France and China feed from your demise,
Restaurateurs are not exactly chums,
Oh how they rave about your tender thighs!
Gourmand orders - another frog succumbs…
Copyright © Mark R Slaughter 2010
You Are Not the Loyal and Devoted Kind
Did you think I would chase?
And you were worthy of that adventure?
Did you think I would wait?
For my telephone to ring...
Anticipating a call from you?
Pacing the floor,
Wondering our fate.
Did you believe the love I have...
Would not exist if not for you?
When I said I loved you...
I do and that was true.
I did not propose marriage,
To say I do's.
But I am glad you are confirming,
Your feelings for me.
I'm just someone you enjoy the act of sex.
But having a relationship...
Scares you half the death.
I wont pressure you.
And when you hear me say,
I love you, again...
It's not to entrap...
I don't want a pet.
Or a monkey on my back.
I want someone near...
Who wishes to share and not fear.
And you have made it clear...
You are not the loyal and devoted kind!
And I am,
I don't give up something good,
I have revamped my training methods.
- quotes about monkeys
- quotes about telephone
- quotes about worry
- quotes about wedding
- quotes about sex
- quotes about love
- quotes about fate
- quotes about death
- quotes about beauty
The Merchant of Venice,: A Legend of Italy
I believe there are few
But have heard of a Jew,
Named Shylock, of Venice, as arrant a 'screw'
In money transactions as ever you knew;
An exorbitant miser, who never yet lent
A ducat at less than three hundred per cent.,
Insomuch that the veriest spendthrift in Venice,
Who'd take no more care of his pounds than his pennies,
When press'd for a loan, at the very first sight
Of his terms, would back out, and take refuge in Flight.
It is not my purpose to pause and inquire
If he might not, in managing thus to retire,
Jump out of the frying-pan into the fire;
Suffice it, that folks would have nothing to do,
Who could possibly help it, with Shylock the Jew.
But, however discreetly one cuts and contrives,
We've been most of us taught in the course of our lives,
That 'Needs must when the Elderly Gentleman drives!'
In proof of this rule,
A thoughtless young fool,
Bassanio, a Lord of the Tomnoddy school,
Who, by showing at Operas, Balls, Plays, and Court,
A 'swelling' (Payne Collier would read 'swilling') 'port,'
And inviting his friends to dine, breakfast, and sup,
Had shrunk his 'weak means,' and was 'stump'd,' and 'hard up,'
Took occasion to send
To his very good friend
Antonio, a merchant whose wealth had no end,
And who'd often before had the kindness to lend
Him large sums, on his note, which he'd managed to spend.
'Antonio,' said he, 'Now listen to me;
I've just hit on a scheme which, I think you'll agree,
All matters consider'd, is no bad design,
And which, if it succeeds, will suit your book and mine.
'In the first place, you know all the money I've got,
Time and often, from you has been long gone to pot,
And in making those loans you have made a bad shot;
Now do as the boys do when, shooting at sparrows
And tom-tits, they chance to lose one of their arrows,
-- Shoot another the same way -- I'll watch well its track,
And, turtle to tripe, I'll bring both of them back!
So list to my plan,
And do what you can,
To attend to and second it, that's a good man!
'There's a Lady, young, handsome, beyond all compare, at
A place they call Belmont, whom, when I was there, at
The suppers and parties my friend Lord Mountferrat
Was giving last season, we all used to stare at,
Then, as to her wealth, her solicitor told mine,
Besides vast estates, a pearl fishery, and gold mine,
Her iron strong box
Seems bursting its locks,
It's stuffed so with shares in 'Grand Junctions,' and 'Docks,'
Not to speak of the money's she's got in the stocks,
French, Dutch, and Brazilian, Columbian, and Chilian,
In English Exchequer-bills full half a million,
Not 'kites,' manufactured to cheat and inveigle,
But the right sort of 'flimsy,' all signed by Monteagle.
Then I know not how much in Canal-shares and Railways
And more speculations I need not detail, ways
Of vesting which, if not so safe as some think'em,
Contribute a deal to improving one's income;
In short, she's a Mint!
-- Now I say, deuce is in't
If with all my experience, I can't take a hint,
And her 'eye's speechless messages,' plainer than print
At the time that I told you of, know from a squint,
In short, my dear Tony,
My trusty old crony,
Do stump up three thousand once more as a loan -- I
Am sure of my game -- though, of course there are brutes,
Of all sorts and sizes, preferring their suits
To her you may call the Italian Miss Coutts,
Yet Portia -- she's named from that daughter of Cato's--
Is not to be snapp'd up like little potatoes,
And I have not a doubt I shall rout every lout
Ere you'll whisper Jack Robinson -- cut them all out --
Surmount every barrier, Carry her, marry her!
-- Then hey! my old Tony, when once fairly noosed,
For her Three-and-a-half per cents -- New and Reduced!'
With a wink of his eye His friend made reply
In his jocular manner, sly, caustic, and dry.
'Still the same boy, Bassanio -- never say 'die'!
-- Well -- I hardly know how I shall do't, but I'll try.--
Don't suppose my affairs are at all in a hash,
But the fact is, at present I'm quite out of cash;
The bulk of my property, merged in rich cargoes, is
Tossing about, as you know, in my Argosies,
Tending, of course, my resources to cripple,-- I
've one bound to England,-- another to Tripoli--
Cyprus -- Masulipatam -- and Bombay;--
A sixth, by the way, I consigned t'other day
To Sir Gregor M'Gregor, Cacique of Poyais,
A country where silver's as common as clay.
Meantime, till they tack, And come, some of them, back,
What with Custom-house duties, and bills falling due,
My account with Jones Loyd and Co. looks rather blue;
While, as for the 'ready,' I'm like a Church-mouse,--
I really don't think there's five pounds in the house.
But, no matter for that,
Let me just get my hat,
And my new silk umbrella that stands on the mat,
And we'll go forth at once to the market -- we two,--
And try what my credit in Venice can do;
I stand well on 'Change, and, when all's said and done, I
Don't doubt I shall get it for love or for money.'
They were going to go,
When, lo! down below,
In the street, they heard somebody crying, 'Old Clo'!'
--'By the Pope, there's the man for our purpose!-- I knew
We should not have to search long. Salanio, run you,
-- Salarino,-- quick!-- haste! ere he get out of view,
And call in that scoundrel, old Shylock the Jew!'
With a pack,
Like a sack
Of old clothes at his back,
And three hats on his head, Shylock came in a crack,
Saying, 'Rest you fair, Signior Antonio!-- vat, pray,
Might your vorship be pleashed for to vant in ma vay!'
--'Why, Shylock, although, As you very well know,
I am what they call 'warm,'-- pay my way as I go,
And, as to myself, neither borrow nor lend,
I can break through a rule to oblige an old friend;
And that's the case now -- Lord Bassanio would raise
Some three thousand ducats -- well,-- knowing your ways,
And that nought's to be got from you, say what one will,
Unless you've a couple of names to the bill,
Why, for once, I'll put mine to it,
Yea, seal and sign to it --
Now, then, old Sinner, let's hear what you'll say
As to 'doing' a bill at three months from to-day?
Three thousand gold ducats, mind -- all in good bags
Of hard money -- no sealing-wax, slippers, or rags?'
'-- Vell, ma tear,' says the Jew, 'I'll see vat I can do!
But Mishter Antonio, hark you, 'tish funny
You say to me, 'Shylock, ma tear, ve'd have money!'
Ven you very vell knows, How you shpit on ma clothes,
And use naughty vords -- call me Dog -- and avouch
Dat I put too much int'resht py half in ma pouch,
And vhile I, like de resht of ma tribe, shrug and crouch,
You find fault mit ma pargains, and say I'm a Smouch.
-- Vell!--n o matters, ma tear,-- Von vord in your ear!
I'd be friends mit you bote -- and to make dat appear,
Vy, I'll find you de monies as soon as you vill,
Only von littel joke musht be put in de pill;
Ma tear, you musht say,
If on such and such day
Such sum or such sums, you shall fail to repay,
I shall cut vere I like, as de pargain is proke,
A fair pound of your flesh -- chest by vay of a joke.'
So novel a clause Caused Bassanio to pause;
But Antonio, like most of those sage 'Johnny Raws'
Who care not three straws
About Lawyers or Laws,
And think cheaply of 'Old Father Antic,' because
They have never experienced a gripe from his claws,
'Pooh pooh'd' the whole thing.--'Let the Smouch have his way,
Why, what care I, pray,
For his penalty?-- Nay,
It's a forfeit he'd never expect me to pay:
And, come what come may, I hardly need say
My ships will be back a full month ere the day.'
So, anxious to see his friend off on his journey,
And thinking the whole but a paltry concern, he
Affixed with all speed
His name to a deed,
Duly stamp'd and drawn up by a sharp Jew attorney.
Thus again furnish'd forth, Lord Bassanio, instead
Of squandering the cash, after giving one spread,
With fiddling and masques, at the Saracen's Head,
In the morning 'made play,' And without more delay,
Started off in the steam-boat for Belmont next day.
But scarcely had he
From the harbour got free,
And left the Lagunes for the broad open sea,
Ere the 'Change and Rialto both rung with the news
That he'd carried off more than mere cash from the Jew's.
Though Shylock was old,
And, if rolling in gold,
Was as ugly a dog as you' wish to behold,
For few in his tribe 'mongst their Levis and Moseses,
Sported so Jewish an eye, beard, and nose as his,
Still, whate'er the opinion of Horace and some be,
Your aquilæ generate sometimes Columbæ,
Like Jephthah, as Hamlet says, he'd 'one fair daughter,'
And every gallant, who caught sight of her, thought her,
A jewel -- a gem of the very first water;
A great many sought her,
Till one at last caught her,
And, upsetting all that the Rabbis had taught her,
To feelings so truly reciprocal brought her,
That the very same night Bassanio thought right
To give all his old friends that farewell 'invite,'
And while Shylock was gone there to feed out of spite,
On 'wings made by a tailor' the damsel took flight.
By these 'wings' I'd express
A grey duffle dress,
With brass badge and muffin cap, made, as by rule,
For an upper-class boy in the National School.
Jessy ransack'd the house, popp'd her breeks on, and when so
Disguised, bolted off with her beau -- one Lorenzo,
An 'Unthrift,' who lost not a moment in whisking
Her into the boat,
And was fairly afloat
Ere her Pa had got rid of the smell of the griskin.
Next day, while old Shylock was making a racket,
And threatening how well he'd dust every man's jacket
Who'd help'd her in getting aboard of the packet,
Bassanio at Belmont was capering and prancing,
And bowing, and scraping, and singing, and dancing,
Making eyes at Miss Portia, and doing his best
To perform the polite, and to cut out the rest;
And, if left to herself, he, no doubt, had succeeded,
For none of them waltz'd so genteelly as he did;
But an obstacle lay, Of some weight, in his way,
The defunct Mr. P. who was now turned to clay,
Had been an odd man, and, though all for the best he meant,
Left but a queer sort of 'Last will and testament,'--
Bequeathing her hand,
With her houses and land,
&c., from motives one don't understand,
As she rev'renced his memory, and valued his blessing,
To him who should turn out the best hand at guessing!
Like a good girl, she did
Just what she was bid,
In one of three caskets her picture she hid,
And clapp'd a conundrum a-top of each lid.
A couple of Princes, a black and a white one,
Tried first, but they both fail'd in choosing the right one.
Another from Naples, who shoe'd his own horses;
A French Lord, whose graces might vie with Count D'Orsay's;--
A young English Baron;-- a Scotch Peer his neighbour;--
A dull drunken Saxon, all moustache and sabre;
All follow'd, and all had their pains for their labour.
Bassanio came last -- happy man be his dole!
Put his conjuring cap on,-- considered the whole,--
The gold put aside as
Mere 'hard food for Midas,'
The silver bade trudge
As a 'pale common drudge;'
Then choosing the little lead box in the middle,
Came plump on the picture, and found out the riddle.
Now, you're not such a goose as to think, I dare say,
Gentle Reader, that all this was done in a day,
Any more than the dome Of St. Peter's at Rome
Was built in the same space of time; and, in fact,
Whilst Bassanio was doing
His billing and cooing,
Three months had gone by ere he reach'd the fifth act;
Meanwhile that unfortunate bill became due,
Which his Lordship had almost forgot, to the Jew,
And Antonio grew In a deuce of a stew,
For he could not cash up, spite of all he could do;
(The bitter old Israelite would not renew,)
What with contrary winds, storms, wrecks, and embargoes, his
Funds were all stopp'd, or gone down in his argosies,
None of the set having come into port,
And Shylock's attorney was moving the Court
For the forfeit supposed to be set down in sport.
The serious news
Of this step of the Jew's,
And his fix'd resolution all terms to refuse,
Gave the newly-made Bridegroom a fit of 'the Blues,'
Especially, too, as it came from the pen
Of his poor friend himself on the wedding-day,-- then,
When the Parson had scarce shut his book up, and when
The Clerk was yet uttering the final Amen.
'Dear Friend,' it continued, 'all's up with me -- I
Have nothing on earth now to do but to die!
And, as death clears all scores, you're no longer my debtor;
I should take it as kind
Could you come -- never mind --
If your love don't persaude you, why,-- don't let this letter!'
I hardly need say this was scarcely read o'er
Ere a post-chaise and four
Was brought round to the door
And Bassanio, though, doubtless, he thought it a bore,
Gave his Lady one kiss, and then started at score.
But scarce in his flight
Had he got out of sight
Ere Portia, addressing a groom, said, 'My lad, you a
Journey must take on the instant to Padua;
Find out there Bellario,a Doctor of Laws,
Who, like Follett, is never left out of a cause,
And give him this note,
Which I've hastily wrote,
Take the papers he'll give you -- then push for the ferry
Below, where I'll meet you, you'll do't in a wherry,
If you can't find a boat on the Brenta with sails to it
-- Stay, bring his gown too, and wig with three tails to it.'
Giovanni (that's Jack)
Brought out his hack,
Made a bow to his mistress, then jump'd on its back,
Put his hand to his hat, and was off in a crack.
The Signora soon follow'd herself, taking as her
Own escort Nerissa her maid, and Balthasar.
'The Court is prepared, the Lawyers are met,
The Judges all ranged, a terrible show!'
As Captain Macheath says,-- and when one's in debt,
The sight's as unpleasant a one as I know,
Yet still not so bad after all, I suppose,
As if, when one cannot discharge what one owes,
They should bid people cut off one's toes or one's nose;
Yet here, a worse fate,
Stands Antonio, of late
A Merchant, might vie e'en with Princes in state,
With his waistcoat unbutton'd, prepared for the knife,
Which, in taking a pound of flesh, must take his life;
-- On the other side Shylock, his bag on the floor,
And three shocking bad hats on his head, as before,
As he waits their commands
With his scales and his great snicker-snee in his hands:
-- Between them, equipt in a wig, gown and bands,
With a very smooth face, a young dandified Lawyer,
Whose air, ne'ertheless, speaks him quite a top-sawyer,
Though his hopes are but feeble,
Does his possible
To make the hard Hebrew to mercy incline,
And in lieu of his three thousand ducats take nine,
Which Bassanio, for reasons we well may divine,
Shows in so many bags all drawn up in a line.
But vain are all efforts to soften him -- still
He points to the bond He so often has conn'd,
And says in plain terms he'll be shot if he will.
So the dandified Lawyer, with talking grown hoarse,
Says, 'I can say no more -- let the law take its course.'
Just fancy the gleam of the eye of the Jew,
As he sharpen'd his knife on the sole of his shoe
From the toe to the heel, And grasping the steel,
With a business-like air was beginning to feel
Whereabouts he should cut, as a butcher would veal,
When the dandified Judge puts a spoke in his wheel.
'Stay, Shylock,' says he, Here's one thing -- you see
This bond of yours gives you here no jot of blood!
-- The words are 'A pound of flesh,'-- that's clear as mud --
Slice away, then, old fellow -- but mind!-- if you spill
One drop of his claret that's not in your bill,
I'll hang you, like Haman?-- By Jingo I will!'
When apprised of this flaw, You never yet saw
Such an awfully mark'd elongation of jaw
As in Shylock, who cried, 'Plesh ma heart! ish dat law?'--
Off went his three hats,
And he look'd as the cats
Do, whenever a mouse has escaped from their claw.
'-- Ish't the law?'-- why the thing won't admit of a query --
'No doubt of the fact,
Only look at the act;
Acto quinto, cap. tertio, Dogi Falieri --
Nay, if, rather than cut, you'd relinquish the debt,
The Law, Master Shy, has a hold on you yet.
See Foscari's 'Statutes at large'--'If a Stranger
A Citizen's life shall, with malice, endanger,
The whole of his property, little or great,
Shall go, on conviction, one half to the State,
And one to the person pursued by his hate;
And, not to create
Any farther debate,
The Doge, if he pleases, may cut off his pate.'
So down on your marrowbones, Jew, and ask mercy!
Defendant and Plaintiff are now wisy wersy.'
What need to declare
How pleased they all were
At so joyful an end to so sad an affair?
Or Bassanio's delight at the turn things had taken,
His friend having saved, to the letter, his bacon?--
How Shylock got shaved, and turn'd Christian, though late,
To save a life-int'rest in half his estate?
How the dandified Lawyer, who'd managed the thing,
Would not take any fee for his pains but a ring
Which Mrs. Bassanio had given to her spouse,
With injunctions to keep it on leaving the house?--
How when he, and the spark
Who appeared as his clerk,
Had thrown off their wigs, and their gowns, and their jetty coats,
There stood Nerissa and Portia in petticoats?--
How they pouted, and flouted, and acted the cruel,
Because Lord Bassanio had not kept his jewel?--
How they scolded and broke out,
Till having their joke out,
They kissed, and were friends, and, all blessing and blessed,
Drove home by the light
Of a moonshiny night,
Like the one in which Troilus, the brave Trojan knight,
Sat astride on a wall, and sigh'd after his Cressid?--
All this, if 'twere meet,
I'd go on to repeat,
But a story spun out so's by no means a treat,
So, I'll merely relate what, in spite of the pains
I have taken to rummage among his remains,
No edition of Shakspeare, I've met with, contains;
But, if the account which I've heard be the true one,
We shall have it, no doubt, before long, in a new one.
In an MS., then sold
For its full weight in gold,
And knock'd down to my friend, Lord Tomnoddy, I'm told
It's recorded that Jessy, coquettish and vain,
Gave her husband, Lorenzo, a good deal of pain;
Being mildly rebuked, she levanted again,
Ran away with a Scotchman, and, crossing the main,
Became known by the name of the 'Flower of Dumblane.'
That Antonio, whose piety caused, as we've seen,
Him to spit upon every old Jew's gaberdine,
And whose goodness to paint
All colours were faint,
Acquired the well-merited prefix of 'Saint,'
And the Doge, his admirer, of honour the fount,
Having given him a patent, and made him a Count,
He went over to England, got nat'ralis'd there,
And espous'd a rich heiress in Hanover Square.
That Shylock came with him; no longer a Jew,
But converted, I think may be possibly true,
But that Walpole, as these self-same papers aver,
By changing the y in his name into er,
Should allow him a fictitious surname to dish up,
And in Seventeen-twenty-eight make him a Bishop,
I cannot believe--but shall still think them two men
Till some Sage proves the fact 'with his usual acumen.'
From this tale of the Bard
It's uncommonly hard
If an editor can't draw a moral.--'Tis clear,
Then,-- In ev'ry young wife-seeking Bachelor's ear
A maxim, 'bove all other stories, this one drums,
'PITCH GREEK TO OLD HARRY, AND STICK TO CONUNDRUMS!!'
To new-married ladies this lesson it teaches,
'You're "no that far wrong" in assuming the breeches!'
Monied men upon 'Change, and rich Merchants it schools
To look well to assets -- nor play with edge tools!
Last of all, this remarkable History shows men,
What caution they need when they deal with old-clothesmen!
So bid John and Mary
To mind and be wary,
And never let one of them come down the are'
- quotes about Israel
- quotes about elders
- quotes about Venice
- quotes about friendship
- quotes about cooking
- quotes about treasury
- quotes about dollars
- quotes about pain
- quotes about humor
A Love Song
I really do appreciate the fact you're sittin' here
Your voice sounds so wonderful
But yer face don't look too clear
Bar maid bring a pitcher, another round o' brew
"alright let's here it"
Why (don't we get drunk and screw)
"you're on the record!"
