Latest quotes | Random quotes | Vote! | Latest comments | Add quote

Hornbill (a Cinquain)

Huge “bill”—
Strong, colorful.
Native of Africa,
Nesting high in a knobthorn tree
To breed.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Related quotes

Nonsuited

“Dear Richard, come at once;”—so ran her letter;
The letter of a married female friend:
“She likes you both, and really knows no better
Than I myself do, how her choice will end.
Be sure of this, the first who pops will get her.
He's here for Chris——” Whatever else was penned
Dick never knew: nor knows he to this day
How he got drest, and mounted—and away!

Like arrow from the bow, like lightning-streak,
Including thunder following fierce and quick,
By ridge and flat, through scrub and foaming creek
Dick galloped like a very lunatic;
Whipped, jerked, and spurred, but never word did speak,
Although his thoughts rushed furious and thick,
Headed by one he strove in vain to wipe out,
The fear that this same “he” might put his pipe out.

And faster yet, and ever faster grew
The maddening music of the pace, until
The station-roofs gleamed suddenly in view,
Quivering in noon-heat on the vine-clad hill:
When all at once his bridle-rein he drew,
But not from craven fear or flagging will,—
Though, truth to tell, his heart a moment sank
To see the river nearly “bank and bank.”

For Bowstring was the choice of all his stud,
And he at least had no fair bride to win;
And wherefore should he risk him in the flood?—
A question Bowstring also asked within:
For though he was a squatter's horse by blood,
And held the grazing interest more than kin,
He eyed the huge logs wheeling, bobbing, bowling,
As if his soul objected to “log-rolling.”
And by that curious telegraphic force,
Outspeaking half-a-dozen formal speeches,
That works its quick inexplicable course
Through saddle-cloth, pigskin, and buckskin breeches,
Until the dumb opinion of a horse
Its sympathetic rider's spirit reaches—
Dick, feeling under him the strong flanks quiver,
Knew that his thoroughbred would funk the river

A moment more, Dick from his seat had leapt,
Ungirthed, uncurbed, unreined his trembling steed;
Who straightway vanished from his sight, nor kept
The high tradition of a loyal breed,
But quickened by no stimulus except
His own unbridled (and unsaddled) greed,
Before a man had time to reckon two,
Was gorging in fresh fields and pastures new.

Then Dick threw off his boots, undid his belt,
Doffed—here we shirk particulars. In brief,
When nought remained but his primeval pelt,
He tied his garments in his handkerchief;
Then feeling as “the grand old gardener” felt
(After the apple), crouching like a thief,
Down to the stream did this lorn lover slink,
And threw his bundle to the further brink.

Nor longer paused, but plunged him in the tide,
A hero and Leander both in one;
Struck the entangling boughs from either side,
And held his head up bravely to the sun;
Dodged the huge logs, the torrent's strength defied;—
To cut it short, did all that could be done;
Touched land, and uttering a fervent “Thank . . .
—Just then his bundle floated by, and sank.

Take Yarra-bend, take Bedlam, Colney Hatch,
And Woogaroo, and mix them weight for weight,
And stir them well about—you could not match
Dick's madness with the whole conglomerate.
If the Recording Angel did but catch
One half his ravings against Heaven and Fate,
And rising creeks and slippery banks, some day
Poor Dick will have a heavy bill to pay.

Was ever lover in so lorn a case?
Was ever lover in so wild a mood?
He nearly pulled the beard from off his face;
He would have rent his garments, if he could.
How could he woo a dame his suit to grace
Who had no suit, save that wherein he stood?
Oh! what were youth, wealth, station in society,
Without the textile adjuncts of propriety!

When oaths and half-an-hour were spent in vain,
It dawned on Dick that he might slyly crawl
From tree to tree across the wooded plain,
And gain “the hut,” that stood a mile from all

The other buildings—whence some labouring swain,
Unscared by nudity, might come at call,
And lend, for thanks or promissory payment,
Whatever he could spare of decent raiment.

From one variety of Eucalypt
Unto another, blue gum, spotted gum,
Black-butt, etcetera, Dick crawled or skipped,
Bitten and blistered like the newest chum;
Till, marking where the open level dipped,
Distracted with mosquito-martyrdom,
He rushed and plunged—and not a bit too soon—
Into the coolness of a quiet lagoon.

No, not a bit too soon; for something white,
Topped by a parasol of lustrous pink,
At this same perilous moment hove in sight,
And glided gently to the water-brink;
The while in thickest sedge the rueful wight
Hid his diminished head, and scarce did wink—
No more a gallant daringly erotic,
But consciously absurd and idiotic.

'Twas she—his love; and never had he thought
Her face so beautiful, her form so stately;
Ophelia-like she moved, absorbed, distraught;
'Twas plain to Dick she had been weeping lately;
And now and then a weary sigh he caught,
And once a whisper that disturbed him greatly,
Which said, unless his ears played him a trick,
“What in the world can have come over Dick?”

And presently, through his aquatic screen,
His hated rival he beheld advance,
With airy grace and captivating mien,
And all the victor in his countenance:
And too, too late he learned what might have been,
When at her watch he saw the lady glance,
And heard her say, “Here's Fred. The die is cast!
I gave poor Dick till two; 'tis now half-past.”

And then Dick closed his eyes, his ears he stopped;
Yet somehow saw and heard no whit the less,—
Saw that the lover on his knees had dropped,
And heard him all his tale of love confess;
And when the question had been duly popped,
He heard the kiss that sealed the answering “Yes!”—
'Twas rough on Dick: ah me! 'twas mighty rough:
But he remained true blue (though all in buff),—

And never winced, nor uttered word or groan,
But gazed upon the treasure he had lost,
In agony of soul, yet still as stone,
The saddest man since first true love was crossed:
And when at length the mated birds had flown,
He waited yet another hour, then tossed
His modesty unto the winds, and ran
Right for the hut, and found—thank Heaven!—a man.

* * * * *
On that same evening, in his rival's coat,
Waistcoat, and things, Dick sat among the rest
And though he could have cut their owner's throat,
He kept his feelings underneath his vest,
And proved by some mendacious anecdote
That he was there by chance—a passing guest.
One boon at least stern Fate could not refuse:
He stood that evening in his rival's shoes.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Swagless Swaggie

This happened many years ago
Before the bush was cleared,
When every man was six foot high
And wore a flowing beard.

One very hot and windy day,
Along the old coach road,
Towards Joe Murphy’s halfway house
A bearded bushman strode.

He was a huge and heavy man,
Well over six foot high,
An old slouch hat was on his head,
And murder in his eye.

No billy can was in his hand,
No heavy swag he bore,
But deep and awful were the oaths
That swagless swaggie swore.

At last he reached the shanty door,
Into the bar he burst,
He dumped his hat upon the floor,
And cursed and cursed and cursed.

A neighboring shed had just cut out;
The bar was nearly full
Of shearers and of bullockies
Who’d come to cart the wool.

They were a rough and ready lot,
The bushmen gathered there,
But every man was stricken dumb,
To hear the stranger swear.

He cursed the bush, he cursed mankind,
The whole wide universe.
It froze their very blood to hear
That swagless swaggie curse.

Joe Murphy seized an empty pot
And filled it brimming full.
The stranger raised it to his lips
And took a mighty pull.

This seemed to cool him down a bit;
He finished off the ale,
And to the crowd around the bar
He told his awful tale.

“I met the Ben Hall gang,” he said,
“The blankards stuck me up!
They pinched me billy, pinched me swag,
And pinched me flamin’ pup!

They turned me pockets inside out,
And took me only quid!
I never thought they’d pinch me pipe,
But swelp me gawd they did!

I spoke to ’em as man to man,
I said I’d fight ’em all;
I would have broke O’Mealleys neck,
And tanned the hide of Hall.

They only laughed, and said good-bye,
And rode away to brag
Of how they stuck a swaggie up
And robbed him of his swag.

“I never done ’em any harm,
I thought ’em decent chaps.
But now I wouldn’t raise a hand
To save ’em from the traps.

I’m finished with the bush for good,
I’m off to Wagga town
Where they won’t stick a swaggie up
Or take a swaggie down.

The bushmen were a decent lot,
As bushmen mostly are.
They filled the stranger up with beer;
The hat went round the bar.

The shearers threw some blankets in
To make another swag,
The rousers gave a billy can
And brand new tucker bag.

Joe Murphy gave a meerschaum pipe
He hadn’t smoked for years.
The stranger was too full of words,
His eyes were dim with tears.

The ringer shouted drinks all round
And then, to top it up,
The babbling brook, the shearers cook,
Gave him a kelpie pup.

Next day, an hour before the dawn,
The stranger took the track
Complete with pup and billy can,
His swag upon his back.

Along the most forsaken roads,
Intent on dodging graft,
He headed for the Great North West,
And laughed, and laughed and laughed.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Demoniac of Gadara

A GADARENE.
He hath escaped, hath plucked his chains asunder,
And broken his fetters; always night and day
Is in the mountains here, and in the tombs,
Crying aloud, and cutting himself with stones,
Exceeding fierce, so that no man can tame him!

THE DEMONIAC from above, unseen.
O Aschmedai! O Aschmedai, have pity!

A GADARENE.
Listen! It is his voice! Go warn the people
Just landing from the lake!

THE DEMONIAC.
O Aschmedai!
Thou angel of the bottomless pit, have pity!
It was enough to hurl King Solomon,
On whom be peace! two hundred leagues away
Into the country, and to make him scullion
In the kitchen of the King of Maschkemen!
Why dost thou hurl me here among these rocks,
And cut me with these stones?

A GADARENE.
He raves and mutters
He knows not what.

THE DEMONIAC, appearing from a tomb among the rocks.
The wild cock Tarnegal
Singeth to me, and bids me to the banquet,
Where all the Jews shall come; for they have slain
Behemoth the great ox, who daily cropped
A thousand hills for food, and at a draught
Drank up the river Jordan, and have slain
The huge Leviathan, and stretched his skin
Upon the high walls of Jerusalem,
And made them shine from one end of the world
Unto the other; and the fowl Barjuchne,
Whose outspread wings eclipse the sun, and make
Midnight at noon o'er all the continents!
And we shall drink the wine of Paradise
From Adam's cellars.

