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Do you ever sit down and wonder what is wrong with the world Do you ever ask yourself why it is that Christians seem to have so little influence, why they seem to achieve so little, for all their numbers, in putting the world right To each of those two questions there is ultimately but one answer. It is this we lack the mind of Christ.

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What's wrong with our world?

Why are people abused
Why are people shot
Why do people commit suicide
Why are people anorexic and bulimic
Why do people care more about money than family
Why do people call themselves fat or ugly
Why are kids kidnapped and killed
Why do people die
Why do people tell you they love you and take it back
Why do people hurt each other
Why are people raped
Why do people cut themselves
Why do people hate their lives
Why do teenagers get pregnant
Why do people call each other names
Why are people raciest
Why are people depressed
Why are people put in mental hospitals
Why do peole do drugs
Why do people cuss
Why do people not care what happens to them
Why do people care what others think of them
What's wrong with our world

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I Sit, Think and Wonder

I sit,
Think and wonder...
What is 'this' that we are in?
Why are so many commited,
To visit with sin?
The act of praying,
Seems to have some stalled
At deadends!
Are we all twisted hypocrites?
Fixed in our ways,
And dazed by these crazed days?

I sit,
Think and wonder...
What is 'this' that we are in?
How can we avoid a slide that begins?
Why are so many desperately wanting to win?
And what is 'it' that has this grip?
Is satisfaction out of reach...
For those whose minds are torn and split?
Peace has become passé!
Are we foolish enough...
To let our lives be destroyed this way?
What are we obeying when we say 'In God We Trust! '
I sit,
Think and wonder...
About you and me and US!
And how we have allowed,
Our minds to be clouded
In a destruction that attracts...
A rush to destroy a trust we crush!

I sit,
Think and wonder...
What is 'this' that we are in?
Why are so many commited,
To visit with sin?
The act of praying,
Seems to have some stalled
At deadends!
Are we all twisted hypocrites?
Fixed in our ways,
And dazed by these crazed days?

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What's Wrong With You Woman

What's wrong
with you woman?

He's just a man,
why do you have
to let your heart
be filled with sorrow? ....
he's just a man.

Look at yourself,
do you really deserve
to cry? ....
there's so much tears
in your eyes.

What's wrong
with you woman?

Look at him,
he's just a man
and nothing more....
than just a man.

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What's Wrong With This Picture?

(Van Morrison)
What's wrong with this picture?
There's something I'm not seeing here
What's wrong with this picture?
Something that's not exactly clear
What's wrong with this picture?
Does it look like it's just another sting?
'Cos it don't mean a thing
If it ain't got that swing and ring a ding ding
What's wrong with this picture?
Doesn't anybody see
That's who everyone thought
That I used to be
What's wrong with this picture?
It's only hanging on a wall
So you can go right back to sleep
And just forget about it all, because
I'm not that person anymore
I'm living in the present time
Baby, don't you understand
I've left all that jive behind
You can't believe what you read in the papers
Or half the news that's on TV
Or the gossip of the neighbours
Or anyone who doesn't want you to be free
I'm not that person anymore
I'm always living in the present time
Don't you understand
I left all that jive behind
What's wrong with this picture?
It's only hanging on the wall
Why don't we take it down and
Just forget about it 'cos that ain't me at all

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What's Wrong With Kid Now?

Whats wrong with kids today? The way they speak, they don't care,
Oh what's wrong with kids, they don't even like anymore to share;
Some have become bullies, and like to cause harm and trouble,
Where back years ago, when I was young, kids would would be so humble.

What's wrong with young people, They don't care if they get caught,
Swearing, lying, cheating, Doing drugs, they'll not do what theyre taught;
Some underage caught driving and end up killing someone they don't know,
But fail to take the blame, please God, let them see that others know.

What's wrong with some young adults, who have become parents too soon,
Then leave their young ones unattended, and babies left in their room;
While the parents are out doing drugs and drink, not caring at all,
Please God, they need to grow up and see, they have taken a fall.

What's wrong with other people, from many different places,
Coming to our country, who cause strife, for strangers faces;
Why can't they think of becoming a very trusting, caring friend,
Please God. Make them see, the world has gone round the bend.

What's wrong with country leaders, who bring shame to their country,
By stirring up strife in their party, being dishonest, to so many;
Why don't they realize they'll be caught, when they don't expect too,
Please God, help us to get honest leaders, to be honest and be true.

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What's Wrong With That

How did i end up here
Closer to no where
In the middle of nothing
And i hide one step back from where i was
Spinning in circles gets old after a while
You say if i fall i will fall straight in to your arms
Should i trip over my feet
And if i start to slip i will slip right onto my knees
In to the center of your hands
Because maybe some day
I can learn to trust you
And just stop thinking with my head
Because maybe someday
I can learn to let go
I lose control and that's ok with me
I lose control tell me what is wrong with that
Why do i have to know everything
And why does everything always have to make since
Why do i always have to have you figured out
Cause i just want to take your hand
Cause you say if i fall i will fall straight in to your arms
Should i trip over my feet
And if i start to slip i will slip right onto my knees
In to the center of your hands
Because maybe some day
I can learn to trust you
And just stop thinking with my head
Because maybe someday
I can learn to let go
I lose control and that's ok with me
I lose control tell me what is wrong with that
What's wrong with that x 3
Maybe someday i can learn to trust you
And just stop thinking with my head
Because maybe someday
I can learn to let go
I lose control and that's ok with me
I lose control tell me what is wrong with that
What's wrong with that x 2

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The Horror Of The War

Of night How long time it has been you and me were best friends
I can't imagine even you've changed your face
How long time every day wiped away my pain

But last night even you became a strange
Oh night you were my best friend
Even you became so cruel how strange
What's wrong the world all have changed


Ah world humanity from you is lost how a unbearable reality
The horror of the dreary war surrounding everywhere rendering sullen vain strain

Everywhere the sounds of the bombs
The mortality voice of war is shouting through the darkness of the night covering. All around


Oh night what a horror I can't bear all this pain the ugly sound of the guns and bombs what's wrong with the world
The voices of bombs through the gloomy night are destroying me inside

The echoes of terrible woes of the war are gazing at the dark like a devil
Everywhere no sign of life
No sign of humanity at the darkness is lost
What a unbearable heart pain the world is lost


I heard her voice at the dark
She was there all alone
All her lover ones have had gone
At the darkness through the ugly silent of the might


I heard her voice she were there all alone
Has she lost her mind she was crying and talking with her dead mother what a unbearable heartache


She was calling everyone looking for help
Oh poor girl humanity is dead even her father refused to come there
And told her just wait till the morning ill be there


What a world I can't bear living all these heartache
I know tomorrow will be so late
Just praying for her to be found when tomorrow comes

Oh god you may help her to stay alive
Oh you night even you changed your face
I know after today nothing will be the same even our friendship is dead.

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A Plan for All Seasons-Parody Vicar of Bray Applied to France

A Plan for all Seasons

When Pompidou for culture stood
in Gaul, Faith was profession,
The flag of France’s trade withstood
all tempests sans recession.
The Legion’s knight I did become,
the network freely flourished, -
the Gaullist movement was the sum
which indendance nourished.

When VGE contrived to take
a stand and form a Party,
his right-hand man I thought I’d make –
in P.R. I was arty!
I’d teach my flock, in Politics
the aim’s communication,
left, centre, right, I’d ever mix
for the good of the nation.

When Chirac went off in a huff
I thought him rather cheeky,
to act so spoiled and off the cuff
rat ere the ship was leaky,
and so I stayed who would not sink,
and thought that I was clever
to trip to Afric in the pink –
for diamonds are forever!

When Barre directed France’s helm
I joined his team right hearty
to guide the godless in the realm
away from bone – aparté!
To teach my flock a bag of tricks
became soul’s sole vocation,
and when at Barre the French through sticks,
I took a long vacation!

When God took over at the bar
I left the side of Darty,
and leftwards veered hitched to a star,
which some men thought was tarty!
My former friends, now foes, threw bricks
in baffled consternation,
but soon I knocked their balls for six
by [s]lick anticipation.

Anticipation does not serve
when world wide trade turns down, sir,
and so my soul began to swerve
from Mauroy and his frown, sir.
But Fabius no Fabian proved,
and, saved from resignation,
to him my wagon was removed
with no blush hesitation.

Then with elections fresh in France
I found myself in quandary,
with Left and Right twinned in the dance
approved by all and sundry:
the President on Chirac lent
although “cohabitation”
a pet phrase was, - God, what it meant,
was altar altercation!

The wheel of change brought Chirac back –
enforced cohabitation –
and so I took another t(r) ack,
a different destination.
I trained myself with main and might
to serve both self and nation,
and ever looked to left and right
to keep myself in station.

When God was born a second time,
with Rocard I allied, sir,
and saw with pride my fortunes climb
though unemployed oft cried ‘cur! ’
Investment in my future firm
encouraged in the system
the faith that made the left-wing squirm –
though reds resigned, none missed ‘em.

But Cresson came – I had my doubts,
and so once more I altered,
and almost rallied to the krauts
but missed my mark and faltered.
To teach my flock I seldom missed
the chance, in illustration,
to show that unemployment kissed
good bye to approbation.

Cresson soon overgrown with weeds
resigned, by none regretted,
Bérégovy to her succeeds,
by very few abetted.
His luckless task I would not take,
awaiting fresh elections,
where the old guard once more would stake
old chips sans introspections.

Though Béré brought a brief respite
the storm clouds gathered darkly,
God gave to Tapie left and right
till bankruptcy rose starkly,
but while one saw ecologists
play games with coalitions,
through National Front men got the gist
of altering conditions.

Then Balladur began to dance
with God a double tango,
I to the Bourse returned to play
the market with contango.
A fresh election was in sight,
the wheel turned once again, sir,
in Parliament perched on the right
I’m counted among men, sir!

But Balladur – for thirty years –
found friendship’s ties restraining,
and lost his bid, retired in tears,
dreams ashes turned, - for reigning
was Chirac in his stead, to show
that after wilderness he
had naught learned, naught forgot, to blow
both hot, cold, for a vote “oui”!

The seven year itch brought us back
to socialists supreme, sir,
the Left foiled Chirac’s vain attack,
and every Gaullist dream, sir,
the country spun round like a top,
the Rose’s emanations
to Chirac’s projects put a stop –
to Right Wing consternation.

Then bad blood spilt became hot news
with AIDS on the agenda,
as criticism lit short fuse
from every questioned gender, -
transfusion then became an aim
of tardy legislation,
while House and Senate found a flame
to fight contamination.

Chirac and Juppé I began
to pay for promises vain,
ideas and ideals were “en pann”
belts tightened were, which caused pain.
The People, ‘spite its ‘muddy brain’
found failing growth and rising
unemployment once again –
was discontent surprising?

As Juppé I to Juppé II
gave way with undue haste, sir,
for future scope he lost his cue,
investments went to waste, sir.
But Time speeds up, elections new
for nineteen ninety eight rose,
as unemployment further grew
bloom faded from the red rose.

For soon the tide turned to defeat
of dictums democratic,
as Frenchmen voted with their feet
expulsions automatic.
As jobs grew scarcer,
less well paid,
with teleworking working,
as piecework grew horizons greyed –
restrictions irking shirking!

The wheel of Fortune spun once more
with Chirac just ahead, sir,
while Balladur, shook to the core,
was left with face bright red, sir, -
but Juppé’s domicile became
a short lease provocation,
he tried to turn the blame
regretting close relation.

When Jospin stood as candidate
pride came before the fall, sir,
how few dared to anticipate
Le Pen would have a ball, sir!
The left locked out of second round
tolled bell for re-election,
was sentiment in France unsound
to justify ejection?

With Raffarin a new world dawned,
said some – but dumb he proved, sir,
from one to two to three unmoved
his mandate was reproved, sir.
He left the land as bland as when
he came to Chirac’s whistle,
both uninspiring flame and fame, -
unnoticed his dismissal.

Much to Sarko’s chagrin the star
of Villepin then was rising,
outright right turned the former tsar,
as umpire supervising
a U.M.P. soon to be rump
reduced by Royal flush, sir, -
who hopes to hold a leftist trump
behind her beauty’s blush, sir.

So on the double one must make
allegiance to new Queen, sir,
though old Lang sign his wish to take
the cake from the dauphine, sir. –
yet who’ll be President remains
withheld from ken of mortal
until the rewards for all their pain’s
disclosed by Fate to chortle.

Tsunami tides of votes for grabs
soon ebb, as soon forgotten,
yet vicars everywhere keep tabs -
placeholders’ gains ill-gotten, -
from sinecure to sinecure
we, hungry, will maintain, sir,
and whosoever falls, be sure
we’ll find our feet again, sir!

What’s next? One well may ask, the choice
as ever’s à la Carte, we
will tune to tone of voters’ voice
before new course we’ll chart, see!
But this is sure, he who Fate picks
must act, no hesitation
is tolerated – fiddlesticks
for vain vociferation.

Now, as the Information Age
replaces old conditions,
and undermines the printed page –
traditional editions,
all link online with micro niches
as way of life tomorrow,
soon I’ll retire to my péniche
and scribble free from sorrow!


(4 September 1996 and various times
Parody – The Vicar of Bray)


The Vicar of Bray


In good King Charles's golden days, 1660_1685
When loyalty no harm meant;
A furious High-Church man I was,
And so I gain'd preferment.
Unto my flock I daily preach'd,
Kings are by God appointed,
And damn'd are those who dare resist,
Or touch the Lord's anointed.

And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my dying day, sir,
That whatsoever king shall reign,
I will be Vicar of Bray, sir!

When Royal James possess'd the crown, 1685_1688
And popery grew in fashion;
The penal law I houted down,
And read the declaration:
The Church of Rome, I found would fit,
Full well my constitution,
And I had been a Jesuit,
But for the Revolution.

When William our deliverer came, 1689_1702
To heal the nation's grievance,
I turned the cat in pan again,
And swore to him allegiance:
Old principles I did revoke,
Set conscience at a distance,
Passive obedience is a joke,
A jest is non-resistance.

When glorious Anne became our queen 1702_1714
The Church of England's glory,
Another face of things was seen,
And I became a Tory:
Occasional conformists base,
I damn'd, and moderation,
And thought the Church in danger was,
From such prevarication.

When George in pudding time came o'er, 1714_1727
And moderate men looked big, sir,
My principles I chang'd once more,
And so became a Whig, sir:
And thus preferment I procur'd,
From our faith's great defender,
And almost every day abjur'd
The Pope, and the Pretender.

The illustrious House of Hanover,
And Protestant succession,
To these I lustily will swear,
Whilst they can keep possession:
For in my faith, and loyalty,
I never once will falter,
George, my lawful king shall be,
Except the times should alter.

And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my dying day, sir,
That whatsoever king shall reign,
I will be Vicar of Bray, Sir!


