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howard brace Sep 2012
He'd been conceived in Flamborough, so his little sister assured him some eleven summers ago, which was a tad hard for Rocky to swallow, she was a whole eighteen months his junior and then some... and at that age, well... what did she know, she was only a kid, "on this very rock" River insisted, kicking her heels in delight, "next to this very rock pool" they were both sitting beside, "one sunny afternoon eleven years ago..." and that was how he came by the name of Rocky... she taunted as the rest of the colourful story unfolded... and that she had it all on the best possible authority... although the more she thought about it, had she meant concealed... she wasn't quite sure now, it was all so very confusing at her tender age but thought it sounded close enough not to matter too much and that she would just wait and see which way the wind blew.
        
     It was conceivably an ill wind that blew no one any good that day, especially if you were a boy and just happened to be sat by a rock pool next to your little sister...  Having just taken a well earned drink from a neighbouring rock pool, Sockeye the floppiest Springer Spaniel this side of the Pecos decided that he was going to dig a hole and that he would be digging it deep, then changed his mind mid-dig and decided to have a more down to earth back scratching wriggle instead... then promptly flopped over and slid into the hole... life was sweet.  Now covered from nose to tail with every species of deceased shore life usually found frequenting the high water mark Sockeye, in a blinding flash of canine inspiration judged it would be in everyone's best interest were he to have a really good shakedown which always appeared to go down well on these occasions... and give everyone a good peppering, just so they could see exactly what they'd been missing all their lives.  

     "A rock of all places, for goodness sakes..." and what's more, it was this rock, "Yuk..." he jumped up and wiped his palms on the back of his jeans in disgust, then onto his tee-shirt, then sat back down again and began exploring his left nostril in quiet contemplation before finally jambing his hands back into his pockets... what in Heaven's name had his parents been thinking of..? what on earth was his little sister talking about..? and more to the point, what in fact did conceived mean..?  these were the questions that were uppermost in Rocky's mind as he poked an exploratory stick into the rock pool...  a baby crab marooned by the tide scampered sideways beneath a large pebble and stuck one beady eye out at him... Rocky's sister, seemingly in a world of her own, much like the baby crab sat on the edge of the noteworthy rock kicking her heels, an innocent smile curled the corners of her mouth as she quietly hummed a little song of tuneful bliss to herself and considered what further mischief she could possibly pass her brother's way.

     Rocky tossed a piece of driftwood over his sisters shoulder at a nearby flock of seagulls, squabbling over what appeared to be a discarded bag of fish and chips... Sockeye, simply knowing that his little master wanted to play a game of fetch gambolled after the stick, his ears flying courageously in the still Summer air and burst, amid a melee of feathers into their midst, only to romp back moments later, the stick all but forgotten in the excitement but now proudly sporting the derelict bag of leftovers and the odd splash of guano, his tail lolloping magnificently from side to side... and for the moment at least, leaving the fratching seagulls wheeling noisily overhead and to go about their daily business without further interruption... as for Sockeye, it had been a no contest situation.

     After fourteen years of valiant endeavour his father... Red, so named for his vivid shock of wiry hair, was still engaged in man's eternal struggle to win his significant other half's approbation with the manful art of deck-chair assembly, beach barbeque and other significant gentlemanly pursuits, all while strutting his manly stuff, sporting top of the range beach wear in accordance with the social etiquette of the previous decade... his masculine paunch slumping gallantly atop his waistband...  

     After the same fourteen terms of domestic servitude and the same thirteen identically overlooked anniversary cards a certain someone had no intention of allowing another certain someone to forget so much as one of them... his better half, so she insisted would ride rough shod, administering her own brand of justice at every given opportunity, in much the same way you'd brandish a royal-flush on poker night... or better still, a loaded revolver... and that she personally carried the burden of every ill-fated card that Lady Luck had dealt strung about her neck like Adam's original sin on Judgement Day.  

     Red much preferred the shorter, more condensed name of Rock for his son, rather than the longer more protracted Rocky, as he struggled with the wood and canvas lounger badly trapping the mound of his thumb in the process, "Aaargh...!!!" plunging his throbbing hand deep into the cold, soothing rock-pool "aaah...!!!"   Still marooned by the tide, the baby crab stood poised and ready for action as it considered giving this latest intrusion a good offensive nip, then hang on spitefully as it gave Red the final withering once over with the same baleful eye it had successfully used earlier.

     Acknowledging her husbands misfortune with a perfunctory grunt as she rummaged in her beach-bag for the thermos, she refused to be drawn in where thumbs were concerned right now, after all with his DNA sequencing she was convinced he could probably grow a new one within the month... whilst Tina, well... she was just plain worn-out... but still rejoiced in telling anyone who cared to lend a sympathetic ear in her direction... and who in turn was more than happy to listen to the woes of others and went somewhere along the lines of... 'and had she heard any more of poor Mrs Dorey's lingering martyrdom recently..? you know, the downtrodden lady who lives in the next street but one... and how they would all miss her when she was gone... and how she couldn't wait...' and as rumour had it, neither could her husband...

      Feigning to be otherwise engaged, Tina... as her husband, now blowing frantically on his mangled thumb, stumbled backwards over the half erected lounger and with a spine jarring "Ooomph...!!!" landed squarely in Sockeye's subsiding earthworks... professed total disassociation with the entire fiasco as she plunged her nose even deeper into the overdue library book she'd purposely brought on holiday for just such an occasion, making it perfectly clear that she was a tourist and furthermore, planned to stick with the same itinerary once they returned home... and that while she was here, she did not under any circumstances wish to be disturbed, the notice was clearly displayed hanging from the door handle... but if anyone should, then whoever it was did so at their own peril... and she was keeping score... although a mangled thumb she luxuriated, with the same roguish smile curling the corners of her mouth as the one normally found playing around her daughter's... was equally as heart warming.

      All Tina wanted was one week of uninterrupted peace and quiet in Flamborough, preferably with a certain someone out from under her feet then spend what might pass for several undisturbed hours sitting quietly by the rock pool comparing notes on eye makeup and the feminine merits of pedicure with the little crab who, still marooned by the tide was now sat busily knitting four pairs of matching leg warmers in the cool, still water but that was only if that certain someone... a shrill  "AAaargh...!!!" somewhat more desperate than the first, ****** itself upon the as yet unaggressive afternoon as it gyrated across the warm Jurrasic rock and recoiled out to sea... "now where was I", twisting her book uppermost "oh yes..! someone was going to pay..." only now it was going to be sooner rather than later, but only if that certain someone didn't finish the seating arrangements before the Sun disappeared and drift into some backstreet tea-room before all the lemon cheesecake sold out, or was that she reflected, simply too much to ask.

     It was his Surname that Rock found so objectionable, or it had been right up until his little sister's enlightening disclosure, now it was both names Rocky disliked, it would have been far kinder had Rock Salmon been sandwiched between sliced bread and given to Sockeye... who's solemn duty, from the first mouthful to the very last, was to gaze up beseechingly from beneath the kitchen table  and devour anything that passed his way, even the postman had to be quick about his business or have his arm follow the mail through the letter box... then Sockeye would just smack his lips and help himself to seconds.  

     All Rocky's mum had thought about for the last fourteen years was seconds... every last solitary one of them since she'd suffered with an infection of matrimonial neurosis which had deprived her of common sense and her maiden name, from Chovey to that of Salmon and how with hindsight she should have taken an Aspirin instead, wedlock she asserted was everything the name claimed to be and was without doubt the worst move she'd ever made... and what's more was seen as a bad move in whoever's wedding album you just happened to be paying your condolences to.

     Rocky would never be so fortunate on that score, unlike his sister he was stuck with Salmon for good, his grandma-Ann by all accounts had been dead set against the union from word Go and saw his father as someone who would always be out of his depth in whatever rock pool he found himself in, swimming against the tide as it were, rather than going with the flow... and it appeared that Rocky, almost eleven years into a life sentence, was about to flounder in the same murky undertow as the rest of the Salmon family... only he couldn't swim.

     "There"! her husband exclaimed "all finished... better late than never eh', who fancies trying it"? his wife luxuriated over the words 'better late' and wondered whether her new earrings, her latest acquisition would complement formal mourning attire.  Red dusted off the palms of his hands with the certain knowledge of a job well done and cautiously took one step back, looking with justifiable pride at the outcome of his manly exertions of the last two hours, this was what holidays were all about he declared, one man pitted against insurmountable odds...  His wife meanwhile was getting to grips with more odds of her own than you could safely expect to shake a stick at... her husband being one of them.  

     Having gathered her offspring with the promise of verbal earache if they didn't... and finished packing the beach-bag, Tina finally located Sockeye peering out from the shade of an adjacent rock, wisps of feathers poked tellingly from the corners of his mouth, his tail beating mischievously on the shingle decided in one further blaze of canine brainstorming, as Tina attempted to slip his collar on that a game of tag would just about round the day off nicely... Tina then devoted the next ten minutes chasing him amid unrestrained salvo's of cheering from the rest of the family... then bid goodbye to the little crab who, still marooned by the tide waved a friendly pincer in return... and trusted that she wouldn't have too long to wait for the next rising tide back home, then she slid off the rock with a corrosive... "the deck-chair attendant would have shown you" she snapped "and don't forget the deposit when you take them back" then double checking that she landed squarely on his foot she marched past, her floral sun hat jammed resolutely on her head at what she considered a jaunty angle with her equally jaunty, angular children scrambling in hot pursuit, back in the direction of their lodgings.  

     "Woof "..? said a bewildered Sockeye, bringing everyone to an abrupt halt... and with paws the size of place-mats, he wasn't going anywhere he didn't want to... he hunkered down with a look of hurtful accusation on his face, "oh yes you are my lad"! said his mistress "I've met your sort before" and knew exactly where to place the toe of her dainty size-5 as Sockeye, digging his heals in even further created swathes of canine furrows up the beach, leaving her husband the unwitting holder and in sole possession of the overlooked guest-house keys... and somewhat resigned to clean up his own masculinity and dismantle the recently assembled, now redundant deck-chairs by himself... as for Tina, well... she'd had quite enough excitement for one day thank you very much.

     Morning register was always the worst he thought, as they trooped back along the shingle beach, Rocky making surprisingly good furrows of his own... but the rest of the class loved it and saw it as the highlight of each day... Rocky's form teacher, despite showing a brave face was always hard pressed to avoid bursting into hysterics every time she worked her way down the register to the letter 'S' and would attempt to bypass it altogether, jumping from 'R' to 'T' and just prayed that no one else had noticed, but it hadn't taken the class very long to point out her oversight and... "please Miss" they'd all chant "we haven't had Salmon all week" and while the rest of the class were having convulsive fits, Rocky would elbow the lad sat at the next desk in the ribs... and promptly get one hundred lines for his trouble... thank goodness it was school holidays.  Why couldn't they have been given respectable names like Seymour Legge, Rock wondered, who sat over by the window or perhaps the teachers pet, Anna Prentice or even, Robyn Banks at a pinch, but definitely not what they'd been given and certainly not Salmon, they were the most hilarious names he could imagine and if someone was looking down on them right now he thought... then they had a very unique sense of humour indeed and Rock said so... "why" his little sister asked sweetly, "what's wrong with River Salmon".

                                                      ­                         ...   ...   ...*

a work in progress*                                                        ­                                                              240­6
It is full summer now, the heart of June;
Not yet the sunburnt reapers are astir
Upon the upland meadow where too soon
Rich autumn time, the season’s usurer,
Will lend his hoarded gold to all the trees,
And see his treasure scattered by the wild and spendthrift breeze.

Too soon indeed! yet here the daffodil,
That love-child of the Spring, has lingered on
To vex the rose with jealousy, and still
The harebell spreads her azure pavilion,
And like a strayed and wandering reveller
Abandoned of its brothers, whom long since June’s messenger

The missel-thrush has frighted from the glade,
One pale narcissus loiters fearfully
Close to a shadowy nook, where half afraid
Of their own loveliness some violets lie
That will not look the gold sun in the face
For fear of too much splendour,—ah! methinks it is a place

Which should be trodden by Persephone
When wearied of the flowerless fields of Dis!
Or danced on by the lads of Arcady!
The hidden secret of eternal bliss
Known to the Grecian here a man might find,
Ah! you and I may find it now if Love and Sleep be kind.

There are the flowers which mourning Herakles
Strewed on the tomb of Hylas, columbine,
Its white doves all a-flutter where the breeze
Kissed them too harshly, the small celandine,
That yellow-kirtled chorister of eve,
And lilac lady’s-smock,—but let them bloom alone, and leave

Yon spired hollyhock red-crocketed
To sway its silent chimes, else must the bee,
Its little bellringer, go seek instead
Some other pleasaunce; the anemone
That weeps at daybreak, like a silly girl
Before her love, and hardly lets the butterflies unfurl

Their painted wings beside it,—bid it pine
In pale virginity; the winter snow
Will suit it better than those lips of thine
Whose fires would but scorch it, rather go
And pluck that amorous flower which blooms alone,
Fed by the pander wind with dust of kisses not its own.

The trumpet-mouths of red convolvulus
So dear to maidens, creamy meadow-sweet
Whiter than Juno’s throat and odorous
As all Arabia, hyacinths the feet
Of Huntress Dian would be loth to mar
For any dappled fawn,—pluck these, and those fond flowers which
are

Fairer than what Queen Venus trod upon
Beneath the pines of Ida, eucharis,
That morning star which does not dread the sun,
And budding marjoram which but to kiss
Would sweeten Cytheraea’s lips and make
Adonis jealous,—these for thy head,—and for thy girdle take

Yon curving spray of purple clematis
Whose gorgeous dye outflames the Tyrian King,
And foxgloves with their nodding chalices,
But that one narciss which the startled Spring
Let from her kirtle fall when first she heard
In her own woods the wild tempestuous song of summer’s bird,

Ah! leave it for a subtle memory
Of those sweet tremulous days of rain and sun,
When April laughed between her tears to see
The early primrose with shy footsteps run
From the gnarled oak-tree roots till all the wold,
Spite of its brown and trampled leaves, grew bright with shimmering
gold.

Nay, pluck it too, it is not half so sweet
As thou thyself, my soul’s idolatry!
And when thou art a-wearied at thy feet
Shall oxlips weave their brightest tapestry,
For thee the woodbine shall forget its pride
And veil its tangled whorls, and thou shalt walk on daisies pied.

And I will cut a reed by yonder spring
And make the wood-gods jealous, and old Pan
Wonder what young intruder dares to sing
In these still haunts, where never foot of man
Should tread at evening, lest he chance to spy
The marble limbs of Artemis and all her company.

And I will tell thee why the jacinth wears
Such dread embroidery of dolorous moan,
And why the hapless nightingale forbears
To sing her song at noon, but weeps alone
When the fleet swallow sleeps, and rich men feast,
And why the laurel trembles when she sees the lightening east.

And I will sing how sad Proserpina
Unto a grave and gloomy Lord was wed,
And lure the silver-breasted Helena
Back from the lotus meadows of the dead,
So shalt thou see that awful loveliness
For which two mighty Hosts met fearfully in war’s abyss!

And then I’ll pipe to thee that Grecian tale
How Cynthia loves the lad Endymion,
And hidden in a grey and misty veil
Hies to the cliffs of Latmos once the Sun
Leaps from his ocean bed in fruitless chase
Of those pale flying feet which fade away in his embrace.

And if my flute can breathe sweet melody,
We may behold Her face who long ago
Dwelt among men by the AEgean sea,
And whose sad house with pillaged portico
And friezeless wall and columns toppled down
Looms o’er the ruins of that fair and violet cinctured town.

Spirit of Beauty! tarry still awhile,
They are not dead, thine ancient votaries;
Some few there are to whom thy radiant smile
Is better than a thousand victories,
Though all the nobly slain of Waterloo
Rise up in wrath against them! tarry still, there are a few

Who for thy sake would give their manlihood
And consecrate their being; I at least
Have done so, made thy lips my daily food,
And in thy temples found a goodlier feast
Than this starved age can give me, spite of all
Its new-found creeds so sceptical and so dogmatical.

Here not Cephissos, not Ilissos flows,
The woods of white Colonos are not here,
On our bleak hills the olive never blows,
No simple priest conducts his lowing steer
Up the steep marble way, nor through the town
Do laughing maidens bear to thee the crocus-flowered gown.

Yet tarry! for the boy who loved thee best,
Whose very name should be a memory
To make thee linger, sleeps in silent rest
Beneath the Roman walls, and melody
Still mourns her sweetest lyre; none can play
The lute of Adonais:  with his lips Song passed away.

Nay, when Keats died the Muses still had left
One silver voice to sing his threnody,
But ah! too soon of it we were bereft
When on that riven night and stormy sea
Panthea claimed her singer as her own,
And slew the mouth that praised her; since which time we walk
alone,

Save for that fiery heart, that morning star
Of re-arisen England, whose clear eye
Saw from our tottering throne and waste of war
The grand Greek limbs of young Democracy
Rise mightily like Hesperus and bring
The great Republic! him at least thy love hath taught to sing,

And he hath been with thee at Thessaly,
And seen white Atalanta fleet of foot
In passionless and fierce virginity
Hunting the tusked boar, his honied lute
Hath pierced the cavern of the hollow hill,
And Venus laughs to know one knee will bow before her still.

And he hath kissed the lips of Proserpine,
And sung the Galilaean’s requiem,
That wounded forehead dashed with blood and wine
He hath discrowned, the Ancient Gods in him
Have found their last, most ardent worshipper,
And the new Sign grows grey and dim before its conqueror.