Why don't we get drunk and screw
I just bought a water bed, it's filled up for me and you
They say you are a snuff queen
Honey i don't think that's true
So, why don't we get drunk and screw.
"i can't wait for 'em to put that label on my live album. you're sounding absolutely wonderful out there, but we have invited the all girls choir from lima, ohio down here and we can't here
Too well now. we'd like all of you gentlemen out in the audience to just sorta take a break, sit back and let's let these beautiful women of the nineties tell us how they feel about it. ladies
Ou ready? on the count of four. one, two, three, four."
Why (don't we get drunk and screw)
I just bought a waterbed it's filled up with elmer's glue."
They say you are a snuff queen
Let's see what all you macho men can do
Why (don't we get drunk and screw)
Why don't we get drunk and screw
"i think we better work this out amongst ourselves."
Why don't we get drunk and screw, oooh yeah
Why is it that you...
And others with your point of view,
Believe it is perfectly okay...
To re-appear as you please,
In the lives of those you have dismissed...
As being too direct with their candid honesty,
While making it an additional excuse for you...
To perceive the spoken truth as evil!
What makes you believe,
You and your unresolved issues...
Are sweetened treats,
You will tease others...
By keeping your headaches away.
People are living with a higher expectation,
To spend their time with others...
In the search for a higher consciousness.
You can decide to go in and out of hiding,
To protect your immature sensitivities...
For the rest of your life!
You can decide that priding your stubbornness,
Excites others into a frenzied curiousity...
To begin to question your whereabouts.
I wish to leave you with this comment made,
Your desire to keep revisiting a mental debilitating outlook...
Is on you!
And is a view only you and others delighting it explore.
But those who are seeking to open closed doors...
And remove locks from their uptight minds,
Are not trying to find ways to move around in darkness.
Many people today,
Are seeking to remove clouds from their visions.
And you apparently...
Will never see the importance to prioritize,
The connecting of those dots!
You have taught me a lot...
The Youth of England To Garibaldi's Legend
O ye who by the gaping earth
Where, faint with resurrection, lay
An empire struggling into birth,
Her storm-strown beauty cold with clay,
The free winds round her flowery head,
Her feet still rooted with the dead,
Leaned on the unconquered arms that clave
Her tomb like Judgment, and foreknew
The life for which you rent the grave,
Would rise to breathe, beam, beat for you,
In every pulse of passionate mood,
A people's glorious gratitude,-
But heard, far off, the mobled woe
Of some new plaintiff for the light;
And leave your dear reward, and go
In haste, yet once again to smite
The hills, and, like a flood, unlock
Another nation from the rock;
Oh ye who, sure of nought but God
And death, go forth to turn the page
Of life, and in your heart's best blood
Date anew the chaptered age;
Ye o'er whom, as the abyss
O'er Curtius, sundered worlds shall kiss,
Do ye dream what ye have done?
What ye are and shall be? Nay,
Comets rushing to the sun,
And dyeing the tremendous way
With glory, look not back, nor know
How they blind the earth below.
From wave to wave our race rolls on,
In seas that rise, and fall, and rise;
Our tide of Man beneath the moon
Sets from the verge to yonder skies;
Throb after throb the ancient might
In such a thousand hills renews the earliest height.
'Tis something, o'er that moving vast,
To look across the centuries
Which heave the purple of a past
That was, and is not, and yet is,
And in that awful light to see
The crest of far Thermopylæ,
And, as a fisher draws his fly
Ripple by ripple, from shore to shore,
To draw our floating gaze, and try
The more by less, the less by more,
And find a peer to that sublime
Old height in the last surge of time.
'Tis something: yet great Clio's reed,
Greek with the sap of Castaly,
In her most glorious word midway
Begins to weep and bleed;
And Clio, lest she burn the line
Hides her blushing face divine,
While that maternal muse, so white
And lean with trying to forget,
Moves her mute lips, and, at the sight,
As if all suns that ever set
Slanted on a mortal ear
What man can feel but cannot hear,
We know, and know not how we know,
That when heroic Greece uprist,
Sicilia broke a daughter's vow,
And failed the inexorable tryst,-
We know that when those Spartans drew
Their swords-too many and too few!-
A presage blanched the Olympian hill
To moonlight: the old Thunderer nods;
But all the sullen air is chill
With rising Fates and younger gods.
Jove saw his peril and spake: one blind
Pale coward touched them with mankind.
What, then, on that Sicanian ground
Which soured the blood of Greece to shame,
To make the voice of praise resound
A triumph that, if Grecian fame
Blew it on her clarion old,
Had warmed the silver trump to gold!
What, then, brothers! to brim o'er
The measure Greece could scarcely brim,
And, calling Victory from the dim
Of that remote Thessalian shore,
Make his naked limbs repeat
What in the harness of defeat
He did of old; and, at the head
Of modern men, renewing thus
Thermopylæ, with Xerxes fled
And every Greek Leonidas,
Untitle the proud Past and crown
The heroic ages in our own!
Oh ye, whom they who cry 'how long'
See, and-as nestlings in the nest
Sink silent-sink into their rest;
Oh ye, in whom the Right and Wrong
That this old world of Day and Night
Crops upon its black and white,
Shall strike, and, in the last extremes
Of final best and worst, complete
The circuit of your light and heat;
Oh ye who walk upon our dreams,
And live, unknowing how or why
The vision and the prophecy,
In every tabernacled tent-
Eat shew-bread from the altar, and wot
Not of it-drink a sacrament
At every draught and know it not-
Breathe a nobler year whose least
Worst day is as the fast and feast
Of men-and, with such steps as chime
To nothing lower than the ears
Can hear to whom the marching spheres
Beat the universal time
Thro' our Life's perplexity,
March the land and sail the sea,
O'er those fields where Hate hath led
So oft the hosts of Crime and Pain-
March to break the captive's chain,
To heal the sick, to raise the dead,
And, where the last deadliest rout
Of furies cavern, to cast out
Those Dæmons,-ay, to meet the fell
Foul belch of swarming Satan hot
From Ætna, and down Ætna's throat
Drench that vomit back to hell-
In the east your star doth burn;
The tide of Fate is on the turn;
The thrown powers that mar or make
Man's good lie shed upon the sands,
Or on the wave about to break
Are flotsam that nor swims nor stands;
Earth is cold and pale, a-swoon
With fear; to the watch-tower of noon
The sun climbs sick and sorrowful,
Or, like clouded Cæsar, doth fold
His falling greatness to behold
Some crescent evil near the full.
Hell flickers; and the sudden reel
Of fortune, stopping in mid-wheel
Till the shifted current blows,
Clacks the knocking balls of chance
And the metred world's advance
Pauses at the rhythmic close;
One stave is ended, and the next
Chords its discords on the vext
And tuning Time: this is the hour
When weak Nature's need should be
The Hero's opportunity,
And heart and hand are Right and Power,
And he who will not serve may reign,
And who dares well dares nought in vain.
Behind you History stands a-gape;
On either side the incarnadine
Hot nations in whom war's wild wine
Burns like vintage thro' the grape,
See you, ruddy with the morn
Of Freedom, see you, and for scorn
As on that old day of wrath
The hosts drew off in hope and doubt,
And the shepherd-boy stept out
To sling Judæa upon Gath,
Furl in two, and, still as stone,
Like a red sea let you on.
On! ay tho' at war's alarms
That sea should flood into a foe!
On! the horns of Jericho
Blow when Virtue blows to arms.
Numberless or numbered-on!
Men are millions, God is one.
On! who waits for favouring gales?
What hap can ground your Argosy?
A nation's blessings fill your sails,
And tho' her wrongs scorched ocean dry,
Yet ah! her blood and tears could roll
Another sea from pole to pole.
On! day round ye, summer bloom
Beneath, in your young veins the bliss
Of youth! Who asks more? Ask but this,
-And ask as One will ask at Doom-
If lead be true, if steel be keen?
If hearts be pure, if hands be clean?
On! night round ye, the worst roak
Of Fortune poisoning all youth's bliss;
Each grass a sword, each Delphic oak
An omen! Who dreads? Dread but this,-
Blunted steel and lead unsure,
Hands unclean and hearts impure!
Full of love to God and man
As girt Martha's wageless toil;
Gracious as the wine and oil
Of the good Samaritan;
Healing to our wrongs and us
As Abraham's breast to Lazarus;
Piteous as the cheek that gave
Its patience to the smiter, still
Rendering nought but good for ill,
Tho' the greatest good ye have
Be iron, and your love and ruth
Speak but from the cannon's mouth-
On! you servants of the Lord,
In the right of servitude
Reap the life He sowed, and blood
His frenzied people with the sword,
And the blessing shall be yours,
That falls upon the peacemakers!
Ay, tho' trump and clarion blare,
Tho' your charging legions rock
Earth's bulwarks, tho' the slaughtered air
Be carrion, and the encountered shock
Of your clashing battles jar
The rung heav'ns, this is Peace, not War
With that two-edged sword that cleaves
Crowned insolence to awe,
And whose backward lightning leaves
Licence stricken into law,
Fill, till slaves and tyrants cease,
The sacred panurgy of peace!
Peace, as outraged peace can rise
When her eye that watched and prayed
Sees upon the favouring skies
The great sign, so long delayed,
And from hoofed and trampled sod
She leaps transfigured to a god,
Meets amid her smoking land
The chariot of careering War,
Locks the whirlwind of his car,
Wrests the thunder from his hand,
And, with his own bolt down-hurl'd,
Brains the monster from the world!
Hark! he comes! His nostrils cast
Like chaff before him flocks and men.
Oh proud, proud day, in yonder glen
Look on your heroes! Look your last,
Your last: and draw in with the passionate eye
Of love's last look the sights that paint eternity.
He comes-a tempest hides their place!
'Tis morn. The long day wanes. The loud
Storm lulls. Some march out of the cloud,
The princes of their age and race;
And some the mother earth that bore
Such sons hath loved too well to let them leave her more.
But oh, when joy-bells ring
For the living that return,
And the fires of victory burn,
And the dancing kingdoms sing,
And beauty takes the brave
To the breast he bled to save,
Will no faithful mourner weep
Where the battle-grass is gory,
And deep the soldier's sleep
In his martial cloak of glory,
Sleeps the dear dead buried low?
Shall they be forgotten? Lo,
On beyond that vale of fire
This babe must travel ere the child
Of yonder tall and bearded sire
His father's image hath fulfilled,
He shall see in that far day
A race of maidens pale and grey.
Theirs shall be nor cross nor hood,
Common rite nor convent roof,
Bead nor bell shall put to proof
A sister of that sisterhood;
But by noonday or by night
In her eyes there shall be light.
And as a temple organ, set
To its best stop by hands long gone,
Gives new ears the olden tone
And speaks the buried master yet,
Her lightest accents have the key
Of ancient love and victory.
And, as some hind, whom his o'erthrown
And dying king o'er hill and flood
Sends laden with the fallen crown,
Breathes the great trust into his blood
Till all his conscious forehead wears
The splendid secret that he bears,
For ever, everywhere the same,
Thro' every changing time and scene,
In widow's weeds and lowly name
She stands a bride, she moves a queen;
The flowering land her footstep knows;
The people bless her as she goes,
Whether upon your sacred days
She peers the mightiest and the best,
Or whether, by the common ways,
The babe leans from the peasant's breast,
While humble eyelids proudly fill,
And momentary Sabbaths still
The hand that spins, the foot that delves,
And all our sorrow and delight
Behold the seraph of themselves
In that pure face where woe grown bright
Seems rapture chastened to the mild
And equal light of smiles unsmiled.
And if perchance some wandering king,
Enamoured of her virgin reign,
Should sue the hand whose only ring
Is the last link of that first chain,
Forged by no departed hours, and seen
But in the daylight that hath been,
She pauses ere her heart can speak,
And, from below the source of tears,
The girlhood to her faded cheek
Goes slowly up thro' twenty years,
And, like the shadow in her eyes,
Slowly the living Past replies,
In tones of such serene eclipse
As if the voices of Death and Life
Came married by her mortal lips
To more than Life or Death-'A wife
Thou wooest; on yonder field he died
Who lives in all the world beside.'
Oh, ye who, in the favouring smile
Of Heaven, at one great stroke shall win
The gleaming guerdons that beguile
Glory's grey-haired Paladin
Thro' all his threescore jousts and ten,
-Love of women, and praise of men,
The spurs, the bays, the palm, the crown,-
Who, from your mountain-peak among
Mountains, thenceforth may look along
The shining tops of deeds undone,
And take them thro' the level air
As angels walk from star to star,
We from our isle-the ripest spot
Of the round green globe-where all
The rays of God most kindly fall,
And warm us to that temperate lot
Of seasoned change that slowly brings
Fruition to the orb of things,
We from this calm in chaos, where
Matter running into plan
And Reason solid in a man
Mediate the earth and air,
See ye winging yon far gloom,
Oh, ministering spirits! as some
Blest soul above that, all too late,
From his subaltern seat in heaven
Looks round and measures fate with fate,
And thro' the clouds below him driven
Beholds from that calm world of bliss
The toil and agony of this,
And, warming with the scene rehearst,
Bemoans the realms where all is won,
And sees the last that shall be first,
And spurns his secondary throne,
And envies from his changeless sphere
The life that strives and conquers here.
But ere toward fields so old and new
We leap from joys that shine in vain,
And rain our passion down the blue
Serene-once more-once more-to drain
Life's dreadful ecstasy, and sell
Our birthright for that oxymel
Whose stab and unction still keep quick
The wound for ever lost and found,
Lo, o'erhead, a cherubic
And legendary lyre, that round
The eddying spaces turns a dream
Of ancient war! And at the theme
Harps to answering harps, on high,
Call, recall, that but a strait
Of storm divides our happy state
From that pale sleepless Mystery
Who pines to sit upon the throne
He served ere falling to his own.
Not all memories are happy ones
when they come to call.
Some are seeped in sadness
with things we wish we’d done.
Some errors are not reversible
as they are locked in the past
where we are not allowed to go
and surface every so often
to haunt us now and then.
Mistakes we made in love and life
with scars we claimed from them.
Some errors are not reversible
no matter how hard we try.
31 March 2009
I have been in your heart, now, for almost a decade
But, These past four years I, have been afraid
I often wonder, if i have, over stayed
Would you be happy, if my image, would just happened to fade.
But the tears started to stroll down your cheeks
I started to think about what i'll do, for the next few weeks.
And, as the floor under me, will start to creek
As do my legs, and they grow oh, so weak
I lifted my head, to find hope in this place
but i've looked sorrow, straight in the face
I'll be gone, with out a single trace
Because, i feel like to you, I am only but a waste.
You've been there for me, and I for you
But together we are not, together is through
I've forgotten about us, and that statement is true
Although i am lost in my feelings, lost with out a clue.
Immigrants in Our Own Land
We are born with dreams in our hearts,
looking for better days ahead.
At the gates we are given new papers,
our old clothes are taken
and we are given overalls like mechanics wear.
We are given shots and doctors ask questions.
Then we gather in another room
where counselors orient us to the new land
we will now live in. We take tests.
Some of us were craftsmen in the old world,
good with our hands and proud of our work.
Others were good with their heads.
They used common sense like scholars
use glasses and books to reach the world.
But most of us didn’t finish high school.
The old men who have lived here stare at us,
from deep disturbed eyes, sulking, retreated.
We pass them as they stand around idle,
leaning on shovels and rakes or against walls.
Our expectations are high: in the old world,
they talked about rehabilitation,
about being able to finish school,
and learning an extra good trade.
But right away we are sent to work as dishwashers,
to work in fields for three cents an hour.
The administration says this is temporary
So we go about our business, blacks with blacks,
poor whites with poor whites,
chicanos and indians by themselves.
The administration says this is right,
no mixing of cultures, let them stay apart,
like in the old neighborhoods we came from.
We came here to get away from false promises,
from dictators in our neighborhoods,
who wore blue suits and broke our doors down
when they wanted, arrested us when they felt like,
swinging clubs and shooting guns as they pleased.
But it’s no different here. It’s all concentrated.
The doctors don’t care, our bodies decay,
our minds deteriorate, we learn nothing of value.
Our lives don’t get better, we go down quick.
My cell is crisscrossed with laundry lines,
my T-shirts, boxer shorts, socks and pants are drying.
Just like it used to be in my neighborhood:
from all the tenements laundry hung window to window.
Across the way Joey is sticking his hands
through the bars to hand Felipé a cigarette,
men are hollering back and forth cell to cell,
saying their sinks don’t work,
or somebody downstairs hollers angrily
about a toilet overflowing,
or that the heaters don’t work.
I ask Coyote next door to shoot me over
a little more soap to finish my laundry.
I look down and see new immigrants coming in,
mattresses rolled up and on their shoulders,
new haircuts and brogan boots,
looking around, each with a dream in their heart,
thinking they’ll get a chance to change their lives.
But in the end, some will just sit around
talking about how good the old world was.
Some of the younger ones will become gangsters.
Some will die and others will go on living
without a soul, a future, or a reason to live.
Some will make it out of here with hate in their eyes,
but so very few make it out of here as human
as they came in, they leave wondering what good they are now
as they look at their hands so long away from their tools,
as they look at themselves, so long gone from their families,
so long gone from life itself, so many things have changed.
We should embrace our immigrant roots and recognize that newcomers to our land are not part of the problem, they are part of the solution.
Busy With Money-game
Stillness is gathering around,
The music is not heard.
I can not see the morning light
At my house's back yard.
The green trees are grey now,
I don't look at the sky.
The shadow of my afternoon,
Have become high and high!
The dear faces of neighbors,
Are not seen anymore.
I want to ask about them all,
But fail to reach their door!
I don't listen to cuckoo's song,
It's mixed with traffic horns.
I can't understand all these faults,
My childhood often mourns!
I loved my cats and cute kittens,
And wished to live with them.
Now-a-days I can not care as,
Busy with money game!
Submitted: Thursday, April 05,2012
Edited: Thursday, April 05,2012
The Progress of Taste, or the Fate of Delicacy
Perhaps some cloud eclipsed the day,
When thus I tuned my pensive lay:
The ship is launch'd-we catch the gale-
On life's extended ocean sail:
For happiness our course we bend,
Our ardent cry, our general end!
Yet, ah! the scenes which tempt our care
Are, like the forms dispersed in air,
Still dancing near disorder'd eyes,
And weakest his who best descries!'
Yet let me not my birthright barter,
(For wishing is the poet's charter;
All bards have leave to wish what's wanted,
Though few e'er found their wishes granted;
Extensive field! where poets pride them
In singing all that is denied them).
For humble ease, ye Powers! I pray;
That plain warm suit for every day,
And pleasure and brocade, bestow,
To flaunt it-once a month, or so.
The first for constant wear we want;
The first, ye Powers! for ever grant;
But constant wear the last bespatters,
And turns the tissue into tatters.
Where'er my vagrant course I bend,
Let me secure one faithful friend.
Let me, in public scenes, request
A friend of wit and taste, well drest;
And, if I must not hope such favour,
A friend of wit and taste, however.
Alas! that Wisdom ever shuns
To congregate her scatter'd Sons,
Whose nervous forces, well combined,
Would win the field, and sway mankind.
The fool will squeeze, from morn to night,
To fix his follies full in sight;
The note he strikes, the plume he shows,
Attract whole flights of fops and beaus,
And kindred fools, who ne'er had known him,
Flock at the sight, caress and own him;
But ill-starr'd Sense, not gay nor loud,
Steals soft on tiptoe through the crowd;
Conveys his meagre form between,
And slides, like pervious air, unseen;
Contracts his known tenuity,
As though 'twere even a crime to be;
Nor even permits his eyes to stray,
And win acquaintance in their way.
In company, so mean his air,
You scarce are conscious he is there;
Till from some nook, like sharpen'd steel,
Occurs his face's thin profile,
Still seeming, from the gazer's eye,
Like Venus newly bathed, to fly:
Yet while reluctant he displays
His real gems before the blaze,
The fool hath, in its centre, placed
His tawdry stock of painted paste.
