Omar Khayyam |
You know all secrets of this earthly sphere,
Why then remain a prey to empty fear?
You cannot bend things to your will, but yet
Cheer up for the few moments you are here!
Elizabeth Bishop |
This is not my home.
How did I get so far from water? It must
be over that way somewhere.
I am the color of wine, of tinta.
The inside of my powerful
right claw is saffron-yellow.
See, I see it now; I wave it like a
I am dapper and elegant; I move with great precision,
cleverly managing all my smaller yellow claws.
I believe in the
oblique, the indirect approach, and I keep my feelings to myself.
But on this strange, smooth surface I am making too much
I wasn't meant for this.
If I maneuver a bit and keep a
sharp lookout, I shall find my pool again.
Watch out for my right
claw, all passersby! This place is too hard.
The rain has stopped,
and it is damp, but still not wet enough to please me.
My eyes are good, though small; my shell is tough and tight.
In my own pool are many small gray fish.
I see right through
Only their large eyes are opaque, and twitch at me.
are hard to catch but I, I catch them quickly in my arms and
eat them up.
What is that big soft monster, like a yellow cloud, stifling
and warm? What is it doing? It pats my back.
I have frightened it away.
It's sitting down, pretending nothing's
I'll skirt it.
It's still pretending not to see me.
my way, O monster.
I own a pool, all the little fish that swim in it,
and all the skittering waterbugs that smell like rotten apples.
Cheer up, O grievous snail.
I tap your shell, encouragingly,
not that you will ever know about it.
And I want nothing to do with you, either, sulking toad.
Imagine, at least four times my size and yet so vulnerable.
could open your belly with my claw.
You glare and bulge, a
watchdog near my pool; you make a loud and hollow noise.
do not care for such stupidity.
I admire compression, lightness,
and agility, all rare in this loose world.
George Meredith |
Pitch here the tent, while the old horse grazes:
By the old hedge-side we'll halt a stage.
It's nigh my last above the daisies:
My next leaf'll be man's blank page.
Yes, my old girl! and it's no use crying:
Juggler, constable, king, must bow.
One that outjuggles all's been spying
Long to have me, and he has me now.
We've travelled times to this old common:
Often we've hung our pots in the gorse.
We've had a stirring life, old woman!
You, and I, and the old grey horse.
Races, and fairs, and royal occasions,
Found us coming to their call:
Now they'll miss us at our stations:
There's a Juggler outjuggles all!
Up goes the lark, as if all were jolly!
Over the duck-pond the willow shakes.
Easy to think that grieving's folly,
When the hand's firm as driven stakes!
Ay, when we're strong, and braced, and manful,
Life's a sweet fiddle: but we're a batch
Born to become the Great Juggler's han'ful:
Balls he shies up, and is safe to catch.
Here's where the lads of the village cricket:
I was a lad not wide from here:
Couldn't I whip off the bale from the wicket?
Like an old world those days appear!
Donkey, sheep, geese, and thatch'd ale-house--I know them!
They are old friends of my halts, and seem,
Somehow, as if kind thanks I owe them:
Juggling don't hinder the heart's esteem.
Juggling's no sin, for we must have victual:
Nature allows us to bait for the fool.
Holding one's own makes us juggle no little;
But, to increase it, hard juggling's the rule.
You that are sneering at my profession,
Haven't you juggled a vast amount?
There's the Prime Minister, in one Session,
Juggles more games than my sins'll count.
I've murdered insects with mock thunder:
Conscience, for that, in men don't quail.
I've made bread from the bump of wonder:
That's my business, and there's my tale.
Fashion and rank all praised the professor:
Ay! and I've had my smile from the Queen:
Bravo, Jerry! she meant: God bless her!
Ain't this a sermon on that scene?
I've studied men from my topsy-turvy
Close, and, I reckon, rather true.
Some are fine fellows: some, right scurvy:
Most, a dash between the two.
But it's a woman, old girl, that makes me
Think more kindly of the race:
And it's a woman, old girl, that shakes me
When the Great Juggler I must face.
