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Do Not Expect Me to Have Regrets

Do not ever expect me,
To choose...
Between you,
And my creativity.
You will not be pleased,
At the outcome left...
With you I would leave.
And do not expect me,
To have regrets!

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The Borough. Letter VI: Professions--Law

'TRADES and Professions'--these are themes the Muse,
Left to her freedom, would forbear to choose;
But to our Borough they in truth belong,
And we, perforce, must take them in our song.
Be it then known that we can boast of these
In all denominations, ranks, degrees;
All who our numerous wants through life supply,
Who soothe us sick, attend us when we die,
Or for the dead their various talents try.
Then have we those who live by secret arts,
By hunting fortunes, and by stealing hearts;
Or who by nobler means themselves advance,
Or who subsist by charity and chance.
Say, of our native heroes shall I boast,
Born in our streets, to thunder on our coast,
Our Borough-seamen? Could the timid Muse
More patriot ardour in their breasts infuse;
Or could she paint their merit or their skill,
She wants not love, alacrity, or will:
But needless all; that ardour is their own,
And for their deeds, themselves have made them known.
Soldiers in arms! Defenders of our soil!
Who from destruction save us; who from spoil
Protect the sons of peace, who traffic, or who toil;
Would I could duly praise you; that each deed
Your foes might honour, and your friends might read:
This too is needless; you've imprinted well
Your powers, and told what I should feebly tell:
Beside, a Muse like mine, to satire prone,
Would fail in themes where there is praise alone.
- Law shall I sing, or what to Law belongs?
Alas! there may be danger in such songs;
A foolish rhyme, 'tis said, a trifling thing,
The law found treason, for it touch'd the King.
But kings have mercy, in these happy times.
Or surely One had suffered for his rhymes;
Our glorious Edwards and our Henrys bold,
So touch'd, had kept the reprobate in hold;
But he escap'd,--nor fear, thank Heav'n, have I,
Who love my king, for such offence to die.
But I am taught the danger would be much,
If these poor lines should one attorney touch -
(One of those Limbs of Law who're always here;
The Heads come down to guide them twice a year.)
I might not swing, indeed, but he in sport
Would whip a rhymer on from court to court;
Stop him in each, and make him pay for all
The long proceedings in that dreaded Hall: -
Then let my numbers flow discreetly on,
Warn'd by the fate of luckless Coddrington,
Lest some attorney (pardon me the name)
Should wound a poor solicitor for fame.
One Man of Law in George the Second's reign
Was all our frugal fathers would maintain;
He too was kept for forms; a man of peace,
To frame a contract, or to draw a lease:
He had a clerk, with whom he used to write
All the day long, with whom he drank at night,
Spare was his visage, moderate his bill,
And he so kind, men doubted of his skill.
Who thinks of this, with some amazement sees,
For one so poor, three flourishing at ease;
Nay, one in splendour! see that mansion tall,
That lofty door, the far-resounding hall;
Well-furnish'd rooms, plate shining on the board,
Gay liveried lads, and cellar proudly stored:
Then say how comes it that such fortunes crown
These sons of strife, these terrors of the town?
Lo! that small Office! there th' incautious guest
Goes blindfold in, and that maintains the rest;
There in his web, th' observant spider lies,
And peers about for fat intruding flies;
Doubtful at first, he hears the distant hum,
And feels them fluttering as they nearer come;
They buzz and blink, and doubtfully they tread
On the strong bird-lime of the utmost thread;
But when they're once entangled by the gin,
With what an eager clasp he draws them in;
Nor shall they 'scape, till after long delay,
And all that sweetens life is drawn away.
'Nay, this,' you cry, 'is common-place, the tale
Of petty tradesmen o'er their evening ale;
There are who, living by the legal pen,
Are held in honour,--'Honourable men''
Doubtless--there are who hold manorial courts,
Or whom the trust of powerful friends supports,
Or who, by labouring through a length of time,
Have pick'd their way, unsullied by a crime.
These are the few: in this, in every place,
Fix the litigious rupture-stirring race;
Who to contention as to trade are led,
To whom dispute and strife are bliss and bread.
There is a doubtful Pauper, and we think
'Tis not with us to give him meat and drink;
There is a Child; and 'tis not mighty clear
Whether the mother lived with us a year:
A Road's indicted, and our seniors doubt
If in our proper boundary or without:
But what says our attorney? He, our friend,
Tells us 'tis just and manly to contend.
'What! to a neighbouring parish yield your cause,
While you have money, and the nation laws?
What! lose without a trial, that which, tried,
May--nay it must--be given on our side?
All men of spirit would contend; such men
Than lose a pound would rather hazard ten.
What! be imposed on? No! a British soul
Despises imposition, hates control:
The law is open; let them, if they dare,
Support their cause; the Borough need not spare.
All I advise is vigour and good-will:
Is it agreed then--Shall I file a bill?'
The trader, grazier, merchant, priest, and all,
Whose sons aspiring, to professions call,
Choose from their lads some bold and subtle boy,
And judge him fitted for this grave employ:
Him a keen old practitioner admits,
To write five years and exercise his wits:
The youth has heard--it is in fact his creed -
Mankind dispute, that Lawyers may be fee'd:
Jails, bailiffs, writs, all terms and threats of Law,
Grow now familiar as once top and taw;
Rage, hatred, fear, the mind's severer ills,
All bring employment, all augment his bills:
As feels the surgeon for the mangled limb,
The mangled mind is but a job for him;
Thus taught to think, these legal reasoners draw
Morals and maxims from their views of Law;
They cease to judge by precepts taught in schools,
By man's plain sense, or by religious rules;
No! nor by law itself, in truth discern'd,
But as its statutes may be warp'd and turn'd:
How they should judge of man, his word and deed,
They in their books and not their bosoms read:
Of some good act you speak with just applause;
'No, no!' says he, ''twould be a losing cause:
Blame you some tyrant's deed?--he answers 'Nay,
He'll get a verdict; heed you what you say.'
Thus to conclusions from examples led,
The heart resigns all judgment to the head;
Law, law alone for ever kept in view,
His measures guides, and rules his conscience too;
Of ten commandments, he confesses three
Are yet in force, and tells you which they be,
As Law instructs him, thus: 'Your neighbour's wife
You must not take, his chattles, nor his life;
Break these decrees, for damage you must pay;
These you must reverence, and the rest--you may.'
Law was design'd to keep a state in peace;
To punish robbery, that wrong might cease;
To be impregnable: a constant fort,
To which the weak and injured might resort:
But these perverted minds its force employ,
Not to protect mankind, but to annoy;
And long as ammunition can be found,
Its lightning flashes and its thunders sound.
Or Law with lawyers is an ample still,
Wrought by the passions' heat with chymic skill:
While the fire burns, the gains are quickly made,
And freely flow the profits of the trade;
Nay, when the fierceness fails, these artists blow
The dying fire, and make the embers glow,
As long as they can make the smaller profits flow:
At length the process of itself will stop,
When they perceive they've drawn out every drop.
Yet, I repeat, there are who nobly strive
To keep the sense of moral worth alive;
Men who would starve, ere meanly deign to live
On what deception and chican'ry give;
And these at length succeed; they have their strife,
Their apprehensions, stops, and rubs in life;
But honour, application, care, and skill,
Shall bend opposing fortune to their will.
Of such is Archer, he who keeps in awe
Contending parties by his threats of law:
He, roughly honest, has been long a guide
In Borough-business, on the conquering side;
And seen so much of both sides, and so long,
He thinks the bias of man's mind goes wrong:
Thus, though he's friendly, he is still severe,
Surly, though kind, suspiciously sincere:
So much he's seen of baseness in the mind,
That, while a friend to man, he scorns mankind;
He knows the human heart, and sees with dread,
By slight temptation, how the strong are led;
He knows how interest can asunder rend
The bond of parent, master, guardian, friend,
To form a new and a degrading tie
'Twixt needy vice and tempting villainy.
Sound in himself, yet when such flaws appear,
He doubts of all, and learns that self to fear:
For where so dark the moral view is grown,
A timid conscience trembles for her own;
The pitchy-taint of general vice is such
As daubs the fancy, and you dread the touch.
Far unlike him was one in former times,
Famed for the spoil he gather'd by his crimes;
Who, while his brethren nibbling held their prey,
He like an eagle seized and bore the whole away.
Swallow, a poor Attorney, brought his boy
Up at his desk, and gave him his employ;
He would have bound him to an honest trade,
Could preparations have been duly made.
The clerkship ended, both the sire and son
Together did what business could be done;
Sometimes they'd luck to stir up small disputes
Among their friends, and raise them into suits:
Though close and hard, the father was content
With this resource, now old and indolent:
But his young Swallow, gaping and alive
To fiercer feelings, was resolved to thrive: -
'Father,' he said, 'but little can they win,
Who hunt in couples where the game is thin;
Let's part in peace, and each pursue his gain,
Where it may start--our love may yet remain.'
The parent growl'd, he couldn't think that love
Made the young cockatrice his den remove;
But, taught by habit, he the truth suppress 'd,
Forced a frank look, and said he 'thought it best.'
Not long they'd parted ere dispute arose;
The game they hunted quickly made them foes.
Some house the father by his art had won
Seem'd a fit cause of contest to the son,
Who raised a claimant, and then found a way
By a staunch witness to secure his prey.
The people cursed him, but in times of need
Trusted in one so certain to succeed:
By Law's dark by-ways he had stored his mind
With wicked knowledge, how to cheat mankind.
Few are the freeholds in our ancient town;
A copyright from heir to heir came down,
From whence some heat arose, when there was doubt
In point of heirship; but the fire went out,
Till our attorney had the art to raise
The dying spark, and blow it to a blaze:
For this he now began his friends to treat;
His way to starve them was to make them eat,
And drink oblivious draughts--to his applause,
It must be said, he never starved a cause;
He'd roast and boil'd upon his board; the boast
Of half his victims was his boil'd and roast;
And these at every hour: --he seldom took
Aside his client, till he'd praised his cook;
Nor to an office led him, there in pain
To give his story and go out again;
But first the brandy and the chine where seen,
And then the business came by starts between.
'Well, if 'tis so, the house to you belongs;
But have you money to redress these wrongs?
Nay, look not sad, my friend; if you're correct,
You'll find the friendship that you'd not expect.'
If right the man, the house was Swallow's own;
If wrong, his kindness and good-will were shown:
'Rogue!' 'Villain!' 'Scoundrel!' cried the losers all:
He let them cry, for what would that recall?
At length he left us, took a village seat,
And like a vulture look'd abroad for meat;
The Borough-booty, give it all its praise,
Had only served the appetite to raise;
But if from simple heirs he drew their land,
He might a noble feast at will command;
Still he proceeded by his former rules,
His bait their pleasures, when he fished for fools -
Flagons and haunches on his board were placed,
And subtle avarice look'd like thoughtless waste:
Most of his friends, though youth from him had fled,
Were young, were minors, of their sires in dread;
Or those whom widow'd mothers kept in bounds,
And check'd their generous rage for steeds and hounds;
Or such as travell'd 'cross the land to view
A Christian's conflict with a boxing Jew:
Some too had run upon Newmarket heath
With so much speed that they were out of breath;
Others had tasted claret, till they now
To humbler port would turn, and knew not how.
All these for favours would to Swallow run,
Who never sought their thanks for all he'd done;
He kindly took them by the hand, then bow'd
Politely low, and thus his love avow'd -
(For he'd a way that many judged polite,
A cunning dog--he'd fawn before he'd bite) -
'Observe, my friends, the frailty of our race
When age unmans us--let me state a case:
There's our friend Rupert--we shall soon redress
His present evil--drink to our success -
I flatter not; but did you ever see
Limbs better turn'd? a prettier boy than he?
His senses all acute, his passions such
As Nature gave--she never does too much;
His the bold wish the cup of joy to drain,
And strength to bear it without qualm or pain.
'Now view his father as he dozing lies,
Whose senses wake not when he opes his eyes;
Who slips and shuffles when he means to walk,
And lisps and gabbles if he tries to talk;
Feeling he's none--he could as soon destroy
The earth itself, as aught it holds enjoy;
A nurse attends him to lay straight his limbs,
Present his gruel, and respect his whims:
Now shall this dotard from our hero hold
His lands and lordships? Shall he hide his gold!
That which he cannot use, and dare not show,
And will not give--why longer should he owe?
Yet, t'would be murder should we snap the locks,
And take the thing he worships from the box;
So let him dote and dream: but, till he die,
Shall not our generous heir receive supply?
For ever sitting on the river's brink?
And ever thirsty, shall he fear to drink?
The means are simple, let him only wish,
Then say he's willing, and I'll fill his dish.'
They all applauded, and not least the boy,
Who now replied, 'It fill'd his heart with joy
To find he needed not deliv'rance crave
Of death, or wish the Justice in the grave;
Who, while he spent, would every art retain,
Of luring home the scatter'd gold again;
Just as a fountain gaily spirts and plays
With what returns in still and secret ways.'
Short was the dream of bliss; he quickly found
His father's acres all were Swallow's ground.
Yet to those arts would other heroes lend
A willing ear, and Swallow was their friend;
Ever successful, some began to think
That Satan help'd him to his pen and ink;
And shrewd suspicions ran about the place,
'There was a compact'--I must leave the case.
But of the parties, had the fiend been one,
The business could not have been speedier done:
Still when a man has angled day and night,
The silliest gudgeons will refuse to bite:
So Swallow tried no more: but if they came
To seek his friendship, that remain'd the same:
Thus he retired in peace, and some would say
He'd balk'd his partner, and had learn'd to pray.
To this some zealots lent an ear, and sought
How Swallow felt, then said 'a change is wrought.'
'Twas true there wanted all the signs of grace,
But there were strong professions in their place;
Then, too, the less that men from him expect,
The more the praise to the converting sect;
He had not yet subscribed to all their creed,
Nor own'd a Call, but he confess'd the need:
His aquiescent speech, his gracious look,
That pure attention, when the brethren spoke,
Was all contrition,--he had felt the wound,
And with confession would again be sound.
True, Swallow's board had still the sumptuous treat;
But could they blame? the warmest zealots eat:
He drank--'twas needful his poor nerves to brace;
He swore--'twas habit; he was grieved--'twas grace:
What could they do a new-born zeal to nurse?
'His wealth's undoubted--let him hold our purse;
He'll add his bounty, and the house we'll raise
Hard by the church, and gather all her strays:
We'll watch her sinners as they home retire,
And pluck the brands from the devouring fire.'
Alas! such speech was but an empty boast;
The good men reckon'd, but without their host;
Swallow, delighted, took the trusted store,
And own'd the sum; they did not ask for more,
Till more was needed; when they call'd for aid -
And had it?--No, their agent was afraid:
'Could he but know to whom he should refund
He would most gladly--nay, he'd go beyond;
But when such numbers claim'd, when some were gone.
And others going--he must hold it on;
The Lord would help them.'--Loud their anger grew,
And while they threat'ning from his door withdrew,
He bow'd politely low, and bade them all adieu,
But lives the man by whom such deeds are done!
Yes, many such--But Swallow's race is run;
His name is lost,--for though his sons have name,
It is not his, they all escape the shame;
Nor is there vestige now of all he had,
His means are wasted, for his heir was mad:
Still we of Swallow as a monster speak,
A hard bad man, who prey'd upon the weak.