(Author Unknown )


In Vino Veritas

When Science led me by the hand right up her garden path, Sir,
They tried to make me understand her Physics, Chem and Math, Sir.
It came to naught, and all they taught could not have fallen flatter,
Except for this, which gave me bliss, the liquid state of matter.

cho: And this is plain, as I maintain, since good old Aristotle
The truth has been most clearly seen reflected in a bottle.

What always jars in seminars and causes constant panics,
Is all that talk and blackboard chaulk to inculcate mechanics;
I feel I need a glass of mead, as drunk by ancient druids
And so thereby exemplify the properties of fluids.

And still today I find no way to handle apparatus.
For me alone the Great Unknown brings no divine afflatus.
Yet this this I know, when problems show no hope of resolution,
This glass of mine when filled with wine will give the right solution.

In Physics I can only make uneducated guesses,
My wooly pate can't calculate the simplest strains and stresses;
Yet when my head is almost dead with mental acrobatics,
A pint of ale will never fail to teach me hydrostatics.

To learn the rules of molecules confounds my best resources,
For Van der Waals gets me in snarls with his atomic forces.
The parachor, and what it's for, I never dare to mention:
A glass of stout includes me out of studying surface tension.

Both rho and phee are Greek to me, I find them most unruly;
I don't see why they satisfy the equation of Bernoulli.
I can't make sense of turbulence, I merely get to know, Sir,
From half a quart of vintage port the facts of liquid flow, Sir.

In deep research let others lurch and hunt elusive muons.
For QED is not for me, with all its quarks and gluons.
Let others gaze at cosmic rays revealed in sparkling bubbles
A glass of beer will always clear my head, and end my troubles.


(New Scientist contest winner Parody – The Vicar of Bray
Dr. H. J. Taylor)



Vicar of Bray – American


When royal George ruled o'er this land and loyalty no harm meant
For Church and King I made a stand and so I got preferment
I still opposed all party tricks for reasons I thought clear ones
And swore it was their politics to made us all Presbyterians

And this is the law that I'll maintain until my dying day, sir
That whatsoever King might reign, I'll still be Vicar of Bray, sir

When Stamp Act passed the Parliament to bring some grist to mill, sir
To back it was my firm intent, but soon there came repeal, sir
I quickly joined the common cry that we should all be slaves, sir
The House of Commons was a sty, the Kings and Lords were knaves, sir
Now all went smooth, as smooth as can be, I strutted and looked big, sir

And when they laid a tax on tea, I was believed a Whig, sir
I laughed at all the vain pretense of taxing at a distance
And swore before I'd pay a pence, I'd make a firm resistance
A Congress now was swiftly called that we might work together
I thought that Britain would, appalled, be glad to make fair weather

And soon repeal the obnoxious bill, as she had done before, sir
That we could gather wealth at will and so be taxed no more, sir
But Britain was not quickly seared, she told another story
When independence was declared, I figured as a Tory
Declared it was a rebellion base, to take up arms - I cursed it

For faith, it seemed a settled case, that we should soon be worsted
The French alliance now came forth, the Papists flocked in shoals, sir
Friseurs, marquis, valets of birth and priests to save our souls, sir
Our 'good ally' with towering wing embraced the flattering hope sir
That we should own him for our King and then invite the Pope, sir
Then Howe with drum and great parade marched through this famous town, sir
I cried, 'May fame his temples shade with laurels for a crown, ' sir

With zeal I swore to make amends to good old constitution
And drank confusion to the friends of our late revolution
But poor Burgoyne's announced my fate the Whigs began to glory
I now bewailed my wretched state, that e'er I was a Tory
By night the British left the shore, nor cared for friends a fig, sir

I turned the cat in pan once more and so became a Whig, sir
I called the army butchering dogs, a bloody tyrant King, sir
The Commons, Lords a set of rogues that all deserved to swing, sir
Since fate has made us great and free and Providence can't alter
So Congress e'er my King shall be, until the times do alter


(30 June 1779 edition of Rivington's Royal Gazette
Parody – The Vicar of Bray – Author Unknown)


The Vicar of Bray’s Toping Cousin


In Charles's the Second’s merry days, 1660_1685
For wanton frolics noted;
A lover of cabals I was,
With wine like Bacchus bloated.
I preach'd unto my crowded pews
Wine was by heav’n’s command, Sir,
And damn'd was he who did refuse
To drink while he could stand, Sir.

That this is the law I will maintain
Unto my dying day, sir,
Let whatsoever king to reign,
I’ll drink my gallon a day, Sir!


When James, his brother, bridged the crown, 1685_1688
He strove to stand alone, Sir,
But quickly got so drunk, that down
He tumbled from that throne, Sir:
One morning crop-sick, pale, and queer,
He reel’d to Rome, where priests severe
Full well my constitution,
Deny the cup to laymen.

When tippling Will the Dutchman sav’d 1689_1702
Our liberties from sinking,
We crown’d him king of cups, and crav’d
The privilege of drinking:
He drank your Hollands, pints ‘tis said,
And held predestination
Fool not to know the tipling trade
Admits no trepidation.

When Brandy Nan became our queen 1702_1714
‘Twas all a drunken story;
I sat and drank from morn to e’en,
And so was thought a Tory:
Brimful of grog, all sober folks
We damn'd, and moderation:
Till for right Nantz we pawned to France
Our dearest reputation.

When George the First came to the throne, 1714_1727
He took the resolution
To drink all sorts of liquors known,
To save the Constitution:
He drunk success in rare old Rum,
Unto the State, and Church, Sir,
Till with a cup of Brunswick mum
He tripp’d from off his perch, Sir.

King George the Second then arose, 1727_1760
A wise and valiant soul, Sir,
He loved his people, beat his foes,
And pushed about the bowl, Sir:
He drank his fill to Chatham Will,
To heroes for he chose ‘em,
With us true Britons drank, until,
He slept in Abraham’s bosom.

His present Majesty then came, 1760_1820
Who may heaven long preserve, Sir,
He glories in a Briton’s name,
And swears he’ll never swerve, Sir;
Tho’ evil counsellros may think
His love from us to sever,
Yet let us loyal Britons drink
King George the Third for ever!

That this is the law I will maintain
Unto my dying day, sir,
Let whatsoever king to reign,
I’ll drink my gallon a day, Sir!


(Author Unknown Festival of Momus c 1770
Parody – The Vicar of Bray – Author Unknown)



A Russian Vicar of Bray


Joe Stalin in his day inspired
Mikhalkov to a lyric.
For the National Anthem he required
A Stalin panegyric.
To Aleksandrov's solemn knell,
He chanted Stalin's praises.
When Stalin died and went to Hell,
These words too went to blazes.
(Chorus :)
For these are the words that he maintains -
Let everybody scan them:
'Whoever in Russia holds the reins,
Mikhalkov writes the Anthem.'

For many years the Anthem had
No lyric whatsoever,
But Brezhnev thought this was too bad,
And called for new endeavour.
Mikhalkov stepped into the breach
To praise the Soviet Union
In phrases to inspire and teach
A communist communion.

(Chorus)

The Soviet Union passed away,
And then the rule was broken.
No Aleksandrov melody;
Mikhalkov's words unspoken.
A different anthem for a while
Was Mother Russia's theme song,
But no-one much admired its style.
It was nobody's dream song.

(Chorus)

When Putin, former KGB,
Put Russia back on track, sir,
He thought that he would like to see
The former tune brought back, sir.
The old words would no longer do,
The earlier ones were worse, sir.
So who could write the words anew?
Why, Mikhalkov, of course, sir!
(Chorus)

Mikhalkov's words, or so he says,
Date back to 53, sir.
I wonder if he pulls our legs?
It seems that way to me, sir.
'Our native land preserved by God'
Back then would not have done, sir.
He could have faced a firing squad
For that small bit of fun, sir.
(Chorus)

Now Russia's his prevailing note,
Not Party, nor yet Stalin.
Unlike the earlier words he wrote,
No-one finds these appalling.
His borrowed theme from 'Wide My Land'
Shows some lack of invention,
But who can doubt the Master's grand
'Pro Patria' intention?
(Chorus)

To Putin and his middle path,
Twixt communists and con men,
He will forevermore hold faith,
While he relies upon them.
If this regime should go awry,
And Putin's power should falter,
Mikhalkov will be standing by,
The Anthem's words to alter.
(Chorus)


(Jack DOUGHTY Parody Vicar of Bray)



Poet of Bray


Back in the dear old thirties' days
When politics was passion
A harmless left-wing bard was I
And so I grew in fashion:
Although I never really joined
The Party of the Masses
I was most awfully chummy with
The Proletarian classes.
This is the course I'll always steer
Until the stars grow dim, sir -
That howsoever taste may veer
I'll be in the swim, sir.

But as the tide of war swept on
I turned Apocalyptic:
With symbol, myth and archetype
My verse grew crammed and cryptic:
With New Romantic zeal I swore
That Auden was a fake, sir,
And found the mind of Nicky Moore
More int'resting than Blake, sir.

White Horsemen down New Roads had run
But taste required improvement:
I turned to greet the rising sun
And so I joined the Movement!
Glittering and ambiguous
In villanelles I sported:
With Dr. Leavis I concurred,
And when he sneezed I snorted.

But seeing that even John Wax might wane
I left that one-way street, sir;
I modified my style again,
And now I am a Beat, sir:
So very beat, my soul is beat
Into a formless jelly:
I set my verses now to jazz
And read them on the telly.

Perpetual non-conformist I -
And that's the way I'm staying -
The angriest young man alive
(Although my hair is greying)
And in my rage I'll not relent -
No, not one single minute -
Against the base Establishment
(Until, of course, I'm in it) .
This is the course I'll always steer
Until the stars grow dim, sir -
That howsoever taste may veer
I'll be in the swim, sir.


(John HEATH-STUBBS 1918_20 Parody The Vicar of Bray)



The New Vicar of Bray

or: Time-Serving up to Date


In Queen Victoria’s early days,
When Grandpapa was Vicar,
The squire was worldly in his ways,
And far too fond of liquor.
My grandsire laboured to exhort
This influential sinner,
As to and fro they passed the port
On Sunday after dinner.

My Father Stepped Salvation’s road
To tunes of Tate and Brady’s;
His congregation overflowed
With wealthy maiden ladies.
Yet modern thought he did not shirk -
He maid his contribution
By writing that successful work,
« The Church and Evolution. »

When I took orders, war and strife
Filled parsons with misgiving,
For none knew who might lose his life
Or who might lose his living.
But I was early on the scenes,
Where some were loth to go, sir!
And there by running Base Canteens
I won the D.S.O., sir!

You may have read « The Verey Light » -
A book of verse that I penned -
The proceeds of it, though but slight,
Eked out my modest stipend.
By grandsire’s tactics long had failed,
And now my father’s line did;
So on another tack I sailed
(You can’t be too broad-minded) .

The public-house is now the place
To get to know the men in,
And if the King is in disgrace
Then I shall shout for Lenin.
And though my feelings they may shock,
By murder, theft and arson,
The parson still shall keep his flock
While they will keep the parson!

And this is the law that I’ll maintain
Until my dying day, sir!
That whether King or Mob shall reign,
I’m for the people that pay, sir!


(Colin ELLIS 1895_1969 Parody – The Vicar of Bray)



The Vicar of Bray, - The Court Chamberlain


When Pitt array'd the British arms
To check the Gallic ferment,
I spread the regicide alarms
And so I got preferment:
To teach my flock I never miss’d,
“Reform is revolution,
And damn’d are those that do assist
To mend a Constitution.”

And this is law, I will aver,
Tho’ stiff-neck’d fools may sneer, sir,
Whoe’er may be the Minister,
I’ll be the Chaplain here, sir.

When gentle Sidmouth sway’d the Crown
And peace came into fashion,
The lust of war I hooted down,
And puff’d pacification.
I vow’d the papists were agreed
To burn all honest men, sir;
And Methodism had been my creed –
But Pitt came in again, sir.

When Grey and Grenville made the laws
For Britain’s tol’rant nation,
I took the cudgels for the cause
Of transubstantiation.
The Articles I made a joke,
(Finding I should not need ‘em :)
And, Afric’s fetters being broke,
E’en grew a friend to Freedom.

When Perceval advised our King,
(The Church of England’s glory)
My conscience was another thing,
For I had turn’d a Tory:
I cursed the Whigs, no more in place,
And damn’d their moderation,
And swore they shook the Church’s base
By sinful toleration.

Now that the Ministry relent,
And Erin’s sons look big, sir,
I feel a soft’ning sentiment,
Which makes me half a Whig, sir.
And thus preferment I procure,
In each new doctrine hearty –
Alike extol, neglect, abjure,
Pope, King, or Bonaparte.

The new prevailing politics,
The new administration,
On these allegiance do I fix –
While they can keep their station:
For in my faith and loyalty
I never more will falter,
To Liverpool and Castlereagh,
Until the times shall alter.

And thus I safely may aver,
However fools may sneer, sir,
Whoso be the Minister,
I must be Chaplain here, sir.


(Author Unknown Posthumous Papers 1814 Parody - The Vicar of Bray)


The Vicar of Bray - The House of Lords

When bluff King Hal grew tired of Kate
And sued for his divorce, sir,
He cast about, and found in us
His willing tools, of course, sir.
What for her grief? We laughed at that,
And left her in the lurch, sir,
While every one of us grew fat
By plunder of the Church, sir.
To hold a candle to Old Nick
Has ever been our way, sir
And still we’ll play the self-same trick,
So long as it will pay, sir.

Two other queens that underwent
The long divorce of steel, ” sir –
Do you suppose that e’er we wept,
Or for their fate did feel, sir?
We only sought to please the Kign,
And his worst wishes further;
And gaily did our order join
In each judicial murder.
For us no trick was e’er too base,
No crime too foul to shock, sir,
Nor innocence availed to save
E’en women from the block, sir.

When Mary came with fire and stake
Poor pious folks to slay, sir,
No single protest did we make,
But let her work her will, sir;
But when the Church reclaimed her lands,
And looked for smooth compliance,
We quickly raised our armèd bands
And gave her bold defiance.
Thus did the Queen her error learn,
To think (how gross the blunder!)
That, though we let her rack and burn,
We’d e’er restore our plunder.

Elizabeth, the mighty Queen,
We quailed beneath her frown, sir,
With nought but fear and hate for one
So worthy of the crown, sir,
As abject traitors round her throne
We fulsome homage paid her,
Though more than half of us were known
To plot with the invader.
To her for ducal coronets
We never were beholden;
To us the days of ‘Good Queen Bess’
Were anything but ‘golden’.

When slobbering James of coin was short,
He baronets invented,
And to creating lords for gold
Right gladly he consented;
A handsome “tip” was all he asked
To make you duke or lord, sir –
No question ever of your worth,
‘Twas what you could afford, sir.
To be a peer, “your grace, ” “my lord, ”
O, Lord! how fine it sounded!
And thus, by shelling out of cash
Were noblest houses founded.

