Czeslaw Milosz |
We, whose lungs fill with the sweetness of day.
Who in May admire trees flowering
Are better than those who perished.
We, who taste of exotic dishes,
And enjoy fully the delights of love,
Are better than those who were buried.
We, from the fiery furnaces, from behind barbed wires
On which the winds of endless autumns howled,
We, who remember battles where the wounded air roared in
paroxysms of pain.
We, saved by our own cunning and knowledge.
By sending others to the more exposed positions
Urging them loudly to fight on
Ourselves withdrawing in certainty of the cause lost.
Having the choice of our own death and that of a friend
We chose his, coldly thinking: Let it be done quickly.
We sealed gas chamber doors, stole bread
Knowing the next day would be harder to bear than the day before.
As befits human beings, we explored good and evil.
Our malignant wisdom has no like on this planet.
Accept it as proven that we are better than they,
The gullible, hot-blooded weaklings, careless with their lives.
Treasure your legacy of skills, child of Europe.
Inheritor of Gothic cathedrals, of baroque churches.
Of synagogues filled with the wailing of a wronged people.
Successor of Descartes, Spinoza, inheritor of the word 'honor',
Posthumous child of Leonidas
Treasure the skills acquired in the hour of terror.
You have a clever mind which sees instantly
The good and bad of any situation.
You have an elegant, skeptical mind which enjoys pleasures
Quite unknown to primitive races.
Guided by this mind you cannot fail to see
The soundness of the advice we give you:
Let the sweetness of day fill your lungs
For this we have strict but wise rules.
There can be no question of force triumphant
We live in the age of victorious justice.
Do not mention force, or you will be accused
Of upholding fallen doctrines in secret.
He who has power, has it by historical logic.
Respectfully bow to that logic.
Let your lips, proposing a hypothesis
Not know about the hand faking the experiment.
Let your hand, faking the experiment
No know about the lips proposing a hypothesis.
Learn to predict a fire with unerring precision
Then burn the house down to fulfill the prediction.
Grow your tree of falsehood from a single grain of truth.
Do not follow those who lie in contempt of reality.
Let your lie be even more logical than the truth itself
So the weary travelers may find repose in the lie.
After the Day of the Lie gather in select circles
Shaking with laughter when our real deeds are mentioned.
Dispensing flattery called: perspicacious thinking.
Dispensing flattery called: a great talent.
We, the last who can still draw joy from cynicism.
We, whose cunning is not unlike despair.
A new, humorless generation is now arising
It takes in deadly earnest all we received with laughter.
Let your words speak not through their meanings
But through them against whom they are used.
Fashion your weapon from ambiguous words.
Consign clear words to lexical limbo.
Judge no words before the clerks have checked
In their card index by whom they were spoken.
The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason.
The passionless cannot change history.
Love no country: countries soon disappear
Love no city: cities are soon rubble.
Throw away keepsakes, or from your desk
A choking, poisonous fume will exude.
Do not love people: people soon perish.
Or they are wronged and call for your help.
Do not gaze into the pools of the past.
Their corroded surface will mirror
A face different from the one you expected.
He who invokes history is always secure.
The dead will not rise to witness against him.
You can accuse them of any deeds you like.
Their reply will always be silence.
Their empty faces swim out of the deep dark.
You can fill them with any feature desired.
Proud of dominion over people long vanished,
Change the past into your own, better likeness.
The laughter born of the love of truth
Is now the laughter of the enemies of the people.
Gone is the age of satire.
We no longer need mock.
The sensible monarch with false courtly phrases.
Stern as befits the servants of a cause,
We will permit ourselves sycophantic humor.
Tight-lipped, guided by reasons only
Cautiously let us step into the era of the unchained fire.
Robert Frost |
What tree may not the fig be gathered from?
The grape may not be gathered from the birch?
It's all you know the grape, or know the birch.
As a girl gathered from the birch myself
Equally with my weight in grapes, one autumn,
I ought to know what tree the grape is fruit of.
I was born, I suppose, like anyone,
And grew to be a little boyish girl
My brother could not always leave at home.
But that beginning was wiped out in fear
The day I swung suspended with the grapes,
And was come after like Eurydice
And brought down safely from the upper regions;
And the life I live now's an extra life
I can waste as I please on whom I please.
So if you see me celebrate two birthdays,
And give myself out of two different ages,
One of them five years younger than I look-
One day my brother led me to a glade
Where a white birch he knew of stood alone,
Wearing a thin head-dress of pointed leaves,
And heavy on her heavy hair behind,
Against her neck, an ornament of grapes.
