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La Fontaine

Sister Jane

WHEN Sister Jane, who had produced a child,
In prayer and penance all her hours beguiled
Her sister-nuns around the lattice pressed;
On which the abbess thus her flock addressed:
Live like our sister Jane, and bid adieu
To worldly cares:--have better things in view.

YES, they replied, we sage like her shall be,
When we with love have equally been free.

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Marmion: Canto V. - The Court

I.

The train has left the hills of Braid;
The barrier guard have open made
(So Lindesay bade) the palisade,
That closed the tented ground;
Their men the warders backward drew,
And carried pikes as they rode through
Into its ample bound.
Fast ran the Scottish warriors there,
Upon the Southern band to stare.
And envy with their wonder rose,
To see such well-appointed foes;
Such length of shaft, such mighty bows,
So huge, that many simply thought,
But for a vaunt such weapons wrought;
And little deemed their force to feel,
Through links of mail, and plates of steel,
When rattling upon Flodden vale,
The clothyard arrows flew like hail.

II.

Nor less did Marmion's skilful view
Glance every line and squadron through;
And much he marvelled one small land
Could marshal forth such various band:
For men-at-arms were here,
Heavily sheathed in mail and plate,
Like iron towers for strength and weight,
On Flemish steeds of bone and height,
With battle-axe and spear.
Young knights and squires, a lighter train,
Practised their chargers on the plain,
By aid of leg, of hand, and rein,
Each warlike feat to show,
To pass, to wheel, the croupe to gain,
The high curvet, that not in vain
The sword sway might descend amain
On foeman's casque below.
He saw the hardy burghers there
March armed, on foot, with faces bare,
For vizor they wore none,
Nor waving plume, nor crest of knight;
But burnished were their corslets bright,
Their brigantines, and gorgets light,
Like very silver shone.
Long pikes they had for standing fight,
Two-handed swords they wore,
And many wielded mace of weight,

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Prayer Changes

Somebody just look back over your life and
See where he brought you from
How many of you know?
Prayer changes (I heard that)
Prayer changes (I believe that)
Prayer changes (I know that)
Prayer changes things
Prayer changes (I heard that)
Prayer changes (I believe that)
Prayer changes (I know that)
Prayer changes things
Now I was in a real bad abusive relationship
Knowing that that was no way for me to live
A young girl like me, raised up in a good family
Way too young to endure such misery
And every night I cry myself to sleep from all the pain
And the more I prayed for sunny days it seemed to rain
(He'd hit me) at any given time
(He'd hit me) no reason at all
(He'd hit me) so, so hard
(He'd hit me) my God, sometimes I'd fall
Mama asked what happened to me
And I'd take up for him
She said the devil's a liar
And prayed God get rid of him
And now I'm going to school
Hitting those books I'm doing fine
He's out my life I'm not confused
Got peace of mind man I tell you
Prayer changes (it changes)
Prayer changes (oh it changes)
Prayer changes (I'm a witness)
Prayer changes things (said I know)
Prayer changes (it changes)
Prayer changes (it changes)
Prayer changes (I'm a living witness)
Prayer changes things
I was a freshman in college and uh...
I had just made it on the basketball team (yeah)
I had all the skills it took to make it
But on my grades I would get nothing but all D's (whoa-ah)
And the coach came to me
And had a talk with me about my career
Said if you don't get your grades up
I'm gonna have to sit you down this year
Man as tough as I was I'd break down and cried
'Cause everybody knows me
Knows that basketball is my life
(Algebra) I studied hard
(Chemistry) I gave my all

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Song of Wink Star

The Song of Wink Star
a happy story for children of all ages
story and text © Raj Arumugam, June 2008

☼ ☼

☼ Preamble

Come…children all, children of all ages…sit close and listen…
Come and listen to this happy story of the stars and of life…
Come children of the universe, children of all nations and of all races, and of all climates and of all kinds of space and dimensions and universes…
Come, dearest children of all beings of the living universe, come and listen to The Song of Wink Star…

Come and listen to this story, this happy story…listen, as the story itself sings to you…

Sit close then, and listen to the story that was not made by any, or written by a poet, or fashioned by grandfathers and grandmothers warming themselves at the fire of burning stars…

O dearest children all, come and listen to the story that lives
of itself, and that glows bright and happy….

