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

Swine

Youre a swine and Im saying thats an insult to the pig
In the foul furrow that you dig
Why dont you lay your head down
In that unconsecrated ground
Was she your mother?
Or was she your bride
To defile and to blister
To gnaw at her side
Is this the end of the world?
Now that youve finished your life
This riddle is the work of my little pen-knife

song performed by Elvis CostelloReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Related quotes

I Dont Even Know Your Name

(alan jackson, ron jackson, andy loffin)
Well I was sitting in a roadhouse down on highway 41
You were wiping off some ketchup on a table that was done
I knw you didnt see me, I was in a corner booth
Of course you werent my waitress mine was missing her front tooth
So I flagged you down for coffee
But I couldnt say a thing
But Im in love with you baby and I dont even know your name
Im in love with you baby, I dont even know your name
Ive never been to good at all these sexual games
So maybe its just better if we leave it this way
Im in love with you baby and I dont even know your name
So I ordered straight tequila, a little courage in a shot
I asked you for a date and then I asked to tie the knot
I got a little wasted, yeah I went a little far
But I finally got to hug you when you helped me to my car
The last thing I remember I heard myself say
Im in love with you baby, I dont even know your name
Im in love with you baby, I dont even know your name
Ive never been to good at all these sexual games
So maybe its just better if we leave it this way
Im in love with you baby and I dont even know your name
The next thing I remember, I was hearing wedding bells
Standing by a woman in a long white lacy veil
I raised the veil, she smiled at me without her left front tooth
And I said where the heel am I and just who the hell are you?
She said i was your waitress and our last names now the same
cause i;m married to you baby and I dont even know your name
Im married to a waitress, I dont even know her name
Ive never been to good at all these sexual games
I never thought my love life would quite turn out this way
Hey Im married to a waitress and I dont even know her name

song performed by Alan JacksonReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

That’s What They At The Asylum Now Say

I have walked in wait of my own death
I have swam and drowned in my own life
I have climbed only to sink beneath the sky
I have crawled belly-down and stood on-high
I have wrestled with hatred only to find love
I have been the bully who first needed a shove
I have been quick-tempered deep into manhood
But old age mellows that adolescent boyhood:
At least that’s what they at the asylum now say
Little does this white walled demigod know?
He too is buried under the walls of Pompeii...
His life to a moulding of death anther Stucco...

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

Share

Lay Your Hands On Me

It's a feeling
Slowly rising
Sending stars spinning around me
Something happens
When I'm with you
Moving gravity by degrees
And I know some things are meant to be
And I know we are
When I hear you say
I love you
Lay your hands on me
Tell me how you feel
Still takes my breath away
We lie here honestly
Whisper once again
As you lay your hands on me
There's desire
When you touch me
Slowly rushing me to extremes
And I know some things are meant to be
And I know we are
When I hear you say
I love you
Lay your hands on me
Tell me how you feel
Still takes my breath away
We lie here honestly
Whisper once again
As you lay your hands on me
Together we were meant to be
And together we are
There's a passion that's
surrounding me
When I hear you say
I love you
Lay your hands on me
Tell me how you feel
Still takes my breath away
We lie here honestly
Whisper once again
As you lay your hands on me
Lay your hands on me

song performed by Lisa StansfieldReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

You Run Your Mouth (And I'll Run My Business)

(words and music by Armstrong)
Who doubt say, who doubt when I say, who doubt...
You cats keep beetin' up your chops
I had turn you over to the cops
I dig this spiel I'm going way on your gate
Don't cop your broom pop or buddy or mate
You run your mouth and I'll run my business brother
You run your mouth and I'll run my business brother
You tell everybody I'm busted
You talk so much you got me disgusted
You run your mouth and I'll run my business brother
Yeh, you run your mouth and I'll run my business brother
You run your mouth and I'll run my business brother
You start up telling me you're my pal
End up telling how to handle my gal
You run your mouth and I'll run my business brother
You run your juicy mouth and I'll run my business brother
You run your juicy mouth and I'll run my business brother
You're always telling me what to do
Saying "I wouldn't do that if I was you"
You run your mouth and I'll run my business brother
(instrumental break)
You clamp your liver lips and I'll run my business brother
Just clamp your liver lips and I'll run my business brother
If I follows your advice on how to make dough
I'd been in the jailhouse long ago
You run your mouth and I'll run my business brother
Yeh, you run your juicy mouth and I'll run my business brother
Just you run your mouth and I'll run my business brother
You tell everybody I'm busted
You talk so much you got me disgusted
You run your mouth and I'll run my business brother
(C) Music Sales Corp.

song performed by Joe JacksonReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

And Then The Truth Comes To You Like Your Father

the pain is not actually abrupt
in fact it comes like a puppy that you love most
waggling its tail and you lift it up with so much joy
only to be bitten by it and you realize its being rabid
and you only have lesser days to live
that is the truth that comes to you
like your father who loves you
embracing you and kissing you on your neck
and caressing your hair
and assuring you
that there is still a room up there

he need not say that you are dying and that you are finally joining them
all, he did not say heaven, he only says, about a place
where you are finally giving in
and there is no more coming back

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

Share

Help You Find Your Way

Michael w. smith
It can be wise
Or it can be a paradox
To seek solace in your solitude
And when it feels
Like youre living in a box
You need someone who believes in you
A promise true when tried
Ill be right here by your side
So whenever your need be
Know that you can lean on me
Chorus:
Ill help you find your way
Ill help you find your way
When youre lost in all the madness
When youre blinded by your doubt
When you need someone to be there for you
Ill help you find your way
Dont keep your thoughts
Locked behind your cellar door
All shrouded in a mystery
Just let them out
Thats what friends are for
To give without giving the third degree
No need to be ashamed
Ive been thru it just the same
So when your path misleads
Know that you can call on me
Chorus

song performed by Michael W. SmithReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

You With Your Airs And Graces

You with your airs and graces you do feel so proud
And you like to be seen to stand out in the crowd
And you even feel that others should bow to you
You've got a swollen ego to give you your due.

You tell everybody who wishes for to hear
of your daughter the uni professor and your son the engineer
But your husband a black sheep or so 'twould appear
Since he is a flawed person who enjoys his beer.

You with your airs and graces you do like to brag
You are known in the Town as a leading windbag
Your ego is swimming in your self conceit
Though one or two like you live on every street.

With everyone who cares to listen you like to impress
Them with your grand stories of your childrens success
But your husband you never once mention his name
He gets drunk off and on that seems human but in that you feel shame.

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

Share

Dont You Turn Your Back On Me

Boy youre killing me
With your funny smile
My heart is beating loud as hell
Im diving in your eyes
My whole life is upside and down
When youre chasing down my skin
The more I run away from you
The closer you draw near
Take me to the edge of feeling
Heart against my skin
Show me places I have longed for
In sanctitiy and sin
Locked intense inside my head
Your touch will set me free
I hold on til the sun comes up
If youll be there for me
I wonder if you let me down (4x)
Dont you turn your back on me
Take a look at where you wanna be
Dont be scared of what you see
The only thing thats killing you is me
Now youre leaving me
With your angry eyes
My love gets lost with you
I was saving you last night
Locked intense inside my head
Your trust will set us free
The more you run away from me
The closer I draw near
I wonder... (4x)
Dont you...

song performed by Guano ApesReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Thats Why God Made The Movies

When I was born my mother died
She said bye-bye baby, bye-bye
I said where you goin?
Im just born
She said Ill only be gone for a while
My mother loved to leave in style
And thats why God made the movies
So I laid around in my swaddling clothes
Until the doctor came and turned out the light
Then I packed my bag
And my nametag
And stole away into the night
Hopeing things would work out alright
Thats why God made the movies
Say you will, say you will
Say youll take me to your loving breast
Say youll nourish me with your tenderness
The way the ladies sometimes do
Say you wont, say you wont
Say you wont leave me for no other man
Say youll love me for the way I am
Say you will, say you will
When I was born my mother died
She said bye-bye baby, bye-bye
And since that day
Ive made my way
The notorious boy of the wild
Adopted by wolves when he was a child
Thats why god. thats why god.
Thats why God made the movies

song performed by Paul SimonReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

You Keep Your Lips and What's Behind Them Zipped

You keep your lips and what's behind them zipped.
No explanation do you give for this.
But then you expect understanding given for it.
And you're bottled up.
You're bottled up!