Grapes, I knew grapes from having seen them last year.
One bunch of them, and there began to be
Bunches all round me growing in white birches,
The way they grew round Leif the Lucky's German;
Mostly as much beyond my lifted hands, though,
As the moon used to seem when I was younger,
And only freely to be had for climbing.
My brother did the climbing; and at first
Threw me down grapes to miss and scatter
And have to hunt for in sweet fern and hardhack;
Which gave him some time to himself to eat,
But not so much, perhaps, as a boy needed.
So then, to make me wholly self-supporting,
He climbed still higher and bent the tree to earth
And put it in my hands to pick my own grapes.
"Here, take a tree-top, I'll get down another.
Hold on with all your might when I let go.
I said I had the tree.
It wasn't true.
The opposite was true.
The tree had me.
The minute it was left with me alone
It caught me up as if I were the fish
And it the fishpole.
So I was translated
To loud cries from my brother of "Let go!
Don't you know anything, you girl? Let go!"
But I, with something of the baby grip
Acquired ancestrally in just such trees
When wilder mothers than our wildest now
Hung babies out on branches by the hands
To dry or wash or tan, I don't know which,
(You'll have to ask an evolutionist)-
I held on uncomplainingly for life.
My brother tried to make me laugh to help me.
"What are you doing up there in those grapes?
Don't be afraid.
A few of them won't hurt you.
I mean, they won't pick you if you don't them.
Much danger of my picking anything!
By that time I was pretty well reduced
To a philosophy of hang-and-let-hang.
"Now you know how it feels," my brother said,
"To be a bunch of fox-grapes, as they call them,
That when it thinks it has escaped the fox
By growing where it shouldn't-on a birch,
Where a fox wouldn't think to look for it-
And if he looked and found it, couldn't reach it-
Just then come you and I to gather it.
Only you have the advantage of the grapes
In one way: you have one more stem to cling by,
And promise more resistance to the picker.
One by one I lost off my hat and shoes,
And still I clung.
I let my head fall back,
And shut my eyes against the sun, my ears
Against my brother's nonsense; "Drop," he said,
"I'll catch you in my arms.
It isn't far.
(Stated in lengths of him it might not be.
"Drop or I'll shake the tree and shake you down.
Grim silence on my part as I sank lower,
My small wrists stretching till they showed the banjo strings.
"Why, if she isn't serious about it!
Hold tight awhile till I think what to do.
I'll bend the tree down and let you down by it.
I don't know much about the letting down;
But once I felt ground with my stocking feet
And the world came revolving back to me,
I know I looked long at my curled-up fingers,
Before I straightened them and brushed the bark off.
My brother said: "Don't you weigh anything?
Try to weigh something next time, so you won't
Be run off with by birch trees into space.
It wasn't my not weighing anything
So much as my not knowing anything-
My brother had been nearer right before.
I had not taken the first step in knowledge;
I had not learned to let go with the hands,
As still I have not learned to with the heart,
And have no wish to with the heart-nor need,
That I can see.
The mind-is not the heart.
I may yet live, as I know others live,
To wish in vain to let go with the mind-
Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me
That I need learn to let go with the heart.
Delmore Schwartz |
I am a poet of the Hudson River and the heights above it,
the lights, the stars, and the bridges
I am also by self-appointment the laureate of the Atlantic
-of the peoples' hearts, crossing it
to new America.
I am burdened with the truck and chimera, hope,
acquired in the sweating sick-excited passage
in steerage, strange and estranged
Hence I must descry and describe the kingdom of emotion.
For I am a poet of the kindergarten (in the city)
and the cemetery (in the city)
And rapture and ragtime and also the secret city in the
heart and mind
This is the song of the natural city self in the 20th century.
It is true but only partly true that a city is a "tyranny of
(This is the chant of the urban metropolitan and
After the first two World Wars of the 20th century)
--- This is the city self, looking from window to lighted
When the squares and checks of faintly yellow light
Shine at night, upon a huge dim board and slab-like tombs,
Hiding many lives.
It is the city consciousness
Which sees and says: more: more and more: always more.
Hayden Carruth |
"Form follows function follows form .
Here I am writing my first villanelle
At seventy-two, and feeling old and tired--
"Hey, Pops, why dontcha give us the old death knell?"--
And writing it what's more on the rim of hell
In blazing Arizona when all I desired
Was north and solitude and not a villanelle,
Working from memory and not remembering well
How many stanzas and in what order, wired
On Mexican coffee, seeing the death knell
Of sun's salvos upon these hills that yell
Bloody murder silently to the much admired
One wonders if a villanelle
Can do the job.
