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The Bean Eaters

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering . . .
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that
is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths,
tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

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I Am An Old Man Writing A Poem

I AM AN OLD MAN WRITING A POEM

I am an old man writing a poem
I have been writing a poem all my life
The lines seem somewhat blurred now
But what I have written
Will say I hope
Something of what we are
And what we have been
And what we will be.

I am an old man still writing a poem
And I love with all my heart all those
Who have lived their lives-
in one way or another – with me
I do not know how to thank you-
I write these lines to thank you
And pray for the goodness and blessing
Of your lives and the lives of those you love-
And will love-
Now here
And in all your time to come.

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Have a Nice Day

When you live somewhere
for a very long-time,
street corners gather memories,
friendly memories
you can say Hi to everyday.
They are memories
of your progress through life.
Memories of important events
that moulded and shaped our lives.
Therefore, whenever
we pass the corners
our friendly memories
are always there to say
have a nice day


(12 November 2007)

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Homage

Six foot descend,
In grave opulence repose.
Sombre are the passages...
Shared and quietly spoken,
In emotional rituals sparked
With tears falling
And gently eased!

Under breezes cascading,
Between tombs on lush green fields.
Soft comments exchanged
As those close kneel!
To pay last respects...
For our sons and daughters laid to rest,
Unshaded in radiant Sun!
Honored are those,
For a job well done!

Dedication:
'I dedicated 'Homage' to all those who have lived their lives
in the service of others without fanfare,
and most times without being shown gratitude!
I am only one man, however, I salute them for their unselfish acts
and deeds i deeply respect! '

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He Comes Knowing

He comes knowing he is challenged.
He has live his entire life...
Challenged.
Disciplined and observant.

Do you think he is oblivious to the obvious?
And living in a preferred time zone.
Comforted by hidden insecurities...
And deluded by the absence of practiced truths?

He comes knowing he is challenged.
He has live his entire life...
Challenged.
Disciplined and observant.

Do you believe,
One who has been made to feel an 'outsider'...
Does not perceive,
Who receives him as he is!
Amongst those who are quick...
To ridicule him with their negative judgements.

He comes knowing he is challenged.
He has live his entire life...
Challenged.
Disciplined and observant.

And...
He is guided by the 'Divine'!
In time,
You will discover that.

He comes knowing he is challenged.
And knowing he does...
What will and must take place,
To clean up disgraceful traces left,
By those who have lived their entire lives unchallenged...
Thoughtless.
And,
Born to feed their greed!

Prepare...
For the 'We Can and 'We Will'
Winds of change to blow,
Dramatically across the land!
And free of addicting pollutants.

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Verona

It gets inside you like the sun,
It makes you wet just like the rain.
It makes you sound so sentimental,
Its a lovely kind of pain.
I used to dream,
I used to dream about verona.
I used to dream, to dream,
I used to dream about verona.
And if there ever was an earthquake,
Id go down in the earth with you.
And if there ever was an avalanche,
Id landslide down with you.
I used to dream,
I used to dream about verona.
I used to dream,
I used to lean over the side of the boat
And get hypnotized by the water and dream.
Its up in the trees its up to me.
Its out of the blue, out to you.
I used to dream,
I used to dream about verona.
Yeah romeo you are priceless, lifeles,
Skipping star to scar to star.
I used to dream youd be
Slipping, slipping from me.
Burning, breating, breathing,
Sleeping, in me.
I used to lean over the side of the boat
And get hypnotized by the water and dream.
Slipping, slipping, slipping,
Slipping from me.
Burning, burning, breathing,
Sleeping in me.

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This Old Guitar And Me

This old guitar and me
And the things that we've been through
C.F. Martin built him
Back in nineteen fourty-two.
I remember when we met
I was only seventeen
I spent all my college money
On a half a dozen strings.
I thought my folks would kill me
I found out I was wrong
They said your future's written on your face
When you sing those travelin' songs.
So we headed for Kentucky
With a suitcase full of dreams
My rough-out books, a few t-shirts
A worn out pair of jeans.
Ooh.
This old guitar and me
We spent a lot of nights alone
Well, sometimes we'd get lucky
And take bar maid home.
One night stands for breakfast
Two strangers with the blues
We'd wake up in the morning
And both feel a little used.
Well, home was just a highway
We'd roam from town to town
Just me and that old flattop
Not caring where we're bound.
>From Maine to California
With a five piece travelin' band
Singin' songs about the hard times
That face the common man.
Ooh.
This old guitar and me
Lord, we did the best we could
One was born a sinner
And one a piece of wood.
God sent a wooden angel
To guide me on my way
We were meant to be together
Until my dyin' day.
Well, now my dearest old companion
Lies underneath my bed
Well, our travelin' days are over
Man, but the memories fill my head.
Well, I've settled with my family
Here in the hills of Tennessee
To teach my children's children
'Bout this old guitar and me.
Ooh...

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John Keats

Sleep And Poetry

As I lay in my bed slepe full unmete
Was unto me, but why that I ne might
Rest I ne wist, for there n'as erthly wight
[As I suppose] had more of hertis ese
Than I, for I n'ad sicknesse nor disese. ~ Chaucer


What is more gentle than a wind in summer?
What is more soothing than the pretty hummer
That stays one moment in an open flower,
And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?
What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing
In a green island, far from all men's knowing?
More healthful than the leafiness of dales?
More secret than a nest of nightingales?
More serene than Cordelia's countenance?
More full of visions than a high romance?
What, but thee Sleep? Soft closer of our eyes!
Low murmurer of tender lullabies!
Light hoverer around our happy pillows!
Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows!
Silent entangler of a beauty's tresses!
Most happy listener! when the morning blesses
Thee for enlivening all the cheerful eyes
That glance so brightly at the new sun-rise.

But what is higher beyond thought than thee?
Fresher than berries of a mountain tree?
More strange, more beautiful, more smooth, more regal,
Than wings of swans, than doves, than dim-seen eagle?
What is it? And to what shall I compare it?
It has a glory, and naught else can share it:
The thought thereof is awful, sweet, and holy,
Chasing away all worldliness and folly;
Coming sometimes like fearful claps of thunder,
Or the low rumblings earth's regions under;
And sometimes like a gentle whispering
Of all the secrets of some wond'rous thing
That breathes about us in the vacant air;
So that we look around with prying stare,
Perhaps to see shapes of light, aerial limning,
And catch soft floatings from a faint-heard hymning;
To see the laurel wreath, on high suspended,
That is to crown our name when life is ended.
Sometimes it gives a glory to the voice,
And from the heart up-springs, rejoice! rejoice!
Sounds which will reach the Framer of all things,
And die away in ardent mutterings.

No one who once the glorious sun has seen,
And all the clouds, and felt his bosom clean
For his great Maker's presence, but must know
What 'tis I mean, and feel his being glow:
Therefore no insult will I give his spirit,
By telling what he sees from native merit.

O Poesy! for thee I hold my pen
That am not yet a glorious denizen
Of thy wide heaven- Should I rather kneel
Upon some mountain-top until I feel
A glowing splendour round about me hung,
And echo back the voice of thine own tongue?
O Poesy! for thee I grasp my pen
That am not yet a glorious denizen
Of thy wide heaven; yet, to my ardent prayer,
Yield from thy sanctuary some clear air,
Smooth'd for intoxication by the breath
Of flowering bays, that I may die a death
Of luxury, and my young spirit follow
The morning sun-beams to the great Apollo
Like a fresh sacrifice; or, if I can bear
The o'erwhelming sweets, 'twill bring to me the fair
Visions of all places: a bowery nook
Will be elysium- an eternal book
Whence I may copy many a lovely saying
About the leaves, and flowers- about the playing
Of nymphs in woods, and fountains; and the shade
Keeping a silence round a sleeping maid;
And many a verse from so strange influence
That we must ever wonder how, and whence
It came. Also imaginings will hover
Round my fire-side, and haply there discover
Vistas of solemn beauty, where I'd wander
In happy silence, like the clear Meander
Through its lone vales; and where I found a spot
Of awfuller shade, or an enchanted grot,
Or a green hill o'erspread with chequer'd dress
Of flowers, and fearful from its loveliness,
Write on my tablets all that was permitted,
All that was for our human senses fitted.
Then the events of this wide world I'd seize
Like a strong giant, and my spirit teaze
Till at its shoulders it should proudly see
Wings to find out an immortality.

Stop and consider! life is but a day;
A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way
From a tree's summit; a poor Indian's sleep
While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep
Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan?
Life is the rose's hope while yet unblown;
The reading of an ever-changing tale;
The light uplifting of a maiden's veil;
A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air;
A laughing school-boy, without grief or care,
Riding the springy branches of an elm.

O for ten years, that I may overwhelm
Myself in poesy; so I may do the deed
That my own soul has to itself decreed.
Then will I pass the countries that I see
In long perspective, and continually
Taste their pure fountains. First the realm I'll pass
Of Flora, and old Pan: sleep in the grass,
Feed upon apples red, and strawberries,
And choose each pleasure that my fancy sees;
Catch the white-handed nymphs in shady places,
To woo sweet kisses from averted faces,-
Play with their fingers, touch their shoulders white
Into a pretty shrinking with a bite
As hard as lips can make it: till agreed,
A lovely tale of human life we'll read.
And one will teach a tame dove how it best
May fan the cool air gently o'er my rest;
Another, bending o'er her nimble tread,
Will set a green robe floating round her head,
And still will dance with ever varied ease,
Smiling upon the flowers and the trees:
Another will entice me on, and on
Through almond blossoms and rich cinnamon;
Till in the bosom of a leafy world
We rest in silence, like two gems upcurl'd
In the recesses of a pearly shell.

And can I ever bid these joys farewell?
Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life,
Where I may find the agonies, the strife
Of human hearts: for lo! I see afar,
O'ersailing the blue cragginess, a car
And steeds with streamy manes- the charioteer
Looks out upon the winds with glorious fear:
And now the numerous tramplings quiver lightly
Along a huge cloud's ridge; and now with sprightly
Wheel downward come they into fresher skies,
Tipt round with silver from the sun's bright eyes.
Still downward with capacious whirl they glide;
And now I see them on the green-hill's side
In breezy rest among the nodding stalks.
The charioteer with wond'rous gesture talks
To the trees and mountains; and there soon appear
Shapes of delight, of mystery, and fear,
Passing along before a dusky space
Made by some mighty oaks: as they would chase
Some ever- fleeting music on they sweep.
Lo! how they murmur, laugh, and smile, and weep:
Some with upholden hand and mouth severe;
Some with their faces muffled to the ear
Between their arms; some, clear in youthful bloom,
Go glad and smilingly athwart the gloom;
Some looking back, and some with upward gaze;
Yes, thousands in a thousand different ways
Flit onward- now a lovely wreath of girls
Dancing their sleek hair into tangled curls;
And now broad wings. Most awfully intent
The driver of those steeds is forward bent,
And seems to listen: O that I might know
All that he writes with such a hurrying glow.

The visions all are fled- the car is fled
Into the light of heaven, and in their stead
A sense of real things comes doubly strong,
And, like a muddy stream, would bear along
My soul to nothingness: but I will strive
Against all doubtings, and will keep alive
The thought of that same chariot, and the strange
Journey it went.
Is there so small a range
In the present strength of manhood, that the high
Imagination cannot freely fly
As she was wont of old? prepare her steeds,
Paw up against the light, and do strange deeds
Upon the clouds? Has she not shown us all?
From the clear space of ether, to the small
Breath of new buds unfolding? From the meaning
Of Jove's large eye-brow, to the tender greening
Of April meadows? Here her altar shone,
E'en in this isle; and who could paragon
The fervid choir that lifted up a noise
Of harmony, to where it aye will poise
Its mighty self of convoluting sound,
Huge as a planet, and like that roll round,
Eternally around a dizzy void?
Ay, in those days the Muses were nigh cloy'd
With honors; nor had any other care
Than to sing out and sooth their wavy hair.