You do a tantrum dance and go into your fits.
You spit words of venom with a delivered hiss.
And then you wish somebody to bring to you gifts.
And you're bottled up.
You're bottled up!

What makes you think you are deserving of it?
You're not even using those you've been blessed with.
You curse the Earth and spit on it,
When you should give it a kiss!
And you're bottled up.
You're bottled up!
And you're bottled up...
With a half filled cup.

You keep your lips and what's behind them zipped.
No explanation do you give for this.
With your jaws tight together like a big hypocrite.
And you're bottled up.
You're bottled up!
And you're bottled up...
With a half filled cup.
You're bottled up!
You are bottled up.
With guts sucked in and ready to explode,
On a moment's noticed!

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

Share

Most Likely You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine

You say you love me and you thinking of me
But you know you could be wrong
You say you told me that you want to hold me
But you know you're not that strong
I just can't do what I done before
I just can't beg you anymore
I'm just gonna let you pass
I'm gonna last
'Cause time will tell just who has fell
And who's been left behind
When you go your way and I go mine
You say you disturb me and you don't deserve me
But you know sometimes you lie
You say you're breaking and you're always aching
But you know how hard you try
Sometimes it gets so hard to care
You just can't be this way everywhere
I'm gonna let you pass
Well the judge he holds a grudge
He's gonna call on you
But he's badly built and he walks on stilts
Watch out he don't fall on you
You say you're sorry for telling stories
That you know I believe are true
You say you got some other kind of lover
And I guess I believe you do
You say my kisses aren't like his
This time I ain't gonna tell you why that is
I'm just gonna let you pass

song performed by Todd RundgrenReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Home Is Anywhere You Hang Your Head

Here comes Mr. Misery
He's tearing out his hair again
He's crying over her again
He's standing in the super-market shouting at the customers
Here comes Mr. Misery
He'll never be any good with a mouth full of gold and blood
He's contemplating murder again
He must be in love
Chorus: But you know she doesn't want
But you can't seem to get it in your head
Oh and you can't sleep at night
And she haunts you when you go to bed
When you're tired of talking and you can't drink it down
So you hang around and drown instead
Home isn't where it used to be
Home is anywhere you hang your head
You hang your head
Home is anywhere
You hang your head
Home is anywhere
You hang your head
Home is anywhere you hang your head
Here comes Mr. Misery
Looking for a place for his mouth to shoot
Saying "You'd look cute in your birthday suit"
You tore him out and screwed him up
Like a bad page in a naughty picture book
They day ended as it began
As he was seconds older than the man he was this morning
And the world has wiped it's mouth since then
Or maybe it was yawning
Chorus

song performed by Elvis CostelloReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Most Likely You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine

by Bob Dylan
You say you love me
And you're thinkin' of me,
But you know you could be wrong.
You say you told me
That you wanna hold me,
But you know you're not that strong.
I just can't do what I done before,
I just can't beg you any more.
I'm gonna let you pass
And I'll go last.
Then time will tell just who fell
And who's been left behind,
When you go your way and I go mine.
You say you disturb me
And you don't deserve me,
But you know sometimes you lie.
You say you're shakin'
And you're always achin',
But you know how hard you try.
Sometimes it gets so hard to care,
It can't be this way ev'rywhere.
And I'm gonna let you pass,
Yes, and I'll go last.
Then time will tell just who fell
And who's been left behind,
When you go your way and I go mine.
The judge, he holds a grudge,
He's gonna call on you.
But he's badly built
And he walks on stilts,
Watch out he don't fall on you.
You say you're sorry
For tellin' stories
That you know I believe are true.
You say ya got some
Other kinda lover
And yes, I believe you do.
You say my kisses are not like his,
But this time I'm not gonna tell you why that is.
I'm just gonna let you pass,
Yes, and I'll go last.
Then time will tell who fell
And who's been left behind,
When you go your way and I go mine.

song performed by Bob DylanReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

You Met Your Match

Hey you were good at playing the fox girl
When I was good you threw me a bone
But I aint playing hot for nobody
Girl just you wait til I get you home
Ill show you the way to love somebody
Like youve never ever been shown before
Cause my love lights burning
My whole lifes yearning for you
Hey baby you were playing the part with jimmy and freddie
You tried to make me look like a fool
But I took care of cindy and susie
Just to show you I can be twice as cool baby
If you want to learn how to love me
Ill teach you in my own private school
Cause my love love lights burning
My whole lifes yearning for you
You met you your match
When you play with my affection
You met you your match
When you tried to make me walk the line
When you decided you would hurt me
Thats when your grape feel off the vine
Your mama told me that I better be mellow
She said youre just a baby maybe too green
I told her jimmy, freddie, teddy and victor
They know better
Mama shake off that dream
I told her that you were really cooking
My love is burning for a turn at the steam
Hey, cause
My love lights boiling
My whole lifes yearning for you
You met your match
When you told me you loved me
You met your match
When you told me that you wouldnt let go
You met your match x7
Baby
You met your match x7
Baby
You met your match in me...

song performed by Stevie WonderReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

You Got Your Baby Back

They gave you such a hard time
When they took your babe away
You heard it on the airwaves
That she joined the sla
Oh the stories, tape recordings
Just when things seemed at their worst
Then the good lord heard you calling
And he gave back patty hearst
You got your baby back
Poor girl is out of the sack
Silly young thing, was just a fling
Like any teenager would do
But daddy is here now, to buy you some clothes
And maybe a new cadilliac
You got your baby back
When she started to flee, you gave food for free
But you knew that you wouldnt go broke
The day in the bank, the sporting, the prank (? )
Was just a fraternity joke
You got your babe, thats no lie
Thanks to the old fbi
Time to relate and sit by a pool
And maybe shell go back to school
And daddy is here now, to buy you some clothes
Amd maybe a new cadilliac
You got your baby back
(spoken)
Why patty baby
I knew deep down in my heart that youd be coming back to your papa
And honey, I didnt believe a thing they said in all those silly little old
Newspapers,
Especially the ones I didnt own.
But dont worry darling, well be keeping your supper warm
When she started to flee, you gave food for free
But you knew that you wouldnt go broke
The day in the bank, the sporting, the prank
Was just a fraternity joke.
You got your baby back, poor girl is out of the sack
Silly young thing, was just a fling like any teenager would do
But daddy is here now, to buy you some clothes and maybe a new cadilliac
You got your baby back (repeat three times)

song performed by Oingo BoingoReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Hey Mister, Thats Me Up On The Jukebox

Hey mister, thats me up on the jukebox
Im the one thats singing this sad song
Well, Ill cry everytime that you slip in one more dime
And let the boy sing the sad one, one more time
Southern california thats as blue as the boy can be
Blue as the deep blue sea
Wont you listen to me now
I need your golden gated cities like a hole in the head
Just like a hole in the head, Im free
Hey mister, thats me up on the jukebox
Im the one thats singing this sad song
Well, Ill cry everytime that you slip in one more dime
And let the boy sing the sad one, one more time
I do believe Im headed home
Hey mister, cant you see that Im as dry as a bone
I think Ill spend some time alone
Yes, unless youve found a way of squeezing water from a stone
Let the doctor and the lawyer do as much as they can
Let the springtime begin
Let the boy become a man
I done wasted too much time just to sing you this sad song
I done been this lonesome picker a little too long
Hey mister, thats me up on the jukebox
Im the one thats singing this sad song
Well, Ill cry everytime that youre up and slip in one more dime
And let the boy sing the sad one, one more time
Well, Ive been spreading myself thin these days
Dont you know
Good-bye
-----------------------------------------------------
[capo iii]
Hey mister, thats me upon the jukebox [d c bm]
Im the one thats singing this sad song [d c g]
Ill cry everytime that you slip in one more dime [d c bm esus e7]
And let the boy sing the sad one, one more time [em7 a7 d em7 a]
Southern california is as blue as the boy can be [bm e7 bm e7]
Blue as the deep blue sea [c g]
Wont you listen to me now [bm e7]
I need your golden gated cities like a hole in the head [bm e7 bm e7]
Like a hole in the head, Im free! [c g d ( c g a )]
I do believe Im headed home [d f#m bm]
Hey mister, cant you see that Im as dry as a bone [c g a d]
I think Ill spend some time alone [bm f#m g]
Unless you found a way of squeezing water from a stone [c g c a]
Let the doctor and the lawyer do as much as they can [bm e7 bm e7]
Let the springtime begin [c g]
Let the boy become a man [bm e7]
I have wasted too much time just to sing you this sad song [bm e7 bm e7]
Ive been this lonesome picker a little too long [c g d, em7 a]
Hey mister, thats me upon the jukebox [d c bm]
Im the one thats singing this sad song [d c g]
Ill cry everytime that you slip in one more dime [d c bm esus e7]
And let the boy sing the sad one, one more time [em7 a7 d, em7 a]
[fade on bm-e7 progression]
Well, Ive been spreading myself thin these days,
Dont you know
Good-bye.

