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The American Civil War & Thunder In The Ground

THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

In 1860 life was good
Till its simple-ness ceased one day.
The North wished to save the Union
While the South chose to break away.

America was torn apart
As six hundred thousand died.
Throughout four years of total war
Women without husbands cried.

The sad fact of the Civil War
Is what was left at its end.
Too many times, men's evil acts
Destroyed both foe and friend.

The problem was, once it began
There was no peace or compromise.
Total victory must be proclaimed
Before rage would leave men's eyes.

Destroy all that helps the enemy
Was the cry of either side.
Anything to obtain victory
As death on horseback did ride.

Black men dressed in old uniforms
Became the Union's reserve.
They fought and died for their freedom
And their rights they earned and deserve.

Lifestyles would forever change
For all who survived the war.
It had ended as it began
With sadness, misery and more.

Both sides prayed to the same God
And spoke words from the Bible.
The prayers of both were not answered
For all involved were liable.

BLACK POWDER BRIDGE

A courier rider hands his papers to me
They are instructions from Robert E. Lee.
I am advised now is the time
To stop the troop movement on the Rock Island line.

I muster my men and they load up the boats
We powder our pistols and darken our coats.
Traveling the currents, the sun slips from sight
As brave men with a purpose have gathered to fight.

We capture a bridge before the moonrise
The Yankees who are here shall soon feed the flies.
The evil of war feeds on my brain
As I light the fuse to destroy a train.

Above us a trestle of timber and tar
As we pull our oars for a willowed sandbar.
From the banks of the river; we watch it approach
There's shadows of soldiers, in the windows of a coach.

With a burst of bright yellow and a roar in my ear
I hear them scream as they 're falling in fear.
The river is boiling in steam, steel and stems
Back home their families shall soon sing funeral hymns.

The one lone survivor was a red stallion stud
I lassoed his neck, and freed him from the mud.
As I ride in his saddle beneath the stars that shine
I pray for forgiveness and some peace of mind.

War is a lesson we re eager to learn
When man has that fever to murder and burn.
Lord, please forgive me for what I have done
For all those I've silenced were some mother's son.

THUNDER IN THE GROUND

Cannons are bellowing from a ridge far away
The battle lines are forming and there's little time to pray.
Musket balls are pelting like hailstones from the sky
I'm so full of fear cause I don 't want to die.

From beyond yonder hill comes a terrifying sound
It's the music of the buglers and there's thunder in the ground.
The fast-riding troopers have all drawn out their swords.
They 're shouting and screaming as they charge up the gorge.

It's hard to believe how many make it through
As they're hacking and shooting at the boys dressed in blue.
Then come the soldier men who run upon their feet
Every time I dropp one, my heart skips a beat.

There's a storm on the ground made of death, dust and smoke
My throat is so dry, I can 't help but choke.
The fury of the battle is bound to settle down
When most of the fighters lie dead on the ground.

After dark, the stretcher-bearers are afraid to search around
The wild hogs eat the wounded and I can 't stand the sound.
Come dawn, we dig ditches for all the brave, lifeless men
Then quote words from our Bible praying heaven lets them in.

Tom Zart's 462 Poems Are Free to Use to Teach Or Show Support!

By God's Poet
Tom Zart
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On The Web!

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Tom Zart's 52 Best Of The Rest America At War Poems

SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF WORLD WAR III

The White House
Washington
Tom Zart's Poems


March 16,2007
Ms. Lillian Cauldwell
President and Chief Executive Officer
Passionate Internet Voices Radio
Ann Arbor Michigan

Dear Lillian:
Number 41 passed on the CDs from Tom Zart. Thank you for thinking of me. I am thankful for your efforts to honor our brave military personnel and their families. America owes these courageous men and women a debt of gratitude, and I am honored to be the commander in chief of the greatest force for freedom in the history of the world.
Best Wishes.

Sincerely,

George W. Bush


SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF WORLD WAR III


Our sons and daughters serve in harm's way
To defend our way of life.
Some are students, some grandparents
Many a husband or wife.

They face great odds without complaint
Gambling life and limb for little pay.
So far away from all they love
Fight our soldiers for whom we pray.

The plotters and planners of America's doom
Pledge to murder and maim all they can.
From early childhood they are taught
To kill is to become a man.

They exploit their young as weapons of choice
Teaching in heaven, virgins will await.
Destroying lives along with their own
To learn of their falsehoods too late.

The fearful cry we must submit
And find a way to soothe them.
Where defenders worry if we stand down
The future for America is grim.

Now's not the time to fight one another
Or kiss our enemy's cheek.
All through history it remains the same
The strong enslave the weak.

May God continue to bless America
Refusing evil, the upper hand.
It's up to us to stay resolute
Defending the liberty of Man.


ULTIMATE SACRIFICE


Our men and women give the ultimate sacrifice
When they pledge to defend our flag.
In hot spots throughout our world
They defeat our enemies who brag.

Most say their prayers to their own private God
To protect and bring them safely home.
It's our job as patriots and Americans
To let them know we love them as our own.

Think of all of history's heroes of freedom
And what they gave up for "Old Glory".
Nothing has changed for over two hundred years
As our soldiers continue the story.

Those rows of white crosses in manicured fields
Tell the story of ultimate sacrifice and love.
Always remember all we treasure and enjoy
Are because of our soldiers and God above.


UNYIELDING HONOR


Weakness invites moral plight, war and aggression
Encouraged by mistrust, misjudgment and delay.
All we love can be destroyed and transformed
By the powers of darkness maneuvering our way.

When something wicked stares us in the face
To corrupt our morals, faith and resolve.
God gives us courage to defend what's right
No matter the sacrifice or danger involved.

Evil seeks to destroy the good in man
And silence the memory of God's law.
It's up to the faithful to stay unyielding
Defending the liberty and justice of all.

Our men and woman who serve in harm's way
Are the armor of what the free world depends on.
Without their sacrifice of body and soul
All that we stand for is gone.


GOD LOVES HIS SOLDIERS


Sometimes it's hard to protect what is right
Sometimes we're scorned as for others we fight.
Some of us are willing regardless of loss
To commit our soul to save the cross.

Evil prospers on greed and human hate
Always eager to destroy and defecate.
God's grace descends on the souls of man
Cleansing the impure wherever He can.

As long as man has struggled on earth
Life has had its troubles from birth.
God's seed of goodness has delayed man's demise
Thank Heaven for his heroes the strong and the wise.

The Lord adores his heroes of yesterday
Just how numerous, only He could say.
God loves his soldiers who line up to serve
By standing against evil His grace they deserve.


AMERICA


America the abundant the place I was born
I'll cherish till the day I die.
Where the bones of past heroes lie buried in the ground
Who loved her the same as I.

Her mountains are so tall they reach for the sky
With prairies where the green grasses grow.
There's billions of trees where wild birds nest
With creatures that flourish below.

That blue gold called water with which we are blessed
As raindrops or crystallized snow;
Changes to rivers and fresh water lakes
While the winds of our seasons blow.

There's the haunt of a whistle from a lonely freight train
Racing on ribbons of steel
With the harvest of farms and from the factories
Balanced in a box on a wheel.

Some cities have buildings a hundred stories tall
Structures of concrete, glass and steel.
A statue in a harbor, a present from France
Describes how, inside, we feel.

That flag on the moon with red and white stripes
Proves America's dreams come true.
A country of heroes who line up to protect
The past, the present and the few.

We'll defeat terrorism as it should be fought
Never letting Satan's horde chase us to our door.
Safeguarding our borders and system of life
As our forefathers sacrificed before.

Never be afraid to be proud of America
And march with the brave, faithful and just.
Refusing to submit to the will of our enemies
Standing firm to preserve what we trust.


INTO THE TEETH of THE DOG


All through history man was born to struggle
Surviving nature, disease, greed, and war.
Since his conception he has remained the same
Choosing to serve evil or good as before.

Our boys and girls face the teeth of the dog
In hot spots all over our earth.
They leave their families and all they love
To protect and preserve what liberty is worth.

The foes they face are the mad dogs of man
With a desire to kill, disfigure and enslave.
They sing and dance to the death of others
Teaching principles of hate till the grave.

Support our troops who battle the horde
While we live the good life back home.
When you see a soldier show them your smile
Say "hello we love you and your not alone.


THE MAD DOGS OF MAN


Wherever dwell the mad dogs of man
There is corruption, plunder and hate.
In every city, town, or village
Those who promote distrust deserve their fate.

All are born as an innocent child
Till mislead by others along the way.
God has always loved his children
Though it breaks His heart when they stray.

The mad dogs of man never repent
For they have no sense of shame or sorrow.
Worshiping dominance and the dark side of life
Abusing victims as if there were no tomorrow.

God gives the will to sin no more
And to overcome evil unwilling to cease.
The mad dogs of man must be stopped
Who murder, rape and destroy world peace.

Samson, Solomon, and David
Were chosen by God to stand tall.
They faced great odds and the fear of death
Refusing to ignore their call.

The time has come for the good men of Earth
To band together to restrain the horde.
Standing firm against tyranny where it exists
Putting the mad dogs of man to the sword.


WHERE WARS ARE WON OR LOST


Wars are waged by older men
In battle rooms in countries apart.
Who call for greater firepower
And troops for the combat chart.

While out among the shattered flesh
The dreams of all have turned gray.
So young and determined their faces were
Till on the battlefield they lay.

Unable to overcome their pride
The politicians cast their vote.
For this or that or something else
As the rage of war sounds its note.

Wherever wars are won or lost
The soldiers fall like toys.
Down through history it remains the same
Most who die are hardly more than boys.

Like monkeys in a revolving cage
Man squabbles for the peanuts of power.
When will we rise above our greed
And become as a beautiful flower?

Death to death, dust to dust
The wrath of war is a horrible crime.
It's the beast within that still prevails
As it has through the torments of time.


WAR IS THE GREATEST PLAGUE OF MAN


As war is fought it takes charge
And events spin out of control.
The madness of men can alter the soil
Which nourishes the roots of their soul.

Many things will forever change
Far more then wished to be.
As the wrath of war starts to destroy
Those things we fight to keep free.

War is the greatest plague of man
Religion, state, and sanity.
Any scourge is more preferred
Than the one which disables humanity.

When war breaks out, boundaries change
And all who die are a token
Of the rage that must run it's course
Before words of peace are spoken.

War I hate, though not men, flags nor race
But war itself with its ugly face.
When we lose faith in the brave, which die
Then we're not fit to greet those who cry.

What distinguishes war isn't death
But that man is slain by fellow man.
Crushed by cruelty and injustice
With his enemy's murderous hand.

War tends to punish the punishers
So the losers won't suffer alone.
The essence of war is but violence
Till the survivors come marching home.

Sometimes it's hard to defend what's right
Sometimes we're forced to rise up and fight.
Sometimes we survive, while others must die
Sometimes never knowing the reason why.

The rush of combat is a natural buzz
Caused by fear, leaving nothing as it was.
Hunting one another like wild game
Without a shortage of those to blame.

Sometimes victory comes too slow or quick
Sometimes the cost on both sides is sick.
Sometimes God is asked to intervene
To help stop the savage from being so mean.

War is a hell we visit before death
Fueled by the whisper of the devil's breath.
There must be a reason man destroys man
But why it is so, I can't understand.


SEPTEMBER 11th


After suffering the wrath of a sneak attack
America now mourns to her very core.
Though soon her enemies shall all but flee
From the sound of America waging full war.

Let there be no doubt, no doubt at all
That the devil has decided to give us a call.
We shall defeat hell's soldiers and cast them out
And if we die; that's what freedom is about.

We shall seek them out wherever they may hide
Street by street, house-by-house, cave by cave.
They will be eradicated from the face of the earth
By the righteous, the loyal and the brave.


SATAN'S HORDE SHALL BE REMOVED


Overrun with war and uncontrolled leaders
Our world becomes more dangerous each day.
Dishonest politicians, criminals and the media
Survive by their falsehoods at play.

Bible believers preach, that the end is near
Our world as a whole is beyond reform.
God will eradicate all which is wicked
By His fire of eruption and storm.

To evil's victory, I will never concede
May its supporters anguish in hell.
By the grace of God and the power of faith
The goodness of man will prevail.

What we accomplish is heaven's measure
As patriots respond to the threats of man.
Protect and defend what we love till death
As the soldiers of Satan arise from the sand.


SO DEAR TO MY HEART


So dear to my heart are my loved ones at home
As I toss and I turn in my bunk all alone.
Everyday I see death, hate, and corruption
Combat is God's proof of man's malfunction

For family, comrades, and myself I pray
To my love with this poem I wish to convey.
I knew I loved you though never how much
Till by war, I'm forced beyond your touch.

Where violence thrives, there's the stench of death
With the taste of fear on every breath.
Who shall prevail, who shall die
As the sadistic kill beneath God's sky.

Baghdad has become man's highway to hell
Where the hearts of darkness are alive and well.
I count each day till it's time to come home
And be with my love and never alone.

Love You
Your Marine


FREEDOM


In their new uniforms
The young march off
Not knowing who shall return.
With a proud devotion
They brandish their flag
Leaving loved ones to wonder and yearn.

May we all be buried
By all of our children
Is an ancient tribal prayer.
They're so easy to lose
But so hard to forget
Such a burden for a parent to bear.

Oh, the taste of victory
Shall soon be forgotten
But, never that which was lost.
For those rows of white headstones
In peaceful green fields
Make it easy to tally the cost.

America has survived all attempts to destroy
Knowing the cruelty of war
And, we who remain
Must help keep her free
For those who can march no more!


OUR FLAG


Our flag is fabric wove of thread
Carried by heroes live and dead.
She stands for justice and courage too
With her colors; red, white and blue.

For all who serve her, there'll be cheers
For any who die, there'll be tears
For all who love her, honor will prevail
Any who harm her, shall suffer and fail.

How many moms have cried before
As they sent their children to war.
How many dads have not returned
Because our freedom must be earned.

Wars were waged where brave men died
As patriots fought side by side.
Our flag is still the pearl of Earth
Because of those who prove her worth.


LOVE OF COUNTRY


I dedicate this poem from inside my tent
As the desert winds keep it's silhouette bent.
My love of country is at full boil now
I'd like to describe it but it's hard to know how.

Tomorrow I'll hunt those who enjoy our death
Cursed by their hatred and foulness of breath.
I don't care if it's another God they serve
For their crime's retribution is what they deserve.

Their horde survives by a different set of rules,
Though soon they'll learn the fate of murderous fools.
Proudly I serve my homeland and president
Who I've sworn to defend one hundred percent.

While haunted by visions of what I must do
I fight for justice, and the red, white, and blue.


VETERAN'S DAY


The cost of freedom is sometimes high
Extremely more when our loved one's die.
Men and women pledged to fight and serve
And it's our support that they deserve.

Mankind itself is the one to blame
That all through history, the story's the same.
Peace, like love, can be hard to acquire
Subject always to enemy fire.

Some how the righteous tend to prevail
Over the miss-guided, prone to fail.
No wonder we fear the tongues that lie
As mankind squabbles beneath God's sky.

The danger our solders face is real
So lets let them know just how we feel.
Put forth your flag and show them your heart
As those we love from us depart.


THE BATTLE FOR BAGHDAD


Determined though scared, I walk my beat
On the deadly streets of Baghdad.
Searching for any who plot our harm
Or by our death are joyous and glad.

Standing in shadows caused by the moon
I'm reminded of my nights back home.
I wonder if the woman I love
Is growing tired of sleeping alone?

I feel remorse for all who live here
For this place is a madman's hell.
And those who wish to keep it that way
Must be killed or locked away in jail.

My greatest fear is not my death
But that I'll end up in a wheelchair.
Disabled for the rest of my life,
Depending on others for my care.

My wife, she prays for my safe return
As night and day more GI's are killed.
She knows quite well, whatever it takes
The oath I've given will be fulfilled.


SADDAM


The king of Baghdad has fallen
Never to dictate again.
Man shall sentence him for this crimes
And heaven shun him for his sin.

For his tyranny, he was famous
In every capital on earth.
Till apprehended in his spider hole
Completely stripped of his worth.

He is guilty of rape and genocide
While he ruled without remorse.
His power and prestige were toppled
Once George Bush set his course.

Though it may seem that the wicked triumph
And have conquered by their brutality of hand,
Through the power of faith they are defeated
By the seed of goodness in man.


FORMIDABLE FOE


America is the birthday cake of Earth
As the ants march from every direction.
Thank God for all who have sworn to defend her
Serving with love, honor, pride, and affection.

Since the first day George Washington marched off to war
There have been those who have wished our demise.
Their hatred, fueled by jealousy and greed
Was defeated by our brave and the wise.

Once again, we must face a formidable foe
Who have pledged by their God to destroy us all
Misusing their faith as an excuse to kill
As for a worldwide jihad, their leaders call.

Some say we should try to appease them
For if we resist, they'll hate us even more.
But the David's among us shall cast our stones
Defeating them, as it was done before.


SHOULD TOMORROW START WITHOUT ME


Should tomorrow start without me
Remember I love you.
Looking down from up above
Seeing everything you do.

If I become a casualty
I pray you will love again
Whom ever makes you happy
I'll consider my friend.

Should tomorrow start without me
Remind our boys, God loves all who care.
And when life seems too harsh and cruel
With 'Him' they must share their prayer.

I have proven I'm not a coward
Who breaks and runs to survive.
Always fearing death will kiss me
As the streets of Baghdad I drive.

Should tomorrow start without me
Be proud I choose to serve.
Our faith and our patriotism
Earn the freedom we deserve.

I miss home more than ever
It breaks my heart to stay away
I can't help but want to hold you
And whisper what I say.


AMERICAN SOLDIER


It's not a priest that gives us our freedom of religion
And it's not a reporter that gives us our freedom of voice.
It's not any judge, lawyer, politician, or teacher
But the blood of a soldier that has sacrificed by choice.

Our soldiers line up to be remembered
As the best of the best at their job.
They wish to be needed and depended on
To save all we love from the mob.

They risk their life and limb for liberty
Standing firm against evil unwilling to break.
To be part of something greater than themselves
They are willing to sacrifice whatever it will take.


THANK HEAVEN FOR HEROES


Thank Heaven for the heroes of life
Who lead us to overcome those who are not.
The wise are grateful for all God's blessings
Where fools never realize what they've got.

America is the grain train of Earth
Whose people exercise rule by their vote.
All have a chance to partake and prosper
As they arrive by foot, plane or boat.

Our freedom relies on the law of the land
Our future depends on our grit.
Our past has known both good and bad
And our mistakes we are willing to admit.

The grim of heart hate America
And choose to put her wonders to shame
The devotion of most who love and live here
Rise up to defeat the soldiers of blame.


THE LONELINESS OF WAR


I know I'm still here so far, far away
As I fight for what I believe is right.
I wonder about you and your mom
Every moment of every day and night.

The loneliness of war can drive you insane
If you don't get letters of concern from home.
Left, right, behind and ahead,
Death awaits leaving love ones alone.

We pray to God that we will be saved
To return home or live the here after.
Bloody, dirt-covered men, we see everyday
As we yearn for those times of laughter.

The far off stare of a fallen comrade
As you stay by his side till his end.
No mother ever carried her infant child
More carefully, than we do a friend.

Many have their own personal diaries
To help keep their faculties together.
Watching hot steel crash into human flesh
Always makes home seem far away and better.

I've become an expert at dodging, weaving and diving
So try not to worry too much about me.
Just help your mom and stand up from the ground
And while I'm gone be all you can be.


SACRIFICE TRANSFORMATION AND UNRESTRICTED WARFARE


The Japanese hadn't lost a war since 1598
Each man carried 400 rounds of ammunition
(twice as many as an American infantryman)
With five days rations and fearless determination.

The men in the badly wrapped brown uniforms
Since their early childhood had been taught
That to die for the emperor and one's country
Was the greatest of all glories to be sought.

Moreover, the hardware backing them was awesome
As sharpshooters they were accurate up to a thousand yards and more.
Their ships were faster, their guns bigger, Their torpedoes better
And their planes matchless in quality, aerobatics and score.

Only by sacrifice, transformation, and unrestricted warfare
Was America able to overcome and prevail.
Again America must stand firm to survive
As we face a new monster from Hell.


SOLDIER IN THE RAIN


I'm just a soldier who stands in the rain
My memories of home are what keep me sane.
Back home is a land of milk and honey
Ruled by lust and love of money.

But, what can I say, when I serve her true
For I volunteered to see this war through.
Now, that I'm here, it's hard to believe
We're just the victims of those who deceive.

As darkness falls on the rice fields of Nam
Scared men with rifles walk the shadows of the calm.
It's thousands of miles to the steps of my church
With its stained glass, steeples and lost souls who search.

Off in the distance I see an arc light
Bombs being dropped on children at night.
I've seen that evil they call the yellow rain
And how life withers when it's sprayed by a plane.

All of my buddies have been taken away
No more touch football will they ever play.
Zipped in their body bags for the long trip home
Are some of the bravest, I've ever known.

War is a hell, devised by man
There's death in the sea, the sky and the land.
Lord, I can't help but wish I were home
Back with my love, whom I hope is alone?


DADS AT WAR


Where would I be without you dad
My hero of night and day
I'm so glad you love my mother
And think of us when you pray

The last time we went to church
You reached for me with your hand.
I looked at you, then made a wish
That I might be just half the man.

I love my father of this earth
And I love my father of heaven.
It's a lot for me to love, you know
For I'm only eleven.

Mom and I sure miss you
Since you left to defend our flag.
When others ask, where is your dad
I can't help but boast and brag.


BULLETS AND BARBWIRE


We awoke to the crack of rifle fire
With mortar rounds hitting the ground near by.
The flying shrapnel was absorbed by sand bags
Which saved lots of us who wished not to die.

The hot spent shell casings fell to the ground
As the VC charged our fortified hill.
We killed so many the stench made us sick
While we fought to live and not for a thrill.

Barbwire, bullets and clay-mores took their toll
As red and green tracers lit up the sky.
Before long I was the last GI left
When napalm caused my enemy to fry.

Fleeing the sound of our choppers gunfire
The enemy retreated to the caves and trees.
Then I cried, 'thank you ' to Heaven above
As I checked out my buddies on my knees.

Somehow I managed to survive the day
Though many I've served with names I have read
Carved in the shinny black stone of The Wall
Are my comrades of war, among the dead.


KOREA 1950


UN soldiers fought and were forced to retreat
Behind sandbags protected by barbwire hoops.
Many GI's died as they held off attacks
By 810,000 Communist troops.

Our guys used phosphorus, flame-throwers and napalm
For without these weapons they could not survive.
The Communist charges led by buglers
Till the UN could start it's offensive drive.

On the battlefield of death Chosin Reservoir
Many froze with their hands still stuck to their guns.
While others hobbled with their boots wrapped in rags
City boys, farmers, students, fathers and sons.

With a million and a half dead or wounded
Both sides singed a truce before generals involved.
July 27th,1953
And though thousands were orphaned, nothing was solved.


WAR

As war is fought it takes charge
And events spin out of control.
The madness of men can alter the soil
Which nourishes the roots of their soul.

Many things will forever change
Far more then wished to be.
As the wrath of war starts to destroy
Those things we fight to keep free.

War is the greatest plague of man
Religion, state, and sanity.
Any scourge is more preferred
Than the one which disables humanity.

When war breaks out, boundaries change
And all who die are a token
Of the rage that must run it's course
Before words of peace are spoken.


TROOP SHIP


Our ship had sailed before the dawn
Surrounded by the thickest of fog
Still ignorant of our destination
Or what was written in the captain's log.

It didn't take long for me to see
Our cruise was not for fun
An experience of a lifetime
With nowhere for us to run.

Twenty knots per hour we cruised
As the white caps passed us by
Ten thousand young Americans
Off to Europe to die.

A sailor told us not to worry
Someday we'd get our mail.
Uncle Sam would make sure
No matter how far we sail.

Thirty feet deep I tried to sleep
Beneath our ship's waterline
Just the place for claustrophobia
To enter into my mind.

My favorite vest was my May West
Which I wore all the time
Just in case of German U-boats
Or an underwater mine.

Thirty-three days we were at sea
We crossed the equator twice.
Many years have passed since then
Those years of sacrifice.


BRAVERY


Many brave souls lived before now
Unwept and unknown by their face.
Lost somewhere in the distant night
Till a poet chronicles their grace.

True bravery is shown by performing
Without witness, what one might be
Capable of before the world
Without any or all to see.

How great the brave who rest in peace
All blessings from heaven to earth.
They gave our country but their best
Those destined to be brave from birth.


PEARL HARBOR


Sunday, December the seventh
In the year of 1941,
While most of Hawaii still slept
Came the planes of the Rising Sun.

Waves of bombers and fighters flew
From the decks of the Japanese ships.
While our planes were still on the ground
'Banzai' was spoken from their lips.

The winds of war had been blowing
Across the oceans of our earth
Though not till Pearl had been bombed
Did we realize what freedom's worth.

Wars are fought and won on two fronts
At home and on the battle line.
Both are equally important
When war consumes our heart and mind.

The attack brought us World War II
With death, pain and separation.
All who had served were well aware
Of their sacrifice for nation.


CONFLICT


The harder the conflict we sometimes face
The far more glorious is the victory.
Tyranny like hell is tough to defeat
When it raises its head throughout history.

War never leaves a country as it was
When neutrality is a word disregarded.
As the murderous hands of man himself
Are to blame for all who have departed.


D-DAY THE WALL


Over two hundred rangers scaled 'The Wall'
A stone cliff over one hundred feet tall.
Some of them made it all the way to the top
While others fell and perished from their drop.

Those who climbed over, had answered God's call
For men to stop evil once and for all.
They fought the Germans and destroyed their guns
To save the lives of our fathers and sons.

So many years have passed since then
When our world's future was saved by brave men.
We cannot forget the hell they went through
Before the skies, again turned blue.


D-DAY


D-Day raised the curtain on the conflict
That fore shadowed the end of Hitler's dream.
The largest joint combat landing ever
Though the blood from both sides flowed like a stream.

When their boats hit the sand, their ramps went down
And all within paid a visit to hell.
They jumped out to do good for their country
And to kill the enemy without fail.

They fought the Germans, tides, winds and the waves
In conditions not easily foreseen.
By night the battle was in our favor
With bravery, valor, death, and men who scream.

The corpses littered the beach for five miles
Though heroism had carried the day.
With literally thousands dead or wounded
Those who were left were determined to stay.

They faced great odds and chose not to protest
And won the war that put evil to shame.
Most came home, married and raised their babies
But those who could not we recall with pain.


MIDWAY


It was June the 4th 1942
As I was floating in the ocean alone
The ship I had sailed on, sank to the bottom
And I thought I would never again, see home.

The Japanese fleet had steamed in from the east
With the intentions of capturing Midway.
Though they were stopped by American war ships
Whose guns, bombs and torpedoes planes saved the day.

All night long, I watched the fireworks of war
And on the second day we turned up the heat.
As big bombers from Hawaii dropped their loads
On Japanese ships who soon chose to retreat.

An imperial pilot came floating close by
Who had been chewed on by the beasts of the sea.
I couldn't help but feel passion for this is man
Who had answered his call just like me.

When it was over, I was plucked from the deep
By men in a lifeboat just after the dawn.
For two days I had watched the battle for, Midway
Now it's quiet and the enemy has gone.


SURVIVAL


I drifted all night and was loosing my hope
Before by the moon's light I saw dry land.
I floated over and through its reefs to the beach
Where I quickly smoothed out my tracks in the sand.

All I had was my dagger and a canteen
And it was May 4th of 43.
Just me alone on an enemy island
Wasn't a safe place for a sailor to be.

I felt I could kill in less than a heartbeat
If that's what it took for me to survive.
I'd already said thanks so many times
For' God' was the reason I was alive.

Off in the dark, I herd two men's voices
Laughing and talking in a language not mine.
Inch by inch I crept to their campsite
Where on what they were eating, I would soon dine.

I stabbed them both and took their fish, rice and wine
Then ran my way back to the raft by the beach.
Soon I was floating in the ocean again
And far enough out where bullets couldn't reach.

The next day I was picked up by a seaplane
Whose crew spotted my sail from the air.
Once inside and safe, I cried like a child
For the dead whom would forever be there.

It was hard to believe heaven let me live
A farm boy from Kansas, in high school last year.
My girlfriend is blond and she hates it I 'm gone
Though I'm a veteran of battle, death, and fear.


OKINAWA


Okinawa was to be our last stop
Before we invaded Japan.
The largest landing of the Pacific war
As our soldiers ran across the sand.

At first our marines were scarcely opposed
But on the fifth day hell they found.
A solid wall of human resistance
Firing their weapons from caves in the ground.

Air power and big guns had little affect
On their cliff forts carved deep in the limestone.
It took man against man to root them out
As flying bullets pierced flesh and bone.

Kamikaze pilots crashed their planes
Knocking out transports and war ships.
As the Imperial air force struck our fleet
Cries of fear and hate spewed from lips.

One hundred, ten thousand Japanese
By the end of the battle were killed.
Over twelve thousand Americans died,
Before, just our flag flew over the field.


BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC


After the fall of France in 1940
The Germans soon began their own blockade
With most their efforts in the Atlantic
Hoping to cut Britain's flow of war trade.

With fast surface raiders like the Bismarck
Merchant ships caught at sea, had little chance.
The German's small navy sank ship after ship
Till the British Navy destroyed war's romance.

Shipping losses from German U-boats increased
And the battle of the Atlantic seemed lost.
But soon America would enter the war
To defeat freedom's enemies at all cost.

Multitudes would die and their families cry
Before World War II would be fought to its end.
What a waste of mankind, which had lost its mind
Though now, our enemy is our friend.


PARTING


The truest words, which portray my love
I speak to you from within my heart.
May we always recall how we feel
Though through conflict we're forced to part.

No one can say how long they will last
For life is not everlasting.
Yet most hope to be blessed by love
By he who does our casting.

As the fear of battle bites my flesh
My thoughts of home help keep me sane.
There's no guarantee that I'll survive
But either way, I'll serve without shame.

Should the cold hands of death reach for me
I pray my soul will awake from sleep.
To the voice of God assuring me
That my spirit, He has chosen to keep.

So try to remember while I'm gone
That the person I need most is you.
I'll fight like hell to stay alive
To return home to the love I knew.


P.O.W.


When you become a P.O.W.
You find you've lost your liberty and more
The guy with the gun tells you what to do
As you yearn for freedoms you had before.

Your will to survive helps keep you alive
Though sometimes you wish you were dead.
Tortures far beyond any normal mind
And there's no safety, even in your bed.

Bullets, barbwire, searchlights and sharp teeth
Keep you in a place you don't wish to be.
The food is quite awful and sometimes it moves
And you've no choice of what you hear or see.

The lucky are released and return home
Though in their dreams their fate is unsure.
War may be hell, but confinement is worse
Cause afterward you're never as you were.


GENERAL QUARTERS


General quarters, general quarters
All hands man your battle station!
Sunday morning, December the 7th
As war confronted our nation.

We soon found out it wasn't a drill
But instead it was war for real.
As you watch the death of friends and shipmates
It's more anger than fear you feel.

Japanese warplanes came flying in low
As I took aim with my gun sight.
From the deck of a ship anchored at Pearl
Damaged, though crew still eager to fight.

I saw the face of a pilot, who crashed
Surrounded by black smoke and fire.
Some of my bullets must have found their mark.
For his death was but my desire!

Two thousand, three hundred and twenty-three killed
In a battle less than two hours.
With the heart of our Pacific fleet gone
Japan had flexed their naval powers.

The bombing and strafing of ships and troops
Caused our congress to declare full war.
Where many a man laid down his life
Fighting for flag, country and more.


KENNEDY = THE WAR YEARS
PT-109


After the attack on Pearl Harbor
He applied for sea duty in the war.
Where Lieutenant John F. Kennedy
Became known for his bravery and more.

In the dark hours before dawn
On August 2, of 43.
Kennedy commanded a torpedo boat
Through the blackness of night at sea.

PT 109, was on Solomon's patrol
With a 12-man crew in a plywood craft.
A Japanese destroyer plowed through the night
Ramming and cutting Kennedy's boat in half.

Two of the crew just disappeared
A third was badly burned.
Kennedy himself was thrown to the deck
Where in pain his leadership he earned.

Some of his men had never learned to swim
As he gathered them on the bobbing bow.
The hours passed tell it seemed it would sink
So they made for an island and here's how.

He ordered those who could to swim
The others were to hang on to a beam.
Kennedy grabbed the injured sailor
And off they tread through the ocean stream.

With his teeth clenched on the burnt man's vest straps
Skipper Kennedy swam 3 miles.
5 hours later they all made it
Despite their hardships, sharks, and trials.

The next problem was how to summon up help
Without arousing the enemy all around.
After several attempts swimming to other islands
Eventually two natives in a canoe were found.

Kennedy scratch a note on a coconut
To be delivered to a base 38 miles away.
The message made it and they were saved
And their courage still lives today.


FLY-BOYS


World War-I gave us the flyboys
Who flew by the seat of their pants.
Many would never return from war
While others survived by chance.

Their planes were mostly canvas and wood
Gasoline, bullets, bombs and poison gas.
Every pilot carried his own pistol
Wearing leathers, scarf and goggles of glass.

Aviators had no Parachutes
To escape their burning plane.
Many were forced to jump to their death
Or self inflect a bullet to the brain.

Blimps where known as battleships of the sky
The roar of their engines gave reason for fear.
They flew so high they were hard to shoot down
Hiding above clouds till their targets drew near.

Tracer bullets for the first time were used
In the guns of airplanes to set blimps afire.
The skies became man's highway of death
With duty and honor their driving desire.

How many flyboys have we lost since then
Those days of the Great War and more?
Where do we get such brave souls of chance
Who rise from the rest in the battles of war?

THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR


In 1860 life was good
Till its simple-ness ceased one day.
The North wished to save the Union
While the South chose to break away.

America was torn apart
As six hundred thousand died.
Throughout four years of total war
Women without husbands cried.

The sad fact of the Civil War
Is what was left at its end.
Too many times, men's evil acts
Destroyed both foe and friend.

The problem was, once it began
There was no peace or compromise.
Total victory must be proclaimed
Before rage would leave men's eyes.

Destroy all that helps the enemy
Was the cry of either side.
Anything to obtain victory
As death on horseback did ride.

Black men dressed in old uniforms
Became the Union's reserve.
They fought and died for their freedom
And their rights they earned and deserve.

Lifestyles would forever change
For all who survived the war.
It had ended as it began
With sadness, misery and more.

Both sides prayed to the same God
And spoke words from the Bible.
The prayers of both were not answered
For all involved were liable.


BLACK POWDER BRIDGE


A courier rider hands his papers to me
They are instructions from Robert E. Lee.
I am advised now is the time
To stop the troop movement on the Rock Island line.

I muster my men and they load up the boats
We powder our pistols and darken our coats.
Traveling the currents, the sun slips from sight
As brave men with a purpose have gathered to fight.

We capture a bridge before the moonrise
The Yankees who are here shall soon feed the flies.
The evil of war feeds on my brain
As I light the fuse to destroy a train.

Above us a trestle of timber and tar
As we pull our oars for a willowed sandbar.
From the banks of the river; we watch it approach
There's shadows of soldiers, in the windows of a coach.

With a burst of bright yellow and a roar in my ear
I hear them scream as they 're falling in fear.
The river is boiling in steam, steel and stems
Back home their families shall soon sing funeral hymns.

The one lone survivor was a red stallion stud
I lassoed his neck, and freed him from the mud.
As I ride in his saddle beneath the stars that shine
I pray for forgiveness and some peace of mind.

War is a lesson we re eager to learn
When man has that fever to murder and burn.
Lord, please forgive me for what I have done
For all those I've silenced were some mother's son.


THE FEVER OF FEAR


Cannons are bursting hot metal from the ground.
Soldiers are looting and burning our town.
The fever of fear rushes through my veins
As too many Bluecoats jump from troop trains.

Smoke from hot barrels is swirling around
As four thousand muskets volley their sound.
All of my comrades have stopped a lead ball
Most cry out, then stumble and fall.

Even the young lad who carried our flag
Now he lies dead as he clings to that rag.
Wagons with the wounded trail blood on the ground
Death and destruction are easily found.

The Generals are crying 'cause they can't stand defeat
But it's always the soldier who dies on his feet.
Horse hooves are pounding on a bridge made of boards
As the sunlight reflects from the blades of their swords.

Quickly I hide out in the roots of a tree
Where the dirt has eroded and there's just room for me.
After dark I sneak out with the cover of fog
Then float down the river, as I cling to a log.

Songs of their victory, ring out through the night
While from the cold, muddy water, I see their firelight.
It makes me remember my old country church
Where the preacher spoke God's word from his holy perch.

That the seed of all conflict began in a cave
When man, like the wild wolf had to prove he was brave.


THUNDER IN THE GROUND


Cannons are bellowing from a ridge far away
The battle lines are forming and there's little time to pray.
Musket balls are pelting like hailstones from the sky
I'm so full of fear cause I don 't want to die.

From beyond yonder hill comes a terrifying sound
It's the music of the buglers and there's thunder in the ground.
The fast-riding troopers have all drawn out their swords.
They 're shouting and screaming as they charge up the gorge.

It's hard to believe how many make it through
As they're hacking and shooting at the boys dressed in blue.
Then come the soldier men who run upon their feet
Every time I dropp one, my heart skips a beat.

There's a storm on the ground made of death, dust and smoke
My throat is so dry, I can 't help but choke.
The fury of the battle is bound to settle down
When most of the fighters lie dead on the ground.

After dark, the stretcher-bearers are afraid to search around
The wild hogs eat the wounded and I can 't stand the sound.
Come dawn, we dig ditches for all the brave, lifeless men
Then quote words from our Bible praying heaven lets them in.


SLAVERY


When you chain the neck of a slave
The other end fastens to you.
Your heart and soul become corrupt
And all which is evil you'll do.

No government shall exist for long
Who's people are not really free.
Though around the world there are those
Who stay blind to how life should be.

Any who must enslave others
Will dwell in their own living hell
After death, they'll join their master
In that place from heaven he fell.

But till then we'll fight and resist
Making them put their chains away.
And those of us who may die first
From heaven shall watch and pray


BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER


In the course of becoming officers
The young men of West Point bonded like brothers.
Till roomers of Civil War transformed friend to foe
As many cadets chose to serve others.

Fifty-five of sixty major battles fought
Were lead by graduates of the long gray line.
Yankees and Rebels ravaged one another
For to kill and plunder were virtues of the time.

Over six hundred thousand soldiers were consumed
Not counting multitudes of population.
Cities, farms and the countryside were laid to waste
Before our Union was restored to a nation.


THE LITTLEST SOLDIER


Nine year old Johnny Clem who stood just four feet tall
Ran away from Ohio to answer his country's call.
He joined up with the Union and became a drummer boy
Soon to prove the gun he wore was far more than a toy.

Armed with a sawed-off musket, cut down to just fit him
He shot a Rebel horseman who tried to do him in.
Awarded his sergeant's stripes and the silver medal
His comrades offered him hot coffee from their kettle.

The newspapers of the North, gladly published his story
Telling of the nine year old who earned his country's glory.


THE BATTLE


The moon is sky high
And perfectly round
As it highlights the beauty
Of disputed ground.

Life is a journey
Where the passage is free.
After, there's judgment
By the living and Thee.

Tomorrow's carnage
We'll survive if we can.
Death and dismemberment
By the hand of man.

Some will stumble
With absence of breath.
While others charge
Into the face of death.

We'll race toward the battle
And pray for the best
Hoping somehow
We pass God's test.


BUGLES


Their red and blue, ragtag flag stood out
Against their dust covered uniforms of gray.
Savagely we fought to kill our enemy
As the battle raged on in the heat of the day

Volley after volley we put forth our blaze
With thousands of led balls snapping flesh and bone.
Blistering sweat rolled down every face
As the tunes of war by bugles were blown.

There was a clanking sound of ramrods in barrels
As each new lead ball was loaded and fired.
Some shot aimlessly into the smoke
While others took aim at the worn and tired.

Bullets were popping like the fourth of July
Yet our enemy kept surging ahead.
All at once they broke and ran off in groups
Scattering as for the forest they fled.

From behind the protection of a stacked-stone wall
The victorious cheered or just sat starring
At all the bodies of friend and foe
While for the wounded the surgeons were caring.

Soon the war was over and I survived
Despite it's brutality on trampled ground.
From boy to man I was transformed
Though, still in the night I hear its sound.


LEAF ON THE WATER


America's East Coast was settled by the Brits
As the Indians rule began to recede.
After many a battle, they lost their land
Giving into the white man's power and greed.

In years to come like a leaf on the water
The Indians were swept away by the white man.
As trappers and pioneers pushing westward
Brought death and disease to the land.

With the white settlements came the fur traders
Followed by soldiers, forts, whiskey and form tools.
None of which helped the Indians to survive
Who chose to wage war, and break the white man's rules.

Many treaties were made, just to be broken
By those eager for land, timber, furs and gold.
Prospectors arrived to plunder the land
And to be farmers, the Indians were told.

The combat raged on, to the western prairie
Over mountains and down through the desert sand.
Indians proved to be formidable foe
As both sides fought from afar and hand-to-hand.

Lieutenant Colonel Custer, led his cavalry
In search of fame and tribal disgrace.
But instead he and his men were butchered
By hostile Indians with paint on their face.

Around the campfires of Rosebud and Pine Ridge
Singing warriors danced till Sitting Bull's death.
Most were forced to surrender at Wounded Knee
Where many sad Indian would draw their last breath.

With their fighting spirit completely broken
And their ancient tribal ways forever gone.
Proud Indians were moved to reservations
Where their once great history in song lives on.


THE HINGE OF HISTORY


The hinge of history swings in all directions
As the happenings of the past are written down.
Out of all that has occurred since man's beginnings
Less has been recorded than waits to be found.

Babylonians kept chronicles of history
Hebrews wrote the past as a dramatic story.
Greeks had no faith in the future at all
Believing mans repeated errors doom his glory.

Christians added a new dimension to history
Looking forward to Christ's return to earth.
An on going drama involving man and God
Believing all are created of equal worth.

Some have asked why must we study history
It just encourages us to live in the past.
When we forget history we repeat its mistakes
As the outcome of humanity is cast.


THE ALAMO


The leaves of the cottonwoods hung motionless
As outside the walls Santa Anna's horde closed in.
A small band of Texans watched and waited
Preoccupied by combat and how life would end.

The battle raged from building to building
Till the old mission's chapel was the last to fall.
Over 180 Texans died fighting to the man
Never to yield, surrender or crawl.

Six weeks later Sam Houston rallied his forces
With 'Remember the Alamo' as their battle cry.
Attacking and defeating Santa Anna's army
To win independence for Texas or die.

The Spanish word for 'cottonwood' is 'Alamo'
The long time popular name for the mission.
Today the stout-walled old chapel still stands
Preserved as a shrine of sacrifice and tradition.