Granted, old men now must tell
Our young world how these bigots and these retired
Bankers of Arizona are ringing the death knell
For everyone, how ideologies compel
Children to violence.
For its own sake is war.
Have you this power? And must Igo and sell
Myself? "Wow," they say, and "cool"--this hired
Old poetry guy with his spaced-out death knell.
Ah, far from home and God knows not much fired
By thoughts of when he thought he was inspired,
He writes by writing what he must.
Is what he's found in his first villanelle.
Credit: Copyright © 1995 by Hayden Carruth.
Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.
First worship the Immortal Gods, as they are established and ordained by the Law.
Reverence the Oath, and next the Heroes, full of goodness and light.
Honour likewise the Terrestrial Daemons by rendering them the worship lawfully due to them.
Honour likewise your parents, and those most nearly related to you.
Of all the rest of mankind, make him your friend who distinguishes himself by his virtue.
Always give ear to his mild exhortations, and take example from his virtuous and useful actions.
Avoid as much as possible hating your friend for a slight fault.
Power is a near neighbour to necessity.
Know that all these things are just as what I have told you; and accustom yourself to overcome and vanquish these passions:--
First gluttony, sloth, sensuality, and anger.
Do nothing evil, neither in the presence of others, nor privately;
But above all things respect yourself.
In the next place, observe justice in your actions and in your words.
And do not accustom yourself to behave yourself in any thing without rule, and without reason.
But always make this reflection, that it is ordained by destiny that all men shall die.
And that the goods of fortune are uncertain; and that just as they may be acquired, they may likewise be lost.
Concerning all the calamities that men suffer by divine fortune,
Support your lot with patience, it is what it may be, and never complain at it.
But endeavour what you can to remedy it.
And consider that fate does not send the greatest portion of these misfortunes to good men.
There are many sorts of reasonings among men, good and bad;
Do not admire them too easily, nor reject them.
But if falsehoods are advanced, hear them with mildness, and arm yourself with patience.
Observe well, on every occasion, what I am going to tell you:--
Do not let any man either by his words, or by his deeds, ever seduce you.
Nor lure you to say or to do what is not profitable for yourself.
Consult and deliberate before you act, that you may not commit foolish actions.
For it is the part of a miserable man to speak and to act without reflection.
But do the thing which will not afflict you afterwards, nor oblige you to repentance.
Never do anything which you do not understand.
But learn all you ought to know, and by that means you will lead a very pleasant life.
in no way neglect the health of your body;
But give it drink and meat in due measure, and also the exercise of which it needs.
Now by measure I mean what will not discomfort you.
Accustom yourself to a way of living that is neat and decent without luxury.
Avoid all things that will occasion envy.
And do not be prodigal out of season, like someone who does not know what is decent and honourable.
Neither be covetous nor stingy; a due measure is excellent in these things.
Only do the things that cannot hurt you, and deliberate before you do them.
Never allow sleep to close your eyelids, after you went to bed,
Until you have examined all your actions of the day by your reason.
In what have I done wrong? What have I done? What have I omitted that I ought to have done?
If in this examination you find that you have done wrong, reprove yourself severely for it;
And if you have done any good, rejoice.
Practise thoroughly all these things; meditate on them well; you ought to love them with all your heart.
It is those that will put you in the way of divine virtue.
I swear it by he who has transmitted into our souls the Sacred Quaternion, the source of nature, whose cause is eternal.
But never begin to set your hand to any work, until you have first prayed the gods to accomplish what you are going to begin.
When you have made this habit familiar to you,
You will know the constitution of the Immortal Gods and of men.
Even how far the different beings extend, and what contains and binds them together.
You shall likewise know that according to Law, the nature of this universe is in all things alike,
So that you shall not hope what you ought not to hope; and nothing in this world shall be hidden from you.
You will likewise know, that men draw upon themselves their own misfortunes voluntarily, and of their own free choice.
Unhappy they are! They neither see nor understand that their good is near them.
Few know how to deliver themselves out of their misfortunes.
Such is the fate that blinds humankind, and takes away his senses.
Like huge cylinders they roll back and forth, and always oppressed with innumerable ills.
For fatal strife, natural, pursues them everywhere, tossing them up and down; nor do they perceive it.
Instead of provoking and stirring it up, they ought to avoid it by yielding.
Oh! Jupiter, our Father! If you would deliver men from all the evils that oppress them,
Show them of what daemon they make use.