Could all this be forgotten? Yes, a schism
Nurtured by foppery and barbarism,
Made great Apollo blush for this his land.
Men were thought wise who could not understand
His glories: with a puling infant's force
They sway'd about upon a rocking horse,
And thought it Pegasus. Ah dismal soul'd!
The winds of heaven blew, the ocean roll'd
Its gathering waves- ye felt it not. The blue
Bared its eternal bosom, and the dew
Of summer nights collected still to make
The morning precious: beauty was awake!
Why were ye not awake? But ye were dead
To things ye knew not of,- were closely wed
To musty laws lined out with wretched rule
And compass vile: so that ye taught a school
Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit,
Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit,
Their verses tallied. Easy was the task:
A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask
Of Poesy. Ill-fated, impious race!
That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face,
And did not know it,- no, they went about,
Holding a poor, decrepid standard out
Mark'd with most flimsy mottos, and in large
The name of one Boileau!

O ye whose charge
It is to hover round our pleasant hills!
Whose congregated majesty so fills
My boundly reverence, that I cannot trace
Your hallowed names, in this unholy place,
So near those common folk; did not their shames
Affright you? Did our old lamenting Thames
Delight you? Did ye never cluster round
Delicious Avon, with a mournful sound,
And weep? Or did ye wholly bid adieu
To regions where no more the laurel grew?
Or did ye stay to give a welcoming
To some lone spirits who could proudly sing
Their youth away, and die? 'Twas even so:
But let me think away those times of woe:
Now 'tis a fairer season; ye have breathed
Rich benedictions o'er us; ye have wreathed
Fresh garlands: for sweet music has been heard
In many places;- some has been upstirr'd
From out its crystal dwelling in a lake,
By a swan's ebon bill; from a thick brake,
Nested and quiet in a valley mild,
Bubbles a pipe; fine sounds are floating wild
About the earth: happy are ye and glad.

These things are doubtless: yet in truth we've had
Strange thunders from the potency of song;
Mingled indeed with what is sweet and strong,
From majesty: but in clear truth the themes
Are ugly clubs, the Poets' Polyphemes
Disturbing the grand sea. A drainless shower
Of light is poesy; 'tis the supreme of power;
'Tis might half slumb'ring on its own right arm.
The very archings of her eye-lids charm
A thousand willing agents to obey,
And still she governs with the mildest sway:
But strength alone though of the Muses born
Is like a fallen angel: trees uptorn,
Darkness, and worms, and shrouds, and sepulchres
Delight it; for it feeds upon the burrs,
And thorns of life; forgetting the great end
Of poesy, that it should be a friend
To sooth the cares, and lift the thoughts of man.

Yet I rejoice: a myrtle fairer than
E'er grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds
Lifts its sweet head into the air, and feeds
A silent space with ever sprouting green.
All tenderest birds there find a pleasant screen,
Creep through the shade with jaunty fluttering,
Nibble the little cupped flowers and sing.
Then let us clear away the choking thorns
From round its gentle stem; let the young fawns,
Yeaned in after times, when we are flown,
Find a fresh sward beneath it, overgrown
With simple flowers: let there nothing be
More boisterous than a lover's bended knee;
Nought more ungentle than the placid look
Of one who leans upon a closed book;
Nought more untranquil than the grassy slopes
Between two hills. All hail delightful hopes!
As she was wont, th' imagination
Into most lovely labyrinths will be gone,
And they shall be accounted poet kings
Who simply tell the most heart-easing things.
O may these joys be ripe before I die.

Will not some say that I presumptuously
Have spoken? that from hastening disgrace
'Twere better far to hide my foolish face?
That whining boyhood should with reverence bow
Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach? How!
If I do hide myself, it sure shall be
In the very fane, the light of Poesy:
If I do fall, at least I will be laid
Beneath the silence of a poplar shade;
And over me the grass shall be smooth shaven;
And there shall be a kind memorial graven.
But off Despondence! miserable bane!
They should not know thee, who athirst to gain
A noble end, are thirsty every hour.
What though I am not wealthy in the dower
Of spanning wisdom; though I do not know
The shiftings of the mighty winds that blow
Hither and thither all the changing thoughts
Of man: though no great minist'ring reason sorts
Out the dark mysteries of human souls
To clear conceiving: yet there ever rolls
A vast idea before me, and I glean
Therefrom my liberty; thence too I've seen
The end and aim of Poesy. 'Tis clear
As anything most true; as that the year
Is made of the four seasons- manifest
As a large cross, some old cathedral's crest,
Lifted to the white clouds. Therefore should I
Be but the essence of deformity,
A coward, did my very eye-lids wink
At speaking out what I have dared to think.
Ah! rather let me like a madman run
Over some precipice; let the hot sun
Melt my Dedalian wings, and drive me down
Convuls'd and headlong! Stay! an inward frown
Of conscience bids me be more calm awhile.
An ocean dim, sprinkled with many an isle,
Spreads awfully before me. How much toil!
How many days! what desperate turmoil!
Ere I can have explored its widenesses.
Ah, what a task! upon my bended knees,
I could unsay those- no, impossible!
Impossible!

For sweet relief I'll dwell
On humbler thoughts, and let this strange assay
Begun in gentleness die so away.
E'en now all tumult from my bosom fades:
I turn full hearted to the friendly aids
That smooth the path of honour; brotherhood,
And friendliness the nurse of mutual good.
The hearty grasp that sends a pleasant sonnet
Into the brain ere one can think upon it;
The silence when some rhymes are coming out;
And when they're come, the very pleasant rout:
The message certain to be done to-morrow.
'Tis perhaps as well that it should be to borrow
Some precious book from out its snug retreat,
To cluster round it when we next shall meet.
Scarce can I scribble on; for lovely airs
Are fluttering round the room like doves in pairs;
Many delights of that glad day recalling,
When first my senses caught their tender falling.
And with these airs come forms of elegance
Stooping their shoulders o'er a horse's prance,
Careless, and grand-fingers soft and round
Parting luxuriant curls;- and the swift bound
Of Bacchus from his chariot, when his eye
Made Ariadne's cheek look blushingly.
Thus I remember all the pleasant flow
Of words at opening a portfolio.

Things such as these are ever harbingers
To trains of peaceful images: the stirs
Of a swan's neck unseen among the rushes:
A linnet starting all about the bushes:
A butterfly, with golden wings broad parted,
Nestling a rose, convuls'd as though it smarted
With over pleasure- many, many more,
Might I indulge at large in all my store
Of luxuries: yet I must not forget
Sleep, quiet with his poppy coronet:
For what there may be worthy in these rhymes
I partly owe to him: and thus, the chimes
Of friendly voices had just given place
To as sweet a silence, when I 'gan retrace
The pleasant day, upon a couch at ease.
It was a poet's house who keeps the keys
Of pleasure's temple. Round about were hung
The glorious features of the bards who sung
In other ages- cold and sacred busts
Smiled at each other. Happy he who trusts
To clear Futurity his darling fame!
Then there were fauns and satyrs taking aim
At swelling apples with a frisky leap
And reaching fingers, 'mid a luscious heap
Of vine-leaves. Then there rose to view a fane
Of liny marble, and thereto a train
Of nymphs approaching fairly o'er the sward:
One, loveliest, holding her white hand toward
The dazzling sun-rise: two sisters sweet
Bending their graceful figures till they meet
Over the trippings of a little child:
And some are hearing, eagerly, the wild
Thrilling liquidity of dewy piping.
See, in another picture, nymphs are wiping
Cherishingly Diana's timorous limbs;-
A fold of lawny mantle dabbling swims
At the bath's edge, and keeps a gentle motion
With the subsiding crystal: as when ocean
Heaves calmly its broad swelling smoothness o'er
Its rocky marge, and balances once more
The patient weeds; that now unshent by foam
Feel all about their undulating home.

Sappho's meek head was there half smiling down
At nothing; just as though the earnest frown
Of over thinking had that moment gone
From off her brow, and left her all alone.

Great Alfred's too, with anxious, pitying eyes,
As if he always listened to the sighs
Of the goaded world; and Kosciusko's worn
By horrid suffrance- mightily forlorn.
Petrarch, outstepping from the shady green,
Starts at the sight of Laura; nor can wean
His eyes from her sweet face. Most happy they!
For over them was seen a free display
Of out-spread wings, and from between them shone
The face of Poesy: from off her throne
She overlook'd things that I scarce could tell.
The very sense of where I was might well
Keep Sleep aloof: but more than that there came
Thought after thought to nourish up the flame
Within my breast; so that the morning light
Surprised me even from a sleepless night;
And up I rose refresh'd, and glad, and gay,
Resolving to begin that very day
These lines; and howsoever they be done,
I leave them as a father does his son.

THE END

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Rudyard Kipling

We and They

Father and Mother, and Me,
Sister and Auntie say
All the people like us are We,
And every one else is They.
And They live over the sea,
While We live over the way,
But-would you believe it? --They look upon We
As only a sort of They!

We eat pork and beef
With cow-horn-handled knives.
They who gobble Their rice off a leaf,
Are horrified out of Their lives;
While they who live up a tree,
And feast on grubs and clay,
(Isn't it scandalous? ) look upon We
As a simply disgusting They!

We shoot birds with a gun.
They stick lions with spears.
Their full-dress is un-.
We dress up to Our ears.
They like Their friends for tea.
We like Our friends to stay;
And, after all that, They look upon We
As an utterly ignorant They!

We eat kitcheny food.
We have doors that latch.
They drink milk or blood,
Under an open thatch.
We have Doctors to fee.
They have Wizards to pay.
And (impudent heathen!) They look upon We
As a quite impossible They!

All good people agree,
And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
And every one else is They:
But if you cross over the sea,
Instead of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
As only a sort of They!

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King Solomon And The Queen Of Sheba

(A Poem Game.)

And when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, . . .
she came to prove him with hard questions.”


[The men’s leader rises as he sees the Queen unveiling
and approaching a position that gives her half of the stage.]

Men’s Leader: The Queen of Sheba came to see King Solomon.
[He bows three times.]
I was King Solomon,
I was King Solomon,
I was King Solomon.

[She bows three times.]
Women’s Leader: I was the Queen,
I was the Queen,
I was the Queen.

Both Leaders: We will be king and queen,
[They stand together stretching their hands over the land.]
Reigning on mountains green,
Happy and free
For ten thousand years.

[They stagger forward as though carrying a yoke together.]
Both Leaders: King Solomon he had four hundred oxen.

Congregation: We were the oxen.

[Here King and Queen pause at the footlights.]
Both Leaders: You shall feel goads no more.
[They walk backward, throwing off the yoke and rejoicing.]
Walk dreadful roads no more,
Free from your loads
For ten thousand years.

[The men’s leader goes forward, the women’s leader dances round him.]
Both Leaders: King Solomon he had four hundred sweethearts.

[Here he pauses at the footlights.]
Congregation: We were the sweethearts.

[He walks backward. Both clap their hands to the measure.]
Both Leaders: You shall dance round again,
You shall dance round again,
Cymbals shall sound again,
Cymbals shall sound again,
[The Queen appears to gather wildflowers.]
Wildflowers be found
For ten thousand years,
Wildflowers be found
For ten thousand years.

[He continues to command the congregation, the woman to dance.
He goes forward to the footlights.]
Both Leaders: And every sweetheart had four hundred swans.

Congregation: We were the swans.

[The King walks backward.]
Both Leaders: You shall spread wings again,
You shall spread wings again,
[Here a special dance, by the Queen: swans flying in circles.]
Fly in soft rings again,
Fly in soft rings again,
Swim by cool springs
For ten thousand years,
Swim by cool springs,
For ten thousand years.

[The refrain “King Solomon” may be intoned by the men’s leader
whenever it is needed to enable the women’s leader to get to
her starting point. All the refrains may be likewise used.]
Men’s Leader: King Solomon,
King Solomon.

Women’s Leader: The Queen of Sheba asked him like a lady,
[They bow to each other—then give a pantomime
indicating a great rose garden.]
Bowing most politely:
“What makes the roses bloom
Over the mossy tomb,
Driving away the gloom
Ten thousand years?”

Men’s Leader: King Solomon made answer to the lady,
[They bow and confer. The Queen reserved, but taking cognizance.
The King wooing with ornate gestures of respect, and courtly animation.]
Bowing most politely:
They bloom forever thinking of your beauty,
Your step so queenly and your eyes so lovely.
These keep the roses fair,
Young and without a care,
Making so sweet the air,
Ten thousand years.”

[The two, with a manner almost a cake walk, go forward.]
Both Leaders: King Solomon he had four hundred sons.

[On this line, King and Queen pause before the footlights.]
Congregation: We were the sons.

