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Animal Spirits (a Riff)

This is hard to say
(I so lack tact,)
But I've met a few
Nymphomaniacs;
And no one's ever
Ever been so kind
To bare without strings
Her behind.
But if you're traveling
My way
And are so inclined
Arch your back
So as to remind

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Peter Bell, A Tale

PROLOGUE

There's something in a flying horse,
There's something in a huge balloon;
But through the clouds I'll never float
Until I have a little Boat,
Shaped like the crescent-moon.

And now I 'have' a little Boat,
In shape a very crescent-moon
Fast through the clouds my boat can sail;
But if perchance your faith should fail,
Look up--and you shall see me soon!

The woods, my Friends, are round you roaring,
Rocking and roaring like a sea;
The noise of danger's in your ears,
And ye have all a thousand fears
Both for my little Boat and me!

Meanwhile untroubled I admire
The pointed horns of my canoe;
And, did not pity touch my breast,
To see how ye are all distrest,
Till my ribs ached, I'd laugh at you!

Away we go, my Boat and I--
Frail man ne'er sate in such another;
Whether among the winds we strive,
Or deep into the clouds we dive,
Each is contented with the other.

Away we go--and what care we
For treasons, tumults, and for wars?
We are as calm in our delight
As is the crescent-moon so bright
Among the scattered stars.

Up goes my Boat among the stars
Through many a breathless field of light,
Through many a long blue field of ether,
Leaving ten thousand stars beneath her:
Up goes my little Boat so bright!

The Crab, the Scorpion, and the Bull--
We pry among them all; have shot
High o'er the red-haired race of Mars,
Covered from top to toe with scars;
Such company I like it not!

The towns in Saturn are decayed,
And melancholy Spectres throng them;--
The Pleiads, that appear to kiss
Each other in the vast abyss,
With joy I sail among them.

Swift Mercury resounds with mirth,
Great Jove is full of stately bowers;
But these, and all that they contain,
What are they to that tiny grain,
That little Earth of ours?

Then back to Earth, the dear green Earth:--
Whole ages if I here should roam,
The world for my remarks and me
Would not a whit the better be;
I've left my heart at home.

See! there she is, the matchless Earth!
There spreads the famed Pacific Ocean!
Old Andes thrusts yon craggy spear
Through the grey clouds; the Alps are here,
Like waters in commotion!

Yon tawny slip is Libya's sands;
That silver thread the river Dnieper!
And look, where clothed in brightest green
Is a sweet Isle, of isles the Queen;
Ye fairies, from all evil keep her!

And see the town where I was born!
Around those happy fields we span
In boyish gambols;--I was lost
Where I have been, but on this coast
I feel I am a man.

Never did fifty things at once
Appear so lovely, never, never;--
How tunefully the forests ring!
To hear the earth's soft murmuring
Thus could I hang for ever!

"Shame on you!" cried my little Boat,
"Was ever such a homesick Loon,
Within a living Boat to sit,
And make no better use of it;
A Boat twin-sister of the crescent-moon!

"Ne'er in the breast of full-grown Poet
Fluttered so faint a heart before;--
Was it the music of the spheres
That overpowered your mortal ears?
--Such din shall trouble them no more.

"These nether precincts do not lack
Charms of their own;--then come with me;
I want a comrade, and for you
There's nothing that I would not do;
Nought is there that you shall not see.

"Haste! and above Siberian snows
We'll sport amid the boreal morning;
Will mingle with her lustres gliding
Among the stars, the stars now hiding,
And now the stars adorning.

"I know the secrets of a land
Where human foot did never stray;
Fair is that land as evening skies,
And cool, though in the depth it lies
Of burning Africa. 0

"Or we'll into the realm of Faery,
Among the lovely shades of things;
The shadowy forms of mountains bare,
And streams, and bowers, and ladies fair,
The shades of palaces and kings!

"Or, if you thirst with hardy zeal
Less quiet regions to explore,
Prompt voyage shall to you reveal
How earth and heaven are taught to feel
The might of magic lore!"

"My little vagrant Form of light,
My gay and beautiful Canoe,
Well have you played your friendly part;
As kindly take what from my heart
Experience forces--then adieu!

"Temptation lurks among your words;
But, while these pleasures you're pursuing
Without impediment or let,
No wonder if you quite forget
What on the earth is doing.

"There was a time when all mankind
Did listen with a faith sincere
To tuneful tongues in mystery versed;
'Then' Poets fearlessly rehearsed
The wonders of a wild career.

"Go--(but the world's a sleepy world,
And 'tis, I fear, an age too late)
Take with you some ambitious Youth!
For, restless Wanderer! I, in truth,
Am all unfit to be your mate.

"Long have I loved what I behold,
The night that calms, the day that cheers;
The common growth of mother-earth
Suffices me--her tears, her mirth,
Her humblest mirth and tears.

"The dragon's wing, the magic ring,
I shall not covet for my dower,
If I along that lowly way
With sympathetic heart may stray,
And with a soul of power.

"These given, what more need I desire
To stir, to soothe, or elevate?
What nobler marvels than the mind
May in life's daily prospect find,
May find or there create?

"A potent wand doth Sorrow wield;
What spell so strong as guilty Fear!
Repentance is a tender Sprite;
If aught on earth have heavenly might,
'Tis lodged within her silent tear.

"But grant my wishes,--let us now
Descend from this ethereal height;
Then take thy way, adventurous Skiff,
More daring far than Hippogriff,
And be thy own delight!

"To the stone-table in my garden,
Loved haunt of many a summer hour,
The Squire is come: his daughter Bess
Beside him in the cool recess
Sits blooming like a flower.

"With these are many more convened;
They know not I have been so far;--
I see them there, in number nine,
Beneath the spreading Weymouth-pine!
I see them--there they are!

"There sits the Vicar and his Dame;
And there my good friend, Stephen Otter;
And, ere the light of evening fail,
To them I must relate the Tale
Of Peter Bell the Potter."

Off flew the Boat--away she flees,
Spurning her freight with indignation!
And I, as well as I was able,
On two poor legs, toward my stone-table
Limped on with sore vexation.

"O, here he is!" cried little Bess--
She saw me at the garden-door;
"We've waited anxiously and long,"
They cried, and all around me throng,
Full nine of them or more!

"Reproach me not--your fears be still--
Be thankful we again have met;--
Resume, my Friends! within the shade
Your seats, and quickly shall be paid
The well-remembered debt."

I spake with faltering voice, like one
Not wholly rescued from the pale
Of a wild dream, or worse illusion;
But, straight, to cover my confusion,
Began the promised Tale.

PART FIRST

ALL by the moonlight river side
Groaned the poor Beast--alas! in vain;
The staff was raised to loftier height,
And the blows fell with heavier weight
As Peter struck--and struck again.

"Hold!" cried the Squire, "against the rules
Of common sense you're surely sinning;
This leap is for us all too bold;
Who Peter was, let that be told,
And start from the beginning." 0

----"A Potter, Sir, he was by trade,"
Said I, becoming quite collected;
"And wheresoever he appeared,
Full twenty times was Peter feared
For once that Peter was respected.

"He, two-and-thirty years or more,
Had been a wild and woodland rover;
Had heard the Atlantic surges roar
On farthest Cornwall's rocky shore,
And trod the cliffs of Dover.

"And he had seen Caernarvon's towers,
And well he knew the spire of Sarum;
And he had been where Lincoln bell
Flings o'er the fen that ponderous knell--
A far-renowned alarum!

"At Doncaster, at York, and Leeds,
And merry Carlisle had be been;
And all along the Lowlands fair,
All through the bonny shire of Ayr
And far as Aberdeen.

"And he had been at Inverness;
And Peter, by the mountain-rills,
Had danced his round with Highland lasses;
And he had lain beside his asses
On lofty Cheviot Hills:

"And he had trudged through Yorkshire dales,
Among the rocks and winding 'scars',
Where deep and low the hamlets lie
Beneath their little patch of sky
And little lot of stars:

"And all along the indented coast,
Bespattered with the salt-sea foam;
Where'er a knot of houses lay
On headland, or in hollow bay;--
Sure never man like him did roam!

"As well might Peter, in the Fleet,
Have been fast bound, a begging debtor;--
He travelled here, he travelled there,--
But not the value of a hair
Was heart or head the better.

"He roved among the vales and streams,
In the green wood and hollow dell;
They were his dwellings night and day,--
But nature ne'er could find the way
Into the heart of Peter Bell.

"In vain, through every changeful year,
Did Nature lead him as before;
A primrose by a river's brim
A yellow primrose was to him,
And it was nothing more.

"Small change it made on Peter's heart
To see his gentle panniered train
With more than vernal pleasure feeding,
Where'er the tender grass was leading
Its earliest green along the lane.

"In vain, through water, earth, and air,
The soul of happy sound was spread,
When Peter on some April morn,
Beneath the broom or budding thorn,
Made the warm earth his lazy bed.

"At noon, when, by the forest's edge
He lay beneath the branches high,
The soft blue shy did never melt
Into his heart; he never felt
The witchery of the soft blue sky!

"On a fair prospect some have looked
And felt, as I have heard them say,
As if the moving time had been
A thing as steadfast as the scene
On which they gazed themselves away.

"Within the breast of Peter Bell
These silent raptures found no place;
He was a Carl as wild and rude
As ever hue-and-cry pursued,
As ever ran a felon's race.

"Of all that lead a lawless life,
Of all that love their lawless lives,
In city or in village small,
He was the wildest far of all;--
He had a dozen wedded wives.

"Nay, start not!--wedded wives--and twelve!
But how one wife could e'er come near him,
In simple truth I cannot tell;
For, be it said of Peter Bell
To see him was to fear him.

"Though Nature could not touch his heart
By lovely forms, and silent weather,
And tender sounds, yet you might see
At once, that Peter Bell and she
Had often been together.

"A savage wildness round him hung
As of a dweller out of doors;
In his whole figure and his mien
A savage character was seen
Of mountains and of dreary moors.

"To all the unshaped half-human thoughts
Which solitary Nature feeds
'Mid summer storms or winter's ice,
Had Peter joined whatever vice
The cruel city breeds. 0

"His face was keen as is the wind
That cuts along the hawthorn-fence;--
Of courage you saw little there,
But, in its stead, a medley air
Of cunning and of impudence.