When Charles the First, the public right
To crush but now applies him,
And willing help he gets from us;
As friends we stand beside him.
His acts of tyranny and fraud
Scarce one of us opposes –
The fine, the prison, or the whip,
Or slitting people’s noses.
To curb the tyrant of his will
Was no way in our line, sir,
All human rights were forfeited,
And merged inRight Divine, ” sir.

The Second Charles just suited us,
We joined his lewd carouses,
And concubines became the source
Of many ducal houses.
And, as reward of services
That history scarce mentions,
You still enjoy the privilege
Of paying us the pensions.
And this we swear, by all that’s blue
Despite that prudes cry “Hush, sir! ”
That whatsoever we may do,
You’ll never find us blush, sir.

In Jame’s Court we flourished still;
Like sycophants we vied, sir;
To be a royal mistress formed
Our daughters’ highest rpide, sir;
For Whigs through tortures were devised,
Their legs with wedges broke, sir,
We ate and drank, and laughed and played,
But ne’er a word we spoke, sir.
For mingled cruelty and wrong
We never did upbraid him;
But when a paying chance came round,
Right quickly we betrayed him.

When William came, with righteous rule,
We proved but glum consenters;
The King we deemed was but a fool
To tolerate Dissenters.
Whilst on his part his Majesty
Distrusted us with reason,
For gainst our chosen lord and king
We still kept plotting treason.
And so against all righteous things
We’ve struggled from the first, sir,
To vex and thwart the better kings,
And sided with the worst sir.

In reign of Anne, ‘twas one of us,
Gave notice to the foe, sir,
Against his port and arsenal
We aimed a warlike blow, sir;
And thus were lost, in dire defeat
Eight hundred sailors bold, sir –
But what of that, when France’s bribe
Our “noble duke” consoled sir?
Betrayal of the State’s designs
By this colossal traitor –
What wonder now the lordlings praise
His humble imitator!

With George the Third it was essayed
To purge our code from blood, sir,
But we the arm of mercy stayed,
Its efforts all withstood, sir;
To hang for e’en a paltry theft –
Though tempted sore by hunger –
Was God’s own justice, so it seemed
To every boroughmonger.
And so poor wretches, one or more,
At every fair or wake, sir,
Performed ‘the dance without a floor, ”
Our thirst for blood to slake, sir.

Yet had the self-same laws been tried
On us without distinction,
Their action surely had implied
The peerage’s extinction.
But while the gallows we upheld,
“Offence’s gilded hand, ” sir,
Had all our lordly acres swelled
With thefts of common land, sir.
While wicked prizes thus we claw,
And Justice shove aside, sir,
“Not ‘gainst the law, but by the law, ”
Has ever been our guide, sir.

When Pitt the Irish Parliament
Resolved to bring to London,
He had to buy their peers’ consent
Or else his scheme was undone,
So English coronets galore
Were scattered through their tribe, sir,
Besides a million pounds or more –
Their stipulated bribe, sir.
And by this opportunity
They drove their dirty trade, sir,
To show to all posterity
How lords and dukes are made, sir.

When Wesleyans and Baptists, too,
For right of education
At public universities
Did press their application,
‘Twas we their just demand refused –
Denied their common right, sir,
And all our special powers abused
To gratify our spite, sir.
When Jews to sit in Parliament
Had duly been elected,
‘Twas we kept shut the Commons’ door,
Their right to vote rejected.

On Railway Bills our conduct calls
For no detailed narration;
No line could pass our lands without
Outrageous compensation.
Like gorging fultures at the feast
Our greed surpassed all bounds, sir,
Our blackmail figured, at the least,
One hundred million pounds, sir.
Of Pay-triotism we’ll never tire,
For it we’ll live and die, sir,
And, if the reason you inquire,
We spell it with a Y, sir.

In Reason’s name or righteousness
You vainly may reprove us,
For scorn, contempt, and threats possess
The only power to move us.
To mutilate, reject, delay,
Obstruct whene’er we dare it,
We’ll persevere in our old way
So long as you will bear it.
Of this be sure, until that day
Such things shall ne’er be mended,
Till million voices join to say,
The House of Lords is ended! ”


(Author Unknown Weekly Dispatch 7 December 1884
Parody Unknown Author 0258 - The Vicar of Bray)



Still I'll be Prime Minister

In World Appeasement's golden days
I led the British nation
By devious diplomatic ways
To reconciliation;
I strained to keep the world from war
According to my plan, Sir,
But found the German Chancellor
Was not a gentleman, Sir.

The Peace-Front next I patronized
With wondrous expedition,
A course ad nauseam advised
By Labour’s Opposition;
My Peace-Front, nipped by Russian frost,
Was destined not to be, Sir,
But England never, never lost
Full confidence in me, Sir.

Though once I gave aggression’s hand
A friendly Tory pressure,
To-day with Socialists I stand
To fight the armed aggressor.
And since all Parties must concur
Till Europe’s wrongs are righted,
I still shall be Prime Minister
To lead a land united.

These transpositions bold and deft
Are my peculiar glory,
Which make the purpose of the Left
The programme of the Tory;
And though Great Britain’s leftward bent
To some seems dark and sinister,
Whatever be our Government
I’ll still remain Prime Minister.

(KATZIN Olga Miller 1896_1987 Parody – The Vicar of Bray)

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I Sit Back And Think

I sit back and think
What do young ones really know?
How to be a mother
A friend who really knows
Then you meet a young person
With ideals and their dreams
And suddenly your face
With an adult not a kid
You know not their past
Of teething and games
That’s a life you have with your own

You look past the youthful
Way that they are
And let them be humans
And live life to the full
We use to be young
At one stage of our lives
What makes us different?
Is were older and wiser
So we like to think

So I say with a smile
To young adults of this world
I bow down low and say
Hello my friend
We may be much older
And wiser we think
But at times you surprise us
With love and wisdom
That is beyond all your years
And yes I bow and acknowledge you all
Simply because you’re our future
Leaders of tomorrow
Good luck to you all

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Away With The Faeries And Wired To The Moon

You can smile at a breeze and I’ve seen it too
Dancing with life, there’s nothing ever blue
Life out of love and love amongst the trees
Nobody knows what a blind man sees
You’re away with the faeries; I’m wired to the moon

Some might say you’re crazy, some say that I’m half mad
Even if that’s true, we know it aint so bad
Some may say I’m lazy, if they wanna make that call
But we shared a whole eternity, from spring until the fall
You’re away with the faeries; I’m wired to the moon

Away with the faeries and wired to the moon
They say that you’re half crazy, but they’ll all be crazy soon
They wonder what it’s all about
You’re happy in and happy out
You’re away with the faeries; I’m wired to the moon

We had parties just for two, and we sank each others’ boats
Twenty psychotherapists could make a million notes
If they could see your artwork and my mushrooms made by hand
But that’s what made us happy in our happy little land
You’re away with the faeries and I’m still wired to the moon
You’re away with the faeries and I’m still wired to the moon

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What You Won't Do For Love

Yeah, I make steady for love
Venetic love
But if I'm not around
You won't think enough
I'm gonna make it real for you
Whenever I deal wit you
I do do do do anything
I guess you wonder where I've been
I searched to find the love within
So I came back to let you know
Got a thing for you
And I can't let go
My friends wonder what is wrong with me
Well I'm in a daze from your love you see
I came back to let you know
Got a thing for you
And I can't let go
Some people go around the world for love
But they may never find what they dream of
What you won't do, do for love
You tried everything
But you won't give up
In my world only you
Make me do for love
What I would not do
Do for love
You tried everything
Won't give up
My friends wonder what is wrong with me
Cause I'm in a daze from your love you see
So I came back to let you know
I got a thing for you
And I can't let go
And though I only want the best it's true
I can't believe the things I do for you
What you won't do, do for love
You've tried everything
But you don't give up
In my world only you
Make me do for love
What I would not do
Yeah, come on now, listen
Do they get it when the project is a queen
I gotta get to you cause you do them things to me
My love shows
Nobody knows how my ???
Cause when you're filling me up
You're enough when you're ready for that nut
Baby I'll be that buttercup
And I catch every drop
You got a chick of love
For you go to the storm
And skip to the road block
We can rumble in cuss
We can fight
We can fuss
But no I'm never giving up
It's nothing I won't do
Nothing I won't go through
You are of the joy and the pain
I will keep it true
What you won't do
Do for love
You tried everything
But you won't give up
In my world only you
Make me do for love
What I would not do
Do for love
You tried everything
Won't give up
Do for love
You tried everything
Won't give up

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What You Won't Do For Love (feat. MC Lyte)

Yeah, I make steady for love
Venetic love
But if I'm not around
You won't think enough
I'm gonna make it real for you
Whenever I deal wit you
I do do do do anything
I guess you wonder where I've been
I searched to find the love within
So I came back to let you know
Got a thing for you
And I can't let go
My friends wonder what is wrong with me
Well I'm in a daze from your love you see
I came back to let you know
Got a thing for you
And I can't let go
Some people go around the world for love
But they may never find what they dream of
What you won't do, do for love
You tried everything
But you won't give up
In my world only you
Make me do for love
What I would not do
Do for love
You tried everything
Won't give up
My friends wonder what is wrong with me
Cause I'm in a daze from your love you see
So I came back to let you know
I got a thing for you
And I can't let go
And though I only want the best it's true
I can't believe the things I do for you
What you won't do, do for love
You've tried everything
But you don't give up
In my world only you
Make me do for love
What I would not do
Yeah, come on now, listen
Do they get it when the project is a queen
I gotta get to you cause you do them things to me
My love shows
Nobody knows how my ???
Cause when you're filling me up
You're enough when you're ready for that nut
Baby I'll be that buttercup
And I catch every drop
You got a chick of love
For you go to the storm
And skip to the road block
We can rumble in cuss
We can fight
We can fuss
But no I'm never giving up
It's nothing I won't do
Nothing I won't go through
You are of the joy and the pain
I will keep it true
What you won't do
Do for love
You tried everything
But you won't give up
In my world only you
Make me do for love
What I would not do
Do for love
You tried everything
Won't give up
Do for love
You tried everything
Won't give up

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Patrick White

Why Do You Cast Me In The Worst Light

Why do you cast me in the worst light possible
when you know I treat you like the navel of the world,
the Pleiades, the ghost of a mountain
that was once my heart? Why do you lie to me
when you know there are doors beyond the truth
I’ve already walked through
like an initiation into a darkness
that will adorn your breath with stars?
Nothing mundane, nothing extraordinary
and yet I find myself here with you at sixty-three
having run out of mirrors and windows to read,
believing there are no more eyes
like wells in a desert to drink from, no further
delirium of the spirit that won’t prove me a clown
if I were to believe in it at my age
when every hour is either a funeral, a storm, or a crisis.
And yet how much I do want to believe,
how much I long to discover
rain on the moon, mystical fireflies
in the punk and tinder of the cattails,
sacred keychains on the ground at my feet,
a phoenix in the ashes of the blue guitar. At times
everything is ecclesiastically vain, contaminated
by the insight, bad meat in the mindstream,
that everything I ever cherished and tried to emulate
is nothing more than the shabby dream,
the random action of expiring illusions
indifferent to their embodiment in blood or blessing,
child, martyr, suicide or saint,
prick, pariah, or prophet, all
without exception, true to the vision that is them,
even the madman convinced of his private verities
as the apple-tree is convinced of its leaves
and the sun espouses the flower. Is it not absurdly vain,
knowing all things are vain
to feel abandoned by the assurance,
so blithely and brightly assumed when young
among the junkyards and the orchards
that life has not been endured and transcended in vain,
that the tender transience of the fire, and the shadows that it cast,
the myriad transformations, the chrysalis and the coffin,
and all the ore of ardour refined
by the pursuit of an igneous excellence, the grace
of a virtue slowly attained like the taming of a wild gazelle,
or a chair well-made by a man
with the soul of a tree, were not without the grandeur
of a hidden harmony more crucial than the obvious,
no life lived that was lived to no purpose?
I can give myself like a seed to the wind, I can
sit down at a table of elements with the atoms
and toast the bonding ceremonies of carbon;
and I can shine into the vast openness of an endless night
with the exaltant ferocity of a ray of light
certain there are vital planets
in the path of my shining,
astronomers, lovers, sailors, and birds
to mitigate the expansive vacancies
in the breach of intelligent eyes. And behind
the order, the law, the function,
the dazzling billboards,
I can wander for hours aimlessly in the dark fields
stretching forever beyond our accommodations of chaos.
In the wyrd of perceptions,
sensations, thoughts, passions and ideas,
the mysterious abundance of my sentience,
I can depose the petty elector of myself
and confess like a key to my homelessness
there never was a threshold to cross,
or a door that didn’t open
to greet the emptiness either way as guest or host,
There never was a country, a shadow on the wall,
to obey or rule, nothing
but a devastating freedom that longs for chains
that cannot hold us in our passing because
we alone are the chain that binds us,
the stone that shuts us in,
and even the most infallible of prisons
in the glimpse of an insight, is dust on the wind.
And yet I long, as I have longed for you
and implored intrusions of the night to stay,
for a sweeter affirmation, even of chaos,
than these diminishments of seeing that turn me grey.
In a waste of fear and fire, against
my own unknowing
I long for a lie that’s worthy of the truth, a truth
that masters the masters of illusion
by revealing a place to hide
that is not hidden, an infinite openness that yet embraces
the hard crystal in the heart of the dream-catcher,
and a law that doesn’t condemn
the selflessness of everything that’s it’s forbidden,
and a mystery that discloses without an exegete
who you are, who I am, what a rose is,
an origin that isn’t a defamation of the end,
an impersonality with the face of a friend.

