute; but hastily we past,
And up a flight of stairs into the hall.

There at a board by tome and paper sat,
With two tame leopards couched beside her throne,
All beauty compassed in a female form,
The Princess; liker to the inhabitant
Of some clear planet close upon the Sun,
Than our man's earth; such eyes were in her head,
And so much grace and power, breathing down
From over her arched brows, with every turn
Lived through her to the tips of her long hands,
And to her feet. She rose her height, and said:

'We give you welcome: not without redound
Of use and glory to yourselves ye come,
The first-fruits of the stranger: aftertime,
And that full voice which circles round the grave,
Will rank you nobly, mingled up with me.
What! are the ladies of your land so tall?'
'We of the court' said Cyril. 'From the court'
She answered, 'then ye know the Prince?' and he:
'The climax of his age! as though there were
One rose in all the world, your Highness that,
He worships your ideal:' she replied:
'We scarcely thought in our own hall to hear
This barren verbiage, current among men,
Light coin, the tinsel clink of compliment.
Your flight from out your bookless wilds would seem
As arguing love of knowledge and of power;
Your language proves you still the child. Indeed,
We dream not of him: when we set our hand
To this great work, we purposed with ourself
Never to wed. You likewise will do well,
Ladies, in entering here, to cast and fling
The tricks, which make us toys of men, that so,
Some future time, if so indeed you will,
You may with those self-styled our lords ally
Your fortunes, justlier balanced, scale with scale.'

At those high words, we conscious of ourselves,
Perused the matting: then an officer
Rose up, and read the statutes, such as these:
Not for three years to correspond with home;
Not for three years to cross the liberties;
Not for three years to speak with any men;
And many more, which hastily subscribed,
We entered on the boards: and 'Now,' she cried,
'Ye are green wood, see ye warp not. Look, our hall!
Our statues!--not of those that men desire,
Sleek Odalisques, or oracles of mode,
Nor stunted squaws of West or East; but she
That taught the Sabine how to rule, and she
The foundress of the Babylonian wall,
The Carian Artemisia strong in war,
The Rhodope, that built the pyramid,
Clelia, Cornelia, with the Palmyrene
That fought Aurelian, and the Roman brows
Of Agrippina. Dwell with these, and lose
Convention, since to look on noble forms
Makes noble through the sensuous organism
That which is higher. O lift your natures up:
Embrace our aims: work out your freedom. Girls,
Knowledge is now no more a fountain sealed:
Drink deep, until the habits of the slave,
The sins of emptiness, gossip and spite
And slander, die. Better not be at all
Than not be noble. Leave us: you may go:
Today the Lady Psyche will harangue
The fresh arrivals of the week before;
For they press in from all the provinces,
And fill the hive.'
She spoke, and bowing waved
Dismissal: back again we crost the court
To Lady Psyche's: as we entered in,
There sat along the forms, like morning doves
That sun their milky bosoms on the thatch,
A patient range of pupils; she herself
Erect behind a desk of satin-wood,
A quick brunette, well-moulded, falcon-eyed,
And on the hither side, or so she looked,
Of twenty summers. At her left, a child,
In shining draperies, headed like a star,
Her maiden babe, a double April old,
Aglaïa slept. We sat: the Lady glanced:
Then Florian, but not livelier than the dame
That whispered 'Asses' ears', among the sedge,
'My sister.' 'Comely, too, by all that's fair,'
Said Cyril. 'Oh hush, hush!' and she began.

'This world was once a fluid haze of light,
Till toward the centre set the starry tides,
And eddied into suns, that wheeling cast
The planets: then the monster, then the man;
Tattooed or woaded, winter-clad in skins,
Raw from the prime, and crushing down his mate;
As yet we find in barbarous isles, and here
Among the lowest.'
Thereupon she took
A bird's-eye-view of all the ungracious past;
Glanced at the legendary Amazon
As emblematic of a nobler age;
Appraised the Lycian custom, spoke of those
That lay at wine with Lar and Lucumo;
Ran down the Persian, Grecian, Roman lines
Of empire, and the woman's state in each,
How far from just; till warming with her theme
She fulmined out her scorn of laws Salique
And little-footed China, touched on Mahomet
With much contempt, and came to chivalry:
When some respect, however slight, was paid
To woman, superstition all awry:
However then commenced the dawn: a beam
Had slanted forward, falling in a land
Of promise; fruit would follow. Deep, indeed,
Their debt of thanks to her who first had dared
To leap the rotten pales of prejudice,
Disyoke their necks from custom, and assert
None lordlier than themselves but that which made
Woman and man. She had founded; they must build.
Here might they learn whatever men were taught:
Let them not fear: some said their heads were less:
Some men's were small; not they the least of men;
For often fineness compensated size:
Besides the brain was like the hand, and grew
With using; thence the man's, if more was more;
He took advantage of his strength to be
First in the field: some ages had been lost;
But woman ripened earlier, and her life
Was longer; and albeit their glorious names
Were fewer, scattered stars, yet since in truth
The highest is the measure of the man,
And not the Kaffir, Hottentot, Malay,
Nor those horn-handed breakers of the glebe,
But Homer, Plato, Verulam; even so
With woman: and in arts of government
Elizabeth and others; arts of war
The peasant Joan and others; arts of grace
Sappho and others vied with any man:
And, last not least, she who had left her place,
And bowed her state to them, that they might grow
To use and power on this Oasis, lapt
In the arms of leisure, sacred from the blight
Of ancient influence and scorn.
At last
She rose upon a wind of prophecy
Dilating on the future; 'everywhere
Who heads in council, two beside the hearth,
Two in the tangled business of the world,
Two in the liberal offices of life,
Two plummets dropt for one to sound the abyss
Of science, and the secrets of the mind:
Musician, painter, sculptor, critic, more:
And everywhere the broad and bounteous Earth
Should bear a double growth of those rare souls,
Poets, whose thoughts enrich the blood of the world.'

She ended here, and beckoned us: the rest
Parted; and, glowing full-faced welcome, she
Began to address us, and was moving on
In gratulation, till as when a boat
Tacks, and the slackened sail flaps, all her voice
Faltering and fluttering in her throat, she cried
'My brother!' 'Well, my sister.' 'O,' she said,
'What do you here? and in this dress? and these?
Why who are these? a wolf within the fold!
A pack of wolves! the Lord be gracious to me!
A plot, a plot, a plot to ruin all!'
'No plot, no plot,' he answered. 'Wretched boy,
How saw you not the inscription on the gate,
LET NO MAN ENTER IN ON PAIN OF DEATH?'
'And if I had,' he answered, 'who could think
The softer Adams of your Academe,
O sister, Sirens though they be, were such
As chanted on the blanching bones of men?'
'But you will find it otherwise' she said.
'You jest: ill jesting with edge-tools! my vow
Binds me to speak, and O that iron will,
That axelike edge unturnable, our Head,
The Princess.' 'Well then, Psyche, take my life,
And nail me like a weasel on a grange
For warning: bury me beside the gate,
And cut this epitaph above my bones;
~Here lies a brother by a sister slain,
All for the common good of womankind.~'
'Let me die too,' said Cyril, 'having seen
And heard the Lady Psyche.'
I struck in:
'Albeit so masked, Madam, I love the truth;
Receive it; and in me behold the Prince
Your countryman, affianced years ago
To the Lady Ida: here, for here she was,
And thus (what other way was left) I came.'
'O Sir, O Prince, I have no country; none;
If any, this; but none. Whate'er I was
Disrooted, what I am is grafted here.
Affianced, Sir? love-whispers may not breathe
Within this vestal limit, and how should I,
Who am not mine, say, live: the thunderbolt
Hangs silent; but prepare: I speak; it falls.'
'Yet pause,' I said: 'for that inscription there,
I think no more of deadly lurks therein,
Than in a clapper clapping in a garth,
To scare the fowl from fruit: if more there be,
If more and acted on, what follows? war;
Your own work marred: for this your Academe,
Whichever side be Victor, in the halloo
Will topple to the trumpet down, and pass
With all fair theories only made to gild
A stormless summer.' 'Let the Princess judge
Of that' she said: 'farewell, Sir--and to you.
I shudder at the sequel, but I go.'

