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Bill Moyers

Hyperbole was to Lyndon Johnson what oxygen is to life.

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Handles Bermuda

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Luggage Canada

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Byron

Canto the Eighth

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

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

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

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

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

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Johnson’s Antidote

Down along the Snakebite River, where the overlanders camp,
Where the serpents are in millions, all of the most deadly stamp;
Where the station-cook in terror, nearly every time he bakes,
Mixes up among the doughboys half-a-dozen poison-snakes:
Where the wily free-selector walks in armour-plated pants,
And defies the stings of scorpions, and the bites of bull-dog ants:
Where the adder and the viper tear each other by the throat,—
There it was that William Johnson sought his snake-bite antidote.
Johnson was a free-selector, and his brain went rather queer,
For the constant sight of serpents filled him with a deadly fear;
So he tramped his free-selection, morning, afternoon, and night,
Seeking for some great specific that would cure the serpent’s bite.
Till King Billy, of the Mooki, chieftain of the flour-bag head,
Told him, “Spos’n snake bite pfeller, pfeller mostly drop down dead;
Spos’n snake bite old goanna, then you watch a while you see,
Old goanna cure himself with eating little pfeller tree.”
“That’s the cure,” said William Johnson, “point me out this plant sublime,”
But King Billy, feeling lazy, said he’d go another time.
Thus it came to pass that Johnson, having got the tale by rote,
Followed every stray goanna, seeking for the antidote.


. . . . .
Loafing once beside the river, while he thought his heart would break,
There he saw a big goanna fighting with a tiger-snake,
In and out they rolled and wriggled, bit each other, heart and soul,
Till the valiant old goanna swallowed his opponent whole.
Breathless, Johnson sat and watched him, saw him struggle up the bank,
Saw him nibbling at the branches of some bushes, green and rank;
Saw him, happy and contented, lick his lips, as off he crept,
While the bulging in his stomach showed where his opponent slept.
Then a cheer of exultation burst aloud from Johnson’s throat;
“Luck at last,” said he, “I’ve struck it! ’tis the famous antidote.

“Here it is, the Grand Elixir, greatest blessing ever known,—
Twenty thousand men in India die each year of snakes alone.
Think of all the foreign nations, negro, chow, and blackamoor,
Saved from sudden expiration, by my wondrous snakebite cure.
It will bring me fame and fortune! In the happy days to be,
Men of every clime and nation will be round to gaze on me—
Scientific men in thousands, men of mark and men of note,
Rushing down the Mooki River, after Johnson’s antidote.
It will cure delirium tremens, when the patient’s eyeballs stare
At imaginary spiders, snakes which really are not there.
When he thinks he sees them wriggle, when he thinks he sees them bloat,
It will cure him just to think of Johnson’s Snakebite Antidote.”

Then he rushed to the museum, found a scientific man—
“Trot me out a deadly serpent, just the deadliest you can;
I intend to let him bite me, all the risk I will endure,

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Johnson, alias Crow

Where the seasons are divided and the bush begins to change,
and the links are rather broken in the Great Dividing Range;
where the atmosphere is hazy underneath the summer sky,
lies the little town of Eton, rather westward of Mackay.
Near the township, in the graveyard, where the dead of Eton go,
lies the body of a sinner known as “Johnson alias Crow”.
He was sixty-four was Johnson, and in other days, lang syne,
was apprenticed to a ship-wright in the land across the Rhine;
but, whatever were his prospects in the days of long ago,
things went very bad with Johnson—Heinrich Johnson (alias Crow).
He, at Eton—where he drifted in his age, a stranded wreck—
got three pounds by false pretences, in connection with a cheque.
But he didn’t long enjoy it, the police soon got to know;
and the lockup closed on Johnson, lonely Johnson alias Crow.
Friday night, and Crow retired, feeling, as he said, unwell;
and the warder heard the falling of a body in the cell.
Going in, the warder saw him bent with pain and crouching low—
Death had laid his hand on Johnson, Heinrich Johnson, alias Crow.
Then the constable bent o’er him—asked him where he felt the pain. Johnson only said, “I’m dying”—and he never spoke again.
They had waited for a witness, and the local people say
Johnson’s trial would have ended on that very Saturday;
but he took his case for judgment where our cases all must go,
and the higher court is trying Heinrich Johnson (alias Crow).