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You Never Know

Sun still stone
Watching

We walk by them and hear voices yeah
No one ever stops to talk of things we'd rather do
They never did

What if God shuffled by
One day we might say
We're angry not afraid
Like breathing just to breathe
That we might find some reason

But there's much to go round
That's what's wrong with the world
Don't lose the dreams inside your head
They're only there until you're dead
Dream

Lying on the roof
Counting
The stars that fill the sky
Wondering why
Someone out there really isn't looking back down on me
You never know

So much space to believe
Only when you're small
A moment follows the cause
There's no one but you see
Hey there the moon is chasing me

And I worried if I looked away she'd be gone
Don't lose the dreams inside your head
They're only there until you're dead
Dream
Oh oh oh la la la

One day fill your brain
With no cares in the world
The mellow tune come to play
She's all mine just for a day

And there's no time to waste
In the play of this game
Don't lose the dreams inside your head
They're only there until you're dead
Dream

Unforgiveable down
It won't be so long now
Out of the darkness comes light
Like a flash
You think you can you think you can
Sometimes that is the problem
Dream
Is it your dream
Dream

Spilling on being
And he fell on them
And every day should be a good day to die

Oh oh fall down
It won't be so long now
I do love I'll hand love
I find it hard to explain
How I got here
I think I can I think I can
but then again I will falter
dream

I think I can I think I can
I think I can I think I can

Oh dream
Little darling
Dream

Spilling on being
We fell from them

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Transformation Extraordinaire

For this I know, it was not so long ago I met a captivating butterfly
On its journey by and by perched this butterfly on my windowsill
Beautiful the butterfly to my eye brought a tear I dry
Every waking moment I tried to spend with my friend the butterfly for which I had fallen

Colors so great of interest I could relate to the magnificent butterfly
Day in day out time without a doubt moments spent the striking butterfly
Morning rendezvous I spent with you my gorgeous butterfly of love so true
Anything I would try for you I would die for my vivacious butterfly
Having you was paradise for things were so nice my delightful butterfly
Never showing your true colors I loved you like no other enchanted butterfly

Till that day it all went away for alterations came to the exuberant butterfly
Metamorphosed and modify to the butterfly into a dragonfly
Where went my butterfly I asked why turn I to the dragonfly
Buzzing at my ear without a care wisp the dragonfly
Messages no longer conveying, nor in one place staying, dashed the dragonfly

Time spent so rare but I still cared for the beautiful butterfly within
I saw less and less of the dragonfly busy so I cried for my transformed butterfly
Fit no longer like a pair of gloves for me the dragonfly no longer loves
Pushed to the side arms open no longer wide I wept for the revolutionized butterfly
To hard to handle and to hard to control flew the amended dragonfly away

No longer fluttering in the air, nor self aware, was my butterfly extraordinaire
And in the end the dragonfly changed again into a furious polar bear
Loss to time a love one of a kind, my stunning butterfly to the past was committed
This is a born sin for love I cannot win arrested dawn flew olden times gone by

A lesson well learned that money should be earned my tantalizing butterfly of old
A butterfly is nothing more than a bug incapable of love my eccentric butterfly
Separate paths now seeking of faith no longer believing my outrageous butterfly
These things I didn’t anticipate, nor could I relate, to rest went the troubled butterfly

I sit now and ponder, from time to time I wonder, what went wrong with my lovely butterfly?
Alone once again without my best friend, gone my love the butterfly
No more spellbound is the night, to the bear no more I shall fight for tomorrow as risen a new
On to the ever after for now gone is fun and laughter for my butterfly was nothing more than a mere dream
A vision at best, but it doesn’t mean I love you any less, for the day now draws to a silent slumber

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Patrick White

No Muse Around, I Sit Down By The Side Of The Road

No muse around, I sit down by the side of the road
and let my solitude inspire me, insights
flashing like unnameable night birds
across the occult intuition of the moon.
The dark matter of nocturnal words
like the nerves of the light, the hidden scaffolding
before the light begins to shine like neurons
or the superclustering of galaxies strung out
along my axons rooted in 120 billion cells of starmud.

The silence revels in its unpredictability.
Moonrise over the birches, great blue herons
reflected in the waters of the swamp,
and a parity among wild things that makes us all
equally susceptible to each other
as we charge the air and ionize the shadows
with our sentience, everybody with blood in the game.

No rules. Just instincts. Life neither fair, nor sly
when the snow owl snatches the purse of the mouse
that was trembling under the juniper
its cheeks full of seeds like the eyes
of another roll of the dice. Peaceful here,
remotely freaked with danger though I've outwalked
the ghosts and robots who were harrying me
like an uncooperative medium swarmed by voices
pleading with me for time shares in my life awhile.

The far town, diffuse, an apparition,
a haze of infra red above the tree-line,
as the road I'm on narrows deeper into the woods,
though I don't know what it is
I'm walking away from or toward
or if one mile west is one mile east
or the earth is moving under me
and I'm just trying to keep my balance
by staying in the same place. Until
I get to the farmhouse where the road
loops back on itself like a needle or a noose
and I can feel it following me with its eyes
like shattered moonlight beaming
from the windows that still keep more inside
than they let on, something sacral about the place
with its sway-back roof and overgrown porch
playing solitaire with the floorboards
laid out like a well used deck of cards
curled at the corners as if someone
had cheated themselves, no one else around.

The gate's a drunk swinging by one arm
as it falls and the vetch catches it in a safety net
it remains entangled in. The sutures
of a cedar rail fence trying to stitch up space
with staves of femurs stacked like skeletons
in the skin and flesh of lunar lichens and moss
fallen into disrepair long after the music has flown.

And there's a presence, remote and almost menacing,
stronger than the spirit of any church,
as if something had gone on living here
well past its time, that wasn't a ghost
though it had undoubtedly died by now
to judge from the year it stopped
nailing license plates like a rusting calendar
to the woodshed door. Alive, but so estranged
even the leaves shuddered like no trespassing signs
as I stood warily in my culpability as a human
who could feel the taboos in his blood
even if he didn't always heed them, beware, beware
whose ground you tread, whose threshold you cross
in your rootless wandering back into the past
that isn't going anywhere without you.

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Robert Louis Stevenson

An Elegy

High on his Patmos of the Southern Seas
Our northern dreamer sleeps,
Strange stars above him, and above his grave
Strange leaves and wings their tropic splendours wave,
While, far beneath, mile after shimmering mile,
The great Pacific, with its faery deeps,
Smiles all day long its silken secret smile.

Son of a race nomadic, finding still
Its home in regions furthest from its home,
Ranging untired the borders of the world,
And resting but to roam;
Loved of his land, and making all his boast
The birthright of the blood from which he came,
Heir to those lights that guard the Scottish coast,
And caring only for a filial fame;
Proud, if a poet, he was Scotsman most,
And bore a Scottish name.

Death, that long sought our poet, finds at last,
Death, that pursued him over land and sea:
Not his the flight of fear, the heart aghast
With stony dread of immortality,
He fled 'not cowardly';
Fled, as some captain, in whose shaping hand
Lie the momentous fortunes of his land,
Sheds not vainglorious blood upon the field,
Death! why at last he finds his treasure isle,
And he the pirate of its hidden hoard;
Life! 'twas the ship he sailed to seek it in,
And Death is but the pilot come aboard,
Methinks I see him smile a boy's glad smile
On maddened winds and waters, reefs unknown,
As thunders in the sail the dread typhoon,
And in the surf the shuddering timbers groan;
Horror ahead, and Death beside the wheel:
Then--spreading stillness of the broad lagoon,
And lap of waters round the resting keel.

Strange Isle of Voices! must we ask in vain,
In vain beseech and win no answering word,
Save mocking echoes of our lonely pain
From lonely hill and bird?
Island beneath whose unrelenting coast,
As though it never in the sun had been,
The whole world's treasure lieth sunk and lost,
Unsunned, unseen.
For, either sunk beyond the diver's skill,
There, fathoms deep, our gold is all arust,
Or in that island it is hoarded still.
Yea, some have said, within thy dreadful wall
There is a folk that know not death at all,
The loved we lost, the lost we love, are there.
Will no kind voice make answer to our cry,
Give to our aching hearts some little trust,
Show how 'tis good to live, but best to die?
Some voice that knows
Whither the dead man goes:
We hear his music from the other side,
Maybe a little tapping on the door,
A something called, a something sighed--
No more.
O for some voice to valiantly declare
The best news true!
Then, Happy Island of the Happy Dead,
How gladly would we spread
Impatient sail for you!

O vanished loveliness of flowers and faces,
Treasure of hair, and great immortal eyes,
Are there for these no safe and secret places?
And is it true that beauty never dies?
Soldiers and saints, haughty and lovely names,
Women who set the whole wide world in flames,
Poets who sang their passion to the skies,
And lovers wild and wise:
Fought they and prayed for some poor flitting gleam,
Was all they loved and worshipped but a dream?
Is Love a lie and fame indeed a breath,
And is there no sure thing in life--but death?
Or may it be, within that guarded shore,
He meets Her now whom I shall meet no more
Till kind Death fold me 'neath his shadowy wing:
She whom within my heart I softly tell
That he is dead whom once we loved so well,
He, the immortal master whom I sing.

Immortal! yea, dare we the word again,
If aught remaineth of our mortal day,
That which is written--shall it not remain?
That which is sung, is it not built for aye?
Faces must fade, for all their golden looks,
Unless some poet them eternalise,
Make live those golden looks in golden books;
Death, soon or late, will quench the brightest eyes--
'Tis only what is written never dies.
Yea, memories that guard like sacred gold
Some sainted face, they also must grow old,
Pass and forget, and think--or darest thou not!--
On all the beauty that is quite forgot.

Strange craft of words, strange magic of the pen,
Whereby the dead still talk with living men;
Whereby a sentence, in its trivial scope,
May centre all we love and all we hope;
And in a couplet, like a rosebud furled,
Lie all the wistful wonder of the world.

Old are the stars, and yet they still endure,
Old are the flowers, yet never fail the spring:
Why is the song that is so old so new,
Known and yet strange each sweet small shape and hue?
How may a poet thus for ever sing,
Thus build his climbing music sweet and sure,
As builds in stars and flowers the Eternal mind?
Ah, Poet, that is yours to seek and find!
Yea, yours that magisterial skill whereby
God put all Heaven in a woman's eye,
Nature's own mighty and mysterious art
That knows to pack the whole within the part:
The shell that hums the music of the sea,
The little word big with Eternity,
The cosmic rhythm in microcosmic things--
One song the lark and one the planet sings,
One kind heart beating warm in bird and tree--
To hear it beat, who knew so well as he?

Virgil of prose! far distant is the day
When at the mention of your heartfelt name
Shall shake the head, and men, oblivious, say:
'We know him not, this master, nor his fame.'
Not for so swift forgetfulness you wrought,
Day upon day, with rapt fastidious pen,
Turning, like precious stones, with anxious thought,
This word and that again and yet again,
Seeking to match its meaning with the world;
Nor to the morning stars gave ears attent,
That you, indeed, might ever dare to be
With other praise than immortality
Unworthily content.

Not while a boy still whistles on the earth,
Not while a single human heart beats true,
Not while Love lasts, and Honour, and the Brave,
Has earth a grave,
O well-beloved, for you!

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Book IV - Part 02 - Existence And Character Of The Images

But since I've taught already of what sort
The seeds of all things are, and how distinct
In divers forms they flit of own accord,
Stirred with a motion everlasting on,
And in what mode things be from them create,
And since I've taught what the mind's nature is,
And of what things 'tis with the body knit
And thrives in strength, and by what mode uptorn
That mind returns to its primordials,
Now will I undertake an argument-
One for these matters of supreme concern-
That there exist those somewhats which we call
The images of things: these, like to films
Scaled off the utmost outside of the things,
Flit hither and thither through the atmosphere,
And the same terrify our intellects,
Coming upon us waking or in sleep,
When oft we peer at wonderful strange shapes
And images of people lorn of light,
Which oft have horribly roused us when we lay
In slumber- that haply nevermore may we
Suppose that souls get loose from Acheron,
Or shades go floating in among the living,
Or aught of us is left behind at death,
When body and mind, destroyed together, each
Back to its own primordials goes away.

And thus I say that effigies of things,
And tenuous shapes from off the things are sent,
From off the utmost outside of the things,
Which are like films or may be named a rind,
Because the image bears like look and form
With whatso body has shed it fluttering forth-
A fact thou mayst, however dull thy wits,
Well learn from this: mainly, because we see
Even 'mongst visible objects many be
That send forth bodies, loosely some diffused-
Like smoke from oaken logs and heat from fires-
And some more interwoven and condensed-
As when the locusts in the summertime
Put off their glossy tunics, or when calves
At birth drop membranes from their body's surface,
Or when, again, the slippery serpent doffs
Its vestments 'mongst the thorns- for oft we see
The breres augmented with their flying spoils:
Since such takes place, 'tis likewise certain too
That tenuous images from things are sent,
From off the utmost outside of the things.
For why those kinds should drop and part from things,
Rather than others tenuous and thin,
No power has man to open mouth to tell;
Especially, since on outsides of things
Are bodies many and minute which could,
In the same order which they had before,
And with the figure of their form preserved,
Be thrown abroad, and much more swiftly too,
Being less subject to impediments,
As few in number and placed along the front.
For truly many things we see discharge
Their stuff at large, not only from their cores
Deep-set within, as we have said above,
But from their surfaces at times no less-
Their very colours too. And commonly
The awnings, saffron, red and dusky blue,
Stretched overhead in mighty theatres,
Upon their poles and cross-beams fluttering,
Have such an action quite; for there they dye
And make to undulate with their every hue
The circled throng below, and all the stage,
And rich attire in the patrician seats.
And ever the more the theatre's dark walls
Around them shut, the more all things within
Laugh in the bright suffusion of strange glints,
The daylight being withdrawn. And therefore, since
The canvas hangings thus discharge their dye
From off their surface, things in general must
Likewise their tenuous effigies discharge,
Because in either case they are off-thrown
From off the surface. So there are indeed
Such certain prints and vestiges of forms
Which flit around, of subtlest texture made,
Invisible, when separate, each and one.
Again, all odour, smoke, and heat, and such
Streams out of things diffusedly, because,
Whilst coming from the deeps of body forth
And rising out, along their bending path
They're torn asunder, nor have gateways straight
Wherethrough to mass themselves and struggle abroad.
But contrariwise, when such a tenuous film
Of outside colour is thrown off, there's naught
Can rend it, since 'tis placed along the front
Ready to hand. Lastly those images
Which to our eyes in mirrors do appear,
In water, or in any shining surface,
Must be, since furnished with like look of things,
Fashioned from images of things sent out.
There are, then, tenuous effigies of forms,
Like unto them, which no one can divine
When taken singly, which do yet give back,
When by continued and recurrent discharge
Expelled, a picture from the mirrors' plane.
Nor otherwise, it seems, can they be kept
So well conserved that thus be given back
Figures so like each object.
Now then, learn
How tenuous is the nature of an image.
And in the first place, since primordials be
So far beneath our senses, and much less
E'en than those objects which begin to grow
Too small for eyes to note, learn now in few
How nice are the beginnings of all things-
That this, too, I may yet confirm in proof:
First, living creatures are sometimes so small
That even their third part can nowise be seen;
Judge, then, the size of any inward organ-
What of their sphered heart, their eyes, their limbs,
The skeleton?- How tiny thus they are!
And what besides of those first particles
Whence soul and mind must fashioned be?- Seest not
How nice and how minute? Besides, whatever
Exhales from out its body a sharp smell-
The nauseous absinth, or the panacea,
Strong southernwood, or bitter centaury-
If never so lightly with thy [fingers] twain
Perchance [thou touch] a one of them

Then why not rather know that images
Flit hither and thither, many, in many modes,
Bodiless and invisible?
But lest
Haply thou holdest that those images
Which come from objects are the sole that flit,
Others indeed there be of own accord
Begot, self-formed in earth's aery skies,
Which, moulded to innumerable shapes,
Are borne aloft, and, fluid as they are,
Cease not to change appearance and to turn
Into new outlines of all sorts of forms;
As we behold the clouds grow thick on high
And smirch the serene vision of the world,
Stroking the air with motions. For oft are seen
The giants' faces flying far along
And trailing a spread of shadow; and at times
The mighty mountains and mountain-sundered rocks
Going before and crossing on the sun,
Whereafter a monstrous beast dragging amain
And leading in the other thunderheads.
Now [hear] how easy and how swift they be
Engendered, and perpetually flow off
From things and gliding pass away....