Spirit of Beauty! tarry with us still,
It is not quenched the torch of poesy,
The star that shook above the Eastern hill
Holds unassailed its argent armoury
From all the gathering gloom and fretful fight—
O tarry with us still! for through the long and common night,

Morris, our sweet and simple Chaucer’s child,
Dear heritor of Spenser’s tuneful reed,
With soft and sylvan pipe has oft beguiled
The weary soul of man in troublous need,
And from the far and flowerless fields of ice
Has brought fair flowers to make an earthly paradise.

We know them all, Gudrun the strong men’s bride,
Aslaug and Olafson we know them all,
How giant Grettir fought and Sigurd died,
And what enchantment held the king in thrall
When lonely Brynhild wrestled with the powers
That war against all passion, ah! how oft through summer hours,

Long listless summer hours when the noon
Being enamoured of a damask rose
Forgets to journey westward, till the moon
The pale usurper of its tribute grows
From a thin sickle to a silver shield
And chides its loitering car—how oft, in some cool grassy field

Far from the cricket-ground and noisy eight,
At Bagley, where the rustling bluebells come
Almost before the blackbird finds a mate
And overstay the swallow, and the hum
Of many murmuring bees flits through the leaves,
Have I lain poring on the dreamy tales his fancy weaves,

And through their unreal woes and mimic pain
Wept for myself, and so was purified,
And in their simple mirth grew glad again;
For as I sailed upon that pictured tide
The strength and splendour of the storm was mine
Without the storm’s red ruin, for the singer is divine;

The little laugh of water falling down
Is not so musical, the clammy gold
Close hoarded in the tiny waxen town
Has less of sweetness in it, and the old
Half-withered reeds that waved in Arcady
Touched by his lips break forth again to fresher harmony.

Spirit of Beauty, tarry yet awhile!
Although the cheating merchants of the mart
With iron roads profane our lovely isle,
And break on whirling wheels the limbs of Art,
Ay! though the crowded factories beget
The blindworm Ignorance that slays the soul, O tarry yet!

For One at least there is,—He bears his name
From Dante and the seraph Gabriel,—
Whose double laurels burn with deathless flame
To light thine altar; He too loves thee well,
Who saw old Merlin lured in Vivien’s snare,
And the white feet of angels coming down the golden stair,

Loves thee so well, that all the World for him
A gorgeous-coloured vestiture must wear,
And Sorrow take a purple diadem,
Or else be no more Sorrow, and Despair
Gild its own thorns, and Pain, like Adon, be
Even in anguish beautiful;—such is the empery

Which Painters hold, and such the heritage
This gentle solemn Spirit doth possess,
Being a better mirror of his age
In all his pity, love, and weariness,
Than those who can but copy common things,
And leave the Soul unpainted with its mighty questionings.

But they are few, and all romance has flown,
And men can prophesy about the sun,
And lecture on his arrows—how, alone,
Through a waste void the soulless atoms run,
How from each tree its weeping nymph has fled,
And that no more ’mid English reeds a Naiad shows her head.

Methinks these new Actaeons boast too soon
That they have spied on beauty; what if we
Have analysed the rainbow, robbed the moon
Of her most ancient, chastest mystery,
Shall I, the last Endymion, lose all hope
Because rude eyes peer at my mistress through a telescope!

What profit if this scientific age
Burst through our gates with all its retinue
Of modern miracles!  Can it assuage
One lover’s breaking heart? what can it do
To make one life more beautiful, one day
More godlike in its period? but now the Age of Clay

Returns in horrid cycle, and the earth
Hath borne again a noisy progeny
Of ignorant Titans, whose ungodly birth
Hurls them against the august hierarchy
Which sat upon Olympus; to the Dust
They have appealed, and to that barren arbiter they must

Repair for judgment; let them, if they can,
From Natural Warfare and insensate Chance,
Create the new Ideal rule for man!
Methinks that was not my inheritance;
For I was nurtured otherwise, my soul
Passes from higher heights of life to a more supreme goal.

Lo! while we spake the earth did turn away
Her visage from the God, and Hecate’s boat
Rose silver-laden, till the jealous day
Blew all its torches out:  I did not note
The waning hours, to young Endymions
Time’s palsied fingers count in vain his rosary of suns!

Mark how the yellow iris wearily
Leans back its throat, as though it would be kissed
By its false chamberer, the dragon-fly,
Who, like a blue vein on a girl’s white wrist,
Sleeps on that snowy primrose of the night,
Which ‘gins to flush with crimson shame, and die beneath the light.

Come let us go, against the pallid shield
Of the wan sky the almond blossoms gleam,
The corncrake nested in the unmown field
Answers its mate, across the misty stream
On fitful wing the startled curlews fly,
And in his sedgy bed the lark, for joy that Day is nigh,

Scatters the pearled dew from off the grass,
In tremulous ecstasy to greet the sun,
Who soon in gilded panoply will pass
Forth from yon orange-curtained pavilion
Hung in the burning east:  see, the red rim
O’ertops the expectant hills! it is the God! for love of him

Already the shrill lark is out of sight,
Flooding with waves of song this silent dell,—
Ah! there is something more in that bird’s flight
Than could be tested in a crucible!—
But the air freshens, let us go, why soon
The woodmen will be here; how we have lived this night of June!
This English Thames is holier far than Rome,
Those harebells like a sudden flush of sea
Breaking across the woodland, with the foam
Of meadow-sweet and white anemone
To fleck their blue waves,—God is likelier there
Than hidden in that crystal-hearted star the pale monks bear!

Those violet-gleaming butterflies that take
Yon creamy lily for their pavilion
Are monsignores, and where the rushes shake
A lazy pike lies basking in the sun,
His eyes half shut,—he is some mitred old
Bishop in partibus! look at those gaudy scales all green and gold.

The wind the restless prisoner of the trees
Does well for Palaestrina, one would say
The mighty master’s hands were on the keys
Of the Maria *****, which they play
When early on some sapphire Easter morn
In a high litter red as blood or sin the Pope is borne

From his dark House out to the Balcony
Above the bronze gates and the crowded square,
Whose very fountains seem for ecstasy
To toss their silver lances in the air,
And stretching out weak hands to East and West
In vain sends peace to peaceless lands, to restless nations rest.

Is not yon lingering orange after-glow
That stays to vex the moon more fair than all
Rome’s lordliest pageants! strange, a year ago
I knelt before some crimson Cardinal
Who bare the Host across the Esquiline,
And now—those common poppies in the wheat seem twice as fine.

The blue-green beanfields yonder, tremulous
With the last shower, sweeter perfume bring
Through this cool evening than the odorous
Flame-jewelled censers the young deacons swing,
When the grey priest unlocks the curtained shrine,
And makes God’s body from the common fruit of corn and vine.

Poor Fra Giovanni bawling at the mass
Were out of tune now, for a small brown bird
Sings overhead, and through the long cool grass
I see that throbbing throat which once I heard
On starlit hills of flower-starred Arcady,
Once where the white and crescent sand of Salamis meets sea.

Sweet is the swallow twittering on the eaves
At daybreak, when the mower whets his scythe,
And stock-doves murmur, and the milkmaid leaves
Her little lonely bed, and carols blithe
To see the heavy-lowing cattle wait
Stretching their huge and dripping mouths across the farmyard gate.

And sweet the hops upon the Kentish leas,
And sweet the wind that lifts the new-mown hay,
And sweet the fretful swarms of grumbling bees
That round and round the linden blossoms play;
And sweet the heifer breathing in the stall,
And the green bursting figs that hang upon the red-brick wall,

And sweet to hear the cuckoo mock the spring
While the last violet loiters by the well,
And sweet to hear the shepherd Daphnis sing
The song of Linus through a sunny dell
Of warm Arcadia where the corn is gold
And the slight lithe-limbed reapers dance about the wattled fold.

And sweet with young Lycoris to recline
In some Illyrian valley far away,
Where canopied on herbs amaracine
We too might waste the summer-tranced day
Matching our reeds in sportive rivalry,
While far beneath us frets the troubled purple of the sea.

But sweeter far if silver-sandalled foot
Of some long-hidden God should ever tread
The Nuneham meadows, if with reeded flute
Pressed to his lips some Faun might raise his head
By the green water-flags, ah! sweet indeed
To see the heavenly herdsman call his white-fleeced flock to feed.

Then sing to me thou tuneful chorister,
Though what thou sing’st be thine own requiem!
Tell me thy tale thou hapless chronicler
Of thine own tragedies! do not contemn
These unfamiliar haunts, this English field,
For many a lovely coronal our northern isle can yield

Which Grecian meadows know not, many a rose
Which all day long in vales AEolian
A lad might seek in vain for over-grows
Our hedges like a wanton courtesan
Unthrifty of its beauty; lilies too
Ilissos never mirrored star our streams, and cockles blue

Dot the green wheat which, though they are the signs
For swallows going south, would never spread
Their azure tents between the Attic vines;
Even that little **** of ragged red,
Which bids the robin pipe, in Arcady
Would be a trespasser, and many an unsung elegy

Sleeps in the reeds that fringe our winding Thames
Which to awake were sweeter ravishment
Than ever Syrinx wept for; diadems
Of brown bee-studded orchids which were meant
For Cytheraea’s brows are hidden here
Unknown to Cytheraea, and by yonder pasturing steer

There is a tiny yellow daffodil,
The butterfly can see it from afar,
Although one summer evening’s dew could fill
Its little cup twice over ere the star
Had called the lazy shepherd to his fold
And be no prodigal; each leaf is flecked with spotted gold

As if Jove’s gorgeous leman Danae
Hot from his gilded arms had stooped to kiss
The trembling petals, or young Mercury
Low-flying to the dusky ford of Dis
Had with one feather of his pinions
Just brushed them! the slight stem which bears the burden of its suns

Is hardly thicker than the gossamer,
Or poor Arachne’s silver tapestry,—
Men say it bloomed upon the sepulchre
Of One I sometime worshipped, but to me
It seems to bring diviner memories
Of faun-loved Heliconian glades and blue nymph-haunted seas,

Of an untrodden vale at Tempe where
On the clear river’s marge Narcissus lies,
The tangle of the forest in his hair,
The silence of the woodland in his eyes,
Wooing that drifting imagery which is
No sooner kissed than broken; memories of Salmacis

Who is not boy nor girl and yet is both,
Fed by two fires and unsatisfied
Through their excess, each passion being loth
For love’s own sake to leave the other’s side
Yet killing love by staying; memories
Of Oreads peeping through the leaves of silent moonlit trees,

Of lonely Ariadne on the wharf
At Naxos, when she saw the treacherous crew
Far out at sea, and waved her crimson scarf
And called false Theseus back again nor knew
That Dionysos on an amber pard
Was close behind her; memories of what Maeonia’s bard

With sightless eyes beheld, the wall of Troy,
Queen Helen lying in the ivory room,
And at her side an amorous red-lipped boy
Trimming with dainty hand his helmet’s plume,
And far away the moil, the shout, the groan,
As Hector shielded off the spear and Ajax hurled the stone;

Of winged Perseus with his flawless sword
Cleaving the snaky tresses of the witch,
And all those tales imperishably stored
In little Grecian urns, freightage more rich
Than any gaudy galleon of Spain
Bare from the Indies ever! these at least bring back again,

For well I know they are not dead at all,
The ancient Gods of Grecian poesy:
They are asleep, and when they hear thee call
Will wake and think ‘t is very Thessaly,
This Thames the Daulian waters, this cool glade
The yellow-irised mead where once young Itys laughed and played.

If it was thou dear jasmine-cradled bird
Who from the leafy stillness of thy throne
Sang to the wondrous boy, until he heard
The horn of Atalanta faintly blown
Across the Cumnor hills, and wandering
Through Bagley wood at evening found the Attic poets’ spring,—

Ah! tiny sober-suited advocate
That pleadest for the moon against the day!
If thou didst make the shepherd seek his mate
On that sweet questing, when Proserpina
Forgot it was not Sicily and leant
Across the mossy Sandford stile in ravished wonderment,—

Light-winged and bright-eyed miracle of the wood!
If ever thou didst soothe with melody
One of that little clan, that brotherhood
Which loved the morning-star of Tuscany
More than the perfect sun of Raphael
And is immortal, sing to me! for I too love thee well.

Sing on! sing on! let the dull world grow young,
Let elemental things take form again,
And the old shapes of Beauty walk among
The simple garths and open crofts, as when
The son of Leto bare the willow rod,
And the soft sheep and shaggy goats followed the boyish God.

Sing on! sing on! and Bacchus will be here
Astride upon his gorgeous Indian throne,
And over whimpering tigers shake the spear
With yellow ivy crowned and gummy cone,
While at his side the wanton Bassarid
Will throw the lion by the mane and catch the mountain kid!

Sing on! and I will wear the leopard skin,
And steal the mooned wings of Ashtaroth,
Upon whose icy chariot we could win
Cithaeron in an hour ere the froth
Has over-brimmed the wine-vat or the Faun
Ceased from the treading! ay, before the flickering lamp of dawn

Has scared the hooting owlet to its nest,
And warned the bat to close its filmy vans,
Some Maenad girl with vine-leaves on her breast
Will filch their beech-nuts from the sleeping Pans
So softly that the little nested thrush
Will never wake, and then with shrilly laugh and leap will rush

Down the green valley where the fallen dew
Lies thick beneath the elm and count her store,
Till the brown Satyrs in a jolly crew
Trample the loosestrife down along the shore,
And where their horned master sits in state
Bring strawberries and bloomy plums upon a wicker crate!

Sing on! and soon with passion-wearied face
Through the cool leaves Apollo’s lad will come,
The Tyrian prince his bristled boar will chase
Adown the chestnut-copses all a-bloom,
And ivory-limbed, grey-eyed, with look of pride,
After yon velvet-coated deer the ****** maid will ride.

Sing on! and I the dying boy will see
Stain with his purple blood the waxen bell
That overweighs the jacinth, and to me
The wretched Cyprian her woe will tell,
And I will kiss her mouth and streaming eyes,
And lead her to the myrtle-hidden grove where Adon lies!

Cry out aloud on Itys! memory
That foster-brother of remorse and pain
Drops poison in mine ear,—O to be free,
To burn one’s old ships! and to launch again
Into the white-plumed battle of the waves
And fight old Proteus for the spoil of coral-flowered caves!

O for Medea with her poppied spell!
O for the secret of the Colchian shrine!
O for one leaf of that pale asphodel
Which binds the tired brows of Proserpine,
And sheds such wondrous dews at eve that she
Dreams of the fields of Enna, by the far Sicilian sea,

Where oft the golden-girdled bee she chased
From lily to lily on the level mead,
Ere yet her sombre Lord had bid her taste
The deadly fruit of that pomegranate seed,
Ere the black steeds had harried her away
Down to the faint and flowerless land, the sick and sunless day.

O for one midnight and as paramour
The Venus of the little Melian farm!
O that some antique statue for one hour
Might wake to passion, and that I could charm
The Dawn at Florence from its dumb despair,
Mix with those mighty limbs and make that giant breast my lair!

Sing on! sing on!  I would be drunk with life,
Drunk with the trampled vintage of my youth,
I would forget the wearying wasted strife,
The riven veil, the Gorgon eyes of Truth,
The prayerless vigil and the cry for prayer,
The barren gifts, the lifted arms, the dull insensate air!

Sing on! sing on!  O feathered Niobe,
Thou canst make sorrow beautiful, and steal
From joy its sweetest music, not as we
Who by dead voiceless silence strive to heal
Our too untented wounds, and do but keep
Pain barricadoed in our hearts, and ****** pillowed sleep.

Sing louder yet, why must I still behold
The wan white face of that deserted Christ,
Whose bleeding hands my hands did once enfold,
Whose smitten lips my lips so oft have kissed,
And now in mute and marble misery
Sits in his lone dishonoured House and weeps, perchance for me?

O Memory cast down thy wreathed shell!
Break thy hoarse lute O sad Melpomene!
O Sorrow, Sorrow keep thy cloistered cell
Nor dim with tears this limpid Castaly!
Cease, Philomel, thou dost the forest wrong
To vex its sylvan quiet with such wild impassioned song!

Cease, cease, or if ‘t is anguish to be dumb
Take from the pastoral thrush her simpler air,
Whose jocund carelessness doth more become
This English woodland than thy keen despair,
Ah! cease and let the north wind bear thy lay
Back to the rocky hills of Thrace, the stormy Daulian bay.

A moment more, the startled leaves had stirred,
Endymion would have passed across the mead
Moonstruck with love, and this still Thames had heard
Pan plash and paddle groping for some reed
To lure from her blue cave that Naiad maid
Who for such piping listens half in joy and half afraid.

A moment more, the waking dove had cooed,
The silver daughter of the silver sea
With the fond gyves of clinging hands had wooed
Her wanton from the chase, and Dryope
Had ****** aside the branches of her oak
To see the ***** gold-haired lad rein in his snorting yoke.

A moment more, the trees had stooped to kiss
Pale Daphne just awakening from the swoon
Of tremulous laurels, lonely Salmacis
Had bared his barren beauty to the moon,
And through the vale with sad voluptuous smile
Antinous had wandered, the red lotus of the Nile

Down leaning from his black and clustering hair,
To shade those slumberous eyelids’ caverned bliss,
Or else on yonder grassy ***** with bare
High-tuniced limbs unravished Artemis
Had bade her hounds give tongue, and roused the deer
From his green ambuscade with shrill halloo and pricking spear.