Come…children all, children of all ages, come and listen to this happy story, the story so natural and smooth as life, as it sings itself to you….


The Song of Wink Star
a happy story for children of all ages


☼ 1


Night Child, always so light and gentle, slept on a flower.
And every night, before he went to sleep, he would look up at the sky.
He would look at the eastern corner, five o’clock.

And there he would see all the stars in near and distant galaxies that were only visible to the People of Star Eyes.

Night Child was one of the People of Star Eyes. And so he could see the stars. And of all the stars he could see, he loved to watch Wink Star.

Wink Star twinkled and winked and laughed.
Every night Wink Star did that. Winked and laughed.

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La Fontaine

The Psalter

ONCE more permit me, nuns, and this the last;
I can't resist, whatever may have passed,
But must relate, what often I've been told;
Your tales of convent pranks are seldom cold;
They have a grace that no where else we find,
And, somehow, better seem to please designed.
Another then we'll have, which three will make:--
Three did I say?-'tis four, or I mistake;
Let's count them well:-The GARD'NER first, we'll name;
Then comes the ABBESS, whose declining frame
Required a youth, her malady to cure
A story thought, perhaps, not over pure;
And, as to SISTER JANE, who'd got a brat,
I cannot fancy we should alter that.
These are the whole, and four's a number round;
You'll probably remark, 'tis strange I've found
Such pleasure in detailing convent scenes:--
'Tis not my whim, but TASTE, that thither leans:
And, if you'd kept your breviary in view,
'Tis clear, you'd nothing had with this to do;
We know, howe'er, 'tis not your fondest care;
So, quickly to our hist'ry let's repair.

A CHARMING youth would frequent visits pay,
To nuns, whose convent near his dwelling lay;
And, 'mong the sisters, one his person saw,
Who, by her eyes, would fain attention draw;
Smiles she bestowed, and other complaisance,
But not a single step would he advance;
By old and young he greatly was admired;
Sighs burst around, but none his bosom fired.
Fair Isabella solely got his love,
A beauteous nun, and gentle as a dove,
Till then a novice in the flow'ry chain,
And envied doubly:--for her charms and swain.
Their soft amours were watched with eagle-eye:
No pleasure's free from care you may rely;
In life each comfort coupled is with ill,
And this to alter baffles all our skill.

THE sister nuns so vigilant had been,
One night when darkness overspread the scene;
And all was proper mysteries to hide,
Some words escaped her cell that doubts supplied,
And other matters too were heard around,
That in her breviary could not be found.
'Tis her gallant! said they: he's clearly caught;
Alarm pervaded; swarms were quickly brought;
Rage seemed to triumph; sentinels were placed;
The abbess too must know they were disgraced.

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XI. Guido

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

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Marmion: Canto II. - The Convent

I.

The breeze, which swept away the smoke,
Round Norham Castle rolled,
When all the loud artillery spoke,
With lightning-flash, and thunder-stroke,
As Marmion left the hold.
It curled not Tweed alone, that breeze,
For, far upon Northumbrian seas,
It freshly blew, and strong,
Where, from high Whitby's cloistered pile,
Bound to St. Cuthbert's holy isle,
It bore a barque along.
Upon the gale she stooped her side,
And bounded o'er the swelling tide,
As she were dancing home;
The merry seamen laughed to see
Their gallant ship so lustily
Furrow the green sea-foam.
Much joyed they in their honoured freight;
For, on the deck, in chair of state,
The Abbess of Saint Hilda placed,
With five fair nuns, the galley graced.

II.