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Friends you can choose relatives you can’t

I heard stories about friendship
People talked about good deeds friends did
I used to ask question to myself
Why I am by my self?
No friends No body to think of me
One day I went to a saint
And asked him why I was alone
Nobody to trust, nobody to help
He asked
Do you care for anybody?
Or trust anybody?
No, I replied
He smiled and said to me
First start caring known, unknown
Do not treat all alike
Trust few you like
You shall get love and care
And friends, you can count upon
Sacrifice before you receive
Never shall you feel lonely and helpless
Friends you can choose
Relatives you can’t
Remember the golden rule
In mind and Heart

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The Gift, Not Given

'Christmas was great Mommy', says the little girl-
'Yet, Santa did not give the one present
I wanted more than any other in the whole world:
Why is my Daddy still absent? '

The Mother had naught with which to make reply;
She knew herself responsible for this void:
For years, she has witnessed her Daughter's hue and cry-
'I know my Daddy loves me, so why would he continue to avoid
Me as though I do not matter, for all these many years-
Why would he cause me all these many tears! ? '

No matter what this Mother seeks to give,
She has realized she has only ever taken away;
No matter how long she may live,
She will ne'er out last the guilt of that Christmas Day!

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Longevity but at what price?

He was a man of many parts
Though some were not original.
In fact he had, had three hearts
The latest one mechanical.

Both of his kidneys were replaced.
By organs bought for a fat fee
to surgeons who to their disgrace.
Opted to act illegally.

The donors paid a modest sum
which lifted them from poverty.
Though he was pleased with the outcome.
Convinced that he had the right to be,

only concerned with his own health
and quite prepared to spend his wealth.
On prolongation of his life
A practice fast becoming rife.


Potential donors everywhere
Who are prepared to risk their lives
So that the rich can purchase care
Which will ensure that they survive


Which is denied to poorer men.
Who have to live in poverty
gross injustice once again.
But money talks very loudly.

In every language seemingly
The rich will live while poor men die.
I do not think there’ll ever be
equality and I know why.

The human race is immature
we don’t believe in equal shares.
Until we change human nature
It seems the poor will have to bear

The burden of the rich mans greed.
He offers the poor man cash in hand
to sell the organs which they need.
Too ignorant to understand.

The risks to which they are exposed
Because they get no after care.
The side effects undiagnosed
the damage done beyond repair.

The rich pay to increase their span.
Admit no liability
for welfare of the poorer man
who is exploited easily.

Though in the end they will still die
despite the money they have spent
You cannot buy immortality.
Nature brooks no argument..

Wednesday,02 December 2009
http: // blog.myspace.com/poeticpiers

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Aurobindo 177 Savitri Book 11

'I have felt a secret spirit stir in things
Carrying the body of the growing God:
It looks through veiling forms at veilless truth;
It pushes back the curtain of the gods;
It climbs towards its own eternity.'
'But the god answered to the woman's heart:
'O living power of the incarnate Word, Line 802 to
Choose destiny's curve and stamp thy will on Time.'Line858

'In the impetuous drive of thy heart of flame,
In thy passion to deliver man and earth,
Indignant at the impediments of Time
And the slow evolution's sluggard steps,
Lead not the spirit in an ignorant world
To dare too soon the adventure of the Light,
Pushing the bound and slumbering god in man
Awakened mid the ineffable silences'

'But if thou wilt not wait for Time and God,
Do then thy work and force thy will on Fate.'
Savitri was patient enough to pass in her venture
'As I have taken from thee my load of night
And taken from thee my twilight's doubts and dreams,
So now I take my light of utter Day.'
'These are my symbol kingdoms but not here'
Savitri has to up further for her goal...

'Can the great choice be made that fixes fate
Or uttered the sanction of the Voice supreme.
Arise upon a ladder of greater worlds
To the infinity where no world can be.'
Can there be any His touch without world?
Hurry up high o'Savitri if you say yes....

............My consciousness this moment,
O'Guru, I'm in awe....in invincible heights
Ineffable Thee embellishing poetic creation
My inquisitive apprehension, erring Thee may opine
May thereso, let Savitri in my self arise
Aroused thereso be knowledge and fortune


(An appreciation on Savitri-
Book Eleven: The Book of Everlasting Day
Canto One: The Eternal Day: The Soul's Choice
and the Supreme Consummation
Words within inverted commas are Aurobindo's)

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Stoic Poet

Is it just me?
Am I really alone in believing that a poem
Is more than a series of lines of well-timed rhymes?
Am I the only one who can see that 5-7-5
Is still just a string of silly syllables
If the subject covered is ubiquitous or trite?

How many poetic celebrations of the coming of spring do we really need?
How many descriptions of a lover’s raven locks?
Or her ivory breasts?
Or the stars in her eyes?
Or the stars in the sky for that matter?

I have been told my poems are not very feminine.
Must every poetess focus on domestic felicity?
Is it a literary sin for me to write about philosophy?
I will admit I have little interest in romantic fantasy,
But I know how to hypnotize my listeners
And draw them into a universe that only I could envision.

My poems are meant to be read aloud.
I put as much effort into creating a meter
That will carry the reader along at just the right pace,
As I do into fitting a certain word into the perfect place.

A poem is similar to a symphony
In that it should have a rise and fall.
It should have leitmotifs and fugues.
It should have layers of tones and counterpoint
Playing in the sounds of the vowels and the consonants.
It should have an underlying structure that holds the whole together.
And, yet, it should be deceptively simple,
Like a harpsichord concerto by Mozart.

Once I have selected from my phonetic palette
The collection of sounds I want my readers to ride on,
I focus on creating the images I intend to carry them through.
Willowy women in white linen gowns and satin slippers
Strolling on the shores of waveless lakes at midnight in starlight
Are free to clutter other poets’ sonnets.
My poems tend to present the unexpected.

Most importantly, I pour my soul into every poem.
Raw emotion is the only fuel for any form of art.
I never sit at my desk staring at my own scribblings,
Struggling to come up with another a word that rhymes with “love”.

When, in some moment of empty reverie,
An opening couplet pops into my head,
I give thanks!
My muse, who is probably me at some deeper level,
Has granted me a poem as a reward
For my unflagging efforts to understand myself
And my limitless willingness to listen to my inner voices,
Which everybody possesses but very few release to run free
In the halls of their creative imaginations
Where great dramas could play out
In a theater in the round
Surrounded by sculptures and paintings
And accompanied by orchestra and chorus.

We all possess the potential to express ourselves in a meaningful way
But we can only hope to do this in a state of complete fearlessness.
Until a poet finds the courage to expose to the world
The things about herself that she most wants to hide from herself
She is wasting everyone’s time.

A good friend once reminded me that Seneca was never a best seller,
But he has been in print for centuries.
The truth beautifully stated
Will make its way into the collective consciousness
And remain there for as long as it is relevant.

I have no idea whether I will ever achieve this,
But I will set my goals no lower!