"He had a dark and sidelong walk,
And long and slouching was his gait;
Beneath his looks so bare and bold,
You might perceive, his spirit cold
Was playing with some inward bait.

"His forehead wrinkled was and furred;
A work, one half of which was done
By thinking of his 'whens' and 'hows;'
And half, by knitting of his brows
Beneath the glaring sun.

"There was a hardness in his cheek,
There was a hardness in his eye,
As if the man had fixed his face,
In many a solitary place,
Against the wind and open sky!"

ONE NIGHT, (and now my little Bess!
We've reached at last the promised Tale:)
One beautiful November night,
When the full moon was shining bright
Upon the rapid river Swale,

Along the river's winding banks
Peter was travelling all alone;--
Whether to buy or sell, or led
By pleasure running in his head,
To me was never known.

He trudged along through copse and brake,
He trudged along o'er hill and dale;
Nor for the moon cared he a tittle,
And for the stars he cared as little,
And for the murmuring river Swale.

But, chancing to espy a path
That promised to cut short the way
As many a wiser man hath done,
He left a trusty guide for one
That might his steps betray.

To a thick wood he soon is brought
Where cheerily his course he weaves,
And whistling loud may yet be heard,
Though often buried, like a bird
Darkling, among the boughs and leaves.

But quickly Peter's mood is changed,
And on he drives with cheeks that burn
In downright fury and in wrath;--
There's little sign the treacherous path
Will to the road return!

The path grows dim, and dimmer still;
Now up, now down, the Rover wends,
With all the sail that he can carry,
Till brought to a deserted quarry--
And there the pathway ends.

He paused--for shadows of strange shape,
Massy and black, before him lay;
But through the dark, and through the cold,
And through the yawning fissures old,
Did Peter boldly press his way

Right through the quarry;--and behold
A scene of soft and lovely hue!
Where blue and grey, and tender green,
Together make as sweet a scene
As ever human eye did view.

Beneath the clear blue sky he saw
A little field of meadow ground;
But field or meadow name it not;
Call it of earth a small green plot,
With rocks encompassed round,

The Swale flowed under the grey rocks,
But he flowed quiet and unseen;--
You need a strong and stormy gale
To bring the noises of the Swale
To that green spot, so calm and green!

And is there no one dwelling here,
No hermit with his beads and glass?
And does no little cottage look
Upon this soft and fertile nook?
Does no one live near this green grass?

Across the deep and quiet spot
Is Peter driving through the grass--
And now has reached the skirting trees;
When, turning round his head, he sees
A solitary Ass.

"A Prize!" cries Peter--but he first
Must spy about him far and near:
There's not a single house in sight,
No woodman's hut, no cottage light--
Peter, you need not fear!

There's nothing to be seen but woods,
And rocks that spread a hoary gleam,
And this one Beast, that from the bed
Of the green meadow hangs his head
Over the silent stream.

His head is with a halter bound;
The halter seizing, Peter leapt
Upon the Creature's back, and plied
With ready heels his shaggy side;
But still the Ass his station kept. 0

Then Peter gave a sudden jerk,
A jerk that from a dungeon-floor
Would have pulled up an iron ring;
But still the heavy-headed Thing
Stood just as he had stood before!

Quoth Peter, leaping from his seat,
"There is some plot against me laid;"
Once more the little meadow-ground
And all the hoary cliffs around
He cautiously surveyed,

All, all is silent--rocks and woods,
All still and silent--far and near!
Only the Ass, with motion dull,
Upon the pivot of his skull
Turns round his long left ear.

Thought Peter, What can mean all this?
Some ugly witchcraft must be here!
--Once more the Ass, with motion dull,
Upon the pivot of his skull
Turned round his long left ear.

Suspicion ripened into dread;
Yet with deliberate action slow,
His staff high-raising, in the pride
Of skill, upon the sounding hide,
He dealt a sturdy blow.

The poor Ass staggered with the shock;
And then, as if to take his ease,
In quiet uncomplaining mood,
Upon the spot where he had stood,
Dropped gently down upon his knees:

As gently on his side he fell;
And by the river's brink did lie;
And, while he lay like one that mourned,
The patient Beast on Peter turned
His shining hazel eye.

'Twas but one mild, reproachful look,
A look more tender than severe;
And straight in sorrow, not in dread,
He turned the eye-ball in his head
Towards the smooth river deep and clear.

Upon the Beast the sapling rings;
His lank sides heaved, his limbs they stirred;
He gave a groan, and then another,
Of that which went before the brother,
And then he gave a third.

All by the moonlight river side
He gave three miserable groans;
And not till now hath Peter seen
How gaunt the Creature is,--how lean
And sharp his staring bones!

With legs stretched out and stiff he lay:--
No word of kind commiseration
Fell at the sight from Peter's tongue;
With hard contempt his heart was wrung,
With hatred and vexation.

The meagre beast lay still as death;
And Peter's lips with fury quiver;
Quoth he, "You little mulish dog,
I'll fling your carcase like a log
Head-foremost down the river!"

An impious oath confirmed the threat--
Whereat from the earth on which he lay
To all the echoes, south and north,
And east and west, the Ass sent forth
A long and clamorous bray!

This outcry, on the heart of Peter,
Seems like a note of joy to strike,--
Joy at the heart of Peter knocks;
But in the echo of the rocks
Was something Peter did not like.

Whether to cheer his coward breast,
Or that he could not break the chain,
In this serene and solemn hour,
Twined round him by demoniac power,
To the blind work he turned again.

Among the rocks and winding crags;
Among the mountains far away;
Once more the ass did lengthen out
More ruefully a deep-drawn shout,
The hard dry see-saw of his horrible bray!

What is there now in Peter's heart!
Or whence the might of this strange sound?
The moon uneasy looked and dimmer,
The broad blue heavens appeared to glimmer,
And the rocks staggered all around--

From Peter's hand the sapling dropped!
Threat has he none to execute;
"If any one should come and see
That I am here, they'll think," quoth he,
"I'm helping this poor dying brute."

He scans the Ass from limb to limb,
And ventures now to uplift his eyes;
More steady looks the moon, and clear
More like themselves the rocks appear
And touch more quiet skies.

His scorn returns--his hate revives;
He stoops the Ass's neck to seize
With malice--that again takes flight;
For in the pool a startling sight
Meets him, among the inverted trees. 0

Is it the moon's distorted face?
The ghost-like image of a cloud?
Is it a gallows there portrayed?
Is Peter of himself afraid?
Is it a coffin,--or a shroud?

A grisly idol hewn in stone?
Or imp from witch's lap let fall?
Perhaps a ring of shining fairies?
Such as pursue their feared vagaries
In sylvan bower, or haunted hall?

Is it a fiend that to a stake
Of fire his desperate self is tethering?
Or stubborn spirit doomed to yell
In solitary ward or cell,
Ten thousand miles from all his brethren?

Never did pulse so quickly throb,
And never heart so loudly panted;
He looks, he cannot choose but look;
Like some one reading in a book--
A book that is enchanted.

Ah, well-a-day for Peter Bell!
He will be turned to iron soon,
Meet Statue for the court of Fear!
His hat is up--and every hair
Bristles, and whitens in the moon!

He looks, he ponders, looks again;
He sees a motion--hears a groan;
His eyes will burst--his heart will break--
He gives a loud and frightful shriek,
And back he falls, as if his life were flown!

PART SECOND

WE left our Hero in a trance,
Beneath the alders, near the river;
The Ass is by the river-side,
And, where the feeble breezes glide,
Upon the stream the moonbeams quiver.

A happy respite! but at length
He feels the glimmering of the moon;
Wakes with glazed eve. and feebly signing--
To sink, perhaps, where he is lying,
Into a second swoon!

He lifts his head, he sees his staff;
He touches--'tis to him a treasure!
Faint recollection seems to tell
That he is yet where mortals dwell--
A thought received with languid pleasure!

His head upon his elbow propped,
Becoming less and less perplexed,
Sky-ward he looks--to rock and wood--
And then--upon the glassy flood
His wandering eye is fixed.

Thought he, that is the face of one
In his last sleep securely bound!
So toward the stream his head he bent,
And downward thrust his staff, intent
The river's depth to sound.

'Now'--like a tempest-shattered bark,
That overwhelmed and prostrate lies,
And in a moment to the verge
Is lifted of a foaming surge--
Full suddenly the Ass doth rise!

His staring bones all shake with joy,
And close by Peter's side he stands:
While Peter o'er the river bends,
The little Ass his neck extends,
And fondly licks his hands.

Such life is in the Ass's eyes,
Such life is in his limbs and ears;
That Peter Bell, if he had been
The veriest coward ever seen,
Must now have thrown aside his fears.

The Ass looks on--and to his work
Is Peter quietly resigned;
He touches here--he touches there--
And now among the dead man's hair
His sapling Peter has entwined.

He pulls--and looks--and pulls again;
And he whom the poor Ass had lost,
The man who had been four days dead,
Head-foremost from the river's bed
Uprises like a ghost!

And Peter draws him to dry land;
And through the brain of Peter pass
Some poignant twitches, fast and faster,
"No doubt," quoth he, "he is the Master
Of this poor miserable Ass!"

The meagre Shadow that looks on--
What would he now? what is he doing?
His sudden fit of joy is flown,--
He on his knees hath laid him down,
As if he were his grief renewing;

But no--that Peter on his back
Must mount, he shows well as he can:
Thought Peter then, come weal or woe,
I'll do what he would have me do,
In pity to this poor drowned man.

With that resolve he boldly mounts
Upon the pleased and thankful Ass;
And then, without a moment's stay,
That earnest Creature turned away
Leaving the body on the grass. 0

Intent upon his faithful watch,
The Beast four days and nights had past;
A sweeter meadow ne'er was seen,
And there the Ass four days had been,
Nor ever once did break his fast:

Yet firm his step, and stout his heart;
The mead is crossed--the quarry's mouth
Is reached; but there the trusty guide
Into a thicket turns aside,
And deftly ambles towards the south.

When hark a burst of doleful sound!
And Peter honestly might say,
The like came never to his ears,
Though he has been, full thirty years,
A rover--night and day!