Lie still, lie still, O passionate heart, lie still!
O Melancholy, fold thy raven wing!
O sobbing Dryad, from thy hollow hill
Come not with such despondent answering!
No more thou winged Marsyas complain,
Apollo loveth not to hear such troubled songs of pain!

It was a dream, the glade is tenantless,
No soft Ionian laughter moves the air,
The Thames creeps on in sluggish leadenness,
And from the copse left desolate and bare
Fled is young Bacchus with his revelry,
Yet still from Nuneham wood there comes that thrilling melody

So sad, that one might think a human heart
Brake in each separate note, a quality
Which music sometimes has, being the Art
Which is most nigh to tears and memory;
Poor mourning Philomel, what dost thou fear?
Thy sister doth not haunt these fields, Pandion is not here,

Here is no cruel Lord with murderous blade,
No woven web of ****** heraldries,
But mossy dells for roving comrades made,
Warm valleys where the tired student lies
With half-shut book, and many a winding walk
Where rustic lovers stray at eve in happy simple talk.

The harmless rabbit gambols with its young
Across the trampled towing-path, where late
A troop of laughing boys in jostling throng
Cheered with their noisy cries the racing eight;
The gossamer, with ravelled silver threads,
Works at its little loom, and from the dusky red-eaved sheds

Of the lone Farm a flickering light shines out
Where the swinked shepherd drives his bleating flock
Back to their wattled sheep-cotes, a faint shout
Comes from some Oxford boat at Sandford lock,
And starts the moor-hen from the sedgy rill,
And the dim lengthening shadows flit like swallows up the hill.

The heron passes homeward to the mere,
The blue mist creeps among the shivering trees,
Gold world by world the silent stars appear,
And like a blossom blown before the breeze
A white moon drifts across the shimmering sky,
Mute arbitress of all thy sad, thy rapturous threnody.

She does not heed thee, wherefore should she heed,
She knows Endymion is not far away;
’Tis I, ’tis I, whose soul is as the reed
Which has no message of its own to play,
So pipes another’s bidding, it is I,
Drifting with every wind on the wide sea of misery.

Ah! the brown bird has ceased:  one exquisite trill
About the sombre woodland seems to cling
Dying in music, else the air is still,
So still that one might hear the bat’s small wing
Wander and wheel above the pines, or tell
Each tiny dew-drop dripping from the bluebell’s brimming cell.

And far away across the lengthening wold,
Across the willowy flats and thickets brown,
Magdalen’s tall tower tipped with tremulous gold
Marks the long High Street of the little town,
And warns me to return; I must not wait,
Hark! ’Tis the curfew booming from the bell at Christ Church gate.
If rightly tuneful bards decide,
  If it be fix’d in Love’s decrees,
That Beauty ought not to be tried
  But by its native power to please,
Then tell me, youths and lovers, tell—
What fair can Amoret excel?

Behold that bright unsullied smile,
  And wisdom speaking in her mien:
Yet—she so artless all the while,
  So little studious to be seen—
We naught but instant gladness know,
Nor think to whom the gift we owe.

But neither music, nor the powers
  Of youth and mirth and frolic cheer,
Add half the sunshine to the hours,
  Or make life’s prospect half so clear,
As memory brings it to the eye
From scenes where Amoret was by.

This, sure, is Beauty’s happiest part;
  This gives the most unbounded sway;
This shall enchant the subject heart
  When rose and lily fade away;
And she be still, in spite of Time,
Sweet Amoret in all her prime.
LOVELY Semiramis
Closes her slanting eyes:
Dead is she long ago.
From her fan, sliding slow,
Parrot-bright fire's feathers,
Gilded as June weathers,
Plumes bright and shrill as grass
Twinkle down; as they pass
Through the green glooms in Hell
Fruits with a tuneful smell,
Grapes like an emerald rain,
Where the full moon has lain,
Greengages bright as grass,
Melons as cold as glass,
Piled on each gilded booth,
Feel their cheeks growing smooth.
Apes in plumed head-dresses
Whence the bright heat hisses,--
Nubian faces, sly
Pursing mouth, slanting eye,
Feel the Arabian
Winds floating from the fan.
Carter Ginter Dec 2014
You cannot exactly describe a person's laugh
to those unfortunate enough to miss it, but
when she smiles
and her eyes brighten up, rippling sapphire,
nothing else exists.
The sweet, tuneful melody escaping her lips draws
a smile onto my face, no matter what my mood.
I feel her body shake beside me, and I watch her perfect smile,
outlined with natural temptation.

While perfection may never exist,
love lies within this girl, and
to me, that love is perfect.
Her eyes reflect a better me, and in her
heartbeat, I feel a piece of myself
as we become one in each other's
arms. That embrace that always
leads the way back
to sanity and incomprehensible peace.
Alem Kidane Feb 2016
Let me sing you a waltz
But if you dance to it,
You must match my singing…
Let me play you the harp,
Since I know you so well
But you must catch your breath…

“Wait a minute, my sweet
Sounds contain essence
Because that melody
Sounded just like me.”

Let me sing you a waltz
If you match my singing,
Then you can dance to it…
It is the least you can do
Since I know you so well
And I have played you the harp
With matchless melody.

Wait a minute, honey
How often do you meet
A woman gifted with,
Tuneful biography?
Marian Oct 2012
Those evening bells! those evening bells!
How many a tale their music tells,
Of youth and home and that sweet time
When last I heard their soothing chime.

Those joyous hours are passed away;
And many a heart that then was gay,
Within the tomb now darkly dwells,
And hears no more those evening bells.

And so 'twill be when I am gone;
That tuneful peal will still ring on,
While other bards shall walk these dells,
And sing your praise, sweet evening bells!

                                                                             ~Thomas Moore: 1779--1852~
“Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!
Confusion on thy banners wait!
Tho’ fanned by Conquest’s crimson wing,
They mock the air with idle state.
Helm, nor hauberk’s twisted mail,
Nor e’en thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail
To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
From Cambria’s curse, from Cambria’s tears!”
Such were the sounds that o’er the crested pride
Of the first Edward scattered wild dismay,
As down the steep of Snowdon’s shaggy side
He wound with toilsome march his long array.
Stout Glo’ster stood aghast in speechless trance:
“To arms!” cried Mortimer, and couched his quiv’ring lance.

On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o’er cold Conway’s foaming flood,
Robed in the sable garb of woe
With haggard eyes the Poet stood;
(Loose his beard and hoary hair
Streamed like a meteor to the troubled air)
And with a master’s hand, and prophet’s fire,
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre.
“Hark, how each giant-oak and desert-cave
Sighs to the torrent’s awful voice beneath!
O’er thee, O King! their hundred arms they wave,
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
Vocal no more, since Cambria’s fatal day,
To high-born Hoel’s harp, or soft Llewellyn’s lay.

“Cold is Cadwallo’s tongue,
That hushed the stormy main;
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topt head.
On dreary Arvon’s shore they lie,
Smeared with gore, and ghastly pale:
Far, far aloof th’ affrighted ravens sail;
The famished eagle screams, and passes by.
Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes,
Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country’s cries—
No more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,
I see them sit; they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land:
With me in dreadful harmony they join,
And weave with ****** hands the tissue of thy line.

“Weave, the warp! and weave, the woof!
The winding sheet of Edward’s race:
Give ample room and verge enough
The characters of hell to trace.
Mark the year and mark the night
When Severn shall re-echo with affright
The shrieks of death, thro’ Berkley’s roof that ring,
Shrieks of an agonizing king!
She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs,
That tear’st the bowels of thy mangled mate,
From thee be born, who o’er thy country hangs
The scourge of Heaven! What terrors round him wait!
Amazement in his van, with Flight combined,
And Sorrow’s faded form, and Solitude behind.

“Mighty victor, mighty lord!
Low on his funeral couch he lies!
No pitying heart, no eye, afford
A tear to grace his obsequies.
Is the sable warrior fled?
Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
The swarm that in thy noon-tide beam were born?
Gone to salute the rising morn.
Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
While proudly riding o’er the azure realm
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes:
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm:
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind’s sway,
That, hushed in grim repose, expects his ev’ning prey.

“Fill high the sparkling bowl,
The rich repast prepare;
Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast:
Close by the regal chair
Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
A baleful smile upon their baffled guest.
Heard ye the din of battle bray,
Lance to lance, and horse to horse?
Long years of havoc urge their destined course,
And thro’ the kindred squadrons mow their way.
Ye towers of Julius, London’s lasting shame,
With many a foul and midnight ****** fed,
Revere his consort’s faith, his father’s fame,
And spare the meek usurper’s holy head.
Above, below, the rose of snow,
Twined with her blushing foe, we spread:
The bristled Boar in infant-gore
Wallows beneath the thorny shade.
Now, brothers, bending o’er the accursed loom,
Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.

“Edward, lo! to sudden fate
(Weave we the woof. The thread is spun.)
Half of thy heart we consecrate.
(The web is wove. The work is done.)
Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn
Leave me unblessed, unpitied, here to mourn:
In yon bright track that fires the western skies
They melt, they vanish from my eyes.
But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon’s height
Descending slow their glittering skirts unroll?
Visions of glory, spare my aching sight,
Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul!
No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail.
All hail, ye genuine kings! Britannia’s issue, hail!

“Girt with many a baron bold
Sublime their starry fronts they rear;
And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old
In bearded majesty, appear.
In the midst a form divine!
Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line:
Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face,
Attempered sweet to ****** grace.
What strings symphonious tremble in the air,
What strains of vocal transport round her play!
Hear from the grave, great Taliessin, hear;
They breathe a soul to animate thy clay.
Bright Rapture calls, and soaring as she sings,
Waves in the eye of heav’n her many-coloured wings.

“The verse adorn again
Fierce War, and faithful Love,
And Truth severe, by fairy Fiction drest.
In buskined measures move
Pale Grief, and pleasing Pain,
With Horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast.
A voice, as of the cherub-choir,
Gales from blooming Eden bear;
And distant warblings lessen on my ear,
That lost in long futurity expire.
Fond impious man, think’st thou yon sanguine cloud,
Raised by thy breath, has quenched the orb of day?
Tomorrow he repairs the golden flood,
And warms the nations with redoubled ray.
Enough for me: with joy I see
The diff’rent doom our fates assign.
Be thine Despair and sceptred Care;
To triumph and to die are mine.”
He spoke, and headlong from the mountain’s height
Deep in the roaring tide he plunged to endless night.
cmy Feb 2013
The old oak tree grew at the edge,
of an orchard where little ones play,
and there lived a mage,
who hears trees on a windy day,

Rushing wind rustles leaves,
on that one day brilliant and bright,
With amber gold autumn grandeur on display,
singing tuneful songs delightfully light and gay,
Apple trees trilling events as mysterious as night,
Of love found and lost last May.
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
     The night above the ****** starry,
          Time let me hail and climb
     Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
          Trail with daisies and barley
     Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
     In the sun that is young once only,
          Time let me play and be
     Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
          And the sabbath rang slowly
     In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
     And playing, lovely and watery
          And fire green as grass.
     And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
     Flying with the ricks, and the horses
          Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the **** on his shoulder: it was all
     Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
          The sky gathered again
     And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
     Out of the whinnying green stable
          On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
     In the sun born over and over,
          I ran my heedless ways,
     My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
     Before the children green and golden
          Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would
                  take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
     In the moon that is always rising,
          Nor that riding to sleep
     I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
          Time held me green and dying
     Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
“It is the voice of years, that are gone! they roll before me, with
  all their deeds.”

  Ossian.


NEWSTEAD! fast-falling, once-resplendent dome!
Religion’s shrine! repentant HENRY’S pride!
Of Warriors, Monks, and Dames the cloister’d tomb,
Whose pensive shades around thy ruins glide,

Hail to thy pile! more honour’d in thy fall,
  Than modern mansions, in their pillar’d state;
Proudly majestic frowns thy vaulted hall,
  Scowling defiance on the blasts of fate.

No mail-clad Serfs, obedient to their Lord,
  In grim array, the crimson cross demand;
Or gay assemble round the festive board,
  Their chief’s retainers, an immortal band.

Else might inspiring Fancy’s magic eye
  Retrace their progress, through the lapse of time;
Marking each ardent youth, ordain’d to die,
  A votive pilgrim, in Judea’s clime.

But not from thee, dark pile! departs the Chief;
  His feudal realm in other regions lay:
In thee the wounded conscience courts relief,
  Retiring from the garish blaze of day.

Yes! in thy gloomy cells and shades profound,
  The monk abjur’d a world, he ne’er could view;
Or blood-stain’d Guilt repenting, solace found,
  Or Innocence, from stern Oppression, flew.

A Monarch bade thee from that wild arise,
  Where Sherwood’s outlaws, once, were wont to prowl;
And Superstition’s crimes, of various dyes,
  Sought shelter in the Priest’s protecting cowl.

Where, now, the grass exhales a murky dew,
  The humid pall of life-extinguish’d clay,
In sainted fame, the sacred Fathers grew,
  Nor raised their pious voices, but to pray.

Where, now, the bats their wavering wings extend,
  Soon as the gloaming spreads her waning shade;
The choir did, oft, their mingling vespers blend,
  Or matin orisons to Mary paid.

Years roll on years; to ages, ages yield;
  Abbots to Abbots, in a line, succeed:
Religion’s charter, their protecting shield,
  Till royal sacrilege their doom decreed.

One holy HENRY rear’d the Gothic walls,
  And bade the pious inmates rest in peace;
Another HENRY the kind gift recalls,
  And bids devotion’s hallow’d echoes cease.

Vain is each threat, or supplicating prayer;
  He drives them exiles from their blest abode,
To roam a dreary world, in deep despair—
  No friend, no home, no refuge, but their God.

Hark! how the hall, resounding to the strain,
  Shakes with the martial music’s novel din!
The heralds of a warrior’s haughty reign,
  High crested banners wave thy walls within.

Of changing sentinels the distant hum,
  The mirth of feasts, the clang of burnish’d arms,
The braying trumpet, and the hoarser drum,
  Unite in concert with increas’d alarms.

An abbey once, a regal fortress now,
  Encircled by insulting rebel powers;
War’s dread machines o’erhang thy threat’ning brow,
  And dart destruction, in sulphureous showers.

Ah! vain defence! the hostile traitor’s siege,
  Though oft repuls’d, by guile o’ercomes the brave;
His thronging foes oppress the faithful Liege,
  Rebellion’s reeking standards o’er him wave.

Not unaveng’d the raging Baron yields;
  The blood of traitors smears the purple plain;
Unconquer’d still, his falchion there he wields,
  And days of glory, yet, for him remain.

Still, in that hour, the warrior wish’d to strew
  Self-gather’d laurels on a self-sought grave;
But Charles’ protecting genius hither flew,
  The monarch’s friend, the monarch’s hope, to save.

Trembling, she ******’d him from th’ unequal strife,
  In other fields the torrent to repel;
For nobler combats, here, reserv’d his life,
  To lead the band, where godlike FALKLAND fell.

From thee, poor pile! to lawless plunder given,
  While dying groans their painful requiem sound,
Far different incense, now, ascends to Heaven,
  Such victims wallow on the gory ground.

There many a pale and ruthless Robber’s corse,
  Noisome and ghast, defiles thy sacred sod;
O’er mingling man, and horse commix’d with horse,
  Corruption’s heap, the savage spoilers trod.

Graves, long with rank and sighing weeds o’erspread,
  Ransack’d resign, perforce, their mortal mould:
From ruffian fangs, escape not e’en the dead,
  Racked from repose, in search for buried gold.

Hush’d is the harp, unstrung the warlike lyre,
  The minstrel’s palsied hand reclines in death;
No more he strikes the quivering chords with fire,
  Or sings the glories of the martial wreath.

At length the sated murderers, gorged with prey,
  Retire: the clamour of the fight is o’er;
Silence again resumes her awful sway,
  And sable Horror guards the massy door.

Here, Desolation holds her dreary court:
  What satellites declare her dismal reign!
Shrieking their dirge, ill-omen’d birds resort,
  To flit their vigils, in the hoary fane.

Soon a new Morn’s restoring beams dispel
  The clouds of Anarchy from Britain’s skies;
The fierce Usurper seeks his native hell,
  And Nature triumphs, as the Tyrant dies.

With storms she welcomes his expiring groans;
  Whirlwinds, responsive, greet his labouring breath;
Earth shudders, as her caves receive his bones,
  Loathing the offering of so dark a death.

The legal Ruler now resumes the helm,
  He guides through gentle seas, the prow of state;
Hope cheers, with wonted smiles, the peaceful realm,
  And heals the bleeding wounds of wearied Hate.

The gloomy tenants, Newstead! of thy cells,
  Howling, resign their violated nest;
Again, the Master on his tenure dwells,
  Enjoy’d, from absence, with enraptured zest.

Vassals, within thy hospitable pale,
  Loudly carousing, bless their Lord’s return;
Culture, again, adorns the gladdening vale,
  And matrons, once lamenting, cease to mourn.

A thousand songs, on tuneful echo, float,
  Unwonted foliage mantles o’er the trees;
And, hark! the horns proclaim a mellow note,
  The hunters’ cry hangs lengthening on the breeze.

Beneath their coursers’ hoofs the valleys shake;
  What fears! what anxious hopes! attend the chase!
The dying stag seeks refuge in the lake;
  Exulting shouts announce the finish’d race.

Ah happy days! too happy to endure!
  Such simple sports our plain forefathers knew:
No splendid vices glitter’d to allure;
  Their joys were many, as their cares were few.

