Submit a Poem
Get Your Premium Membership
spacer

Best Famous Dedication Poems


Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Dedication poems. This is a select list of the best famous Dedication poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Dedication poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of dedication poems.

Search for the best famous Dedication poems, articles about Dedication poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Dedication poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also: Best Member Poems

Go Back




by | by . You can read it on PoetrySoup.com' st_url='http://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poem/23040/Words_uttered_in_a_subdued_voice_in_order_to_constitute_a_dedication_Translation_of_Carlos_Bousonos_sonnet_' st_title='Words uttered in a subdued voice in order to constitute a dedication, Translation of Carlos Bousono's sonnet '>

Words uttered in a subdued voice in order to constitute a dedication, Translation of Carlos Bousono's sonnet

Words uttered in a subdued voice in order to constitute a dedication,
Translation of Carlos Bousono’s poem :Palabras dichas en voz baja para
formar una dedicatoria
(To Ruth, so young, from another age)
(It’s quite probable that this poem commemorates and addresses Bousono’s
wife, Ruth, and as such the interest in the poem must underlie the intimate and/or
private candidness of tone, rather than the less than pretentious art form. T.
Wignesan)
I
This isn’t exactly wine that you and I drain to the last drop
with such slowness at this hour,
the neat truth. It’s not wine,
it’s love.
In any case, it’s not a question of an awaited
celebration, a noisy fiesta,
raised on gold.
It’s not a canticle of the mountains.
It’s only a whistling sound : flower, less than this :
whisper, lacking in weight.
II
And all this began some time back. We joined hands
very hurriedly to be able to remain by ourselves, alone,
both jointly and separately in order to walk on the neverending
pathway
interminably.
And in this manner, we move forward together on the
pathway
tenaciously. The same direction, the self-same golden instant
and despite it all, you walked without being in doubt,
always very far away, far behind, lost in the distance,
in the brightness, diminshed, yet wanting me,
in another station where flowers burgeoned,
in another time and in another pure space.
And from the secluded spot in the woods, from the sandy
indignity
of mature lateness, from where I contemplated
your eagerness to be ahead of time,
I saw you slow down, once and all over again,
without raising your head in your remote garden,
though being held back, obstinate-
ly,
and so unjustly !
pluck in joy
roses for me.

© T. Wignesan – Paris, 2013


by Ehsan Sehgal |

For Others

If you devote your life to the service of others with honesty and dedication you must be ready to endure insults and contempt from those you help.



by Lewis Carroll |

The Hunting Of The Snark

 Dedication

Inscribed to a dear Child:
in memory of golden summer hours
and whispers of a summer sea.


Girt with a boyish garb for boyish task,
 Eager she wields her spade; yet loves as well
Rest on a friendly knee, intent to ask
 The tale he loves to tell.

Rude spirits of the seething outer strife,
 Unmeet to read her pure and simple spright,
Deem, if you list, such hours a waste of life,
 Empty of all delight!

Chat on, sweet Maid, and rescue from annoy
 Hearts that by wiser talk are unbeguiled.
Ah, happy he who owns that tenderest joy,
 The heart-love of a child!

Away, fond thoughts, and vex my soul no more!
 Work claims my wakeful nights, my busy days--
Albeit bright memories of that sunlit shore
 Yet haunt my dreaming gaze!


PREFACE


If--and the thing is wildly possible--the charge of writing nonsense were ever brought against the author of this brief but instructive poem, it would be based, I feel convinced, on the line (in p.18) 

"Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes." 

In view of this painful possibility, I will not (as I might) appeal indignantly to my other writings as a proof that I am incapable of such a deed: I will not (as I might) point to the strong moral purpose of this poem itself, to the arithmetical principles so cautiously inculcated in it, or to its noble teachings in Natural History--I will take the more prosaic course of simply explaining how it happened. 

The Bellman, who was almost morbidly sensitive about appearances, used to have the bowsprit unshipped once or twice a week to be revarnished, and it more than once happened, when the time came for replacing it, that no one on board could remember which end of the ship it belonged to. They knew it was not of the slightest use to appeal to the Bellman about it--he would only refer to his Naval Code, and read out in pathetic tones Admiralty Instructions which none of them had ever been able to understand--so it generally ended in its being fastened on, anyhow, across the rudder. The helmsman* used to stand by with tears in his eyes; he knew it was all wrong, but alas! Rule 42 of the Code, "No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm," had been completed by the Bellman himself with the words "and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one." So remon{-} strance was impossible, and no steering could be done till the next varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals the ship usually sailed backwards. 

As this poem is to some extent connected with the lay of the Jabberwock, let me take this opportunity of answering a question that has often been asked me, how to pronounce "slithy toves." The "i" in "slithy" is long, as in "writhe"; and "toves" is pronounced so as to rhyme with "groves." Again, the first "o" in "borogoves" is pronounced like the "o" in "borrow." I have heard people try to give it the sound of the"o" in "worry." Such is Human Perversity. This also seems a fitting occasion to notice the other hard works in that poem. Humpty-Dumpty's theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a port{-} manteau, seems to me the right explanation for all. 

For instance, take the two words "fuming" and "furious." Make up your mind that you will say both words, but leave it unsettled which you will say first. Now open your mouth and speak. If your thoughts incline ever so little towards "fuming," you will say "fuming-furious;" if they turn, by even a hair's breadth, towards "furious," you will say "furious-fuming;" but if you have that rarest of gifts, a perfectly balanced mind, you will say "frumious." 

Supposing that, when Pistol uttered the well-known
words--

 "Under which king, Bezonian? Speak or die!"

Justice Shallow had felt certain that it was either William or Richard, but had not been able to settle which, so that he could not possibly say either name before the other, can it be doubted that, rather than die, he would have gasped out "Rilchiam!"


CONTENTS

Fit the First. The Landing
Fit the Second. The Bellman's Speech
Fit the Third. The Baker's Tale
Fit the Fourth. The Hunting
Fit the Fifth. The Beaver's Lesson
Fit the Sixth. The Barrister's Dream
Fit the Seventh. The Banker's Fate
Fit the Eighth. The Vanishing


Fit the First.

THE LANDING


"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
 As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
 By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
 That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
 What I tell you three times is true."

 The crew was complete: it included a Boots--
 A maker of Bonnets and Hoods--
A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes--
 And a Broker, to value their goods.

A Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense,
 Might perhaps have won more than his share--
But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,
 Had the whole of their cash in his care.

There was also a Beaver, that paced on the deck,
 Or would sit making lace in the bow:
And had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck,
 Though none of the sailors knew how.

There was one who was famed for the number of things
 He forgot when he entered the ship:
His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
 And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
 With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
 They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
 He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pair of boots--but the worst of it was,
 He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
 Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"
To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"
 But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,
 He had different names from these:
His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends,"
 And his enemies "Toasted-cheese."

"His form in ungainly--his intellect small--"
 (So the Bellman would often remark)
"But his courage is perfect! And that, after all,
 Is the thing that one needs with a Snark."

He would joke with hy{ae}nas, returning their stare
 With an impudent wag of the head:
And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear,
 "Just to keep up its spirits," he said.

He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late--
 And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad--
He could only bake Bridecake--for which, I may state,
 No materials were to be had.

The last of the crew needs especial remark,
 Though he looked an incredible dunce:
He had just one idea--but, that one being "Snark,"
 The good Bellman engaged him at once.

He came as a Butcher: but gravely declared,
 When the ship had been sailing a week,
He could only kill Beavers. The Bellman looked scared,
 And was almost too frightened to speak:

But at length he explained, in a tremulous tone,
 There was only one Beaver on board;
And that was a tame one he had of his own,
 Whose death would be deeply deplored.

The Beaver, who happened to hear the remark,
 Protested, with tears in its eyes,
That not even the rapture of hunting the Snark
 Could atone for that dismal surprise!

It strongly advised that the Butcher should be
 Conveyed in a separate ship:
But the Bellman declared that would never agree
 With the plans he had made for the trip:

Navigation was always a difficult art,
 Though with only one ship and one bell:
And he feared he must really decline, for his part,
 Undertaking another as well.

The Beaver's best course was, no doubt, to procure
 A second-hand dagger-proof coat--
So the Baker advised it-- and next, to insure
 Its life in some Office of note:

This the Banker suggested, and offered for hire
 (On moderate terms), or for sale,
Two excellent Policies, one Against Fire,
 And one Against Damage From Hail.

Yet still, ever after that sorrowful day,
 Whenever the Butcher was by,
The Beaver kept looking the opposite way,
 And appeared unaccountably shy.


II.--THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH.

Fit the Second.

THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH.


The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies--
 Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
 The moment one looked in his face!

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
 Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
 A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
 Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
 "They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
 But we've got our brave Captain to thank
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best--
 A perfect and absolute blank!"

This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out
 That the Captain they trusted so well
Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
 And that was to tingle his bell.

He was thoughtful and grave--but the orders he gave
 Were enough to bewilder a crew.
When he cried "Steer to starboard, but keep her head larboard!"
 What on earth was the helmsman to do?

Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes:
 A thing, as the Bellman remarked,
That frequently happens in tropical climes,
 When a vessel is, so to speak, "snarked."

But the principal failing occurred in the sailing,
 And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed,
Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East,
 That the ship would not travel due West!

But the danger was past--they had landed at last,
 With their boxes, portmanteaus, and bags:
Yet at first sight the crew were not pleased with the view,
 Which consisted to chasms and crags.