song performed by James TaylorReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Don't you wish your soul was larger? (Advt.)

You were born with a little pink soul.
That didn’t seem to matter for your first ten years or so.

Then you started to compare it with what
other boys had swinging for them…

and of course, how girls were different,
but managed in their own private way…

then you discovered girls, bigtime. Well, for you, smalltime...
They didn’t mind the modest size of your soul, at first;

then they started giggling together, and
favoured some other guy like crazy

since it got around that he had a huge swinging soul
and knew just how to use it.

Now you’ve got a partner, and she doesn’t say anything
because she knows you’re very sensitive about this

but secretly, she wishes you had a larger soul…
and there’s your very handsome neighbour

who advertises by the way he dresses, carries himself
that he’s well-endowed in that department…

watch out; she may feel that she deserves
spiritual satisfaction from that guy

who sure spreads it around, from what
her girlfriends tell her

Now I’m here to tell you
There’s a cure. Several cures in fact.

There's using weights for it.. that’s
sometimes called hatha-yoga in Indian circles.

There’s the vacuum system – empty
your mind; that’s called jnana-yoga.

There’s the traditional method –
play with it a lot, get the bloodstream on your side

love it and all it stands for, that's
called bhakti-yoga.

Or there’s patches – like, say,
Church once a week…

A personal soul-massager can be expensive;
depends if you can keep up the urge to work;

But now, there’s tablets – easy, discreet,
available at any bookstore, or by post.

So which method would you prefer?
You surely can’t doubt your need by now – for

every boot-up brings reminders on the net
of just how tiny is your wee pink soul (how do they know...?)

Let’s give your soul a friendly name – say, Richard –
Ricky, Dicky, Rick, or Dick…

If you don’t believe this e-mail from a stranger,
ask your partner if she wouldn’t prefer

the deep and stirring, long and oh so frequent,
confident strutting you with your huge swinging soul..

or ask your soulmate: we’ve called him Dick:
wouldn’t he like to be a monster size?

be the talk of the neighbourhood,
get that special glance from all the hottest chicks?

And remember – in a few more years of this spamming,
and what is monster size now, will be standard issue then…

And by the way, we do a special junior version for your kids
but present law doesn’t allow us to advertise this

(The Junior Patch comes in three styles: skin-colour; disguised
as Band-Aid; or with our bold and trendy logo - best ask Junior first...)

give your kids a bigger start in life
it’s what all parents want…

Try our seven-day introductory course today –
you’ll be amazed, insatiable…and so will she

We’d quote you at this point, the glowing testimonies
from satisfied and greater souls, hymning loud Our praise…

but I guess you know just how they’d read..