'Are you that Lady Psyche,' I rejoined,
'The fifth in line from that old Florian,
Yet hangs his portrait in my father's hall
(The gaunt old Baron with his beetle brow
Sun-shaded in the heat of dusty fights)
As he bestrode my Grandsire, when he fell,
And all else fled? we point to it, and we say,
The loyal warmth of Florian is not cold,
But branches current yet in kindred veins.'
'Are you that Psyche,' Florian added; 'she
With whom I sang about the morning hills,
Flung ball, flew kite, and raced the purple fly,
And snared the squirrel of the glen? are you
That Psyche, wont to bind my throbbing brow,
To smoothe my pillow, mix the foaming draught
Of fever, tell me pleasant tales, and read
My sickness down to happy dreams? are you
That brother-sister Psyche, both in one?
You were that Psyche, but what are you now?'
'You are that Psyche,' said Cyril, 'for whom
I would be that for ever which I seem,
Woman, if I might sit beside your feet,
And glean your scattered sapience.'
Then once more,
'Are you that Lady Psyche,' I began,
'That on her bridal morn before she past
From all her old companions, when the kind
Kissed her pale cheek, declared that ancient ties
Would still be dear beyond the southern hills;
That were there any of our people there
In want or peril, there was one to hear
And help them? look! for such are these and I.'
'Are you that Psyche,' Florian asked, 'to whom,
In gentler days, your arrow-wounded fawn
Came flying while you sat beside the well?
The creature laid his muzzle on your lap,
And sobbed, and you sobbed with it, and the blood
Was sprinkled on your kirtle, and you wept.
That was fawn's blood, not brother's, yet you wept.
O by the bright head of my little niece,
You were that Psyche, and what are you now?'
'You are that Psyche,' Cyril said again,
'The mother of the sweetest little maid,
That ever crowed for kisses.'
'Out upon it!'
She answered, 'peace! and why should I not play
The Spartan Mother with emotion, be
The Lucius Junius Brutus of my kind?
Him you call great: he for the common weal,
The fading politics of mortal Rome,
As I might slay this child, if good need were,
Slew both his sons: and I, shall I, on whom
The secular emancipation turns
Of half this world, be swerved from right to save
A prince, a brother? a little will I yield.
Best so, perchance, for us, and well for you.
O hard, when love and duty clash! I fear
My conscience will not count me fleckless; yet--
Hear my conditions: promise (otherwise
You perish) as you came, to slip away
Today, tomorrow, soon: it shall be said,
These women were too barbarous, would not learn;
They fled, who might have shamed us: promise, all.'

What could we else, we promised each; and she,
Like some wild creature newly-caged, commenced
A to-and-fro, so pacing till she paused
By Florian; holding out her lily arms
Took both his hands, and smiling faintly said:
'I knew you at the first: though you have grown
You scarce have altered: I am sad and glad
To see you, Florian. ~I~ give thee to death
My brother! it was duty spoke, not I.
My needful seeming harshness, pardon it.
Our mother, is she well?'
With that she kissed
His forehead, then, a moment after, clung
About him, and betwixt them blossomed up
From out a common vein of memory
Sweet household talk, and phrases of the hearth,
And far allusion, till the gracious dews
Began to glisten and to fall: and while
They stood, so rapt, we gazing, came a voice,
'I brought a message here from Lady Blanche.'
Back started she, and turning round we saw
The Lady Blanche's daughter where she stood,
Melissa, with her hand upon the lock,
A rosy blonde, and in a college gown,
That clad her like an April daffodilly
(Her mother's colour) with her lips apart,
And all her thoughts as fair within her eyes,
As bottom agates seen to wave and float
In crystal currents of clear morning seas.

So stood that same fair creature at the door.
Then Lady Psyche, 'Ah--Melissa--you!
You heard us?' and Melissa, 'O pardon me
I heard, I could not help it, did not wish:
But, dearest Lady, pray you fear me not,
Nor think I bear that heart within my breast,
To give three gallant gentlemen to death.'
'I trust you,' said the other, 'for we two
Were always friends, none closer, elm and vine:
But yet your mother's jealous temperament--
Let not your prudence, dearest, drowse, or prove
The Danaïd of a leaky vase, for fear
This whole foundation ruin, and I lose
My honour, these their lives.' 'Ah, fear me not'
Replied Melissa; 'no--I would not tell,
No, not for all Aspasia's cleverness,
No, not to answer, Madam, all those hard things
That Sheba came to ask of Solomon.'
'Be it so' the other, 'that we still may lead
The new light up, and culminate in peace,
For Solomon may come to Sheba yet.'
Said Cyril, 'Madam, he the wisest man
Feasted the woman wisest then, in halls
Of Lebanonian cedar: nor should you
(Though, Madam, ~you~ should answer, ~we~ would ask)
Less welcome find among us, if you came
Among us, debtors for our lives to you,
Myself for something more.' He said not what,
But 'Thanks,' she answered 'Go: we have been too long
Together: keep your hoods about the face;
They do so that affect abstraction here.
Speak little; mix not with the rest; and hold
Your promise: all, I trust, may yet be well.'

We turned to go, but Cyril took the child,
And held her round the knees against his waist,
And blew the swollen cheek of a trumpeter,
While Psyche watched them, smiling, and the child
Pushed her flat hand against his face and laughed;
And thus our conference closed.
And then we strolled
For half the day through stately theatres
Benched crescent-wise. In each we sat, we heard
The grave Professor. On the lecture slate
The circle rounded under female hands
With flawless demonstration: followed then
A classic lecture, rich in sentiment,
With scraps of thunderous Epic lilted out
By violet-hooded Doctors, elegies
And quoted odes, and jewels five-words-long
That on the stretched forefinger of all Time
Sparkle for ever: then we dipt in all
That treats of whatsoever is, the state,
The total chronicles of man, the mind,
The morals, something of the frame, the rock,
The star, the bird, the fish, the shell, the flower,
Electric, chemic laws, and all the rest,
And whatsoever can be taught and known;
Till like three horses that have broken fence,
And glutted all night long breast-deep in corn,
We issued gorged with knowledge, and I spoke:
'Why, Sirs, they do all this as well as we.'
'They hunt old trails' said Cyril 'very well;
But when did woman ever yet invent?'
'Ungracious!' answered Florian; 'have you learnt
No more from Psyche's lecture, you that talked
The trash that made me sick, and almost sad?'
'O trash' he said, 'but with a kernel in it.
Should I not call her wise, who made me wise?
And learnt? I learnt more from her in a flash,
Than in my brainpan were an empty hull,
And every Muse tumbled a science in.
A thousand hearts lie fallow in these halls,
And round these halls a thousand baby loves
Fly twanging headless arrows at the hearts,
Whence follows many a vacant pang; but O
With me, Sir, entered in the bigger boy,
The Head of all the golden-shafted firm,
The long-limbed lad that had a Psyche too;
He cleft me through the stomacher; and now
What think you of it, Florian? do I chase
The substance or the shadow? will it hold?
I have no sorcerer's malison on me,
No ghostly hauntings like his Highness. I
Flatter myself that always everywhere
I know the substance when I see it. Well,
Are castles shadows? Three of them? Is she
The sweet proprietress a shadow? If not,
Shall those three castles patch my tattered coat?
For dear are those three castles to my wants,
And dear is sister Psyche to my heart,
And two dear things are one of double worth,
And much I might have said, but that my zone
Unmanned me: then the Doctors! O to hear
The Doctors! O to watch the thirsty plants
Imbibing! once or twice I thought to roar,
To break my chain, to shake my mane: but thou,
Modulate me, Soul of mincing mimicry!
Make liquid treble of that bassoon, my throat;
Abase those eyes that ever loved to meet
Star-sisters answering under crescent brows;
Abate the stride, which speaks of man, and loose
A flying charm of blushes o'er this cheek,
Where they like swallows coming out of time
Will wonder why they came: but hark the bell
For dinner, let us go!'
And in we streamed
Among the columns, pacing staid and still
By twos and threes, till all from end to end
With beauties every shade of brown and fair
In colours gayer than the morning mist,
The long hall glittered like a bed of flowers.
How might a man not wander from his wits
Pierced through with eyes, but that I kept mine own
Intent on her, who rapt in glorious dreams,
The second-sight of some Astræan age,
Sat compassed with professors: they, the while,
Discussed a doubt and tost it to and fro:
A clamour thickened, mixt with inmost terms
Of art and science: Lady Blanche alone
Of faded form and haughtiest lineaments,
With all her autumn tresses falsely brown,
Shot sidelong daggers at us, a tiger-cat
In act to spring.
At last a solemn grace
Concluded, and we sought the gardens: there
One walked reciting by herself, and one
In this hand held a volume as to read,
And smoothed a petted peacock down with that:
Some to a low song oared a shallop by,
Or under arches of the marble bridge
Hung, shadowed from the heat: some hid and sought
In the orange thickets: others tost a ball
Above the fountain-jets, and back again
With laughter: others lay about the lawns,
Of the older sort, and murmured that their May
Was passing: what was learning unto them?
They wished to marry; they could rule a house;
Men hated learned women: but we three
Sat muffled like the Fates; and often came
Melissa hitting all we saw with shafts
Of gentle satire, kin to charity,
That harmed not: then day droopt; the chapel bells
Called us: we left the walks; we mixt with those
Six hundred maidens clad in purest white,
Before two streams of light from wall to wall,
While the great organ almost burst his pipes,
Groaning for power, and rolling through the court
A long melodious thunder to the sound
Of solemn psalms, and silver litanies,
The work of Ida, to call down from Heaven
A blessing on her labours for the world.


Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother's breast,
Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west
Under the silver moon:
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.

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The Pillage Hangman - Parody LONGFELLOW - The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The Smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can
And looks the whole world in the face
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming furge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church
and sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach.
He hears his daughter's voice
singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling, -rejoicing, -sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought!

Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW
___________________
The Pillage Hangman

Under the heading ‘Sentence Just’
the spreading news informed
the sceptics, partisans, non plussed,
that past are Desert Storms
as dust to dust returns – which warmed
hearts though Bagdad’s gone bust.

Fair trial spun to election eve
fell on deaf ears for most, -
who fooled was, and who would deceive,
writ up by Fox, Times, Post.
Will Sauron Saddam’s idle boast
lie still with few to grieve?

Two lawyers for defence before
their leader met their fate,
but Justice, blind, the clothing tore
from strangers at the gate –
No mercy to anticipate -
- the same make, break the law.

Under a leafless green zone tree
the curdled hangman stands
the Kurd, a narrow man is he,
with Halliburton hands;
his captive's Chaineyed iron bands,
prey oily policy.

Five times a day, on Friday, pray,
lost leader homes destroyed,
his motto - ‘bag a dad a day’ -
he honestly enjoyed.
The next in line – he who employed
our hangman of today?

It sounds to him his mother's voice,
singing in Paradise
inspires jihad - the gravest choice
is spurred by need for rice, -
no tears, don’t think about it twice -
crossed keyword calls … rejoice!

The gibbet like the tree itself
was built from root to crown
by contract – golden handshake pelf
for 'count…Tree' Root and Brown.
Soon both unChaineyed tumbling down
will fall from well oiled shelf.

The Bushy hair once crisp, and black,
turns grey, his Texas tan,
his brow, flow wet with nervous sweat,
he steals whate’er he can.
All bet his life span also ran -
regrets may clan beget.

Though Florida's election tags
nudged Bush ahead, his lies
came home to roost in body bags -
eight thousand sightless eyes -
no Gore, yet gore, rags, mo[u]rning cries!
the irony: time lags.

Weak kneed, needs strong, from morn till night,
one hears from minaret
the call resound, unsound ‘tis found
on Sunni days and wet.
I RACK, I RAN - the scene is set
last watch will be unwound.

Under a spreading dark chador
wild women come and go,
in sable robe all set their store
while wailings overflow
from deep despair and worldly care
with fresh, sectarian gore.

Some children coming home from school
looked on sad, damnèd beard,
the burning Bush tries keeping cool
as army highly geared
prepares partitionned future feared
Kurd, Sunni, Shia ghoul.

Some kids, from segregated school,
in hate stared, some in awe,
some spat, some sat a'wilting, drooled,
while others cried for more
Democracy – which means restore
the Sharia harsh and cruel.

Some dream of mortars falling nigh,
some hear the cannon roar,
some catch the burning sparks that fly
from mass destruction’s maw,
some - scattered chaff from threshing floor -
lie silent, others cry.

Some dream of martyrdom enshrined,
not candle, book, and bell,
where blind shall never lead the blind
where crosses signal hell,
where all bid Blair, Brown, Bush farewell
with ninety lashes signed.

Toiling, rejoicing, - sorrowing,
onward through life each goes;
Each morning sees sore borrowing
each evening, ‘seize, foreclose! ’
One wonders what earns night’s repose
with hangman’s turn to swing?

Under the spotlit mobile phone
both shame and blame were found,
with insults hurled in taunting tone
before he hit the ground.
Excuses lame all must bemoan
sound judgement proves unsound.

Thanks, thanks to you, true dangling friend
for the lesson you have taught
as at life’s flaming forge you bend
the noose where mortals, caught,
see fortunes fall whose rise they thought
would time and tide transcend.

As time and rhyme spin on we see
elections drawing near,
some turn towards posterity
campaigns all out of gear,
all ask what judgement hangs next year
no Hillary set free.

Though Surge pushed back Bush judgement day
it cannot stem Fate's tide,
'divide and rule' - Time's fool in play -
will end to coincide
with Oil major's cash margins wide,
Lebanese disarray.

There is no U.S. army left
to flush from Myanmar
the Junta of ethics bereft,
to China's rising star
too hitched, which rescue teams would bar,
fork tongue and palate cleft,

While oil nears U.S. dollars four
a gallon many feel
a pinch which cuts them to the core,
foreclosing options steel.
Spin pent_a_gon[e] would lies conceal
but most blame D.C. more.

From running water fresh deprived
Iraqis struggle on
as some are tortured, others knived,
as those in Washington
impeachement fear, chicks roost return,
J.A.G's duly tried.

Guantanamo and Ghraib have led
Habeus Corpus suspended,
while Clinton dreams of White House bed
phone rings at 3 - dream ended
by superdelegates suspended
on Barack's lips ahead.

It's back to barracks! Clinton, Bush,
by history entombed,
yet outlook's poor, - no future cush -
for victory assumed
turns turtle, global warming [g]loomed
can greet no winning push.

Christ, Moslem, Jew, three creeds descend
which civil war’s strung taut,
no longer arab, kurd, may blend
as populace distraught
finds hammer, anvil, to book brought, -
like rhyme drawn to due end.

© Jonathan Robin Parody written 10 November 2006 and 20 January 2007, revised and expanded 9 May 2008 for previous version see below followed by the original by Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW 1807_1882 The Village Blacksmith and other parodies

_____________________

The Pillage Hangman initial version

Under the heading ‘Sentence Just’
the spreading news informs
the sceptics, partisans, non plussed,
that past are Desert Storms
as dust to dust returns – which warms
hearts though Bagdad’s gone bust.

Fair trial spun to election eve
fell on deaf ears for most, -
who fooled was, and who would deceive,
writ up by Fox, Times, Post.
Will Sauron Saddam’s idle boast
lie still with few to grieve?

Two lawyers for defense before
their leader met there fate,
but Justice, blind, the clothing tore
from strangers at the gate –
No mercy we anticipate -
- the same make, break the law.