GENERAL WASHINGTON AT WAR


Once in command, he boxed in the British
At Boston where he captured Dorchester Heights
Overlooking the Brits at his mercy
As his men took aim with their cannon sites.

The British commander had but one choice
To sail to New York to renew the fight.
Where the English had much greater forces
Who soon chased Washington's men in full flight.

They continued on to Pennsylvania
After crossing the Hudson in retreat
With the British forces in hot pursuit
It looked as though George was doomed to defeat.

When winter seemed to have stopped the fighting
That's when Washington crossed the Delaware.
On that Christmas night he captured Trenton
Where Hessians were surprised and unaware.

He whipped the British at Princeton
Where in victory his men began to sing.
Washington then wintered at Morristown
Training his troops for the combat of spring.

Washington fought bravely at Brandywine
And again at a place called Germantown
But the British were the victorious ones
As the dead of both sides covered the ground

Americans were blessed early that spring
When the French entered the war on their side.
Though most suffered frostbite at Valley Forge
With the help of the French they marched in stride.

The battles raged on, in the North and South
As the King's soldiers laid waste to the land.
Washington himself was in great despair
Pleading for aid for his weakened command.

His prayers were answered by 5000 troops
And a French fleet who took Chesapeake Bay.
They bottled up Cornwallis at Yorktown
Who surrendered to victory drums at play.

Yorktown was really the end of the war
Though not many quite realized that fact yet.
But the British soon grew tired of the fight
And the terms for its end were signed and set.

Washington yearned to retire at home
But his country chose him first president.
Cheering crowds waved flags of love and support
For they believed that 'he, ' by God, was sent.


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American Civil War Chronicles 1

This series is dedicated to my friend Frank James Ryan Jr

Author’s Note.
If it had not been for Frank suggesting to diversify, this series might never have come into being. It was while thinking of what he said that the idea of writing about the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865 came into my mind. I plan to chart the Civil War in poem from its beginning to its eventual end. I will try to be as accurate as I can with my words and order of events.
DVH


BEGINNINGS BEFORE SHOTS WERE FIRED


Wars are only started
when diplomacy fails to win.
So it was in 1859
two years before the civil war began.
Neither side wanted to give an inch,
though the South was easing their stance,
and if the talking went on for another year,
the bloodshed might have been
averted completely.

However, the agitators were out in force,
and through their actions,
the talking began to crumble,
peace died and wither in dust.
When John Brown seized the Federal arsenal
at Harpers Ferry to start a slave insurrection in the South.
It was just one spark that would help ignite a war.
That in four years would pit
brother against brother, and friend against friend.

It was a war that was to shape
a fledgling country, for its future days.
The bitterness it created
was to last for years,
after the fighting
was just a distant memory,
creating distrust with wounds,
burning deep within families,
causing feuding and banditry,
before hatches were finally buried.

25 August 2007

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The Ancient Banner

In boundless mercy, the Redeemer left,
The bosom of his Father, and assumed
A servant's form, though he had reigned a king,
In realms of glory, ere the worlds were made,
Or the creating words, 'Let there be light'
In heaven were uttered. But though veiled in flesh,
His Deity and his Omnipotence,
Were manifest in miracles. Disease
Fled at his bidding, and the buried dead
Rose from the sepulchre, reanimate,
At his command, or, on the passing bier
Sat upright, when he touched it. But he came,
Not for this only, but to introduce
A glorious dispensation, in the place
Of types and shadows of the Jewish code.
Upon the mount, and round Jerusalem,
He taught a purer, and a holier law,—
His everlasting Gospel, which is yet
To fill the earth with gladness; for all climes
Shall feel its influence, and shall own its power.
He came to suffer, as a sacrifice
Acceptable to God. The sins of all
Were laid upon Him, when in agony
He bowed upon the cross. The temple's veil
Was rent asunder, and the mighty rocks,
Trembled, as the incarnate Deity,
By his atoning blood, opened that door,
Through which the soul, can have communion with
Its great Creator; and when purified,
From all defilements, find acceptance too,
Where it can finally partake of all
The joys of His salvation.
But the pure Church he planted,—the pure Church
Which his apostles watered,—and for which,
The blood of countless martyrs freely flowed,
In Roman Amphitheatres,—on racks,—
And in the dungeon's gloom,—this blessed Church,
Which grew in suffering, when it overspread
Surrounding nations, lost its purity.
Its truth was hidden, and its light obscured
By gross corruption, and idolatry.
As things of worship, it had images,
And even painted canvas was adored.
It had a head and bishop, but this head
Was not the Saviour, but the Pope of Rome.
Religion was a traffic. Men defiled,
Professed to pardon sin, and even sell,
The joys of heaven for money,—and to raise
Souls out of darkness to eternal light,
For paltry silver lavished upon them.
And thus thick darkness, overspread the Church
As with a mantle.
At length the midnight of apostacy
Passed by, and in the horizon appeared,
Day dawning upon Christendom. The light,
Grew stronger, as the Reformation spread.
For Luther, and Melancthon, could not be
Silenced by papal bulls, nor by decrees
Of excommunication thundered forth
Out of the Vatican. And yet the light,
Of Luther's reformation, never reached
Beyond the morning's dawn. The noontide blaze
Of Truth's unclouded day, he never saw.
Yet after him, its rising sun displayed
More and more light upon the horizon.
Though thus enlightened, the professing Church,
Was far from many of the precious truths
Of the Redeemer's gospel; and as yet,
Owned not his Spirit's government therein.
But now the time approached, when he would pour
A larger measure of his light below;
And as he chose unlearned fishermen
To spread his gospel when first introduced,
So now he passed mere human learning by,
And chose an instrument, comparable
To the small stone the youthful David used,
To smite the champion who defied the Lord.
Apart from human dwellings, in a green
Rich pasturage of England, sat a youth,
Who seemed a shepherd, for around him there
A flock was feeding, and the sportive lambs
Gambolled amid the herbage. But his face
Bore evidence of sadness. On his knee
The sacred book lay open, upon which
The youth looked long and earnestly, and then,
Closing the book, gazed upward, in deep thought
This was the instrument by whom the Lord
Designed to spread a clearer light below
And fuller reformation. He appeared,
Like ancient Samuel, to be set apart
For the Lord's service from his very birth.
Even in early childhood, he refrained
From youthful follies, and his mind was turned
To things of highest moment. He was filled
With awful feelings, by the wickedness
He saw around him. As he grew in years,
Horror of sin grew stronger; and his mind
Became so clothed with sadness, and so full
Of soul-felt longings, for the healing streams
Of heavenly consolation, that he left
His earthly kindred, seeking quietude
In solitary places, where he read
The book of inspiration, and in prayer,
Sought heavenly counsel.
In this deep-proving season he was told,
Of priests, whose reputation had spread wide
For sanctity and wisdom; and from these
He sought for consolation,—but in vain.
One of these ministers became enraged,
Because the youth had inadvertently
Misstepped within his garden; and a priest
Of greater reputation, counselled him
To use tobacco, and sing holy psalms!
And the inquirer found a third to be
But as an empty, hollow cask at best.
Finding no help in man, the youthful Fox,
Turned to a higher and a holier source,
For light and knowledge. In his Saviour's school,
He sat a scholar, and was clearly shown
The deep corruption, that had overspread
Professing Christendom. And one by one,
The doctrines of the Gospel, were unveiled,
To the attentive student,—doctrines, which,
Though clearly written on the sacred page,
Had long been hidden, by the rubbish man's
Perversions and inventions heaped thereon.
He saw that colleges, could not confer,
A saving knowledge of the way of Truth,
Nor qualify a minister to preach
The everlasting Gospel; but that Christ,
Is the true Teacher, and that he alone
Has power to call, anoint, and qualify,
And send a Gospel minister to preach
Glad tidings of salvation. He was shown,
No outward building, made of wood and stone
Could be a holy place,—and that the Church—
The only true and living Church—must be
A holy people gathered to the Lord,
And to his teaching. He was clearly taught,
The nature of baptism, by which souls
Are purified and fitted for this Church;
That this was not, by being dipped into,
Or sprinkled with clear water, but it was
The one baptism of the Holy Ghost.
He saw the Supper was no outward food,
Made and administered by human hands,—
But the Lord's Table was within the heart;
Where in communion with him, holy bread
Was blessed and broken, and the heavenly wine,
Which cheers the fainting spirit, handed forth.
The Saviour showed him that all outward wars,
Are now forbidden,—that the warfare here,
Is to be waged within. Its weapons too,
Though mighty, even to the pulling down,
Of the strong holds of Satan, are yet all
The Spirit's weapons. He was shown, that oaths
Judicial or profane, are banished from
The Christian dispensation, which commands,
'Swear not at all.' He saw the compliments,—
Hat honour, and lip service of the world,
Sprang from pride's evil root, and were opposed
To the pure spirit of Christ's holy law.
And by His inward Light, was clearly seen
The perfect purity of heart and life
For which that Saviour calls, who never asked,
Things unattainable.
These truths and others, being thus revealed,
Fox was prepared and qualified to preach,
The unveiled Gospel, to the sons of men.
Clothed with divine authority, he went
Abroad through Britain, and proclaimed that Light,
Which Christ's illuminating Spirit sheds,
In the dark heart of man. Some heard of this,
Who seemed prepared and waiting, to receive
His Gospel message, and were turned to Him,
Whose Holy Spirit sealed it on their hearts.
And not a few of these, were called upon,
To take the message, and themselves declare
The way of Truth to others. But the Priests,
Carnal professors, and some magistrates,
Heard of the inward light, and purity,
With indignation, and they seized upon,
And thrust the Preacher within prison walls.
Not once alone, but often was he found,
Amid the very dregs of wickedness—
With robbers, and with blood-stained criminals,
Locked up in loathsome jails. And when abroad
Upon his Master's service, he was still
Reviled and buffeted, and spit upon.
But none of these things moved him, for within
He felt that soul-sustaining evidence,
Which bore his spirit high above the waves,
Of bitter persecution.
But now the time approached, for his release
From suffering and from labour. He had spent,
Long years in travel for the cause of Truth,—
Not all in Britain,—for he preached its light,
And power in Holland,—the West Indian isles,
And North America. Far through the wild,
And trackless wilderness, this faithful man,
Carried his Master's message; he lived,
To see Truth's banner fearlessly displayed
Upon both continents. He lived to see,
Pure hearted men and women gathered to
The inward teaching of the Saviour's will,—
Banded together in the covenant,
Of light and life. But his allotted work,
Was now accomplished, and his soul prepared,
For an inheritance with saints in light,
And with his loins all girded, he put off
His earthly shackles, triumphing in death,
That the Seed reigned, and Truth was over all!
Where the dark waters of the Delaware,
Roll onward to the ocean, sweeping by,
Primeval forests, where the red man still,
Built his rude wigwam, and the timid deer
Fled for concealment from the Indian's eye,
And the unerring arrow of his bow;
There, in the shadow of these ancient woods,
A sea-worn ship has anchored. On her deck,
Men of grave mien are gathered. One of whom,
Of noble figure, and quick searching eyes,
Surveys the scene, wrapt in the deepest thought.
And this is William Penn. He stands among,
Fellow believers, who have sought a home,
And place of refuge, in this wilderness.
Born of an ancient family, his sire
An English Admiral, the youthful Penn,
Might, with his talents, have soon ranked among
The proudest subjects of the British throne.
He chose the better part—to serve that King
Who is immortal and invisible.
While yet a student within college halls,
He heard Truth's message, and his heart was reached,
And fully owned it, though it came through one
Of that despised and persecuted class,
Called in derision Quakers. Thus convinced,
He left the college worship, to commune
In spirit with his Maker. And for this,
He was expelled from Oxford; and was soon
Maltreated by his father, who, enraged,
Because his only son, had turned away
From brilliant prospects, to pursue the path
Of self-denial, drove him harshly forth
From the paternal roof. But William Penn,
Had still a Father, who supported him,
With strength and courage to perform his will;
And he was called and qualified to preach,
And to bear witness of that blessed Light
Which shines within. He suffered in the cause,
His share of trial. He was dragged before
Judges and juries, and was shut within
The walls of prisons.
Looking abroad through England, he was filled
With deep commiseration, for the jails—
The loathsome, filthy jails—were crowded with
His brethren in the Truth. For their relief,
He sought the ear of royalty, and plead
Their cruel sufferings; and their innocence;
And thus became the instrument through which
Some prison doors were opened. But he sought
A place of refuge from oppression's power,
That Friends might worship the Creator there,
Free from imprisonment and penalties.
And such a place soon opened to his view,
Far in the Western Wilderness, beyond
The Atlantic's wave.
And here is William Penn, and here a band
Of weary emigrants, who now behold
The promised land before them; but it is
The Indian's country, and the Indian's home.
Penn had indeed, received a royal grant,
To occupy it; but a grant from one
Who had no rightful ownership therein;
He therefore buys it honestly from those
Whose claims are aboriginal, and just.
With these inhabitants, behold, he stands
Beneath an ancient elm, whose spreading limbs
O'erhang the Delaware. The forest chiefs
Sit in grave silence, while the pipe of peace
Goes round the circle. They have made a league
With faithful Onas—a perpetual league,
And treaty of true friendship, to endure
While the sun shines, and while the waters run.
And here was founded in the wilderness,
A refuge from oppression, where all creeds
Found toleration, and where truth and right
Were the foundation of its government,
And its protection. In that early day,
The infant colony sought no defence
But that of justice and of righteousness;
The only guarantees of peace on earth,
Because they ever breathe, good will to men.
His colony thus planted, William Penn
Sought his old field of labour, and again,
Both through the press and vocally, he plead
The right of conscience, and the rights of man;
And frequently, and forcibly he preached
Christ's universal and inshining Light.
His labour was incessant; and the cares,
And the perplexities connected with
His distant province, which he visited
A second time, bore heavily upon
His burdened spirit, which demanded rest;—
That rest was granted. In the midst of all
His labour and his trials, there was drawn
A veil, in mercy, round his active mind,
Which dimmed all outward things; but he still saw
The beauty and the loveliness of Truth,
And found sweet access to the Source of good.
And thus, shut out from the perplexities
And sorrows of the world, he was prepared
To hear the final summons, to put off
His tattered garments, and be clothed upon
With heavenly raiment.
Scotland, thou hadst a noble citizen,
In him of Ury! Born amid thy hills,
Though educated where enticing scenes,
Crowd giddy Paris, he rejected all
The world's allurements, and unlike the youth
Who talked with Jesus, Barclay turned away
From great possessions, and embraced the Truth.
He early dedicated all the powers
Of a well cultivated intellect
To the Redeemer and His holy cause.
He was a herald, to proclaim aloud,
Glad tidings of salvation; and his life
Preached a loud sermon by its purity.
Not only were his lips made eloquent,
By the live coal that touched them, but his pen,
Moved by a force from the same altar, poured
Light, truth, and wisdom. From it issued forth
The great Apology, which yet remains
One of the best expositors of Truth
That man has published, since that sacred book
Anciently written. Seekers are still led
By its direction, to that blessed Light,
And inward Teacher, who is Jesus Christ.
But now, this noble servant of the Lord,
Rests from his faithful labour, while his works
Yet follow him.
Early believers in the light of Truth,
Dwelt not at ease in Zion. They endured
Conflicts and trials, and imprisonments.
Even the humble Penington, whose mind
Seemed purged and purified from all the dross
Of human nature—who appeared as meek
And harmless as an infant—was compelled
To dwell in loathsome prisons. But he had,
Though in the midst of wickedness, sublime
And holy visions of the purity,
And the true nature of Christ's living Church.
While Edmundson, the faithful pioneer
Of Truth in Ireland, was compelled to drink
Deeply of suffering for the blessed cause.
Dragged from his home, half naked, by a mob
Who laid that home in ashes, he endured
Heart-rending cruelties. But all of these,
Stars of the morning, felt oppression's hand,
And some endured it to the closing scene.
Burroughs, a noble servant of the Lord,
Whose lips and pen were eloquent for Truth,
Drew his last breath in prison. Parnel, too,
A young and valiant soldier of the Lamb,
Died, a true martyr in a dungeon's gloom.
Howgill and Hubberthorn, both ministers
Of Christ's ordaining, were released from all
Their earthly trials within prison walls.
And beside these, there was a multitude
Of faithful men, and noble women too,
Who past from scenes of conflict, to the joys
Of the Redeemer's kingdom, within jails,
And some in dungeons. But amid it all,
Light spread in Britain, and a living Church
Was greatly multiplied. The tender minds,
Even of children, felt the power of Truth,
And showed the fruit and firmness it affords.
When persecution, rioted within
The town of Bristol, and all older Friends
Were locked in prison, little children met,
Within their place of worship, by themselves,
To offer praises, in the very place
From which their parents had been dragged to jail.
But let us turn from Britain, and look down,
Upon an inland sea whose swelling waves
Encircle Malta. There a cloudless sun,
In Eastern beauty, pours its light upon
The Inquisition. All without its walls
Seems calm and peaceful, let us look within.
There, stretched upon the floor, within a close,
Dark, narrow cell, inhaling from a crack
A breath of purer air, two women lie.
But who are these, and wherefore are they here?
These are two ministers of Christ, who left
Their homes in England, faithfully to bear,
The Saviour's message into eastern lands.
And here at Malta they were seized upon
By bigotted intolerance, and shut
Within this fearful engine of the Pope.
Priests and Inquisitor assail them here,
And urge the claims of popery. The rack,
And cruel deaths are threatened; and again
Sweet liberty is offered, as the price
Of their apostacy. All, all in vain!
For years these tender women have been thus,
Victims of cruelty. At times apart,
Confined in gloomy, solitary cells.
But all these efforts to convert them failed:
The Inquisition had not power enough
To shake their faith and confidence in Him,
Whose holy presence was seen anciently
To save his children from devouring flames;
He, from this furnace of affliction, brought
These persecuted women, who came forth
Out of the burning, with no smell of fire
Upon their garments, and again they trod,
Their native land rejoicing.
In Hungary, two ministers of Christ,
Were stretched upon the rack. Their tortured limbs
Were almost torn asunder, but no force
Could tear them from their Master, and they came
Out of the furnace, well refined gold.
Nor were these all who suffered for the cause
Of truth and righteousness, in foreign lands.
For at Mequinez and Algiers, some toiled,
And died in slavery. But nothing could
Discourage faithful messengers of Christ
From his required service. They were found
Preaching repentance where the Israelites
Once toiled in Egypt, and the ancient Nile
Still rolls its waters. And the holy light
Of the eternal Gospel was proclaimed,
Where its great Author had first published it
Where the rich temple of King Solomon,
Stood in its ancient glory. Even there,
The haughty Musselmen, were told of Him,
The one great Prophet, who now speaks within.
For their refusing to participate
In carnal warfare, many early Friends,
Were made to suffer. On a ship of war
Equipped for battle, Richard Sellers bore,
With a meek, Christian spirit, cruelties
The most atrocious, for obeying Him
Who was his heavenly Captain, and by whom,
War is forbidden. Sellers would not touch,
The instruments of carnage, nor could all
The cruelties inflicted, move his soul
From a reliance on that holy Arm,
Which had sustained him in the midst of all
His complicated trials; and he gained
A peaceful, but a greater victory
Than that of battle, for he wearied out
Oppression, by his constancy, and left
A holy savor, with that vessel's crew.
But let us turn from persecuting scenes,
That stain the annals of the older world,
To young America, whose virgin shores
Offer a refuge from oppression's power.
Here lies a harbour in the noble bay
Of Massachusetts. Many little isles
Dot its expanding waters, and Nahant
Spreads its long beach and eminence beyond,
A barrier to the ocean. The whole scene,
Looks beautiful, in the clear northern air,
And loveliness of morning. On the heights
That overlook the harbour, there is seen
An infant settlement. Let us approach,
And anchor where the Puritans have sought,
For liberty of conscience. But there seems,
Disquietude in Boston. Men appear
Urged on by stormy passions, and some wear
A look of unrelenting bitterness.
But what is that now rising into view,
Where crowds are gathered on an eminence?
These are the Puritans. They now surround
A common gallows. On its platform, stands
A lovely woman in the simple garb
Worn by the early Quakers. Of the throng,
She only seems unmoved, although her blood
They madly thirst for.
The first professors of Christ's inward Light,
Who brought this message into Boston bay,
Were inoffensive women. They were searched
For signs of witchcraft, and their books were burned.
The captain who had brought them, was compelled
To carry them away. But others came,
Both men and women, zealous for the Truth.
These were received with varied cruelties—
By frequent whippings and imprisonments.
Law after law was made excluding them;
But all in vain, for still these faithful ones
Carried their Master's message undismayed
Among the Puritans, and still they found
Those who received it, and embraced the Truth,
And steadily maintained it, in the midst
Of whipping posts, and pillories, and jails!
A law was then enacted, by which all
The banished Quakers, who were found again
Within the province, were to suffer death.
But these, though ever ready to obey
All just enactments, when laws trespassed on
The rights of conscience, and on God's command,
Could never for a moment hesitate,
Which to obey.—And soon there stood upon
A scaffold of New England, faithful friends,
Who, in obeying Christ, offended man!
Of these was Mary Dyer, who exclaimed,
While passing to this instrument of death,
'No eye can witness, and no ear can hear,
No tongue can utter, nor heart understand
The incomes and refreshings from the Lord
Which now I feel.' And in the spirit which
These words a little pictured, Robinson,
Past to the presence of that Holy One
For whom he laboured, and in whom he died.
Then Stevenson, another faithful steward
And servant of the Lamb, was ushered from
Deep scenes of suffering into scenes of joy.
But Mary Dyer, who was all prepared,
To join these martyrs in their heavenward flight,
Was left a little longer upon earth.
But a few fleeting months had rolled away,
Ere this devoted woman felt constrained,
Again to go among the Puritans,
In Massachusetts, and in Boston too.
And here she stands! the second time, upon
A gallows of New England. No reprieve
Arrests her sentence now. But still she feels
The same sweet incomes, and refreshing streams
From the Lord's Holy Spirit. In the midst
Of that excited multitude, she seems
The most resigned and peaceful.—But the deed
Is now accomplished, and the scene is closed!
Among the faithful martyrs of the Lamb,
Gathered forever round His Holy Throne,
She doubtless wears a pure and spotless robe,
And bears the palm of victory.
The blood of Leddra was soon after shed,
Which closed the scene of martyrdom among
The early Quakers in this colony,
But not the scene of suffering. Women were
Dragged through its towns half-naked, tied to carts,
While the lash fell upon their unclothed backs,
And bloody streets, showed where they past along.
And such inhuman treatment was bestowed
On the first female minister of Christ,
Who preached the doctrine of his inward Light.
But in New England, there was really found
A refuge from oppression, justice reigned
Upon Rhode Island. In that early day,
The rights of conscience were held sacred there,
And persecution was a thing unknown.
A bright example, as a governor,
Was William Coddington. He loved the law—
The perfect law of righteousness—and strove
To govern by it; and all faithful Friends
Felt him a brother in the blessed Truth.
In North America, the Puritans
Stood not alone in efforts to prevent
The introduction and the spread of light.
The Dutch plantation of New Amsterdam,
Sustained a measure of the evil work.
The savage cruelties inflicted on
The faithful Hodgson, have few parallels
In any age or country; but the Lord
Was with His servant in the midst of all,
And healed his tortured and his mangled frame.
The early Friends were bright and shining stars,
For they reflected the clear holy light
The Sun of Righteousness bestowed on them.
They followed no deceiving, transient glare—
No ignis fatuus of bewildered minds;
They followed Jesus in the holiness
Of His unchanging Gospel. They endured
Stripes and imprisonment and pillories,
Torture and slavery and banishment,
And even death; but they would not forsake
Their Holy Leader, or His blessed cause.
Their patient suffering, and firm steadfastness,
Secured a rich inheritance for those
Who have succeeded them. Do these now feel
That firm devotion to the cause of Truth—That
singleheartedness their fathers felt?
Do they appreciate the price and worth
Of the great legacy and precious trust
Held for their children? The great cruelties
Borne by the fathers, have not been entailed
On their descendants, who now dwell at ease.
The world does not revile them. Do not some
Love it the more for this? and do they not
Make more alliance with it, and partake
More and more freely of its tempting baits,
Its fashions and its spirit? but are these
More pure and holy than they were of old,
When in the light of Truth, their fathers saw
That deep corruption overspread the world?
Other professors latterly have learned
To speak of Quakers with less bitterness
Than when the name reproachfully was cast
In ridicule upon them. Has not this
Drawn watchmen from the citadel of Truth?
Has it not opened doors that had been closed,
And should have been forever? And by these,
Has not an enemy been stealing in,
To spoil the goods of many; to assail,
And strive in secrecy to gather strength,
To overcome the citadel at last?
Is it not thought illiberal to refuse
Alliances with those who now profess
Respect and friendship? Must the Quaker then
Bow in the house of Rimmon, saying, Lord
Pardon in this thy servant? Do not some
Fail to resist encroachments, when they come
Clothed in enticing words, and wear the guise
Of charity and kindness, and are veiled,
Or sweetened to the taste, by courtesy?
But is a snare less certain, when concealed
By some enticing bait? or is a ball
Less sure and fatal, when it flies unheard,
Or, when the hand that sends it is unseen,
Or offers friendship? Did not Joab say,
'Art thou in health my brother?' and appeared
To kiss Amasa, while he thrust his sword
Into his life-blood? And when Jonas fled
From the Lord's service, and the stormy waves
Threatened the ship that bore him, was the cause
Not found within it? Was there not a calm
When he, whose disobedience to the Lord
Had raised the tempest, was no longer there?
Truth has a standard openly displayed,
Untorn—unsullied. Man indeed may change,
And may forsake it; but the Standard still
Remains immutable. May all who love
This Holy Banner, rally to it now!
May all whose dwellings are upon the sand,
Seek for a building on that living Rock,
Which stands forever;—for a storm has come
A storm that tries foundations! Even now,
The flooding rains are falling, and the winds
Rapidly rising to a tempest, beat
Upon all dwellings. They alone can stand
Which have the Rock beneath them, and above
The Omnipresent and Omnipotent
Creator and Defender of His Church!

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Life Is Simple

A house that contains all
in one room
is enough for the family of
three

there is no winter here
somehow
so the bamboo and
nipa shingles are enough

vegetables are grown
and goats and chickens
are raised here

there is a dog that waits by
the door
and some pigeons
to fill the empty skies

father plows the field
children gather the firewood
mother cooks the fish
and the chicken

life is simple
but somehow i who want it to be
exciting
adds a little sophistication

in the city
the neon lights blink to simulate
the stars
to give colors to rivers
seas shimmering
as though
there is fire forever
until
eternity

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When Life was Simple

When life was simple
Was when I was in mother's womb?
but wait we were poor so my mom got no prenatal care.

When life was simple
Was when my mother gave birth to me...?
but wait I was born premature with a collapsed lung unable to breathe.

When life was simple
Was when I was 6 month old?
but wait that was when my mom found out I have Cerebral Palsy.

When life was simple
Was when I was about ten?
but wait that when I was called the little cripple boy who has no friends.

When life was simple
I was about 26
but wait that when my mother scoffed at my poetic gift.

Well I'm 41 now
and throughout the years there's one thing I have learned
Life is never simple.

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You Made Life Good Again

I'm always looking for a minute that we can steal
Cause i need more of how you make me feel
I used to be the king of wasted time
Cause it made no difference till i made you mine
Now i wake up in the morning with a smile on my face
Can't get enough of the human race
Ain't loved like this since i can't remember when
Baby you made life good again oh yeah darlin you made life good again
I like the way you talk and the way you look when it comes to loving you wrote the book
Cause when you kiss me . . . tell me what part of heaven did you come from
Now i wake up in the morning with a smile on my face
Ain't loved like this since i can't remember when
Baby you made life good again oh yeah darlin you made life good again i was lonely, oh so lonely won't be lonely again i wake up in the morning with a smile on my face can't get enough of the hu
Ace ain't loved like this since i can't remember when baby oh yeah darlin you made life good again you made life good again

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The Ballad Of Salvation Bill

'Twas in the bleary middle of the hard-boiled Arctic night,
I was lonesome as a loon, so if you can,
Imagine my emotions of amazement and delight
When I bumped into that Missionary Man.
He was lying lost and dying in the moon's unholy leer,
And frozen from his toes to finger-tips'
The famished wolf-pack ringed him; but he didn't seem to fear,
As he pressed his ice-bond Bible to his lips.

'Twas the limit of my trap-line, with the cabin miles away,
And every step was like a stab of pain;
But I packed him like a baby, and I nursed him night and day,
Till I got him back to health and strength again.
So there we were, benighted in the shadow of the Pole,
And he might have proved a priceless little pard,
If he hadn't got to worrying about my blessed soul,
And a-quotin' me his Bible by the yard.

Now there was I, a husky guy, whose god was Nicotine,
With a "coffin-nail" a fixture in my mug;
I rolled them in the pages of a pulpwood magazine,
And hacked them with my jack-knife from the plug.
For, Oh to know the bliss and glow that good tobacco means,
Just live among the everlasting ice . . .
So judge my horror when I found my stock of magazines
Was chewed into a chowder by the mice.

A woeful week went by and not a single pill I had,
Me that would smoke my forty in a day;
I sighed, I swore, I strode the floor; I felt I would go mad:
The gospel-plugger watched me with dismay.
My brow was wet, my teeth were set, my nerves were rasping raw;
And yet that preacher couldn't understand:
So with despair I wrestled there - when suddenly I saw
The volume he was holding in his hand.

Then something snapped inside my brain, and with an evil start
The wolf-man in me woke to rabid rage.
"I saved your lousy life," says I; "so show you have a heart,
And tear me out a solitary page."
He shrank and shrivelled at my words; his face went pewter white;
'Twas just as if I'd handed him a blow:
And then . . . and then he seemed to swell, and grow to Heaven's height,
And in a voice that rang he answered: "No!"

I grabbed my loaded rifle and I jabbed it to his chest:
"Come on, you shrimp, give me that Book," says I.
Well sir, he was a parson, but he stacked up with the best,
And for grit I got to hand it to the guy.
"If I should let you desecrate this Holy Word," he said,
"My soul would be eternally accurst;
So go on, Bill, I'm ready. You can pump me full of lead
And take it, but - you've got to kill me first."

Now I'm no foul assassin, though I'm full of sinful ways,
And I knew right there the fellow had me beat;
For I felt a yellow mongrel in the glory of his gaze,
And I flung my foolish firearm at his feet,
Then wearily I turned away, and dropped upon my bunk,
And there I lay and blubbered like a kid.
"Forgive me, pard," says I at last, "for acting like a skunk,
But hide the blasted rifle..." Which he did.

And he also hid his Bible, which was maybe just as well,
For the sight of all that paper gave me pain;
And there were crimson moments when I felt I'd o to hell
To have a single cigarette again.
And so I lay day after day, and brooded dark and deep,
Until one night I thought I'd end it all;
Then rough I roused the preacher, where he stretched pretending sleep,
With his map of horror turned towards the wall.

"See here, my pious pal," says I, "I've stood it long enough...
Behold! I've mixed some strychnine in a cup;
Enough to kill a dozen men - believe me it's no bluff;
Now watch me, for I'm gonna drink it up.
You've seen me bludgeoned by despair through bitter days and nights,
And now you'll see me squirming as I die.
You're not to blame, you've played the game according to your lights...
But how would Christ have played it? - Well, good-bye..."

With that I raised the deadly drink and laid it to my lips,
But he was on me with a tiger-bound;
And as we locked and reeled and rocked with wild and wicked grips,
The poison cup went crashing to the ground.
"Don't do it, Bill," he madly shrieked. "Maybe I acted wrong.
See, here's my Bible - use it as you will;
But promise me - you'll read a little as you go along...
You do! Then take it, Brother; smoke your fill."

And so I did. I smoked and smoked from Genesis to Job,
And as I smoked I read each blessed word;
While in the shadow of his bunk I heard him sigh and sob,
And then . . . a most peculiar thing occurred.
I got to reading more and more, and smoking less and less,
Till just about the day his heart was broke,
Says I: "Here, take it back, me lad. I've had enough I guess.
Your paper makes a mighty rotten smoke."

So then and there with plea and prayer he wrestled for my soul,
And I was racked and ravaged by regrets.
But God was good, for lo! next day there came the police patrol,
With paper for a thousand cigarettes. . .
So now I'm called Salvation Bill; I teach the Living Law,
And Bally-hoo the Bible with the best;
And if a guy won't listen - why, I sock him on the jaw,
And preach the Gospel sitting on his chest.

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Secundus

Incipit Liber Tercius

Ira suis paribus est par furiis Acherontis,
Quo furor ad tempus nil pietatis habet.
Ira malencolicos animos perturbat, vt equo
Iure sui pondus nulla statera tenet.
Omnibus in causis grauat Ira, set inter amantes,
Illa magis facili sorte grauamen agit:
Est vbi vir discors leuiterque repugnat amori,
Sepe loco ludi fletus ad ora venit.