For ever every outside streams away
From off all objects, since discharge they may;
And when this outside reaches other things,
As chiefly glass, it passes through; but where
It reaches the rough rocks or stuff of wood,
There 'tis so rent that it cannot give back
An image. But when gleaming objects dense,
As chiefly mirrors, have been set before it,
Nothing of this sort happens. For it can't
Go, as through glass, nor yet be rent- its safety,
By virtue of that smoothness, being sure.
'Tis therefore that from them the images
Stream back to us; and howso suddenly
Thou place, at any instant, anything
Before a mirror, there an image shows;
Proving that ever from a body's surface
Flow off thin textures and thin shapes of things.
Thus many images in little time
Are gendered; so their origin is named
Rightly a speedy. And even as the sun
Must send below, in little time, to earth
So many beams to keep all things so full
Of light incessant; thus, on grounds the same,
From things there must be borne, in many modes,
To every quarter round, upon the moment,
The many images of things; because
Unto whatever face of things we turn
The mirror, things of form and hue the same
Respond. Besides, though but a moment since
Serenest was the weather of the sky,
So fiercely sudden is it foully thick
That ye might think that round about all murk
Had parted forth from Acheron and filled
The mighty vaults of sky- so grievously,
As gathers thus the storm-clouds' gruesome night,
Do faces of black horror hang on high-
Of which how small a part an image is
There's none to tell or reckon out in words.

Now come; with what swift motion they are borne,
These images, and what the speed assigned
To them across the breezes swimming on-
So that o'er lengths of space a little hour
Alone is wasted, toward whatever region
Each with its divers impulse tends- I'll tell
In verses sweeter than they many are;
Even as the swan's slight note is better far
Than that dispersed clamour of the cranes
Among the southwind's aery clouds. And first,
One oft may see that objects which are light
And made of tiny bodies are the swift;
In which class is the sun's light and his heat,
Since made from small primordial elements
Which, as it were, are forward knocked along
And through the interspaces of the air
To pass delay not, urged by blows behind;
For light by light is instantly supplied
And gleam by following gleam is spurred and driven.
Thus likewise must the images have power
Through unimaginable space to speed
Within a point of time,- first, since a cause
Exceeding small there is, which at their back
Far forward drives them and propels, where, too,
They're carried with such winged lightness on;
And, secondly, since furnished, when sent off,
With texture of such rareness that they can
Through objects whatsoever penetrate
And ooze, as 'twere, through intervening air.
Besides, if those fine particles of things
Which from so deep within are sent abroad,
As light and heat of sun, are seen to glide
And spread themselves through all the space of heaven
Upon one instant of the day, and fly
O'er sea and lands and flood the heaven, what then
Of those which on the outside stand prepared,
When they're hurled off with not a thing to check
Their going out? Dost thou not see indeed
How swifter and how farther must they go
And speed through manifold the length of space
In time the same that from the sun the rays
O'erspread the heaven? This also seems to be
Example chief and true with what swift speed
The images of things are borne about:
That soon as ever under open skies
Is spread the shining water, all at once,
If stars be out in heaven, upgleam from earth,
Serene and radiant in the water there,
The constellations of the universe-
Now seest thou not in what a point of time
An image from the shores of ether falls
Unto the shores of earth? Wherefore, again,
And yet again, 'tis needful to confess
With wondrous...

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Thespis: Act II

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

GODS

Jupiter, Aged Diety
Apollo, Aged Diety
Mars, Aged Diety
Diana, Aged Diety
Mercury

THESPIANS

Thespis
Sillimon
TimidonTipseion
Preposteros
Stupidas
Sparkeio n
Nicemis
Pretteia
Daphne
Cymon

ACT II - The same Scene, with the Ruins Restored


SCENE-the same scene as in Act I with the exception that in place
of the ruins that filled the foreground of the stage, the
interior of a magnificent temple is seen showing the background
of the scene of Act I, through the columns of the portico at the
back. High throne. L.U.E. Low seats below it. All the substitute
gods and goddesses [that is to say, Thespians] are discovered
grouped in picturesque attitudes about the stage, eating and
drinking, and smoking and singing the following verses.

CHO. Of all symposia
The best by half
Upon Olympus, here await us.
We eat ambrosia.
And nectar quaff,
It cheers but don't inebriate us.
We know the fallacies,
Of human food
So please to pass Olympian rosy,
We built up palaces,
Where ruins stood,
And find them much more snug and cosy.

SILL. To work and think, my dear,
Up here would be,
The height of conscientious folly.
So eat and drink, my dear,
I like to see,
Young people gay--young people jolly.
Olympian food my love,
I'll lay long odds,
Will please your lips--those rosy portals,
What is the good, my love
Of being gods,
If we must work like common mortals?

CHO. Of all symposia...etc.

[Exeunt all but Nicemis, who is dressed as Diana and Pretteia,
who is dressed as Venus. They take Sillimon's arm and bring him
down]

SILL. Bless their little hearts, I can refuse them nothing. As
the Olympian stage-manager I ought to be strict with them and
make them do their duty, but i can't. Bless their little hearts,
when I see the pretty little craft come sailing up to me with a
wheedling smile on their pretty little figure-heads, I can't turn
my back on 'em. I'm all bow, though I'm sure I try to be stern.

PRET. You certainly are a dear old thing.

SILL. She says I'm a dear old thing. Deputy Venus says I'm a
dear old thing.

NICE. It's her affectionate habit to describe everybody in those
terms. I am more particular, but still even I am bound to admit
that you are certainly a very dear old thing.

SILL. Deputy Venus says I'm a dear old thing, and Deputy Diana
who is much more particular, endorses it. Who could be severe
with such deputy divinities.

PRET. Do you know, I'm going to ask you a favour.

SILL. Venus is going to ask me a favour.

PRET. You see, I am Venus.

SILL. No one who saw your face would doubt it.

NICE. [aside] No one who knew her character would.

PRET. Well Venus, you know, is married to Mars.

SILL. To Vulcan, my dear, to Vulcan. The exact connubial relation
of the different gods and goddesses is a point on which we must
be extremely particular.

PRET. I beg your pardon--Venus is married to Mars.

NICE. If she isn't married to Mars, she ought to be.

SILL. Then that decides it--call it married to Mars.

PRET. Married to Vulcan or married to Mars, what does it signify?

SILL. My dear, it's a matter on which I have no personal feeling
whatever.

PRET. So that she is married to someone.

SILL. Exactly. So that she is married to someone. Call it married
to Mars.

PRET. Now here's my difficulty. Presumptios takes the place of
Mars, and Presumptios is my father.

SILL. Then why object to Vulcan?

PRET. Because Vulcan is my grandfather.

SILL. But, my dear, what an objection. You are playing a part
till the real gods return. That's all. Whether you are supposed
to be married to your father--or your grandfather, what does it
matter? This passion for realism is the curse of the stage.

PRET. That's all very well, but I can't throw myself into a part
that has already lasted a twelvemonth, when I have to make love
to my father. It interferes with my conception of the
characters. It spoils the part.

SILL. Well, well. I'll see what can be done. [Exit Pretteia,
L.U.E.) That's always the way with beginners, they've no
imaginative power. A true artist ought to be superior to such
considerations. [Nicemis comes down R.] Well, Nicemis, I should
say, Diana, what's wrong with you? Don't you like your part?

NICE. Oh, immensely. It's great fun.

SILL. Don't you find it lonely out by yourself all night?

NICE. Oh, but I'm not alone all night.

SILL. But, I don't want to ask any injudicious questions, but who
accompanies you?

NICE. Who? Why Sparkeion, of course.

SILL. Sparkeion? Well, but Sparkeion is Phoebus Apollo [enter
Sparkeion] He's the sun, you know.

NICE. Of course he is. I should catch my death of cold, in the
night air, if he didn't accompany me.

SPAR. My dear Sillimon, it would never do for a young lady to be
out alone all night. It wouldn't be respectable.

SILL. There's a good deal of truth in that. But still--the sun--
at night--I don't like the idea. The original Diana always went
out alone.

NICE. I hope the original Diana is no rule for me. After all,
what does it matter?

SILL. To be sure--what does it matter?

SPAR. The sun at night, or in the daytime.

SILL. So that he shines. That's all that's necessary. [Exit
Nicemis, R.U.E.] But poor Daphne, what will she say to this.

SPAR. Oh, Daphne can console herself; young ladies soon get over
this sort of thing. Did you never hear of the young lady who was
engaged to Cousin Robin?

SILL. Never.

SPAR. Then I'll sing it to you.

Little maid of Arcadee
Sat on Cousin Robin's knee,
Thought in form and face and limb,
Nobody could rival him.
He was brave and she was fair,
Truth they made a pretty paid.
Happy little maiden she--
Happy maid of Arcadee.

Moments fled as moments will
Happily enough, until
After, say, a month or two,
Robin did as Robins do.
Weary of his lover's play,
Jilted her and went away,
Wretched little maiden, she--
Wretched maid of Arcadee.

To her little home she crept,
There she sat her down and wept,
Maiden wept as maidens will--
Grew so thin and pale--until
Cousin Richard came to woo.
Then again the roses grew.
Happy little maiden she--
Happy maid of Arcadee. [Exit Sparkeion]

SILL. Well Mercury, my boy, you've had a year's experience of us
here. How do we do it? I think we're rather an improvement on the
original gods--don't you?

MER. Well, you see, there's a good deal to be said on both sides
of the question; you are certainly younger than the original
gods, and, therefore, more active. On the other hand, they are
certainly older than you, and have, therefore, more experience.
On the whole I prefer you, because your mistakes amuse me.

Olympus is now in a terrible muddle,
The deputy deities all are at fault
They splutter and splash like a pig in a puddle
And dickens a one of 'em's earning his salt.
For Thespis as Jove is a terrible blunder,
Too nervous and timid--too easy and weak--
Whenever he's called on to lighten or thunder,
The thought of it keeps him awake for a week.

Then mighty Mars hasn't the pluck of a parrot.
When left in the dark he will quiver and quail;
And Vulcan has arms that would snap like a carrot,
Before he could drive in a tenpenny nail.
Then Venus's freckles are very repelling,
And Venus should not have a quint in her eyes;
The learned Minerva is weak in her spelling,
And scatters her h's all over the skies.

Then Pluto in kindhearted tenderness erring,
Can't make up his mind to let anyone die--
The Times has a paragraph ever recurring,
"Remarkable incidence of longevity."
On some it has some as a serious onus,
to others it's quite an advantage--in short,
While ev're life office declares a big bonus,
The poor undertakers are all in the court.

Then Cupid, the rascal, forgetting his trade is
To make men and women impartially smart,
Will only shoot at pretty young ladies,
And never takes aim at a bachelor's heart.
The results of this freak--or whatever you term it--
Should cover the wicked young scamp with disgrace,
While ev'ry young man is as shy as a hermit,
Young ladies are popping all over the place.

This wouldn't much matter--for bashful and shymen,
When skillfully handled are certain to fall,
But, alas, that determined young bachelor Hymen
Refuses to wed anybody at all.
He swears that Love's flame is the vilest of arsons,
And looks upon marriage as quite a mistake;
Now what in the world's to become of the parsons,
And what of the artist who sugars the cake?

In short, you will see from the facts that I'm showing,
The state of the case is exceedingly sad;
If Thespis's people go on as they're going,
Olympus will certainly go to the bad.
From Jupiter downward there isn't a dab in it,
All of 'em quibble and shuffle and shirk,
A premier in Downing Street forming a cabinet,
Couldn't find people less fit for their work.

[enter Thespis L.U.E.]

THES. Sillimon, you can retire.

SILL. Sir, I--

THES. Don't pretend you can't when I say you can. I've seen you
do it--go. [exit Sillimon bowing extravagantly. Thespis imitates
him]Well, Mercury, I've been in power one year today.

MER. One year today. How do you like ruling the world?

THES. Like it. Why it's as straightforward as possible. Why
there hasn't been a hitch of any kind since we came up here. Lor'
the airs you gods and goddesses give yourselves are perfectly
sickening. Why it's mere child's play.

MER. Very simple isn't it?

THES. Simple? Why I could do it on my head.

MER. Ah--I darsay you will do it on your head very soon.

THES. What do you mean by that, Mercury?

MER. I mean that when you've turned the world quite topsy-turvy
you won't know whether you're standing on your head or your
heels.

THES. Well, but Mercury, it's all right at present.

MER. Oh yes--as far as we know.

THES. Well, but, you know, we know as much as anybody knows; you
know I believe the world's still going on.

MER. Yes--as far as we can judge--much as usual.

THES. Well, the, give the Father of the Drama his due Mercury.
Don't be envious of the Father of the Drama.

MER. But you see you leave so much to accident.

THES. Well, Mercury, if I do, it's my principle. I am an easy
man, and I like to make things as pleasant as possible. What did
I do the day we took office? Why I called the company together
and I said to them: "Here we are, you know, gods and goddesses,
no mistake about it, the real thing. Well, we have certain duties
to discharge, let's discharge them intelligently. Don't let us be
hampered by routine and red tape and precedent, let's set the
original gods an example, and put a liberal interpretation on our
duties. If it occurs to any one to try an experiment in his own
department, let him try it, if he fails there's no harm done, if
he succeeds it is a distinct gain to society. Don't hurry your
work, do it slowly and well." And here we are after a twelvemonth
and not a single complaint or a single petition has reached me.

MER. No, not yet.

THES. What do you mean by "no,not yet?"

MER. Well, you see, you don't understand things. All the
petitions that are addressed by men to Jupiter pass through my
hands, and its my duty to collect them and present them once a
year.

THES. Oh, only once a year?

MER. Only once a year--

THES. And the year is up?

MER. Today.

THES. Oh, then I suppose there are some complaints?

MER. Yes, there are some.

THES. [Disturbed] Oh, perhaps there are a good many?

MER. There are a good many.

THES. Oh, perhaps there are a thundering lot?

MER. There are a thundering lot.

THES. [very much disturbed] Oh.

MER. You see you've been taking it so very easy--and so have most
of your company.