Under a leafless green zone tree
the curdled hangman stands
the Kurd, a narrow man is he,
with Halliburton hands;
his prisoner, bound in iron bands,
sways, prey of U.S. polity.

The gibbet like the tree itself
Is built from root to crown
by contract – golden handshake pelf
for count…tree Root and Brown.
Soon both unChaineyed tumbling down
will fall from well oiled shelf.

His hair is crisp, and black, and short,
his face is like the tan,
his brow flows wet with nervous sweat,
he steals whate’er he can.
All bet his life span also ran -
regrets may clan beget.

Weak kneed, needs strong, from morn till night,
one hears from minaret
the call resound, unsound ‘tis found
on Sunni days and wet.
I rack, I ran - the scene is set
as last watch is unwound.

Under a spreading dark chador
wild women come and go,
in sable robe all set their store
while wailings overflow
from deep despair and worldly care
with fresh, sectarian gore.

The children coming home from school
look on sad, damnèd beard,
the burning Bush tries keeping cool
as army highly geared
prepares partitionned future feared
Kurd, Sunni, Shiite ghoul.

Some children coming home from school
in hate stare, some in awe,
some spit, some wilt, some sit, some drool,
while others cry for more
Democracy – which means restore
the Sharia harsh and cruel.

Some dream of mortars falling nigh,
some hear the cannon roar,
some catch the burning sparks that fly
from mass destruction’s maw,
some scattered chaff from threshing floor
lie silent, others cry.

Some dream of martyrdom enshrined,
not candle, book, and bell,
where blind shall never lead the blind
where crosses signal hell,
where all bid Blair and Bush farewell
with ninety lashes signed.

Five times a day, on Friday, pray,
lost leader homes destroyed,
his motto - ‘bag a dad a day’ -
he honestly enjoyed.
The next in line – he who employed
our hangman of today?

It sounds to him his mother's voice,
singing in Paradise
inspires jihad - the gravest choice
is spurred by need for rice, -
no tears, don’t think about it twice -
the keyword shines … rejoice!

Toiling, rejoicing, - sorrowing,
onward through life each goes;
Each morning sees sore borrowing
each evening, ‘seize, foreclose! ’
One wonders what earns night’s repose
with hangman’s turn to swing?

Under the spotlit mobile phone
both shame and blame are found,
with insults hurled in taunting tone
before he hit the ground.
Excuses lame all must bemoan
sound judgement proves unsound.

Thanks, thanks to you, true dangling friend
for the lesson you have taught
as at life’s flaming forge you bend
the noose where mortals, caught,
see fortunes fall whose rise they thought
would time and tide transcend.

Christ, Moslem, Jew, three creeds descend
which civil war’s strung taut,
no longer arab, kurd, may blend
as populace distraught
finds hammer, anvil, to book brought, -
like rhyme drawn to due end.

© Jonathan Robin Parody written 10 November 2006 and 20 January 2007
Parody Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW 1807_1882 The Village Blacksmith

_________________

Die Walküre

Under a spreading forest tree
The house of Hunding stands:
The host a hasty man is he
And heavy with his hands;
It’s pretty horrible to be
Pursued by Hundings bands.

But this is Siegmund’s fate, who turns
Up at his very door;
For Hunding’s captive wife he yearns,
It’s mutual – furthermore,
Before the evening’s passed he learns
He’s met the girl before.

While hubby settles for the night,
Prepared at dawn to clash,
Sieglinde shows a sword stuck tight
Into the sheltering ash;
To pull it out is Siegmund’s right!
He does – and then they dash.

Meanwhile, above, domestic strife
Attends the gods’ debate,
For Wotan gave the pair their life
And longs to bless their fate;
But Fricka, Archetypal Wife,
Upholds the married state.

So winged Brünnhilde erst rehearsed
Young Siegmund’s life to save,
Is told: ‘Let Hunding do his worst!
His foe is in the grave.’
But rashly she prefers the first
Instructions Wotan gave …

Alas! His spear, with fatal force,
Shatters the ash-hewn sword;
This leaves pour Siegmund dead, of course,
And Poor Sieglinde floored;
But, hoisted on Brünnhilde’s horse,
To rally she’s implored.

For since the lovely girl’s in whelp,
To cheer her up is vital,
Brünnhilde’s sisters aren’t much help
(Valkyrie of the title) :
They merely rush around and yelp,
Awaiting crime’s requital.

Yes, poor Brünnhilde’s forced to pay
By her impassioned sire;
He will not take her life away
But lights an instant fire!
Inside its circle she must stay,
Asleep where non can spy’er.

Intruders won’t disturb her kip,
Unless Sieglinde’s son –
If brn – between the flames might slip …
She clearly sees the fun
Involved in this relationship –
A most peculiar one.

But what is it to us if aunts
Their nephew would embrace?
And anyway, as yet the chance
Is distant; slow the pace
Of unrelenting circumstance
That shadows Wotan’s race.

Mary HOLTBY Parody Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW – The Village Blacksmith and Die Walküre

_________________

The Village Boyhood

Beneath the village chestnut
The village boyhood stands
With bright and eager faces
And filthy knees and hands.

Their stones and sticks and faggots
They cast them heaven-high
To fall in various places
And wound the passers-by.

The prickly treasures tumble,
The shining spoils are shown,
And each one clouts his neighbour
And calls the prize his own.

They pierce the taken trophies
That have no lure for age,
And string them for the contests
That once I used to wage.

The battles I engaged in
I now shall fight no more,
I muse on other chestnuts
That fell from boughs of yore;

Till sinks the autumn twilight
And distant fields grow gray,
The fun, the filth, the fighting
Are over for the day;

Till sinks the autumn twilight
And lonely on the lea
And looking somewhat battered
Remains the unconkered tree.

Edmund Valpy KNOX 1881_1971
Parody Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW The Village Blacksmith
The Shopping Mall Dentist

Under the blinking fluorescent lights
The drunken Dentist weaves;
A drunken rube in rubber tights,
whose liquid lunch upheaves;
His grin is one of many fights
Left hollow by tavern thieves.

His hair recedes on balding head,
His face a weathered prune;
His brow protrudes like swollen dead,
He hasn't been paid since June;
He ducks his creditors with mounting dread,
He owes then all but the moon.

Day in day out from dawn till dusk,
you can hear his patients scream;
Like a wino wearing fermenting musk,
The nausea he creates is supreme;
And if you should see his one good tusk,
You'll hope that it's all a bad dream.

His techs crawling in from the window sill
They nosily peer in his room;
They love to see his sparking drill,
Where his patients await with gloom;
Like Joan Of Arc waiting to grill,
And Pompeii awaiting its doom.

He goes on Mondays to the track
And bets on ponies to show;
He hears the announcer suddenly hack,
The horses are ready to go! ”
Martini in hand the race off with a crack,
His horse wouldn’t run with a tow.

He’s lost everything but his boxer shorts
And ends up in jail on a frame;
He met one of his old drinking cohorts,
But couldn’t remember his name;
It turned out the guy was a pick pocket of sorts
who worked the crowd and fingered the dentist with blame.

Extracting – drilling - drinking,
Onward through patients he wailed;
Every morning without even thinking,
Some poor slob’s tongue he impaled;
When morale of his patients was sinking,
He'd gas them until they were nailed.

Thanks, but no thanks my hammered friend
For offering to slaughter my tooth;
Because at the spit bowl near the end,
I reckon I realize the truth;
You’re more concerned with Beefeater’s gin
With an olive and splash of vermouth!

Author Unknown Shy Lady Laurie 2001
Parody Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW – The Village Blacksmith

_____________
The Village Burglar

Under a spreading gooseberry bush the village burglar lies,
The burglar is a hairy man with whiskers round his eyes
And the muscles of his brawny arms keep off the little flies.

He goes on Sunday to the church to hear the Parson shout.
He puts a penny in the plate and takes a pound note out
And drops a conscience-stricken tear in case he is found out.