'Twas sweet to see these holy maids,
Like birds escaped to greenwood shades,
Their first flight from the cage,
How timid, and how curious too,
For all to them was strange and new,
And all the common sights they view,
Their wonderment engage.
One eyed the shrouds and swelling sail,
With many a benedicite;
One at the rippling surge grew pale,
And would for terror pray;
Then shrieked, because the sea-dog, nigh,
His round black head, and sparkling eye,
Reared o'er the foaming spray;
And one would still adjust her veil,
Disordered by the summer gale,
Perchance lest some more worldly eye
Her dedicated charms might spy;
Perchance, because such action graced
Her fair-turned arm and slender waist.
Light was each simple bosom there,
Save two, who ill might pleasure share -
The Abbess and the novice Clare.

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Little Liza Jane

Traditional
Where is my tambourine wait a minute I'll get your tambourine
Got my tambourine get your thing baby
What's wrong with you what is it you want
Can't forget my tambourine boy want a minute
This is a folk tune nad it's called Little Liza Jane
We get some rhythm started here and see what happens
I got a beau you ain't got none Little Liza Jean
I got a beau you ain't got none Little Liza Jean
I got a beau you ain't got none Little Liza Jean
I got a beau you ain't got none Little Liza Jean
Oh Little Liza Liza Jane oh Little Liza Liza Jean
Oh Little Liza Liza Jane oh Little Liza Liza Jean
Come my love and live with me
I will take good care of thee Little Liza Jean
Come my love and live with me
I will take good care of thee Little Liza Jean
Oh Little Liza Liza Jane oh Little Liza Liza Jean
Oh Little Liza Liza Jane oh Little Liza Liza Jean
Hambone Hammer where you've been
Down by the river making gin
I know a man that's three feet tall
Drink his liquor and has a ball
Saw him just the other day
He had a horse and a ball of hay
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Liza Jean Little Liza Jean
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Liza Jean Little Liza Jean
Oh Little Liza Liza Jane oh Little Liza Liza Jean
Oh Little Liza Liza Jane oh Little Liza Liza Jean
He took me to his great big town
Lots of people standing around
They were listening to a great big band
the bestest music in the land
I tell you once and tell you twice
Enjoy yourself and live your life
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Liza Jean Little Liza Jean
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Lisa Jane Jane Little Liza
Little Liza Jean Little Liza Jean
Oh Little Liza Liza Jane oh Little Liza Liza Jean

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Little Liza Jean

Traditional
Where is my tambourine wait a minute Ill get your tambourine
Got my tambourine get your thing baby
Whats wrong with you what is it you want
Cant forget my tambourine boy want a minute
This is a folk tune nad its called little liza jane
We get some rhythm started here and see what happens
I got a beau you aint got none little liza jean
I got a beau you aint got none little liza jean
I got a beau you aint got none little liza jean
I got a beau you aint got none little liza jean
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jean
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jean
Come my love and live with me
I will take good care of thee little liza jean
Come my love and live with me
I will take good care of thee little liza jean
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jean
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jean
Hambone hammer where youve been
Down by the river making gin
I know a man thats three feet tall
Drink his liquor and has a ball
Saw him just the other day
He had a horse and a ball of hay
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little liza jean little liza jean
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little liza jean little liza jean
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jean
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jean
He took me to his great big town
Lots of people standing around
They were listening to a great big band
The bestest music in the land
I tell you once and tell you twice
Enjoy yourself and live your life
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little liza jean little liza jean
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little liza jean little liza jean
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jean