The Bellman perceived that their spirits were low,
 And repeated in musical tone
Some jokes he had kept for a season of woe--
 But the crew would do nothing but groan.

He served out some grog with a liberal hand,
 And bade them sit down on the beach:
And they could not but own that their Captain looked grand,
 As he stood and delivered his speech.

"Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears!"
 (They were all of them fond of quotations:
So they drank to his health, and they gave him three cheers,
 While he served out additional rations).

"We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks,
 (Four weeks to the month you may mark),
But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks)
 Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark!

"We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
 (Seven days to the week I allow),
But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze,
 We have never beheld till now!

"Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
 The five unmistakable marks
By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
 The warranted genuine Snarks.

"Let us take them in order. The first is the taste,
 Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp:
Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
 With a flavour of Will-o-the-wisp.

"Its habit of getting up late you'll agree
 That it carries too far, when I say
That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea,
 And dines on the following day.

"The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
 Should you happen to venture on one,
It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
 And it always looks grave at a pun.

"The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
 Which is constantly carries about,
And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes--
 A sentiment open to doubt.

"The fifth is ambition. It next will be right
 To describe each particular batch:
Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
 From those that have whiskers, and scratch.

"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
 Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums--" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
 For the Baker had fainted away.


FIT III.--THE BAKER'S TALE.

Fit the Third.

THE BAKER'S TALE.


They roused him with muffins--they roused him with ice--
 They roused him with mustard and cress--
They roused him with jam and judicious advice--
 They set him conundrums to guess.

When at length he sat up and was able to speak,
 His sad story he offered to tell;
And the Bellman cried "Silence! Not even a shriek!"
 And excitedly tingled his bell.

There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream,
 Scarcely even a howl or a groan,
As the man they called "Ho!" told his story of woe
 In an antediluvian tone.

"My father and mother were honest, though poor--"
 "Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark--
 We have hardly a minute to waste!"

"I skip forty years," said the Baker, in tears,
 "And proceed without further remark
To the day when you took me aboard of your ship
 To help you in hunting the Snark.

"A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named)
 Remarked, when I bade him farewell--"
"Oh, skip your dear uncle!" the Bellman exclaimed,
 As he angrily tingled his bell.

"He remarked to me then," said that mildest of men,
 " 'If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
Fetch it home by all means--you may serve it with greens,
 And it's handy for striking a light.

" 'You may seek it with thimbles--and seek it with care;
 You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
 You may charm it with smiles and soap--' "

("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold
 In a hasty parenthesis cried,
"That's exactly the way I have always been told
 That the capture of Snarks should be tried!")

" 'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
 If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
 And never be met with again!'

"It is this, it is this that oppresses my soul,
 When I think of my uncle's last words:
And my heart is like nothing so much as a bowl
 Brimming over with quivering curds!

"It is this, it is this--" "We have had that before!"
 The Bellman indignantly said.
And the Baker replied "Let me say it once more.
 It is this, it is this that I dread!

"I engage with the Snark--every night after dark--
 In a dreamy delirious fight:
I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes,
 And I use it for striking a light:

"But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day,
 In a moment (of this I am sure),
I shall softly and suddenly vanish away--
 And the notion I cannot endure!"


FIT IV.--THE HUNTING.

Fit the fourth.

THE HUNTING.


The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.
 "If only you'd spoken before!
It's excessively awkward to mention it now,
 With the Snark, so to speak, at the door!

"We should all of us grieve, as you well may believe,
 If you never were met with again--
But surely, my man, when the voyage began,
 You might have suggested it then?

"It's excessively awkward to mention it now--
 As I think I've already remarked."
And the man they called "Hi!" replied, with a sigh,
 "I informed you the day we embarked.

"You may charge me with murder--or want of sense--
 (We are all of us weak at times):
But the slightest approach to a false pretence
 Was never among my crimes!

"I said it in Hebrew--I said it in Dutch--
 I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
 That English is what you speak!"

"'Tis a pitiful tale," said the Bellman, whose face
 Had grown longer at every word:
"But, now that you've stated the whole of your case,
 More debate would be simply absurd.

"The rest of my speech" (he explained to his men)
 "You shall hear when I've leisure to speak it.
But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!
 'Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

"To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;
 To pursue it with forks and hope;
To threaten its life with a railway-share;
 To charm it with smiles and soap!

"For the Snark's a peculiar creature, that won't
 Be caught in a commonplace way.
Do all that you know, and try all that you don't:
 Not a chance must be wasted to-day!

"For England expects--I forbear to proceed:
 'Tis a maxim tremendous, but trite:
And you'd best be unpacking the things that you need
 To rig yourselves out for the fight."

Then the Banker endorsed a blank check (which he crossed),
 And changed his loose silver for notes.
The Baker with care combed his whiskers and hair,
 And shook the dust out of his coats.

The Boots and the Broker were sharpening a spade--
 Each working the grindstone in turn:
But the Beaver went on making lace, and displayed
 No interest in the concern:

Though the Barrister tried to appeal to its pride,
 And vainly proceeded to cite
A number of cases, in which making laces
 Had been proved an infringement of right.

The maker of Bonnets ferociously planned
 A novel arrangement of bows:
While the Billiard-marker with quivering hand
 Was chalking the tip of his nose.

But the Butcher turned nervous, and dressed himself fine,
 With yellow kid gloves and a ruff--
Said he felt it exactly like going to dine,
 Which the Bellman declared was all "stuff."

"Introduce me, now there's a good fellow," he said,
 "If we happen to meet it together!"
And the Bellman, sagaciously nodding his head,
 Said "That must depend on the weather."

The Beaver went simply galumphing about,
 At seeing the Butcher so shy:
And even the Baker, though stupid and stout,
 Made an effort to wink with one eye.

"Be a man!" said the Bellman in wrath, as he heard
 The Butcher beginning to sob.
"Should we meet with a Jubjub, that desperate bird,
 We shall need all our strength for the job!"


FIT V.--THE BEAVER'S LESSON.

Fit the Fifth.

THE BEAVER'S LESSON.


They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
 They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
 They charmed it with smiles and soap.

Then the Butcher contrived an ingenious plan
 For making a separate sally;
And had fixed on a spot unfrequented by man,
 A dismal and desolate valley.

But the very same plan to the Beaver occurred:
 It had chosen the very same place:
Yet neither betrayed, by a sign or a word,
 The disgust that appeared in his face.

Each thought he was thinking of nothing but "Snark"
 And the glorious work of the day;
And each tried to pretend that he did not remark
 That the other was going that way.

But the valley grew narrow and narrower still,
 And the evening got darker and colder,
Till (merely from nervousness, not from goodwill)
 They marched along shoulder to shoulder.

Then a scream, shrill and high, rent the shuddering sky,
 And they knew that some danger was near:
The Beaver turned pale to the tip of its tail,
 And even the Butcher felt queer.

He thought of his childhood, left far far behind--
 That blissful and innocent state--
The sound so exactly recalled to his mind
 A pencil that squeaks on a slate!

"'Tis the voice of the Jubjub!" he suddenly cried.
 (This man, that they used to call "Dunce.")
"As the Bellman would tell you," he added with pride,
 "I have uttered that sentiment once.

"'Tis the note of the Jubjub! Keep count, I entreat;
 You will find I have told it you twice.
Tis the song of the Jubjub! The proof is complete,
 If only I've stated it thrice."

The Beaver had counted with scrupulous care,
 Attending to every word:
But it fairly lost heart, and outgrabe in despair,
 When the third repetition occurred.

It felt that, in spite of all possible pains,
 It had somehow contrived to lose count,
And the only thing now was to rack its poor brains
 By reckoning up the amount.

"Two added to one--if that could but be done,"
 It said, "with one's fingers and thumbs!"
Recollecting with tears how, in earlier years,
 It had taken no pains with its sums.

"The thing can be done," said the Butcher, "I think.
 The thing must be done, I am sure.
The thing shall be done! Bring me paper and ink,
 The best there is time to procure."

The Beaver brought paper, portfolio, pens,
 And ink in unfailing supplies:
While strange creepy creatures came out of their dens,
 And watched them with wondering eyes.

So engrossed was the Butcher, he heeded them not,
 As he wrote with a pen in each hand,
And explained all the while in a popular style
 Which the Beaver could well understand.

"Taking Three as the subject to reason about--
 A convenient number to state--
We add Seven, and Ten, and then multiply out
 By One Thousand diminished by Eight.

"The result we proceed to divide, as you see,
 By Nine Hundred and Ninety and Two:
Then subtract Seventeen, and the answer must be
 Exactly and perfectly true.

"The method employed I would gladly explain,
 While I have it so clear in my head,
If I had but the time and you had but the brain--
 But much yet remains to be said.

"In one moment I've seen what has hitherto been
 Enveloped in absolute mystery,
And without extra charge I will give you at large
 A Lesson in Natural History."

In his genial way he proceeded to say
 (Forgetting all laws of propriety,
And that giving instruction, without introduction,
 Would have caused quite a thrill in Society),

"As to temper the Jubjub's a desperate bird,
 Since it lives in perpetual passion:
Its taste in costume is entirely absurd--
 It is ages ahead of the fashion:

"But it knows any friend it has met once before:
 It never will look at a bride:
And in charity-meetings it stands at the door,
 And collects--though it does not subscribe.