[Pantomime of crowning the audience.]
Both Leaders: Crowned by the throngs again,
[On this line they walk backward, playing great imaginary harps.]
You shall make songs again,
Singing along
For ten thousand years.

[They go forward in a pony gallop, then stand pawing.]
Both Leaders: He gave each son four hundred prancing ponies.

Congregation: We were the ponies.

[They nod their heads, starting to walk backward.]
Both Leaders: You shall eat hay again,
[A pony dance by both, in circles.]
In forests play again,
Rampage and neigh
For ten thousand years.

Men’s Leader: King Solomon he asked the Queen of Sheba,
[They bow to each other, standing so that
each one commands half of the stage.]
Bowing most politely:
“What makes the oak-tree grow
Hardy in sun and snow,
Never by wind brought low
Ten thousand years?”

Women’s Leader: The Queen of Sheba answered like a lady,
[They bow to each other, again, with pantomime indicating a forest.]
Bowing most politely:
“It blooms forever thinking of your wisdom,
Your brave heart and the way you rule your kingdom.
These keep the oak secure,
Weaving its leafy lure,
Dreaming by fountains pure
Ten thousand years.”

[They go to the footlights with a sailor’s lurch and hitch.]
Both Leaders: The Queen of Sheba had four hundred sailors.

[The King and Queen pause.]
Congregation: We were the sailors.

Both Leaders: You shall bring spice and ore
[They walk backward with slow long-armed gestures
indicating the entire horizon line.]
Over the ocean’s floor,
Shipmates once more,
For ten thousand years.

Women’s Leader: The Queen of Sheba asked him like a lady,
[They bow to each other, the Queen indicating the depths of the sea.]
Bowing most politely:
“Why is the sea so deep,
What secret does it keep
While tides a-roaring leap
Ten thousand years?”

Men’s Leader: King Solomon made answer to the lady,
[They bow to each other, then confer; the Queen reserved,
but taking cognizance, the King wooing with ornate gestures
of respect and courtly admiration.]
Bowing most politely:
“My love for you is like the stormy ocean—
Too deep to understand,
Bending to your command,
Bringing your ships to land
Ten thousand years.”
King Solomon,
King Solomon.

[They go to the footlights with the greatest possible strut.]
Both Leaders: King Solomon he had four hundred chieftains.

Congregation: We were the chieftains.

[The leaders stand with arms proudly folded.]
Both Leaders: You shall be proud again,
[They walk backward haughtily, laughing on the last lines.]
Dazzle the crowd again,
Laughing aloud
For ten thousand years.

[From here on the whole production to be
much more solemn, elevated, religious.]

[The leaders go forward to the footlights carrying imaginary torches.]
Both Leaders: King Solomon he had four hundred shepherds.

[The man and woman pause at the footlights.]
Congregation: We were the shepherds.

[They wander over the stage as though looking for lost lambs,
with torches held high.]
Both Leaders: You shall have torches bright,
Watching the folds by night,
Guarding the lambs aright,
Ten thousand years.

Men’s Leader: King Solomon he asked the Queen of Sheba,
[The King kneels, and indicates the entire sky with one long slow gesture.]
Bowing most politely:
“Why are the stars so high,
There in the velvet sky,
Rolling in rivers by,
Ten thousand years?”

Women’s Leader: The Queen of Sheba answered like a lady,
[The Queen kneels opposite the King,
and gives the same gesture as she answers.]
Bowing most politely:
They’re singing of your kingdom to the angels,
They guide your chariot with their lamps and candles,
Therefore they burn so far—
So you can drive your car
Up where the prophets are,
Ten thousand years.”

Men’s Leader: King Solomon,
King Solomon.

Both Leaders: King Solomon he kept the Sabbath holy.
[The two stand, commanding the audience.]
And spoke with tongues in prophet words so mighty
[The man and woman stamp and whirl with great noise and solemnity.]
We stamped and whirled and wept and shouted:—

Congregation Rises and Joins the Song:
. . . . “Glory.”
We were his people.

[On these two lines, man and woman stamp and whirl again,
gravely, magnificently.]
Both Leaders: You shall be wild and gay,
Green trees shall deck your way,
[On these two lines they kneel, commanding the audience.]
Sunday be every day,
Ten thousand years.

[Now they rise and bow to each other and the audience,
maintaining a certain intention of benediction.]
King Solomon,
King Solomon.

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The Cock and The Fox

Thogh brutal beestes be irrational,
That is to say, wantand, discretioun,
Yit ilk ane in their kindes natural
Has many divers inclinatioun:
The bair busteous, the wold, the wylde lyoun,
The fox fenyeit, craftie and cautelous,
The dog to bark on night and keep the hous.

Sa different they are in properteis
Unknawin unto man and infinite,
In kind havand sa fel diversiteis,
My cunning it excides for to dyte.
Forthy as now, I purpose for to wryte
Ane case I fand whilk fell this other yeer
Betwix ane fox and gentil Chauntecleer.

Ane widow dwelt intill ane drop they dayis
Whilk wan hir food off spinning on hir rok,
And na mair had, forsooth, as the fabill sayis,
Except of hennes scho had ane lyttel flok,
And them to keep scho had one jolie cok,
Right corageous, that to this widow ay
Divided night, and crew before the day.

Ane lyttel fra this foresaid widow's hous,
Ane thornie schaw there was of greet defence,
Wherein ane foxe, craftie and cautelous,
Made his repair and daylie residence,
Whilk to this widow did greet violence
In pyking off pultrie baith day and night,
And na way be revengit on him scho might.

This wylie tod, when that the lark couth sing,
Full sair and hungrie unto the toun him drest,
Were Chauntecleer, in to the gray dawing,
Werie for night, was flowen fra hist nest.
Lowrence this saw and in his mind he kest
The jeperdies, the wayes, and the wyle,
By what menis he might this cok begyle.

Dissimuland in to countenance and cheer,
On knees fell and simuland thus he said,
'Gude morne, my maister, gentil Chantecleer!'
With that the cok start bakwart in ane braid.
'Schir, by my saul, ye need not be effraid,
Nor yit for me to start nor flee abak;
I come bot here service to you to mak.'

'Wald I not serve to you, it wer bot blame,
As I have done to your progenitouris.
Your father oft fullfillit has my wame,
And sent me meit fra midding to the muris,
And at his end I did my besie curis
To held his heed and gif him drinkis warme,
Syne at the last, the sweit swelt in my arme!'

'Knew ye my father?' quad the cok, and leuch.
'Yea, my fair son, forsooth I held his heed
When that he deit under ane birkin beuch,
Syne said that Dirgie when that he was deed.
Betwixt us twa how suld there be ane feid?
Wham suld ye traist bot me, your servitour
That to your father did so greet honour?

When I beheld your fedderis fair and gent,
Your beck, your breast, your hekill, and your kame-
Schir, by my saul, and the blissit sacrament,
My heart warmis, me think I am at hame.
You for to serve, I wald creep on my wame
In froist and snaw, in wedder wan and weit
And lay my lyart lokkes under your feit.'

This fenyeit fox, fals and dissimulate,
Made to this cok ane cavillatioun:
'Ye are, me think, changed and degenerate
Fra your father and his conditioun,
Of craftie crawing he might beer the croun,
For he weld on his tais stand and craw.
This is no le; I stude beside and saw.'

With that the cok, upon his tais hie,
Kest up his beek and sang with all his might.
Quod schir Lowrence, 'Well said, sa mot I the.
Ye are your fatheris son and heir upright,
Bot of his cunning yit ye want ane slight.'
'What?' quad the cok. 'He wald, and have na doubt,
Baith wink, and craw, and turne him thryis about.'

The cok, inflate with wind and fals vanegloir,
That mony puttes unto confusioun,
Traisting to win ane greet worship therefoir,
Unwarlie winkand walkit up and doun,
And syne to chant and craw he made him boun-
And suddandlie, by he had crawin ane note
The fox was war, and hent him by the throte.

Syne to the wood but tarie with him hyit,
Of countermand havand but lytil dout.
With that Pertok, Sprutok, and Coppok cryit,
The widow heard, and with ane cry come out.
Seand and case scho sighit and gaif ane schout,
'How, murther, reylok!' with ane hiddeous beir,
'Allas, now lost is gentil Chauntecleer!'

As scho were wod with mony yell and cry,
Ryvand hir hair, upon hir breist can beit,
Syne pale of hew, half in ane extasy,
Fell doun for care in swoning and in sweit.
With that the selie hennes left their meit,
And whyle this wyfe was lyand thus in swoon,
Fell of that case in disputacioun.

'Allas,' quod Pertok, makand sair murning,
With teeris greet attour hir cheekis fell,
'Yon was our drowrie and our day's darling,
Our nightingal, and als our orlege bell,
Our walkrife watch, us for to warne and tell
When that Aurora with hir curcheis gray
Put up hir heid betwixt the night and day.

'Wha sall our lemman be? Who sall us leid?
When we are sad wha sall unto us sing?
With his sweet bill he wald breke us the breid;
In all this warld was there ane kynder thing?
In paramouris he wald do us plesing.
At his power, as nature list him geif.
Now efter him, allas, how sall we leif?'

Quod Sprutok than, 'Ceis, sister of your sorrow,
Ye be too mad, for him sic murning mais.
We sall fare well, I find Sanct John to borrow;
The proverb sayis, 'Als gude lufe cummis as gais.'
I will put my haly-dayis clais
And mak me fresch agane this jolie May,
Syne chant this sang, 'Was never widow sa gay!'

'He was angry and held us ay in aw,
And wounded with the speir of jelowsy.
Of chalmergley, Pertok, full well ye knaw,
Wasted he was, of nature cauld and dry.
Sen he is gone, therefore, sister, say I,
Be blythe in baill, for that is best remeid.
Let quik to quik, and deid ga to the deid.'

Than Pertok spak, that feinyeit faith before,
In lust but lufe that set all hir delyte,
'Sister, ye wait of sic as him ane score
Wald not suffice to slake our appetyte.
I heecht you by my hand, sen ye are quyte,
Within ane oulk, for schame and I durst speik,
To get ane berne suld better claw oure breik.'

Than Coppok like ane curate spak full crous:
'Yon was ane verray vengeance from the hevin.
He was sa lous and lecherous,
Ceis could he noght with kittokis ma than servin,
But righteous God, haldand the balance evin,
Smytis right sair, thoght he be patien,
Adulteraris that list them not repent.

'Prydeful he was, and joyit of his sin,
And comptit not for Goddis favor nor feid.
Bot traisted ay to rax and sa to rin,
Whil at the last his sinnis can him leid
To schameful end and to yon suddand deid.
Therefore it is the verray hand of God
That causit him be werryit with the tod.'

When this was said, this widow fra hir swoun
Start up on fute, and on hir kennettis cryde,
'How, Birkye, Berrie, Bell, Bawsie, Bround,
Rype Schaw, Rin Weil, Curtes, Nuttieclyde!
Togidder all but grunching furth ye glyde!
Reskew my nobil cok ere he be slane,
Or ellis to me see ye come never agane!'

With that, but baid, they braidet over the bent,
As fire off flint they over the feildis flaw,
Full wichtlie they through wood and wateris went,
And ceissit not, schir Lowrence while they saw.
But when he saw the raches come on raw,
Unto the cok in mind he said, 'God sen
That I and thou were fairlie in my den.'

Then spak the cok, with sum gude spirit inspyrit,
'Do my counsall and I shall warrand thee.
Hungrie thou art, and for greet travel tyrit,
Right faint of force and may not ferther flee:
Swyth turn agane and say that I and ye
Freindes are made and fellowis for ane yeir.
Than will they stint, I stand for it, and not steir.'

This tod, thogh he were fals and frivolous,
And had fraudis, his querrel to defend,
Desavit was by menis right marvelous,
For falset failis ay at the latter end.
He start about, and cryit as he knend-
With that the cok he braid unto a bewch.
Now juge ye all whereat schir Lowrence lewch.

Begylit thus, the tod under the tree
On knees fell, and said, 'Gude Chauntecleer,
Come doun agane, and I but meit or fee
Sall be your man and servant for ane yeir.'
'Na, murther, theif, and revar, stand on reir.
My bldy hekill and my nek sa bla
Has partit love for ever betwene us twa.