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Patrick White

Stranger In The Leaving

Stranger in the leaving
than you were before you came.
Is it not always so
when people separate?
Lovers who knew each other intimately for years
close their gates to each other
and say each others' name
as if they weren't philosopher's stones anymore.
And the base metal outweighs the gold that comes of it.
Alone with the alone
in the abyss of the absolutes
what was vivid and vital
turns numb as glass
and what was mystically specific about the other
is no longer a shrine that holds the secret name of God.
Stranger in the leaving
than you were before you came.
You leave with some of my memes
as I leave with some of yours
and we are both no doubt slightly changed for good
by the reciprocity of the encounter
like hydrogen and oxygen make water.
Though now it's all tears frozen on the moon.
Good-bye my lovely
I shall miss your eyes and your skin
and the thrill of your dangerous heart.
I will miss your wounded mouth
I tried to heal with messianic kisses
that never walked on anything but the earth.
And there's no blame
you couldn't fit my lunar month
into your solar calendar.
We had everything in common except time
and our faults were as compatible as our virtues.
I will miss the rumours of alien life in the wavelengths of your hair.
I shall miss losing myself like a firefly
in the wishing wells of your eyes
even if now my own seem more
like impact craters in the prophetic skull of the moon
when I consider what's leaving like an atmosphere from this mindscape.
And I shall always remember
that your heart was as generous as your breasts
and whenever we made love
how the earthly was the envy of the spiritual fact.
You didn't want anyone to know you were gentle.
Not even me.
But I could see through that mask
eyebrow to eyebrow with you
as if we both were intent on showing the same face to the earth
like the crescent fangs of a Georgia moon that said
don't step on me
because we were afraid.
More than enough to have you in the nude
I wasn't a glutton for your nakedness
that demanded you take your illusions off
to prove you loved me.
It would have been an irreverence
beyond the aspirations of heresy
to witness you renewing your virginity
like the new moon bathing in a sea of shadows.
I never tried to pry the petals of the flowers open
before they were ready to bloom.
I was never the ant
that told the peony what to do.
I never tried to look under the closed eyelids of the rose
to see what it was dreaming.
Though I'm not into voodoo
I never desecrated
the bird shrines
of your involuntary taboos.
But now I look in your eyes
and see that yesterday
is less vivid than tomorrow
though neither of them has happened yet.
The new moon is all potential
The full moon all used up.
There are effigies of potential
standing like scarecrows
in late autumn cornfields
and paragons of actuality
who love to star in constellations
that make them out to be the hero.
I try to stay
and I end up going.
I try to go
and the earth moves underfoot.
The root feels the death of its flower
as the autumn stars turn into frost
and burn its petals like old loveletters
to the immensities that didn't have time to read them.
The harmonies of life
are distinguished from the harmonies of death
by a single breath
taken in
and turned out
into the vast expanses of where it came from in the first place.
And the spirit that isn't shy of its own lucidity
knows that everything it illuminates
whether by day or by night
has the lifespan of light
and light is the brainchild of the darkness.
So even when the lights go out
like people and candles
and us
the shadows go on blooming
and even when the stars
are a gust of ghosts at our heels
the dust is rich
with the memory of all the roads
that once got lost in us
trying to find their way back home
like blood and fire and spirit
as if their final destination
were always the place they started from.
And if in the lightyears ahead
you should ever wonder if I remember you
be deeply assured
I shall remember you
as if every footstep I took
were a threshold of this homelessness
I am brave enough to cross without you.
And I shall thank you for this courage
inspired by the muse of your absence
and the feel of my blood Doppler-shift toward
long meditative wavelengths of red
that stream from the intensity
of the wounded white-hot blue of a renewed beginning.
You can't teach a bird to fly in a cage
or snakes to bite other people.
But when I first met you
it was as if the serpent-fire at the base of my spinal cord
that was running to keep its thoughts aloft like kites
suddenly had wings
and all my dirt-bag myths
that crawled on the earth among the lowest
were elevated into constellations
that burned like dragons among the chandeliers.
And when the muses of life well up in me like water
as they will
and ask me back
for all the tears they've shed on the sorrow
of the way things had to be
between you and me
for them and us
to happen the way we did
I will show them the eternal flame
of the nightwaterlily
blooming in the clear fire
of its lonely lucidity
not even the rain
the dragon brings
can aspire to put out.
I will show them the sun.
I will show them the moon.
And I'll say
you see?
That's us forever.
That swan in the heart of a phoenix.
And they will be well-pleased with the beauty of the lies
I use to shadow the truth with compassionate alibis
for why the flowers fall.
Sometimes it's the bird that swims through stone
and the snake that flys
in a profusion of fire and water
shadow and form
darkness and light
intensity and death
madness and wisdom.
Sometimes you meet someone
and you realize
this fallible flesh just as it is
is the deepest longing of the spirit fulfilled
like light in a perishable garden.
That there are no flaming swords
in the hands of the angels
at the wounded gates of our exile
trying to keep anything in or out.
Stranger in the leaving
than you were before you came.
The knowledge we have of each other
might want to keep things the same
but like all living things
in this garden of creation
the only way to sustain our innocence
is change.