"Its flavour when cooked is more exquisite far
 Than mutton, or oysters, or eggs:
(Some think it keeps best in an ivory jar,
 And some, in mahogany kegs:)

"You boil it in sawdust: you salt it in glue:
 You condense it with locusts and tape:
Still keeping one principal object in view--
 To preserve its symmetrical shape."

The Butcher would gladly have talked till next day,
 But he felt that the Lesson must end,
And he wept with delight in attempting to say
 He considered the Beaver his friend.

While the Beaver confessed, with affectionate looks
 More eloquent even than tears,
It had learned in ten minutes far more than all books
 Would have taught it in seventy years.

They returned hand-in-hand, and the Bellman, unmanned
 (For a moment) with noble emotion,
Said "This amply repays all the wearisome days
 We have spent on the billowy ocean!"

Such friends, as the Beaver and Butcher became,
 Have seldom if ever been known;
In winter or summer, 'twas always the same--
 You could never meet either alone.

And when quarrels arose--as one frequently finds
 Quarrels will, spite of every endeavour--
The song of the Jubjub recurred to their minds,
 And cemented their friendship for ever!


FIT VI.--THE BARRISTER'S DREAM.

Fit the Sixth.

THE BARRISTER'S DREAM.


They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
 They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
 They charmed it with smiles and soap.

But the Barrister, weary of proving in vain
 That the Beaver's lace-making was wrong,
Fell asleep, and in dreams saw the creature quite plain
 That his fancy had dwelt on so long.

He dreamed that he stood in a shadowy Court,
 Where the Snark, with a glass in its eye,
Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig
 On the charge of deserting its sty.

The Witnesses proved, without error or flaw,
 That the sty was deserted when found:
And the Judge kept explaining the state of the law
 In a soft under-current of sound.

The indictment had never been clearly expressed,
 And it seemed that the Snark had begun,
And had spoken three hours, before any one guessed
 What the pig was supposed to have done.

The Jury had each formed a different view
 (Long before the indictment was read),
And they all spoke at once, so that none of them knew
 One word that the others had said.

"You must know ---" said the Judge: but the Snark exclaimed "Fudge!"
 That statute is obsolete quite!
Let me tell you, my friends, the whole question depends
 On an ancient manorial right.

"In the matter of Treason the pig would appear
 To have aided, but scarcely abetted:
While the charge of Insolvency fails, it is clear,
 If you grant the plea 'never indebted.'

"The fact of Desertion I will not dispute;
 But its guilt, as I trust, is removed
(So far as relates to the costs of this suit)
 By the Alibi which has been proved.

"My poor client's fate now depends on your votes."
 Here the speaker sat down in his place,
And directed the Judge to refer to his notes
 And briefly to sum up the case.

But the Judge said he never had summed up before;
 So the Snark undertook it instead,
And summed it so well that it came to far more
 Than the Witnesses ever had said!

When the verdict was called for, the Jury declined,
 As the word was so puzzling to spell;
But they ventured to hope that the Snark wouldn't mind
 Undertaking that duty as well.

So the Snark found the verdict, although, as it owned,
 It was spent with the toils of the day:
When it said the word "GUILTY!" the Jury all groaned,
 And some of them fainted away.

Then the Snark pronounced sentence, the Judge being quite
 Too nervous to utter a word:
When it rose to its feet, there was silence like night,
 And the fall of a pin might be heard.

"Transportation for life" was the sentence it gave,
 "And then to be fined forty pound."
The Jury all cheered, though the Judge said he feared
 That the phrase was not legally sound.

But their wild exultation was suddenly checked
 When the jailer informed them, with tears,
Such a sentence would have not the slightest effect,
 As the pig had been dead for some years.

The Judge left the Court, looking deeply disgusted:
 But the Snark, though a little aghast,
As the lawyer to whom the defence was intrusted,
 Went bellowing on to the last.

Thus the Barrister dreamed, while the bellowing seemed
 To grow every moment more clear:
Till he woke to the knell of a furious bell,
 Which the Bellman rang close at his ear.


FIT VII.--THE BANKER'S FATE.

Fit the Seventh.

THE BANKER'S FATE.


They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
 They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
 They charmed it with smiles and soap.

And the Banker, inspired with a courage so new
 It was matter for general remark,
Rushed madly ahead and was lost to their view
 In his zeal to discover the Snark

But while he was seeking with thimbles and care,
 A Bandersnatch swiftly drew nigh
And grabbed at the Banker, who shrieked in despair,
 For he knew it was useless to fly.

He offered large discount--he offered a cheque
 (Drawn "to bearer") for seven-pounds-ten:
But the Bandersnatch merely extended its neck
 And grabbed at the Banker again.

Without rest or pause--while those frumious jaws
 Went savagely snapping around--
He skipped and he hopped, and he floundered and flopped,
 Till fainting he fell to the ground.

The Bandersnatch fled as the others appeared
 Led on by that fear-stricken yell:
And the Bellman remarked "It is just as I feared!"
 And solemnly tolled on his bell.

He was black in the face, and they scarcely could trace
 The least likeness to what he had been:
While so great was his fright that his waistcoat turned white--
 A wonderful thing to be seen!

To the horror of all who were present that day,
 He uprose in full evening dress,
And with senseless grimaces endeavoured to say
 What his tongue could no longer express.

Down he sank in a chair--ran his hands through his hair--
 And chanted in mimsiest tones
Words whose utter inanity proved his insanity,
 While he rattled a couple of bones.

"Leave him here to his fate--it is getting so late!"
 The Bellman exclaimed in a fright.
"We have lost half the day. Any further delay,
 And we sha'nt catch a Snark before night!"


FIT VIII.--THE VANISHING.

Fit the Eighth.

THE VANISHING.


They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
 They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
 They charmed it with smiles and soap.

They shuddered to think that the chase might fail,
 And the Beaver, excited at last,
Went bounding along on the tip of its tail,
 For the daylight was nearly past.

"There is Thingumbob shouting!" the Bellman said,
 "He is shouting like mad, only hark!
He is waving his hands, he is wagging his head,
 He has certainly found a Snark!"

They gazed in delight, while the Butcher exclaimed
 "He was always a desperate wag!"
They beheld him--their Baker--their hero unnamed--
 On the top of a neighbouring crag,

Erect and sublime, for one moment of time
 In the next, that wild figure they saw
(As if stung by a spasm) plunge into a chasm,
 While they waited and listened in awe.

"It's a Snark!" was the sound that first came to their ears,
 And seemed almost too good to be true.
Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
 Then the ominous words "It's a Boo-"

Then, silence. Some fancied they heard in the air
 A weary and wandering sigh
Then sounded like "-jum!" but the others declare
 It was only a breeze that went by.

They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
 Not a button, or feather, or mark,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
 Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
 In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away---
 For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

THE END.


by Anna Akhmatova |

Requiem

 Not under foreign skies
 Nor under foreign wings protected -
 I shared all this with my own people
 There, where misfortune had abandoned us.
 [1961]

INSTEAD OF A PREFACE

During the frightening years of the Yezhov terror, I
spent seventeen months waiting in prison queues in
Leningrad. One day, somehow, someone 'picked me out'.
On that occasion there was a woman standing behind me,
her lips blue with cold, who, of course, had never in
her life heard my name. Jolted out of the torpor
characteristic of all of us, she said into my ear
(everyone whispered there) - 'Could one ever describe
this?' And I answered - 'I can.' It was then that
something like a smile slid across what had previously
been just a face.
[The 1st of April in the year 1957. Leningrad]

DEDICATION

Mountains fall before this grief,
A mighty river stops its flow,
But prison doors stay firmly bolted
Shutting off the convict burrows
And an anguish close to death.
Fresh winds softly blow for someone,
Gentle sunsets warm them through; we don't know this,
We are everywhere the same, listening
To the scrape and turn of hateful keys
And the heavy tread of marching soldiers.
Waking early, as if for early mass,
Walking through the capital run wild, gone to seed,
We'd meet - the dead, lifeless; the sun,
Lower every day; the Neva, mistier:
But hope still sings forever in the distance.
The verdict. Immediately a flood of tears,
Followed by a total isolation,
As if a beating heart is painfully ripped out, or,
Thumped, she lies there brutally laid out,
But she still manages to walk, hesitantly, alone.
Where are you, my unwilling friends,
Captives of my two satanic years?
What miracle do you see in a Siberian blizzard?
What shimmering mirage around the circle of the moon?
I send each one of you my salutation, and farewell.
[March 1940]

INTRODUCTION
[PRELUDE]

It happened like this when only the dead
Were smiling, glad of their release,
That Leningrad hung around its prisons
Like a worthless emblem, flapping its piece.
Shrill and sharp, the steam-whistles sang
Short songs of farewell
To the ranks of convicted, demented by suffering,
As they, in regiments, walked along -
Stars of death stood over us
As innocent Russia squirmed
Under the blood-spattered boots and tyres
Of the black marias.

I

You were taken away at dawn. I followed you
As one does when a corpse is being removed.
Children were crying in the darkened house.
A candle flared, illuminating the Mother of God. . .
The cold of an icon was on your lips, a death-cold
sweat
On your brow - I will never forget this; I will gather

To wail with the wives of the murdered streltsy (1)
Inconsolably, beneath the Kremlin towers.
[1935. Autumn. Moscow]

II

Silent flows the river Don
A yellow moon looks quietly on
Swanking about, with cap askew
It sees through the window a shadow of you
Gravely ill, all alone
The moon sees a woman lying at home
Her son is in jail, her husband is dead
Say a prayer for her instead.