A GADARENE.
O thou unclean spirit!

THE DEMONIAC, hurling down a stone.
This is the wonderful Barjuchne's egg,
That fell out of her nest, and broke to pieces
And swept away three hundred cedar-trees,
And threescore villages!--Rabbi Eliezer,
How thou didst sin there in that seaport town
When thou hadst carried safe thy chest of silver
Over the seven rivers for her sake!
I too have sinned beyond the reach of pardon.
Ye hills and mountains, pray for mercy on me!
Ye stars and planets, pray for mercy on me!
Ye sun and moon, oh pray for mercy on me!

CHRISTUS and his disciples pass.

A GADARENE.
There is a man here of Decapolis,
Who hath an unclean spirit; so that none
Can pass this way. He lives among the tombs
Up there upon the cliffs, and hurls down stones
On those who pass beneath.

CHRISTUS.
Come out of him,
Thou unclean spirit!

THE DEMONIAC.
What have I to do
With thee, thou Son of God? Do not torment us.

CHRISTUS.
What is thy name?

THE DEMONIAC.
Legion; for we are many.
Cain, the first murderer; and the King Belshazzar,
And Evil Merodach of Babylon,
And Admatha, the death-cloud, prince of Persia
And Aschmedai the angel of the pit,
And many other devils. We are Legion.
Send us not forth beyond Decapolis;
Command us not to go into the deep!
There is a herd of swine here in the pastures,
Let us go into them.

CHRISTUS.
Come out of him,
Thou unclean spirit!

A GADARENE.
See how stupefied,
How motionless he stands! He cries no more;
He seems bewildered and in silence stares
As one who, walking in his sleep, awakes
And knows not where he is, and looks about him,
And at his nakedness, and is ashamed.

THE DEMONIAC.
Why am I here alone among the tombs?
What have they done to me, that I am naked?
Ah, woe is me!

CHRISTUS.
Go home unto thy friends
And tell them how great things the Lord hath done
For thee, and how He had compassion on thee!

A SWINEHERD, running.
The herds! the herd! O most unlucky day!
They were all feeding quiet in the sun,
When suddenly they started, and grew savage
As the wild boars of Tabor, and together
Rushed down a precipice into the sea!
They are all drowned!

PETER.
Thus righteously are punished
The apostate Jews, that eat the flesh of swine,
And broth of such abominable things!

GREEKS OF GADARA.
We sacrifice a sow unto Demeter
At the beginning of harvest and another
To Dionysus at the vintage-time.
Therefore we prize our herds of swine, and count them
Not as unclean, but as things consecrate
To the immortal gods. O great magician,
Depart out of our coasts; let us alone,
We are afraid of thee.

PETER.
Let us depart;
For they that sanctify and purify
Themselves in gardens, eating flesh of swine.
And the abomination, and the mouse,
Shall be consumed together, saith the Lord!

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
George Meredith

The South-Wester

Day of the cloud in fleets! O day
Of wedded white and blue, that sail
Immingled, with a footing ray
In shadow-sandals down our vale! -
And swift to ravish golden meads,
Swift up the run of turf it speeds,
Thy bright of head and dark of heel,
To where the hilltop flings on sky,
As hawk from wrist or dust from wheel,
The tiptoe sealers tossed to fly:-
Thee the last thunder's caverned peal
Delivered from a wailful night:
All dusky round thy cradled light,
Those brine-born issues, now in bloom
Transfigured, wreathed as raven's plume
And briony-leaf to watch thee lie:
Dark eyebrows o'er a dreamful eye
Nigh opening: till in the braid
Of purpled vapours thou wert rosed:
Till that new babe a Goddess maid
Appeared and vividly disclosed
Her beat of life: then crimson played
On edges of the plume and leaf:
Shape had they and fair feature brief,
The wings, the smiles: they flew the breast,
Earth's milk. But what imperial march
Their standards led for earth, none guessed
Ere upward of a coloured arch,
An arrow straining eager head
Lightened, and high for zenith sped.
Fierier followed; followed Fire.
Name the young lord of Earth's desire,
Whose look her wine is, and whose mouth
Her music! Beauteous was she seen
Beneath her midway West of South;
And sister was her quivered green
To sapphire of the Nereid eyes
On sea when sun is breeze; she winked
As they, and waved, heaved waterwise
Her flood of leaves and grasses linked:
A myriad lustrous butterflies
A moment in the fluttering sheen;
Becapped with the slate air that throws
The reindeer's antlers black between
Low-frowning and wide-fallen snows,
A minute after; hooded, stoled
To suit a graveside Season's dirge.
Lo, but the breaking of a surge,
And she is in her lover's fold,
Illumined o'er a boundless range
Anew: and through quick morning hours
The Tropic-Arctic countercharge
Did seem to pant in beams and showers.

But noon beheld a larger heaven;
Beheld on our reflecting field
The Sower to the Bearer given,
And both their inner sweetest yield,
Fresh as when dews were grey or first
Received the flush of hues athirst.
Heard we the woodland, eyeing sun,
As harp and harper were they one.
A murky cloud a fair pursued,
Assailed, and felt the limbs elude:
He sat him down to pipe his woe,
And some strange beast of sky became:
A giant's club withheld the blow;
A milky cloud went all to flame.
And there were groups where silvery springs
The ethereal forest showed begirt
By companies in choric rings,
Whom but to see made ear alert.
For music did each movement rouse,
And motion was a minstrel's rage
To have our spirits out of house,
And bathe them on the open page.
This was a day that knew not age.
Since flew the vapoury twos and threes
From western pile to eastern rack;
As on from peaks of Pyrenees
To Graians; youngness ruled the track.
When songful beams were shut in caves,
And rainy drapery swept across;
When the ranked clouds were downy waves,
Breast of swan, eagle, albatross,
In ordered lines to screen the blue,
Youngest of light was nigh, we knew.
The silver finger of it laughed
Along the narrow rift: it shot,
Slew the huge gloom with golden shaft,
Then haled on high the volumed blot,
To build the hurling palace, cleave
The dazzling chasm; the flying nests,
The many glory-garlands weave,
Whose presence not our sight attests
Till wonder with the splendour blent,
And passion for the beauty flown,
Make evanescence permanent,
The thing at heart our endless own.

Only at gathered eve knew we
The marvels of the day: for then
Mount upon mountain out of sea
Arose, and to our spacious ken
Trebled sublime Olympus round
In towering amphitheatre.
Colossal on enormous mound,
Majestic gods we saw confer.
They wafted the Dream-messenger
From off the loftiest, the crowned:
That Lady of the hues of foam
In sun-rays: who, close under dome,
A figure on the foot's descent,
Irradiate to vapour went,
As one whose mission was resigned,
Dispieced, undraped, dissolved to threads;
Melting she passed into the mind,
Where immortal with mortal weds.

Whereby was known that we had viewed
The union of our earth and skies
Renewed: nor less alive renewed
Than when old bards, in nature wise,
Conceived pure beauty given to eyes,
And with undyingness imbued.
Pageant of man's poetic brain,
His grand procession of the song,
It was; the Muses and their train;
Their God to lead the glittering throng:
At whiles a beat of forest gong;
At whiles a glimpse of Python slain.
Mostly divinest harmony,
The lyre, the dance. We could believe
A life in orb and brook and tree,
And cloud; and still holds Memory
A morning in the eyes of eve.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

I Would Love To Go To Africa

I would love to go to Africa to see the wildlife there
To bring away from there great memories that with others i could share
To see the Serengeti the World's greatest wildlife park
And hear the male lions roaring and hear the wild dogs bark.

I would love to go to Africa to the Countries of the Nile
The home of the World's largest reptile the African crocodile
To see the wildebeest and zebra in huge flocks congregate
Across the bare savanna in thousands they migrate.

I would love to go to Africa the cradle of humanity
As long as marvellous wildlife there's colorful people for to see
The indigenous people of a Continent that is as old as time
A Land sketched by great artists and that has inspired writers to story, song and rhyme.

I would love to visit Africa from here many a mile
To see the World's greatest Continent would be something well worthwhile
The cradle of humanity a Land beyond compare
Of there i would have such great memories with others for to share.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Edge Has Been Cut (South Africa)

My Belovèd Country!
My Belovèd Love!
My Belovèd Nation!
It is not the best we perceve,
Though with attitude we assume,
Sit down and let me tell you the story of reflection,

we boost about being the best,
fool a massive number of foreign correspondence,
But we disguise reality!
that which we call Africa in the South,

I cannot even differentiate when compared with Zimbabwe,
A huge level unemployment
A fast growing element of poverty,
A lack of proper education as usuall,
And so we shine regardless,
I sit and ask my innocent logical mind,
are the economical figures of South Africa a true reflection of its definition?
if yes!
what is South Africa?
I tell there is more than just a country,
I Could be just a village,

kill me for the dark secret revealed,
a rainbow nation,
that which racism still breath its height,
corrupted and selfish politicians,

if a 9 year old boy still goes to school barefooted,
Is that freedom?
If the schools are built with broke

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

My Friend Bill

Half Italian, half Irish for his last name is Maroney
Razel puppet said his name on stage rhymes with baloney.
Now he has my 2 books of “Sarah’s Special Birthday”
He thinks they are very colorful, with colors of May.
One book is hard cover the other book is soft,
He lets me borrow them when my own copy gets sold or lost.
Now, he was good friends with my dear friend Jimmy,
they would go to all the restaurants in the Lake Worth city.
Now Bill is his first name but his middle name is John,
he was a economics professor in Michigan.
His mother is a sweetheart and she is still alive,
she is in upstate New York and almost 95.
Bill hopes to get in shape, I think he can doesn’t eat past eight.
Bill always visited me on Comedy Night at the Rumshack,
He always thought I was funny and laughed and laughed.
Thanks Bill for supporting me as an performing artist and
visual artist too, hopefully that big original painting will sale
when my book sales go through the roof.