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Dr Samuel Johnson's Dictionary Masterpiece

June 1746 deeply dissatisfied
with the dictionaries of the period
London booksellers contracted

Dr Samuel Johnson to write
'A Dictionary of the English Language'
15 April 1755 finally published.

Johnson took nine years to create
an authoritative dictionary of the English language
could finish in three years he claimed?

Preposterous Académie Française employed;
in comparison over forty learned scholars
spending needing forty years to complete;


its dictionary in the French language.
Forty Frenchmen times forty years
is not nine but 1600 years to complete.

Miracle miracle Johnson 1591 years defeats.
For what princely sum did Johnson contract
with William Strahan and printer associates;

a preeminent Dictionary in English to complete?
18 June 1746 in historic morning was signed
a project prestigious contact worth 1,500 guineas?

This sum of 1,500 guineas is
in pounds £1,575 equivalent
in 2012 to about £230,000.


A consortium of London's most
successful printers including Robert
Dodsley, Thomas Longman, would

finance a dictionary none could afford;
on such scale to undertake alone, thus was
contracted to be; a meticulous feat of legend.

Twas said 'the world contemplated
with wonder so stupendous a work achieved
by one man, while other countries

had thought such undertakings
fit only for whole academies'.'
OED took writers 70 years to complete.

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Tom Johnson's Quit

A passel o' the boys last night--
An' me amongst 'em--kindo got
To talkin' Temper'nce left an' right,
An' workin' up 'blue-ribbon,' _hot_;
An' while we was a-countin' jes'
How many bed gone into hit
An' signed the pledge, some feller says,--
'Tom Johnson's quit!'

We laughed, of course--'cause Tom, you know,
_He's_ spiled more whisky, boy an' man,
And seed more trouble, high an' low,
Than any chap but Tom could stand:
And so, says I '_He's_ too nigh dead.
Far Temper'nce to benefit!'
The feller sighed agin, and said--
'Tom Johnson's quit!'

We all _liked_ Tom, an' that was why
We sorto simmered down agin,
And ast the feller ser'ously
Ef he wa'n't tryin' to draw us in:
He shuck his head--tuck off his hat--
Helt up his hand an' opened hit,
An' says, says he, 'I'll _swear_ to that--
Tom Johnson's quit!'

Well, we was stumpt, an' tickled too,--
Because we knowed ef Tom _had_ signed
Ther wa'n't no man 'at wore the 'blue'
'At was more honester inclined:
An' then and there we kindo riz,--
The hull dern gang of us 'at bit--
An' th'owed our hats and let 'er whizz,--
'_Tom Johnson's quit!_'

I've heerd 'em holler when the balls
Was buzzin' 'round us wus 'n bees,
An' when the ole flag on the walls
Was flappin' o'er the enemy's,
I've heerd a-many a wild 'hooray'
'At made my heart git up an' git--
But Lord!--to hear 'em shout that way!--
'_Tom Johnson's quit!_'

But when we saw the chap 'at fetched
The news wa'n't jinin' in the cheer,
But stood there solemn-like, an' reched
An' kindo wiped away a tear,
We someway sorto' stilled agin,

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Bad Side Of The Moon

(bernie taupin/elton john)
Published by songs of polygram international - bmi
Seems as though Ive lived my life on the bad side of the moon
To stir your dregs, and sittin still, without a rustic spoon
Now come on people, live with me, where the light has never shone
And the harlots flock like hummingbirds, speakin in a foreign tongue
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
It seems as though Ive lived my life on the bad side of the moon
To stir your dregs, and sittin still, without a rustic spoon
Now come on people, live with me, where the light has never shone
And the harlots flock like hummingbirds, speakin in a foreign tongue
Im a light world away, from the people who make me stay
Sittin on the bad side of the moon
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
There aint no need for watchdogs here, to justify our ways
We lived our lives in manacles, the main cause of our stay
And exiled here from other worlds, my sentence comes to soon
Why should I be made to pay on the bad side of the moon
Im a light world away, from the people who make me stay
Sittin on the bad side of the moon
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life
This is my life, this is my life, this is my life, my life