Disused to speak, he tries his skill,
Speaks coldly, and succeeds but ill;
His pensive manner dulness deem'd,
His modesty reserve esteem'd;
His wit unknown, his learning vain,
He wins not one of all the train:
And those who, mutually known,
In friendship's fairest list had shone,
Less prone than pebbles to unite,
Retire to shades from public sight,
Grow savage, quit their social nature,
And starve, to study mutual satire.
But friends and favourites, to chagrin them,
Find counties, countries, seas, between them;
Meet once a year, then part, and then
Retiring, wish to meet again.
Sick of the thought, let me provide
Some human form to grace my side:
At hand, where'er I shape my course,
An useful, pliant, stalking-horse!
No gesture free from some grimace,
No seam, without its share of lace,
But, mark'd with gold or silver either,
Hint where his coat was pieced together.
His legs be lengthen'd, I advise,
And stockings roll'd abridge his thighs.
What though Vandyke had other rules?
What had Vandyke to do with fools?
Be nothing wanting, but his mind;
Before a solitaire, behind
A twisted ribband, like the track
Which Nature gives an ass's back.
Silent as midnight! pity 'twere,
His wisdom's slender wealth to share!
And, whilst in flocks our fancies stray,
To wish the poor man's lamb away.
This form attracting every eye,
I stroll all unregarded by:
This wards the jokes of every kind,
As an umbrella sun or wind;
Or, like a sponge, absorbs the sallies
And pestilential fumes of malice;
Or, like a splendid shield, is fit
To screen the Templar's random wit;
Or, what some gentler cit lets fall,
As woolpacks quash the leaden ball.
Allusions these of weaker force,
And apter still the stalking-horse!
O let me wander all unseen
Beneath the sanction of his mien!
As lilies soft, as roses fair!
Empty as airpumps drain'd of air!
With steady eye and pace remark
The speckled flock that haunts the Park;
Level my pen with wondrous heed
At follies, flocking there to feed;
And as my satire burns amain,
See feather'd foppery strew the plain.
But when I seek my rural grove,
And share the peaceful haunts I love,
Let none of this unhallow'd train
My sweet sequester'd paths profane.
Oft may some polish'd virtuous friend
To these soft-winding vales descend,
And love with me inglorious things,
And scorn with me the pomp of kings;
And check me when my bosom burns
For statues, paintings, coins, and urns;
For I in Damon's prayer could join,
And Damon's wish might now be mine-
But all dispersed! the wish, the prayer,
Are driven to mix with common air.
How happy once was Damon's lot,
While yet romantic schemes were not,
Ere yet he sent his weakly eyes,
To plan frail castles in the skies!
Forsaking pleasures cheap and common,
To court a blaze, still flitting from one.
Ah! happy Damon! thrice and more,
Had Taste ne'er touch'd thy tranquil shore.
Oh days! when to a girdle tied
The couples jingled at his side,
And Damon swore he would not barter
The sportsman's girdle for a garter.
Whoever came to kill an hour,
Found easy Damon in their power,
Pure social Nature all his guide;
'Damon had not a grain of pride.'
He wish'd not to elude the snares
Which Knavery plans, and Craft prepares,
But rather wealth to crown their wiles,
And win their universal smiles:
For who are cheerful, who at ease,
But they who cheat us as they please?
He wink'd at many a gross design
The new-fallen calf might countermine:
Thus every fool allow'd his merit;
'Yes; Damon had a generous spirit.'
A coxcomb's jest, however vile,
Was sure, at least, of Damon's smile;
That coxcomb ne'er denied him sense;
For why? it proved his own pretence.
All own'd, were modesty away,
Damon could shine as much as they.
When wine and folly came in season,
Damon ne'er strove to save his reason;
Obnoxious to the mad uproar,
A spy upon a hostile shore!
'Twas this his company endear'd;
Mirth never came till he appear'd.
His lodgings-every drawer could show them;
The slave was kick'd who did not know them.
Thus Damon, studious of his ease,
And pleasing all whom mirth could please,
Defied the world, like idle Colley,
To show a softer word than folly.
Since Wisdom's gorgon-shield was known
To stare the gazer into stone,
He chose to trust in Folly's charm,
To keep his breast alive and warm.
At length grave Learning's sober train
Remark'd the trifler with disdain;
The sons of Taste contemn'd his ways,
And rank'd him with the brutes that graze;
While they to nobler heights aspired,
And grew beloved, esteem'd, admired.
Hence with our youth, not void of spirit,
His old companions lost their merit,
And every kind well-natured sot
Seem'd a dull play, without a plot,
Where every yawning guest agrees,
The willing creature strives to please:
But temper never could amuse;
It barely led us to excuse;
'Twas true, conversing they averr'd
All they had seen, or felt, or heard;
Talents of weight! for wights like these
The law might choose for witnesses;
But sure th' attesting dry narration
Ill suits a judge of conversation.
What were their freedoms? mere excuses
To vent ill-manners, blows, and bruises.
Yet freedom, gallant freedom! hailing,
At form, at form, incessant railing,
Would they examine each offence,
Its latent cause, its known pretence.
Punctilio ne'er was known to breed them,
So sure as fond prolific freedom.
Their courage! but a loaded gun,
Machine the wise would wish to shun;
Its guard unsafe, its lock an ill one,
Where accident might fire and kill one
In short, disgusted out of measure,
Through much contempt, and slender pleasure,
His sense of dignity returns;
With native pride his bosom burns;
He seeks respect-but how to gain it?
Wit, social mirth, could ne'er obtain it;
And laughter, where it reigns uncheck'd,
Discards and dissipates respect:
The man who gravely bows, enjoys it,
But shaking hands, at once destroys it;
Precarious plant! which, fresh and gay,
Shrinks at the touch, and fades away!
Come then, Reserve! yet from thy train
Banish Contempt and cursed Disdain.
Teach me, he cried, thy magic art,
To act the decent distant part;
To husband well my complaisance;
Nor let even Wit too far advance;
But choose calm Reason for my theme,
In these her royal realms supreme,
And o'er her charms, with caution shown,
Be still a graceful umbrage thrown,
And each abrupter period crown'd
With nods, and winks, and smiles profound;
Till, rescued from the crowd beneath,
No more with pain to move or breathe,
I rise with head elate, to share
Salubrious draughts of purer air.
Respect is won by grave pretence,
And silence, surer even than sense.
'Tis hence the sacred grandeur springs
Of Eastern, and of other kings;
Or whence this awe to Virtue due,
While Virtue's distant as Peru?
The sheathless sword the guard displays,
Which round emits its dazzling rays;
The stately fort, the turrets tall,
Portculliss'd gate, and battled wall,
Less screens the body than controls,
And wards contempt from royal souls.
The crowns they wear but check the eye
Before it fondly pierce too nigh;
That dazzled crowds may be employ'd
Around the surface of-the void.
Oh, 'tis the stateman's craft profound
To scatter his amusements round,
To tempt us from their conscious breast,
Where full-fledged crimes enjoy their nest;
Nor awes us every worth reveal'd,
So deeply as each vice conceal'd.
The lordly log, despatch'd of yore,
That the frog people might adore,
With guards to keep them at a distance,
Had reign'd, nor wanted Wit's assistance;
Nay-had addresses from his nation,
In praise of log-administration.
The buoyant fires of youth were o'er,
And fame and finery pleased no more,
Productive of that general stare,
Which cool reflection ill can bear!
And, crowds commencing mere vexation,
Retirement sent its invitation.
Romantic scenes of pendent hills,
And verdant vales, and falling rills,
And mossy banks the fields adorn,
Where Damon, simple swain! was born.
The Dryads rear'd a shady grove,
Where such as think, and such as love,
May safely sigh their summer's day,
Or muse their silent hours away.
The Oreads liked the climate well,
And taught the level plain to swell
In verdant mounds, from whence the eye
Might all their larger works descry.
The Naiads pour'd their urns around,
From nodding rocks o'er vales profound;
They form'd their streams to please the view,
And bade them wind, as serpents do,
And having shown them where to stray,
Threw little pebbles in their way.
These Fancy, all-sagacious maid!
Had at their several tasks survey'd:
She saw and smiled; and oft would lead
Our Damon's foot o'er hill and mead;
There, with descriptive finger, trace
The genuine beauties of the place;
And when she all its charms had shown,
Prescribe improvements of her own.-
'See yonder hill, so green, so round,
Its brow with ambient beeches crown'd!
'Twould well become thy gentle care
To raise a dome to Venus there;
Pleased would the nymphs thy zeal survey,
And Venus, in their arms, repay.
'Twas such a shade, and such a nook,
In such a vale, near such a brook;
From such a rocky fragment springing,
That famed Apollo chose to sing in;
There let an altar wrought with art
Engage the tuneful patron's heart:
How charming there to muse and warble
Beneath his bust of breathing marble!
With laurel wreath and mimic lyre,
That crown a poet's vast desire
Then, near it, scoop the vaulted cell
Where Music's charming maids may dwell;
Prone to indulge thy tender passion,
And make thee many an assignation.
Deep in the grove's obscure retreat
Be placed Minerva's sacred seat;
There let her awful turrets rise,
(For wisdom flies from vulgar eyes);
There her calm dictates shalt thou hear
Distinctly strike thy listening ear;
And who would shun the pleasing labour,
To have Minerva for his neighbour?'
In short, so charm'd each wild suggestion,
Its truth was little call'd in question
And Damon dreamt he saw the Fawns
And nymphs distinctly skim the lawns;
Now traced amid the trees, and then
Lost in the circling shades again,
With leer oblique their lover viewing-
And Cupid-panting-and pursuing-
'Fancy, enchanting Fair!' he cried,
'Be thou my goddess, thou my guide;
For thy bright visions I despise
What foes may think, or friends advise.
The feign'd concern when folks survey
Expense, time, study, cast away;
The real spleen with which they see;
I please myself and follow thee.'
Thus glow'd his breast, by Fancy warm'd,
And thus the fairy landscape charm'd;
But most he hoped his constant care,
Might win the favour of the fair;
And, wandering late through yonder glade,
He thus the soft design betray'd:-
'Ye Doves! for whom I rear'd the grove,
With melting lays salute my love!
My Delia with your notes detain,
Or I have rear'd the grove in vain.
Ye flowers which early spring supplies,
Display at once your brightest dyes,
That she your opening charms may see,
Or what were else your charms to me?
Kind Zephyr! brush each fragrant flower,
And shed its odours round my bower,
Or ne'er again, O gentle wind,
Shall I in thee refreshment find.
Ye Streams! if e'er your banks I loved.
If e'er your native sounds improved,
May each soft murmur soothe my fair,
Or, oh! 'twill deepen my despair.
Be sure, ye Willows, you be seen,
Array'd in liveliest robes of green,
Or I will tear your slighted boughs,
And let them fade around my brows;
And thou, my Grot! whose lonely bounds
The melancholy pine surrounds,
May she admire thy peaceful gloom,
Or thou shalt prove her lover's tomb.'
And now the lofty domes were rear'd,
Loud laugh'd the squires, the rabble stared.
'See, Neighbours! what our Damon's doing;
I think some folks are fond of ruin!
I saw his sheep at random stray-
But he has thrown his crook away-
And builds such huts as, in foul weather,
Are fit for sheep nor shepherd neither.'
Whence came the sober swain misled?
Why, Phoebus put it in his head:
Phoebus befriends him we are told;
And Phoebus coins bright tuns of gold.
'Twere prudent not to be so vain on't.
I think he'll never touch a grain on't.
And if from Phoebus and his muse,
Mere earthly laziness ensues;
'Tis plain, for aught that I can say,
The devil inspires as well as they.
So they-while fools of grosser kind,
Less weeting what our bard design'd,
Impute his schemes to real evil;
That in these haunts he met the devil.
He own'd, though their advice was vain,
It suited wights who trod the plain;
For dulness-though he might abhor it,
In them he made allowance for it;
Nor wonder'd, if, beholding mottos,
And urns, and domes, and cells, and grottos,
Folks, little dreaming of the Muses,
Were plagued to guess their proper uses.
But did the Muses haunt his cell?
Or in his dome did Venus dwell?
Did Pallas in his counsels share?
The Delian god reward his prayer?
Or did his zeal engage the fair?
When all the structure shone complete,
Not much convenient, wondrous neat;
Adorn'd with gilding, painting, planting,
And the fair guests alone were wanting;
Ah, me! ('twas Damon's own confession)
Came Poverty and took possession.
Why droops my Damon, whilst he roves
Through ornamented meads and groves,
Near columns, obelisks, and spires,
Which every critic eye admires?
'Tis Poverty, detested maid!
Sole tenant of their ample shade;
'Tis she that robs him of his ease,
And bids their very charms displease.
But now, by Fancy long controll'd,
And with the sons of Taste enroll'd,
He deem'd it shameful to commence
First minister to Common-sense;
Far more elated, to pursue
The lowest talk of dear virtu.
And now, behold his lofty soul,
That whilom flew from pole to pole,
Settle on some elaborate flower,
And, like a bee, the sweets devour!
Now, of a rose enamour'd, prove
The wild solicitudes of love!
Now, in a lily's cup enshrined,
Forego the commerce of mankind!
As in these toils he wore away
The calm remainder of his day;
Conducting sun, and shade, and shower,
As most might glad the new-born flower,
So fate ordain'd-before his eye
Starts up the long-sought butterfly,
While fluttering round, her plumes unfold
Celestial crimson, dropt with gold.
Adieu, ye bands of flowerets fair!
The living beauty claims his care:
For this he strips-nor bolt nor chain
Could Damon's warm pursuit restrain.
See him o'er hill, morass, or mound,
Where'er the speckled game is found,
Though bent with age, with zeal pursue,
And totter towards the prey in view.
Nor rock nor stream his steps retard
Intent upon the blest reward!
One vassal fly repays the chase!
A wing, a film, rewards the race!
Rewards him, though disease attend,
And in a fatal surfeit end.
So fierce Camilla skimm'd the plain,
Smit with the purple's pleasing stain;
She eyed intent the glittering stranger,
And knew, alas! nor fear nor danger;
Till deep within her panting heart
Malicious Fate impell'd the dart.
How studious he what favourite food
Regales Dame Nature's tiny brood;
What junkets fat the filmy people,
And what liqueurs they choose to tipple!
Behold him, at some crise, prescribe,
And raise with drugs the sickening tribe!
Or haply, when their spirits falter,
Sprinkling my Lord of Cloyne's tar-water!
When Nature's brood of insects dies,
See how he pimps for amorous flies!
See him the timely succour lend her,
And help the wantons to engender!
Or see him guard their pregnant hour,
Exert his soft obstetric power,
And lending each his lenient hand,
With new-born grubs enrich the land!
O Wilks! what poet's loftiest lays
Can match thy labours, and thy praise?
Immortal Sage! by Fate decreed
To guard the moth's illustrious breed!
Till fluttering swarms on swarms arise,
And all our wardrobes teem with flies!
And must we praise this taste for toys?
Admire it then in girls and boys.
Ye youths of fifteen years, or more!
Resign your moths-the season's o'er;
'Tis time more social joys to prove;
'Twere now your nobler task to love.
Let -'s eyes more deeply warm;
Nor, slighting Nature's fairest form,
The bias of your souls determine
Towards the mean love of Nature's vermin.
But, ah! how wondrous few have known,
To give each stage of life its own!
'Tis the pretexta's utmost bound,
With radiant purple edged around,
To please the child; whose glowing dyes
Too long delight maturer eyes:
And few, but with regret, assume
The plain-wrought labours of the loom.
Ah! let not me by fancy steer,
When life's autumnal clouds appear;
Nor even in learning's long delays
Consume my fairest, fruitless days;
Like him, who should in armour spend
The sums that armour should defend.
Awhile in Pleasure's myrtle bower
We share her smiles, and bless her power;
But find at last, we vainly strive
To fix the worst coquette alive.
O you! that with assiduous flame
Have long pursued the faithless dame;
Forsake her soft abodes awhile,
And dare her frown, and slight her smile;
Nor scorn, whatever wits may say,
The footpath road, the king's highway;
No more the scrupulous charmer tease,
But seek the roofs of honest Ease;
The rival fair, no more pursued,
Shall there with forward pace intrude;
Shall there her every art essay
To win you to her slighted sway,
And grant your scorn a glance more fair
Than e'er she gave your fondest prayer.
But would you happiness pursue?
Partake both ease and pleasure too?
Would you, through all your days, dispense
The joys of reason and of sense?
Or give to life the most you can?
Let social virtue shape the plan.
For does not to the virtuous deed
A train of pleasing sweets succeed?
Or, like the sweets of wild desire,
Did social pleasures ever tire?
Yet midst the group be some preferr'd,
Be some abhorr'd-for Damon err'd:
And such there are-of fair address-
As 'twere unsocial to caress.
O learn by Reason's equal rule
To shun the praise of knave or fool;
Then, though you deem it better still
To gain some rustic squire's good-will;
And souls, however mean or vile,
Like features, brighten by a smile;
Yet Reason holds it for a crime,
The trivial breast should share thy time:
And Virtue, with reluctant eyes,
Beholds this human sacrifice!
Through deep reserve and air erect,
Mistaken Damon won respect;
But could the specious homage pass
With any creature, but an ass?
If conscious, they who fear'd the skin
Would scorn the sluggish brute within.
What awe-struck slaves the towers enclose,
Where Persian monarchs eat and doze!
What prostrate reverence all agree
To pay a prince they never see!
Mere vassals of a royal throne;
The Sophi's virtues must be shown,
To make the reverence his own.
As for Thalia-wouldst thou make her
Thy bride without a portion?-take her:
She will with duteous care attend,
And all thy pensive hours befriend;
Will swell thy joys, will share thy pain,
With thee rejoice, with thee complain;
Will smooth thy pillow, plait thy bowers,
And bind thy aching head with flowers.
But be this previous maxim known-
If thou canst feed on love alone;
If, bless'd with her, thou canst sustain
Contempt, and poverty, and pain;
If so-then rifle all her graces-
And fruitful be your fond embraces!
Too soon, by caitiff Spleen inspired,
Sage Damon to his groves retired,
The path disclaimed by sober Reason;
Retirement claims a later season,
Ere active youth and warm desires,
Have quite withdrawn their lingering fires.
With the warm bosom, ill agree
Or limpid stream or shady tree
Love lurks within the rosy bower,
And claims the speculative hour;
Ambition finds his calm retreat,
And bids his pulse too fiercely beat;
Even social Friendship duns his ear,
And cites him to the public sphere.
Does he resist their genuine force?
His temper takes some froward course,
Till passion, misdirected, sighs
For weeds, or shells, or grubs, or flies!
Far happiest he whose early days,
Spent in the social paths of praise,
Leave, fairly printed on his mind,
A train of virtuous deeds behind:
From this rich fund the memory draws
The lasting meed of self-applause.
Such fair ideas lend their aid
To people the sequester'd shade:
Such are the Naiads, Nymphs, and Fawns,
That haunt his floods or cheer his lawns.
If, where his devious ramble strays,
He Virtue's radiant form surveys,
She seems no longer now to wear
The rigid mien, the frown severe;
To show him her remote abode,
To point the rocky arduous road;
But from each flower his fields allow,
She twines a garland for his brow.
Last Instructions to a Painter
After two sittings, now our Lady State
To end her picture does the third time wait.
But ere thou fall'st to work, first, Painter, see
If't ben't too slight grown or too hard for thee.
Canst thou paint without colors? Then 'tis right:
For so we too without a fleet can fight.
Or canst thou daub a signpost, and that ill?
'Twill suit our great debauch and little skill.
Or hast thou marked how antic masters limn
The aly-roof with snuff of candle dim,
Sketching in shady smoke prodigious tools?
'Twill serve this race of drunkards, pimps and fools.
But if to match our crimes thy skill presumes,
As th' Indians, draw our luxury in plumes.
Or if to score out our compendious fame,
With Hooke, then, through the microscope take aim,
Where, like the new Comptroller, all men laugh
To see a tall louse brandish the white staff.
Else shalt thou oft thy guiltless pencil curse,
Stamp on thy palette, not perhaps the worse.
The painter so, long having vexed his cloth--
Of his hound's mouth to feign the raging froth--
His desperate pencil at the work did dart:
His anger reached that rage which passed his art;
Chance finished that which art could but begin,
And he sat smiling how his dog did grin.