Written by Suzae Chevalier on August 23,2011
www.purplepoems.com www.christinasunrise.com
www.puppetpoems.com

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Crazy baboon eats flamingos (Fable) ^^^^^^^^^^^

Flamingos survive in the caustic space of the volcanic lake./
Flamingos' beaks skim tiny algae from the water's surface./
They watch out for predators like jackals or eagles, to make /
Their mud-cone nest for holding the egg with their grace./


Flamingos have a behavior because they dance in the light/
Bowing, bending their necks, signaling with their wing, /
Running back and forth and then suddenly taking flight /
To wheel around the lake, seemingly searching for something./


Recalling the ancient Phoenix myth, that immortal bird /
Who was consumed by flames, then rose from the ashes./
With such a poor sense of taste and smell as I never heard /
With long neck and legs, faint pink feathers and yellow eyes. /


Pinkish-white with red wings and two black flight feathers/
Founded throughout Africa, as well as Iran, India and Spain/
Risking from predation by marabou storks and Egyptian vultures, /
Lions, leopards, cheetahs and jackals, risking again and again./

Swimming and flying, living in mangrove swamp or lagoon/
Feeding with diatoms, seeds, crustaceans and algae/
Recognizing their chicks by vocalizations under the moon/
Caribbean with crimson or vermilion, Chilean with pink so pale./

Greater flamingos, scarlet pink colored overall, all days /
Extremely gregarious and living always in huge colonies. /
Known as social birds for their community displays /
Including 'head-flagging', 'marching' and 'wing salutes'./

The Hamadryas baboon being the largest type of monkey/
Originate from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, he is a fine mild/
Preferring rocky desert, it seems born to be chunky /
Being a very intelligent primate endangered in the wild./

With a fluffy coat, his females have a brown haired whilst /
And he is their male, silvery on his back and shoulders /
With face and buttocks brightly colored and hairless /
Eating plants, meat, grass, insects, mammals and lizards/


Dominating up to ten females at a time, grooming and playing. /
Forming clans, clans forming bands, bands forming troops./
Flocking to the lake in hopes to grab a meal, and staying /
In summer seasons, flocking together, to see flamingos groups. /


Searching an individual, eventually standing out of the crowd /
Or living on the edge of flock, a colorful individualistic/
An outsider living by its own standards, maybe very proud/
Ignoring the hungry baboon, who's skill is no more artistic./


Nature being so unbelievably close to the moralistic world /
In which we humans dwell, with a lot of similarities/
Being an individual socially and sometimes becoming hurled /
Or being in a crowd and socially stronger in front of enemies./

The rest comes down to character, and as I said before /
A weaker character will certainly cease easily and soon/
Will be like the flamingo on the edge, who is more /
Likely to break for being ‘eaten’ by the Baboon./


poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

At The Bar-Code Ranch

A stellar job in the bullpen
C.B.S. Baseball

I lie in a converted garage, sun coming up
and the chuck-chuck of unfamiliar birds
from Lake Mizell.
The lamp grows ineffectual
under a skylight; the great world
washes in, humid, composed of small numbered parts.

Sometime after nine, the classical music station stops
for the landing of a space shuttle

a sonic boom
shakes the bungalow
and Vladomir Horowitz
is abruptly terminated.

Yesterday, at New Smyrna, north of Canaveral:
knotted shoreline
looking out from a timbered interior
on the Atlantic;
driving inland on Local 40,
a two-lane, the Beach Boys on air,
to Winter Park, inches above the water table.

Today, flying north, from Florida’s eighty degrees
to Washington’s forty-something
a river far below
in South Carolina.

Salt-pork and black-eyed beans
“soul food” – and cheap – in D.C’s low
where U.S. presidents
fall like leaves . . .

Consume and Die!

Wednesday
under the pines
looking out over the waters of Potomac
a torn Bush-Quayle poster in the grass
the morning after the election,
and down on Canal St
a bag of crushed Busch beer cans
reminds me that poetry exists.

Up at 3040 R St N.W.
where the leaf vacuum cleaners roam,
three cards from New York!

The sun descends
through Mt Pinatubo clouds,
its weird rays on Georgetown,
glass to the south,
Arlington’s tower blocks
Confederate and Republican (still).

Meanwhile there is art to look at (Hirschorn Museum):
the hand, thrust forward,
of Ernst Barlach’s
streamlined (and sentimental)
“Begging Woman”
in which someone has placed a dime
– all it takes
to stitch up expressionism.
I liked better
the pieces by Balla
‘Boccioni’s Fist’
and the nice little things
by Henri Laurens
their mild
three-dimensional cubism.

A postcard from Sarah
features a moose, lettered CANADA,
though it’s from Australia
and the New York letters
(a room to stay in in Brooklyn!
drinks with some people.

The world, its streets, places, people
(a title
from Edwin Denby?
No, that was
‘Dancers, Buildings, and People in the Street’.
Maybe it was Larry Eigner?
I’ve no way of checking.

The Dewars and Gordon’s Gin bottles
sitting on a shelf in this basement
are huge, flagons almost, so very American:

The World and its Drinks

(the comment August made
in England, up in the Peak District,
confronted with folk rituals:

“Where’s
the bar?”
a ritual enough.
Auden’s clock ticked towards martini time.

My friends in their various places
bear with me
stretched out in a bedroom
which a door, cunningly concealed, separates
from the condo laundromat.

Our yuppie neighbours upstairs
dropp dumbells – I think – on the floorboards.
In this suburb, they say,
the Clinton/Gore voters are basement dwellers
like us,
light off to the south
through the claret ash
brighter as we tilt
away from the sun and the leaves fall

– that line about the world and its streets,
was it William Bronk?
the catalogue of American poets
not yet on autoshred
though who’ll be laureate
in the new administration?
(Ed Dorn once suggested
Robert Bly for Hubert Humphrey
as if poetry
were a parody of presidential style
(and now
somebody has put together an anthology
of “poems for men” . . .
(in Australia
we did that long ago: it was called
‘Poems of Spirit and Action’
– John Forbes
had it at school, still prefers it
to the ones with close-ups of flower stamens
opposite poems by William Carlos Williams.

It was raining in the capital

and radio heartbreak was on,
Respighi
“laugh or cry music”
as Terry McGrath
would have it.

I have ruined our landlord’s floor with oven cleaner

(photo: close-up: a container of oven cleaner)

Tonight I eat with the lawyers
on Capitol Hill
while the President packs his clothes.

Actually, the Respighi
is developing more into laughter mode,
its overblown pictorialism.

What’s this bit?

A conga chain of
ex-presidents in bathrobes
enter a steaming sauna
flanked by unsmiling CIA types.

Cut to close-up of incumbent
(played by Frankie Howerd).

T-shirted in this basement
(photo: T-shirt)
I feel no need to go out. It’s 46 degrees.

But I do (go out)
across mean streets to the Law Center
and thence, a restaurant,
where a loud tool of the employers
down one end of the table
seems suddenly like a kid
arguing over a football.

Autumn so vivid
the stars and stripes washed out
against the yellow.
I cross Dumbarton Bridge
toward Dupont Circle,
Rock Creek Parkway below
only weeks from icing up,
black branches over the creek.
At Dupont, leave exposed film,
walk down Massachusetts and K
to the Greyhound terminal
and further, to Union Station
taking in the character some guy said
this city lacks.
K St past Thomas Circle grows funky,
urban wreckage round the bus terminal.

Subway to Farragut North, and on
up Connecticut to pick up photos
(photo: photos)

In the afternoon, sweep leaves
off the back porch (a screen door
slams!).
The sky darkens,
branches, parts of buildings
picked out by light.

The photographs, taken months back
seem ancient:
Manchester late summer,
Dentdale, Durham,
faces of
Jonathan, Tom, Roy,
Joyce, Tony and Ric
(Hadrian’s Wall, its hill forts built to
prefabricated plans,
gates opening onto nowhere;
moss on the rocks at Godrevy;
outcrops on the gritstone edge, Winster . . .

One summer displaced since
by the tail of another.

When things go wrong
the Ginsberg line (in Philip Whalen)
about “severance pay”
i.e. “there wasn’t much
severance pay in that”
seems to apply
in instalments, to life here
in this capital
where everything has its hidden cost
(Rosemary’s clothes
dry-cleaned and dismembered;
upstairs
a pre-adolescent party:
10 year olds

with their own fax machines
and probably more than a notion of litigation.

At 4 a.m. there is peace to read
about the Wobbly strikes in Paterson N.J.
but later the yuppies stomp above our heads again
so that I feel like shouting
“stop drinking coffee”

Hal Roach is dead
– the man who put
Laurel and Hardy together, incredibly still alive
till just now.
He lived to see movies become boring.

And my father
dressed for Shakespeare, circa 1920,
on the cover of my first book;
the backdrop: dry grass,
weathered grey trunks up the hill;
an impossible country I try to picture segments of
in detail

lose them soon enough.
There is no plot
unlike Coronation Street
“better than real life and only
ninety minutes a week” (Jonathan Williams)

The morning cold and clear
after rumoured flurries.
I remember some 19th century painting
of Washington under snow (by Eastman Johnson?)
sentimental in ‘de ole plantation’ mode

– cold air that makes the head to hurt
though the sky is bright over Oak Hill Cemetery,
the beggars more assertive on the lips of escalators.

Fifty-one auto license plates spell out
the preamble to the constitution of the United States
at the Smithsonian,
and Frank O’Hara looks out
from a Larry Rivers painting, very present
here amid the art he loved
a memorial to him
by Grace Hartigan
“Grace to be born
and live as variously as possible . . .”
– words which could be attributed
to (the Rev.) Howard Finster
his fountains issuing from faucets,
a river of blood just that
though the source
may be a cut finger
and plenty more “just folks”
whom circumstance and vision worked through
so that they figured how art could be done
(as I write now on Rosemary’s sleeping shoulder
arranging a table to jot in haste though not to disturb)

– something happens
that you walk away from
as you walk away from your own history

my father: the cover of a book
my mother: a gold ring

enigmatic, unsequenced
for plot or rhetoric,
more interesting
when decontextualized than as ‘psychology’
(the t.v. character last night
who went to analysis because
her mother and father hadn’t given her a hard time).

Anything can be fixed here (even poetry)
though nobody wants to do it anymore
(fix things that is, not write poetry,
everybody wants to do that).