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XI. Guido

You are the Cardinal Acciaiuoli, and you,
Abate Panciatichi—two good Tuscan names:
Acciaiuoli—ah, your ancestor it was
Built the huge battlemented convent-block
Over the little forky flashing Greve
That takes the quick turn at the foot o' the hill
Just as one first sees Florence: oh those days!
'T is Ema, though, the other rivulet,
The one-arched brown brick bridge yawns over,—yes,
Gallop and go five minutes, and you gain
The Roman Gate from where the Ema's bridged:
Kingfishers fly there: how I see the bend
O'erturreted by Certosa which he built,
That Senescal (we styled him) of your House!
I do adjure you, help me, Sirs! My blood
Comes from as far a source: ought it to end
This way, by leakage through their scaffold-planks
Into Rome's sink where her red refuse runs?
Sirs, I beseech you by blood-sympathy,
If there be any vile experiment
In the air,—if this your visit simply prove,
When all's done, just a well-intentioned trick,
That tries for truth truer than truth itself,
By startling up a man, ere break of day,
To tell him he must die at sunset,—pshaw!
That man's a Franceschini; feel his pulse,
Laugh at your folly, and let's all go sleep!
You have my last word,—innocent am I
As Innocent my Pope and murderer,
Innocent as a babe, as Mary's own,
As Mary's self,—I said, say and repeat,—
And why, then, should I die twelve hours hence? I—
Whom, not twelve hours ago, the gaoler bade
Turn to my straw-truss, settle and sleep sound
That I might wake the sooner, promptlier pay
His due of meat-and-drink-indulgence, cross
His palm with fee of the good-hand, beside,
As gallants use who go at large again!
For why? All honest Rome approved my part;
Whoever owned wife, sister, daughter,—nay,
Mistress,—had any shadow of any right
That looks like right, and, all the more resolved,
Held it with tooth and nail,—these manly men
Approved! I being for Rome, Rome was for me.
Then, there's the point reserved, the subterfuge
My lawyers held by, kept for last resource,
Firm should all else,—the impossible fancy!—fail,
And sneaking burgess-spirit win the day.
The knaves! One plea at least would hold,—they laughed,—
One grappling-iron scratch the bottom-rock

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[9] O, Moon, My Sweet-heart!

O, Moon, My Sweet-heart!
[LOVE POEMS]

POET: MAHENDRA BHATNAGAR

POEMS

1 Passion And Compassion / 1
2 Affection
3 Willing To Live
4 Passion And Compassion / 2
5 Boon
6 Remembrance
7 Pretext
8 To A Distant Person
9 Perception
10 Conclusion
10 You (1)
11 Symbol
12 You (2)
13 In Vain
14 One Night
15 Suddenly
16 Meeting
17 Touch
18 Face To Face
19 Co-Traveller
20 Once And Once only
21 Touchstone
22 In Chorus
23 Good Omens
24 Even Then
25 An Evening At ‘Tighiraa’ (1)
26 An Evening At ‘Tighiraa’ (2)
27 Life Aspirant
28 To The Condemned Woman
29 A Submission
30 At Midday
31 I Accept
32 Who Are You?
33 Solicitation
34 Accept Me
35 Again After Ages …
36 Day-Dreaming
37 Who Are You?
38 You Embellished In Song

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Johnson's Boy

The world is turned ag'in' me,
And people says, 'They guess
That nothin' else is in me
But pure maliciousness!'
I git the blame for doin'
What other chaps destroy,
And I'm a-goin' to ruin
Because I'm 'Johnson's boy.'

THAT ain't my name--I'd ruther
They'd call me IKE or PAT--
But they've forgot the other--
And so have _I_, for that!
I reckon it's as handy,
When Nibsy breaks his toy,
Or some one steals his candy,
To say 'twas 'JOHNSON'S BOY!'