----------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------

If thou the vices lest to knowe,
Mi Sone, it hath noght ben unknowe,
Fro ferst that men the swerdes grounde,
That ther nis on upon this grounde,
A vice forein fro the lawe,
Wherof that many a good felawe
Hath be distraght be sodein chance;
And yit to kinde no plesance
It doth, bot wher he most achieveth
His pourpos, most to kinde he grieveth,
As he which out of conscience
Is enemy to pacience:
And is be name on of the Sevene,
Which ofte hath set this world unevene,
And cleped is the cruel Ire,
Whos herte is everemore on fyre
To speke amis and to do bothe,
For his servantz ben evere wrothe.
Mi goode fader, tell me this:
What thing is Ire? Sone, it is
That in oure englissh Wrathe is hote,
Which hath hise wordes ay so hote,
That all a mannes pacience
Is fyred of the violence.
For he with him hath evere fyve
Servantz that helpen him to stryve:
The ferst of hem Malencolie
Is cleped, which in compaignie
An hundred times in an houre
Wol as an angri beste loure,
And noman wot the cause why.
Mi Sone, schrif thee now forthi:
Hast thou be Malencolien?
Ye, fader, be seint Julien,
Bot I untrewe wordes use,
I mai me noght therof excuse:
And al makth love, wel I wot,
Of which myn herte is evere hot,
So that I brenne as doth a glede
For Wrathe that I mai noght spede.
And thus fulofte a day for noght
Save onlich of myn oghne thoght
I am so with miselven wroth,
That how so that the game goth
With othre men, I am noght glad;
Bot I am wel the more unglad,
For that is othre mennes game
It torneth me to pure grame.
Thus am I with miself oppressed
Of thoght, the which I have impressed,
That al wakende I dreme and meete
That I with hire al one meete
And preie hire of som good ansuere:
Bot for sche wol noght gladly swere,
Sche seith me nay withouten oth;
And thus wexe I withinne wroth,
That outward I am al affraied,
And so distempred and esmaied.
A thousand times on a day
Ther souneth in myn Eres nay,
The which sche seide me tofore:
Thus be my wittes as forlore;
And namely whan I beginne
To rekne with miself withinne
How many yeres ben agon,
Siththe I have trewly loved on
And nevere tok of other hede,
And evere aliche fer to spede
I am, the more I with hir dele,
So that myn happ and al myn hele
Me thenkth is ay the leng the ferre,
That bringth my gladschip out of herre,
Wherof my wittes ben empeired,
And I, as who seith, al despeired.
For finaly, whan that I muse
And thenke how sche me wol refuse,
I am with anger so bestad,
For al this world mihte I be glad:
And for the while that it lasteth
Al up so doun my joie it casteth,
And ay the furthere that I be,
Whan I ne may my ladi se,
The more I am redy to wraththe,
That for the touchinge of a laththe
Or for the torninge of a stree
I wode as doth the wylde Se,
And am so malencolious,
That ther nys servant in myn hous
Ne non of tho that ben aboute,
That ech of hem ne stant in doute,
And wenen that I scholde rave
For Anger that thei se me have;
And so thei wondre more and lasse,
Til that thei sen it overpasse.
Bot, fader, if it so betide,
That I aproche at eny tide
The place wher my ladi is,
And thanne that hire like ywiss
To speke a goodli word untome,
For al the gold that is in Rome
Ne cowthe I after that be wroth,
Bot al myn Anger overgoth;
So glad I am of the presence
Of hire, that I all offence
Foryete, as thogh it were noght,
So overgladed is my thoght.
And natheles, the soth to telle,
Ayeinward if it so befelle
That I at thilke time sihe
On me that sche miscaste hire yhe,
Or that sche liste noght to loke,
And I therof good hiede toke,
Anon into my ferste astat
I torne, and am with al so mat,
That evere it is aliche wicke.
And thus myn hand ayein the pricke
I hurte and have do many day,
And go so forth as I go may,
Fulofte bitinge on my lippe,
And make unto miself a whippe.
With which in many a chele and hete
Mi wofull herte is so tobete,
That all my wittes ben unsofte
And I am wroth, I not how ofte;
And al it is Malencolie,
Which groweth of the fantasie
Of love, that me wol noght loute:
So bere I forth an angri snoute
Ful manye times in a yer.
Bot, fader, now ye sitten hier
In loves stede, I yow beseche,
That som ensample ye me teche,
Wherof I mai miself appese.
Mi Sone, for thin hertes ese
I schal fulfille thi preiere,
So that thou miht the betre lere
What mischief that this vice stereth,
Which in his Anger noght forbereth,
Wherof that after him forthenketh,
Whan he is sobre and that he thenketh
Upon the folie of his dede;
And of this point a tale I rede.
Ther was a king which Eolus
Was hote, and it befell him thus,
That he tuo children hadde faire,
The Sone cleped was Machaire,
The dowhter ek Canace hihte.
Be daie bothe and ek be nyhte,
Whil thei be yonge, of comun wone
In chambre thei togedre wone,
And as thei scholden pleide hem ofte,
Til thei be growen up alofte
Into the youthe of lusti age,
Whan kinde assaileth the corage
With love and doth him forto bowe,
That he no reson can allowe,
Bot halt the lawes of nature:
For whom that love hath under cure,
As he is blind himself, riht so
He makth his client blind also.
In such manere as I you telle
As thei al day togedre duelle,
This brother mihte it noght asterte
That he with al his hole herte
His love upon his Soster caste:
And so it fell hem ate laste,
That this Machaire with Canace
Whan thei were in a prive place,
Cupide bad hem ferst to kesse,
And after sche which is Maistresse
In kinde and techeth every lif
Withoute lawe positif,
Of which sche takth nomaner charge,
Bot kepth hire lawes al at large,
Nature, tok hem into lore
And tawht hem so, that overmore
Sche hath hem in such wise daunted,
That thei were, as who seith, enchaunted.
And as the blinde an other ledeth
And til thei falle nothing dredeth,
Riht so thei hadde non insihte;
Bot as the bridd which wole alihte
And seth the mete and noght the net,
Which in deceipte of him is set,
This yonge folk no peril sihe,
Bot that was likinge in here yhe,
So that thei felle upon the chance
Where witt hath lore his remembrance.
So longe thei togedre assemble,
The wombe aros, and sche gan tremble,
And hield hire in hire chambre clos
For drede it scholde be disclos
And come to hire fader Ere:
Wherof the Sone hadde also fere,
And feigneth cause forto ryde;
For longe dorste he noght abyde,
In aunter if men wolde sein
That he his Soster hath forlein:
For yit sche hadde it noght beknowe
Whos was the child at thilke throwe.
Machaire goth, Canace abit,
The which was noght delivered yit,
Bot riht sone after that sche was.
Now lest and herkne a woful cas.
The sothe, which mai noght ben hid,
Was ate laste knowe and kid
Unto the king, how that it stod.
And whan that he it understod,
Anon into Malencolie,
As thogh it were a frenesie,
He fell, as he which nothing cowthe
How maistrefull love is in yowthe:
And for he was to love strange,
He wolde noght his herte change
To be benigne and favorable
To love, bot unmerciable
Betwen the wawe of wod and wroth
Into his dowhtres chambre he goth,
And sih the child was late bore,
Wherof he hath hise othes swore
That sche it schal ful sore abye.
And sche began merci to crie,
Upon hire bare knes and preide,
And to hire fader thus sche seide:
'Ha mercy! fader, thenk I am
Thi child, and of thi blod I cam.
That I misdede yowthe it made,
And in the flodes bad me wade,
Wher that I sih no peril tho:
Bot now it is befalle so,
Merci, my fader, do no wreche!'
And with that word sche loste speche
And fell doun swounende at his fot,
As sche for sorwe nedes mot.
Bot his horrible crualte
Ther mihte attempre no pite:
Out of hire chambre forth he wente
Al full of wraththe in his entente,
And tok the conseil in his herte
That sche schal noght the deth asterte,
As he which Malencolien
Of pacience hath no lien,
Wherof the wraththe he mai restreigne.
And in this wilde wode peine,
Whanne al his resoun was untame,
A kniht he clepeth be his name,
And tok him as be weie of sonde
A naked swerd to bere on honde,
And seide him that he scholde go
And telle unto his dowhter so
In the manere as he him bad,
How sche that scharpe swerdes blad
Receive scholde and do withal
So as sche wot wherto it schal.
Forth in message goth this kniht
Unto this wofull yonge wiht,
This scharpe swerd to hire he tok:
Wherof that al hire bodi qwok,
For wel sche wiste what it mente,
And that it was to thilke entente
That sche hireselven scholde slee.
And to the kniht sche seide: 'Yee,
Now that I wot my fadres wille,
That I schal in this wise spille,
I wole obeie me therto,
And as he wole it schal be do.
Bot now this thing mai be non other,
I wole a lettre unto mi brother,
So as my fieble hand may wryte,
With al my wofull herte endite.'
Sche tok a Penne on honde tho,
Fro point to point and al the wo,
Als ferforth as hireself it wot,
Unto hire dedly frend sche wrot,
And tolde how that hire fader grace
Sche mihte for nothing pourchace;
And overthat, as thou schalt hiere,
Sche wrot and seide in this manere:
'O thou my sorwe and my gladnesse,
O thou myn hele and my siknesse,
O my wanhope and al my trust,
O my desese and al my lust,
O thou my wele, o thou my wo,
O thou my frend, o thou my fo,
O thou my love, o thou myn hate,
For thee mot I be ded algate.
Thilke ende may I noght asterte,
And yit with al myn hole herte,
Whil that me lasteth eny breth,
I wol the love into my deth.
Bot of o thing I schal thee preie,
If that my litel Sone deie,
Let him be beried in my grave
Beside me, so schalt thou have
Upon ous bothe remembrance.
For thus it stant of my grevance;
Now at this time, as thou schalt wite,
With teres and with enke write
This lettre I have in cares colde:
In my riht hond my Penne I holde,
And in my left the swerd I kepe,
And in my barm ther lith to wepe
Thi child and myn, which sobbeth faste.
Now am I come unto my laste:
Fare wel, for I schal sone deie,
And thenk how I thi love abeie.'
The pomel of the swerd to grounde
Sche sette, and with the point a wounde
Thurghout hire herte anon sche made,
And forth with that al pale and fade
Sche fell doun ded fro ther sche stod.
The child lay bathende in hire blod
Out rolled fro the moder barm,
And for the blod was hot and warm,
He basketh him aboute thrinne.
Ther was no bote forto winne,
For he, which can no pite knowe,
The king cam in the same throwe,
And sih how that his dowhter dieth
And how this Babe al blody crieth;
Bot al that mihte him noght suffise,
That he ne bad to do juise
Upon the child, and bere him oute,
And seche in the Forest aboute
Som wilde place, what it were,
To caste him out of honde there,
So that som best him mai devoure,
Where as noman him schal socoure.
Al that he bad was don in dede:
Ha, who herde evere singe or rede
Of such a thing as that was do?
Bot he which ladde his wraththe so
Hath knowe of love bot a lite;
Bot for al that he was to wyte,
Thurgh his sodein Malencolie
To do so gret a felonie.
Forthi, my Sone, how so it stonde,
Be this cas thou miht understonde
That if thou evere in cause of love
Schalt deme, and thou be so above
That thou miht lede it at thi wille,
Let nevere thurgh thi Wraththe spille
Which every kinde scholde save.
For it sit every man to have
Reward to love and to his miht,
Ayein whos strengthe mai no wiht:
And siththe an herte is so constreigned,
The reddour oghte be restreigned
To him that mai no bet aweie,
Whan he mot to nature obeie.
For it is seid thus overal,
That nedes mot that nede schal
Of that a lif doth after kinde,
Wherof he mai no bote finde.
What nature hath set in hir lawe
Ther mai no mannes miht withdrawe,
And who that worcheth therayein,
Fulofte time it hath be sein,
Ther hath befalle gret vengance,
Wherof I finde a remembrance.
Ovide after the time tho
Tolde an ensample and seide so,
How that whilom Tiresias,
As he walkende goth per cas,
Upon an hih Montaine he sih
Tuo Serpentz in his weie nyh,
And thei, so as nature hem tawhte,
Assembled were, and he tho cawhte
A yerde which he bar on honde,
And thoghte that he wolde fonde
To letten hem, and smot hem bothe:
Wherof the goddes weren wrothe;
And for he hath destourbed kinde
And was so to nature unkinde,
Unkindeliche he was transformed,
That he which erst a man was formed
Into a womman was forschape.
That was to him an angri jape;
Bot for that he with Angre wroghte,
Hise Angres angreliche he boghte.
Lo thus, my Sone, Ovide hath write,
Wherof thou miht be reson wite,
More is a man than such a beste:
So mihte it nevere ben honeste
A man to wraththen him to sore
Of that an other doth the lore
Of kinde, in which is no malice,
Bot only that it is a vice:
And thogh a man be resonable,
Yit after kinde he is menable
To love, wher he wole or non.
Thenk thou, my Sone, therupon
And do Malencolie aweie;
For love hath evere his lust to pleie,
As he which wolde no lif grieve.
Mi fader, that I mai wel lieve;
Al that ye tellen it is skile:
Let every man love as he wile,
Be so it be noght my ladi,
For I schal noght be wroth therby.
Bot that I wraththe and fare amis,
Al one upon miself it is,
That I with bothe love and kinde
Am so bestad, that I can finde
No weie how I it mai asterte:
Which stant upon myn oghne herte
And toucheth to non other lif,
Save only to that swete wif
For whom, bot if it be amended,
Mi glade daies ben despended,
That I miself schal noght forbere
The Wraththe which that I now bere,
For therof is non other leche.
Now axeth forth, I yow beseche,
Of Wraththe if ther oght elles is,
Wherof to schryve. Sone, yis.
Of Wraththe the secounde is Cheste,
Which hath the wyndes of tempeste
To kepe, and many a sodein blast
He bloweth, wherof ben agast
Thei that desiren pes and reste.
He is that ilke ungoodlieste
Which many a lusti love hath twinned;
For he berth evere his mowth unpinned,
So that his lippes ben unloke
And his corage is al tobroke,
That every thing which he can telle,
It springeth up as doth a welle,
Which mai non of his stremes hyde,
Bot renneth out on every syde.
So buillen up the foule sawes
That Cheste wot of his felawes:
For as a Sive kepeth Ale,
Riht so can Cheste kepe a tale;
Al that he wot he wol desclose,
And speke er eny man oppose.
As a Cite withoute wal,
Wher men mai gon out overal
Withouten eny resistence,
So with his croked eloquence
He spekth al that he wot withinne:
Wherof men lese mor than winne,
For ofte time of his chidinge
He bringth to house such tidinge,
That makth werre ate beddeshed.
He is the levein of the bred,
Which soureth al the past aboute:
Men oghte wel such on to doute,
For evere his bowe is redi bent,
And whom he hit I telle him schent,
If he mai perce him with his tunge.
And ek so lowde his belle is runge,
That of the noise and of the soun
Men feeren hem in al the toun
Welmore than thei don of thonder.
For that is cause of more wonder;
For with the wyndes whiche he bloweth
Fulofte sythe he overthroweth
The Cites and the policie,
That I have herd the poeple crie,
And echon seide in his degre,
'Ha wicke tunge, wo thee be!'
For men sein that the harde bon,
Althogh himselven have non,
A tunge brekth it al to pieces.
He hath so manye sondri spieces
Of vice, that I mai noght wel
Descrive hem be a thousendel:
Bot whan that he to Cheste falleth,
Ful many a wonder thing befalleth,
For he ne can nothing forbere.
Now tell me, Sone, thin ansuere,
If it hath evere so betidd,
That thou at eny time hast chidd
Toward thi love. Fader, nay:
Such Cheste yit unto this day
Ne made I nevere, god forbede:
For er I sunge such a crede,
I hadde levere to be lewed;
For thanne were I al beschrewed
And worthi to be put abak
With al the sorwe upon my bak
That eny man ordeigne cowthe.
Bot I spak nevere yit be mowthe
That unto Cheste mihte touche,
And that I durste riht wel vouche
Upon hirself as for witnesse;
For I wot, of hir gentilesse
That sche me wolde wel excuse,
That I no suche thinges use.
And if it scholde so betide
That I algates moste chide,
It myhte noght be to my love:
For so yit was I nevere above,
For al this wyde world to winne
That I dorste eny word beginne,
Be which sche mihte have ben amoeved
And I of Cheste also reproeved.
Bot rathere, if it mihte hir like,
The beste wordes wolde I pike
Whiche I cowthe in myn herte chese,
And serve hem forth in stede of chese,
For that is helplich to defie;
And so wolde I my wordes plie,
That mihten Wraththe and Cheste avale
With tellinge of my softe tale.
Thus dar I make a foreward,
That nevere unto my ladiward
Yit spak I word in such a wise,
Wherof that Cheste scholde arise.
This seie I noght, that I fulofte
Ne have, whanne I spak most softe,
Per cas seid more thanne ynowh;
Bot so wel halt noman the plowh
That he ne balketh otherwhile,
Ne so wel can noman affile
His tunge, that som time in rape
Him mai som liht word overscape,
And yit ne meneth he no Cheste.
Bot that I have ayein hir heste
Fulofte spoke, I am beknowe;
And how my will is, that ye knowe:
For whan my time comth aboute,
That I dar speke and seie al oute
Mi longe love, of which sche wot
That evere in on aliche hot
Me grieveth, thanne al my desese
I telle, and though it hir desplese,
I speke it forth and noght ne leve:
And thogh it be beside hire leve,
I hope and trowe natheles
That I do noght ayein the pes;
For thogh I telle hire al my thoght,
Sche wot wel that I chyde noght.
Men mai the hihe god beseche,
And he wol hiere a mannes speche
And be noght wroth of that he seith;
So yifth it me the more feith
And makth me hardi, soth to seie,
That I dar wel the betre preie
Mi ladi, which a womman is.
For thogh I telle hire that or this
Of love, which me grieveth sore,
Hire oghte noght be wroth the more,
For I withoute noise or cri
Mi pleignte make al buxomly
To puten alle wraththe away.
Thus dar I seie unto this day
Of Cheste in ernest or in game
Mi ladi schal me nothing blame.
Bot ofte time it hath betidd
That with miselven I have chidd,
That noman couthe betre chide:
And that hath ben at every tide,
Whanne I cam to miself al one;
For thanne I made a prive mone,
And every tale by and by,
Which as I spak to my ladi,
I thenke and peise in my balance
And drawe into my remembrance;
And thanne, if that I finde a lak
Of eny word that I mispak,
Which was to moche in eny wise,
Anon my wittes I despise
And make a chidinge in myn herte,
That eny word me scholde asterte
Which as I scholde have holden inne.
And so forth after I beginne
And loke if ther was elles oght
To speke, and I ne spak it noght:
And thanne, if I mai seche and finde
That eny word be left behinde,
Which as I scholde more have spoke,
I wolde upon miself be wroke,
And chyde with miselven so
That al my wit is overgo.
For noman mai his time lore
Recovere, and thus I am therfore
So overwroth in al my thoght,
That I myself chide al to noght:
Thus for to moche or for to lite
Fulofte I am miself to wyte.
Bot al that mai me noght availe,
With cheste thogh I me travaile:
Bot Oule on Stock and Stock on Oule;
The more that a man defoule,
Men witen wel which hath the werse;
And so to me nys worth a kerse,
Bot torneth on myn oghne hed,
Thogh I, til that I were ded,
Wolde evere chyde in such a wise
Of love as I to you devise.
Bot, fader, now ye have al herd
In this manere how I have ferd
Of Cheste and of dissencioun,
Yif me youre absolucioun.
Mi Sone, if that thou wistest al,
What Cheste doth in special
To love and to his welwillinge,
Thou woldest flen his knowlechinge
And lerne to be debonaire.
For who that most can speke faire
Is most acordende unto love:
Fair speche hath ofte brought above
Ful many a man, as it is knowe,
Which elles scholde have be riht lowe
And failed mochel of his wille.
Forthi hold thou thi tunge stille
And let thi witt thi wille areste,
So that thou falle noght in Cheste,
Which is the source of gret destance:
And tak into thi remembrance
If thou miht gete pacience,
Which is the leche of alle offence,
As tellen ous these olde wise:
For whan noght elles mai suffise
Be strengthe ne be mannes wit,
Than pacience it oversit
And overcomth it ate laste;
Bot he mai nevere longe laste,
Which wol noght bowe er that he breke.
Tak hiede, Sone, of that I speke.
Mi fader, of your goodli speche
And of the witt which ye me teche
I thonke you with al myn herte:
For that world schal me nevere asterte,
That I ne schal your wordes holde,
Of Pacience as ye me tolde,
Als ferforth as myn herte thenketh;
And of my wraththe it me forthenketh.
Bot, fader, if ye forth withal
Som good ensample in special
Me wolden telle of som Cronique,
It scholde wel myn herte like
Of pacience forto hiere,
So that I mihte in mi matiere
The more unto my love obeie
And puten mi desese aweie.
Mi Sone, a man to beie him pes
Behoveth soffre as Socrates
Ensample lefte, which is write:
And for thou schalt the sothe wite,
Of this ensample what I mene,
Althogh it be now litel sene
Among the men thilke evidence,
Yit he was upon pacience
So sett, that he himself assaie
In thing which mihte him most mispaie
Desireth, and a wickid wif
He weddeth, which in sorwe and strif
Ayein his ese was contraire.
Bot he spak evere softe and faire,
Til it befell, as it is told,
In wynter, whan the dai is cold,
This wif was fro the welle come,
Wher that a pot with water nome
Sche hath, and broghte it into house,
And sih how that hire seli spouse
Was sett and loked on a bok
Nyh to the fyr, as he which tok
His ese for a man of age.
And sche began the wode rage,
And axeth him what devel he thoghte,
And bar on hond that him ne roghte
What labour that sche toke on honde,
And seith that such an Housebonde
Was to a wif noght worth a Stre.
He seide nowther nay ne ye,
Bot hield him stille and let hire chyde;
And sche, which mai hirself noght hyde,
Began withinne forto swelle,
And that sche broghte in fro the welle,
The waterpot sche hente alofte
And bad him speke, and he al softe
Sat stille and noght a word ansuerde;
And sche was wroth that he so ferde,
And axeth him if he be ded;
And al the water on his hed
Sche pourede oute and bad awake.
Bot he, which wolde noght forsake
His Pacience, thanne spak,
And seide how that he fond no lak
In nothing which sche hadde do:
For it was wynter time tho,
And wynter, as be weie of kinde
Which stormy is, as men it finde,
Ferst makth the wyndes forto blowe,
And after that withinne a throwe
He reyneth and the watergates
Undoth; 'and thus my wif algates,
Which is with reson wel besein,
Hath mad me bothe wynd and rein
After the Sesoun of the yer.'
And thanne he sette him nerr the fer,
And as he mihte hise clothes dreide,
That he nomore o word ne seide;
Wherof he gat him somdel reste,
For that him thoghte was the beste.
I not if thilke ensample yit
Acordeth with a mannes wit,
To soffre as Socrates tho dede:
And if it falle in eny stede
A man to lese so his galle,
Him oghte among the wommen alle
In loves Court be juggement
The name bere of Pacient,
To yive ensample to the goode
Of pacience how that it stode,
That othre men it mihte knowe.
And, Sone, if thou at eny throwe
Be tempted ayein Pacience,
Tak hiede upon this evidence;
It schal per cas the lasse grieve.
Mi fader, so as I believe,
Of that schal be no maner nede,
For I wol take so good hiede,
That er I falle in such assai,
I thenke eschuie it, if I mai.
Bot if ther be oght elles more
Wherof I mihte take lore,
I preie you, so as I dar,
Now telleth, that I mai be war,
Som other tale in this matiere.
Sone, it is evere good to lere,
Wherof thou miht thi word restreigne,
Er that thou falle in eny peine.
For who that can no conseil hyde,
He mai noght faile of wo beside,
Which schal befalle er he it wite,
As I finde in the bokes write.
Yit cam ther nevere good of strif,
To seche in all a mannes lif:
Thogh it beginne on pure game,
Fulofte it torneth into grame
And doth grevance upon som side.
Wherof the grete Clerk Ovide
After the lawe which was tho
Of Jupiter and of Juno
Makth in his bokes mencioun
How thei felle at dissencioun
In manere as it were a borde,
As thei begunne forto worde
Among hemself in privete:
And that was upon this degree,
Which of the tuo more amorous is,
Or man or wif. And upon this
Thei mihten noght acorde in on,
And toke a jugge therupon,
Which cleped is Tiresias,
And bede him demen in the cas;
And he withoute avisement
Ayein Juno yaf juggement.
This goddesse upon his ansuere
Was wroth and wolde noght forbere,
Bot tok awey for everemo
The liht fro bothe hise yhen tuo.
Whan Jupiter this harm hath sein,
An other bienfait therayein
He yaf, and such a grace him doth,
That for he wiste he seide soth,
A Sothseiere he was for evere:
Bot yit that other were levere,
Have had the lokinge of his yhe,
Than of his word the prophecie;
Bot how so that the sothe wente,
Strif was the cause of that he hente
So gret a peine bodily.
Mi Sone, be thou war ther by,
And hold thi tunge stille clos:
For who that hath his word desclos
Er that he wite what he mene,
He is fulofte nyh his tene
And lest ful many time grace,
Wher that he wolde his thonk pourchace.
And over this, my Sone diere,
Of othre men, if thou miht hiere
In privete what thei have wroght,
Hold conseil and descoevere it noght,
For Cheste can no conseil hele,
Or be it wo or be it wele:
And tak a tale into thi mynde,
The which of olde ensample I finde.
Phebus, which makth the daies lihte,
A love he hadde, which tho hihte
Cornide, whom aboven alle
He pleseth: bot what schal befalle
Of love ther is noman knoweth,
Bot as fortune hire happes throweth.
So it befell upon a chaunce,
A yong kniht tok hire aqueintance
And hadde of hire al that he wolde:
Bot a fals bridd, which sche hath holde
And kept in chambre of pure yowthe,
Discoevereth all that evere he cowthe.
This briddes name was as tho
Corvus, the which was thanne also
Welmore whyt than eny Swan,
And he that schrewe al that he can
Of his ladi to Phebus seide;
And he for wraththe his swerd outbreide,
With which Cornide anon he slowh.
Bot after him was wo ynowh,
And tok a full gret repentance,
Wherof in tokne and remembrance
Of hem whiche usen wicke speche,
Upon this bridd he tok this wreche,
That ther he was snow whyt tofore,
Evere afterward colblak therfore
He was transformed, as it scheweth,
And many a man yit him beschreweth,
And clepen him into this day
A Raven, be whom yit men mai
Take evidence, whan he crieth,
That som mishapp it signefieth.
Be war therfore and sei the beste,
If thou wolt be thiself in reste,
Mi goode Sone, as I the rede.
For in an other place I rede
Of thilke Nimphe which Laar hihte:
For sche the privete be nyhte,
How Jupiter lay be Jutorne,
Hath told, god made hire overtorne:
Hire tunge he kutte, and into helle
For evere he sende hir forto duelle,
As sche that was noght worthi hiere
To ben of love a Chamberere,
For sche no conseil cowthe hele.
And suche adaies be now fele
In loves Court, as it is seid,
That lete here tunges gon unteid.
Mi Sone, be thou non of tho,
To jangle and telle tales so,
And namely that thou ne chyde,
For Cheste can no conseil hide,
For Wraththe seide nevere wel.
Mi fader, soth is everydel
That ye me teche, and I wol holde
The reule to which I am holde,
To fle the Cheste, as ye me bidde,
For wel is him that nevere chidde.
Now tell me forth if ther be more
As touchende unto Wraththes lore.
Of Wraththe yit ther is an other,
Which is to Cheste his oghne brother,
And is be name cleped Hate,
That soffreth noght withinne his gate
That ther come owther love or pes,
For he wol make no reles
Of no debat which is befalle.
Now spek, if thou art on of alle,
That with this vice hast ben withholde.
As yit for oght that ye me tolde,
Mi fader, I not what it is.
In good feith, Sone, I trowe yis.
Mi fader, nay, bot ye me lere.
Now lest, my Sone, and thou schalt here.
Hate is a wraththe noght schewende,
Bot of long time gaderende,
And duelleth in the herte loken,
Til he se time to be wroken;
And thanne he scheweth his tempeste
Mor sodein than the wilde beste,
Which wot nothing what merci is.
Mi Sone, art thou knowende of this?
My goode fader, as I wene,
Now wot I somdel what ye mene;
Bot I dar saufly make an oth,
Mi ladi was me nevere loth.
I wol noght swere natheles
That I of hate am gulteles;
For whanne I to my ladi plie
Fro dai to dai and merci crie,
And sche no merci on me leith
Bot schorte wordes to me seith,
Thogh I my ladi love algate,
Tho wordes moste I nedes hate;
And wolde thei were al despent,
Or so ferr oute of londe went
That I nevere after scholde hem hiere;
And yit love I my ladi diere.
Thus is ther Hate, as ye mai se,
Betwen mi ladi word and me;
The word I hate and hire I love,
What so me schal betide of love.
Bot forthere mor I wol me schryve,
That I have hated al my lyve
These janglers, whiche of here Envie
Ben evere redi forto lie;
For with here fals compassement
Fuloften thei have mad me schent
And hindred me fulofte time,
Whan thei no cause wisten bime,
Bot onliche of here oghne thoght:
And thus fuloften have I boght
The lie, and drank noght of the wyn.
I wolde here happ were such as myn:
For how so that I be now schrive,
To hem ne mai I noght foryive,
Til that I se hem at debat
With love, and thanne myn astat
Thei mihten be here oghne deme,
And loke how wel it scholde hem qweme
To hindre a man that loveth sore.
And thus I hate hem everemore,
Til love on hem wol don his wreche:
For that schal I alway beseche
Unto the mihti Cupido,
That he so mochel wolde do,
So as he is of love a godd,
To smyte hem with the same rodd
With which I am of love smite;
So that thei mihten knowe and wite
How hindringe is a wofull peine
To him that love wolde atteigne.
Thus evere on hem I wayte and hope,
Til I mai sen hem lepe a lope,
And halten on the same Sor
Which I do now: for overmor
I wolde thanne do my myht
So forto stonden in here lyht,
That thei ne scholden finde a weie
To that thei wolde, bot aweie
I wolde hem putte out of the stede
Fro love, riht as thei me dede
With that thei speke of me be mowthe.
So wolde I do, if that I cowthe,
Of hem, and this, so god me save,
Is al the hate that I have,
Toward these janglers everydiel;
I wolde alle othre ferde wel.
Thus have I, fader, said mi wille;
Say ye now forth, for I am stille.
Mi Sone, of that thou hast me said
I holde me noght fulli paid:
That thou wolt haten eny man,
To that acorden I ne can,
Thogh he have hindred thee tofore.
Bot this I telle thee therfore,
Thou miht upon my beneicoun
Wel haten the condicioun
Of tho janglers, as thou me toldest,
Bot furthermor, of that thou woldest
Hem hindre in eny other wise,
Such Hate is evere to despise.
Forthi, mi Sone, I wol thee rede,
That thou drawe in be frendlihede
That thou ne miht noght do be hate;
So miht thou gete love algate
And sette thee, my Sone, in reste,
For thou schalt finde it for the beste.
And over this, so as I dar,
I rede that thou be riht war
Of othre mennes hate aboute,
Which every wysman scholde doute:
For Hate is evere upon await,
And as the fisshere on his bait
Sleth, whan he seth the fisshes faste,
So, whan he seth time ate laste,
That he mai worche an other wo,
Schal noman tornen him therfro,
That Hate nyle his felonie
Fulfille and feigne compaignie
Yit natheles, for fals Semblant
Is toward him of covenant
Withholde, so that under bothe
The prive wraththe can him clothe,
That he schal seme of gret believe.
Bot war thee wel that thou ne lieve
Al that thou sest tofore thin yhe,
So as the Gregois whilom syhe:
The bok of Troie who so rede,
Ther mai he finde ensample in dede.
Sone after the destruccioun,
Whan Troie was al bete doun
And slain was Priamus the king,
The Gregois, whiche of al this thing
Ben cause, tornen hom ayein.
Ther mai noman his happ withsein;
It hath be sen and felt fulofte,
The harde time after the softe:
Be See as thei forth homward wente,
A rage of gret tempeste hem hente;
Juno let bende hire parti bowe,
The Sky wax derk, the wynd gan blowe,
The firy welkne gan to thondre,
As thogh the world scholde al to sondre;
Fro hevene out of the watergates
The reyni Storm fell doun algates
And al here takel made unwelde,
That noman mihte himself bewelde.
Ther mai men hiere Schipmen crie,
That stode in aunter forto die:
He that behinde sat to stiere
Mai noght the forestempne hiere;
The Schip aros ayein the wawes,
The lodesman hath lost his lawes,
The See bet in on every side:
Thei nysten what fortune abide,
Bot sette hem al in goddes wille,
Wher he hem wolde save or spille.
And it fell thilke time thus:
Ther was a king, the which Namplus
Was hote, and he a Sone hadde,
At Troie which the Gregois ladde,
As he that was mad Prince of alle,
Til that fortune let him falle:
His name was Palamades.
Bot thurgh an hate natheles
Of some of hem his deth was cast
And he be tresoun overcast.
His fader, whan he herde it telle,
He swor, if evere his time felle,
He wolde him venge, if that he mihte,
And therto his avou behihte:
And thus this king thurgh prive hate
Abod upon await algate,
For he was noght of such emprise
To vengen him in open wise.
The fame, which goth wyde where,
Makth knowe how that the Gregois were
Homward with al the felaschipe
Fro Troie upon the See be Schipe.
Namplus, whan he this understod,
And knew the tydes of the flod,
And sih the wynd blew to the lond,
A gret deceipte anon he fond
Of prive hate, as thou schalt hiere,
Wherof I telle al this matiere.
This king the weder gan beholde,
And wiste wel thei moten holde
Here cours endlong his marche riht,
And made upon the derke nyht
Of grete Schydes and of blockes
Gret fyr ayein the grete rockes,
To schewe upon the helles hihe,
So that the Flete of Grece it sihe.
And so it fell riht as he thoghte:
This Flete, which an havene soghte,
The bryghte fyres sih a ferr,
And thei hem drowen nerr and nerr,
And wende wel and understode
How al that fyr was made for goode,
To schewe wher men scholde aryve,
And thiderward thei hasten blyve.
In Semblant, as men sein, is guile,
And that was proved thilke while;
The Schip, which wende his helpe acroche,
Drof al to pieces on the roche,
And so ther deden ten or twelve;
Ther mihte noman helpe himselve,
For ther thei wenden deth ascape,
Withouten help here deth was schape.
Thus thei that comen ferst tofore
Upon the Rockes be forlore,
Bot thurgh the noise and thurgh the cri
These othre were al war therby;
And whan the dai began to rowe,
Tho mihten thei the sothe knowe,
That wher they wenden frendes finde,
Thei founden frenschipe al behinde.
The lond was thanne sone weyved,
Wher that thei hadden be deceived,
And toke hem to the hihe See;
Therto thei seiden alle yee,
Fro that dai forth and war thei were
Of that thei hadde assaied there.
Mi Sone, hierof thou miht avise
How fraude stant in many wise
Amonges hem that guile thenke;
Ther is no Scrivein with his enke
Which half the fraude wryte can
That stant in such a maner man:
Forthi the wise men ne demen
The thinges after that thei semen,
Bot after that thei knowe and finde.
The Mirour scheweth in his kinde
As he hadde al the world withinne,
And is in soth nothing therinne;
And so farth Hate for a throwe:
Til he a man hath overthrowe,
Schal noman knowe be his chere
Which is avant, ne which arere.
Forthi, mi Sone, thenke on this.
Mi fader, so I wole ywiss;
And if ther more of Wraththe be,
Now axeth forth per charite,
As ye be youre bokes knowe,
And I the sothe schal beknowe.
Mi Sone, thou schalt understonde
That yit towardes Wraththe stonde
Of dedly vices othre tuo:
And forto telle here names so,
It is Contek and Homicide,
That ben to drede on every side.
Contek, so as the bokes sein,
Folhast hath to his Chamberlein,
Be whos conseil al unavised
Is Pacience most despised,
Til Homicide with hem meete.
Fro merci thei ben al unmeete,
And thus ben thei the worste of alle
Of hem whiche unto wraththe falle,
In dede bothe and ek in thoght:
For thei acompte here wraththe at noght,
Bot if ther be schedinge of blod;
And thus lich to a beste wod
Thei knowe noght the god of lif.
Be so thei have or swerd or knif
Here dedly wraththe forto wreke,
Of Pite list hem noght to speke;
Non other reson thei ne fonge,
Bot that thei ben of mihtes stronge.
Bot war hem wel in other place,
Where every man behoveth grace,
Bot ther I trowe it schal hem faile,
To whom no merci mihte availe,
Bot wroghten upon tiraundie,
That no pite ne mihte hem plie.
Now tell, my Sone. Fader, what?
If thou hast be coupable of that.
Mi fader, nay, Crist me forbiede:
I speke onliche as of the dede,
Of which I nevere was coupable
Withoute cause resonable.
Bot this is noght to mi matiere
Of schrifte, why we sitten hiere;
For we ben sett to schryve of love,
As we begunne ferst above:
And natheles I am beknowe
That as touchende of loves throwe,
Whan I my wittes overwende,
Min hertes contek hath non ende,
Bot evere it stant upon debat
To gret desese of myn astat
As for the time that it lasteth.
For whan mi fortune overcasteth
Hire whiel and is to me so strange,
And that I se sche wol noght change,
Than caste I al the world aboute,
And thenke hou I at home and oute
Have al my time in vein despended,
And se noght how to ben amended,
Bot rathere forto be empeired,
As he that is welnyh despeired:
For I ne mai no thonk deserve,
And evere I love and evere I serve,
And evere I am aliche nerr.
Thus, for I stonde in such a wer,
I am, as who seith, out of herre;
And thus upon miself the werre
I bringe, and putte out alle pes,
That I fulofte in such a res
Am wery of myn oghne lif.
So that of Contek and of strif
I am beknowe and have ansuerd,
As ye, my fader, now have herd.
Min herte is wonderly begon
With conseil, wherof witt is on,
Which hath resoun in compaignie;
Ayein the whiche stant partie
Will, which hath hope of his acord,
And thus thei bringen up descord.
Witt and resoun conseilen ofte
That I myn herte scholde softe,
And that I scholde will remue
And put him out of retenue,
Or elles holde him under fote:
For as thei sein, if that he mote
His oghne rewle have upon honde,
Ther schal no witt ben understonde.
Of hope also thei tellen this,
That overal, wher that he is,
He set the herte in jeupartie
With wihssinge and with fantasie,
And is noght trewe of that he seith,
So that in him ther is no feith:
Thus with reson and wit avised
Is will and hope aldai despised.
Reson seith that I scholde leve
To love, wher ther is no leve
To spede, and will seith therayein
That such an herte is to vilein,
Which dar noght love and til he spede,
Let hope serve at such a nede:
He seith ek, where an herte sit
Al hol governed upon wit,
He hath this lyves lust forlore.
And thus myn herte is al totore
Of such a Contek as thei make:
Bot yit I mai noght will forsake,
That he nys Maister of my thoght,
Or that I spede, or spede noght.
Thou dost, my Sone, ayein the riht;
Bot love is of so gret a miht,
His lawe mai noman refuse,
So miht thou thee the betre excuse.
And natheles thou schalt be lerned
That will scholde evere be governed
Of reson more than of kinde,
Wherof a tale write I finde.
A Philosophre of which men tolde
Ther was whilom be daies olde,
And Diogenes thanne he hihte.
So old he was that he ne mihte
The world travaile, and for the beste
He schop him forto take his reste,
And duelte at hom in such a wise,
That nyh his hous he let devise
Endlong upon an Axeltre
To sette a tonne in such degre,
That he it mihte torne aboute;
Wherof on hed was taken oute,
For he therinne sitte scholde
And torne himself so as he wolde,
To take their and se the hevene
And deme of the planetes sevene,
As he which cowthe mochel what.
And thus fulofte there he sat
To muse in his philosophie
Solein withoute compaignie:
So that upon a morwetyde,
As thing which scholde so betyde,
Whan he was set ther as him liste
To loke upon the Sonne ariste,
Wherof the propretes he sih,
It fell ther cam ridende nyh
King Alisandre with a route;
And as he caste his yhe aboute,
He sih this Tonne, and what it mente
He wolde wite, and thider sente
A knyht, be whom he mihte it knowe,
And he himself that ilke throwe
Abod, and hoveth there stille.
This kniht after the kinges wille
With spore made his hors to gon
And to the tonne he cam anon,
Wher that he fond a man of Age,
And he him tolde the message,
Such as the king him hadde bede,
And axeth why in thilke stede
The Tonne stod, and what it was.
And he, which understod the cas,
Sat stille and spak no word ayein.
The kniht bad speke and seith, 'Vilein,
Thou schalt me telle, er that I go;
It is thi king which axeth so.'
'Mi king,' quod he, 'that were unriht.'
'What is he thanne?' seith the kniht,
'Is he thi man?' 'That seie I noght,'
Quod he, 'bot this I am bethoght,
Mi mannes man hou that he is.'
'Thou lyest, false cherl, ywiss,'
The kniht him seith, and was riht wroth,
And to the king ayein he goth
And tolde him how this man ansuerde.
The king, whan he this tale herde,
Bad that thei scholden alle abyde,
For he himself wol thider ryde.
And whan he cam tofore the tonne,
He hath his tale thus begonne:
'Alheil,' he seith, 'what man art thou?'
Quod he, 'Such on as thou sest now.'
The king, which hadde wordes wise,
His age wolde noght despise,
Bot seith, 'Mi fader, I thee preie
That thou me wolt the cause seie,
How that I am thi mannes man.'
'Sire king,' quod he, 'and that I can,
If that thou wolt.' 'Yis,' seith the king.
Quod he, 'This is the sothe thing:
Sith I ferst resoun understod,
And knew what thing was evel and good,
The will which of my bodi moeveth,
Whos werkes that the god reproeveth,
I have restreigned everemore,
As him which stant under the lore
Of reson, whos soubgit he is,
So that he mai noght don amis:
And thus be weie of covenant
Will is my man and my servant,
And evere hath ben and evere schal.
And thi will is thi principal,
And hath the lordschipe of thi witt,
So that thou cowthest nevere yit
Take o dai reste of thi labour;
Bot forto ben a conquerour
Of worldes good, which mai noght laste,
Thou hiest evere aliche faste,
Wher thou no reson hast to winne:
And thus thi will is cause of Sinne,
And is thi lord, to whom thou servest,
Wherof thou litel thonk deservest.'
The king of that he thus answerde
Was nothing wroth, bot whanne he herde
The hihe wisdom which he seide,
With goodly wordes this he preide,
That he him wolde telle his name.
'I am,' quod he, 'that ilke same,
The which men Diogenes calle.'
Tho was the king riht glad withalle,
For he hadde often herd tofore
What man he was, so that therfore
He seide, 'O wise Diogene,
Now schal thi grete witt be sene;
For thou schalt of my yifte have
What worldes thing that thou wolt crave.'
Quod he, 'Thanne hove out of mi Sonne,
And let it schyne into mi Tonne;
For thou benymst me thilke yifte,
Which lith noght in thi miht to schifte:
Non other good of thee me nedeth.'
This king, whom every contre dredeth,
Lo, thus he was enformed there:
Wherof, my Sone, thou miht lere
How that thi will schal noght be lieved,
Where it is noght of wit relieved.
And thou hast seid thiself er this
How that thi will thi maister is;
Thurgh which thin hertes thoght withinne
Is evere of Contek to beginne,
So that it is gretli to drede
That it non homicide brede.
For love is of a wonder kinde,
And hath hise wittes ofte blinde,
That thei fro mannes reson falle;
Bot whan that it is so befalle
That will schal the corage lede,
In loves cause it is to drede:
Wherof I finde ensample write,
Which is behovely forto wite.
I rede a tale, and telleth this:
The Cite which Semiramis
Enclosed hath with wall aboute,
Of worthi folk with many a route
Was enhabited here and there;
Among the whiche tuo ther were
Above alle othre noble and grete,
Dwellende tho withinne a Strete
So nyh togedre, as it was sene,
That ther was nothing hem betwene,
Bot wow to wow and wall to wall.
This o lord hadde in special
A Sone, a lusti Bacheler,
In al the toun was non his pier:
That other hadde a dowhter eke,
In al the lond that forto seke
Men wisten non so faire as sche.
And fell so, as it scholde be,
This faire dowhter nyh this Sone
As thei togedre thanne wone,
Cupide hath so the thinges schape,
That thei ne mihte his hand ascape,
That he his fyr on hem ne caste:
Wherof her herte he overcaste
To folwe thilke lore and suie
Which nevere man yit miht eschuie;
And that was love, as it is happed,
Which hath here hertes so betrapped,
That thei be alle weies seche
How that thei mihten winne a speche,
Here wofull peine forto lisse.
Who loveth wel, it mai noght misse,
And namely whan ther be tuo
Of on acord, how so it go,
Bot if that thei som weie finde;
For love is evere of such a kinde
And hath his folk so wel affaited,
That howso that it be awaited,
Ther mai noman the pourpos lette:
And thus betwen hem tuo thei sette
And hole upon a wall to make,
Thurgh which thei have her conseil take
At alle times, whan thei myhte.
This faire Maiden Tisbee hihte,
And he whom that sche loveth hote
Was Piramus be name hote.
So longe here lecoun thei recorden,
Til ate laste thei acorden
Be nihtes time forto wende
Al one out fro the tounes ende,
Wher was a welle under a Tree;
And who cam ferst, or sche or he,
He scholde stille there abide.
So it befell the nyhtes tide
This maiden, which desguised was,
Al prively the softe pas
Goth thurgh the large toun unknowe,
Til that sche cam withinne a throwe
Wher that sche liketh forto duelle,
At thilke unhappi freisshe welle,
Which was also the Forest nyh.
Wher sche comende a Leoun syh
Into the feld to take his preie,
In haste and sche tho fledde aweie,
So as fortune scholde falle,
For feere and let hire wympel falle
Nyh to the welle upon therbage.
This Leoun in his wilde rage
A beste, which that he fond oute,
Hath slain, and with his blodi snoute,
Whan he hath eten what he wolde,
To drynke of thilke stremes colde
Cam to the welle, where he fond
The wympel, which out of hire hond
Was falle, and he it hath todrawe,
Bebled aboute and al forgnawe;
And thanne he strawhte him forto drinke
Upon the freisshe welles brinke,
And after that out of the plein
He torneth to the wode ayein.
And Tisbee dorste noght remue,
Bot as a bridd which were in Mue
Withinne a buissh sche kepte hire clos
So stille that sche noght aros;
Unto hirself and pleigneth ay.
And fell, whil that sche there lay,
This Piramus cam after sone
Unto the welle, and be the Mone
He fond hire wimpel blodi there.
Cam nevere yit to mannes Ere
Tidinge, ne to mannes sihte
Merveile, which so sore aflihte
A mannes herte, as it tho dede
To him, which in the same stede
With many a wofull compleignynge
Began his handes forto wringe,
As he which demeth sikerly
That sche be ded: and sodeinly
His swerd al nakid out he breide
In his folhaste, and thus he seide:
'I am cause of this felonie,
So it is resoun that I die,
As sche is ded be cause of me.'
And with that word upon his kne
He fell, and to the goddes alle
Up to the hevene he gan to calle,
And preide, sithen it was so
That he may noght his love as tho
Have in this world, that of her grace
He miht hire have in other place,
For hiere wolde he noght abide,
He seith: bot as it schal betide,
The Pomel of his swerd to grounde
He sette, and thurgh his herte a wounde
He made up to the bare hilte:
And in this wise himself he spilte
With his folhaste and deth he nam;
For sche withinne a while cam,
Wher he lai ded upon his knif.
So wofull yit was nevere lif
As Tisbee was, whan sche him sih:
Sche mihte noght o word on hih
Speke oute, for hire herte schette,
That of hir lif no pris sche sette,
Bot ded swounende doun sche fell.
Til after, whanne it so befell
That sche out of hire traunce awok,
With many a wofull pitous lok
Hire yhe alwei among sche caste
Upon hir love, and ate laste
Sche cawhte breth and seide thus:
'O thou which cleped art Venus,
Goddesse of love, and thou, Cupide,
Which loves cause hast forto guide,
I wot now wel that ye be blinde,
Of thilke unhapp which I now finde
Only betwen my love and me.
This Piramus, which hiere I se
Bledende, what hath he deserved?
For he youre heste hath kept and served,
And was yong and I bothe also:
Helas, why do ye with ous so?
Ye sette oure herte bothe afyre,
And maden ous such thing desire
Wherof that we no skile cowthe;
Bot thus oure freisshe lusti yowthe
Withoute joie is al despended,
Which thing mai nevere ben amended:
For as of me this wol I seie,
That me is levere forto deie
Than live after this sorghful day.'
And with this word, where as he lay,
Hire love in armes sche embraseth,
Hire oghne deth and so pourchaseth
That now sche wepte and nou sche kiste,
Til ate laste, er sche it wiste,
So gret a sorwe is to hire falle,
Which overgoth hire wittes alle.
As sche which mihte it noght asterte,
The swerdes point ayein hire herte
Sche sette, and fell doun therupon,
Wherof that sche was ded anon:
And thus bothe on o swerd bledende
Thei weren founde ded liggende.
Now thou, mi Sone, hast herd this tale,
Bewar that of thin oghne bale
Thou be noght cause in thi folhaste,
And kep that thou thi witt ne waste
Upon thi thoght in aventure,
Wherof thi lyves forfeture
Mai falle: and if thou have so thoght
Er this, tell on and hyde it noght.
Mi fader, upon loves side
Mi conscience I woll noght hyde,
How that for love of pure wo
I have ben ofte moeved so,
That with my wisshes if I myhte,
A thousand times, I yow plyhte,
I hadde storven in a day;
And therof I me schryve may,
Though love fully me ne slowh,
Mi will to deie was ynowh,
So am I of my will coupable:
And yit is sche noght merciable,
Which mai me yive lif and hele.
Bot that hir list noght with me dele,
I wot be whos conseil it is,
And him wolde I long time er this,
And yit I wolde and evere schal,
Slen and destruie in special.
The gold of nyne kinges londes
Ne scholde him save fro myn hondes,
In my pouer if that he were;
Bot yit him stant of me no fere
For noght that evere I can manace.
He is the hindrere of mi grace,
Til he be ded I mai noght spede;
So mot I nedes taken hiede
And schape how that he were aweie,
If I therto mai finde a weie.
Mi Sone, tell me now forthi,
Which is that mortiel enemy
That thou manacest to be ded.
Mi fader, it is such a qwed,
That wher I come, he is tofore,
And doth so, that mi cause is lore.
What is his name? It is Daunger,
Which is mi ladi consailer:
For I was nevere yit so slyh,
To come in eny place nyh
Wher as sche was be nyht or day,
That Danger ne was redy ay,
With whom for speche ne for mede
Yit mihte I nevere of love spede;
For evere this I finde soth,
Al that my ladi seith or doth
To me, Daunger schal make an ende,
And that makth al mi world miswende:
And evere I axe his help, bot he
Mai wel be cleped sanz pite;
For ay the more I to him bowe,
The lasse he wol my tale alowe.
He hath mi ladi so englued,
Sche wol noght that he be remued;
For evere he hangeth on hire Seil,
And is so prive of conseil,
That evere whanne I have oght bede,
I finde Danger in hire stede
And myn ansuere of him I have;
Bot for no merci that I crave,
Of merci nevere a point I hadde.
I finde his ansuere ay so badde,
That werse mihte it nevere be:
And thus betwen Danger and me
Is evere werre til he dye.
Bot mihte I ben of such maistrie,
That I Danger hadde overcome,
With that were al my joie come.
Thus wolde I wonde for no Sinne,
Ne yit for al this world to winne;
If that I mihte finde a sleyhte,
To leie al myn astat in weyhte,
I wolde him fro the Court dissevere,
So that he come ayeinward nevere.
Therfore I wisshe and wolde fain
That he were in som wise slain;
For while he stant in thilke place,
Ne gete I noght my ladi grace.
Thus hate I dedly thilke vice,
And wolde he stode in non office
In place wher mi ladi is;
For if he do, I wot wel this,
That owther schal he deie or I
Withinne a while; and noght forthi
On my ladi fulofte I muse,
How that sche mai hirself excuse,
If that I deie in such a plit.
Me thenkth sche mihte noght be qwyt
That sche ne were an homicide:
And if it scholde so betide,
As god forbiede it scholde be,
Be double weie it is pite.
For I, which al my will and witt
Have yove and served evere yit,
And thanne I scholde in such a wise
In rewardinge of my servise
Be ded, me thenkth it were a rowthe:
And furthermor, to telle trowthe,
Sche, that hath evere be wel named,
Were worthi thanne to be blamed
And of reson to ben appeled,
Whan with o word sche mihte have heled
A man, and soffreth him so deie.
Ha, who sawh evere such a weie?
Ha, who sawh evere such destresse?
Withoute pite gentilesse,
Withoute mercy wommanhede,
That wol so quyte a man his mede,
Which evere hath be to love trewe.
Mi goode fader, if ye rewe
Upon mi tale, tell me now,
And I wol stinte and herkne yow.
Mi Sone, attempre thi corage
Fro Wraththe, and let thin herte assuage:
For who so wole him underfonge,
He mai his grace abide longe,
Er he of love be received;
And ek also, bot it be weyved,
Ther mihte mochel thing befalle,
That scholde make a man to falle
Fro love, that nevere afterward
Ne durste he loke thiderward.
In harde weies men gon softe,
And er thei clymbe avise hem ofte:
Men sen alday that rape reweth;
And who so wicked Ale breweth,
Fulofte he mot the werse drinke:
Betre is to flete than to sincke;
Betre is upon the bridel chiewe
Thanne if he felle and overthrewe,
The hors and stikede in the Myr:
To caste water in the fyr
Betre is than brenne up al the hous:
The man which is malicious
And folhastif, fulofte he falleth,
And selden is whan love him calleth.
Forthi betre is to soffre a throwe
Than be to wilde and overthrowe;
Suffrance hath evere be the beste
To wissen him that secheth reste:
And thus, if thou wolt love and spede,
Mi Sone, soffre, as I the rede.
What mai the Mous ayein the Cat?
And for this cause I axe that,
Who mai to love make a werre,
That he ne hath himself the werre?
Love axeth pes and evere schal,
And who that fihteth most withal
Schal lest conquere of his emprise:
For this thei tellen that ben wise,
Wicke is to stryve and have the werse;
To hasten is noght worth a kerse;
Thing that a man mai noght achieve,
That mai noght wel be don at Eve,
It mot abide til the morwe.
Ne haste noght thin oghne sorwe,
Mi Sone, and tak this in thi witt,
He hath noght lost that wel abitt.
Ensample that it falleth thus,
Thou miht wel take of Piramus,
Whan he in haste his swerd outdrowh
And on the point himselve slowh
For love of Tisbee pitously,
For he hire wympel fond blody
And wende a beste hire hadde slain;
Wher as him oghte have be riht fain,
For sche was there al sauf beside:
Bot for he wolde noght abide,
This meschief fell. Forthi be war,
Mi Sone, as I the warne dar,
Do thou nothing in such a res,
For suffrance is the welle of Pes.
Thogh thou to loves Court poursuie,
Yit sit it wel that thou eschuie
That thou the Court noght overhaste,
For so miht thou thi time waste;
Bot if thin happ therto be schape,
It mai noght helpe forto rape.
Therfore attempre thi corage;
Folhaste doth non avantage,
Bot ofte it set a man behinde
In cause of love, and that I finde
Be olde ensample, as thou schalt hiere,
Touchende of love in this matiere.
A Maiden whilom ther was on,
Which Daphne hihte, and such was non
Of beaute thanne, as it was seid.
Phebus his love hath on hire leid,
And therupon to hire he soghte
In his folhaste, and so besoghte,
That sche with him no reste hadde;
For evere upon hire love he gradde,
And sche seide evere unto him nay.
So it befell upon a dai,
Cupide, which hath every chance
Of love under his governance,
Syh Phebus hasten him so sore:
And for he scholde him haste more,
And yit noght speden ate laste,
A dart thurghout his herte he caste,
Which was of gold and al afyre,
That made him manyfold desire
Of love more thanne he dede.
To Daphne ek in the same stede
A dart of Led he caste and smot,
Which was al cold and nothing hot.
And thus Phebus in love brenneth,
And in his haste aboute renneth,
To loke if that he mihte winne;
Bot he was evere to beginne,
For evere awei fro him sche fledde,
So that he nevere his love spedde.
And forto make him full believe
That no Folhaste mihte achieve
To gete love in such degree,
This Daphne into a lorer tre
Was torned, which is evere grene,
In tokne, as yit it mai be sene,
That sche schal duelle a maiden stille,
And Phebus failen of his wille.
Be suche ensamples, as thei stonde,
Mi Sone, thou miht understonde,
To hasten love is thing in vein,
Whan that fortune is therayein.
To take where a man hath leve
Good is, and elles he mot leve;
For whan a mannes happes failen,
Ther is non haste mai availen.
Mi fader, grant merci of this:
Bot while I se mi ladi is
No tre, but halt hire oghne forme,
Ther mai me noman so enforme,
To whether part fortune wende,
That I unto mi lyves ende
Ne wol hire serven everemo.
Mi Sone, sithen it is so,
I seie nomor; bot in this cas
Bewar how it with Phebus was.
Noght only upon loves chance,
Bot upon every governance
Which falleth unto mannes dede,
Folhaste is e

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Moments At The Beach

flowing water, cool breeze
waves washing a shore
birds drifting in the wind
boats sailing on the water
people strolling along the beach
children playing in the sand
sun bathers laying a shore
swimmers playing in the water
volleyball in the sand
family picnics under the trees
The lake so beautiful
The beach so free
people being friendly
the life so simple for a day at the beach
Strangers, friends and family enjoying the lake
the simple things in life is enjoy nature and ourselves

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William Butler Yeats

The Fisherman

ALTHOUGH I can see him still.
The freckled man who goes
To a grey place on a hill
In grey Connemara clothes
At dawn to cast his flies,
It's long since I began
To call up to the eyes
This wise and simple man.
All day I'd looked in the face
What I had hoped 'twould be
To write for my own race
And the reality;
The living men that I hate,
The dead man that I loved,
The craven man in his seat,
The insolent unreproved,
And no knave brought to book
Who has won a drunken cheer,
The witty man and his joke
Aimed at the commonest ear,
The clever man who cries
The catch-cries of the clown,
The beating down of the wise
And great Art beaten down.
Maybe a twelvemonth since
Suddenly I began,
In scorn of this audience,
Imagining a man,
And his sun-freckled face,
And grey Connemara cloth,
Climbing up to a place
Where stone is dark under froth,
And the down-turn of his wrist
When the flies drop in the stream;
A man who does not exist,
A man who is but a dream;
And cried, 'Before I am old
I shall have written him one
poem maybe as cold
And passionate as the dawn.'

