Latest quotes | Random quotes | Vote! | Latest comments | Add quote

Which would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man?

in Shutter Island (2003)Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Simona Enache
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Related quotes

I Wanted A Poem / Which Would Take Me Beyond Myself

I wanted a poem
Which would take me beyond myself
Which would make me feel the Beauty
Of this world
In a new way.

I wanted a poem
Whose music really was of the stars
A poem of the kind
That makes you feel alive
And know what you want
To live for in this world.

I wanted a poem
I would love and believe in
Always
And whenever I walked
Would be with me
To say over and over again.

I wanted you
But you did not want
Me.
The poem is someone else’s
And I am alone with my
Words.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

I would if I could

Philosophers considering
the mysteries if the universe.
May seem to be woolgathering
or dozing off which would be worse.

But they are not: They’re deep in thought
Oblivious to reality
They contemplations of a sort
which is akin to fantasy.

Their thoughts are on a higher plane
I don’t pretend to understand.
Although they try they can’t explain.
So they dismiss me out of hand.

At least I work to earn my pay
I cannot sit and think all day.

13/05/2009
http: // blog.myspace.com/poeticpiers

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Two Men (J. L. And R. B.)

In the Northland there were three
Pukka Pliers of the pen;
Two of them had Fame in fee
And were loud and lusty men;
By them like a shrimp was I -
Yet alas! they had to die.

Jack was genius through and through.
Who his future could foretell?
What we sweated blood to do
He would deem a bagatelle.
Yet in youth he had to die,
And an ancient man am I.

Rex was rugged as an oak;
Story-teller born was he.
First of writing, fighting folk,
How he lived prodigiously!
Better man he was than I,
Yet forlorn he had to die.

Jack was made of god-like stuff,
Born to battle for the right;
Rex of fighting had enough
When the gods destroyed his sight . . .
Craven heart - I wonder why
Lingering alone am I?

They were men of valiant breed,
Fit and fearless in the fight,
Who in every thought and deed
Burned the flame of life too bright.
Cowards live, while heroes die . . .
They have gone and - here am I.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
John Donne

To Sir Henry Wotton At His Going Ambassador To Venice

AFTER those reverend papers, whose soul is
Our good and great king's loved hand and fear'd name ;
By which to you he derives much of his,
And, how he may, makes you almost the same,

A taper of his torch, a copy writ
From his oiginal, and a fair beam
Of the same warm and dazzling sun, though it
Must in another sphere his virtue stream ;

After those learned papers which your hand
Hath stored with notes of use and pleasures too,
From which rich treasury you may command
Fit matter whether you will write or do ;

After those loving papers where friends send,
With glad grief to your sea-ward steps, farewell,
Which thicken on you now, as prayers ascend
To heaven in troops, at a good man's passing-bell ;

Admit this honest paper, and allow
It such an audience as yourself would ask ;
What you must say at Venice, this means now,
And hath for nature, what you have for task.

To swear much love, not to be changed before
Honour, alone will to your fortune fit ;
Nor shall I then honour your fortune, more
Than I have done your honour, wanting it.

But 'tis an easier load, though both oppress,
To want, than govern greatness, for we are
In that, our own and only business,
In this, we must for others' vices care.

'Tis therefore well your spirits now are placed
In their last furnace, in activity ;
Which fits them—schools and courts and wars o'erpast—
To touch and test in any best degree.

For me—if there be such a thing as I—
Fortune—if there be such a thing as she—
Spies that I bear so well her tyranny,
That she thinks nothing else so fit for me.

But, though she part us, to hear my oft prayers
For your increase, God is as near me here ;
And to send you what I shall beg, His stairs
In length and ease are alike everywhere.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Demon Drink

Oh, thou demon Drink, thou fell destroyer;
Thou curse of society, and its greatest annoyer.
What hast thou done to society, let me think?
I answer thou hast caused the most of ills, thou demon Drink.

Thou causeth the mother to neglect her child,
Also the father to act as he were wild,
So that he neglects his loving wife and family dear,
By spending his earnings foolishly on whisky, rum and beer.

And after spending his earnings foolishly he beats his wife-
The man that promised to protect her during life-
And so the man would if there was no drink in society,
For seldom a man beats his wife in a state of sobriety.

And if he does, perhaps he finds his wife fou',
Then that causes, no doubt, a great hullaballo;
When he finds his wife drunk he begins to frown,
And in a fury of passion he knocks her down.

And in that knock down she fractures her head,
And perhaps the poor wife she is killed dead,
Whereas, if there was no strong drink to be got,
To be killed wouldn't have been the poor wife's lot.

Then the unfortunate husband is arrested and cast into jail,
And sadly his fate he does bewail;
And he curses the hour that ever was born,
And paces his cell up and down very forlorn.

And when the day of his trial draws near,
No doubt for the murdering of his wife he drops a tear,
And he exclaims, "Oh, thou demon Drink, through thee I must die,"
And on the scaffold he warns the people from drink to fly,

Because whenever a father or a mother takes to drink,
Step by step on in crime they do sink,
Until their children loses all affection for them,
And in justice we cannot their children condemn.

The man that gets drunk is little else than a fool,
And is in the habit, no doubt, of advocating for Home Rule;
But the best Home Rule for him, as far as I can understand,
Is the abolition of strong drink from the land.

And the men that get drunk in general wants Home Rule;
But such men, I rather think, should keep their heads cool,
And try and learn more sense, I most earnestlty do pray,
And help to get strong drink abolished without delay.

If drink was abolished how many peaceful homes would there be,
Just, for instance in the beautiful town of Dundee;
then this world would be heaven, whereas it's a hell,
An the people would have more peace in it to dwell

Alas! strong drink makes men and women fanatics,
And helps to fill our prisons and lunatics;
And if there was no strong drink such cases wouldn't be,
Which would be a very glad sight for all christians to see.

O admit, a man may be a very good man,
But in my opinion he cannot be a true Christian
As long as he partakes of strong drink,
The more that he may differently think.

But no matter what he thinks, I say nay,
For by taking it he helps to lead his brither astray,
Whereas, if he didn't drink, he would help to reform society,
And we would soon do away with all inebriety.

Then, for the sake of society and the Church of God,
Let each one try to abolish it at home and abroad;
Then poverty and crime would decrease and be at a stand,
And Christ's Kingdom would soon be established throughout the land.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, pause and think,
And try to abolish the foul fiend, Drink.
Let such doctrine be taught in church and school,
That the abolition of strong drink is the only Home Rule.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

To Live In A Mind

How would you like
to live in a river mind
which has only written abc

when it knows
it should be writing
an entire alphabet?

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
Erica Jong

The Rose

You gave me a rose
last time we met.

I told myself
if it bloomed
our love would bloom,
& if it died-

O I did not
consider
the possibility.

It died.

Though I cut
the stem
on a slant
as my mother
taught me,
though I dropped
an aspirin
in the water,

it hung its head
like a spent cock
& died.

It stands
on my desk now-
straight green stalk,
blood-red clot
of bud
drooping
like a hanged man's
head.

Does this mean
we are doomed?
Does this mean
all lovers
are doomed?

O my love-
I have not read roses
as amulets
in seven years. . . .

Which doom
is worse?
To love
& lose?

Or to lose
love
altogether
& not care
whether roses

live or die?

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

It would be me

It would be me
Not anybody else
Dear my family, dear my friend
It would be me to live my life
Not anybody else
Though someone I adore
Though someone I really want to be
It would be me who decide my path
Not anybody else
Through my dream, through my hatred
Through my power, through my shame
If I say ‘yes’ some door will be opened, some closed
It would be me which way I choose
If I say ‘no’ some door will be opened anyway, some closed
Not anybody else who face my test
If I ‘m confused some will hurt or gone, some will take a time
Though someone replaces me, though someone is better
It would be me
Not anybody else
Who live now, who breathe this time
In this body, in this mind, with this soul
It would be me
Not anybody else
Though I go hiding somewhere, don’t know what to do anyway
I should live, I would continue my life as long as I still breathe
It would be me
Not anybody else
Who live my life

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Pang More Sharp Than All. An Allegory

I.
He too has flitted from his secret nest,
Hope's last and dearest child without a name!--
Has flitted from me, like the warmthless flame,
That makes false promise of a place of rest
To the tired Pilgrim's still believing mind;--
Or like some Elfin Knight in kingly court,
Who having won all guerdons in his sport,
Glides out of view, and whither none can find!

II.
Yes! he hath flitted from me--with what aim,
Or why, I know not! 'Twas a home of bliss,
And he was innocent, as the pretty shame
Of babe, that tempts and shuns the menaced kiss,
From its twy-cluster'd hiding place of snow!
Pure as the babe, I ween, and all aglow
As the dear hopes, that swell the mother's breast--
Her eyes down gazing o'er her clasped charge;--
Yet gay as that twice happy father's kiss,
That well might glance aside, yet never miss,
Where the sweet mark emboss'd so sweet a targe--
Twice wretched he who hath been doubly blest!

III.
Like a loose blossom on a gusty night
He flitted from me--and has left behind
(As if to them his faith he ne'er did plight)
Of either sex and answerable mind
Two playmates, twin-births of his foster-dame:--
The one a steady lad (Esteem he hight)
And Kindness is the gentler sister's name.
Dim likeness now, though fair she be and good,
Of that bright boy who hath us all forsook;--
But in his full-eyed aspect when she stood,
And while her face reflected every look,
And in reflection kindled--she became
So like him, that almost she seem'd the same!

IV.
Ah! he is gone, and yet will not depart!--
Is with me still, yet I from him exiled!
For still there lives within my secret heart
The magic image of the magic Child,
Which there he made up-grow by his strong art,
As in that crystal orb--wise Merlin's feat,--
The wondrous 'World of Glass,' wherein inisled
All long'd for things their beings did repeat;--
And there he left it, like a Sylph beguiled,
To live and yearn and languish incomplete!