'I was unwise that winkit at thy will,
Wherethrough almaist I loissit had my heid.'
'I was mair fule,' quod he, 'could noght be still,
Bot spake to put my my pray into pleid.'
'Fare on, fals theef, God keep me fra thy feid.'
With that the cok over the feildis tuke his flight,
And in at the widow's lewer couth he light.

Moralitas


Now worthie folk, suppose this be ane fabill,
And overheillit with typis figural,
Yit may ye find ane sentence right agreabill
Under their fenyeit termis textual.
To our purpose this cok well may we call
Nyce proud men, woid, and vaneglorious
Of kin and blude, whilk is presumptuous.

Fy, puffed up pride, thou is full poysonabill!
Wha favoris thee, on force man have ane fall,
Thy strength is noght, thy stule standis unstabill.
Tak witnes of the feyndes infernall,
Whilk houndit doun was fra that hevinlie hall
To hellis hole and to that hiddeous house,
Because in pride they were presumptous.

This fenyeit foxe may well be figurate
To flatteraris with plesand wordis white,
With fals mening and mynd maist toxicate,
To loif and le that settis their hail delyte.
All worthie folk at sic suld haif despite-
For where is there mair perrelous pestilence?-
Nor give to learis haistelie credence.

The wickit mind and adullatioun,
Of sucker sweet haifand similitude,
Bitter as gall and full of fell poysoun
To taste it is, wha cleirlie understude,
Forthy as now schortlie to conclude,
Thir twa sinnis, flatterie and vanegloir.
Are venemous: gude folk, flee them thairfoir!

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Hermann And Dorothea - V. Polyhymnia

THE COSMOPOLITE.

BUT the Three, as before, were still sitting and talking together,
With the landlord, the worthy divine, and also the druggist,
And the conversation still concern'd the same subject,
Which in every form they had long been discussing together.
Full of noble thoughts, the excellent pastor continued
'I can't contradict you. I know 'tis the duty of mortals
Ever to strive for improvement; and, as we may see, they strive also
Ever for that which is higher, at least what is new they seek after,
But don't hurry too fast! For combined with these feelings, kind Nature
Also has given us pleasure in dwelling on that which is ancient,
And in clinging to that to which we have long been accustom'd.
Each situation is good that's accordant to nature and reason.
Many things man desires, and yet he has need of but little;
For but short are the days, and confined is the lot of a mortal.
I can never blame the man who, active and restless,
Hurries along, and explores each corner of earth and the ocean
Boldly and carefully, while he rejoices at seeing the profits
Which round him and his family gather themselves in abundance.
But I also duly esteem the peaceable burgher,
Who with silent steps his paternal inheritance paces,
And watches over the earth, the seasons carefully noting.
'Tis not every year that he finds his property alter'd;
Newly-planted trees cannot stretch out their arms tow'rds the heavens
All in a moment, adorn'd with beautiful buds in abundance.
No, a man has need of patience, he also has need of
Pure unruffled tranquil thoughts and an intellect honest;
For to the nourishing earth few seeds at a time he entrusteth,
Few are the creatures he keeps at a time, with a view to their breeding,
For what is Useful alone remains the first thought of his lifetime.
Happy the man to whom Nature a mind thus attuned may have given!
'Tis by him that we all are fed. And happy the townsman
Of the small town who unites the vocations of town and of country.
He is exempt from the pressure by which the poor farmer is worried,
Is not perplex'd by the citizens' cares and soaring ambition,
Who, with limited means,--especially women and maidens,--
Think of nothing but aping the ways of the great and the wealthy,
You should therefore bless your son's disposition so peaceful,
And the like-minded wife whom we soon may expect him to marry.

Thus he spoke. At that moment the mother and son stood before them.
By the hand she led him and placed him in front of her husband
'Father,' she said, 'how often have we, when talking together,
Thought of that joyful day in the future, when Hermann, selecting
After long waiting his bride at length would make us both happy!
All kinds of projects we form'd. designing first one, then another
Girl as his wife, as we talk'd in the manner that parents delight in.
Now the day has arrived; and now has his bride been conducted
Hither and shown him by Heaven; his heart at length has decided.
Were we not always saying that he should choose for himself, and
Were you not lately wishing that he might feel for a maiden
Warm and heart-felt emotions? And now has arrived the right moment!
Yes, he has felt and has chosen, and like a man has decided.
That fair maiden it is, the Stranger whom he encounter'd.
Give her him; else he'll remain--he has sworn it--unmarried for ever.'

And the son added himself:--'My father, O give her! My heart has
Chosen purely and truly: she'll make you an excellent daughter.'

But the father was silent. Then suddenly rose the good pastor,
And address'd him as follows:--' One single moment's decisive
Both of the life of a man, and of the whole of his Future.
After lengthen'd reflection, each resolution made by him
Is but the work of a moment; the prudent alone seize the right one.
Nothing more dangerous is, in making a choice, than revolving
First this point and then that, and so confusing the feelings.
Pure is Hermann's mind; from his youth I have known him; he never,
Even in boyhood, was wont to extend his hand hither and thither.
What he desired, was suitable to him; he held to it firmly.
Be not astonish'd and scared, because there appears on a sudden
What you so long have desired. 'Tis true the appearance at present
Bears not the shape of the wish, as you in your mind had conceived it.
For our wishes conceal the thing that we wish for; our gifts too
Come from above upon us, each clad in its own proper figure.
Do not now mistake the maiden who has succeeded
First in touching the heart of your good wise son, whom you love so.
Happy is he who is able to clasp the hand of his first love,
And whose dearest wish is not doom'd to pine in his bosom!
Yes, I can see by his face, already his fate is decided;
True affection converts the youth to a man in a moment.
He little changeable is; I fear me, if this you deny him,
All the fairest years of his life will be changed into sorrow.'

Then in prudent fashion the druggist, who long had been wanting
His opinion to give, rejoin'd in the following manner
'This is Just a case when the middle course is the wisest!
'Hasten slowly,' you know, was the motto of Caesar Augustus.
I am always ready to be of use to my neighbours,
And to turn to their profit what little wits I can boast of.
Youth especially needs the guidance of those who are older.
Let me then depart; I fain would prove her, that maiden,
And will examine the people 'mongst whom she lives, and who know her.
I am not soon deceived; I know how to rate their opinions.'

Then forthwith replied the son, with eagerness speaking:--
'Do so, neighbour, and go, make your inquiries. However,
I should greatly prefer that our friend, the pastor, went with you;
Two such excellent men are witnesses none can find fault with.
O, my father! the maiden no vagabond is, I assure you,
No mere adventurer, wand'ring about all over the country,
And deceiving the inexperienced youths with her cunning;
No! the harsh destiny link'd with this war, so destructive of all things,
Which is destroying the world, and already has wholly uprooted
Many a time-honour'd fabric, has driven the poor thing to exile.
Are not brave men of noble birth now wand'ring in mis'ry?
Princes are fleeing disguised, and monarchs in banishment living.
Ah, and she also herself, the best of her sisters, is driven
Out of her native land; but her own misfortunes forgetting,
Others she seeks to console, and, though helpless, is also most helpful.
Great are the woes and distress which over the earth's face are brooding,
But may happiness not be evoked from out of this sorrow?
May not I, in the arms of my bride, the wife I have chosen,
Even rejoice at the war, as you at the great conflagration?'

Then replied the father, and open'd his mouth with importance:--
'Strangely indeed, my son, has your tongue been suddenly loosen'd,
Which for years has stuck in your mouth, and moved there but rarely
I to-day must experience that which threatens each father:
How the ardent will of a son a too-gentle mother
Willingly favours, whilst each neighbour is ready to back him,
Only provided it be at the cost of a father or husband!
But what use would it be to resist so many together?
For I see that defiance and tears will otherwise greet me.
Go and prove her, and in God's name then hasten to bring her
Home as my daughter; if not, he must think no more of the maiden.'

Thus spake the father. The son exclaim'd with jubilant gesture
'Ere the ev'ning arrives, you shall have the dearest of daughters,
Such as the man desires whose bosom is govern'd by prudence
And I venture to think the good creature is fortunate also.
Yes, she will ever be grateful that I her father and mother
Have restored her in you, as sensible children would wish it.
But I will loiter no longer; I'll straightway harness the horses,
And conduct our friends on the traces of her whom I love so,
Leave the men to themselves and their own intuitive wisdom,
And be guided alone by their decision--I swear it,--
And not see the maiden again, until she my own is.'
Then he left the house; meanwhile the others were eagerly
Settling many a point, and the weighty matter debating.

Hermann sped to the stable forthwith, where the spirited stallions
Tranquilly stood and with eagerness swallow'd the pure oats before them,
And the well-dried hay, which was cut from the best of their meadows.
Then in eager haste in their mouths the shining bits placed he,
Quickly drew the harness through the well-plated buckles,
And then fastend the long broad reins in proper position,
Led the horses out in the yard, where already the carriage,
Easily moved along by its pole, had been push'd by the servant.
Then they restrain'd the impetuous strength of the fast-moving horses,
Fastening both with neat-looking ropes to the bar of the carriage.
Hermann seized his whip, took his seat, and drove to the gateway.
When in the roomy carriage his friends had taken their places,
Swiftly he drove away, and left the pavement behind them,
Left behind the walls of the town and the clean-looking towers,
Thus sped Hermann along, till he reach'd the familiar highway,
Not delaying a moment, and galloping uphill and downhill.
When however at length the village steeple descried he,
And not far away lay the houses surrounded by gardens,
He began to think it was time to hold in the horses.

By the time-honour'd gloom of noble lime-trees o'er shadow'd,
Which for many a century past on the spot had been rooted,
Stood there a green and spreading grass-plot in front of the village,
Cover'd with turf, for the peasants and neighbouring townsmen a playground.
Scooped out under the trees, to no great depth, stood a fountain.
On descending the steps, some benches of stone might be seen there,
Ranged all around the spring, which ceaselessly well'd forth its waters,
Cleanly, enclosed by a low wall all round, and convenient to draw from.
Hermann then determined beneath the shadow his horses
With the carriage to stop. He did so, and spoke then as follows
'Now, my friends, get down, and go by yourselves to discover
Whether the maiden is worthy to have the hand which I offer.
I am convinced that she is; and you'll bring me no new or strange story:
Had I to manage alone, I would straightway go off to the village,
And in few words should my fate by the charming creature be settled.

Her you will easily recognize 'mongst all the rest of the people,
For her appearance is altogether unlike that of others.
But I will now describe the modest dress she is wearing:--
First a bodice red her well-arch'd bosom upraises,
Prettily tied, while black are the stays fitting closely around her.
Then the seams of the ruff she has carefully plaited and folded,
Which with modest grace, her chin so round is encircling.
Free and joyously rises her head with its elegant oval,
Strongly round bodkins of silver her back-hair is many times twisted
Her blue well-plaited gown begins from under her bodice.
And as she walks envelopes her well-turn'd ankles completely.
But I have one thing to say, and this must expressly entreat you:
Do not speak to the maiden, and let not your scheme be discover'd.
But inquire of others, and hearken to all that they tell you,
When you have learnt enough to satisfy father and mother,
Then return to me straight, and we'll settle future proceedings.
This is the plan which I have matured, while driving you hither.'

Thus he spoke, and the friends forthwith went on to the village,
Where, in gardens and barns and houses, the multitude crowded;
All along the broad road the numberless carts were collected,
Men were feeding the lowing cattle and feeding the horses.
Women on every hedge the linen were carefully drying,
Whilst the children in glee were splashing about in the streamlet.
Forcing their way through the waggons, and past the men and the cattle,
Walk'd the ambassador spies, looking well to the righthand and lefthand,
Hoping somewhere to see the form of the well-described maiden;
But wherever they look'd, no trace of the girl they discover'd.

Presently denser became the crowd. Round some of the waggons.
Men in a passion were quarrelling, women also were screaming.
Then of a sudden approach'd an aged man with firm footstep
Marching straight up to the fighters; and forthwith was hush'd the contention,
When he bade them be still, and with fatherly earnestness threaten'd.
'Are we not yet,' he exclaim'd, 'by misfortune so knitted together,
As to have learnt at length the art of reciprocal patience
And toleration, though each cannot measure the actions of others?
Prosperous men indeed may quarrel! Will sorrow not teach you
How no longer as formerly you should quarrel with brethren?
Each should give way to each other, when treading the soil of the stranger,
And, as you hope for mercy yourselves, you should share your possessions.'