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VI. Giuseppe Caponsacchi

Answer you, Sirs? Do I understand aright?
Have patience! In this sudden smoke from hell,—
So things disguise themselves,—I cannot see
My own hand held thus broad before my face
And know it again. Answer you? Then that means
Tell over twice what I, the first time, told
Six months ago: 't was here, I do believe,
Fronting you same three in this very room,
I stood and told you: yet now no one laughs,
Who then … nay, dear my lords, but laugh you did,
As good as laugh, what in a judge we style
Laughter—no levity, nothing indecorous, lords!
Only,—I think I apprehend the mood:
There was the blameless shrug, permissible smirk,
The pen's pretence at play with the pursed mouth,
The titter stifled in the hollow palm
Which rubbed the eyebrow and caressed the nose,
When I first told my tale: they meant, you know,
"The sly one, all this we are bound believe!
"Well, he can say no other than what he says.
"We have been young, too,—come, there's greater guilt!
"Let him but decently disembroil himself,
"Scramble from out the scrape nor move the mud,—
"We solid ones may risk a finger-stretch!
And now you sit as grave, stare as aghast
As if I were a phantom: now 't is—"Friend,
"Collect yourself!"—no laughing matter more—
"Counsel the Court in this extremity,
"Tell us again!"—tell that, for telling which,
I got the jocular piece of punishment,
Was sent to lounge a little in the place
Whence now of a sudden here you summon me
To take the intelligence from just—your lips!
You, Judge Tommati, who then tittered most,—
That she I helped eight months since to escape
Her husband, was retaken by the same,
Three days ago, if I have seized your sense,—
(I being disallowed to interfere,
Meddle or make in a matter none of mine,
For you and law were guardians quite enough
O' the innocent, without a pert priest's help)—
And that he has butchered her accordingly,
As she foretold and as myself believed,—
And, so foretelling and believing so,
We were punished, both of us, the merry way:
Therefore, tell once again the tale! For what?
Pompilia is only dying while I speak!
Why does the mirth hang fire and miss the smile?
My masters, there's an old book, you should con
For strange adventures, applicable yet,

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VII. Pompilia

I am just seventeen years and five months old,
And, if I lived one day more, three full weeks;
'T is writ so in the church's register,
Lorenzo in Lucina, all my names
At length, so many names for one poor child,
—Francesca Camilla Vittoria Angela
Pompilia Comparini,—laughable!
Also 't is writ that I was married there
Four years ago: and they will add, I hope,
When they insert my death, a word or two,—
Omitting all about the mode of death,—
This, in its place, this which one cares to know,
That I had been a mother of a son
Exactly two weeks. It will be through grace
O' the Curate, not through any claim I have;
Because the boy was born at, so baptized
Close to, the Villa, in the proper church:
A pretty church, I say no word against,
Yet stranger-like,—while this Lorenzo seems
My own particular place, I always say.
I used to wonder, when I stood scarce high
As the bed here, what the marble lion meant,
With half his body rushing from the wall,
Eating the figure of a prostrate man—
(To the right, it is, of entry by the door)
An ominous sign to one baptized like me,
Married, and to be buried there, I hope.
And they should add, to have my life complete,
He is a boy and Gaetan by name—
Gaetano, for a reason,—if the friar
Don Celestine will ask this grace for me
Of Curate Ottoboni: he it was
Baptized me: he remembers my whole life
As I do his grey hair.

All these few things
I know are true,—will you remember them?
Because time flies. The surgeon cared for me,
To count my wounds,—twenty-two dagger-wounds,
Five deadly, but I do not suffer much—
Or too much pain,—and am to die to-night.

Oh how good God is that my babe was born,
Better than born, baptized and hid away
Before this happened, safe from being hurt!
That had been sin God could not well forgive:
He was too young to smile and save himself.
When they took two days after he was born,
My babe away from me to be baptized
And hidden awhile, for fear his foe should find,—

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The Victories Of Love. Book II