V.
Can wit of man a heavier grief reveal?
Can sharper pang from hate or scorn arise?--
Yes! one more sharp there is that deeper lies,
Which fond Esteem but mocks when he would heal.
Yet neither scorn nor hate did it devise,
But sad compassion and atoning zeal!
One pang more blighting-keen than hope betray'd!
And this it is my woeful hap to feel,
When, at her Brother's hest, the twin-born Maid
With face averted and unsteady eyes,
Her truant playmate's faded robe puts on;
And inly shrinking from her own disguise
Enacts the faery Boy that's lost and gone.
O worse than all! O pang all pangs above
Is Kindness counterfeiting absent Love.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Good Die Young

[Talk]
These is hard times we livin' in
Churches burnin, planes fallin from the sky
Murder, the good die young
The good definitely die young
This is a lil' somethin'
To help you get through the day
If you could
It was more than a tragedy
Emotions be grabbin' me
Plane fell from the sky
We tryin' to figure what happened
Burnin' churches, fearin' God
Who can be so cruel
We all ignorant to AIDS
Till it happens to you
Just be a man, make plans
Listen to your voice
A woman's tryin' to make decisions
We should leave them a choice
Cause who are we to say who lives and die
Breathes and stops
All this judgement on other lives
Needs to stop
What are we livin' for
Givin' more back than takin'
On my knees still waitin' for my own salvation
Now I feel abandoned
cause Pat Buchanan say I'm greedy
You can take my taxes, send me to war
But can't feed me
It's so easy to regret things
After they done
Babies catchin' murder cases
Scared to laugh in the sun
The tragedies that we all need
Love in doses
In times like these we feel closest
The good die young
Does anybody have an answer why
It seems the good die young
Can anybody tell me why
Can anybody tell me why (2x)
Now in my world will it get worse
When I been trapped since birth
But I had to sleep in a hearse
Cause it was my bed first
My grands probably burnin'
Turnin' in they grave
Some folks ain't even get to see a high age
But they did so I ain't afraid
And this money got me feelin like a star
And this murder got me
Feelin like my death ain't far
And the land of stolen cars
Don't get no better
Don't get no weaker or no harder
I was raised in a rush without my moms
And my father
So tell me somethin
If I grab my gat and get the dumpin'
Would God get to lookin' at me funny
Rest in peace to my mother Aquillah Beale
Rest in peace to my father Salek Beale
Rest in peace to my grandparents
And thug in peace to my brother Seike
You know I love you
Which is worst, first Storm and then Al
Pac and then Yak
Redrey Brown
Coulda' sworn I seen ya face in a cloud
Family grievin' on your last breath
Close to the heart whether you know it or not
I swear the love won't stop
Jewel, that's my boo
Mom, Duke and Lou
From jump
You kept it true, helped to feed the crew
The good die young
Livin' fast jumpin' the gun
Mama blamin' the community for killin' her son
My cousin Darren wasn't scared of goin'
But never knowin' he was dyin' slower
I guess I see ya when I see ya soulja
Does anybody have an answer why
It seems the good die young
Can anybody tell me why
Can anybody tell me why
I know my life ain't promised
That's why the wise move in silence
Analize these scandalous times
It's hard dogg but we manage
Schools turn to war zones
Even homes unsafe
Leavin' children to play caged and raged
They hate, how come
Someone explain why the good die young
Why the bad die slow and outlive everyone
It's time somethin' is done
For our young kids
They growin' hopeless
That ain't the way to live
Tell me why
Days go past and as they pass
Time move quicker
No time for wastin'
Put your hustle down my young dealers
Cause the end is nearer
But at least that's what they tellin' me
Hell, all I know brothers
Ain't ridin' 4 3 felonys
It's time to plan, plot, and strategize
Capitolize, mobilize
We in the war y'all
It's for all y'all
My family to the ones that stand me
Little bit mo' love is what's recommended
Yeah, and it's plain to see
The seeds from you and me
Gon' be the ones to lead us towards unity
That's if we treat them right
Man, teach them right
Raise your kids better than you was
And see what it does
But if you don't
Man, we sho' to be done
And we'll all see exactly why the good die young
Does anybody have an answer why
It seems the good die young
Can anybody tell me why
Can anybody tell me why (2x)
[Talk]
I send this out for all my homeboys that passed away
And all yo' homeboys that passed away
I send this out to all the former fallen soldiers
That's in the cemetaries buried
Never got to see they dreams
For everything I touch you touch
For every step I take you take
For every breath I breathe you breathe
Every dollar I make you make
I told you we'd make it to the sunshine one day
You just got there a little quicker
But like my homeboys Thugs say
I'll catch ya at the crossroads
The good die young
This song is dedicated to all them
Young kids that died innoccent
That died young
At Columbine High
Rest in Peace (Oklahoma)
Outlawz
Lil' young Xzandafer
Tasha, all them
All the fallen kids
The dead babies
The closed caskets

song performed by 2 PacReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
John Donne

Satire II

Sir; though (I thanke God for it) I do hate
Perfectly all this towne, yet there's one state
In all ill things so excellently best,
That hate, towards them, breeds pitty towards the rest.
Though Poetry indeed be such a sinne
As I thinke that brings dearths, and Spaniards in,
Though like the Pestilence and old fashion'd love,
Ridlingly it catch men; and doth remove
Never, till it be sterv'd out; yet their state
Is poore, disarm'd, like Papists, not worth hate.
One,(like a wretch, which at Barre judg'd as dead,
Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot reade,
And saves his life)gives ideot actors meanes
(Starving himselfe)to live by'his labor'd sceanes;
As in some Organ, Puppits dance above
And bellows pant below, which them do move.
One would move Love by rimes; but witchcrafts charms
Bring not now their old feares, nor their old harmes:
Rammes, and slings now are seely battery,
Pistolets are the best Artillerie.
And they who write to Lords, rewards to get,
Are they not like singers at doores for meat?
And they who write, because all write, have still
That excuse for writing, and for writing ill.
But hee is worst, who (beggarly) doth chaw
Others wits fruits, and in his ravenous maw
Rankly digested, doth those things out-spue,
As his owne things; 'and they are his owne, 'tis true,
For if one eate my meate, though it be knowne
The meate was mine, th'excrement is his owne.
But these do mee no harme, nor they which use
To out-doe Dildoes, and out-usure Jewes;
To'out-drinke the sea, to'out-sweare the Letanie;
Who with sinnes all kindes as familiar bee
As Confessors; and for whose sinfull sake
Schoolemen new tenements in hell must make:
Whose strange sinnes, Canonists could hardly tell
In which Commandements large receit they dwell.
But these punish themselves; the insolence
Of Coscus onely breeds my just offence,
Whom time (which rots all, and makes botches poxe,
And plodding on, must make a calfe an oxe)
Hath made a Lawyer, which was (alas) of late
But a scarce Poet; jollier of this state,
Then are new benefic'd ministers, he throwes
Like nets, or lime-twigs, wheresoere he goes,
His title'of Barrister, on every wench,
And wooes in language of the Pleas, and Bench:
'A motion, Lady.' 'Speake Coscus.' 'I'have beene
In love, ever since tricesimo' of the Queene,
Continuall claimes I'have made, injunctions got
To stay my rivals suit, that hee should not
Proceed.' 'Spare mee.' 'In Hillary terme I went,
You said, If I returne next size in Lent,
I should be in remitter of your grace;
In th'interim my letters should take place
Of affidavits--': words, words, which would teare
The tender labyrinth of a soft maids eare,
More, more, then ten Sclavonians scolding, more
Then when winds in our ruin'd Abbeyes rore.
When sicke with Poetrie,'and possest with muse
Thou wast, and mad, I hop'd; but men which chuse
Law practise for meere gaine, bold soule, repute
Worse then imbrothel'd strumpets prostitute.
Now like an owlelike watchman, hee must walke
His hand still at a bill, now he must talke
Idly, like prisoners, which whole months will sweare
That onely suretiship hath brought them there,
And to'every suitor lye in every thing,
Like a Kings favorite, yea like a King;
Like a wedge in a blocke, wring to the barre,
Bearing like Asses, and more shameless farre
Then carted whores, lye, to the grave Judge; for
Bastardy'abounds not in Kings titles, nor
Symonie'and Sodomy in Churchmens lives,
As these things do in him; by these he thrives.
Shortly ('as the sea) hee'will compasse all our land;
From Scots, to Wight; from Mount, to Dover strand.
And spying heires melting with luxurie,
Satan will not joy at their sinnes, as hee.
For as a thrifty wench scrapes kitching-stuffe,
And barrelling the droppings, and the snuffe,
Of wasting candles, which in thirty yeare
(Relique-like kept) perchance buyes wedding geare;
Peecemeale he gets lands, and spends as much time
Wringing each Acre, as men pulling prime.
In parchments then, large as his fields, hee drawes
Assurances, bigge, as gloss'd civill lawes,
So huge, that men (in our times forwardnesse)
Are Fathers of the Church for writing lesse.
These hee writes not; nor for these written payes,
Therefore spares no length; as in those first dayes
When Luther was profest, he did desire
Short Pater nosters, saying as a Fryer
Each day his beads, but having left those lawes,
Addes to Christs prayer, the Power and glory clause.
But when he sells or changes land, he'impaires
His writings, and (unwatch'd) leaves out, ses heires,
As slily'as any Commenter goes by
Hard words, or sense; or in Divinity
As controverters, in vouch'd texts, leave out
Shrewd words, which might against them cleare the doubt.
Where are those spred woods which cloth'd heretofore
Those bought lands? not built, not burnt within dore.
Where's th'old landlords troops, and almes? In great hals
Carthusian fasts, and fulsome Bachanalls
Equally'I hate; meanes blesse; in rich mens homes
I bid kill some beasts, but no Hecatombs,
None starve, none surfet so; But (Oh) we'allow
Good workes as good, but out of fashion now,
Like old rich wardrops; but my words none drawes
Within the vast reach of th'huge statute lawes.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Angel In The House. Book I. Canto X.

Preludes.

I The Joyful Wisdom
Would Wisdom for herself be woo'd,
And wake the foolish from his dream,
She must be glad as well as good,
And must not only be, but seem.
Beauty and joy are hers by right;
And, knowing this, I wonder less
That she's so scorn'd, when falsely dight
In misery and ugliness.
What's that which Heaven to man endears,
And that which eyes no sooner see
Than the heart says, with floods of tears,
‘Ah, that's the thing which I would be!’
Not childhood, full of frown and fret;
Not youth, impatient to disown
Those visions high, which to forget
Were worse than never to have known;
Not worldlings, in whose fair outside
Nor courtesy nor justice fails,
Thanks to cross-pulling vices tied,
Like Samson's foxes, by the tails;
Not poets; real things are dreams,
When dreams are as realities,
And boasters of celestial gleams
Go stumbling aye for want of eyes;
Not patriots nor people's men,
In whom two worse-match'd evils meet
Than ever sought Adullam's den,
Base conscience and a high conceit;
Not new-made saints, their feelings iced,
Their joy in man and nature gone,
Who sing ‘O easy yoke of Christ!’
But find 'tis hard to get it on;
Not great men, even when they're good;
The good man whom the time makes great,
By some disgrace of chance or blood,
God fails not to humiliate;
Not these: but souls, found here and there,
Oases in our waste of sin,
Where everything is well and fair,
And Heav'n remits its discipline;
Whose sweet subdual of the world
The worldling scarce can recognise,
And ridicule, against it hurl'd,
Drops with a broken sting and dies;
Who nobly, if they cannot know
Whether a 'scutcheon's dubious field
Carries a falcon or a crow,
Fancy a falcon on the shield;
Yet, ever careful not to hurt
God's honour, who creates success,
Their praise of even the best desert
Is but to have presumed no less;
Who, should their own life plaudits bring,
Are simply vex'd at heart that such
An easy, yea, delightful thing
Should move the minds of men so much.
They live by law, not like the fool,
But like the bard, who freely sings
In strictest bonds of rhyme and rule,
And finds in them, not bonds, but wings.
Postponing still their private ease
To courtly custom, appetite,
Subjected to observances,
To banquet goes with full delight;
Nay, continence and gratitude
So cleanse their lives from earth's alloy,
They taste, in Nature's common food,
Nothing but spiritual joy.
They shine like Moses in the face,
And teach our hearts, without the rod,
That God's grace is the only grace,
And all grace is the grace of God.

II The Devices
Love, kiss'd by Wisdom, wakes twice Love,
And Wisdom is, thro' loving, wise.
Let Dove and Snake, and Snake and Dove,
This Wisdom's be, that Love's device.


Going To Church.

I
I woke at three; for I was bid
To breakfast with the Dean at nine,
And thence to Church. My curtain slid,
I found the dawning Sunday fine;
And could not rest, so rose. The air
Was dark and sharp; the roosted birds
Cheep'd, ‘Here am I, Sweet; are you there?’
On Avon's misty flats the herds
Expected, comfortless, the day,
Which slowly fired the clouds above;
The cock scream'd, somewhere far away;
In sleep the matrimonial dove
Was crooning; no wind waked the wood,
Nor moved the midnight river-damps,
Nor thrill'd the poplar; quiet stood
The chestnut with its thousand lamps;
The moon shone yet, but weak and drear,
And seem'd to watch, with bated breath,
The landscape, all made sharp and clear
By stillness, as a face by death.