Thus the man address'd them, and all were silent. In peaceful
Humour the reconciled men look'd after their cattle and waggons.
When the pastor heard the man discourse in this fashion,
And the foreign magistrate's peaceful nature discovered,
He approach'd him in turn, and used this significant language
'Truly, Father, when nations are living in days of good fortune,
Drawing their food from the earth, which gladly opens its treasures,
And its wish'd-for gifts each year and each month is renewing,
Then all matters go smoothly; each thinks himself far the wisest,
And the best, and so they exist by the side of each other,
And the most sensible man no better than others is reckon'd
For the world moves on, as if by itself and in silence.
But when distress unsettles our usual manner of living,
Pulls down each time-honour'd fabric, and roots up the seed in our gardens,
Drives the man and his wife far away from the home they delight in,
Hurries them off in confusion through days and nights full of anguish,
Ah! then look we around in search of the man who is wisest,
And no longer in vain he utters his words full of wisdom.
Tell me whether you be these fugitives' magistrate, Father,
Over whose minds you appear to possess such an influence soothing?
Aye, to-day I could deem you one of the leaders of old time,
Who through wastes and through deserts conducted the wandering people;
I could imagine 'twas Joshua I am addressing, or Moses.'

Then with solemn looks the magistrate answer'd as follows
'Truly the present times resemble the strangest of old times,
Which are preserved in the pages of history, sacred or common.
He in these days who has lived to-day and yesterday only,
Many a year has lived, events so crowd on each other.
When I reflect back a little, a grey old age I could fancy
On my head to be lying, and yet my strength is still active.
Yes, we people in truth may liken ourselves to those others
Unto whom in a fiery bush appear'd, in a solemn
Moment, the Lord our God; in fire and clouds we behold him.'

When the pastor would fain continue to speak on this subject,
And was anxious to learn the fate of the man and his party,
Quickly into his ear his companion secretly whisper'd
'Speak for a time with the magistrate, turning your talk on the maiden,
Whilst I wander about, endeav'ring to find her. Directly
I am successful, I'll join you again.' Then nodded the pastor,
And the spy went to seek her, in barns and through hedges and gardens.

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John Dryden

Sigismond And Guiscardo. From Boccace

While Norman Tancred in Salerno reigned,
The title of a gracious Prince he gained;
Till turned a tyrant in his latter days,
He lost the lustre of his former praise,
And from the bright meridian where he stood
Descending dipped his hands in lovers' blood.

This Prince, of Fortune's favour long possessed,
Yet was with one fair daughter only blessed;
And blessed he might have been with her alone,
But oh! how much more happy had he none!
She was his care, his hope, and his delight,
Most in his thought, and ever in his sight:
Next, nay beyond his life, he held her dear;
She lived by him, and now he lived in her.
For this, when ripe for marriage, he delayed
Her nuptial bands, and kept her long a maid,
As envying any else should share a part
Of what was his, and claiming all her heart.
At length, as public decency required,
And all his vassals eagerly desired,
With mind averse, he rather underwent
His people's will than gave his own consent.
So was she torn, as from a lover's side,
And made, almost in his despite, a bride.

Short were her marriage joys; for in the prime
Of youth, her lord expired before his time;
And to her father's court in little space
Restored anew, she held a higher place;
More loved, and more exalted into grace.
This Princess, fresh and young, and fair and wise,
The worshipped idol of her father's eyes,
Did all her sex in every grace exceed,
And had more wit beside than women need.

Youth, health, and ease, and most an amorous mind,
To second nuptials had her thoughts inclined;
And former joys had left a secret string behind.
But, prodigal in every other grant,
Her sire left unsupplied her only want,
And she, betwixt her modesty and pride,
Her wishes, which she could not help, would hide.

Resolved at last to lose no longer time,
And yet to please her self without a crime,
She cast her eyes around the court, to find
A worthy subject suiting to her mind,
To him in holy nuptials to be tied,
A seeming widow, and a secret bride.
Among the train of courtiers, one she found
With all the gifts of bounteous nature crowned,
Of gentle blood, but one whose niggard fate
Had set him far below her high estate:
Guiscard his name was called, of blooming age,
Now squire to Tancred, and before his page:
To him, the choice of all the shining crowd,
Her heart the noble Sigismonda vowed.

Yet hitherto she kept her love concealed,
And with close glances every day beheld
The graceful youth; and every day increased
The raging fire that burned within her breast;
Some secret charm did all his acts attend,
And what his fortune wanted hers could mend;
Till, as the fire will force its outward way,
Or, in the prison pent, consume the prey,
So long her earnest eyes on his were set,
At length their twisted rays together met;
And he, surprised with humble joy, surveyed
One sweet regard, shot by the royal maid.
Not well assured, while doubtful hopes he nursed,
A second glance came gliding like the first;
And he, who saw the sharpness of the dart,
Without defence received it in his heart.
In public, though their passion wanted speech,
Yet mutual looks interpreted for each:
Time, ways, and means of meeting were denied,
But all those wants ingenious Love supplied.
The inventive god, who never fails his part,
Inspires the wit when once he warms the heart.

When Guiscard next was in the circle seen,
Where Sigismonda held the place of queen,
A hollow cane within her hand she brought,
But in the concave had enclosed a note;
With this she seemed to play, and, as in sport,
Tossed to her love in presence of the court;
'Take it,' she said, 'and when your needs require,
'This little brand will serve to light your fire.'
He took it with a bow, and soon divined
The seeming toy was not for nought designed:
But when retired, so long with curious eyes
He viewed the present, that he found the prize.
Much was in little writ; and all conveyed
With cautious care, for fear to be betrayed
By some false confident or favourite maid.
The time, the place, the manner how to meet,
Were all in punctual order plainly writ:
But since a trust must be, she thought it best
To put it out of laymen's power at least,
And for their solemn vows prepared a priest.

Guiscard, her secret purpose understood,
With joy prepared to meet he coming good;
Nor pains nor danger was resolved to spare,
But use the means appointed by the fair.

Near the proud palace of Salerno stood
A mount of rough ascent, and thick with wood;
Through this cave was dug with vast expense,
The work it seemed of some suspicious Prince,
Who, when abusing power with lawless might,
From public justice would secure his flight.
The passage made by many a winding way,
Reached even the room in which the tyrant lay,
Fit for his purpose; on a lower floor,
He lodged, whose issue was an iron door,
From whence by stairs descending to the ground,
In the blind grot a safe retreat he found.
Its outlet ended in a brake o'ergrown
With brambles, choked by time, and now unknown.
A rift there was, which from the mountain's height
Conveyed a glimmering and malignant light,
A breathing-place to draw the damps away,
A twilight of an intercepted day.
The tyrant's den, whose use, though lost to fame,
Was now the apartment of the royal dame;
The cavern, only to her father known,
By him was to his darling daughter shown.

Neglected long she let the secret rest,
Till love recalled it to her labouring breast,
And hinted as the way by Heaven designed
The teacher by the means he taught to blind.
What will not women do, when need inspires
Their wit, or love their inclination fires!
Though jealousy of state the invention found,
Yet love refined upon the former ground.
That way the tyrant had reserved, to fly
Pursuing hate, now served to bring two lovers nigh.

The dame, who long in vain had kept the key,
Bold by desire, explored the secret way;
Now tried the stairs, and wading through the night,
Searched all the deep recess, and issued into light.
All this her letter had so well explained,
The instructed youth might compass what remained;
The cavern-mouth alone was hard to find,
Because the path disused was out of mind:
But in what quarter of the cops it lay,
His eye by certain level could survey:
Yet (for the wood perplexed with thorns he knew)
A frock of leather o'er his limbs he drew;
And thus provided searched the brake around,
Till the choked entry of the cave he found.

Thus all prepared, the promised hour arrived,
So long expected, and so well contrived:
With love to friend, the impatient lover went,
Fenced from the thorns, and trod the deep descent.
The conscious priest, who was suborned before,
Stood ready posted at the postern-door;
The maids in distant rooms were sent to rest,
And nothing wanted but the invited guest.
He came, and, knocking thrice, without delay
The longing lady heard, and turned the key;
At once invaded him with all her charms,
And the first step he made was in her arms:
The leathern outside, boistrous as it was,
Gave way, and bent beneath her strict embrace:
On either side the kisses flew so thick,
That neither he nor she had breath to speak.
The holy man, amazed at what he saw,
Made haste to sanctify the bliss by law;
And muttered fast the matrimony o'er,
For fear committed sin should get before.
His work performed, he left the pair alone,
Because he knew he could not go too soon;
His presence odious, when his task was done.
What thoughts he had beseems not me to say,
Though some surmise he went to fast and pray,
And needed both to drive the tempting thoughts away.

The foe once gone, they took their full delight;
'Twas restless rage and tempest all the night;
For greedy love each moment would employ,
And grudged the shortest pauses of their joy.

Thus were their loves auspiciously begun,
And thus with secret care were carried on,
The stealth it self did appetite restore,
And looked so like a sin, it pleased the more.

The cave was now become a common way,
The wicket, often opened, knew the key.
Love rioted secure, and, long enjoyed,
Was ever eager, and was never cloyed.

But as extremes are short, of ill and good,
And tides the highest mark regorge the flood;
So Fate, that could no more improve their joy,
Took a malicious pleasure to destroy.

Tancred, who fondly loved, and whose delight
Was placed in his fair daughter's daily sight,
Of custom, when his state affairs were done,
Would pass his pleasing hours with her alone;
And, as a father's privilege allowed,
Without attendance of the officious crowd.

It happened once, that when in heat of day
He tried to sleep, as was his usual way,
The balmy slumber fled his wakeful eyes,
And forced him, in his own despite, to rise:
Of sleep forsaken, to relieve his care,
He sought the conversation of the fair;
But with her train of damsels she was gone,
In shady walks the scorching heat to shun:
He would not violate that sweet recess,
And found besides a welcome heaviness
That seized his eyes; and slumber, which forgot,
When called before, to come, now came unsought.
From light retired, behind his daughter's bed,
He for approaching sleep composed his head;
A chair was ready, for that use designed,
So quilted that he lay at ease reclined;
The curtains closely drawn, the light to screen,
As if he had contrived to lie unseen:
Thus covered with an artificial night,
Sleep did his office soon, and sealed his sight.

With Heaven averse, in this ill-omened hour
Was Guiscard summoned to the secret bower,
And the fair nymph, with expectation fired,
From her attending damsels was retired:
For, true to love, she measured time so right
As not to miss one moment of delight.
The garden, seated on the level floor,
She left behind, and locking every door,
Thought all secure; but little did she know,
Blind to her fate, she had enclosed her foe.
Attending Guiscard in his leathern frock
Stood ready, with his thrice repeated knock:
Thrice with a doleful sound the jarring grate
Rung deaf and hollow, and presaged their fate.
The door unlocked, to known delight they haste,
And panting, in each other's arms embraced,
Rush to the conscious bed, a mutual freight,
And heedless press it with their wonted weight.

The sudden bound awaked the sleeping sire,
And showed a sight no parent can desire;
His opening eyes at once with odious view
The love discovered, and the lover knew:
He would have cried; but, hoping that he dreamt,
Amazement tied his tongue, and stopped the attempt.
The ensuing moment all the truth declared,
But now he stood collected and prepared;
For malice and revenge had put him on his guard.

So, like a lion that unheeded lay,
Dissembling sleep, and watchful to betray,
With inward rage he meditates his prey.
The thoughtless pair, indulging their desires,
Alternate kindled and then quenched their fires;
Nor thinking in the shades of death they played,
Full of themselves, themselves alone surveyed,
And, too secure, were by themselves betrayed.
Long time dissolved in pleasure thus they lay,
Till nature could no more suffice their play;
Then rose the youth, and through the cave again
Returned; the princess mingled with her train.

Resolved his unripe vengeance to defer,
The royal spy, when now the coast was clear,
Sought not the garden, but retired unseen,
To brood in secret on his gathered spleen,
And methodize revenge: to death he grieved;
And, but he saw the crime, had scarce believed.
The appointment for the ensuing night he heard;
And, therefore, in the cavern had prepared
Two brawny yeoman of his trusty guard.