I
From Jane To Her Mother

Thank Heaven, the burthens on the heart
Are not half known till they depart!
Although I long'd, for many a year,
To love with love that casts out fear,
My Frederick's kindness frighten'd me,
And heaven seem'd less far off than he;
And in my fancy I would trace
A lady with an angel's face,
That made devotion simply debt,
Till sick with envy and regret,
And wicked grief that God should e'er
Make women, and not make them fair.
That he might love me more because
Another in his memory was,
And that my indigence might be
To him what Baby's was to me,
The chief of charms, who could have thought?
But God's wise way is to give nought
Till we with asking it are tired;
And when, indeed, the change desired
Comes, lest we give ourselves the praise,
It comes by Providence, not Grace;
And mostly our thanks for granted pray'rs
Are groans at unexpected cares.
First Baby went to heaven, you know,
And, five weeks after, Grace went, too.
Then he became more talkative,
And, stooping to my heart, would give
Signs of his love, which pleased me more
Than all the proofs he gave before;
And, in that time of our great grief,
We talk'd religion for relief;
For, though we very seldom name
Religion, we now think the same!
Oh, what a bar is thus removed
To loving and to being loved!
For no agreement really is
In anything when none's in this.
Why, Mother, once, if Frederick press'd
His wife against his hearty breast,
The interior difference seem'd to tear
My own, until I could not bear
The trouble. 'Twas a dreadful strife,
And show'd, indeed, that faith is life.
He never felt this. If he did,
I'm sure it could not have been hid;
For wives, I need not say to you,

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The Birth of The War-God (Canto Fifth ) - Uma's Reward

Now woe to Umá, for young Love is slain,
Her Lord hath left her, and her hope is vain.
Woe, woe to Umá! how the Mountain-Maid
Cursed her bright beauty for its feeble aid!
'Tis Beauty's guerdon which she loves the best,
To bless her lover, and in turn be blest.
Penance must aid her now—or how can she
Win the cold heart of that stern deity?
Penance, long penance: for that power alone
Can make such love, so high a Lord, her own.
But, ah! how troubled was her mother's brow
At the sad tidings of the mourner's vow!
She threw her arms around her own dear maid,
Kissed, fondly kissed her, sighed, and wept, and prayed:
'Are there no Gods, my child, to love thee here?
Frail is thy body, yet thy vow severe.
The lily, by the wild bee scarcely stirred,
Bends, breaks, and dies beneath the weary bird.'
Fast fell her tears, her prayer was strong, but still
That prayer was weaker than her daughter's will.
Who can recall the torrent's headlong force,
Or the bold spirit in its destined course?
She sent a maiden to her sire, and prayed
He for her sake would grant some bosky shade,
That she might dwell in solitude, and there
Give all her soul to penance and to prayer.
In gracious love the great Himálaya smiled,
And did the bidding of his darling child.
Then to that hill which peacocks love she came,
Known to all ages by the lady's name.
Still to her purpose resolutely true,
Her string of noble pearls aside she threw,
Which, slipping here and there, had rubbed away
The sandal dust that on her bosom lay,
And clad her in a hermit coat of bark,
Rough to her gentle limbs, and gloomy dark,
Pressing too tightly, till her swelling breast
Broke into freedom through the unwonted vest.
Her matted hair was full as lovely now
As when 'twas braided o'er her polished brow.
Thus the sweet beauties of the lotus shine
When bees festoon it in a graceful line;
And, though the tangled weeds that crown the rill
Cling o'er it closely, it is lovely still.
With zone of grass the votaress was bound,
Which reddened the fair form it girdled round:
Never before the lady's waist had felt
The ceaseless torment of so rough a belt.
Alas! her weary vow has caused to fade
The lovely colours that adorned the maid.

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La Fontaine

The Sick Abbess

EXAMPLE often proves of sov'reign use;
At other times it cherishes abuse;
'Tis not my purpose, howsoe'er, to tell
Which of the two I fancy to excel.
Some will conceive the Abbess acted right,
While others think her conduct very light
Be that as 'twill, her actions right or wrong,
I'll freely give a license to my tongue,
Or pen, at all events, and clearly show,
By what some nuns were led to undergo,
That flocks are equally of flesh and blood,
And, if one passes, hundreds stem the flood,
To follow up the course the first has run,
And imitate what t'other has begun.
When Agnes passed, another sister came,
And ev'ry nun desired to do the same;
At length the guardian of the flock appeared,
And likewise passed, though much at first she feared.
The tale is this, we purpose to relate;
And full particulars we now will state.