Parody UN known Author 0259 Longfellow The Village Blacksmith
___________

The Village Hangman

The hangman's tryst with dreaded death
Comes as an alarum clangs;
He finds law's business very grim -
The human's horrid pangs!
Date with eternity on a limb
Is set - thy sinner hangs!


BRODIE Richard Allen 1942_20xx Anagram Parody Longfellow The
Village Blacksmith

_____________

The Village Beauty

Under a spreading Gainsborough hat
The village beauty stands,
A maiden very fair to see,
With tiny feet and hands,
As stately, too, as if she owned
The squire’s house and lands.

Her hair is golden brown and long,
Her brow is like the snow,
Her cheeks are like the rosy flush
Left by the sunset’s glow,
She greets the lads with a careless look,
She’s the village belle, you know.

Week in, week out, at morn and night,
The young miller comes each day;
“’Tis the nearest way to town, ” he says,
But ‘tis rather out of his way,
And every night he seems to have
Plenty of time to stay.

And children, coming home from school,
Look in at the door and know
That the handsome fellow by her side
Is pretty Nellie’s beau,
Who can hardly tear himself away
When he finds its time to go.

He goes on Sundays to the Church,
And sits in his proper pew,
But his eyes wander off to the transept near,
Where he sees a charming view,
For Nellie sits there, in her Sunday best,
With her bonnet of palest blue.

He hears the parson pray and preach
With his outward ear alone,
For he only listens for Nellie’s voice,
And responds in a dreamy tone,
And when she smiles at the carpenter near,
He can’t suppress a groan.

Despairing, hoping, fearing,
Onward thro’ life he goes;
Each morning he sees Nellie,
And each evening, at its close;
She even haunts him sleeping,
And disturbs his night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught;
Thus at the flirting time of life
Our fortunes may be wrought,
So we cannot be too careful
Over every word and thought!

Author Unknown pseud L.P. The Dunheved Mirror Cornwall March 1880
Parody Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW The Village Blacksmith

_______________

The Splendid Bankrupt

BEING A HINT TO OUR LEGISLATORS AND A REMINDER TO THE OFFICIAL RECEIVER

Under its spreading bankruptcy
The village mansion stands;
Its lord, a mighty man is he,
With large, broad-acred lands;
And the laws that baulk his creditors
Are strong as iron bands.

His laugh is free and loud and long,
His dress is spick-and-span;
He pays no debt with honest sweat,
He keeps whate'er he can,
And stares the whole world in the face,
For he fears not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
Prince-like he runs the show;
And a round of social gaieties
Keeps things from getting slow
As the agent of his wife, of course,
His credit's never low.

His children, coming back from school,
Bless their progenitor,
Who's ruffling at the yearly rate
Of fifteen thou. or more,
Nor care they how his victims fly
To the workhouse open door.

He goes on Sunday to the church
With all whom he employs,
To hear the parson pray and preach,
Condemning stolen joys;
It falls like water off his back
His conscience ne'er annoys.

Scheming, promoting, squandering,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some ' deal ' begun,
Each evening sees it close;
Some coup attempted, some one ' done, '
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks, to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus in the busy City life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus does the Splendid Bankrupt thrive
While honest fools get nought!

Arthur A. SYKES

___________

The Village Idiot

Under the chewing chestnut mare
the village idiot stands.
(The idiot's height is normal, but
the horse is forty hands.
Its mass/ bone-section ratio
requires great iron bands

like splints in place along its legs,
so it stands beneath the strain.
Its brow is wet with equine sweat,
unless it may be rain.
It looks the whole world in the face.
It has a horse's brain.

Week in, week out, from morn till night
you can hear it puff and blow.
It has such trouble standing up
it cannot really go.
The locals, out of sympathy,
prefer to call it 'slow'.)

And children coming home from school
look in at the open door.
They see the idiot standing there
all bruised and hurt and sore,
for every time the mare moves foot
it kicks him to the floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
and sits among the boys.
He hears the parson rave and rant;
to him it is just noise.
He smiles as children pull his hair
and hit him with their toys.

It feels to him like his mother's hand
coming from Paradise!
He thinks of lying on the floor,
kicked as he tried to rise,
and how her hard rough hand would wipe
consciousness from his eyes.

Gazing - rejoicing - sorrowing,
onward through life he goes;
each morning sees some task begin,
like trying to count his toes;
a hopeless task when, to this day,
he cannot count his nose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
for bringing with such force
the lesson that the villagers
will hurt without remorse
one of their own with weaknesses,
but are kindly to a horse.

Parody UN known Author 0261
Parody Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW The Village Blacksmith
_______________

The Village Blacksmith as He Is

Under the spreading chestnut tree
The village blacksmith stands
The smith an awful cad is he
With very dirty hands
For keepers and the rural police
He doesn’t care a hang
He swears and fights, and whops his wife
Gets drunk whene’er he can
In point of fact, our village smith’s
A very awful man.

He goes on Sundays to the pub
With other festive boys
When drinking beer and goes of rum
His precious time employs
Till he gets drunk, and going home
He makes no end of noise
Then, with his poor half-starving wife
He in a passion flies
He pulls her by the hair, from off
The bed on which she lies
And kicks her round the room, and says
Bad things about her eyes.

Smoking, soaking, bullying
Onward through life he goes
Each morning sees a blackened eye
Or else a broken nose
I fear that within the County Goal
Calcraft* his life will close
Thanks, thanks to thee, thou black blacksmith
For the lessons thou hast taught
By Calcraft, or his deputy
I never will be caught
And to that end I’ll never do
The thing I hadn’t ought.

* Calcraft was the official executioner from 1829 to 1879
pseud Figaro Programme 5 February 1873
Parody Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW The Village Blacksmith
______________

Potted Poems Longfellow

My name is Norval. On the Grampian hills
The village smithy stands;
His breast is bare, his matted hair
Was wrecked on the pitiless Goodwin sands,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild, Wilhelmine.

Author Unknown 0168
Parody Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW – The Village Blacksmith
and Parody William WORDSWORTH