Scarce had unwary Guiscard set his foot
Within the farmost entrance of the grot,
When these in secret ambush ready lay,
And, rushing on the sudden, seized the prey.
Encumbered with his frock, without defence,
An easy prize, they led the prisoner thence,
The gloomy sire, too sensible of wrong
To vent his rage in words, restrained his tongue,
And only said, 'Thus servants are preferred
'And trusted, thus their sovereigns they reward:
'Had I not seen, had not these eyes received
'Too clear a proof, I could not have believed.'

He paused, and choked the rest. The youth, who saw
His forfeit life abandoned to the law,
The judge the accuser, and the offence to him,
Who had both power and will to avenge the crime,
No vain defence prepared, but thus replied:
'The faults of Love by Love are justified;
'With unresisted might the monarch reigns,
'He levels mountains and he raises plains,
'And, not regarding difference of degree,
'Abased your daughter and exalted me.'

This bold return with seeming patience heard,
The prisoner was remitted to the guard.
But lonely walking by a winking night,
Sobbed, wept, and groaned, and beat his withered breast,
But would not violate his daughter's rest;
Who long expecting lay, for bliss prepared,
Listening for noise, and grieved that none she heard;
Oft rose, and oft in vain employed the key,
And oft accused her lover of delay,
And passed the tedious hours in anxious thoughts away.

The morrow came; and at his usual hour
Old Tancred visited his daughter's bower;
Her cheek (for such his custom was) he kissed,
Then blessed her kneeling, and her maids dismissed.
The royal dignity thus far maintained,
Now left in private, he no longer feigned;
But all at once his grief and rage appeared,
And floods of tears ran trickling down his beard.

'O Sigismonda,' he began to say;
Thrice he began, and thrice was forced to stay,
Till words with often trying found their way;
'I thought, O Sigismonda, (but how blind
'Are parents' eyes their children's faults to find!)
'Thy virtue, birth, and breeding were above
'A mean desire, and vulgar sense of love;
'Nor less than sight and hearing could convince
'So fond a father, and so just a Prince,
'Of such an unforeseen and unbelieved offece:
'Then what indignant sorrow must I have,
'To see thee lie subjected to my slave!
'A man so smelling of the people's lee,
'The court received him first for charity;
'And since with no degree of honour graced,
'But only suffered where he first was placed;
'A grovelling insect still; and so designed
'By nature's hand, nor born of noble kind;
'A thing by neither man nor woman prized,
'And scarcely known enough to be despised:
'To what has Heaven reserved my age? Ah! why
'Should man, when nature calls, not choose to die;
'Rather than stretch the span of life, to find
'Such ills as Fate has wisely cast behind,
'For those to feel, whom fond desire to live
'Makes covetous of more than life can give!
'Each has his share of good; and when 'tis gone
'The guest, though hungry, cannot rise too soon.
'But I, expecting more, in my own wrong
'Protracting life, have lived a day too long.
'If yesterday could be recalled again,
'Even now would I conclude my happy reign;
'But 'tis too late, my glorious race is run,
'And a dark cloud o'ertakes my setting sun.
'Hadst thou not loved, or loving saved the shame,
'If not the sin, by some illustrious name,
'This little comfort had relieved my mind,
''Twas frailty, not unusual to thy kind:
'But thy low fall beneath thy royal blood
'Shows downward appetite to mix with mud.
'Thus not the least excuse is left for thee,
'Nor the least refuge for unhappy me.

'For him I have resolved: whom by surprise
'I took, and scarce can call it, in disguise;
'For such was his attire, as, with intent
'Of nature, suited to his mean descent:
'The harder question yet remains behind,
'What pains a parent and a prince can find
'To punish an offence of this degenerate kind.

'As I have loved, and yet I love thee more
'Than ever father loved a child before;
'So that indulgence draws me to forgive:
'Nature, that gave thee life, would have thee live,
'But, as a public parent of the state,
'My justice and thy crime requires thy fate.
'Fain would I choose a middle course to steer;
'Nature's too kind, and justice too severe:
'Speak for us both, and to the balance bring
'On either side the father and the king.
'Heaven knows, my heart is bent to favour thee;
'Make it but scanty weight, and leave the rest to me.'

Here stopping with a sigh, he poured a flood
Of tears, to make his last expression good.
She who had heard him speak, nor saw alone
The secret conduct of her love was known,
But he was taken who her soul possessed,
Felt all the pangs of sorrow in her breast:
And little wanted, but a woman's heart
With cries and tears had testified her smart,
But inborn worth, that fortune can control,
New strung and stiffer bent her softer soul;
The heroine assumed the woman's place,
Confirmed her mind, and fortified her face:
Why should she beg, or what could she pretend,
When her stern father had condemned her friend!
Her life she might have had; but her despair
Of saving his had put it past her care:
Resolved on fate, she would not lose her breath,
But, rather than not die, solicit death.
Fixed on this thought, she, not as women use,
Her fault by common frailty would excuse;
But boldly justified her innocence,
And while the fact was owned, denied the offence:
Then with dry eyes, and with an open look,
She met his glance midway, and thus undaunted spoke:

'Tancred, I neither am disposed to make
'Request for life, nor offered life to take;
'Much less deny the deed; but least of all
'Beneath pretended justice weakly fall.
'My words to sacred truth shall be confined,
'My deeds shall show the greatness of my mind.
'That I have loved, I own; that still I love
'I call to witness all the powers above:
'Yet more I own; to Guiscard's love I give
'The small remaining time I have to live;
'And if beyond this life desire can be,
'Not Fate it self shall set my passion free.

'This first avowed, nor folly warped my mind,
'Nor the frail texture of the female kind
'Betrayed my virtue; for too well I knew
'What honour was, and honour had his due:
'Before the holy priest my vows were tied,
'So came I not a strumpet, but a bride:
'This for my fame, and for the public voice;
'Yet more, his merits justified my choic:
'Which had they not, the first election thine,
'That bond dissolved, the next is freely mine;
'Or grant I erred (which yet I must deny),
'Had parents power even second vows to tie,
'Thy little care to mend my widowed nights
'Has forced me to recourse of marriage rites,
'To fill an empty side, and follow known delights.
'What have I done in this, deserving blame?
'State-laws may alter: Nature's are the same;
'Those are usurped on helpless woman-kind,
'Made without our consent, and wanting power to bind.

'Thou, Tancred, better shouldst have understood,
'That, as thy father gave thee flesh and blood,
'So gavest thou me: not from the quarry hewed,
'But of a softer mould, with a sense endued;
'Even softer than thy own, of suppler kind,
'More exquisite of taste, and more than man refined.
'Nor needst thou by thy daughter to be told,
'Though now thy sprightly blood with age be cold,
'Thou hast been young: and canst remember still,
'That when thou hadst the power, thou hadst the will:
'And from the past experience of thy fires,
'Canst tell with what a tide our strong desires
'Come rushing on in youth, and what their rage requires.

'And grant thy youth was exercised in arms,
'When love no leisure found for softer charms,
'My tender age in luxury was trained,
'With idle ease and pageants entertained;
'My hours my own, my pleasures unrestrained.
'So bred, no wonder if I took the bent
'That seemed even warranted by thy consent,
'For, when the father is too fondly kind,
'Such seed he sows, such harvest shall he find.
'Blame then thy self, as reason's law requires,
'(Since nature gave, and thou fomentst my fires);
'If still those appetites continue strong,
'Thou mayest consider I am yet but young.
'Consider too that, having been a wife,
'I must have tasted of a better life,
'And am not to be blamed, if I renew
'By lawful means the joys which then I knew.
'Where was the crime, if pleasure I procured,
'Young, and a woman, and to bliss enured?
'That was my case, and this is my defence:
'I pleased my self, I shunned incontinence,
'And, urged by strong desires, indulged my sense.

'Left to my self, I must avow, I strove
'And, well acquainted with thy native pride,
'Endeavoured what I could not help to hide,
'For which a woman's wit an easy way supplied.
'How this, so well contrived, so closely laid,
'Was known to thee, or by what chance betrayed,
'Is not my care; to please thy pride alone,
'I could have wished it had been still unknown.

'Nor took I Guiscard, by blind fancy led
'Or hasty choice, as many women wed;
'But with deliberate care, and ripened thought,
'At leisure first designed, before I wrought:
'On him I rested after long debate,
'And not without considering fixed my fate:
'His flame was equal, though by mine inspired:
'(For so the difference of our birth required):
'Had he been born like me, like me his love
'Had first begun what mine was forced to move:
'But thus beginning, thus we preserve;
'Our passions yet continue what they were,
'Nor length of trial makes our joys the less sincere.

'At this my choice, though not by thine allowed,
'(Thy judgement herding with the common crowd,)
'Dost less the merit than the man esteem.
'Too sharply, Tancred, by thy pride betrayed,
'Hast thou against the laws of kind inveighed;
'For all the offence is in opinion placed,
'Which deems high birth by lowly choice debased.
'This thought alone with fury fires thy breast,
'(For holy marriage justifies the rest,)
'That I have sunk the glories of the state,
'And mixed my blood with a plebeian mate:
'In which I wonder thou shouldst oversee
'Superior causes, or impute to me
'The fault of Fortune, or the Fates' decree.
'Or call it Heaven's imperial power alone,
'Which moves on springs of justice, though unknown.
'Yet this we see, though ordered for the best,
'The bad exalted, and the good oppressed;
'Permitted laurels grace the lawless brow,
'The unworthy raised, the worthy cast below.

'But leaving that: search we the secret springs,
'And backward trace the principles of things;
'There shall we find, that when the world began,
'One common mass composed the mould of man;
'One paste of flesh on all degrees bestowed,
'And kneaded up alike with moistening blood.
'The same Almighty Power inspired the frame
'With kindled life, and formed the souls the same:
'The faculties of intellect and will
'Dispensed with equal hand, disposed with equal skill,
'Like liberty indulged with choice of good or ill.
'Thus born alike, from virtue first began
'The diffidence that distinguished man from man:
'He claimed no title from descent of blood,
'But that which made him noble made him good.
'Warmed with more particles of heavenly flame,
'He winged his upward flight, and soared to fame;
'The rest remained below, a tribe without a name.

'This law, though custom now diverts the course,
'As Nature's institute, is yet in force;
'Uncancelled, though disused; and he, whose mind
'Is virtuous, is alone of noble kind;
'Though poor in fortune, of celestial race;
'And he commits the crime who calls him base.

'Now lay the line; and measure all thy court
'By inward virtue, not external port,
'And find whom justly to prefer above
'The man on whom my judgement placed my love;
'So shalt thou see his parts and person shine,
'And thus compared, the rest a base degenerate line.
'Nor took I, when I first surveyed thy court,
'His valour or his virtues on report;
'But trustd what I ought to trust alone,
'Relying on thy eyes, and not my own;
'Thy praise (and thine was then the public voice)
'First recommended Guiscard to my choice:
'Directed thus by thee, I looked, and found
'A man I thought deserving to be crowned!
'First by my father pointed to my sight,
'Nor less conspicuous by his native light;
'His mind, his mien, the features of his face,
'Excelling all the rest of human race:
'These were thy thoughts, and thou couldst judge aright,
'Till interest made a jaundice in thy sight.

'Or should I grant thou didst not rightly see,
'Then thou wert first deceived, and I deceived by thee.
'But if thou shalt allege, through pride of mind,
'Thy blood with one of base condition joined,
''Tis false; for 'tis not baseness to be poor:
'His poverty augments thy crime the more;
'Upbraid thy justice with the scant regard
'Of worth; whom princes praise, they should reward.
'Are these the kings entrusted by the crowd
'With wealth, to be dispensed for common good?
'The people sweat not for their king's delight,
'To enrich a pimp, or raise a parasite;
'Theirs is the toil; and he who well has served
'His country, has his country's wealth deserved.

'Even mighty monarchs oft are meanly born,
'And kings by birth to lowest rank return;
'All subject to the power of giddy chance,
'For Fortune can depress, or can advance;
'But true nobility is of the mind,
'Not given by chance, and not to chance resigned.

'For the remaining doubt of thy decree,
'What to resolve, and how dispose of me,
'Be warned to cast that useless care aside,
'My self alone will for my self provide.
'If in thy doting and decrepit age,
'Thy soul, a stranger in thy youth to rage,
'Begins in cruel deeds to take delight,
'Gorge with my blood thy barbarous appetite;
'For I so little am disposed to pray
'For life, I would not cast a wish away.
'Such as it is, the offence is all my own;
'And what to Guiscard is already done,
'Or to be done, is doomed by thy decree,
'That, if not executed first by thee,
'Shall on my person be performed by me.