So mayst thou pérfect by a lucky blow
What all thy softest touches cannot do.
Paint then St Albans full of soup and gold,
The new court's pattern, stallion of the old.
Him neither wit nor courage did exalt,
But Fortune chose him for her pleasure salt.
Paint him with drayman's shoulders, butcher's mien,
Membered like mules, with elephantine chine.
Well he the title of St Albans bore,
For Bacon never studied nature more.
But age, allayed now that youthful heat,
Fits him in France to play at cards and treat.
Draw no commission lest the court should lie,
That, disavowing treaty, asks supply.
He needs no seal but to St James's lease,
Whose breeches wear the instrument of peace;
Who, if the French dispute his power, from thence
Can straight produce them a plenipotence..
Nor fears he the Most Christian should trepan
Two saints at once, St Germain, St Alban,
But thought the Golden Age was now restored,
When men and women took each other's word.
Paint then again Her Highness to the life,
Philosopher beyond Newcastle's wife.
She, nak'd, can Archimedes self put down,
For an experiment upon the crown,
She pérfected that engine, oft assayed,
How after childbirth to renew a maid,
And found how royal heirs might be matured
In fewer months than mothers once endured.
Hence Crowther made the rare inventress free
Of's Higness's Royal Society--
Happiest of women, if she were but able
To make her glassen Dukes once malleáble!
Paint her with oyster lip and breath of fame,
Wide mouth that 'sparagus may well proclaim;
With Chancellor's belly and so large a rump,
There--not behind the coach--her pages jump.
Express her study now if China clay
Can, without breaking, venomed juice convey,
Or how a mortal poison she may draw
Out of the cordial meal of the cacao.
Witness, ye stars of night, and thou the pale
Moon, that o'ercame with the sick steam didst fail;
Ye neighboring elms, that your green leaves did shed,
And fawns that from the womb abortive fled;
Not unprovoked, she tries forbidden arts,
But in her soft breast love's hid cancer smarts,
While she resoloves, at once, Sidney's disgrace
And her self scorned for emulous Denham's face,
And nightly hears the hated guards, away
Galloping with the Duke to other prey.
Paint Castlemaine in colours that will hold
(Her, not her picture, for she now grows old):
She through her lackey's drawers, as he ran,
Discerned love's cause and a new flame began.
Her wonted joys thenceforth and court she shuns,
And still within her mind the footman runs:
His brazen calves, his brawny thighs--the face
She slights--his feet shaped for a smoother race.
Poring within her glass she readjusts
Her looks, and oft-tried beauty now distrusts,
Fears lest he scorn a woman once assayed,
And now first wished she e'er had been a maid.
Great Love, how dost thou triumph and how reign,
That to a groom couldst humble her disdain!
Stripped to her skin, see how she stooping stands,
Nor scorns to rub him down with those fair hands,
And washing (lest the scent her crime disclose)
His sweaty hooves, tickles him 'twixt the toes.
But envious Fame, too soon, began to note
More gold in's Fob, more lace upon his coat;
And he, unwary, and of tongue too fleet,
No longer could conceal his fortune sweet.
Justly the rogue was shipped in porter's den,
And Jermyn straight has leave to come again.
Ah, Painter, now could Alexander live,
And this Campaspe thee, Apelles, give!
Draw next a pair of tables opening, then
The House of Commons clattering like the men.
Describe the Court and Country, both set right
On opp'site points, the black against the white.
Those having lost the nation at tric-trac,
These now adventuring how to win it back.
The dice betwixt them must the fate divide
(As chance doth still in multitudes decide).
But here the Court does its advantage know,
For the cheat Turner for them both must throw.
As some from boxes, he so from the chair
Can strike the die and still with them goes share.
Here, Painter, rest a little, and survey
With what small arts the public game they play.
For so too Rubens, with affairs of state,
His labouring pencil oft would recreate.
The close Cabal marked how the Navy eats,
And thought all lost that goes not to the cheats,
So therefore secretly for peace decrees,
Yet as for war the Parliament should squeeze,
And fix to the revénue such a sum
Should Goodrick silence and strike Paston dumb,
Should pay land armies, should dissolve the vain
Commons, and ever such a court maintain;
Hyde's avarice, Bennet's luxury should suffice,
And what can these defray but the Excise?
Excise a monster worse than e'er before
Frighted the midwife and the mother tore.
A thousand hands she has and thousand eyes,
Breaks into shops and into cellars pries,
And on all trade like cassowar she feeds:
Chops off the piece wheres'e'er she close the jaw,
Else swallows all down her indented maw.
She stalks all day in streets concealed from sight
And flies, like bats with leathern wings, by night;
She wastes the country and on cities preys.
Her, of a female harpy, in dog days,
Black Birch, of all the earth-born race most hot
And most rapacious, like himself, begot,
And, of his brat enamoured, as't increased,
Buggered in incest with the mongrel beast.
Say, Muse, for nothing can escape thy sight
(And, Painter, wanting other, draw this fight),
Who, in an English senate, fierce debate
Could raise so long for this new whore of state.
Of early wittols first the troop marched in--
For diligence renowned and discipline--
In loyal haste they left young wives in bed,
And Denham these by one consent did head.
Of the old courtiers, next a squadron came,
That sold their master, led by Ashburnham.
To them succeeds a desipicable rout,
But know the word and well could face about;
Expectants pale, with hopes of spoil allured,
Though yet but pioneers, and led by Stew'rd.
Then damning cowards ranged the vocal plain,
Wood these command, the Knight of the Horn and Cane.
Still his hook-shoulder seems the blow to dread,
And under's armpit he defends his head.
The posture strange men laughed at of his poll,
Hid with his elbow like the spice he stole.
Headless St Denys so his head does bear,
And both of them alike French martyrs were.
Court officers, as used, the next place took,
And followed, Fox, but with disdainful look.
His birth, his youth, his brokage all dispraise
In vain, for always he commands that pays.
Then the procurers under Progers filed--
Gentlest of men-- and his lieutenant mild,
Brounker--Love's squire--through all the field arrayed,
No troop was better clad, nor so well paid.
Then marched the troop of Clarendon, all full
Haters of fowl, to teal preferring bull:
Gross bodies, grosser minds, and grossest cheats,
And bloated Wren conducts them to their seats.
Charlton advances next, whose coif does awe
The Mitre troop, and with his looks gives law.
He marched with beaver cocked of bishop's brim,
And hid much fraud under an aspect grim.
Next the lawyers' merecenary band appear:
Finch in the front, and Thurland in the rear.
The troop of privilege, a rabble bare
Of debtors deep, fell to Trelawney's care.
Their fortune's error they supplied in rage,
Nor any further would than these engage.
Then marched the troop, whose valiant acts before
(Their public acts) obliged them still to more.
For chimney's sake they all Sir Pool obeyed,
Or in his absence him that first it laid.
Then comes the thrifty troop of privateers,
Whose horses each with other interfered.
Before them Higgons rides with brow compact,
Mourning his Countess, anxious for his Act.
Sir Frederick and Sir Solomon draw lots
For the command of politics or sots,
Thence fell to words, but quarrel to adjourn;
Their friends agreed they should command by turn.
Carteret the rich did the accountants guide
And in ill English all the world defied.
The Papists--but of these the House had none
Else Talbot offered to have led them on.
Bold Duncombe next, of the projectors chief,
And old Fitz-harding of the Eaters Beef.
Late and disordered out the drinkers drew,
Scarce them their leaders, they their leaders knew.
Before them entered, equal in command,
Apsley and Brod'rick, marching hand in hand.
Last then but one, Powell that could not ride,
Led the French standard, weltering in his stride.
He, to excuse his slowness, truth confessed
That 'twas so long before he could be dressed.
The Lord's sons, last, all these did reinforce:
Cornb'ry before them managed hobby-horse.
Never before nor since, an host so steeled
Trooped on to muster in the Tothill Field:
Not the first cock-horse that with cork were shod
To rescue Albemarle from the sea-cod,
Nor the late feather-men, whom Tomkins fierce
Shall with one breath, like thistledown disperse.
All the two Coventrys their generals chose
For one had much, the other nought to lose;
Nor better choice all accidents could hit,
While Hector Harry steers by Will the Wit.
They both accept the charge with merry glee,
To fight a battle, from all gunshot free.
Pleased with their numbers, yet in valour wise,
They feign a parley, better to surprise;
They that ere long shall the rude Dutch upbraid,
Who in the time of treaty durst invade.
Thick was the morning, and the House was thin,
The Speaker early, when they all fell in.
Propitious heavens, had not you them crossed,
Excise had got the day, and all been lost.
For the other side all in loose quarters lay,
Without intelligence, command, or pay:
A scattered body, which the foe ne'er tried,
But oftener did among themselves divide.
And some ran o'er each night, while others sleep,
And undescried returned ere morning peep.
But Strangeways, that all night still walked the round
(For vigilance and courage both renowned)
First spied he enemy and gave the 'larm,
Fighting it single till the rest might arm.
Such Romand Cocles strid before the foe,
The falling bridge behind, the stream below.
Each ran, as chance him guides to several post,
And all to pattern his example boast.
Their former trophies they recall to mind
And to new edge their angry courage grind.
First entered forward Temple, conqueror
Of Irish cattle and Solicitor;
Then daring Seymour, that with spear and shield
Had stretched the Monster Patent on the field;
Keen Whorwood next, in aid of damsel frail,
That pierced the giant Mordaunt through his mail;
And surly Williams, the accountants' bane;
And Lovelace young, of chimney-men the cane.
Old Waller, trumpet-general, swore he'd write
This combat truer than the naval fight.
How'rd on's birth, wit, strength, courage much presumes
And in his breast wears many Montezumes.
These and some more with single valour stay
The adverse troops, and hold them all at bay.
Each thinks his person represents the whole,
And with that thought does multiply his soul,
Believes himself an army, theirs, one man
As easily conquered, and believing can,
With heart of bees so full, and head of mites,
That each, though duelling, a battle fights.
Such once Orlando, famous in romance,
Broached whole brigades like larks upon his lance.
But strength at last still under number bows,
And the faint sweat trickled down Temple's brows.
E'en iron Strangeways, chafing, yet gave back,
Spent with fatigue, to breathe a while toback.
When marching in, a seasonable recruit
Of citizens and merchants held dispute;
And, charging all their pikes, a sullen band
Of Presyterian Switzers made a stand.
Nor could all these the field have long maintained
But for th' unknown reserve that still remained:
A gross of English gentry, nobly born,
Of clear estates, and to no faction sworn,
Dear lovers of their king, and death to meet
For country's cause, that glorious think and sweet;
To speak not forward, but in action brave,
In giving generous, but in counsel grave;
Candidly credulous for once, nay twice,
But sure the Devil cannot cheat them thrice.
The van and battle, though retiring, falls
Without dosorder in their intervals.
Then, closing all in equal front, fall on,
Led by great Garway and great Littleton.
Lee, ready to obey or to command,
Adjutant-general, was still at hand.
The martial standard, Sandys displaying, shows
St Dunstan in it, tweaking Satan's nose.
See sudden chance of war! To paint or write
Is longer work and harder than to fight.
At the first charge the enemy give out,
And the Excise receives a total rout.
Broken in courage, yet the men the same
Resolve henceforth upon their other game:
Where force had failed, with stratagem to play,
And what haste lost, recover by delay.
St Albans straight is sent to, to forbear,
Lest the sure peace, forsooth, too soon appear.
The seamen's clamour to three ends they use:
To cheat their pay, feign want, the House accuse.
Each day they bring the tale, and that too true,
How strong the Dutch their equipage renew.
Meantime through all the yards their orders run
To lay the ships up, cease the keels begun.
The timber rots, and useless axe doth rust,
Th' unpracticed saw lies buried in its dust,
The busy hammer sleeps, the ropes untwine,
The stores and wages all are mine and thine.
Along the coast and harbours they make care
That money lack, nor forts be in repair.
Long thus they could against the House conspire,
Load them with envy, and with sitting tire.
And the loved King, and never yet denied,
Is brought to beg in public and to chide;
But when this failed, and months enow were spent,
They with the first day's proffer seem content,
And to Land-Tax from the Excise turn round,
Bought off with eighteen-hundred-thousand pound.
Thus like fair theives, the Commons' purse they share,
But all the members' lives, consulting, spare.
Blither than hare that hath escaped the hounds,
The House prorogued, the Chancellor rebounds.
Not so decrepit Aeson, hashed and stewed,
With bitter herbs, rose from the pot renewed,
And with fresh age felt his glad limbs unite;
His gout (yet still he cursed) had left him quite.
What frosts to fruit, what arsenic to the rat,
What to fair Denham, mortal chocolate,
What an account to Carteret, that, and more,
A Parliament is to the Chancellor.
So the Sad-tree shrinks from the morning's eye,
But blooms all night and shoots its branches high.
So, at the sun's recess, again returns
The comet dread, and earth and heaven burns.
Now Mordaunt may, within his castle tower,
Imprison parents, and the child deflower.
The Irish herd is now let loose and comes
By millions over, not by hecatombs;
And now, now the Canary Patent may
Be broached again for the great holiday.
See how he reigns in his new palace culminant,
And sits in state divine like Jove the fulminant!
First Buckingham, that durst to him rebel,
Blasted with lightning, struck wtih thunder, fell.
Next the twelve Commons are condemned to groan
And roll in vain at Sisyphus's stone.
But still he cared, while in revenge he braved
That peace secured and money might be saved:
Gain and revenge, revenge and gain are sweet
United most, else when by turns they meet.
France had St Albans promised (so they sing),
St Albans promised him, and he the King:
The Count forthwith is ordered all to close,
To play for Flanders and the stake to lose,
While, chained together, two ambassadors
Like slaves shall beg for peace at Holland's doors.
This done, among his Cyclops he retires
To forge new thunder and inspect their fires.
The court as once of war, now fond of peace,
All to new sports their wanton fears release.
From Greenwich (where intelligence they hold)
Comes news of pastime martial and old,
A punishment invented first to awe
Masculine wives transgressing Nature's law,
Where, when the brawny female disobeys,
And beats the husband till for peace he prays,
No concerned jury for him damage finds,
Nor partial justice her behavior binds,
But the just street does the next house invade,
Mounting the neighbour couple on lean jade,
The distaff knocks, the grains from kettle fly,
And boys and girls in troops run hooting by:
Prudent antiquity, that knew by shame,
Better than law, domestic crimes to tame,
And taught youth by spectácle innocent!
So thou and I, dear Painter, represent
In quick effigy, others' faults, and feign
By making them ridiculous, to restrain.
With homely sight they chose thus to relax
The joys of state, for the new Peace and Tax.
So Holland with us had the mastery tried,
And our next neighbours, France and Flanders, ride.
But a fresh news the great designment nips,
Of, at the Isle of Candy, Dutch and ships!
Bab May and Arlington did wisely scoff
And thought all safe, if they were so far off.
Modern geographers, 'twas there, they thought,
Where Venice twenty years the Turk had fought,
While the first year our navy is but shown,
The next divided, and the third we've none.
They, by the name, mistook it for that isle
Where Pilgrim Palmer travelled in exile
With the bull's horn to measure his own head
And on Pasiphaë's tomb to drop a bead.
But Morice learn'd demónstrates, by the post,
This Isle of Candy was on Essex' coast.
Fresh messengers still the sad news assure;
More timorous now we are than first secure.
False terrors our believing fears devise,
And the French army one from Calais spies.
Bennet and May and those of shorter reach
Change all for guineas, and a crown for each,
But wiser men and well foreseen in chance
In Holland theirs had lodged before, and France.
Whitehall's unsafe; the court all meditates
To fly to Windsor and mure up the gates.
Each does the other blame, and all distrust;
(That Mordaunt, new obliged, would sure be just.)
Not such a fatal stupefaction reigned
At London's flame, nor so the court complained.
The Bloodworth_Chancellor gives, then does recall
Orders; amazed, at last gives none at all.
St Alban's writ to, that he may bewail
To Master Louis, and tell coward tale
How yet the Hollanders do make a noise,
Threaten to beat us, and are naughty boys.
Now Dolman's dosobedient, and they still
Uncivil; his unkindness would us kill.
Tell him our ships unrigged, our forts unmanned,
Our money spent; else 'twere at his command.
Summon him therefore of his word and prove
To move him out of pity, if not love;
Pray him to make De Witt and Ruyter cease,
And whip the Dutch unless they'll hold their peace.
But Louis was of memory but dull
And to St Albans too undutiful,
Nor word nor near relation did revere,
But asked him bluntly for his character.
The gravelled Count did with the answer faint--
His character was that which thou didst paint--
Trusses his baggage and the camp does fly.
Yet Louis writes and, lest our heart should break,
Consoles us morally out of Seneque.
Two letters next unto Breda are sent:
In cipher one to Harry Excellent;
The first instructs our (verse the name abhors)
To prove by Scripture treaty does imply
Cessation, as the look adultery,
And that, by law of arms, in martial strife,
Who yields his sword has title to his life.
Presbyter Holles the first point should clear,
The second Coventry the Cavalier;
But, whould they not be argued back from sea,
Then to return home straight, infecta re.
But Harry's ordered, if they won't recall
Their fleet, to threaten--we will grant them all.
The Dutch are then in proclamation shent
For sin against th' eleventh commandment.
Hyde's flippant style there pleasantly curvets,
Still his sharp wit on states and princes whets
(So Spain could not escape his laughter's spleen:
None but himsef must choose the King a Queen),
But when he came the odious clause to pen
That summons up the Parliament again,
His writing master many a time he banned
And wished himself the gout to seize his hand.
Never old lecher more repugnance felt,
Consenting, for his rupture, to be gelt;
But still then hope him solaced, ere they come,
To work the peace and so to send them home,
Or in their hasty call to find a flaw,
Their acts to vitiate, and them overawe;
But most relied upon this Dutch pretence
To raise a two-endged army for's defence.
First then he marched our whole militia's force
(As if indeed we ships or Dutch had horse);
Then from the usual commonplace, he blames
These, and in standing army's praise declaims;
And the wise court that always loved it dear,
Now thinks all but too little for their fear.
Hyde stamps, and straight upon the ground the swarms
Of current Myrmidons appear in arms,
And for their pay he writes, as from the King--
With that cursed quill plucked from a vulture's wing--
Of the whole nation now to ask a loan
(The eighteen-hundred-thousand pound was gone).
This done, he pens a proclamation stout,
In rescue of the banquiers banquerout,
His minion imps that, in his secret part,
Lie nuzzling at the sacremental wart,
Horse-leeches circling at the hem'rrhoid vein:
He sucks the King, they him, he them again.
The kingdom's farm he lets to them bid least
(Greater the bribe, and that's at interest).
Here men, induced by safety, gain, and ease,
Their money lodge; confiscate when he please.
These can at need, at instant, with a scrip
(This liked him best) his cash beyond sea whip.
When Dutch invade, when Parliament prepare,
How can he engines so convenient spare?
Let no man touch them or demand his own,
Pain of displeasure of great Clarendon.
The state affairs thus marshalled, for the rest
Monck in his shirt against the Dutch is pressed.
Often, dear Painter, have I sat and mused
Why he should still be 'n all adventures used,
If they for nothing ill, like ashen wood,
Or think him, like Herb John for nothing good;
Whether his valour they so much admire,
Or that for cowardice they all retire,
As heaven in storms, they call in gusts of state
On Monck and Parliament, yet both do hate.
All causes sure concur, but most they think
Under Hercúlean labours he may sink.
Soon then the independent troops would close,
And Hyde's last project would his place dispose.
Ruyter the while, that had our ocean curbed,
Sailed now among our rivers undistrubed,
Surveyed their crystal streams and banks so green
And beauties ere this never naked seen.
Through the vain sedge, the bashful nymphs he eyed:
Bosoms, and all which from themselves they hide.
The sun much brighter, and the skies more clear,
He finds the air and all things sweeter here.
The sudden change, and such a tempting sight
Swells his old veins with fresh blood, fresh delight.
Like am'rous victors he begins to shave,
And his new face looks in the English wave.
His sporting navy all about him swim
And witness their complacence in their trim.
Their streaming silks play through the weather fair
And with inveigling colours court the air,
While the red flags breathe on their topmasts high
Terror and war, but want an enemy.
Among the shrouds the seamen sit and sing,
And wanton boys on every rope do cling.