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Homer

The Odyssey: Book 19

Ulysses was left in the cloister, pondering on the means whereby
with Minerva's help he might be able to kill the suitors. Presently he
said to Telemachus, "Telemachus, we must get the armour together and
take it down inside. Make some excuse when the suitors ask you why you
have removed it. Say that you have taken it to be out of the way of
the smoke, inasmuch as it is no longer what it was when Ulysses went
away, but has become soiled and begrimed with soot. Add to this more
particularly that you are afraid Jove may set them on to quarrel
over their wine, and that they may do each other some harm which may
disgrace both banquet and wooing, for the sight of arms sometimes
tempts people to use them."
Telemachus approved of what his father had said, so he called
nurse Euryclea and said, "Nurse, shut the women up in their room,
while I take the armour that my father left behind him down into the
store room. No one looks after it now my father is gone, and it has
got all smirched with soot during my own boyhood. I want to take it
down where the smoke cannot reach it."
"I wish, child," answered Euryclea, "that you would take the
management of the house into your own hands altogether, and look after
all the property yourself. But who is to go with you and light you
to the store room? The maids would have so, but you would not let
them.
"The stranger," said Telemachus, "shall show me a light; when people
eat my bread they must earn it, no matter where they come from."
Euryclea did as she was told, and bolted the women inside their
room. Then Ulysses and his son made all haste to take the helmets,
shields, and spears inside; and Minerva went before them with a gold
lamp in her hand that shed a soft and brilliant radiance, whereon
Telemachus said, "Father, my eyes behold a great marvel: the walls,
with the rafters, crossbeams, and the supports on which they rest
are all aglow as with a flaming fire. Surely there is some god here
who has come down from heaven."
"Hush," answered Ulysses, "hold your peace and ask no questions, for
this is the manner of the gods. Get you to your bed, and leave me here
to talk with your mother and the maids. Your mother in her grief
will ask me all sorts of questions."
On this Telemachus went by torch-light to the other side of the
inner court, to the room in which he always slept. There he lay in his
bed till morning, while Ulysses was left in the cloister pondering
on the means whereby with Minerva's help he might be able to kill
the suitors.
Then Penelope came down from her room looking like Venus or Diana,
and they set her a seat inlaid with scrolls of silver and ivory near
the fire in her accustomed place. It had been made by Icmalius and had
a footstool all in one piece with the seat itself; and it was
covered with a thick fleece: on this she now sat, and the maids came
from the women's room to join her. They set about removing the
tables at which the wicked suitors had been dining, and took away
the bread that was left, with the cups from which they had drunk. They
emptied the embers out of the braziers, and heaped much wood upon them
to give both light and heat; but Melantho began to rail at Ulysses a
second time and said, "Stranger, do you mean to plague us by hanging
about the house all night and spying upon the women? Be off, you
wretch, outside, and eat your supper there, or you shall be driven out
with a firebrand."
Ulysses scowled at her and answered, "My good woman, why should
you be so angry with me? Is it because I am not clean, and my
clothes are all in rags, and because I am obliged to go begging
about after the manner of tramps and beggars generall? I too was a
rich man once, and had a fine house of my own; in those days I gave to
many a tramp such as I now am, no matter who he might be nor what he
wanted. I had any number of servants, and all the other things which
people have who live well and are accounted wealthy, but it pleased
Jove to take all away from me; therefore, woman, beware lest you too
come to lose that pride and place in which you now wanton above your
fellows; have a care lest you get out of favour with your mistress,
and lest Ulysses should come home, for there is still a chance that he
may do so. Moreover, though he be dead as you think he is, yet by
Apollo's will he has left a son behind him, Telemachus, who will
note anything done amiss by the maids in the house, for he is now no
longer in his boyhood."
Penelope heard what he was saying and scolded the maid, "Impudent
baggage, said she, "I see how abominably you are behaving, and you
shall smart for it. You knew perfectly well, for I told you myself,
that I was going to see the stranger and ask him about my husband, for
whose sake I am in such continual sorrow."
Then she said to her head waiting woman Eurynome, "Bring a seat with
a fleece upon it, for the stranger to sit upon while he tells his
story, and listens to what I have to say. I wish to ask him some
questions."
Eurynome brought the seat at once and set a fleece upon it, and as
soon as Ulysses had sat down Penelope began by saying, "Stranger, I
shall first ask you who and whence are you? Tell me of your town and
parents."
"Madam;" answered Ulysses, "who on the face of the whole earth can
dare to chide with you? Your fame reaches the firmament of heaven
itself; you are like some blameless king, who upholds righteousness,
as the monarch over a great and valiant nation: the earth yields its
wheat and barley, the trees are loaded with fruit, the ewes bring
forth lambs, and the sea abounds with fish by reason of his virtues,
and his people do good deeds under him. Nevertheless, as I sit here in
your house, ask me some other question and do not seek to know my race
and family, or you will recall memories that will yet more increase my
sorrow. I am full of heaviness, but I ought not to sit weeping and
wailing in another person's house, nor is it well to be thus
grieving continually. I shall have one of the servants or even
yourself complaining of me, and saying that my eyes swim with tears
because I am heavy with wine."
Then Penelope answered, "Stranger, heaven robbed me of all beauty,
whether of face or figure, when the Argives set sail for Troy and my
dear husband with them. If he were to return and look after my affairs
I should be both more respected and should show a better presence to
the world. As it is, I am oppressed with care, and with the
afflictions which heaven has seen fit to heap upon me. The chiefs from
all our islands- Dulichium, Same, and Zacynthus, as also from Ithaca
itself, are wooing me against my will and are wasting my estate. I can
therefore show no attention to strangers, nor suppliants, nor to
people who say that they are skilled artisans, but am all the time
brokenhearted about Ulysses. They want me to marry again at once,
and I have to invent stratagems in order to deceive them. In the first
place heaven put it in my mind to set up a great tambour-frame in my
room, and to begin working upon an enormous piece of fine
needlework. Then I said to them, 'Sweethearts, Ulysses is indeed dead,
still, do not press me to marry again immediately; wait- for I would
not have my skill in needlework perish unrecorded- till I have
finished making a pall for the hero Laertes, to be ready against the
time when death shall take him. He is very rich, and the women of
the place will talk if he is laid out without a pall.' This was what I
said, and they assented; whereon I used to keep working at my great
web all day long, but at night I would unpick the stitches again by
torch light. I fooled them in this way for three years without their
finding it out, but as time wore on and I was now in my fourth year,
in the waning of moons, and many days had been accomplished, those
good-for-nothing hussies my maids betrayed me to the suitors, who
broke in upon me and caught me; they were very angry with me, so I was
forced to finish my work whether I would or no. And now I do not see
how I can find any further shift for getting out of this marriage.
My parents are putting great pressure upon me, and my son chafes at
the ravages the suitors are making upon his estate, for he is now
old enough to understand all about it and is perfectly able to look
after his own affairs, for heaven has blessed him with an excellent
disposition. Still, notwithstanding all this, tell me who you are
and where you come from- for you must have had father and mother of
some sort; you cannot be the son of an oak or of a rock."
Then Ulysses answered, "madam, wife of Ulysses, since you persist in
asking me about my family, I will answer, no matter what it costs
me: people must expect to be pained when they have been exiles as long
as I have, and suffered as much among as many peoples. Nevertheless,
as regards your question I will tell you all you ask. There is a
fair and fruitful island in mid-ocean called Crete; it is thickly
peopled and there are nine cities in it: the people speak many
different languages which overlap one another, for there are Achaeans,
brave Eteocretans, Dorians of three-fold race, and noble Pelasgi.
There is a great town there, Cnossus, where Minos reigned who every
nine years had a conference with Jove himself. Minos was father to
Deucalion, whose son I am, for Deucalion had two sons Idomeneus and
myself. Idomeneus sailed for Troy, and I, who am the younger, am
called Aethon; my brother, however, was at once the older and the more
valiant of the two; hence it was in Crete that I saw Ulysses and
showed him hospitality, for the winds took him there as he was on
his way to Troy, carrying him out of his course from cape Malea and
leaving him in Amnisus off the cave of Ilithuia, where the harbours
are difficult to enter and he could hardly find shelter from the winds
that were then xaging. As soon as he got there he went into the town
and asked for Idomeneus, claiming to be his old and valued friend, but
Idomeneus had already set sail for Troy some ten or twelve days
earlier, so I took him to my own house and showed him every kind of
hospitality, for I had abundance of everything. Moreover, I fed the
men who were with him with barley meal from the public store, and
got subscriptions of wine and oxen for them to sacrifice to their
heart's content. They stayed with me twelve days, for there was a gale