From these descending, Sons to Sires succeed;
  Time steals along, and Death uprears his dart;
Another Chief impels the foaming steed,
  Another Crowd pursue the panting hart.

Newstead! what saddening change of scene is thine!
  Thy yawning arch betokens slow decay;
The last and youngest of a noble line,
  Now holds thy mouldering turrets in his sway.

Deserted now, he scans thy gray worn towers;
  Thy vaults, where dead of feudal ages sleep;
Thy cloisters, pervious to the wintry showers;
  These, these he views, and views them but to weep.

Yet are his tears no emblem of regret:
  Cherish’d Affection only bids them flow;
Pride, Hope, and Love, forbid him to forget,
  But warm his *****, with impassion’d glow.

Yet he prefers thee, to the gilded domes,
  Or gewgaw grottos, of the vainly great;
Yet lingers ’mid thy damp and mossy tombs,
  Nor breathes a murmur ‘gainst the will of Fate.

Haply thy sun, emerging, yet, may shine,
  Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;
Hours, splendid as the past, may still be thine,
  And bless thy future, as thy former day.
Apollo’s wrath to man the dreadful spring
Of ills innum’rous, tuneful goddess, sing!
Thou who did’st first th’ ideal pencil give,
And taught’st the painter in his works to live,
Inspire with glowing energy of thought,
What Wilson painted, and what Ovid wrote.
Muse! lend thy aid, nor let me sue in vain,
Tho’ last and meanest of the rhyming train!
O guide my pen in lofty strains to show
The Phrygian queen, all beautiful in woe.
  ’Twas where Maeonia spreads her wide domain
Niobe dwelt, and held her potent reign:
See in her hand the regal sceptre shine,
The wealthy heir of Tantalus divine,
He most distinguish’d by Dodonean Jove,
To approach the tables of the gods above:
Her grandsire Atlas, who with mighty pains
Th’ ethereal axis on his neck sustains:
Her other grandsire on the throne on high
Rolls the loud-pealing thunder thro’ the sky.
  Her spouse, Amphion, who from Jove too springs,
Divinely taught to sweep the sounding strings.
  Seven sprightly sons the royal bed adorn,
Seven daughters beauteous as the op’ning morn,
As when Aurora fills the ravish’d sight,
And decks the orient realms with rosy light
From their bright eyes the living splendors play,
Nor can beholders bear the flashing ray.
  Wherever, Niobe, thou turn’st thine eyes,
New beauties kindle, and new joys arise!
But thou had’st far the happier mother prov’d,
If this fair offspring had been less belov’d:
What if their charms exceed Aurora’s teint.
No words could tell them, and no pencil paint,
Thy love too vehement hastens to destroy
Each blooming maid, and each celestial boy.
  Now Manto comes, endu’d with mighty skill,
The past to explore, the future to reveal.
Thro’ Thebes’ wide streets Tiresia’s daughter came,
Divine Latona’s mandate to proclaim:
The Theban maids to hear the orders ran,
When thus Maeonia’s prophetess began:
  “Go, Thebans! great Latona’s will obey,
“And pious tribute at her altars pay:
“With rights divine, the goddess be implor’d,
“Nor be her sacred offspring unador’d.”
Thus Manto spoke.  The Theban maids obey,
And pious tribute to the goddess pay.
The rich perfumes ascend in waving spires,
And altars blaze with consecrated fires;
The fair assembly moves with graceful air,
And leaves of laurel bind the flowing hair.
  Niobe comes with all her royal race,
With charms unnumber’d, and superior grace:
Her Phrygian garments of delightful hue,
Inwove with gold, refulgent to the view,
Beyond description beautiful she moves
Like heav’nly Venus, ’midst her smiles and loves:
She views around the supplicating train,
And shakes her graceful head with stern disdain,
Proudly she turns around her lofty eyes,
And thus reviles celestial deities:
“What madness drives the Theban ladies fair
“To give their incense to surrounding air?
“Say why this new sprung deity preferr’d?
“Why vainly fancy your petitions heard?
“Or say why Caeus offspring is obey’d,
“While to my goddesship no tribute’s paid?
“For me no altars blaze with living fires,
“No bullock bleeds, no frankincense transpires,
“Tho’ Cadmus’ palace, not unknown to fame,
“And Phrygian nations all revere my name.
“Where’er I turn my eyes vast wealth I find,
“Lo! here an empress with a goddess join’d.
“What, shall a Titaness be deify’d,
“To whom the spacious earth a couch deny’d!
“Nor heav’n, nor earth, nor sea receiv’d your queen,
“Till pitying Delos took the wand’rer in.
“Round me what a large progeny is spread!
“No frowns of fortune has my soul to dread.
“What if indignant she decrease my train
“More than Latona’s number will remain;
“Then hence, ye Theban dames, hence haste away,
“Nor longer off’rings to Latona pay;
“Regard the orders of Amphion’s spouse,
“And take the leaves of laurel from your brows.”
Niobe spoke.  The Theban maids obey’d,
Their brows unbound, and left the rights unpaid.
  The angry goddess heard, then silence broke
On Cynthus’ summit, and indignant spoke;
“Phoebus! behold, thy mother in disgrace,
“Who to no goddess yields the prior place
“Except to Juno’s self, who reigns above,
“The spouse and sister of the thund’ring Jove.
“Niobe, sprung from Tantalus, inspires
“Each Theban ***** with rebellious fires;
“No reason her imperious temper quells,
“But all her father in her tongue rebels;
“Wrap her own sons for her blaspheming breath,
“Apollo! wrap them in the shades of death.”
Latona ceas’d, and ardent thus replies
The God, whose glory decks th’ expanded skies.
  “Cease thy complaints, mine be the task assign’d
“To punish pride, and scourge the rebel mind.”
This Phoebe join’d.—They wing their instant flight;
Thebes trembled as th’ immortal pow’rs alight.
  With clouds incompass’d glorious Phoebus stands;
The feather’d vengeance quiv’ring in his hands.
     Near Cadmus’ walls a plain extended lay,
Where Thebes’ young princes pass’d in sport the day:
There the bold coursers bounded o’er the plains,
While their great masters held the golden reins.
Ismenus first the racing pastime led,
And rul’d the fury of his flying steed.
“Ah me,” he sudden cries, with shrieking breath,
While in his breast he feels the shaft of death;
He drops the bridle on his courser’s mane,
Before his eyes in shadows swims the plain,
He, the first-born of great Amphion’s bed,
Was struck the first, first mingled with the dead.
  Then didst thou, Sipylus, the language hear
Of fate portentous whistling in the air:
As when th’ impending storm the sailor sees
He spreads his canvas to the fav’ring breeze,
So to thine horse thou gav’st the golden reins,
Gav’st him to rush impetuous o’er the plains:
But ah! a fatal shaft from Phoebus’ hand
Smites thro’ thy neck, and sinks thee on the sand.
  Two other brothers were at wrestling found,
And in their pastime claspt each other round:
A shaft that instant from Apollo’s hand
Transfixt them both, and stretcht them on the sand:
Together they their cruel fate bemoan’d,
Together languish’d, and together groan’d:
Together too th’ unbodied spirits fled,
And sought the gloomy mansions of the dead.
Alphenor saw, and trembling at the view,
Beat his torn breast, that chang’d its snowy hue.
He flies to raise them in a kind embrace;
A brother’s fondness triumphs in his face:
Alphenor fails in this fraternal deed,
A dart dispatch’d him (so the fates decreed:)
Soon as the arrow left the deadly wound,
His issuing entrails smoak’d upon the ground.
  What woes on blooming Damasichon wait!
His sighs portend his near impending fate.
Just where the well-made leg begins to be,
And the soft sinews form the supple knee,
The youth sore wounded by the Delian god
Attempts t’ extract the crime-avenging rod,
But, whilst he strives the will of fate t’ avert,
Divine Apollo sends a second dart;
Swift thro’ his throat the feather’d mischief flies,
Bereft of sense, he drops his head, and dies.
  Young Ilioneus, the last, directs his pray’r,
And cries, “My life, ye gods celestial! spare.”
Apollo heard, and pity touch’d his heart,
But ah! too late, for he had sent the dart:
Thou too, O Ilioneus, art doom’d to fall,
The fates refuse that arrow to recal.
  On the swift wings of ever flying Fame
To Cadmus’ palace soon the tidings came:
Niobe heard, and with indignant eyes
She thus express’d her anger and surprise:
“Why is such privilege to them allow’d?
“Why thus insulted by the Delian god?
“Dwells there such mischief in the pow’rs above?
“Why sleeps the vengeance of immortal Jove?”
For now Amphion too, with grief oppress’d,
Had plung’d the deadly dagger in his breast.
Niobe now, less haughty than before,
With lofty head directs her steps no more
She, who late told her pedigree divine,
And drove the Thebans from Latona’s shrine,
How strangely chang’d!—yet beautiful in woe,
She weeps, nor weeps unpity’d by the foe.
On each pale corse the wretched mother spread
Lay overwhelm’d with grief, and kiss’d her dead,
Then rais’d her arms, and thus, in accents slow,
“Be sated cruel Goddess! with my woe;
“If I’ve offended, let these streaming eyes,
“And let this sev’nfold funeral suffice:
“Ah! take this wretched life you deign’d to save,
“With them I too am carried to the grave.
“Rejoice triumphant, my victorious foe,
“But show the cause from whence your triumphs flow?
“Tho’ I unhappy mourn these children slain,
“Yet greater numbers to my lot remain.”
She ceas’d, the bow string twang’d with awful sound,
Which struck with terror all th’ assembly round,
Except the queen, who stood unmov’d alone,
By her distresses more presumptuous grown.
Near the pale corses stood their sisters fair
In sable vestures and dishevell’d hair;
One, while she draws the fatal shaft away,
Faints, falls, and sickens at the light of day.
To sooth her mother, lo! another flies,
And blames the fury of inclement skies,
And, while her words a filial pity show,
Struck dumb—indignant seeks the shades below.
Now from the fatal place another flies,
Falls in her flight, and languishes, and dies.
Another on her sister drops in death;
A fifth in trembling terrors yields her breath;
While the sixth seeks some gloomy cave in vain,
Struck with the rest, and mingled with the slain.
  One only daughter lives, and she the least;
The queen close clasp’d the daughter to her breast:
“Ye heav’nly pow’rs, ah spare me one,” she cry’d,
“Ah! spare me one,” the vocal hills reply’d:
In vain she begs, the Fates her suit deny,
In her embrace she sees her daughter die.
   “The queen of all her family bereft,
“Without or husband, son, or daughter left,
“Grew stupid at the shock.  The passing air
“Made no impression on her stiff’ning hair.
“The blood forsook her face: amidst the flood
“Pour’d from her cheeks, quite fix’d her eye-*****
  “stood.
“Her tongue, her palate both obdurate grew,
“Her curdled veins no longer motion knew;
“The use of neck, and arms, and feet was gone,
“And ev’n her bowels hard’ned into stone:
“A marble statue now the queen appears,
“But from the marble steal the silent tears.”
Awake, Æolian lyre, awake,
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings.
From Helicon’s harmonious springs
A thousand rills their mazy progress take:
The laughing flowers that round them blow
Drink life and fragrance as they flow.
Now the rich stream of Music winds along,
Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,
Thro’ verdant vales, and Ceres’ golden reign;
Now rolling down the steep amain,
Headlong, impetuous, see it pour;
The rocks and nodding groves re-bellow to the roar.

Oh! Sov’reign of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen Cares
And frantic Passions hear thy soft control.
On Thracia’s hills the Lord of War
Has curbed the fury of his car,
And dropt his thirsty lance at thy command.
Perching on the sceptred hand
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feathered king
With ruffled plumes and flagging wing:
Quenched in dark clouds of slumber lie
The terror of his beak, and lightnings of his eye.

Thee the voice, the dance, obey,
Tempered to thy warbled lay.
O’er Idalia’s velvet-green
The rosy-crowned Loves are seen
On Cytherea’s day,
With antic Sport, and blue-eyed Pleasures,
Frisking light in frolic measures;
Now pursuing, now retreating,
Now in circling troops they meet:
To brisk notes in cadence beating
Glance their many-twinkling feet.
Slow melting strains their Queen’s approach declare:
Where’er she turns the Graces homage pay.
With arms sublime that float upon the air
In gliding state she wins her easy way:
O’er her warm cheek and rising ***** move
The bloom of young Desire and purple light of Love.

Man’s feeble race what ills await!
Labour, and Penury, the racks of Pain,
Disease, and Sorrow’s weeping train,
And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate!
The fond complaint, my song, disprove,
And justify the laws of Jove.
Say, has he giv’n in vain the heav’nly Muse?
Night and all her sickly dews,
Her sceptres wan, and birds of boding cry,
He gives to range the dreary sky;
Till down the eastern cliffs afar
Hyperion’s march they spy, and glitt’ring shafts of war.

In climes beyond the solar road,
Where shaggy forms o’er ice-built mountains roam,
The Muse has broke the twilight gloom
To cheer the shivering Native’s dull abode.
And oft, beneath the od’rous shade
Of Chili’s boundless forests laid,
She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat,
In loose numbers wildly sweet,
Their feather-cinctured chiefs, and dusky loves.
Her track, where’er the Goddess roves,
Glory pursue, and gen’rous Shame,
Th’ unconquerable Mind, and Freedom’s holy flame.

Woods, that wave o’er Delphi’s steep,
Isles, that crown th’ Ægean deep,
Fields that cool Ilissus laves,
Or where Mæander’s amber waves
In lingering lab’rinths creep,
How do your tuneful echoes languish,
Mute, but to the voice of anguish!
Where each old poetic mountain
Inspiration breathed around;
Ev’ry shade and hallowed fountain
Murmured deep a solemn sound:
Till the sad Nine, in Greece’s evil hour,
Left their Parnassus for the Latian plains.
Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant Power,
And coward Vice, that revels in her chains.
When Latium had her lofty spirit lost,
They sought, Oh Albion! next thy sea-encircled coast.

Far from the sun and summer-gale,
In thy green lap was Nature’s Darling laid,
What time, where lucid Avon strayed,
To him the mighty mother did unveil
Her awful face: the dauntless child
Stretched forth his little arms, and smiled.
“This pencil take (she said), whose colours clear
Richly paint the vernal year:
Thine too these golden keys, immortal Boy!
This can unlock the gates of Joy;
Of Horror that, and thrilling Fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic Tears.”

Nor second he, that rode sublime
Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy,
The secrets of th’ Abyss to spy.
He passed the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living Throne, the sapphire-blaze,
Where Angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but, blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.
Behold where Dryden’s less presumptuous car
Wide o’er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race,
With necks in thunder clothed, and long-resounding pace.

Hark, his hands the lyre explore!
Bright-eyed Fancy, hovering o’er,
Scatters from her pictured urn
Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
But ah! ’tis heard no more—
Oh! Lyre divine, what daring Spirit
Wakes thee now? Though he inherit
Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,
That the Theban eagle bear,
Sailing with supreme dominion
Through the azure deep of air:
Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Such forms as glitter in the Muse’s ray,
With orient hues, unborrowed of the Sun:
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way
Beyond the limits of a ****** fate,
Beneath the Good how far—but far above the Great.
I
Thy trivial harp will never please
Or fill my craving ear;
Its chords should ring as blows the breeze,
Free, peremptory, clear.
No jingling serenader's art,
Nor ****** of piano strings,
Can make the wild blood start
In its mystic springs.
The kingly bard
Must smile the chords rudely and hard,
As with hammer or with mace;
That they may render back
Artful thunder, which conveys
Secrets of the solar track,
Sparks of the supersolar blaze.
Merlin's blows are strokes of fate,
Chiming with the forest tone,
When boughs buffet boughs in the wood;
Chiming with the gasp and moan
Of the ice-imprisoned hood;
With the pulse of manly hearts;
With the voice of orators;
With the din of city arts;
With the cannonade of wars;
With the marches of the brave;
And prayers of might from martyrs' cave.

Great is the art,
Great be the manners, of the bard.
He shall not his brain encumber
With the coil of rhythm and number;
But, leaving rule and pale forethought,
He shall aye climb
For his rhyme.
"Pass in, pass in," the angels say,
"In to the upper doors,
Nor count compartments of the floors,
But mount to paradise
By the stairway of surprise."

Blameless master of the games,
King of sport that never shames,
He shall daily joy dispense
Hid in song's sweet influence.
Forms more cheerly live and go,
What time the subtle mind
Sings aloud the tune whereto
Their pulses beat,
And march their feet,
And their members are combined.

By Sybarites beguiled,
He shall no task decline;
Merlin's mighty line
Extremes of nature reconciled,
Bereaved a tyrant of his will,
And made the lion mild.
Songs can the tempest still,
Scattered on the stormy air,
Mold the year to fair increase,
And bring in poetic peace.
He shall nor seek to weave,
In weak, unhappy times,
Efficacious rhymes;
Wait his returning strength.
Bird that from the nadir's floor
To the zenith's top can soar,
The roaring orbit of the muse exceeds that journey's length.
Nor profane affect to hit
Or compass that, by meddling wit,
Which only the propitious mind
Publishes when 'tis inclined.
There are open hours
When the God's will sallies free,
And the dull idiot might see
The flowing fortunes of a thousand years;
Sudden, at unawares,
Self-moved, fly-to the doors,
Nor sword of angels could reveal
What they conceal.