Old Neptune springs the tides and water lent
(The gods themselves do help the provident),
And where the deep keel on the shallow cleaves,
With trident's lever, and great shoulder heaves.
&Aelig;olus their sails inspires with eastern wind,
Puffs them along, and breathes upon them kind.
With pearly shell the Tritons all the while
Sound the sea-march and guide to Sheppey Isle.
So I have seen in April's bud arise
A fleet of clouds, sailing along the skies;
The liquid region with their squadrons filled,
Their airy sterns the sun behind does gild;
And gentle gales them steer, and heaven drives,
When, all on sudden, their calm bosom rives
With thunder and lightning from each armèd cloud;
Shepherds themselves in vain in bushes shroud.
Such up the stream the Belgic navy glides
And at Sheerness unloads its stormy sides.
Spragge there, though practised in the sea command,
With panting heart lay like a fish on land
And quickly judged the fort was not tenáble--
Which, if a house, yet were not tenantáble--
No man can sit there safe: the cannon pours
Thorough the walls untight and bullet showers,
The neighbourhood ill, and an unwholesome seat,
So at the first salute resolves retreat,
And swore that he would never more dwell there
Until the city put it in repair.
So he in front, his garrison in rear,
March straight to Chatham to increase the fear.
There our sick ships unrigged in summer lay
Like moulting fowl, a weak and easy prey,
For whose strong bulk earth scarce could timber find,
The ocean water, or the heavens wind--
Those oaken giants of the ancient race,
That ruled all seas and did our Channel grace.
The conscious stag so, once the forest's dread,
Flies to the wood and hides his armless head.
Ruyter forthwith a squadron does untack;
They sail securely through the river's track.
An English pilot too (O shame, O sin!)
Cheated of pay, was he that showed them in.
Our wretched ships within their fate attend,
And all our hopes now on frail chain depend:
(Engine so slight to guard us from the sea,
It fitter seemed to captivate a flea).
A skipper rude shocks it without respect,
Filling his sails more force to re-collect.
Th' English from shore the iron deaf invoke
For its last aid: `Hold chain, or we are broke.'
But with her sailing weight, the Holland keel,
Snapping the brittle links, does thorough reel,
And to the rest the opened passage show;
Monck from the bank the dismal sight does view.
Our feathered gallants, which came down that day
To be spectators safe of the new play,
Leave him alone when first they hear the gun
(Cornb'ry the fleetest) and to London run.
Our seamen, whom no danger's shape could fright,
Unpaid, refuse to mount our ships for spite,
Or to their fellows swim on board the Dutch,
Which show the tempting metal in their clutch.
Oft had he sent of Duncombe and of Legge
Cannon and powder, but in vain, to beg;
And Upnor Castle's ill-deserted wall,
Now needful, does for ammunition call.
He finds, wheres'e'er he succor might expect,
Confusion, folly, treach'ry, fear, neglect.
But when the Royal Charles (what rage, what grief)
He saw seized, and could give her no relief!
That sacred keel which had, as he, restored
His exiled sovereign on its happy board,
And thence the British Admiral became,
Crowned, for that merit, with their master's name;
That pleasure-boat of war, in whose dear side
Secure so oft he had this foe defied,
Now a cheap spoil, and the mean victor's slave,
Taught the Dutch colours from its top to wave;
Of former glories the reproachful thought
With present shame compared, his mind destraught.
Such from Euphrates' bank, a tigress fell
After the robber for her whelps doth yell;
But sees enraged the river flow between,
Frustrate revenge and love, by loss more keen,
At her own breast her useless claws does arm:
She tears herself, since him she cannot harm.
The guards, placed for the chain's and fleet's defence,
Long since were fled on many a feigned pretence.
Daniel had there adventured, man of might,
Sweet Painter, draw his picture while I write.
Paint him of person tall, and big of bone,
Large limbs like ox, not to be killed but shown.
Scarce can burnt ivory feign an hair so black,
Or face so red, thine ocher and thy lac.
Mix a vain terror in his martial look,
And all those lines by which men are mistook;
But when, by shame constrained to go on board,
He heard how the wild cannon nearer roared,
And saw himself confined like sheep in pen,
Daniel then thought he was in lion's den.
And when the frightful fireships he saw,
Pregnant with sulphur, to him nearer draw,
Captain, lieutenant, ensign, all make haste
Ere in the fiery furnace they be cast--
Three children tall, unsinged, away they row,
Like Shadrack, Meschack, and Abednego.
Not so brave Douglas, on whose lovely chin
The early down but newly did begin,
And modest beauty yet his sex did veil,
While envious virgins hope he is a male.
His yellow locks curl back themselves to seek,
Nor other courtship knew but to his cheek.
Oft, as he in chill Esk or Seine by night
Hardened and cooled his limbs, so soft, so white,
Among the reeds, to be espied by him,
The nymphs would rustle; he would forward swim.
They sighed and said, `Fond boy, why so untame
That fliest love's fires, reserved for other flame?'
Fixed on his ship, he faced that horrid day
And wondered much at those that ran away.
Nor other fear himself could comprehend
Then, lest heaven fall ere thither he ascend,
But entertains the while his time too short
With birding at the Dutch, as if in sport,
Or waves his sword, and could he them conjúre
Within its circle, knows himself secure.
The fatal bark him boards with grappling fire,
And safely through its port the Dutch retire.
That precious life he yet disdains to save
Or with known art to try the gentle wave.
Much him the honours of his ancient race
Inspire, nor would he his own deeds deface,
And secret joy in his calm soul does rise
That Monck looks on to see how Douglas dies.
Like a glad lover, the fierce flames he meets,
And tries his first embraces in their sheets.
His shape exact, which the bright flames enfold,
Like the sun's statue stands of burnished gold.
Round the transparent fire about him flows,
As the clear amber on the bee does close,
And, as on angels' heads their glories shine,
His burning locks adorn his face divine.
But when in this immortal mind he felt
His altering form and soldered limbs to melt,
Down on the deck he laid himself and died,
With his dear sword reposing by his side,
And on the flaming plank, so rests his head
As one that's warmed himself and gone to bed.
His ship burns down, and with his relics sinks,
And the sad stream beneath his ashes drinks.
Fortunate boy, if either pencil's fame,
Or if my verse can propagate thy name,
When Oeta and Alcides are forgot,
Our English youth shall sing the valiant Scot.
Each doleful day still with fresh loss returns:
The Loyal London now the third time burns,
And the true Royal Oak and Royal James,
Allied in fate, increase, with theirs, her flames.
Of all our navy none should now survive,
But that the ships themselves were taught to dive,
And the kind river in its creek them hides,
Fraughting their piercèd keels with oozy tides.
Up to the bridge contagious terror struck:
The Tower itself with the near danger shook,
And were not Ruyter's maw with ravage cloyed,
E'en London's ashes had been then destroyed.
Officious fear, however, to prevent
Our loss does so much more our loss augment:
The Dutch had robbed those jewels of the crown;
Our merchantmen, lest they be burned, we drown.
So when the fire did not enough devour,
The houses were demolished near the Tower.
Those ships that yearly from their teeming hole
Unloaded here the birth of either Pole--
Furs from the north and silver from the west,
Wines from the south, and spices from the east;
From Gambo gold, and from the Ganges gems--
Take a short voyage underneath the Thames,
Once a deep river, now with timber floored,
And shrunk, least navigable, to a ford.
Now (nothing more at Chatham left to burn),
The Holland squadron leisurely return,
And spite of Ruperts and of Albemarles,
To Ruyter's triumph lead the captive Charles.
The pleasing sight he often does prolong:
Her masts erect, tough cordage, timbers strong,
Her moving shapes, all these he does survey,
And all admires, but most his easy prey.
The seamen search her all within, without:
Viewing her strength, they yet their conquest doubt;
Then with rude shouts, secure, the air they vex,
With gamesome joy insulting on her decks.
Such the feared Hebrew, captive, blinded, shorn,
Was led about in sport, the public scorn.
Black day accursed! On thee let no man hale
Out of the port, or dare to hoist a sail,
Nor row a boat in thy unlucky hour.
Thee, the year's monster, let thy dam devour,
And constant time, to keep his course yet right,
Fill up thy space with a redoubled night.
When agèd Thames was bound with fetters base,
And Medway chaste ravished before his face,
And their dear offspring murdered in their sight,
Thou and thy fellows held'st the odious light.
Sad change since first that happy pair was wed,
When all the rivers graced their nuptial bed,
And Father Neptune promised to resign
His empire old to their immortal line!
Now with vain grief their vainer hopes they rue,
Themselves dishonoured, and the gods untrue,
And to each other, helpless couple, moan,
As the sad tortoise for the sea does groan.
But most they for their darling Charles complain,
And were it burnt, yet less would be their pain.
To see that fatal pledge of sea command
Now in the ravisher De Ruyter's hand,
The Thames roared, swooning Medway turned her tide,
And were they mortal, both for grief had died.
The court in farthing yet itself does please,
(And female Stuart there rules the four seas),
But fate does still accumulate our woes,
And Richmond her commands, as Ruyter those.
After this loss, to relish discontent,
Someone must be accused by punishment.
All our miscarriages on Pett must fall:
His name alone seems fit to answer all.
Whose counsel first did this mad war beget?
Who all commands sold through the navy? Pett.
Who would not follow when the Dutch were beat?
Who treated out the time at Bergen? Pett.
Who the Dutch fleet with storms disabled met,
And rifling prizes, them neglected? Pett.
Who with false news prevented the Gazette,
The fleet divided, writ for Rupert? Pett.
Who all our seamen cheated of their debt,
And all our prizes who did swallow? Pett.
Who did advise no navy out to set,
And who the forts left unrepairèd? Pett.
Who to supply with powder did forget
Languard, Sheerness, Gravesend and Upnor? Pett.
Who should it be but the Fanatic Pett?
Pett, the sea-architect, in making ships
Was the first cause of all these naval slips:
Had he not built, none of these faults had been;
If no creation, there had been no sin.
But his great crime, one boat away he sent,
That lost our fleet and did our flight prevent.
Then (that reward might in its turn take place,
And march with punishment in equal pace),
Southhampton dead, much of the Treasure's care
And place in council fell to Dunscombe's share.
All men admired he to that pitch could fly:
Powder ne'er blew man up so soon so high,
But sure his late good husbandry in petre
Showed him to manage the Exchequer meeter;
And who the forts would not vouchsafe a corn,
To lavish the King's money more would scorn.
Who hath no chimneys, to give all is best,
And ablest Speaker, who of law has least;
Who less estate, for Treasurer most fit,
And for a couns'llor, he that has least wit.
But the true cause was that, in's brother May,
The Exchequer might the Privy Purse obey.
But now draws near the Parliament's return;
Hyde and the court again begin to mourn:
Frequent in council, earnest in debate,
All arts they try how to prolong its date.
Grave Primate Sheldon (much in preaching there)
Blames the last session and this more does fear:
With Boynton or with Middleton 'twere sweet,
But with a Parliament abohors to meet,
And thinks 'twill ne'er be well within this nation,
Till it be governed by Convocation.
But in the Thames' mouth still De Ruyter laid;
The peace not sure, new army must be paid.
Hyde saith he hourly waits for a dispatch;
Harry came post just as he showed his watch,
All to agree the articles were clear--
The Holland fleet and Parliament so near--
Yet Harry must job back, and all mature,
Binding, ere the Houses meet, the treaty sure,
And 'twixt necessity and spite, till then,
Let them come up so to go down again.
Up ambles country justice on his pad,
And vest bespeaks to be more seemly clad.
Plain gentlemen in stagecoach are o'erthrown
And deputy-lieutenants in their own.
The portly burgess through the weather hot
Does for his corporation sweat and trot;
And all with sun and choler come adust
And threaten Hyde to raise a greater dust.
But fresh as from the Mint, the courtiers fine
Salute them, smiling at their vain design,
And Turner gay up to his perch does march
With face new bleached, smoothened and stiff with starch;
Tells them he at Whitehall had took a turn
And for three days thence moves them to adjourn.
`Not so!' quoth Tomkins, and straight drew his tongue,
Trusty as steel that always ready hung,
And so, proceeding in his motion warm,
The army soon raised, he doth as soon disarm.
True Trojan! While this town can girls afford,
And long as cider lasts in Herford,
The girls shall always kiss thee, though grown old,
And in eternal healths thy name be trolled.
Meanwhile the certain news of peace arrives
At court, and so reprieves their guilty lives.
Hyde orders Turner that he should come late,
Lest some new Tomkins spring a fresh debate.
The King that day raised early from his rest,
Expects (as at a play) till Turner's dressed.
At last together Ayton come and he:
No dial more could with the sun agree.
The Speaker, summoned, to the Lords repairs,
Nor gave the Commons leave to say their prayers,
But like his prisoners to the bar them led,
Where mute they stand to hear their sentence read.
Trembling with joy and fear, Hyde them prorogues,
And had almost mistook and called them rogues.
Dear Painter, draw this Speaker to the foot;
Where pencil cannot, there my pen shall do't:
That may his body, this his mind explain.
Paint him in golden gown, with mace's brain,
Bright hair, fair face, obscure and dull of head,
Like knife with ivory haft and edge of lead.
At prayers his eyes turn up the pious white,
But all the while his private bill's in sight.
In chair, he smoking sits like master cook,
And a poll bill does like his apron look.
Well was he skilled to season any question
And made a sauce, fit for Whitehall's digestion,
Whence every day, the palate more to tickle,
Court-mushrumps ready are, sent in in pickle.
When grievance urged, he swells like squatted toad,
Frisks like a frog, to croak a tax's load;
His patient piss he could hold longer than
An urinal, and sit like any hen;
At table jolly as a country host
And soaks his sack with Norfolk, like a toast;
At night, than Chanticleer more brisk and hot,
And Sergeant's wife serves him for Pertelotte.
Paint last the King, and a dead shade of night
Only dispersed by a weak taper's light,
And those bright gleams that dart along and glare
From his clear eyes, yet these too dark with care.
There, as in the calm horror all alone
He wakes, and muses of th' uneasy throne;
Raise up a sudden shape with virgin's face,
(Though ill agree her posture, hour, or place),
Naked as born, and her round arms behind
With her own tresses, interwove and twined;
Her mouth locked up, a blind before her eyes,
Yet from beneath the veil her blushes rise,
And silent tears her secret anguish speak
Her heart throbs and with very shame would break.
The object strange in him no terror moved:
He wondered first, then pitied, then he loved,
And with kind hand does the coy vision press
(Whose beauty greater seemed by her distress),
But soon shrunk back, chilled with her touch so cold,
And th' airy picture vanished from his hold.
In his deep thoughts the wonder did increase,
And he divined 'twas England or the Peace.
Express him startling next with listening ear,
As one that some unusual noise does hear.
With cannon, trumpets, drums, his door surround--
But let some other painter draw the sound.
Thrice did he rise, thrice the vain tumult fled,
But again thunders, when he lies in bed.
His mind secure does the known stroke repeat
And finds the drums Louis's march did beat.
Shake then the room, and all his curtains tear
And with blue streaks infect the taper clear,
While the pale ghosts his eye does fixed admire
Of grandsire Harry and of Charles his sire.
Harry sits down, and in his open side
The grisly wound reveals of which he died,
And ghastly Charles, turning his collar low,
The purple thread about his neck does show,
Then whispering to his son in words unheard,
Through the locked door both of them disappeared.
The wondrous night the pensive King revolves,
And rising straight on Hyde's disgrace resolves.
At his first step, he Castlemaine does find,
Bennet, and Coventry, as 't were designed;
And they, not knowing, the same thing propose
Which his hid mind did in its depths enclose.
Through their feigned speech their secret hearts he knew:
To her own husband, Castlemaine untrue;
False to his master Bristol, Arlington;
And Coventry, falser than anyone,
Who to the brother, brother would betray,
Nor therefore trusts himself to such as they.
His Father's ghost, too, whispered him one note,
That who does cut his purse will cut his throat,
But in wise anger he their crimes forbears,
As thieves reprived for executioners;
While Hyde provoked, his foaming tusk does whet,
To prove them traitors and himself the Pett.
Painter, adieu! How well our arts agree,
Poetic picture, painted poetry;
But this great work is for our Monarch fit,
And henceforth Charles only to Charles shall sit.
His master-hand the ancients shall outdo,
Himself the painter and the poet too.
To the King
So his bold tube, man to the sun applied
And spots unknown to the bright star descried,
Showed they obscure him, while too near they please
And seem his courtiers, are but his disease.
Through optic trunk the planet seemed to hear,
And hurls them off e'er since in his career.
And you, Great Sir, that with him empire share,
Sun of our world, as he the Charles is there,
Blame not the Muse that brought those spots to sight,
Which in you splendour hid, corrode your light:
(Kings in the country oft have gone astray
Nor of a peasant scorned to learn the way.)
Would she the unattended throne reduce,
Banishing love, trust, ornament, and use,
Better it were to live in cloister's lock,
Or in fair fields to rule the easy flock.
She blames them only who the court restrain
And where all England serves, themselves would reign.
Bold and accursed are they that all this while
Have strove to isle our Monarch from his isle,
And to improve themselves, on false pretence,
About the Common-Prince have raised a fence;
The kingdom from the crown distinct would see
And peel the bark to burn at last the tree.
(But Ceres corn, and Flora is the spring,
Bacchus is wine, the country is the King.)
Not so does rust insinuating wear,
Nor powder so the vaulted bastion tear,
Nor earthquake so an hollow isle o'er whelm
As scratching courtiers undermine a realm,
And through the palace's foundations bore,
Burrowing themselves to hoard their guilty store.
The smallest vermin make the greatest waste,
And a poor warren once a city rased.
But they, whom born to virtue and to wealth,
Nor guilt to flattery binds, nor want to wealth,
Whose generous conscience and whose courage high
Does with clear counsels their large souls supply;
That serve the King with their estates and care,
And, as in love, on Parliaments can stare,
(Where few the number, choice is there less hard):
Give us this court, and rule without a guard.
Frogs in chorus
The chorus frogs in the big lagoon
Would sing their songs to the silvery moon.
Tenor singers were out of place,
For every frog was a double bass.
But never a human chorus yet
Could beat the accurate time they set.
The solo singer began the joke;
He sang, "As long as I live I'll croak,
Croak, I'll croak,"
And the chorus followed him: "Croak, croak, croak!"
The poet frog, in his plaintive tone,
Sang of a sorrow was all his own;
"How shall I win to my heart's desire?
How shall I feel my spirit's fire?"
And the solo frog in his deepest croak,
"To fire your spirit," he sang, "eat coke,
Coke, eat coke,"
And the chorus followed him: "Coke, coke, coke!"
The green frog sat in a swampy spot
And he sang the song of he knew not what.
"The world is rotten, oh cursed plight,
That I am the frog that must set it right.
How shall I scatter the shades that lurk?"
And the old man bullfrog sang, "Get work,
Work, get work,"
And the chorus followed him: "Work, work, work!"
The soaring spirits that fain would fly
On wings of hope to the starry sky
Must face the snarls of the jealous dogs,
For the world is ruled by its chorus frogs.
When You Meet a Man from Your Own Home Town
Sing, O Muse, in treble clef,
A little song of the A.E.F.,
And pardon me, please, if I give vent
To something akin to sentiment.
But we have our moments Over Here
When we want to cry and we want to cheer;
And the hurrah feeling will not down
When you meet a man from your own home town.
It's many a lonesome, longsome day
Since you embarked from the U.S.A.,
And you met some men--it's a great big war--
From towns that you never had known before;
And you landed here, and your rest camp mate
Was a man from some strange and distant state.
Liked him? Yes; but you wanted to see
A man from the town where you used to be.
And then you went, by design or chance,
All over the well-known map of France;
And you yearned with a yearn that grew and grew
To talk with a man from the burg you knew.
And some lugubrious morn when
Your morale is batting about .110,
"Where are you from?" and you make reply,
And the O.D. warrior says, "So am I."
The universe wears a smiling face
As you spill your talk of the old home place;
You talk of the streets, and the home town jokes,
And you find that you know each other's folks;
And you haven't any more woes at all
Ad you both decide that the world is small--
A statement adding to its renown
When you meet a man from your own home town.