'Away! with women weep, and leave me here,
'Fixed, like a man, to die without a tear;
'Or save or slay us both this present hour,
''Tis all that Fate has left within thy power.'
She said; nor did her father fail to find
In all she spoke the greatness of her mind;
Yet thought she was not obstinate to die,
Nor deemed the death she promised was so nigh:
Secure in this belief, he left the dame,
Resolved to spare her life, and save her shame;
But that detested object to remove,
To wreak his vengeance, and to cure her love.

Intent on this, a secret order signed
The death of Guiscard to his guards enjoined;
Strangling was chosen, and the night the time;
A mute revenge, and blind as was the crime:
His faithful heart, a bloody sacrifice,
Torn from his breast, to glut the tyrant's eyes,
Closed the severe command; for, slaves to pay,
What kings decree the soldier must obey:
Waged against foes, and, when the wars are o'er,
Fit only to maintain despotic power;
Dangerous to freedom, and desired alone
By kings, who seek an arbitrary throne.
Such were these guards; as ready to have slain
The Prince him self, allured with greater gain;
So was the charge performed with better will,
By men enured to blood, and exercised in ill.

Now, though the sullen sire had eased his mind,
The pomp of his revenge was yet behind,
A goblet rich with gems, and rough with gold,
Of depth and breadth the precious pledge to hold,
With cruel care he chose; the hollow part
Enclosed, the lid concealed the lover's heart.
Then of his trusted mischiefs one he sent,
And bad him, with these words, the gift present:
'Thy father sends thee this to cheer thy breast,
'And glad thy sight with what thou lovest the best,
'As thou hast pleased his eyes, and joyed his mind,
'With what he loved the most of human kind.'

Ere this, the royal dame, who well had weighed
The consequence of what her sire had said,
Fixed on her fate, against the expected hour,
Procured the means to have it in her power;
For this she had distilled with early care
The juice of simples friendly to despair,
A magazine of death, and thus prepared,
Secure to die, the fatal message heard:
Then smiled severe; nor with a troubled look,
Or trembling hand, the funeral present took;
Even kept her countenance, when the lid removed
Disclosed her heart, unfortunately loved.
She needed not to be told within whose breast
It lodged; the message had explained the rest.
Or not amazed, or hiding her surprise,
She sternly on the bearer fixed her eyes;
Then thus: 'Tell Tancred, on his daughter's part,
'The gold, though precious, equals not the heart;
'But he did well to give his best; and I,
'Who wished a worthier urn, forgive his poverty.'

At this she curbed a groan, that else had come,
And pausing, viewed the present in the tomb;
Then to the heart adored devoutly glued
Her lips, and raising it, her speech renewed:
'Even from my day of birth, to this, the bound
'Of my unhappy being, I have found
'My father's care and tenderness expressed;
'But this last act of love excels the rest:
'For this so dear a present, bear him back
'The best return that I can live to make.'

The messenger dispatched, again she viewed
The loved remains, and, sighing, thus pursued:
'Source of my life, and lord of my desires,
'In whom I lived, with whom my soul expires!
'Poor heart, no more the spring of vital heat,
'Cursed be the hands that tore thee from thy seat!
'The course is finished which thy fates decreed,
'And thou from thy corporeal prison freed:
'Soon hast thou reached the goal with mended pace;
'A world of woes dispatched in little space;
'Forced by thy worth, thy foe, in death become
'Thy friend, has lodged thee in a costly tomb.
'There yet remained thy funeral exequies,
'The weeping tribute of thy widow's eyes;
'And those indulgent Heaven has found the way
'That I, before my death, have leave to pay.
'My father even in cruelty is kind,
'Or Heaven has turned the malice of his mind
'To better uses than his hate designed,
'And made the insult, which in his gift appears,
'The means to mourn thee with my pious tears;
'Which I will pay thee down before I go,
'And save myself the pains to weep below,
'If souls can weep. Though once I meant to meet
'My fate with face unmoved, and eyes unwet,
'Yet, since I have thee here in narrow room,
'My tears shall set thee first afloat within thy tomb.
'Then (as I know thy spirit hovers nigh)
'Under thy friendly conduct will I fly
'To regions unexplored, secure to share
'Thy state; nor hell shall punishment appear;
'And Heaven is double Heaven, if thou art there.'

She said. Her brimful eyes, that ready stood,
And only wanted will to weep a flood,
Released their watery store, and poured amain,
Like clouds low hung, a sober shower of rain;
Mute solemn sorrow, free from female noise,
Such as the majesty of grief destroys;
For, bending o'er the cup, the tears she shed
Seemed by the posture to discharge her head,
O'er-filled before; and oft (her mouth applied
To the cold heart) she kissed at once, and cried.
Her maids, who stood amazed, nor knew the cause
Of her complaining, nor whose heart it was,
Yet all dlue measures of her mouring kept,
Did office at the dirge, and by infection swept,
And oft inquired the occasion of her grief,
Unanswered but by sighs, and offered vain relief.
At length, her stock of tears already shed,
She wiped her eyes, she raised her drooping head,
And thus pursued: -- 'O ever faithful heart,
'I have performed the ceremonial part,
'The decencies of grief; it rests behind,
'That, as our bodies were, our souls be joined:
'To thy whate'er abode my shade convey,
'And, as an elder ghost, direct the way!'
She said; and bad the vial to be brought,
Where she before had brewed the deadly draught:
First pouring out the medicinable bane,
The heart her tears had rinsed she bathed again;
Then down her throat the death securely throws,
And quaffs a long oblivion of her woes.

This done, she mounts the genial bed, and there
(Her body first composed with honest care)
Attends the welcome rest; her hands yet hold
Close to her heart the monumental gold;
Nor farther word she spoke, but closed her sight,
And quiet sought the covert of the night.

The damsels, who the while in silence mourned,
Not knowing nor suspecting death suborned,
Yet, as their duty was, to Tancred sent,
Who, conscious of the occasion, feared the event.
Alarmed, and with presaging heart, he came
And drew the curtains, and exposed the dame
To loathsome light; then with a late relief
Made vain efforts to mitigate her grief.
She, what she could, excluding day, her eyes
Kept firmly sealed, and sternly thus replies:

'Tancred, restrain thy tears unsought by me,
'And sorrow unavailing now to thee:
'Did ever man before afflict his mind
'To see the effect of what himself designed?
'Yet, if thou hast remaining in thy heart
'Some sense of love, some unextinguished part
'Of former kindness, largely once professed,
'Let me by that adjure thy hardened breast
'Not to deny thy daughter's last request:
'The secret love which I so long enjoyed,
'And still concealed to gratify thy pride,
'Thou hast disjoined; but, with my dying breath,
'Seek not, I beg thee, to disjoin our death:
'Where'er his corps by thy command is laid,
'Thither let mine in public be conveyed;
'Exposed in open view, and side by side,
'Acknowledged as a bridegroom and a bride.'

The Prince's anguish hindered his reply;
And she, who felt her fate approaching nigh,
Seized the cold heart, and heaving to her breast,
'Here, precious pledge,' she said, 'securely rest.'
These accents were her last; the creeping death
Benumbed her senses first, then stopped her breath.

Thus she for disobedience justly died;
The sire was justly punished for his pride;
The youth, least guilty, suffered for the offence
Of duty violated to his Prince;
Who, late repenting of his cruel deed,
One common sepulchre for both decreed;
Entombed the wretched pair in royal state,
And on their monument inscribed their fate.

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Over the Ranges and Into the West

Let others sing praise of their sea-girted isles,
But give me the bush with its limitless miles;
Then it’s over the ranges and into the West,
To the scenes of wild boyhood; we love them the best.

We’ll ride and we’ll ride from the city afar,
To the plains where the cattle and sheep stations are;
Where stockmen ride hard, and the drover starts forth
On his long, lonely journey ’way up in the North.

When your money is low, and your luck has gone down,
There’s no place so lone as the streets of a town;
There’s nothing but worry, and dread and unrest,
So we’ll over the ranges and into the West.

The drought in the West may spread ruin around,
But the dread drought of life in the city is found;
And I’d far sooner tread on the long dusty way,
Where each one you meet says, “Good day, mate, good day.”

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Over the hills and far away

Over the hills and far away,
A little boy steals from his morning play
And under the blossoming apple-tree
He lies and he dreams of the things to be:
Of battles fought and of victories won,
Of wrongs o'erthrown and of great deeds done -
Of the valor that he shall prove some day,
Over the hills and far away -
Over the hills, and far away!

Over the hills and far away
It's, oh, for the toil the livelong day!
But it mattereth not to the soul aflame
With a love for riches and power and fame!
On, 0 man! while the sun is high -
On to the certain joys that lie
Yonder where blazeth the noon of day,
Over the hills and far away -
Over the hills, and far away!

Over the hills and far away,
An old man lingers at close of day;
Now that his journey is almost done,
His battles fought and his victories won -
The old-time honesty and truth,
The trustfulness and the friends of youth,
Home and mother-where are they?
Over the hills and far away -
Over the years, and far away!

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Cash and Carry

Logistically speaking...
The farce observed is deepening.
Two opponents on the surface,
Are hyped to run to lead.
An ailing country...
With a wounded economy!
A bailout is recommended,
To rescue with loand and credit.
As those who speak publicly...
Tell those who will vote,
How their service connected patriotism
Has them indebted.

Experience is spoken...
As a thought those voting should have.
Plus one is young and black.
Is the country ready for that?
The other is older,
With a look as if a weight is on his shoulders.

While the one selected and picked,
And giving trillions of dollars...
In a secret committment.
To handle how this 'bailout' should fit.
Is much younger than them both.
A thirty-five year old assistant secretary of the treasury.
Who is prepared to cash and carry,
And spend his way through...
While those who have invested their livelihoods,
Will never see a piece of it returned to them
To put in their pockets!
And this sham plays on!

'What are you talking about? '

Another 'kneeling' done.
To have someone unsuspected...
Carry the cash.
Pocket the funds.
Make a few public statements.
Divvy up the goods and run!
Pay attention to the process.
It will avoid the need for becoming stunned.

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Too Many Have Suppressed Their Depressions

Too many have suppressed their depressions.
And had shied away from expressing they are upset.
Protesters seem to be doing their best,
To be civilized with the hiding of their regrets.
With a wish they had not let themselves,
Gather into the streets to protest a greed.
When those homeless and needing to eat,
And a place to sleep...
Should have long ago sent warnings,
How those who are obviously in need...
Could be easily ignored by those who continue,
To feast as if nothing else is noticed.

Too many have suppressed their depressions.
And no longer shy away from expressing they are upset.
Protesters seem to be doing their best,
To be civilized with the hiding of their regrets...
With a wish they had not let themselves,
Gather into the streets to protest a greed.
Believing themselves to be right.
Because they are mostly...
Well,
Fighters for fading entitlements...
That are being erased from their eyesights.

And if this was not happening to them at all,
It would be poverty as usual...
For 'those' people to experience.
You know...
The ones too lazy to get a job.
Or find a decent wage to feed themselves and families.
Under a roof they can afford.
You know...
'Those' people who had never been accepted,
By the whims of 'them' with their selected druthers.

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Only The Ones Who Continually Count Their Blessings

Why is it when one is young,
Aging is something believed...
No one wants to get done.

I've had my share of bouts with doubts.
Praying my advancing age...
Would not be so obvious.
Or in public be announced,
To be shouted out.
As I made attempts not to appear,
Like I was not experiencing a mid-life crisis.

But,
I've earned this.
I had to awaken to admit it!
I've EARN THIS!
Every bit of it and proud.

I have managed to do some things I dared.
With challenges and obstacles,
To prove a faith had pulled me through...
Mucho grief!
With just some of it shared.
Not all.
I don't want to scare the few people I know,
Away!
There's already been an acceptance,
Of my mentioned dysfunctions.
Why blow it on a 'show and tell' demonstration?
Some boundaries should be kept limited.
And imagined.

Why is it when one is young,
Aging is something believed...
No one wants to get done.

I've had my share of bouts with doubts.
Praying my advancing age...
Would not be so obvious.
Or in public be announced,
To be shouted out.
As I made attempts not to appear,
Like I was not experiencing a mid-life crisis.