II
My pray'rs for her being done, I took
Occasion by the quiet hour
To find and know, by Rule and Book,
The rights of love's beloved power.

III
Fronting the question without ruth,
Nor ignorant that, evermore,
If men will stoop to kiss the Truth,
She lifts them higher than before,
I, from above, such light required
As now should once for all destroy
The folly which at times desired
A sanction for so great a joy.

IV
Thenceforth, and through that pray'r, I trod
A path with no suspicions dim.
I loved her in the name of God,
And for the ray she was of Him;
I ought to admire much more, not less;
Her beauty was a godly grace;
The mystery of loveliness,
Which made an altar of her face,
Was not of the flesh, though that was fair,
But a most pure and living light
Without a name, by which the rare
And virtuous spirit flamed to sight.
If oft, in love, effect lack'd cause
And cause effect, 'twere vain to soar
Reasons to seek for that which was
Reason itself, or something more.
My joy was no idolatry
Upon the ends of the vile earth bent,
For when I loved her most then I
Most yearn'd for more divine content.
That other doubt, which, like a ghost,
In the brain's darkness haunted me,
Was thus resolved: Him loved I most,
But her I loved most sensibly.
Lastly, my giddiest hope allow'd
No selfish thought, or earthly smirch;
And forth I went, in peace, and proud
To take my passion into Church;
Grateful and glad to think that all
Such doubts would seem entirely vain
To her whose nature's lighter fall
Made no divorce of heart from brain.

V
I found them, with exactest grace
And fresh as Spring, for Spring attired;
And by the radiance in her face
I saw she felt she was admired;
And, through the common luck of love,
A moment's fortunate delay,
To fit the little lilac glove,
Gave me her arm; and I and they
(They true to this and every hour,
As if attended on by Time),
Enter'd the Church while yet the tower
Was noisy with the finish'd chime.

VI
Her soft voice, singularly heard
Beside me, in her chant, withstood
The roar of voices, like a bird
Sole warbling in a windy wood;
And, when we knelt, she seem'd to be
An angel teaching me to pray;
And all through the high Liturgy
My spirit rejoiced without allay,
Being, for once, borne clearly above
All banks and bars of ignorance,
By this bright spring-tide of pure love
And floated in a free expanse,
Whence it could see from side to side,
The obscurity from every part
Winnow'd away and purified
By the vibrations of my heart.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
Jonathan Swift

The Famous Speech-Maker Of England Or Baron (Alias Barren) Lovel’s Charge At The Assizes At Exon, April 5, 1710

From London to Exon,
By special direction,
Came down the world's wonder,
Sir Salathiel Blunder,
With a quoif on his head
As heavy as lead;
And thus opened and said:


Gentlemen of the Grand Inquest,


Her majesty, mark it,
Appointed this circuit
For me and my brother,
Before any other;
To execute laws,
As you may suppose,
Upon such as offenders have been.
So then, not to scatter
More words on the matter,
We're beginning just now to begin.
But hold—first and foremost, I must enter a clause,
As touching and concerning our excellent laws;
Which here I aver,
Are better by far
Than them all put together abroad and beyond sea;
For I ne'er read the like, nor e'er shall, I fancy
The laws of our land
Don't abet, but withstand,
Inquisition and thrall,
And whatever may gall,
And fire withal;
And sword that devours
Wherever it scowers:
They preserve liberty and property, for which men pull and haul so,
And they are made for the support of good government also.
Her majesty, knowing
The best way of going
To work for the weal of the nation,
Builds on that rock,
Which all storms will mock,
Since Religion is made the foundation.
And, I tell you to boot, she
Resolves resolutely,
No promotion to give
To the best man alive,
In church or in state,
(I'm an instance of that,)
But only to such of a good reputation
For temper, morality, and moderation.
Fire! fire! a wild-fire,
Which greatly disturbs the queen's peace
Lies running about;
And if you don't put it out,
( That's positive) will increase:
And any may spy,
With half of an eye,
That it comes from our priests and Papistical fry.
Ye have one of these fellows,
With fiery bellows,
Come hither to blow and to puff here;
Who having been toss'd
From pillar to post,
At last vents his rascally stuff here:
Which to such as are honest must sound very oddly,
When they ought to preach nothing but what's very godly;
As here from this place we charge you to do,
As ye'll answer to man, besides ye know who.
Ye have a Diocesan,—
But I don't know the man;—
The man's a good liver,
They tell me, however,
And fiery never!
Now, ye under-pullers,
That wear such black colours,
How well would it look,
If his measures ye took,
Thus for head and for rump
Together to jump;
For there's none deserve places,
I speak't to their faces,
But men of such graces,
And I hope he will never prefer any asses;
Especially when I'm so confident on't,
For reasons of state, that her majesty won't
Know, I myself I
Was present and by,
At the great trial, where there was a great company,
Of a turbulent preacher, who, cursedly hot,
Turn'd the fifth of November, even the gun-powder plot,
Into impudent railing, and the devil knows what:
Exclaiming like fury—it was at Paul's, London—
How church was in danger, and like to be undone,
And so gave the lie to gracious Queen Anne;
And, which is far worse, to our parliament-men:
And then printed a book,
Into which men did look:
True, he made a good text;
But what follow'd next
Was nought but a dunghill of sordid abuses,
Instead of sound doctrine, with proofs to't, and uses.
It was high time of day
That such inflammation
should be extinguish'd without more delay:
But there was no engine could possibly do't,
Till the commons play'd theirs, and so quite put it out.
So the man was tried for't,
Before highest court:
Now it's plain to be seen,
It's his principles I mean,
Where they suffer'd this noisy and his lawyers to bellow:
Which over, the blade
A poor punishment had
For that racket he made.
By which ye may know
They thought as I do,
That he is but at best an inconsiderable fellow.
Upon this I find here,
And everywhere,
That the country rides rusty, and is all out of gear:
And for what?
May I not
In opinion vary,
And think the contrary,
But it must create
Unfriendly debate,
And disunion straight;
When no reason in nature
Can be given of the matter,
Any more than for shapes or for different stature?
If you love your dear selves, your religion or queen,
Ye ought in good manners to be peaceable men:
For nothing disgusts her
Like making a bluster:
And your making this riot,
Is what she could cry at,
Since all her concern's for our welfare and quiet.
I would ask any man
Of them all that maintain
Their passive obedience
With such mighty vehemence,
That damn'd doctrine, I trow!
What he means by it, ho',
To trump it up now?
Or to tell me in short,
What need there is for't?
Ye may say, I am hot;
I say I am not;
Only warm, as the subject on which I am got.
There are those alive yet,
If they do not forget,
May remember what mischiefs it did church and state:
Or at least must have heard
The deplorable calamities
It drew upon families,
About sixty years ago and upward.
And now, do ye see,
Whoever they be,
That make such an oration
In our Protestant nation,
As though church was all on a fire,—
With whatever cloak
They may cover their talk,
And wheedle the folk,
That the oaths they have took,
As our governors strictly require;—
I say they are men—(and I'm a judge, ye all know,)
That would our most excellent laws overthrow;
For the greater part of them to church never go;
Or, what's much the same, it by very great chance is,
If e'er they partake of her wise ordinances.
Their aim is, no doubt,
Were they made to speak out,
To pluck down the queen, that they make all this rout;
And to set up, moreover,
A bastardly brother;
Or at least to prevent the House of Hanover.
Ye gentlemen of the jury,
What means all this fury,
Of which I'm inform'd by good hands, I assure ye;
This insulting of persons by blows and rude speeches,
And breaking of windows, which, you know, maketh breaches?
Ye ought to resent it,
And in duty present it,
For the law is against it;
Not only the actors engaged in this job,
But those that encourage and set on the mob:
The mob, a paw word, and which I ne'er mention,
But must in this place, for the sake of distinction.
I hear that some bailiffs and some justices
Have strove what they could, all this rage to suppress;
And I hope many more
Will exert the like power,
Since none will, depend on't,
Get a jot of preferment.
But men of this kidney, as I told you before.—
I'll tell you a story: Once upon a time,
Some hot-headed fellows must needs take a whim,
And so were so weak
(Twas a mighty mistake)
To pull down and abuse
Bawdy-houses and stews;
Who, tried by the laws of the realm for high-treason,
Were hang'd, drawn, and quarter'd for that very reason.
When the time came about
For us all to set out,
We went to take leave of the queen;
Where were great men of worth,
Great heads and so forth,
The greatest that ever were seen:
And she gave us a large
And particular charge;—
Good part on't indeed
Is quite out of my head;—
But I remember she said,
We should recommend peace and good neighbourhood, wheresoever we came;
and so I do here;
For that every one, not only men and their wives,
Should do all that they can to lead peaceable lives;
And told us withal, that she fully expected
A special account how ye all stood affected;
When we've been at St. James's, you'll hear of the matter.
Again then I charge ye,
Ye men of the clergy,
That ye follow the track all
Of your own Bishop Blackall,
And preach, as ye should,
What's savoury and good;
And together all cling,
As it were, in a string;
Not falling out, quarrelling one with another,
Now we're treating with Monsieur,—that son of his mother.


Then proceeded on the common matters of the law; and concluded:


Once more, and no more, since few words are best,
I charge you all present, by way of request,
If ye honour, as I do,
Our dear royal widow,
Or have any compassion
For church or the nation;
And would live a long while
In continual smile,
And eat roast and boil,
And not be forgotten,
When ye are dead and rotten;
That ye would be quiet, and peaceably dwell,
And never fall out, but p—s all in a quill.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
G.K. Chesterton

Book I: The Vision of the King

Before the gods that made the gods
Had seen their sunrise pass,
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale
Was cut out of the grass.

Before the gods that made the gods
Had drunk at dawn their fill,
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale
Was hoary on the hill.

Age beyond age on British land,
Aeons on aeons gone,
Was peace and war in western hills,
And the White Horse looked on.

For the White Horse knew England
When there was none to know;
He saw the first oar break or bend,
He saw heaven fall and the world end,
O God, how long ago.

For the end of the world was long ago,
And all we dwell to-day
As children of some second birth,
Like a strange people left on earth
After a judgment day.

For the end of the world was long ago,
When the ends of the world waxed free,
When Rome was sunk in a waste of slaves,
And the sun drowned in the sea.

When Caesar's sun fell out of the sky
And whoso hearkened right
Could only hear the plunging
Of the nations in the night.

When the ends of the earth came marching in
To torch and cresset gleam.
And the roads of the world that lead to Rome
Were filled with faces that moved like foam,
Like faces in a dream.

And men rode out of the eastern lands,
Broad river and burning plain;
Trees that are Titan flowers to see,
And tiger skies, striped horribly,
With tints of tropic rain.

Where Ind's enamelled peaks arise
Around that inmost one,
Where ancient eagles on its brink,
Vast as archangels, gather and drink
The sacrament of the sun.

And men brake out of the northern lands,
Enormous lands alone,
Where a spell is laid upon life and lust
And the rain is changed to a silver dust
And the sea to a great green stone.

And a Shape that moveth murkily
In mirrors of ice and night,
Hath blanched with fear all beasts and birds,
As death and a shock of evil words
Blast a man's hair with white.

And the cry of the palms and the purple moons,
Or the cry of the frost and foam,
Swept ever around an inmost place,
And the din of distant race on race
Cried and replied round Rome.

And there was death on the Emperor
And night upon the Pope:
And Alfred, hiding in deep grass,
Hardened his heart with hope.