But take courage; the race of humans is divine.
Sacred nature reveals to them the most hidden mysteries.
If she impart to you her secrets, you will easily perform all the things which I have ordained thee.
And by the healing of your soul, you wilt deliver it from all evils, from all afflictions.
But you should abstain from the meats, which we have forbidden in the purifications and in the deliverance of the soul;
Make a just distinction of them, and examine all things well.
Leave yourself always to be guided and directed by the understanding that comes from above, and that ought to hold the reins.
And when, after having deprived yourself of your mortal body, you arrived at the most pure Aither,
You shall be a God, immortal, incorruptible, and Death shall have no more dominion over you.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |
THOUGHTS ON JESUS CHRIST'S DESCENT INTO HELL.
[THE remarkable Poem of which this is a literal
but faint representation, was written when Goethe was only sixteen
It derives additional interest from the fact of its being
the very earliest piece of his that is preserved.
The few other
pieces included by Goethe under the title of Religion and Church
are polemical, and devoid of interest to the English reader.
WHAT wondrous noise is heard around!
Through heaven exulting voices sound,
A mighty army marches on
By thousand millions follow'd, lo,
To yon dark place makes haste to go
God's Son, descending from His throne!
He goes--the tempests round Him break,
As Judge and Hero cometh He;
He goes--the constellations quake,
The sun, the world quake fearfully.
I see Him in His victor-car,
On fiery axles borne afar,
Who on the cross for us expired.
The triumph to yon realms He shows,--
Remote from earth, where star ne'er glows,
The triumph He for us acquired.
He cometh, Hell to extirpate,
Whom He, by dying, wellnigh kill'd;
He shall pronounce her fearful fate
Hark! now the curse is straight fulfill'd.
Hell sees the victor come at last,
She feels that now her reign is past,
She quakes and fears to meet His sight;
She knows His thunders' terrors dread,
In vain she seeks to hide her head,
Attempts to fly, but vain is flight;
Vainly she hastes to 'scape pursuit
And to avoid her Judge's eye;
The Lord's fierce wrath restrains her foot
Like brazen chains,--she cannot fly.
Here lies the Dragon, trampled down,
He lies, and feels God's angry frown,
He feels, and grinneth hideously;
He feels Hell's speechless agonies,
A thousand times he howls and sighs:
"Oh, burning flames! quick, swallow me!"
There lies he in the fiery waves,
By torments rack'd and pangs infernal,
Instant annihilation craves,
And hears, those pangs will be eternal.
Those mighty squadrons, too, are here,
The partners of his cursed career,
Yet far less bad than he were they.
Here lies the countless throng combined,
In black and fearful crowds entwined,
While round him fiery tempests play;
He sees how they the Judge avoid,
He sees the storm upon them feed,
Yet is not at the sight o'erjoy'd,
Because his pangs e'en theirs exceed.
The Son of Man in triumph passes
Down to Hell's wild and black morasses,
And there unfolds His majesty.
Hell cannot bear the bright array,
For, since her first created day.
Darkness alone e'er govern'd she.
She lay remote from ev'ry light
With torments fill'd in Chaos here;
God turn'd for ever from her sight
His radiant features' glory clear.
Within the realms she calls her own,
She sees the splendour of the Son,
His dreaded glories shining forth;
She sees Him clad in rolling thunder,
She sees the rocks all quake with wonder,
When God before her stands in wrath.
She sees He comes her Judge to be,
She feels the awful pangs inside her,
Herself to slay endeavours she,
But e'en this comfort is denied her.
Now looks she back, with pains untold,
Upon those happy times of old,
When those glories gave her joy;
When yet her heart revered the truth,
When her glad soul, in endless youth
And rapture dwelt, without alloy.
She calls to mind with madden'd thought
How over man her wiles prevail'd;
To take revenge on God she sought,
And feels the vengeance it entail'd.
God was made man, and came to earth.
Then Satan cried with fearful mirth:
"E'en He my victim now shall be!"
He sought to slay the Lord Most High,
The world's Creator now must die;
But, Satan, endless woe to thee!
Thou thought'st to overcome Him then,
Rejoicing in His suffering;
But he in triumph comes again
To bind thee: Death! where is thy sting?
Speak, Hell! where is thy victory?
Thy power destroy'd and scatter'd see!
Know'st thou not now the Highest's might?
See, Satan, see thy rule o'erthrown!
By thousand-varying pangs weigh'd down,
Thou dwell'st in dark and endless night.