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Talking Optimist Blues

Words and Music by Neil Diamond and Gretchen Peters
I got worries by the ton; gettin' cancer's only one.
Overtaxed and alimonied, tired of eatin' fried baloney.
I got burdens on my shoulders, dying young or growin' older.
There's some brain cells I'm missin',
but despite it all, I'd like to say--
I'm gonna have a good day today.
Gonna have a good time anyway.
Put it all behind me, lay it all away.
Gonna be a good day today.
Bills and pills and former wives,
past mistakes and former lives.
Bank account is overdrawn,
out of Prozac, hairline's gone.
Hearing voices in my head;
say I should've stayed in bed.
Dog just died, but what the heck;
nothing worse can happen anyway.
So, I'm gonna have a good day today.
Me, I'm gonna have a good time anyway.
Put it all behind me, lay it all away.
Gonna be a good day today.
Pulled my back and wrecked my car.
Girl-friend stole my V.C.R.
Letter came from Sixty Minutes;
say they wanna put me in it.
Tell me my career just died.
Years ago I might've cried.
Now I'm just too old to do it.
May be true, but screw it anyway.
Me, I'm gonna have a good day today.
And I'm gonna have a good time anyway.
Put it all behind me, lay it all away.
Gonna be a good day today.
Hey, I'm gonna have a good day today.
Me, I'm gonna have a good time anyway.
Put it all behind me, lay it all away.
Gonna be a good day today.

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For all that you do

So if you ask me what it is I do with my days
I will tell you I go through them in such a haze
That I'm really not sure what it is I achieve
But I do have a poem or two up my sleeve! .... Suzanne

I appreciate for all that you do
You are not only woman but in essence a factor very much true
A devoted mother and wife
Otherwise life is like facing an edge of knife

Think of those poor ladies!
They have no time to ready
Their children for going to school
As they have no such facilities to fool

To toil hard in hot sun is entirely different
You can look happiness and that is apparent
I can look in their eyes no future but yes long hope
Even though it is hardest of hard job to walk on rope

Child is tied in bed sheet between trunks of trees
Air flows gently to provide him access totally free
See the happiness on face of woman while she works
Such is the day when she dreams about it and starts

I would love to salute all those women
Who are called heaven valley for all those men?
Now occupying highest position in world
Yet dream about reaching to her kind fold

Oh! Women of all kind you deserve the best
As we have found shelter to rest
You take all our responsibilities
That is rarest of rare to augment our capabilities

We shall be all powerless
On the earth to face
If anything turns unfavorable
You are their to look after and face the trouble

I shall look towards sky and raise my head
In recognition of your gratitude and read
All your sacrifice and lead the way carefree
As I am the only creature so thankful to the mighty tree

You deserve kudos for all you do
Not as wife or mother to take us through
But as an special identity to sail us
With so much of confidence and trust

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Talking Optimistic Blues

Written by: neil diamond and gretchen peters
I got worries by the ton
Getting kansas only one
Over taxed and alimony
Tired of eating fried baloney
I got burdens on my shoulders
Dying young and growing older
There's some brain cells i'm missing
But despite it all, i'd like to say
I'm gonna have a good day today
Gonna have a good time anyway
Put it all behind me, lay it all away
Gonna be a good day today
Bills and pills and former wives
Past estates and former lives
Bank account is overdrawn
Had a ??? and hairline's gone
Hearing voices in my head
Saying i should have stayed in bed
Doc just died but what the heck
Nothing worse can happen anyway
So i'm gonna have a good day today
Me, i'm gonna have a good time anyway
Put it all behind me, lay it all away
Gonna be a good day today
Pulled my back and wrecked my car
Girlfriend stole my vcr
Letter came from sixty minutes
Saying they wanna put me in it
Tell me my career just died
Years ago i might have cried
Now i'm just too old to do it
Maybe true but screw it anyway
Me, i'm gonna have a good day today
And i'm gonna have a good time anyway
Put it all behind me, lay it all away
Gonna be a good day today
Hey i'm gonna have a good day today
Me, i'm gonna have a good time anyway
Put it all behind me, lay it all away
Gonna be a good day today

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[1] Death And Life

DEATH AND LIFE
.
DEATH-PERCEPTION: LIFE-PERCEPTION

Poet: Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar

50 Poems & Criticism

1 Gratitude
2 Gratitude; Again
3 The Wheel of Death
4 Free from worry
5 Contemplation
6 A puzzle
7 The Truth
8 Forms of Death
9 Conclusion
10 Life-Death
11 A Pair
12 The Opposite
13 Equal
14 Sakhi
15 A desire
16 Reality
17 The Philosophy of Life
18 Excelsior!
19 Experimenting
20 Meaningfulness
21 A Prayer
22 A Mirage
23 A Vow
24 The Call of Conquest
25 A Call
26 One Day
27 Purpose
28 A Wish
29 As Desired
30 Proved
31 Healthy Vision
32 Compatibility
33 Dreadful
34 The Philosophy of Death
35 An Invitation
36 To The Fairy of Death
37 A Request
38 The Mode of Death
39 A Comparison
40 The Difference
41 The End
42 A Blow
43 Truth
44 A Proclamation
45 I Bow Thee
46 Good Bye
47 Preordained
48 An Ascetic
49 The Last Will
50 Kritkarma

  

ARTICLES

1 The Motif of Death in the Poetry of Mahendra Bhatnagar —
An Assessment /
Dr. D. C. Chambial, Maranda (H.P.)
.
2 'Death-Perception: Life-Perception': A Dialectical Study
Mrs. Purnima Ray, Burdwan (W.B.)
.
3 Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar's 'Death-Perception: Life- Perception': An analysis
Dr. (mrs.) Jaya Lakshmi Rao V., (Visakhapatnam) (A.P.)
.
4 'Death' in the Poetry of Mahendra Bhatnagar
Dr. D. Murali Manohar, Hyderabad (A.P.)
.
5 Revealing Reflections On Death And Life
Dr. Atma Ram
.
6 Reflecions on Mahendra Bhatnagar's Philosophy of Death
Dr. A.K. Chaturvedi

 



[1] Gratitude

Death is;
Death is imminent,
Unavoidable -
That's why
Life is so desired!
That's why
There's such a semblance
Between life and death!
Death's given
Beauty to life
Such
Endless — vast!
Death's given
Man
Life - art - efficiency
Such
Embellishment - adornment!
Indubiously
Transience,
Death element / feeling
Minute by minute death - tension
Are acceptable,
Gratitude
To death
Life's gratitude!

[2] Gratitude; Again

Death's made life
very beautiful,

Transformed this world,
in fact,
into a pleasant heaven,

We learnt
the meaning of love,
only then
true's true,

Transformed man
into higher beings
than immortal god!

[3] The Wheel of Death

Cruel is
The wheel of death
Very cruel!
Under which
Lifeless - living
Gradually grinding and changing
Every moment, every minute!

This earth rocks horribly!

Invisibly
Silently
Continuously moves
This wheel of death
Uninterrupted... unchanged!

Before it
Stability has
No existence
Its motion
Always controls
Life and death,
Earth and sky!

[4] Free from Worry

Fearing death
will make
living
futile!
weight heavy
dry onerous
pleasureless heart.

So
Life
only meaningful,
when every moment is free
from the dread of death.

It is ill-ominous
to talk about
the fear of death,
or cataclysm
for this reason.

[5] Contemplation

Death?
A question-mark!
To know the mystery
not only difficult
but also
all unknown
for man.
Body
merges into five-elements
everything scatters
and ends.
Life's
not to return;
impossible
to revive again,
and know the mystery.


When there's no self
deatha puzzle
queer puzzle!
Uninterpreted to-date,
A wonderful puzzle!

All efforts futile —
to explicate
the meaning of death;
it's very intricate difficult
to contemplate.

[6] A Puzzle

What?
Body
Not worth living;

Therefore...
Soul!
You left.

In quest of new
On an unknown path;

Where?
But where? ?

Unknown,
Everything unknown!
A pitch dark night,
Everything
Mysterious!

Who questions?
Who answers?

[7] The Truth

If there were no death,
God wouldn't have any existence,
man
would have never reconciled
with his fate!

God - a symbol,
God - a proof
of man's helplessness
of readiness after death.

The whole philosophy
of hell and heaven
is an imagination.

Man
at each moment
is afraid of death, and
horripilant again and again!
He knows —
'death is imminent'!

So, his each step
is frought with suspicion.
Not only this
he is also
absolutely ignorant
of the so called
Yam's1 world.
That's why
he takes refuge
in God
for eternal peace in death!

That's why
he sings the long song -
'Ram nam satya hai! '
(God's name is the only TRUTH)
O, birth and death
is nothing
save for his cruel-amusing act!

[1 God, dispensing death in Indian mythology.]

[8] Forms of Death

Be death natural
or accidental
conclusion is the same -
end of a conscious life,
to change into a senselessness
active life
to sleep for good
palpitation of heart!
Both are the so called
writs of Providence,
the script of fate: invisible, indelible.

But
an act of terminating life
by suicide
or
by murder,
or destruction of the ferocious
in self or social defense,
isn't death,
but, a murder.
Though the end, the same
death!
True death or untimely death.

[9] Conclusion

Death?
A question-mark?

Stable
Unanswered,
adamant,
stands
as an adversary.

But, man
accept not defeat,
not a bit
think of God
in defense,
in an answer to the question,
no, not!

The mystery of death
to be unmasked... revealed
sure
sure
some day!

[10] Life-Death

Death:
An unbreakable string
Tied to birth,

Birth:
One end;
Death:
The other extreme end!

Birth - a shore
Death - an opposite bank;
Birth:
Why a jubilation?
Death:
Pain...!
Why?

Birth - death
When equal?

One / well shaped;
The other / completely invisible!

Birth -
A beginning,
Death -
Destruction: an assault!

Birth... known,


Death... un-known!
Birth: beginning
Death: end,
Birth - initiation
Death - an earthly end!

Birth: yes, a being,
Death: ah! a non-being!

Birth: a new dawn,
Death: a horrendous night!

[11] A Pair

Sandy desert spread
all around
like the dying lamp-flame
brown
yellow
Palish-green
waterless
slipping age
at he verge of death!

But
countless
waving... green
oases
Thorny
leafless
growing trees -
flags
of life!

Lake —
a resting place... life giving
infusing life!

[12] The Oppsite

Life: a jubilation
Death: the last breath
A melody / a cry!
Pious action / loud lamentation!

[13] Equal

Morning is red
Evening is red
Morning-evening are one.

Wail on birth
Wail on death
Birth-death are one.


It is
the true wisdom,
the real knowledge,
every other consideration
is in vain.

[14 Sakhi1

What makes you so sad?
Why do you lose your wits?
Life - very precious; true
Death - eternal, why do you rue

[1 A detached saintly statement.]

[15] A Desire

May all children and young live!
Heart-rending is untimely death!

[16] Reality

''Death
a birth
over and over again
of soul.''

It's untrue
to consider this idea true?
A blind faith
an irrational faith!

Life / blends in five-elements,
the end / of a creation,
the end / of a person,
a being.
No where
here... there.

It's true
there be an eternal fusion.
Neither there is any Hell,
nor there is any Heaven,
this manifest world is the only truth.
Deatha truth,
Lifea truth!

[17] The Philosophy Of Life

External motion —
physical vibration,
Internal motion —
Life.

The transporter of life-motion
I

Ceaseless controller —
I
as long as
life is in flux
History will be created by

human-mind
human-body.

Nev er there be catastrophe;
Life ever be full of melody,
Every particle be in motion.

To fuse is
To lose internal motion.

[18] Excelsior!

Struggles and strifes
lead to life,
to be inactive,
an indication - of the approaching death,
to stop - the end of life.
Life: only a flux
ceaseless flux!
To grow,
to change
is to be alive!
Stasis
an established trait
of the lifeless.

Life has a thrill, a throb,
a continuous palpitation in the live hearts!

To stop
de-existence
invitation to ill-ominous death,

Excelsior... excelsior!
The only 'mool-mantra'1
to prove life!

[1 Key principle.]

[19] Experimenting

In man
Wish for life
Eternal and strongest,

Whereas
The final truth
About every life
Is death!
Yes, end is certainly,

Unavoidable!

But / it is also true -
impatient passion for
Immortality and youth

Will never wane,

Man's queer valour
Longs for melody,
Not for tears!
Every time
Continuous struggle
With the eternal challenge
of death is welcome!
He will be
A mrityunjaya1; he will be!

[1 victorious over death.]

[20] Meaningfulness

Mere living
isn't a proof of
life's meaningfulness,
Living -
only helplessness
like death - an exit.

Which is natural
in adopting it
without any specificity,
'Living-being'
doesn't mean
to be 'a human being.'

Declaration of
human glory only when
there is perfect peace of mind -
when we give
a new meaning to life,
in pitch dark
open doors
to a world full of lights.

Know the mysteries of life,
Talk to the moon and stars.
Let selflessness
be the motive of our living,
let's devour materialistic hurdles
at every step.

Let's acquire
such capabilities,
then
life may be

dedicated to death.

No regret,
no sorrow.

There isn't
the least difference of opinion.

This life is successful
this life is rare.

Blessed is the Earth!

[21] A Prayer

I long
not for immortality,
I long for
youthfulness.
Perfect health, diseaselessness,
absolute peace
of human mind and body.

This desired boon
is sought
not from any god.

Self-achieved by self-efforts
not by any prayer.

Body free from pain
mind free from torture.

Yes,
May
we live for
125 years!
For ourselves,
for others.

[22] A Mirage

Self-willed and ambitious
man
runs after money
after pleasures
at the cost of life.
How strange
at this queer, dirty intention!

If there is life / money must flow in,
If there is life / pleasure must dog in!

Shattered and disorderly life
malady-stricken / frustrated wounded life
momentary
eager to fall into
the death-pool!

Blind, perplexed, ignorant
Man
Construes money to be supreme
thinks pleasure all in all!

He'll spoil / the precious life,
and will lose life / the gift of God!

[23] A Vow

Absolutely loyal
we,
have descended in
the formidable duel of
life and death!
being soldiers of
an immortal army of life,
will not be surrounded
by the deceitful trick of
any adversary!

May be vanquished,
but, will never admit the supremacy
of death a bit,
won't let our right
to live
be snatched away!

The triumphant-call will echo
till the last breath
struggling
life-strength will fight
till the last edge of hope / effort!

[24] The Call Of Conquest

The whole world sleeps -
who weeps
in the dead of night?

It's heard -
in the house hard by
death has suddenly charged,
it's true —
someone has died.

The sharp dagger
of theYama-doot1
has once again
touched the man!

Reach
with ambrosial heart-felt condolences,
may this man

live again and again!

Let life-drum sound
every moment

though
biers be laid!

[1 Emissary of Yam / God dispensing death in Indian
mythology.]

[25] A Call

They who sing Alakh1
have come,
who sing the sweet beloved song
of new life
have come!

Singers of Sohar2
have come!

Players of life-song
on every string of the violin of heart
have come!

Mentally vanquished!
Awake!
Strike by stretching!
Awake!

Jump
into the live sea
of life
O divers!
Stir the stupor!

[1 A word urging inspiration.
2 An auspicious song sung at the birth of a child.]

[26] One Day

Have faith
Life
will be victorious,
fear not the wicked,
fear not!

Let's destroy
every doubt!
Have faith
life will be victorious!

Deep darkness
of dead death
will surround / frighten;
have faith in

the sun's strength / firmness
Let's unmask
every particle of it!

Let's floodlight around!
Have faith
life will be triumphant!

[27] Purpose

We
who are the artisans of life
should talk only
about life,
discover
the meaningfulness of life,
and know
about the essence of life!

If death
destroys us
let us
strike back at it,
let us
sing the glory of life,
let us
strike a severe blow at
Yama, death!

[28] A Wish

let there be
no existence of death-serpent
in the garden of life,
let human self
not be terrorized
of death scare!

let every person
enjoy life
without any doubt,
let his each moment be
mellifluous!

Let a lover of life
play with life,
and live life fully
by embracing
every pleasure!

[29] Longing

As long as
I wished

to live,

lived heartily!
Imagine
the lamps burnt on
even in rains!

None
was kind,
struggled -
with firm faith in

self potence!

[30] Proved

With a wish to live
one won't
wait for death!
Gold
pure, drossless:
why should it take
a fire-test?

End the illusion,
Bend the kaal-chakar1!
Associate with life!
Give up this stupor!

[1 Cycle of death / time]

[31] Healthy Vision

Live
by thinking self
immortal,
laugh and sing
without any concern,
eat and drink
without any worry;
should it
be termed
true living?

When face to face
with the end
Or
Should remain ignorant of it
Should
we call it
true living?

[32] Compatibility

I sing
I sing the songs
of victory!
I sing

about the triumph of life
over death!
I sing dauntlessly
the triumph of life-bud
of the dearest thing!

I sing
again and again!

The sounds that echo
in the sky of the graveyard
of the liberated-selves of carefree birds
are translations
of my
life-sentiments!
The compatriots
of my
life-adorations!

[33] Dreadful

Beware!

We have
hoisted the red flags,
on every house, in every village,
in every town,
of life, new life!

In every locality, at every cross,
here, there -
everywhere!
Hoisted
red flags!

Now
the demon of death
won't be able to carry out
his terrorist, fatal, men-devouring
maddening trick!

Ambushes
on entering into the body,
proclaims himself
an unvanquished doota1
of Yama2
lays down
within the body
explosives,

and...
remote-controls
by hiding
in invisible places!

Let's see,

where from he comes now!

[1 Emissary. 2 Lord of death.]

[34] The Philosophy of Death

Death:
When a certainty,
In vain
Why

to doubt,
to fear
so much!

O, tell death -
'Come; when you please.'

At this time
Come,
Let's sing and dance!
Play on varied musical instruments!

Let's end this silence;
Who cares
for death?

[35] An Invitation

Death
come,
do come one day!
And take me away
in your flying-chariot;
away... far away
into hell!
That I may
unite all those
living in hell,
urge on them
for a revolt,

prepare them
for a change in life!
I don't acknowledge
any Chitragupta1
any Yama;
I'll challenge them!
Just, let me jump
into the hell-pond!
Just, let me mingle
with the huge crowd of
hell-denizens!

[1 According to Indian mythology an official in the court of Yama who keeps record of righteous and unrighteous actions of living beings.]

[36] To The Fairy of Death

O death, come
I am ready!
Never think,
I am helpless.

Won't you
Inform?
Won't you

Oblige me?

You'll come
On tip-toes,
Surprising
Like a clever girl.

Alright,
Accepted!
My beloved,
Your this game
Is welcome!

Come quietly,
Come, o death
I'm ready!

I know
It well
That of the book of life
Thou art the end!

Therefore,
For me
Thou art the good news
Of totality!

Come
O death, come
I'm ready!
Awaiting you
I've bedecked myself,
I'm ready!

[37] A Request

Death -
it hardly matters
if you are feminine,
I can befriend you!

Why do you feel shy?

Come
be my comrade!
If not a cohabiter
be my neighbour!

You beautiful like the moon,
from the opposite window
peep out,
evaluate —
and one day
all at once
make me accompany you
to the land of the dead!
Just
taunting and teasing!

[38] The Mode of Death

Death might be overtaking
while dreaming,
Prana1
might be out from the body
just then.

A dreaming man
passes away!

What does he know?

Ask those living
who
have covered the dead body
with a sheet of cloth!
what happened?
What happened?
At last?

[1The life-force]

[39] A Comparison

Between Shiva
and shava1
the difference lies only in the 'I'
(the first vowel sound)

Shiva —
is goodness,
gives comfort!
Shava —
ill-ominous,
only decays!

Shiva has three eyes,
Shava is blind!

A great imbroglio!

[1Shava — a dead body.]

[40] The Distance

You remembered
Thanks!
Gave a sweet pain
Accepted!

How strange the coincidence
That the last farewell
O, the first love!
Came
On the disappearing path,
With a wish -
Never to be fulfilled,
Sometime with a true physical touch
Our co-feelings
Never to be distanced!

I go -
Go with memory,
Go with pain!

[41] The End

Strife
Where is it now?
Journey -
Where is it now?

Everything stood still
The running, jumping, the liquid river water
Everything frozen —
Like blood in veins!

All bones of body
Continuously
Crackle with pain,
Who'll press them
Now
Till the dying breath?
Dark surrounds
While none is around!

Now there is no flutter
Only a stasis,
Now life -
A fatigued filament;
A scatter!

[42] A Blow

I...

kept you alive -
so

I'll carry
your living but decayed corpse!
Carry it silently, helplessly!

You
murdered
the faiths,
you
burnt the wishes
in a flaming furnace,
sham, hypocrisy
well enacted
and filled every moment of life
with unbearable pain!

Never became a loved one;
never became a murderer!
O, never snatched the right to live -
though the doubt was unmasked,
every doubt!

When kept alive
I'll burn in the hell-fire
bear all by
being insensitive!

Early or late
all
in an eternal sleep have to fall,
dust unto dust!

O unfortunate!
Then, why to weep?

[43] Truth

Life-bird
will fly,
fly away!
Life-bird
will fly away!

Why you try so hard,
sing hymns every morn and eve,
nothing is in your control
you bow in every temple,

one day from the body
Life-bird
will fly away,

that will
never return!
Fly away
Life-bird
will fly away!

[44] Preordained

It is preordained that
you
one day
will sleep
in the lap of death
silently!

It is preordained that
you
one day
will be lost
in the pitch dark
of the death!

It is preordained that
you
one day
renouncing name and fair form
will be reduced
to ashes!

[45] A Proclamation

Tell
the world -
now
Mahendra Bhatnagar sleeps!
Sleeps in an eternal sleep!

What
is to happen
happens;
O Man!
Why do you weep?

Life
that is one's own,
one has no right
over it too,
hearth - wealth
that is one's own
that too
in fact
has no essence!
You've no claim
over that!

Becoming
silent - stoic

set out
leaving everything

set out
severing all relations
new and old!

Everyone
has to experience
this moment,
death's eternal
then
why to fear it?

O immortal death!
You may consider me
helpless,
end,
I voluntarily
accept you,
accept you from body and mind!

I sleep
on the comfortable
soil-bed!
I lose my identity
by fusing with the particles
of this soil!
I sow a new life!
As I have accepted life
likewise
O death
I do accept you!

I go,
I go from this world!
I go from this
lovely home, lovely world!
I go
for good... for good!
I go!

[46] I Bow Thee

Adieu!
O the springs of the world
Adieu!
O, the shining moon
The twinkling bright stars
Adieu!

Hills... valleys
Slopes... marshes
Adieu!

Adieu
O, the high waves of the sea!

Fluttering
wings of illusion,
Eyes

Profuse with love
Adieu!

The strings of
An inextricable knot
The unrealised hopes
Adieu!
Adieu!

[47] Good Bye!

We
Beaten by fate,
We
Defeated
In the game of life,

Ah!
Tortured by dears,
Hurt on heart,
With a bowed head
Silent
Go for good

Never
Remember,
Even today
Listen,
Do not light the memory-lamp!

[48] An Ascetic

To overcome death
one more Siddharth1 — an ascetic
has set out!

Who at each step
trampled the elusive moves of
Yama's legion!

Wasn't trapped
in any vyuha2
tied his noose hard
on death!

He who sings
songs of life
at the edge of doom,
one day
he will attain
an immortal place
by changing his shape,

preserve this
heritage
by making it a stupa3

:
1 initial name of Buddha.2 phlanx, the war movement arrangement of an army to surround or capture the enemy. 3 a Buddhistic tope/sacred spot.

[49] The Last Will

Never weep,
Never be disinterested!

Bear a blow
Never lose temper.

Let the last act be
free from rituals
let mind be set
only on the mystery beyond death!

Life after death
when none has known
when none has seen...
All established systems:
imaginary,
illogical.
To follow them - not desired!
O never be a blind-follower,
Let refinement of worship be
in the splendour of knowledge.

Follow -
good faith and good feelings!

 

[50] Kritkarma1

Why bewail?
Why bewail
on the renunciation of body?

End
a sign of perfection,
a successful stage
Why to bewail?

The end of life
A stage
Why to bewail?

Let us
follow in the footsteps
of the departed
to attain the meaning of life,
glorify it.

Take the last salute!

:
One who has finished one's duty/karma.


ARTICLES

[1 ]
THE MOTIF OF DEATH
N THE IPOETRY OF MAHENDRA BHATNAGAR:
AN ASSESSMENT

– Dr. D. C. Chambial

Life is poised between the two antipodal points of birth and death. Where there is birth, there is death. Where one begins the other ends. Birth is welcome and rejoiced. Death is considered terrible and is, therefore, mourned. Enmeshed in the enigma of existence man has been trying since time immemorial to dive into the mysteries of life and death. All metaphysical systems of world are the outcome of mans endeavour to find truth in this regard. In the modern age of science man has toiled hard to lay bare the mystery of death. However, it still remains beyond the domain of science. Where the domain of science ends, the domain of metaphysics begins.What is outside the physical world is left for the philosophy to explain. Mahendra Bhatnagar has, in his book, 'Death-Perception: Life-Perception', tried to perceive the mystery of life and death. In this paper my endeavour shall be to explore Mahendra Bhatnagar’s views about death.
In order to answer the question: What is death? The poet has nothing to say different from the commonly held notion about it that death is ‘an earthly endand compares it toa horrendous night’ (‘Life - Death’: 22) . What the poet calls ‘a horrendous night’ is the state of existence after death. However, this ‘horrendous night’ begins with death. As the one side of a coin cannot be severed from the other, similarly, birth and death are also integral and cannot be separated: ‘an unbreakable string / tied to birth’ (Ibid.) The poet declares the Vedic truth: ‘Death - a truth’ (Reality’: 32) . It is also the truth of existence. Where there is life, there is death.
Man, ever since he began to speculate and meditate about the fate of life after its termination on this terra firma, has found death an enigma to explore. It was, and still is, an enigma for him.
There is a lot about death that one wants to know: what is death? What happens to the individual on death? If body is the dwelling of soul, as the Hinduism and most of the other world religions maintain, then, what happens to the soul on and after death? What would happen if there were no death? Etc. The poet also believes in this arcane nature of death and states: ‘Death? / A question-mark! ’ (Contemplation: 10) . He, once again, repeats this mystery of death in his poem, ‘Conclusion’, with the same words and is staunch in his faith that man is ever engaged in unraveling and unmasking the secrets about death. He says though ‘death’, at present, isa question-mark’, but a day will certainly come whenThe mystery of death / to be unmasked... revealed’ (‘Conclusion’: 20)
Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar, the poet, opens his discourse about death and tells the readers about its imminence. He says: ‘Death is imminent / Unavoidable’ (Gratitude’: 2) . It is very much intone with the Hindu philosophy that states: ‘Jatasya hi dhruvo mrityu...’ (the Ghagvadgita: II,27) . He further expounds that death which is the end of life on the earth ‘... is certainly / Unavoidable! ’ (Experimenting’: 38) . The fact that whosoever has life and is born on this earth is bound to decay or die. An individual’s life is limited. One cannot go beyond this limit. None can abjure the verity that one day this life on earth has to come to an end. There is no way out. The poet sings:
One day from the body
Life-bird
will fly away,
That will
Never return!
Fly away!
Life-bird
Will fly away!
(‘Truth’: 94)
Here the poet, with the help of the symbol of a bird, tries to explain that one day JIVA or PRANA will have to forsake this body. It cannot live in for good. This body is subject to the laws of destructibility and transience.
Death has never been a welcome. The very origin of death, according to Christianity, is cruel, for it is the result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God: they disobeyed the God, ate the forbidden fruit and the God, in turn, not only expelled them out of Eden but also inflicted death on them. Death has been with man since his first disobedience and the original sin. The poet calls death a cruel wheel that spares no one:
Cruel is
the wheel of death
very cruel!
Under which
Lifeless - living
Gradually grinding and changing
Every moment, every minute!
This earth rocks horribly!
invisibly / Silently
Continuously moves
This wheel of death.
(‘The Wheel of Death’: 6) .
This wheel always goes on like the wheel of time and one and all fall prey to it without any distinction.
The termination of life from the physical body is termed as death. Death is death whatever be its kind or form. The philosopher poet, Dr. Mahendra also declares that ‘Though the end, the same death! ’ (‘Forms of Death’: 18) . Nonetheless, he differentiates and recognizes two kinds of death: one, natural or accidental death; two, the unnatural or suicide or murder. In this regard the poet writes: ‘Death natural / or accidental /... / end of a conscious life’ (Ibid.) These both kinds of death, natural and accidental, are so called because they are the ‘writs of Providence’ (Ibid.) But, about the second kind, ‘suicide / or / murder’, the poet says that it ‘isn’t death, but, a murder.’ (ibid.) Thus, the poet acknowledges two kinds of death with clear difference.
The poet is of the view that one should not fear death. While living one should be free from its fear. Living constantly under the fear of death will make the individual a coward and one will not be able to accomplish anything in ones life. Thus the whole objective of life and living will be defeated. One is supposed to live and, while living, do such acts that are helpful for the progress of humanity. With this motive in mind, the poet says that ‘Fearing death / will make / living futile! / weight heavy / dry onerous / pleasureless heart.’ (Free From Worry’: 8) . Under the constant fear of death, life loses its meaning. In order to make life meaningful one has to be free from the fear of death. So, the philosopher poet says:
Life
only meaningful,
when every moment is free
from the dread of death. (Ibid.)
The poet seems to echo what the Hindu philosophy says:
v'kksP; kuUo'kkspLRoa izKkoknkaÜp Hkk'klsA
xrklwuxrklawÜp ukuq'kkspfUr if.Mrk%AA
What should not be worried about you should not worry say the wise
Whether one lives or dies does not bother the pundit.
(the Bhagvadgita: II,11) .
The poet, in his poem ‘The Philosophy of Death’ (72) posits:
Death:
When a certainty,
In vain
Why
to doubt
to fear
so much?
O, tell death
Come; when you please.’
There is no need either to nourish any doubt about death or fear it; it is imminent. In another poem, he says:
It is preordained that
you
one day
will sleep
in the lap of death
silently!
× × ×
in the pitch dark
of the death! (‘Preordained’: 96)
and then talks about the destruction of the body after death by consigning it to fire: ‘fair form / will be reduced / to ashes! ’ (Ibid.) The JIVA forsakes body; body becomes dead because it is senseless to all external stimuli of the physical world, and finally the body joins the five elements - fire, earth, water, air, and sky, the PANCH BHUTA — out of which it had taken shape.
All this happens, the poet argues, when body becomes unsuitable for the soul as its dwelling. Then the soul leaves it and looks for a new one that is befitting for it, the poet says:
What?
Body
Not worth living;
Therefore...
Soul!
You left
In quest of new.’ (‘A Puzzle’: 12)
as if the soul unfolds the secret of its leaving the body, that is death, to the poet. The poets philosophy seems to echo the Vedic philosophy:
oklkafl th.kkZfu; Fkk fogk; uokfu x`g~.kkfr ujkss•ijkf.kA
rFkk 'kjhjkf.k fogk; th.kkZU; kfu la; fr uokfu nsghAA
As a man discards the old and worn out clothes,
Likewise the soul discards old body and enters new one.
(the Bhagvadgita: II,22) .
In the absence of death there would have no God nor the need for any such supreme divinity. The poet continues his argument that ‘If there were no death, / God wouldn’t have any existence’ (‘The truth’: 14) . It means that in the absence of death man would have thought himself to be the Supreme Being and the God were to be something non-existent. It is the existence of death that makes human being inferior to God and man needs some super power to attribute to that power all the enigmas of physical and metaphysical existence that are beyond the human ken. In the absence of death, even ‘The whole philosophy / hell and heaven’ (Ibid.) would have become redundant. But, there is death that necessitates the existence of God, before whose will the man bows. Therefore, the man realizes the ultimate truth that ‘Ram nam satya hai / (Gods name is the only TRUTH) ’ (Ibid.) In other words, the poet contends that only God is the Reality.
It is not that death has made the existence of God feasible but it also has a purpose. The poet maintains that death is not without purpose. It also has its utilitarian value and makes life not only useful but also beautiful for existence on this earth. He posits:

Deaths made life very beautiful,
Transforms this world, in fact,
Into a pleasant heaven,
We learnt the meaning of love,
only then
true’s true,
Transformed man into higher beings
Than immortal god!
(‘Gratitude; Again’: 4)
.

Whatever man tries to achieve in life and art is also deaths gift to him; so, the poet firmly holds:
Deaths given
Beauty to life
Such
Endless - vast!
Deaths given
Man
Life - art - efficiency
Such
Embellishment - adornment!
(‘Gratitude’: 2)
It is a fact that death has some objective. But, the poet not only encourages the mankind to shed the fear of death but also suggests to betittle death by finding a purpose of living because:
We
who are the artisans of life
should talk only about life
discover
the meaningfulness of life.
and know
about the essence of life.
(‘Purpose’: 56)
His panacea for belittling death is:
If death
destroys us
let us
strike back at it. (Ibid.)
But, how can we strike back at death? The poet has himself answered this question successfully in the poem itself that it can be done by discovering ‘the meaningfulness of lifeand by singing ‘the glory of life’ (Ibid.) The ‘meaningfulness of life’ suggests a purposeful life so that he is remembered even after he is dead.
Death is imminent. It cannot be avoided. It is the fate of all living beings on this earth. It can only be relegated to pettiness. Then there is no need to fear death: ‘let human self / not be terrorized / of death care’ (‘A Wish’: 58) . The living ones should always be ready to welcome death. There is no alternative to it. Therefore, the poet has debunked death of all its power and fear and and welcomes death to
come,
do come one day!
And take me away
in your flying-chariot
away... far away
(‘An Invitation’: 74) .
perhaps, like the persona in Emily Dickinson’s poem, ‘The Chariot’1
To conclude our discussion, we can say that the poet comes out with some very concrete suggestions to tear off the hitherto much significance attached to death. He does not believe in any type of ritual, because these do not form part of the eternal truth; these have been devised and followed by the survivors. He exhorts the mankind: ‘Let the last act be / free from rituals’ (‘The Last Will’: 110) . What is more important. in order to find the ultimate truth, to unmask the enigma of death shrouded in the mystery, is to approach the hitherto unsolved riddle of death single-mindedly. For this he suggests: ‘let mind be set / only on the mystery deyond death! ’ (Ibid.) He also consoles those who are left behind wailing and bemoaning in these words: ‘End - / a sign of perfection, / a successful stage / why to bewail’ and should
follow in the footsteps
of the departed
to attain the meaning of life
glorify it.
(‘Kritkarma’: 112) .
It isthe meaning of lifethat has not been found yet and the quest for which is ever going on like the journey of life as propounded by Aurobindo Ghose2. Mahendra Bhatnagar, the poet and philosopher, has very deeply studied and experienced, in his imagination, the concept of death and has made some very radical observations that make him stand all alone as a sedate thinker in the contemporary poetry.
.
Notes:
(1) In the Dickinson’s poem, Death is one of the occupants in the chariot. Death asks the poetess / persona to accompany him. The opening lines of the poem are:
Because I could not stop for death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And immortality.
In Mahendra Bhatnagar’s poem, the poet / persona invites Death to take him / her with himself, because he is not afraid of death and ready to go with him.
(2) In his poem, ‘Is This the End? ’, Aurobindo Ghose says that death does not put an end to the journey or quest of life. The poet refers to soul that is immortal and continues its journey ceaselessly. It goes on even after the goal has been achieved. The last two stanzas of them poem, that have relevance to the argument in the present article, are:
The Immortal in the mortal is his name!
An artist Godhead here
Ever remoulds himself in dimmer shapes,
Unwilling the cease.
Till all is done for which the stars were made,
Till the heart discovers God
And the soul knows itself. And even then
There is no end.
.