A sea-folk blinder than the sea
Broke all about his land,
But Alfred up against them bare
And gripped the ground and grasped the air,
Staggered, and strove to stand.

He bent them back with spear and spade,
With desperate dyke and wall,
With foemen leaning on his shield
And roaring on him when he reeled;
And no help came at all.

He broke them with a broken sword
A little towards the sea,
And for one hour of panting peace,
Ringed with a roar that would not cease,
With golden crown and girded fleece
Made laws under a tree.

The Northmen came about our land
A Christless chivalry:
Who knew not of the arch or pen,
Great, beautiful half-witted men
From the sunrise and the sea.

Misshapen ships stood on the deep
Full of strange gold and fire,
And hairy men, as huge as sin
With horned heads, came wading in
Through the long, low sea-mire.

Our towns were shaken of tall kings
With scarlet beards like blood:
The world turned empty where they trod,
They took the kindly cross of God
And cut it up for wood.

Their souls were drifting as the sea,
And all good towns and lands
They only saw with heavy eyes,
And broke with heavy hands,

Their gods were sadder than the sea,
Gods of a wandering will,
Who cried for blood like beasts at night,
Sadly, from hill to hill.

They seemed as trees walking the earth,
As witless and as tall,
Yet they took hold upon the heavens
And no help came at all.

They bred like birds in English woods,
They rooted like the rose,
When Alfred came to Athelney
To hide him from their bows

There was not English armour left,
Nor any English thing,
When Alfred came to Athelney
To be an English king.

For earthquake swallowing earthquake
Uprent the Wessex tree;
The whirlpool of the pagan sway
Had swirled his sires as sticks away
When a flood smites the sea.

And the great kings of Wessex
Wearied and sank in gore,
And even their ghosts in that great stress
Grew greyer and greyer, less and less,
With the lords that died in Lyonesse
And the king that comes no more.

And the God of the Golden Dragon
Was dumb upon his throne,
And the lord of the Golden Dragon
Ran in the woods alone.

And if ever he climbed the crest of luck
And set the flag before,
Returning as a wheel returns,
Came ruin and the rain that burns,
And all began once more.

And naught was left King Alfred
But shameful tears of rage,
In the island in the river
In the end of all his age.

In the island in the river
He was broken to his knee:
And he read, writ with an iron pen,
That God had wearied of Wessex men
And given their country, field and fen,
To the devils of the sea.

And he saw in a little picture,
Tiny and far away,
His mother sitting in Egbert's hall,
And a book she showed him, very small,
Where a sapphire Mary sat in stall
With a golden Christ at play.

It was wrought in the monk's slow manner,
From silver and sanguine shell,
Where the scenes are little and terrible,
Keyholes of heaven and hell.

In the river island of Athelney,
With the river running past,
In colours of such simple creed
All things sprang at him, sun and weed,
Till the grass grew to be grass indeed
And the tree was a tree at last.

Fearfully plain the flowers grew,
Like the child's book to read,
Or like a friend's face seen in a glass;
He looked; and there Our Lady was,
She stood and stroked the tall live grass
As a man strokes his steed.

Her face was like an open word
When brave men speak and choose,
The very colours of her coat
Were better than good news.

She spoke not, nor turned not,
Nor any sign she cast,
Only she stood up straight and free,
Between the flowers in Athelney,
And the river running past.

One dim ancestral jewel hung
On his ruined armour grey,
He rent and cast it at her feet:
Where, after centuries, with slow feet,
Men came from hall and school and street
And found it where it lay.

"Mother of God," the wanderer said,
"I am but a common king,
Nor will I ask what saints may ask,
To see a secret thing.

"The gates of heaven are fearful gates
Worse than the gates of hell;
Not I would break the splendours barred
Or seek to know the thing they guard,
Which is too good to tell.

"But for this earth most pitiful,
This little land I know,
If that which is for ever is,
Or if our hearts shall break with bliss,
Seeing the stranger go?

"When our last bow is broken, Queen,
And our last javelin cast,
Under some sad, green evening sky,
Holding a ruined cross on high,
Under warm westland grass to lie,
Shall we come home at last?"

And a voice came human but high up,
Like a cottage climbed among
The clouds; or a serf of hut and croft
That sits by his hovel fire as oft,
But hears on his old bare roof aloft
A belfry burst in song.

"The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gain,
The heaviest hind may easily
Come silently and suddenly
Upon me in a lane.

"And any little maid that walks
In good thoughts apart,
May break the guard of the Three Kings
And see the dear and dreadful things
I hid within my heart.

"The meanest man in grey fields gone
Behind the set of sun,
Heareth between star and other star,
Through the door of the darkness fallen ajar,
The council, eldest of things that are,
The talk of the Three in One.

"The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gold,
Men may uproot where worlds begin,
Or read the name of the nameless sin;
But if he fail or if he win
To no good man is told.

"The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

"The men of the East may search the scrolls
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God
Go singing to their shame.

"The wise men know what wicked things
Are written on the sky,
They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings,
Hearing the heavy purple wings,
Where the forgotten seraph kings
Still plot how God shall die.

"The wise men know all evil things
Under the twisted trees,
Where the perverse in pleasure pine
And men are weary of green wine
And sick of crimson seas.

"But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.

"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

"Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?"

Even as she spoke she was not,
Nor any word said he,
He only heard, still as he stood
Under the old night's nodding hood,
The sea-folk breaking down the wood
Like a high tide from sea.

He only heard the heathen men,
Whose eyes are blue and bleak,
Singing about some cruel thing
Done by a great and smiling king
In daylight on a deck.

He only heard the heathen men,
Whose eyes are blue and blind,
Singing what shameful things are done
Between the sunlit sea and the sun
When the land is left behind.

poem by from The Ballad of the White Horse (1911)Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Veronica Serbanoiu
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Borough. Letter V: The Election

YES, our Election's past, and we've been free,
Somewhat as madmen without keepers be;
And such desire of Freedom has been shown,
That both the parties wish'd her all their own:
All our free smiths and cobblers in the town
Were loth to lay such pleasant freedom down;
To put the bludgeon and cockade aside,
And let us pass unhurt and undefied.
True! you might then your party's sign produce,
And so escape with only half th' abuse:
With half the danger as you walk'd along,
With rage and threat'ning but from half the throng.
This you might do, and not your fortune mend,
For where you lost a foe you gain'd a friend;
And to distress you, vex you, and expose,
Election-friends are worse than any foes;
The party-curse is with the canvass past,
But party-friendship, for jour grief, will last.
Friends of all kinds; the civil and the rude,
Who humbly wish, or boldly dare t'intrude:
These beg or take a liberty to come
(Friends should be free), and make your house their home;
They know that warmly you their cause espouse,
And come to make their boastings and their bows;
You scorn their manners, you their words mistrust,
But you must hear them, and they know you must.
One plainly sees a friendship firm and true,
Between the noble candidate and you;
So humbly begs (and states at large the case),
'You'll think of Bobby and the little place.'
Stifling his shame by drink, a wretch will come,
And prate your wife and daughter from the room:
In pain you hear him, and at heart despise,
Yet with heroic mind your pangs disguise;
And still in patience to the sot attend,
To show what man can bear to serve a friend.
One enters hungry--not to be denied,
And takes his place and jokes--'We're of a side.'
Yet worse, the proser who, upon the strength
Of his one vote, has tales of three hours' length;
This sorry rogue you bear, yet with surprise
Start at his oaths, and sicken at his lies.
Then comes there one, and tells in friendly way
What the opponents in their anger say;
All that through life has vex'd you, all abuse,
Will this kind friend in pure regard produce;
And having through your own offences run,
Adds (as appendage) what your friends have done,
Has any female cousin made a trip
To Gretna Green, or more vexatious slip?
Has your wife's brother, or your uncle's son,
Done aught amiss, or is he thought t'have done?
Is there of all your kindred some who lack
Vision direct, or have a gibbous back?
From your unlucky name may quips and puns
Be made by these upbraiding Goths and Huns?
To some great public character have you
Assigned the fame to worth and talents due,
Proud of your praise?--In this, in any case,
Where the brute-spirit may affix disgrace,
These friends will smiling bring it, and the while
You silent sit, and practise for a smile.
Vain of their power, and of their value sure,
They nearly guess the tortures you endure;
Nor spare one pang--for they perceive your heart
Goes with the cause; you'd die before you'd start;
Do what they may, they're sure you'll not offend
Men who have pledged their honours to your friend.
Those friends indeed, who start as in a race,
May love the sport, and laugh at this disgrace;
They have in view the glory and the prize,
Nor heed the dirty steps by which they rise:
But we their poor associates lose the fame,
Though more than partners in the toil and shame.
Were this the whole; and did the time produce
But shame and toil, but riot and abuse;
We might be then from serious griefs exempt,
And view the whole with pity and contempt.
Alas! but here the vilest passions rule;
It is Seduction's, is Temptation's school;
Where vices mingle in the oddest ways,
The grossest slander and the dirtiest praise;
Flattery enough to make the vainest sick,
And clumsy stratagem, and scoundrel trick:
Nay more, your anger and contempt to cause,
These, while they fish for profit, claim applause;
Bribed, bought, and bound, they banish shame and fear;
Tell you they're staunch, and have a soul sincere;
Then talk of honour, and, if doubt's express'd,
Show where it lies, and smite upon the breast.
Among these worthies, some at first declare
For whom they vote: he then has most to spare;
Others hang off--when coming to the post
Is spurring time, and then he'll spare the most:
While some demurring, wait, and find at last
The bidding languish, and the market past;
These will affect all bribery to condemn,
And be it Satan laughs, he laughs at them.
Some too are pious--One desired the Lord
To teach him where 'to drop his little word;
To lend his vote where it will profit best;
Promotion came not from the east or west;
But as their freedom had promoted some,
He should be glad to know which way 'twould come.
It was a naughty world, and where to sell
His precious charge, was more than he could tell.'
'But you succeeded?'--True, at mighty cost,
And our good friend, I fear, will think he's lost:
Inns, horses, chaises, dinners, balls, and notes;
What fill'd their purses, and what drench'd their throats;
The private pension, and indulgent lease, -
Have all been granted to these friends who fleece;
Friends who will hang like burs upon his coat,
And boundless judge the value of a vote.
And though the terrors of the time be pass'd,
There still remain the scatterings of the blast;
The boughs are parted that entwined before,
And ancient harmony exists no more;
The gusts of wrath our peaceful seats deform,
And sadly flows the sighing of the storm:
Those who have gain'd are sorry for the gloom,
But they who lost, unwilling peace should come;
There open envy, here suppress'd delight,
Yet live till time shall better thoughts excite,
And so prepare us, by a six-years' truce,
Again for riot, insult, and abuse.
Our worthy Mayor, on the victorious part,
Cries out for peace, and cries with all his heart;
He, civil creature! ever does his best
To banish wrath from every voter's breast;
'For where,' says he, with reason strong and plain,
'Where is the profit? what will anger gain?'
His short stout person he is wont to brace
In good brown broad-cloth, edg'd with two-inch lace,
When in his seat; and still the coat seems new,
Preserved by common use of seaman's blue.
He was a fisher from his earliest day,
And placed his nets within the Borough's bay;
Where, by his skates, his herrings, and his soles,
He lived, nor dream'd of Corporation-Doles;
But toiling saved, and saving, never ceased
Till he had box'd up twelvescore pounds at least:
He knew not money's power, but judged it best
Safe in his trunk to let his treasure rest;
Yet to a friend complain'd: 'Sad charge, to keep
So many pounds; and then I cannot sleep:'
'Then put it out,' replied the friend: --'What, give
My money up? why then I could not live:'
'Nay, but for interest place it in his hands
Who'll give you mortgage on his house or lands.'
'Oh but,' said Daniel, 'that's a dangerous plan;
He may be robb'd like any other man:'
'Still he is bound, and you may be at rest,
More safe the money than within your chest;
And you'll receive, from all deductions clear,
Five pounds for every hundred, every year.'
'What good in that?' quoth Daniel, 'for 'tis plain,
If part I take, there can but part remain:'
'What! you, my friend, so skill'd in gainful things,
Have you to learn what Interest money brings?'
'Not so,' said Daniel, 'perfectly I know,
He's the most interest who has most to show.'
'True! and he'll show the more the more he lends;
Thus he his weight and consequence extends;
For they who borrow must restore each sum,
And pay for use. What, Daniel, art thou dumb?'
For much amazed was that good man.--'Indeed!'
Said he with gladd'ning eye, 'will money breed?
How have I lived ? I grieve, with all my heart,
For my late knowledge in this precious art: -
Five pounds for every hundred will he give?
And then the hundred?--I begin to live.' -
So he began, and other means he found,
As he went on, to multiply a pound:
Though blind so long to Interest, all allow
That no man better understands it now:
Him in our Body-Corporate we chose,
And once among us, he above us rose;
Stepping from post to post, he reach'd the Chair,
And there he now reposes--that's the Mayor.
But 'tis not he, 'tis not the kinder few,
The mild, the good, who can our peace renew;
A peevish humour swells in every eye,
The warm are angry, and the cool are shy;
There is no more the social board at whist,
The good old partners are with scorn dismiss'd;
No more with dog and lantern comes the maid,
To guide the mistress when the rubber's play'd;
Sad shifts are made lest ribands blue and green
Should at one table, at one time, be seen:
On care and merit none will now rely,
'Tis Party sells what party-friends must buy;
The warmest burgess wears a bodger's coat,
And fashion gains less int'rest than a vote;
Uncheck'd the vintner still his poison vends,
For he too votes, and can command his friends.
But this admitted; be it still agreed,
These ill effects from noble cause proceed;
Though like some vile excrescences they be,
The tree they spring from is a sacred tree,
And its true produce, Strength and Liberty.
Yet if we could th' attendant ills suppress,
If we could make the sum of mischief less;
If we could warm and angry men persuade
No more man's common comforts to invade;
And that old ease and harmony re-seat,
In all our meetings, so in joy to meet;
Much would of glory to the Muse ensue,
And our good Vicar would have less to do.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Triumph of Love