III

It isn't me, someone else is suffering. I couldn't.
Not like this. Everything that has happened,
Cover it with a black cloth,
Then let the torches be removed. . .
Night.

IV

Giggling, poking fun, everyone's darling,
The carefree sinner of Tsarskoye Selo (2)
If only you could have foreseen
What life would do with you -
That you would stand, parcel in hand,
Beneath the Crosses (3), three hundredth in
line,
Burning the new year's ice
With your hot tears.
Back and forth the prison poplar sways
With not a sound - how many innocent
Blameless lives are being taken away. . .
[1938]

V

For seventeen months I have been screaming,
Calling you home.
I've thrown myself at the feet of butchers
For you, my son and my horror.
Everything has become muddled forever -
I can no longer distinguish
Who is an animal, who a person, and how long
The wait can be for an execution.
There are now only dusty flowers,
The chinking of the thurible,
Tracks from somewhere into nowhere
And, staring me in the face
And threatening me with swift annihilation,
An enormous star.
[1939]

VI

Weeks fly lightly by. Even so,
I cannot understand what has arisen,
How, my son, into your prison
White nights stare so brilliantly.
Now once more they burn,
Eyes that focus like a hawk,
And, upon your cross, the talk
Is again of death.
[1939. Spring]

VII
THE VERDICT

The word landed with a stony thud
Onto my still-beating breast.
Nevermind, I was prepared,
I will manage with the rest.

I have a lot of work to do today;
I need to slaughter memory,
Turn my living soul to stone
Then teach myself to live again. . .

But how. The hot summer rustles
Like a carnival outside my window;
I have long had this premonition
Of a bright day and a deserted house.
[22 June 1939. Summer. Fontannyi Dom (4)]

VIII
TO DEATH

You will come anyway - so why not now?
I wait for you; things have become too hard.
I have turned out the lights and opened the door
For you, so simple and so wonderful.
Assume whatever shape you wish. Burst in
Like a shell of noxious gas. Creep up on me
Like a practised bandit with a heavy weapon.
Poison me, if you want, with a typhoid exhalation,
Or, with a simple tale prepared by you
(And known by all to the point of nausea), take me
Before the commander of the blue caps and let me
glimpse
The house administrator's terrified white face.
I don't care anymore. The river Yenisey
Swirls on. The Pole star blazes.
The blue sparks of those much-loved eyes
Close over and cover the final horror.
[19 August 1939. Fontannyi Dom]

IX

Madness with its wings
Has covered half my soul
It feeds me fiery wine
And lures me into the abyss.

That's when I understood
While listening to my alien delirium
That I must hand the victory
To it.

However much I nag
However much I beg
It will not let me take
One single thing away:

Not my son's frightening eyes -
A suffering set in stone,
Or prison visiting hours
Or days that end in storms

Nor the sweet coolness of a hand
The anxious shade of lime trees
Nor the light distant sound
Of final comforting words.
[14 May 1940. Fontannyi Dom]

X
CRUCIFIXION

Weep not for me, mother.
I am alive in my grave.

1.
A choir of angels glorified the greatest hour,
The heavens melted into flames.
To his father he said, 'Why hast thou forsaken me!'
But to his mother, 'Weep not for me. . .'
[1940. Fontannyi Dom]

2.
Magdalena smote herself and wept,
The favourite disciple turned to stone,
But there, where the mother stood silent,
Not one person dared to look.
[1943. Tashkent]

EPILOGUE

1.
I have learned how faces fall,
How terror can escape from lowered eyes,
How suffering can etch cruel pages
Of cuneiform-like marks upon the cheeks.
I know how dark or ash-blond strands of hair
Can suddenly turn white. I've learned to recognise
The fading smiles upon submissive lips,
The trembling fear inside a hollow laugh.
That's why I pray not for myself
But all of you who stood there with me
Through fiercest cold and scorching July heat
Under a towering, completely blind red wall.

2.
The hour has come to remember the dead.
I see you, I hear you, I feel you:
The one who resisted the long drag to the open window;
The one who could no longer feel the kick of familiar
soil beneath her feet;
The one who, with a sudden flick of her head, replied,

'I arrive here as if I've come home!'
I'd like to name you all by name, but the list
Has been removed and there is nowhere else to look.
So,
I have woven you this wide shroud out of the humble
words
I overheard you use. Everywhere, forever and always,
I will never forget one single thing. Even in new
grief.
Even if they clamp shut my tormented mouth
Through which one hundred million people scream;
That's how I wish them to remember me when I am dead
On the eve of my remembrance day.
If someone someday in this country
Decides to raise a memorial to me,
I give my consent to this festivity
But only on this condition - do not build it
By the sea where I was born,
I have severed my last ties with the sea;
Nor in the Tsar's Park by the hallowed stump
Where an inconsolable shadow looks for me;
Build it here where I stood for three hundred hours
And no-one slid open the bolt.
Listen, even in blissful death I fear
That I will forget the Black Marias,
Forget how hatefully the door slammed and an old woman
Howled like a wounded beast.
Let the thawing ice flow like tears
From my immovable bronze eyelids
And let the prison dove coo in the distance
While ships sail quietly along the river.
[March 1940. Fontannyi Dom]

FOOTNOTES

1 An elite guard which rose up in rebellion
 against Peter the Great in 1698. Most were either
 executed or exiled.
2 The imperial summer residence outside St
 Petersburg where Ahmatova spent her early years.
3 A prison complex in central Leningrad near the
 Finland Station, called The Crosses because of the
 shape of two of the buildings.
4 The Leningrad house in which Ahmatova lived.


by Alexander Pope |

Epistles to Several Persons: Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot

 Shut, shut the door, good John! fatigu'd, I said, 
Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.
The dog-star rages! nay 'tis past a doubt,
All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out:
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land.

What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide;
By land, by water, they renew the charge;
They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.
No place is sacred, not the church is free;
Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me:
Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy! to catch me just at dinner-time.

Is there a parson, much bemus'd in beer,
A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
Who pens a stanza, when he should engross?
Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls
With desp'rate charcoal round his darken'd walls?
All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause:
Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.

Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song)
What drop or nostrum can this plague remove?
Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love?
A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped,
If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
Seiz'd and tied down to judge, how wretched I!
Who can't be silent, and who will not lie;
To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace,
And to be grave, exceeds all pow'r of face.
I sit with sad civility, I read
With honest anguish, and an aching head;
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
This saving counsel, "Keep your piece nine years."

"Nine years!" cries he, who high in Drury-lane
Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before Term ends,
Oblig'd by hunger, and request of friends:
"The piece, you think, is incorrect: why, take it,
I'm all submission, what you'd have it, make it."

Three things another's modest wishes bound,
My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me: "You know his Grace,
I want a patron; ask him for a place."

Pitholeon libell'd me--"but here's a letter
Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine,
He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn Divine."

Bless me! a packet--"'Tis a stranger sues,
A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse."
If I dislike it, "Furies, death and rage!"
If I approve, "Commend it to the stage."
There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends,
The play'rs and I are, luckily, no friends.
Fir'd that the house reject him, "'Sdeath I'll print it,
And shame the fools--your int'rest, sir, with Lintot!"
"Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much."
"Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch."
All my demurs but double his attacks;
At last he whispers, "Do; and we go snacks."
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door,
"Sir, let me see your works and you no more."

'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring,
(Midas, a sacred person and a king)
His very minister who spied them first,
(Some say his queen) was forc'd to speak, or burst.
And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case,
When ev'ry coxcomb perks them in my face?

"Good friend, forbear! you deal in dang'rous things.
I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings;
Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick;
'Tis nothing"--Nothing? if they bite and kick?
Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass,
That secret to each fool, that he's an ass:
The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie?)
The queen of Midas slept, and so may I.

You think this cruel? take it for a rule,
No creature smarts so little as a fool.
Let peals of laughter, Codrus! round thee break,
Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack:
Pit, box, and gall'ry in convulsions hurl'd,
Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.
Who shames a scribbler? break one cobweb through,
He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew;
Destroy his fib or sophistry, in vain,
The creature's at his dirty work again;
Thron'd in the centre of his thin designs;
Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines!
Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer,
Lost the arch'd eye-brow, or Parnassian sneer?
And has not Colley still his lord, and whore?
His butchers Henley, his Free-masons Moore?
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
Still to one bishop Philips seem a wit?
Still Sappho-- "Hold! for God-sake--you'll offend:
No names!--be calm!--learn prudence of a friend!
I too could write, and I am twice as tall;
But foes like these!" One flatt'rer's worse than all.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right,
It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent;
Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.

One dedicates in high heroic prose,
And ridicules beyond a hundred foes;
One from all Grub Street will my fame defend,
And, more abusive, calls himself my friend.
This prints my Letters, that expects a bribe,
And others roar aloud, "Subscribe, subscribe."

There are, who to my person pay their court:
I cough like Horace, and, though lean, am short,
Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high,
Such Ovid's nose, and "Sir! you have an eye"--
Go on, obliging creatures, make me see
All that disgrac'd my betters, met in me:
Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,
"Just so immortal Maro held his head:"
And when I die, be sure you let me know
Great Homer died three thousand years ago.

Why did I write? what sin to me unknown
Dipp'd me in ink, my parents', or my own?
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
I left no calling for this idle trade,
No duty broke, no father disobey'd.
The Muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not wife,
To help me through this long disease, my life,
To second, Arbuthnot! thy art and care,
And teach the being you preserv'd, to bear.