[2]
Death-Perception: Life-Perception
— Mrs. Purnima Ray

Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar’sDeath-Perception: Life-Perception’ is a collection of fifty beautiful poems translated from original Hindi into English by Dr. D.C.Chambial. The poet, and the translator are already well-known figures in the literary arena, both in India and abroad. The Appendix 1&2 published in this book help us to know their achievements in detail. In short, their bio-notes are as follows -
Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar is a leading Professor of Hindi Language and Literature, guides scholars, has several published books, and received many awards. His major poetry-collections include ‘Forty Poems’ translated by Shree Amir Mohammad Khan, and Prof. L.S.Sharma, ‘After The Forty Poems’ translated by Dr. Ramsevak Singh Yadav, Prof. Vareendra Kumar Varma, and Shree Amir Mohammad Khan, ‘Exuberance and other poems’, translated by Dr. Ravinandan Sinha, and ‘Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar’s Poetry’ translated by Dr. H.C.Gupta.
Dr. D.C.Chambial is a Professor of English, a widely published Indo-English poet and critic, has several published books, poetry collections, and on criticism, and edits an international journal ‘Poetcrit’. At the outset the translator in his note makes clear to us the most important features of Mahendra Bhatnagar’s poetry, which we have to recho in our discussion from time to time in our own way. And we will see that Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar’s poems are deep, intense in feeling, suggestive and thought-provoking.
The title of this present collection is very important. One should notice thatDeath-Perception’ comes first, thenLife Perception’. TheDeath-theme’ is a very common and universal one, but the fact is that we sometimes are aware of it, and sometimes not. Most of us know that it is inevitable and certain, and we are eager to know more about it, and want to escape from its clutches, but we do not know how to do it. It is here the utility of Mahendra Bhatnagar’s poems on this subject. He explores all the possible ways with his extraordinary creative spirit, and he succeeds to satisfy our quench for the thirst of knowledge of this kind.
Poet Mahendra points us to see the fact that we are standing on the backbone ofDeath’, so that our desire for life is being stirred again and again:
Death is;
Death is imminent,
Unavoidable —
Thats why
Life is so desired!
Although we get scared by it every now and then, yet it is acceptable, and for thatlife’ itself is grateful toDeath’:
Death element / feeling
Minute by minute death-tension
Are acceptable,
Gratitude
To Death
Lifes gratitude!
Because Deaths contributions to Life are unnumbered:
Deaths made life
very beautiful,
Transformed this world,
in fact,
Into a pleasant heaven,
We learnt
the meaning of love...
and the most important achievement ofDeathis that it
...Transformed man
Into higher beings
than immortal god!
This poet has seen ‘Deathin the best possible ways, yet
he admits the impossibility to define it:
All efforts futile -
to explicate
the meaning of death;
its very intricate difficult
to contemplate.
He does not ignore its dark sides:
Cruel is
The wheel of death
very cruel!
He defines finely in a word:
.. A wonderful puzzle!
Poet Mahendra can establish a truth that mans all philosophy including the idea of God revolves round ‘Death’:
If there were no death,
God wouldn’t have any existence,
man
would have never reconciled
with his fate!
For he is always led by this fact:
... ‘Death is imminent’!
So his idea of God is nothing but:
... a proof
of mans helplessness
of readiness after death...
Poet Mahendra Bhatnagar equates the relation between Life and death through a fine imagery:
Death:
An unbreakable string
Tied to birth..
So he rightly poses the stoic question:
... Birth
why a jubilation?
Death:
pain..!
why?
Birth-death
when equal?
He can justify what he says regarding this by a logical fallacy:
Morning is red
Evening is red
Morning - evening are one.

Wail on birth
Wail on death
Birth-death are one...
It seems that he wants to say as one cannot detach death from life, similarly life cannot be detached from death:
Death -
a birth
Over and over again
of soul...
Like the ancient Greek philosophers the poet says:
... this manifest world is the only truth...
Yet he confirms:
Death - a truth
Life - a truth
The poet gives us the key-principle to overcome death:
... Every time
Continuous struggle
With the eternal challenge
of death is welcome!
He will be
A mrityunjaya; he will be!
At the same time he makes us aware of meaningfulness of life:
Mere living
isn’t a proof of
lifes meaningfulness...
and his ‘meaningfulness’ finds its expression in humanistic approach to life:
Let selflessness
be the motive of our living,
let’s devour materialistic hurdles
on every step.
Let’s acquire / such capabilities,
then
life may be
dedicated to death...
So in ‘Prayer’ poet Bhatnagar does not want any ascetic attainment, but leads the mankind in time of need:
I long
not for immortality,
I long for
youthfulness.
Perfect health, diseaselessness,
absolute peace
of human mind and body...
.
He shows us where ‘death’ takes place:
.
Shattered and disorderly life
Malady-stricken / Frustrated wounded life
momentary
eager to fall into
the death-pool!
.
and the victory of life over death:
.
Have faith
Life
will be victorious,
fear not the wicked,
fear not!
.
Like a Miltonic hero the poet discloses the way:
.
If death destroys us
let us
strike back at it,
Let us
sing the glory of life,
let us
strike a severe blow at
Yama, death!
.
Here also revolution takes place, one has to utter these words:
.
That I may
unite all those
living in hell,
urge on them
for a revolt,
prepare them
for a change in life!
.
It is only then we can realise what he says:
.
With a wish to live
one won’t
wait for death!
.
He does not want the Epicurean way of living be termed as ‘true-living’:
.
Live / by thinking self
immortal,
laugh and sing
without any concern,
eat and drink
without any worry;
should it / be termed / true living?
.
Poet Mahendra Bhatnagar sings paean of life, but there is something more special in his singing:
.
I sing
about the triumph of life
over death!
.
Like post-Tagorean Bengali surrealistic poet Jibanananda Das he admires the wealth of life:
.
I sing dauntlessly
the triumph of thru life-bud
of the dearest thing!
I sing again and again!
.
One may compare the words ‘again and again’ quoted above with Jibananada’s abar asiba phire (I will come again) . The words which poet Bhatnagar used are different, but the total effect is the same:
.
The sounds that echo
in the sky of graveyard
of the liberated-selves of carefree birds
are translations
of my life sentiments!
The compatriots
of my life - adorations!
.
Here he establishes one truth that poets from ages to ages sing life in there unique ways.
Perhaps for that reason poet Bhatnagar can romanticize ‘Death’:
.
(1) You’ll come
On tip-toes,
Surprising
Like a clever girl.
Alright,
Accepted!
My beloved,
your this game
is welcome
.
(2) You beautiful like the moon,
from the opposite window
peep out
evaluate —
.
One should notice that the poet attaches feminity to a beautiful object.
Poet Bhatnagar’s creativity finds its fullest expression when he uses the word ‘passing away’ instead ofdeath’:
.
Death might be overtaking
while dreaming,
Prana
might be out from the body
just then.
A dreaming man
passes away!
.
Yes, the dreaming people are active and creative, they dream before turning themselves into creativity, as Lord Vishnu sleeps and dreams before the creation of the Universe; they do not know the word ‘deathwhile engrossing in their way of life. The last lines of this poem makes us thoughtful, leave us in a whirlpool of suggestions:
What does he know?
Ask those living
who
have covered the dead body
with a sheet of cloth!
What happened?
What happened?
At last?
It seems that poet Bhatnagar accepts indirectly the will of God behind death:
It is preordained that
you
one day
will sleep
in the lap of death
silently!
So he says to himself and at the same time to us to renounce all earthly attachments:
Never
Remember,
Even today
Listen,
Do not light the memory-lamp!
He does not forget to remind us the most precious things of life, and he puts all this so masterly in the tongue of a dying-person:
Adieu!
O the springs of the world
Adieu!
O, the shining moon
The twinkling bright stars
Adieu!
Hills..... valleys
Slopes... marshes
Adieu!
O, the high waves of the sea!
In a way, he values most the Nature surrounding us, as
Mrityunjaya in Rabindranath Tagore’s short-story ‘The Hidden Treasure’ exclaimed: “I want sunlight, air, sky’’ etc. wanting to live.
For he knows that ultimate truth is, he makes a goodbye to an illusory world behind him:
Fluttering
wings of illusion,
Eyes
Profuse with love
Adieu!

The strings of
An inextricable knot
The unrealised hopes
Adieu!
Adieu!
‘An Ascetic’ is an important poem, in the sense that the poet gives here a message to the strife - torn world we are living in:
He who sings
songs of life
at the edge of doom,
one day -
he will attain
an immortal place
by changing his shape,
Preserve this / heritage /
by making it a stupa.
The suggestion is if we sing songs of life, then there should be no hankering after life-killing desires and efforts; again the poets spirituality lies in humanity, and mans religion in his ‘Kritakarma’. The poem ‘The Last Will’ can be seen as his consolation for us as well as a clarion call:
let mind be set
only on the mystery beyond death!
× × × ×
Let refinement of worship be
in the splendour of knowledge..
Here he gives more emphasis onmind’ which controls all body-organs, and on ‘knowledge’, the purest of all things in the world, as we find in The Srimat Bhagavat Gita.
Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar is, no doubt, an avant-garde Indian poet. Dr. D.C.Chambial excellent rendition extends the readership of
Dr. Bhatnagar’s philosophy and poetic ability. Dr. Chambial has done his job well, for his transcreation has retained all the literary qualities of the original poems - e.g. ‘the economy of linguistic expressions’, lucidity etc.

. .

[3]
Death-Perception: Life-Perception
An Analytical Study

— Dr (Mrs) Jaya Lakshmi Rao V.


DEATH PERCEPTION - LIFE PERCEPTION is a sensitively rendered volume of 50 poems, originally written in Hindi. The poems retain their natural flavour to a great extent, thanks to the versatility of the well-known poet of national and international fame Dr D.C. Chambial. As the title indicates the mysterious entity of death and the magical polarity called life occupy the mind and art of Dr Mahendra Bhatnagar. The theme of death and life has ever been source of deep contemplation often verging on to obsession for creative writers from times immemorial. Yet it never lost its freshness and vigour due to the mystery that surrounds it, the magnetism it generates and the manifold wonder it evokes. Dr Mahendra Bhatnagar’s poetry bears witness to all the above observations.
Dr Chambial kept the translation as close as the linguistic boundaries between the original Hindi and the foreign English languages have allowed. Praise is to him, who, despite the language constrictions was able to carry and convey the poetic preoccupations of the well¬ known Hindi Poet with life and death.
The volume begins with a difference. In the first poem ‘Gratitude’, the poet gleans a reason to be grateful to death. It certainly is a new perception. The poet says: “Deaths given / Man / Life-art¬efficiency / Such / Embellishment - adornment.” According to the poet, it is death that makes life beautiful and therefore desirable. Deaths imminence makes life all the more attractive. So, he offers “Gratitude / To death / Lifes gratitude.” The fact that death equals all is mourned in a poem entitled ‘The Wheel of Death / Time’. Death tramps the white radiance of life. Death is relentless, inexorable: “Before it! Stability has! No existence! Its motion! Always controls! Life and death! Earth and sky.”
Dr Mahendra Bhatnagar’s poems are not for those who seek the romantic, who look for the sensational. They do not jingle either. There is evidently a deep contemplation, a firm conviction in his poems. Written in free verse, some of the lines remain clearly etched in the reader’s mind. Lines such as: “Invisibly / Silently / Continuously moves / This wheel of death / Uninterrupted... unchanged! ” make a mark because in spite of simple terminology the poet has used memorable imagery. When he captions a poem as ‘Wheel of Time’ (kaal chakra) , the poet is using a native metaphor. In the cultures of India, time is compared to a wheel, a wheel that is conceptualized with the elements of birth-growth (life) - death that repeat themselves ceaselessly. It is a cyclic process that is inevitable and unavoidable. So, says the poet why grieve over death and spoil ones peace of mind? —“Life! only meaningful, / When every moment is free / From the dread of death.” Despite the scientific advancement, death is a ‘wonderful puzzle’ for the poet. He sees death as a conundrum in poems such as ‘Contemplation’ andA Puzzle’. It is the fear of death that urges man to take “refuge! In God! For eternal peace..” Yet the poet firmly believes that mans invincibility will make him see “The mystery of death / To be unmasked... revealed / Sure... some dayin ‘Conclusion’.
. In poems such asLife-DeathandThe Opposite’ the dividing line between the polarities of life and death are brought to focus. To the poet they are not separate but intrinsically interconnected. One cannot be without the other. They are the beginning and end of a unique cycle. Why then are feelings generated by then different? questions the poet. “Birth: Why a jubilation? / Death: Pain...? Why? ” the ironical fact however is, “Wail on birth! Wail on death! Birth-death are one.” (‘Equal’) According to the poet it is futile to think of Hell or Heaven. Suffice to know that “This manifest world the only truth / Death - a truth, / Life - a truth! ” The common everyday thought of life and death attains a special significance in the poems of Dr Mahendra Bhatnagar because of the complexity of human emotion and intellectual activity. Although the theme of death is glaring enough, we are especially made to take notice of it due to the rhythm the poet used. It successfully indicates the relative value of his individualized perception. For example in a poem entitled ‘The Philosophy of lifethe poet says that life is “ External motion / Physical vibration / Internal motion - / Life. Real death is to lose ‘internal’ motion, the spiritual death. Now we know where thefuse’ lies. The poetic thought continues on to ‘Excelsior’. If - “Struggles and strifes / lead to lifethento be inactive” is “an indication - of the approaching death, / to stop - the end of life.”
Here is a rediscovery of the Vedic observation that our life is a pilgrimage and that man is an eternal traveler on the move. Life is an adventure. There is no resting on the journey and there is no end to it either. In the Aitereya Brhmana there is hymn, which ends with the refrain: ‘Charaiveti, Charaiveti’ which means “Hence O traveler, march along, march along.” One finds an echo in “Excelsior.... excelsior! ”
Now that we do not have a key to the puzzle of death, why not we unravel the ‘mysteries of life’, which in turn equips us with the ability ‘to talk to the moon and to the stars’ thus achieving ‘meaningfulness’ of life. In other words, the poet exhorts us to keep in touch with the unseen presence of the cosmic power by its physical manifestation in various forms of nature. True, nature is our guide, friend, and philosopher. It gives according to the poet “Perfect peace of mind /... a new meaning to life.”
A Prayer’ is an insightful poem on the secret of leading a happy life. In the poets opinion happy life is an outcome of self achievement. He says: “We live for / 125 years” only when we have a “Body free from pain / Mind free from torture.” So that we live as much for ‘ourselves’ as of ‘others’ because according to the Indian thought the whole world is a family - Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. The foregone thought is entirely in opposition with the feeling that “Blind, perplexed, ignorant / Man... construes money to be supreme / Thinks pleasure all in all.” (‘A Mirage’) InA Vow’ the poet depicts death as an adversary whom we the human race fight like soldiers because life is too precious to lose toa deceitful trick of / Any adversary! ”
. ‘A Call’ is a unique poem in which the poet uses a number of sensory images to celebrate the carnival of life. In a Tagore-like lyricism, the poet hails the singers of Alakh and Sohar who play onevery string of the violin of heart’. Their songs are mainly meant for the ‘mentally vanquished’, to awaken those whose life turned into ‘stupor’. A number of poems expound the value attached to life, a rare gift. Poems such asOne day’, ‘Proved’, A Healthy Vision’, and ‘Compatibility’ sing of Shanti (peace) , victory, glory and pleasure of life. He envisages life wherein all will laugh and be merry. Death is compared to a terrorist in the poem ‘Dreadful’ who “remote controls” life - “By hiding / In invisible places.”
InThe Philosophy of Death’, ‘An Invitation’, ‘To the Fairy of DeathandA Request’ there is a new challenge, a new welcome to a hail-fellow-well-met attitude to death. There is neither fear nor fascination towards humanity’s foe i.e. death. But one finds camaraderie, bonhomie, open, and candid. Death is treated as a friend, “a clever girl”, “a cohabiter” anda neighbour.” Thus, we witness a metamorphosis in the poets notion of death as it passes from the stage of being the fearful and the awe-inspiring to that of a much¬-awaited welcome guest. Finally an agreeable compromise is reached. Peace at last! The pilgrim realizes his futile fencing with an invincible enemy. What cannot be cured must be endured. This endurance is not born of frustration but out of wise realization. that makes a world of difference.
In ‘Comparison’ the poet juxtaposes Shiva, the three-eyed Godhead with shava, the lifeless body. A single vowel shift fromitoa’ brings in an irreplaceable difference in consciousness i.e. from spandana to jada. ‘ A Blow’ shows the futility of involvement because says the poet: “Early or late / all / in an eternal sleep have to fall / dust unto dust! ” thus after being enlightened that every oneOne day / renouncing name and fair form / will be reduced / to ashes! ” (‘Preordained’) , the poet proclaims in ‘Proclamation’: “0 Death / I do accept you.../ I go / For good... for good / I go! ”
Now there is loveliness all around. Nothing but peace remains. Not, that which is a result of impotent stupor but the peace one arrives at after experiencing the vicissitudes of life, like the pe

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XI. Guido

You are the Cardinal Acciaiuoli, and you,
Abate Panciatichi—two good Tuscan names:
Acciaiuoli—ah, your ancestor it was
Built the huge battlemented convent-block
Over the little forky flashing Greve
That takes the quick turn at the foot o' the hill
Just as one first sees Florence: oh those days!
'T is Ema, though, the other rivulet,
The one-arched brown brick bridge yawns over,—yes,
Gallop and go five minutes, and you gain
The Roman Gate from where the Ema's bridged:
Kingfishers fly there: how I see the bend
O'erturreted by Certosa which he built,
That Senescal (we styled him) of your House!
I do adjure you, help me, Sirs! My blood
Comes from as far a source: ought it to end
This way, by leakage through their scaffold-planks
Into Rome's sink where her red refuse runs?
Sirs, I beseech you by blood-sympathy,
If there be any vile experiment
In the air,—if this your visit simply prove,
When all's done, just a well-intentioned trick,
That tries for truth truer than truth itself,
By startling up a man, ere break of day,
To tell him he must die at sunset,—pshaw!
That man's a Franceschini; feel his pulse,
Laugh at your folly, and let's all go sleep!
You have my last word,—innocent am I
As Innocent my Pope and murderer,
Innocent as a babe, as Mary's own,
As Mary's self,—I said, say and repeat,—
And why, then, should I die twelve hours hence? I
Whom, not twelve hours ago, the gaoler bade
Turn to my straw-truss, settle and sleep sound
That I might wake the sooner, promptlier pay
His due of meat-and-drink-indulgence, cross
His palm with fee of the good-hand, beside,
As gallants use who go at large again!
For why? All honest Rome approved my part;
Whoever owned wife, sister, daughter,—nay,
Mistress,—had any shadow of any right
That looks like right, and, all the more resolved,
Held it with tooth and nail,—these manly men
Approved! I being for Rome, Rome was for me.
Then, there's the point reserved, the subterfuge
My lawyers held by, kept for last resource,
Firm should all else,—the impossible fancy!—fail,
And sneaking burgess-spirit win the day.
The knaves! One plea at least would hold,—they laughed,—
One grappling-iron scratch the bottom-rock
Even should the middle mud let anchor go!
I hooked my cause on to the Clergy's,—plea
Which, even if law tipped off my hat and plume,
Revealed my priestly tonsure, saved me so.
The Pope moreover, this old Innocent,
Being so meek and mild and merciful,
So fond o' the poor and so fatigued of earth,
So … fifty thousand devils in deepest hell!
Why must he cure us of our strange conceit
Of the angel in man's likeness, that we loved
And looked should help us at a pinch? He help?
He pardon? Here's his mind and message—death!
Thank the good Pope! Now, is he good in this,
Never mind, Christian,—no such stuff's extant,—
But will my death do credit to his reign,
Show he both lived and let live, so was good?
Cannot I live if he but like? "The law!"
Why, just the law gives him the very chance,
The precise leave to let my life alone,
Which the archangelic soul of him (he says)
Yearns after! Here they drop it in his palm,
My lawyers, capital o' the cursed kind,—
Drop life to take and hold and keep: but no!
He sighs, shakes head, refuses to shut hand,
Motions away the gift they bid him grasp,
And of the coyness comesthat off I run
And down I go, he best knows whither! mind,
He knows, who sets me rolling all the same!
Disinterested Vicar of our Lord,
This way he abrogates and disallows,
Nullifies and ignores,—reverts in fine
To the good and right, in detriment of me!
Talk away! Will you have the naked truth?
He's sick of his life's supper,—swallowed lies:
So, hobbling bedward, needs must ease his maw
Just where I sit o' the door-sill. Sir Abate,
Can you do nothing? Friends, we used to frisk:
What of this sudden slash in a friend's face,
This cut across our good companionship
That showed its front so gay when both were young?
Were not we put into a beaten path,
Bid pace the world, we nobles born and bred,
We body of friends with each his scutcheon full
Of old achievement and impunity,—
Taking the laugh of morn and Sol's salute
As forth we fared, pricked on to breathe our steeds
And take equestrian sport over the green
Under the blue, across the crop,—what care?
If we went prancing up hill and down dale,
In and out of the level and the straight,
By the bit of pleasant byeway, where was harm?
Still Sol salutes me and the morning laughs:
I see my grandsire's hoof-prints,—point the spot
Where he drew rein, slipped saddle, and stabbed knave
For daring throw gibe—much less, stone—from pale:
Then back, and on, and up with the cavalcade.
Just so wend we, now canter, now converse,
Till, 'mid the jauncing pride and jaunty port,
Something of a sudden jerks at somebody—
A dagger is out, a flashing cut and thrust,
Because I play some prank my grandsire played,
And here I sprawl: where is the company? Gone!
A trot and a trample! only I lie trapped,
Writhe in a certain novel springe just set
By the good old Pope: I'm first prize. Warn me? Why?
Apprise me that the law o' the game is changed?
Enough that I'm a warning, as I writhe,
To all and each my fellows of the file,
And make law plain henceforward past mistake,
"For such a prank, death is the penalty!"
Pope the Five Hundredth (what do I know or care?)
Deputes your Eminency and Abateship
To announce that, twelve hours from this time, he needs
I just essay upon my body and soul
The virtue of his brand-new engine, prove
Represser of the pranksome! I'm the first!
Thanks. Do you know what teeth you mean to try
The sharpness of, on this soft neck and throat?
I know it,—I have seen and hate it,—ay,
As you shall, while I tell you! Let me talk,
Or leave me, at your pleasure! talk I must:
What is your visit but my lure to talk?
Nay, you have something to disclose?—a smile,
At end of the forced sternness, means to mock
The heart-beats here? I call your two hearts stone!
Is your charge to stay with me till I die?
Be tacit as your bench, then! Use your ears,
I use my tongue: how glibly yours will run
At pleasant supper-timeGod's curse! … to-night
When all the guests jump up, begin so brisk
"Welcome, his Eminence who shrived the wretch!
"Now we shall have the Abate's story!"

Life!
How I could spill this overplus of mine
Among those hoar-haired, shrunk-shanked odds and ends
Of body and soul old age is chewing dry!
Those windlestraws that stare while purblind death
Mows here, mows there, makes hay of juicy me,
And misses just the bunch of withered weed
Would brighten hell and streak its smoke with flame!
How the life I could shed yet never shrink,
Would drench their stalks with sap like grass in May!
Is it not terrible, I entreat you, Sirs?—
With manifold and plenitudinous life,
Prompt at death's menace to give blow for threat,
Answer his "Be thou not!" by "Thus I am!"—
Terrible so to be alive yet die?

How I live, how I see! so,—how I speak!
Lucidity of soul unlocks the lips:
I never had the words at will before.
How I see all my folly at a glance!
"A man requires a woman and a wife:"
There was my folly; I believed the saw.
I knew that just myself concerned myself,
Yet needs must look for what I seemed to lack,
In a woman,—why, the woman's in the man!
Fools we are, how we learn things when too late!
Overmuch life turns round my woman-side:
The male and female in me, mixed before,
Settle of a sudden: I'm my wife outright
In this unmanly appetite for truth,
This careless courage as to consequence,
This instantaneous sight through things and through,
This voluble rhetoric, if you please,—'t is she!
Here you have that Pompilia whom I slew,
Also the folly for which I slew her!

Fool!
And, fool-like, what is it I wander from?
What did I say of your sharp iron tooth?
Ah,—that I know the hateful thing! this way.
I chanced to stroll forth, many a good year gone,
One warm Spring eve in Rome, and unaware
Looking, mayhap, to count what stars were out,
Came on your fine axe in a frame, that fails
And so cuts off a man's head underneath,
Mannaia,—thus we made acquaintance first:
Out of the way, in a by-part o' the town,
At the Mouth-of-Truth o' the river-side, you know:
One goes by the Capitol: and wherefore coy,
Retiring out of crowded noisy Rome?
Because a very little time ago
It had done service, chopped off head from trunk
Belonging to a fellow whose poor house
The thing must make a point to stand before
Felice Whatsoever-was-the-name
Who stabled buffaloes and so gained bread,
(Our clowns unyoke them in the ground hard by)
And, after use of much improper speech,
Had struck at Duke Some-title-or-other's face,
Because he kidnapped, carried away and kept
Felice's sister who would sit and sing
I' the filthy doorway while she plaited fringe
To deck the brutes with,—on their gear it goes,—
The good girl with the velvet in her voice.
So did the Duke, so did Felice, so
Did Justice, intervening with her axe.
There the man-mutilating engine stood
At ease, both gay and grim, like a Swiss guard
Off duty,—purified itself as well,
Getting dry, sweet and proper for next week,—
And doing incidental good, 't was hoped
To the rough lesson-lacking populace
Who now and then, forsooth, must right their wrongs!
There stood the twelve-foot-square of scaffold, railed
Considerately round to elbow-height,
For fear an officer should tumble thence
And sprain his ankle and be lame a month,
Through starting when the axe fell and head too!
Railed likewise were the steps whereby 't was reached.
All of it painted red: red, in the midst,
Ran up two narrow tall beams barred across,
Since from the summit, some twelve feet to reach,
The iron plate with the sharp shearing edge
Had slammed, jerked, shot, slid,—I shall soon find which!—
And so lay quiet, fast in its fit place,
The wooden half-moon collar, now eclipsed
By the blade which blocked its curvature: apart,
The other half,—the under half-moon board
Which, helped by this, completes a neck's embrace,—
Joined to a sort of desk that wheels aside
Out of the way when done with,—down you kneel,
In you're pushed, over you the other drops,
Tight you're clipped, whiz, there's the blade cleaves its best,
Out trundles body, down flops head on floor,
And where's your soul gone? That, too, I shall find!
This kneeling place was red, red, never fear!
But only slimy-like with paint, not blood,
For why? a decent pitcher stood at hand,
A broad dish to hold sawdust, and a broom
By some unnamed utensil,—scraper-rake,—
Each with a conscious air of duty done.
Underneath, loungers,—boys and some few men,—
Discoursed this platter, named the other tool,
Just as, when grooms tie up and dress a steed,
Boys lounge and look on, and elucubrate
What the round brush is used for, what the square,—
So was explained—to me the skill-less then
The manner of the grooming for next world
Undergone by Felice What's-his-name.
There's no such lovely month in Rome as May—
May's crescent is no half-moon of red plank,
And came now tilting o'er the wave i' the west,
One greenish-golden sea, right 'twixt those bars
Of the engine—I began acquaintance with,
Understood, hated, hurried from before,
To have it out of sight and cleanse my soul!
Here it is all again, conserved for use:
Twelve hours hence, I may know more, not hate worse.

That young May-moon-month! Devils of the deep!
Was not a Pope then Pope as much as now?
Used not he chirrup o'er the Merry Tales,
Chuckle,—his nephew so exact the wag
To play a jealous cullion such a trick
As wins the wife i' the pleasant story! Well?
Why do things change? Wherefore is Rome un-Romed?
I tell you, ere Felice's corpse was cold,
The Duke, that night, threw wide his palace-doors,
Received the compliments o' the quality
For justice done him,—bowed and smirked his best,
And in return passed round a pretty thing,
A portrait of Felice's sister's self,
Florid old rogue Albano's masterpiece,
As—better than virginity in rags—
Bouncing Europa on the back o' the bull:
They laughed and took their road the safelier home.
Ah, but times change, there's quite another Pope,
I do the Duke's deed, take Felice's place,
And, being no Felice, lout and clout,
Stomach but ill the phrase "I lost my head!"
How euphemistic! Lose what? Lose your ring,
Your snuff-box, tablets, kerchief!—but, your head?
I learnt the process at an early age;
'T was useful knowledge, in those same old days,
To know the way a head is set on neck.
My fencing-master urged "Would you excel?
"Rest not content with mere bold give-and-guard,
"Nor pink the antagonist somehow-anyhow!
"See me dissect a little, and know your game!
"Only anatomy makes a thrust the thing."
Oh Cardinal, those lithe live necks of ours!
Here go the vertebræ, here's Atlas, here
Axis, and here the symphyses stop short,
So wisely and well,—as, o'er a corpse, we cant,—
And here's the silver cord which … what's our word?
Depends from the gold bowl, which loosed (not "lost")
Lets us from heaven to hell,—one chop, we're loose!
"And not much pain i' the process," quoth a sage:
Who told him? Not Felice's ghost, I think!
Such "losing" is scarce Mother Nature's mode.
She fain would have cord ease itself away,
Worn to a thread by threescore years and ten,
Snap while we slumber: that seems bearable.
I'm told one clot of blood extravasate
Ends one as certainly as Roland's sword,—
One drop of lymph suffused proves Oliver's mace,—
Intruding, either of the pleasant pair,
On the arachnoid tunic of my brain.
That's Nature's way of loosing cord!—but Art,
How of Art's process with the engine here,
When bowl and cord alike are crushed across,
Bored between, bruised through? Why, if Fagon's self,
The French Court's pride, that famed practitioner,
Would pass his cold pale lightning of a knife,
Pistoja-ware, adroit 'twixt joint and joint,
With just a "See how facile, gentlefolk!"—
The thing were not so bad to bear! Brute force
Cuts as he comes, breaks in, breaks on, breaks out
O' the hard and soft of you: is that the same?
A lithe snake thrids the hedge, makes throb no leaf:
A heavy ox sets chest to brier and branch,
Bursts somehow through, and leaves one hideous hole
Behind him!

And why, why must this needs be?
Oh, if men were but good! They are not good,
Nowise like Peter: people called him rough,
But if, as I left Rome, I spoke the Saint,
—"Petrus, quo vadis?"—doubtless, I should hear,
"To free the prisoner and forgive his fault!
"I plucked the absolute dead from God's own bar,
"And raised up Dorcas,—why not rescue thee?"
What would cost one such nullifying word?
If Innocent succeeds to Peter's place,
Let him think Peter's thought, speak Peter's speech!
I say, he is bound to it: friends, how say you?
Concede I be all one bloodguiltiness
And mystery of murder in the flesh,
Why should that fact keep the Pope's mouth shut fast?
He execrates my crime,—good!—sees hell yawn
One inch from the red plank's end which I press,—
Nothing is better! What's the consequence?
How should a Pope proceed that knows his cue?
Why, leave me linger out my minute here,
Since close on death comes judgment and comes doom,
Not crib at dawn its pittance from a sheep
Destined ere dewfall to be butcher's-meat!
Think, Sirs, if I have done you any harm,
And you require the natural revenge,
Suppose, and so intend to poison me,
—Just as you take and slip into my draught
The paperful of powder that clears scores,
You notice on my brow a certain blue:
How you both overset the wine at once!
How you both smile! "Our enemy has the plague!
"Twelve hours hence he'll be scraping his bones bare
"Of that intolerable flesh, and die,
"Frenzied with pain: no need for poison here!
"Step aside and enjoy the spectacle!"
Tender for souls are you, Pope Innocent!
Christ's maxim isone soul outweighs the world:
Respite me, save a soul, then, curse the world!
"No," venerable sire, I hear you smirk,
"No: for Christ's gospel changes names, not things,
"Renews the obsolete, does nothing more!
"Our fire-new gospel is re-tinkered law,
"Our mercy, justice,—Jove's rechristened God,—
"Nay, whereas, in the popular conceit,
"'T is pity that old harsh Law somehow limps,
"Lingers on earth, although Law's day be done,
"Else would benignant Gospel interpose,
"Not furtively as now, but bold and frank
"O'erflutter us with healing in her wings,
"Law being harshness, Gospel only love—
"We tell the people, on the contrary,
"Gospel takes up the rod which Law lets fall;
"Mercy is vigilant when justice sleeps!
"Does Law permit a taste of Gospel-grace?
"The secular arm allow the spiritual power
"To act for once?—no compliment so fine
"As that our Gospel handsomely turn harsh,
"Thrust victim back on Law the nice and coy!"
Yes, you do say so, else you would forgive
Me whom Law does not touch but tosses you!
Don't think to put on the professional face!
You know what I know: casuists as you are,
Each nerve must creep, each hair start, sting and stand,
At such illogical inconsequence!
Dear my friends, do but see! A murder's tried,
There are two parties to the cause: I'm one,
—Defend myself, as somebody must do:
I have the best o' the battle: that's a fact,
Simple fact,—fancies find no place just now.
What though half Rome condemned me? Half approved:
And, none disputes, the luck is mine at last,
All Rome, i' the main, acquitting me: whereon,
What has the Pope to ask but "How finds Law?"
"I find," replies Law, "I have erred this while:
"Guilty or guiltless, Guido proves a priest,
"No layman: he is therefore yours, not mine:
"I bound him: loose him, you whose will is Christ's!"
And now what does this Vicar of our Lord,
Shepherd o' the flock,—one of whose charge bleats sore
For crook's help from the quag wherein it drowns?
Law suffers him employ the crumpled end:
His pleasure is to turn staff, use the point,
And thrust the shuddering sheep, he calls a wolf,
Back and back, down and down to where hell gapes!
"Guiltless," cries Law—"Guilty" corrects the Pope!
"Guilty," for the whim's sake! "Guilty," he somehow thinks,
And anyhow says: 't is truth; he dares not lie!

Others should do the lying. That's the cause
Brings you both here: I ought in decency
Confess to you that I deserve my fate,
Am guilty, as the Pope thinks,—ay, to the end,
Keep up the jest, lie on, lie ever, lie
I' the latest gasp of me! What reason, Sirs?
Because to-morrow will succeed to-day
For you, though not for me: and if I stick
Still to the truth, declare with my last breath,
I die an innocent and murdered man,—
Why, there's the tongue of Rome will wag apace
This time to-morrow: don't I hear the talk!
"So, to the last he proved impenitent?
"Pagans have said as much of martyred saints!
"Law demurred, washed her hands of the whole case.
"Prince Somebody said this, Duke Something, that,
"Doubtless the man's dead, dead enough, don't fear!
"But, hang it, what if there have been a spice,
"A touch of … eh? You see, the Pope's so old,
"Some of us add, obtuse: age never slips
"The chance of shoving youth to face death first!"
And so on. Therefore to suppress such talk
You two come here, entreat I tell you lies,
And end, the edifying way. I end,
Telling the truth! Your self-styled shepherd thieves!
A thief—and how thieves hate the wolves we know:
Damage to theft, damage to thrift, all's one!
The red hand is sworn foe of the black jaw.
That's only natural, that's right enough:
But why the wolf should compliment the thief
With shepherd's title, bark out life in thanks,
And, spiteless, lick the prong that spits him,—eh,
Cardinal? My Abate, scarcely thus!
There, let my sheepskin-garb, a curse on't, go
Leave my teeth free if I must show my shag!
Repent? What good shall follow? If I pass
Twelve hours repenting, will that fact hold fast
The thirteenth at the horrid dozen's end?
If I fall forthwith at your feet, gnash, tear,
Foam, rave, to give your story the due grace,
Will that assist the engine half-way back
Into its hiding-house?—boards, shaking now,
Bone against bone, like some old skeleton bat
That wants, at winter's end, to wake and prey!
Will howling put the spectre back to sleep?
Ah, but I misconceive your object, Sirs!
Since I want new life like the creature,—life
Being done with here, begins i' the world away:
I shall next have "Come, mortals, and be judged!"
There's but a minute betwixt this and then:
So, quick, be sorry since it saves my soul!
Sirs, truth shall save it, since no lies assist!
Hear the truth, you, whatever you style yourselves,
Civilization and society!
Come, one good grapple, I with all the world!
Dying in cold blood is the desperate thing;
The angry heart explodes, bears off in blaze
The indignant soul, and I'm combustion-ripe.
Why, you intend to do your worst with me!
That's in your eyes! You dare no more than death,
And mean no less. I must make up my mind.
So Pietro,—when I chased him here and there,
Morsel by morsel cut away the life
I loathed,—cried for just respite to confess
And save his soul: much respite did I grant!
Why grant me respite who deserve my doom?
Mewho engaged to play a prize, fight you,
Knowing your arms, and foil you, trick for trick,
At rapier-fence, your match and, maybe, more.
I knew that if I chose sin certain sins,
Solace my lusts out of the regular way
Prescribed me, I should find you in the path,
Have to try skill with a redoubted foe;
You would lunge, I would parry, and make end.
At last, occasion of a murder comes:
We cross blades, I, for all my brag, break guard,
And in goes the cold iron at my breast,
Out at my back, and end is made of me.
You stand confessed the adroiter swordsman,—ay,
But on your triumph you increase, it seems,
Want more of me than lying flat on face:
I ought to raise my ruined head, allege
Not simply I pushed worse blade o' the pair,
But my antagonist dispensed with steel!
There was no passage of arms, you looked me low,
With brow and eye abolished cut and thrust
Nor used the vulgar weapon! This chance scratch,
This incidental hurt, this sort of hole
I' the heart of me? I stumbled, got it so!
Fell on my own sword as a bungler may!
Yourself proscribe such heathen tools, and trust
To the naked virtue: it was virtue stood
Unarmed and awed me,—on my brow there burned
Crime out so plainly intolerably red,
That I was fain to cry—"Down to the dust
"With me, and bury there brow, brand and all!"
Law had essayed the adventure,—but what's Law?
Morality exposed the Gorgon shield!
Morality and Religion conquer me.
If Law sufficed would you come here, entreat
I supplement law, and confess forsooth?
Did not the Trial show things plain enough?
"Ah, but a word of the man's very self
"Would somehow put the keystone in its place
"And crown the arch!" Then take the word you want!

I say that, long ago, when things began,
All the world made agreement, such and such
Were pleasure-giving profit-bearing acts,
But henceforth extra-legal, nor to be:
You must not kill the man whose death would please
And profit you, unless his life stop yours
Plainly, and need so be put aside:
Get the thing by a public course, by law,
Only no private bloodshed as of old!
All of us, for the good of every one,
Renounced such licence and conformed to law:
Who breaks law, breaks pact therefore, helps himself
To pleasure and profit over and above the due,
And must pay forfeit,—pain beyond his share:
For, pleasure being the sole good in the world,
Anyone's pleasure turns to someone's pain,
So, law must watch for everyone,—say we,
Who call things wicked that give too much joy,
And nickname mere reprisal, envy makes,
Punishment: quite right! thus the world goes round.
I, being well aware such pact there was,
I, in my time who found advantage come
Of law's observance and crime's penalty,—
Who, but for wholesome fear law bred in friends,
Had doubtless given example long ago,
Furnished forth some friend's pleasure with my pain,
And, by my death, pieced out his scanty life,—
I could not, for that foolish life of me,
Help risking law's infringement,—I broke bond,
And needs must pay price,—wherefore, here's my head,
Flung with a flourish! But, repentance too?
But pure and simple sorrow for law's breach
Rather than blunderer's-ineptitude?
Cardinal, no! Abate, scarcely thus!
'T is the fault, not that I dared try a fall
With Law and straightway am found undermost,
But that I failed to see, above man's law,
God's precept you, the Christians, recognize?
Colly my cow! Don't fidget, Cardinal!
Abate, cross your breast and count your beads
And exorcize the devil, for here he stands
And stiffens in the bristly nape of neck,
Daring you drive him hence! You, Christians both?
I say, if ever was such faith at all
Born in the world, by your community
Suffered to live its little tick of time,
'T is dead of age, now, ludicrously dead;
Honour its ashes, if you be discreet,
In epitaph only! For, concede its death,
Allow extinction, you may boast unchecked
What feats the thing did in a crazy land
At a fabulous epoch,—treat your faith, that way,
Just as you treat your relics: "Here's a shred
"Of saintly flesh, a scrap of blessed bone,
"Raised King Cophetua, who was dead, to life
"In Mesopotamy twelve centuries since,
"Such was its virtue!"—twangs the Sacristan,
Holding the shrine-box up, with hands like feet
Because of gout in every finger joint:
Does he bethink him to reduce one knob,
Allay one twinge by touching what he vaunts?
I think he half uncrooks fist to catch fee,
But, for the grace, the quality of cure,—
Cophetua was the man put that to proof!
Not otherwise, your faith is shrined and shown
And shamed at once: you banter while you bow!
Do you dispute this? Come, a monster-laugh,
A madman's laugh, allowed his Carnival
Later ten days than when all Rome, but he,
Laughed at the candle-contest: mine's alight,
'T is just it sputter till the puff o' the Pope
End it to-morrow and the world turn Ash.
Come, thus I wave a wand and bring to pass
In a moment, in the twinkle of an eye,
What but that—feigning everywhere grows fact,
Professors turn possessors, realize
The faith they play with as a fancy now,
And bid it operate, have full effect
On every circumstance of life, to-day,
In Rome,—faith's flow set free at fountain-head!
Now, you'll own, at this present, when I speak,
Before I work the wonder, there's no man
Woman or child in Rome, faith's fountain-head,
But might, if each were minded, realize
Conversely unbelief, faith's opposite—
Set it to work on life unflinchingly,
Yet give no symptom of an outward change:
Why should things change because men disbelieve
What's incompatible, in the whited tomb,
With bones and rottenness one inch below?
What saintly act is done in Rome to-day
But might be prompted by the devil,—"is"
I say not,—"has been, and again may be,—"
I do say, full i' the face o' the crucifix
You try to stop my mouth with! Off with it!
Look in your own heart, if your soul have eyes!
You shall see reason why, though faith were fled,
Unbelief still might work the wires and move
Man, the machine, to play a faithful part.
Preside your college, Cardinal, in your cape,
Or,—having got above his head, grown Pope,—
Abate, gird your loins and wash my feet!
Do you suppose I am at loss at all
Why you crook, why you cringe, why fast or feast?
Praise, blame, sit, stand, lie or go!—all of it,
In each of you, purest unbelief may prompt,
And wit explain to who has eyes to see.
But, lo, I wave wand, made the false the true!
Here's Rome believes in Christianity!
What an explosion, how the fragments fly
Of what was surface, mask and make-believe!
Begin now,—look at this Pope's-halberdier
In wasp-like black and yellow foolery!
He, doing duty at the corridor,
Wakes from a muse and stands convinced of sin!
Down he flings halbert, leaps the passage-length,
Pushes into the presence, pantingly
Submits the extreme peril of the case
To the Pope's self,—whom in the world beside?—
And the Pope breaks talk with ambassador,
Bids aside bishop, wills the whole world wait
Till he secure that prize, outweighs the world,
A soul, relieve the sentry of his qualm!
His Altitude the Referendary,—
Robed right, and ready for the usher's word
To pay devoir,—is, of all times, just then
'Ware of a master-stroke of argument
Will cut the spinal cord … ugh, ugh! … I mean,
Paralyse Molinism for evermore!
Straight he leaves lobby, trundles, two and two,
Down steps to reach home, write, if but a word
Shall end the impudence: he leaves who likes
Go pacify the Pope: there's Christ to serve!
How otherwise would men display their zeal?
If the same sentry had the least surmise
A powder-barrel 'neath the pavement lay
In neighbourhood with what might prove a match,
Meant to blow sky-high Pope and presence both
Would he not break through courtiers, rank and file,
Bundle up, bear off and save body so,
The Pope, no matter for his priceless soul?
There's no fool's-freak here, nought to soundly swinge,
Only a man in earnest, you'll so praise
And pay and prate about, that earth shall ring!
Had thought possessed the Referendary
His jewel-case at home was left ajar,
What would be wrong in running, robes awry,
To be beforehand with the pilferer?
What talk then of indecent haste? Which means,
That both these, each in his degree, would do
Just that,—for a comparative nothing's sake,
And thereby gain approval and reward,—
Which, done for what Christ says is worth the world,
Procures the doer curses, cuffs and kicks.
I call such difference 'twixt act and act,
Sheer lunacy unless your truth on lip
Be recognized a lie in heart of you!
How do you all act, promptly or in doubt,
When there's a guest poisoned at supper-time
And he sits chatting on with spot on cheek?
"Pluck him by the skirt, and round him in the ears,
"Have at him by the beard, warn anyhow!"
Good, and this other friend that's cheat and thief
And dissolute,—go stop the devil's feast,
Withdraw him from the imminent hell-fire!
Why, for your life, you dare not tell your friend
"You lie, and I admonish you for Christ!"
Who yet dare seek that same man at the Mass
To warn himon his knees, and tinkle near,—
He left a cask a-tilt, a tap unturned,
The Trebbian running: what a grateful jump
Out of the Church rewards your vigilance!
Perform that self-same service just a thought
More maladroitly,—since a bishop sits
At function!—and he budges not, bites lip,—
"You see my case: how can I quit my post?
"He has an eye to any such default.
"See to it, neighbour, I beseech your love!"
He and you know the relative worth of things,
What is permissible or inopportune.
Contort your brows! You know I speak the truth:
Gold is called gold, and dross called dross, i' the Book:
Gold you let lie and dross pick up and prize!
—Despite your muster of some fifty monks
And nuns a-maundering here and mumping there,
Who could, and on occasion would, spurn dross,
Clutch gold, and prove their faith a fact so far,—
I grant you! Fifty times the number squeak
And gibber in the madhouse—firm of faith,
This fellow, that his nose supports the moon;
The other, that his straw hat crowns him Pope:
Does that prove all the world outside insane?
Do fifty miracle-mongers match the mob
That acts on the frank faithless principle,
Born-baptized-and-bred Christian-atheists, each
With just as much a right to judge as you,—
As many senses in his soul, and nerves
I' neck of him as I,—whom, soul and sense,
Neck and nerve, you abolish presently,—
I being the unit in creation now
Who pay the Maker, in this speech of mine,
A creature's duty, spend my last of breath
In bearing witness, even by my worst fault,
To the creature's obligation, absolute,
Perpetual: my worst fault protests, "The faith
"Claims all of me: I would give all she claims,
"But for a spice of doubt: the risk's too rash:
"Double or quits, I play, but, all or nought,
"Exceeds my courage: therefore, I descend
"To the next faith with no dubiety—
"Faith in the present life, made last as long
"And prove as full of pleasure as may hap,
"Whatever pain it cause the world." I'm wrong?
I've had my life, whate'er I lose: I'm right?
I've got the single good there was to gain.
Entire faith, or else complete unbelief!
Aught between has my loathing and contempt,
Mine and God's also, doubtless: ask yourself,
Cardinal, where and how you like a man!
Why, either with your feet upon his head,
Confessed your caudatory, or, at large,
The stranger in the crowd who caps to you
But keeps his distance,—why should he presume?
You want no hanger-on and dropper-off,
Now yours, and now not yours but quite his own,
According as the sky looks black or bright.
Just so I capped to and kept off from faith—
You promised trudge behind through fair and foul,
Yet leave i' the lurch at the first spit of rain.
Who holds to faith whenever rain begins?
What does the father when his son lies dead,
The merchant when his money-bags take wing,
The politician whom a rival ousts?
No case but has its conduct, faith prescribes:
Where's the obedience that shall edify?
Why, they laugh frankly in the face of faith
And take the natural course,—this rends his hair
Because his child is taken to God's breast.
That gnashes teeth and raves at loss of trash
Which rust corrupts and thieves break through and steal,
And this, enabled to inherit earth
Through meekness, curses till your blood runs cold!
Down they all drop to my low level, rest
Heart upon dungy earth that's warm and soft,
And let who please attempt the altitudes.
Each playing prodigal son of heavenly sire,
Turning his nose up at the fatted calf,
Fain to fill belly with the husks, we swine
Did eat by born depravity of taste!