II
The rhyme of the poet
Modulates the king's affairs;
Balance-loving Nature
Made all things in pairs.
To every foot its antipode;
Each color with its counter glowed:
To every tone beat answering tones,
Higher or graver;
Flavor gladly blends with flavor;
Leaf answers leaf upon the bough;
And match the paired cotyledons.
Hands to hands, and feet to feet,
In one body grooms and brides;
Eldest rite, two married sides
In every mortal meet.
Light's far furnace shines,
Smelting ***** and bars,
Forging double stars,
Glittering twins and trines.
The animals are sick with love,
Lovesick with rhyme;
Each with all propitious Time
Into chorus wove.

Like the dancers' ordered band,
Thoughts come also hand in hand;
In equal couples mated,
Or else alternated;
Adding by their mutual gage,
One to other, health and age.
Solitary fancies go
Short-lived wandering to and ire,
Most like to bachelors,
Or an ungiven maid,
Nor ancestors,
With no posterity to make the lie afraid,
Or keep truth undecayed.
Perfect-paired as eagle's wings,
Justice is the rhyme of things;
Trade and counting use
The self-same tuneful muse;
And Nemesis,
Who with even matches odd,
Who athwart space redresses
The partial wrong,
Fills the just period,
And finishes the song.

Subtle rhymes, with ruin rife
Murmur in the hour of life,
Sung by the Sisters as they spin;
In perfect time and measure they
Build and unbuild our echoing clay.
As the two twilights of the day
Fold us music-drunken in.
Kemy Sep 2018
In Greek Mythology, Terpsichore “delight in dancing” was one of the nine Muses and goddess of dance and chorus. She is usually shown dancing and sometimes holding a lyre, accompanying the ballerinas’ choirs with her music

Close your eyes, relax the spaces of your mind
Delight in Dancing I give to you, practiced from the beginning of time
Terpsichore, the Greek Mythology Muse of dance and chores as I hold my lyre
Passion, lust, desire, graceful movements for the mind to inspire
Enticing the man’s **** flames of fire
No rhythm to engage, only your body, the essence of this muse, no cloth or Greek attire

The body enticement found in a wanton dance
The sum of ninety-three, the Thelema spiritual philosophy for a man to understand
Ancient dances to make the skies shed rain
Dancing in glee to escape life’s stinging pain
The muse within me guides your mind to move like the smooth flow of sand
A beautiful crusade to be shared between woman and man
Lucid, rumbustious, daring, as feet moves to the beat
As you hark unto the dance, as my lyre sets the energy of your soul free

Medicine, ceremonial, rituals, and entertainment dances to amuse
Terpsichore, the Greek Mythology Muse of sensual dances, no man could refuse
Under the silken covers time we reclaim
Two bodies seeking the carnal feast of its weakening fame
A private dance made for two lovers, my lyre discreet to be
Instilled passion under the moonlit, giving and receiving, the commencement of you and me

From the taste of my honey dripped lips
The dance of grace, elegance, seduction, the heart it eclipses
Clench me tighter and feel the alluring sway of my hips
The balance of my soft hands roaming over you, your body basking in the abyss of a wet slip
Linking my arms around your neck as we attune to this emotional dance
The lyre, my chorus backdrop, as the enticing moves heightens of this sultry romance

Allow the rhythm once inside as the elixir of love floats from you
Dip me slowly, worshipping my soul, losing your mind in the addictive moves
Body to body, feast of love found in the magnetic inviting grooves
Spinning me around, taking my mind pass the stars
Come into me as you taste Venus, dancing found under the planet Mars

I’m dizzy from the twirling thrill
Pull me closer, sinking deeper and deeper of your own free will
The rapture with the chorus of my tuneful lyre surrounding us, as time stands still
Feel the essence of my erratic heartbeat as it’s matching yours
Blissful finale of dancing bodies, sedated, perspiration seeps from pores
Breathless and content, as allowed me to take your mind for a sequestered tour  
Heart to heart
My lyre, when dancing with a love one, is a masterpiece work of art

I’ve danced in times of old with my lyre, the chorus played in sync on Mt. Olympics, to the Roman towers  
A woman’s greatest asset as she cajoles in a passionate dance, entrenched by the slow dancing power
Love comes in droves while whirling in the soft mist of a rain shower

Bedazzled under the once seductive poetic words of Horace
Terpsichore, the Greek Mythology Muse of dance heard with my lyre, and chorus
This poem is dedicated to anyone who has a love for Greek Mythology Muses, Gods or, Goddesses such as myself. I will post every now and then a Greek Mythology Muse, God, or Goddess.
Now the day is done,
Now the shepherd sun
Drives his white flocks from the sky;
Now the flowers rest
On their mother's breast,
Hushed by her low lullaby.

Now the glowworms glance,
Now the fireflies dance,
Under fern-boughs green and high;
And the western breeze
To the forest trees
Chants a tuneful lullaby.

Now 'mid shadows deep
Falls blessed sleep,
Like dew from the summer sky;
And the whole earth dreams,
In the moon's soft beams,
While night breathes a lullaby.

Now, birdlings, rest,
In your wind-rocked nest,
Unscared by the owl's shrill cry;
For with folded wings
Little Brier swings,
And singeth your lullaby.
Ye martial pow’rs, and all ye tuneful nine,
Inspire my song, and aid my high design.
The dreadful scenes and toils of war I write,
The ardent warriors, and the fields of fight:
You best remember, and you best can sing
The acts of heroes to the vocal string:
Resume the lays with which your sacred lyre,
Did then the poet and the sage inspire.
  Now front to front the armies were display’d,
Here Israel rang’d, and there the foes array’d;
The hosts on two opposing mountains stood,
Thick as the foliage of the waving wood;
Between them an extensive valley lay,
O’er which the gleaming armour pour’d the day,
When from the camp of the Philistine foes,
Dreadful to view, a mighty warrior rose;
In the dire deeds of bleeding battle skill’d,
The monster stalks the terror of the field.
From Gath he sprung, Goliath was his name,
Of fierce deportment, and gigantic frame:
A brazen helmet on his head was plac’d,
A coat of mail his form terrific grac’d,
The greaves his legs, the targe his shoulders prest:
Dreadful in arms high-tow’ring o’er the rest
A spear he proudly wav’d, whose iron head,
Strange to relate, six hundred shekels weigh’d;
He strode along, and shook the ample field,
While Phoebus blaz’d refulgent on his shield:
Through Jacob’s race a chilling horror ran,
When thus the huge, enormous chief began:
  “Say, what the cause that in this proud array
“You set your battle in the face of day?
“One hero find in all your vaunting train,
“Then see who loses, and who wins the plain;
“For he who wins, in triumph may demand
“Perpetual service from the vanquish’d land:
“Your armies I defy, your force despise,
“By far inferior in Philistia’s eyes:
“Produce a man, and let us try the fight,
“Decide the contest, and the victor’s right.”
  Thus challeng’d he: all Israel stood amaz’d,
And ev’ry chief in consternation gaz’d;
But Jesse’s son in youthful bloom appears,
And warlike courage far beyond his years:
He left the folds, he left the flow’ry meads,
And soft recesses of the sylvan shades.
Now Israel’s monarch, and his troops arise,
With peals of shouts ascending to the skies;
In Elah’s vale the scene of combat lies.
  When the fair morning blush’d with orient red,
What David’s fire enjoin’d the son obey’d,
And swift of foot towards the trench he came,
Where glow’d each ***** with the martial flame.
He leaves his carriage to another’s care,
And runs to greet his brethren of the war.
While yet they spake the giant-chief arose,
Repeats the challenge, and insults his foes:
Struck with the sound, and trembling at the view,
Affrighted Israel from its post withdrew.
“Observe ye this tremendous foe, they cry’d,
“Who in proud vaunts our armies hath defy’d:
“Whoever lays him prostrate on the plain,
“Freedom in Israel for his house shall gain;
“And on him wealth unknown the king will pour,
“And give his royal daughter for his dow’r.”
  Then Jesse’s youngest hope: “My brethren say,
“What shall be done for him who takes away
“Reproach from Jacob, who destroys the chief.
“And puts a period to his country’s grief.
“He vaunts the honours of his arms abroad,
“And scorns the armies of the living God.”
  Thus spoke the youth, th’ attentive people ey’d
The wond’rous hero, and again reply’d:
“Such the rewards our monarch will bestow,
“On him who conquers, and destroys his foe.”
  Eliab heard, and kindled into ire
To hear his shepherd brother thus inquire,
And thus begun: “What errand brought thee? say
“Who keeps thy flock? or does it go astray?
“I know the base ambition of thine heart,
“But back in safety from the field depart.”
  Eliab thus to Jesse’s youngest heir,
Express’d his wrath in accents most severe.
When to his brother mildly he reply’d.
“What have I done? or what the cause to chide?
  The words were told before the king, who sent
For the young hero to his royal tent:
Before the monarch dauntless he began,
“For this Philistine fail no heart of man:
“I’ll take the vale, and with the giant fight:
“I dread not all his boasts, nor all his might.”
When thus the king: “Dar’st thou a stripling go,
“And venture combat with so great a foe?
“Who all his days has been inur’d to fight,
“And made its deeds his study and delight:
“Battles and bloodshed brought the monster forth,
“And clouds and whirlwinds usher’d in his birth.”
When David thus: “I kept the fleecy care,
“And out there rush’d a lion and a bear;
“A tender lamb the hungry lion took,
“And with no other weapon than my crook
“Bold I pursu’d, and chas d him o’er the field,
“The prey deliver’d, and the felon ****’d:
“As thus the lion and the bear I slew,
“So shall Goliath fall, and all his crew:
“The God, who sav’d me from these beasts of prey,
“By me this monster in the dust shall lay.”
So David spoke.  The wond’ring king reply’d;
“Go thou with heav’n and victory on thy side:
“This coat of mail, this sword gird on,” he said,
And plac’d a mighty helmet on his head:
The coat, the sword, the helm he laid aside,
Nor chose to venture with those arms untry’d,
Then took his staff, and to the neighb’ring brook
Instant he ran, and thence five pebbles took.
Mean time descended to Philistia’s son
A radiant cherub, and he thus begun:
“Goliath, well thou know’st thou hast defy’d
“Yon Hebrew armies, and their God deny’d:
“Rebellious wretch! audacious worm! forbear,
“Nor tempt the vengeance of their God too far:
“Them, who with his Omnipotence contend,
“No eye shall pity, and no arm defend:
“Proud as thou art, in short liv’d glory great,
“I come to tell thee thine approaching fate.
“Regard my words.  The Judge of all the gods,
“Beneath whose steps the tow’ring mountain nods,
“Will give thine armies to the savage brood,
“That cut the liquid air, or range the wood.
“Thee too a well-aim’d pebble shall destroy,
“And thou shalt perish by a beardless boy:
“Such is the mandate from the realms above,
“And should I try the vengeance to remove,
“Myself a rebel to my king would prove.
“Goliath say, shall grace to him be shown,
“Who dares heav’ns Monarch, and insults his throne?”
  “Your words are lost on me,” the giant cries,
While fear and wrath contended in his eyes,
When thus the messenger from heav’n replies:
“Provoke no more Jehovah’s awful hand
“To hurl its vengeance on thy guilty land:
“He grasps the thunder, and, he wings the storm,
“Servants their sov’reign’s orders to perform.”
  The angel spoke, and turn’d his eyes away,
Adding new radiance to the rising day.
  Now David comes: the fatal stones demand
His left, the staff engag’d his better hand:
The giant mov’d, and from his tow’ring height
Survey’d the stripling, and disdain’d the fight,
And thus began: “Am I a dog with thee?
“Bring’st thou no armour, but a staff to me?
“The gods on thee their vollied curses pour,
“And beasts and birds of prey thy flesh devour.”
  David undaunted thus, “Thy spear and shield
“Shall no protection to thy body yield:
“Jehovah’s name———no other arms I bear,
“I ask no other in this glorious war.
“To-day the Lord of Hosts to me will give
“Vict’ry, to-day thy doom thou shalt receive;
“The fate you threaten shall your own become,
“And beasts shall be your animated tomb,
“That all the earth’s inhabitants may know
“That there’s a God, who governs all below:
“This great assembly too shall witness stand,
“That needs nor sword, nor spear, th’ Almighty’s
  hand:
“The battle his, the conquest he bestows,
“And to our pow’r consigns our hated foes.”
  Thus David spoke; Goliath heard and came
To meet the hero in the field of fame.
Ah! fatal meeting to thy troops and thee,
But thou wast deaf to the divine decree;
Young David meets thee, meets thee not in vain;
’Tis thine to perish on th’ ensanguin’d plain.
  And now the youth the forceful pebble slung
Philistia trembled as it whizz’d along:
In his dread forehead, where the helmet ends,
Just o’er the brows the well-aim’d stone descends,
It pierc’d the skull, and shatter’d all the brain,
Prone on his face he tumbled to the plain:
Goliath’s fall no smaller terror yields
Than riving thunders in aerial fields:
The soul still ling’red in its lov’d abode,
Till conq’ring David o’er the giant strode:
Goliath’s sword then laid its master dead,
And from the body hew’d the ghastly head;
The blood in gushing torrents drench’d the plains,
The soul found passage through the spouting veins.
  And now aloud th’ illustrious victor said,
“Where are your boastings now your champion’s
  “dead?”
Scarce had he spoke, when the Philistines fled:
But fled in vain; the conqu’ror swift pursu’d:
What scenes of slaughter! and what seas of blood!
There Saul thy thousands grasp’d th’ impurpled sand
In pangs of death the conquest of thine hand;
And David there were thy ten thousands laid:
Thus Israel’s damsels musically play’d.
  Near Gath and Edron many an hero lay,
Breath’d out their souls, and curs’d the light of day:
Their fury, quench’d by death, no longer burns,
And David with Goliath’s head returns,
To Salem brought, but in his tent he plac’d
The load of armour which the giant grac’d.
His monarch saw him coming from the war,
And thus demanded of the son of Ner.
“Say, who is this amazing youth?” he cry’d,
When thus the leader of the host reply’d;
“As lives thy soul I know not whence he sprung,
“So great in prowess though in years so young:”
“Inquire whose son is he,” the sov’reign said,
“Before whose conq’ring arm Philistia fled.”
Before the king behold the stripling stand,
Goliath’s head depending from his hand:
To him the king: “Say of what martial line
“Art thou, young hero, and what sire was thine?”
He humbly thus; “The son of Jesse I:
“I came the glories of the field to try.
“Small is my tribe, but valiant in the fight;
“Small is my city, but thy royal right.”
“Then take the promis’d gifts,” the monarch cry’d,
Conferring riches and the royal bride:
“Knit to my soul for ever thou remain
“With me, nor quit my regal roof again.”
I

There was an ancient City, stricken down
With a strange frenzy, and for many a day
They paced from morn to eve the crowded town,
And danced the night away.

I asked the cause: the aged man grew sad:
They pointed to a building gray and tall,
And hoarsely answered "Step inside, my lad,
And then you'll see it all."

Yet what are all such gaieties to me
Whose thoughts are full of indices and surds?

x*x + 7x + 53 = 11/3

But something whispered "It will soon be done:
Bands cannot always play, nor ladies smile:
Endure with patience the distasteful fun
For just a little while!"

A change came o'er my Vision - it was night:
We clove a pathway through a frantic throng:
The steeds, wild-plunging, filled us with affright:
The chariots whirled along.

Within a marble hall a river ran -
A living tide, half muslin and half cloth:
And here one mourned a broken wreath or fan,
Yet swallowed down her wrath;

And here one offered to a thirsty fair
(His words half-drowned amid those thunders tuneful)
Some frozen viand (there were many there),
A tooth-ache in each spoonful.

There comes a happy pause, for human strength
Will not endure to dance without cessation;
And every one must reach the point at length
Of absolute prostration.

At such a moment ladies learn to give,
To partners who would urge them over-much,
A flat and yet decided negative -
Photographers love such.

There comes a welcome summons - hope revives,
And fading eyes grow bright, and pulses quicken:
Incessant pop the corks, and busy knives
Dispense the tongue and chicken.

Flushed with new life, the crowd flows back again:
And all is tangled talk and mazy motion -
Much like a waving field of golden grain,
Or a tempestuous ocean.

And thus they give the time, that Nature meant
For peaceful sleep and meditative snores,
To ceaseless din and mindless merriment
And waste of shoes and floors.

And One (we name him not) that flies the flowers,
That dreads the dances, and that shuns the salads,
They doom to pass in solitude the hours,
Writing acrostic-ballads.

How late it grows! The hour is surely past
That should have warned us with its double knock?
The twilight wanes, and morning comes at last -
"Oh, Uncle, what's o'clock?"

The Uncle gravely nods, and wisely winks.
It MAY mean much, but how is one to know?
He opens his mouth - yet out of it, methinks,
No words of wisdom flow.

II

Empress of Art, for thee I twine
This wreath with all too slender skill.
Forgive my Muse each halting line,
And for the deed accept the will!

O day of tears! Whence comes this spectre grim,
Parting, like Death's cold river, souls that love?
Is not he bound to thee, as thou to him,
By vows, unwhispered here, yet heard above?

And still it lives, that keen and heavenward flame,
Lives in his eye, and trembles in his tone:
And these wild words of fury but proclaim
A heart that beats for thee, for thee alone!

But all is lost: that mighty mind o'erthrown,
Like sweet bells jangled, piteous sight to see!
"Doubt that the stars are fire," so runs his moan,
"Doubt Truth herself, but not my love for thee!"