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

Share
George Chapman

Hero And Leander. The Fourth Sestiad

Now from Leander's place she rose, and found
Her hair and rent robe scatter'd on the ground;
Which taking up, she every piece did lay
Upon an altar, where in youth of day
She us'd t' exhibit private sacrifice:
Those would she offer to the deities
Of her fair goddess and her powerful son,
As relics of her late-felt passion;
And in that holy sort she vow'd to end them,
In hope her violent fancies, that did rend them,
Would as quite fade in her love's holy fire,
As they should in the flames she meant t' inspire.
Then put she on all her religious weeds,
That decked her in her secret sacred deeds;
A crown of icicles, that sun nor fire
Could ever melt, and figur'd chaste desire;
A golden star shined in her naked breast,
In honour of the queen-light of the east.
In her right hand she held a silver wand,
On whose bright top Peristera did stand.
Who was a nymph, but now transformed a dove,
And in her life was dear in Venus' love;
And for her sake she ever since that time
Choosed doves to draw her coach through heaven's blue clime.
Her plenteous hair in curled billows swims
On her bright shoulder: her harmonious limbs
Sustained no more but a most subtile veil,
That hung on them, as it durst not assail
Their different concord; for the weakest air
Could raise it swelling from her beauties fair;
Nor did it cover, but adumbrate only
Her most heart-piercing parts, that a blest eye
Might see, as it did shadow, fearfully,
All that all-love-deserving paradise:
It was as blue as the most freezing skies;
Near the sea's hue, for thence her goddess came:
On it a scarf she wore of wondrous frame;
In midst whereof she wrought a virgin's face,
From whose each cheek a fiery blush did chase
Two crimson flames, that did two ways extend,
Spreading the ample scarf to either end;
Which figur'd the division of her mind,
Whiles yet she rested bashfully inclin'd,
And stood not resolute to wed Leander;
This serv'd her white neck for a purple sphere,
And cast itself at full breadth down her back:
There, since the first breath that begun the wrack
Of her free quiet from Leander's lips,
She wrought a sea, in one flame, full of ships;
But that one ship where all her wealth did pass,
Like simple merchants' goods, Leander was;
For in that sea she naked figured him;
Her diving needle taught him how to swim,
And to each thread did such resemblance give,
For joy to be so like him it did live:
Things senseless live by art, and rational die
By rude contempt of art and industry.
Scarce could she work, but, in her strength of thought,
She fear'd she prick'd Leander as she wrought,
And oft would shriek so, that her guardian, frighted,
Would startling haste, as with some mischief cited:
They double life that dead things' griefs sustain;
They kill that feel not their friends' living pain.
Sometimes she fear'd he sought her infamy;
And then, as she was working of his eye,
She thought to prick it out to quench her ill;
But, as she prick'd, it grew more perfect still:
Trifling attempts no serious acts advance;
The fire of love is blown by dalliance.
In working his fair neck she did so grace it,
She still was working her own arms t' embrace it:
That, and his shoulders, and his hands were seen
Above the stream; and with a pure sea-green
She did so quaintly shadow every limb,
All might be seen beneath the waves to swim.
In this conceited scarf she wrought beside
A moon in change, and shooting stars did glide
In number after her with bloody beams;
Which figur'd her affects in their extremes,
Pursuing nature in her Cynthian body,
And did her thoughts running on change imply;
For maids take more delight, when they prepare,
And think of wives' states, than when wives they are.
Beneath all these she wrought a fisherman,
Drawing his nets from forth the ocean;
Who drew so hard, ye might discover well
The toughen'd sinews in his neck did swell:
His inward strains drave out his blood-shot eyes,
And springs of sweat did in his forehead rise;
Yet was of naught but of a serpent sped,
That in his bosom flew and stung him dead:
And this by Fate into her mind was sent,
Not wrought by mere instinct of her intent.
At the scarf's other end her hand did frame,
Near the fork'd point of the divided flame,
A country virgin keeping of a vine,
Who did of hollow bulrushes combine
Snares for the stubble-loving grasshopper,
And by her lay her scrip that nourish'd her.
Within a myrtle shade she sate and sung;
And tufts of waving reeds above her sprung,
Where lurked two foxes, that, while she applied
Her trifling snares, their thieveries did divide,
One to the vine, another to her scrip,
That she did negligently overslip;
By which her fruitful vine and wholesome fare
She suffered spoiled to make a childish snare.
These ominous fancies did her soul express,
And every finger made a prophetess,
To show what death was hid in love's disguise,
And make her judgment conquer Destinies.
O, what sweet forms fair ladies' souls do shroud,
Were they made seen and forced through their blood;
If through their beauties, like rich work through lawn,
They would set forth their minds with virtues drawn,
In letting graces from their fingers fly,
To still their eyas thoughts with industry;
That their plied wits in numbered silks might sing
Passion's huge conquest, and their needles leading
Affection prisoner through their own-built cities,
Pinioned with stones and Arachnean ditties.
Proceed we now with Hero's sacrifice:
She odours burned, and from their smoke did rise
Unsavoury fumes, that air with plagues inspired;
And then the consecrated sticks she fired.
On whose pale flames an angry spirit flew,
And beat it down still as it upward grew;
The virgin tapers that on th' altar stood,
When she inflam'd them, burned as red as blood;
All sad ostents of that too near success,
That made such moving beauties motionless.
Then Hero wept; but her affrighted eyes
She quickly wrested from the sacrifice,
Shut them, and inwards for Leander looked,
Search'd her soft bosom, and from thence she plucked
His lovely picture; which when she had viewed,
Her beauties were with all love's joys renewed;
The odours sweeten'd, and the fires burned clear,
Leander's form left no ill object there:
Such was his beauty, that the force of light,
Whose knowledge teacheth wonders infinite,
The strength of number and proportion,
Nature had placed in it to make it known,
Art was her daughter, and what human wits
For study lost, entombed in drossy spirits.
After this accident (which for her glory
Hero could not but make a history),
Th' inhabitants of Sestos and Abydos
Did every year, with feasts propitious,
To fair Leander's picture sacrifice:
And they were persons of especial price
That were allowed it, as an ornament
T' enrich their houses, for the continent
Of the strange virtues all approved it held;
For even the very look of it repelled
All blastings, witchcrafts, and the strifes of nature
In those diseases that no herbs could cure;
The wolfy sting of avarice it would pull,
And make the rankest miser bountiful;
It kill'd the fear of thunder and of death;
The discords that conceit engendereth
'Twixt man and wife, it for the time would cease;
The flames of love it quench'd, and would increase;
Held in a prince's hand, it would put out
The dreadful'st comet; it would ease all doubt
Of threaten'd mischiefs; it would bring asleep
Such as were mad; it would enforce to weep
Most barbarous eyes; and many more effects
This picture wrought, and sprung Leandrian sects;
Of which was Hero first; for he whose form,
Held in her hand, clear'd such a fatal storm,
From hell she thought his person would defend her,
Which night and Hellespont would quickly send her.
With this confirm'd, she vow'd to banish quite
All thought of any check to her delight;
And, in contempt of silly bashfulness,
She would the faith of her desires profess,
Where her religion should be policy,
To follow love with zeal her piety;
Her chamber her cathedral-church should be,
And her Leander her chief deity;
For in her love these did the gods forego;
And though her knowledge did not teach her so,
Yet did it teach her this, that what her heart
Did greatest hold in her self-greatest part,
That she did make her god; and 'twas less naught
To leave gods in profession and in thought,
Than in her love and life; for therein lies
Most of her duties and their dignities;
And, rail the brain-bald world at what it will,
That's the grand atheism that reigns in it still.
Yet singularity she would use no more,
For she was singular too much before;
But she would please the world with fair pretext:
Love would not leave her conscience perplext:
Great men that will have less do for them, still
Must bear them out, though th' acts be ne'er so ill;
Meanness must pander be to Excellence;
Pleasure atones Falsehood and Conscience:
Dissembling was the worst, thought Hero then,
And that was best, now she must live with men.
O virtuous love, that taught her to do best
When she did worst, and when she thought it least!
Thus would she still proceed in works divine,
And in her sacred state of priesthood shine,
Handling the holy rites with hands as bold,
As if therein she did Jove's thunder hold,
And need not fear those menaces of error,
Which she at others threw with greatest terror.
O lovely Hero, nothing is thy sin,
Weigh'd with those foul faults other priests are in!
That having neither faiths, nor works, nor beauties,
T' engender any 'scuse for slubbered duties,
With as much countenance fill their holy chairs,
And sweat denouncements 'gainst profane affairs,
As if their lives were cut out by their places,
And they the only fathers of the graces.
Now, as with settled mind she did repair
Her thoughts to sacrifice her ravished hair
And her torn robe, which on the altar lay,
And only for religion's fire did stay,
She heard a thunder by the Cyclops beaten,
In such a volley as the world did threaten,
Given Venus as she parted th' airy sphere,
Descending now to chide with Hero here:
When suddenly the goddess' waggoners,
The swans and turtles that, in coupled pheres,
Through all worlds' bosoms draw her influence,
Lighted in Hero's window, and from thence
To her fair shoulders flew the gentle doves,--
Graceful _AEdone_ that sweet pleasure loves,
And ruff-foot Chreste with the tufted crown;
Both which did kiss her, though their goddess frown.
The swans did in the solid flood, her glass,
Proin their fair plumes; of which the fairest was
Jove-lov'd Leucote, that pure brightness is;
The other bounty-loving Dapsilis.
All were in heaven, now they with Hero were:
But Venus' looks brought wrath, and urged fear.
Her robe was scarlet; black her head's attire:
And through her naked breast shin'd streams of fire,
As when the rarified air is driven
In flashing streams, and opes the darken'd heaven.
In her white hand a wreath of yew she bore;
And, breaking th' icy wreath sweet Hero wore,
She forc'd about her brows her wreath of yew,
And said, 'Now, minion, to thy fate be true,
Though not to me; endure what this portends:
Begin where lightness will, in shame it ends.
Love makes thee cunning; thou art current now,
By being counterfeit: thy broken vow
Deceit with her pied garters must rejoin,
And with her stamp thou countenances must coin;
Coyness, and pure deceits, for purities,
And still a maid wilt seem in cozen'd eyes,
And have an antic face to laugh within,
While thy smooth looks make men digest thy sin.
But since thy lips (least thought forsworn) forswore,
Be never virgin's vow worth trusting more!'
When Beauty's dearest did her goddess hear
Breathe such rebukes 'gainst that she could not clear,
Dumb sorrow spake aloud in tears and blood,
That from her grief-burst veins, in piteous flood,
From the sweet conduits of her favour fell.
The gentle turtles did with moans make swell
Their shining gorges; the while black-ey'd swans
Did sing as woful epicedians,
As they would straightways die: when Pity's queen,
The goddess Ecte, that had ever been
Hid in a watery cloud near Hero's cries,
Since the first instant of her broken eyes,
Gave bright Leucote voice, and made her speak,
To ease her anguish, whose swoln breast did break
With anger at her goddess, that did touch
Hero so near for that she us'd so much;
And, thrusting her white neck at Venus, said:
'Why may not amorous Hero seem a maid,
Though she be none, as well as you suppress
In modest cheeks your inward wantonness?
How often have we drawn you from above,
T' exchange with mortals rites for rites in love!
Why in your priest, then, call you that offence,
That shines in you, and is your influence?'
With this, the Furies stopp'd Leucote's lips,
Enjoin'd by Venus; who with rosy whips
Beat the kind bird. Fierce lightning from her eyes
Did set on fire fair Hero's sacrifice,
Which was her torn robe and enforced hair;
And the bright flame became a maid most fair
For her aspect: her tresses were of wire,
Knit like a net, where hearts set all on fire,
Struggled in pants, and could not get releast;
Her arms were all with golden pincers drest,
And twenty-fashioned knots, pulleys, and brakes,
And all her body girt with painted snakes;
Her down-parts in a scorpion's tail combined,
Freckled with twenty colours; pied wings shined
Out of her shoulders; cloth had never dye,
Nor sweeter colours never viewed eye,
In scorching Turkey, Cares, Tartary,
Than shined about this spirit notorious;
Nor was Arachne's web so glorious.
Of lightning and of shreds she was begot;
More hold in base dissemblers is there not.
Her name was Eronusis. Venus flew
From Hero's sight, and at her chariot drew
This wondrous creature to so steep a height,
That all the world she might command with sleight
Of her gay wings; and then she bade her haste,--
Since Hero had dissembled, and disgraced
Her rites so much,--and every breast infect
With her deceits: she made her architect
Of all dissimulation; and since then
Never was any trust in maids or men.
O, it spited
Fair Venus' heart to see her most delighted,
And one she choos'd, for temper of her mind
To be the only ruler of her kind,
So soon to let her virgin race be ended!
Not simply for the fault a whit offended,
But that in strife for chasteness with the Moon,
Spiteful Diana bade her show but one
That was her servant vow'd, and liv'd a maid;
And, now she thought to answer that upbraid,
Hero had lost her answer: who knows not
Venus would seem as far from any spot
Of light demeanour, as the very skin
'Twixt Cynthia's brows? sin is asham'd of sin.
Up Venus flew, and scarce durst up for fear
Of Phoebe's laughter, when she pass'd her sphere:
And so most ugly-clouded was the light,
That day was hid in day; night came ere night;
And Venus could not through the thick air pierce,
Till the day's king, god of undaunted verse,
Because she was so plentiful a theme
To such as wore his laurel anademe.
Like to a fiery bullet made descent,
And from her passage those fat vapours rent,
That being not throughly rarified to rain,
Melted like pitch, as blue as any vein;
And scalding tempests made the earth to shrink
Under their fervour, and the world did think
In every drop a torturing spirit flew,
It pierc'd so deeply, and it burn'd so blue.
Betwixt all this and Hero, Hero held
Leander's picture, as a Persian shield;
And she was free from fear of worst success:
The more ill threats us, we suspect the less:
As we grow hapless, violence subtle grows,
Dumb, deaf, and blind, and comes when no man knows.