blowing from the North so strong that one could hardly keep one's feet
on land. I suppose some unfriendly god had raised it for them, but
on the thirteenth day the wind dropped, and they got away."
Many a plausible tale did Ulysses further tell her, and Penelope
wept as she listened, for her heart was melted. As the snow wastes
upon the mountain tops when the winds from South East and West have
breathed upon it and thawed it till the rivers run bank full with
water, even so did her cheeks overflow with tears for the husband
who was all the time sitting by her side. Ulysses felt for her and was
for her, but he kept his eyes as hard as or iron without letting
them so much as quiver, so cunningly did he restrain his tears.
Then, when she had relieved herself by weeping, she turned to him
again and said: "Now, stranger, I shall put you to the test and see
whether or no you really did entertain my husband and his men, as
you say you did. Tell me, then, how he was dressed, what kind of a man
he was to look at, and so also with his companions."
"Madam," answered Ulysses, "it is such a long time ago that I can
hardly say. Twenty years are come and gone since he left my home,
and went elsewhither; but I will tell you as well as I can
recollect. Ulysses wore a mantle of purple wool, double lined, and
it was fastened by a gold brooch with two catches for the pin. On
the face of this there was a device that showed a dog holding a
spotted fawn between his fore paws, and watching it as it lay
panting upon the ground. Every one marvelled at the way in which these
things had been done in gold, the dog looking at the fawn, and
strangling it, while the fawn was struggling convulsively to escape.
As for the shirt that he wore next his skin, it was so soft that it
fitted him like the skin of an onion, and glistened in the sunlight to
the admiration of all the women who beheld it. Furthermore I say,
and lay my saying to your heart, that I do not know whether Ulysses
wore these clothes when he left home, or whether one of his companions
had given them to him while he was on his voyage; or possibly some one
at whose house he was staying made him a present of them, for he was a
man of many friends and had few equals among the Achaeans. I myself
gave him a sword of bronze and a beautiful purple mantle, double
lined, with a shirt that went down to his feet, and I sent him on
board his ship with every mark of honour. He had a servant with him, a
little older than himself, and I can tell you what he was like; his
shoulders were hunched, he was dark, and he had thick curly hair.
His name was Eurybates, and Ulysses treated him with greater
familiarity than he did any of the others, as being the most
like-minded with himself."
Penelope was moved still more deeply as she heard the indisputable
proofs that Ulysses laid before her; and when she had again found
relief in tears she said to him, "Stranger, I was already disposed
to pity you, but henceforth you shall be honoured and made welcome
in my house. It was I who gave Ulysses the clothes you speak of. I
took them out of the store room and folded them up myself, and I
gave him also the gold brooch to wear as an ornament. Alas! I shall
never welcome him home again. It was by an ill fate that he ever set
out for that detested city whose very name I cannot bring myself
even to mention."
Then Ulysses answered, "Madam, wife of Ulysses, do not disfigure
yourself further by grieving thus bitterly for your loss, though I can
hardly blame you for doing so. A woman who has loved her husband and
borne him children, would naturally be grieved at losing him, even
though he were a worse man than Ulysses, who they say was like a
god. Still, cease your tears and listen to what I can tell I will hide
nothing from you, and can say with perfect truth that I have lately
heard of Ulysses as being alive and on his way home; he is among the
Thesprotians, and is bringing back much valuable treasure that he
has begged from one and another of them; but his ship and all his crew
were lost as they were leaving the Thrinacian island, for Jove and the
sun-god were angry with him because his men had slaughtered the
sun-god's cattle, and they were all drowned to a man. But Ulysses
stuck to the keel of the ship and was drifted on to the land of the
Phaecians, who are near of kin to the immortals, and who treated him
as though he had been a god, giving him many presents, and wishing
to escort him home safe and sound. In fact Ulysses would have been
here long ago, had he not thought better to go from land to land
gathering wealth; for there is no man living who is so wily as he
is; there is no one can compare with him. Pheidon king of the
Thesprotians told me all this, and he swore to me- making
drink-offerings in his house as he did so- that the ship was by the
water side and the crew found who would take Ulysses to his own
country. He sent me off first, for there happened to be a
Thesprotian ship sailing for the wheat-growing island of Dulichium,
but he showed me all treasure Ulysses had got together, and he had
enough lying in the house of king Pheidon to keep his family for ten
generations; but the king said Ulysses had gone to Dodona that he
might learn Jove's mind from the high oak tree, and know whether after
so long an absence he should return to Ithaca openly or in secret.
So you may know he is safe and will be here shortly; he is close at
hand and cannot remain away from home much longer; nevertheless I will
confirm my words with an oath, and call Jove who is the first and
mightiest of all gods to witness, as also that hearth of Ulysses to
which I have now come, that all I have spoken shall surely come to
pass. Ulysses will return in this self same year; with the end of this
moon and the beginning of the next he will be here."
"May it be even so," answered Penelope; "if your words come true you
shall have such gifts and such good will from me that all who see
you shall congratulate you; but I know very well how it will be.
Ulysses will not return, neither will you get your escort hence, for
so surely as that Ulysses ever was, there are now no longer any such
masters in the house as he was, to receive honourable strangers or
to further them on their way home. And now, you maids, wash his feet
for him, and make him a bed on a couch with rugs and blankets, that he
may be warm and quiet till morning. Then, at day break wash him and
anoint him again, that he may sit in the cloister and take his meals
with Telemachus. It shall be the worse for any one of these hateful
people who is uncivil to him; like it or not, he shall have no more to
do in this house. For how, sir, shall you be able to learn whether
or no I am superior to others of my sex both in goodness of heart
and understanding, if I let you dine in my cloisters squalid and ill
clad? Men live but for a little season; if they are hard, and deal
hardly, people wish them ill so long as they are alive, and speak
contemptuously of them when they are dead, but he that is righteous
and deals righteously, the people tell of his praise among all
lands, and many shall call him blessed."
Ulysses answered, "Madam, I have foresworn rugs and blankets from
the day that I left the snowy ranges of Crete to go on shipboard. I
will lie as I have lain on many a sleepless night hitherto. Night
after night have I passed in any rough sleeping place, and waited
for morning. Nor, again, do I like having my feet washed; I shall
not let any of the young hussies about your house touch my feet;
but, if you have any old and respectable woman who has gone through as
much trouble as I have, I will allow her to wash them."
To this Penelope said, "My dear sir, of all the guests who ever
yet came to my house there never was one who spoke in all things
with such admirable propriety as you do. There happens to be in the
house a most respectable old woman- the same who received my poor dear
husband in her arms the night he was born, and nursed him in
infancy. She is very feeble now, but she shall wash your feet."
"Come here," said she, "Euryclea, and wash your master's age-mate; I
suppose Ulysses' hands and feet are very much the same now as his are,
for trouble ages all of us dreadfully fast."
On these words the old woman covered her face with her hands; she
began to weep and made lamentation saying, "My dear child, I cannot
think whatever I am to do with you. I am certain no one was ever
more god-fearing than yourself, and yet Jove hates you. No one in
the whole world ever burned him more thigh bones, nor gave him finer
hecatombs when you prayed you might come to a green old age yourself
and see your son grow up to take after you; yet see how he has
prevented you alone from ever getting back to your own home. I have no
doubt the women in some foreign palace which Ulysses has got to are
gibing at him as all these sluts here have been gibing you. I do not
wonder at your not choosing to let them wash you after the manner in
which they have insulted you; I will wash your feet myself gladly
enough, as Penelope has said that I am to do so; I will wash them both
for Penelope's sake and for your own, for you have raised the most
lively feelings of compassion in my mind; and let me say this
moreover, which pray attend to; we have had all kinds of strangers
in distress come here before now, but I make bold to say that no one
ever yet came who was so like Ulysses in figure, voice, and feet as
you are."
"Those who have seen us both," answered Ulysses, "have always said
we were wonderfully like each other, and now you have noticed it too.
Then the old woman took the cauldron in which she was going to
wash his feet, and poured plenty of cold water into it, adding hot
till the bath was warm enough. Ulysses sat by the fire, but ere long
he turned away from the light, for it occurred to him that when the
old woman had hold of his leg she would recognize a certain scar which
it bore, whereon the whole truth would come out. And indeed as soon as
she began washing her master, she at once knew the scar as one that
had been given him by a wild boar when he was hunting on Mount
Parnassus with his excellent grandfather Autolycus- who was the most
accomplished thief and perjurer in the whole world- and with the
sons of Autolycus. Mercury himself had endowed him with this gift, for
he used to burn the thigh bones of goats and kids to him, so he took