You may be among the enlisted men,
You may be a Lieut. or a Major-Gen.;
Your home may be up in the Chilkoot Pass,
In Denver, Col., or in Pittsfield, Mass.;
You may have come from Chicago, Ill.,
Buffalo, Portland, or Louisville--
But there's nothing, I'm gambling, can keep you down,
When you meet a man from your own home town.
* * * * *
If you want to know why I wrote this pome,
Well . . . I've just had a talk with a guy from home.
Na Tian Piet's Sha'er Of The Late Sultan Abu Bakar Of Johor
In the name of God, let his word begin:
Praise be to God, let praises clear ring;
May our Lord, Jesus Christ's blessings
Guide my pen through these poetizings!
This sha'er is an entirely new composition
Composed by myself, no fear of imitation.
It's Allah's name, I will keep calling out
While creating this poem to avoid confusion.
This story I'm relating at the present moment
I copy not, nor is it by other hands wrought;
Nothing whatsoever is here laid out
That hereunder is not clearly put forth.
Not that I am able to create with much ease,
To all that's to come I'm yet not accustomed;
Why, this sha'er at this time is being composed
Only to console my heart which is heavily laden.
I'm a peranakan, of Chinese origin,
Hardly perfect in character and mind;
I find much that I can not comprehend,
I'm not a man given to much wisdom.
Na Tian Piet is what I go by name
I have in the past composed stories and poems;
Even when explained to - most stupid I remain
The more I keep talking the less I understand.
I was born in times gone by
In the country known as Bencoolen;
Indeed, I am more than stupid:
Ashamed am I composing this lay.
Twenty-four years have gone by
Since I moved to the island of Singapore;
My wife and children accompanied me
To Singapore, a most lovely country.
I stayed in Riau for some time
Together with my wife and children;
Two full years in Riau territory,
Back to Singapore my legs carried me.
At the time when Acheh was waging war
I went there with goods to trade,
I managed to sell them at exhorbitant prices:
Great indeed were the profits I made.
Stricken sick in Acheh were a great many
And those who succumbed were far from few;
As for me I was taken with an infection
In that jungle country hills indeed were legion.
Back to Singapore I retraced my steps
On account of my being felled by illness;
How I was ill! there was no way of telling!
Great was my expenditure! Great my torture!
Once cured, for Acheh again I set sail:
No way for profits, loss was all I got.
Throngs of merchants converged there;
What the Lord wished: bad luck my lot.
Then to the island of Deli set I sail,
There did I abide for a lengthy while;
There too I got to know His Majesty:
Blue-blooded Sultan, the Ruler of Deli!
At that time the ruling Sultan on the throne
Was His Highness Mamun Alrasyid Perkasa;
Within his kingdom by far the most mighty:
Of truely gentle and well-mannered integrity.
I also got to know another ruler well,
The ruling Sultan who reigns in Serdang;
His Royal Highness was extremely young:
Of gentle character, of joyous disposition.
The reigning Sultan at that time there
Was His Highness Saleiman Sariful,
Within Serdang's kingdom, the most mighty:
In feelings considerate, in thoughts bright.
Both Their Highnesses I got to know well,
Wining and dining we rubbed shoulders;
I owe much to their generous natures,
As long as I live I shan't forget them.
While I was still a resident at Deli,
His Highness threw a gala feast;
Inviting friends he carefully picked,
All of whom he knew best already.
For the marriage of his royal sister
To the Sultan of the kingdom of Serdang,
His Royal Highness summoned me
To present myself at the ceremony.
I addressed my congratulations at the feast:
Indeed most able was I in the use of speech;
Mightily pleased was His Highness himself,
While cheers showered on me from all the guests.
With pleasure His Majesty deigned to tell me
That my wishes were most gratifying,
That only in schools could I have gained
The knowledge to express myself in such a way.
His Highness' joy knew no bounds
He thanked me over and over again;
The rejoicing went on in full throttle,
Only after dusk homeward were we bound.
Both their majesties I came to know well,
Endowed were they of the finest manners:
Courteous of word, gentle in speech,
As long as I live, never will I forget them.
To Allah in high heaven I raised my voice:
Preserve Thee, O Lord, their highnesses' health,
Bestow on them the grace of long life
And protect them from all danger.
During these three years gone by
I have lived in the kingdom of Deli;
Then to Singapore I made tracks:
Oh! what a most lovely country!
Now I'm well grounded in Singapore,
Land of the English Company
Where burgeons bustling activity;
Where every thing may be bought cheap.
Here thrive I in my own flowering cloister
In peace and restful leisure all to myself;
I have sprung deep roots in this island
And at writing day by day I try my hand.
Right at this moment I'm composing a sha'er,
Wherever errors occur I crave your indulgence;
If you find my language rightly wanting,
Know that I'm yet to acquire the necessary flair.
My poem's by a man who needs assistance,
Those adept at poetizing are certainly rare;
I'll own up to my faults wherever they appear:
I do sincerely hope a curse hangs not over me!
I can't make much of the art of poetizing;
One's a great deal more free in one's heart;
When on the day I shall be pronounced dead,
This sha'er will have replaced me in good stead.
This sha'er I'm composing at my own leisure
For I haven't acquired the necessary skill;
If I'm caught making unforgiveable mistakes,
I hope I'll not be made the object of ridicule.
My poem in the hands of the mean
Would suffer the fate of uninformed critics:
In character and intelligence far from perfect,
People who are lacking in wisdom.
What I'm creating is a narrative poem,
Most dull it would be once the plot's obvious;
If my diction leaves much to be desired,
I hope I shan't become the target of abuse!
Composing a sha'er is not an easy task,
For the right idea, one must look high and low;
The tension mounts in one's own chest
Just looking for the word that's best.
With God as a cause, I compose this poem,
This is not an intention which invites mistakes;
If in the making of this poem faults abound,
Forgive me! Dear Reader! I'll recite them all.
Creating this poem relieves my anxiety,
A poem that I fashion, friendless, all alone;
If defects arise, let God acknowledge them,
Forgive me! Oh Lord! Noble art Thou!
I compose this lay at the present moment,
I suffer not that it be other than just right;
I do not commit errors to earn others' scorn:
Whatever I compose, from a clear vision's born.
I sit composing my poem day after day,
With diligence I look for words that are right;
Let me assure you, it's me alone who writes,
There's no one else who speaks in my stead.
In daylight I compose day by day,
Looking for ideas all within myself,
To all I'm open, no deaf ear I turn,
In order to obtain whatever I seek.
I'm labouring at this poem at this moment,
Thanks be to God Almighty's assistance:
Might my task be light and without hindrance
In looking for words in the Malay parlance!
Hardworking am I in my literary endeavour
As always from the beginning to the present;
If ever it appears there looms excess or less,
To my less than clear thoughts blame the mess.
Composing a sha'er is no easy undertaking:
Thoughts get entangled like loose thread;
Always look for ideas while remaining calm
In order that you may find them for easy recall.
The art of writing upon me came,
Its four reaches appear the same;
Do not just put anything down on paper gratis,
Keep looking you must however long it takes.
Most difficult it is to take pen to paper.
Would that it were easy to think clearly!
You may not consign just anything in mind,
For if you miss the mark, blame is your fate.
In writing there develops an art
In order to make reading pleasant,
Searching its poesy till it's found
In order to praise it in our name.
Don't be like a person struck with latah
Unable to understand a word or utterance;
Our name being reduced to utter shambles
In the eyes of all those readers yet to come.
Writing this poem like one in full faith,
Wise, intelligent and sensible as well,
Thoughts so resigned as to right the senses,
So that one may be hailed to the end of time.
Oh God! Lend a ear to my story:
I got to know this King of old lineage
As a result of composing this poem:
Through a newspaper I got to know him.
Herebelow I shall make clear
In order that people may read,
Important to say right from the start,
His Majesty already knew about me.
In this sha'er woven with panegyric
See how the plot of the story unravels:
Of how to the King I came to be known,
Sultan Abubakar was his regal name.
Enthroned was he in the state of Johor:
Wise, intelligent and learned a Sultan,
Most difficult would it be to find a peer,
Great indeed was the fame of his name.
I give praise to his Highness in my poem:
His palace in Singapore, verily a gem,
Chock-full of possessions of all sorts;
I know 'cause I've seen it all myself.
Tijersall was the name of his palace
Where everything was in perfect shape,
Things from Europe, Japan and China,
Of all sorts and of varied colours.
The Tijersall Palace to be found in Singapore
Its beauteous appearance was beyond measure,
Nothing of its kind was anywhere to be seen,
Its internal furnishings were far from cheap.
Compared to other palaces in Johor
Its appearance remains indescribable;
Difficult it would be to find one similar,
So deftly conceived, this Sultan's castle.
My writings began to appear in newspapers;
I reported on everything, on every topic:
My pseudonym: Pen of the Sky in great fame,
My articles displaying much discipline and patience.
In the paper called Betawi Pembrita
Appeared indeed my writings;
Most long in news and reports,
That was why the King rejoiced.
I praised His Majesty at great length,
In, not base, but highly refined terms
Like gold being subject to the precious test:
The name of His Highness was held aloft.
The praises I offered were most fetching
And all of them were heard by the King;
All his vizirs too, as many as there were,
Old and young took most kindly to them.
There was also a Minister to the King,
Mohamad Saleh was his singular name:
A man of great sensibility and wisdom,
Received the honour of Datu' Bintara Luar.
It was this chieftain who read the report
And my eulogy of the monarch revealed
To His Majesty and his Vizir at once;
Having heard it, both of them felt great joy.
Great thanks His Highness addressed me:
Through this chieftain the king got to know me:
Sweet of character, with a joyous disposition,
As long as I live, never will I forget him.
Hope I, the Almighty his life prolong,
His wife and children's together too
So that he may rise ever higher in rank
And live in comfort in a life made long.
This the most true-hearted chieftain
Many the writings he has made clear
From China, Japan and the Whites,
Most good is he in nature and disposition.
Dare you to find one equally clever,
Difficult indeed even in a thousand;
Malays in the land of the Indies:
There are the rich and the poor.
All is most true that I praise in him
Like gold being put to the test;
Most loyal is he when he gives his word,
Gentle of utterance, shorn of all evil.
Most loved is he by the Chinese race,
A minister of much sense and wisdom,
In intelligence and character most perfect,
His fame has spread far and wide.
How the King first got to know me
Was through seeing my writing in ink.
How the Monarch liked what he read
And upon me his liking entrusted.
In the newspapers I explained
If ever any one went in search
Of my person and of my self,
To my children his questions address.
The result: my name in that paper
Appears in there as Celestial Plume;
It is because of this fact I say so,
So that people will rightly know.
You can enquire after me from my son,
Na Kim Liong is the name he goes by,
Ditoko Robinson & Co employs him,
Becoming in the process their clerk.
In the year 1894, on the 23rd of May,
Received a letter from the hand of a minister;
An epistle from Datu' Bintang Luar himself:
A royal behest to appear before him.
In the letter it was thus laid down:
To Johore the King requested I go,
The Princess' nuptial ceremony to attend;
To entertain the guests a sumptuous dinner.
Most anxious was I in within myself
That in the letter it was thus laid out;
Never have been invited by the King,
Not until this day such an invitation.
Oh to Allah up high I gave my thanks
For His Majesty's desire to befriend me,
While at the same time I set about
Preparing a complete set of fineries.
When the hour for setting forth arrived,
I undid my slippers and put on my shoes:
I felt all heated up at that very moment,
And then through the door I strode out.
It was by carriage I set out on my journey,
Past through level jungle and plain;
My pleasure then knew no bounds:
The King choosing to show me favour.
Throughout the drive I kept reflecting
On how I should address my greetings,
All those listening must of needs like them:
Praiseworthy they must be, this was clear.
At the time of my arrival in Johor territory,
It was a country of widespread renown;
I arrived in the place on the dot at noon:
The harbour though was not quite deep.
The King's five steamships rode at anchor,
A great many flags flapped from their masts;
One thing was true, I had arrived in Johor:
I saw a great many horses-and-carriages.
Flags by thousands fluttered all the way,
In colours: black, white, yellow and red;
Throngs of people, countless to the eye,
Lived within the borders of this state.
There were four Chinese theatre-houses,
And two Malay wayang halls as well,
Several female ronggeng and joget joints,
Melodious voices streamed far out from there.
The Chinese were gambling much away,
A great many of them milling in the fortress;
Most brave were they, throwing away things,
Hardly showing the slightest remorse.
In Johore State, there were many Chinese,
Tens of thousands inhabited the country,
By far the men outnumbered the women:
Once having come, they sprung roots there.
As soon as the day turned into night,
Most clear, as by fire, one could see:
Thousands of Japanese lamps turned on
Plunged the palace surroundings in daylight!
Not only the immediate palace grounds,
All along the thoroughfares everywhere,
The fire of Japanese lamps brightened
And exposed the flags in varied colours.
Chock-full of people before the wayang stages
Watched under lights that were most clear:
Surely no less than ten thousand spectators
Came and gathered in front of the wayang stages.
All the sounds of rejoicing were most acute:
The Chinese theatre was located apart
From those of the Malay wayang and joget;
Great the rejoicings, nothing like it I've seen.
Great too the rejoicings of the gamblers there,
Numerous the gambling dens, here and there;
Of those gambling, many were Chinese,
Hailing from areas spread far and wide.
Great indeed the food, of all sorts of colours
That were being sold, right where they gambled;
A good part of the food that the Chinese cooked
Were taken and hawked from place to place.
Such then were the Princess' wedding celebrations
Given in marriage to the King's own royal nephew;
Splendorous the rejoicings, verily indescribable:
Lasting full fifteen days and full fifteen nights.
Her Highness the Princess, daughter of the King
Was about to be married to the princely son
Of His Highness Abdul Rahman, the deceased:
The name of the bridegroom was Prince Ahmad.
Drawn into the audience hall for the dinner,
Exactly at seven o'clock in the evening
Were two hundred and forty of the invitees:
Some were peranakan, most local Chinese.
There were thirty tables for the Chinese,
At each table were seated eight invitees;
Chinese themselves prepared their food
And all those present sat themselves down.
Only I still remained all alone standing.
His Royal Highness bade me approach him:
Me, the towkay, to the King was drawn.
Why was I standing all alone by myself?
So I replied with as pleasant a face:
Might Your Highness lay wrath aside,
Your Humble Servant doesn't like Chinese fare,
Your Humble Servant stands satiated right now.
His Royal Highness smiled and said:
I am helping myself to Malay cuisine.
If Your Highness wishes to bid me eat,
Humble Servant most delightfully will.
All the Chinese guests had finished eating,
Only I among the Chinese was still waiting;
All those who had dined most surely departed,
All of them making their way out in turns.
They went to watch the Chinese wayang.
Some indeed took to gambling right there;
Yes, all those who had dined turned up there
To watch the men and women in the wayang.
I was the only Chinese left all to myself,
Close to the presence of His Highness;
And all of a sudden the King espied me,
As being one of his guests at the palace.
Present too the Sultan of Pahang with his heirs,
Even as His Royal Highness the Sultan of Riau;
Many indeed were the princes and princesses
From Riau, Pahang, Trengganu and Kedah.
There at the very same moment of time
Were three Englishmen and three Arabs as well;
Of the Chinese, there was no one but me left,
Amidst thirty Malays, right at that moment.
There too could be seen the orang besar,
From their breasts dangled starry medals;
Their attire was of exceptional elegance.
All the viziers and ministers were present too.
Almost similar to costumes worn in Turkey
Were those worn by viziers and ministers,
The highborn Sultan's accoutred clothes
Shone resplendent like a polished diamond.
Even when everyone had wined and dined,
There was no-one to offer a vote of thanks;
At the moment when the clock chimed ten,
All the invited guests held their breath.
Just then the Raja entered his private apartments
To demand of his royal daughter the use of henna;
Everybody sought the Princess' fingernails to see:
His Highness' daughter, the bride and bridegroom.
According to the Malay Raja's custom
Sixteen gun salute was duely rendered;
As a sign of respect he wore henna
While music sounded in accompaniment.
Great the animation in the private apartments:
Among the wives of the viziers and ministers,
And among the wives of the orang besar
When the prince was being adorned with henna.
In the private quarters there was much activity,
People were drinking, eating and moving about;
The bridal couple were inured to the use of henna:
The hustle and bustle was beyond description.
The palace apartments shone wholly bright,
People just turned on hundreds of lights:
More or less there were fifty lamps,
The four-branched kroon lamps.
The carpet on the floor twinkled like stars,
So numerous, impossible to say how many;
So lovely, so beautiful were they to watch,
The bride and bridegroom together on the dais.
It was beyond description, such the hectic rejoicing:
A good many wayang and joget to dance at;
By the thousands people stood tirelessly watching,
Verily chock-full wherever you cared to look.
The time it took, it was fifteen full days:
Lighted torches by the hundreds of thousands,
Wayang and joget were compelled to perform,
And all who watched felt happily at ease.
The masts of ships were festooned with lights,
The edge of the ocean seemed just at the side,
The Japanese lamps lay hung up like hats,
All along the pathways nothing looked deserted.
Moreover from the houses of the common folk
Lights went up on account of the festivities,
Hundreds of boxes of candles were used in that night
Together with hundreds of petrol lamps to be right!
Again from one good deed it's amply clear
How ten thousand Japanese lamps, no less
Shone out brilliantly from three palaces:
Thousands of lamps were lit by their inmates.
What's more even at home people enjoyed wayang,
Great was the rejoicing during the day and the night,
All had become infused with hightening spirits,
And many indeed even forgot the hour of prayer.
Most elated was everybody, both old and young,
All kinds of fare, all of it was there to be found:
Different sorts of cakes together with sweetmeats,
All indeed most delicious to the touch of the tongue.
 sha'er: also written thus: syair or sha'ir. This poetic form is the equivalent of the ballad in English. Essentially, it narrates an event(s) or, as in this case, undertakes the biography of an individual. As a narrative poem in Malay, it may even assume the proportions of an epic poem, such as, Sha'ir Ken Tambuhan. The structure of the sha'er is quite formal and inflexible: the narration is undertaken in quatrains whose end rhymes are identical: AAAA, or its variant, and as such may prove to be monotonous and even, quite often, forced and jarring to the ear. The line of verse may habitually contain - as with the pantun - anything from eight to twelve syllables or slightly more, each line being thus - given the frequence of bi-syllabic words in Malay - limited to a minimum of four words (nouns/pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs) . Often the lines of the quatrain are linked by internal rhyme: both assonance and consonance. Each line is normally self-contained syntactically and/or semantically, though now and then enjambement may occur: the latter are however limited to a couplet.
 Sultan Abu Bakar: b.1831 in Singapore, d.4 June 1895 in London. Sultan of Johore State. When the Malacca sultanate disintegrated under the assault of European colonialism, its legitimate heirs fanned out to Singapore/Johore, Perak and Pahang principally, founding as it were other lineages which are still the 'ruling houses' in these states. Abu Bakar was the son of the bendahara (princely court official ranking immediately after the heir apparent or crown prince in Malay royal succession) who acceded to the Johor throne after the death of the sultan who ceded Singapore to Sir Stamford Raffles.
 Syair is the alternative modern spelling of sha'er and Johor likewise of the old spelling Johore.
 Na Tian Piet: b.1836, a Chinese peranakan [cf.note 5] in Bencoolen, Sumatra. The date of his demise in Singapore is yet to be determined, though, according to Claudine Salmon, it is certain that he died before Song Ong Siang began the writing of his book: One Hundred Years' History of the Chinese in Singapore in 1923. Biographical details of the author may be gleaned from the poem itself. He was a peripatetic trader in his youth, voyaging between Singapore and Sumatra (as far as Enggano island in the Indian Ocean) in order to trade in spices and small goods before contributing to ephemeral journals and newspapers in Singapore, where he settled in later life after having sojourned for periods of years at a time in Riau and Deli. It is evident that he was a respected member of his community in Singapore. He had a son and daughter who settled in Singapore themselves. Before Claudine Salmon undertook research for her article on him [cf. the Introduction], he was practically unknown to contemporary researchers in the field.
 Quoted by P.Parameswaran in Journal of the Institute of Asian Studies, XII,2, (Chennai) , March 1995, p.50.