As though by lightning struck thou liest,
No gleam of rapture far or wide;
In vain! no hope thou there decriest,--
For me alone Messiah died!
A howling rises through the air,
A trembling fills each dark vault there,
When Christ to Hell is seen to come.
She snarls with rage, but needs must cower
Before our mighty hero's power;
He signs--and Hell is straightway dumb.
Before his voice the thunders break,
On high His victor-banner blows;
E'en angels at His fury quake,
When Christ to the dread judgment goes.
Now speaks He, and His voice is thunder,
He speaks, the rocks are rent in sunder,
His breath is like devouring flames.
Thus speaks He: "Tremble, ye accurs'd!
He who from Eden hurl'd you erst,
Your kingdom's overthrow proclaims.
Look up! My children once were ye,
Your arms against Me then ye turn'd,
Ye fell, that ye might sinners be,
Ye've now the wages that ye earn'd.
"My greatest foeman from that day,
Ye led my dearest friends astray,--
As ye had fallen, man must fall.
To kill him evermore ye sought,
'They all shall die the death,' ye thought;
But howl! for Me I won them all.
For them alone did I descend,
For them pray'd, suffer'd, perish'd I.
Ye ne'er shall gain your wicked end;
Who trusts in Me shall never die.
"In endless chains here lie ye now,
Nothing can save you from the slough.
Not boldness, not regret for crime.
Lie, then, and writhe in brimstone fire!
'Twas ye yourselves drew down Mine ire,
Lie and lament throughout all time!
And also ye, whom I selected,
E'en ye forever I disown,
For ye My saving grace rejected
Ye murmur? blame yourselves alone!
"Ye might have lived with Me in bliss,
For I of yore had promis'd this;
Ye sinn'd, and all My precepts slighted
Wrapp'd in the sleep of sin ye dwelt,
Now is My fearful judgment felt,
By a just doom your guilt requited.
Thus spake He, and a fearful storm
From Him proceeds, the lightnings glow,
The thunders seize each wicked form,
And hurl them in the gulf below.
The God-man closeth Hell's sad doors,
In all His majesty He soars
From those dark regions back to light.
He sitteth at the Father's side;
Oh, friends, what joy doth this betide!
For us, for us He still will fight!
The angels sacred quire around
Rejoice before the mighty Lord,
So that all creatures hear the sound:
"Zebaoth's God be aye ador'd!"
Ogden Nash |
For years we've had a little dog,
Last year we acquired a big dog;
He wasn't big when we got him,
He was littler than the dog we had.
We thought our little dog would love him,
Would help him to become a trig dog,
But the new little dog got bigger,
And the old little dog got mad.
Now the big dog loves the little dog,
But the little dog hates the big dog,
The little dog is eleven years old,
And the big dog only one;
The little dog calls him Schweinhund,
The little dog calls him Pig-dog,
She grumbles broken curses
As she dreams in the August sun.
The big dog's teeth are terrible,
But he wouldn't bite the little dog;
The little dog wants to grind his bones,
But the little dog has no teeth;
The big dog is acrobatic,
The little dog is a brittle dog;
She leaps to grip his jugular,
And passes underneath.
The big dog clings to the little dog
Like glue and cement and mortar;
The little dog is his own true love;
But the big dog is to her
Like a scarlet rag to a Longhorn,
Or a suitcase to a porter;
The day he sat on the hornet
I distinctly heard her purr.
Well, how can you blame the little dog,
Who was once the household darling?
He romps like a young Adonis,
She droops like an old mustache;
No wonder she steals his corner,
No wonder she comes out snarling,
No wonder she calls him Cochon
And even Espèce de vache.
Yet once I wanted a sandwich,
Either caviar or cucumber,
When the sun had not yet risen
And the moon had not yet sank;
As I tiptoed through the hallway
The big dog lay in slumber,
And the little dog slept by the big dog,
And her head was on his flank.
Marilyn Hacker |
Cherry-ripe: dark sweet burlats, scarlet reverchons
firm-fleshed and tart in the mouth
bigarreaux, peach-and-white napoléons
as the harvest moves north
from Provence to the banks of the Yonne
(they grow napoléons in Washington
Before that, garriguettes,
from Périgord, in wooden punnets
afterwards, peaches: yellow-fleshed, white,
moss-skinned ruby pêches de vigne.
The vendors cry out "Taste," my appetite
Birdsong, from an unseen
source on this street-island, too close for the trees:
it’s a young woman with a tin basin
of plastic whistles moulded like canaries.