'Tis not a plover of the moors,
'Tis not a bittern of the fen;
Nor can it be a barking fox,
Nor night-bird chambered in the rocks,
Nor wild-cat in a woody glen!

The Ass is startled--and stops short
Right in the middle of the thicket;
And Peter, wont to whistle loud
Whether alone or in a crowd,
Is silent as a silent cricket.

What ails you now, my little Bess?
Well may you tremble and look grave!
This cry--that rings along the wood,
This cry--that floats adown the flood,
Comes from the entrance of a cave:

I see a blooming Wood-boy there,
And if I had the power to say
How sorrowful the wanderer is,
Your heart would be as sad as his
Till you had kissed his tears away!

Grasping a hawthorn branch in hand,
All bright with berries ripe and red,
Into the cavern's mouth he peeps;
Thence back into the moonlight creeps;
Whom seeks he--whom?--the silent dead:

His father!--Him doth he require--
Him hath he sought with fruitless pains,
Among the rocks, behind the trees;
Now creeping on his hands and knees,
Now running o'er the open plains.

And hither is he come at last,
When he through such a day has gone,
By this dark cave to be distrest
Like a poor bird--her plundered nest
Hovering around with dolorous moan!

Of that intense and piercing cry
The listening Ass conjectures well;
Wild as it is, he there can read
Some intermingled notes that plead
With touches irresistible.

But Peter--when he saw the Ass
Not only stop but turn, and change
The cherished tenor of his pace
That lamentable cry to chase--
It wrought in him conviction strange;

A faith that, for the dead man's sake
And this poor slave who loved him well,
Vengeance upon his head will fall,
Some visitation worse than all
Which ever till this night befell.

Meanwhile the Ass to reach his home,
Is striving stoutly as he may;
But, while he climbs the woody hill,
The cry grows weak--and weaker still;
And now at last it dies away.

So with his freight the Creature turns
Into a gloomy grove of beech,
Along the shade with footsteps true
Descending slowly, till the two
The open moonlight reach.

And there, along the narrow dell,
A fair smooth pathway you discern,
A length of green and open road--
As if it from a fountain flowed--
Winding away between the fern.

The rocks that tower on either side
Build up a wild fantastic scene;
Temples like those among the Hindoos,
And mosques, and spires, and abbey windows,
And castles all with ivy green!

And, while the Ass pursues his way,
Along this solitary dell,
As pensively his steps advance,
The mosques and spires change countenance
And look at Peter Bell!

That unintelligible cry
Hath left him high in preparation,--
Convinced that he, or soon or late,
This very night will meet his fate--
And so he sits in expectation!

The strenuous Animal hath clomb
With the green path; and now he wends
Where, shining like the smoothest sea,
In undisturbed immensity
A level plain extends. 0

But whence this faintly-rustling sound
By which the journeying pair are chased?
--A withered leaf is close behind,
Light plaything for the sportive wind
Upon that solitary waste.

When Peter spied the moving thing,
It only doubled his distress;
"Where there is not a bush or tree,
The very leaves they follow me--
So huge hath been my wickedness!"

To a close lane they now are come,
Where, as before, the enduring Ass
Moves on without a moment's stop,
Nor once turns round his head to crop
A bramble-leaf or blade of grass.

Between the hedges as they go,
The white dust sleeps upon the lane;
And Peter, ever and anon
Back-looking, sees, upon a stone,
Or in the dust, a crimson stain.

A stain--as of a drop of blood
By moonlight made more faint and wan;
Ha! why these sinkings of despair?
He knows not how the blood comes there--
And Peter is a wicked man.

At length he spies a bleeding wound,
Where he had struck the Ass's head;
He sees the blood, knows what it is,--
A glimpse of sudden joy was his,
But then it quickly fled;

Of him whom sudden death had seized
He thought,--of thee, O faithful Ass!
And once again those ghastly pains,
Shoot to and fro through heart and reins,
And through his brain like lightning pass.

PART THIRD

I'VE heard of one, a gentle Soul,
Though given to sadness and to gloom,
And for the fact will vouch,--one night
It chanced that by a taper's light
This man was reading in his room;

Bending, as you or I might bend
At night o'er any pious book,
When sudden blackness overspread
The snow-white page on which he read,
And made the good man round him look.

The chamber walls were dark all round,--
And to his book he turned again;
--The light had left the lonely taper,
And formed itself upon the paper
Into large letters--bright and plain!

The godly book was in his hand--
And, on the page, more black than coal,
Appeared, set forth in strange array,
A 'word'--which to his dying day
Perplexed the good man's gentle soul.

The ghostly word, thus plainly seen,
Did never from his lips depart;
But he hath said, poor gentle wight!
It brought full many a sin to light
Out of the bottom of his heart.

Dread Spirits! to confound the meek
Why wander from your course so far,
Disordering colour, form, and stature!
--Let good men feel the soul of nature,
And see things as they are.

Yet, potent Spirits! well I know,
How ye, that play with soul and sense,
Are not unused to trouble friends
Of goodness, for most gracious ends--
And this I speak in reverence!

But might I give advice to you,
Whom in my fear I love so well;
From men of pensive virtue go,
Dread Beings! and your empire show
On hearts like that of Peter Bell.

Your presence often have I felt
In darkness and the stormy night;
And, with like force, if need there be,
Ye can put forth your agency
When earth is calm, and heaven is bright.

Then, coming from the wayward world,
That powerful world in which ye dwell,
Come, Spirits of the Mind! and try
To-night, beneath the moonlight sky,
What may be done with Peter Bell!

--O, would that some more skilful voice
My further labour might prevent!
Kind Listeners, that around me sit,
I feel that I am all unfit
For such high argument.

I've played, I've danced, with my narration;
I loitered long ere I began:
Ye waited then on my good pleasure;
Pour out indulgence still, in measure
As liberal as ye can!

Our Travellers, ye remember well,
Are thridding a sequestered lane;
And Peter many tricks is trying,
And many anodynes applying,
To ease his conscience of its pain. 0

By this his heart is lighter far;
And, finding that he can account
So snugly for that crimson stain,
His evil spirit up again
Does like an empty bucket mount.

And Peter is a deep logician
Who hath no lack of wit mercurial;
"Blood drops--leaves rustle--yet," quoth he,
"This poor man never, but for me,
Could have had Christian burial.

"And, say the best you can, 'tis plain,
That here has been some wicked dealing;
No doubt the devil in me wrought;
I'm not the man who could have thought
An Ass like this was worth the stealing!"

So from his pocket Peter takes
His shining horn tobacco-box;
And, in a light and careless way,
As men who with their purpose play,
Upon the lid he knocks.

Let them whose voice can stop the clouds,
Whose cunning eye can see the wind,
Tell to a curious world the cause
Why, making here a sudden pause,
The Ass turned round his head, and 'grinned'.

Appalling process! I have marked
The like on heath, in lonely wood;
And, verily, have seldom met
A spectacle more hideous--yet
It suited Peter's present mood.

And, grinning in his turn, his teeth
He in jocose defiance showed--
When, to upset his spiteful mirth,
A murmur, pent within the earth,
In the dead earth beneath the road

Rolled audibly! it swept along,
A muffled noise--a rumbling sound!--
'Twas by a troop of miners made,
Plying with gunpowder their trade,
Some twenty fathoms under ground.

Small cause of dire effect! for, surely,
If ever mortal, King or Cotter,
Believed that earth was charged to quake
And yawn for his unworthy sake,
'Twas Peter Bell the Potter.

But, as an oak in breathless air
Will stand though to the centre hewn;
Or as the weakest things, if frost
Have stiffened them, maintain their post;
So he, beneath the gazing moon!--

The Beast bestriding thus, he reached
A spot where, in a sheltering cove,
A little chapel stands alone,
With greenest ivy overgrown,
And tufted with an ivy grove;

Dying insensibly away
From human thoughts and purposes,
It seemed--wall, window, roof and tower--
To bow to some transforming power,
And blend with the surrounding trees.

As ruinous a place it was,
Thought Peter, in the shire of Fife
That served my turn, when following still
From land to land a reckless will
I married my sixth wife!

The unheeding Ass moves slowly on,
And now is passing by an inn
Brim-full of a carousing crew,
That make, with curses not a few,
An uproar and a drunken din.

I cannot well express the thoughts
Which Peter in those noises found;--
A stifling power compressed his frame,
While-as a swimming darkness came
Over that dull and dreary sound.

For well did Peter know the sound;
The language of those drunken joys
To him, a jovial soul, I ween,
But a few hours ago, had been
A gladsome and a welcome noise.

'Now', turned adrift into the past,
He finds no solace in his course;
Like planet-stricken men of yore,
He trembles, smitten to the core
By strong compunction and remorse.

But, more than all, his heart is stung
To think of one, almost a child;
A sweet and playful Highland girl,
As light and beauteous as a squirrel,
As beauteous and as wild!

Her dwelling was a lonely house,
A cottage in a heathy dell;
And she put on her gown of green,
And left her mother at sixteen,
And followed Peter Bell.

But many good and pious thoughts
Had she; and, in the kirk to pray,
Two long Scotch miles, through rain or snow
To kirk she had been used to go,
Twice every Sabbath-day. 0

And, when she followed Peter Bell,
It was to lead an honest life;
For he, with tongue not used to falter,
Had pledged his troth before the altar
To love her as his wedded wife.

A mother's hope is hers;--but soon
She drooped and pined like one forlorn;
From Scripture she a name did borrow;
Benoni, or the child of sorrow,
She called her babe unborn.

For she had learned how Peter lived,
And took it in most grievous part;
She to the very bone was worn,
And, ere that little child was born,
Died of a broken heart.

And now the Spirits of the Mind
Are busy with poor Peter Bell;
Upon the rights of visual sense
Usurping, with a prevalence
More terrible than magic spell.

Close by a brake of flowering furze
(Above it shivering aspens play)
He sees an unsubstantial creature,
His very self in form and feature,
Not four yards from the broad highway:

And stretched beneath the furze he sees
The Highland girl--it is no other;
And hears her crying as she cried,
The very moment that she died,
"My mother! oh my mother!"

The sweat pours down from Peter's face,
So grievous is his heart's contrition;
With agony his eye-balls ache
While he beholds by the furze-brake
This miserable vision!