I

Sun-blazed, over Romsley, a livid rain-scarp.

XIII

Whose lives are hidden in God? Whose?
Who can now tell what was taken, or where,
or how, or whether it was received:
how ditched, divested, clamped, sifted, over-
laid, raked over, grassed over, spread around,
rotted down with leafmould, accepted
as civic concrete, reinforceable
base cinderblocks:
tipped into Danube, Rhine, Vistula, dredged up
with the Baltic and the Pontic sludge:
committed in absentia to solemn elevation,
Trauermusik, musique funèbre, funeral
music, for male and female
voices ringingly a cappella,
made for double string choirs, congregated brass,
choice performers on baroque trumpets hefting,
like glassblowers, inventions
of supreme order?

XIV

As to bad faith, Malebranche might argue
it rests with inattention. Stupidity
is not admissible. However, the status
of apprehension remains at issue.
Some qualities are best
left unrecognized. Needless to say,
unrecognized is not
unacknowledged. Unnamed is not nameless.

XVII

If the gospel is heard, all else follows:
the scattering, the diaspora,
the shtetlach, ash pits, pits of indigo dye.
Penitence can be spoken of, it is said,
but is itself beyond words;
even broken speech presumes. Those Christian Jews
of the first Church, huddled sabbath-survivors,
keepers of the word; silent, inside twenty years,
doubly outcast: even so I would remember—
the scattering, the diaspora.
We do not know the saints.
His mercy is greater even than his wisdom.
If the gospel is heard, all else follows.
We shall rise again, clutching our wounds.

XXXV

Even now, I tell myself, there is a language
to which I might speak and which
would rightly hear me;
responding with eloquence; in its turn,
negotiating sense without insult
given or injury taken.
Familiar to those who already know it
elsewhere as justice,
it is met also in the form of silence.

XXIX

Rancorous, narcissistic old sod—what
makes him go on? We thought, hoped rather,
he might be dead. Too bad. So how
much more does he have of injury time?

XL

For wordly, read worldly; for in equity, inequity;
for religious read religiose; for distinction
detestation. Take accessible to mean
acceptable, accommodating, openly servile.
Is that right, Missis, or is that right? I don’t
care what I say, do I?

XLI

For iconic priesthood, read worldly pique and ambition.
Change insightfully caring to pruriently intrusive.
Delete chastened and humbled. Insert humiliated.
Interpret slain in the spirit as browbeaten to exhaustion.
For hardness of heart read costly dislike of cant.

XLII

Excuse me—excuse me—I did not
say the pain is lifting. I said the pain is in
the lifting. No—please—forget it.

XLIII

This is quite dreadful—he’s become obsessed.
There you go, there you go—narrow it down to obsession!

LI

Whatever may be meant by moral landscape,
it is for me increasingly a terrain
seen in cross-section: igneous, sedimentary,
conglomerate, metamorphic rock-
strata, in which particular grace,
individual love, decency, endurance,
are traceable across the faults.

LII

Admittedly at times this moral landscape
to my exasperated ear emits
archaic burrings like a small, high-fenced
electricity sub-station of uncertain age
in a field corner where the flies
gather and old horses shake their sides.

LXVI

Christ has risen yet again to their
ritual supplication. It seems weird
that the comedy never self-destructs.
Actually it is strengthened—if
attenuation is strength. (Donne
said as much of gold. Come back,
Donne, I forgive you; and lovely Herbert.)
But what strange guild is this
that practises daily
synchronized genuflection and takes pride
in hazing my Jewish wife? If Christ
be not risen, Christians are petty
temple-schismatics, justly
cast out of the law. Worse things
have befallen Israel. But since he is
risen, he is risen even for these
high-handed underlings of self-
worship: who, as by obedience,
proclaim him risen indeed.

LXVII

Instruct me further in your travail,
blind interpreter. Suppose I cannot
unearth what it was they buried: research
is not anamnesis. Nor is this a primer
of innocence exactly. Did the centurion
see nothing irregular before the abnormal
light seared his eyeballs? Why do I
take as my gift a wounded and wounding
introspection? The rule is clear enough: last
alleluias forte, followed by indifferent
coffee and fellowship.

LXIX

What choice do you have? These are false questions.
Fear is your absolute, yet in each feature
infinitely variable, Manichean beyond dispute,
for you alone, the skeletal maple, a loose wire
tapping the wind.

LXX

Active virtue: that which shall contain
its own passion in the public weal—
do you follow?—or can you at least
take the drift of the thing? The struggle
for a noble vernacular: this
did not end with Petrarch. But where is it?
Where has it got us? Does it stop, in our case,
with Dryden, or, perhaps,
Milton’s political sonnets?—the cherished stock
hacked into ransom and ruin; the voices
of distinction, far back, indistinct.
Still, I’m convinced that shaping,
voicing, are types of civic action. Or, slightly
to refashion this, that Wordsworth’s two
Prefaces stand with his great tract
on the Convention of Cintra, witnessing
to the praesidium in the sacred name
of things betrayed. Intrinsic value
I am somewhat less sure of. It seems
implicate with active virtue but I cannot
say how, precisely. Partaking of both
fact and recognition, it must be, therefore,
in effect, at once agent and predicate:
imponderables brought home
to the brute mass and detail of the world;
there, by some, to be pondered.

XCVI

Ignorant, assured, there comes to us a voice—
Unchallengeable—of the foundations,
distinct authority devoted
to indistinction. With what proximity
to justice stands the record of mischance,
heroic hit-or-miss, the air
so full of flak and tracer, legend says,
you pray to live unnoticed. Mr Ives
took Emersonian self-reliance the whole
way on that. Melville, half-immolated,
rebuilt the pyre. Hoist, some time later,
stumbled on dharma. What can I say?—
At worst and best a blind ennoblement,
flood-water, hunched, shouldering at the weir,
the hatred that is in the nature of love.

CXVIII

By default, as it so happens, here we have
good and bad angels caught burning
themselves characteristic antiphons;
and here the true and the false
shepherds discovered
already deep into their hollow debate.
Is that all? No, add spinners of fine
calumny, confectioners of sugared
malice; add those who find sincerity
in heartless weeping. Add the pained,
painful clowns, brinksmen of perdition.
Sidney: best realizer and arguer
of music, that ‘divine
striker upon the senses’, steady my
music to your Augustinian grace-notes,
with your high craft of fret. I am glad
to have learned how it goes
with you and with Italianate-
Hebraic Milton: your voices pitched exactly—
somewhere—between Laus Deo and defiance.

CXIX

And yes—bugger you, MacSikker et al.,—I do
mourn and resent your desolation of learning:
Scientia that enabled, if it did not secure,
forms of understanding, far from despicable,
and furthest now, as they are most despised.
By understanding I understand diligence
and attention, appropriately understood
as actuated self-knowledge, a daily acknowledgement
of what is owed the dead.

CXX

As with the Gospels, which it is allowed to resemble,
in Measure for Measure moral uplift
is not the issue. Scrupulosity, diffidence,
shrill spirituality, conviction, free expression,
come off as poorly as deceit or lust.
The ethical motiv is—so we may hazard—
opportunism, redemptive and redeemed;
case-hardened on case-law, casuistry’s
own redemption; the general temper
a caustic equity.

CXXI

So what is faith if it is not
inescapable endurance? Unrevisited, the ferns
are breast-high, head-high, the days
lustrous, with their hinterlands of thunder.
Light is this instant, far-seeing
into itself, its own
signature on things that recognize
salvation. I
am an old man, a child, the horizon
is Traherne’s country.

CXLVII

To go so far with the elaborately-
vested Angel of Naked Truth:
and where are we, finally? Don’t
say that—we are nowhere
finally. And nowhere are you—
nowhere are you—any more—more
cryptic than a schoolyard truce. Cry
Kings, Cross, or Crosses, cry Pax,
cry Pax, but to be healed. But to be
healed, and die!

CXLVIII

Obnoxious means, far back within itself,
easily wounded. But vulnerable, proud
anger is, I find, a related self
of covetousness. I came late
to seeing that. Actually, I had to be
shown it. What I saw was rough, and still
pains me. Perhaps it should pain me more.
Pride is our crux: be angry, but not proud
where that means vainglorious. Take Leopardi’s
words orto be accurate—BV’s English
cast of them: when he found Tasso’s poor
scratch of a memorial barely showing
among the cold slabs of defunct pomp. It
seemed a sad and angry consolation.
So—Croker, MacSikker, O’Shem—I ask you:
what are poems for? They are to console us
with their own gift, which is like perfect pitch.
Let us commit that to our dust. What
ought a poem to be? Answer, a sad
and angry consolation. What is
the poem? What figures? Say,
a sad and angry consolation. That’s
beautiful. Once more? A sad and angry
consolation.

CXLIX

Obstinate old man—senex
sapiens, it is not. Is he still
writing? What is he writing now? He
has just written: I find it hard
to forgive myself. We are immortal. Where
was I?—

CL

Sun-blazed, over Romsley, the livid rain-scarp.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point

I.
I stand on the mark beside the shore
Of the first white pilgrim's bended knee,
Where exile turned to ancestor,
And God was thanked for liberty.
I have run through the night, my skin is as dark,
I bend my knee down on this mark . . .
I look on the sky and the sea.