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

Share
John Dryden

Sigismond And Guiscardo. From Boccace

While Norman Tancred in Salerno reigned,
The title of a gracious Prince he gained;
Till turned a tyrant in his latter days,
He lost the lustre of his former praise,
And from the bright meridian where he stood
Descending dipped his hands in lovers' blood.

This Prince, of Fortune's favour long possessed,
Yet was with one fair daughter only blessed;
And blessed he might have been with her alone,
But oh! how much more happy had he none!
She was his care, his hope, and his delight,
Most in his thought, and ever in his sight:
Next, nay beyond his life, he held her dear;
She lived by him, and now he lived in her.
For this, when ripe for marriage, he delayed
Her nuptial bands, and kept her long a maid,
As envying any else should share a part
Of what was his, and claiming all her heart.
At length, as public decency required,
And all his vassals eagerly desired,
With mind averse, he rather underwent
His people's will than gave his own consent.
So was she torn, as from a lover's side,
And made, almost in his despite, a bride.

Short were her marriage joys; for in the prime
Of youth, her lord expired before his time;
And to her father's court in little space
Restored anew, she held a higher place;
More loved, and more exalted into grace.
This Princess, fresh and young, and fair and wise,
The worshipped idol of her father's eyes,
Did all her sex in every grace exceed,
And had more wit beside than women need.

Youth, health, and ease, and most an amorous mind,
To second nuptials had her thoughts inclined;
And former joys had left a secret string behind.
But, prodigal in every other grant,
Her sire left unsupplied her only want,
And she, betwixt her modesty and pride,
Her wishes, which she could not help, would hide.

Resolved at last to lose no longer time,
And yet to please her self without a crime,
She cast her eyes around the court, to find
A worthy subject suiting to her mind,
To him in holy nuptials to be tied,
A seeming widow, and a secret bride.
Among the train of courtiers, one she found
With all the gifts of bounteous nature crowned,
Of gentle blood, but one whose niggard fate
Had set him far below her high estate:
Guiscard his name was called, of blooming age,
Now squire to Tancred, and before his page:
To him, the choice of all the shining crowd,
Her heart the noble Sigismonda vowed.

Yet hitherto she kept her love concealed,
And with close glances every day beheld
The graceful youth; and every day increased
The raging fire that burned within her breast;
Some secret charm did all his acts attend,
And what his fortune wanted hers could mend;
Till, as the fire will force its outward way,
Or, in the prison pent, consume the prey,
So long her earnest eyes on his were set,
At length their twisted rays together met;
And he, surprised with humble joy, surveyed
One sweet regard, shot by the royal maid.
Not well assured, while doubtful hopes he nursed,
A second glance came gliding like the first;
And he, who saw the sharpness of the dart,
Without defence received it in his heart.
In public, though their passion wanted speech,
Yet mutual looks interpreted for each:
Time, ways, and means of meeting were denied,
But all those wants ingenious Love supplied.
The inventive god, who never fails his part,
Inspires the wit when once he warms the heart.

When Guiscard next was in the circle seen,
Where Sigismonda held the place of queen,
A hollow cane within her hand she brought,
But in the concave had enclosed a note;
With this she seemed to play, and, as in sport,
Tossed to her love in presence of the court;
'Take it,' she said, 'and when your needs require,
'This little brand will serve to light your fire.'
He took it with a bow, and soon divined
The seeming toy was not for nought designed:
But when retired, so long with curious eyes
He viewed the present, that he found the prize.
Much was in little writ; and all conveyed
With cautious care, for fear to be betrayed
By some false confident or favourite maid.
The time, the place, the manner how to meet,
Were all in punctual order plainly writ:
But since a trust must be, she thought it best
To put it out of laymen's power at least,
And for their solemn vows prepared a priest.

Guiscard, her secret purpose understood,
With joy prepared to meet he coming good;
Nor pains nor danger was resolved to spare,
But use the means appointed by the fair.

Near the proud palace of Salerno stood
A mount of rough ascent, and thick with wood;
Through this cave was dug with vast expense,
The work it seemed of some suspicious Prince,
Who, when abusing power with lawless might,
From public justice would secure his flight.
The passage made by many a winding way,
Reached even the room in which the tyrant lay,
Fit for his purpose; on a lower floor,
He lodged, whose issue was an iron door,
From whence by stairs descending to the ground,
In the blind grot a safe retreat he found.
Its outlet ended in a brake o'ergrown
With brambles, choked by time, and now unknown.
A rift there was, which from the mountain's height
Conveyed a glimmering and malignant light,
A breathing-place to draw the damps away,
A twilight of an intercepted day.
The tyrant's den, whose use, though lost to fame,
Was now the apartment of the royal dame;
The cavern, only to her father known,
By him was to his darling daughter shown.

Neglected long she let the secret rest,
Till love recalled it to her labouring breast,
And hinted as the way by Heaven designed
The teacher by the means he taught to blind.
What will not women do, when need inspires
Their wit, or love their inclination fires!
Though jealousy of state the invention found,
Yet love refined upon the former ground.
That way the tyrant had reserved, to fly
Pursuing hate, now served to bring two lovers nigh.

The dame, who long in vain had kept the key,
Bold by desire, explored the secret way;
Now tried the stairs, and wading through the night,
Searched all the deep recess, and issued into light.
All this her letter had so well explained,
The instructed youth might compass what remained;
The cavern-mouth alone was hard to find,
Because the path disused was out of mind:
But in what quarter of the cops it lay,
His eye by certain level could survey:
Yet (for the wood perplexed with thorns he knew)
A frock of leather o'er his limbs he drew;
And thus provided searched the brake around,
Till the choked entry of the cave he found.

Thus all prepared, the promised hour arrived,
So long expected, and so well contrived:
With love to friend, the impatient lover went,
Fenced from the thorns, and trod the deep descent.
The conscious priest, who was suborned before,
Stood ready posted at the postern-door;
The maids in distant rooms were sent to rest,
And nothing wanted but the invited guest.
He came, and, knocking thrice, without delay
The longing lady heard, and turned the key;
At once invaded him with all her charms,
And the first step he made was in her arms:
The leathern outside, boistrous as it was,
Gave way, and bent beneath her strict embrace:
On either side the kisses flew so thick,
That neither he nor she had breath to speak.
The holy man, amazed at what he saw,
Made haste to sanctify the bliss by law;
And muttered fast the matrimony o'er,
For fear committed sin should get before.
His work performed, he left the pair alone,
Because he knew he could not go too soon;
His presence odious, when his task was done.
What thoughts he had beseems not me to say,
Though some surmise he went to fast and pray,
And needed both to drive the tempting thoughts away.