I use to fear aging before I understood it.
Only the ones who continually count their blessings,
Can appreciate a few aches and pains...
And associate 'that' with being grateful to feel them.

Only the ones who continually count their blessings,
Can appreciate a few aches and pains...
And associate 'that' with being grateful to feel them.

And I'll keep that repeated to myself,
As a reminder.
Sometimes this self motivation business,
Does get old and tired.
But a blessing to live to get done.

You never know who's listening,
When confessions are being made.

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Job Networks and Enlightenment Rooms

The unemployed proletariat had just finished with the Centrelink’s rigmarole,
Of paper forms, and signing his name, and all the stuff the unemployed got to do.
Running around doing the paper chase, which is a part of the dole regime.
Next, it was the Job Networks, the employment organization now privatised.
A new dole treadmill for the unemployed, encouraging an attitude highly industrialized.

“Welcome to Job Network” the t.v. monitor said, on a recorded video machine.
“We are a privatized organization for the purpose of getting you into employment.
We are here to help you to find your talents, and potentials, to improve your
Abilities, so that you can re-enter the work force to have a life of independents.
This is far better than being on welfare forever with your dependants”.

The interviewers in the Job Network office were old grannies,
Complete with false colorings and artificial additives.
“I’m your case manager, I’m assigned to you, and you are here to sign a contract.
The Job Search And Activities Plan and responsibilities and employment to find.
To ensure you’re meeting your obligations to society not to be in your dole grind”.

The granny said.”Under governmental policies your association with us is for all life.”
Granny continued.“There will be no talk-back, yak-back, smart-back nor fart-back.
If we find you to be deficient in abilities, then you have to do a course of some sort.”
The proletariat looked a bit stunned said. “At my age, late forties, it's a bit late.”
Granny said. “It’s never too late to train.” she did not like his mind’s negative state.

The proletariat said to the false colored granny with artificial additives.
“I got a really bum hip, and with it I can't do much, and it seems I can't have a pension.
I’m not 97 per cent dead, nor can I work in a factory any more, it’s quite hopeless.”
Continuing. “I’m 49, over the hill and even at 40 no one is going to hire me any more”.
Granny said. “There’s anti-age-discrimination laws that help’s you in life furthermore.”

The proletariat bemused said. “Funny, I never heard. Daadaa-daatatitit-dududdaada-daaa”
THIS IS THE CHANNEL NINE NEWS, THE MOTORING ORGANIZATION
DISCRIMINATED AGAINST THIS MIDDLE AGED BLOKE FOR A CLERICAL
JOB AND THE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BOARD IS TAKING ACTION.
FURTHERMORE ITS INTOLERABLE THE UNEMPLOYED CANT HAVE TRACTION.

This made grandma very angry, and she looked at the proletariat with contempt.
And said that the proletariat didn't want to work and had a severe attitude problem.
Grandma said it was about time to do a attitude course against negative attitudes.
It was being held in the same building in the “Enlightenment Room” for all dolies.
Grandma said it’s about time that the proletariats guard against their follies.

“Follies? ? I don’t think I have attitudes nor follies” The proletariat said, and continued.
“I lost my job due to imports from India, how can I possibly find work if Australia
Imports everything in untold billions of dollars worth of imported goods.
Further more, Australia has call centres and “IT” jobs in India, sucking all jobs out
Of Australia, so how could I possibly find work, faaarout.

Grandma was starting to become impatient with this proletariat smart arse.
“We have anti-discrimination laws against what you’re saying.”
The proletariat was becoming exasperated with the artificially colored grandma.
“Since we import indiscriminately from all countries around the world relentlessly
I can't see how I’m discriminating against any country, we still import tremendously.

“Right! ” Grandma said. “I’m fed up with your negative attitudes, it is obvious to me.
You do not understand the governments Micro-Macro Economical Reforms,
Nor industrial Labour Reforms, that has been done in recent years to better your life.
You sign your contract or else we will breach you, and then you’ll be on the street.
Also you’ll do this attitude course in the “Enlightenment Room” move your feet! ”


(15/12/04)

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Foma Bobrov And His Spouse

GRANNY Bobrov (Playing patience) Now that's the card. Oh, it's all coming out topsy-turvy! A king. And where am I supposed to put that? Just when you want one, there's never a five around. Oh, I could do with a five! Now it'll be the five. Oh, sod it, another king!

She flings the cards on to the table with such force that a porcelain vase falls off the table and smashes.

GRANNY Oh! Oh! My Gawd! These bloody cards! (She crawls under the table and picks up the pieces). This'll never glue back together again. And it was a good vase, too. You can't get them like that any more. This bit's right over there! (Stretches for the piece. BOBROV enters the room).
BOBROV Granny! Is that you clambering about under the table?
GRANNY Yes, okay, okay. What do you want?
BOBROV I just came to ask you: you wouldn't happen to have a chest of tea?
GRANNY Come on then, give me a hand up from under the table.
BOBROV What have you done, dropped something? Oh, you've broken the vase!
GRANNY (Mimicking him) You've broken the vase!
(BOBROV helps GRANNY up. But as soon as he lets go of her, GRANNY sits back down on the floor).
BOBROV Oh, you're down again!
GRANNY Down, so now what?
BOBROV Let me help you up (Pulls GRANNY up).
GRANNY The cards were going badly. I tried this and that... But don't pull me by the arms, get hold of me under the armpits. All I got, you know, was king after king. I need a five and all the kings keep turning up.
BOBROV lets go of GRANNY and GRANNY again sprawls on the floor.
GRANNY Akh!
BOBROV Oh, Lord! You're down again.
GRANNY What are you on about: down, down! What are you after, anyway?
BOBROV I came to ask if you've a chest of tea.
GRANNY I know that. You've already told me. I don't like listening to the same tale twenty times. The thing is: akh, I'm down again! and a chest of tea. Well, what are you looking at! Get me up, I'm telling you.
BOBROV (Pulling GRANNY up) I'll just, excuse me, put you in the armchair.
GRANNY You'd do better to prattle on a bit less and pull me up in a proper fashion. I meant to tell you, and it almost slipped my mind: you know, that door in my bedroom isn't shutting properly again. No doubt you messed the whole thing up.
BOBROV No, I put a staple on with fillister-head screws.
GRANNY Do you think I know anything about staples and fillister heads? I don't care about all that. I just want the door to shut.
BOBROV It doesn't shut properly because the fillister heads won't stay in the woodwork.
GRANNY That'll do, that'll do. That's your business. I just need to... Akh! (She again sprawls on the floor).
BOBROV Oh, Lord!
GRANNY Have you decided to fling me to the floor deliberately? Decided to have a bit of fun? Oh you useless devil! You're just a useless devil and you might as well clear off!
BOBROV No, Granny, 'onest injun, I just meant to put you in the armchair.
GRANNY Did you hear what I said? I told you to clear out! So why aren't you going? Well, why aren't you going? Do you hear? Clear off out of it! Well? Bugger off! (exits BOBROV)
GRANNY Off! Go on! Away! Bugger off! Talk about a reprobate! (Gets up from the floor and sits in the armchair). And his wife is simply an indecent madam. The madam walks about absolutely starkers and doesn't bat an eyelid, even in front of me, an old woman. She covers her indecent patch with the palm of her hand, and that's the way she walks around. And then she touches bread with that hand at lunchtime. It's simply revolting to watch. She thinks that if she's young and pretty, then she can do anything she likes. And as for herself, the trollop, she never washes herself properly just where she should do. I, she says, like a whiff of woman to come from a woman! And as for me, as soon as I see her coming, I'm straight into the bathroom with the eau de Cologne to my nose. Perhaps it may be nice for men, but as for me, you can spare me that. The shameless hussy! She goes around naked without the slightest embarrassment. And when she sits down she doesn't even keep her legs together properly, so that everything's on show. And -- there, she's well just always wet. She's leaking like that all the time. If you tell her she should go and wash herself, she will say you shouldn't wash there too often and she'll take a handkerchief and just wipe herself. And you're lucky if it's a handkerchief, because just with her hand she smears it all over the place. I never give her my hand, as there's perpetually an indecent smell from her hands. And her breasts are indecent. It's true, they are very fine and bouncy, but they are so big that, in my opinion, they're simply indecent. That's the wife that Foma found for himself! How she ever got round him is beyond me.

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Compassion and Understanding

Compassion and understanding may not remedy an inner city crisis or syndrome of poverty thus crime, divorce, single parent households and despair but it allows the church to not stereotype and judge in a false manner creating more alienation from the very ones we are trying to reach.
When our ideologies use simple maxims and platitudes that are subtly dismissive and condescending of a person a group of people we can actually insult them while we are trying to tell them about the love of Christ. The housing and ethnicity and immigrant levels are much different in a city like Lynn, Massachusetts then say Marblehead or Melrose, Massachusetts. Certain cities like Detroit, Michigan that were dependent on the automobile industry going through major lay offs will be different than other major cities not so affected; it is common sense in many ways. What is not common sense is the way the poverty and discrimination takes place and the way the politics deals with areas needing more help and better policies. Many of these people have lost their health care etc. Many who have lost their jobs by out sourcing are now almost looked at like leeches by the right wing. Many of these people are angry, frustrated and feel truly disenfranchised as they watch the rich given tax breaks and tax shelters. We need to hear them as we witness to them with love and compassion not label them or let superficial perspectives sum up their perspective and turn them away. They may have to forgive but we can't pretend there is nothing to forgive or their complaints and anger has no basis. So many of these people would never make it in a right wing church preaching the evil is over in the Islamic countries. I have been to these entrenched churches of right wing good and evil and they are so superficial. These churches will never preach the land Sabbaths and justice vision of the law of the Old Testament concerning poverty etc. They don't even support Health Care. They are loaded with nationalism and exalt capitalism and refuse to see the truth of Leviticus 25 and 26 and all the laws where a field could only be gleaned 1 time then the rest was for the poor. The laws that returned land back to the original families of the tribes of Israel every fifty years and who ever bought them had to return them to the family. No amassing of land etc. You'll never hear these sermons behind their pulpits. One recently called me a socialist for even talking about them but there in the Bible. Many of these churches say they love Israel but never tell you that the Israeli government of today has one of the best universal Health Care systems in the world. It really is a SHAME!
We actually used words like white trash when I was growing up with the innuendo that some groups of people don't want to better than themselves so this also was racist at times.
When we are closed to causes of how certain areas became poor with high crime rates and use superficial reasoning why we become less effective. When our ideology or politics refuses to understand reality and only see through our own politics etc we do not allow people to be fully understood or at times free to express themselves. When sociology and other view points of how areas and especially depressed urban areas got like they have are not looked at we cut ourselves off from understanding and compassion. The feeling of empathy has to be there but so does the intellect without barriers.
Slum landlords, changing laws that favor the wealthy and the influence of wealth on city, county and state councils all play apart in a persons story. Their anger, despair, fears and entire personality can be involved in the region they were raised in or come to and feel trapped in. The crime, the single mother raising the kids and many other factors factor in. Language and assimilating, housing in poor areas is much different than housing in neighborhoods not as affected so directly by poverty.
When plants leave a gap of money is gone in a poor area the situation can become desperate quickly. Some areas have 25% unemployment. The poverty, drugs and crime is off the chart. The single mother house holds is off the charts. If we were working with one of these women who has had children involved with crime and a daughter pregnant out of a relationship and she is bitter about the system and we try to throw at her nothing but rhetoric of individual responsibility and a right wing or left wing jargon we are wrong.
We may not be able to change the system around her but we can do our best to understand it. Right?
We are in changing times in the USA. Jobs have been out sourced for profit with out concern for sweat shops in other countries and environmental standards or USA workers. The victims are blamed. Many are called lazy and the new kind of white trash symbols and rhetoric emerges. The rich become richer and wage their class warfare. We are going to meet and work with more and more people in these kind of scenarios and we need to open our understanding and leave behind our stereotypes and perspectives that do not allow us to hear and see them and their situation for what it is. As the American dream for many diminishes the Gospel never does. We certainly do not need to preach nothing but a social Gospel or a socialist message of utopia as we near the Great Tribulation but we need to understand what so many of our brothers and sisters are going through and quit calling this understanding a false intellectualism. I see the Church of the Living God transcending politics and ideology in these last days while increasing in true brotherly love and compassion.

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