But why then publish? Granville the polite,
And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write;
Well-natur'd Garth inflamed with early praise,
And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays;
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read,
Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head,
And St. John's self (great Dryden's friends before)
With open arms receiv'd one poet more.
Happy my studies, when by these approv'd!
Happier their author, when by these belov'd!
From these the world will judge of men and books,
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cookes.

Soft were my numbers; who could take offence,
While pure description held the place of sense?
Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme,
A painted mistress, or a purling stream.
Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill;
I wish'd the man a dinner, and sat still.
Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret;
I never answer'd, I was not in debt.
If want provok'd, or madness made them print,
I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.

Did some more sober critic come abroad?
If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss'd the rod.
Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence,
And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense.
Commas and points they set exactly right,
And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite.
Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds,
From slashing Bentley down to pidling Tibbalds.
Each wight who reads not, and but scans and spells,
Each word-catcher that lives on syllables,
Ev'n such small critics some regard may claim,
Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakespeare's name.
Pretty! in amber to observe the forms
Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms;
The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare,
But wonder how the devil they got there?

Were others angry? I excus'd them too;
Well might they rage; I gave them but their due.
A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find,
But each man's secret standard in his mind,
That casting weight pride adds to emptiness,
This, who can gratify? for who can guess?
The bard whom pilfer'd pastorals renown,
Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown,
Just writes to make his barrenness appear,
And strains, from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year:
He, who still wanting, though he lives on theft,
Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left:
And he, who now to sense, now nonsense leaning,
Means not, but blunders round about a meaning:
And he, whose fustian's so sublimely bad,
It is not poetry, but prose run mad:
All these, my modest satire bade translate,
And own'd, that nine such poets made a Tate.
How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe?
And swear, not Addison himself was safe.

Peace to all such! but were there one whose fires
True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires,
Blest with each talent and each art to please,
And born to write, converse, and live with ease:
Should such a man, too fond to rule alone,
Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne,
View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes,
And hate for arts that caus'd himself to rise;
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
Alike reserv'd to blame, or to commend,
A tim'rous foe, and a suspicious friend;
Dreading ev'n fools, by flatterers besieg'd,
And so obliging, that he ne'er oblig'd;
Like Cato, give his little senate laws,
And sit attentive to his own applause;
While wits and templars ev'ry sentence raise,
And wonder with a foolish face of praise.
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be?
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he?

What though my name stood rubric on the walls,
Or plaister'd posts, with claps, in capitals?
Or smoking forth, a hundred hawkers' load,
On wings of winds came flying all abroad?
I sought no homage from the race that write;
I kept, like Asian monarchs, from their sight:
Poems I heeded (now berhym'd so long)
No more than thou, great George! a birthday song.
I ne'er with wits or witlings pass'd my days,
To spread about the itch of verse and praise;
Nor like a puppy, daggled through the town,
To fetch and carry sing-song up and down;
Nor at rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd, and cried,
With handkerchief and orange at my side;
But sick of fops, and poetry, and prate,
To Bufo left the whole Castalian state.

Proud as Apollo on his forked hill,
Sat full-blown Bufo, puff'd by every quill;
Fed with soft dedication all day long,
Horace and he went hand in hand in song.
His library (where busts of poets dead
And a true Pindar stood without a head,)
Receiv'd of wits an undistinguish'd race,
Who first his judgment ask'd, and then a place:
Much they extoll'd his pictures, much his seat,
And flatter'd ev'ry day, and some days eat:
Till grown more frugal in his riper days,
He paid some bards with port, and some with praise,
To some a dry rehearsal was assign'd,
And others (harder still) he paid in kind.
Dryden alone (what wonder?) came not nigh,
Dryden alone escap'd this judging eye:
But still the great have kindness in reserve,
He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve.

May some choice patron bless each grey goose quill!
May ev'ry Bavius have his Bufo still!
So, when a statesman wants a day's defence,
Or envy holds a whole week's war with sense,
Or simple pride for flatt'ry makes demands,
May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands!
Blest be the great! for those they take away,
And those they left me--for they left me Gay;
Left me to see neglected genius bloom,
Neglected die! and tell it on his tomb;
Of all thy blameless life the sole return
My verse, and Queensb'ry weeping o'er thy urn!

Oh let me live my own! and die so too!
("To live and die is all I have to do:")
Maintain a poet's dignity and ease,
And see what friends, and read what books I please.
Above a patron, though I condescend
Sometimes to call a minister my friend:
I was not born for courts or great affairs;
I pay my debts, believe, and say my pray'rs;
Can sleep without a poem in my head,
Nor know, if Dennis be alive or dead.

Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light?
Heav'ns! was I born for nothing but to write?
Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave)
Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save?
"I found him close with Swift"--"Indeed? no doubt",
(Cries prating Balbus) "something will come out".
'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will.
"No, such a genius never can lie still,"
And then for mine obligingly mistakes
The first lampoon Sir Will. or Bubo makes.
Poor guiltless I! and can I choose but smile,
When ev'ry coxcomb knows me by my style?

Curs'd be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear!
But he, who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace,
Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress,
Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about,
Who writes a libel, or who copies out:
That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name,
Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame;
Who can your merit selfishly approve,
And show the sense of it without the love;
Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honour, injur'd, to defend;
Who tells what'er you think, whate'er you say,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray:
Who to the Dean, and silver bell can swear,
And sees at Cannons what was never there;
Who reads, but with a lust to misapply,
Make satire a lampoon, and fiction, lie.
A lash like mine no honest man shall dread,
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.

Let Sporus tremble--"What? that thing of silk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk?
Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?"
Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'r enjoys,
So well-bred spaniels civilly delight
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,
As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.
Whether in florid impotence he speaks,
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks;
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad,
In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies,
Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies.
His wit all see-saw, between that and this ,
Now high, now low, now Master up, now Miss,
And he himself one vile antithesis.
Amphibious thing! that acting either part,
The trifling head, or the corrupted heart,
Fop at the toilet, flatt'rer at the board,
Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
Eve's tempter thus the rabbins have express'd,
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest;
Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.

Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool,
Not lucre's madman, nor ambition's tool,
Not proud, nor servile, be one poet's praise,
That, if he pleas'd, he pleas'd by manly ways;
That flatt'ry, even to kings, he held a shame,
And thought a lie in verse or prose the same:
That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long,
But stoop'd to truth, and moraliz'd his song:
That not for fame, but virtue's better end,
He stood the furious foe, the timid friend,
The damning critic, half-approving wit,
The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit;
Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had,
The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad;
The distant threats of vengeance on his head,
The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed;
The tale reviv'd, the lie so oft o'erthrown;
Th' imputed trash, and dulness not his own;
The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape;
The libell'd person, and the pictur'd shape;
Abuse, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread,
A friend in exile, or a father, dead;
The whisper, that to greatness still too near,
Perhaps, yet vibrates on his sovereign's ear:--
Welcome for thee, fair Virtue! all the past:
For thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev'n the last!

"But why insult the poor? affront the great?"
A knave's a knave, to me, in ev'ry state:
Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
Sporus at court, or Japhet in a jail,
A hireling scribbler, or a hireling peer,
Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire;
If on a pillory, or near a throne,
He gain his prince's ear, or lose his own.

Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
Sappho can tell you how this man was bit:
This dreaded sat'rist Dennis will confess
Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress:
So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door,
Has drunk with Cibber, nay, has rhym'd for Moore.
Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply?
Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie.
To please a mistress one aspers'd his life;
He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife.
Let Budgell charge low Grub Street on his quill,
And write whate'er he pleas'd, except his will;
Let the two Curlls of town and court, abuse
His father, mother, body, soul, and muse.
Yet why? that father held it for a rule,
It was a sin to call our neighbour fool:
That harmless mother thought no wife a whore,--
Hear this! and spare his family, James Moore!
Unspotted names! and memorable long,
If there be force in virtue, or in song.

Of gentle blood (part shed in honour's cause,
While yet in Britain honour had applause)
Each parent sprung--"What fortune, pray?"--Their own,
And better got, than Bestia's from the throne.
Born to no pride, inheriting no strife,
Nor marrying discord in a noble wife,
Stranger to civil and religious rage,
The good man walk'd innoxious through his age.
No courts he saw, no suits would ever try,
Nor dar'd an oath, nor hazarded a lie:
Un-learn'd, he knew no schoolman's subtle art,
No language, but the language of the heart.
By nature honest, by experience wise,
Healthy by temp'rance and by exercise;
His life, though long, to sickness past unknown;
His death was instant, and without a groan.
O grant me, thus to live, and thus to die!
Who sprung from kings shall know less joy than I.

O friend! may each domestic bliss be thine!
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine:
Me, let the tender office long engage
To rock the cradle of reposing age,
With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,
Make langour smile, and smooth the bed of death,
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And keep a while one parent from the sky!
On cares like these if length of days attend,
May Heav'n, to bless those days, preserve my friend,
Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene,
And just as rich as when he serv'd a queen.
Whether that blessing be denied or giv'n,
Thus far was right, the rest belongs to Heav'n.


by Rainer Maria Rilke |

Dedication

 Dedication 
These to His Memory--since he held them dear, 
Perchance as finding there unconsciously 
Some image of himself--I dedicate, 
I dedicate, I consecrate with tears-- 
These Idylls. 