You can't git any water
At the pump, and find the spout
So durn chuck-full o' mortar
That you have to bore it out;
You tackle any scholar
In Wisdom's wise employ,
And I'll bet you half a dollar
He'll say it's 'Johnson's boy!'

Folks don't know how I suffer
In my uncomplainin' way--
They think I'm gittin' tougher
And tougher every day.
Last Sunday night, when Flinder
Was a-shoutin' out for joy,
And some one shook the winder,
He prayed for 'Johnson's boy.'

I'm tired of bein' follered
By farmers every day,
And then o' bein' collared
For coaxin' hounds away;
Hounds always plays me double--
It's a trick they all enjoy--
To git me into trouble,
Because I'm 'Johnson's boy.'

But if I git to Heaven,
I hope the Lord'll see
SOME boy has been perfect,
And lay it on to me;
I'll swell the song sonorous,

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Oxygen

We all ferment
A face can change but souls stay young
We're all connected
So take a journey with someone
Learn to be as one
Still living, sinking, falling, twisting
But I'm beathing you in
Breathing you in
Oxygen
Oxygen
We all ferment
A taste can change from days so young
You feel rejected Just hold your head up to the sun
Learn to be as one
Still living, sinking, falling
We're still living, drifting
I'm beathing you in
Breathing you in
Still living, sinking, feeding, twisting
I'm living
I'm breathing you in
Breathing you in
Disconnecting
Oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen
Still living, sinking, falling, twisting
We're still living
I'm breathing you in
Breathing you in
Still living, sinking, falling, drifting
We're living
I'm breathing you in
Breathing you in
Yeah, yeah, yeah
I'm breathing you in
Breathing you

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

First Book

OF writing many books there is no end;
And I who have written much in prose and verse
For others' uses, will write now for mine,–
Will write my story for my better self,
As when you paint your portrait for a friend,
Who keeps it in a drawer and looks at it
Long after he has ceased to love you, just
To hold together what he was and is.

I, writing thus, am still what men call young;
I have not so far left the coasts of life
To travel inland, that I cannot hear
That murmur of the outer Infinite
Which unweaned babies smile at in their sleep
When wondered at for smiling; not so far,
But still I catch my mother at her post
Beside the nursery-door, with finger up,
'Hush, hush–here's too much noise!' while her sweet eyes
Leap forward, taking part against her word
In the child's riot. Still I sit and feel
My father's slow hand, when she had left us both,
Stroke out my childish curls across his knee;
And hear Assunta's daily jest (she knew
He liked it better than a better jest)
Inquire how many golden scudi went
To make such ringlets. O my father's hand,
Stroke the poor hair down, stroke it heavily,–
Draw, press the child's head closer to thy knee!
I'm still too young, too young to sit alone.

I write. My mother was a Florentine,
Whose rare blue eyes were shut from seeing me
When scarcely I was four years old; my life,
A poor spark snatched up from a failing lamp
Which went out therefore. She was weak and frail;
She could not bear the joy of giving life
The mother's rapture slew her. If her kiss
Had left a longer weight upon my lips,
It might have steadied the uneasy breath,
And reconciled and fraternised my soul
With the new order. As it was, indeed,
I felt a mother-want about the world,
And still went seeking, like a bleating lamb
Left out at night, in shutting up the fold,–
As restless as a nest-deserted bird
Grown chill through something being away, though what
It knows not. I, Aurora Leigh, was born
To make my father sadder, and myself
Not overjoyous, truly. Women know
The way to rear up children, (to be just,)

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At Cheshire Cheese

When first of wise old Johnson taught,
My youthful mind its homage brought,
And made the pond'rous crusty sage
The object of a noble rage.

Nor did I think (How dense we are!)
That any day, however far,
Would find me holding, unrepelled,
The place that Doctor Johnson held!

But change has come and time has moved,
And now, applauded, unreproved,
I hold, with pardonable pride,
The place that Johnson occupied.

Conceit! Presumption! What is this?
You surely read my words amiss;
Like Johnson I,--a man of mind!
How could you ever be so blind?