The foe once gone, they took their full delight;
'Twas restless rage and tempest all the night;
For greedy love each moment would employ,
And grudged the shortest pauses of their joy.

Thus were their loves auspiciously begun,
And thus with secret care were carried on,
The stealth it self did appetite restore,
And looked so like a sin, it pleased the more.

The cave was now become a common way,
The wicket, often opened, knew the key.
Love rioted secure, and, long enjoyed,
Was ever eager, and was never cloyed.

But as extremes are short, of ill and good,
And tides the highest mark regorge the flood;
So Fate, that could no more improve their joy,
Took a malicious pleasure to destroy.

Tancred, who fondly loved, and whose delight
Was placed in his fair daughter's daily sight,
Of custom, when his state affairs were done,
Would pass his pleasing hours with her alone;
And, as a father's privilege allowed,
Without attendance of the officious crowd.

It happened once, that when in heat of day
He tried to sleep, as was his usual way,
The balmy slumber fled his wakeful eyes,
And forced him, in his own despite, to rise:
Of sleep forsaken, to relieve his care,
He sought the conversation of the fair;
But with her train of damsels she was gone,
In shady walks the scorching heat to shun:
He would not violate that sweet recess,
And found besides a welcome heaviness
That seized his eyes; and slumber, which forgot,
When called before, to come, now came unsought.
From light retired, behind his daughter's bed,
He for approaching sleep composed his head;
A chair was ready, for that use designed,
So quilted that he lay at ease reclined;
The curtains closely drawn, the light to screen,
As if he had contrived to lie unseen:
Thus covered with an artificial night,
Sleep did his office soon, and sealed his sight.

With Heaven averse, in this ill-omened hour
Was Guiscard summoned to the secret bower,
And the fair nymph, with expectation fired,
From her attending damsels was retired:
For, true to love, she measured time so right
As not to miss one moment of delight.
The garden, seated on the level floor,
She left behind, and locking every door,
Thought all secure; but little did she know,
Blind to her fate, she had enclosed her foe.
Attending Guiscard in his leathern frock
Stood ready, with his thrice repeated knock:
Thrice with a doleful sound the jarring grate
Rung deaf and hollow, and presaged their fate.
The door unlocked, to known delight they haste,
And panting, in each other's arms embraced,
Rush to the conscious bed, a mutual freight,
And heedless press it with their wonted weight.

The sudden bound awaked the sleeping sire,
And showed a sight no parent can desire;
His opening eyes at once with odious view
The love discovered, and the lover knew:
He would have cried; but, hoping that he dreamt,
Amazement tied his tongue, and stopped the attempt.
The ensuing moment all the truth declared,
But now he stood collected and prepared;
For malice and revenge had put him on his guard.

So, like a lion that unheeded lay,
Dissembling sleep, and watchful to betray,
With inward rage he meditates his prey.
The thoughtless pair, indulging their desires,
Alternate kindled and then quenched their fires;
Nor thinking in the shades of death they played,
Full of themselves, themselves alone surveyed,
And, too secure, were by themselves betrayed.
Long time dissolved in pleasure thus they lay,
Till nature could no more suffice their play;
Then rose the youth, and through the cave again
Returned; the princess mingled with her train.

Resolved his unripe vengeance to defer,
The royal spy, when now the coast was clear,
Sought not the garden, but retired unseen,
To brood in secret on his gathered spleen,
And methodize revenge: to death he grieved;
And, but he saw the crime, had scarce believed.
The appointment for the ensuing night he heard;
And, therefore, in the cavern had prepared
Two brawny yeoman of his trusty guard.

Scarce had unwary Guiscard set his foot
Within the farmost entrance of the grot,
When these in secret ambush ready lay,
And, rushing on the sudden, seized the prey.
Encumbered with his frock, without defence,
An easy prize, they led the prisoner thence,
The gloomy sire, too sensible of wrong
To vent his rage in words, restrained his tongue,
And only said, 'Thus servants are preferred
'And trusted, thus their sovereigns they reward:
'Had I not seen, had not these eyes received
'Too clear a proof, I could not have believed.'

He paused, and choked the rest. The youth, who saw
His forfeit life abandoned to the law,
The judge the accuser, and the offence to him,
Who had both power and will to avenge the crime,
No vain defence prepared, but thus replied:
'The faults of Love by Love are justified;
'With unresisted might the monarch reigns,
'He levels mountains and he raises plains,
'And, not regarding difference of degree,
'Abased your daughter and exalted me.'

This bold return with seeming patience heard,
The prisoner was remitted to the guard.
But lonely walking by a winking night,
Sobbed, wept, and groaned, and beat his withered breast,
But would not violate his daughter's rest;
Who long expecting lay, for bliss prepared,
Listening for noise, and grieved that none she heard;
Oft rose, and oft in vain employed the key,
And oft accused her lover of delay,
And passed the tedious hours in anxious thoughts away.

The morrow came; and at his usual hour
Old Tancred visited his daughter's bower;
Her cheek (for such his custom was) he kissed,
Then blessed her kneeling, and her maids dismissed.
The royal dignity thus far maintained,
Now left in private, he no longer feigned;
But all at once his grief and rage appeared,
And floods of tears ran trickling down his beard.

'O Sigismonda,' he began to say;
Thrice he began, and thrice was forced to stay,
Till words with often trying found their way;
'I thought, O Sigismonda, (but how blind
'Are parents' eyes their children's faults to find!)
'Thy virtue, birth, and breeding were above
'A mean desire, and vulgar sense of love;
'Nor less than sight and hearing could convince
'So fond a father, and so just a Prince,
'Of such an unforeseen and unbelieved offece:
'Then what indignant sorrow must I have,
'To see thee lie subjected to my slave!
'A man so smelling of the people's lee,
'The court received him first for charity;
'And since with no degree of honour graced,
'But only suffered where he first was placed;
'A grovelling insect still; and so designed
'By nature's hand, nor born of noble kind;
'A thing by neither man nor woman prized,
'And scarcely known enough to be despised:
'To what has Heaven reserved my age? Ah! why
'Should man, when nature calls, not choose to die;
'Rather than stretch the span of life, to find
'Such ills as Fate has wisely cast behind,
'For those to feel, whom fond desire to live
'Makes covetous of more than life can give!
'Each has his share of good; and when 'tis gone
'The guest, though hungry, cannot rise too soon.
'But I, expecting more, in my own wrong
'Protracting life, have lived a day too long.
'If yesterday could be recalled again,
'Even now would I conclude my happy reign;
'But 'tis too late, my glorious race is run,
'And a dark cloud o'ertakes my setting sun.
'Hadst thou not loved, or loving saved the shame,
'If not the sin, by some illustrious name,
'This little comfort had relieved my mind,
''Twas frailty, not unusual to thy kind:
'But thy low fall beneath thy royal blood
'Shows downward appetite to mix with mud.
'Thus not the least excuse is left for thee,
'Nor the least refuge for unhappy me.

'For him I have resolved: whom by surprise
'I took, and scarce can call it, in disguise;
'For such was his attire, as, with intent
'Of nature, suited to his mean descent:
'The harder question yet remains behind,
'What pains a parent and a prince can find
'To punish an offence of this degenerate kind.

'As I have loved, and yet I love thee more
'Than ever father loved a child before;
'So that indulgence draws me to forgive:
'Nature, that gave thee life, would have thee live,
'But, as a public parent of the state,
'My justice and thy crime requires thy fate.
'Fain would I choose a middle course to steer;
'Nature's too kind, and justice too severe:
'Speak for us both, and to the balance bring
'On either side the father and the king.
'Heaven knows, my heart is bent to favour thee;
'Make it but scanty weight, and leave the rest to me.'