II.
O pilgrim-souls, I speak to you!
I see you come out proud and slow
From the land of the spirits pale as dew. . .
And round me and round me ye go!
O pilgrims, I have gasped and run
All night long from the whips of one
Who in your names works sin and woe.

III.
And thus I thought that I would come
And kneel here where I knelt before,
And feel your souls around me hum
In undertone to the ocean's roar;
And lift my black face, my black hand,
Here, in your names, to curse this land
Ye blessed in freedom's evermore.

IV.
I am black, I am black;
And yet God made me, they say.
But if He did so, smiling back
He must have cast His work away
Under the feet of His white creatures,
With a look of scorn,--that the dusky features
Might be trodden again to clay.

V.
And yet He has made dark things
To be glad and merry as light.
There's a little dark bird sits and sings;
There's a dark stream ripples out of sight;
And the dark frogs chant in the safe morass,
And the sweetest stars are made to pass
O'er the face of the darkest night.

VI.
But we who are dark, we are dark!
Ah, God, we have no stars!
About our souls in care and cark
Our blackness shuts like prison bars:
The poor souls crouch so far behind,
That never a comfort can they find
By reaching through the prison-bars.

VII.
Indeed, we live beneath the sky, . . .
That great smooth Hand of God, stretched out
On all His children fatherly,
To bless them from the fear and doubt,
Which would be, if, from this low place,
All opened straight up to His face
Into the grand eternity.

VIII.
And still God's sunshine and His frost,
They make us hot, they make us cold,
As if we were not black and lost:
And the beasts and birds, in wood and fold,
Do fear and take us for very men!
Could the weep-poor-will or the cat of the glen
Look into my eyes and be bold?

IX.
I am black, I am black!--
But, once, I laughed in girlish glee;
For one of my colour stood in the track
Where the drivers drove, and looked at me--
And tender and full was the look he gave:
Could a slave look so at another slave?--
I look at the sky and the sea.

X.
And from that hour our spirits grew
As free as if unsold, unbought:
Oh, strong enough, since we were two
To conquer the world, we thought!
The drivers drove us day by day;
We did not mind, we went one way,
And no better a liberty sought.

XI.
In the sunny ground between the canes,
He said 'I love you' as he passed:
When the shingle-roof rang sharp with the rains,
I heard how he vowed it fast:
While others shook, he smiled in the hut
As he carved me a bowl of the cocoa-nut,
Through the roar of the hurricanes.

XII.
I sang his name instead of a song;
Over and over I sang his name--
Upward and downward I drew it along
My various notes; the same, the same!
I sang it low, that the slave-girls near
Might never guess from aught they could hear,
It was only a name.

XIII.
I look on the sky and the sea--
We were two to love, and two to pray,--
Yes, two, O God, who cried to Thee,
Though nothing didst Thou say.
Coldly Thou sat'st behind the sun!
And now I cry who am but one,
How wilt Thou speak to-day?--

XIV.
We were black, we were black!
We had no claim to love and bliss:
What marvel, if each turned to lack?
They wrung my cold hands out of his,--
They dragged him . . . where ? . . . I crawled to touch
His blood's mark in the dust! . . . not much,
Ye pilgrim-souls, . . . though plain as this!

XV.
Wrong, followed by a deeper wrong!
Mere grief's too good for such as I.
So the white men brought the shame ere long
To strangle the sob of my agony.
They would not leave me for my dull
Wet eyes!--it was too merciful
To let me weep pure tears and die.

XVI.
I am black, I am black!--
I wore a child upon my breast
An amulet that hung too slack,
And, in my unrest, could not rest:
Thus we went moaning, child and mother,
One to another, one to another,
Until all ended for the best:

XVII.
For hark ! I will tell you low . . . Iow . . .
I am black, you see,--
And the babe who lay on my bosom so,
Was far too white . . . too white for me;
As white as the ladies who scorned to pray
Beside me at church but yesterday;
Though my tears had washed a place for my knee.

XVIII.
My own, own child! I could not bear
To look in his face, it was so white.
I covered him up with a kerchief there;
I covered his face in close and tight:
And he moaned and struggled, as well might be,
For the white child wanted his liberty--
Ha, ha! he wanted his master right.

XIX.
He moaned and beat with his head and feet,
His little feet that never grew--
He struck them out, as it was meet,
Against my heart to break it through.
I might have sung and made him mild--
But I dared not sing to the white-faced child
The only song I knew.

XX.
I pulled the kerchief very close:
He could not see the sun, I swear,
More, then, alive, than now he does
From between the roots of the mango . . . where
. . . I know where. Close! a child and mother
Do wrong to look at one another,
When one is black and one is fair.

XXI.
Why, in that single glance I had
Of my child's face, . . . I tell you all,
I saw a look that made me mad . . .
The master's look, that used to fall
On my soul like his lash . . . or worse!
And so, to save it from my curse,
I twisted it round in my shawl.

XXII.
And he moaned and trembled from foot to head,
He shivered from head to foot;
Till, after a time, he lay instead
Too suddenly still and mute.
I felt, beside, a stiffening cold, . . .
I dared to lift up just a fold . . .
As in lifting a leaf of the mango-fruit.

XXIII.
But my fruit . . . ha, ha!--there, had been
(I laugh to think on't at this hour! . . .)
Your fine white angels, who have seen
Nearest the secret of God's power, . . .
And plucked my fruit to make them wine,
And sucked the soul of that child of mine,
As the humming-bird sucks the soul of the flower.

XXIV.
Ha, ha, for the trick of the angels white!
They freed the white child's spirit so.
I said not a word, but, day and night,
I carried the body to and fro;
And it lay on my heart like a stone . . . as chill.
--The sun may shine out as much as he will:
I am cold, though it happened a month ago.

XXV.
From the white man's house, and the black man's hut,
I carried the little body on,
The forest's arms did round us shut,
And silence through the trees did run:
They asked no question as I went,--
They stood too high for astonishment,--
They could see God sit on His throne.

XXVI.
My little body, kerchiefed fast,
I bore it on through the forest . . . on:
And when I felt it was tired at last,
I scooped a hole beneath the moon.
Through the forest-tops the angels far,
With a white sharp finger from every star,
Did point and mock at what was done.

XXVII.
Yet when it was all done aright, . . .
Earth, 'twixt me and my baby, strewed,
All, changed to black earth, . . . nothing white, . . .
A dark child in the dark,--ensued
Some comfort, and my heart grew young:
I sate down smiling there and sung
The song I learnt in my maidenhood.

XXVIII.
And thus we two were reconciled,
The white child and black mother, thus:
For, as I sang it, soft and wild
The same song, more melodious,
Rose from the grave whereon I sate!
It was the dead child singing that,
To join the souls of both of us.

XXIX.
I look on the sea and the sky!
Where the pilgrims' ships first anchored lay,
The free sun rideth gloriously;
But the pilgrim-ghosts have slid away
Through the earliest streaks of the morn.
My face is black, but it glares with a scorn
Which they dare not meet by day.

XXX.
Ah!--in their 'stead, their hunter sons!
Ah, ah! they are on me--they hunt in a ring--
Keep off! I brave you all at once--
I throw off your eyes like snakes that sting!
You have killed the black eagle at nest, I think:
Did you never stand still in your triumph, and shrink
From the stroke of her wounded wing?

XXXI.
(Man, drop that stone you dared to lift!--)
I wish you, who stand there five a-breast,
Each, for his own wife's joy and gift,
A little corpse as safely at rest
As mine in the mangos!--Yes, but she
May keep live babies on her knee,
And sing the song she liketh best.

XXXll.
I am not mad: I am black.
I see you staring in my face--
I know you, staring, shrinking back--
Ye are born of the Washington-race:
And this land is the free America:
And this mark on my wrist . . . (I prove what I say)
Ropes tied me up here to the flogging-place.

XXXIII.
You think I shrieked then? Not a sound!
I hung, as a gourd hangs in the sun.
I only cursed them all around,
As softly as I might have done
My very own child!--From these sands
Up to the mountains, lift your hands,
O slaves, and end what I begun!

XXXIV.
Whips, curses; these must answer those!
For in this UNION, you have set
Two kinds of men in adverse rows,
Each loathing each: and all forget
The seven wounds in Christ's body fair;
While HE sees gaping everywhere
Our countless wounds that pay no debt.

XXXV.
Our wounds are different. Your white men
Are, after all, not gods indeed,
Nor able to make Christs again
Do good with bleeding. We who bleed . . .
(Stand off!) we help not in our loss!
We are too heavy for our cross,
And fall and crush you and your seed.

XXXVI.
I fall, I swoon! I look at the sky:
The clouds are breaking on my brain;
I am floated along, as if I should die
Of liberty's exquisite pain--
In the name of the white child, waiting for me
In the death-dark where we may kiss and agree,
White men, I leave you all curse-free
In my broken heart's disdain!

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
John Bunyan

Author's Apology For His Book

WHEN at the first I took my pen in hand
Thus for to write, I did not understand

That I at all should make a little book
In such a mode: nay, I had undertook

To make another; which, when almost done,
Before I was aware I this begun.

And thus it was: I, writing of the way
And race of saints in this our gospel-day,

Fell suddenly into an allegory
About their journey, and the way to glory,

In more than twenty things which I set down
This done, I twenty more had in my crown,

And they again began to multiply,
Like sparks that from the coals of fire do fly.

Nay, then, thought I, if that you breed so fast,
I'll put you by yourselves, lest you at last

Should prove ad infinitum, I and eat out
The book that I already am about.

Well, so I did; but yet I did not think
To show to all the world my pen and ink

In such a mode; I only thought to make
I knew not what: nor did I undertake

Thereby to please my neighbor; no, not I;
I did it my own self to gratify.

Neither did I but vacant seasons spend
In this my scribble; nor did I intend

But to divert myself, in doing this,
From worser thoughts, which make me do amiss.

Thus I set pen to paper with delight,
And quickly had my thoughts in black and white;

For having now my method by the end,
Still as I pull'd, it came; and so I penned

It down; until it came at last to be,
For length and breadth, the bigness which you see.

Well, when I had thus put mine ends together
I show'd them others, that I might see whether

They would condemn them, or them justify:
And some said, let them live; some, let them die:

Some said, John, print it; others said, Not so:
Some said, It might do good; others said, No.

Now was I in a strait, and did not see
Which was the best thing to be done by me:

At last I thought, Since ye are thus divided,
I print it will; and so the case decided.

For, thought I, some I see would have it done,
Though others in that channel do not run:

To prove, then, who advised for the best,
Thus I thought fit to put it to the test.

I further thought, if now I did deny
Those that would have it, thus to gratify;

I did not know, but hinder them I might
Of that which would to them be great delight.

For those which were not for its coming forth,
I said to them, Offend you, I am loath;

Yet since your brethren pleased with it be,
Forbear to judge, till you do further see.

If that thou wilt not read, let it alone;
Some love the meat, some love to pick the bone.

Yea, that I might them better palliate,
I did too with them thus expostulate:

May I not write in such a style as this?
In such a method too, and yet not miss

My end-thy good? Why may it not be done?
Dark clouds bring waters, when the bright bring none.

Yea, dark or bright, if they their silver drops
Cause to descend, the earth, by yielding crops,

Gives praise to both, and carpeth not at either,
But treasures up the fruit they yield together;

Yea, so commixes both, that in their fruit
None can distinguish this from that; they suit

Her well when hungry; but if she be full,
She spews out both, and makes their blessing null.