Calm is the well-deserving brute,
'His' peace hath no offence betrayed;
But now, while down that slope he wends,
A voice to Peter's ear ascends,
Resounding from the woody glade:

The voice, though clamorous as a horn
Re-echoed by a naked rock,
Comes from that tabernacle--List!
Within, a fervent Methodist
Is preaching to no heedless flock!

"Repent! repent!" he cries aloud,
"While yet ye may find mercy;--strive
To love the Lord with all your might;
Turn to him, seek him day and night,
And save your souls alive!

"Repent! repent! though ye have gone,
Through paths of wickedness and woe,
After the Babylonian harlot;
And, though your sins be red as scarlet,
They shall be white as snow!"

Even as he passed the door, these words
Did plainly come to Peter's ears;
And they such joyful tidings were,
The joy was more than he could bear!--
He melted into tears.

Sweet tears of hope and tenderness!
And fast they fell, a plenteous shower!
His nerves, his sinews seemed to melt;
Through all his iron frame was felt
A gentle, a relaxing, power!

Each fibre of his frame was weak;
Weak all the animal within;
But, in its helplessness, grew mild
And gentle as an infant child,
An infant that has known no sin.

'Tis said, meek Beast! that, through Heaven's grace,
He not unmoved did notice now
The cross upon thy shoulder scored,
For lasting impress, by the Lord
To whom all human-kind shall bow;

Memorial of his touch--that day
When Jesus humbly deigned to ride,
Entering the proud Jerusalem,
By an immeasurable stream
Of shouting people deified!

Meanwhile the persevering Ass,
Turned towards a gate that hung in view
Across a shady lane; his chest
Against the yielding gate he pressed
And quietly passed through.

And up the stony lane he goes;
No ghost more softly ever trod;
Among the stones and pebbles, he
Sets down his hoofs inaudibly,
As if with felt his hoofs were shod.

Along the lane the trusty Ass
Went twice two hundred yards or more,
And no one could have guessed his aim,--
Till to a lonely house he came,
And stopped beside the door.

Thought Peter, 'tis the poor man's home!
He listens--not a sound is heard
Save from the trickling household rill;
But, stepping o'er the cottage-sill,
Forthwith a little Girl appeared. 00

She to the Meeting-house was bound
In hopes some tidings there to gather:
No glimpse it is, no doubtful gleam;
She saw--and uttered with a scream,
"My father! here's my father!"

The very word was plainly heard,
Heard plainly by the wretched Mother--
Her joy was like a deep affright:
And forth she rushed into the light,
And saw it was another! 10

And, instantly, upon the earth,
Beneath the full moon shining bright,
Close to the Ass's feet she fell;
At the same moment Peter Bell
Dismounts in most unhappy plight.

As he beheld the Woman lie
Breathless and motionless, the mind
Of Peter sadly was confused;
But, though to such demands unused,
And helpless almost as the blind,

He raised her up; and, while he held
Her body propped against his knee,
The Woman waked--and when she spied
The poor Ass standing by her side,
She moaned most bitterly.

"Oh! God be praised--my heart's at ease--
For he is dead--I know it well!"
--At this she wept a bitter flood;
And, in the best way that he could,
His tale did Peter tell.

He trembles--he is pale as death;
His voice is weak with perturbation;
He turns aside his head, he pauses;
Poor Peter, from a thousand causes,
Is crippled sore in his narration.

At length she learned how he espied
The Ass in that small meadow-ground;
And that her Husband now lay dead,
Beside that luckless river's bed
In which he had been drowned.

A piercing look the Widow cast
Upon the Beast that near her stands;
She sees 'tis he, that 'tis the same;
She calls the poor Ass by his name,
And wrings, and wrings her hands.

"O wretched loss--untimely stroke!
If he had died upon his bed!
He knew not one forewarning pain;
He never will come home again--
Is dead, for ever dead!"

Beside the woman Peter stands;
His heart is opening more and more;
A holy sense pervades his mind;
He feels what he for human kind
Had never felt before.

At length, by Peter's arm sustained,
The Woman rises from the ground--
"Oh, mercy! something must be done,
My little Rachel, you must run,--
Some willing neighbour must be found.

"Make haste--my little Rachel--do,
The first you meet with--bid him come,
Ask him to lend his horse to-night,
And this good Man, whom Heaven requite,
Will help to bring the body home."

Away goes Rachel weeping loud;--
An Infant, waked by her distress,
Makes in the house a piteous cry;
And Peter hears the Mother sigh,
"Seven are they, and all fatherless!"

And now is Peter taught to feel
That man's heart is a holy thing;
And Nature, through a world of death,
Breathes into him a second breath,
More searching than the breath of spring.

Upon a stone the Woman sits
In agony of silent grief--
From his own thoughts did Peter start;
He longs to press her to his heart,
From love that cannot find relief.

But roused, as if through every limb
Had past a sudden shock of dread,
The Mother o'er the threshold flies,
And up the cottage stairs she hies,
And on the pillow lays her burning head.

And Peter turns his steps aside
Into a shade of darksome trees,
Where he sits down, he knows not how,
With his hands pressed against his brow,
His elbows on his tremulous knees.

There, self-involved, does Peter sit
Until no sign of life he makes,
As if his mind were sinking deep
Through years that have been long asleep
The trance is passed away--he wakes;

He lifts his head--and sees the Ass
Yet standing in the clear moonshine;
"When shall I be as good as thou?
Oh! would, poor beast, that I had now
A heart but half as good as thine!" 0

But 'He'--who deviously hath sought
His Father through the lonesome woods,
Hath sought, proclaiming to the ear
Of night his grief and sorrowful fear--
He comes, escaped from fields and floods;--

With weary pace is drawing nigh;
He sees the Ass--and nothing living
Had ever such a fit of joy
As hath this little orphan Boy,
For he has no misgiving!

Forth to the gentle Ass he springs,
And up about his neck he climbs;
In loving words he talks to him,
He kisses, kisses face and limb,--
He kisses him a thousand times!

This Peter sees, while in the shade
He stood beside the cottage-door;
And Peter Bell, the ruffian wild,
Sobs loud, he sobs even like a child,
"O God! I can endure no more!"

--Here ends my Tale: for in a trice
Arrived a neighbour with his horse;
Peter went forth with him straightway;
And, with due care, ere break of day,
Together they brought back the Corse.

And many years did this poor Ass,
Whom once it was my luck to see
Cropping the shrubs of Leming-Lane,
Help by his labour to maintain
The Widow and her family.

And Peter Bell, who, till that night,
Had been the wildest of his clan,
Forsook his crimes, renounced his folly,
And, after ten months' melancholy,
Became a good and honest man.

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In This Hour Now That Is

In this hour now that is,
You can have that peace of mind.
There is no need to carry a weight.
Or contemplate a cause or need,
To put this off until a later time.

What cost do you pay,
Delaying this to say your life is at a loss?
When you can celebrate,
An appreciation...
To fill your cup!
Eat what is on your plate.
From a buffet selected.
Why wait?
Only you know what cravings are nourished,
When your appetite satiates to flourish.

In this hour now that is,
You can have that peace of mind.
There is no need to carry a weight.
Or contemplate a cause or need,
To put this off until later!
When you can feed that need that pleases...
In this hour now that is!

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You Stand On The Blind Side Of Your Fence

Let's clear the air on this immediately.
I was not born yesterday.
Or the day before.
Sometimes there is no need,
For you to utter a single word.
Whatever it is coming out of your mouth,
I've already heard before.
And on that I am willing to bet.

But for you to accuse me of not understanding?
You are wrong.
And,
You stand on the blind side of your fence.
Every emotional plot, scheme and weapon,
You have had to feel to get your point across...
I was the one you tested.
Remember?

And 'if' I saved the tears you've cried,
We'd both be standing in a six foot pool...
Full of your wet and yet to drain insecurities.

So do not tell me,
I have been unempathetic or impatient.

Now...
If you had asked me if you get on my nerves?
That answer would be YES!

'But...
I didn't ask you that.'

You didn't have to!
That answer would be YES!
Use it for future reference.

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My Ambitions Are to Defy Logic

Why do you tie your shoes like that?

'To see how quickly it can be done,
When they are on my feet.'

But wouldn't it be easier,
To put them 'on' your feet...
Enabling you to both time 'that'
As well as have the shoes already on your feet?

'My ambitions are to defy logic.
I am not going to bore myself with it! '

I see!
And you still say...
Your recent split from your relationship,
With your spouse...
Has nothing to do with your increased strange behavior?

'What strange behavior?
If this is what I want to do,
Why to you it has to be so 'strange'? '

Well,
It's like this...
You are sitting on your front lawn,
In broad daylight.
Sitting in your underwear.
And there is a gathering of your neighbors,
Across the street...
Watching you,
Tie shoes that are not on your feet.
Over and over again.
This is strange behavior.

'Who cares what they think?
Those are the same people who called the police,
When I chose to lay on my own roof butt naked...
During the last rain storm we had a few weeks ago.
And like I told the police.
And my 'mate'.
Who am I offending if I have chosen not to circumcise? '

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Forty Hour Week

forty hour week (for a livin')
There are people in this country who work hard every day.
Not for fame or fortune do they strive.
But the fruits of their labor are worth more than their pay.
And it's time a few of them were recognized.
Hello detroit auto workers, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.
Hello pittsburgh steel mill workers, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.
This is for the one who swings the hammer, driving home the nail.
Or the one behind the counter, ringing up the sale.
Or the one who fights the fires, the one who brings the mail.
For everyone who works behind the scenes.
You can see them every morning in the factories and the fields.
In the city streets and the quiet country towns.
Working together like spokes inside a wheel.
They keep this country turning around.
Hello kansas wheat field farmer, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.
Hello west virginia coal miner, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.
This one is for the one who drives the big rig, up and down the road.
Or the one out in the warehouse, bringing in the load.
Or the waitress, the mechanic, the policeman on patrol.
For everyone who works behind the scenes.
With a spirit you can't replace with no machine.
Hello, america,
Let me thank you for your time.