And indeed He seems to me 
Scarce other than my king's ideal knight, 
`Who reverenced his conscience as his king; 
Whose glory was, redressing human wrong; 
Who spake no slander, no, nor listened to it; 
Who loved one only and who clave to her--' 
Her--over all whose realms to their last isle, 
Commingled with the gloom of imminent war, 
The shadow of His loss drew like eclipse, 
Darkening the world. We have lost him: he is gone: 
We know him now: all narrow jealousies 
Are silent; and we see him as he moved, 
How modest, kindly, all-accomplished, wise, 
With what sublime repression of himself, 
And in what limits, and how tenderly; 
Not swaying to this faction or to that; 
Not making his high place the lawless perch 
Of winged ambitions, nor a vantage-ground 
For pleasure; but through all this tract of years 
Wearing the white flower of a blameless life, 
Before a thousand peering littlenesses, 
In that fierce light which beats upon a throne, 
And blackens every blot: for where is he, 
Who dares foreshadow for an only son 
A lovelier life, a more unstained, than his? 
Or how should England dreaming of HIS sons 
Hope more for these than some inheritance 
Of such a life, a heart, a mind as thine, 
Thou noble Father of her Kings to be, 
Laborious for her people and her poor-- 
Voice in the rich dawn of an ampler day-- 
Far-sighted summoner of War and Waste 
To fruitful strifes and rivalries of peace-- 
Sweet nature gilded by the gracious gleam 
Of letters, dear to Science, dear to Art, 
Dear to thy land and ours, a Prince indeed, 
Beyond all titles, and a household name, 
Hereafter, through all times, Albert the Good. 

Break not, O woman's-heart, but still endure; 
Break not, for thou art Royal, but endure, 
Remembering all the beauty of that star 
Which shone so close beside Thee that ye made 
One light together, but has past and leaves 
The Crown a lonely splendour. 

May all love, 
His love, unseen but felt, o'ershadow Thee, 
The love of all Thy sons encompass Thee, 
The love of all Thy daughters cherish Thee, 
The love of all Thy people comfort Thee, 
Till God's love set Thee at his side again!


by Rabindranath Tagore |

Moments Indulgence

 I ask for a moment's indulgence to sit by thy side. The works 
that I have in hand I will finish afterwards. 

Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, 
and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil. 

Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and 
the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove. 

Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing 
dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure


by Oliver Wendell Holmes |

Poem (Halleck monument dedication)

 SAY not the Poet dies!
Though in the dust he lies,
He cannot forfeit his melodious breath,
Unsphered by envious death!
Life drops the voiceless myriads from its roll;
Their fate he cannot share,
Who, in the enchanted air
Sweet with the lingering strains that Echo stole,
Has left his dearer self, the music of his soul!

We o'er his turf may raise
Our notes of feeble praise,
And carve with pious care for after eyes
The stone with "Here he lies;"
He for himself has built a nobler shrine,
Whose walls of stately rhyme
Roll back the tides of time,
While o'er their gates the gleaming tablets shine
That wear his name inwrought with many a golden line!

Call not our Poet dead,
Though on his turf we tread!
Green is the wreath their brows so long have worn,--
The minstrels of the morn,
Who, while the Orient burned with new-born flame,
Caught that celestial fire
And struck a Nation's lyre!
These taught the western winds the poet's name;
Theirs the first opening buds, the maiden flowers of fame!

Count not our Poet dead!
The stars shall watch his bed,
The rose of June its fragrant life renew
His blushing mound to strew,
And all the tuneful throats of summer swell
With trills as crystal-clear
As when he wooed the ear
Of the young muse that haunts each wooded dell,
With songs of that "rough land" he loved so long and well!

He sleeps; he cannot die!
As evening's long-drawn sigh,
Lifting the rose-leaves on his peaceful mound,
Spreads all their sweets around,
So, laden with his song, the breezes blow
From where the rustling sedge
Frets our rude ocean's edge
To the smooth sea beyond the peaks of snow.
His soul the air enshrines and leaves but dust below!


by John Trumbull |

MFingal - Canto III

 Now warm with ministerial ire,
Fierce sallied forth our loyal 'Squire,
And on his striding steps attends
His desperate clan of Tory friends.
When sudden met his wrathful eye
A pole ascending through the sky,
Which numerous throngs of whiggish race
Were raising in the market-place.
Not higher school-boy's kites aspire,
Or royal mast, or country spire;
Like spears at Brobdignagian tilting,
Or Satan's walking-staff in Milton.
And on its top, the flag unfurl'd
Waved triumph o'er the gazing world,
Inscribed with inconsistent types
Of Liberty and thirteen stripes.
Beneath, the crowd without delay
The dedication-rites essay,
And gladly pay, in antient fashion,
The ceremonies of libation;
While briskly to each patriot lip
Walks eager round the inspiring flip:
Delicious draught! whose powers inherit
The quintessence of public spirit;
Which whoso tastes, perceives his mind
To nobler politics refined;
Or roused to martial controversy,
As from transforming cups of Circe;
Or warm'd with Homer's nectar'd liquor,
That fill'd the veins of gods with ichor.
At hand for new supplies in store,
The tavern opes its friendly door,
Whence to and fro the waiters run,
Like bucket-men at fires in town.
Then with three shouts that tore the sky,
'Tis consecrate to Liberty.
To guard it from th' attacks of Tories,
A grand Committee cull'd of four is;
Who foremost on the patriot spot,
Had brought the flip, and paid the shot.


By this, M'Fingal with his train
Advanced upon th' adjacent plain,
And full with loyalty possest,
Pour'd forth the zeal, that fired his breast.


"What mad-brain'd rebel gave commission,
To raise this May-pole of sedition?
Like Babel, rear'd by bawling throngs,
With like confusion too of tongues,
To point at heaven and summon down
The thunders of the British crown?
Say, will this paltry Pole secure
Your forfeit heads from Gage's power?
Attack'd by heroes brave and crafty,
Is this to stand your ark of safety;
Or driven by Scottish laird and laddie,
Think ye to rest beneath its shadow?
When bombs, like fiery serpents, fly,
And balls rush hissing through the sky,
Will this vile Pole, devote to freedom,
Save like the Jewish pole in Edom;
Or like the brazen snake of Moses,
Cure your crackt skulls and batter'd noses?


"Ye dupes to every factious rogue
And tavern-prating demagogue,
Whose tongue but rings, with sound more full,
On th' empty drumhead of his scull;
Behold you not what noisy fools
Use you, worse simpletons, for tools?
For Liberty, in your own by-sense,
Is but for crimes a patent license,
To break of law th' Egyptian yoke,
And throw the world in common stock;
Reduce all grievances and ills
To Magna Charta of your wills;
Establish cheats and frauds and nonsense,
Framed to the model of your conscience;
Cry justice down, as out of fashion,
And fix its scale of depreciation;
Defy all creditors to trouble ye,
And keep new years of Jewish jubilee;
Drive judges out, like Aaron's calves,
By jurisdiction of white staves,
And make the bar and bench and steeple
Submit t' our Sovereign Lord, The People;
By plunder rise to power and glory,
And brand all property, as Tory;
Expose all wares to lawful seizures
By mobbers or monopolizers;
Break heads and windows and the peace,
For your own interest and increase;
Dispute and pray and fight and groan
For public good, and mean your own;
Prevent the law by fierce attacks
From quitting scores upon your backs;
Lay your old dread, the gallows, low,
And seize the stocks, your ancient foe,
And turn them to convenient engines
To wreak your patriotic vengeance;
While all, your rights who understand,
Confess them in their owner's hand;
And when by clamours and confusions,
Your freedom's grown a public nuisance,
Cry "Liberty," with powerful yearning,
As he does "Fire!" whose house is burning;
Though he already has much more
Than he can find occasion for.
While every clown, that tills the plains,
Though bankrupt in estate and brains,
By this new light transform'd to traitor,
Forsakes his plough to turn dictator,
Starts an haranguing chief of Whigs,
And drags you by the ears, like pigs.
All bluster, arm'd with factious licence,
New-born at once to politicians.
Each leather-apron'd dunce, grown wise,
Presents his forward face t' advise,
And tatter'd legislators meet,
From every workshop through the street.
His goose the tailor finds new use in,
To patch and turn the Constitution;
The blacksmith comes with sledge and grate
To iron-bind the wheels of state;
The quack forbears his patients' souse,
To purge the Council and the House;
The tinker quits his moulds and doxies,
To cast assembly-men and proxies.
From dunghills deep of blackest hue,
Your dirt-bred patriots spring to view,
To wealth and power and honors rise,
Like new-wing'd maggots changed to flies,
And fluttering round in high parade,
Strut in the robe, or gay cockade.
See Arnold quits, for ways more certain,
His bankrupt-perj'ries for his fortune,
Brews rum no longer in his store,
Jockey and skipper now no more,
Forsakes his warehouses and docks,
And writs of slander for the pox;
And cleansed by patriotism from shame,
Grows General of the foremost name.
For in this ferment of the stream
The dregs have work'd up to the brim,
And by the rule of topsy-turvies,
The scum stands foaming on the surface.
You've caused your pyramid t' ascend,
And set it on the little end.
Like Hudibras, your empire's made,
Whose crupper had o'ertopp'd his head.
You've push'd and turn'd the whole world up-
Side down, and got yourselves at top,
While all the great ones of your state
Are crush'd beneath the popular weight;
Nor can you boast, this present hour,
The shadow of the form of power.
For what's your Congress or its end?
A power, t' advise and recommend;
To call forth troops, adjust your quotas--
And yet no soul is bound to notice;
To pawn your faith to th' utmost limit,
But cannot bind you to redeem it;
And when in want no more in them lies,
Than begging from your State-Assemblies;
Can utter oracles of dread,
Like friar Bacon's brazen head,
But when a faction dares dispute 'em,
Has ne'er an arm to execute 'em:
As tho' you chose supreme dictators,
And put them under conservators.
You've but pursued the self-same way
With Shakespeare's Trinc'lo in the play;
"You shall be Viceroys here, 'tis true,
"But we'll be Viceroys over you."
What wild confusion hence must ensue?
Tho' common danger yet cements you:
So some wreck'd vessel, all in shatters,
Is held up by surrounding waters,
But stranded, when the pressure ceases,
Falls by its rottenness to pieces.
And fall it must! if wars were ended,
You'll ne'er have sense enough to mend it:
But creeping on, by low intrigues,
Like vermin of a thousand legs,
'Twill find as short a life assign'd,
As all things else of reptile kind.
Your Commonwealth's a common harlot,
The property of every varlet;
Which now in taste, and full employ,
All sorts admire, as all enjoy:
But soon a batter'd strumpet grown,
You'll curse and drum her out of town.
Such is the government you chose;
For this you bade the world be foes;
For this, so mark'd for dissolution,
You scorn the British Constitution,
That constitution form'd by sages,
The wonder of all modern ages;
Which owns no failure in reality,
Except corruption and venality;
And merely proves the adage just,
That best things spoil'd corrupt to worst:
So man supreme in earthly station,
And mighty lord of this creation,
When once his corse is dead as herring,
Becomes the most offensive carrion,
And sooner breeds the plague, 'tis found,
Than all beasts rotting on the ground.
Yet with republics to dismay us,
You've call'd up Anarchy from chaos,
With all the followers of her school,
Uproar and Rage and wild Misrule:
For whom this rout of Whigs distracted,
And ravings dire of every crack'd head;
These new-cast legislative engines
Of County-meetings and Conventions;
Committees vile of correspondence,
And mobs, whose tricks have almost undone 's:
While reason fails to check your course,
And Loyalty's kick'd out of doors,
And Folly, like inviting landlord,
Hoists on your poles her royal standard;
While the king's friends, in doleful dumps,
Have worn their courage to the stumps,
And leaving George in sad disaster,
Most sinfully deny their master.
What furies raged when you, in sea,
In shape of Indians, drown'd the tea;
When your gay sparks, fatigued to watch it,
Assumed the moggison and hatchet,
With wampum'd blankets hid their laces,
And like their sweethearts, primed their faces:
While not a red-coat dared oppose,
And scarce a Tory show'd his nose;
While Hutchinson, for sure retreat,
Manoeuvred to his country seat,
And thence affrighted, in the suds,
Stole off bareheaded through the woods.