We work our way (walk away) through breakfast cereals
(freedom of choice!)
and I like the ad
where a guy in surgical outfit
on an emergency ward set, says
“I’m not really a doctor, but . . .”

(days after the election
the new president appears in a soap opera
as a plot device.

I pour myself a gin,
listen to Earl Bostic – Coltrane’s mentor –
thinking I have patched the drafty cracks
so that Washington’s night will be kept out of this condo
and wondering how to duplicate
the American ‘r’ and ‘a
so that cab drivers will get our address right
and my name will be spelled correctly
by petty officials.

Earl Bostic and Bill Doggett:
sounds that would ‘invoke’ (if I were Robert Duncan)
instead ‘remind’ me of Ken Bolton,
now probably waking up in Adelaide,
even this moment cleaning his teeth,
a thought balloon above his head
(‘thot balloon’ Duncan would say,
the figure of Ken rising through the poem
like the Corn God . . .

As in ‘One Night in Washington’,
the record where Charlie Parker
played the wrong tune over an unaccustomed backup
and they had to figure out what he was doing
– the pianist slightly haywire, feeling for tempo and key
as Parker doubles up, oblivious,
knowing where he’s going

so ‘The Poem’
leaves behind
any notion of what its Arnoldian simile
is about
– just one manner of
jumpin in the Capital
(better than jogging in the capital
though less characteristic I guess –

and waves to its friends on another shore,
dancers, buildings and drinks in the street.

Down on Rock Creek’s tributary
a maze of branches, leaves, undergrowth;
advanced puzzle in which I make out
the figure of a young woman sketching,
and further, a man, stripped to the waist,
washing shirts in the rivulet.

Halfway up the slope to Safeways
a concrete divan, shaped for Mme Recamier;

the human figures, characters escaped from paintings
like the ones in the background of ‘Dejuner sur l’herbe’
which seem to occupy a different dimension
– even these rustic details of L’Enfant’s city
suggest French analogues
though up the hill
Washington Cathedral – twentieth century gothic
with elevators and climate control
suggests a big nothing
at least that
only a nation of fundamentalists and show-biz types
could put a gothic cathedral on a hill top.

I move about through these environs
grasping colour and light
as the capital slides into winter,
warm air chilling after three,
darkness by five
ham hocks over gas
simmering

a gold ring
the cover of a book

It’s time for drinks and music
(no photos)
‘Autumn in New York’ or
‘Moonlight in Vermont’?

‘Dumbarton Oaks’!

– where Igor Stravinsky stayed,
only a block away,
gardens laid out
for pleasure, all seasons.

Veterans’ Day:
Glover Park
a leaf impasto underfoot for miles;
the grey tree trunks producing an effect of haze.

From The Palisades an old railroad bridge, boarded up,
cuts over Canal Street to the towpath,
pairs of mallards on the waterway.

A man (veteran?)
with bedroll and sixpack
asks if I’m a local.
Sorry, you’re 12,000 miles off.

Return from the drizzle to a call from Vermont
for Rosemary.
Take a message
or try to
– our landlord
collects pens that don’t work
and places them all in jars near the telephone.

(according to John Tranter it was Martin Johnston who said
‘If you want to communicate, use the telephone’,
but Martin probably got the line from John Forbes
– and he was quoting Frank O’Hara at the time.

I’m a spook on the bus through Shaw,
wreckage still from 1968,
gentility bordering the ghetto
with window boxes and fresh paint
up on Le Droit Park.
In Howard University’s
African collection, a small gold chameleon
illustrates the limits of personal power,
‘changing its colour to suit what it sees,
not what is hidden in the box’;

an Akan ceremonial vessel
shows Picasso even stole his doves from Ghana.
But Africa has come back
I think, to reclaim its own images
as Romaire Bearden, his art
at the American Museum.
Africa! Lorca
and Vachel Lindsay loved you
but you go further,
a chameleon
in the box,
not my personification of a continent.

I walk back on Columbia, a break in the drizzle,
to the border at 14th St
where signs become Spanish.

Turbulences cross the map,
snow falls in the panhandle of Texas.

This morning Classical 104FM
advertises a book (illustrated)
of poems by Robert Frost
that
“makes profound truths
really accessible
in a language
everybody can understand”

Out on the street
Latinos with air compressors on their backs
blow the dead leaves away.


Poet's Note: Washington D.C. November 1992

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Spirit Of Discovery By Sea - Book The First