Here stopping with a sigh, he poured a flood
Of tears, to make his last expression good.
She who had heard him speak, nor saw alone
The secret conduct of her love was known,
But he was taken who her soul possessed,
Felt all the pangs of sorrow in her breast:
And little wanted, but a woman's heart
With cries and tears had testified her smart,
But inborn worth, that fortune can control,
New strung and stiffer bent her softer soul;
The heroine assumed the woman's place,
Confirmed her mind, and fortified her face:
Why should she beg, or what could she pretend,
When her stern father had condemned her friend!
Her life she might have had; but her despair
Of saving his had put it past her care:
Resolved on fate, she would not lose her breath,
But, rather than not die, solicit death.
Fixed on this thought, she, not as women use,
Her fault by common frailty would excuse;
But boldly justified her innocence,
And while the fact was owned, denied the offence:
Then with dry eyes, and with an open look,
She met his glance midway, and thus undaunted spoke:

'Tancred, I neither am disposed to make
'Request for life, nor offered life to take;
'Much less deny the deed; but least of all
'Beneath pretended justice weakly fall.
'My words to sacred truth shall be confined,
'My deeds shall show the greatness of my mind.
'That I have loved, I own; that still I love
'I call to witness all the powers above:
'Yet more I own; to Guiscard's love I give
'The small remaining time I have to live;
'And if beyond this life desire can be,
'Not Fate it self shall set my passion free.

'This first avowed, nor folly warped my mind,
'Nor the frail texture of the female kind
'Betrayed my virtue; for too well I knew
'What honour was, and honour had his due:
'Before the holy priest my vows were tied,
'So came I not a strumpet, but a bride:
'This for my fame, and for the public voice;
'Yet more, his merits justified my choic:
'Which had they not, the first election thine,
'That bond dissolved, the next is freely mine;
'Or grant I erred (which yet I must deny),
'Had parents power even second vows to tie,
'Thy little care to mend my widowed nights
'Has forced me to recourse of marriage rites,
'To fill an empty side, and follow known delights.
'What have I done in this, deserving blame?
'State-laws may alter: Nature's are the same;
'Those are usurped on helpless woman-kind,
'Made without our consent, and wanting power to bind.

'Thou, Tancred, better shouldst have understood,
'That, as thy father gave thee flesh and blood,
'So gavest thou me: not from the quarry hewed,
'But of a softer mould, with a sense endued;
'Even softer than thy own, of suppler kind,
'More exquisite of taste, and more than man refined.
'Nor needst thou by thy daughter to be told,
'Though now thy sprightly blood with age be cold,
'Thou hast been young: and canst remember still,
'That when thou hadst the power, thou hadst the will:
'And from the past experience of thy fires,
'Canst tell with what a tide our strong desires
'Come rushing on in youth, and what their rage requires.

'And grant thy youth was exercised in arms,
'When love no leisure found for softer charms,
'My tender age in luxury was trained,
'With idle ease and pageants entertained;
'My hours my own, my pleasures unrestrained.
'So bred, no wonder if I took the bent
'That seemed even warranted by thy consent,
'For, when the father is too fondly kind,
'Such seed he sows, such harvest shall he find.
'Blame then thy self, as reason's law requires,
'(Since nature gave, and thou fomentst my fires);
'If still those appetites continue strong,
'Thou mayest consider I am yet but young.
'Consider too that, having been a wife,
'I must have tasted of a better life,
'And am not to be blamed, if I renew
'By lawful means the joys which then I knew.
'Where was the crime, if pleasure I procured,
'Young, and a woman, and to bliss enured?
'That was my case, and this is my defence:
'I pleased my self, I shunned incontinence,
'And, urged by strong desires, indulged my sense.

'Left to my self, I must avow, I strove
'And, well acquainted with thy native pride,
'Endeavoured what I could not help to hide,
'For which a woman's wit an easy way supplied.
'How this, so well contrived, so closely laid,
'Was known to thee, or by what chance betrayed,
'Is not my care; to please thy pride alone,
'I could have wished it had been still unknown.

'Nor took I Guiscard, by blind fancy led
'Or hasty choice, as many women wed;
'But with deliberate care, and ripened thought,
'At leisure first designed, before I wrought:
'On him I rested after long debate,
'And not without considering fixed my fate:
'His flame was equal, though by mine inspired:
'(For so the difference of our birth required):
'Had he been born like me, like me his love
'Had first begun what mine was forced to move:
'But thus beginning, thus we preserve;
'Our passions yet continue what they were,
'Nor length of trial makes our joys the less sincere.

'At this my choice, though not by thine allowed,
'(Thy judgement herding with the common crowd,)
'Dost less the merit than the man esteem.
'Too sharply, Tancred, by thy pride betrayed,
'Hast thou against the laws of kind inveighed;
'For all the offence is in opinion placed,
'Which deems high birth by lowly choice debased.
'This thought alone with fury fires thy breast,
'(For holy marriage justifies the rest,)
'That I have sunk the glories of the state,
'And mixed my blood with a plebeian mate:
'In which I wonder thou shouldst oversee
'Superior causes, or impute to me
'The fault of Fortune, or the Fates' decree.
'Or call it Heaven's imperial power alone,
'Which moves on springs of justice, though unknown.
'Yet this we see, though ordered for the best,
'The bad exalted, and the good oppressed;
'Permitted laurels grace the lawless brow,
'The unworthy raised, the worthy cast below.

'But leaving that: search we the secret springs,
'And backward trace the principles of things;
'There shall we find, that when the world began,
'One common mass composed the mould of man;
'One paste of flesh on all degrees bestowed,
'And kneaded up alike with moistening blood.
'The same Almighty Power inspired the frame
'With kindled life, and formed the souls the same:
'The faculties of intellect and will
'Dispensed with equal hand, disposed with equal skill,
'Like liberty indulged with choice of good or ill.
'Thus born alike, from virtue first began
'The diffidence that distinguished man from man:
'He claimed no title from descent of blood,
'But that which made him noble made him good.
'Warmed with more particles of heavenly flame,
'He winged his upward flight, and soared to fame;
'The rest remained below, a tribe without a name.

'This law, though custom now diverts the course,
'As Nature's institute, is yet in force;
'Uncancelled, though disused; and he, whose mind
'Is virtuous, is alone of noble kind;
'Though poor in fortune, of celestial race;
'And he commits the crime who calls him base.

'Now lay the line; and measure all thy court
'By inward virtue, not external port,
'And find whom justly to prefer above
'The man on whom my judgement placed my love;
'So shalt thou see his parts and person shine,
'And thus compared, the rest a base degenerate line.
'Nor took I, when I first surveyed thy court,
'His valour or his virtues on report;
'But trustd what I ought to trust alone,
'Relying on thy eyes, and not my own;
'Thy praise (and thine was then the public voice)
'First recommended Guiscard to my choice:
'Directed thus by thee, I looked, and found
'A man I thought deserving to be crowned!
'First by my father pointed to my sight,
'Nor less conspicuous by his native light;
'His mind, his mien, the features of his face,
'Excelling all the rest of human race:
'These were thy thoughts, and thou couldst judge aright,
'Till interest made a jaundice in thy sight.

'Or should I grant thou didst not rightly see,
'Then thou wert first deceived, and I deceived by thee.
'But if thou shalt allege, through pride of mind,
'Thy blood with one of base condition joined,
''Tis false; for 'tis not baseness to be poor:
'His poverty augments thy crime the more;
'Upbraid thy justice with the scant regard
'Of worth; whom princes praise, they should reward.
'Are these the kings entrusted by the crowd
'With wealth, to be dispensed for common good?
'The people sweat not for their king's delight,
'To enrich a pimp, or raise a parasite;
'Theirs is the toil; and he who well has served
'His country, has his country's wealth deserved.

'Even mighty monarchs oft are meanly born,
'And kings by birth to lowest rank return;
'All subject to the power of giddy chance,
'For Fortune can depress, or can advance;
'But true nobility is of the mind,
'Not given by chance, and not to chance resigned.

'For the remaining doubt of thy decree,
'What to resolve, and how dispose of me,
'Be warned to cast that useless care aside,
'My self alone will for my self provide.
'If in thy doting and decrepit age,
'Thy soul, a stranger in thy youth to rage,
'Begins in cruel deeds to take delight,
'Gorge with my blood thy barbarous appetite;
'For I so little am disposed to pray
'For life, I would not cast a wish away.
'Such as it is, the offence is all my own;
'And what to Guiscard is already done,
'Or to be done, is doomed by thy decree,
'That, if not executed first by thee,
'Shall on my person be performed by me.