pleasure in his companionship. It happened once that Autolycus had
gone to Ithaca and had found the child of his daughter just born. As
soon as he had done supper Euryclea set the infant upon his knees
and said, you must find a name for your grandson; you greatly wished
that you might have one."
'Son-in-law and daughter," replied Autolycus, "call the child
thus: I am highly displeased with a large number of people in one
place and another, both men and women; so name the child 'Ulysses,' or
the child of anger. When he grows up and comes to visit his mother's
family on Mount Parnassus, where my possessions lie, I will make him a
present and will send him on his way rejoicing."
Ulysses, therefore, went to Parnassus to get the presents from
Autolycus, who with his sons shook hands with him and gave him
welcome. His grandmother Amphithea threw her arms about him, and
kissed his head, and both his beautiful eyes, while Autolycus
desired his sons to get dinner ready, and they did as he told them.
They brought in a five year old bull, flayed it, made it ready and
divided it into joints; these they then cut carefully up into
smaller pieces and spitted them; they roasted them sufficiently and
served the portions round. Thus through the livelong day to the
going down of the sun they feasted, and every man had his full share
so that all were satisfied; but when the sun set and it came on
dark, they went to bed and enjoyed the boon of sleep.
When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, the sons of
Autolycus went out with their hounds hunting, and Ulysses went too.
They climbed the wooded slopes of Parnassus and soon reached its
breezy upland valleys; but as the sun was beginning to beat upon the
fields, fresh-risen from the slow still currents of Oceanus, they came
to a mountain dell. The dogs were in front searching for the tracks of
the beast they were chasing, and after them came the sons of
Autolycus, among whom was Ulysses, close behind the dogs, and he had a
long spear in his hand. Here was the lair of a huge boar among some
thick brushwood, so dense that the wind and rain could not get through
it, nor could the sun's rays pierce it, and the ground underneath
lay thick with fallen leaves. The boar heard the noise of the men's
feet, and the hounds baying on every side as the huntsmen came up to
him, so rushed from his lair, raised the bristles on his neck, and
stood at bay with fire flashing from his eyes. Ulysses was the first
to raise his spear and try to drive it into the brute, but the boar
was too quick for him, and charged him sideways, ripping him above the
knee with a gash that tore deep though it did not reach the bone. As
for the boar, Ulysses hit him on the right shoulder, and the point
of the spear went right through him, so that he fell groaning in the
dust until the life went out of him. The sons of Autolycus busied
themselves with the carcass of the boar, and bound Ulysses' wound;
then, after saying a spell to stop the bleeding, they went home as
fast as they could. But when Autolycus and his sons had thoroughly
healed Ulysses, they made him some splendid presents, and sent him
back to Ithaca with much mutual good will. When he got back, his
father and mother were rejoiced to see him, and asked him all about
it, and how he had hurt himself to get the scar; so he told them how
the boar had ripped him when he was out hunting with Autolycus and his
sons on Mount Parnassus.
As soon as Euryclea had got the scarred limb in her hands and had
well hold of it, she recognized it and dropped the foot at once. The
leg fell into the bath, which rang out and was overturned, so that all
the water was spilt on the ground; Euryclea's eyes between her joy and
her grief filled with tears, and she could not speak, but she caught
Ulysses by the beard and said, "My dear child, I am sure you must be
Ulysses himself, only I did not know you till I had actually touched
and handled you."
As she spoke she looked towards Penelope, as though wanting to
tell her that her dear husband was in the house, but Penelope was
unable to look in that direction and observe what was going on, for
Minerva had diverted her attention; so Ulysses caught Euryclea by
the throat with his right hand and with his left drew her close to
him, and said, "Nurse, do you wish to be the ruin of me, you who
nursed me at your own breast, now that after twenty years of wandering
I am at last come to my own home again? Since it has been borne in
upon you by heaven to recognize me, hold your tongue, and do not say a
word about it any one else in the house, for if you do I tell you- and
it shall surely be- that if heaven grants me to take the lives of
these suitors, I will not spare you, though you are my own nurse, when
I am killing the other women."
"My child," answered Euryclea, "what are you talking about? You know
very well that nothing can either bend or break me. I will hold my
tongue like a stone or a piece of iron; furthermore let me say, and
lay my saying to your heart, when heaven has delivered the suitors
into your hand, I will give you a list of the women in the house who
have been ill-behaved, and of those who are guiltless."
And Ulysses answered, "Nurse, you ought not to speak in that way;
I am well able to form my own opinion about one and all of them;
hold your tongue and leave everything to heaven."
As he said this Euryclea left the cloister to fetch some more water,
for the first had been all spilt; and when she had washed him and
anointed him with oil, Ulysses drew his seat nearer to the fire to
warm himself, and hid the scar under his rags. Then Penelope began
talking to him and said:
"Stranger, I should like to speak with you briefly about another
matter. It is indeed nearly bed time- for those, at least, who can
sleep in spite of sorrow. As for myself, heaven has given me a life of
such unmeasurable woe, that even by day when I am attending to my
duties and looking after the servants, I am still weeping and
lamenting during the whole time; then, when night comes, and we all of
us go to bed, I lie awake thinking, and my heart comes a prey to the
most incessant and cruel tortures. As the dun nightingale, daughter of
Pandareus, sings in the early spring from her seat in shadiest
covert hid, and with many a plaintive trill pours out the tale how
by mishap she killed her own child Itylus, son of king Zethus, even so
does my mind toss and turn in its uncertainty whether I ought to
stay with my son here, and safeguard my substance, my bondsmen, and
the greatness of my house, out of regard to public opinion and the
memory of my late husband, or whether it is not now time for me to
go with the best of these suitors who are wooing me and making me such
magnificent presents. As long as my son was still young, and unable to
understand, he would not hear of my leaving my husband's house, but
now that he is full grown he begs and prays me to do so, being
incensed at the way in which the suitors are eating up his property.
Listen, then, to a dream that I have had and interpret it for me if
you can. I have twenty geese about the house that eat mash out of a
trough, and of which I am exceedingly fond. I dreamed that a great
eagle came swooping down from a mountain, and dug his curved beak into
the neck of each of them till he had killed them all. Presently he
soared off into the sky, and left them lying dead about the yard;
whereon I wept in my room till all my maids gathered round me, so
piteously was I grieving because the eagle had killed my geese. Then
he came back again, and perching on a projecting rafter spoke to me
with human voice, and told me to leave off crying. 'Be of good
courage,' he said, 'daughter of Icarius; this is no dream, but a
vision of good omen that shall surely come to pass. The geese are
the suitors, and I am no longer an eagle, but your own husband, who am
come back to you, and who will bring these suitors to a disgraceful
end.' On this I woke, and when I looked out I saw my geese at the
trough eating their mash as usual."
"This dream, Madam," replied Ulysses, "can admit but of one
interpretation, for had not Ulysses himself told you how it shall be
fulfilled? The death of the suitors is portended, and not one single
one of them will escape."
And Penelope answered, "Stranger, dreams are very curious and
unaccountable things, and they do not by any means invariably come
true. There are two gates through which these unsubstantial fancies
proceed; the one is of horn, and the other ivory. Those that come
through the gate of ivory are fatuous, but those from the gate of horn
mean something to those that see them. I do not think, however, that
my own dream came through the gate of horn, though I and my son should
be most thankful if it proves to have done so. Furthermore I say-
and lay my saying to your heart- the coming dawn will usher in the
ill-omened day that is to sever me from the house of Ulysses, for I am
about to hold a tournament of axes. My husband used to set up twelve
axes in the court, one in front of the other, like the stays upon
which a ship is built; he would then go back from them and shoot an
arrow through the whole twelve. I shall make the suitors try to do the
same thing, and whichever of them can string the bow most easily,
and send his arrow through all the twelve axes, him will I follow, and
quit this house of my lawful husband, so goodly and so abounding in
wealth. But even so, I doubt not that I shall remember it in my
dreams."
Then Ulysses answered, "Madam wife of Ulysses, you need not defer
your tournament, for Ulysses will return ere ever they can string
the bow, handle it how they will, and send their arrows through the
iron."
To this Penelope said, "As long, sir, as you will sit here and
talk to me, I can have no desire to go to bed. Still, people cannot do
permanently without sleep, and heaven has appointed us dwellers on
earth a time for all things. I will therefore go upstairs and
recline upon that couch which I have never ceased to flood with my
tears from the day Ulysses set out for the city with a hateful name."
She then went upstairs to her own room, not alone, but attended by
her maidens, and when there, she lamented her dear husband till
Minerva shed sweet sleep over her eyelids.

poem by , translated by Samuel ButlerReport problemRelated quotes
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