You see the ways the fisherman doth take
To catch the fish; what engines doth he make!

Behold how he engageth all his wits;
Also his snares, lines, angles, hooks, and nets:

Yet fish there be, that neither hook nor line,
Nor snare, nor net, nor engine can make thine:

They must be groped for, and be tickled too,
Or they will not be catch'd, whate'er you do.

How does the fowler seek to catch his game
By divers means! all which one cannot name.

His guns, his nets, his lime-twigs, light and bell:
He creeps, he goes, he stands; yea, who can tell

Of all his postures? yet there's none of these
Will make him master of what fowls he please.

Yea, he must pipe and whistle, to catch this;
Yet if he does so, that bird he will miss.

If that a pearl may in toad's head dwell,
And may be found too in an oyster-shell;

If things that promise nothing, do contain
What better is than gold; who will disdain,

That have an inkling to of it, there to look,
That they may find it. Now my little book,

(Though void of all these paintings that may make
It with this or the other man to take,)

Is not without those things that do excel
What do in brave but empty notions dwell.

"Well, yet I am not fully satisfied
That this your book will stand, when soundly tried."

Why, what's the matter? "It is dark." What though?
"But it is feigned." What of that? I trow

Some men by feigned words, as dark as mine,
Make truth to spangle, and its rays to shine.

"But they want solidness." Speak, man, thy mind.
"They drown the weak; metaphors make us blind."

Solidity, indeed, becomes the pen
Of him that writeth things divine to men:

But must I needs want solidness, because
By metaphors I speak? Were not God's laws,

His gospel laws, in olden time held forth
By types, shadows, and metaphors? Yet loth

Will any sober man be to find fault
With them, lest he be found for to assault

The highest wisdom! No, he rather stoops,
And seeks to find out what, by pins and loops,

By calves and sheep, by heifers, and by rams,
By birds and herbs, and by the blood of lambs,

God speaketh to him; and happy is he
That finds the light and grace that in them be.

But not too forward, therefore, to conclude
That I want solidness-that I am rude;

All things solid in show, not solid be;
All things in parable despise not we,

Lest things most hurtful lightly we receive,
And things that good are, of our souls bereave.

My dark and cloudy words they do but hold
The truth, as cabinets inclose the gold.

The prophets used much by metaphors
To set forth truth: yea, who so considers

Christ, his apostles too, shall plainly see,
That truths to this day in such mantles be.

Am I afraid to say, that holy writ,
Which for its style and phrase puts down all wit,

Is everywhere so full of all these things,
Dark figures, allegories? Yet there springs

From that same book, that lustre, and those rays
Of light, that turn our darkest nights to days.

Come, let my carper to his life now look,
And find there darker lines than in my book

He findeth any; yea, and let him know,
That in his best things there are worse lines too.

May we but stand before impartial men,
To his poor one I durst adventure ten,

That they will take my meaning in these lines
Far better than his lies in silver shrines.

Come, truth, although in swaddling-clothes, I find
Informs the judgment, rectifies the mind;

Pleases the understanding, makes the will
Submit, the memory too it doth fill

With what doth our imagination please;
Likewise it tends our troubles to appease.

Sound words, I know, Timothy is to use,
And old wives' fables he is to refuse;

But yet grave Paul him nowhere doth forbid
The use of parables, in which lay hid

That gold, those pearls, and precious stones that were
Worth digging for, and that with greatest care.

Let me add one word more. O man of God,
Art thou offended? Dost thou wish I had

Put forth my matter in another dress?
Or that I had in things been more express?

Three things let me propound; then I submit
To those that are my betters, as is fit.

1. I find not that I am denied the use
Of this my method, so I no abuse

Put on the words, things, readers, or be rude
In handling figure or similitude,

In application; but all that I may
Seek the advance of truth this or that way.

Denied, did I say? Nay, I have leave,
(Example too, and that from them that have

God better pleased, by their words or ways,
Than any man that breatheth now-a-days,)

Thus to express my mind, thus to declare
Things unto thee that excellentest are.

2. I find that men as high as trees will write
Dialogue-wise; yet no man doth them slight

For writing so. Indeed, if they abuse
Truth, cursed be they, and the craft they use

To that intent; but yet let truth be free
To make her sallies upon thee and me,

Which way it pleases God: for who knows how,
Better than he that taught us first to plough,

To guide our minds and pens for his designs?
And he makes base things usher in divine.

3. I find that holy writ, in many places,
Hath semblance with this method, where the cases

Do call for one thing to set forth another:
Use it I may then, and yet nothing smother

Truth's golden beams: nay, by this method may
Make it cast forth its rays as light as day.

And now, before I do put up my pen,
I'll show the profit of my book; and then

Commit both thee and it unto that hand
That pulls the strong down, and makes weak ones stand.

This book it chalketh out before thine eyes
The man that seeks the everlasting prize:

It shows you whence he comes, whither he goes,
What he leaves undone; also what he does:

It also shows you how he runs, and runs,
Till he unto the gate of glory comes.

It shows, too, who set out for life amain,
As if the lasting crown they would obtain;

Here also you may see the reason why
They lose their labor, and like fools do die.

This book will make a traveler of thee,
If by its counsel thou wilt ruled be;

It will direct thee to the Holy Land,
If thou wilt its directions understand

Yea, it will make the slothful active be;
The blind also delightful things to see.

Art thou for something rare and profitable?
Or would'st thou see a truth within a fable?

Art thou forgetful? Wouldest thou remember
From New-Year's day to the last of December?

Then read my fancies; they will stick like burs,
And may be, to the helpless, comforters.

This book is writ in such a dialect
As may the minds of listless men affect:

It seems a novelty, and yet contains
Nothing but sound and honest gospel strains.

Would'st thou divert thyself from melancholy?
Would'st thou be pleasant, yet be far from folly?

Would'st thou read riddles, and their explanation?
Or else be drowned in thy contemplation?

Dost thou love picking meat? Or would'st thou see
A man i' the clouds, and hear him speak to thee?

Would'st thou be in a dream, and yet not sleep?
Or would'st thou in a moment laugh and weep?

Would'st thou lose thyself and catch no harm,
And find thyself again without a charm?

Would'st read thyself, and read thou know'st not what,
And yet know whether thou art blest or not,

By reading the same lines? O then come hither,
And lay my book, thy head, and heart together.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
John Milton

Samson Agonistes

Samson. A little onward lend thy guiding hand
To these dark steps, a little further on;
For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade.
There I am wont to sit, when any chance
Relieves me from my task of servile toil,
Daily in the common prison else enjoined me,
Where I, a prisoner chained, scarce freely draw
The air, imprisoned also, close and damp,
Unwholesome draught. But here I feel amends—
The breath of Heaven fresh blowing, pure and sweet,
With day-spring born; here leave me to respire.
This day a solemn feast the people hold
To Dagon, their sea-idol, and forbid
Laborious works. Unwillingly this rest
Their superstition yields me; hence, with leave
Retiring from the popular noise, I seek
This unfrequented place to find some ease—
Ease to the body some, none to the mind
From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarm
Of hornets armed, no sooner found alone
But rush upon me thronging, and present
Times past, what once I was, and what am now.
Oh, wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold
Twice by an Angel, who at last, in sight
Of both my parents, all in flames ascended
From off the altar where an offering burned,
As in a fiery column charioting
His godlike presence, and from some great act
Or benefit revealed to Abraham’s race?
Why was my breeding ordered and prescribed
As of a person separate to God,
Designed for great exploits, if I must die
Betrayed, captived, and both my eyes put out,
Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze,
To grind in brazen fetters under task
With this heaven-gifted strength? O glorious strength,
Put to the labour of a beast, debased
Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver!
Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke.
Yet stay; let me not rashly call in doubt
Divine prediction. What if all foretold
Had been fulfilled but through mine own default?
Whom have I to complain of but myself,
Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
In what part lodged, how easily bereft me,
Under the seal of silence could not keep,
But weakly to a woman must reveal it,
O’ercome with importunity and tears?
O impotence of mind in body strong!
But what is strength without a double share
Of wisdom? Vast, unwieldly, burdensome,
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall
By weakest subtleties; not made to rule,
But to subserve where wisdom bears command.
God, when he gave me strength, to shew withal
How slight the gift was, hung it in my hair.
But peace! I must not quarrel with the will
Of highest dispensation, which herein
Haply had ends above my reach to know.
Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
And proves the source of all my miseries—
So many, and so huge, that each apart
Would ask a life to wail. But, chief of all,
O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies! O worse than chains,
Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age!
Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct,
And all her various objects of delight
Annulled, which might in part my grief have eased.
Inferior to the vilest now become
Of man or worm, the vilest here excel me:
They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse and wrong,
Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
In power of others, never in my own—
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrecoverábly dark, total eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first-created Beam, and thou great Word,
“Let there be light, and light was over all,”
Why am I thus bereaved thy prime decree?
The Sun to me is dark
And silent as the Moon,
When she deserts the night,
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
And almost life itself, if it be true
That light is in the soul,
She all in every part, why was the sight
To such a tender ball as the eye confined,
So obvious and so easy to be quenched,
And not, as feeling, through all parts diffused,
That she might look at will through every pore?
Then had I not been thus exiled from light,
As in the land of darkness, yet in light,
To live a life half dead, a living death,
And buried; but, O yet more miserable!
Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave;
Buried, yet not exempt,
By privilege of death and burial,
From worst of other evils, pains, and wrongs;
But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life,
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.
But who are these? for with joint pace I hear
The tread of many feet steering this way;
Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare
At my affliction, and perhaps to insult—
Their daily practice to afflict me more.
Chor. This, this is he; softly a while;
Let us not break in upon him.
O change beyond report, thought, or belief!
See how he lies at random, carelessly diffused,
With languished head unpropt,
As one past hope, abandoned,
And by himself given over,
In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds
O’er-worn and soiled.
Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he,
That heroic, that renowned,
Irresistible Samson? whom, unarmed,
No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast, could withstand;
Who tore the lion as the lion tears the kid;
Ran on embattled armies clad in iron,
And, weaponless himself,
Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammered cuirass,
Chalybean-tempered steel, and frock of mail
Adamantean proof:
But safest he who stood aloof,
When insupportably his foot advanced,
In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,
Spurned them to death by troops. The bold Ascalonite
Fled from his lion ramp; old warriors turned
Their plated backs under his heel,
Or grovelling soiled their crested helmets in the dust.
Then with what trivial weapon came to hand,
The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone,
A thousand foreskins fell, the flower of Palestine,
In Ramath-lechi, famous to this day:
Then by main force pulled up, and on his shoulders bore,
The gates of Azza, post and massy bar,
Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old—
No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so—
Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heaven.
Which shall I first bewail—
Thy bondage or lost sight,
Prison within prison
Inseparably dark?
Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!)
The dungeon of thyself; thy soul
(Which men enjoying sight oft without cause complain)
Imprisoned now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut up from outward light
To incorporate with gloomy night;
For inward light, alas!
Puts forth no visual beam.
O mirror of our fickle state,
Since man on earth, unparalleled,
The rarer thy example stands,
By how much from the top of wondrous glory,
Strongest of mortal men,
To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen.
For him I reckon not in high estate
Whom long descent of birth,
Or the sphere of fortune, raises;
But them whose strength, while virtue was her mate,
Might have subdued the Earth,
Universally crowned with highest praises.
Sams. I hear the sound of words; their sense the air
Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.
Chor. He speaks: let us draw nigh. Matchless in might,
The glory late of Israel, now the grief!
We come, thy friends and neighbours not unknown.
From Eshtaol and Zora’s fruitful vale,
To visit or bewail thee; or, if better,
Counsel or consolation we may bring,
Salve to thy sores: apt words have power to swage
The tumours of a troubled mind,
And are as balm to festered wounds.
Sams. Your coming, friends, revives me; for I learn
Now of my own experience, not by talk,
How counterfeit a coin they are who “friends”
Bear in their superscription (of the most
I would be understood). In prosperous days
They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head,
Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O friends,
How many evils have enclosed me round;
Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me,
Blindness; for, had I sight, confused with shame,
How could I once look up, or heave the head,
Who, like a foolish pilot, have shipwrecked
My Vessel trusted to me from above,
Gloriously rigged, and for a word, a tear,
Fool! have divulged the secret gift of God
To a deceitful woman? Tell me, friends,
Am I not sung and proverbed for a fool
In every street? Do they not say, “How well
Are come upon him his deserts”? Yet why?
Immeasurable strength they might behold
In me; of wisdom nothing more than mean.
This with the other should at least have paired;
These two, proportioned ill, drove me transverse.
Chor. Tax not divine disposal. Wisest men
Have erred, and by bad women been deceived;
And shall again, pretend they ne’er so wise.
Deject not, then, so overmuch thyself,
Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides.
Yet, truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder
Why thou should’st wed Philistian women rather
Than of thine own tribe fairer, or as fair,
At least of thy own nation, and as noble.
Sams. The first I saw at Timna, and she pleased
Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed
The daughter of an Infidel. They knew not
That what I motioned was of God; I knew
From intimate impulse, and therefore urged
The marriage on, that, by occasion hence,
I might begin Israel’s deliverance—
The work to which I was divinely called.
She proving false, the next I took to wife
(O that I never had! found wish too late!)
Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila,
That specious monster, my accomplished snare.
I thought it lawful from my former act,
And the same end, still watching to oppress
Israel’s oppressors. Of what now I suffer
She was not the prime cause, but I myself,
Who, vanquished with a peal of words, (O weakness!)
Gave up my fort of silence to a woman.
Chor. In seeking just occasion to provoke
The Philistine, thy country’s enemy,
Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness;
Yet Israel still serves with all his sons.
Sams. That fault I take not on me, but transfer
On Israel’s governors and heads of tribes,
Who, seeing those great acts which God had done
Singly be me against their conquerors,
Acknowledged not, or not at all considered,
Deliverance offered. I, on the other side,
Used no ambition to commend my deeds;
The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the doer.
But they persisted deaf, and would not seem