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Aint Gonna Cry No More

(coverdale/moody)
Rising with the morning sun
I turn to greet the dawn,
Knowing I must face another day
Sleepless night behind me,
Just a memory of pain,
My heart has always been a cross to bear
Lord I know the sunshine,
But, I feel the tears of rain
Falling down to wash my sins away
Ill try hard to remember
So I wont be fooled again,
Hey, aint gonna cry no more today
All around me, shadows fall,
Tho day has just begun,
I realise Im on my own again
Memories of broken dreams,
As distant as the sun,
Are drifting like an echo in the wind
Lord, I know the sunshine,
But, I feel the tears of rain
Falling down to wash my sins away
Ill try, hard to remember
So I wont be fooled again,
Hey, aint gonna cry no more today
Babe, I thought about it,
But, it just aint done good,
You hold my heart and soul within your hand
All the time, youre in my mind,
I never thought you could be so blind,
Maybe someday I will understand
Lord, I know the sun shine,
But I feel the tears of rain
Falling down to wash my sins away
Ill try hard to remember
So I wont be fooled again,
Hey, aint gonna cry no more today, no more
Hey, mama you drive me crazy,
Knowing youre my hearts desire,
Whyd you go and hang me up this way
Youve given me love, given me love,
Now tell me what you were thinking of,
Whyd you go and steal my soul away
Lord I know the sunshine,
But, I feel the tears of rain
Falling down to wash my sins away
Ill try hard to remember
So I wont be fooled again,
Hey, aint gonna cry no more today
I aint gonna cry no more...
Lord I know the sunshine,
But, I feel the tears of rain
Falling down to wash my sins away
Ill try hard to remember
So I wont be fooled again,
Hey, aint gonna cry no more today
Aint gonna cry no more
Hey, I aint gonna cry no more today...

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Definitely A Mother

It was difficult situation for me to carry
Discharge all obligations and make them all merry
I had at once decided to go for begging
But the confidence was shaky and conscious legging

I could not decide to go for any other option
Survival was important and only the question
It was below dignity to go to some one and mention
About immediate plight to have some kind of food or ration

I may toil hard to meet two ends for their sake
As far as physical exertion is at stake!
I can over stretch and attempt for some relief
I felt this was not the time to cry over and express the grief

I find statues at cross roads with enough of illuminations
Mother asking for help helplessly with clear indication
It may be viewed by passers by as fine art piece
But how can those hands afford two pieces of bread with peace?

I decided not to go in for any kind of help
But fight it out my on own and step out
Day and night exertion may not kill a person
But build a confidence with strong reasons

My children are coming up with age
In no time they may be matured enough to manage
What is hard reality behind to face the world?
When children are safe in your shelter and fold

I feel all mothers come out and fairly fight
This is the time to challenge and make others to feel right
How can we see helpless ladies daily at important places?
With beggars bawl only to invite wrath with cruel abuse

I shall make it reality when get the chance to hold ground
Make it as firm bid and show to all that it really looks sound
No civilized society can make us to stand in helplessness
It is the shame that will make them to look down with faces

Mother and child are not be exhibited as an art in statue
They must be taken care of and heard with all its dues
If we consider the child as future of strong nation
This must be seen as an important factor in relation

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Prisoner, The - (A Fragment)

In the dungeon-crypts, idly did I stray,
Reckless of the lives wasting there away;
"Draw the ponderous bars! open, Warder stern!"
He dared not say me nay - the hinges harshly turn.

"Our guests are darkly lodged," I whisper'd, gazing through
The vault, whose grated eye showed heaven more grey than blue;
(This was when glad spring laughed in awaking pride;)
"Aye, darkly lodged enough!" returned my sullen guide.

Then, God forgive my youth; forgive my careless tongue;
I scoffed, as the chill chains on the damp flag-stones rung:
"Confined in triple walls, art thou so much to fear,
That we must bind thee down and clench thy fetters here?"

The captive raised her face, it was as soft and mild
As sculpted marble saint, or slumbering unwean'd child;
It was so soft and mild, it was so sweet and fair,
Pain could not trace a line, nor grief a shadow there!

The captive raised her hand and pressed it to her brow;
"I have been struck," she said, "and I am suffering now;
Yet these are little worth, your bolts and irons strong,
And, were they forged in steel, they could not hold me long."

Hoarse laughed the jailor grim: "Shall I be won to hear;
Dost think, fond, dreaming wretch, that I shall grant thy prayer?
Or, better still, wilt melt my master's heart with groans?
Ah! sooner might the sun thaw down these granite stones.

"My master's voice is low, his aspect bland and kind,
But hard as hardest flint, the soul that lurks behind;
And I am rough and rude, yet not more rough to see
Than is the hidden ghost that has its home in me."

About her lips there played a smile of almost scorn,
"My friend," she gently said, "you have not heard me mourn;
When you my kindred's lives, my lost life, can restore,
Then I may weep and sue, - but never, friend, before!

Still, let my tyrants know, I am not doom'd to wear
Year after year in gloom, and desolate despair;
A messenger of Hope, comes every night to me,
And offers for short life, eternal liberty.

He comes with western winds, with evening's wandering airs,
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars.
Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire,
And visions rise, and change, that kill me with desire.

Desire for nothing known in my maturer years,
When Joy grew mad with awe, at counting future tears.
When, if my spirit's sky was full of flashes warm,
I knew not whence they came, from sun, or thunder storm.

But, first, a hush of peace - a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distress, and fierce impatience ends.
Mute music soothes my breast, unuttered harmony,
That I could never dream, till Earth was lost to me.

Then dawns the Invisible; the Unseen its truth reveals;
My outward sense is gone, my inward essence feels:
Its wings are almost free - its home, its harbour found,
Measuring the gulph, it stoops, and dares the final bound.


Oh, dreadful is the check - intense the agony -
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again,
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.


Yet I would lose no sting, would wish no torture less;
The more that anguish racks, the earlier it will bless;
And robed in fires of hell, or bright with heavenly shine,
If it but herald death, the vision is divine!"


She ceased to speak, and we, unanswering, turned to go -
We had no further power to work the captive woe:
Her cheek, her gleaming eye, declared that man had given
A sentence, unapproved, and overruled by Heaven.

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Gentle Alice Brown

It was a robber's daughter, and her name was ALICE BROWN,
Her father was the terror of a small Italian town;
Her mother was a foolish, weak, but amiable old thing;
But it isn't of her parents that I'm going for to sing.

As ALICE was a-sitting at her window-sill one day,
A beautiful young gentleman he chanced to pass that way;
She cast her eyes upon him, and he looked so good and true,
That she thought, "I could be happy with a gentleman like you!"

And every morning passed her house that cream of gentlemen,
She knew she might expect him at a quarter unto ten;
A sorter in the Custom-house, it was his daily road
(The Custom-house was fifteen minutes' walk from her abode).

But ALICE was a pious girl, who knew it wasn't wise
To look at strange young sorters with expressive purple eyes;
So she sought the village priest to whom her family confessed,
The priest by whom their little sins were carefully assessed.

"Oh, holy father," ALICE said, "'t would grieve you, would it not,
To discover that I was a most disreputable lot?
Of all unhappy sinners I'm the most unhappy one!"
The padre said, "Whatever have you been and gone and done?"

"I have helped mamma to steal a little kiddy from its dad,
I've assisted dear papa in cutting up a little lad,
I've planned a little burglary and forged a little cheque,
And slain a little baby for the coral on its neck!"

The worthy pastor heaved a sigh, and dropped a silent tear,
And said, "You mustn't judge yourself too heavily, my dear:
It's wrong to murder babies, little corals for to fleece;
But sins like these one expiates at half-a-crown apiece.

"Girls will be girls - you're very young, and flighty in your mind;
Old heads upon young shoulders we must not expect to find:
We mustn't be too hard upon these little girlish tricks -
Let's see - five crimes at half-a-crown - exactly twelve-and-six."

"Oh, father," little Alice cried, "your kindness makes me weep,
You do these little things for me so singularly cheap -
Your thoughtful liberality I never can forget;
But, oh! there is another crime I haven't mentioned yet!

"A pleasant-looking gentleman, with pretty purple eyes,
I've noticed at my window, as I've sat a-catching flies;
He passes by it every day as certain as can be -
I blush to say I've winked at him, and he has winked at me!"

"For shame!" said FATHER PAUL, "my erring daughter! On my word
This is the most distressing news that I have ever heard.
Why, naughty girl, your excellent papa has pledged your hand
To a promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band!

"This dreadful piece of news will pain your worthy parents so!
They are the most remunerative customers I know;
For many many years they've kept starvation from my doors:
I never knew so criminal a family as yours!

"The common country folk in this insipid neighbourhood
Have nothing to confess, they're so ridiculously good;
And if you marry any one respectable at all,
Why, you'll reform, and what will then become of FATHER PAUL?"

The worthy priest, he up and drew his cowl upon his crown,
And started off in haste to tell the news to ROBBER BROWN -
To tell him how his daughter, who was now for marriage fit,
Had winked upon a sorter, who reciprocated it.

Good ROBBER BROWN he muffled up his anger pretty well:
He said, "I have a notion, and that notion I will tell;
I will nab this gay young sorter, terrify him into fits,
And get my gentle wife to chop him into little bits.

"I've studied human nature, and I know a thing or two:
Though a girl may fondly love a living gent, as many do -
A feeling of disgust upon her senses there will fall
When she looks upon his body chopped particularly small."

He traced that gallant sorter to a still suburban square;
He watched his opportunity, and seized him unaware;
He took a life-preserver and he hit him on the head,
And MRS. BROWN dissected him before she went to bed.

And pretty little ALICE grew more settled in her mind,
She never more was guilty of a weakness of the kind,
Until at length good ROBBER BROWN bestowed her pretty hand
On the promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band.