Awake a louder and a loftier strain!
Beloved harp, whose tones have oft beguiled
My solitary sorrows, when I left
The scene of happier hours, and wandered far,
A pale and drooping stranger; I have sat
(While evening listened to the convent bell)
On the wild margin of the Rhine, and wooed
Thy sympathies, 'a-weary of the world,'
And I have found with thee sad fellowship,
Yet always sweet, whene'er my languid hand
Passed carelessly o'er the responsive wires,
While unambitious of the laurelled meed
That crowns the gifted bard, I only asked
Some stealing melodies, the heart might love,
And a brief sonnet to beguile my tears!
But I had hope that one day I might wake
Thy strings to loftier utterance; and now,
Bidding adieu to glens, and woods, and streams,
And turning where, magnificent and vast,
Main Ocean bursts upon my sight, I strike,--
Rapt in the theme on which I long have mused,--
Strike the loud lyre, and as the blue waves rock,
Swell to their solemn roar the deepening chords.
Lift thy indignant billows high, proclaim
Thy terrors, Spirit of the hoary seas!
I sing thy dread dominion, amid wrecks,
And storms, and howling solitudes, to Man
Submitted: awful shade of Camoens
Bend from the clouds of heaven.
By the bold tones
Of minstrelsy, that o'er the unknown surge
(Where never daring sail before was spread)
Echoed, and startled from his long repose
The indignant Phantom of the stormy Cape;
Oh, let me think that in the winds I hear
Thy animating tones, whilst I pursue
With ardent hopes, like thee, my venturous way,
And bid the seas resound my song! And thou,
Father of Albion's streams, majestic Thames,
Amid the glittering scene, whose long-drawn wave
Goes noiseless, yet with conscious pride, beneath
The thronging vessels' shadows; nor through scenes
More fair, the yellow Tagus, or the Nile,
That ancient river, winds. THOU to the strain
Shalt haply listen, that records the MIGHT
Of OCEAN, like a giant at thy feet
Vanquished, and yielding to thy gentle state
The ancient sceptre of his dread domain!
All was one waste of waves, that buried deep
Earth and its multitudes: the Ark alone,
High on the cloudy van of Ararat,
Rested; for now the death-commissioned storm
Sinks silent, and the eye of day looks out
Dim through the haze; while short successive gleams
Flit o'er the weltering Deluge as it shrinks,
Or the transparent rain-drops, falling few,
Distinct and larger glisten. So the Ark
Rests upon Ararat; but nought around
Its inmates can behold, save o'er th' expanse
Of boundless waters, the sun's orient orb
Stretching the hull's long shadow, or the moon
In silence, through the silver-cinctured clouds,
Sailing as she herself were lost, and left
In Nature's loneliness!
But oh, sweet Hope,
Thou bid'st a tear of holy ecstasy
Start to their eye-lids, when at night the Dove,
Weary, returns, and lo! an olive leaf
Wet in her bill: again she is put forth,
When the seventh morn shines on the hoar abyss:--
Due evening comes: her wings are heard no more!
The dawn awakes, not cold and dripping sad,
But cheered with lovelier sunshine; far away
The dark-red mountains slow their naked peaks
Upheave above the waste; Imaus gleams;
Fume the huge torrents on his desert sides;
Till at the awful voice of Him who rules
The storm, the ancient Father and his train
On the dry land descend.
Here let us pause.
No noise in the vast circuit of the globe
Is heard; no sound of human stirring: none
Of pasturing herds, or wandering flocks; nor song
Of birds that solace the forsaken woods
From morn till eve; save in that spot that holds
The sacred Ark: there the glad sounds ascend,
And Nature listens to the breath of Life.
The fleet horse bounds, high-neighing to the wind
That lifts his streaming mane; the heifer lows;
Loud sings the lark amid the rainbow's hues;
The lion lifts him muttering; MAN comes forth--
He kneels upon the earth--he kisses it;
And to the GOD who stretched that radiant bow,
He lifts his trembling transports.
From one spot
Alone of earth such sounds ascend. How changed
The human prospect! when from realm to realm,
From shore to shore, from isle to furthest isle,
Flung to the stormy main, man's murmuring race,
Various and countless as the shells that strew
The ocean's winding marge, are spread; from shores
Sinensian, where the passing proas gleam
Innumerous 'mid the floating villages:
To Acapulco west, where laden deep
With gold and gems rolls the superb galleon,
Shadowing the hoar Pacific: from the North,
Where on some snowy promontory's height
The Lapland wizard beats his drum, and calls
The spirits of the winds, to th' utmost South,
Where savage Fuego shoots its cold white peaks,
Dreariest of lands, and the poor Pecherais
Shiver and moan along its waste of snows.
So stirs the earth; and for the Ark that passed
Alone and darkling o'er the dread abyss,
Ten thousand and ten thousand barks are seen
Fervent and glancing on the friths and sounds;
From the Bermudian that, with masts inclined,
Shoots like a dart along; to the tall ship
That, like a stately swan, in conscious pride
Breasts beautiful the rising surge, and throws
The gathered waters back, and seems to move
A living thing, along her lucid way
Streaming in white-winged glory to the sun!
Some waft the treasures of the east; some bear
Their country's dark artillery o'er the surge
Frowning; some in the southern solitudes,
Bound on discovery of new regions, spread,
'Mid rocks of driving ice, that crash around,
Their weather-beaten mainsail; or explore
Their perilous way from isle to isle, and wind
The tender social tie; connecting man,
Wherever scattered, with his fellow-man.
How many ages rolled away ere thus,
From NATURE'S GENERAL WRECK, the world's great scene
Was tenanted! See from their sad abode,
At Heaven's dread voice, heard from the solitude,
As in the dayspring of created things,
The sad survivors of a buried world
Come forth; on them, though desolate their seat,
The sky looks down with smiles; for the broad sun,
That to the west slopes his untired career,
Hangs o'er the water's brim. The aged sire,
Now rising from his evening sacrifice,
Amid his offspring stands, and lifts his eyes,
Moist with a tear, to the bright bow: the fire
Yet on the altar burns, whose trailing fume
Goes slowly up, and marks the lucid cope
Of the soft sky, where distant clouds hang still
And beautiful. So placid Evening steals
After the lurid storm, like a sweet form
Of fairy following a perturbed shape
Of giant terror, that in darkness strode.
Slow sinks the lord of day; the clustering clouds
More ardent burn; confusion of rich hues,
Crimson, and gold, and purple, bright, inlay
Their varied edges; till before the eye,
As their last lustre fades, small silver stars
Succeed; and twinkling each in its own sphere,
Thick as the frost's unnumbered spangles, strew
The slowly-paling heavens. Tired Nature seems
Like one who, struggling long for life, had beat
The billows, and scarce gained a desert crag,
O'er-spent, to sink to rest: the tranquil airs
Whisper repose. Now sunk in sleep reclines
The Father of the world; then the sole moon
Mounts high in shadowy beauty; every cloud
Retires, as in the blue space she moves on
Amid the fulgent orbs supreme, and looks
The queen of heaven and earth. Stilly the streams
Retiring sound; midnight's high hollow vault
Faint echoes; stilly sound the distant streams.
When, hark! a strange and mingled wail, and cries
As of ten thousand thousand perishing!
A phantom, 'mid the shadows of the dead,
Before the holy Patriarch, as he slept,
Stood terrible:--Dark as a storm it stood
Of thunder and of winds, like hollow seas
Remote; meantime a voice was heard: Behold,
Noah, the foe of thy weak race! my name
Destruction, whom thy sons in yonder plains
Shall worship, and all grim, with mooned horns
Paint fabling: when the flood from off the earth
Before it swept the living multitudes,
I rode amid the hurricane; I heard
The universal shriek of all that lived.
In vain they climbed the rocky heights: I struck
The adamantine mountains, and like dust
They crumbled in the billowy foam. My hall,
Deep in the centre of the seas, received
The victims as they sank! Then, with dark joy,
I sat amid ten thousand carcases,
That weltered at my feet! But THOU and THINE
Have braved my utmost fury: what remains
But vengeance, vengeance on thy hated race;--
And be that sheltering shrine the instrument!
Thence, taught to stem the wild sea when it roars,
In after-times to lands remote, where roamed
The naked man and his wan progeny,
They, more instructed in the fatal use
Of arts and arms, shall ply their way; and thou
Wouldst bid the great deep cover thee to see
The sorrows of thy miserable sons:
But turn, and view in part the truths I speak.
He said, and vanished with a dismal sound
Of lamentation from his grisly troop.
Then saw the just man in his dream what seemed
A new and savage land: huge forests stretched
Their world of wood, shading like night the banks
Of torrent-foaming rivers, many a league
Wandering and lost in solitudes; green isles
Here shone, and scattered huts beneath the shade
Of branching palms were seen; whilst in the sun
A naked infant playing, stretched his hand
To reach a speckled snake, that through the leaves
Oft darted, or its shining volumes rolled
Erratic.
From the woods a sable man
Came, as from hunting; in his arms he took
The smiling child, that with the feathers played
Which nodded on his brow; the sheltering hut
Received them, and the cheerful smoke went up
Above the silent woods.
Anon was heard
The sound as of strange thunder, from the mouths
Of hollow engines, as, with white sails spread,
Tall vessels, hulled like the great Ark, approached
The verdant shores: they, in a woody cove
Safe-stationed, hang their pennants motionless
Beneath the palms. Meantime, with shouts and song,
The boat rows hurrying to the land; nor long
Ere the great sea for many a league is tinged,
While corpse on corpse, down the red torrent rolled,
Floats, and the inmost forests murmur--Blood.
Now vast savannahs meet the view, where high
Above the arid grass the serpent lifts
His tawny crest:--Not far a vessel rides
Upon the sunny main, and to the shore
Black savage tribes a mournful captive urge,
Who looks to heaven with anguish. Him they cast
Bound in the rank hold of the prison-ship,
With many a sad associate in despair,
Each panting chained to his allotted space;
And moaning, whilst their wasted eye-balls roll.
Another scene appears: the naked slave
Writhes to the bloody lash; but more to view
Nature forbad, for starting from his dream
The just Man woke. Shuddering he gazed around;
He saw the earliest beam of morning shine
Slant on the hills without; he heard the breath
Of placid kine, but troubled thoughts and sad
Arose. He wandered forth; and now far on,
By heavy musings led, reached a ravine
Most mild amid the tempest-riven rocks,
Through whose dark pass he saw the flood remote
Gray-spreading, while the mists of morn went up.
He paused; when on his lonely pathway flashed
A light, and sounds as of approaching wings
Instant were heard. A radiant form appeared,
Celestial, and with heavenly accent said:
Noah, I come commissioned from above,
Where angels move before th' eternal throne
Of heaven's great King in glory, to dispel
The mists of darkness from thy sight; for know,
Not unpermitted of th' Eternal One
The shadows of thy melancholy dream
Hung o'er thee slumbering: Mine the task to show
Futurity's faint scene;--now follow me.
He said; and up to the unclouded height
Of that great Eastern mountain, that surveys
Dim Asia, they ascended. Then his brow
The Angel touched, and cleared with whispered charm
The mortal mist before his eyes.--At once
(As in the skiey mirage, when the seer
From lonely Kilda's western summit sees
A wondrous scene in shadowy vision rise)
The NETHER WORLD, with seas and shores, appeared
Submitted to his view: but not as then,
A melancholy waste, deform and sad;
But fair as now the green earth spreads, with woods,
Champaign, and hills, and many winding streams
Robed, the magnificent illusion rose.
He saw in mazy longitude devolved
The mighty Brahma-Pooter; to the East
Thibet and China, and the shining sea
That sweeps the inlets of Japan, and winds
Amid the Curile and Aleutian isles,
Pale to the north. Siberia's snowy scenes
Are spread; Jenisca and the freezing Ob
Appear, and many a forest's shady track
Far as the Baltic, and the utmost bounds
Of Scandinavia; thence the eye returns:
And lo! great Lebanon--abrupt and dark
With pines, and airy Carmel, rising slow
Above the midland main, where hang the capes
Of Italy and Greece; swart Africa,
Beneath the parching sun, her long domain
Reveals, the mountains of the Moon, the source
Of Nile, the wild mysterious Niger, lost
Amid the torrid sands; and to the south
Her stormy cape. Beyond the misty main
The weary eye scarce wanders, when behold
Plata, through vaster territory poured;
And Andes, sweeping the horizon's tract,
Mightiest of mountains! whose eternal snows
Feel not the nearer sun; whose umbrage chills
The murmuring ocean; whose volcanic fires
A thousand nations view, hung like the moon
High in the middle waste of heaven; thy range,
Shading far off the Southern hemisphere,
A dusky file Titanic.
So spread
Before our great forefather's view the globe
Appeared; with seas, and shady continents,
And verdant isles, and mountains lifting dark
Their forests, and indenting rivers, poured
In silvery maze. And, Lo! the Angel said,
These scenes, O Noah, thy posterity
Shall people; but remote and scattered wide,
They shall forget their GOD, and see no trace,
Save dimly, of their Great Original.
Rude caves shall be their dwellings: till, with noise
Of multitudes, imperial cities rise.
But the Arch Fiend, the foe of GOD and man,
Shall fling his spells; and, 'mid illusions drear,
Blear Superstition shall arise, the earth
Eclipsing.--Deep in caves, vault within vault
Far winding; or in night of thickest woods,
Where no bird sings; or 'mid huge circles gray
Of uncouth stone, her aspect wild, and pale
As the terrific flame that near her burns,
She her mysterious rites, 'mid hymns and cries,
Shall wake, and to her shapeless idols, vast
And smeared with blood, or shrines of lust, shall lead
Her votaries, maddening as she waves her torch,
With visage more expanded, to the groans
Of human sacrifice.
Nor think that love
And happiness shall dwell in vales remote:
The naked man shall see the glorious sun,
And think it but enlightens his poor isle,
Hid in the watery waste; cold on his limbs
The ocean-spray shall beat; his Deities
Shall be the stars, the thunder, and the winds;
And if a stranger on his rugged shores
Be cast, his offered blood shall stain the strand.
O wretched man! who then shall raise thee up
From this thy dark estate, forlorn and lost?
The Patriarch said.
The Angel answered mild,
His God, who destined him to noblest ends!
But mutual intercourse shall stir at first
The sunk and grovelling spirit, and from sleep
The sullen energies of man rouse up,
As of a slumbering giant. He shall walk
Sublime amid the works of GOD: the earth
Shall own his wide dominion; the great sea
Shall toss in vain its roaring waves; his eye
Shall scan the bright orbs as they roll above
Glorious, and his expanding heart shall burn,
As wide and wider in magnificence
The vast scene opens; in the winds and clouds,
The seas, and circling planets, he shall see
The shadow of a dread Almighty move.
Then shall the Dayspring rise, before whose beam
The darkness of the world is past:--For, hark!
Seraphs and angel-choirs with symphonies
Acclaiming of ten thousand golden harps,
Amid the bursting clouds of heaven revealed,
At once, in glory jubilant, they sing--
God the Redeemer liveth! He who took
Man's nature on him, and in human shroud
Veiled his immortal glory! He is risen!
God the Redeemer liveth! And behold!
The gates of life and immortality
Open to all that breathe!
Oh, might the strains
But win the world to love; meek Charity
Should lift her looks and smile; and with faint voice
The weary pilgrim of the earth exclaim,
As close his eye-lids--Death, where is thy sting?
O Grave, where is thy victory?
And ye,
Whom ocean's melancholy wastes divide,
Who slumber to the sullen surge, awake,
Break forth into thanksgiving, for the bark
That rolled upon the desert deep, shall bear
The tidings of great joy to all that live,
Tidings of life and light.
Oh, were those men,
(The Patriarch raised his drooping looks, and said)
Such in my dream I saw, who to the isles
And peaceful sylvan scenes o'er the wide seas
Came tilting; then their murderous instruments
Lifted, that flashed to the indignant sun,
Whilst the poor native died:--Oh, were those men
Instructed in the laws of holier love,
Thou hast displayed?
The Angel meek replied--
Call rather fiends of hell those who abuse
The mercies they receive: that such, indeed,
On whom the light of clearer knowledge beams,
Should wander forth, and for the tender voice
Of charity should scatter crimes and woe,
And drench, where'er they pass, the earth with blood,
Might make ev'n angels weep:
But the poor tribes
That groaned and died, deem not them innocent
As injured; more ensanguined rites and deeds
Of deepest stain were theirs; and what if God,
So to approve his justice, and exact
Most even retribution, blood for blood,
Bid forth the Angel of the storm of death!
Thou saw'st, indeed, the seeming innocence
Of man the savage; but thou saw'st not all.
Behold the scene more near! hear the shrill whoop
Of murderous war! See tribes on neighbour tribes
Rush howling, their red hatchets wielding high,
And shouting to their barbarous gods! Behold
The captive bound, yet vaunting direst hate,
And mocking his tormentors, while they gash
His flesh unshrinking, tear his eyeballs, burn
His beating breast! Hear the dark temples ring
To groans and hymns of murderous sacrifice;
While the stern priest, the rites of horror done,
With hollow-echoing chaunt lifts up the heart
Of the last victim 'mid the yelling throng,
Quivering, and red, and reeking to the sun!
Reclaimed by gradual intercourse, his heart
Warmed with new sympathies, the forest-chief
Shall cast the bleeding hatchet to his gods
Of darkness, and one Lord of all adore--
Maker of heaven and earth.
Let it suffice,
He hath permitted EVIL for a while
To mingle its deep hues and sable shades
Amid life's fair perspective, as thou saw'st
Of late the blackening clouds; but in the end
All these shall roll away, and evening still
Come smilingly, while the great sun looks down
On the illumined scene. So Charity
Shall smile on all the earth, and Nature's God
Look down upon his works; and while far off
The shrieking night-fiends fly, one voice shall rise
From shore to shore, from isle to furthest isle--
Glory to God on high, and on earth peace,
Peace and good-will to men!
Thou rest in hope,
And Him with meekness and with trust adore!
He said, and spreading bright his ampler wing,
Flew to the heaven of heavens; the meek man bowed
Adoring, and, with pensive thoughts resigned,
Bent from the aching height his lonely way.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Orlando Furioso canto 13