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Homer

The Odyssey: Book 13

Thus did he speak, and they all held their peace throughout the
covered cloister, enthralled by the charm of his story, till presently
Alcinous began to speak.
"Ulysses," said he, "now that you have reached my house I doubt
not you will get home without further misadventure no matter how
much you have suffered in the past. To you others, however, who come
here night after night to drink my choicest wine and listen to my
bard, I would insist as follows. Our guest has already packed up the
clothes, wrought gold, and other valuables which you have brought
for his acceptance; let us now, therefore, present him further, each
one of us, with a large tripod and a cauldron. We will recoup
ourselves by the levy of a general rate; for private individuals
cannot be expected to bear the burden of such a handsome present."
Every one approved of this, and then they went home to bed each in
his own abode. When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn,
appeared, they hurried down to the ship and brought their cauldrons
with them. Alcinous went on board and saw everything so securely
stowed under the ship's benches that nothing could break adrift and
injure the rowers. Then they went to the house of Alcinous to get
dinner, and he sacrificed a bull for them in honour of Jove who is the
lord of all. They set the steaks to grill and made an excellent
dinner, after which the inspired bard, Demodocus, who was a
favourite with every one, sang to them; but Ulysses kept on turning
his eyes towards the sun, as though to hasten his setting, for he
was longing to be on his way. As one who has been all day ploughing
a fallow field with a couple of oxen keeps thinking about his supper
and is glad when night comes that he may go and get it, for it is
all his legs can do to carry him, even so did Ulysses rejoice when the
sun went down, and he at once said to the Phaecians, addressing
himself more particularly to King Alcinous:
"Sir, and all of you, farewell. Make your drink-offerings and send
me on my way rejoicing, for you have fulfilled my heart's desire by
giving me an escort, and making me presents, which heaven grant that I
may turn to good account; may I find my admirable wife living in peace
among friends, and may you whom I leave behind me give satisfaction to
your wives and children; may heaven vouchsafe you every good grace,
and may no evil thing come among your people."
Thus did he speak. His hearers all of them approved his saying and
agreed that he should have his escort inasmuch as he had spoken
reasonably. Alcinous therefore said to his servant, "Pontonous, mix
some wine and hand it round to everybody, that we may offer a prayer
to father Jove, and speed our guest upon his way."
Pontonous mixed the wine and handed it to every one in turn; the
others each from his own seat made a drink-offering to the blessed
gods that live in heaven, but Ulysses rose and placed the double cup
in the hands of queen Arete.
"Farewell, queen," said he, "henceforward and for ever, till age and
death, the common lot of mankind, lay their hands upon you. I now take
my leave; be happy in this house with your children, your people,
and with king Alcinous."
As he spoke he crossed the threshold, and Alcinous sent a man to
conduct him to his ship and to the sea shore. Arete also sent some
maid servants with him- one with a clean shirt and cloak, another to
carry his strong-box, and a third with corn and wine. When they got to
the water side the crew took these things and put them on board,
with all the meat and drink; but for Ulysses they spread a rug and a
linen sheet on deck that he might sleep soundly in the stern of the
ship. Then he too went on board and lay down without a word, but the
crew took every man his place and loosed the hawser from the pierced
stone to which it had been bound. Thereon, when they began rowing
out to sea, Ulysses fell into a deep, sweet, and almost deathlike
slumber.
The ship bounded forward on her way as a four in hand chariot
flies over the course when the horses feel the whip. Her prow curveted
as it were the neck of a stallion, and a great wave of dark blue water
seethed in her wake. She held steadily on her course, and even a
falcon, swiftest of all birds, could not have kept pace with her.
Thus, then, she cut her way through the water. carrying one who was as
cunning as the gods, but who was now sleeping peacefully, forgetful of
all that he had suffered both on the field of battle and by the
waves of the weary sea.
When the bright star that heralds the approach of dawn began to
show. the ship drew near to land. Now there is in Ithaca a haven of
the old merman Phorcys, which lies between two points that break the
line of the sea and shut the harbour in. These shelter it from the
storms of wind and sea that rage outside, so that, when once within
it, a ship may lie without being even moored. At the head of this
harbour there is a large olive tree, and at no distance a fine
overarching cavern sacred to the nymphs who are called Naiads. There
are mixing-bowls within it and wine-jars of stone, and the bees hive
there. Moreover, there are great looms of stone on which the nymphs
weave their robes of sea purple- very curious to see- and at all times
there is water within it. It has two entrances, one facing North by
which mortals can go down into the cave, while the other comes from
the South and is more mysterious; mortals cannot possibly get in by
it, it is the way taken by the gods.
Into this harbour, then, they took their ship, for they knew the
place, She had so much way upon her that she ran half her own length
on to the shore; when, however, they had landed, the first thing
they did was to lift Ulysses with his rug and linen sheet out of the
ship, and lay him down upon the sand still fast asleep. Then they took
out the presents which Minerva had persuaded the Phaeacians to give
him when he was setting out on his voyage homewards. They put these
all together by the root of the olive tree, away from the road, for
fear some passer by might come and steal them before Ulysses awoke;
and then they made the best of their way home again.
But Neptune did not forget the threats with which he had already
threatened Ulysses, so he took counsel with Jove. "Father Jove,"
said he, "I shall no longer be held in any sort of respect among you
gods, if mortals like the Phaeacians, who are my own flesh and
blood, show such small regard for me. I said I would Ulysses get
home when he had suffered sufficiently. I did not say that he should
never get home at all, for I knew you had already nodded your head
about it, and promised that he should do so; but now they have brought
him in a ship fast asleep and have landed him in Ithaca after
loading him with more magnificent presents of bronze, gold, and
raiment than he would ever have brought back from Troy, if he had
had his share of the spoil and got home without misadventure."
And Jove answered, "What, O Lord of the Earthquake, are you
talking about? The gods are by no means wanting in respect for you. It
would be monstrous were they to insult one so old and honoured as
you are. As regards mortals, however, if any of them is indulging in
insolence and treating you disrespectfully, it will always rest with
yourself to deal with him as you may think proper, so do just as you
please."
"I should have done so at once," replied Neptune, "if I were not
anxious to avoid anything that might displease you; now, therefore,
I should like to wreck the Phaecian ship as it is returning from its
escort. This will stop them from escorting people in future; and I
should also like to bury their city under a huge mountain."
"My good friend," answered Jove, "I should recommend you at the very
moment when the people from the city are watching the ship on her way,
to turn it into a rock near the land and looking like a ship. This
will astonish everybody, and you can then bury their city under the
mountain."
When earth-encircling Neptune heard this he went to Scheria where
the Phaecians live, and stayed there till the ship, which was making
rapid way, had got close-in. Then he went up to it, turned it into
stone, and drove it down with the flat of his hand so as to root it in
the ground. After this he went away.
The Phaeacians then began talking among themselves, and one would
turn towards his neighbour, saying, "Bless my heart, who is it that
can have rooted the ship in the sea just as she was getting into port?
We could see the whole of her only moment ago."
This was how they talked, but they knew nothing about it; and
Alcinous said, "I remember now the old prophecy of my father. He
said that Neptune would be angry with us for taking every one so
safely over the sea, and would one day wreck a Phaeacian ship as it
was returning from an escort, and bury our city under a high mountain.
This was what my old father used to say, and now it is all coming
true. Now therefore let us all do as I say; in the first place we must
leave off giving people escorts when they come here, and in the next
let us sacrifice twelve picked bulls to Neptune that he may have mercy
upon us, and not bury our city under the high mountain." When the
people heard this they were afraid and got ready the bulls.
Thus did the chiefs and rulers of the Phaecians to king Neptune,
standing round his altar; and at the same time Ulysses woke up once
more upon his own soil. He had been so long away that he did not
know it again; moreover, Jove's daughter Minerva had made it a foggy
day, so that people might not know of his having come, and that she
might tell him everything without either his wife or his fellow
citizens and friends recognizing him until he had taken his revenge
upon the wicked suitors. Everything, therefore, seemed quite different
to him- the long straight tracks, the harbours, the precipices, and
the goodly trees, appeared all changed as he started up and looked
upon his native land. So he smote his thighs with the flat of his
hands and cried aloud despairingly.
"Alas," he exclaimed, "among what manner of people am I fallen?
Are they savage and uncivilized or hospitable and humane? Where
shall I put all this treasure, and which way shall I go? I wish I
had stayed over there with the Phaeacians; or I could have gone to
some other great chief who would have been good to me and given me
an escort. As it is I do not know where to put my treasure, and I
cannot leave it here for fear somebody else should get hold of it.
In good truth the chiefs and rulers of the Phaeacians have not been
dealing fairly by me, and have left me in the wrong country; they said
they would take me back to Ithaca and they have not done so: may
Jove the protector of suppliants chastise them, for he watches over
everybody and punishes those who do wrong. Still, I suppose I must
count my goods and see if the crew have gone off with any of them."
He counted his goodly coppers and cauldrons, his gold and all his
clothes, but there was nothing missing; still he kept grieving about
not being in his own country, and wandered up and down by the shore of
the sounding sea bewailing his hard fate. Then Minerva came up to
him disguised as a young shepherd of delicate and princely mien,
with a good cloak folded double about her shoulders; she had sandals
on her comely feet and held a javelin in her hand. Ulysses was glad
when he saw her, and went straight up to her.
"My friend," said he, "you are the first person whom I have met with
in this country; I salute you, therefore, and beg you to be will
disposed towards me. Protect these my goods, and myself too, for I
embrace your knees and pray to you as though you were a god. Tell
me, then, and tell me truly, what land and country is this? Who are
its inhabitants? Am I on an island, or is this the sea board of some
continent?"
Minerva answered, "Stranger, you must be very simple, or must have
come from somewhere a long way off, not to know what country this
is. It is a very celebrated place, and everybody knows it East and
West. It is rugged and not a good driving country, but it is by no
means a bid island for what there is of it. It grows any quantity of
corn and also wine, for it is watered both by rain and dew; it
breeds cattle also and goats; all kinds of timber grow here, and there
are watering places where the water never runs dry; so, sir, the
name of Ithaca is known even as far as Troy, which I understand to
be a long way off from this Achaean country."
Ulysses was glad at finding himself, as Minerva told him, in his own
country, and he began to answer, but he did not speak the truth, and
made up a lying story in the instinctive wiliness of his heart.
"I heard of Ithaca," said he, "when I was in Crete beyond the
seas, and now it seems I have reached it with all these treasures. I
have left as much more behind me for my children, but am flying
because I killed Orsilochus son of Idomeneus, the fleetest runner in
Crete. I killed him because he wanted to rob me of the spoils I had
got from Troy with so much trouble and danger both on the field of
battle and by the waves of the weary sea; he said I had not served his
father loyally at Troy as vassal, but had set myself up as an
independent ruler, so I lay in wait for him and with one of my
followers by the road side, and speared him as he was coming into town
from the country. my It was a very dark night and nobody saw us; it
was not known, therefore, that I had killed him, but as soon as I
had done so I went to a ship and besought the owners, who were
Phoenicians, to take me on board and set me in Pylos or in Elis
where the Epeans rule, giving them as much spoil as satisfied them.
They meant no guile, but the wind drove them off their course, and
we sailed on till we came hither by night. It was all we could do to
get inside the harbour, and none of us said a word about supper though
we wanted it badly, but we all went on shore and lay down just as we
were. I was very tired and fell asleep directly, so they took my goods
out of the ship, and placed them beside me where I was lying upon
the sand. Then they sailed away to Sidonia, and I was left here in
great distress of mind."
Such was his story, but Minerva smiled and caressed him with her
hand. Then she took the form of a woman, fair, stately, and wise,
"He must be indeed a shifty lying fellow," said she, "who could
surpass you in all manner of craft even though you had a god for
your antagonist. Dare-devil that you are, full of guile, unwearying in
deceit, can you not drop your tricks and your instinctive falsehood,
even now that you are in your own country again? We will say no
more, however, about this, for we can both of us deceive upon
occasion- you are the most accomplished counsellor and orator among
all mankind, while I for diplomacy and subtlety have no equal among
the gods. Did you not know Jove's daughter Minerva- me, who have
been ever with you, who kept watch over you in all your troubles,
and who made the Phaeacians take so great a liking to you? And now,
again, I am come here to talk things over with you, and help you to
hide the treasure I made the Phaeacians give you; I want to tell you
about the troubles that await you in your own house; you have got to
face them, but tell no one, neither man nor woman, that you have
come home again. Bear everything, and put up with every man's
insolence, without a word."
And Ulysses answered, "A man, goddess, may know a great deal, but
you are so constantly changing your appearance that when he meets
you it is a hard matter for him to know whether it is you or not. This
much, however, I know exceedingly well; you were very kind to me as
long as we Achaeans were fighting before Troy, but from the day on
which we went on board ship after having sacked the city of Priam, and
heaven dispersed us- from that day, Minerva, I saw no more of you, and
cannot ever remember your coming to my ship to help me in a
difficulty; I had to wander on sick and sorry till the gods
delivered me from evil and I reached the city of the Phaeacians, where
you encouraged me and took me into the town. And now, I beseech you in
your father's name, tell me the truth, for I do not believe I am
really back in Ithaca. I am in some other country and you are
mocking me and deceiving me in all you have been saying. Tell me
then truly, have I really got back to my own country?"
"You are always taking something of that sort into your head,"
replied Minerva, "and that is why I cannot desert you in your
afflictions; you are so plausible, shrewd and shifty. Any one but
yourself on returning from so long a voyage would at once have gone
home to see his wife and children, but you do not seem to care about
asking after them or hearing any news about them till you have
exploited your wife, who remains at home vainly grieving for you,
and having no peace night or day for the tears she sheds on your
behalf. As for my not coming near you, I was never uneasy about you,
for I was certain you would get back safely though you would lose
all your men, and I did not wish to quarrel with my uncle Neptune, who
never forgave you for having blinded his son. I will now, however,
point out to you the lie of the land, and you will then perhaps
believe me. This is the haven of the old merman Phorcys, and here is
the olive tree that grows at the head of it; [near it is the cave
sacred to the Naiads;] here too is the overarching cavern in which you
have offered many an acceptable hecatomb to the nymphs, and this is
the wooded mountain Neritum."
As she spoke the goddess dispersed the mist and the land appeared.
Then Ulysses rejoiced at finding himself again in his own land, and
kissed the bounteous soil; he lifted up his hands and prayed to the
nymphs, saying, "Naiad nymphs, daughters of Jove, I made sure that I
was never again to see you, now therefore I greet you with all
loving salutations, and I will bring you offerings as in the old days,
if Jove's redoubtable daughter will grant me life, and bring my son to
manhood."
"Take heart, and do not trouble yourself about that," rejoined
Minerva, "let us rather set about stowing your things at once in the
cave, where they will be quite safe. Let us see how we can best manage
it all."
Therewith she went down into the cave to look for the safest
hiding places, while Ulysses brought up all the treasure of gold,
bronze, and good clothing which the Phaecians had given him. They
stowed everything carefully away, and Minerva set a stone against
the door of the cave. Then the two sat down by the root of the great
olive, and consulted how to compass the destruction of the wicked
suitors.
"Ulysses," said Minerva, "noble son of Laertes, think how you can
lay hands on these disreputable people who have been lording it in
your house these three years, courting your wife and making wedding
presents to her, while she does nothing but lament your absence,
giving hope and sending your encouraging messages to every one of
them, but meaning the very opposite of all she says'
And Ulysses answered, "In good truth, goddess, it seems I should
have come to much the same bad end in my own house as Agamemnon did,
if you had not given me such timely information. Advise me how I shall
best avenge myself. Stand by my side and put your courage into my
heart as on the day when we loosed Troy's fair diadem from her brow.
Help me now as you did then, and I will fight three hundred men, if
you, goddess, will be with me."
"Trust me for that," said she, "I will not lose sight of you when
once we set about it, and I would imagine that some of those who are
devouring your substance will then bespatter the pavement with their
blood and brains. I will begin by disguising you so that no human
being shall know you; I will cover your body with wrinkles; you
shall lose all your yellow hair; I will clothe you in a garment that
shall fill all who see it with loathing; I will blear your fine eyes
for you, and make you an unseemly object in the sight of the
suitors, of your wife, and of the son whom you left behind you. Then
go at once to the swineherd who is in charge of your pigs; he has been
always well affected towards you, and is devoted to Penelope and
your son; you will find him feeding his pigs near the rock that is
called Raven by the fountain Arethusa, where they are fattening on
beechmast and spring water after their manner. Stay with him and
find out how things are going, while I proceed to Sparta and see
your son, who is with Menelaus at Lacedaemon, where he has gone to try
and find out whether you are still alive."
"But why," said Ulysses, "did you not tell him, for you knew all
about it? Did you want him too to go sailing about amid all kinds of
hardship while others are eating up his estate?"
Minerva answered, "Never mind about him, I sent him that he might be
well spoken of for having gone. He is in no sort of difficulty, but is
staying quite comfortably with Menelaus, and is surrounded with
abundance of every kind. The suitors have put out to sea and are lying
in wait for him, for they mean to kill him before he can get home. I
do not much think they will succeed, but rather that some of those who
are now eating up your estate will first find a grave themselves."
As she spoke Minerva touched him with her wand and covered him
with wrinkles, took away all his yellow hair, and withered the flesh
over his whole body; she bleared his eyes, which were naturally very
fine ones; she changed his clothes and threw an old rag of a wrap
about him, and a tunic, tattered, filthy, and begrimed with smoke; she
also gave him an undressed deer skin as an outer garment, and
furnished him with a staff and a wallet all in holes, with a twisted
thong for him to sling it over his shoulder.
When the pair had thus laid their plans they parted, and the goddess
went straight to Lacedaemon to fetch Telemachus.