A sadder vision yet: thine aged sire
Shaming his hoary locks with treacherous wile!
And dost thou now doubt Truth to be a liar?
And wilt thou die, that hast forgot to smile?

Nay, get thee hence! Leave all thy winsome ways
And the faint fragrance of thy scattered flowers:
In holy silence wait the appointed days,
And weep away the leaden-footed hours.

III.

The air is bright with hues of light
And rich with laughter and with singing:
Young hearts beat high in ecstasy,
And banners wave, and bells are ringing:
But silence falls with fading day,
And there's an end to mirth and play.
Ah, well-a-day

Rest your old bones, ye wrinkled crones!
The kettle sings, the firelight dances.
Deep be it quaffed, the magic draught
That fills the soul with golden fancies!
For Youth and Pleasance will not stay,
And ye are withered, worn, and gray.
Ah, well-a-day!

O fair cold face! O form of grace,
For human passion madly yearning!
O weary air of dumb despair,
From marble won, to marble turning!
"Leave us not thus!" we fondly pray.
"We cannot let thee pass away!"
Ah, well-a-day!

IV.

My First is singular at best:
More plural is my Second:
My Third is far the pluralest -
So plural-plural, I protest
It scarcely can be reckoned!

My First is followed by a bird:
My Second by believers
In magic art: my simple Third
Follows, too often, hopes absurd
And plausible deceivers.

My First to get at wisdom tries -
A failure melancholy!
My Second men revered as wise:
My Third from heights of wisdom flies
To depths of frantic folly.

My First is ageing day by day:
My Second's age is ended:
My Third enjoys an age, they say,
That never seems to fade away,
Through centuries extended.

My Whole? I need a poet's pen
To paint her myriad phases:
The monarch, and the slave, of men -
A mountain-summit, and a den
Of dark and deadly mazes -

A flashing light - a fleeting shade -
Beginning, end, and middle
Of all that human art hath made
Or wit devised! Go, seek HER aid,
If you would read my riddle!
Poet and saint!  to thee alone are given
The two most sacred names of earth and heaven;
The hard and rarest union which can be,
Next that of Godhead with humanity.
Long did the Muses banished slaves abide,
And built vain pyramids to mortal pride;
Like Moses thou, though spells and charms withstand,
Hast brought them nobly home, back to their Holy Land.

Ah, wretched we, poets of earth! but thou
Wert, living, the same poet which thou ‘rt now
Whilst angels sing to thee their airs divine,
And joy in an applause so great as thine.
Equal society with them to hold,
Thou need’d not make new songs, but say the old,
And they, kind spirits, shall all rejoice to see
How little less than they exalted man may be.
Still the old heathen gods in numbers swell,
The heav’nliest thing on earth still keeps up hell;
Nor have we yet quite purged the Christian land,
Still idols here, like calves at Bethel, stand,
And though Pan’s death long since all oracles broke,
Yet still in rhyme the fiend Apollo spoke;
Nay, with the worst of heathen dotage, we,
Vain men, the monster woman deify,
Find stars and tie our fates there in a face,
And paradise in them by whom we lost it, place.
What different faults corrupt our muses thus?
Wanton as girls, as old wives fabulous!

Thy spotless muse, like Mary, did contain
The boundless Godhead; she did well disdain
That her eternal verse employed should be
On a less subject than eternity,
And for a sacred mistress scorned to take
But her whom God himself scorned not his spouse to make.
It, in a kind, her miracle did do:
A fruitful mother was, and ****** too.

How well, blest swan, did fate contrive thy death,
And made thee render up thy tuneful breath
In thy great mistress’ arms, thou most divine
And richest off’ring of Loretto’s shrine!
Where like some holy sacrifice t’ expire,
A fever burns thee,  and love lights the fire.
Angels, they say, brought the famed chapel there,
And bore the sacred load in triumph through the air;
’Tis surer much they brought thee there, and they
And thou, their charge, went singing all the way.

Pardon, my mother church, if I consent
That angels led him when from thee he went,
For even in error sure no danger is
When joined with so much piety as his.
Ah, mighty God! (with shame I speak ‘t, and grief),
Ah, that our greatest faults were in belief!
And our weak reason were ev’n weaker yet,
Rather than thus, our wills too strong for it.
His faith perhaps in some nice tenents might
Be wrong; his life, I’m sure, was in the right.
And I myself a Catholic will be,
So far at least, great saint, to pray to thee.

Hail, bard triumphant! and some care bestow
On us, the poets militant below,
Opposed by our old en’my, adverse chance,
Attacked by envy and by ignorance,
Enchained by beauty, tortured by desires,
Exposed by tyrant love to savage beasts and fires.
Thou from low earth in nobler flames didst rise,
And like Elijah mount alive the skies.
Elisha-like (but with a wish much less,
More fit thy greatness and my littleness),
Lo, here I beg (I whom thou once didst prove
So humble to esteem, so good to love)
Not that thy spirit might on me doubled be,
I ask but half thy mighty spirit for me;
And when my muse soars with so strong a wing,
’Twill learn of things divine, and first of thee to sing.
Long ago in a poultry yard
One dull November morn,
Beneath a motherly soft wing
A little goose was born.

Who straightway peeped out of the shell
To view the world beyond,
Longing at once to sally forth
And paddle in the pond.

"Oh! be not rash," her father said,
A mild Socratic bird;
Her mother begged her not to stray
With many a warning word.

But little goosey was perverse,
And eagerly did cry,
"I've got a lovely pair of wings,
Of course I ought to fly."

In vain parental cacklings,
In vain the cold sky's frown,
Ambitious goosey tried to soar,
But always tumbled down.

The farmyard jeered at her attempts,
The peacocks screamed, "Oh fie!
You're only a domestic goose,
So don't pretend to fly."

Great ****-a-doodle from his perch
Crowed daily loud and clear,
"Stay in the puddle, foolish bird,
That is your proper sphere,"

The ducks and hens said, one and all,
In gossip by the pool,
"Our children never play such pranks;
My dear, that fowl's a fool."

The owls came out and flew about,
Hooting above the rest,
"No useful egg was ever hatched
From transcendental nest."

Good little goslings at their play
And well-conducted chicks
Were taught to think poor goosey's flights
Were naughty, ill-bred tricks.

They were content to swim and scratch,
And not at all inclined
For any wild goose chase in search
Of something undefined.

Hard times she had as one may guess,
That young aspiring bird,
Who still from every fall arose
Saddened but undeterred.

She knew she was no nightingale
Yet spite of much abuse,
She longed to help and cheer the world,
Although a plain gray goose

She could not sing, she could not fly,
Nor even walk, with grace,
And all the farmyard had declared
A puddle was her place.

But something stronger than herself
Would cry, "Go on, go on!
Remember, though an humble fowl,
You're cousin to a swan."

So up and down poor goosey went,
A busy, hopeful bird.
Searched many wide unfruitful fields,
And many waters stirred.

At length she came unto a stream
Most fertile of all Niles,
Where tuneful birds might soar and sing
Among the leafy isles.

Here did she build a little nest
Beside the waters still,
Where the parental goose could rest
Unvexed by any bill.

And here she paused to smooth her plumes,
Ruffled by many plagues;
When suddenly arose the cry,
"This goose lays golden eggs."

At once the farmyard was agog;
The ducks began to quack;
Prim Guinea fowls relenting called,
"Come back, come back, come back."

Great chanticleer was pleased to give
A patronizing crow,
And the contemptuous biddies clucked,
"I wish my chicks did so."

The peacocks spread their shining tails,
And cried in accents soft,
"We want to know you, gifted one,
Come up and sit aloft."

Wise owls awoke and gravely said,
With proudly swelling *******,
"Rare birds have always been evoked
From transcendental nests!"

News-hunting turkeys from afar
Now ran with all thin legs
To gobble facts and fictions of
The goose with golden eggs.

But best of all the little fowls
Still playing on the shore,
Soft downy chicks and goslings gay,
Chirped out, "Dear Goose, lay more."

But goosey all these weary years
Had toiled like any ant,
And wearied out she now replied
"My little dears, I can't.

"When I was starving, half this corn
Had been of vital use,
Now I am surfeited with food
Like any Strasbourg goose."

So to escape too many friends,
Without uncivil strife,
She ran to the Atlantic pond
And paddled for her life.

Soon up among the grand old Alps
She found two blessed things,
The health she had so nearly lost,
And rest for weary limbs.

But still across the briny deep
Couched in most friendly words,
Came prayers for letters, tales, or verse
From literary birds.

Whereat the renovated fowl
With grateful thanks profuse,
Took from her wing a quill and wrote
This lay of a Golden Goose.
Meanwhile the new-baptized, who yet remained
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen
Him whom they heard so late expressly called
Jesus Messiah, Son of God, declared,
And on that high authority had believed,
And with him talked, and with him lodged—I mean
Andrew and Simon, famous after known,
With others, though in Holy Writ not named—
Now missing him, their joy so lately found,
So lately found and so abruptly gone,                      
Began to doubt, and doubted many days,
And, as the days increased, increased their doubt.
Sometimes they thought he might be only shewn,
And for a time caught up to God, as once
Moses was in the Mount and missing long,
And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels
Rode up to Heaven, yet once again to come.
Therefore, as those young prophets then with care
Sought lost Eliah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara—in Jericho                              
The city of palms, AEnon, and Salem old,
Machaerus, and each town or city walled
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
Or in Peraea—but returned in vain.
Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek,
Where winds with reeds and osiers whispering play,
Plain fishermen (no greater men them call),
Close in a cottage low together got,
Their unexpected loss and plaints outbreathed:—
  “Alas, from what high hope to what relapse                
Unlooked for are we fallen!  Our eyes beheld
Messiah certainly now come, so long
Expected of our fathers; we have heard
His words, his wisdom full of grace and truth.
‘Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand;
The kingdom shall to Israel be restored:’
Thus we rejoiced, but soon our joy is turned
Into perplexity and new amaze.
For whither is he gone? what accident
Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire                  
After appearance, and again prolong
Our expectation?  God of Israel,
Send thy Messiah forth; the time is come.
Behold the kings of the earth, how they oppress
Thy Chosen, to what highth their power unjust
They have exalted, and behind them cast
All fear of Thee; arise, and vindicate
Thy glory; free thy people from their yoke!
But let us wait; thus far He hath performed—
Sent his Anointed, and to us revealed him                  
By his great Prophet pointed at and shown
In public, and with him we have conversed.
Let us be glad of this, and all our fears
Lay on his providence; He will not fail,
Nor will withdraw him now, nor will recall—
Mock us with his blest sight, then ****** him hence:
Soon we shall see our hope, our joy, return.”
  Thus they out of their plaints new hope resume
To find whom at the first they found unsought.
But to his mother Mary, when she saw                        
Others returned from baptism, not her Son,
Nor left at Jordan tidings of him none,
Within her breast though calm, her breast though pure,
Motherly cares and fears got head, and raised
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad:—
  “Oh, what avails me now that honour high,
To have conceived of God, or that salute,
‘Hail, highly favoured, among women blest!’
While I to sorrows am no less advanced,
And fears as eminent above the lot                          
Of other women, by the birth I bore:
In such a season born, when scarce a shed
Could be obtained to shelter him or me
From the bleak air?  A stable was our warmth,
A manger his; yet soon enforced to fly
Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king
Were dead, who sought his life, and, missing, filled
With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem.
From Egypt home returned, in Nazareth
Hath been our dwelling many years; his life                
Private, unactive, calm, contemplative,
Little suspicious to any king.  But now,
Full grown to man, acknowledged, as I hear,
By John the Baptist, and in public shewn,
Son owned from Heaven by his Father’s voice,
I looked for some great change.  To honour? no;
But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold,
That to the fall and rising he should be
Of many in Israel, and to a sign
Spoken against—that through my very soul                  
A sword shall pierce.  This is my favoured lot,
My exaltation to afflictions high!
Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest!
I will not argue that, nor will repine.
But where delays he now?  Some great intent
Conceals him.  When twelve years he scarce had seen,
I lost him, but so found as well I saw
He could not lose himself, but went about
His Father’s business.  What he meant I mused—
Since understand; much more his absence now                
Thus long to some great purpose he obscures.
But I to wait with patience am inured;
My heart hath been a storehouse long of things
And sayings laid up, pretending strange events.”
  Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind
Recalling what remarkably had passed
Since first her Salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly composed awaited the fulfilling:
The while her Son, tracing the desert wild,
Sole, but with holiest meditations fed,                    
Into himself descended, and at once
All his great work to come before him set—
How to begin, how to accomplish best
His end of being on Earth, and mission high.
For Satan, with sly preface to return,
Had left him vacant, and with speed was gone
Up to the middle region of thick air,
Where all his Potentates in council sate.
There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy,
Solicitous and blank, he thus began:—                      
  “Princes, Heaven’s ancient Sons, AEthereal Thrones—
Daemonian Spirits now, from the element
Each of his reign allotted, rightlier called
Powers of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth beneath
(So may we hold our place and these mild seats
Without new trouble!)—such an enemy
Is risen to invade us, who no less
Threatens than our expulsion down to Hell.
I, as I undertook, and with the vote
Consenting in full frequence was impowered,                
Have found him, viewed him, tasted him; but find
Far other labour to be undergone
Than when I dealt with Adam, first of men,
Though Adam by his wife’s allurement fell,
However to this Man inferior far—
If he be Man by mother’s side, at least
With more than human gifts from Heaven adorned,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am returned, lest confidence                    
Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure
Of like succeeding here.  I summon all
Rather to be in readiness with hand
Or counsel to assist, lest I, who erst
Thought none my equal, now be overmatched.”
  So spake the old Serpent, doubting, and from all
With clamour was assured their utmost aid
At his command; when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest Spirit that fell,                  
The sensualest, and, after Asmodai,
The fleshliest Incubus, and thus advised:—
  “Set women in his eye and in his walk,
Among daughters of men the fairest found.
Many are in each region passing fair
As the noon sky, more like to goddesses
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet,
Expert in amorous arts, enchanting tongues
Persuasive, ****** majesty with mild
And sweet allayed, yet terrible to approach,                
Skilled to retire, and in retiring draw
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the power to soften and tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged’st brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve,
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, resolutest breast,
As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguiled the heart
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build,                      
And made him bow, to the gods of his wives.”
  To whom quick answer Satan thus returned:—
“Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh’st
All others by thyself.  Because of old
Thou thyself doat’st on womankind, admiring
Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace,
None are, thou think’st, but taken with such toys.
Before the Flood, thou, with thy ***** crew,
False titled Sons of God, roaming the Earth,
Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men,                  
And coupled with them, and begot a race.
Have we not seen, or by relation heard,
In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk’st,
In wood or grove, by mossy fountain-side,
In valley or green meadow, to waylay
Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene,
Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa,
Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more
Too long—then lay’st thy scapes on names adored,
Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,                          
Satyr, or Faun, or Silvan?  But these haunts
Delight not all.  Among the sons of men
How many have with a smile made small account
Of beauty and her lures, easily scorned
All her assaults, on worthier things intent!
Remember that Pellean conqueror,
A youth, how all the beauties of the East
He slightly viewed, and slightly overpassed;
How he surnamed of Africa dismissed,
In his prime youth, the fair Iberian maid.                  
For Solomon, he lived at ease, and, full
Of honour, wealth, high fare, aimed not beyond
Higher design than to enjoy his state;
Thence to the bait of women lay exposed.
But he whom we attempt is wiser far
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Made and set wholly on the accomplishment
Of greatest things.  What woman will you find,
Though of this age the wonder and the fame,
On whom his leisure will voutsafe an eye                    
Of fond desire?  Or should she, confident,
As sitting queen adored on Beauty’s throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
To enamour, as the zone of Venus once
Wrought that effect on Jove (so fables tell),
How would one look from his majestic brow,
Seated as on the top of Virtue’s hill,
Discountenance her despised, and put to rout
All her array, her female pride deject,
Or turn to reverent awe!  For Beauty stands                
In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive; cease to admire, and all her plumes
Fall flat, and shrink into a trivial toy,
At every sudden slighting quite abashed.
Therefore with manlier objects we must try
His constancy—with such as have more shew
Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise
(Rocks whereon greatest men have oftest wrecked);
Or that which only seems to satisfy
Lawful desires of nature, not beyond.                      
And now I know he hungers, where no food
Is to be found, in the wide Wilderness:
The rest commit to me; I shall let pass
No advantage, and his strength as oft assay.”
  He ceased, and heard their grant in loud acclaim;
Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band
Of Spirits likest to himself in guile,
To be at hand and at his beck appear,
If cause were to unfold some active scene
Of various persons, each to know his part;                  
Then to the desert takes with these his flight,
Where still, from shade to shade, the Son of God,
After forty days’ fasting, had remained,
Now hungering first, and to himself thus said:—
  “Where will this end?  Four times ten days I have passed
Wandering this woody maze, and human food
Nor tasted, nor had appetite.  That fast
To virtue I impute not, or count part
Of what I suffer here.  If nature need not,
Or God support nature without repast,                      
Though needing, what praise is it to endure?
But now I feel I hunger; which declares
Nature hath need of what she asks.  Yet God
Can satisfy that need some other way,
Though hunger still remain.  So it remain
Without this body’s wasting, I content me,
And from the sting of famine fear no harm;
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed
Me hungering more to do my Father’s will.”
  It was the hour of night, when thus the Son              
Communed in silent walk, then laid him down
Under the hospitable covert nigh
Of trees thick interwoven.  There he slept,
And dreamed, as appetite is wont to dream,
Of meats and drinks, nature’s refreshment sweet.
Him thought he by the brook of Cherith stood,
And saw the ravens with their ***** beaks
Food to Elijah bringing even and morn—
Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they brought;
He saw the Prophet also, how he fled                        
Into the desert, and how there he slept
Under a juniper—then how, awaked,
He found his supper on the coals prepared,
And by the Angel was bid rise and eat,
And eat the second time after repose,
The strength whereof sufficed him forty days:
Sometimes that with Elijah he partook,
Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse.
Thus wore out night; and now the harald Lark
Left his ground-nest, high towering to descry              
The Morn’s approach, and greet her with his song.
As lightly from his grassy couch up rose
Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream;
Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting waked.
Up to a hill anon his steps he reared,
From whose high top to ken the prospect round,
If cottage were in view, sheep-cote, or herd;
But cottage, herd, or sheep-cote, none he saw—
Only in a bottom saw a pleasant grove,
With chaunt of tuneful birds resounding loud.              
Thither he bent his way, determined there
To rest at noon, and entered soon the shade
High-roofed, and walks beneath, and alleys brown,
That opened in the midst a woody scene;
Nature’s own work it seemed (Nature taught Art),
And, to a superstitious eye, the haunt
Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs.  He viewed it round;
When suddenly a man before him stood,
Not rustic a
O Venus, beauty of the skies,
To whom a thousand temples rise,
Gaily false in gentle smiles,
Full of love-perplexing wiles;
O goddess, from my heart remove
The wasting cares and pains of love.