ARGUMENT
The Count Orlando of the damsel bland
Who loves Zerbino, hears the piteous woes.
Next puts to death the felons with his hand
Who pent her there. Duke Aymon's daughter goes,
Seeking Rogero, where so large a band
The old Atlantes' magic walls enclose.
Her he impounds, deceived by fictions new.
Agramant ranks his army for review.

I
Those ancient cavaliers right happy were,
Born in an age, when, in the gloomy wood,
In valley, and in cave, wherein the bear,
Serpent, or lion, hid their savage brood,
They could find that, which now in palace rare
Is hardly found by judges proved and good;
Women, to wit, who in their freshest days
Of beauty worthily deserve the praise.

II
Above I told you how a gentle maid
Orlando had discovered under ground,
And asked, by whom she thither was conveyed?
Pursuing now my tale, I tell, how drowned
In grief (her speech by many a sob delayed),
The damsel fair, in sweet and softest sound,
Summing them with what brevity she might,
Her ills recounted to Anglantes' knight.

III
'Though I am sure,' she said, 'O cavalier,
To suffer punishment for what I say;
Because I know, to him who pens me here,
This woman quickly will the fact display;
I would not but thou shouldst the story hear.
- And let my wretched life the forfeit pay!
For what can wait me better than that he,
My gaoler, should one day my death decree?

IV
'Lo! I am Isabel, who once was styled
The daughter of Gallicia's hapless king:
I said aright who was; but now the child
(No longer his) of care and suffering:
The fault of Love, by whom I was beguiled;
For against him alone this charge I bring.
Who sweetly, at the first, our wish applauds,
And weaves in secret but deceit and frauds.

V
'Whilom I lived, content in Fortune's smile,
Rich, blameless, fair, and young; to sad reverse
Condemned, I now am wretched, poor, and vile,
And in worse case, if any yet be worse.
But it is fitting, I to thee this while
From their first root my troubles should rehearse.
And it will soothe me, though of thee I borrow
No help, that thou compassionate my sorrow.

VI
'My father in his city of Bayonne,
(To-day will be twelve months) a tourney dight;
Hence, led by spreading rumour to our town,
To joust, from different lands came many a knight;
Mid these (was it his manifest renown,
Or was it love which so deceived my sight)
Praise in my eyes alone Zerbino won,
Who was the mighty king of Scotland's son.

VII
'When him I after in the field espied,
Performing wondrous feats of chivalry,
I was surprised by Love, ere I descried
That freedom in my Love, so rash a guide,
I lay this unction to my phantasy,
That no unseemly place my heart possest,
Fixed on the worthiest in the world and best.

VIII
'In beauty and in valour's boast above
Those other lords the Scottish prince stood high.
He showed me, and, I think, be bore me love,
And left no less an ardent flame than I.
Nor lacked there one who did between us move,
To speak our common wishes frequently,
So could we still in heart and mind unite,
Although disjoined from one another's sight.

IX
'Hence, when concluded was the festal show,
And to his home Zerbino was returned,
If thou know'st what is love, thou well may'st know
How night and day I for the warrior yearned;
And was assured, no less on him did prey
The flame, that in his constant bosom burned.
He, save a way to have me with him, nought
For solace of his restless passion sought.

X
'For different faith forbade him (on my side
I was a saracen, a Christian he)
To ask me of my father as a bride,
By stealth he purposed to elope with me.
Amid green fields, our wealthy town beside,
I had a garden, seated by the sea,
Upon the pleasant shore; from whence the eye
Might ocean and the hills about descry.

XI
'A fitting place to effect what different creed
And law forbade us, he esteemed this site,
And showed the order taken for the deed,
Which was to make our future life's delight;
And how, near Santa Martha, for our need,
A bark was with arm'd men in ambush dight,
Under Sir Odoric of Biscay's command;
A leader he, approved by sea and land!

XII
'Unable in his person this to do,
For by his father he was forced to wend
In succour of the king of France, in lieu
This Odoric for the purpose he would send;
Chosen, of all his faithful friends and true,
As his most faithful and his truest friend:
And such had been, if benefits could bind
And goodly deeds the friendship of mankind.

XIII
'At the time fixed to bear me thence away,
This chief would anchor on the destined ground.
- And thus it was arrived the wished for day,
Then I of them was in my garden found.
Sir Odoric, at night, with fair array
Of valiant men, by land and sea renowned,
In the near river from his bark descends,
And thence in silence to my garden wends.

XIV
'To the pitched bark with me his party sped,
Before the city knew what was at hand;
Some of the house, disarmed and naked, fled,
And some were slain; while of the helpless band,
With me, another part was captive led.
So was I severed from my native land,
Hoping in brief Zerbino to possess,
I cannot tell thee with what happiness.

XV
'Scarcely was Mongia by our galley doubled,
Ere a squall took us on the larboard side,
Which round about the clear horizon troubled,
And stirred and tost heaven-high the foaming tide.
Smote with a north-west wind, next, ocean bubbled,
Which on her other beam the vessel plied:
This evermore increases, with such force,
Starboard or larboard, boots not which our course.

XVI
'It steads not to strike sail, nor lash the mast,
Lowered on the gang-board, nor our castles fell;
The bark, in our despite, is hurried fast
Towards the pointed rocks about Rochelle:
Save He, above, assist us at the last,
The cruel storm will us ashore impel;
Driven thither by ill wind with mightier speed
Than ever bow-string gave to whistling reed.

XVII
'Our peril well does the Biscayan note,
And tries what often has an evil end;
Lowers down the galley's skiff, and, when afloat,
Descends into it, and makes me descend:
Two follow, and a troop would throng the boat,
Did not the first prevent them, and defend
The entrance with their naked faulchions; we
Sever the rope forthwith, and put to sea.

XVIII
'Driven landward, on the shore we safely light
Who in the skiff embarked; while of our band
The rest in the split vessel sink outright;
Our goods sea-swallowed all. Upon the strand
To Eternal Love, To Goodness Infinite,
I offer up my thanks, with outstretched hand,
That I was doomed not 'mid the watery roar
To perish, nor behold Zerbino more.

XIX
'Though I had left on shipboard matters rare,
And precious in their nature, gem and vest,
So I might hope Zerbino's lot to share,
I was content the sea should have the rest.
No dwelling on the beach appears, nor there
Is any pathway seen, by footsteps pressed;
Only a hill, whose woody top is beat
By ceaseless winds, the waters bathe its feet.

XX
'Here the fell tyrant Love, aye prompt to range,
And faithless to his every promise still,
Who watches ever how he may derange
And mar our every reasonable will,
Converts, with woeful and disastrous change,
My comfort to despair, my good to ill:
For he, in whom Zerbino put his trust,
Cooled in his loyal faith, and burned with lust.

XXI
'Whether he his desire had nursed at sea,
And had not dared exhibit it before;
Or that it sprung from opportunity,
Suggested by that solitary shore;
Without more pause, in that lone desert, he
Would sate his greedy passion; but forbore
Till he of one could rid him, of the twain,
Who in the boat with us had scaped the main.

XXII
'A man of Scotland he, Almonio hight,
Who to Zerbino seemed great faith to bear;
And as a perfect warrior by the knight,
Praised, when to Odoric given, his trust to share:
To him (the Spaniard said) it were a slight
If I unto Rochelle afoot should fare;
And prayed, that he before would thither speed,
And forward thence some hackney, for my need.

XXIII
'Almonio, who in this suspects no ill,
Forthwith, before our party, wends his way
To the town, hidden by the wooded hill,
And which not more than six miles distant lay.
To the other finally his wicked will
Sir Odoric took courage to display;
As well because he could not rid him thence,
As that in him he had great confidence.

XXIV
'He that remained with us, of whom I said
Before, Corebo was of Bilbao hight,
Who with him under the same roof was bred
From infancy, and the ungrateful wight
Deemed that the thought he harboured in his head,
He could impart in safety to the knight,
Who would prefer, neglected of his trust,
The pleasure of his friend to what was just.