THES. Oh, who has been taking it easy?

MER. Well, all except those who have been trying experiments.

THES. Well but I suppose the experiment are ingenious?

MER. Yes; they are ingenious, but on the whole ill-judged. But
it's time go and summon your court.

THES. What for.

MER. To hear the complaints. In five minutes they will be here.
[Exit]

THES. [very uneasy] I don't know how it is, but there is
something in that young man's manner that suggests that the
father of the gods has been taking it too easy. Perhaps it would
have been better if I hadn't given my company so much scope. I
wonder what they've been doing. I think I will curtail their
discretion, though none of them appear to have much of the
article. It seems a pity to deprive 'em of what little they
have.

[Enter Daphne, weeping]

THES. Now then, Daphne, what's the matter with you?

DAPH. Well, you know how disgracefully Sparkeion--

THES. [correcting her] Apollo--

DAPH. Apollo, then--has treated me. He promised to marry me years
ago and now he's married to Nicemis.

THES. Now look here. I can't go into that. You're in Olympus now
and must behave accordingly. Drop your Daphne--assume your
Calliope.

DAPH. Quite so. That's it. [mysteriously]

THES. Oh--that is it? [puzzled]

DAPH. That is it. Thespis. I am Calliope, the muse of fame.
Very good. This morning I was in the Olympian library and I took
down the only book there. Here it is.

THES. [taking it] Lempriere's Classical Dictionary. The Olympian
Peerage.

DAPH. Open it at Apollo.

THES. [opens it] It is done.

DAPH. Read.

THES. "Apollo was several times married, among others to Issa,
Bolina, Coronis, Chymene, Cyrene, Chione, Acacallis, and
Calliope."

DAPH. And Calliope.

THES. [musing] Ha. I didn't know he was married to them.

DAPH. [severely] Sir. This is the family edition.

THES. Quite so.

DAPH. You couldn't expect a lady to read any other?

THES. On no consideration. But in the original version--

DAPH. I go by the family edition.

THES. Then by the family edition, Apollo is your husband.

[Enter Nicemis and Sparkeion]

NICE. Apollo your husband? He is my husband.

DAPH. I beg your pardon. He is my husband.

NICE. Apollo is Sparkeion, and he's married to me.

DAPH. Sparkeion is Apollo, and he's married to me.

NICE. He is my husband.

DAPH. He's your brother.

THES. Look here, Apollo, whose husband are you? Don't let's have
any row about it; whose husband are you?

SPAR. Upon my honor I don't know. I'm in a very delicate
position, but I'll fall in with any arrangement Thespis may
propose.

DAPH. I've just found out that he's my husband and yet he goes
out every evening with that "thing."

THES. Perhaps he's trying an experiment.

DAPH. I don't like my husband to make such experiments. The
question is, who are we all and what is our relation to each
other.

SPAR. You're Diana. I'm Apollo
And Calliope is she.

DAPH. He's your brother.

NICE. You're another. He has fairly married me.

DAPH. By the rules of this fair spot
I'm his wife and you are not.

SPAR & DAPH. By the rules of this fair spot
I'm/she's his wife and you are not.

NICE. By this golden wedding ring,
I'm his wife, and you're a "thing."

DAPH, NICE, SPAR. By this golden wedding ring,
I'm/She's his wife and you're a "thing."

ALL. Please will someone kindly tell us.
Who are our respective kin?
All of us/them are very jealous
Neither of us/them will give in.

NICE. He's my husband, I declare,
I espoused him properlee.

SPAR. That is true, for I was there,
And I saw her marry me.

DAPH. He's your brother--I'm his wife.
If we go by Lempriere.

SPAR. So she is, upon my life.
Really, that seems very fair.

NICE. You're my husband and no other.

SPAR. That is true enough I swear.

DAPH. I'm his wife, and you're his brother.

SPAR. If we go by Lempriere.

NICE. It will surely be unfair,
To decide by Lempriere. [crying]

DAPH. It will surely be quite fair,
To decide by Lempriere.

SPAR & THES How you settle it I don't care,
Leave it all to Lempriere.
[Spoken] The Verdict
As Sparkeion is Apollo,
Up in this Olympian clime,
Why, Nicemis, it will follow,
He's her husband, for the time. [indicating Daphne]

When Sparkeion turns to mortal
Join once more the sons of men.
He may take you to his portal [indicating Nicemis]
He will be your husband then.
That oh that is my decision,
'Cording to my mental vision,
Put an end to all collision,
My decision, my decision.

ALL. That oh that is his decision. etc.

[Exeunt Thes, Nice., Spar and Daphne, Spar. with Daphne, Nicemis
weeping with Thespis. mysterious music. Enter Jupiter, Apollo
and Mars from below, at the back of stage. All wear cloaks, as
disguise and all are masked]

JUP., AP., MARS. Oh rage and fury, Oh shame and sorrow.
We'll be resuming our ranks tomorrow.
Since from Olympus we have departed,
We've been distracted and brokenhearted,
Oh wicked Thespis. Oh villain scurvy.
Through him Olympus is topsy turvy.
Compelled to silence to grin and bear it.
He's caused our sorrow, and he shall share it.
Where is the monster. Avenge his blunders.
He has awakened Olympian thunders.

[Enter Mercury]

JUP. Oh monster.

AP. Oh monster.

MARS. Oh monster.

MER. [in great terror] Please sir, what have I done, sir?

JUP. What did we leave you behind for?

MER. Please sir, that's the question I asked for when you went
away.

JUP. Was it not that Thespis might consult you whenever he was in
a difficulty?

MER. Well, here I've been ready to be consulted, chockful of
reliable information--running over with celestial maxims--advice
gratis ten to four--after twelve ring the night bell in cases of
emergency.

JUP. And hasn't he consulted you?

MER. Not he--he disagrees with me about everything.

JUP. He must have misunderstood me. I told him to consult you
whenever he was in a fix.

MER. He must have though you said in-sult. Why whenever I opened
my mouth he jumps down my throat. It isn't pleasant to have a
fellow constantly jumping down your throat--especially when he
always disagrees with you. It's just the sort of thing I can't
digest.

JUP. [in a rage] Send him here. I'll talk to him.

[enter Thespis. He is much terrified]

JUP. Oh monster.

AP. Oh monster.

MARS. Oh monster.

[Thespis sings in great terror, which he endeavours to conceal]

JUP. Well sir, the year is up today.

AP. And a nice mess you've made of it.

MARS. You've deranged the whole scheme of society.

THES. [aside] There's going to be a row. [aloud and very
familiarly]My dear boy, I do assure you--

JUP. Be respectful.

AP. Be respectful.

MARS. Be respectful.

THES. I don't know what you allude to. With the exception of
getting our scene painter to "run up" this temple, because we
found the ruins draughty, we haven't touched a thing.

JUP. Oh story teller.

AP. Oh story teller.

MARS. Oh story teller.

[Enter thespians]

THES. My dear fellows, you're distressing yourselves
unnecessarily. The court of Olympus is about to assemble to
listen to the complaints of the year, if any. But there are
none, or next to none. Let the Olympians assemble. [Thespis
takes chair. JUP., AP., and MARS sit below him.

Ladies and gentlemen, it seems that it is usual for the gods to
assemble once a year to listen to mortal petitions. It doesn't
seem to me to be a good plan, as work is liable to accumulate;
but as I am particularly anxious not to interfere with Olympian
precedent, but to allow everything to go on as it has always been
accustomed to go--why, we'll say no more about it. [aside] But
how shall I account for your presence?

JUP. Say we are the gentlemen of the press.

THES. That all our proceedings may be perfectly open and above-
board I have communicated with the most influential members of
the Athenian press, and I beg to introduce to your notice three
of its most distinguished members. They bear marks emblematic of
the anonymous character of modern journalism. [Business of
introduction. Thespis is very uneasy] Now then, if you're all
ready we will begin.

MER. [brings tremendous bundle of petitions] Here is the agenda.

THES. What's that? The petitions?

MER. Some of them. [opens one and reads] Ah, I thought there'd be
a row about it.

THES. Why, what's wrong now?

MER. Why, it's been a foggy Friday in November for the last six
months and the Athenians are tired of it.

THES. There's no pleasing some people. This craving for perpetual
change is the curse of the country. Friday's a very nice day.

MER. So it is, but a Friday six months long.--it gets monotonous.

JUP, AP, MARS. [rising] It's perfectly ridiculous.

THES. [calling them] Cymon.

CYM. [as time with the usual attributes] Sir.

THES. [Introducing him to the three gods] Allow me--Father Time--
rather young at present but even time must have a beginning. In
course of time, time will grow older. Now then, Father Time,
what's this about a wet Friday in November for the last six
months.

CYM. Well, the fact is, I've been trying an experiment. Seven
days in the week is an awkward number. It can't be halved. Two;'s
into seven won't go.

THES. [tries it on his fingers] Quite so--quite so.

CYM. So I abolished Saturday.

JUP, AP, MARS. Oh but. [Rising]

THES. Do be quiet. He's a very intelligent young man and knows
what he is about. So you abolished Saturday. And how did you find
it answer?

CYM. Admirably.

THES. You hear? He found it answer admirably.

CYM. Yes, only Sunday refused to take its place.

THES. Sunday refused to take its place?

CYM. Sunday comes after Saturday--Sunday won't go on duty after
Friday. Sunday's principles are very strict. That's where my
experiment sticks.

THES. Well, but why November? Come, why November?

CYM. December can't begin until November has finished. November
can't finish because he's abolished Saturday. There again my
experiment sticks.

THES. Well, but why wet? Come now, why wet?

CYM. Ah, that is your fault. You turned on the rain six months
ago and you forgot to turn it off again.

JUP., AP., MARS. [rising] On this is monstrous.

ALL. Order. Order.

THES. Gentlemen, pray be seated. [to the others] The liberty of
the press, one can't help it. [to the three gods] It is easily
settled. Athens has had a wet Friday in November for the last six
months. Let them have a blazing Tuesday in July for the next
twelve.

JUP., AP., MARS. But--

ALL. Order. Order.

THES. Now then, the next article.

MER. Here's a petition from the Peace Society. They complain
because there are no more battles.

MARS. [springing up] What.

THES. Quiet there. Good dog--soho; Timidon.

TIM. [as Mars] Here.

THES. What's this about there being no battles?

TIM. I've abolished battles; it's an experiment.

MARS. [spring up] Oh come, I say--

THES. Quiet then. [to Tim] Abolished battles?

TIM. Yes, you told us on taking office to remember two things. To
try experiments and to take it easy. I found I couldn't take it
easy while there are any battles to attend to, so I tried the
experiment and abolished battles. And then I took it easy. The
Peace Society ought to be very much obliged to me.

THES. Obliged to you. Why, confound it. Since battles have been
abolished, war is universal.

TIM. War is universal?

THES. To b sure it is. Now that nations can't fight, no two of
'em are on speaking terms. The dread of fighting was the only
thing that kept them civil to each other. Let battles be
restored and peace reign supreme.

MER. Here's a petition from the associated wine merchants of
Mytilene? Are there no grapes this year?

THES. Well, what's wrong with the associated wine merchants of
Mytilene? Are there no grapes this year?

THES. Plenty of grapes. More than usual.

THES. [to the gods] You observe, there is no deception. There are
more than usual.

MER. There are plenty of grapes, only they are full of ginger
beer.

THREE GODS. Oh, come I say [rising they are put down by Thespis.]

THES. Eh? what [much alarmed] Bacchus.

TIPS. [as Bacchus] Here.

THES. There seems to be something unusual with the grapes of
Mytilene. They only grow ginger beer.

TIPS. And a very good thing too.

THES. It's very nice in its way but it is not what one looks for
from grapes.

TIPS. Beloved master, a week before we came up here, you insisted
on my taking the pledge. By so doing you rescued me from my
otherwise inevitable misery. I cannot express my thanks. Embrace
me. [attempts to embrace him.]

THES. Get out, don't be a fool. Look here, you know you're the
god of wine.

TIPS. I am.

THES. [very angry] Well, do you consider it consistent with your
duty as the god of wine to make the grapes yield nothing but
ginger beer?

TIPS. Do you consider it consistent with my duty as a total
abstainer to grow anything stronger than ginger beer?

THES. But your duty as the god of wine--

TIPS. In every respect in which my duty as the god of wine can be
discharged consistently with my duty as a total abstainer, I will
discharge it. But when the functions clash, everything must give
way to the pledge. My preserver. [Attempts to embrace him]

THES. Don't be a confounded fool. This can be arranged. We can't
give over the wine this year, but at least we can improve the
ginger beer. Let all the ginger beer be extracted from it
immediately.

THREE GODS. We can't stand this,
We can't stand this.
It's much too strong.
We can't stand this.
It would be wrong.
Extremely wrong.
If we stood this.

If we stand this
If we stand this
We can't stand this.

DAPH, SPAR, NICE. Great Jove, this interference.
Is more than we can stand;
Of them make a clearance,
With your majestic hand.

JOVE. This cool audacity, it beats us hollow.
I'm Jupiter.

MARS. I'm Mars.

AP. I'm Apollo.

[Enter Diana and all the other gods and goddesses.

ALL. [kneeling with their foreheads on the ground]

Jupiter, Mars, and Apollo
Have quitted the dwellings of men;
The other gods quickly will follow.
And what will become of us then.
Oh pardon us, Jove and Apollo,
Pardon us, Jupiter, Mars:
Oh see us in misery wallow.
Cursing our terrible stars.

[enter other gods.]

ALL THESPIANS: Let us remain, we beg of you pleadingly.

THREE GODS: Let them remain, they beg of us pleadingly.

THES. Life on Olympus suits us exceedingly.

GODS. Life on Olympus suits them exceedingly.

THES. Let us remain, we pray in humility.

GODS. Let 'em remain, they pray in humility.

THES. If we have shown some little ability.

GODS. If they have shown some little ability.
Let us remain, etc...

JUP. Enough, your reign is ended.
Upon this sacred hill.
Let him be apprehended
And learn out awful will.
Away to earth, contemptible comedians,
And hear our curse, before we set you free'
You shall be all be eminent tragedians,
Whom no one ever goes to see.

ALL. We go to earth, contemptible tragedians,
We hear his curse, before he sets us free,
We shall all be eminent tragedians,
Whom no one ever, ever goes to see.

SILL, SPAR, THES. Whom no one
Ever goes to see.

[The thespians are driven away by the gods, who group themselves
in attitudes of triumph.]

THES. Now, here you see the arrant folly
Of doing your best to make things jolly.
I've ruled the world like a chap in his senses,
Observe the terrible consequences.
Great Jupiter, whom nothing pleases,
Splutters and swears, and kicks up breezes,
And sends us home in a mood avengin'
In double quick time, like a railroad engine.
And this he does without compunction,
Because I have discharged with unction
A highly complicated function
Complying with his own injunction,
Fol, lol, lay

CHO. All this he does....etc.