If ever thou hast kindly heard
A song in soft distress preferred,
Propitious to my tuneful vow,
A gentle goddess, hear me now.
Descend, thou bright immortal guest,
In all thy radiant charms confessed.

Thou once didst leave almighty Jove
And all the golden roofs above:
The car thy wanton sparrows drew,
Hovering in air they lightly flew;
As to my bower they winged their way
I saw their quivering pinions play.

The birds dismissed (while you remain)
Bore back their empty car again:
Then you, with looks divinely mild,
In every heavenly feature smiled,
And asked what new complaints I made,
And why I called you to my aid?

What frenzy in my ***** raged,
And by what cure to be assuaged?
What gentle youth I would allure,
Whom in my artful toils secure?
Who does thy tender heart subdue,
Tell me, my Sappho, tell me who?

Though now he shuns thy longing arms,
He soon shall court thy slighted charms;
Though now thy offerings he despise,
He soon to thee shall sacrifice;
Though now he freezes, he soon shall burn,
And be thy victim in his turn.

Celestial visitant, once more
Thy needful presence I implore.
In pity come, and ease my grief,
Bring my distempered soul relief,
Favour thy suppliant's hidden fires,
And give me all my heart desires.
Strange and unnatural! lets stay and see
        This Pageant of a Prodigie.
Lo, of themselves th’enlivened Chesmen move,
Lo, the unbred, ill-*****’d Pieces prove,
        As full of Art, and Industrie,
        Of Courage and of Policie,
As we our selves who think ther’s nothing Wise but We.
        Here a proud Pawn I’admire
        That still advancing higher
        At top of all became
        Another Thing and Name.
Here I’m amaz’ed at th’actions of a Knight,
        That does bold wonders in the fight.
        Here I the losing party blame
        For those false Moves that break the Game,
That to their Grave the Bag, the conquered Pieces bring,
And above all, th’ ill Conduct of the Mated King.
What e’re these seem, what e’re Philosophie
        And Sense or Reason tell (said I)
These Things have Life, Election, Libertie;
        ’Tis their own Wisdom molds their State,
        Their Faults and Virtues make their Fate.
        They do, they do (said I) but strait
Lo from my’enlightned Eyes the Mists and shadows fell
That hinder Spirits from being Visible.
And, lo, I saw two Angels plaid the Mate.
With Man, alas, no otherwise it proves,
    An unseen Hand makes all their Moves.
        And some are Great, and some are Small,
Some climb to good, some from good Fortune fall,
        Some Wisemen, and some Fools we call,
Figures, alas, of Speech, for Desti’ny plays us all.

Me from the womb the Midwife Muse did take:
She cut my Navel, washt me, and mine Head
        With her own Hands she Fashioned;
        She did a Covenant with me make,
And circumcis’ed my tender Soul, and thus she spake,
        Thou of my Church shalt be,
        Hate and renounce (said she)
Wealth, Honor, Pleasures, all the World for Me
Thou neither great at Court, nor in the War,
Nor at th’ Exchange shalt be, nor at the wrangling Bar.
Content thy self with the small Barren Praise,
        That neglected Verse does raise.
    She spake, and all my years to come
        Took their unlucky Doom.
Their several ways of Life let others chuse,
    Their several pleasures let them use,
But I was born for Love, and for a Muse.
        With Fate what boots it to contend?
Such I began, such am, and so must end.
        The Star that did my Being frame,
        Was but a Lambent Flame,
        And some small Light it did dispence,
        But neither Heat nor Influence.
No Matter, Cowley, let proud Fortune see,
That thou canst her despise no less then she does Thee.
        Let all her gifts the portion be
        Of Folly, Lust, and Flattery,
        Fraud, Extortion, Calumnie,
        ******, Infidelitie,
        Rebellion and Hypocrisie.
    Do Thou nor grieve nor blush to be,
    As all th’inspired tuneful Men,
And all thy great Forefathers were from Homer down to Ben.
Simon Soane Dec 2018
In 1410 the village of Little Darling was a pretty nice place to live,
it’s houses were stout and wonderful and the people had lots to give,
the lord who owned the area was benevolent, he never ruled with an iron claw,
he spoke with softness and kindness, not knowing a cajoling roar,
he left the people to get on with their lives, unless they needed a helping hand
and then he’d be there to provide a peg up somewhere in his land.
Because of this the folk who made home here had it better then most peasants from this time,
who were condemned to a life of grinding servitude as if their living was a crime,
they were happier and joyful and free from the toil of subjugate,
each second was a pleasure and every minute spent first rate,
however there was one thing they shared with those who spent every day under the cosh;
everyone was filthy, no one liked to wash.
Only about once every 10 days would they pull bathing water from the well,
If they were especially filthy and their stink they wished to quell,
the rest of the time they didn’t care that they resembled a muddy shrub,
or their faces were still covered in last weekend’s off grub,
nor did they think it mattered if their hair was a matted mucky mess
or that compost heap didn’t smell more than their locks, it actually smelt less,
to them water was mainly a drink when their mouths were feeling parched and shoddy,
not a soothing liquid  with which to  cleanse their body.
Everyone in Little Darling didn’t mind being ***** and looking a unhygienic fright,
actually not everyone, everyone’s not quite right.
Alice always wondered why folk didn’t wash
and that’s not because she wanted everyone to be pretty, pristine and posh,
she just pondered as she daily made herself all gleam,
“why does nobody else round here care about being clean?
They all wallow around in their own filth like a burrowed germ,
more buried in soil than a busy earth worm,
I don’t get when there is plentiful water from wells not that far away
why don’t they dose themselves in the aqua good at any point in the day?
She thought, “Of course it’s their own life and if you never harm anyone else you can never do anything wrong,
but how how how can they fester in their own awful pong?”
So every day Alice would get up before she heard the going to work bell
and go and fetch some water to cleanse herself of smell,
she’d make herself all fresh and totally sans of grit and straw
and revel in the gleam she had coming out of every pore.
Everyone else in Little Darling all thought Alice was great,
a truly smashing lass who had tons of friends and mates,
yeah sometimes they’d remark to her “I don’t get your penchant for keeping yourself immaculate if I had to say
but who cares, I love you, have a fantastic day!”
And yes due to the mud in the village sometimes Alice would get herself all shiny and within a couple of hours look like she’d just crawled out of a cave,
but she didn’t mind as starting the day with a sparkle was what she did crave!
One fine day the folk of Little Darling decided to throw a big party as they adored a drink, a chat and a jive,
just have a massive night of  dancing, where they could give appreciation for being alive,
as Little Darling was a ace place they invited another village to join in the hedonism,
as they wanted folk to bask in hours through a wonderful prism!
When Alice heard news of the shindig she let out a chirping coo,
as revelling in the realm of fun was what she was really made to do!
As the week whiled to an end the day of the party came,
Alice could hardly contain herself as carousing ran through her brain,
she picked out her favourite garments feeling all of a super gathering quiver,
and then full of beans moseyed on down to the river,
she washed away with gusto and dressed all primed to go out,
“I’m on my way to get down and groove!” was her gleeful shout.
She started making her path to the good times, feeling all content,
she couldn’t wait to be immersed in the hub of blazing merriment,
as she was walking to the barn where the party was she encountered others making their journey to fun,
lit they all were by the going down sun,
someone said “hey Alice, I reckon you’ve spent an eternity scrubbing yourself for this bash”,
another said “yeah, I bet you’ve wasted hours by the river to get yourself prepared for this night on the lash!”
Alice replied and remarked, “yes I may have used my time getting myself ready and not been able to enjoy the chills and sits
but at least I don’t have hay in my hair like you ******* smelly *****!”
Everyone burst out laughing and happy all skipped to the revelry,
the slow dusk sky reflecting calm as far as the eye could see.
They jaunted into the barn with the music already in full swing,
the harp, drum, lute and trumpet players all doing their tuneful thing,
Alice grabbed a jar of foaming ale and started moving her body to the beats,
each noise in the air a consummate amazing treat!
Then from out of the corner of her eye she spotted a guy with dancing around in the air,
who'd cleaned his garb,
and washed his hair!
Alice thought "Wow! That guy doesn't look like his stench would make my opticals weepy,
in actual fact he makes my heart all leapy!"
They saw each other and felt swirls and sparks,
a knowing of what could and will be lover’s larks,
a chance they both knew could never be missed
and finalised their first look synchronicity with a longing kiss.
Everybody else stopped,
turned to look,
and knew a little bit more about
loves' rushing roars,
and couldn't help but breaking out
into a round of applause.
Alice felt a dawn,
reciprocated the smile of her fresh guy
and hand in hand they left the barn,
on their lips a glimpse of forever,
and went to find a empty stable,
where they could become all
***** together.
Audrey Howitt Oct 2011
You are my heart and upon it
I have etched my secret hopes for you:
My hope that you burn brightly, and long—
That your most heartfelt desires lash themselves
Upon the winds of passion
And that your heart’s love flows
Out of eyes and mouth to the tuneful ears
Of those who surround you.
That hope survives and blooms in the inclement weather
Of disappointment—
That you find and etch your secret desires
For your own child—
And that when I am gone,
That in a flowering corner of your soul
That you feel my love for you—


Copyright/All Rights Reserved Audrey Howitt 2011
Long I followed happy guides,—
I could never reach their sides.
Their step is forth, and, ere the day,
Breaks up their leaguer, and away.
Keen my sense, my heart was young,
Right goodwill my sinews strung,
But no speed of mine avails
To hunt upon their shining trails.
On and away, their hasting feet
Make the morning proud and sweet.
Flowers they strew, I catch the scent,
Or tone of silver instrument
Leaves on the wind melodious trace,
Yet I could never see their face.
On eastern hills I see their smokes
Mixed with mist by distant lochs.
I meet many travellers
Who the road had surely kept,—
They saw not my fine revellers,—
These had crossed them while they slept.
Some had heard their fair report
In the country or the court.
Fleetest couriers alive
Never yet could once arrive,
As they went or they returned,
At the house where these sojourned.
Sometimes their strong speed they slacken,
Though they are not overtaken:
In sleep, their jubilant troop is near,
I tuneful voices overhear,
It may be in wood or waste,—
At unawares 'tis come and passed.
Their near camp my spirit knows
By signs gracious as rainbows.
I thenceforward and long after
Listen for their harplike laughter,
And carry in my heart for days
Peace that hallows rudest ways.—
Lee Janes Jan 2013
So once more he appears before my eyes,
And I am well aware he is no friend
Of mine, but a companion that I do not wish
To view; a companion that hovers around
In a reluctant mist; although never fails
To reveal his foul breath, his harsh whispers,
Together with his depressing stench of odour.
For I did not summon his deeds;
Never sought his favour; nor offered prayers
Nor burnt incense; nor gave from out
My own batch, the warm gift
Of wine to his altar; never in song
Have I praised his pale face,
His rotten black teeth; never bathed
My bare ankles, nor quenched my thirst,
In his poisoned waters. Yet he found weakness
Within a humble heart, an equally willing mind;
For he latched upon my soul, bearing
Fierce claws; and now, with his stealth clasp,
Arm in arm refuses to grant me space;
Feverously denies release.

Oh! How I do pray I could banish him
From my daily thoughts, my woeful strife;
For he seems present more recently
Than ever I can recall from drifting memory.
Be sure, he does not reside
On one of heavens branches; he would,
With all his deceit, be not allowed
To even graft upon the blissful airs
Most lowly of roots. His dulled stare,
Adamantly pierces through any desire
I have for the light ahead. A grey
Dusty cloak, that he wears draped
From his shoulders, like bitter winters
Shortened sun which shrouds the heavy leaded clouds,
And plunges the sky into deep sodden colour;
Saps any inspiration, which my dreams,
With kindness, revamp anew in sweet slumber.

My mission I do know sincerely, to be
Holy honest, is not entirely a struggle;
And shown before my sight appears
Respectively clear, is however, weighed
Toward the earth with added pressure
By his ****** presence alone. A strategy formation,
Delved from battlefields past, is a want
That seems out my grasp. Shall I
Soothe him with tender lyre strokes,
And with kind words may he leave my side
Willingly, at his own leisurely pace,
In unhurt peace? Why does he have such
Effect on me? How do I relinquish
Him from my sight? Shall I guide him
With me to fresh slopes of pastures green,
Showing his cruel appetite, the beauteous feast
Which bountiful Nature banquets? Do I
Attack him with all force at my disposal?
Unsheathe the sword? Balm protection
Around my clench fists? Do I ignore
His embrace which rivals a death-grip
Engineered from a lioness’ jaw, breathing
Smoke from her nostrils, clasping down
On her prey- unyielding, prey essential
To subdue pains that torment her hungry cubs?
Shall I believe him foe? How do I proceed?

I do realise with no barren shadow,
That he must be nursed into a corner,
Trapped, and halted, for if continuation occurs;
I fear Happiness, a fleeting sense,
Will never approach with ease, nor greet me
With a wave of her snowy hand, nor ever
Blush her lovely pout lips, and settle
Her most welcome custom, within my heart again;
And though my pathway be tedious,
Raised to the brim within a golden goblet
Of questioning; let my last task be this:
With a calm prayer to relight fading embers
From my *****. Kind souls, delicate muses,
Come to me, come to my aid,
Help relieve me of his burden.
Heap upon him glittering song,
Bow his cowardly head further down
From whence it came, and place
The dying mournful strains of the Swan within;
May dark unveil an ebbing stream
Of wondrous hue; let summer sun
Break through thick woods; may no shade
Shield me from intense light; let notes
Resound aloft upon high peaks;
May you pour nectar down my throat,
Place fragrant rich petals from perfumed flowers
On my tender tongue; and therefore,
Knelt before you, sister maids,
With submissive eyes gazing the hallowed ground
Beneath your feet; bathe me in tuneful grace
Once more; assist a humble servant,
Hear one solemn slave voice; for you
Will be praised within my lily-scented verse;
Forever will you be fed on my gentle honey-dew
Measure; if I only be granted solace
Within your flowing spring, deep
Between your sacred gardens fruitful caress.
The rhyme of the poet
Modulates the king's affairs,
Balance-loving nature
Made all things in pairs.
To every foot its antipode,
Each color with its counter glowed,
To every tone beat answering tones,
Higher or graver;
Flavor gladly blends with flavor;
Leaf answers leaf upon the bough,
And match the paired cotyledons.
Hands to hands, and feet to feet,
In one body grooms and brides;
Eldest rite, two married sides
In every mortal meet.
Light's far furnace shines,
Smelting ***** and bars,
Forging double stars,
Glittering twins and trines.
The animals are sick with love,
Lovesick with rhyme;
Each with all propitious Time
Into chorus wove.

Like the dancers' ordered band,
Thoughts come also hand in hand,
In equal couples mated,
Or else alternated,
Adding by their mutual gage
One to other health and age.
Solitary fancies go
Short-lived wandering to and fro,
Most like to bachelors,
Or an ungiven maid,
Not ancestors,
With no posterity to make the lie afraid,
Or keep truth undecayed.

Perfect paired as eagle's wings,
Justice is the rhyme of things;
Trade and counting use
The serf-same tuneful muse;
And Nemesis,
Who with even matches odd,
Who athwart space redresses
The partial wrong,
Fills the just period,
And finishes the song.