Enough of the hypocrites. But you, Sirs, you—
Who never budged from litter where I lay,
And buried snout i' the draff-box while I fed,
Cried amen to my creed's one article—
"Get pleasure, 'scape pain,—give your preference
"To the immediate good, for time is brief,
"And death ends good and ill and everything!
"What's got is gained, what's gained soon is gained twice,
"And,—inasmuch as faith gains most,—feign faith!"
So did we brother-like pass word about:
—You, now,—like bloody drunkards but half-drunk,
Who fool men yet perceive men find them fools,—
Vexed that a titter gains the gravest mouth,—
O' the sudden you must needs re-introduce
Solemnity, straight sober undue mirth
By a blow dealt me your boon companion here
Who, using the old licence, dreamed of harm
No more than snow in harvest: yet it falls!
You check the merriment effectually
By pushing your abrupt machine i' the midst,
Making me Rome's example: blood for wine!
The general good needs that you chop and change!
I may dislike the hocus-pocus,—Rome,
The laughter-loving people, won't they stare
Chap-fallen!—while serious natures sermonize
"The magistrate, he beareth not the sword
"In vain; who sins may taste its edge, we see!"
Why my sin, drunkards? Where have I abused
Liberty, scandalized you all so much?
Who called me, who crooked finger till I came,
Fool that I was, to join companionship?
I knew my own mind, meant to live my life,
Elude your envy, or else make a stand,
Take my own part and sell you my life dear.
But it was "Fie! No prejudice in the world
"To the proper manly instinct! Cast your lot
"Into our lap, one genius ruled our births,
"We'll compass joy by concert; take with us
"The regular irregular way i' the wood;
"You'll miss no game through riding breast by breast,
"In this preserve, the Church's park and pale,
"Rather than outside where the world lies waste!"
Come, if you said not that, did you say this?
Give plain and terrible warning, "Live, enjoy?
"Such life begins in death and ends in hell!
"Dare you bid us assist your sins, us priests
"Who hurry sin and sinners from the earth?
"No such delight for us, why then for you?
"Leave earth, seek heaven or find its opposite!"
Had you so warned me, not in lying words
But veritable deeds with tongues of flame,
That had been fair, that might have struck a man,
Silenced the squabble between soul and sense,
Compelled him to make mind up, take one course
Or the other, peradventure!—wrong or right,
Foolish or wise, you would have been at least
Sincere, no question,—forced me choose, indulge
Or else renounce my instincts, still play wolf
Or find my way submissive to your fold,
Be red-crossed on my fleece, one sheep the more.
But you as good as bade me wear sheep's wool
Over wolf's skin, suck blood and hide the noise
By mimicry of something like a bleat,—
Whence it comes that because, despite my care,
Because I smack my tongue too loud for once,
Drop baaing, here's the village up in arms!
Have at the wolfs throat, you who hate the breed!
Oh, were it only open yet to choose—
One little time more—whether I'd be free
Your foe, or subsidized your friend forsooth!
Should not you get a growl through the white fangs
In answer to your beckoning! Cardinal,
Abate, managers o' the multitude,
I'd turn your gloved hands to account, be sure!
You should manipulate the coarse rough mob:
'T is you I'd deal directly with, not them,—
Using your fears: why touch the thing myself
When I could see you hunt, and then cry "Shares!
"Quarter the carcase or we quarrel; come,
"Here's the world ready to see justice done!"
Oh, it had been a desperate game, but game
Wherein the winner's chance were worth the pains!
We'd try conclusions!—at the worst, what worse
Than this Mannaia-machine, each minute's talk
Helps push an inch the nearer me? Fool, fool!

You understand me and forgive, sweet Sirs?
I blame you, tear my hair and tell my woe—
All's but a flourish, figure of rhetoric!
One must try each expedient to save life.
One makes fools look foolisher fifty-fold
By putting in their place men wise like you,
To take the full force of an argument
Would buffet their stolidity in vain.
If you should feel aggrieved by the mere wind
O' the blow that means to miss you and maul them,
That's my success! Is it not folly, now,
To say with folk, "A plausible defence—
"We see through notwithstanding, and reject?"
Reject the plausible they do, these fools,
Who never even make pretence to show
One point beyond its plausibility
In favour of the best belief they hold!
"Saint Somebody-or-other raised the dead:"
Did he? How do you come to know as much?
"Know it, what need? The story's plausible,
"Avouched for by a martyrologist,
"And why should good men sup on cheese and leeks
"On such a saint's day, if there were no saint?"
I praise the wisdom of these fools, and straight
Tell them my story—"plausible, but false!"
False, to be sure! What else can story be
That runs—a young wife tired of an old spouse,
Found a priest whom she fled away with,—both
Took their full pleasure in the two-days' flight,
Which a grey-headed greyer-hearted pair,
(Whose best boast was, their life had been a lie)
Helped for the love they bore all liars. Oh,
Here incredulity begins! Indeed?
Allow then, were no one point strictly true,
There's that i' the tale might seem like truth at least
To the unlucky husband,—jaundiced patch—
Jealousy maddens people, why not him?
Say, he was maddened, so forgivable!
Humanity pleads that though the wife were true,
The priest true, and the pair of liars true,
They might seem false to one man in the world!
A thousand gnats make up a serpent's sting,
And many sly soft stimulants to wrath
Compose a formidable wrong at last
That gets called easily by some one name
Not applicable to the single parts,
And so draws down a general revenge,
Excessive if you take crime, fault by fault.
Jealousy! I have known a score of plays,
Were listened to and laughed at in my time
As like the everyday-life on all sides,
Wherein the husband, mad as a March hare,
Suspected all the world contrived his shame.
What did the wife? The wife kissed both eyes blind,
Explained away ambiguous circumstance,
And while she held him captive by the hand,
Crowned his head,—you know what's the mockery,—
By half her body behind the curtain. That's
Nature now! That's the subject of a piece
I saw in Vallombrosa Convent, made
Expressly to teach men what marriage was!
But say "Just so did I misapprehend,
"Imagine she deceived me to my face,"
And that's pretence too easily seen through!
All those eyes of all husbands in all plays,
At stare like one expanded peacock-tail,
Are laughed at for pretending to be keen
While horn-blind: but the moment I step forth—
Oh, I must needs o' the sudden prove a lynx
And look the heart, that stone-wall, through and through!
Such an eye, God's may be,—not yours nor mine.

Yes, presently . . what hour is fleeting now?
When you cut earth away from under me,
I shall be left alone with, pushed beneath
Some such an apparitional dread orb
As the eye of God, since such an eye there glares:
I fancy it go filling up the void
Above my mote-self it devours, or what
Proves—wrath, immensity wreaks on nothingness.
Just how I felt once, couching through the dark,
Hard by Vittiano; young I was, and gay,
And wanting to trap fieldfares: first a spark
Tipped a bent, as a mere dew-globule might
Any stiff grass-stalk on the meadow,—this
Grew fiercer, flamed out full, and proved the sun.
What do I want with proverbs, precepts here?
Away with man! What shall I say to God?
This, if I find the tongue and keep the mind
"Do Thou wipe out the being of me, and smear
"This soul from off Thy white of things, I blot!
"I am one huge and sheer mistake,—whose fault?
"Not mine at least, who did not make myself!"
Someone declares my wife excused me so!
Perhaps she knew what argument to use.
Grind your teeth, Cardinal: Abate, writhe!
What else am I to cry out in my rage,
Unable to repent one particle
O' the past? Oh, how I wish some cold wise man
Would dig beneath the surface which you scrape,
Deal with the depths, pronounce on my desert
Groundedly! I want simple sober sense,
That asks, before it finishes with a dog,
Who taught the dog that trick you hang him for?
You both persist to call that act a crime,
Which sense would call ... yes, I maintain it, Sirs,...
A blunder! At the worst, I stood in doubt
On cross-road, took one path of many paths:
It leads to the red thing, we all see now,
But nobody saw at first: one primrose-patch
In bank, one singing-bird in bush, the less,
Had warned me from such wayfare: let me prove!
Put me back to the cross-road, start afresh!
Advise me when I take the first false step!
Give me my wife: how should I use my wife,
Love her or hate her? Prompt my action now!
There she is, there she stands alive and pale,
The thirteen-years' old child, with milk for blood,
Pompilia Comparini, as at first,
Which first is only four brief years ago!
I stand too in the little ground-floor room
O' the father's house at Via Vittoria: see!
Her so-called mother,—one arm round the waist
O' the child to keep her from the toys, let fall
At wonder I can live yet look so grim,—
Ushers her in, with deprecating wave
Of the other,—and she fronts me loose at last,
Held only by the mother's finger-tip.
Struck dumb,—for she was white enough before!—
She eyes me with those frightened balls of black,
As heifer—the old simile comes pat—
Eyes tremblingly the altar and the priest.
The amazed look, all one insuppressive prayer,—
Might she but breathe, set free as heretofore,
Have this cup leave her lips unblistered, bear
Any cross anywhither anyhow,
So but alone, so but apart from me!
You are touched? So am I, quite otherwise,
If 't is with pity. I resent my wrong,
Being a man: I only show man's soul
Through man's flesh: she sees mine, it strikes her thus!
Is that attractive? To a youth perhaps—
Calf-creature, one-part boy to three-parts girl,
To whom it is a flattering novelty
That he, men use to motion from their path,
Can thus impose, thus terrify in turn
A chit whose terror shall be changed apace
To bliss unbearable when grace and glow,
Prowess and pride descend the throne and touch
Esther in all that pretty tremble, cured
By the dove o' the sceptre! But myself am old,
O' the wane at least, in all things: what do you say
To her who frankly thus confirms my doubt?
I am past the prime, I scare the woman-world,
Done-with that way: you like this piece of news?
A little saucy rose-bud minx can strike
Death-damp into the breast of doughty king
Though 't were French Louis,—soul I understand,—
Saying, by gesture of repugnance, just
"Sire, you are regal, puissant and so forth,
"But—young you have been, are not, nor will be!"
In vain the mother nods, winks, bustles up,
"Count, girls incline to mature worth like you!
"As for Pompilia, what's flesh, fish, or fowl
"To one who apprehends no difference,
"And would accept you even were you old
"As you are … youngish by her father's side?
"Trim but your beard a little, thin your bush
"Of eyebrow; and for presence, portliness,
"And decent gravity, you beat a boy!"
Deceive yourself one minute, if you may,
In presence of the child that so loves age,
Whose neck writhes, cords itself against your kiss,
Whose hand you wring stark, rigid with despair!
Well, I resent this; I am young in soul,
Nor old in body,—thews and sinews here,—
Though the vile surface be not smooth as once,—
Far beyond that first wheelwork which went wrong
Through the untempered iron ere 't was proof:
I am the wrought man worth ten times the crude,
Would woman see what this declines to see,
Declines to say "I see,"—the officious word
That makes the thing, pricks on the soul to shoot
New fire into the half-used cinder, flesh!
Therefore 't is she begins with wronging me,
Who cannot but begin with hating her.
Our marriage follows: there she stands again!
Why do I laugh? Why, in the very gripe
O' the jaws of death's gigantic skull, do I
Grin back his grin, make sport of my own pangs?
Why from each clashing of his molars, ground
To make the devil bread from out my grist,
Leaps out a spark of mirth, a hellish toy?
Take notice we are lovers in a church,
Waiting the sacrament to make us one
And happy! Just as bid, she bears herself,
Comes and kneels, rises, speaks, is silent,—goes:
So have I brought my horse, by word and blow,
To stand stock-still and front the fire he dreads.
How can I other than remember this,
Resent the very obedience? Gain thereby?
Yes, I do gain my end and have my will,—
Thanks to whom? When the mother speaks the word,
She obeys it—even to enduring me!
There had been compensation in revolt—
Revolt's to quell: but martyrdom rehearsed,
But predetermined saintship for the sake
O' the mother?—"Go!" thought I, "we meet again!"
Pass the next weeks of dumb contented death,
She lives,—wakes up, installed in house and home,
Is mine, mine all day-long, all night-long mine.
Good folk begin at me with open mouth
"Now, at least, reconcile the child to life!
"Study and make her love … that is, endure
"The … hem! theall of you though somewhat old,
"Till it amount to something, in her eye,
"As good as love, better a thousand times,—
"Since nature helps the woman in such strait,
"Makes passiveness her pleasure: failing which,
"What if you give up boy-and-girl-fools'-play
"And go on to wise friendship all at once?
"Those boys and girls kiss themselves cold, you know,
"Toy themselves tired and slink aside full soon
"To friendship, as they name satiety:
"Thither go you and wait their coming!" Thanks,
Considerate advisers,—but, fair play!
Had you and I, friends, started fair at first
We, keeping fair, might reach it, neck by neck,
This blessed goal, whenever fate so please:
But why am I to miss the daisied mile
The course begins with, why obtain the dust
Of the end precisely at the starting-point?
Why quaff life's cup blown free of all the beads,
The bright red froth wherein our beard should steep
Before our mouth essay the black o' the wine?
Foolish, the love-fit? Let me prove it such
Like you, before like you I puff things clear!
"The best's to come, no rapture but content!
"Not love's first glory but a sober glow,
"Not a spontaneous outburst in pure boon,
"So much as, gained by patience, care and toil,
"Proper appreciation and esteem!"
Go preach that to your nephews, not to me
Who, tired i' the midway of my life, would stop
And take my first refreshment, pluck a rose:
What's this coarse woolly hip, worn smooth of leaf,
You counsel I go plant in garden-plot,
Water with tears, manure with sweat and blood,
In confidence the seed shall germinate
And, for its very best, some far-off day,
Grow big, and blow me out a dog-rose bell?
Why must your nephews begin breathing spice
O' the hundred-petalled Provence prodigy?
Nay, more and worse,—would such my root bear rose—
Prove really flower and favourite, not the kind
That's queen, but those three leaves that make one cup
And hold the hedge-bird's breakfast,—then indeed
The prize though poor would pay the care and toil!
Respect we Nature that makes least as most,
Marvellous in the minim! But this bud,
Bit through and burned black by the tempter's tooth,
This bloom whose best grace was the slug outside
And the wasp inside its bosom,—call you "rose"?
Claim no immunity from a weed's fate
For the horrible present! What you call my wife
I call a nullity in female shape,
Vapid disgust, soon to be pungent plague,
When mixed with, made confusion and a curse
By two abominable nondescripts,
That father and that mother: think you see
The dreadful bronze our boast, we Aretines,
The Etruscan monster, the three-headed thing,
Bellerophon's foe! How name you the whole beast?
You choose to name the body from one head,
That of the simple kid which droops the eye,
Hangs the neck and dies tenderly enough:
I rather see the griesly lion belch
Flame out i' the midst, the serpent writhe her rings,
Grafted into the common stock for tail,
And name the brute, Chimæra which I slew!
How was there ever more to be—(concede
My wife's insipid harmless nullity)—
Dissociation from that pair of plagues—
That mother with her cunning and her cant—
The eyes with first their twinkle of conceit,
Then, dropped to earth in mock-demureness,—now,
The smile self-satisfied from ear to ear,
Now, the prim pursed-up mouth's protruded lips,
With deferential duck, slow swing of head,
Tempting the sudden fist of man too much,—
That owl-like screw of lid and rock of ruff!
As for the father,—Cardinal, you know,
The kind of idiot!—such are rife in Rome,
But they wear velvet commonly; good fools,
At the end of life, to furnish forth young folk
Who grin and bear with imbecility:
Since the stalled ass, the joker, sheds from jaw
Corn, in the joke, for those who laugh or starve.
But what say we to the same solemn beast
Wagging his ears and wishful of our pat,
When turned, with holes in hide and bones laid bare,
To forage for himself i' the waste o' the world,
Sir Dignity i' the dumps? Pat him? We drub
Self-knowledge, rather, into frowzy pate,
Teach Pietro to get trappings or go hang!
Fancy this quondam oracle in vogue
At Via Vittoria, this personified
Authority when time was,—Pantaloon
Flaunting his tom-fool tawdry just the same
As if Ash-Wednesday were mid-Carnival!
That's the extreme and unforgiveable
Of sins, as I account such. Have you stooped
For your own ends to bestialize yourself
By flattery of a fellow of this stamp?
The ends obtained or else shown out of reach,
He goes on, takes the flattery for pure truth,—
"You love, and honour me, of course: what next?"
What, but the trifle of the stabbing, friend?—
Which taught you how one worships when the shrine
Has lost the relic that we bent before.
Angry! And how could I be otherwise?
'T is plain: this pair of old pretentious fools
Meant to fool me: it happens, I fooled them.
Why could not these who sought to buy and sell
Me,—when they found themselves were bought and sold,
Make up their mind to the proved rule of right,
Be chattel and not chapman any more?
Miscalculation has its consequence;
But when the shepherd crooks a sheep-like thing
And meaning to get wool, dislodges fleece
And finds the veritable wolf beneath,
(How that staunch image serves at every turn!)
Does he, by way of being politic,
Pluck the first whisker grimly visible?
Or rather grow in a trice all gratitude,
Protest this sort-of-what-one-might-name sheep
Beats the old other curly-coated kind,
And shall share board and bed, if so it deign,
With its discoverer, like a royal ram?
Ay, thus, with chattering teeth and knocking knees,
Would wisdom treat the adventure! these, forsooth,
Tried whisker-plucking, and so found what trap
The whisker kept perdue, two rows of teeth—
Sharp, as too late the prying fingers felt.
What would you have? The fools transgress, the fools
Forthwith receive appropriate punishment:
They first insult me, I return the blow,
There follows noise enough: four hubbub months,
Now hue and cry, now whimpering and wail—
A perfect goose-yard cackle of complaint
Because I do not gild the geese their oats,—
I have enough of noise, ope wicket wide,
Sweep out the couple to go whine elsewhere,
Frightened a little, hurt in no respect,
And am just taking thought to breathe again,
Taste the sweet sudden silence all about,
When, there they raise it, the old noise I know,
At Rome i' the distance! "What, begun once more?
"Whine on, wail ever, 't is the loser's right!"
But eh, what sort of voice grows on the wind?
Triumph it sounds and no complaint at all!
And triumph it is. My boast was premature:
The creatures, I turned forth, clapped wing and crew
Fighting-cock-fashion,—they had filched a pearl
From dung-heap, and might boast with cause enough!
I was defrauded of all bargained for:
You know, the Pope knows, not a soul but knows
My dowry was derision, my gain—muck,
My wife, (the Church declared my flesh and blood)
The nameless bastard of a common whore:
My old name turned henceforth toshall I say
"He that received the ordure in his face?"
And they who planned this wrong, performed this wrong,
And then revealed this wrong to the wide world,
Rounded myself in the ears with my own wrong,—
Why, these were (note hell's lucky malice, now!)
These were just they who, they alone, could act
And publish and proclaim their infamy,
Secure that men would in a breath believe
Compassionate and pardon them,—for why?
They plainly were too stupid to invent,
Too simple to distinguish wrong from right,—
Inconscious agents they, the silly-sooth,
Of heaven's retributive justice on the strong
Proud cunning violent oppressor—me!
Follow them to their fate and help your best,
You Rome, Arezzo, foes called friends of me,
They gave the good long laugh to, at my cost!
Defray your share o' the cost, since you partook
The entertainment! Do!—assured the while,
That not one stab, I dealt to right and left,
But went the deeper for a fancy—this—
That each might do me two-fold service, find
A friend's face at the bottom of each wound,
And scratch its smirk a little!

Panciatichi!
There's a report at Florence,—is it true?—
That when your relative the Cardinal
Built, only the other day, that barrack-bulk,
The palace in Via Larga, someone picked
From out the street a saucy quip enough
That fell there from its day's flight through the town,
About the flat front and the windows wide
And bulging heap of cornice,—hitched the joke
Into a sonnet, signed his name thereto,
And forthwith pinned on post the pleasantry:
For which he's at the galleys, rowing now
Up to his waist in water,—just because
Panciatic and lymphatic rhymed so pat!
I hope, Sir, those who passed this joke on me
Were not unduly punished? What say you,
Prince of the Church, my patron? Nay, indeed,
I shall not dare insult your wits so much
As think this problem difficult to solve.
This Pietro and Violante then, I say,
These two ambiguous insects, changing name
And nature with the season's warmth or chill,—
Now, grovelled, grubbing toiling moiling ants,
A very synonym of thrift and peace,—
Anon, with lusty June to prick their heart,
Soared i' the air, winged flies for more offence,
Circled me, buzzed me deaf and stung me blind,
And stunk me dead with fetor in the face
Until I stopped the nuisance: there's my crime!
Pity I did not suffer them subside
Into some further shape and final form
Of execrable life? My masters, no!
I, by one blow, wisely cut short at once
Them and their transformations of disgust,
In the snug little Villa out of hand.
"Grant me confession, give bare time for that!"—
Shouted the sinner till his mouth was stopped.
His life confessed!—that was enough for me,
Who came to see that he did penance. 'S death!
Here's a coil raised, a pother and for what?
Because strength, being provoked by weakness, fought
And conquered,—the world never heard the like!
Pah, how I spend my breath on them, as if
'T was their fate troubled me, too hard to range
Among the right and fit and proper things!

Ay, but Pompilia,—I await your word,—
She, unimpeached of crime, unimplicate
In folly, one of alien blood to these
I punish, why extend my claim, exact
Her portion of the penalty? Yes, friends,
I go too fast: the orator's at fault:
Yes, ere I lay her, with your leave, by them
As she was laid at San Lorenzo late,
I ought to step back, lead you by degrees,
Recounting at each step some fresh offence,
Up to the red bed,—never fear, I will!
Gaze at her, where I place her, to begin,
Confound me with her gentleness and worth!
The horrible pair have fled and left her now,
She has her husband for her sole concern:
His wife, the woman fashioned for his help,
Flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone, the bride
To groom as is the Church and Spouse to Christ:
There she stands in his presence: "Thy desire
"Shall be to the husband, o'er thee shall he rule!"
—"Pompilia, who declare that you love God,
"You know who said that: then, desire my love,
"Yield me contentment and be ruled aright!"
She sits up, she lies down, she comes and goes,
Kneels at the couch-side, overleans the sill
O' the window, cold and pale and mute as stone,
Strong as stone also. "Well, are they not fled?
"Am I not left, am I not one for all?
"Speak a word, drop a tear, detach a glance,
"Bless me or curse me of your own accord!
"Is it the ceiling only wants your soul,
"Is worth your eyes?" And then the eyes descend,
And do look at me. Is it at the meal?
"Speak!" she obeys, "Be silent!" she obeys,
Counting the minutes till I cry "Depart,"
As brood-bird when you saunter past her eggs.
Departs she? just the same through door and wall
I see the same stone strength of white despair.
And all this will be never otherwise!
Before, the parents' presence lent her life:
She could play off her sex's armoury,
Entreat, reproach, be female to my male,
Try all the shrieking doubles of the hare,
Go clamour to the Commissary, bid
The Archbishop hold my hands and stop my tongue,
And yield fair sport so: but the tactics change,
The hare stands stock-still to enrage the hound!
Since that day when she learned she was no child
Of those she thought her parents,—that their trick
Had tricked me whom she thought sole trickster late,—
Why, I suppose she said within herself
"Then, no more struggle for my parents' sake!
"And, for my own sake, why needs struggle be?"
But is there no third party to the pact?
What of her husband's relish or dislike
For this new game of giving up the game,
This worst offence of not offending more?
I'll not believe but instinct wrought in this,
Set her on to conceive and execute
The preferable plague: how sure they probe—
These jades, the sensitivest soft of man!
The long black hair was wound now in a wisp,
Crowned sorrow better than the wild web late:
No more soiled dress, 't is trimness triumphs now,
For how should malice go with negligence?
The frayed silk looked the fresher for her spite!
There was an end to springing out of bed,
Praying me, with face buried on my feet,
Be hindered of my pastime,—so an end
To my rejoinder, "What, on the ground at last?
'Vanquished in fight, a supplicant for life?
"What if I raise you? 'Ware the casting down
"When next you fight me!" Then, she lay there, mine:
Now, mine she is if I please wring her neck,—
A moment of disquiet, working eyes,
Protruding tongue, a long sigh, then no more,—
As if one killed the horse one could not ride!
Had I enjoined "Cut off the hair!"—why, snap
The scissors, and at once a yard or so
Had fluttered in black serpents to the floor:
But till I did enjoin it, how she combs,
Uncurls and draws out to the complete length,
Plaits, places the insulting rope on head
To be an eyesore past dishevelment!
Is all done? Then sit still again and stare!
I advise—no one think to bear that look
Of steady wrong, endured as steadily
Through what sustainment of deluding hope?
Who is the friend i' the background that notes all?
Who may come presently and close accounts?
This self-possession to the uttermost,
How does it differ in aught, save degree,
From the terrible patience of God?

"All which just means,
"She did not love you!" Again the word is launched
And the fact fronts me! What, you try the wards
With the true key and the dead lock flies ope?
No, it sticks fast and leaves you fumbling still!
You have some fifty servants, Cardinal,—
Which of them loves you? Which subordinate
But makes parade of such officiousness
That,—if there's no love prompts it,—love, the sham,
Does twice the service done by love, the true.
God bless us liars, where's one touch of truth
In what we tell the world, or world tells us,
Of how we love each other? All the same,
We calculate on word and deed, nor err,—
Bid such a man do such a loving act,
Sure of effect and negligent of cause,
Just as we bid a horse, with cluck of tongue,
Stretch his legs arch-wise, crouch his saddled back
To foot-reach of the stirrup—all for love,
And some for memory of the smart of switch
On the inside of the foreleg—what care we?
Yet where's the bond obliges horse to man
Like that which binds fast wife to husband? God
Laid down the law: gave man the brawny arm
And ball of fist—woman the beardless cheek
And proper place to suffer in the side:
Since it is he can strike, let her obey!
Can she feel no love? Let her show the more,
Sham the worse, damn herself praiseworthily!
Who's that soprano, Rome went mad about
Last week while I lay rotting in my straw?
The very jailer gossiped in his praise—
How,—dressed up like Armida, though a man;
And painted to look pretty, though a fright,—
He still made love so that the ladies swooned,
Being an eunuch. "Ah, Rinaldo mine!
"But to breathe by thee while Jove slays us both!
All the poor bloodless creature never felt,
Si, do, re, mi, fa, squeak and squall—for what?
Two gold zecchines the evening. Here's my slave,
Whose body and soul depend upon my nod,
Can't falter out the first note in the scale
For her life! Why blame me if I take the life?
All women cannot give men love, forsooth!
No, nor all pullets lay the henwife eggs—
Whereat she bids them remedy the fault,
Brood on a chalk-ball: soon the nest is stocked—
Otherwise, to the plucking and the spit!
This wife of mine was of another mood—
Would not begin the lie that ends with truth,
Nor feign the love that brings real love about:
Wherefore I judged, sentenced and punished her
But why particularize, defend the deed?
Say that I hated her for no one cause
Beyond my pleasure so to do,—what then?
Just on as much incitement acts the world,
All of you! Look and like! You favour one
Browbeat another, leave alone a third,—
Why should you master natural caprice?
Pure nature Try: plant elm by ash in file;
Both unexceptionable trees enough,
They ought to overlean each other, pair
At top, and arch across the avenue
The whole path to the pleasaunce: do they so
Or loathe, lie off abhorrent each from each?
Lay the fault elsewhere: since we must have faults,
Mine shall have been,—seeing there's ill in the end
Come of my course,—that I fare somehow worse
For the way I took: my fault … as God's my judge,
I see not where my fault lies, that's the truth!
I ought … oh, ought in my own interest
Have let the whole adventure go untried,
This chance by marriage: or else, trying it,
Ought to have turned it to account, some one
O' the hundred otherwises? Ay, my friend,
Easy to say, easy to do: step right
Now you've stepped left and stumbled on the thing,
The red thing! Doubt I any more than you
That practice makes man perfect? Give again
The chance,—same marriage and no other wife,
Be sure I'll edify you! That's because
I'm practised, grown fit guide for Guido's self.
You proffered guidance,—I know, none so well,—
You laid down law and rolled decorum out,
From pulpit-corner on the gospel-side,—
Wanted to make your great experience mine,
Save me the personal search and pains so: thanks!
Take your word on life's use? When I take his
The muzzled ox that treadeth out the corn,
Gone blind in padding round and round one path,—
As to the taste of green grass in the field!
What do you know o' the world that's trodden flat
And salted sterile with your daily dung,
Leavened into a lump of loathsomeness?
Take your opinion of the modes of life,
The aims of life, life's triumph or defeat,
How to feel, how to scheme, and how to do
Or else leave undone? You preached long and loud
On high-days, "Take our doctrine upon trust!
"Into the mill-house with you! Grind our corn,
"Relish our chaff, and let the green grass grow!"
I tried chaff, found I famished on such fare,
So made this mad rush at the mill-house-door,
Buried my head up to the ears in dew,
Browsed on the best: for which you brain me, Sirs!
Be it so. I conceived of life that way,
And still declare—life, without absolute use
Of the actual sweet therein, is death, not life.
Give me,—pay down,—not promise, which is air,—
Something that's out of life and better still,
Make sure reward, make certain punishment,
Entice me, scare me,—I'll forgo this life;
Otherwise, no!—the less that words, mere wind,
Would cheat me of some minutes while they plague,
Baulk fulness of revenge here,—blame yourselves
For this eruption of the pent-up soul
You prisoned first and played with afterward
"Deny myself" meant simply pleasure you,
The sacred and superior, save the mark!
You,—whose stupidity and insolence
I must defer to, soothe at every turn,—
Whose swine-like snuffling greed and grunting lust
I had to wink at or help gratify,—
While the same passions,—dared they perk in me,
Me, the immeasurably marked, by God,
Master of the whole world of such as you,—
I, boast such passions? 'T was "Suppress them straight!
"Or stay, we'll pick and choose before destroy.
"Here's wrath in you, a serviceable sword,—
"Beat it into a ploughshare! What's this long
"Lance-like ambition? Forge a pruning-hook,
"May be of service when our vines grow tall!
"But—sword use swordwise, spear thrust out as spear?
"Anathema! Suppression is the word!"
My nature, when the outrage was too gross,
Widened itself an outlet over-wide
By way of answer, sought its own relief
With more of fire and brimstone than you wished.
All your own doing: preachers, blame yourselves!

'T is I preach while the hour-glass runs and runs!
God keep me patient! All I say just means—
My wife proved, whether by her fault or mine,—
That's immaterial,—a true stumbling-block
I' the way of me her husband. I but plied
The hatchet yourselves use to clear a path,
Was politic, played the game you warrant wins,
Plucked at law's robe a-rustle through the courts,
Bowed down to kiss divinity's buckled shoe
Cushioned i' the church: efforts all wide the aim!
Procedures to no purpose! Then flashed truth.
The letter kills, the spirit keeps alive
In law and gospel: there be nods and winks
Instruct a wise man to assist himself
In certain matters, nor seek aid at all.
"Ask money of me,"—quoth the clownish saw,—
"And take my purse! But,—speaking with respect,—
"Need you a solace for the troubled nose?
"Let everybody wipe his own himself!"
Sirs, tell me free and fair! Had things gone well
At the wayside inn: had I surprised asleep
The runaways, as was so probable,
And pinned them each to other partridge-wise,
Through back and breast to breast and back, then bade
Bystanders witness if the spit, my sword,
Were loaded with unlawful game for once
Would you have interposed to damp the glow
Applauding me on every husband's cheek?
Would you have checked the cry "A judgment, see!
"A warning, note! Be henceforth chaste, ye wives,
"Nor stray beyond your proper precinct, priests!"
If you had, then your house against itself
Divides, nor stands your kingdom any more.
Oh why, why was it not ordained just so?
Why fell not things out so nor otherwise?
Ask that particular devil whose task it is
To trip the all-but-at perfection,—slur
The line o' the painter just where paint leaves off
And life begins,—put ice into the ode
O' the poet while he cries "Next stanza—fire!"
Inscribe all human effort with one word,
Artistry's haunting curse, the Incomplete!
Being incomplete, my act escaped success.
Easy to blame now! Every fool can swear
To hole in net that held and slipped the fish.
But, treat my act with fair unjaundiced eye,
What was there wanting to a masterpiece
Except the luck that lies beyond a man?
My way with the woman, now proved grossly wrong,
Just missed of being gravely grandly right
And making mouths laugh on the other side.
Do, for the poor obstructed artist's sake,
Go with him over that spoiled work once more!
Take only its first flower, the ended act
Now in the dusty pod, dry and defunct!
I march to the Villa, and my men with me,
That evening, and we reach the door and stand.
I say … no, it shoots through me lightning-like
While I pause, breathe, my hand upon the latch,
"Let me forebode! Thus far, too much success:
"I want the natural failure—find it where?
"Which thread will have to break and leave a loop
"I' the meshy combination, my brain's loom
"Wove this long while, and now next minute tests?
"Of three that are to catch, two should go free,
"One must: all three surprised,—impossible!
"Beside, I seek three and may chance on six,—
"This neighbour, t' other gossip,—the babe's birth
"Brings such to fireside, and folks give them wine,—
"'T is late: but when I break in presently
"One will be found outlingering the rest
"For promise of a posset,—one whose shout
"Would raise the dead down in the catacombs,
"Much more the city-watch that goes its round.
"When did I ever turn adroitly up
"To sun some brick embedded in the soil,
"And with one blow crush all three scorpions there?
"Or Pietro or Violante shambles off—
"It cannot be but I surprise my wife—
"If only she is stopped and stamped on, good!
"That shall suffice: more is improbable.
"Now I may knock!" And this once for my sake
The impossible was effected: I called king,
Queen and knave in a sequence, and cards came,
All three, three only! So, I had my way,
Did my deed: so, unbrokenly lay bare
Each tænia that had sucked me dry of juice,
At last outside me, not an inch of ring
Left now to writhe about and root itself
I' the heart all powerless for revenge! Henceforth
I might thrive: these were drawn and dead and damned
Oh Cardinal, the deep long sigh you heave
When the load's off you, ringing as it runs
All the way down the serpent-stair to hell!
No doubt the fine delirium flustered me,
Turned my brain with the influx of success
As if the sole need now were to wave wand
And find doors fly wide,—wish and have my will,—
The rest o' the scheme would care for itself: escape
Easy enough were that, and poor beside!
It all but proved so,—ought to quite have proved,
Since, half the chances had sufficed, set free
Anyone, with his senses at command,
From thrice the danger of my flight. But, drunk,
Redundantly triumphant,—some reverse
Was sure to follow! There's no other way
Accounts for such prompt perfect failure then
And there on the instant. Any day o' the week,
A ducat slid discreetly into palm
O' the mute post-master, while you whisper him
How you the Count and certain four your knaves,
Have just been mauling who was malapert,
Suspect the kindred may prove troublesome,
Therefore, want horses in a hurry,—that
And nothing more secures you any day
The pick o' the stable! Yet I try the trick,
Double the bribe, call myself Duke for Count,
And say the dead man only was a Jew,
And for my pains find I am dealing just
With the one scrupulous fellow in all Rome—
Just this immaculate official stares,
Sees I want hat on head and sword in sheath,
Am splashed with other sort of wet than wine,
Shrugs shoulder, puts my hand by, gold and all,
Stands on the strictness of the rule o' the road!
"Where's the Permission?" Where's the wretched rag
With the due seal and sign of Rome's Police,
To be had for asking, half-an-hour ago?
"Gone? Get another, or no horses hence!"
He dares not stop me, we five glare too grim,
But hinders,—hacks and hamstrings sure enough,
Gives me some twenty miles of miry road
More to march in the middle of that night
Whereof the rough beginning taxed the strength
O' the youngsters, much more mine, both soul and flesh,
Who had to think as well as act: dead-beat,
We gave in ere we reached the boundary
And safe spot out of this irrational Rome,—
Where, on dismounting from our steeds next day,
We had snapped our fingers at you, safe and sound,
Tuscans once more in blessed Tuscany,
Where laws make wise allowance, understand
Civilized life and do its champions right!
Witness the sentence of the Rota there,
Arezzo uttered, the Granduke confirmed,
One week before I acted on its hint,—
Giving friend Guillichini, for his love,
The galleys, and my wife your saint, Rome's saint,—
Rome manufactures saints enough to know,—
Seclusion at the Stinche for her life.
All this, that all but was, might all have been,
Yet was not! baulked by just a scrupulous knave
Whose palm was horn through handling horses' hoofs
And could not close upon my proffered gold!
What say you to the spite of fortune? Well,
The worst's in store: thus hindered, haled this way
To Rome again by hangdogs, whom find I
Here, still to fight with, but my pale frail wife?
—Riddled with wounds by one not like to waste
The blows he dealt,—knowing anatomy,—
(I think I told you) bound to pick and choose
The vital parts! 'T was learning all in vain!
She too must shimmer through the gloom o' the grave,
Come and confront menot at judgment-seat
Where I could twist her soul, as erst her flesh,
And turn her truth into a lie,—but there,
O' the death-bed, with God's hand between us both,
Striking me dumb, and helping her to speak,
Tell her own story her own way, and turn
My plausibility to nothingness!
Four whole days did Pompilia keep alive,
With the best surgery of Rome agape
At the miracle,—this cut, the other slash,
And yet the life refusing to dislodge,
Four whole extravagant impossible days,
Till she had time to finish and persuade
Every man, every woman, every child
In Rome, of what she would: the selfsame she
Who, but a year ago, had wrung her hands,
Reddened her eyes and beat her breasts, rehearsed
The whole game at Arezzo, nor availed
Thereby to move one heart or raise one hand!
When destiny intends you cards like these,
What good of skill and preconcerted play?
Had she been found dead, as I left her dead,
I should have told a tale brooked no reply:
You scarcely will suppose me found at fault
With that advantage! "What brings me to Rome?
"Necessity to claim and take my wife:
"Better, to claim and take my new born babe,—
"Strong in paternity a fortnight old,
"When't is at strongest: warily I work,
"Knowing the machinations of my foe;
"I have companionship and use the night:
"I seek my wife and child,—I find—no child
"But wife, in the embraces of that priest
"Who caused her to elope from me. These two,
"Backed by the pander-pair who watch the while,
"Spring on me like so many tiger-cats,
"Glad of the chance to end the intruder. I
"What should I do but stand on my defence,
"Strike right, strike left, strike thick and threefold, slay,
"Not all-because the coward priest escapes.
"Last, I escape, in fear of evil tongues,
"And having had my taste of Roman law."
What's disputable, refutable here?—
Save by just this one ghost-thing half on earth,
Half out of it,—as if she held God's hand
While she leant back and looked her last at me,
Forgiving me (here monks begin to weep)
Oh, from her very soul, commending mine
To heavenly mercies which are infinite,—
While fixing fast my head beneath your knife!
'T is fate not fortune. All is of a piece!
When was it chance informed me of my youths?
My rustic four o' the family, soft swains,
What sweet surprise had they in store for me,
Those of my very household,—what did Law
Twist with her rack-and-cord-contrivance late
From out their bones and marrow? What but this—
Had no one of these several stumbling-blocks
Stopped me, they yet were cherishing a scheme,
All of their honest country homespun wit,
To quietly next day at crow of cock
Cut my own throat too, for their own behoof,
Seeing I had forgot to clear accounts
O' the instant, nowise slackened speed for that,—
And somehow never might find memory,
Once safe back in Arezzo, where things change,
And a court-lord needs mind no country lout.
Well, being the arch-offender, I die last,—
May, ere my head falls, have my eyesight free,
Nor miss them dangling high on either hand,
Like scarecrows in a hemp-field, for their pains!