'Away! with women weep, and leave me here,
'Fixed, like a man, to die without a tear;
'Or save or slay us both this present hour,
''Tis all that Fate has left within thy power.'
She said; nor did her father fail to find
In all she spoke the greatness of her mind;
Yet thought she was not obstinate to die,
Nor deemed the death she promised was so nigh:
Secure in this belief, he left the dame,
Resolved to spare her life, and save her shame;
But that detested object to remove,
To wreak his vengeance, and to cure her love.

Intent on this, a secret order signed
The death of Guiscard to his guards enjoined;
Strangling was chosen, and the night the time;
A mute revenge, and blind as was the crime:
His faithful heart, a bloody sacrifice,
Torn from his breast, to glut the tyrant's eyes,
Closed the severe command; for, slaves to pay,
What kings decree the soldier must obey:
Waged against foes, and, when the wars are o'er,
Fit only to maintain despotic power;
Dangerous to freedom, and desired alone
By kings, who seek an arbitrary throne.
Such were these guards; as ready to have slain
The Prince him self, allured with greater gain;
So was the charge performed with better will,
By men enured to blood, and exercised in ill.

Now, though the sullen sire had eased his mind,
The pomp of his revenge was yet behind,
A goblet rich with gems, and rough with gold,
Of depth and breadth the precious pledge to hold,
With cruel care he chose; the hollow part
Enclosed, the lid concealed the lover's heart.
Then of his trusted mischiefs one he sent,
And bad him, with these words, the gift present:
'Thy father sends thee this to cheer thy breast,
'And glad thy sight with what thou lovest the best,
'As thou hast pleased his eyes, and joyed his mind,
'With what he loved the most of human kind.'

Ere this, the royal dame, who well had weighed
The consequence of what her sire had said,
Fixed on her fate, against the expected hour,
Procured the means to have it in her power;
For this she had distilled with early care
The juice of simples friendly to despair,
A magazine of death, and thus prepared,
Secure to die, the fatal message heard:
Then smiled severe; nor with a troubled look,
Or trembling hand, the funeral present took;
Even kept her countenance, when the lid removed
Disclosed her heart, unfortunately loved.
She needed not to be told within whose breast
It lodged; the message had explained the rest.
Or not amazed, or hiding her surprise,
She sternly on the bearer fixed her eyes;
Then thus: 'Tell Tancred, on his daughter's part,
'The gold, though precious, equals not the heart;
'But he did well to give his best; and I,
'Who wished a worthier urn, forgive his poverty.'

At this she curbed a groan, that else had come,
And pausing, viewed the present in the tomb;
Then to the heart adored devoutly glued
Her lips, and raising it, her speech renewed:
'Even from my day of birth, to this, the bound
'Of my unhappy being, I have found
'My father's care and tenderness expressed;
'But this last act of love excels the rest:
'For this so dear a present, bear him back
'The best return that I can live to make.'

The messenger dispatched, again she viewed
The loved remains, and, sighing, thus pursued:
'Source of my life, and lord of my desires,
'In whom I lived, with whom my soul expires!
'Poor heart, no more the spring of vital heat,
'Cursed be the hands that tore thee from thy seat!
'The course is finished which thy fates decreed,
'And thou from thy corporeal prison freed:
'Soon hast thou reached the goal with mended pace;
'A world of woes dispatched in little space;
'Forced by thy worth, thy foe, in death become
'Thy friend, has lodged thee in a costly tomb.
'There yet remained thy funeral exequies,
'The weeping tribute of thy widow's eyes;
'And those indulgent Heaven has found the way
'That I, before my death, have leave to pay.
'My father even in cruelty is kind,
'Or Heaven has turned the malice of his mind
'To better uses than his hate designed,
'And made the insult, which in his gift appears,
'The means to mourn thee with my pious tears;
'Which I will pay thee down before I go,
'And save myself the pains to weep below,
'If souls can weep. Though once I meant to meet
'My fate with face unmoved, and eyes unwet,
'Yet, since I have thee here in narrow room,
'My tears shall set thee first afloat within thy tomb.
'Then (as I know thy spirit hovers nigh)
'Under thy friendly conduct will I fly
'To regions unexplored, secure to share
'Thy state; nor hell shall punishment appear;
'And Heaven is double Heaven, if thou art there.'

She said. Her brimful eyes, that ready stood,
And only wanted will to weep a flood,
Released their watery store, and poured amain,
Like clouds low hung, a sober shower of rain;
Mute solemn sorrow, free from female noise,
Such as the majesty of grief destroys;
For, bending o'er the cup, the tears she shed
Seemed by the posture to discharge her head,
O'er-filled before; and oft (her mouth applied
To the cold heart) she kissed at once, and cried.
Her maids, who stood amazed, nor knew the cause
Of her complaining, nor whose heart it was,
Yet all dlue measures of her mouring kept,
Did office at the dirge, and by infection swept,
And oft inquired the occasion of her grief,
Unanswered but by sighs, and offered vain relief.
At length, her stock of tears already shed,
She wiped her eyes, she raised her drooping head,
And thus pursued: -- 'O ever faithful heart,
'I have performed the ceremonial part,
'The decencies of grief; it rests behind,
'That, as our bodies were, our souls be joined:
'To thy whate'er abode my shade convey,
'And, as an elder ghost, direct the way!'
She said; and bad the vial to be brought,
Where she before had brewed the deadly draught:
First pouring out the medicinable bane,
The heart her tears had rinsed she bathed again;
Then down her throat the death securely throws,
And quaffs a long oblivion of her woes.

This done, she mounts the genial bed, and there
(Her body first composed with honest care)
Attends the welcome rest; her hands yet hold
Close to her heart the monumental gold;
Nor farther word she spoke, but closed her sight,
And quiet sought the covert of the night.

The damsels, who the while in silence mourned,
Not knowing nor suspecting death suborned,
Yet, as their duty was, to Tancred sent,
Who, conscious of the occasion, feared the event.
Alarmed, and with presaging heart, he came
And drew the curtains, and exposed the dame
To loathsome light; then with a late relief
Made vain efforts to mitigate her grief.
She, what she could, excluding day, her eyes
Kept firmly sealed, and sternly thus replies:

'Tancred, restrain thy tears unsought by me,
'And sorrow unavailing now to thee:
'Did ever man before afflict his mind
'To see the effect of what himself designed?
'Yet, if thou hast remaining in thy heart
'Some sense of love, some unextinguished part
'Of former kindness, largely once professed,
'Let me by that adjure thy hardened breast
'Not to deny thy daughter's last request:
'The secret love which I so long enjoyed,
'And still concealed to gratify thy pride,
'Thou hast disjoined; but, with my dying breath,
'Seek not, I beg thee, to disjoin our death:
'Where'er his corps by thy command is laid,
'Thither let mine in public be conveyed;
'Exposed in open view, and side by side,
'Acknowledged as a bridegroom and a bride.'

The Prince's anguish hindered his reply;
And she, who felt her fate approaching nigh,
Seized the cold heart, and heaving to her breast,
'Here, precious pledge,' she said, 'securely rest.'
These accents were her last; the creeping death
Benumbed her senses first, then stopped her breath.

Thus she for disobedience justly died;
The sire was justly punished for his pride;
The youth, least guilty, suffered for the offence
Of duty violated to his Prince;
Who, late repenting of his cruel deed,
One common sepulchre for both decreed;
Entombed the wretched pair in royal state,
And on their monument inscribed their fate.

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

Share

Do You Know Your Woman?

A woman who knows tenderness
in the way things are said
a woman who knows kindness
in the way a man looks at her eyes.

Do you know your woman?
She, a woman wanting your presence,
your tender words of praise,
challenge, comfort and caresses.

Do you know your woman?
She who wants to be in your heart,
your soul mate, craving your full ears
and focus, not just a mere appendix.

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

Share
 

Search


Recent searches | Top searches