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Patrick White

There's Nothing Cozy About Real Beauty

There’s nothing cozy about real beauty.
That’s why it scares you to death
when youre around it. You sense
that it disdains to kill you
simply because it knows it can
but that only makes you beg for the knife
even more, even deeper, until
youve suffered more death
than you ever knew there was to suffer.
It’s the same with the truth. The truth
isn’t the act of a well-meaning
coffee-table sentiment,
a hundred dollar book
of recycled paper
to help save the Caribou,
an a chequered impressionist table-cloth
with compositionally balanced butter-knives
that have never tasted blood in their lives.
If you can’t hear the shriek
of the red-tailed hawk as it plunges
toward a mating pair of killdeer
executing an aerial ballet in May
that would make you cry it’s so beautiful,
you can’t hear the hummingbirds
at the holly hocks either
even if you know sign language.
And no more than the truth, poetry
isn’t a mirror you hold up to nature
with preconceived notions of what
you want to see reflected there.
In hunting season around here
the truth can bleed Bambi upside down
from the bough of a willow
that let’s its golden tresses down
all the way to the ground
until its tips are dyed in blood.
The truth can tear the heart of a wolf out
and eat it raw in front
of a classroom of schoolchildren
while it’s still beating.
Go ask any child army.
Go ask any street kid in Ottawa
or any bushwhacked adolescent in Lanark.
You asked me to read your poems
without holding anything back from you
and I have and I won’t.
You keep a tidy house
on the right side of the tracks
of a zodiac with astro-turf lawns.
And I see all your candles
have been dipped in scented wax
and write right-handed
with glowing nibs on the reverent air
and there’s a stick of sandalwood incense
protruding from a buddha’s belly-button
that makes me wonder
whether he’s committing hiri kiri
or lowering his lance at a joust
to let a lady tie a ribbon to it
as you have most of these poems
to designate them your champions.
Youve bomb-proofed your church so well
with so many lesser lights
in cages and black outs there’s no chance
you’ll ever be struck by a bolt of inspiration.
The lightning doesn’t send messages
like sweetgrass in the beaks of doves.
You sip from the muses like bottled water
from the tears of crystal skulls.
But you haven’t yet learned how
to swallow their watersheds on the moon
or drink blood from the skull of your own
in a single gulp for fear
they’ve been contaminated by fracking.
Flying fish in a sea of shadows
that’s always at full tide
but you never reveal
the constellations of dead starfish
that reek to high heaven
like the stink of enlightenment on the bottom
when the tide bleeds out
like a white-tailed doe.
Happy lifeboats moored safely in port
as if there were nothing to risk or rescue
but a new paint job
as a storm front moves in
like a curtain call of judgmental grey.
All your feral cats have been fixed
and the darkness has no claws or fangs,
and that wilderness that used to howl
in an agony of sex and longing
under your windowsill of potted herbs
all unnerving night long
now purrs impotently in your lap.
You strew your path with rose-petals
but when have you ever walked barefoot
on toxic thorns or the plinths and eyelashes
of the splintered chandeliers of the stars?
You cut the polar ice-caps off
the extremes of a hard-boiled planet
and only eat the temperate zones
you can scoop out with a silver spoon
like the front left parietal lobe
of Humpty Dumpty’s sunny brain.
Blackholes do more to enhance
the radiance of stars and fireflies,
ignite the fire of dragons
on the other side of a wormhole hourglass
into the next coincidence
of a harmoniously contradictory world
than all those sunbeams
you try to keep on
like night lights in a morgue
because youre afraid to sleep with the dead
and they don’t want to wake up without you.
And I’m not saying
you need to go out and mess up,
trample on your own garden,
turn Taurus loose
in the china shop of the Pleiades.
No one can go out and think their way
into an experience they haven’t had yet.
They merely experience their own thought.
Just another poetry book
having sex with itself
in the hopes of winning an award
to make it feel fulfilled enough
it can take what’s real for granted.
But even Rimbaud who
dissociated his sensibilities rationally
and then killed a man with a stone
on a construction site in Cyprus
discovered how dangerous it is
to broach the spontaneous deliberately.
As for me, Ive learned
to delight in the despair
of my own crazy wisdom.
As for you, you might start
by turning the light and around
and looking into the darkness within you
not as a smudge on the reputation of your lilies
but as a chunk of coal
that didn’t let your diamonds down.
A suggestion I suggest you ignore
if youve understood anything Ive said
about the nature of poetry
that makes any petty sense at all to you.
And the next time you
you run into your own clarity
like Galileo trying to show you
through his telescope
there are sunspots in your field of view
like bruises on a banana
and the moon is pock-marked
by one too many facelifts,
don’t try to paint the lens
as if you were airbrushing
the imperfections out of your own eyes
just realize how important it is
to open them from the inside out.
And as for those little black ants,
that keep inciting a riot of words
youve got no crowd control over
you keep setting honey-traps for,
to keep them from running all over
the planetary orb
of your moonlit peony in bud
like a chaos of minutes
looking for a fixed place
on a spherical waterclock
as if they were all
running out on time simultaneously.
Trust me, or don’t, they’ll let you know
when the sun shines at midnight
and your hour’s come round to bloom.
Meteors cry like diamonds
for the species they make a big impact upon.
And volcanoes eventually
weep their way into islands
that will be seeded by birds and castaways.
The eye of the rose
looks into the secret heart of the worm
and sees the wings of tearful loveletters
being born like butterflies in the rain.
And then the sun appears
and dries them out
like laundry on the line.
Or the negative of an eclipse
hung up in a dark room
like a flypaper map of the stars
in an alternative universe
on the other side of your eyes
that hasn’t come up with a name,
a fixed place, or a myth of origins for you yet
until youve passed
like the tiny planet of a firefly
through the gravitational eyes
of a constellation of black holes
without going out
like a flashlight you keep shining
nervously into the dark doorway
of a dragon’s mouth when you write
to see what was making the noise
like the universal cosmic hiss
of a flamethrower in a snakepit
of oracular wavelengths
that keeps you from going
downstairs to find out.
As a Zen master once said.
The stone is lustrous
but there’s nothing inside.
The ore is different
but from it comes gold.
And as any poet knows
who’s ever been inspired
you polish gold in fire.
You don’t write white noise
to block the darkness out
as if you were afraid
of things that go bump in the night.
Don’t fall like a snowflake on a furnace
then try to sip your tears like spit
from its prophetic mouth when you melt.
Be a star, be a Chinese lantern,
be a fire-kite of burning insight.
Light upon light means
the darkness shines as well
on the inside as it does without
whether you see it or not.
The moonrise of an emotion
follows the sunset of a thought.
Two tides of the same ocean,
the highs and the lows
the crest and the trough
of the same wavelength we’re all on.
And the mountain youre trying to climb
is only as high and white
as the valley is deep and dark.
Not two is the furthest thing
you can say in a universe that isn’t a lie.
There’s a lot of shadowless noon
in your impeccable poetry
but where’s the starless midnight
on the other side of of your eyes?
Don’t orphan your first born
to legitimize your poems
like a forged birth certificate
you hope everyone will recognize
as your rightful place
in a table of contents
with the good taste of a menu.
A suggestion I suggest you ignore
if youve understood,
deeply understood
anything Ive said
about the nature of poetry
that makes any petty sense at all to you.
And I don’t say this to be kind or cruel.
You know how
to harvest the full moon
like a sparrow
the gleanings of the light,
twelve grain whole wheat bread,
but you don’t know how to sow stars
on the dark side of an eclipse
that will sprout and bloom,
a phoenix feathered in wild fire
that will catch on and spread
like life itself
like the syntaretic spark
of the timeless with the fruitless dead.
Out of the dark abundance
of watersheds and roots,
the phoenix energy of your cells,
the bright vacancy of the full moon,
a blossom on a dead branch,
the new moon of a crow in autumn
on a green bough of night birds
that are never at a loss for words
when the truth and the beauty
of the light coming out of the darkness
leaves them as speechless
as a starmap of fireflies
where the constellations have no names,
going up in flames.