And then my Trial,—'t is my Trial that bites
Like a corrosive, so the cards are packed,
Dice loaded, and my life-stake tricked away!
Look at my lawyers, lacked they grace of law,
Latin or logic? Were not they fools to the height,
Fools to the depth, fools to the level between,
O' the foolishness set to decide the case?
They feign, they flatter; nowise does it skill,
Everything goes against me: deal each judge
His dole of flattery and feigning,—why,
He turns and tries and snuffs and savours it,
As some old fly the sugar-grain, your gift;
Then eyes your thumb and finger, brushes clean
The absurd old head of him, and whisks away,
Leaving your thumb and finger dirty. Faugh!

And finally, after this long-drawn range
Of affront and failure, failure and affront,—
This path, 'twixt crosses leading to a skull,
Paced by me barefoot, bloodied by my palms
From the entry to the end,—there's light at length,
A cranny of escape: appeal may be
To the old man, to the father, to the Pope,
For a little lifefrom one whose life is spent,
A little pity—from pity's source and seat,
A little indulgence to rank, privilege,
From one who is the thing personified,
Rank, privilege, indulgence, grown beyond
Earth's bearing, even, ask Jansenius else!
Still the same answer, still no other tune
From the cicala perched at the tree-top
Than crickets noisy round the root: 't is "Die!"
Bids Law—"Be damned!" adds Gospel,—nay,
No word so frank,—'t is rather, "Save yourself!"
The Pope subjoins—"Confess and be absolved!
"So shall my credit countervail your shame,
"And the world see I have not lost the knack
"Of trying all the spirits: yours, my son,
"Wants but a fiery washing to emerge
"In clarity! Come, cleanse you, ease the ache
"Of these old bones, refresh our bowels, boy!"
Do I mistake your mission from the Pope?
Then, bear his Holiness the mind of me!
I do get strength from being thrust to wall,
Successively wrenched from pillar and from post
By this tenacious hate of fortune, hate
Of all things in, under, and above earth.
Warfare, begun this mean unmanly mode,
Does best to end so,—gives earth spectacle
Of a brave fighter who succumbs to odds
That turn defeat to victory. Stab, I fold
My mantle round me! Rome approves my act:
Applauds the blow which costs me life but keeps
My honour spotless: Rome would praise no more
Had I fallen, say, some fifteen years ago,
Helping Vienna when our Aretines
Flocked to Duke Charles and fought Turk Mustafa;
Nor would you two be trembling o'er my corpse
With all this exquisite solicitude.
Why is it that I make such suit to live?
The popular sympathy that's round me now
Would break like bubble that o'er-domes a fly:
Solid enough while he lies quiet there,
But let him want the air and ply the wing,
Why, it breaks and bespatters him, what else?
Cardinal, if the Pope had pardoned me,
And I walked out of prison through the crowd,
It would not be your arm I should dare press!
Then, if I got safe to my place again,
How sad and sapless were the years to come!
I go my old ways and find things grown grey;
You priests leer at me, old friends look askance
The mob's in love, I'll wager, to a man,
With my poor young good beauteous murdered wife:
For hearts require instruction how to beat,
And eyes, on warrant of the story, wax
Wanton at portraiture in white and black
Of dead Pompilia gracing ballad-sheet,
Which eyes, lived she unmurdered and unsung,
Would never turn though she paced street as bare
As the mad penitent ladies do in France.
My brothers quietly would edge me out
Of use and management of things called mine;
Do I command? "You stretched command before!
Show anger? "Anger little helped you once!"
Advise? "How managed you affairs of old?"
My very mother, all the while they gird,
Turns eye up, gives confirmatory groan;
For unsuccess, explain it how you will,
Disqualifies you, makes you doubt yourself,
—Much more, is found decisive by your friends.
Beside, am I not fifty years of age?
What new leap would a life take, checked like mine
I' the spring at outset? Where's my second chance?
Ay, but the babe … I had forgot my son,
My heir! Now for a burst of gratitude!
There's some appropriate service to intone,
Some gaudeamus and thanksgiving psalm!
Old, I renew my youth in him, and poor
Possess a treasure,—is not that the phrase?
Only I must wait patient twenty years
Nourishing all the while, as father ought,
The excrescence with my daily blood of life.
Does it respond to hope, such sacrifice,—
Grows the wen plump while I myself grow lean?
Why, here's my son and heir in evidence,
Who stronger, wiser, handsomer than I
By fifty years, relieves me of each load,—
Tames my hot horse, carries my heavy gun,
Courts my coy mistress,—has his apt advice
On house-economy, expenditure,
And what not? All which good gifts and great growth
Because of my decline, he brings to bear
On Guido, but half apprehensive how
He cumbers earth, crosses the brisk young Count,
Who civilly would thrust him from the scene.
Contrariwise, does the blood-offering fail?
There's an ineptitude, one blank the more
Added to earth in semblance of my child?
Then, this has been a costly piece of work,
My life exchanged for his!—why he, not I,
Enjoy the world, if no more grace accrue?
Dwarf me, what giant have you made of him?
I do not dread the disobedient son:
I know how to suppress rebellion there,
Being not quite the fool my father was.
But grant the medium measure of a man,
The usual compromise 'twixt fool and sage,
—You know—the tolerably-obstinate,
The not-so-much-perverse but you may train,
The true son-servant that, when parent bids
"Go work, son, in my vineyard!" makes reply
"I go, Sir!"—Why, what profit in your son
Beyond the drudges you might subsidize,
Have the same work from, at a paul the head?
Look at those four young precious olive-plants
Reared at Vittiano,—not on flesh and blood,
These twenty years, but black bread and sour wine!
I bade them put forth tender branch, hook, hold,
And hurt three enemies I had in Rome:
They did my hest as unreluctantly,
At promise of a dollar, as a son
Adjured by mumping memories of the past.
No, nothing repays youth expended so
Youth, I say, who am young still: grant but leave
To live my life out, to the last I'd live
And die conceding age no right of youth!
It is the will runs the renewing nerve
Through flaccid flesh that faints before the time.
Therefore no sort of use for son have I
Sick, not of life's feast but of steps to climb
To the house where life prepares her feast,—of means
To the end: for make the end attainable
Without the means,—my relish were like yours.
A man may have an appetite enough
For a whole dish of robins ready cooked,
And yet lack courage to face sleet, pad snow,
And snare sufficiently for supper.

Thus
The time's arrived when, ancient Roman-like,
I am bound to fall on my own sword: why not
Say—Tuscan-like, more ancient, better still?
Will you hear truth can do no harm nor good?
I think I never was at any time
A Christian, as you nickname all the world,
Me among others: truce to nonsense now!
Name me, a primitive religionist—
As should the aboriginary be
I boast myself, Etruscan, Aretine,
One sprung,—your frigid Virgil's fieriest word,—
From fauns and nymphs, trunks and the heart of oak,
With,—for a visible divinity,—
The portent of a Jove Ægiochus
Descried 'mid clouds, lightning and thunder, couched
On topmost crag of your Capitoline:
'T is in the Seventh Æneid,—what, the Eighth?
Right,—thanks, Abate,—though the Christian's dumb,
The Latinist's vivacious in you yet!
I know my grandsire had our tapestry
Marked with the motto, 'neath a certain shield,
Whereto his grandson presently will give gules
To vary azure. First we fight for faiths,
But get to shake hands at the last of all:
Mine's your faith too,—in Jove Ægiochus!
Nor do Greek gods, that serve as supplement,
Jar with the simpler scheme, if understood.
We want such intermediary race
To make communication possible;
The real thing were too lofty, we too low,
Midway hang these: we feel their use so plain
In linking height to depth, that we doff hat
And put no question nor pry narrowly
Into the nature hid behind the names.
We grudge no rite the fancy may demand;
But never, more than needs, invent, refine,
Improve upon requirement, idly wise
Beyond the letter, teaching gods their trade,
Which is to teach us: we'll obey when taught.
Why should we do our duty past the need?
When the sky darkens, Jove is wroth,—say prayer!
When the sun shines and Jove is glad,—sing psalm!
But wherefore pass prescription and devise
Blood-offering for sweat-service, lend the rod
A pungency through pickle of our own?
Learned Abate,—no one teaches you
What Venus means and who's Apollo here!
I spare you, Cardinal,—but, though you wince,
You know me, I know you, and both know that!
So, if Apollo bids us fast, we fast:
But where does Venus order we stop sense
When Master Pietro rhymes a pleasantry?
Give alms prescribed on Friday: but, hold hand
Because your foe lies prostrate,—where's the word
Explicit in the book debars revenge?
The rationale of your scheme is just
"Pay toll here, there pursue your pleasure free!"
So do you turn to use the medium-powers,
Mars and Minerva, Bacchus and the rest,
And so are saved propitiating—whom?
What all-good, all-wise and all-potent Jove
Vexed by the very sins in man, himself
Made life's necessity when man he made?
Irrational bunglers! So, the living truth
Revealed to strike Pan dead, ducks low at last,
Prays leave to hold its own and live good days
Provided it go masque grotesquely, called
Christian not Pagan. Oh, you purged the sky
Of all gods save the One, the great and good,
Clapped hands and triumphed! But the change came fast:
The inexorable need in man for life
(Life, you may mulct and minish to a grain
Out of the lump, so that the grain but live)
Laughed at your substituting death for life,
And bade you do your worst: which worst was done
In just that age styled primitive and pure
When Saint this, Saint that, dutifully starved,
Froze, fought with beasts, was beaten and abused
And finally ridded of his flesh by fire:
He kept life-long unspotted from the world!
Next age, how goes the game, what mortal gives
His life and emulates Saint that, Saint this?
Men mutter, make excuse or mutiny,
In fine are minded all to leave the new,
Stick to the old,—enjoy old liberty,
No prejudice in enjoyment, if you please,
To the new profession: sin o' the sly, henceforth!
The law stands though the letter kills: what then?
The spirit saves as unmistakeably.
Omniscience sees, Omnipotence could stop,
Omnibenevolence pardons: it must be,
Frown law its fiercest, there's a wink somewhere!

Such was the logic in this head of mine:
I, like the rest, wrote "poison" on my bread,
But broke and ate:—said "Those that use the sword
"Shall perish by the same;" then stabbed my foe.
I stand on solid earth, not empty air:
Dislodge me, let your Pope's crook hale me hence!
Not he, nor you! And I so pity both,
I'll make the true charge you want wit to make:
"Count Guido, who reveal our mystery,
"And trace all issues to the love of life.
"We having life to love and guard, like you,
"Why did you put us upon self-defence?
"You well knew what prompt pass-word would appease
"The sentry's ire when folk infringed his bounds,
"And yet kept mouth shut: do you wonder then
"If, in mere decency, he shot you dead?
"He can't have people play such pranks as yours
"Beneath his nose at noonday: you disdained
"To give him an excuse before the world
"By crying 'I break rule to save our camp!'
"Under the old rule, such offence were death;
"And you had heard the Pontifex pronounce
"'Since you slay foe and violate the form,
"'Slaying turns murder, which were sacrifice
"'Had you, while, say, law-suiting foe to death,
"'But raised an altar to the Unknown God
"'Or else the Genius of the Vatican.'
"Why then this pother?—all because the Pope,
"Doing his duty, cried 'A foreigner,
"'You scandalize the natives: here at Rome
"'Romano vivitur more: wise men, here,
"'Put the Church forward and efface themselves.
"'The fit defence had been,—you stamped on wheat,
"'Intending all the time to trample tares,—
"'Were fain extirpate, then, the heretic,
"'You now find, in your haste was slain a fool:
"'Nor Pietro, nor Violante, nor your wife
"'Meant to breed up your babe a Molinist!
"'Whence you are duly contrite. Not one word
"'Of all this wisdom did you urge: which slip
"'Death must atone for.'"

So, let death atone!
So ends mistake, so end mistakers!—end
Perhaps to recommence,—how should I know?
Only, be sure, no punishment, no pain
Childish, preposterous, impossible,
But some such fate as Ovid could foresee,—
Byblis in fluvium, let the weak soul end
In water, sed Lycaon in lupum, but
The strong become a wolf for evermore!
Change that Pompilia to a puny stream
Fit to reflect the daisies on its bank!
Let me turn wolf, be whole, and sate, for once,—
Wallow in what is now a wolfishness
Coerced too much by the humanity
That's half of me as well! Grow out of man,
Glut the wolf-nature,—what remains but grow
Into the man again, be man indeed
And all man? Do I ring the changes right?
Deformed, transformed, reformed, informed, conformed!
The honest instinct, pent and crossed through life,
Let surge by death into a visible flow
Of rapture: as the strangled thread of flame
Painfully winds, annoying and annoyed,
Malignant and maligned, thro' stone and ore,
Till earth exclude the stranger: vented once,
It finds full play, is recognized a-top
Some mountain as no such abnormal birth
Fire for the mount, the streamlet for the vale!
Ay, of the water was that wife of mine—
Be it for good, be it for ill, no run
O' the red thread through that insignificance!
Again, how she is at me with those eyes!
Away with the empty stare! Be holy still,
And stupid ever! Occupy your patch
Of private snow that's somewhere in what world
May now be growing icy round your head,
And aguish at your foot-print,—freeze not me,
Dare follow not another step I take,
Not with so much as those detested eyes,
No, though they follow but to pray me pause
On the incline, earth's edge that's next to hell!
None of your abnegation of revenge!
Fly at me frank, tug while I tear again!
There's God, go tell Him, testify your worst!
Not she! There was no touch in her of hate:
And it would prove her hell, if I reached mine!
To know I suffered, would still sadden her,
Do what the angels might to make amends!
Therefore there's either no such place as hell,
Or thence shall I be thrust forth, for her sake,
And thereby undergo three hells, not one
I who, with outlet for escape to heaven,
Would tarry if such flight allowed my foe
To raise his head, relieved of that firm foot
Had pinned him to the fiery pavement else!
So am I made, "who did not make myself:"
(How dared she rob my own lip of the word?)
Beware me in what other world may be!—
Pompilia, who have brought me to this pass!
All I know here, will I say there, and go
Beyond the saying with the deed. Some use
There cannot but be for a mood like mine,
Implacable, persistent in revenge.
She maundered "All is over and at end:
"I go my own road, go you where God will!
"Forgive you? I forget you!" There's the saint
That takes your taste, you other kind of men!
How you had loved her! Guido wanted skill
To value such a woman at her worth!
Properly the instructed criticize
"What's here, you simpleton have tossed to take
"Its chance i' the gutter? This a daub, indeed?
"Why, 't is a Rafael that you kicked to rags!"
Perhaps so: some prefer the pure design:
Give me my gorge of colour, glut of gold
In a glory round the Virgin made for me!
Titian 's the man, not Monk Angelico
Who traces you some timid chalky ghost
That turns the church into a charnel: ay,
Just such a pencil might depict my wife!
She,—since she, also, would not change herself,—
Why could not she come in some heart-shaped cloud,
Rainbowed about with riches, royalty
Rimming her round, as round the tintless lawn
Guardingly runs the selvage cloth of gold?
I would have left the faint fine gauze untouched,
Needle-worked over with its lily and rose,
Let her bleach unmolested in the midst
Chill that selected solitary spot
Of quietude she pleased to think was life.
Purity, pallor grace the lawn no doubt
When there's the costly bordure to unthread
And make again an ingot: but what's grace
When you want meat and drink and clothes and fire?
A tale comes to my mind that's apposite—
Possibly true, probably false, a truth
Such as all truths we live by, Cardinal!
'T is said, a certain ancestor of mine
Followed—whoever was the potentate,
To Paynimrie, and in some battle, broke
Through more than due allowance of the foe,
And, risking much his own life, saved the lord's.
Battered and bruised, the Emperor scrambles up,
Rubs his eyes and looks round and sees my sire,
Picks a furze-sprig from out his hauberk-joint,
(Token how near the ground went majesty)
And says "Take this, and if thou get safe home,
"Plant the same in thy garden-ground to grow:
"Run thence an hour in a straight line, and stop:
"Describe a circle round (for central point)
"The furze aforesaid, reaching every way
"The length of that hour's run: I give it thee,—
"The central point, to build a castle there,
"The space circumjacent, for fit demesne,
"The whole to be thy children's heritage,—
"Whom, for thy sake, bid thou wear furze on cap!"
Those are my arms: we turned the furze a tree
To show more, and the greyhound tied thereto,
Straining to start, means swift and greedy both;
He stands upon a triple mount of gold—
By Jove, then, he's escaping from true gold
And trying to arrive at empty air!
Aha! the fancy never crossed my mind!
My father used to tell me, and subjoin
"As for the castle, that took wings and flew:
"The broad lands,—why, to traverse them to day
"Scarce tasks my gouty feet, and in my prime
"I doubt not I could stand and spit so far:
"But for the furze, boy, fear no lack of that,
"So long as fortune leaves one field to grub!
"Wherefore, hurra for furze and loyalty!"
What may I mean, where may the lesson lurk?
"Do not bestow on man, by way of gift,
"Furze without land for framework,—vaunt no grace
"Of purity, no furze-sprig of a wife,
"To me, i' the thick of battle for my bread,
"Without some better dowry,—gold will do!"
No better gift than sordid muck? Yes, Sirs!
Many more gifts much better. Give them me!
O those Olimpias bold, those Biancas brave,
That brought a husband power worth Ormuz' wealth!
Cried "Thou being mine, why, what but thine am I?
"Be thou to me law, right, wrong, heaven and hell!
"Let us blend souls, blent, thou in me, to bid
"Two bodies work one pleasure! What are these
"Called king, priest, father, mother, stranger, friend?
"They fret thee or they frustrate? Give the word—
"Be certain they shall frustrate nothing more!
"And who is this young florid foolishness
"That holds thy ortune in his pigmy clutch,
"—Being a prince and potency, forsooth!—
"He hesitates to let the trifle go?
"Let me but seal up eye, sing ear to sleep
"Sounder than Samson,—pounce thou on the prize
"Shall slip from off my breast, and down couchside,
"And on to floor, and far as my lord's feet
"Where he stands in the shadow with the knife,
"Waiting to see what Delilah dares do!
"Is the youth fair? What is a man to me
"Who am thy call-bird? Twist his neckmy dupe's,—
"Then take the breast shall turn a breast indeed!"
Such women are there; and they marry whom?
Why, when a man has gone and hanged himself
Because of what he calls a wicked wife,—
See, if the very turpitude bemoaned
Prove not mere excellence the fool ignores!
His monster is perfection,—Circe, sent
Straight from the sun, with wand the idiot blames
As not an honest distaff to spin wool!
O thou Lucrezia, is it long to wait
Yonder where all the gloom is in a glow
With thy suspected presence?—virgin yet,
Virtuous again, in face of what's to teach
Sin unimagined, unimaginable,—
I come to claim my bride,—thy Borgia's self
Not half the burning bridegroom I shall be!
Cardinal, take away your crucifix!
Abate, leave my lips alone,—they bite!
Vainly you try to change what should not change,
And shall not. I have bared, you bathe my heart
It grows the stonier for your saving dew!
You steep the substance, you would lubricate,
In waters that but touch to petrify!

You too are petrifactions of a kind:
Move not a muscle that shows mercy. Rave
Another twelve hours, every word were waste!
I thought you would not slay impenitence,
But teased, from men you slew, contrition first,—
I thought you had a conscience. Cardinal,
You know I am wronged!—wronged, say, and wronged, maintain.
Was this strict inquisition made for blood
When first you showed us scarlet on your back,
Called to the College? Your straightforward way
To your legitimate end,—I think it passed
Over a scantling of heads brained, hearts broke,
Lives trodden into dust! How otherwise?
Such was the way o' the world, and so you walked.
Does memory haunt your pillow? Not a whit.
God wills you never pace your garden-path,
One appetizing hour ere dinner-time,
But your intrusion there treads out of life
A universe of happy innocent things:
Feel you remorse about that damsel-fly
Which buzzed so near your mouth and flapped your face?
You blotted it from being at a blow:
It was a fly, you were a man, and more,
Lord of created things, so took your course.
Manliness, mind,—these are things fit to save,
Fit to brush fly from: why, because I take
My course, must needs the Pope kill me?—kill you!
You! for this instrument, he throws away,
Is strong to serve a master, and were yours
To have and hold and get much good from out!
The Pope who dooms me needs must die next year;
I'll tell you how the chances are supposed
For his successor: first the Chamberlain,
Old San Cesario,—Colloredo, next,—
Then, one, two, three, four, I refuse to name;
After these, comes Altieri; then come you—
Seventh on the list you come, unless … ha, ha,
How can a dead hand give a friend a lift?
Are you the person to despise the help
O' the head shall drop in pannier presently?
So a child seesaws on or kicks away
The fulcrum-stone that's all the sage requires
To fit his lever to and move the world.
Cardinal, I adjure you in God's name,
Save my life, fall at the Pope's feet, set forth
Things your own fashion, not in words like these
Made for a sense like yours who apprehend!
Translate into the Court-conventional
Count Guido must not die, is innocent!
"Fair, be assured! But what an he were foul,
"Blood-drenched and murder-crusted head to foot?
"Spare one whose death insults the Emperor,
"Nay, outrages the Louis you so love!
"He has friends who will avenge him; enemies
"Who will hate God now with impunity,
"Missing the old coercive: would you send
"A soul straight to perdition, dying frank
"An atheist?" Go and say this, for God's sake!
—Why, you don't think I hope you'll say one word?
Neither shall I persuade you from your stand
Nor you persuade me from my station: take
Your crucifix away, I tell you twice!

Come, I am tired of silence! Pause enough!
You have prayed: I have gone inside my soul
And shut its door behind me: 't is your torch
Makes the place dark: the darkness let alone
Grows tolerable twilight: one may grope
And get to guess at length and breadth and depth.
What is this fact I feel persuaded of
This something like a foothold in the sea,
Although Saint Peter's bark scuds, billow-borne,
Leaves me to founder where it flung me first?
Spite of your splashing, I am high and dry!
God takes his own part in each thing He made;
Made for a reason, He conserves his work,
Gives each its proper instinct of defence.
My lamblike wife could neither bark nor bite,
She bleated, bleated, till for pity pure
The village roused up, ran with pole and prong
To the rescue, and behold the wolf's at bay!
Shall he try bleating?—or take turn or two,
Since the wolf owns some kinship with the fox,
And, failing to escape the foe by craft,
Give up attempt, die fighting quietly?
The last bad blow that strikes fire in at eye
And on to brain, and so out, life and all,
How can it but be cheated of a pang
If, fighting quietly, the jaws enjoy
One re-embrace in mid back-bone they break,
After their weary work thro' the foe's flesh?
That's the wolf-nature. Don't mistake my trope!
A Cardinal so qualmish? Eminence,
My fight is figurative, blows i' the air,
Brain-war with powers and principalities,
Spirit-bravado, no real fisticuffs!
I shall not presently, when the knock comes,
Cling to this bench nor claw the hangman's face,
No, trust me! I conceive worse lots than mine.
Whether it be, the old contagious fit
And plague o' the prison have surprised me too,
The appropriate drunkenness of the death-hour
Crept on my sense, kind work o' the wine and myrrh,—
I know not,—I begin to taste my strength,
Careless, gay even. What's the worth of life?
The Pope's dead now, my murderous old man,
For Tozzi told me so: and you, forsooth—
Why, you don't think, Abate, do your best,
You'll live a year more with that hacking cough
And blotch of crimson where the cheek's a pit?
Tozzi has got you also down in book!
Cardinal, only seventh of seventy near,
Is not one called Albano in the lot?
Go eat your heart, you'll never be a Pope!
Inform me, is it true you left your love,
A Pucci, for promotion in the church?
She's more than in the church,—in the churchyard!
Plautilla Pucci, your affianced bride,
Has dust now in the eyes that held the love,—
And Martinez, suppose they make you Pope,
Stops that with veto,—so, enjoy yourself!
I see you all reel to the rock, you waves—
Some forthright, some describe a sinuous track,
Some, crested brilliantly, with heads above,
Some in a strangled swirl sunk who knows how,
But all bound whither the main-current sets,
Rockward, an end in foam for all of you!
What if I be o'ertaken, pushed to the front
By all you crowding smoother souls behind,
And reach, a minute sooner than was meant,
The boundary whereon I break to mist?
Go to! the smoothest safest of you all,
Most perfect and compact wave in my train,
Spite of the blue tranquillity above,
Spite of the breadth before of lapsing peace,
Where broods the halcyon and the fish leaps free,
Will presently begin to feel the prick
At lazy heart, the push at torpid brain,
Will rock vertiginously in turn, and reel,
And, emulative, rush to death like me.
Later or sooner by a minute then,
So much for the untimeliness of death!
And, as regards the manner that offends,
The rude and rough, I count the same for gain.
Be the act harsh and quick! Undoubtedly
The soul's condensed and, twice itself, expands
To burst thro' life, by alternation due,
Into the other state whate'er it prove.
You never know what life means till you die:
Even throughout life, 't is death that makes life live,
Gives it whatever the significance.
For see, on your own ground and argument,
Suppose life had no death to fear, how find
A possibility of nobleness
In man, prevented daring any more?
What's love, what's faith without a worst to dread?
Lack-lustre jewelry! but faith and love
With death behind them bidding do or die
Put such a foil at back, the sparkle's born!
From out myself how the strange colours come!
Is there a new rule in another world?
Be sure I shall resign myself: as here
I recognized no law I could not see,
There, what I see, I shall acknowledge too:
On earth I never took the Pope for God,
In heaven I shall scarce take God for the Pope.
Unmanned, remanned: I hold it probable—
With something changeless at the heart of me
To know me by, some nucleus that's myself:
Accretions did it wrong? Away with them
You soon shall see the use of fire!

Till when,
All that was, is; and must forever be.
Nor is it in me to unhate my hates,—
I use up my last strength to strike once more
Old Pietro in the wine-house-gossip-face,
To trample underfoot the whine and wile
Of beast Violante,—and I grow one gorge
To loathingly reject Pompilia's pale
Poison my hasty hunger took for food.
A strong tree wants no wreaths about its trunk,
No cloying cups, no sickly sweet of scent,
But sustenance at root, a bucketful.
How else lived that Athenian who died so,
Drinking hot bull's blood, fit for men like me?
I lived and died a man, and take man's chance,
Honest and bold: right will be done to such.

Who are these you have let descend my stair?
Ha, their accursed psalm! Lights at the sill!
Is it "Open" they dare bid you? Treachery!
Sirs, have I spoken one word all this while
Out of the world of words I had to say?
Not one word! All was folly—I laughed and mocked!
Sirs, my first true word, all truth and no lie,
Issave me notwithstanding! Life is all!
I was just stark mad,—let the madman live
Pressed by as many chains as you please pile!
Don't open! Hold me from them! I am yours,
I am the Granduke'sno, I am the Pope's!
Abate,—Cardinal,—Christ,—Maria,—God, …
Pompilia, will you let them murder me?

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The Faithful Friend

O, FRIEND! whose heart the grave doth shroud from human joy or woe,
Know'st thou who wanders by thy tomb, with footsteps sad and slow?
Know'st thou whose brow is dark with grief? whose eyes are dim with tears?
Whose restless soul is sinking with its agony of fears?
Whose hope hath fail'd, whose star hath sunk, whose firmest trust deceived,
Since, leaning on thy faithful breast, he loved and believed?

'Tis I!--Return and comfort me, for old remembrance' sake,--
From the long silence of the tomb--the cheerless tomb--awake!
I listen--all is still as death--no welcome step is nigh,--
I call thee, but thou answerest not--the grave hath no reply!
But mournfully the strange bright sun shines on thy funeral stone,
And sadly, in the cypress bough, the wild wind makes her moan.

When we were young, and cheerfully the promised future glow'd,
I little thought to stand alone by this thy last abode;
I little thought, in early days, O generous and kind!
That THOU, the first, shouldst quit the earth, and leave me, wreck'd, behind.

Thine was the pure unjealous love! I know they told us then
That Genius's gifts divided me from dull and common men;
That thou wert slow to science; that the chrat and letter'd page
Had in them no deep spell whereby thy spirit to engage;
But rather thou wouldst sail thy boat, or sound thy bugle horn,
Or track the sportsman's triumph thro' the fields of waving corn,
Than o'er the pond'rous histories of other ages bend,
And it was true! Our minds were cast as pleased the will of Heaven,
And different powers unto me, and unto thee, were given!
No trick of talent deck'd thy speech and glorified thy youth,--
Its simple spell of eloquence lay in its earnest truth;
Nor was the gladsome kindliness which brighten'd on thy brow,
The beauty which in fiction wins Love's fond romantic vow;
But gazing on thine honest face, intelligently bold,
Oft have I doubted of the gifts which men so precious hold,--
Wit, learning, wealth, seem'd overprized, since thou, dear friend, couldst be
So closely knit unto my heart by thy simplicity.

The worldly-wise may sneer at this, and scorn thee, if they will,--
THY judgment was not sharpen'd by the cunning of their skill;
No deep and calculating thoughts lay buried in thy breast,
To chill and vex thy honest heart, and startle it from rest;
No dream of cold philosophy, to make thee doubt and sigh,
And fawn and flatter half thy kind, and pass the others by!
And there thou liest forgotten--thou faithful friend, and true--
Thy resting-place beneath the cold damp shadow of the yew;
And quietly within the tomb's dark precincts wert thou laid,
As a faded leaf unnoticed drops within the forest's shade.

How should the world have tears for thee!--the world hath nothing lost--
No parent's high ambitious hope THY early death hath crost;
No sculptured falsehood gives to fame thy monumental stone,--
From the glory of our Senate-house, nor orator is gone:

Science hath lost no well-known name,--no soldier's heart shall bound,
Linking old England's victories with that inglorious sound;
No jealous and tomb-trampling foe shall find it worth his while,
With a false history of thy acts, thy country to beguile;
No mercenary hand in haste prepare the letter'd tome,
And publicly reveal the fond small weaknesses of Home;
Not some vainglorious friend (who yet hath lov'd thee to the last)
Permit all men to buy and sell his records of the past;
Nor give thy living letters up, nor print thy dying words;
Nor sweep with sacrilegious hand Affection's holy chords;
Nor with a frozen after-thought dissect thy generous heart,
And count each pulse that bid thy blood gush with a quicker start.

No! Blest OBSCURITY was thine! In sacred darkness dwells
The mem'ry of THY last fond looks and faltering farewells;

And none shall drag thy actions forth, for Slander or for Praise,
To that broad light which never glowed round thy unnoticed days.
At times a recollected jest, or snatch of merry song,
Which was so thine, that still to thee its ringing notes belong,
To boon companions back again thy image may recal,--
But lightly sits thy memory, oh Faithful Friend, on all!
The old house still hath echoes glad; tho' silent be thy voice,
Thy empty place at bed and board forbids not to rejoice!
Still with its white and gleaming sail, by strangers launch'd to float
Across the blue lake in the sun, glides on thy little boat;
Thy steed another rider backs,--thy dogs new masters find,
But I,--I mourn thy absence still, thou generous and kind:
Since I have lost thy pleasant smile, and voice of ringing mirth,
A silence and a darkness seems come down upon the earth;
A weight sits heavy on my heart, and clogs my weary feet,
For, wander where I will, thy glance I never more shall meet.

I cannot knit my soul again; my thoughts are wide astray
When others by my side would wile an hour or two away;
My door flings wide to welcome in some less familiar face,
And my heart struggles hard to fill thy ever vacant place;
But all is vain! Dim thoughts of THEE across my bosom steal,
And still, the louder mirth around, the lonelier I feel;
Yea, even that should make me proud, the laurel wreath of Fame
But brings me back our early days, and the echo of thy name;
But brings me back thy cheerful smile, when yet a careless boy,
Mine was the toil, but thou didst share the glory and the joy;
And bright across the awarded prize thy kind eye answer'd mine,
As full of triumph and delight as though that prize were thine.
Yes! all is vain! I want not Wit, I want not Learning's power,
I want THY hand, I want THY smile to pass the cheerless hour;

I want thy earnest, honest voice, whose comfort never fail'd;
I want thy kindly glance, whose light no coldness ever veil'd;
I feel at every turn of life thy loss hath left me lone,
And I mourn the friend of boyhood's years, the friend for ever gone!

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Jonathan Swift

The Beasts' Confession

To the Priest, on Observing how most Men mistake their own Talents

When beasts could speak (the learned say,
They still can do so ev'ry day),
It seems, they had religion then,
As much as now we find in men.
It happen'd, when a plague broke out
(Which therefore made them more devout),
The king of brutes (to make it plain,
Of quadrupeds I only mean)
By proclamation gave command,
That ev'ry subject in the land
Should to the priest confess their sins;
And thus the pious wolf begins:

'Good father, I must own with shame,
That often I have been to blame:
I must confess, on Friday last,
Wretch that I was! I broke my fast:
But I defy the basest tongue
To prove I did my neighbour wrong;
Or ever went to seek my food
By rapine, theft, or thirst of blood.'

The ass, approaching next, confess'd
That in his heart he lov'd a jest:
A wag he was, he needs must own,
And could not let a dunce alone:
Sometimes his friend he would not spare,
And might perhaps be too severe:
But yet, the worst that could be said,
He was a wit both born and bred;
And, if it be a sin or shame,
Nature alone must bear the blame:
One fault he hath, is sorry for't,
His ears are half a foot too short;
Which could he to the standard bring,
He'd show his face before the King:
Then for his voice, there's none disputes
That he's the nightingale of brutes.

The swine with contrite heart allow'd,
His shape and beauty made him proud:
In diet was perhaps too nice,
But gluttony was ne'er his vice:
In ev'ry turn of life content,
And meekly took what fortune sent:
Inquire through all the parish round,
A better neighbour ne'er was found:
His vigilance might some displease;
'Tis true he hated sloth like peas.

The mimic ape began his chatter,
How evil tongues his life bespatter:
Much of the cens'ring world complain'd,
Who said, his gravity was feign'd:
Indeed, the strictness of his morals
Engag'd him in a hundred quarrels:
He saw, and he was griev'd to see't,
His zeal was sometimes indiscreet:
He found his virtues too severe
For our corrupted times to bear:
Yet, such a lewd licentious age
Might well excuse a Stoic's rage.

The goat advanc'd with decent pace;
And first excus'd his youthful face;
Forgiveness begg'd that he appear'd
('Twas nature's fault) without a beard.
'Tis true, he was not much inclin'd
To fondness for the female kind;
Not, as his enemies object,
From chance, or natural defect;
Not by his frigid constitution,
But through a pious resolution;
For he had made a holy vow
Of chastity as monks do now;
Which he resolv'd to keep for ever hence,
As strictly too, as doth his Reverence.

Apply the tale, and you shall find,
How just it suits with human kind.
Some faults we own: but, can you guess?
Why?-virtues carried to excess,
Wherewith our vanity endows us,
Though neither foe nor friend allows us.

The lawyer swears, you may rely on't,
He never squeez'd a needy client;
And this he makes his constant rule,
For which his brethren call him fool:
His conscience always was so nice,
He freely gave the poor advice;
By which he lost, he may affirm,
A hundred fees last Easter term.
While others of the learned robe
Would break the patience of a Job;
No pleader at the bar could match
His diligence and quick dispatch;
Ne'er kept a cause, he well may boast,
Above a term or two at most.

The cringing knave, who seeks a place
Without success, thus tells his case:
Why should he longer mince the matter?
He fail'd because he could not flatter;
He had not learn'd to turn his coat,
Nor for a party give his vote:
His crime he quickly understood;
Too zealous for the nation's good:
He found the ministers resent it,
Yet could not for his heart repent it.

The chaplain vows he cannot fawn,
Though it would raise him to the lawn:
He pass'd his hours among his books;
You find it in his meagre looks:
He might, if he were worldly wise,
Preferment get and spare his eyes:
But own'd he had a stubborn spirit,
That made him trust alone in merit:
Would rise by merit to promotion;
Alas! a mere chimeric notion.

The doctor, if you will believe him,
Confess'd a sin; and God forgive him!
Call'd up at midnight, ran to save
A blind old beggar from the grave:
But see how Satan spreads his snares;
He quite forgot to say his prayers.
He cannot help it for his heart
Sometimes to act the parson's part:
Quotes from the Bible many a sentence,
That moves his patients to repentance:
And, when his med'cines do no good,
Supports their minds with heav'nly food,
At which, however well intended,
He hears the clergy are offended;
And grown so bold behind his back,
To call him hypocrite and quack.
In his own church he keeps a seat;
Says grace before and after meat;
And calls, without affecting airs,
His household twice a day to prayers.
He shuns apothecaries' shops;
And hates to cram the sick with slops:
He scorns to make his art a trade;
Nor bribes my lady's fav'rite maid.
Old nurse-keepers would never hire
To recommend him to the squire;
Which others, whom he will not name,
Have often practis'd to their shame.

The statesman tells you with a sneer,
His fault is to be too sincere;
And, having no sinister ends,
Is apt to disoblige his friends.
The nation's good, his master's glory,
Without regard to Whig or Tory,
Were all the schemes he had in view;
Yet he was seconded by few:
Though some had spread a hundred lies,
'Twas he defeated the Excise.
'Twas known, though he had borne aspersion,
That standing troops were his aversion:
His practice was, in ev'ry station,
To serve the King, and please the nation.
Though hard to find in ev'ry case
The fittest man to fill a place:
His promises he ne'er forgot,
But took memorials on the spot:
His enemies, for want of charity,
Said he affected popularity:
'Tis true, the people understood,
That all he did was for their good;
Their kind affections he has tried;
No love is lost on either side.
He came to Court with fortune clear,
Which now he runs out ev'ry year:
Must, at the rate that he goes on,
Inevitably be undone:
Oh! if his Majesty would please
To give him but a writ of ease,
Would grant him licence to retire,
As it hath long been his desire,
By fair accounts it would be found,
He's poorer by ten thousand pound.
He owns, and hopes it is no sin,
He ne'er was partial to his kin;
He thought it base for men in stations
To crowd the Court with their relations;
His country was his dearest mother,
And ev'ry virtuous man his brother;
Through modesty or awkward shame
(For which he owns himself to blame),
He found the wisest man he could,
Without respect to friends or blood;
Nor ever acts on private views,
When he hath liberty to choose.

The sharper swore he hated play,
Except to pass an hour away:
And well he might; for, to his cost,
By want of skill he always lost;
He heard there was a club of cheats,
Who had contriv'd a thousand feats;
Could change the stock, or cog a die,
And thus deceive the sharpest eye:
Nor wonder how his fortune sunk,
His brothers fleece him when he's drunk.

I own the moral not exact;
Besides, the tale is false in fact;
And so absurd, that could I raise up
From fields Elysian fabling Aesop;
I would accuse him to his face
For libelling the four-foot race.
Creatures of ev'ry kind but ours
Well comprehend their natural pow'rs;
While we, whom reason ought to sway,
Mistake our talents ev'ry day.
The ass was never known so stupid
To act the part of Tray or Cupid;
Nor leaps upon his master's lap,
There to be strok'd, and fed with pap,
As Aesop would the world persuade;
He better understands his trade:
Nor comes, whene'er his lady whistles;
But carries loads, and feeds on thistles.
Our author's meaning, I presume, is
A creature bipes et implumis;
Wherein the moralist design'd
A compliment on human kind:
For here he owns, that now and then
Beasts may degenerate into men.

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The Village (book 2)

Argument

There are found amid the Evils of a Laborious Life, some Views of Tranquillity and Happiness. - The Repose and Pleasure of a Summer Sabbath: interrupted by Intoxication and Dispute. - Village Detraction. - Complaints of the Squire. - The Evening Riots. - Justice. - Reasons for this unpleasant View of Rustic Life: the Effect it should have upon the Lower Classes; and the Higher. - These last have their peculiar Distresses: Exemplified in the Life and heroic Death of Lord Robert Manners. - Concluding Address to his Grace the Duke of Rutland.


NO longer truth, though shown in verse, disdain,
But own the village life a life of pain;
I too must yield, that oft amid these woes
Are gleams of transient mirth and hours of sweet repose.


Such as you find on yonder sportive Green,
The 'Squire's tall gate and churchway-walk between;
Where loitering stray a little tribe of friends,
On a fair Sunday when the sermon ends:
Then rural beaux their best attire put on,


To win their nymphs, as other nymphs are won;
While those long wed go plain, and by degrees,
Like other husbands, quit their care to please.
Some of the sermon talk, a sober crowd,
And loudly praise, if it were preach'd aloud;


Some on the labours of the week look round,
Feel their own worth, and think their toil renown'd;
While some, whose hopes to no renown extend,
Are only pleas'd to find their labours end.

Thus, as their hours glide on with pleasure fraught,


Their careful masters brood the painful thought;
Much in their mind they murmur and lament,
That one fair day should be so idly spent;
And think that Heaven deals hard, to tythe their store
And tax their time for preachers and the poor.

Yet still, ye humbler friends, enjoy your hour,
This is your portion, yet unclaim'd of power;
This is Heaven's gift to weary men opprest,
And seems the type of their expected rest:
But yours, alas! are joys that soon decay;


Frail joys, begun and ended with the day;
Or yet, while day permits those joys to reign,
The village vices drive them from the plain.

See the stout churl, in drunken fury great,
Strike the bare bosom of his teeming mate!


His naked vices, rude and unrefin'd,
Exert their open empire o'er the mind;
But can we less the senseless rage despise,
Because the savage acts without disguise?

Yet here Disguise, the city's vice, is seen,


And Slander steals along and taints the Green;
At her approach domestic peace is gone,
Domestic broils at her approach come on;
She to the wife the husband's crime conveys,
She tells the husband when his consort strays;


Her busy tongue, through all the little state,
Diffuses doubt, suspicion, and debate;
Peace, tim'rous goddess! quits her old domain,
In sentiment and song content to reign.

Nor are the nymphs that breathe the rural air


So fair as Cynthia's, nor so chaste as fair;
These to the town afford each fresher face,
And the Clown's trull receives the Peer's embrace;
From whom, should chance again convey her down,
The Peer's disease in turn attacks the Clown.

Hear too the 'Squire, or 'squire-like farmer, talk,
How round their regions nightly pilferers walk;
How from their ponds the fish are borne, and all
The rip'ning treasures from their lofty wall;
How meaner rivals in their sports delight,


Just rich enough to claim a doubtful right;
Who take a licence round their fields to stray,
A mongrel race! the Poachers of the day.