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M'Fingal - Canto IV

Now Night came down, and rose full soon
That patroness of rogues, the Moon;
Beneath whose kind protecting ray,
Wolves, brute and human, prowl for prey.
The honest world all snored in chorus,
While owls and ghosts and thieves and Tories,
Whom erst the mid-day sun had awed,
Crept from their lurking holes abroad.


On cautious hinges, slow and stiller,
Wide oped the great M'Fingal's cellar,
Where safe from prying eyes, in cluster,
The Tory Pandemonium muster.
Their chiefs all sitting round descried are,
On kegs of ale and seats of cider;
When first M'Fingal, dimly seen,
Rose solemn from the turnip-bin.
Nor yet his form had wholly lost
Th' original brightness it could boast,
Nor less appear'd than Justice Quorum,
In feather'd majesty before 'em.
Adown his tar-streak'd visage, clear
Fell glistening fast th' indignant tear,
And thus his voice, in mournful wise,
Pursued the prologue of his sighs.


"Brethren and friends, the glorious band
Of loyalty in rebel land!
It was not thus you've seen me sitting,
Return'd in triumph from town-meeting;
When blust'ring Whigs were put to stand,
And votes obey'd my guiding hand,
And new commissions pleased my eyes;
Blest days, but ah, no more to rise!
Alas, against my better light,
And optics sure of second-sight,
My stubborn soul, in error strong,
Had faith in Hutchinson too long.
See what brave trophies still we bring
From all our battles for the king;
And yet these plagues, now past before us,
Are but our entering wedge of sorrows!


"I see, in glooms tempestuous, stand
The cloud impending o'er the land;
That cloud, which still beyond their hopes
Serves all our orators with tropes;
Which, though from our own vapors fed,
Shall point its thunders on our head!
I see the Mob, beflipp'd at taverns,
Hunt us, like wolves, through wilds and caverns!
What dungeons open on our fears!
What horsewhips whistle round our ears!
Tar, yet in embryo in the pine,
Shall run on Tories' backs to shine;
Trees, rooted fair in groves of sallows,
Are growing for our future gallows;
And geese unhatch'd, when pluck'd in fray,
Shall rue the feathering of that day.


"For me, before that fatal time,
I mean to fly th' accursed clime,
And follow omens, which of late
Have warn'd me of impending fate.


"For late in visions of the night
The gallows stood before my sight;
I saw its ladder heaved on end;
I saw the deadly rope descend,
And in its noose, that wavering swang,
Friend Malcolm hung, or seem'd to hang.
How changed from him, who bold as lion,
Stood Aid-de-camp to Gen'ral Tryon,
Made rebels vanish once, like witches,
And saved his life, but dropp'd his breeches.
I scarce had made a fearful bow,
And trembling ask'd him, "How d'ye do;"
When lifting up his eyes so wide,
His eyes alone, his hands were tied;
With feeble voice, as spirits use,
Now almost choak'd by gripe of noose;


"Ah, fly my friend, he cried, escape,
And keep yourself from this sad scrape;
Enough you've talk'd and writ and plann'd;
The Whigs have got the upper hand.
Could mortal arm our fears have ended,
This arm (and shook it) had defended.
Wait not till things grow desperater,
For hanging is no laughing matter.
Adventure then no longer stay;
But call your friends and haste away.


"For lo, through deepest glooms of night,
I come to aid thy second-sight,
Disclose the plagues that round us wait,
And scan the dark decrees of fate.


"Ascend this ladder, whence unfurl'd
The curtain opes of t'other world;
For here new worlds their scenes unfold,
Seen from this backdoor of the old.
As when Æneas risk'd his life,
Like Orpheus vent'ring for his wife,
And bore in show his mortal carcase
Through realms of Erebus and Orcus,
Then in the happy fields Elysian,
Saw all his embryon sons in vision;
As shown by great Archangel, Michael,
Old Adam saw the world's whole sequel,
And from the mount's extended space,
The rising fortunes of his race:
So from this stage shalt thou behold
The war its coming scenes unfold,
Raised by my arm to meet thine eye;
My Adam, thou; thine Angel, I.


But first my pow'r, for visions bright,
Must cleanse from clouds thy mental sight,
Remove the dim suffusions spread,
Which bribes and salaries there have bred;
And from the well of Bute infuse
Three genuine drops of Highland dews,
To purge, like euphrasy and rue,
Thine eyes, for much thou hast to view.


Now freed from Tory darkness, raise
Thy head and spy the coming days.
For lo, before our second-sight,
The Continent ascends in light.
From north to south, what gath'ring swarms
Increase the pride of rebel arms!
Through every State our legions brave
Speed gallant marches to the grave,
Of battling Whigs the frequent prize,
While rebel trophies stain the skies.
Behold o'er northern realms afar
Extend the kindling flames of war!
See famed St. John's and Montreal
Doom'd by Montgomery's arm to fall!
Where Hudson with majestic sway
Through hills disparted plows his way,
Fate spreads on Bemus' heights alarms,
And pours destruction on our arms;
There Bennington's ensanguined plain,
And Stony-Point, the prize of Wayne.
Behold near Del'ware's icy roar,
Where morning dawns on Trenton's shore,
While Hessians spread their Christmas feasts,
Rush rude these uninvited guests;
Nor aught avails the captured crew
Their martial whiskers' grisly hue!
On Princeton plains our heroes yield,
And spread in flight the vanquish'd field;
While fear to Mawhood's heels puts on
Wings, wide as worn by Maia's son.
Behold the Pennsylvanian shore
Enrich'd with streams of British gore;
Where many a veteran chief in bed
Of honor rests his slumb'ring head,
And in soft vales, in land of foes,
Their wearied virtue finds repose!
See plund'ring Dunmore's negro band
Fly headlong from Virginia's strand;
And far on southern hills our cousins,
The Scotch M'Donalds, fall by dozens;
Or where King's Mountain lifts its head,
Our ruin'd bands in triumph led!
Behold, o'er Tarlton's blustring train
Defeat extends the captive chain!
Afar near Eutaw's fatal springs,
Lo, rebel Vict'ry spreads her wings!
Through all the land, in varied chace,
We hunt the rainbow of success,
In vain! their Chief, superior still,
Eludes our force with Fabian skill;
Or swift descending by surprize,
Like Prussia's eagle, sweeps the prize.


"I look'd; nor yet, oppress'd with fears,
Gave credit to my eyes or ears;
But held the sights an empty dream,
On Berkley's immaterial scheme;
And pond'ring sad with troubled breast,
At length my rising doubts express'd.
'Ah, whither thus, by rebels smitten,
Is fled th' omnipotence of Britain;
Or fail'd its usual guard to keep,
Absent from home or fast asleep?
Did not, retired to bowers Flysian,
Great Mars leave with her his commission,
And Neptune erst, in treaty free,
Give up dominion o'er the sea?
Else where's the faith of famed orations,
Address, debate and proclamations,
Or courtly sermon, laureat ode,
And ballads on the wat'ry God;
With whose high strains great George enriches
His eloquence of gracious speeches?
Not faithful to our Highland eyes,
These deadly forms of vision rise.
Some whig-inspiring rebel sprite
Now palms delusion on our sight.
I'd scarcely trust a tale so vain,
Should revelation prompt the strain;
Or Ossian's ghost the scenes rehearse
In all the melody of Erse."


"Too long," quoth Malcolm, "from confusion,
You've dwelt already in delusion;
As sceptics, of all fools the chief,
Hold faith in creeds of unbelief.
I come to draw thy veil aside
Of error, prejudice and pride.
Fools love deception, but the wise
Prefer sad truths to pleasing lies.
For know, those hopes can ne'er succeed,
That trust on Britain's breaking reed.
For weak'ning long from bad to worse,
By cureless atrophy of purse,
She feels at length with trembling heart,
Her foes have found her mortal part.
As famed Achilles, dipp'd by Thetis
In Styx, as sung in antient ditties,
Grew all case-harden'd o'er, like steel,
Invulnerable, save his heel;
And laugh'd at swords and spears and squibs,
And all diseases, but the kibes;
Yet met at last his deadly wound,
By Paris' arrow nail'd to ground:
So Britain's boasted strength deserts
In these her empire's utmost skirts,
Removed beyond her fierce impressions,
And atmosphere of omnipresence;
Nor to this shore's remoter ends
Her dwarf-omnipotence extends.
Hence in this turn of things so strange,
'Tis time our principles to change:
For vain that boasted faith, that gathers
No perquisite, but tar and feathers;
No pay, but stripes from whiggish malice,
And no promotion, but the gallows.
I've long enough stood firm and steady,
Half-hang'd for loyalty already,
And could I save my neck and pelf,
I'd turn a flaming whig myself.
But since, obnoxious here to fate,
This saving wisdom comes too late,
Our noblest hopes already crost,
Our sal'ries gone, our titles lost,
Doom'd to worse suff'rings from the mob,
Than Satan's surg'ries used on Job;
What hope remains, but now with sleight
What's left of us to save by flight?


'Now raise thine eyes, for visions true
Again ascending wait thy view.'


"I look'd; and clad in early light,
The spires of Boston met my sight;
The morn o'er eastern hills afar
Illumed the varied scenes of war;
Great Howe had sweetly in the lap
Of Loring taken out his nap;
When all th' encircling hills around
With instantaneous breastworks crown'd,
With pointed thunders met his sight,
Like magic, rear'd the former night.
Each summit, far as eye commands,
Shone, peopled with rebellious bands.
Aloft their tow'ring heroes rise,
As Titans erst assail'd the skies;
Leagued in superior force to prove
The sceptred hand of British Jove.
Mounds piled on hills ascended fair
With batt'ries placed in middle air,
That hurl'd their fiery bolts amain,
In thunder on the trembling plain.
I saw, along the prostrate strand
Our baffled generals quit the land,
Eager, as frighted mermaids, flee
T' our boasted element, the sea,
And tow'rd their town of refuge fly,
Like convict Jews condemn'd to die.
Then to the north I turn'd my eyes,
Where Saratoga's heights arise,
And saw our chosen vet'ran band
Descend in terror o'er the land;
T' oppose this fury of alarms,
Saw all New-England wake to arms,
And every Yankee, full of mettle,
Swarm forth, like bees at sound of kettle.
Not Rome, when Tarquin raped Lucretia,
Saw wilder must'ring of militia.
Through all the woods and plains of fight,
What mortal battles pain'd my sight,
While British corses strew'd the shore,
And Hudson tinged his streams with gore.
What tongue can tell the dismal day,
Or paint the parti-color'd fray,
When yeomen left their fields afar
To plow the crimson plains of war;
When zeal to swords transform'd their shares,
And turn'd their pruning hooks to spears,
Changed tailor's geese to guns and ball,
And stretch'd to pikes the cobbler's awl;
While hunters, fierce like mighty Nimrod,
Made on our troops a furious inroad,
And levelling squint on barrel round,
Brought our beau-officers to ground;
While sunburnt wigs, in high command,
Rush daring on our frighted band,
And ancient beards and hoary hair,
Like meteors, stream in troubled air;
While rifle-frocks drove Gen'rals cap'ring,
And Red-coats shrunk from leathern apron,
And epaulette and gorget run
From whinyard brown and rusty gun.
With locks unshorn not Samson more
Made useless all the show of war,
Nor fought with ass's jaw for rarity
With more success, or singularity.
I saw our vet'ran thousands yield,
And pile their muskets on the field,
And peasant guards, in rueful plight,
March off our captured bands from fight;
While every rebel fife in play
To Yankee-doodle tuned its lay,
And like the music of the spheres,
Mellifluous sooth'd their vanquish'd ears."


