Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |
KLOPSTOCK would lead us away from Pindus; no longer
May we be eager--the homely acorn alone must content us;
Yet he himself his more-than-epic crusade is conducting
High on Golgotha's summit, that foreign gods he may honour!
Yet, on what hill he prefers, let him gather the angels together,
Suffer deserted disciples to weep o'er the grave of the just one:
There where a hero and saint hath died, where a bard breath'd his
Both for our life and our death an ensample of courage resplendent
And of the loftiest human worth to bequeath,--ev'ry nation
There will joyously kneel in devotion ecstatic, revering
Thorn and laurel garland, and all its charms and its tortures.
Robinson Jeffers | |
The heroic stars spending themselves,
Coining their very flesh into bullets for the lost battle,
They must burn out at length like used candles;
And Mother Night will weep in her triumph, taking home her heroes.
There is the stuff for an epic poem--
This magnificent raid at the heart of darkness, this lost battle--
We don't know enough, we'll never know.
Oh happy Homer, taking the stars and the Gods for granted.
Edgar Lee Masters | |
I won the prize essay at school
Here in the village,
And published a novel before I was twenty-five.
I went to the city for themes and to enrich my art;
There married the banker’s daughter,
And later became president of the bank—
Always looking forward to some leisure
To write an epic novel of the war.
Meanwhile friend of the great, and lover of letters,
And host to Matthew Arnold and to Emerson.
An after dinner speaker, writing essays
For local clubs.
At last brought here—
My boyhood home, you know—
Not even a little tablet in Chicago
To keep my name alive.
How great it is to write the single line:
“Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean, roll!”
Andrew Barton Paterson | |
Not for the love of women toil we, we of the craft,
Not for the people's praise;
Only because our goddess made us her own and laughed,
Claiming us all our days,
Claiming our best endeavour -- body and heart and brain
Given with no reserve --
Niggard is she towards us, granting us little gain:
Still, we are proud to serve.
Not unto us is given choice of the tasks we try,
Gathering grain or chaff;
One of her favoured servants toils at an epic high,
One, that a child may laugh.
Yet if we serve her truly in our appointed place,
Freely she doth accord
Unto her faithful servants always this saving grace,
Work is its own reward!
Rabindranath Tagore | |
My love, once upon a time your poet
launched a great epic in his mind.
Alas, I was not careful, and it struck
your ringing anklets and came to
It broke up into scraps of songs and
lay scattered at your feet.
All my cargo of the stories of old
wars was tossed by the laughing waves
and soaked in tears and sank.
You must make this loss good to me,
If my claims to immortal fame after
death are scattered, make me immortal
while I live.
And I will not mourn for my loss nor
Thomas Hardy | |
O epic-famed, god-haunted Central Sea,
Heave careless of the deep wrong done to thee
When from Torino's track I saw thy face first flash on me.
And multimarbled Genova the Proud,
Gleam all unconscious how, wide-lipped, up-browed,
I first beheld thee clad--not as the Beauty but the Dowd.
Out from a deep-delved way my vision lit
On housebacks pink, green, ochreous--where a slit
Shoreward 'twixt row and row revealed the classic blue through it.
And thereacross waved fishwives' high-hung smocks,
Chrome kerchiefs, scarlet hose, darned underfrocks;
Since when too oft my dreams of thee, O Queen, that frippery mocks:
Whereat I grieve, Superba! .
Within Palazzo Doria's orange bowers
Went far to mend these marrings of thy soul-subliming powers.
But, Queen, such squalid undress none should see,
Those dream-endangering eyewounds no more be
Where lovers first behold thy form in pilgrimage to thee.