– which children warbled on in Claremont Park
one spring day in my third year.
my father’s mother, took
I spent the days with her
now that my mother had gone back to work.
In her brocade satchel, crochet-work, a picture-book
But overnight the yellow bird
whistles had appeared
and I wanted one passionately.
Watching big girls play hopscotch at curb’s edge
or telling stories to V.
under the shiny leaves of privet hedge
were pale pastimes compared to my desire
Did I hector one of the privileged
warblers to tell us where they were acquired?
– the candy store on Tremont Avenue
Of course I don’t call her Gísela.
I call her Grandma.
"Grandma will buy it for you,"
– does she add "mammele "
not letting her annoyance filter through
as an old-world friend moves into view?
The toddler and the stout
grey-haired woman walk out
of the small park toward the shopping streets
into a present tense
where what’s ineffaceable repeats
I dash ahead, new whistle in my hand
She runs behind.
Gísela, prone, also silent, on the ground.
Death is the scandal that was always hidden.
I never saw my grandmother again
Who took me home? Somebody did.
the next few days (because that afternoon
and night are blank) I don’t think I cried, I didn’t
know what to ask (I wasn’t three), and then I did, and
"She’s gone to live in Florida" they said
and I knew she was dead.
A black woman, to whom I wasn’t nice,
was hired to look after me.
Her name was Josephine – and that made twice
I’d heard that name: my grandmother’s park crony
Where was Grandma; where was Gísela ?
she called me to her bench to ask one day.
I say, "She’s gone to live in Florida.
Marcin Malek |
I'll never be a king of the brave
The vain poet - I lied, forgive me if you care
I went calmly through all the stages of madness
The last it's the tongue on a stranger face
And believe that man can turn in to a bird
To look at people and things
Without the need of rising the gaze
What a disruptive and ugly input
- Acquired romanticism
To have eyes placed on occiput
And after all, to see against the stiff neck
How veils of the wild cranes are waving
Across the sunset fires and dense shades
I'll never be a king of the brave
Timorous rhymer - I laughed, who cares
That I went through all the stages of foolishness
The last it's the thought that anyone chased
Man, dog or a worm
Will find an asylum
Somewhere in between the strophes
Copyright ©: Marcin Malek
Eugene Field |
Prate, ye who will, of so-called charms you find across the sea--
The land of stoves and sunshine is good enough for me!
I've done the grand for fourteen months in every foreign clime,
And I've learned a heap of learning, but I've shivered all the time;
And the biggest bit of wisdom I've acquired--as I can see--
Is that which teaches that this land's the land of lands for me.
Now, I am of opinion that a person should get some
Warmth in this present life of ours, not all in that to come;
So when Boreas blows his blast, through country and through town,
Or when upon the muddy streets the stifling fog rolls down,
Go, guzzle in a pub, or plod some bleak malarious grove,
But let me toast my shrunken shanks beside some Yankee stove.
The British people say they "don't believe in stoves, y' know;"
Perchance because we warmed 'em so completely years ago!
They talk of "drahfts" and "stuffiness" and "ill effects of heat,"
As they chatter in their barny rooms or shiver 'round the street;
With sunshine such a rarity, and stoves esteemed a sin,
What wonder they are wedded to their fads--catarrh and gin?
In Germany are stoves galore, and yet you seldom find
A fire within the stoves, for German stoves are not that kind;
The Germans say that fires make dirt, and dirt's an odious thing,
But the truth is that the pfennig is the average Teuton's king,
And since the fire costs pfennigs, why, the thrifty soul denies
Himself all heat except what comes with beer and exercise.
The Frenchman builds a fire of cones, the Irishman of peat;
The frugal Dutchman buys a fire when he has need of heat--
That is to say, he pays so much each day to one who brings
The necessary living coals to warm his soup and things;
In Italy and Spain they have no need to heat the house--
'Neath balmy skies the native picks the mandolin and louse.
Now, we've no mouldy catacombs, no feudal castles grim,
No ruined monasteries, no abbeys ghostly dim;
Our ancient history is new, our future's all ahead,
And we've got a tariff bill that's made all Europe sick abed--
But what is best, though short on tombs and academic groves,
We double discount Christendom on sunshine and on stoves.
Dear land of mine! I come to you from months of chill and storm,
Blessing the honest people whose hearts and hearths are warm;
A fairer, sweeter song than this I mean to weave to you
When I've reached my lakeside 'dobe and once get heated through;
But, even then, the burthen of that fairer song shall be
That the land of stoves and sunshine is good enough for me.