AN Abbess once a certain illness had,
Chlorosis named, which oft proves very bad,
Destroys the rose that decorates the cheek,
And renders females languid, pale, and weak.
Our lady's face was like a saint's in Lent:
Quite wan, though otherwise it marked content.
The faculty, consulted on her case,
And who the dire disorder's source would trace,
At length pronounced slow fever must succeed,
And death inevitably be decreed,
Unless;--but this unless is very strange
Unless indeed she some way could arrange;
To gratify her wish, which seemed to vex,
And converse be allowed with t'other sex:
Hippocrates, howe'er, more plainly speaks,
No circumlocutory phrase he seeks.

O JESUS! quite abashed the Abbess cried;
What is it?--fy!--a man would you provide?
Yes, they rejoined, 'tis clearly what you want,
And you will die without a brisk gallant;
One truly able will alone suffice;
And, if not such, take two we would advise.
This still was worse, though, if we rightly guess,
'Twas by her wished, durst she the truth confess.
But how the sisterhood would see her take
Such remedies and no objection make?
Shame often causes injury and pain;
And ills concealed bring others in their train.

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Guinevere

Queen Guinevere had fled the court, and sat
There in the holy house at Almesbury
Weeping, none with her save a little maid,
A novice: one low light betwixt them burned
Blurred by the creeping mist, for all abroad,
Beneath a moon unseen albeit at full,
The white mist, like a face-cloth to the face,
Clung to the dead earth, and the land was still.

For hither had she fled, her cause of flight
Sir Modred; he that like a subtle beast
Lay couchant with his eyes upon the throne,
Ready to spring, waiting a chance: for this
He chilled the popular praises of the King
With silent smiles of slow disparagement;
And tampered with the Lords of the White Horse,
Heathen, the brood by Hengist left; and sought
To make disruption in the Table Round
Of Arthur, and to splinter it into feuds
Serving his traitorous end; and all his aims
Were sharpened by strong hate for Lancelot.

For thus it chanced one morn when all the court,
Green-suited, but with plumes that mocked the may,
Had been, their wont, a-maying and returned,
That Modred still in green, all ear and eye,
Climbed to the high top of the garden-wall
To spy some secret scandal if he might,
And saw the Queen who sat betwixt her best
Enid, and lissome Vivien, of her court
The wiliest and the worst; and more than this
He saw not, for Sir Lancelot passing by
Spied where he couched, and as the gardener's hand
Picks from the colewort a green caterpillar,
So from the high wall and the flowering grove
Of grasses Lancelot plucked him by the heel,
And cast him as a worm upon the way;
But when he knew the Prince though marred with dust,
He, reverencing king's blood in a bad man,
Made such excuses as he might, and these
Full knightly without scorn; for in those days
No knight of Arthur's noblest dealt in scorn;
But, if a man were halt or hunched, in him
By those whom God had made full-limbed and tall,
Scorn was allowed as part of his defect,
And he was answered softly by the King
And all his Table. So Sir Lancelot holp
To raise the Prince, who rising twice or thrice
Full sharply smote his knees, and smiled, and went:
But, ever after, the small violence done

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Amy Lowell

The Book Of Hours Of Sister Clotilde

The Bell in the convent tower swung.
High overhead the great sun hung,
A navel for the curving sky.
The air was a blue clarity.
Swallows flew,
And a cock crew.

The iron clanging sank through the light air,
Rustled over with blowing branches. A flare
Of spotted green, and a snake had gone
Into the bed where the snowdrops shone
In green new-started,
Their white bells parted.

Two by two, in a long brown line,
The nuns were walking to breathe the fine
Bright April air. They must go in soon
And work at their tasks all the afternoon.
But this time is theirs!
They walk in pairs.

First comes the Abbess, preoccupied
And slow, as a woman often tried,
With her temper in bond. Then the oldest nun.
Then younger and younger, until the last one
Has a laugh on her lips,
And fairly skips.

They wind about the gravel walks
And all the long line buzzes and talks.
They step in time to the ringing bell,
With scarcely a shadow. The sun is well
In the core of a sky
Domed silverly.

Sister Marguerite said: 'The pears will soon bud.'
Sister Angelique said she must get her spud
And free the earth round the jasmine roots.
Sister Veronique said: 'Oh, look at those shoots!
There's a crocus up,
With a purple cup.'