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Nut-Brown Maid

He.BE it right or wrong, these men among
On women do complain;
Affirming this, how that it is
A labour spent in vain
To love them wele; for never a dele
They love a man again:
For let a man do what he can
Their favour to attain,
Yet if a new to them pursue,
Their first true lover than
Laboureth for naught; for from her thought
He is a banished man.

She.I say not nay, but that all day
It is both written and said
That woman's faith is, as who saith,
All utterly decayd:
But nevertheless, right good witnèss
In this case might be laid
That they love true and continue:
Record the Nut-brown Maid,
Which, when her love came her to prove,
To her to make his moan,
Would not depart; for in her heart
She loved but him alone.

He.Then between us let us discuss
What was all the manere
Between them two: we will also
Tell all the pain in fere
That she was in. Now I begin,
So that ye me answere:
Wherefore all ye that present be,
I pray you, give an ear.
I am the Knight. I come by night,
As secret as I can,
Saying, Alas! thus standeth the case,
I am a banished man.

She.And I your will for to fulfil
In this will not refuse;
Trusting to show, in wordes few,
That men have an ill use—
To their own shame—women to blame,
And causeless them accuse.
Therefore to you I answer now,
All women to excuse—
Mine own heart dear, with you what cheer?
I pray you, tell anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.It standeth so: a deed is do
Whereof great harm shall grow:
My destiny is for to die
A shameful death, I trow;
Or else to flee. The t' one must be.
None other way I know
But to withdraw as an outlàw,
And take me to my bow.
Wherefore adieu, mine own heart true!
None other rede I can:
For I must to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.O Lord, what is this worldis bliss,
That changeth as the moon!
My summer's day in lusty May
Is darked before the noon.
I hear you say, farewell: Nay, nay,
We dèpart not so soon.
Why say ye so? whither will ye go?
Alas! what have ye done?
All my welfàre to sorrow and care
Should change, if ye were gone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.I can believe it shall you grieve,
And somewhat you distrain;
But afterward, your paines hard
Within a day or twain
Shall soon aslake; and ye shall take
Comfort to you again.
Why should ye ought? for, to make thought,
Your labour were in vain.
And thus I do; and pray you to,
As hartely as I can:
For I must to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.Now, sith that ye have showed to me
The secret of your mind,
I shall be plain to you again,
Like as ye shall me find.
Sith it is so that ye will go,
I will not live behind.
Shall never be said the Nut-brown Maid
Was to her love unkind.
Make you ready, for so am I,
Although it were anone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.Yet I you rede to take good heed
What men will think and say:
Of young, of old, it shall be told
That ye be gone away
Your wanton will for to fulfil,
In green-wood you to play;
And that ye might for your delight
No longer make delay
Rather than ye should thus for me
Be called an ill womàn
Yet would I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.Though it be sung of old and young
That I should be to blame,
Theirs be the charge that speak so large
In hurting of my name:
For I will prove that faithful love
It is devoid of shame;
In your distress and heaviness
To part with you the same:
And sure all tho that do not so
True lovers are they none:
For in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.I counsel you, Remember how
It is no maiden's law
Nothing to doubt, but to run out
To wood with an outlàw.
For ye must there in your hand bear
A bow ready to draw;
And as a thief thus must you live
Ever in dread and awe;
Whereby to you great harm might grow:
Yet had I liever than
That I had to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.I think not nay but as ye say;
It is no maiden's lore;
But love may make me for your sake,
As I have said before,
To come on foot, to hunt and shoot,
To get us meat and store;
For so that I your company
May have, I ask no more.
From which to part it maketh my heart
As cold as any stone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.For an outlàw this is the law,
That men him take and bind:
Without pitie, hangèd to be,
And waver with the wind.
If I had need (as God forbede!)
What socours could ye find?
Forsooth I trow, you and your bow
For fear would draw behind.
And no mervail; for little avail
Were in your counsel than:
Wherefore I'll to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.Right well know ye that women be
But feeble for to fight;
No womanhede it is, indeed,
To be bold as a knight:
Yet in such fear if that ye were
With enemies day and night,
I would withstand, with bow in hand,
To grieve them as I might,
And you to save; as women have
From death men many one:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.Yet take good hede; for ever I drede
That ye could not sustain
The thorny ways, the deep vallèys,
The snow, the frost, the rain,
The cold, the heat; for dry or wete,
We must lodge on the plain;
And, us above, no other roof
But a brake bush or twain:
Which soon should grieve you, I believe;
And ye would gladly than
That I had to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.Sith I have here been partynere
With you of joy and bliss,
I must alsò part of your woe
Endure, as reason is:
Yet I am sure of one pleasùre,
And shortly it is this—
That where ye be, me seemeth, pardé,
I could not fare amiss.
Without more speech I you beseech
That we were shortly gone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.If ye go thyder, ye must consider,
When ye have lust to dine,
There shall no meat be for to gete,
Nether bere, ale, ne wine,
Ne shetès clean, to lie between,
Made of thread and twine;
None other house, but leaves and boughs,
To cover your head and mine.
Lo, mine heart sweet, this ill diète
Should make you pale and wan:
Wherefore I'll to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.Among the wild deer such an archère,
As men say that ye be,
Ne may not fail of good vitayle
Where is so great plentè:
And water clear of the rivere
Shall be full sweet to me;
With which in hele I shall right wele
Endure, as ye shall see;
And, or we go, a bed or two
I can provide anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.Lo yet, before, ye must do more,
If ye will go with me:
As, cut your hair up by your ear,
Your kirtle by the knee;
With bow in hand for to withstand
Your enemies, if need be:
And this same night, before daylight,
To woodward will I flee.
If that ye will all this fulfil,
Do it shortly as ye can:
Else will I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.I shall as now do more for you
Than 'longeth to womanhede;
To short my hair, a bow to bear,
To shoot in time of need.
O my sweet mother! before all other
For you I have most drede!
But now, adieu! I must ensue
Where fortune doth me lead.
All this make ye: Now let us flee;
The day cometh fast upon:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.Nay, nay, not so; ye shall not go,
And I shall tell you why—
Your appetite is to be light
Of love, I well espy:
For, right as ye have said to me,
In likewise hardily
Ye would answere whosoever it were,
In way of company:
It is said of old, Soon hot, soon cold;
And so is a womàn:
Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.If ye take heed, it is no need
Such words to say to me;
For oft ye prayed, and long assayed,
Or I loved you, pardè:
And though that I of ancestry
A baron's daughter be,
Yet have you proved how I you loved,
A squire of low degree;
And ever shall, whatso befall
To die therefore anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.A baron's child to be beguiled,
It were a cursèd deed!
To be felàw with an outlaw—
Almighty God forbede!
Yet better were the poor squyere
Alone to forest yede
Than ye shall say another day
That by my cursèd rede
Ye were betrayed. Wherefore, good maid,
The best rede that I can,
Is, that I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.Whatever befall, I never shall
Of this thing be upbraid:
But if ye go, and leave me so,
Then have ye me betrayed.
Remember you wele, how that ye dele;
For if ye, as ye said,
Be so unkind to leave behind
Your love, the Nut-brown Maid,
Trust me truly that I shall die
Soon after ye be gone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.If that ye went, ye should repent;
For in the forest now
I have purveyed me of a maid
Whom I love more than you:
Another more fair than ever ye were
I dare it well avow;
And of you both each should be wroth
With other, as I trow:
It were mine ease to live in peace;
So will I, if I can:
Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.

She.Though in the wood I understood
Ye had a paramour,
All this may nought remove my thought,
But that I will be your':
And she shall find me soft and kind
And courteis every hour;
Glad to fulfil all that she will
Command me, to my power:
For had ye, lo, an hundred mo,
Yet would I be that one:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.Mine own dear love, I see the prove
That ye be kind and true;
Of maid, of wife, in all my life,
The best that ever I knew.
Be merry and glad; be no more sad;
The case is changèd new;
For it were ruth that for your truth
Ye should have cause to rue.
Be not dismayed, whatsoever I said
To you when I began:
I will not to the green-wood go;
I am no banished man.

She.These tidings be more glad to me
Than to be made a queen,
If I were sure they should endure;
But it is often seen
When men will break promise they speak
The wordis on the splene.
Ye shape some wile me to beguile,
And steal from me, I ween:
Then were the case worse than it was,
And I more wo-begone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

He.Ye shall not nede further to drede:
I will not disparàge
You (God defend), sith you descend
Of so great a linàge.
Now understand: to Westmoreland,
Which is my heritage,
I will you bring; and with a ring,
By way of marriàge
I will you take, and lady make,
As shortly as I can:
Thus have you won an Earles son,
And not a banished man.

Here may ye see that women be
In love meek, kind, and stable;
Let never man reprove them than,
Or call them variable;
But rather pray God that we may
To them be comfortable;
Which sometime proveth such as He loveth,
If they be charitable.
For sith men would that women should
Be meek to them each one;
Much more ought they to God obey,
And serve but Him alone

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
 

Search


Recent searches | Top searches