[The gods drive the thespians away. The thespians prepare to
descend the mountain as the curtain falls.]

CURTAIN

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The Garden of Years

I

I have shut fast the door, and am alone
With the sweet memory of this afternoon,
That saw my vague dreams on a sudden grown
Into fulfilment, as I oft have known
Stray notes upon a keyboard fall atune
When least persuaded. I besought no boon
Of Fate to-day; I that, since first Love came
Into my life, have been so importune.
To-day alone I did not press my claim,
And lo! all I have dreamed of is my own!

II

I have shut fast the door, for so I may
Relive that moment of the turn of tide—
That swift solution of the long delay
That clothed with silver splendor dying day;
And, with low-whispering memory for guide,
See once again your startled eyes confide
The secret of surrender; and your hand
Flutter toward mine, before you turn aside—
And the gold wings of young consent expand
Fresh from the cracking chrysalis of Nay!

III

I did not dare to speak at first. It seemed
A thing unreal, that with the air might blend—
That strange swift signal—and I feared I dreamed!
Ahead, the city’s lamps, converging, gleamed
To a thin angle at the street’s far bend,
And, as we neared, each from its column’s end
Stepped out, and past us, furtive, slipped away:
Nor could Love’s self a longer respite lend
The radiant moments of our shortening day,
That Time, the donor, one by one redeemed.

IV

We spoke of eloquently empty things;
Of younger days that were before we met,
The trivial acts to which the memory clings,
And in familiar spots unbidden brings
To mind, when graver matters we forget.
The sacred secret lay unspoken, yet
Hovered, half-veiled, between our conscious eyes,
Touched with an indefinable regret
For that swift moment of our love’s surprise—
Like a waked bird, poised upon ready wings.

V

I cannot tell how first we came to dwell
In short, shy words upon this closer theme,
Or how it was each understood so well
There was no need in clearer speech to tell
The phases of our duplicated dream.
In that sweet intimacy, it would seem
Our endless love had never been begun:
Like the twin branches of a tranquil stream
Our two hearts ran together and were one,
With no trite word to mar the perfect spell!

VI

Heart of my heart, I am no longer young:
Long have I waited for this day of days
When some small sign from you should loose my tongue—
When I should see that gate wide-open flung
That of Love’s garden screened the sunlit ways;
Long have I waited, till your hand should raise
The veil between our understanding eyes,
That you in mine, that I in yours might gaze,
While my heart shouted to the open skies
The song that long in silence it hath sung!

VII

Dear eyes of earnest brown! How well I know
Their every sadness and their every smile;
How I have watched their laughter come and go,
Or some swift shadow cloud their bonny glow
Of stingless scoffing and of guiltless guile:
How jealous grew I in an instant, while
Some thought I knew not on the mirror blew!
Forgotten, from my heaven I stood exile,
And my rose dreamings dimmed upon my view,
As sunset’s fire grays on the Alpine snow.

VIII

But each doubt fled as swift as it appeared;
And, day by day, I grew to understand
The heart of him who long his death hath feared,
And, sudden, sees the stately palms upreared
Of some oasis in a desert land.
Yet, even as that far green across the sand
Cheered the dry way of my heart’s wandering,
I hardly looked at length to plunge my hand
And thirsty lips deep in the distant spring
That step by step my feet so slowly neared.

IX

For often I had seen the broken pledge
Of far mirages, swung upon the air,
Touched with the tender green of palm and sedge,
And where a thin stream, sliding from a ledge,
Promised me hope and paid me in despair.
So, come at last, in spite of all, to where
The falling waters all the senses cool,
Is it so strange that I should hardly dare
Believe I stand in truth beside the pool
That shone so small upon the desert’s edge?

X

I have come far. If my lips cannot say
The words that younger lovers use to woo,
It is because the long and thirsty day,
The sun-baked stretches of my weary way,
Have dried their memory of the holy dew.
If I cannot at once my claim renew
To light, and perfume, music, and a smile,
It is because of discords, had in lieu
Of harmonies. Sweet, patience for a while!
I shall praise later. Grant me time to pray.

XI

Heart of my heart, blame not the arid sand:—
It has but lent the turf a deeper green.
Blame not the copper skies that overspanned
The heartless reaches of that backward land:—
For them the water shows a smoother sheen.
And blame me not if at the brink I lean
Mutely, and seem uneloquent and cold:—
Viewing the verdure of this fair demesne.
I am so young, who yesterday was old!
It is enough to try to understand.

XII

’T was in the garden, phantom-trod, of those
My younger years, when life before me lay,
That first I saw the flower of Love unclose
From fancy’s folded bud. Youth only knows
How tenderly I longed to pluck it! Nay,
I would not waken those dead hours to-day:
For Time’s consuming fire, with lambent lip,
Has kissed my fair frail flower, and so I may
Not touch with the most careful finger-tip
Its ashes, perfect as the unburnt rose.

XIII

From our Fate’s map of matters foreordained
Who of us all would rend the veil away—
See the sealed shrine of destiny profaned,
And all the awful ultima explained,
Arid so lose right to hope and need to pray?
Who is there of us all who would not say
That mystery is merciful? Too soon
Our roses droop, our limpid skies go gray,
And youth’s morn glooms to age’s afternoon:—
Let the lees lie until the wine be drained.

XIV

Yet are some hours by rapture made so bright
That the sense reels before the blinding blaze
Of an effulgent radiancy, that might,
Spread through a lifetime, shed the steady light
Of calm content on twice ten thousand days.
Ah, if the jealous future would but raise
These, like white beacons on a sad sea thrown,
How patient we should be of life’s delays
That seem denials! Ah, love, had I but known
All my life long the will of Fate to-night!

XV

Close was your secret guarded, empty years!
No far horizon ever hid so well
The dreamt-of harbors of imagined spheres
From the strained eyes of ocean’s pioneers,
Until the appointed dawn from swell to swell
Leaped, and decreed discovery befel.
Had I but known, how different all had been!
To-day—to-day of which you would not tell—
Had lain upon my heart like the unseen
Familiar green of shores their native nears.

XVI

Ah, prescient day when I came down to thee,
Heart of the sea, rebellious as my own!
No other tongue could tell the tragedy
Of those boy-dreamings that were not to be;
Such eloquence was thine and thine alone.
So that fair western land, where they had grown,
Sank to a thin grey line, and so I turned
And pledged my troth unto the great unknown,
Cruel, kind world. How little had I learned
In all the years before I sought the sea!

XVII

For as a myriad bubbles on our stem
Flashed to swift life, and then as swiftly died,
My fancy saw, like them, my visions yearn
An instant on my eyes, and then return
Upon the eddies of the backward tide.
Dear hopes of youth, so youthfully allied
With one familiar comer of the world!
Dear foolish dreams, in mercy thus denied!
How little knew I what the East unfurled:—
I was so wise, and had so much to learn!

XVIII

All my life long in memory I shall guard
That slow sea-swing that lullabied the heart,
While the thin, thoughtful mast, shrouded and sparred,
Moved in and out upon the silver-starred
Midnight, as if it traced upon a chart:
And the prow forced the fluttering waves apart,
As they had been the leaves of some wise tome,
Wherefrom it read Life’s story from the start,
Set to the music of the whirling foam,
Wind-rippled cordage, and slow-straining yard.

XIX

All my life long in memory I shall know
How the slow, careful fingers of the light
Sort and shift countless jewels to and fro
On liquid velvet, when the breezes blow
After the calm that lay upon the night.
All my life long shall linger on my sight
One flower-like cloud that watched the daylight die,
Until the west-wind, pausing in its flight,
Plucked it, and idly on a turquoise sky
Scattered its petals in a crimson snow.

XX

And yet, had I but known what was to be,
The stillness sweet had been more sweetly still,
The laughter-laden singing of the sea,
That hallowed life and pledged eternity,
I should not then have understood so ill.
And, seeing how the west-wind worked its will
Upon the cloud, I should have known how you
Would one day in a myriad roses spill
My life, and give me faith and hope, in lieu
Of the black heart that you plucked out from me.

XXI

O my one love, so frail, so fair, so pure,
Had I but seen you faintly and afar,
My fluctuating faith had pointed sure
As swings the needle—slave, while worlds endure,
To the mute bidding of the northern star—
And many things had never been that are!
Had I but known what Life would bring to-day,
How had the years sung by, with naught to mar
That sweet crescendo, to our fairy-play
Hope’s eloquent, enchanted overture!

XXII

Now, from the goal of this, my heart’s fair fate,
I scan the backward way with wondering eyes,
And, in the silence of the night, debate
Upon each changing charm that lay in wait
Beneath the arch of ever stranger skies.
Like to a map the varied prospect lies
Of the long years since from your side I turned:
Fata Morgana-wise my pleasures rise,
Each in its turn sought after, squandered, spurned—
More trivial each, that treasured was of late!

XXIII

How wide a world it was that met my sight,
Whose eyes were narrowed to but childish things!
Asia lay bathed in unimagined light,
With all the splendors of her past bedight.
Work of the ages’ full-forgotten kings:
And, rocking ’twixt her summers and her springs,
The blue-robed Indian Ocean slept and sighed,
Decked with her emerald islands, looped in strings
Upon the breathing bosom of her tide:—
Slept all bronze day, and all star-studded night.

XXIV

Africa frowned across my breathless lee,
Mute, unforgetful, cursed, but unconquered still,
Sahara-hemmed in heart and destiny,
Unpardoned yet, and yet too proud for plea,
Pregnant with purpose of unaltered ill.
Distant, the swerved sirocco seemed to spill
From its black cup a plague upon the land,
And, crawling on past barren ridge and hill
Through hope-devouring endlessness of sand,
The swarthy Nile sulked northward to the sea.

XXV

Those earliest Americas of all
That, with half-lowered lids, dream on the day
Of the imperial Incas, seemed to call,
As, when their own long, languid evenings fall,
The sea calls landward from her curving bay.
Hearing, I answered, bent my aimless way
To the cool shade that nestled ’neath their palms,
And so, long nights on sloping shoreways lay,
While moons crept, silver-shod, across the calms,
And wrapped their radiance in the horizon’s pall.

XXVI

Years melted into years as still I strayed,
And Life, still searching, from her pack withdrew
More novel baubles, offered me in trade
For those unvalued days, wherewith I paid
Because with them I knew not what to do:
Till at the end, I smiled to think of you
As but a memory. Fool! How swift I found,
Like the mechanic mole, I burrowed through
Oblivion, an inch below the ground!
One touch, and all my blindness lay displayed.

XXVII

I know, should some one ask me which was best
Of all the lands wherewith our world is starred,
There could be but one answer to the test.
A rover heart had urged me on a quest
Wherein all gates of distance were unbarred,
Yet never was I able to discard
The thought of that young land that gave me birth:
Still in my memory’s holiest shrine I guard
That virgin daughter of the grim old earth,
The star-eyed White Republic of the West!

XXVIII

Yet, like some chapter of an old romance,
My heart holds one memorial morning dear,
When the gray hazes whirled, as in a dance,
Up from the rippled Channel’s wide expanse,
And sunlit shores stept, on a sudden, near.
On that chief day of that prophetic year
Some pledge I could but dimly understand,
Some subtle spell, lay on the calm and clear
Blue harbor of this mute majestic land,
And hope shone smiling in the eyes of France!

XXIX

And France it was that crushed my callow creed,
That held me like a mother to her breast;
That staunched the wounds my ignorance made bleed,
And, in the hour of that, my direst need,
Showed where my star still hung against the West.
France was the judge that put my faith to test,
Little by little lent it sturdier strength,
And schooled the rover in the rules of rest;
And now, dear heart, that you are mine at length,
I see ’t was she that taught me love indeed.

XXX

Thus, in my deepest heart must I inshrine
Her stately cliffs, patrolled by guardian seas;
Her hollowed hillsides, where the slender vine,
Pregnant with promise of the autumn wine,
Leans on its staff against the battling breeze:
And all her silver streams, that seek the seas,
Threading the dappled fabric of her lawns—
Her crimson sunsets, snared among the trees,
And all the crescent glory of her dawns,—
For I am hers for aye, and she is mine!

XXXI

The murmured secrets of her Norman firs,
Wherein at night the whisper of the air
To busy babble all the branches spurs,
Till every drowsy needle wakes and stirs,
And of the gossip speaks its little share:
Her shadowy mines, her southern gardens, where
The oval olives crowd the bending bough:
All these are mine:—but, most of all, O fair
Laughing and languid Paris, mine art thou,
Pinned like a pearl on that white brow of hers!

XXXII

Waywardest wanton of the world to woo,
Blackest of heart, of face the most sublime,
O Cleopatran city, through and through
Blazing with sin and splendor, once I knew
No star upon the black night of thy crime;
Till on the stagnant bosom of thy slime
Bloomed a white lily with a heart of gold:—
Heart of my heart, what matters it if Time
Damned this fair city in the days of old?
She stands regenerate, as the home of you!

XXXIII

As the rank refuse of the city goes
Out to the sea, that maketh all things clean,
So past your doorway all her folly flows,
Rubbish purged pure by one redeeming rose:—
Paris and Hell, but your face in between!
Upon that ground where rose the guillotine
Your slender feet, like benedictions, fall.
With this redress the grim Fates intervene:—
The past is naught, dear love, and you are all!
Paris is pure since your pure eyes she knows.

XXXIV

And it was Paris fully roused me first
From that, my torpor. Flashing on the scene
With nimble feet, this dearest dancer burst
Upon my sight, within her eyes such thirst
As dares and damns, a rose her lips between.
Girdled with jewels, crowned as is a queen,
With Lethe’s poppies dozing in her hair,
Gowned in thin stuffs of silver-dotted sheen,
Humanly sinful, and divinely fair,
She tore the mask from off my best and worst!

XXXV

I know not how it was she spun that spell
Which made me see, who had been blind so long,
Or with what kiss aroused; nor can I tell
How such a one as she contrived so well
To tempt my weakness and to leave me strong.
Some note there was in her compellant song
That made me man who had been boy till then,
And hurled the idler in among the throng,
Frontward to fight his way with other men,
Scale highest Heaven, and plumb profoundest Hell.

XXXVI

But this I know:—she flung the gauntlet true,
And at the challenge fear shrank back ashamed:
Hope, silver-armored, roused herself anew,
A blast upon the brazen trumpet blew,
And at the call my hand the gage reclaimed.
Wounded, mayhap, in earlier combats maimed,
Yet, as of old, with my escutcheon clean,
A space I sought, where red the pennants flamed,
To see the seat of Love and Beauty’s queen,—
And from the past leaned out the thought of you!