But Sister Clotilde said nothing at all,
She looked up and down the old grey wall
To see if a lizard were basking there.
She looked across the garden to where
A sycamore
Flanked the garden door.

She was restless, although her little feet danced,

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Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau, Saviour of Society

Epigraph

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

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

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

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The Dream

'TWAS summer eve; the changeful beams still play'd
On the fir-bark and through the beechen shade;
Still with soft crimson glow'd each floating cloud;
Still the stream glitter'd where the willow bow'd;
Still the pale moon sate silent and alone,
Nor yet the stars had rallied round her throne;
Those diamond courtiers, who, while yet the West
Wears the red shield above his dying breast,
Dare not assume the loss they all desire,
Nor pay their homage to the fainter fire,
But wait in trembling till the Sun's fair light
Fading, shall leave them free to welcome Night!

So when some Chief, whose name through realms afar
Was still the watchword of succesful war,
Met by the fatal hour which waits for all,
Is, on the field he rallied, forced to fall,
The conquerors pause to watch his parting breath,
Awed by the terrors of that mighty death;
Nor dare the meed of victory to claim,
Nor lift the standard to a meaner name,
Till every spark of soul hath ebb'd away,
And leaves what was a hero, common clay.

Oh! Twilight! Spirit that dost render birth
To dim enchantments; melting Heaven with Earth,
Leaving on craggy hills and rumning streams
A softness like the atmosphere of dreams;
Thy hour to all is welcome! Faint and sweet
Thy light falls round the peasant's homeward feet,
Who, slow returning from his task of toil,
Sees the low sunset gild the cultured soil,
And, tho' such radliance round him brightly glows,
Marks the small spark his cottage window throws.
Still as his heart forestals his weary pace,
Fondly he dreams of each familiar face,
Recalls the treasures of his narrow life,
His rosy children, and his sunburnt wife,

To whom his coming is the chief event
Of simple days in cheerful labour spent.
The rich man's chariot hath gone whirling past,
And those poor cottagers have only cast
One careless glance on all that show of pride,
Then to their tasks turn'd quietly aside;
But him they wait for, him they welcome home,
Fond sentinels look forth to see him come;
The fagot sent for when the fire grew dim,
The frugal meal prepared, are all for him;
For him the watching of that sturdy boy,

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The Victories Of Love. Book I

I
From Frederick Graham

Mother, I smile at your alarms!
I own, indeed, my Cousin's charms,
But, like all nursery maladies,
Love is not badly taken twice.
Have you forgotten Charlotte Hayes,
My playmate in the pleasant days
At Knatchley, and her sister, Anne,
The twins, so made on the same plan,
That one wore blue, the other white,
To mark them to their father's sight;
And how, at Knatchley harvesting,
You bade me kiss her in the ring,
Like Anne and all the others? You,
That never of my sickness knew,
Will laugh, yet had I the disease,
And gravely, if the signs are these:

As, ere the Spring has any power,
The almond branch all turns to flower,
Though not a leaf is out, so she
The bloom of life provoked in me;
And, hard till then and selfish, I
Was thenceforth nought but sanctity
And service: life was mere delight
In being wholly good and right,
As she was; just, without a slur;
Honouring myself no less than her;
Obeying, in the loneliest place,
Ev'n to the slightest gesture, grace
Assured that one so fair, so true,
He only served that was so too.
For me, hence weak towards the weak,
No more the unnested blackbird's shriek
Startled the light-leaved wood; on high
Wander'd the gadding butterfly,
Unscared by my flung cap; the bee,
Rifling the hollyhock in glee,
Was no more trapp'd with his own flower,
And for his honey slain. Her power,
From great things even to the grass
Through which the unfenced footways pass,
Was law, and that which keeps the law,
Cherubic gaiety and awe;
Day was her doing, and the lark
Had reason for his song; the dark
In anagram innumerous spelt
Her name with stars that throbb'd and felt;