"Have you not roused your mobs to join,
And make Mandamus-men resign,
Call'd forth each dufill-drest curmudgeon,
With dirty trowsers and white bludgeon,
Forced all our Councils through the land,
To yield their necks at your command;
While paleness marks their late disgraces,
Through all their rueful length of faces?


"Have you not caused as woeful work
In our good city of New-York,
When all the rabble, well cockaded,
In triumph through the streets paraded,
And mobb'd the Tories, scared their spouses,
And ransack'd all the custom-houses;
Made such a tumult, bluster, jarring,
That mid the clash of tempests warring,
Smith's weather-cock, in veers forlorn,
Could hardly tell which way to turn?
Burn'd effigies of higher powers,
Contrived in planetary hours;
As witches with clay-images
Destroy or torture whom they please:
Till fired with rage, th' ungrateful club
Spared not your best friend, Beelzebub,
O'erlook'd his favors, and forgot
The reverence due his cloven foot,
And in the selfsame furnace frying,
Stew'd him, and North and Bute and Tryon?
Did you not, in as vile and shallow way,
Fright our poor Philadelphian, Galloway,
Your Congress, when the loyal ribald
Belied, berated and bescribbled?
What ropes and halters did you send,
Terrific emblems of his end,
Till, least he'd hang in more than effigy,
Fled in a fog the trembling refugee?
Now rising in progression fatal,
Have you not ventured to give battle?
When Treason chaced our heroes troubled,
With rusty gun, and leathern doublet;
Turn'd all stone-walls and groves and bushes,
To batteries arm'd with blunderbusses;
And with deep wounds, that fate portend,
Gaul'd many a Briton's latter end;
Drove them to Boston, as in jail,
Confined without mainprize or bail.
Were not these deeds enough betimes,
To heap the measure of your crimes:
But in this loyal town and dwelling,
You raise these ensigns of rebellion?
'Tis done! fair Mercy shuts her door;
And Vengeance now shall sleep no more.
Rise then, my friends, in terror rise,
And sweep this scandal from the skies.
You'll see their Dagon, though well jointed,
Will shrink before the Lord's anointed;
And like old Jericho's proud wall,
Before our ram's horns prostrate fall."


This said, our 'Squire, yet undismay'd,
Call'd forth the Constable to aid,
And bade him read, in nearer station,
The Riot-act and Proclamation.
He swift, advancing to the ring,
Began, "Our Sovereign Lord, the King"--
When thousand clam'rous tongues he hears,
And clubs and stones assail his ears.
To fly was vain; to fight was idle;
By foes encompass'd in the middle,
His hope, in stratagems, he found,
And fell right craftily to ground;
Then crept to seek an hiding place,
'Twas all he could, beneath a brace;
Where soon the conq'ring crew espied him,
And where he lurk'd, they caught and tied him.


At once with resolution fatal,
Both Whigs and Tories rush'd to battle.
Instead of weapons, either band
Seized on such arms as came to hand.
And as famed Ovid paints th' adventures
Of wrangling Lapithæ and Centaurs,
Who at their feast, by Bacchus led,
Threw bottles at each other's head;
And these arms failing in their scuffles,
Attack'd with andirons, tongs and shovels:
So clubs and billets, staves and stones
Met fierce, encountering every sconce,
And cover'd o'er with knobs and pains
Each void receptacle for brains;
Their clamours rend the skies around,
The hills rebellow to the sound;
And many a groan increas'd the din
From batter'd nose and broken shin.
M'Fingal, rising at the word,
Drew forth his old militia-sword;
Thrice cried "King George," as erst in distress,
Knights of romance invoked a mistress;
And brandishing the blade in air,
Struck terror through th' opposing war.
The Whigs, unsafe within the wind
Of such commotion, shrunk behind.
With whirling steel around address'd,
Fierce through their thickest throng he press'd,
(Who roll'd on either side in arch,
Like Red Sea waves in Israel's march)
And like a meteor rushing through,
Struck on their Pole a vengeful blow.
Around, the Whigs, of clubs and stones
Discharged whole vollies, in platoons,
That o'er in whistling fury fly;
But not a foe dares venture nigh.
And now perhaps with glory crown'd
Our 'Squire had fell'd the pole to ground,
Had not some Pow'r, a whig at heart,
Descended down and took their part;
(Whether 'twere Pallas, Mars or Iris,
'Tis scarce worth while to make inquiries)
Who at the nick of time alarming,
Assumed the solemn form of Chairman,
Address'd a Whig, in every scene
The stoutest wrestler on the green,
And pointed where the spade was found,
Late used to set their pole in ground,
And urged, with equal arms and might,
To dare our 'Squire to single fight.
The Whig thus arm'd, untaught to yield,
Advanced tremendous to the field:
Nor did M'Fingal shun the foe,
But stood to brave the desp'rate blow;
While all the party gazed, suspended
To see the deadly combat ended;
And Jove in equal balance weigh'd
The sword against the brandish'd spade,
He weigh'd; but lighter than a dream,
The sword flew up, and kick'd the beam.
Our 'Squire on tiptoe rising fair
Lifts high a noble stroke in air,
Which hung not, but like dreadful engines,
Descended on his foe in vengeance.
But ah! in danger, with dishonor
The sword perfidious fails its owner;
That sword, which oft had stood its ground,
By huge trainbands encircled round;
And on the bench, with blade right loyal,
Had won the day at many a trial,
Of stones and clubs had braved th' alarms,
Shrunk from these new Vulcanian arms.
The spade so temper'd from the sledge,
Nor keen nor solid harm'd its edge,
Now met it, from his arm of might,
Descending with steep force to smite;
The blade snapp'd short--and from his hand,
With rust embrown'd the glittering sand.
Swift turn'd M'Fingal at the view,
And call'd to aid th' attendant crew,
In vain; the Tories all had run,
When scarce the fight was well begun;
Their setting wigs he saw decreas'd
Far in th' horizon tow'rd the west.
Amazed he view'd the shameful sight,
And saw no refuge, but in flight:
But age unwieldy check'd his pace,
Though fear had wing'd his flying race;
For not a trifling prize at stake;
No less than great M'Fingal's back.
With legs and arms he work'd his course,
Like rider that outgoes his horse,
And labor'd hard to get away, as
Old Satan struggling on through chaos;
Till looking back, he spied in rear
The spade-arm'd chief advanced too near:
Then stopp'd and seized a stone, that lay
An ancient landmark near the way;
Nor shall we as old bards have done,
Affirm it weigh'd an hundred ton;
But such a stone, as at a shift
A modern might suffice to lift,
Since men, to credit their enigmas,
Are dwindled down to dwarfs and pigmies,
And giants exiled with their cronies
To Brobdignags and Patagonias.
But while our Hero turn'd him round,
And tugg'd to raise it from the ground,
The fatal spade discharged a blow
Tremendous on his rear below:
His bent knee fail'd, and void of strength
Stretch'd on the ground his manly length.
Like ancient oak o'erturn'd, he lay,
Or tower to tempests fall'n a prey,
Or mountain sunk with all his pines,
Or flow'r the plow to dust consigns,
And more things else--but all men know 'em,
If slightly versed in epic poem.
At once the crew, at this dread crisis,
Fall on, and bind him, ere he rises;
And with loud shouts and joyful soul,
Conduct him prisoner to the pole.
When now the mob in lucky hour
Had got their en'mies in their power,
They first proceed, by grave command,
To take the Constable in hand.
Then from the pole's sublimest top
The active crew let down the rope,
At once its other end in haste bind,
And make it fast upon his waistband;
Till like the earth, as stretch'd on tenter,
He hung self-balanced on his centre.
Then upwards, all hands hoisting sail,
They swung him, like a keg of ale,
Till to the pinnacle in height
He vaulted, like balloon or kite.
As Socrates of old at first did
To aid philosophy get hoisted,
And found his thoughts flow strangely clear,
Swung in a basket in mid air:
Our culprit thus, in purer sky,
With like advantage raised his eye,
And looking forth in prospect wide,
His Tory errors clearly spied,
And from his elevated station,
With bawling voice began addressing.