Subtle rhymes with ruin rife
Murmur in the house of life,
Sung by the Sisters as they spin;
In perfect time and measure, they
Build and unbuild our echoing clay,
As the two twilights of the day
Fold us music-drunken in.
How, to thy Sacred Memory, shall I bring
(Worthy thy Fame) a grateful Offering?
I, who by Toils of Sickness, am become
Almost as near as thou art to a Tomb?
While every soft, and every tender Strain
Is ruffl'd, and ill-natur'd grown with Pain.
But, at thy Name, my languisht Muse revives,
And a new Spark in the dull Ashes strives.
I hear thy tuneful Verse, thy Song Divine;
And am lnspir'd by every charming Line.
But, Oh! –––––––––
What Inspiration, at the second hand,
Can an Immortal Elegic Command?
Unless, Me Pious Offerings, mine should be
Made Sacred, being Consecrate to thee.
Eternal, as thy own Almighty Verse,
Should be those Trophies that adom thy Hearse.
The Thought Illustrious, and the Fancy Young;
The Wit Sublime, the Judgment Fine, and Strong;
Soft, as thy Notes to Sacharissa sung.
Whilst mine, like Transitory Flowers, decay,
That come to deck thy Tomb a short-liv'd Day.
Such Tributes are, like Tenures, only fit
To shew from whom we hold our Right to Wit.
Hafl, wondrous Bard, whose Heav'n-born Genius first
My Infant Muse, and Blooming Fancy Nurst.
With thy soft Food of Love I first began,
Then fed on nobler Panegyrick Strain,
Numbers Seraphic! and, at every View,
My Soul extended, and much larger grew:

Where e're I Read, new Raptures seiz'd my Blood;
Methought I heard the Language of a God.
Long did the untun'd World in Ignorance stray,
Producing nothing that was Great and Gay,
Till taught, by thee, the true Poetick way.
Rough were the Tracts before, Dull, and Obscure;
Nor Pleasure, nor Instruction could procure.
Their thoughtless Labour could no Passion move;
Sure, in that Age, the Poets knew not Love:
That Charming God, like Apparitions, then
Was only talk'd on, but ne're seen by Men:
Darkness was o're the Muses Land displaid,
And even the Chosen Tribe unguided straid.
Till, by thee rescu'd from th' Egyptian Night,
They now look up, and view the God of Light,
That taught them how to Love, and how to Write;
And to Enhance the Blessing which Heav'n lent,
When for our great Instructor thou wert sent.
Large was thy Life, but yet thy Glories more;
And, like the Sun, did still dispense thy Power,
Producing somthing wondrous every hour:
And, in thy Circulary Course, didst see
The very Life and Death of Poetry.
Thou saw'st the Generous Nine neglected lie,
None listning to their Heav'nly Harmony;
The World being grown to that low Ebb of Sense,
To disesteem the noblest Excellence;
And no Encouragement to Phophets shewn,
Who in past Ages got so great Renown.
Though Fortune Elevated thee above
Its scanty Gratitude, or fickle Love;
Yet, fallen with the World, untir'd by Age,
Scorning th'unthinking Crowd, thou quit'st the Stage.
From dark abodes to fair etherial light
Th’ enraptur’d innocent has wing’d her flight;
On the kind ***** of eternal love
She finds unknown beatitude above.
This known, ye parents, nor her loss deplore,
She feels the iron hand of pain no more;
The dispensations of unerring grace,
Should turn your sorrows into grateful praise;
Let then no tears for her henceforward flow,
No more distress’d in our dark vale below,
  Her morning sun, which rose divinely bright,
Was quickly mantled with the gloom of night;
But hear in heav’n’s blest bow’rs your Nancy fair,
And learn to imitate her language there.
“Thou, Lord, whom I behold with glory crown’d,
“By what sweet name, and in what tuneful sound
“Wilt thou be prais’d?  Seraphic pow’rs are faint
“Infinite love and majesty to paint.
“To thee let all their graceful voices raise,
“And saints and angels join their songs of praise.”
  Perfect in bliss she from her heav’nly home
Looks down, and smiling beckons you to come;
Why then, fond parents, why these fruitless groans?
Restrain your tears, and cease your plaintive moans.
Freed from a world of sin, and snares, and pain,
Why would you wish your daughter back again?
No—bow resign’d.  Let hope your grief control,
And check the rising tumult of the soul.
Calm in the prosperous, and adverse day,
Adore the God who gives and takes away;
Eye him in all, his holy name revere,
Upright your actions, and your hearts sincere,
Till having sail’d through life’s tempestuous sea,
And from its rocks, and boist’rous billows free,
Yourselves, safe landed on the blissful shore,
Shall join your happy babe to part no more.
Paul Butters Jun 2017
They say that before every step
You take in life,
You flick a mental coin
Then go left or right
Turn or keep straight on.

In your own universe you go left,
Pop into a café,
Go home and have a nap.
Then carry on those humdrum days.

But that was close!
So close that in an alternative realm
You go right,
Go into a shop,
Buy a lottery ticket
And Win Millions!

For every possibility, the scientists claim,
Is played out
In an Infinite Multiverse.

Somewhere you are King or Queen,
And somewhere else you are about to be shot!
Somewhere you are a fly
Or a bear.

Somewhere my parents are still alive
And everyone is free of ill.
That tuneful Rainbow springs to mind.
Maybe there’s even a Universe
Where everyone is Immortal.
Where God calls in for a cup of tea.
And what we’ve read as fiction
Is all true.

These possibilities are endless and
My imagination strains to picture
All that might just happen.
Somewhere.
We can but Hope.

Paul Butters
Inspired by a recent BBC Horizon programme repeat about Multiverse Theories.
XIII

To Mr. H. Lawes, on his Aires.

Harry whose tuneful and well measur’d Song
First taught our English Musick how to span
Words with just note and accent, not to scan
With Midas Ears, committing short and long;
Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng,
With praise enough for Envy to look wan;
To after age thou shalt be writ the man,
That with smooth aire couldst humor best our tongue
Thou honour’st Verse, and Verse must send her wing
To honour thee, the Priest of Phoebus Quire
That tun’st their happiest lines in Hymn or Story
Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher
Then his Casella, whom he woo’d to sing
Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.
Helplessly Sep 2013
Finding you is like loss my phone
Crazy, miserable and unlivable
Missing you is like trying to get you out of my head
Hard, hurt and pain
Seeing you is like saw a rainbow in a sky
Happy, love and excited
Talking to you is like hearing a song
Melodious, tuneful and sirenic
Touching you is like holding a feather
Soft, warm and cold
Loving you is like addicted to drug
Addicted, loss and non-stop.

(m.i)
Laurent Nov 2015
Ainsi toujours poussés vers de nouveaux rivages,
Dans la nuit éternelle emportés sans retour,
Ne pourrons-nous jamais sur l'océan des âges
Jeter l'ancre un seul jour?

O lac! l'année à peine a fini sa carrière,
Et près des flots chéris qu'elle devait revoir
Regarde! je viens seul m'asseoir sur cette pierre
Où tu la vis s'asseoir!

Tu mugissais ainsi sous ces roches profondes;
Ainsi tu te brisais sur leurs flancs déchirés:
Ainsi le vent jetait l'écume de tes ondes
Sur ses pieds adorés.

Un soir, t'en souvient-il? nous voguions en silence;
On n'entendait au ****, sur l'onde et sous les cieux,
Que le bruit des rameurs qui frappaient en cadence
Tes flots harmonieux.

Tout à coup des accents inconnus à la terre
Du rivage charmé frappèrent les échos;
Le flot fut attentif, et la voix qui m'est chère
Laissa tomber ces mots:

"O temps, suspends ton vol! et vous, heures propices,
Suspendez votre cours!
Laissez-nous savourer les rapides délices
Des plus beaux de nos jours!

"Assez de malheureux ici-bas vous implorent:
Coulez, coulez pour eux;
Prenez avec leurs jours les soins qui les dévorent;
Oubliez les heureux."

Mais je demande en vain quelques moments encore,
Le temps m'échappe et fuit;
je dis à cette nuit: "Sois plus lente"; et l'aurore
Va dissiper la nuit.

Aimons donc, aimons donc! de l'heure fugitive,
Hâtons-nous, jouissons!
L'homme n'a point de port, le temps n'a point de rive;
Il coule, et nous passons!

Temps jaloux, se peut-il que ces moments d'ivresse,
Où l'amour à longs flots nous verse le bonheur,
S'envolent **** de nous de la même vitesse
Que les jours de malheur?

Hé quoi! n'en pourrons-nous fixer au moins la trace?
Quoi! passés pour jamais? quoi! tout entiers perdus?
Ce temps qui les donna, ce temps qui les efface,
Ne nous les rendra plus?

Éternité, néant, passé, sombres abîmes,
Que faites-vous des jours que vous engloutissez?
Parlez: nous rendrez-vous ces extases sublimes
Que vous nous ravissez?

O lac! rochers muets! grottes! forêt obscure!
Vous que le temps épargne ou qu'il peut rajeunir,
Gardez de cette nuit, gardez, belle nature,
Au moins le souvenir!

Qu'il soit dans ton repos, qu'il soit dans tes orages,
Beau lac, et dans l'aspect de tes riants coteaux,
Et dans ces noirs sapins, et dans ces rocs sauvages
Qui pendent sur tes eaux!

Qu'il soit dans le zéphyr qui frémit et qui passe,
Dans les bruits de tes bords par tes bords répétés,
Dans l'astre au front d'argent qui blanchit ta surface
De ses molles clartés!

Que le vent qui gémit, le roseau qui soupire,
Que les parfums légers de ton air embaumé,
Que tout ce qu'on entend, l'on voit ou l'on respire,
Tout dise: "Ils ont aimé!"

In English :

So driven onward to new shores forever,
Into the night eternal swept away,
Upon the sea of time can we not ever
Drop anchor for one day?

O Lake! Scarce has a single year coursed past.
To waves that she was meant to see again,
I come alone to sit upon this stone
You saw her sit on then.

You lowed just so below those plunging cliffs.
Just so you broke about their riven flanks.
Just so the wind flung your spray forth to wash
Her feet which graced your banks.

Recall the evening we sailed out in silence?
On waves beneath the skies, afar and wide,
Naught but the rowers' rhythmic oars we heard
Stroking your tuneful tide.

Then of a sudden tones untold on earth,
Resounded round the sounding spellbound sea.
The tide attended; and I heard these words
From the voice dear to me:

Pause in your trek O Time! Pause in your flight,
Favorable hours, and stay!
Let us enjoy the transient delight
That fills our fairest day.

Unhappy crowds cry out to you in prayers.
Flow, Time, and set them free.
Run through their days and through their ravening cares!
But leave the happy be.

In vain I pray the hours to linger on
And Time slips into flight.
I tell this night: "Be slower!" and the dawn
Undoes the raveled night.

Let's love, then! Love, and feel while feel we can
The moment on its run.
There is no shore of Time, no port of Man.
It flows, and we go on.

Covetous Time! Our mighty drunken moments
When love pours forth huge floods of happiness;
Can it be true that they depart no faster
Than days of wretchedness?

Why can we not keep some trace at the least?
Gone wholly? Lost forever in the black?
Will Time that gave them, Time that now elides them
Never once bring them back?

Eternity, naught, past, dark gulfs: what do
You do with days of ours which you devour?
Speak! Shall you not bring back those things sublime?
Return the raptured hour?

O Lake, caves, silent cliffs and darkling wood,
Whom Time has spared or can restore to light,
Beautiful Nature, let there live at least
The memory of that night:

Let it be in your stills and in your storms,
Fair Lake, in your cavorting sloping sides,
In the black pine trees, in the savage rocks
That hang above your tides;

Let it be in the breeze that stirs and passes,
In sounds resounding shore to shore each night,
In the star's silver countenance that glances
Your surface with soft light.

Let the deep keening winds, the sighing reeds,
Let the light balm you blow through cliff and grove,
Let all that is beheld or heard or breathed
Say only "they did love."
Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine, chevalier de Pratz (21 October 1790 – 28 February 1869), was a French writer, poet and politician who was instrumental in the foundation of the Second Republic and the continuation of the Tricolore as the flag of France.
Lamartine is considered to be the first French romantic poet, and was acknowledged by Paul Verlaine and the Symbolists as an important influence.
In 1816, at Aix-les Bains near Lake Bourget, Lamartine made the acquaintance of one Julie Charles. The following year, he came back to the lake, expecting to meet her there again. But he waited in vain, and initially thought she had stood him up. A month later he learned that she had taken ill and died. The "she" in this semi-autobiographical poem refers to Julie. The "voice dear to me" which speaks the lines of stanzas 6-9 is also meant to be understood as Julie's voice.
Tim Peetz Dec 2016
I dreamed I stood upon a little hill,
And at my feet there lay a ground, that seemed
Like a waste garden, flowering at its will
With buds and blossoms. There were pools that dreamed
Black and unruffled; there were white lilies
A few, and crocuses, and violets
Purple or pale, snake-like fritillaries
Scarce seen for the rank grass, and through green nets
Blue eyes of shy peryenche winked in the sun.
And there were curious flowers, before unknown,
Flowers that were stained with moonlight, or with shades
Of Nature's wilful moods; and here a one
That had drunk in the transitory tone
Of one brief moment in a sunset; blades
Of grass that in an hundred springs had been
Slowly but exquisitely nurtured by the stars,
And watered with the scented dew long cupped
In lilies, that for rays of sun had seen
Only God's glory, for never a sunrise mars
The luminous air of Heaven. Beyond, abrupt,
A grey stone wall, o'ergrown with velvet moss
Uprose; and gazing I stood long, all mazed
To see a place so strange, so sweet, so fair.
And as I stood and marvelled, lo! across
The garden came a youth; one hand he raised
To shield him from the sun, his wind-tossed hair
Was twined with flowers, and in his hand he bore
A purple bunch of bursting grapes, his eyes
Were clear as crystal, naked all was he,
White as the snow on pathless mountains frore,
Red were his lips as red wine-spilith that dyes
A marble floor, his brow chalcedony.
And he came near me, with his lips uncurled
And kind, and caught my hand and kissed my mouth,
And gave me grapes to eat, and said, 'Sweet friend,
Come I will show thee shadows of the world
And images of life. See from the South
Comes the pale pageant that hath never an end.'
And lo! within the garden of my dream
I saw two walking on a shining plain
Of golden light. The one did joyous seem
And fair and blooming, and a sweet refrain
Came from his lips; he sang of pretty maids
And joyous love of comely girl and boy,
His eyes were bright, and 'mid the dancing blades
Of golden grass his feet did trip for joy;
And in his hand he held an ivory lute
With strings of gold that were as maidens' hair,
And sang with voice as tuneful as a flute,
And round his neck three chains of roses were.
But he that was his comrade walked aside;
He was full sad and sweet, and his large eyes
Were strange with wondrous brightness, staring wide
With gazing; and he sighed with many sighs
That moved me, and his cheeks were wan and white
Like pallid lilies, and his lips were red
Like poppies, and his hands he clenched tight,
And yet again unclenched, and his head
Was wreathed with moon-flowers pale as lips of death.
A purple robe he wore, o'erwrought in gold
With the device of a great snake, whose breath
Was fiery flame: which when I did behold
I fell a-weeping, and I cried, 'Sweet youth,
Tell me why, sad and sighing, thou dost rove
These pleasant realms? I pray thee speak me sooth
What is thy name?' He said, 'My name is Love.'
Then straight the first did turn himself to me
And cried, 'He lieth, for his name is Shame,
But I am Love, and I was wont to be
Alone in this fair garden, till he came
Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame.'
Then sighing, said the other, 'Have thy will,
I am the Love that dare not speak its name.'
This poem was written by Lord Alfred Douglas and published in "The Chameleon" in December 1894.
Valsa George Jan 2017
Once there was vernal sunshine all around
With plants and blooms in color and scent abound
Butterflies here n’ there and from all corners unseen
Flitted back and forth in iridescent sheen

Birds sang tuneful songs of contentment
Squirrels and bunnies hopped in spirits buoyant
But all along now I see trees, leafless and bare
Nakedly shivering in winter’s chilly air
      
Even when the Earth adorns in full glory
Here I bide alone, so dull and dreary
Oh! Dear! Why have you so hurriedly left me?
Was it to make me drift aimless in this turbulent sea?

We were once a happy pair of doves
Seeking warmth under each other’s wings
By sundown, we flew to our evening nest
Under temple spires, we sought easeful rest

We walked the meadows, gathering spring flowers
We roamed aimless through ocean strands
We watched life’s ceaseless ebb and flow
We waited eager to grab life’s evanescent glow

We knew sorrow’s depth and worth
Each morn, for us, was love’s rebirth
We walked close to paths supernal
And lived ever in love eternal

Now I have lost the rhyme n’ rhythm of life
I see the world around with sorrows rife
I am a broken reed far beyond repair
With no songs to be played now or ever

Once we danced to the rising and lilting measure
Each synchronized step, we took with such pleasure
Oh! I hear from far, your anklets rhyme and chime
They ring in my ears through the time

Each wayside flower to me recalls your lovelorn face
The wind swayed lilacs reflect your grace
Deep in silent night the odor of your flowing hair
Comes wafting, and for a while, I feel you near

A boundless emptiness often fills my space
The question –‘What next’ stares at my face
Yet never shall I yield, but shall bravely sail
Hoping, we together shall meet at the Golden Dale
(The lament of a lover who lost his love to death)
No servile little fear shall daunt my will
This morning. I have courage steeled to say
I will be lazy, conqueringly still,
I will not lose the hours in toil this day.

The roaring world without, careless of souls,
Shall leave me to my placid dream of rest,
My four walls shield me from its shouting ghouls,
And all its hates have fled my quiet breast.

And I will loll here resting, wide awake,
Dead to the world of work, the world of love,
I laze contented just for dreaming's sake
With not the slightest urge to think or move.

How tired unto death, how tired I was!
Now for a day I put my burdens by,
And like a child amidst the meadow grass
Under the southern sun, I languid lie

And feel the bed about me kindly deep,
My strength ooze gently from my hollow bones,
My worried brain drift aimlessly to sleep,
Like softening to a song of tuneful tones.

— The End —