 J.C.Catford, A Linguistic Theory of Translation (An Essay in Applied Linguistics) , London-New York-Toronto: Oxford University Press (Language and Language Learning Series) ,1974, pp.20 & 22ff.
 A.K.Ramanujan, The Interior Landscape: Love Poems from a Classical Tamil Anthology, London: Peter Owen (UNESCO Collection of Representative Works) ,1970,125p.
 Although Na evokes Allah frequently in his text, this is one rare occasion when Jesus Christ replaces the former. Na was both a Protestant Christian and a lay-preacher.
 peranakan: offspring of non-Malay and Malay unions. In Na's case, his father was Chinese.
 Na Tian Piet: the first name: 'Tian Piet' means Heavenly Plume.
 Bencoolen: Bengkulu, town on the southwest coast of Sumatra. (3.48S-102.16E)
 Riau: group of islands to the south of Singapore. (1.00N-102.00E)
 Aceh: on the northeast coast of Sumatra. (4.00N-97.00E)
 Deli: island south of the south-western coast of Java. (7.00S-105.32E)
 Mamun Alrasjid Perkasa Alamsjah: Maakmun Alrasyid Perkasa Alamsyah, Sultan of Deli (1857-1924) , reigned from 1875.
 Saleimun Sariful Alamsjah: Sultan Sulaiman Syariful Alamsyah (1862-1946) , reigned in Serdang from 1881 onwards.
 English Company: East India Company which bought the island of Tumasik (former name of Singapore) from the Sultan of Johor for a stipend of five thousand dollars, payable annually.
 Malay: the Malay used by Na, especially in his prose, appears to have been the spoken form of many in Singapore and the west-coast Malayan towns, right up to the postwar period.
 latah: kind of hysteria, according to dictionaries, but Frank A.Swettenham in his Malay Sketches (1896) has this to say on the subject: (cf.p.72)
'The lâtah man or woman usually met with, if suddenly startled, by a touch, a noise, or the sight of something unexpected, will not only show all the signs of a very nervous person but almost invariably will fire off a volley of expressions more or less obscene, having no reference at all to the circumstance which has suddenly aroused attention. As a rule it is necessary to startle these people before they will say or do anything to show that they are differently constituted to their neighbours, and when they have betrayed themselves either by word or deed their instinct is to get away as quickly as possible.'
 the Malay word for theatrical shows in general, but also serves as an adjective, as for example: wayang gambar means cinema, or wayang kulit means shadow play.
 A traditional popular Malay dance, performed in public at amusement parks where taxi-girls dance for a fee with (mostly) men without effecting any form of bodily contact; the participants sway back and forth to the accompaniment of the rebab (a violin with three chords) and the gendang (a two-faced drum) . The participants also indulge in casual conversation or in a bout of repeating or composing pantun (the traditional Malay form of poetry known to be perfected in the Malay world only) .
 A dancing-girl for hire or the dance-hall where such taxi-girls dance the ronggeng (cf. note xvii) or other modern dances like the rumba or samba with their paying partners.
 Corrupted spelling of a word of Chinese origin and referring generally to a Chinese businessman or man of wealth in Malaysia or Singapore.
 Malay composite word for the aristocracy; orang means human being, man or woman, and besar literally big, large or great while together they mean big man or aristocrat.
 A red dye obtained from the inai shrub in Malaysia and used for colouring the finger and toe nails; according to Malay custom, the bride has to ceremoniously colour her finger and toe nails on the eve of her wedding ceremony and known as malam berinai.
(Copyright ©: T. Wignesan, Paris,1994: [Published in The Gombak Review, Vol.4, n° 1 (International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur) ,1999, pp.101-121 and in T. Wignesan. Sporadic Striving amid Echoed Voices, Mirrored Images and Stereotypic Posturing in Malaysian-Singaporean Literatures. Allahabad: Cyberwit.net,2008.)
Translated by T. Wignesan. (c) T. Wignesan,1994, Paris, France.
The White Cliffs
I have loved England, dearly and deeply,
Since that first morning, shining and pure,
The white cliffs of Dover I saw rising steeply
Out of the sea that once made her secure.
I had no thought then of husband or lover,
I was a traveller, the guest of a week;
Yet when they pointed 'the white cliffs of Dover',
Startled I found there were tears on my cheek.
I have loved England, and still as a stranger,
Here is my home and I still am alone.
Now in her hour of trial and danger,
Only the English are really her own.
It happened the first evening I was there.
Some one was giving a ball in Belgrave Square.
At Belgrave Square, that most Victorian spot.—
Lives there a novel-reader who has not
At some time wept for those delightful girls,
Daughters of dukes, prime ministers and earls,
In bonnets, berthas, bustles, buttoned basques,
Hiding behind their pure Victorian masks
Hearts just as hot - hotter perhaps than those
Whose owners now abandon hats and hose?
Who has not wept for Lady Joan or Jill
Loving against her noble parent's will
A handsome guardsman, who to her alarm
Feels her hand kissed behind a potted palm
At Lady Ivry's ball the dreadful night
Before his regiment goes off to fight;
And see him the next morning, in the park,
Complete in busbee, marching to embark.
I had read freely, even as a child,
Not only Meredith and Oscar Wilde
But many novels of an earlier day—
Ravenshoe, Can You Forgive Her?, Vivien Grey,
Ouida, The Duchess, Broughton's Red As a Rose,
Guy Livingstone, Whyte-Melville— Heaven knows
What others. Now, I thought, I was to see
Their habitat, though like the Miller of Dee,
I cared for none and no one cared for me.
A light blue carpet on the stair
And tall young footmen everywhere,
Tall young men with English faces
Standing rigidly in their places,
Rows and rows of them stiff and staid
In powder and breeches and bright gold braid;
And high above them on the wall
Hung other English faces-all
Part of the pattern of English life—
General Sir Charles, and his pretty wife,
Admirals, Lords-Lieutenant of Shires,
Men who were served by these footmen's sires
At their great parties-none of them knowing
How soon or late they would all be going
In plainer dress to a sterner strife-
Another pattern of English life.
I went up the stairs between them all,
Strange and frightened and shy and small,
And as I entered the ballroom door,
Saw something I had never seen before
Except in portraits— a stout old guest
With a broad blue ribbon across his breast—
That blue as deep as the southern sea,
Bluer than skies can ever be—
The Countess of Salisbury—Edward the Third—
No damn merit— the Duke— I heard
My own voice saying; 'Upon my word,
The garter!' and clapped my hands like a child.
Some one beside me turned and smiled,
And looking down at me said: 'I fancy,
You're Bertie's Australian cousin Nancy.
He toId me to tell you that he'd be late
At the Foreign Office and not to wait
Supper for him, but to go with me,
And try to behave as if I were he.'
I should have told him on the spot
That I had no cousin—that I was not
Australian Nancy—that my name
Was Susan Dunne, and that I came
From a small white town on a deep-cut bay
In the smallest state in the U.S.A.
I meant to tell him, but changed my mind—
I needed a friend, and he seemed kind;
So I put my gloved hand into his glove,
And we danced together— and fell in love.
Young and in love-how magical the phrase!
How magical the fact! Who has not yearned
Over young lovers when to their amaze
They fall in love and find their love returned,
And the lights brighten, and their eyes are clear
To see God's image in their common clay.
Is it the music of the spheres they hear?
Is it the prelude to that noble play,
The drama of Joined Lives? Ah, they forget
They cannot write their parts; the bell has rung,
The curtain rises and the stage is set
For tragedy-they were in love and young.
We went to the Tower,
We went to the Zoo,
We saw every flower
In the gardens at Kew.
We saw King Charles a-prancing
On his long-tailed horse,
And thought him more entrancing
Than better kings, of course.
At a strange early hour,
In St. James's palace yard,
We watched in a shower
The changing of the guard.
And I said, what a pity,
To have just a week to spend,
When London is a city
Whose beauties never end!
When the sun shines on England, it atones
For low-hung leaden skies, and rain and dim
Moist fogs that paint the verdure on her stones
And fill her gentle rivers to the brim.
When the sun shines on England, shafts of light
Fall on far towers and hills and dark old trees,
And hedge-bound meadows of a green as bright—
As bright as is the blue of tropic seas.
When the sun shines, it is as if the face
Of some proud man relaxed his haughty stare,
And smiled upon us with a sudden grace,
Flattering because its coming is so rare.
The English are frosty
When you're no kith or kin
Of theirs, but how they alter
When once they take you in!
The kindest, the truest,
The best friends ever known,
It's hard to remember
How they froze you to a bone.
They showed me all London,
Johnnie and his friends;
They took me to the country
For long week-ends;
I never was so happy,
I never had such fun,
I stayed many weeks in England
Instead of just one.
John had one of those English faces
That always were and will always be
Found in the cream of English places
Till England herself sink into the sea—
A blond, bowed face with prominent eyes
A little bit bluer than English skies.
You see it in ruffs and suits of armour,
You see it in wigs of many styles,
Soldier and sailor, judge and farmer—
That face has governed the British Isles,
By the power, for good or ill bestowed,
Only on those who live by code.
Oh, that inflexible code of living,
That seems so easy and unconstrained,
The Englishman's code of taking and giving
Rights and privileges pre-ordained,
Based since English life began
On the prime importance of being a man.
And what a voice he had-gentle, profound,
Clear masculine!—I melted at the sound.
Oh, English voices, are there any words
Those tones to tell, those cadences to teach!
As song of thrushes is to other birds,
So English voices are to other speech;
Those pure round 'o's '—those lovely liquid 'l's'
Ring in the ears like sound of Sabbath bells.
Yet I have loathed those voices when the sense
Of what they said seemed to me insolence,
As if the dominance of the whole nation
Lay in that clear correct enunciation.
Many years later, I remember when
One evening I overheard two men
In Claridge's— white waistcoats, coats I know
Were built in Bond Street or in Savile Row—
So calm, so confident, so finely bred—
Young gods in tails— and this is what they said:
'Not your first visit to the States?' 'Oh no,
I'd been to Canada two years ago.'
Good God, I thought, have they not heard that we
Were those queer colonists who would be free,
Who took our desperate chance, and fought and won
Under a colonist called Washington?
One does not lose one's birthright, it appears.
I had been English then for many years.
We went down to Cambridge,
Cambridge in the spring.
In a brick court at twilight
We heard the thrushes sing,
And we went to evening service
In the chapel of the King.
The library of Trinity,
The quadrangle of Clare,
John bought a pipe from Bacon,
And I acquired there
The Anecdotes of Painting
From a handcart in the square.
The Playing fields at sunset
Were vivid emerald green,
The elms were tall and mighty,
And many youths were seen,
Carefree young gentlemen
In the Spring of 'Fourteen.
London, just before dawn-immense and dark—
Smell of wet earth and growth from the empty Park,
Pall Mall vacant-Whitehall deserted. Johnnie and I
Strolling together, averse to saying good-bye—
Strolling away from some party in silence profound,
Only far off in Mayfair, piercing, the sound
Of a footman's whistle—the rhythm of hoofs on wood,
Further and further away. . . . And now we stood
On a bridge, where a poet came to keep
Vigil while all the city lay asleep—
Westminster Bridge, and soon the sun would rise,
And I should see it with my very eyes!
Yes, now it came— a broad and awful glow
Out of the violet mists of dawn. 'Ah, no',
I said. 'Earth has not anything to show
More fair— changed though it is— than this.'
A curious background surely for a kiss—
Our first— Westminster Bridge at break of day—
Settings by Wordsworth, as John used to say.
Why do we fall in love? I do believe
That virtue is the magnet, the small vein
Of ore, the spark, the torch that we receive
At birth, and that we render back again.
That drop of godhood, like a precious stone,
May shine the brightest in the tiniest flake.
Lavished on saints, to sinners not unknown;
In harlot, nun, philanthropist, and rake,
It shines for those who love; none else discern
Evil from good; Men's fall did not bestow
That threatened wisdom; blindly still we yearn
After a virtue that we do not know,
Until our thirst and longing rise above
The barriers of reason—and we love.
And still I did not see my life was changed,
Utterly different—by this love estranged
For ever and ever from my native land;
That I was now of that unhappy band
Who lose the old, and cannot gain the new
However loving and however true
To their new duties. I could never be
An English woman, there was that in me
Puritan, stubborn that would not agree
To English standards, though I did not see
The truth, because I thought them, good or ill,
So great a people—and I think so still.
But a day came when I was forced to face
Facts. I was taken down to see the place,
The family place in Devon— and John's mother.
'Of course, you understand,' he said, 'my brother
Will have the place.' He smiled; he was so sure
The world was better for primogeniture.
And yet he loved that place, as Englishmen
Do love their native countryside, and when
The day should be as it was sure to be—
When this was home no more to him— when he
Could go there only when his brother's wife
Should ask him—to a room not his— his life
Would shrink and lose its meaning. How unjust,
I thought. Why do they feel it must
Go to that idle, insolent eldest son?
Well, in the end it went to neither one.
A red brick manor-house in Devon,
In a beechwood of old grey trees,
Ivy climbing to the clustered chimneys,
Rustling in the wet south breeze.
Gardens trampled down by Cromwell's army,
Orchards of apple-trees and pears,
Casements that had looked for the Armada,
And a ghost on the stairs.
Johnnie's mother, the Lady Jean,
Child of a penniless Scottish peer,
Was handsome, worn high-coloured, lean,
With eyes like Johnnie's—more blue and clear—
Like bubbles of glass in her fine tanned face.
Quiet, she was, and so at ease,
So perfectly sure of her rightful place
In the world that she felt no need to please.
I did not like her—she made me feel
Talkative, restless, unsure, as if
I were a cross between parrot and eel.
I thought her blank and cold and stiff.
And presently she said as they
Sooner or later always say:
'You're an American, Miss Dunne?
Really you do not speak like one.'
She seemed to think she'd said a thing
Both courteous and flattering.
I answered though my wrist were weak
With anger: 'Not at all, I speak—
At least I've always thought this true—
As educated people do
In any country-even mine.'
'Really?' I saw her head incline,
I saw her ready to assert
Americans are easily hurt.
Strange to look back to the days
So long ago
When a friend was almost a foe,
When you hurried to find a phrase
For your easy light dispraise
Of a spirit you did not know,
A nature you could not plumb
In the moment of meeting,
Not guessing a day would come
When your heart would ache to hear
Other men's tongues repeating
Those same light phrases that jest and jeer
At a friend now grown so dear— so dear.
Strange to remember long ago
When a friend was almost a foe.
I saw the house with its oaken stair,
And the Tudor Rose on the newel post,
The panelled upper gallery where
They told me you heard the family ghost—
'A gentle unhappy ghost who sighs
Outside one's door on the night one dies.'
'Not,' Lady Jean explained, 'at all
Like the ghost at my father's place, St. Kitts,
That clanks and screams in the great West Hall
And frightens strangers out of their wits.'
I smiled politely, not thinking I
Would hear one midnight that long sad sigh.
I saw the gardens, after our tea
(Crumpets and marmalade, toast and cake)
And Drake's Walk, leading down to the sea;
Lady Jean was startled I'd heard of Drake,
For the English always find it a mystery
That Americans study English history.
I saw the picture of every son—
Percy, the eldest, and John; and Bill
In Chinese Customs, and the youngest one
Peter, the sailor, at Osborne still;
And the daughter, Enid, married, alas,
To a civil servant in far Madras.
A little thing happened, just before
We left— the evening papers came;
John, flicking them over to find a score,
Spoke for the first time a certain name—
The name of a town in a distant land
Etched on our hearts by a murderer's hand.
Mother and son exchanged a glance,
A curious glance of strength and dread.
I thought: what matter to them if Franz
Ferdinand dies? One of them said:
This might be serious.' 'Yes, you're right.'
The other answered, 'It really might.'
Dear John: I'm going home. I write to say
Goodbye. My boat-train leaves at break of day;
It will be gone when this is in your hands.
I've had enough of lovely foreign lands,
Sightseeing, strangers, holiday and play;
I'm going home to those who think the way
I think, and speak as I do. Will you try
To understand that this must be good-bye?
We both rooted deeply in the soil
Of our own countries. But I could not spoil
Our happy memories with the stress and strain
Of parting; if we never meet again
Be sure I shall remember till I die
Your love, your laugh, your kindness. But—goodbye.
Please do not hate me; give the devil his due,
This is an act of courage. Always, Sue.
The boat-train rattling
Through the green country-side;
A girl within it battling
With her tears and pride.
The Southampton landing,
Porters, neat and quick,
And a young man standing,
Leaning on his stick.
'Oh, John, John, you shouldn't
Have come this long way. . .
'Did you really think I wouldn't
Be here to make you stay?'
I can't remember whether
There was much stress and strain,
But presently, together,
We were travelling back again.
The English love their country with a love
Steady, and simple, wordless, dignified;
I think it sets their patriotism above
All others. We Americans have pride—
We glory in our country's short romance.
We boast of it and love it. Frenchmen when
The ultimate menace comes, will die for France
Logically as they lived. But Englishmen
Will serve day after day, obey the law,
And do dull tasks that keep a nation strong.
Once I remember in London how I saw
Pale shabby people standing in a long
Line in the twilight and the misty rain
To pay their tax. I then saw England plain.
Johnnie and I were married. England then
Had been a week at war, and all the men
Wore uniform, as English people can,
Unconscious of it. Percy, the best man,
As thin as paper and as smart as paint,
Bade us good-by with admirable restraint,
Went from the church to catch his train to hell;
And died-saving his batman from a shell.
We went down to Devon,
In a warm summer rain,
Knowing that our happiness
Might never come again;
I, not forgetting,
'Till death us do part,'
Was outrageously happy
With death in my heart.
Lovers in peacetime
With fifty years to live,
Have time to tease and quarrel
And question what to give;
But lovers in wartime
The fullness of living,
With death close at hand.
My father wrote me a letter—
My father, scholarly, indolent, strong,
Teaching Greek better
Than high-school students repay—
Teaching Greek in the winter, but all summer long
Sailing a yawl in Narragansett Bay;
Happier perhaps when I was away,
Free of an anxious daughter,
He could sail blue water
Day after day,
Beyond Brenton Reef Lightship, and Beavertail,
Past Cuttyhunk to catch a gale
Off the Cape, while he thought of Hellas and Troy,
Chanting with joy
Greek choruses— those lines that he said
Must be written some day on a stone at his head:
'But who can know
As the long years go
That to live is happy, has found his heaven.'
My father, so far away—
I thought of him, in Devon,
Anchoring in a blind fog in Booth Bay.
'So, Susan, my dear,' the letter began,
'You've fallen in love with an Englishman.
Well, they're a manly, attractive lot,
If you happen to like them, which I do not.
I am a Yankee through and through,
And I don't like them, or the things they do.
Whenever it's come to a knock-down fight
With us, they were wrong, and we right;
If you don't believe me, cast your mind
Back over history, what do you find?
They certainly had no justification
For that maddening plan to impose taxation
Without any form of representation.
Your man may be all that a man should be,
Only don't you bring him back to me
Saying he can't get decent tea—
He could have got his tea all right
In Boston Harbour a certain night,
When your great-great-grandmother— also a Sue—
Shook enough tea from her husband's shoe
To supply her house for a week or two.
The war of 1812 seems to me
About as just as a war could be.
How could we help but come to grips
With a nation that stopped and searched our ships,
And took off our seamen for no other reason
Except that they needed crews that season.
I can get angry still at the tale
Of their letting the Alabama sail,
And Palmerston being insolent
To Lincoln and Seward over the Trent.
All very long ago, you'll say,
But whenever I go up Boston-way,
I drive through Concord—that neck of the wood,
Where once the embattled farmers stood,
And I think of Revere, and the old South Steeple,
And I say, by heck, we're the only people
Who licked them not only once, but twice.
Never forget it-that's my advice.
They have their points—they're honest and brave,
Loyal and sure—as sure as the grave;
They make other nations seem pale and flighty,
But they do think England is god almighty,
And you must remind them now and then
That other countries breed other men.
From all of which you will think me rather
Unjust. I am. Your devoted Father.
I read, and saw my home with sudden yearning—
The small white wooden house, the grass-green door,
My father's study with the fire burning,
And books piled on the floor.
I saw the moon-faced clock that told the hours,
The crimson Turkey carpet, worn and frayed,
The heavy dishes—gold with birds and flowers—
Fruits of the China trade.