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La Fontaine

The Convent Gardener Of Lamporechio

WHEN Cupid with his dart, would hearts assail,
The rampart most secure is not the VEIL;
A husband better will the FAIR protect,
Than walls or lattices, I much suspect.
Those parents, who in nunneries have got
Their daughters (whether willingly or not),
Most clearly in a glaring error prove,
To fancy God will round their actions move;
'Tis an abuse of what we hold divine;
The Devil with them surely must combine.
Besides, 'twere folly to suppose that vice
Ne'er entered convent walls, and nuns were ice.
A very diff'rent sentiment I hold:
Girls, who in publick move, however bold,
Have greater terrors lest they get a stain;
For, honour lost, they never fame regain.
Few enemies their modesty attack;
The others have but one their minds to rack.
TEMPTATION, daughter of the drowsy dame,
That hates to move, and IDLENESS we name,
Is ever practising each wily art,
To spread her snares around the throbbing heart;
And fond DESIRE, the child of lorn CONSTRAINT,
Is anxious to the soul soft scenes to paint.
If I've a worthy daughter made a nun,
Is that a reason she's a saint?--Mere fun!
Avaunt such folly!--three in four you'll find,
Of those who wear the veil--have changed their mind;
Their fingers bite, and often do much worse:
Those convent vows, full soon, become a curse;
Such things at least have sometimes reached my ear
(For doubtless I must speak from others here);
Of his Boccace a merry tale has told,
Which into rhyme I've put, as you'll behold.

WITHIN a nunnery, in days of yore,
A good old man supplied the garden-store;
The nuns, in general, were smart and gay,
And kept their tongues in motion through the day.
Religious duties they regarded less,
Than for the palour to be nice in dress
Arranging ev'ry article to please,
That each might captivate and charm at ease;
The changes constantly they rang around,
And made the convent-walls with din resound.
Eight sisters and an abbess held the place,
And strange to say--there DISCORD you might trace.
All nine had youth, and many beauty too:
Young friars round the place were oft in view,
Who reckoned ev'ry step they took so well,

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III. The Other Half-Rome

Another day that finds her living yet,
Little Pompilia, with the patient brow
And lamentable smile on those poor lips,
And, under the white hospital-array,
A flower-like body, to frighten at a bruise
You'd think, yet now, stabbed through and through again,
Alive i' the ruins. 'T is a miracle.
It seems that, when her husband struck her first,
She prayed Madonna just that she might live
So long as to confess and be absolved;
And whether it was that, all her sad life long
Never before successful in a prayer,
This prayer rose with authority too dread,—
Or whether, because earth was hell to her,
By compensation, when the blackness broke
She got one glimpse of quiet and the cool blue,
To show her for a moment such things were,—
Or else,—as the Augustinian Brother thinks,
The friar who took confession from her lip,—
When a probationary soul that moved
From nobleness to nobleness, as she,
Over the rough way of the world, succumbs,
Bloodies its last thorn with unflinching foot,
The angels love to do their work betimes,
Staunch some wounds here nor leave so much for God.
Who knows? However it be, confessed, absolved,
She lies, with overplus of life beside
To speak and right herself from first to last,
Right the friend also, lamb-pure, lion-brave,
Care for the boy's concerns, to save the son
From the sire, her two-weeks' infant orphaned thus,
Andwith best smile of all reserved for him—
Pardon that sire and husband from the heart.
A miracle, so tell your Molinists!

There she lies in the long white lazar-house.
Rome has besieged, these two days, never doubt,
Saint Anna's where she waits her death, to hear
Though but the chink o' the bell, turn o' the hinge
When the reluctant wicket opes at last,
Lets in, on now this and now that pretence,
Too many by half,—complain the men of art,—
For a patient in such plight. The lawyers first
Paid the due visit—justice must be done;
They took her witness, why the murder was.
Then the priests followed properly,—a soul
To shrive; 't was Brother Celestine's own right,
The same who noises thus her gifts abroad.
But many more, who found they were old friends,
Pushed in to have their stare and take their talk

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