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Homer

The Odyssey: Book 21

Minerva now put it in Penelope's mind to make the suitors try
their skill with the bow and with the iron axes, in contest among
themselves, as a means of bringing about their destruction. She went
upstairs and got the store room key, which was made of bronze and
had a handle of ivory; she then went with her maidens into the store
room at the end of the house, where her husband's treasures of gold,
bronze, and wrought iron were kept, and where was also his bow, and
the quiver full of deadly arrows that had been given him by a friend
whom he had met in Lacedaemon- Iphitus the son of Eurytus. The two
fell in with one another in Messene at the house of Ortilochus,
where Ulysses was staying in order to recover a debt that was owing
from the whole people; for the Messenians had carried off three
hundred sheep from Ithaca, and had sailed away with them and with
their shepherds. In quest of these Ulysses took a long journey while
still quite young, for his father and the other chieftains sent him on
a mission to recover them. Iphitus had gone there also to try and
get back twelve brood mares that he had lost, and the mule foals
that were running with them. These mares were the death of him in
the end, for when he went to the house of Jove's son, mighty Hercules,
who performed such prodigies of valour, Hercules to his shame killed
him, though he was his guest, for he feared not heaven's vengeance,
nor yet respected his own table which he had set before Iphitus, but
killed him in spite of everything, and kept the mares himself. It
was when claiming these that Iphitus met Ulysses, and gave him the bow
which mighty Eurytus had been used to carry, and which on his death
had been left by him to his son. Ulysses gave him in return a sword
and a spear, and this was the beginning of a fast friendship, although
they never visited at one another's houses, for Jove's son Hercules
killed Iphitus ere they could do so. This bow, then, given him by
Iphitus, had not been taken with him by Ulysses when he sailed for
Troy; he had used it so long as he had been at home, but had left it
behind as having been a keepsake from a valued friend.
Penelope presently reached the oak threshold of the store room;
the carpenter had planed this duly, and had drawn a line on it so as
to get it quite straight; he had then set the door posts into it and
hung the doors. She loosed the strap from the handle of the door,
put in the key, and drove it straight home to shoot back the bolts
that held the doors; these flew open with a noise like a bull
bellowing in a meadow, and Penelope stepped upon the raised
platform, where the chests stood in which the fair linen and clothes
were laid by along with fragrant herbs: reaching thence, she took down
the bow with its bow case from the peg on which it hung. She sat
down with it on her knees, weeping bitterly as she took the bow out of
its case, and when her tears had relieved her, she went to the
cloister where the suitors were, carrying the bow and the quiver, with
the many deadly arrows that were inside it. Along with her came her
maidens, bearing a chest that contained much iron and bronze which her
husband had won as prizes. When she reached the suitors, she stood
by one of the bearing-posts supporting the roof of the cloister,
holding a veil before her face, and with a maid on either side of her.
Then she said:
"Listen to me you suitors, who persist in abusing the hospitality of
this house because its owner has been long absent, and without other
pretext than that you want to marry me; this, then, being the prize
that you are contending for, I will bring out the mighty bow of
Ulysses, and whomsoever of you shall string it most easily and send
his arrow through each one of twelve axes, him will I follow and
quit this house of my lawful husband, so goodly, and so abounding in
wealth. But even so I doubt not that I shall remember it in my
dreams."
As she spoke, she told Eumaeus to set the bow and the pieces of iron
before the suitors, and Eumaeus wept as he took them to do as she
had bidden him. Hard by, the stockman wept also when he saw his
master's bow, but Antinous scolded them. "You country louts," said he,
"silly simpletons; why should you add to the sorrows of your
mistress by crying in this way? She has enough to grieve her in the
loss of her husband; sit still, therefore, and eat your dinners in
silence, or go outside if you want to cry, and leave the bow behind
you. We suitors shall have to contend for it with might and main,
for we shall find it no light matter to string such a bow as this
is. There is not a man of us all who is such another as Ulysses; for I
have seen him and remember him, though I was then only a child."
This was what he said, but all the time he was expecting to be
able to string the bow and shoot through the iron, whereas in fact
he was to be the first that should taste of the arrows from the
hands of Ulysses, whom he was dishonouring in his own house- egging
the others on to do so also.
Then Telemachus spoke. "Great heavens!" he exclaimed, "Jove must
have robbed me of my senses. Here is my dear and excellent mother
saying she will quit this house and marry again, yet I am laughing and
enjoying myself as though there were nothing happening. But,
suitors, as the contest has been agreed upon, let it go forward. It is
for a woman whose peer is not to be found in Pylos, Argos, or
Mycene, nor yet in Ithaca nor on the mainland. You know this as well
as I do; what need have I to speak in praise of my mother? Come on,
then, make no excuses for delay, but let us see whether you can string
the bow or no. I too will make trial of it, for if I can string it and
shoot through the iron, I shall not suffer my mother to quit this
house with a stranger, not if I can win the prizes which my father won
before me."
As he spoke he sprang from his seat, threw his crimson cloak from
him, and took his sword from his shoulder. First he set the axes in
a row, in a long groove which he had dug for them, and had Wade
straight by line. Then he stamped the earth tight round them, and
everyone was surprised when they saw him set up so orderly, though
he had never seen anything of the kind before. This done, he went on
to the pavement to make trial of the bow; thrice did he tug at it,
trying with all his might to draw the string, and thrice he had to
leave off, though he had hoped to string the bow and shoot through the
iron. He was trying for the fourth time, and would have strung it
had not Ulysses made a sign to check him in spite of all his
eagerness. So he said:
"Alas! I shall either be always feeble and of no prowess, or I am
too young, and have not yet reached my full strength so as to be
able to hold my own if any one attacks me. You others, therefore,
who are stronger than I, make trial of the bow and get this contest
settled."
On this he put the bow down, letting it lean against the door
[that led into the house] with the arrow standing against the top of
the bow. Then he sat down on the seat from which he had risen, and
Antinous said:
"Come on each of you in his turn, going towards the right from the
place at which the. cupbearer begins when he is handing round the
wine."
The rest agreed, and Leiodes son of OEnops was the first to rise. He
was sacrificial priest to the suitors, and sat in the corner near
the mixing-bowl. He was the only man who hated their evil deeds and
was indignant with the others. He was now the first to take the bow
and arrow, so he went on to the pavement to make his trial, but he
could not string the bow, for his hands were weak and unused to hard
work, they therefore soon grew tired, and he said to the suitors,
"My friends, I cannot string it; let another have it; this bow shall
take the life and soul out of many a chief among us, for it is
better to die than to live after having missed the prize that we
have so long striven for, and which has brought us so long together.
Some one of us is even now hoping and praying that he may marry
Penelope, but when he has seen this bow and tried it, let him woo
and make bridal offerings to some other woman, and let Penelope
marry whoever makes her the best offer and whose lot it is to win
her."
On this he put the bow down, letting it lean against the door,
with the arrow standing against the tip of the bow. Then he took his
seat again on the seat from which he had risen; and Antinous rebuked
him saying:
"Leiodes, what are you talking about? Your words are monstrous and
intolerable; it makes me angry to listen to you. Shall, then, this bow
take the life of many a chief among us, merely because you cannot bend
it yourself? True, you were not born to be an archer, but there are
others who will soon string it."
Then he said to Melanthius the goatherd, "Look sharp, light a fire
in the court, and set a seat hard by with a sheep skin on it; bring us
also a large ball of lard, from what they have in the house. Let us
warm the bow and grease it we will then make trial of it again, and
bring the contest to an end."
Melanthius lit the fire, and set a seat covered with sheep skins
beside it. He also brought a great ball of lard from what they had
in the house, and the suitors warmed the bow and again made trial of
it, but they were none of them nearly strong enough to string it.
Nevertheless there still remained Antinous and Eurymachus, who were
the ringleaders among the suitors and much the foremost among them
all.
Then the swineherd and the stockman left the cloisters together, and
Ulysses followed them. When they had got outside the gates and the
outer yard, Ulysses said to them quietly:
"Stockman, and you swineherd, I have something in my mind which I am
in doubt whether to say or no; but I think I will say it. What
manner of men would you be to stand by Ulysses, if some god should
bring him back here all of a sudden? Say which you are disposed to do-
to side with the suitors, or with Ulysses?"
"Father Jove," answered the stockman, "would indeed that you might
so ordain it. If some god were but to bring Ulysses back, you should
see with what might and main I would fight for him."
In like words Eumaeus prayed to all the gods that Ulysses might
return; when, therefore, he saw for certain what mind they were of,
Ulysses said, "It is I, Ulysses, who am here. I have suffered much,
but at last, in the twentieth year, I am come back to my own
country. I find that you two alone of all my servants are glad that
I should do so, for I have not heard any of the others praying for
my return. To you two, therefore, will I unfold the truth as it
shall be. If heaven shall deliver the suitors into my hands, I will
find wives for both of you, will give you house and holding close to
my own, and you shall be to me as though you were brothers and friends
of Telemachus. I will now give you convincing proofs that you may know
me and be assured. See, here is the scar from the boar's tooth that
ripped me when I was out hunting on Mount Parnassus with the sons of
Autolycus."
As he spoke he drew his rags aside from the great scar, and when
they had examined it thoroughly, they both of them wept about Ulysses,
threw their arms round him and kissed his head and shoulders, while
Ulysses kissed their hands and faces in return. The sun would have
gone down upon their mourning if Ulysses had not checked them and
said:
"Cease your weeping, lest some one should come outside and see us,
and tell those who a are within. When you go in, do so separately, not
both together; I will go first, and do you follow afterwards; Let this
moreover be the token between us; the suitors will all of them try
to prevent me from getting hold of the bow and quiver; do you,
therefore, Eumaeus, place it in my hands when you are carrying it
about, and tell the women to close the doors of their apartment. If
they hear any groaning or uproar as of men fighting about the house,
they must not come out; they must keep quiet, and stay where they
are at their work. And I charge you, Philoetius, to make fast the
doors of the outer court, and to bind them securely at once."
When he had thus spoken, he went back to the house and took the seat
that he had left. Presently, his two servants followed him inside.
At this moment the bow was in the hands of Eurymachus, who was
warming it by the fire, but even so he could not string it, and he was
greatly grieved. He heaved a deep sigh and said, "I grieve for
myself and for us all; I grieve that I shall have to forgo the
marriage, but I do not care nearly so much about this, for there are
plenty of other women in Ithaca and elsewhere; what I feel most is the
fact of our being so inferior to Ulysses in strength that we cannot
string his bow. This will disgrace us in the eyes of those who are yet
unborn."
"It shall not be so, Eurymachus," said Antinous, "and you know it
yourself. To-day is the feast of Apollo throughout all the land; who
can string a bow on such a day as this? Put it on one side- as for the
axes they can stay where they are, for no one is likely to come to the
house and take them away: let the cupbearer go round with his cups,
that we may make our drink-offerings and drop this matter of the
bow; we will tell Melanthius to bring us in some goats to-morrow-
the best he has; we can then offer thigh bones to Apollo the mighty
archer, and again make trial of the bow, so as to bring the contest to
an end."
The rest approved his words, and thereon men servants poured water
over the hands of the guests, while pages filled the mixing-bowls with
wine and water and handed it round after giving every man his
drink-offering. Then, when they had made their offerings and had drunk
each as much as he desired, Ulysses craftily said:
"Suitors of the illustrious queen, listen that I may speak even as I
am minded. I appeal more especially to Eurymachus, and to Antinous who
has just spoken with so much reason. Cease shooting for the present
and leave the matter to the gods, but in the morning let heaven give
victory to whom it will. For the moment, however, give me the bow that
I may prove the power of my hands among you all, and see whether I
still have as much strength as I used to have, or whether travel and
neglect have made an end of it."
This made them all very angry, for they feared he might string the
bow; Antinous therefore rebuked him fiercely saying, "Wretched
creature, you have not so much as a grain of sense in your whole body;
you ought to think yourself lucky in being allowed to dine unharmed
among your betters, without having any smaller portion served you than
we others have had, and in being allowed to hear our conversation.
No other beggar or stranger has been allowed to hear what we say among
ourselves; the wine must have been doing you a mischief, as it does
with all those drink immoderately. It was wine that inflamed the
Centaur Eurytion when he was staying with Peirithous among the
Lapithae. When the wine had got into his head he went mad and did
ill deeds about the house of Peirithous; this angered the heroes who
were there assembled, so they rushed at him and cut off his ears and
nostrils; then they dragged him through the doorway out of the
house, so he went away crazed, and bore the burden of his crime,
bereft of understanding. Henceforth, therefore, there was war
between mankind and the centaurs, but he brought it upon himself
through his own drunkenness. In like manner I can tell you that it
will go hardly with you if you string the bow: you will find no
mercy from any one here, for we shall at once ship you off to king
Echetus, who kills every one that comes near him: you will never get
away alive, so drink and keep quiet without getting into a quarrel
with men younger than yourself."
Penelope then spoke to him. "Antinous," said she, "it is not right
that you should ill-treat any guest of Telemachus who comes to this
house. If the stranger should prove strong enough to string the mighty
bow of Ulysses, can you suppose that he would take me home with him
and make me his wife? Even the man himself can have no such idea in
his mind: none of you need let that disturb his feasting; it would
be out of all reason."
"Queen Penelope," answered Eurymachus, "we do not suppose that
this man will take you away with him; it is impossible; but we are
afraid lest some of the baser sort, men or women among the Achaeans,
should go gossiping about and say, 'These suitors are a feeble folk;
they are paying court to the wife of a brave man whose bow not one
of them was able to string, and yet a beggarly tramp who came to the
house strung it at once and sent an arrow through the iron.' This is
what will be said, and it will be a scandal against us."
"Eurymachus," Penelope answered, "people who persist in eating up
the estate of a great chieftain and dishonouring his house must not
expect others to think well of them. Why then should you mind if men
talk as you think they will? This stranger is strong and well-built,
he says moreover that he is of noble birth. Give him the bow, and
let us see whether he can string it or no. I say- and it shall
surely be- that if Apollo vouchsafes him the glory of stringing it,
I will give him a cloak and shirt of good wear, with a javelin to keep
off dogs and robbers, and a sharp sword. I will also give him sandals,
and will see him sent safely whereever he wants to go."
Then Telemachus said, "Mother, I am the only man either in Ithaca or
in the islands that are over against Elis who has the right to let any
one have the bow or to refuse it. No one shall force me one way or the
other, not even though I choose to make the stranger a present of
the bow outright, and let him take it away with him. Go, then,
within the house and busy yourself with your daily duties, your
loom, your distaff, and the ordering of your servants. This bow is a
man's matter, and mine above all others, for it is I who am master
here."
She went wondering back into the house, and laid her son's saying in
her heart. Then going upstairs with her handmaids into her room, she
mourned her dear husband till Minerva sent sweet sleep over her
eyelids.
The swineherd now took up the bow and was for taking it to
Ulysses, but the suitors clamoured at him from all parts of the
cloisters, and one of them said, "You idiot, where are you taking
the bow to? Are you out of your wits? If Apollo and the other gods
will grant our prayer, your own boarhounds shall get you into some
quiet little place, and worry you to death."
Eumaeus was frightened at the outcry they all raised, so he put
the bow down then and there, but Telemachus shouted out at him from
the other side of the cloisters, and threatened him saying, "Father
Eumaeus, bring the bow on in spite of them, or young as I am I will
pelt you with stones back to the country, for I am the better man of
the two. I wish I was as much stronger than all the other suitors in
the house as I am than you, I would soon send some of them off sick
and sorry, for they mean mischief."
Thus did he speak, and they all of them laughed heartily, which
put them in a better humour with Telemachus; so Eumaeus brought the
bow on and placed it in the hands of Ulysses. When he had done this,
he called Euryclea apart and said to her, "Euryclea, Telemachus says
you are to close the doors of the women's apartments. If they hear any
groaning or uproar as of men fighting about the house, they are not to
come out, but are to keep quiet and stay where they are at their
work."
Euryclea did as she was told and closed the doors of the women's
apartments.
Meanwhile Philoetius slipped quietly out and made fast the gates
of the outer court. There was a ship's cable of byblus fibre lying
in the gatehouse, so he made the gates fast with it and then came in
again, resuming the seat that he had left, and keeping an eye on
Ulysses, who had now got the bow in his hands, and was turning it
every way about, and proving it all over to see whether the worms
had been eating into its two horns during his absence. Then would
one turn towards his neighbour saying, "This is some tricky old
bow-fancier; either he has got one like it at home, or he wants to
make one, in such workmanlike style does the old vagabond handle it."
Another said, "I hope he may be no more successful in other things
than he is likely to be in stringing this bow."
But Ulysses, when he had taken it up and examined it all over,
strung it as easily as a skilled bard strings a new peg of his lyre
and makes the twisted gut fast at both ends. Then he took it in his
right hand to prove the string, and it sang sweetly under his touch
like the twittering of a swallow. The suitors were dismayed, and
turned colour as they heard it; at that moment, moreover, Jove
thundered loudly as a sign, and the heart of Ulysses rejoiced as he
heard the omen that the son of scheming Saturn had sent him.
He took an arrow that was lying upon the table- for those which
the Achaeans were so shortly about to taste were all inside the
quiver- he laid it on the centre-piece of the bow, and drew the
notch of the arrow and the string toward him, still seated on his
seat. When he had taken aim he let fly, and his arrow pierced every
one of the handle-holes of the axes from the first onwards till it had
gone right through them, and into the outer courtyard. Then he said to
Telemachus:
"Your guest has not disgraced you, Telemachus. I did not miss what I
aimed at, and I was not long in stringing my bow. I am still strong,
and not as the suitors twit me with being. Now, however, it is time
for the Achaeans to prepare supper while there is still daylight,
and then otherwise to disport themselves with song and dance which are
the crowning ornaments of a banquet."
As he spoke he made a sign with his eyebrows, and Telemachus
girded on his sword, grasped his spear, and stood armed beside his
father's seat.