"Alas, I cried, what baleful star
Sheds fatal influence on the war?
And who that chosen Chief of fame,
That heads this grand parade of shame?"


"There see how fate, great Malcolm cried,
Strikes with its bolts the tow'rs of pride!
Behold that martial Macaroni,
Compound of Phoebus and Bellona,
Equipp'd alike for feast or fray,
With warlike sword and singsong lay,
Where equal wit and valour join!
This, this is he--the famed Burgoyne!
Who pawn'd his honor and commission,
To coax the patriots to submission,
By songs and balls secure allegiance,
And dance the ladies to obedience.
Oft his Camp-Muses he'll parade
At Boston in the grand blockade;
And well inspired with punch of arrack,
Hold converse sweet in tent or barrack,
Aroused to more poetic passion,
Both by his theme and situation.
For genius works more strong and clear
When close confined, like bottled beer.
So Prior's wit gain'd matchless power
By inspiration of the Tower;
And Raleigh, once to prison hurl'd,
Wrote the whole hist'ry of the world;
So Wilkes grew, while in jail he lay,
More patriotic every day,
But found his zeal, when not confined,
Soon sink below the freezing point,
And public spirit, once so fair,
Evaporate in open air.
But thou, great favourite of Venus,
By no such luck shalt cramp thy genius;
Thy friendly stars, till wars shall cease,
Shall ward th' ill fortune of release,
And hold thee fast in bonds not feeble,
In good condition still to scribble.
Such merit fate shall shield from firing,
Bomb, carcase, langridge and cold iron,
Nor trust thy doubly-laurell'd head,
To rude assaults of flying lead.
Hence thou, from Yankee troops retreating,
For pure good fortune shalt be beaten,
Not taken oft, released or rescued,
Pass for small change, like simple Prescott;
But captured then, as fates befall,
Shall stand thy fortune, once for all.
Then raise thy daring thoughts sublime,
And dip thy conq'ring pen in rhyme,
And changing war for puns and jokes,
Write new Blockades and Maids of Oaks."


This said, he turn'd and saw the tale
Had dyed my trembling cheeks with pale;
Then pitying in a milder vein,
Pursued the visionary strain;


"Too much perhaps hath pain'd your view,
From vict'ries of the Rebel crew.
Now see the deeds, not small or scanty,
Of British valour and humanity;
And learn from this heroic sight,
How England's sons and friends can fight,
In what dread scenes their courage grows,
And how they conquer all their foes."


I look'd, and saw in wintry skies
Our spacious prison-walls arise,
Where Britons, all their captives taming,
Plied them with scourging, cold and famine,
By noxious food and plagues contagious
Reduced to life's last, fainting stages.
Amid the dead, that crowd the scene,
The moving skeletons were seen.
Aloft the haughty Loring stood,
And thrived, like Vampire, on their blood,
And counting all his gains arising,
Dealt daily rations out, of poison.
At hand our troops, in vaunting strain,
Insulted all their wants and pain,
And turn'd upon the dying tribe
The bitter taunt and scornful gibe;
And British captains, chiefs of might,
Exulting in the joyous sight,
On foes disarm'd, with courage daring,
Exhausted all their tropes of swearing.
Distain'd around with rebel blood,
Like Milton's Lazar house it stood,
Where grim Despair presided Nurse,
And Death was Regent of the house.


Amazed I cried, "Is this the way
That British valor wins the day?"
More had I said in strains unwelcome,
Till interrupted thus by Malcolm.


"Blame not, said he, but learn the reason
Of this new mode of conq'ring treason.
'Tis but a wise, politic plan
To root out all the rebel clan;
For surely treason ne'er can thrive
Where not a soul is left alive;
A scheme all other chiefs to surpass,
And do th' effectual work to purpose.
Know, War itself is nothing further
Than th' art and mystery of Murther;
He, who most methods has essay'd,
Is the best Gen'ral of the trade,
And stands Death's plenipotentiary
To conquer, poison, starve and bury.
This Howe well knew and thus began;
(Despising Carlton's coaxing plan,
To keep his pris'ners well and merry,
And deal them food, like commissary,
And by parol or ransom vain,
Dismiss them all to fight again)
Hence his first captives, with great spirit
He tied up, for his troops to fire at,
And hoped they'd learn on foes thus taken,
To aim at rebels without shaking.
Then deep in stratagem, he plann'd
The sure destruction of the land;
Turn'd famine, torture and despair
To useful enginry of war;
Sent forth the small-pox, and the greater,
To thin the land of every traitor;
Spread desolation o'er their head,
And plagues in providence's stead;
Perform'd with equal skill and beauty
Th' avenging Angel's tour of duty:
Then bade these prison-walls arise,
Like temple tow'ring to the skies,
Where British Clemency renown'd
Might fix her seat on hallow'd ground,
(That Virtue, as each herald saith,
Of whole blood kin to Punic Faith)
Where all her godlike pow'rs unveiling,
She finds a grateful shrine to dwell in:
And at this altar for her honor,
Chose this High-priest to wait upon her,
Who with just rites, in ancient guise,
Offers the human sacrifice.
Here every day, her vot'ries tell,
She more devours, than th' idol Bel;
And thirsts more rav'nously for gore,
Than any worshipp'd Power before.
That ancient heathen godhead, Moloch,
Oft stay'd his stomach with a bullock;
And if his morning rage you'd check first,
One child sufficed him for a breakfast:
But British clemency with zeal
Devours her hundreds at a meal;
Right well by nat'ralists defined
A being of carniv'rous kind:
So erst Gargantua pleased his palate,
And eat six pilgrims up in sallad.
Not blest with maw less ceremonious
The wide-mouth'd whale, that swallow'd Jonas;
Like earthquake gapes, to death devote,
That open sepulchre, her throat;
The grave or barren womb you'd stuff,
And sooner bring to cry, enough;
Or fatten up to fair condition
The lean-flesh'd kine of Pharaoh's vision.


Behold her temple, where it stands
Erect, by famed Britannic hands.
'Tis the Black-hole of Indian structure,
New-built in English architecture,
On plan, 'tis said, contrived and wrote
By Clive, before he cut his throat;
Who, ere he took himself in hand,
Was her high-priest in nabob-land:
And when with conq'ring triumph crown'd,
He'd well enslaved the nation round,
With tender British heart, the Chief,
Since slavery's worse than loss of life,
Bade desolation circle far,
And famine end the work of war;
And loosed their chains, and for their merits
Dismiss'd them free to worlds of spirits.
Whence they with choral hymns of praise,
Return'd to sooth his latter days,
And hov'ring round his restless bed,
Spread nightly visions o'er his head.


Now turn thine eyes to nobler sights,
And mark the prowess of our fights.
Behold, like whelps of Britain's lion,
Our warriors, Clinton, Vaughan, and Tryon,
March forth with patriotic joy
To ravish, plunder, burn, destroy.
Great Gen'rals, foremost in their nation,
The journeymen of Desolation!
Like Samson's foxes, each assails,
Let loose with firebrands in their tails,
And spreads destruction more forlorn,
Than they among Philistine corn.
And see in flames their triumphs rise,
Illuming all the nether skies,
O'er-streaming, like a new Aurora,
The western hemisphere with glory!
What towns, in ashes laid, confess
These heroes' prowess and success!
What blacken'd walls and burning fanes,
For trophies spread the ruin'd plains!
What females, caught in evil hour,
By force submit to British power;
Or plunder'd negroes in disaster
Confess King George their lord and master!
What crimson corses strew their way,
What smoaking carnage dims the day!
Along the shore, for sure reduction,
They wield the besom of destruction.
Great Homer likens, in his Ilias,
To dogstar bright the fierce Achilles;
But ne'er beheld in red procession
Three dogstars rise in constellation,
Nor saw, in glooms of evening misty,
Such signs of fiery triplicity,
Which, far beyond the comet's tail,
Portend destruction where they sail.
Oh, had Great-Britain's warlike shore
Produced but ten such heroes more,
They'd spared the pains, and held the station
Of this world's final conflagration;
Which when its time comes, at a stand,
Would find its work all done t' its hand!


Yet though gay hopes our eyes may bless,
Malignant fate forbids success;
Like morning dreams our conquest flies,
Dispersed before the dawn arise."


Here Malcolm paused; when pond'ring long
Grief thus gave utt'rance to my tongue.
"Where shrink in fear our friends dismay'd,
And where the Tories' promised aid?
Can none, amid these fierce alarms,
Assist the power of royal arms?"
"In vain, he cried, our King depends
On promised aid of Tory friends.
When our own efforts want success,
Friends ever fail, as fears increase.
As leaves, in blooming verdure wove,
In warmth of summer clothe the grove,
But when autumnal frosts arise,
Leave bare their trunks to wintry skies:
So, while your power can aid their ends,
You ne'er can need ten thousand friends;
But once in want, by foes dismay'd,
May advertise them, stol'n or stray'd.
Thus ere Great-Britain's force grew slack,
She gain'd that aid she did not lack;
But now in dread, imploring pity,
All hear unmoved her dol'rous ditty;
Allegiance wand'ring turns astray,
And Faith grows dim for lack of pay.
In vain she tries, by new inventions,
Fear, falsehood, flatt'ry, threats and pensions;
Or sends Commiss'ners with credentials
Of promises and penitentials.
As, for his fare o'er Styx of old,
The Trojan stole the bough of gold,
And least grim Cerb'rus should make head,
Stuff'd both his fobs with ginger-bread:
Behold, at Britain's utmost shifts,
Comes Johnstone loaded with like gifts,
To venture through the whiggish tribe,
To cuddle, wheedle, coax and bribe:
And call, to aid his desp'rate mission,
His petticoated politician,
While Venus, join'd to act the farce,
Strolls forth embassadress for Mars.
In vain he strives, for while he lingers,
These mastiffs bite his off'ring fingers;
Nor buys for George and realms infernal
One spaniel, but the mongrel, Arnold.


"'Twere vain to paint, in vision'd show,
The mighty nothings done by Howe;
What towns he takes in mortal fray,
As stations whence to run away;
What triumphs gain'd in conflict warm,
No aid to us, to them no harm;
For still th' event alike is fatal,
Whate'er success attend the battle,
Whether he vict'ry gain or lose it,
Who ne'er had skill enough to use it.
And better 'twere, at their expense,
T' have drubb'd him into common sense,
And waked, by bastings on his rear,
Th' activity, though but of fear.
By slow advance his arms prevail,
Like emblematic march of snail,
That, be Millennium nigh or far,
'Twould long before him end the war.
From York to Philadelphian ground,
He sweeps the pompous flourish round,
Wheel'd circ'lar by eccentric stars,
Like racing boys at prison-bars,
Who take th' opposing crew in whole,
By running round the adverse goal;
Works wide the traverse of his course,
Like ship t' evade the tempest's force;
Like mill-horse circling in his race,
Advances not a single pace,
And leaves no trophies of reduction,
Save that of cankerworms, destruction.
Thus having long both countries curst,
He quits them as he found them first,
Steers home disgraced, of little worth,
To join Burgoyne and rail at North.