And hark! the riots of the Green begin,
That sprang at first from yonder noisy inn;


What time the weekly pay was vanish'd all,
And the slow hostess scor'd the threat'ning wall;
What time they ask'd, their friendly feast to close,
A final cup, and that will make them foes;
When blows ensue that break the arm of Toil,


And rustic battle ends the boobies' broil.
Save when to yonder hall they bend their way,
Where the grave Justice ends the grievous fray;
He who recites, to keep the poor in awe,
The law's vast volume - for he knows the law. -


To him with anger or with shame repair
The injur'd peasant and deluded fair.

Lo! at his throne the silent nymph appears,
Frail by her shape, but modest in her tears;
And while she stands abash'd, with conscious eye,


Some favourite female of her judge glides by;
Who views with scornful glance the strumpet's fate,
And thanks the stars that made her keeper great:
Near her the swain, about to bear for life
One certain evil, doubts 'twixt war and wife;


But, while the faultering damsel takes her oath,
Consents to wed, and so secures them both.
Yet why, you ask, these humble crimes relate,
Why make the poor as guilty as the great?
To show the great, those mightier sons of Pride,


How near in vice the lowest are allied;
Such are their natures, and their passions such,
But these disguise too little, those too much:
So shall the man of power and pleasure see
In his own slave as vile a wretch as he;


In his luxurious lord the servant find
His own low pleasures and degenerate mind;
And each in all the kindred vices trace
Of a poor, blind, bewilder'd, erring race;
Who, a short time in varied fortune past,


Die, and are equal in the dust at last.

And you, ye poor, who still lament your fate,
Forbear to envy those you call the great;
And know, amid those blessings they possess,
They are, like you, the victims of distress;


While Sloth with many a pang torments her slave,
Fear waits on guilt, and Danger shakes the brave.

Oh! if in life one noble chief appears,
Great in his name, while blooming in his years;
Born to enjoy whate'er delights mankind,


And yet to all you feel or fear resign'd;
Who gave up joys and hopes to you unknown,
For pains and dangers greater than your own;
If such there be, then let your murmurs cease,
Think, think of him, and take your lot in peace.

And such there was: - Oh! grief, that checks our pride,
Weeping we say there was, for Manner's died;
Belov'd of Heav'n! these humble lines forgive,
That sing of thee, and thus aspire to live.
As the tall oak, whose vigorous branches form


An ample shade and brave the wildest storm,
High o'er the subject wood is seen to grow,
The guard and glory of the trees below;
Till on its head the fiery bolt descends,
And o'er the plain the shatter'd trunk extends;


Yet then it lies, all wond'rous as before,
And still the glory, though the guard no more.

So Thou, when every virtue, every grace,
Rose in thy soul, or shone within thy face;
When, though the Son of Granby; thou wert known


Less by thy father's glory than thy own;
When Honour lov'd, and gave thee every charm,
Fire to thy eye and vigour to thy arm;
Then from our lofty hopes and longing eyes
Fate and thy virtues call'd thee to the skies;


Yet still we wonder at thy tow'ring fame,
And losing thee, still dwell upon thy name.
Oh! ever honour'd, ever valued! say
What verse can praise thee, or what work repay?
Yet Verse (in all we can) thy worth repays,


Nor trusts the tardy zeal of future days;
Honours for thee thy Country shall prepare,
Thee in their hearts, the Good, the Brave shall bear;
To deeds like thine shall noblest chiefs aspire,
The Muse shall mourn thee, and the world admire.

In future times, when smit with glory's charms,
The untry'd youth first quits a father's arms;
«Oh be like himthe weeping sire shall say,
«Like Manners walk, who walk'd in honour's way;
In danger foremost, yet in death sedate,


Oh! be like him in all things, but his fate!»
If for that fate such public tears be shed,
That victory seems to die now Thou art dead;
How shall a friend his nearer hope resign,
That friend a brother, and whose soul was thine?


By what bold lines shall we his grief express,
Or by what soothing numbers make it less?

'Tis not, I know, the chiming of a song,
Nor all the powers that to the Muse belong;
Words aptly cull'd, and meanings well exprest,


Can calm the sorrows of a wounded breast:
But Virtue, soother of the fiercest pains,
Shall heal that bosom, Rutland, where she reigns.
Yet hard the task to heal the bleeding heart,
To bid the still-recurring thoughts depart;


Tame the fierce grief, and stem the rising sigh,
And curb rebellious passion with reply;
Calmly to dwell on all that pleas'd before,
And yet to know that all shall please no more,
Oh! glorious labour of the soul, to save


Her captive powers, and bravely mourn the brave!
To such, these thoughts will lasting comfort give:
Life is not measur'd by the time we live;
'Tis not an even course of threescore years,
A life of narrow views and paltry fears;


Grey hairs and wrinkles, and the cares they bring,
That take from death the terrors or the sting:
But 'tis the gen'rous spirit, mounting high
Above the world; that native of the sky;
The noble spirit, that, in dangers brave,


Calmly looks on, or looks beyond the grave.
Such Manners was, so he resign'd his breath!
If in a glorious, then a timely death.
Cease then that grief, and let those tears subside:
If Passion rule us, be that passion Pride;


If Reason, Reason bids us strive to raise
Our fallen hearts, and be like him we praise;
Or if Affection still the soul subdue,
Bring all his virtues, all his worth in view,
And let Affection find its comfort too;


For how can grief so deeply wound the heart,
Where admiration claims so large a part?

Grief is a foe, expel him then thy soul;
Let nobler thoughts the nearer views controul;
Oh! make the age to come thy better care,


See other Rutlands, other Granbys there;
And as thy thoughts through streaming ages glide,
See other heroes die as Manners died;
And from their fate thy race shall nobler grow,
As trees shoot upward that are prun'd below:


Or, as old Thames, borne down with decent pride,
Sees his young streams run warbling at his side;
Though some, by art cut off, no longer run,
And some are lost beneath the summer's sun;
Yet the pure stream moves on, and as it moves,


Its power increases, and its use improves;
While plenty round its spacious waves bestow,
Still it flows on, and shall for ever flow.

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The Emigrants: Book I

Scene, on the Cliffs to the Eastward of the Town of
Brighthelmstone in Sussex. Time, a Morning in November, 1792.


Slow in the Wintry Morn, the struggling light
Throws a faint gleam upon the troubled waves;
Their foaming tops, as they approach the shore
And the broad surf that never ceasing breaks
On the innumerous pebbles, catch the beams
Of the pale Sun, that with reluctance gives
To this cold northern Isle, its shorten'd day.
Alas! how few the morning wakes to joy!
How many murmur at oblivious night
For leaving them so soon; for bearing thus
Their fancied bliss (the only bliss they taste!),
On her black wings away!--Changing the dreams
That sooth'd their sorrows, for calamities
(And every day brings its own sad proportion)
For doubts, diseases, abject dread of Death,
And faithless friends, and fame and fortune lost;
Fancied or real wants; and wounded pride,
That views the day star, but to curse his beams.
Yet He, whose Spirit into being call'd
This wond'rous World of Waters; He who bids
The wild wind lift them till they dash the clouds,
And speaks to them in thunder; or whose breath,
Low murmuring, o'er the gently heaving tides,
When the fair Moon, in summer night serene,
Irradiates with long trembling lines of light
Their undulating surface; that great Power,
Who, governing the Planets, also knows
If but a Sea-Mew falls, whose nest is hid
In these incumbent cliffs; He surely means
To us, his reasoning Creatures, whom He bids
Acknowledge and revere his awful hand,
Nothing but good: Yet Man, misguided Man,
Mars the fair work that he was bid enjoy,
And makes himself the evil he deplores.
How often, when my weary soul recoils
From proud oppression, and from legal crimes
(For such are in this Land, where the vain boast
Of equal Law is mockery, while the cost
Of seeking for redress is sure to plunge
Th' already injur'd to more certain ruin
And the wretch starves, before his Counsel pleads)
How often do I half abjure Society,
And sigh for some lone Cottage, deep embower'd
In the green woods, that these steep chalky Hills
Guard from the strong South West; where round their base
The Beach wide flourishes, and the light Ash
With slender leaf half hides the thymy turf!--
There do I wish to hide me; well content
If on the short grass, strewn with fairy flowers,
I might repose thus shelter'd; or when Eve
In Orient crimson lingers in the west,
Gain the high mound, and mark these waves remote
(Lucid tho' distant), blushing with the rays
Of the far-flaming Orb, that sinks beneath them;
For I have thought, that I should then behold
The beauteous works of God, unspoil'd by Man
And less affected then, by human woes
I witness'd not; might better learn to bear
Those that injustice, and duplicity
And faithlessness and folly, fix on me:
For never yet could I derive relief,
When my swol'n heart was bursting with its sorrows,
From the sad thought, that others like myself
Live but to swell affliction's countless tribes!
--Tranquil seclusion I have vainly sought;
Peace, who delights solitary shade,
No more will spread for me her downy wings,
But, like the fabled Danaïds--or the wretch,
Who ceaseless, up the steep acclivity,
Was doom'd to heave the still rebounding rock,
Onward I labour; as the baffled wave,
Which yon rough beach repulses, that returns
With the next breath of wind, to fail again.--
Ah! Mourner--cease these wailings: cease and learn,
That not the Cot sequester'd, where the briar
And wood-bine wild, embrace the mossy thatch,
(Scarce seen amid the forest gloom obscure!)
Or more substantial farm, well fenced and warm,
Where the full barn, and cattle fodder'd round
Speak rustic plenty; nor the statelier dome
By dark firs shaded, or the aspiring pine,
Close by the village Church (with care conceal'd
By verdant foliage, lest the poor man's grave
Should mar the smiling prospect of his Lord),
Where offices well rang'd, or dove-cote stock'd,
Declare manorial residence; not these
Or any of the buildings, new and trim
With windows circling towards the restless Sea,
Which ranged in rows, now terminate my walk,
Can shut out for an hour the spectre Care,
That from the dawn of reason, follows still
Unhappy Mortals, 'till the friendly grave
(Our sole secure asylum) "ends the chace 1 ."
Behold, in witness of this mournful truth,
A group approach me, whose dejected looks,
Sad Heralds of distress! proclaim them Men
Banish'd for ever and for conscience sake
From their distracted Country, whence the name
Of Freedom misapplied, and much abus'd
By lawless Anarchy, has driven them far
To wander; with the prejudice they learn'd
From Bigotry (the Tut'ress of the blind),
Thro' the wide World unshelter'd; their sole hope,
That German spoilers, thro' that pleasant land
May carry wide the desolating scourge
Of War and Vengeance; yet unhappy Men,
Whate'er your errors, I lament your fate:
And, as disconsolate and sad ye hang
Upon the barrier of the rock, and seem
To murmur your despondence, waiting long
Some fortunate reverse that never comes;
Methinks in each expressive face, I see
Discriminated anguish; there droops one,
Who in a moping cloister long consum'd
This life inactive, to obtain a better,
And thought that meagre abstinence, to wake
From his hard pallet with the midnight bell,
To live on eleemosynary bread,
And to renounce God's works, would please that God.
And now the poor pale wretch receives, amaz'd,
The pity, strangers give to his distress,
Because these Strangers are, by his dark creed,
Condemn'd as Heretics--and with sick heart
Regrets 2 his pious prison, and his beads.--
Another, of more haughty port, declines
The aid he needs not; while in mute despair
His high indignant thoughts go back to France,
Dwelling on all he lost--the Gothic dome,
That vied with splendid palaces 3 ; the beds
Of silk and down, the silver chalices,
Vestments with gold enwrought for blazing altars;
Where, amid clouds of incense, he held forth
To kneeling crowds the imaginary bones
Of Saints suppos'd, in pearl and gold enchas'd,
And still with more than living Monarchs' pomp
Surrounded; was believ'd by mumbling bigots
To hold the keys of Heaven, and to admit
Whom he thought good to share it--Now alas!
He, to whose daring soul and high ambition
The World seem'd circumscrib'd; who, wont to dream,
Of Fleuri, Richelieu, Alberoni, men
Who trod on Empire, and whose politics
Were not beyond the grasp of his vast mind,
Is, in a Land once hostile, still prophan'd
By disbelief, and rites un-orthodox,
The object of compassion--At his side,
Lighter of heart than these, but heavier far
Than he was wont, another victim comes,
An Abbé--who with less contracted brow
Still smiles and flatters, and still talks of Hope;
Which, sanguine as he is, he does not feel,
And so he cheats the sad and weighty pressure
Of evils present;---- Still, as Men misled
By early prejudice (so hard to break),
I mourn your sorrows; for I too have known
Involuntary exile; and while yet
England had charms for me, have felt how sad
It is to look across the dim cold sea,
That melancholy rolls its refluent tides
Between us and the dear regretted land
We call our own--as now ye pensive wait
On this bleak morning, gazing on the waves
That seem to leave your shore; from whence the wind
Is loaded to your ears, with the deep groans
Of martyr'd Saints and suffering Royalty,
While to your eyes the avenging power of Heaven
Appears in aweful anger to prepare
The storm of vengeance, fraught with plagues and death.
Even he of milder heart, who was indeed
The simple shepherd in a rustic scene,
And, 'mid the vine-clad hills of Languedoc,
Taught to the bare-foot peasant, whose hard hands
Produc'd 4 the nectar he could seldom taste,
Submission to the Lord for whom he toil'd;
He, or his brethren, who to Neustria's sons
Enforc'd religious patience, when, at times,
On their indignant hearts Power's iron hand
Too strongly struck; eliciting some sparks
Of the bold spirit of their native North;
Even these Parochial Priests, these humbled men;
Whose lowly undistinguish'd cottages
Witness'd a life of purest piety,
While the meek tenants were, perhaps, unknown
Each to the haughty Lord of his domain,
Who mark'd them not; the Noble scorning still
The poor and pious Priest, as with slow pace
He glided thro' the dim arch'd avenue
Which to the Castle led; hoping to cheer
The last sad hour of some laborious life
That hasten'd to its close--even such a Man
Becomes an exile; staying not to try
By temperate zeal to check his madd'ning flock,
Who, at the novel sound of Liberty
(Ah! most intoxicating sound to slaves!),
Start into licence--Lo! dejected now,
The wandering Pastor mourns, with bleeding heart,
His erring people, weeps and prays for them,
And trembles for the account that he must give
To Heaven for souls entrusted to his care.--
Where the cliff, hollow'd by the wintry storm,
Affords a seat with matted sea-weed strewn,
A softer form reclines; around her run,
On the rough shingles, or the chalky bourn,
Her gay unconscious children, soon amus'd;
Who pick the fretted stone, or glossy shell,
Or crimson plant marine: or they contrive
The fairy vessel, with its ribband sail
And gilded paper pennant: in the pool,
Left by the salt wave on the yielding sands,
They launch the mimic navy--Happy age!
Unmindful of the miseries of Man!--
Alas! too long a victim to distress,
Their Mother, lost in melancholy thought,
Lull'd for a moment by the murmurs low
Of sullen billows, wearied by the task
Of having here, with swol'n and aching eyes
Fix'd on the grey horizon, since the dawn
Solicitously watch'd the weekly sail
From her dear native land, now yields awhile
To kind forgetfulness, while Fancy brings,
In waking dreams, that native land again!
Versailles appears--its painted galleries,
And rooms of regal splendour, rich with gold,
Where, by long mirrors multiply'd, the crowd
Paid willing homage--and, united there,
Beauty gave charms to empire--Ah! too soon
From the gay visionary pageant rous'd,
See the sad mourner start!--and, drooping, look
With tearful eyes and heaving bosom round
On drear reality--where dark'ning waves,
Urg'd by the rising wind, unheeded foam
Near her cold rugged seat:--To call her thence
A fellow-sufferer comes: dejection deep
Checks, but conceals not quite, the martial air,
And that high consciousness of noble blood,
Which he has learn'd from infancy to think
Exalts him o'er the race of common men:
Nurs'd in the velvet lap of luxury,
And fed by adulation--could he learn,
That worth alone is true Nobility?
And that the peasant who, "amid 5 the sons
"Of Reason, Valour, Liberty, and Virtue,
"Displays distinguish'd merit, is a Noble
"Of Nature's own creation!"--If even here,
If in this land of highly vaunted Freedom,
Even Britons controvert the unwelcome truth,
Can it be relish'd by the sons of France?
Men, who derive their boasted ancestry
From the fierce leaders of religious wars,
The first in Chivalry's emblazon'd page;
Who reckon Gueslin, Bayard, or De Foix,
Among their brave Progenitors? Their eyes,
Accustom'd to regard the splendid trophies
Of Heraldry (that with fantastic hand
Mingles, like images in feverish dreams,
"Gorgons and Hydras, and Chimeras dire,"
With painted puns, and visionary shapes;),
See not the simple dignity of Virtue,
But hold all base, whom honours such as these
Exalt not from the crowd 6 --As one, who long
Has dwelt amid the artificial scenes
Of populous City, deems that splendid shows,
The Theatre, and pageant pomp of Courts,
Are only worth regard; forgets all taste
For Nature's genuine beauty; in the lapse
Of gushing waters hears no soothing sound,
Nor listens with delight to sighing winds,
That, on their fragrant pinions, waft the notes
Of birds rejoicing in the trangled copse;
Nor gazes pleas'd on Ocean's silver breast,
While lightly o'er it sails the summer clouds
Reflected in the wave, that, hardly heard,
Flows on the yellow sands: so to his mind,
That long has liv'd where Despotism hides
His features harsh, beneath the diadem
Of worldly grandeur, abject Slavery seems,
If by that power impos'd, slavery no more:
For luxury wreathes with silk the iron bonds,
And hides the ugly rivets with her flowers,
Till the degenerate triflers, while they love
The glitter of the chains, forget their weight.
But more the Men, whose ill acquir'd wealth
Was wrung from plunder'd myriads, by the means
Too often legaliz'd by power abus'd,
Feel all the horrors of the fatal change,
When their ephemeral greatness, marr'd at once
(As a vain toy that Fortune's childish hand
Equally joy'd to fashion or to crush),
Leaves them expos'd to universal scorn
For having nothing else; not even the claim
To honour, which respect for Heroes past
Allows to ancient titles; Men, like these,
Sink even beneath the level, whence base arts
Alone had rais'd them;--unlamented sink,
And know that they deserve the woes they feel.
Poor wand'ring wretches! whosoe'er ye are,
That hopeless, houseless, friendless, travel wide
O'er these bleak russet downs; where, dimly seen,
The solitary Shepherd shiv'ring tends
His dun discolour'd flock (Shepherd, unlike
Him, whom in song the Poet's fancy crowns
With garlands, and his crook with vi'lets binds);
Poor vagrant wretches! outcasts of the world!
Whom no abode receives, no parish owns;
Roving, like Nature's commoners, the land
That boasts such general plenty: if the sight
Of wide-extended misery softens yours
Awhile, suspend your murmurs!--here behold
The strange vicissitudes of fate--while thus
The exil'd Nobles, from their country driven,
Whose richest luxuries were their's, must feel
More poignant anguish, than the lowest poor,
Who, born to indigence, have learn'd to brave
Rigid Adversity's depressing breath!--
Ah! rather Fortune's worthless favourites!
Who feed on England's vitals--Pensioners
Of base corruption, who, in quick ascent
To opulence unmerited, become
Giddy with pride, and as ye rise, forgetting
The dust ye lately left, with scorn look down
On those beneath ye (tho' your equals once
In fortune , and in worth superior still ,
They view the eminence, on which ye stand,
With wonder, not with envy; for they know
The means, by which ye reach'd it, have been such
As, in all honest eyes, degrade ye far
Beneath the poor dependent, whose sad heart
Reluctant pleads for what your pride denies);
Ye venal, worthless hirelings of a Court!
Ye pamper'd Parasites! whom Britons pay
For forging fetters for them; rather here
Study a lesson that concerns ye much;
And, trembling, learn, that if oppress'd too long,
The raging multitude, to madness stung,
Will turn on their oppressors; and, no more
By sounding titles and parading forms
Bound like tame victims, will redress themselves!
Then swept away by the resistless torrent,
Not only all your pomp may disappear,
But, in the tempest lost, fair Order sink
Her decent head, and lawless Anarchy
O'erturn celestial Freedom's radiant throne;--
As now in Gallia; where Confusion, born
Of party rage and selfish love of rule,
Sully the noblest cause that ever warm'd
The heart of Patriot Virtue 8 --There arise
The infernal passions; Vengeance, seeking blood,
And Avarice; and Envy's harpy fangs
Pollute the immortal shrine of Liberty,
Dismay her votaries, and disgrace her name.
Respect is due to principle; and they,
Who suffer for their conscience, have a claim,
Whate'er that principle may be, to praise.
These ill-starr'd Exiles then, who, bound by ties,
To them the bonds of honour; who resign'd
Their country to preserve them, and now seek
In England an asylum--well deserve
To find that (every prejudice forgot,
Which pride and ignorance teaches), we for them
Feel as our brethren; and that English hearts,
Of just compassion ever own the sway,
As truly as our element, the deep,
Obeys the mild dominion of the Moon--
This they have found; and may they find it still!
Thus may'st thou, Britain, triumph!--May thy foes,
By Reason's gen'rous potency subdued,
Learn, that the God thou worshippest, delights
In acts of pure humanity!--May thine
Be still such bloodless laurels! nobler far
Than those acquir'd at Cressy or Poictiers,
Or of more recent growth, those well bestow'd
On him who stood on Calpe's blazing height
Amid the thunder of a warring world,
Illustrious rather from the crowds he sav'd
From flood and fire, than from the ranks who fell
Beneath his valour!--Actions such as these,
Like incense rising to the Throne of Heaven,
Far better justify the pride, that swells
In British bosoms, than the deafening roar
Of Victory from a thousand brazen throats,
That tell with what success wide-wasting War
Has by our brave Compatriots thinned the world.

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The Highlanders: Part IV

NOW Winter pours his terrors o'er the plain,
And icy barriers close the wild domain,
From the fierce North the sweeping blast descends,
And drifted snow in wild confusion blends;
The Mountain-Cataract, whose thundering sound
Made echoes tremble in their caves around,
Now dashing with diminish'd majesty,
In frozen state suspended seems on high;
While in the midst a small contracted stream
Tinkles like rills that lull the shepherd's dream.
The River crusted o'er, and hid in snow,
Unfaithful tempts the traveller below;
While pools and boiling springs, unsafe beneath,
Betray th' unwary to the snares of death.
How awful now appears Night's silent reign!
Where lofty mountains bound the solemn scene.
While Nature, wrapt in chilly bright disguise,
And sunk in deep repose, unconscious lies;
And through the pure cerulean vault above,
In lucid order constellations move:
The milky-way, conspicuous glows on high.
Redoubled lustre sparkles through the sky;
And rapid splendours, from the dark-blue North,
In streams of brightness pour incessant forth;
While crusted mountain-snows reflect the light,
And radiance decks the sable brows of night.
Now, though their herds excite their anxious care,
Tir'd Labour slumbers with the shining share:
Short while they ply the flail, the scanty corn,
Dealt out with frugal care, employs the morn:
But social glee, around the cheerful hearth,
Lets loose the careless soul of rural mirth:
Bright burns the hearth, th' enlivening torches blaze,
The pipes awake the notes of former days:
Again they feel their ancient spirit rise,
And courage fires, or pity melts their eyes,
As love or war alternate swells the sound,
And hearts dilate, and bosoms glow around:
Yet even while frost comes bitter on the breeze,
Not all their nights are spent in social ease.
Some bolder spirits of the hardy race,
O'er snow-clad mountains wake the dangerous chase;
And some advent'rous youths, with fearless mind,
All thoughts of ease and safety leave behind,
The pathless wilds for wandering steers explore,
Climb the steep rock where nestling Falcons soar,
And heights by human feet untrod before.
There, danger threats in every hideous form,
There groans the Genius of the gathering storm;
And solitude forlorn, and frantic fear,
And howling blasts, and echoing caves are there.
Yet adamantine souls, and iron forms,
Hard brac'd by toil, and nurst among the storms,
Whom pleasure ne'er could melt, or terror freeze,
Can trace undaunted even such scenes as these;
Amidst the rattling hail erect their head,
And view serene the dwelling of the dead.
Where chiefs, who bore of old a mighty name,
In four grey stones concentre all their fame;
Where sleeps the hunter on the hill of heath,
By fancy pictur'd in the misty wreath,
Dim hovering o'er the narrow bed of death.
Yet when the wearied storm has spent its wrath,
Patient he still explores th' adjacent Strath :
By the pale moon he tracks the famish'd hare,
Who seeks among the cots her scanty fare:
At length, a distant light his steps invites,
To share the wonted hospitable rites;
Where plenteous cheer, and welcome's genial smiles,
In simple guise the wanderer's care beguiles;
The timely aid, the long-remember'd feast,
Are deep upon the stranger's mind impress'd,
And hope and gratitude distend his breast.
Deep in a narrow vale, unknown to song,
Where Maeshy leads her lucid stream along,
Then turns, as if unwilling to forsake
The peaceful bosom of her parent lake,
While her pure streams the polish'd pebbles show,
That through the native crystal shine below;
Upon her flow'ry banks there dwelt a Swain,
Who liv'd a stranger to the cultur'd plain:
He mov'd with active ease, and artless grace,
And manly spirit brighten'd in his face.
Fair on his cheek appear'd youth's mantling glow,
While lines of stedfast thought had mark'd his brow;
Alone, superior in the sylvan reign,
'Twas his to lead the life that poets feign,
Amidst luxuriant fruits, and crystal springs,
'Where the free soul looks down to pity kings.'
Yet while through woods and mountains wont to rove,
The pious youth excell'd in filial love;
For his lov'd parents, and their duteous race,
He search'd the flood, or urg'd the vent'rous chase:
And while o'er distant moors he lov'd to roam,
The fruit of all his toils enrich'd their home:
For them the deer resign'd his ample hide,
For them th' enamell'd roes their beauteous pride,
The otter's costly fur, the dappled fawn,
The leveret wounded in the dewy dawn:
No sylvan game their FARQUHAR'S pow'r withstood,
Who reign'd despotic o'er the pathless wood.
But see! where Winter fierce, array'd in storms,
With early fury Nature's face deforms;
And pours his snows with wild unwonted haste,
Ere scatter'd herds are brought from ev'ry waste,
Where they through summer months unheeded rang'd,
Or left the district to their home estrang'd.
Now FARQUHAR ceas'd thro' gloomy woods to roam,
And hastening downwards, sought his peaceful home,
The kindred smile, the dear paternal cot:
But while through new-fall'n snows he hail'd the spot,
His father with unwonted sternness cried,--
'While heedless you traverse the forest wide,
'Our little all, those heifers and those steers,
'Rear'd as a stock for our declining years,
'Your unregarded charge, have wander'd far,
'Where ridgy rocks the dangerous access bar;
'Or in the western Corry's depth profound,
'Where blasts in fatal eddies circle round:
'While sylvan sports your vigorous youth engage,
'Must penury and sorrow cloud our age.'
The generous youth heart-chill'd with anguish stood,
The 'light forsook his eyes, his cheeks the blood,'
Cold through his breast the new sensation came,
A stranger yet to censure or to shame;
Turning, he cried, 'I go, where to the west
'Declining suns in Ocean's bosom rest:
'I go, your wand'ring heifers to explore,
'To find them, or, alas! return no more.'
In sorrow thus he spoke, then turning round,
His variegated vest succinctly bound:
Array'd for speed, he westward bends his way,
While low the wintry sun forsakes the day:
His dog, the fleetest of the hunter kind,
Oft with reluctant wonder looks behind:
Then patient mounts the rock, and urges on,
Till the last glimpse of lingering day was gone.
Now wide and wild the dreary prospect shows
Where stars with glimmering light illume the snows,
Through fleecy clouds a dubious lustre spread,
Where Corryaric rears his lofty head:
Deep at his feet the dismal Corry lies,
Where dwells a spirit, hid from human eyes,
Whose magic art the fatal blast unties:
The fatal blast, incessant whirling round,
With horror fills the cavity profound:
The Demon, in the whirling drift disguis'd,
Has oft th' unweeting stranger here surpris'd;
And many a grave is seen with fox-glove crown'd,
When spring appears, with dewy locks unbound;
And many a plaintive ghost sad fancy forms,
And hears their hollow shriek amidst the storms.
Here FARQUHAR paus'd, look'd back, and shuddering saw
His faithful dog first shrink in silent awe,
Then, howling, trembling, fly with quicken'd pace,
To warn his master from the fatal place.
'Shall I too fly, (he cried) or trust the Pow'r
'Who guards us in the dark and silent hour?
'From whom commission'd blasts have leave to fly,
'Or sleep within the curtains of the sky.
'Strong in his strength these horrors I explore,
'By him protected, FARQUHAR fears no more.'
His plaid in ample folds around him cast,
The vent'rous youth ascends the steep in haste;
Loud from the Corry's depth arose the wind,
Unmov'd he heard the yelling blast behind,
And flying from the grim pursuit of death,
No backward look retrac'd the dangerous path.
Now high above the rolling clouds he goes,
Where clearer starlight brightens whiter snows;
Sublime on Corryaric's height he stood,
And all the wide horizon wond'ring view'd;
Through the pure air, where vision unconfin'd
Still ranges like the quick creative mind;
Saw where the sun, from ocean's fluid breast,
Begins his radiant progress in the East;
And where with milder majesty he shines,
When in the western wave his light declines:
Saw the long vista, where midst candy'd snows
The mighty depths of Ness appear unfroze.
Majestic lake! which rocky mountains bound,
Or steepy heights, with yew and holly crown'd;
Fed by thy tepid breath, each bordering tree
Still with reflected verdure shines in thee;
While wide the wintry blast in fury roves,
And strips the graceful foliage from the groves.
And when each neighbouring lake is chill'd to stone,
Warmth, health, and beauty, dwell with thee alone:
There birds disport, bedeck'd with plumage gay,
And snowy swans their stately pride display.
The ruthless tyrant of the frozen year,
Repell'd, retiring, shuns thy bosom clear;
Where downward skies are seen in azure dress'd,
Like heav'n's own image, in the guiltless breast.
And now the moon in cloudless splendour rose,
Where lofty Alps their snowy tops disclose:
And the wild Garrie , midst his ridgy zone,
To her pale beams an icy mirror shone:
There Moidart's hills in clustering groups appear,
And Aonich's slow ascent and piny summit here;
Knoidart's wild rocks in shapeless forms were seen,
And Oich with softer beauties deck'd the scene:
A while entranc'd, in solemn awe he gaz'd,
Then to the skies his raptur'd eyes he rais'd:
'And why (said he) should coward fears control,
'Or doubts desponding, sink the guiltless soul?
'The hand which bade those lofty summits rise,
'And with those living splendours deck'd the skies,
'Which move obedient to his dread command,--
'I dwell beneath the shadow of that hand.'
Then downwards to the sheltering glen he hies,
And close beneath the tangling thicket lies,
Which o'er the rocky cavity was spread,
Where wither'd leaves collected form'd his bed:
Exhausted nature sunk in sleep profound,
And peaceful visions lightly hover'd round.
Now bleak and dim the chilly morn arose,
And keen the North wind swept the glossy snows,
The blast loud rushing through the wither'd oak,
Arous'd his dog, and FARQUHAR starting woke:
Forlorn and sad, he cast his eyes around,
But in his view no living object found;
Nor track, save to a gloomy cavern near,
Where the false fox's bloody steps appear:
Resolv'd, he turns, intent to trace the way
From whence the nightly robber bore his prey;
For well he knew, at this inclement hour
No wand'ring flocks were subject to his pow'r;
But from some cot perhaps not far away,
He slunk insidious with his helpless prey.
Forward with eager speed again he goes,
And traces up th' ascent th' ensanguin'd snows;
Eastward he bends, till weak, and spent with toil,
He sees the new-fall'n snow his steps beguile;
The buried track no longer leads him on,
And strength, and fortitude, and hope, are gone.
The flaky torrent now conceals the sun,
And hunger faint to dim his sight begun;
Cheerless he turns, to seek the friendly shade
Where verdant hollies rose, amidst a glade;
But wond'ring starts, to see a lovely form
Who in the self-same shelter shunn'd the storm;
In youth's first bloom, and deck'd with matchless grace,
The morning's orient hues adorn'd her face:
He gaz'd, nor thought the maid of mortal race.
The snow-clad stranger gentle MORAIG saw,
And blushing turn'd, and shrunk with timid awe.
The beauteous vision FARQUHAR still survey'd,
And softly thus in suppliant accents said:
'Fair wanderer of the wood, if deck'd in light
'An airy spirit only cheats my sight;
'Or if a sister of the earth you come,
'No longer let me here bewilder'd roam;
'But to some peaceful harbour guide my path,
'Weary and faint, beneath the tempest's wrath
'I sink unpitied in the grasp of death.'
'Stranger! in evil hour you come,' she cries,
And lifts with soft concern her modest eyes:
'A helpless maid, unaided and alone,
'Perplex'd I wander here through paths unknown:
'An ewe last evening from our sheep-cot stray'd,
'In search of her I trace the lonely glade.'
'Vain search! (cries FARQUHAR ) for along the wood
'I track'd the guileful fox by marks of blood;
'But what are they, who leave those toils severe
'To female softness, and to maiden fear?
'Daughter of Beauty, say, what heart of stone
'Could bid thee trace those frozen wilds alone?'
'Hast thou not heard,' she faintly said, through sighs,
The big tears trembling in her lovely eyes,
'How, to assert the STUART'S ancient claim,
'To Moidart's wilds a youthful HERO came?
'To join his cause, in arms my kindred rose,
'And while they pour fierce vengeance on his foes,
'Forlorn and sad we tend their wonted care,
'And manly toils and dangers learn to bear:
'With me our mother anxious tends the flocks,
'My grandsire pensive shakes his silvery locks;
'While gloomy presages his mind engage,
'The trance of foresight, or the dream of age:
'But come, however fate decides our lot,
'And banish cold and hunger in our cot.'
The pitying maid, impatient, hastes before,
Again with wonder FARQUHAR views her o'er;
Her auburn locks with azure fillet bound,
Her snowy neck luxuriant shaded round;
Like some fair huntress of the times of old,
Whom, rapt in vision, gifted seers behold:
So FARQUHAR wond'ring sees the lovely form
Smooth gliding, light him through the thickening storm.
Glendoe , in high Schicuman's breast repos'd,
With streaming birch and hazel shades inclos'd,
Receiv'd the pair; where pendent o'er the lake
The aspin trembles, and the osiers shake.
While evening wraps the hills in shadows pale,
The careful matron spreads her frugal meal;
The younger children crowding round the fire,
Sadly their absent father's fate inquire:
The grandsire, narrative, recounts the wars,
Talks o'er the fatal pass, and shews his scars,
When sudden, like two wandering beams of light,
The youthful pair came full upon their sight.
The fire burns clear, the kindling torches blaze,
All eyes with new delight impatient gaze;
'Sweet MORAlG , sister dear!' with fondness wild,
The children cry, through tears the mother smil'd;
'Why lonely wandering through the drifted snow,
'Where gloomy Tarfe's enchanted waters flow?
'She cries, does MORAIG tempt the haunted path,
'Where lurking witchcraft spreads the snares of death?
'And who is this young wanderer of the chace,
'Whose looks bespeak some high-descended race;
'Who o'er these pathless wilds, unus'd to roam,
'With kindly care thus deigns to guide thee home?'
With downcast eyes the modest youth replied,
'An humble swain, to no high race allied,
'In hopeless search of wandering steers I come,
'By pity thus conducted to your home,--
'In my dim view imperfect objects swim,
'An icy torpor chills each weary limb:
'Too late, alas! my rashness I deplore,
'Doom'd to behold my pleasant home no more!'
Unfinish'd accents falter'd on his tongue,
And through his ears delusive murmurs rung;
The aged peasant saw youth's roses fade,
And propt the fainting swain with kindly aid:
With patient care the matron chafes him o'er,
While gradual warmth she labours to restore,
To bring the needful cordials MORAIG flies,
With soft compassion melting in her eyes.
By due attention now the youth restor'd,
Sees plenty deck and welcome cheer the board:
The hoary sire retraces former times,
Or valiant deeds recounts in rustic rhymes:
The matron, willing to amuse her guest,
Tells in what distant glen the cheese she press'd,
And how the monarch salmon's sportive young,
Snar'd in the brook, within the roof she hung:
How frugal care had made the viands last,
And how they still remain to finish the repast:
Fair MORAIG softly moves with silent care,
And pours the draught that crowns their simple fare.
Now social talk and song deceive their woes,
Till wearied Nature lulls them in repose.
The Genius of the storm his wrath forbore,
And rav'd among the leafless woods no more:
Calm silence brooded o'er the long dark night,
Till from the East arose the wish'd for light;
Now FARQUHAR , starting from his downy trance,
Beheld with joy the new-born day advance;
And bless'd with ardent gratitude the Pow'r
Who led him through that dark and dreadful hour;
And pray'd unnumber'd blessings on the fair
Who sav'd him from the wanderings of despair.
Wrapt in his manly garb of various hue,
He sallies forth the novel scene to view.
Thy waters, Ness! all hush'd to tranquil rest,
Reflected graces deck'd thy halcyon breast;
There URQUHART'S ruin'd castle gleam'd afar,
Disastrous relic of unhallow'd war!
The last sad shelter of unconquer'd worth,
When EDWARD'S iron sceptre bruis'd the North.
The shaded Inver , haunt of social peace,
Here bids his streams thy wat'ry stores increase,
And proudly boasts of his excelling Fair,
Their simple manners, and ingenuous air:
There Fyers with plaintive murmurs soothes his dells,
Where wild romantic Melancholy dwells;
And Tarfe , long wandering, hid in copses green,
To pour his tributary wave is seen.
Now strict inquiring from the swains around,
His wandering cattle's haunt young FARQUHAR found,
Deep in the shelter of a gloomy grove,
By rocks defended from the storm above,
They shunn'd, sequester'd in the narrow vale,
The blast tempestuous, and the rattling hail.
Clear was the freezing air, and bright the sky,
Short was the day, and now the sun grew high;
The cattle found,--no lingering can avail,
Yet still he feels his wonted spirits fail.
'Tis wrong to stay, but doubly hard to go,
A while he pauses--lost in tender woe:
'And shall I, helpless, friendless, leave the maid
'Whose pitying care my feeble steps convey'd?
'Whose gentle aid my fainting heart restor'd,
'Oh, were I of this lake's fair borders lord;
'Had I the joys of wealth, without its care,
'Those joys, that wealth, my lovely maid should share.'
The new sensation swelling in his heart,
Inspir'd the untaught swain with sudden art;
And thus in cautious Wisdom's solemn guise,
To veil his latent purpose FARQUHAR tries:
First to the courteous matron bending low,--
'You, to whose care my rescu'd life I owe,
'Whose tender fears your absent friends deplore,
'May heaven triumphant soon those friends restore!
'Yet while their standard flies on Southern plains,
'To till your fields no manly hand remains;
'The coming Spring will soon your cares engage,
'With toils unfit for childhood or for age:
'So short the freezing day, so deep the snow,
'No cattle o'er the mountain path can go.
'Warm shelter'd in yon busy glen behind,
'My steers repose, and food and safety find;
'But when relenting Spring shall smile a-new,
'Again your hospitable hearth I'll view;
'And faithful, like a brother or a son,
'Will till your fields till May's bright days come on;
'And while warm life her vital pow'r retains,
'And truth, and sense, and memory remains:
'Should penury, or sad mischance betide
'My friendly hostess, or my gentle guide,
'My kindred, mindful of the generous deed,
'Shall yield them shelter in the hour of need.'
The matron, pleas'd, accepts the promis'd aid,
In silence meek assents the grateful maid.
Serene and peaceful smil'd the shortening day,
And FARQUHAR now unwilling hastes away:
Yet oft he turn'd, as inly loth to go,
And bless'd the gentle inmates of Glendoe .
Now doubly welcome to his native vale,
Of war's alarms he tells th' awakening tale,
And keen recounts what all his kindred owe
For hospitable rites in fair Glendoe .
Now all the North grew bright with hostile arms,
From every hill resound the loud alarms,
And rumour tells, in shrill discordant tones,
Of vanquish'd monarchs, and of tottering thrones.
But FARQUHAR reckless of the fatal strife,
Still pass'd in tranquil shades his blameless life;
And chid the hours, and thought the sun too slow
That rose to light him to his lov'd Glendoe .
Sweet April deck'd with primrose wreath appears,
And smiles, like harmless infancy, through tears;
When, through the pathless hills, th' advent'rous swain
His MORAIG'S peaceful dwelling sought again.
In vain he casts around his searching eyes,
From every side the smoky columns rise,
And savage shouts are heard, and doleful cries!
While from the mountain's top he views a-far
The barbarous traces of unsparing war,
Irresolute he stands, to turn, or go,
Urg'd by despair to meet the ruthless foe;
Resolv'd at last, he seeks the dark retreat
Where lovely MORAIG first he chanc'd to meet,
In hopes some victim of disastrous fate,
Hid in those shades, might aught of her relate.
Her grandsire there, deep sorrowing on the ground,
With haggard looks, in silent woe he found.
'Oh tell, good father, tell what wretched lot
'Befel the blameless inmates of thy cot;
'Have they obey'd the victor's stern command,
'Or fled for succour to some happier land?'
'Say where, my son, should helpless females go?
'A happier land than this they ne'er can know.
'They make their bed beneath th' inclement sky,
'And meet with sorrow wheresoe'er they fly:
'Deep in yon secret glen, within those shades,
'Whose privacy no hostile step invades,
'Where your lost steers avoid the wintry blast,
'They rest conceal'd, till this dread hour be past:
'My sons, with blood deform'd, and faint with wounds,
'Last night came from Culloden's fatal bounds,
'And shelter in a neighbouring cave, while I
'Th' approach of danger here attend to spy.'
Now FARQUHAR'S glowing cheek and heaving breast
The strong emotions of his soul confess'd:
'Come, father, haste to quit this scene of woe,
'First to the cave to seek the warriors go;
'Then let us fly to MORAIG'S secret glen,
'And shun the blood-stain'd haunts of impious men;
'Through dark Glenmarky's woods I know a way,
'Impervious to the searching eye of day:
'Through that lone path your secret steps I'll guide,
'Where plenty dwells on Maeshie's grassy side.
'Beneath my father's roof my only love
'Shall to the aged pair a daughter prove:
'Their ancient home, though destin'd thus to leave,
'Let not my gentle MORAIG'S kindred grieve:
'Endear'd by ties of sympathy divine,
'Henceforth be gentle MORAIG'S kindred mine.'
The wounded warriors, and the sorrowing sage,
Now sought the darling comforts of their age:
Through tears the matron views her long-lost mate,
And all their various tales of woe relate.
To go is danger--but 'tis death to stay,
Beneath the moon's wan beams they take their way;
With Heaven their trust, and FARQUHAR for their guide,
They reach the winding Maeshie's peaceful side;
There cheer'd by welcome, sooth'd by grateful love,
They built their humble dwelling in the grove.

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