XXXVII

You stepped into my life once more, and lo!
The well-drilled steeds tore loose from every rein:
They whom the years had taught so meek to go
Felt the old breezes past their nostrils blow,
And whirled Love’s chariot to the fore again!
Afresh I knew the rapture and the pain
Of your dear voice, so kind, so unconcerned;
Despite my will, the incense, quenched in vain,
With sweeter perfume on your altars burned,
And gowned in gray the temple columns’ snow.

XXXVIII

For siren Paris with her tenderest smile
Had failed to blot the old songs from the score.
The every glamor and the every wile
Of this most sovereign sorceress of guile
But left the tempted truer than before!
Loving I lost, regaining, loved the more:—
What ne’er I learned from sweet propinquity,
My exile taught. Blindness I begged her for:—
She touched my eyes, and showed them how to see,
And how that they had been but blind erewhile.

XXXIX

Upon that day hope turned one golden grain
Of purest promise from the loam of toil,
Significant of some yet hidden vein
Beneath, and by the signal bade me gain
What lay unmined below the stubborn soil.
As if by magic, cleared of ruck and roil,
The spring of Life grew undefiled and pure,
And, limpid lying, freed of all turmoil,
Mirrored your face, immutable and sure,
And then I knew that we should meet again.

XL

Oh, clad in all a dream’s unstable guise,
And unsubstantial as the veriest air,
Thenceforward hung your presence on my eyes,
Worthy of all and any sacrifice,
Pale, but beyond my maddest memory fair!
Walked I by day, the phantom form was there;
Slept I, its radiance on my dreams was cast,
Teaching me mutely how I might prepare
To be, when we should meet again at last,
More pure, more humble, worthier,—and more wise.

XLI

No longer toy of each most idle whim,
But unto nobler aims apprentice made,
I filled my duty’s chalice to the brim,
And daily drank my portion, good or grim;—
So was Hope’s stirring summons well obeyed.
And, grew I ever of the end afraid,
Despaired I of my ultimate design,
In that dark hour, when most I needed aid,
As if my draught grew stimulant with wine,
Your promised lips hallowed the goblet’s rim.

XLII

Love, to all men that loathe their lives to-day
I fain would give of those rapt years a part;
Of all the words I dreamt I heard you say,
I could spare some to cheer the hapless way
Of every mortal who is sick at heart.
Of hope and honor all the cruel mart
I fain would have one rose relieve the gloom,
Appeasing the unutterable smart
With one sweet breath of that self-same perfume
That turned my own December into May.

XLIII

And yet—and yet—let the great world go past!
God holds within the hollow of His hand
Each scourged pariah, down-trodden, and outclassed,
Who pauses at the steep abyss, aghast;—
His will we cannot hope to understand.
Only of all good things that He hath planned,
And all that in the future He may send,
There is no further boon that I demand,
Since I have thisthat half I comprehend—
That I have held you to my heart at last!

XLIV

I know that I am worthier to-day
Of your consent than in that long ago
When first I loved you. All the winding way
Was somehow shot with an enlightening ray
That taught me things that I had need to know.
At every step there lay some sign, to show
How best to win you, where I had but lost:
The years were stern and merciless, but oh,
With you the prize, how little seems the cost:—
’T were in my heart tenfold the price to pay!

XLV

I often wondered if you ever guessed
How over leagues of sea your influence sped,
How in my every mood of vague unrest
Completest calm crept close against my breast,
Night lightened, and the dawn was mine instead:
And if, perchance, when, woven thread by thread,
My rhyme-linked thoughts lay on some printed page,
They came unto your hand, and, as you read,
You knew them birds bred in your soul’s pure cage,
That I had kissed, and given again the West.

XLVI

Rereading these, I mind me well what night
Saw each first flutter to my eager hand,
How to my heart I held the wanderer tight,
Smoothed its soft wings, all ruffled by the flight,
And strove each timid note to understand.
sweet unconscious breeder of the band,
Let others say my thoughts are all my own!
I know them nestlings of my native land,
Whose songs were taught by you and you alone:—
All I can do is note the strains aright.

XLVII

I love them all so well that I would fain
Believe you held their songs as dear as I,
That on your memory may perchance have lain
Some one or two of all the rhythmic train
That you inspired, and I taught how to fly.
Could I but know that some so softly lie
In that most silken nest, I were content!
Ah, tell me some sang true in brushing by
The only ear for which their songs were meant,
And made the meaning of my message plain.

XLVIII

For this the curse of those that tempt the pen:—
Where thousands read, one eye may never see
The thoughts that are but lifeless creatures, when
Taken into the myriad hearts of men,
If one intended ear heed not the plea.
What though I knew that, in mine own degree,
I had made lips to laugh and eyes to weep?
Rather that one unworthy word from me
Within your heart should sleep, and wake, and sleep:—
All I have done were worth the labor then.

XLIX

Heart of my heart, what all the world may do
To blot my name or keep its memory green
Is naught. I crave not to be of the few
Who, unforgotten, thread the ages through
And lordlier laurels with each cycle glean.
Grant me but this, whereon my life may lean:
As once I saw you in your bonny way
Your mirror kiss, that stood two flowers between,
Let these, my pages, the reflector play,
And kiss again what mirrors only you!

L

Dearest, to me come oftentimes at night
Pictures, wherein I find you fitly framed—
Shores of strange seas, incomparably bright,
And hill-girt landscapes, haloed with a light
Ethereal, that none hath ever named.
No ownership in these I could have claimed:
They are not of my making. Love alone
Could so blind Nature, utterly ashamed,
With beauty thus out-rivalling her own,
That seems transcendent to our mortal sight.

LI

For I am not of those who, in their dreams,
Are wont to rank their love with simple things,
With humble flowers, babble of vapid streams,
Or that rare note of rapture that redeems
The idle gossip that the blackbird sings.
The grim old earth hath seen too many springs,
Lovers enough have trapped her charm in words:
To all her flowers the mould of usage clings,
And, to the music of her weary birds,
The burden of reiterated themes.

LII

This love of ours doth wonderfully dwell
In new demesnes, born when it first arose;
Treads the young turf of some yet virgin dell,
Where novel buds miraculously swell
On trees not known before, and where unclose
Unprecedented vistas. Where it goes,
Strange birds invent unwonted melodies,
That in all earth no other lover knows
Save our two selves alone, for each of these
Sounds a fresh note, as of a new-wrought bell.

LIII

I cannot tell in words what lands these are
Through which I see you moving like a queen:
There is no earthly radiance like that star
That stands in silent majesty, afar,
The peaks of unfamiliar hills between.
Some unknown pigment turns the tender green
Of all that dreaming landscape to a hue
That never was, save in the lovely scene
That Love hath only planned for framing you,
And that no mortal hand could make or mar.

LIV

There is a sheen in those soft gowns you wear
Like water turned to opal by the moon;
A lustre in those jewels that you bear,
Twined in and out amid your dusky hair,
Like the still stars, and like the blaze of noon.
There is a perfume of some sweeter June
Than earth hath seen, that follows where you go;
And all the solemn silence is atune
With unvoiced songs, such as the angels know,
Born without breath upon the breathless air!

LV

We may not hope to find each other thus
In waking hours. Our days are too beset
With the world’s voices, shrill and clamorous:
Life is too sharply strained, too strenuous—
We are but mortal, and we may forget!
The momentary pang of some regret
May lay its hand an instant on your eyes
And mine, dear heart, and cloud our vision—yet
Remember that with earthly fears and sighs
We two have naught to do, nor they with us.

LVI

What though unbidden tears may turn us blind?
Twilight still comes, and still brings sweet release:
Merciful night, in spite of all, shall find
Us waiting each for each, for sleep is kind,
And moulds from sorrow’s clay the cup of peace.
Heart of my heart, drink deep of that surcease
That at her goblet’s rim divinely gleams:
Whate’er may be deceptive day’s caprice,
I wait you on the borderland of dreams,
Where the world stumbles and is left behind!

LVII

And, through my visions as you thread your way,
Girt with that grace my eyes alone may see,
If I make bold your noiseless steps to stay,
It is because in sleep alone I may
Be half to you of all that I would be.
It is because my longing lips, set free,
Can compass then alone each subtle phrase,
And snare in speech that magic melody
Which, since your coming, sings adown my days.
Only in sleep my lips my heart obey.

LVIII

And who shall say but what our dreams may tell
Some secret we were hardly meant to know,
As if a feather from a rapt lark fell,
To say that in high heaven all things are well,
However black the heart of man below?
If through my visions thus you nightly go,
Robed round with love, may not my dreaming mean
That some day we may wander to and fro
In unknown meadows gowned in such a green
As all the fields of earth cannot excel?

LIX

Ah, love, there is a pledge of keener bliss
In these unbidden dreams of sleeping hours,
That set all right that may have been amiss,
And lend us wings to clear whate’er abyss
Darkly across our waking pathway glowers.
There is some promise in these strange new flowers
Holier than we have dreamt of or have planned;
Some fairer fate eternally is ours:—
Only it is so hard to understand.
You love me! Are there greater things than this?

LX

I think that in the past, unheard, unseen,
All influences of the earth and air,
The gleam of water, and the forest’s green,
Have spun some cobweb sympathy between
Our hearts, now one in finding them so fair:
That every sunset taught us to prepare
For the pure dawn when Love was sure to rise;
That every cloud but made us more aware
That soon or late his sun would greet our eyes,
And all our heaven be cloudless and serene!

LXI

Else, how should we have come to understand
The perfect meaning of this perfect day?
How could this hour, unbidden and unplanned,
Bring in its train such infinite command
Of all the things we do not need to say?
It is too soon, mayhap, to trace the way
By which we came, guided by birds and flowers,
To the full knowledge of the joys of May:—
We can retrace the path in later hours,
And all our haunts revisit, hand in hand.

LXII

To-night it is enough for us to know
That we are one; to know that, if we will,
We may a bridge across the darkness throw,
Whereon our tender thoughts may come and go,
In silent love that distance cannot kill.
I only seek the heart-begotten skill
To put in simple words this truth sublime:—
That I have loved you, dearest, love you still,
And so shall love you till the end of time!
It is enough that what is so is so.

LXIII

Let me but tell you, lamely if I must,
Of how I love you; how, despite all wiles,
That tender flower, that in my boyhood thrust
Its star-eyed promise from the barren dust,
Still on my path with purest fragrance smiles;
Of how my heart returns, through weary miles,
To that song-spilling throng of birds unseen
Whose inter-rippling music so beguiles
All the long hours, the dawn and dark between.
Love, let me place the secret in your trust!

LXIV

I loved you first, I know not how or where:—
The world began upon the day we met!
Truth’s self slept in your eyes; and in your hair
The sun lay trapped, as in a silken snare:
The tinkle of some crystal fountain’s jet
Sang in your voice; a hint of violet
Slept on your breath, and dawn’s divinest glow
Flushed your soft cheek—but ah, more tender yet
The ivory of your throat’s ascending snow!
I loved you first when first I found you fair.

LXV

Could you but guess how like the dawn you grew
Upon my east, slow as such dawnings will!
Spell-bound and breathless, diademed with dew.
My sunless world its sudden sovereign knew;
And all the fern-fringed forest waited, still.
Slow spread the glory on the distant hill,
From that faint early flush grown clear and strong,
And then, with one divinely daring thrill,
A single bird unleashed its soul in song,
And swung exultant upward in the blue!

LXVI

I loved you first because, when first you stood
Upon the threshold of my world new-born,
That strange new note I dimly understood
Leapt laughing from the bosom of the wood
Straight to the arms of my supremest morn!
Because your clear eyes, innocent of scorn,
Swept infinite horizons into view;
And the gray hazes, from their moorings torn,
Revealed wide fields that thenceforth, knowing you,
It was for me to till for gain and good.

LXVII

Yet was I blind to all the better part
Of morning’s mute miraculous intent.
That spell you wove about me at the start,
Conjured to life by simple beauty’s art,
Told but a tithe of all the truth it meant:
And all the higher purpose that you lent
Unto my life, went wrapped within a veil.
Uneloquent, the message that was sent,
Wan with desire of speech, stood, proud and pale,
Outside the holiest holy of my heart.

LXVIII

The chiefest lessons Life makes clear are those
She teaches most at leisure. Sure and slow
Successive leaves of her wise book unclose;
And, day by day, the vital story grows
To consummation, till we come to know
Its perfect purport. All that lay below
The rapture of my earliest glimpse of you
Only that stoic tutor Time could show:—
Long evenings of reiterated dew
Alone perfect the perfume of the rose!

LXIX

The patient years polished with practised hand
Love’s crystal to a smooth symmetric swell,
Till the curved lens lay, accurately planned,
Flawlessly fitted to the brazen band
Within whose compass it was meant to dwell.
Then from my eyes the scales of blindness fell:
Undreamt-of planets swam into my ken.
And new-mapped heavens with stars made haste to spell
The meaning of the message that, till then,
It was not in my power to understand.

LXX

I love you now, not with the love alone
Of blind rebellious boyhood, as of old:
The blooms of mere enchantment, beauty-blown,
Lie withered, and the full fruit, slowlier grown,
Bends the slim bough beneath unmeasured gold.
The sun, of these new secrets, Time hath told—
The tempests of communicative tears—
The strong, blind winds of passion—and behold!—
The careful cultivation of the years
Hath made a harvest of what Love hath sown.

LXXI

I love you now, because that I and you
Were complements before the birth of Time;
Because our souls have come, the ages through,
Down to the moment when God’s purpose drew
The twain together in one perfect rhyme;
Because that I have made Love’s aria climb
The scales that every subtler phrase involved,
Until I struck the seventh chord sublime.
And one low word upon your lips resolved
My melody, beyond all music new!

LXXII

You are the magnet moon, and I the sea,
Cradling her face, climbing to catch more clear
The image of her pure tranquillity:
You are the west-wind, mistress of the lea,
And I the reed, that bows when she is near:
You are the spring, and I the obedient year
Whose soul awakens where her footfalls go:
You are the stream, and I a leaf, to veer
Where’er the singing current choose to flow:—
O light and breath, perfume and melody!

LXXIII

I love you for your lips the rose hath kissed—
Your cheeks, more tender than arbutus blooms;
For those half-hidden veins of amethyst
In your white throat, and for the tender mist
That clouds your eyes, as haze the autumn glooms:
For that faint subtle fragrance which perfumes
The soft bewitching tangle of your hair;
For your low laughter in the darkening rooms,
Where our instinctive hands lie linked, and where
Daylight and dark keep transitory tryst!

LXXIV

Life of my love, love of my life, in vain
I marshall every phrase that speech supplies:
The summits of my meaning yet remain
Cloud-capped, above the flat familiar plain
Of spoken thought, unsealed against the skies!
The mute interrogation of your eyes
My own must mutely meet. Ah, touch my hand,
And, like a child, instruct me in what wise
I may contrive to make you understand
The love that aught but silence must profane!

poem by from The Garden of Years and Other Poems (1901)Report problemRelated quotes
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