"Now raise thine eyes and view with pleasure,
The triumphs of his famed successor."


"I look'd, and now by magic lore
Faint rose to view the Jersey shore:
But dimly seen in gloom array'd,
For night had pour'd her sable shade,
And every star, with glimm'rings pale,
Was muffled deep in ev'ning veil.
Scarce visible, in dusky night
Advancing red-coats rose in sight;
The length'ning train in gleaming rows
Stole silent from their slumb'ring foes;
No trembling soldier dared to speak,
And not a wheel presumed to creak.
My looks my new surprize confess'd,
Till by great Malcolm thus address'd.
"Spend not thy wits in vain researches;
'Tis one of Clinton's moonlight marches.
From Philadelphia now retreating
To save his baffled troops a beating,
With hasty strides he flies in vain,
His rear attack'd on Monmouth plain.
With various chance the dread affray
Holds in suspense till close of day,
When his tired bands, o'ermatch'd in fight,
Are rescued by descending night.
He forms his camp, with great parade,
While evening spreads the world in shade,
Then still, like some endanger'd spark,
Steals off on tiptoe in the dark:
Yet writes his king in boasting tone
How grand he march'd by light of moon.
I see him, but thou canst not; proud
He leads in front the trembling crowd,
And wisely knows, as danger's near,
'Twill fall much heaviest on his rear.
Go on, great Gen'ral, nor regard
The scoffs of every scribbling bard;
Who sings how gods, that fearful night,
Aided by miracle your flight,
As once they used, in Homer's day,
To help weak heroes run away;
Tells how the hours, at this sad trial,
Went back, as erst on Ahaz' dial,
While British Joshua stay'd the moon
On Monmouth plains for Ajalon.
Heed not their sneers or gibes so arch,
Because she set before your march.
A small mistake! your meaning right;
You take her influence for her light:
Her influence, which shall be your guide,
And o'er your Gen'ralship preside.
Hence still shall teem your empty skull
With vict'ries, when the moon's at full,
Which by transition passing strange
Wane to defeats before the change.
Still shall you steer, on land or ocean,
By like eccentric lunar motion;
Eclips'd in many a fatal crisis,
And dimm'd when Washington arises.


"And see how Fate, herself turn'd traitor,
Inverts the ancient course of nature;
And changes manners, tempers, climes,
To suit the genius of the times!
See, Bourbon forms a gen'rous plan,
New guardian of the rights of man,
And prompt in firm alliance joins
To aid the Rebels' proud designs!
Behold from realms of eastern day
His sails innum'rous shape their way,
In warlike line the billows sweep,
And roll the thunders of the deep!
See, low in equinoctial skies,
The western islands fall their prize;
See British flags, o'ermatch'd in might,
Put all their faith in instant flight,
Or broken squadrons, from th' affray,
Drag slow their wounded hulks away!
Behold his Chiefs, in daring setts,
D'Estaignes, De Grasses and Fayettes,
Spread through our camps their dread alarms,
And swell the fear of rebel arms!
Yet ere our glories sink in night,
A gleam of hope shall strike your sight;
As lamps, that fail of oil and fire,
Collect one glimm'ring to expire.


"For lo, where southern shores extend,
Behold our gather'd hosts descend,
Where Charleston views, with varying beams
Her turrets gild th' encircling streams!
There by superior force compell'd,
Behold their gallant Lincoln yield;
Nor aught the wreaths avail him now,
Pluck'd from Burgoyne's imperious brow.
See, furious from the vanquish'd strand,
Cornwallis leads his mighty band;
The southern realms and Georgian shore
Submit and own the victor's power;
Lo! sunk before his wasting way,
The Carolinas fall his prey!
See, shrinking from his conq'ring eye,
The Rebel legions fall or fly;
And with'ring in these torrid skies,
The northern laurel fades and dies!
With rapid force he leads his train
To fair Virginia's cultured plain,
Triumphant eyes the travell'd zone,
And boasts the southern realm his own.


"Nor yet this hero's glories bright
Blaze only in the fields of fight.
Not Howe's humanity more deserving
In gifts of hanging and of starving;
Not Arnold plunders more tobacco,
Or steals more negroes for Jamaica;
Scarce Rodney's self, among th' Eustatians,
Insults so well the laws of nations;
Ev'n Tryon's fame grows dim, and mourning
He yields the civic crown of burning.
I see, with pleasure and surprize,
New triumph sparkling in your eyes;
But view, where now renew'd in might,
Again the Rebels dare the fight."
"I look'd, and far in southern skies
Saw Greene, their second hope, arise,
And with his small, but gallant, band.
Invade the Carolinian land.
As winds, in stormy circles whirl'd,
Rush billowy o'er the darken'd world,
And where their wasting fury roves
Successive sweep th' astonish'd groves:
Thus where he pours the rapid fight,
Our boasted conquests sink in night,
And far o'er all the extended field
Our forts resign, our armies yield,
Till now, regain'd the vanquish'd land,
He lifts his standard on the strand.


"Again to fair Virginia's coast
I turn'd and view'd the British host,
Where Chesapeak's wide waters lave
Her shores and join th' Atlantic wave.
There famed Cornwallis tow'ring rose,
And scorn'd secure his distant foes;
His bands the haughty rampart raise,
And bid the Royal standard blaze.
When lo, where ocean's bounds extend,
Behold the Gallic sails ascend,
With fav'ring breezes stem their way,
And crowd with ships the spacious bay.
Lo! Washington, from northern shores,
O'er many a region wheels his force,
And Rochambeau, with legions bright,
Descends in terror to the fight.
Not swifter cleaves his rapid way
The eagle, cow'ring o'er his prey;
Or knights in famed romance, that fly
On fairy pinions through the sky.
Amazed, the Briton's startled pride
Sees ruin wake on every side,
And all his troops, to fate consign'd,
By instantaneous stroke, Burgoyned.
Not Cadmus view'd with more surprise,
From earth embattled armies rise,
Who from the dragon's teeth beheld
Men starting fierce with spear and shield.
I saw, with looks downcast and grave,
The Chief emerging from his cave,
Where chased, like fox, in mighty round,
His hunters earth'd him first in ground;
And doom'd by fate to rebel sway,
Yield all his captured host a prey.
There while I view'd the vanquish'd town,
Thus with a sigh my friend went on."


"Behold'st thou not that band forlorn,
Like slaves in Roman triumphs borne,
Their faces length'ning with their fears,
And cheeks distain'd with streams of tears;
Like dramatis personæ sage,
Equipp'd to act on Tyburn's stage.
Lo, these are they, who lured by follies
Left all, and follow'd great Cornwallis,
Expectant of the promised glories,
And new Millennial reign of Tories!
Alas! in vain, all doubts forgetting,
They tried th' omnipotence of Britain;
But found her arm, once strong and brave,
So shorten'd now, she cannot save.
Not more aghast, departed souls
Who risk'd their fate on Popish bulls,
And find St. Peter, at the wicket,
Refuse to countersign their ticket,
When driven to purgatory back,
With each his pardon in his pack;
Than Tories, must'ring at their stations,
On faith of royal proclamations.
As Pagan chiefs at every crisis,
Confirm'd their leagues by sacrifices,
And herds of beasts, to all their deities,
Oblations fell, at close of treaties:
Cornwallis thus, in ancient fashion,
Concludes his grand capitulation;
And heedless of their screams or suff'rings,
Gives up the Tories for sin-off'rings.
See where, relieved from sad embargo,
Steer off consign'd a recreant cargo;
Like old scape-goats to roam in pain,
Mark'd like their great forerunner, Cain.
The rest now doom'd by British leagues
To vengeance of resentful Whigs,
Hold doubtful lives on tenure ill
Of tenancy at Rebel-will,
While hov'ring o'er their forfeit persons,
The gallows waits his just reversions.


"Thou too, M'Fingal, ere that day,
Shalt taste the terrors of th' affray.
See, o'er thee hangs in angry skies,
Where Whiggish Constellations rise,
And while plebeian signs ascend,
Their mob-inspiring aspects bend,
That baleful Star, whose horrid hair
Shakes forth the plagues of down and tar!
I see the pole, that rears on high
Its flag terrific through the sky;
The mob beneath prepared t' attack,
And tar predestined for thy back.
Ah quit, my friend, this dang'rous home,
Nor wait the darker scenes to come.
For know, that fate's auspicious door,
Once shut to flight, is oped no more;
Nor wears its hinge, by changing stations,
Like Mercy's door in Proclamations.


"But lest thou pause, or doubt to fly,
To stranger visions turn thine eye.
Each cloud, that dimm'd thy mental ray,
And all the mortal mists decay.
See, more than human pow'rs befriend,
And lo! their hostile forms ascend.
There tow'ring o'er the extended strand,
The Genius of this western land,
For vengeance arm'd, his sword assumes,
And stands, like Tories, dress'd in plumes!
See, o'er yon Council-seat, with pride
How Freedom spreads her banners wide!
There Patriotism, with torch address'd
To fire with zeal each daring breast;
While all the Virtues in their train,
Escaped with pleasure o'er the main,
Desert their ancient British station,
Possess'd with rage of emigration.
Honor, his bus'ness at a stand,
For fear of starving quits their land;
And Justice, long disgraced at Court, had
By Mansfield's sentence been transported.
Vict'ry and Fame attend their way,
Though Britain wish their longer stay;
Care not what George or North would be at,
Nor heed their writs of Ne exeat;
But fired with love of colonizing,
Quit the fall'n empire for the rising."


"I look'd, and saw, with horror smitten,
These hostile pow'rs averse to Britain.


"When lo, an awful spectre rose,
With languid paleness on his brows;
Wan dropsies swell'd his form beneath,
And iced his bloated cheeks with death;
His tatter'd robes exposed him bare
To every blast of ruder air;
On two weak crutches propp'd he stood,
That bent at every step he trod;
Gilt titles graced their sides so slender,
One, "Regulation," t'other, "Tender;"
His breastplate graved, with various dates,
"The Faith of all th' United States;"
Before him went his funeral pall,
His grave stood, dug to wait his fall.


"I started, and aghast I cried,
"What means this spectre at their side?
What danger from a pow'r so vain,
Or union with that splendid train?"


"Alas, great Malcolm cried, experience
Might teach you not to trust appearance.
Here stands, as dress'd by fell Bellona,
The ghost of Continental Money!
Of Dame Necessity descended,
With whom Credulity engender'd:
Though born with constitution frail,
And feeble strength, that soon must fail,
Yet strangely vers'd in magic lore,
And gifted with transforming power.
His skill the wealth Peruvian joins,
With diamonds of Brazilian mines.
As erst Jove fell, by subtle wiles,
On Danae's apron through the tiles,
In show'rs of gold; his potent wand
Shall shed like show'rs o'er all the land.
Less great the wondrous art was reckon'd
Of tallies cast by Charles the second,
Or Law's famed Missisippi schemes,
Or all the wealth of South-Sea dreams.
For he, of all the world, alone
Owns the long-sought Philos'pher's stone,
Restores the fabulous times to view,
And proves the tale of Midas true.
O'er heaps of rags he waves his wand;
All turn to gold at his command,
Provide for present wants and future,
Raise armies, victual, clothe, accoutre,
Adjourn our conquests by essoin,
Check Howe's advance, and take Burgoyne;
Then makes all days of payment vain,
And turns all back to rags again.
In vain great Howe shall play his part
To ape and counterfeit his art;
In vain shall Clinton, more belated,
A conj'rer turn to imitate it.
With like ill luck and pow'rs as narrow,
They'll fare, like sorcerers of old Pharaoh;
Who, though the art they understood
Of turning rivers into blood,
And caused their frogs and snakes t' exist,
That with some merit croak'd and hiss'd,
Yet ne'er by every quaint device
Could frame the true Mosaic lice.
He for the Whigs his arts shall try,
Their first, and long their sole, ally;
A Patriot firm, while breath he draws,
He'll perish in his Country's cause,
And when his magic labors cease,
Lie buried in eternal peace.