No. At the ancient 'Cheshire Cheese,'
Blown hither by some vagrant breeze,
To dignify my shallow wit,
In Doctor Johnson's seat I sit!

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Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau, Saviour of Society

Epigraph

Υδραν φονεύσας, μυρίων τ᾽ ἄλλων πόνων
διῆλθον ἀγέλας . . .
τὸ λοίσθιον δὲ τόνδ᾽ ἔτλην τάλας πόνον,
. . . δῶμα θριγκῶσαι κακοῖς.

I slew the Hydra, and from labour pass'd
To labour — tribes of labours! Till, at last,
Attempting one more labour, in a trice,
Alack, with ills I crowned the edifice.

You have seen better days, dear? So have I —
And worse too, for they brought no such bud-mouth
As yours to lisp "You wish you knew me!" Well,
Wise men, 't is said, have sometimes wished the same,
And wished and had their trouble for their pains.
Suppose my Œdipus should lurk at last
Under a pork-pie hat and crinoline,
And, latish, pounce on Sphynx in Leicester Square?
Or likelier, what if Sphynx in wise old age,
Grown sick of snapping foolish people's heads,
And jealous for her riddle's proper rede, —
Jealous that the good trick which served the turn
Have justice rendered it, nor class one day
With friend Home's stilts and tongs and medium-ware,—
What if the once redoubted Sphynx, I say,
(Because night draws on, and the sands increase,
And desert-whispers grow a prophecy)
Tell all to Corinth of her own accord.
Bright Corinth, not dull Thebes, for Lais' sake,
Who finds me hardly grey, and likes my nose,
And thinks a man of sixty at the prime?
Good! It shall be! Revealment of myself!
But listen, for we must co-operate;
I don't drink tea: permit me the cigar!
First, how to make the matter plain, of course —
What was the law by which I lived. Let 's see:
Ay, we must take one instant of my life
Spent sitting by your side in this neat room:
Watch well the way I use it, and don't laugh!
Here's paper on the table, pen and ink:
Give me the soiled bit — not the pretty rose!
See! having sat an hour, I'm rested now,
Therefore want work: and spy no better work
For eye and hand and mind that guides them both,
During this instant, than to draw my pen
From blot One — thus — up, up to blot Two — thus —
Which I at last reach, thus, and here's my line
Five inches long and tolerably straight:

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Bishop Blougram's Apology

No more wine? then we'll push back chairs and talk.
A final glass for me, though: cool, i' faith!
We ought to have our Abbey back, you see.
It's different, preaching in basilicas,
And doing duty in some masterpiece
Like this of brother Pugin's, bless his heart!
I doubt if they're half baked, those chalk rosettes,
Ciphers and stucco-twiddlings everywhere;
It's just like breathing in a lime-kiln: eh?
These hot long ceremonies of our church
Cost us a little—oh, they pay the price,
You take me—amply pay it! Now, we'll talk.

So, you despise me, Mr. Gigadibs.
No deprecation—nay, I beg you, sir!
Beside 't is our engagement: don't you know,
I promised, if you'd watch a dinner out,
We'd see truth dawn together?—truth that peeps
Over the glasses' edge when dinner's done,
And body gets its sop and holds its noise
And leaves soul free a little. Now's the time:
Truth's break of day! You do despise me then.
And if I say, "despise me"—never fear!
1 know you do not in a certain sense—
Not in my arm-chair, for example: here,
I well imagine you respect my place
(Status, entourage, worldly circumstance)
Quite to its value—very much indeed:
—Are up to the protesting eyes of you
In pride at being seated here for once—
You'll turn it to such capital account!
When somebody, through years and years to come,
Hints of the bishop—names me—that's enough:
"Blougram? I knew him"—(into it you slide)
"Dined with him once, a Corpus Christi Day,
All alone, we two; he's a clever man:
And after dinner—why, the wine you know—
Oh, there was wine, and good!—what with the wine . . .
'Faith, we began upon all sorts of talk!
He's no bad fellow, Blougram; he had seen
Something of mine he relished, some review:
He's quite above their humbug in his heart,
Half-said as much, indeed—the thing's his trade.
I warrant, Blougram's sceptical at times:
How otherwise? I liked him, I confess!"
Che che, my dear sir, as we say at Rome,
Don't you protest now! It's fair give and take;
You have had your turn and spoken your home-truths:
The hand's mine now, and here you follow suit.