XXV
'Not without high disdain Corebo heard
(Who kind and courteous was) the Biscayneer,
And termed him traitor; and by deed and word
Withstood the purpose of his foul compeer.
This mighty wrath in either warrior stirred;
In sign whereof their naked brands they rear.
At sight of their drawn swords, in panic, I
Turn shortly through the gloomy wood to fly.

XXVI
'Sir Odoric in war well taught and bred,
Gained in few blows such vantage in the fray,
He left Corebo on the field for dead,
And, following in my steps, pursued my way.
Love lent to him (unless I am misled)
Pinions, that he might overtake his prey;
And many a prayer and glozing flattery taught,
Wherewith I to compliance might be wrought.

XXVII
'But all in vain, for I was fixed and bent,
Rather than sate his ill desire, to die.
When menace had by him been vainly spent,
And every prayer and every flattery,
He would by open force his will content;
Nor boots it aught that I entreaties try; -
Of his lord's faith in him the wretch remind,
And how myself I to his hands resigned.

XXVIII
'When I perceived that fruitless was my prayer,
And that I could not hope for other aid;
For he assailed me like a famished bear,
With hands and feet I fierce resistance made,
As he more brutal waxed, and plucked his hair,
And with my teeth and nails his visage flayed:
This while I vent such lamentable cries,
The clamour echoes to the starry skies.

XXIX
'Were they by chance conducted, or my shriek,
Which might have well been heard a league around,
(Or, was it they were wont the shore to seek,
When any vessel split or ran aground)
I saw a crowd appear upon the peak,
Which, to the sea descending, towards us wound.
Them the Biscayan say, and at the sight
Abandoned his design, and turned to flight.

XXX
'This rabble, sir, against that treacherous man
Comes to my aid; but in such guise, that I
The homely saw, of falling from the pan
Into the fire beneath, but verify.
'Tis true so lost I was not, nor that clan
Accursed with minds of such iniquity,
That they to violate my person sought;
Though nothing good or virtuous on them wrought:

XXXI
'But that they knew, for me preserved a maid,
As yet I am, they higher price might crave.
Eight months are past, the ninth arrived, since, stayed
By them, alive I languish in this grave.
All hope is lost of my Zerbino's aid:
For from their speech I gather, as a slave,
I am bartered to a merchant for his gold;
By whom I to the sultan shall be sold.'

XXXII
The gentle damsel so her tale pursues,
While sobs and sighs oft interposing break
Her soft angelic voice, which might infuse
Compassion into asp, or venomed snake.
What time she so her piteous grief renews,
Or haply does her bitter anguish slake,
Some twenty men the gloomy cavern fill;
This armed with hunting-spear, and that with bill.

XXXIII
With squinting look and dark, and but one eye,
The leader of the troop, of brutish cheer
Was he, the foremost of the company;
By a blow blinded, which from nose to ear
Had cleft his jaw: when he did so descry
Seated beside the maid, that cavalier,
He turned about and said: 'Lo! in the net
Another bird for whom it was not set!'

XXXIV
Then to the County cried: 'I never knew
A man more opportune my wants to stead;
I know not whether any one to you
Perchance may have announced my pressing need
Of such fair arms, - or you conjectured true, -
As well as of that goodly sable weed.
You verily arrived in season are
My needs (pursued the losel) to repair.'

XXXV
With bitter smile, upstarting on his feet,
Orlando to the ruffian made reply:
'Thou at a price at which no chapman treat,
Unmarked in merchant's books, these arms shalt buy.'
With that he snatched a brand, which, full of heat
And smoke, was smouldering in the chimney nigh,
Threw it, and smote by chance the knave half blind,
Where with the nose the meeting brows confined.

XXXVI
The brand discharged by him, hit either brow,
But most severely on the left did smite;
For that ill feature perished by the blow,
Which was the thief's sole minister of light.
Nor is the stroke content to blind the foe;
Unsated, save it register his sprite
Among those damned souls, whom Charon keeps,
With their companions, plunged in boiling deeps.

XXXVII
A spacious table in mid cavern stood,
Two palms in thickness, in its figure square;
Propt on one huge, ill fashioned food and rude,
Which held the thief and all who harboured there.
Even with such freedom as his dart of wood
We mark the nimble Spaniard launch through air,
The heavy table Roland seized and threw,
Where, crowded close together, stood the crew.

XXXVIII
One had his belly crushed, and one his breast;
Another head or arm, or leg and thigh.
Whence some were slain outright, and maimed the rest,
While he who was least injured sought to fly.
'Tis so sometimes, with heavy stone oppressed,
A knot of slimy snakes is seen to lie,
With battered heads and loins where, winter done,
They lick their scales, rejoicing in the sun.

XXXIX
I could not say what mischiefs these offend;
One dies, and one departs without its tail;
Another crippled cannot move an-end,
And wriggling wreathes its length without avail:
While this, whom more propitious saints befriend,
Safe through the grass drags off its slimy trail.
Dire was the stroke; yet should no wonder breed,
Since good Orlando's arm achieved the deed.

XL
Those whom the board had little maimed or nought,
(Turpin says there were seven) in craven wise,
Their safety in their feet, yet vainly, sought;
For to the cavern's door Orlando hies.
And having them without resistance caught,
Fast with a rope their hands behind them ties;
A rope, which in the cavern on the ground,
Convenient for his purpose he had found.

XLI
He after drags them bound without the cave,
Where an old service-tree its shadow throws.
Orlando lops the branches with his glaive,
And hangs the thieves, a banquet for the crows:
Nor chain and crook for such a deed did crave:
For ready hooks the tree itself bestows,
To purge the world; where by the chin up-hung,
These, on the branches, bold Orlando strung.

XLII
The ancient woman, the assassin's friend,
Escapes when she perceives that all are dead,
And, threading that green labyrinth without end,
Laments, and plucks the hair from off her head,
By fear impelled, through paths which sore offend
Her feet, till she, beside a river's bed,
Encounters with a warrior: but to say
Who was the stranger champion I delay;

XLIII
And turn to her, who to the count applied,
Praying he would not leave her there alone,
And vowed to follow whither he would guide.
Orlando her consoles in courteous tone:
And thence, when, with a wreath of roses tied
About her brows, and robed in purple gown,
On wonted journey white Aurora starts,
The paladin with Isabel departs.

XLIV
Without encountering aught that might appear
Worthy of note, they wended many a day;
And finally the twain a cavalier,
As prisoner led, encountered by the way.
Who shall be told; but, tale to you as dear
Now calls me from the beaten path away;
- Of Aymon's daughter, - whom I left above,
Languid and lost in all the pains of love.

XLV
The beauteous lady who desires in vain,
Rogero should not his return delay,
Lies in Marseilles, from whence the paynim train
She harasses, nigh each returning day;
(What time they robbing aye, by hill and plain,
Scower fruitful Languedoc and Provence gay)
And the true duty executes aright
Of a sage leader and a valiant knight.

XLVI
The time long past, she, lying in that place,
Had hoped that her Rogero would appear,
She, not beholding him in all that space,
Of many evil chances lived in fear.
One day, mid others that her woeful case
The lady wept alone, to her drew near
The dame, who with that healing ring made sound
The bosom rankling with Alcina's wound.

XLVII
When her she saw, without her love returned,
(Such time elapsed, her mission incomplete),
Sore trembling, faint, and pale, her heart so yearned,
She scarce had strength to stand upon her feet.
But the enchantress kind, when she discerned
Her fear, advanced with smiles the maid to meet;
And to console her such glad visage wore
As messenger who joyful tidings bore.

XLVIII
'Fear not for thy Rogero: he is well
And safe (she cried), and ever worships thee,
As wonted; but thy foe, that wizard fell,
Him yet again deprives of liberty.
And it behoves thee now to climb the sell,
Would'st thou posses him, and to follow me;
For if thou wendest with me, I will lead
Whither, by thee Rogero shall be freed.'

XLIX
And next pursued, relating to her all
The frauds and magic of Atlantes hoar,
That wearing her fair face, who seemed the thrall
Of an ill giant, him had through the door
Of gold, enticed into the enchanted hall,
And after disappeared, the youth before;
And told how dames and cavaliers he cheats
Who thither make resort, with like deceits.

L
Seeing the sage, all think they see a squire,
Companion, lady-love, or absent friend;
Whatever is each several wight's desire:
Since to our scope our wishes never tend.
Hence searching every where, themselves they tire
With labour sore, and frustrate of their end;
And cannot, (so Desire and Hope deceive),
Without the missing good, that palace leave.

LI
'As soon as thou (pursued the dame) art near
The place where he has built the magic seat,
Resembling thy Rogero in his cheer
And every look, Atlantes thee shall meet,
And make himself by his ill art appear
As suffering from some stronger arm defeat;
That thou may'st aid him in the peril feigned,
And thus among those others be detained.

LII
'To the end thou may'st escape his ambush, where
So many and so many, thus betrayed,
Have fallen; though he Rogero seem, beware
To lend him faith, who will demand thine aid:
Nor, when the sage presents himself, forbear
To take his worthless life with lifted blade.
Nor think to slay Rogero with the blow,
But him who works thee still such cruel woe.

LIII
'Hard will it seem to slay, full well I know,
The wight, in whom Rogero you descry:
But, for truth is not in the lying show,
Trust not to sight where magic blears the eye.
Fix, ere with me you to the forest go,
To change not when the traitorous foe is nigh:
For never shall with you Rogero wive,
If weakly you the wizard leave alive.'

LIV
The valorous maid with the intent to slay
The false enchanter, on her plan decides,
Snatches her arms, and follows on her way
Melissa sage, in whom she so confides,
And thus, by fruitful field or forest gray,
Her by forced journeys that enchantress guides;
And studies to beguile their weary course
Ever, as best she may, with sweet discourse:

LV
And as the fairest topic of all those
Which might be grateful to the damsel's ear,
Her future offspring and Rogero's chose
(A race of demigods) in prince and peer.
For as Melissa all the secrets knows
Of the eternal gods who rule our sphere,
The good enchantress can discover all
Which should in many ages hence befall.