I saw the jack o' lanterns, friendly, frightening,
Shine from our gateposts every Hallow-e'en;
I saw the oak tree, shattered once by lightning,
Twisted, stripped clean.
I saw the Dioscuri— two black kittens,
Stalking relentlessly an empty spool;
I saw a little girl in scarlet mittens
Trudging through snow to school.
John read the letter with his lovely smile.
'Your father has a vigorous English style,
And what he says is true, upon my word;
But what's this war of which I never heard?
We didn't fight in 1812.' 'Yes, John,
That was the time when you burnt Washington.'
'We couldn't have, my dear. . .' 'I mean the city.'
'We burnt it?' 'Yes, you did.' 'What a pity!
No wonder people hate us. But, I say,
I'll make your father like me yet, some day.'
I settled down in Devon,
When Johnnie went to France.
Such a tame ending
To a great romance—
Two lonely women
With nothing much to do
But get to know each other;
She did and I did, too.
Mornings at the rectory
Learning how to roll
Bandages, and always
Saving light and coal.
Oh, that house was bitter
As winter closed in,
In spite of heavy stockings
And woollen next the skin.
I was cold and wretched,
And never unaware
Of John more cold and wretched
In a trench out there.
All that long winter I wanted so much to complain,
But my mother-in-Iaw, as far as I could see,
Felt no such impulse, though she was always in pain,
An, as the winter fogs grew thick,
Took to walking with a stick,
Those bubble-like eyes grew black
Whenever she rose from a chair—
Rose and fell back,
Unable to bear
The sure agonizing
Torture of rising.
Her hands, those competent bony hands,
Grew gnarled and old,
But never ceased to obey the commands
Of her will— only finding new hold
Of bandage and needle and pen.
And not for the blinking
Of an eye did she ever stop thinking
Of the suffering of Englishmen
And her two sons in the trenches. Now and then
I could forget for an instant in a book or a letter,
But she never, never forgot— either one—
Percy and John—though I knew she loved one better—
Percy, the wastrel, the gambler, the eldest son.
I think I shall always remember
Until I die
Her face that day in December,
When in a hospital ward together, she and I
Were writing letters for wounded men and dying,
Writing and crying
Over their words, so silly and simple and loving,
Suddenly, looking up, I saw the old Vicar moving
Like fate down the hospital ward, until
He stood still
Beside her, where she sat at a bed.
'Dear friend, come home. I have tragic news,' he said
She looked straight at him without a spasm of fear,
Her face not stern or masked—
'Is it Percy or John?' she asked.
'Percy.' She dropped her eyes. 'I am needed here.
Surely you know
I cannot go
Until every letter is written. The dead
Must wait on the living,' she said.
'This is my work. I must stay.'
And she did— the whole long day.
Out of the dark, and dearth
Of happiness on earth,
Out of a world inured to death and pain;
On a fair spring mom
To me a son was born,
And hope was born-the future lived again.
To me a son was born,
The lonely hard forlorn
Travail was, as the Bible tells, forgot.
How old, how commonplace
To look upon the face
Of your first-born, and glory in your lot.
To look upon his face
And understand your place
Among the unknown dead in churchyards lying,
To see the reason why
You lived and why you die—
Even to find a certain grace in dying.
To know the reason why
Buds blow and blossoms die,
Why beauty fades, and genius is undone,
And how unjustified
Is any human pride
In all creation— save in this common one.
Maternity is common, but not so
It seemed to me. Motherless, I did not know—
I was all unprepared to feel this glow,
Holy as a Madonna's, and as crude
As any animal's beatitude—
Crude as my own black cat's, who used to bring
Her newest litter to me every spring,
And say, with green eyes shining in the sun:
'Behold this miracle that I have done.'
And John came home on leave, and all was joy
And thankfulness to me, because my boy
Was not a baby only, but the heir—
Heir to the Devon acres and a name
As old as England. Somehow I became
Almost an English woman, almost at one
With all they ever did— all they had done.
'I want him called John after you, or if not that I'd rather—'
'But the eldest son is always called Percy, dear.'
'I don't ask to call him Hiram, after my father—'
'But the eldest son is always called Percy, dear.'
'But I hate the name Percy. I like Richard or Ronald,
Or Peter like your brother, or Ian or Noel or Donald—'
'But the eldest is always called Percy, dear.'
So the Vicar christened him Percy; and Lady Jean
Gave to the child and me the empty place
In hr heart. Poor Lady, it was as if she had seen
The world destroyed— the extinction of her race,
Her country, her class, her name— and now she saw
Them live again. And I would hear her say:
'No. I admire Americans; my daughter-in-law
Was an American.' Thus she would well repay
The debt, and I was grateful— the English made
Life hard for those who did not come to her aid.
'They must come in in the spring.'
'Don't they care sixpence who's right?'
'What a ridiculous thing—
Saying they're too proud to fight.'
'Saying they're too proud to fight.'
'Wilson's pro-German, I'm told.'
'No, it's financial.' 'Oh, quite,
All that they care for is gold.'
'All that they care for is gold.'
'Seem to like writing a note.'
'Yes, as a penman, he's bold.'
'No. It's the Irish vote.'
'Oh, it's the Irish vote.'
'What if the Germans some night
Sink an American boat?'
'Darling, they're too proud to fight.'
What could I do, but ache and long
That my country, peaceful, rich, and strong,
Should come and do battle for England's sake.
What could I do, but long and ache.
And my father's letters I hid away
Lest some one should know the things he'd say.
'You ask me whether we're coming in—
We are. The English are clever as sin,
Silently, subtly they inspire
Most of youth with a holy fire
To shed their blood for the British Empire
We'll come in— we'll fight and die
Humbly to help them, and by and by,
England will do us in the eye.
They'll get colonies, gold and fame,
And we'll get nothing at all but blame.
Blame for not having come before,
Blame for not having sent them more
Money and men and war supplies,
Blame if we venture to criticise.
We're so damn simple— our skins so thin
We'll get nothing whatever, but we'll come in.'
And at last—at last—like the dawn of a calm, fair day
After a night of terror and storm, they came—
My young light-hearted countrymen, tall and gay,
Looking the world over in search of fun and fame,
Marching through London to the beat of a boastful air,
Seeing for the first time Piccadilly and Leicester Square,
All the bands playing: 'Over There, Over There,
Send the word, send the word to beware—'
And as the American flag went fluttering by
Englishmen uncovered, and I began to cry.
'We're here to end it, by jingo.'
'We'll lick the Heinies okay.'
'I can't get on to the lingo.'
'Dumb-they don't get what we say.'
'Call that stuff coffee? You oughter
Know better. Gee, take it away.'
'Oh, for a drink of ice water! '
'They think nut-sundae's a day.'
'Say, is this chicken feed money?'
'Say, does it rain every day?'
'Say, Lady, isn't it funny
Every one drives the wrong way?'
How beautiful upon the mountains,
How beautiful upon the downs,
How beautiful in the village post-office,
On the pavements of towns—
How beautiful in the huge print of newspapers,
Beautiful while telegraph wires hum,
While telephone bells wildly jingle,
The news that peace has come—
That peace has come at last—that all wars cease.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the footsteps
Of the messengers of peace!
In the depth of the night betwixt midnight and morning,
In the darkness and silence forerunning the dawn,
The throb of my heart was a drum-beat of warning,
My ears were a-strain and my breath was undrawn.
In the depth of the night, when the old house was sleeping,
I lying alone in a desolate bed,
Heard soft on the staircase a slow footstep creeping—
The ear of the living—the step of the dead.
In the depth of the night betwixt midnight and morning
A step drawing near on the old oaken floor—
On the stair— in the gallery— the ghost that gives warning
Of death, by that heartbreaking sigh at my door.
Bad news is not broken,
By kind tactful word;
The message is spoken
Ere the word can be heard.
The eye and the bearing,
The breath make it clear,
And the heart is despairing
Before the ears hear.
I do not remember
The words that they said:
I knew John was dead.
All done and over—
That day long ago—
The while cliffs of Dover—
Little did I know.
As I grow older, looking back, I see
Not those the longest planted in the heart
Are the most missed. Some unions seem to be
Too close for even death to tear apart.
Those who have lived together many years,
And deeply learnt to read each other's mind,
Vanities, tempers, virtues, hopes, and fears—
One cannot go—nor is one left behind.
Alas, with John and me this was not so;
I was defrauded even of the past.
Our days had been so pitifully few,
Fight as I would, I found the dead go fast.
I had lost all—had lost not love alone,
But the bright knowledge it had been my own.
Oh, sad people, buy not your past too dearly,
Live not in dreams of the past, for understand,
If you remember too much, too long, too clearly,
If you grasp memory with too heavy a hand,
You will destroy memory in all its glory
For the sake of the dreams of your head upon your bed.
You will be left with only the worn dead story
You told yourself of the dead.
Nanny brought up my son, as his father before him,
Austere on questions of habits, manners, and food.
Nobly yielding a mother's right to adore him,
Thinking that mothers never did sons much good.
A Scot from Lady Jean's own native passes,
With a head as smooth and round as a silver bowl,
A crooked nose, and eyes behind her glasses
Grey and bright and wise—a great soul !
Ready to lay down her life for her charge, and ready
To administer discipline without consulting me:
'Is that the way for you to answer my leddy?
I think you'll get no sweet tonight to your tea.'
Bringing him up better than I could do it,
Teaching him to be civil and manly and cool
In the face of danger. And then before I knew it
The time came for him to go off to school.
Off to school to be free of women's teaching,
Into a world of men— at seven years old;
Into a world where a mother's hands vainly reaching
Will never again caress and comfort and hold.
My father came over now and then
To look at the boy and talk to me,
Never staying long,
For the urge was strong
To get back to his yawl and the summer sea.
He came like a nomad passing by,
Hands in his pockets, hat over one eye,
Teasing every one great and small
With a blank straight face and a Yankee drawl;
Teasing the Vicar on Apostolic Succession
And what the Thirty-Nine Articles really meant to convey,
Teasing Nanny, though he did not
Make much impression
On that imperturbable Scot.
Teasing our local grandee, a noble peer,
Who firmly believed the Ten Lost Tribes
Of Israel had settled here—
A theory my father had at his fingers' ends—
Only one person was always safe from his jibes—
My mother-in-law, for they were really friends.
Oh, to come home to your country
After long years away,
To see the tall shining towers
Rise over the rim of the bay,
To feel the west wind steadily blowing
And the sunshine golden and hot,
To speak to each man as an equal,
Whether he is or not.
Was this America—this my home?
Prohibition and Teapot Dome—
Speakeasies, night-clubs, illicit stills,
Dark faces peering behind dark grills,
Hold-ups, kidnappings, hootch or booze—
Every one gambling—you just can't lose,
Was this my country? Even the bay
At home was altered, strange ships lay
At anchor, deserted day after day,
Old yachts in a rusty dim decay—
Like ladies going the primrose way—
At anchor, until when the moon was black,
They sailed, and often never came back.
Even my father's Puritan drawl
Told me shyly he'd sold his yawl
For a fabulous price to the constable's son—
My childhood's playmate, thought to be one
Of a criminal gang, rum-runners all,
Such clever fellows with so much money—
Even the constable found it funny,
Until one morning his son was found,
Floating dead in Long Island Sound.
Was this my country? It seemed like heaven
To get back, dull and secure, to Devon,
Loyally hiding from Lady Jean
And my English friends the horrors I'd seen.
That year she died, my nearest, dearest friend;
Lady Jean died, heroic to the end.
The family stood about her grave, but none
Mourned her as I did. After, one by one,
They slipped away—Peter and Bill—my son
Went back to school. I hardly was aware
Of Percy's lovely widow, sitting there
In the old room, in Lady Jean's own chair.
An English beauty glacially fair
Was Percy's widow Rosamund, her hair
Was silver gilt, and smooth as silk, and fine,
Her eyes, sea-green, slanted away from mine,
From any one's, as if to meet the gaze
Of others was too intimate a phase
For one as cool and beautiful as she.
We were not friends or foes. She seemed to be
Always a little irked— fretted to find
That other women lived among mankind.
Now for the first time after years of meeting,
Never exchanging more than formal greeting,
She spoke to me— that sharp determined way
People will speak when they have things to say.
ROSAMUND: Susan, go home with your offspring. Fly.
Live in America. SUSAN: Rosamund, why?
ROSAMUND: Why, my dear girl, haven't you seen
What English country life can mean
With too small an income to keep the place
Going? Already I think I trace
A change in you, you no longer care
So much how you look or what you wear.
That coat and skirt you have on, you know
You wouldn't have worn them ten years ago.
Those thick warm stockings— they make me sad,
Your ankles were ankles to drive men mad.
Look at your hair— you need a wave.
Get out— go home— be hard— be brave,
Or else, believe me, you'll be a slave.
There's something in you— dutiful— meek—
You'll be saving your pin-money every week
To mend the roof. Well, let it leak.
Why should you care? SUSAN: But I do care,
John loved this place and my boy's the heir.
ROSAMUND: The heir to what? To a tiresome life
Drinking tea with the vicar's wife,
Opening bazaars, and taking the chair
At meetings for causes that you don't care
Sixpence about and never will;
Breaking your heart over every bill.
I've been in the States, where everyone,
Even the poor, have a little fun.
Don't condemn your son to be
A penniless country squire. He
Would be happier driving a tram over there
Than mouldering his life away as heir.
SUSAN: Rosamund dear, this may all be true.
I'm an American through and through.
I don't see things as the English do,
But it's clearly my duty, it seems to me,
To bring up John's son, like him, to be
A country squire—poor alas,
But true to that English upper class
That does not change and does not pass.
ROSAMUND: Nonsense; it's come to an absolute stop.
Twenty years since we sat on top
Of the world, amusing ourselves and sneering
At other manners and customs, jeering
At other nations, living in clover—
Not any more. That's done and over.
No one nowadays cares a button
For the upper classes— they're dead as mutton.
Go home. SUSAN: I notice that you don't go.
ROSAMUND: My dear, that shows how little you know.
I'm escaping the fate of my peers,
Marrying one of the profiteers,
Who hasn't an 'aitch' where an 'aitch' should be,
But millions and millions to spend on me.
Not much fun— but there wasn't any
Other way out. I haven't a penny.
But with you it's different. You can go away,
And oh, what a fool you'd be to stay.
Rabbits in the park,
Scuttling as we pass,
Little white tails
Against the green grass.
'Next time, Mother,
I must really bring a gun,
I know you don't like shooting,
But—!' John's own son,
That blond bowed face,
Those clear steady eyes,
Hard to be certain
That the dead don't rise.
Jogging on his pony
Through the autumn day,
'Bad year for fruit, Mother,
But good salt hay.'
Bowling for the village
As his father had before;
Coming home at evening
To read the cricket score,
Back to the old house
Where all his race belong,
Tired and contented—
Rosamund was wrong.
If some immortal strangers walked our land
And heard of death, how could they understand
That we—doomed creatures—draw our meted breath
Light-heartedly—all unconcerned with death.
So in these years between the wars did men
From happier continents look on us when
They brought us sympathy, and saw us stand
Like the proverbial ostrich-head in sand—
While youth passed resolutions not to fight,
And statesmen muttered everything was right—
Germany, a kindly, much ill-treated nation—
Russia was working out her own salvation
Within her borders. As for Spain, ah, Spain
Would buy from England when peace came again!
I listened and believed— believed through sheer
Terror. I could not look whither my fear
Pointed— that agony that I had known.
I closed my eyes, and was not alone.
Later than many, earlier than some,
I knew the die was cast— that war must come;
That war must come. Night after night I lay
Steeling a broken heart to face the day
When he, my son— would tread the very same
Path that his father trod. When the day came
I was not steeled— not ready. Foolish, wild
Words issued from my lips— 'My child, my child,
Why should you die for England too?' He smiled:
'Is she not worth it, if I must?' he said.
John would have answered yes— but John was dead.
Is she worth dying for? My love, my one
And only love had died, and now his son
Asks me, his alien mother, to assay
The worth of England to mankind today—
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war;
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea—
Ah, no, not that—not Shakespeare—I must be
A sterner critic. I must weigh the ill
Against the good, must strike the balance, till
I know the answer— true for me alone—
What is she worth— this country— not my own?
I thought of my father's deep traditional wrath
Against England— the redcoat bully— the ancient foe—
That second reaping of hate, that aftermath
Of a ruler's folly and ignorance long ago—
Long, long ago— yet who can honestly say
England is utterly changed— not I— not I.
Arrogance, ignorance, folly are here today,
And for these my son must die?
I thought of these years, these last dark terrible years
When the leaders of England bade the English believe
Lies at the price of peace, lies and fears,
Lies that corrupt, and fears that sap and deceive.
I though of the bars dividing man from man,
Invisible bars that the humble may not pass,
And how no pride is uglier, crueller than
The pride unchecked of class.
Oh, those invisible bars of manners and speech,
Ways that the proud man will not teach
The humble lest they too reach
Those splendid heights where a little band
Have always stood and will always stand
Ruling the fate of this small green land,
Rulers of England—for them must I
Send out my only son to die?
And then, and then,
I thought of Elizabeth stepping down
Over the stones of Plymouth town
To welcome her sailors, common men,
She herself, as she used to say,
Being' mere English' as much as they—
Seafaring men who sailed away
From rocky inlet and wooded bay,
Free men, undisciplined, uncontrolled,
Some of them pirates and all of them bold,
Feeling their fate was England's fate,
Coming to save it a little late,
Much too late for the easy way,
Much too late, and yet never quite
Too late to win in that last worst fight.
And I thought of Hampden and men like him,
St John and Eliot, Cromwell and Pym,
Standing firm through the dreadful years,
When the chasm was opening, widening,
Between the Commons and the King;
I thought of the Commons in tears— in tears,
When Black Rod knocked at Parliament's door,
And they saw Rebellion straight before—
Weeping, and yet as hard as stone,
Knowing what the English have always known
Since then— and perhaps have known alone—
Something that none can teach or tell—
The moment when God's voice says; 'Rebel.'
Not to rise up in sudden gust
Of passion— not, though the cause be just;
Not to submit so long that hate,
Lava torrents break out and spill
Over the land in a fiery spate;
Not to submit for ever, until
The will of the country is one man's will,
And every soul in the whole land shrinks
From thinking—except as his neighbour thinks.
Men who have governed England know
That dreadful line that they may not pass
And live. Elizabeth long ago
Honoured and loved, and bold as brass,
Daring and subtle, arrogant, clever,
English, too, to her stiff backbone,
Somewhat a bully, like her own
Father— yet even Elizabeth never
Dared to oppose the sullen might
Of the English, standing upon a right.
And were they not English, our forefathers, never more
English than when they shook the dust of her sod
From their feet for ever, angrily seeking a shore
Where in his own way a man might worship his God.
Never more English than when they dared to be
Rebels against her-that stern intractable sense
Of that which no man can stomach and still be free,
Writing: 'When in the course of human events. . .'
Writing it out so all the world could see
Whence come the powers of all just governments.
The tree of Liberty grew and changed and spread,
But the seed was English.
I am American bred,
I have seen much to hate here— much to forgive,
But in a world where England is finished and dead,
I do not wish to live.
Hang My Heart from Your Hope Tree
I hang my heart from your hope tree
I close my eyes and pray to see
You reach up there and pluck it down
And grasp it softly in your hand
To hold it close and cherish it
To start the fire and keep it lit
The hope that burns from your hope tree
The hope that you will hope for me
When A Bird Flies Away From Your Hand
when a bird flies away
from your hand
without taking the little
grain of corn
let it be
for in time it has something
to tell to its nest
and sing on the night
when all the world is asleep
about love so sweet
so pure and yet so sad
because like those that died
love most of the time
Escaping From Your Hands.....
i have escaped from being
one of those marionettes
and so i proclaim that
do not need much
and i do not wish to prolong
in the luxuries that have numbed
wood and tin cans
i have finally escaped from your hands
and with my own hands i sculpt
that you will never love.
Shake The Nightmare From Your Head
Shake the nightmare from your head
Let not the black magicians beguile you
Fan away their dark clouds of confusion
Refuse them your blood and life essence
The time is ripe for transparency/truth
You’ve hungered for sovereignty
Recognize your divine self
Recognize your true destiny
Recognize your place in the Cosmos
Eternity awaits you…