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The Columbiad: Book VI

The Argument


British cruelty to American prisoners. Prison Ship. Retreat of Washington with the relics of his army, pursued by Howe. Washington recrossing the Delaware in the night, to surprise the British van, is opposed by uncommon obstacles. His success in this audacious enterprise lays the foundation of the American empire. A monument to be ere on the bank of the Delaware. Approach of Burgoyne, sailing up the St. Laurence with an army of Britons and various other nations. Indignant energy of the colonies, compared to that of Greece in opposing the invasion of Xerxes. Formation of an army of citizens, under the command of Gates. Review of the American and British armies, and of the savage tribes who join the British standard. Battle of Saratoga. Story of Lucinda. Second battle, and capture of Burgoyne and his army.


But of all tales that war's black annals hold,
The darkest, foulest still remains untold;
New modes of torture wait the shameful strife,
And Britain wantons in the waste of life.

Cold-blooded Cruelty, first fiend of hell,
Ah think no more with savage hordes to dwell;
Quit the Caribian tribes who eat their slain,
Fly that grim gang, the Inquisitors of Spain,
Boast not thy deeds in Moloch's shrines of old,
Leave Barbary's pirates to their blood-bought gold,
Let Holland steal her victims, force them o'er
To toils and death on Java's morbid shore;
Some cloak, some color all these crimes may plead;
Tis avarice, passion, blind religion's deed;
But Britons here, in this fraternal broil,
Grave, cool, deliberate in thy service toil.
Far from the nation's eye, whose nobler soul
Their wars would humanize, their pride control,
They lose the lessons that her laws impart,
And change the British for the brutal heart.
Fired by no passion, madden'd by no zeal,
No priest, no Plutus bids them not to feel;
Unpaid, gratuitous, on torture bent,
Their sport is death, their pastime to torment;
All other gods they scorn, but bow the knee,
And curb, well pleased, O Cruelty, to thee.

Come then, curst goddess, where thy votaries reign,
Inhale their incense from the land and main;
Come to Newyork, their conquering arms to greet,
Brood o'er their camp and breathe along their fleet;
The brother chiefs of Howe's illustrious name
Demand thy labors to complete their fame.
What shrieks of agony thy praises sound!
What grateless dungeons groan beneath the ground!
See the black Prison Ship's expanding womb
Impested thousands, quick and dead, entomb.
Barks after barks the captured seamen bear,
Transboard and lodge thy silent victims there;
A hundred scows, from all the neighboring shore,
Spread the dull sail and ply the constant oar,
Waft wrecks of armies from the well fought field,
And famisht garrisons who bravely yield;

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Snobbery

A solitary rose in red attire
Condescended:
A fleeting glance -
She apprehended
My affections,
Turned away
From me, a stray -

Stubble weed -
Genes to build an oddity:
Common seed -
Happy-go-lucky entity
In dull array.

The rose glowered,
But in ascension
Slipped a view of blight
Upon her regal greenery:
Black spot!

In all her bold perfumery
And blushing flower,
The sheen of vulnerability in jet
Reminded me how snobbery
And haughty shower
Tarnish with an underlying debt!

She wavered in her shallow play -
Man-bred -
Hardiness foregone.

The rose no longer shone.


Copyright © Mark R Slaughter 2010
From: Poetry Rivals 2010 - A New Dawn Breaks
Forward Press


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Byron

Canto the Seventh

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

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

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

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

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

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Byron

Don Juan: Canto The Seventh

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

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

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

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

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

Ecclesiastes said, 'that all is vanity'--
Most modern preachers say the same, or show it
By their examples of true Christianity:
In short, all know, or very soon may know it;
And in this scene of all-confess'd inanity,

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