"Good Gentlemen and friends and kin,
For heaven's sake hear, if not for mine!
I here renounce the Pope, the Turks,
The King, the Devil and all their works;
And will, set me but once at ease,
Turn Whig or Christian, what you please;
And always mind your rules so justly,
Should I live long as old Methus'lah,
I'll never join in British rage,
Nor help Lord North, nor Gen'ral Gage;
Nor lift my gun in future fights,
Nor take away your Charter-rights;
Nor overcome your new-raised levies,
Destroy your towns, nor burn your navies;
Nor cut your poles down while I've breath,
Though raised more thick than hatchel-teeth:
But leave King George and all his elves
To do their conq'ring work themselves."


This said, they lower'd him down in state,
Spread at all points, like falling cat;
But took a vote first on the question,
That they'd accept this full confession,
And to their fellowship and favor,
Restore him on his good behaviour.


Not so our 'Squire submits to rule,
But stood, heroic as a mule.
"You'll find it all in vain, quoth he,
To play your rebel tricks on me.
All punishments, the world can render,
Serve only to provoke th' offender;
The will gains strength from treatment horrid,
As hides grow harder when they're curried.
No man e'er felt the halter draw,
With good opinion of the law;
Or held in method orthodox
His love of justice, in the stocks;
Or fail'd to lose by sheriff's shears
At once his loyalty and ears.
Have you made Murray look less big,
Or smoked old Williams to a Whig?
Did our mobb'd Ol'ver quit his station,
Or heed his vows of resignation?
Has Rivington, in dread of stripes,
Ceased lying since you stole his types?
And can you think my faith will alter,
By tarring, whipping or the halter?
I'll stand the worst; for recompense
I trust King George and Providence.
And when with conquest gain'd I come,
Array'd in law and terror home,
Ye'll rue this inauspicious morn,
And curse the day, when ye were born,
In Job's high style of imprecations,
With all his plagues, without his patience."


Meanwhile beside the pole, the guard
A Bench of Justice had prepared,
Where sitting round in awful sort
The grand Committee hold their Court;
While all the crew, in silent awe,
Wait from their lips the lore of law.
Few moments with deliberation
They hold the solemn consultation;
When soon in judgment all agree,
And Clerk proclaims the dread decree;
"That 'Squire M'Fingal having grown
The vilest Tory in the town,
And now in full examination
Convicted by his own confession,
Finding no tokens of repentance,
This Court proceeds to render sentence:
That first the Mob a slip-knot single
Tie round the neck of said M'Fingal,
And in due form do tar him next,
And feather, as the law directs;
Then through the town attendant ride him
In cart with Constable beside him,
And having held him up to shame,
Bring to the pole, from whence he came."


Forthwith the crowd proceed to deck
With halter'd noose M'Fingal's neck,
While he in peril of his soul
Stood tied half-hanging to the pole;
Then lifting high the ponderous jar,
Pour'd o'er his head the smoaking tar.
With less profusion once was spread
Oil on the Jewish monarch's head,
That down his beard and vestments ran,
And cover'd all his outward man.
As when (so Claudian sings) the Gods
And earth-born Giants fell at odds,
The stout Enceladus in malice
Tore mountains up to throw at Pallas;
And while he held them o'er his head,
The river, from their fountains fed,
Pour'd down his back its copious tide,
And wore its channels in his hide:
So from the high-raised urn the torrents
Spread down his side their various currents;
His flowing wig, as next the brim,
First met and drank the sable stream;
Adown his visage stern and grave
Roll'd and adhered the viscid wave;
With arms depending as he stood,
Each cuff capacious holds the flood;
From nose and chin's remotest end,
The tarry icicles descend;
Till all o'erspread, with colors gay,
He glitter'd to the western ray,
Like sleet-bound trees in wintry skies,
Or Lapland idol carved in ice.
And now the feather-bag display'd
Is waved in triumph o'er his head,
And clouds him o'er with feathers missive,
And down, upon the tar, adhesive:
Not Maia's son, with wings for ears,
Such plumage round his visage wears;
Nor Milton's six-wing'd angel gathers
Such superfluity of feathers.
Now all complete appears our 'Squire,
Like Gorgon or Chimæra dire;
Nor more could boast on Plato's plan
To rank among the race of man,
Or prove his claim to human nature,
As a two-legg'd, unfeather'd creature.


Then on the fatal cart, in state
They raised our grand Duumvirate.
And as at Rome a like committee,
Who found an owl within their city,
With solemn rites and grave processions
At every shrine perform'd lustrations;
And least infection might take place
From such grim fowl with feather'd face,
All Rome attends him through the street
In triumph to his country seat:
With like devotion all the choir
Paraded round our awful 'Squire;
In front the martial music comes
Of horns and fiddles, fifes and drums,
With jingling sound of carriage bells,
And treble creak of rusted wheels.
Behind, the croud, in lengthen'd row
With proud procession, closed the show.
And at fit periods every throat
Combined in universal shout;
And hail'd great Liberty in chorus,
Or bawl'd 'confusion to the Tories.'
Not louder storm the welkin braves
From clamors of conflicting waves;
Less dire in Lybian wilds the noise
When rav'ning lions lift their voice;
Or triumphs at town-meetings made,
On passing votes to regulate trade.


Thus having borne them round the town,
Last at the pole they set them down;
And to the tavern take their way
To end in mirth the festal day.


And now the Mob, dispersed and gone,
Left 'Squire and Constable alone.
The constable with rueful face
Lean'd sad and solemn o'er a brace;
And fast beside him, cheek by jowl,
Stuck 'Squire M'Fingal 'gainst the pole,
Glued by the tar t' his rear applied,
Like barnacle on vessel's side.
But though his body lack'd physician,
His spirit was in worse condition.
He found his fears of whips and ropes
By many a drachm outweigh'd his hopes.
As men in jail without mainprize
View every thing with other eyes,
And all goes wrong in church and state,
Seen through perspective of the grate:
So now M'Fingal's Second-sight
Beheld all things in gloomier light;
His visual nerve, well purged with tar,
Saw all the coming scenes of war.
As his prophetic soul grew stronger,
He found he could hold in no longer.
First from the pole, as fierce he shook,
His wig from pitchy durance broke,
His mouth unglued, his feathers flutter'd,
His tarr'd skirts crack'd, and thus he utter'd.


"Ah, Mr. Constable, in vain
We strive 'gainst wind and tide and rain!
Behold my doom! this feathery omen
Portends what dismal times are coming.
Now future scenes, before my eyes,
And second-sighted forms arise.
I hear a voice, that calls away,
And cries 'The Whigs will win the day.'
My beck'ning Genius gives command,
And bids me fly the fatal land;
Where changing name and constitution,
Rebellion turns to Revolution,
While Loyalty, oppress'd, in tears,
Stands trembling for its neck and ears.


"Go, summon all our brethren, greeting,
To muster at our usual meeting;
There my prophetic voice shall warn 'em
Of all things future that concern 'em,
And scenes disclose on which, my friend,
Their conduct and their lives depend.
There I--but first 'tis more of use,
From this vile pole to set me loose;
Then go with cautious steps and steady,
While I steer home and make all ready.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

Ultima Thule: Dedication to G. W. G.

 With favoring winds, o'er sunlit seas, 
We sailed for the Hesperides, 
The land where golden apples grow; 
But that, ah! that was long ago. 
How far, since then, the ocean streams 
Have swept us from that land of dreams, 
That land of fiction and of truth, 
The lost Atlantis of our youth! 
Whither, ah, whither? Are not these 
The tempest-haunted Orcades, 
Where sea-gulls scream, and breakers roar, 
And wreck and sea-weed line the shore? 

Ultima Thule! Utmost Isle! 
Here in thy harbors for a while 
We lower our sails; a while we rest 
From the unending, endless quest.