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Do you Remember me? or are you Proud?

"Do you remember me? or are you proud?"
Lightly advancing thro' her star-trimm'd crowd,
Ianthe said, and lookt into my eyes,
"A yes, a yes, to both: for Memory
Where you but once have been must ever be,
And at your voice Pride from his throne must rise."

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Suicide Samurai

Blew your lace
uh as you darn into
uh as you love me,poise you
lady our lakes are blushing by your hate!
I was yours and guilty
if you lift the jewelries
special time as you can be
too much of this parade
uuh... ooh... hey... ooh...
I was yours and not sure
you had done into
you got me into endorcy
your legs are ignorate
I was your intention
or a drop dead
wish you got me,on the river
that's where lunch is,lunch is paid
uuh... ooh... uuh... ooh...

song performed by NirvanaReport problemRelated quotes
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You Know How They Are?

You know how they are...
Loud and boisterous.
Disrespectful and undisciplined.
As if common sense has skipped over them.

With a gutterness despicable.
Expose to others they wish influenced.
Accepting this withoput protest.

And they believe what they do is fine.
Blinded by the show of sighs and dismay!
They have been conditioned,
Their sick behavior is okay!
But...
There is an obvious neglect that reflects.
And destroys what is desired to be left protected.
And investment of a mindset,
Gone!

You know how they are?

'Yes, I do!
But they don't see this as pitiful.
Distracting and off track!
That is the sadness of all of that! '

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A time out

Your time is out
Referee may not shout
He will raise only finger
You may cry foul with anger

You were very good at art
Tried to dupe everybody to look very smart
As the game moved on to an exciting finish
The chances for clear win stood to diminish

It was not the honest and real game
You were bound to be blamed
There was no visible ground to defend
You tried nothing to improve or mend

Certain rules are to be adhered to
This is principle and very true
If we flout it to our advantage
It may amount to derailment and sabotage

The balance sheet may be ready at the end
You may not be above to change your trend
You may ask for an extra time to repent
Alas! finger is raised without your consent

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Roman Elegies I

Tell me you stones, O speak, you towering palaces!
Streets, say a word! Spirit of this place, are you dumb?
All things are alive in your sacred walls
eternal Rome, only for me all’s still.
Who will whisper to me, at what window
will I see the sweet thing who will kindle me, and quicken?
Already I guess the ways, walking to her and from her,
ever and always I’ll go, while sweet time slips by.
I’m gazing at church and palace, ruin and column,
like a serious man making sensible use of a journey,
but soon it will happen, and all will be one vast temple,
Love’s temple, receiving its new initiate.
Though you are a whole world, Rome, still, without Love,
the world’s not the world, Rome cannot be Rome.

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Leased Memories

Declaration of ownership?
I look at that this way
You pay for guardianship,
And that's it.
With no regard for you,
If those payments are delayed.
Or from your hands fade to be erased.
With no more of it,
To shift between hands.

Leaving you with an abundance,
Of 'leased' memories.
And you can claim to own,
Every one of them with no rebuttal.
Even if the best of them you keep golden.
They are yours and priceless.

In fact, if you want some of mine
You can have them too.
I am seeking every inch of peace I can get.
With a clearing of my head,
From a stacking of overused storage space.
I want to unload as much of it as I can.
Let me know when you seek collectibles.
I've got a few for you.
Trust me, they are winners.

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Bussing to Work

Sitting on a boring bus to work,
I dream and stare and read,
grey morning light suffuses us,
we users of this beast
Stops come and go, take people on,
and deposits those who leave.
For destinations unknown,
and of no interest, to me.

Work lies ahead, sleep stays behind,
My missed compatriot.
And you are on your bus to work,
Missed more yet than that.
You sit there in your grey lit suit,
I hope you think of me
Minutes away, so close behind,
I left you on our stop.

Waking up in your arms, so warm,
Still all I want to feel
In mornings cold and busy days,
I think of you and me.
How after this long day of work,
We’ll share togetherness and then
Tomorrow morning after showering
I’ll leave you at the stop again.

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You Are An Ocean

We never met God knows ever will meet,
but heart is lost with highest possible beat,
let me offer you all my feelings stepping down
on your palm to make ur face glow and shine
Like a space of infinity you are an Ocean
which, I have to discover with some new motion
when my nights rest on stars that reflects on you
I feel totally blended, lost somewhere high in blue
my angel of love and share of heart i look at you
it is magical, it is fantasy, yet also very true
unknowingly I am moving to a world of no return,
Where my desire and your fragrance together burn
all your thoughts in canvas of my mind and soul
turns in to a masterpiece as my life's aim and goal
looks I am taken over and over away by you
showering in me as a rain of you and only you

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Stars In Your Eyes

(graham russell)
We are civilized and free from all confusion
And yet we always worry for the things that we cant see
But now to give your love away, a miracle in motion
You know what seems invisible will never ever be disguised to me
I start to lose control
I start to lose control
(chorus)
I know I will remember for longer than forever
All the love and the stars in your eyes
Until my arms surround you and I build the world around you
All I see are stars in your eyes
First you hear the angels sing and then you see the wedding ring
Shining as the threads of life so secretly are woven
You know what youve found, you want to last forever
Your heart has found its wings and left for never never
And then I lose control
I start to lose control
(chorus)
I know I will remember for longer than forever
All the love and the stars in your eyes
(repeat chorus)

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