Now view the scenes, in future hours,
That wait the famed European powers.
See, where yon chalky cliffs arise,
The hills of Britain strike your eyes;
Its small extension long supplied
By full immensity of pride;
So small, that had it found a station
In this new world, at first creation,
Or doom'd by justice, been betimes
Transported over for its crimes,
We'd find full room for't in lake Erie, or
That larger water-pond, Superior,
Where North at margin taking stand,
Would scarce be able to spy land.
See, dwindling from her height amain,
What piles of ruin spread the plain;
With mould'ring hulks her ports are fill'd,
And brambles clothe the lonely field!
See, on her cliffs her Genius lies,
His handkerchief at both his eyes,
With many a deep-drawn sigh and groan,
To mourn her ruin, and his own!
While joyous Holland, France and Spain
With conq'ring navies awe the main;
And Russian banners wide unfurl'd
Spread commerce round the eastern world.


And see, (sight hateful and tormenting!)
This Rebel Empire, proud and vaunting,
From anarchy shall change her crasis,
And fix her pow'r on firmer basis;
To glory, wealth and fame ascend,
Her commerce wake, her realms extend;
Where now the panther guards his den,
Her desert forests swarm with men;
Gay cities, tow'rs and columns rise,
And dazzling temples meet the skies;
Her pines, descending to the main,
In triumph spread the wat'ry plain,
Ride inland seas with fav'ring gales,
And crowd her ports with whitening sails:
Till to the skirts of western day,
The peopled regions own her sway."


Thus far M'Fingal told his tale,
When startling shouts his ears assail;
And strait the Constable, their sentry,
Aghast rush'd headlong down the entry,
And with wild outcry, like magician,
Dispersed the residue of vision.
For now the Whigs the news had found
Of Tories must'ring under ground,
And with rude bangs and loud uproar,
'Gan thunder furious at the door.
The lights put out, each tory calls,
To cover him on cellar walls,
Creeps in each box, or bin, or tub,
To hide him from the rage of mob,
Or lurks, where cabbage-heads in row
Adorn'd the sides with verdant show.
M'Fingal deem'd it vain to stay,
And risk his bones in second fray:
But chose a grand retreat from foes,
In literal sense, beneath their nose.
The window then, which none else knew,
He softly open'd and crept through,
And crawling slow in deadly fear,
By movements wise made good his rear.
Then scorning all the fame of martyr,
For Boston took his swift departure,
Nor look'd back on the fatal spot,
More than the family of Lot.
Not North in more distress'd condition,
Out-voted first by opposition;
Nor good King George, when our dire phantom
Of Independence came to haunt him,
Which hov'ring round by night and day,
Not all his conj'rors e'er could lay.
His friends, assembled for his sake,
He wisely left in pawn, at stake,
To tarring, feath'ring, kicks and drubs
Of furious, disappointed mobs,
Or with their forfeit heads to pay
For him, their leader, crept away.
So when wise Noah summon'd greeting,
All animals to gen'ral meeting,
From every side the members went,
All kinds of beasts to represent;
Each, from the flood, took care t' embark,
And save his carcase in the ark:
But as it fares in state and church,
Left his constituents in the lurch.

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I Don't Want To Know

What's this in your eyes
Why do you look this way at me
No it's not such surprise
I could have told you she would leave you crying
Like you left me

So now you come and say
That you just want to talk and so
Just let me get it straight
It's over now and I don't really want to know
I don't want to know

I

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Thorn In My Side

Thorn in my side.
You know thats all you ever were.
A bundle of lies.
You know thats all that it was worth...
I should have known better
But I trusted you at first.
I should have known better
But I got what I deserved...
To run away from you
Was all that I could do.
To run away from you
Was all that I could do.
Thorn in my side.
You know thats all youll ever be.
So dont think you know better
cause thats what you mean to me...
I was feeling complicated.
I was feeling low.
Now everytime I think of you
I shiver to the bone...
(chorus repeats...)

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Emo

I am an emo kid,
Sadness,
Deep sorrow,
Forever gone,
Never to care again,
Cut myself into pieces,
Having one eye covered with my hair,
If I wanted to live,
I rather choose death,
Emo is what I am,
Can’t handle the fact I am emo kid,
Then leave me be,
Suffering is what I have,
Pain is all I feel,
To be the person I am,
I am just me,
Proud to be me,
Since you left,
I lost a part of me,
Things will never be the same anymore,
That emo kid will forever be me from the outside to the inside,
I don’t care what anyone else say or do or even think of me.

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With pleasure comes pain

Ever made that one mistake
That you knew would bring pain
All night you lie awake
While everything comes down in vain

The ones who cared
Are now no longer near
You regret the feelings shared
It all comes back with every tear

Happiness seems so far away
It’s almost too much to bear
It hurts too much to begin to say
And I’m starting not to care

Time is the only cure
But also the cure that I hate
The voices are starting to torture
Saying that death inside is my only fate

If I could only go back
And redo what’s been done
Honesty is what I lack
I’m no longer bright under the sun

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Anti-Love Poem #2

Ever since Romeo and Juliet
Repulsed lovers have considered suicide
As just an offshoot of unrequited love-
Even if the love was refused from the start
Or only existed as a delusion in the mind of the deluded.

I suggest that in modern life
What with plastics, antibiotics, and all this stuff
We have other options to the suicide-only impulse
And since murder practically rules this age,
Maybe you should take out the offensive love withholder, instead.

That would leave you free-
Free for another unsatisfying relationship
To help you remember you don't think
You're of any worth; and once in prison you would be surprised
How many would hurl themselves down to worship at your infamous feet.

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Your Signature Of Approval Clearly Appears

If you are one...
And there are many.
You are not alone.
Who sat on the sidelines...
And done nothing but complain.
To condone as shown.
With a choice to defame and claim...
The ones making attempts to uplift others,
You convinced those listening...
Sought names of fame.

Guess what?
Congratulations.
No need to get up from your rut.

And your activities have been,
To ensure they are publicly shamed!
In a very successfully conducted campaign.

Guess what?
Congratulations.
No need to get up from your rut.

The blight you see you wish would leave...
Has the mark of deceivers on it!
And your signature of approval clearly appears.
Those you jeered whether in whispers or cheers,
Had nothing to do with the reception of your wishes.

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I Have Been a Foster

I have been a foster
Long and many a day.
Foster will I be no more-
No longer shoot I may.
Yet have I been a foster.

Hang I will my noble bow
Upon the greenwood bough,
For I cannot shoot in plain
Nor yet in rough
Yet have I been a foster.

Every bow for me is too big.
Mine arrow nigh worn is.
The glue is slipped from the nick.
When I should shoot, I miss.
Yet have I been a foster.

Lady Venus hath commanded me
Out of her court to go.
Right plainly she shewith me
That beauty is my foe.
Yet have I been a foster.

My beard is so hard, God wot,
When I should maidens kiss,
They stand aback and make it strange.
Lo, age is cause of this.
Yet have I been a foster.

Now will I take to me my beads
For and my saints' book,
And pray I will for them that may,
For I may nought but look.
Yet have I been a foster.

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Why The Chorus of Remorse?

What has happened to the suddenness of your distance?
And why the chorus of remorse?
What has happened to the suddenness of your...
'Forget you, and that's it! ? '
And why the chorus of remorse am I now from you hearing?

I've mended and healed from those years embittered.
Those years that left me sitting with an unforgiveness,
Felt for you to inflict daggers.
What has happened to the suddenness of your distance?
And why the chorus of remorse?

I have long forgiven but not forgotten.
You left me.
Dd you think I would awaken and not remember it?
You left me.
And erasing you from my heart,
Is not going to take an effort...
On my part,
To retrace any feelings I wish to recapture.

The heat I am feeling for you now...
I warn you,
Is not the kind you wish to see or have rekindled.
Trust me.
If I were you,
I would leave.

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I Still Love You

I still love you
The door still creaks, the roof still leaks
When the rain comes fallindown
The dog still barks at every car that comes around
My boss at work, hes still a jerk
That aint nothing new
Im such a dope, my hearts still broke
cause I still love you
Chorus:
My favorite picture of you is still on my windowsill
You wrote to me dont ever change
And Im afraid I never will
When day is done the night still comes
And I still toss and turn
I still try to have some pride,
While the bridge still burns
My arms still ache, my heart still waits
And I know theres no use
Im still a fool and its so cruel
cause I still love you
Chorus:
My favorite picture of you is still on my windowsill
You wrote to me dont ever change
And Im afraid I never will
The door still creaks, the roof still leaks
But that aint nothing new
Thanks for the call, I guess thats all
Except I still love you

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Bindle Stiff

When I was brash and gallant-gay
Just fifty years ago,
I hit the ties and beat my way
From Maine to Mexico;
For though to Glasgow gutter bred
A hobo heart had I,
And followed where adventure led,
Beneath a brazen sky.

And as I tramped the railway track
I owned a single shirt;
Like canny Scot I bought it black
So's not to show the dirt;
A handkerchief held all my gear,
My razor and my comb;
I was a freckless lad, I fear,
With all the world for home.

Yet oh I thought the life was grand
And loved my liberty!
Romance was my bed-fellow and
The stars my company.
And I would think, each diamond dawn,
"How I have forged my fate!
Where are the Gorbals and the Tron,
And where the Gallowgate?"

Oh daft was I to wander wild,
And seek the Trouble Trail,
As weakly as a wayward child,
And darkly doomed to fail . . .
Aye, bindle-stiff I hit the track
Just fifty years ago . . .
Yet now . . . I drive my Cadillac
From Maine to Mexico.

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Observation

Between you and me, I fear for her
I do feel in a way but I must say sir
That although she belongs completely to him
The chances that he sees himself as hers are slim

Between you and me, I cry for that girl
I mean who cares about dresses or a string of pearl
If the beauty of the gift is not given but taken
Well at least maybe now they will both awaken

Between you and me, you would disagree?
Why do tell, what is it you deduce from what you see?
You, my dear sir, are a genius! Of course she gave him reason
How did I not see her hideous, uncouth treason!

Well between you and me, I must say this
Maybe they are as bad as each other, such a false kiss
But from the mistakes we observe may we play a better game
God know that the consequences of theirs puts ours to shame

Let's keep this between you and I, I wouldn't want to lie
Wouldn't want anyone to know the information we spy
How unclean would that look, if we were caught!
Lord have mercy on our souls, we are not that untaught

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