LVI
'Oh! my best guide.' exclaimed the damsel bold
To the weird-woman that to aid her came,
'As thou hast many years before foretold
Men who shall glorify my race and name,
So now I pray thee, lady, to unfold
The praise and virtues of some noble dame,
If from my lineage any such shall rise.'
To whom Melissa courteously replies:

LVII
'Chaste dames of thee descended I survey,
Mothers of those who wear imperial crown,
And mighty kings; the column and the stay
Of glorious realms and houses of renown.
And as thy sons will shine in arms, so they
Will no less fame deserve in female gown,
With piety and sovereign prudence graced,
And noble hearts, incomparably chaste.

LVIII
'And if at length, I should relate to thee
The praise of all who from thy root ascend,
Too long my tale would hold, nor do I see
Whom I could pass, where all to fame pretend.
But from a thousand I some two or three
Will choose, because my tale may have an end.
Why was not in the cave thy wish made known,
Where I their shadows might as well have shown?

LIX
'To hear of one of thy famed race prepare,
Whom liberal studies and good works engage;
Of whom, I know not well, if she more fair
May be entitled, or more chaste and sage;
The noble-minded Isabel, who, where
It stands on Mincius' bank, in other age
Shall gild the town, of Ocnus' mother hight,
With her own glorious rays by day and night;

LX
'Where, with her worthiest consort she will strain,
In honoured and in splendid rivalry,
Which best shall prize the virtues' goodly train,
And widest ope the gates to courtesy.
If he by Taro, and in Naples' reign,
('Tis said), from Gauls delivered Italy,
'Twill be replied. Penelope the chaste,
As such, was not beneath Ulysses placed.

LXI
'Great things and many thus I sum in few
Of this brave dame, and others leave behind:
Which when I from the vulgar herd withdrew,
Sage Merlin from the hollow stone divined.
For I should leave old Typhis out of view,
If on such sea I launched before the wind:
And with this finish my prophetic strain,
- All blessings on her head the skies will rain.

LXII
'With her shall be her sister Beatrice,
Whose fortunes well shall with her name accord;
Who, while she lives, not only shall not miss
What good the heavens to those below afford,
But make, with her, partaker of her bliss,
First among wealthy dukes, her cherished lord;
Who shall, when she from hence receives her call,
Into the lowest depth of misery fall.

LXIII
'Viscontis' serpents will be held in dread,
And Moro and Sforza, while this dame shall be,
From Hyperborean snows to billows red;
From Ind to hills, which to a double sea
Afford a passage; and, the lady dead,
To the sore mischief of all Italy,
Will with the Insubri into slavery fall;
And men shall sovereign wisdom fortune call.

LXIV
'Other the same illustrious name will bear,
And who will flourish many years before.
Pannonia's garland one of these shall wear.
Another matron on the Ausonian shore,
When she shall be released from earthly care,
Men will among the blessed saints adore;
With incense will approach the dame divine,
And hang with votive images her shrine.

LXV
'The others I shall pass in silence by,
For 'twere too much (as said before) to sound
Their fame: though each might well deserve, that high
Heroic trump should in her praise be wound.
Hence the Biancas and Lucretias I
And Constances and more reserve; who found,
Or else repair, upon Italian land,
Illustrious houses with supporting hand.

LXVI
'Thy race, which shall all else in this excel,
In the rare fortune of its women thrives;
Nor of its daughters' honour more I tell
Than of the lofty virtue of its wives:
And that thou may'st take note of this as well,
Which Merlin said of thy descendents' lives,
(Haply that I the story might narrate)
This I no little covet to relate.

LXVII
'Of good Richarda first shall be my strain,
Mirror of chastity and fortitude,
Who, young, remains a widow, in disdain
Of fortune: (that which oft awaits the good)
Exiles, and cheated of their father's reign,
She shall behold the children of her blood
Wandering into the clutches of their foe;
Yet find at last a quittance for her woe.

LXVIII
'Nor sprung from the ancient root of Aragon,
I of the gorgeous queen will silent be;
Than whom more prudent or more chaste is none,
Renowned in Greek or Latin history;
Nor who so fortunate a course will run,
After that, by divine election, she
Shall with the goodly race of princes swell,
Alphonso, Hyppolite, and Isabel.

LXIX
'The prudent Eleanour is this: a spray
Which will be grafted on thy happy tree.
What of the fruitful stepchild shall I say,
Who in succession next to her I see,
Lucretia Borgia? who, from day to day,
Shall wax in beauty, virtue, chastity,
And fortune, that like youthful plant will shoot,
Which into yielding soil has struck its root.

LXX
'As tin by silver, brass by gold, as Corn-
Poppy beside the deeply-crimsoning rose,
Willow by laurel evergreen, as shorn
Of light, stained glass by gem that richly glows,
- So by this dame I honour yet unborn,
Each hitherto distinguished matron shows;
For beauty and for prudence claiming place,
And all praise-worthy excellence and grace.

LXXI
'And above every other noble praise,
Which shall distinguished her alive or dead,
Is that by her shall be, through kingly ways,
Her Hercules and other children led;
Who thus the seeds of worth in early days,
To bloom in council and in camp, will shed.
For long wine's savour lingers in the wood
Of the new vessel, whether bad or good.

LXXII
'Nor the step-daughter of this noble dame,
Will I, Renata, hight of France, forget,
Of Louis born, twelfth monarch of his name,
And Bretagne's pride; all virtues ever yet
Bestowed on woman, since the ruddy flame
Has warmed, or water had the power to wet,
Or overhead the circling heavens have rolled,
United in Renata I behold.

LXXIII
' 'Twere long to tell of Alda de Sansogna,
Or of Celano's countess in this string,
Or Blanche Maria, stiled of Catalonia;
Or her, the daughter of Sicilia's king,
Or of the beauteous Lippa de Bologna,
Or more, with whose renown the world shall ring,
To speak whose separate praise with fitting lore,
Were to attempt a sea without a shore.'

LXXIV
When of the larger portion of her seed
The king enchantress at full ease had told,
And oft and oft rehearsed, amid the rede,
What arts Rogero to the wizard's hold
Had drawn, Melissa halted near the mead
Where stood the mansion of Atlantes old,
Nor would approach the magic dome more nigh,
Lest her the false magician should espy.

LXXV
And yet again advised the martial maid,
(Counsel she had a thousand times bestowed)
Then left, Nor Bradamant through greenwood shade
More than two miles in narrow path had rode,
Before, by two fierce giants overlaid,
She saw a knight, who like Rogero showed,
So closely pressed, and labouring sore for breath,
That he appeared well nigh reduced to death.

LXXVI
When she beheld him in such perilous strait,
Who of Rogero all the tokens wore,
She quickly lost the faith she nourished late,
Quickly her every fair design forbore.
She weens Melissa bears Rogero hate,
For some new injury unheard before:
And with unheard of hate and wrong, her foe
Would by her hand destroy who loves him so.

LXXVII
She cried, 'And is not this Rogero, who
Aye present to my heart, is now to sight?
If 'tis not him whom I agnize and view.
Whom e'er shall I agnize or view aright?
Why should I other's judgment deem more true
Than the belief that's warranted by sight?
Even without eyes, and by my heart alone,
If he were near or distant, would be shown.'

LXXVIII
While so the damsel thinks, a voice she hears,
Which, like Rogero's, seems for aid to cry;
At the same time, the worsted knight appears
To slack the bridle and the rowels ply:
While at full speed the goaded courser clears
His ground, pursued by either enemy.
Nor paused the dame, in following them who sought
His life, till to the enchanted palace brought.

LXXIX
Of which no sooner has she past the door,
Than she is cheated by the common show.
Each crooked way or straight her feet explore
Within it and without, above, below;
Nor rests she night or day, so strong the lore
Of the enchanter, who has ordered so,
She (though they still encounter and confer)
Knows not Rogero, nor Rogero her.

LXXX
But leave we Bradamant, nor grieve, O ye
Who hear, that she is prisoned by the spell,
Since her in fitting time I shall set free,
And good Rogero, from the dome as well,
As taste is quickened by variety,
So it appears that, in the things I tell,
The wider here and there my story ranges,
It will be found less tedious for its changes.

LXXXI
Meseems that I have many threads to clear
In the great web I labour evermore;
And therefore be ye not displeased to hear
How, all dislodged, the squadrons of the Moor,
Threatening the golden lines loud, appear
In arms, the royal Agramant before:
Who bids for a review his army post,
Willing to know the numbers of his host.

LXXXII
For besides horse and foot, in the campaign
Sore thinned, whose numbers were to be supplied,
Had many captains, and those good, of Spain,
Of Libya, and of Aethiopia, died;
And thus the nations, and the various train,
Wandered without a ruler or a guide.
To give to each its head and order due,
The ample camp is mustered in review.

LXXXIII
To fill the squadrons ravaged by the sword,
In those fierce battles and those conflicts dread,
This to his Spain, to his Africa that lord,
Sent to recruit, where well their files they fed;
And next distributed the paynim horde
Under their proper captains, ranged and led.
I, with your leave, till other strain, delay
The order of the muster to display.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Africa Is Calling

The people of
Africa is calling
For God
Right now

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Corruption Bill

Parliament enacts
The Anticorruption Bill.
Prisoners make fence

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The King Of Africa

The
King
Of
Africa
Is
Me
And
I
Had
Travelled
To
I ndia
By
Airplane

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

No Hope For The Children In Africa

I see no hope for the children in Africa
Why are we ignoring the poor children
In Africa?

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
Kobayashi Issa

A huge frog and I

A huge frog and I,
staring at each other,
neither of us moves.

Translated by Robert Hass

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

My votes against the education bill and my votes against the Medicare bill got huge play at home.

quote by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Japan in Africa

Japan in Africa

A bright and sunny
day there is dark, dry and cold
here in Africa.

Alain N. Matala

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
Emily Dickinson

His Bill an Auger is

1034

His Bill an Auger is,
His Head, a Cap and Frill.
He laboreth at every Tree
A Worm, His utmost Goal.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

South Africa

Frost lying like a blanket
On the farmers fields
It is winter here
In South Africa
And it is a hard winter

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
 

Search


Recent searches | Top searches