We two were married, due and legal:
Honest we've lived since we've been one.
Lord! I could then jump like an eagle:
You danced bright as a bit o' the sun.
Birds in a May-bush we were! right merry!
All night we kiss'd, we juggled all day.
Joy was the heart of Juggling Jerry!
Now from his old girl he's juggled away.
It's past parsons to console us:
No, nor no doctor fetch for me:
I can die without my bolus;
Two of a trade, lass, never agree!
Parson and Doctor!--don't they love rarely
Fighting the devil in other men's fields!
Stand up yourself and match him fairly:
Then see how the rascal yields!
I, lass, have lived no gipsy, flaunting
Finery while his poor helpmate grubs:
Coin I've stored, and you won't be wanting:
You shan't beg from the troughs and tubs.
Nobly you've stuck to me, though in his kitchen
Many a Marquis would hail you Cook!
Palaces you could have ruled and grown rich in,
But your old Jerry you never forsook.
Hand up the chirper! ripe ale winks in it;
Let's have comfort and be at peace.
Once a stout draught made me light as a linnet.
Cheer up! the Lord must have his lease.
May be--for none see in that black hollow--
It's just a place where we're held in pawn,
And, when the Great Juggler makes as to swallow,
It's just the sword-trick--I ain't quite gone!
Yonder came smells of the gorse, so nutty,
Gold-like and warm: it's the prime of May.
Better than mortar, brick and putty
Is God's house on a blowing day.
Lean me more up the mound; now I feel it:
All the old heath-smells! Ain't it strange?
There's the world laughing, as if to conceal it,
But He's by us, juggling the change.
I mind it well, by the sea-beach lying,
Once--it's long gone--when two gulls we beheld,
Which, as the moon got up, were flying
Down a big wave that sparked and swell'd.
Crack, went a gun: one fell: the second
Wheeled round him twice, and was off for new luck:
There in the dark her white wing beckon'd:--
Drop me a kiss--I'm the bird dead-struck!
Thomas Moore |
My banks are all furnished with rags,
So thick, even Freddy can't thin 'em;
I've torn up my old money-bags,
Having little or nought to put in 'em.
My tradesman are smashing by dozens,
But this is all nothing, they say;
For bankrupts, since Adam, are cousins,
So, it's all in the family way.
My Debt not a penny takes from me,
As sages the matter explain; --
Bob owes it to Tom and then Tommy
Just owes it to Bob back again.
Since all have thus taken to owing,
There's nobody left that can pay;
And this is the way to keep going, --
All quite in the family way.
My senators vote away millions,
To put in Prosperity's budget;
And though it were billions or trillions,
The generous rogues wouldn't grudge it.
'Tis all but a family hop,
'Twas Pitt began dancing the hay;
Hands round! -- why the deuce should we stop?
'Tis all in the family way.
My labourers used to eat mutton,
As any great man of the State does;
And now the poor devils are put on
Small rations of tea and potatoes.
But cheer up John, Sawney and Paddy,
The King is your father, they say;
So ev'n if you starve for your Daddy,
'Tis all in the family way.
My rich manufacturers tumble,
My poor ones have nothing to chew;
And, even if themselves do not grumble,
Their stomachs undoubtedly do.
But coolly to fast en famille,
Is as good for the soul as to pray;
And famine itself is genteel,
When one starves in a family way.
I have found out a secret for Freddy,
A secret for next Budget day;
Though, perhaps he may know it already,
As he, too, 's a sage in his way.
When next for the Treasury scene he
Announces "the Devil to pay",
Let him write on the bills, "Nota bene,
'Tis all in the family way.
Omar Khayyam |
Grieve not at coming ill, you can't defeat it,
And what far-sighted person goes to meet it?
Cheer up! bear not about a world of grief,
Your fate is fixed, and grieving will not cheat it.
Robert William Service |
I will not wash my face;
I will not brush my hair;
I "pig" around the place--
There's nobody to care.
Nothing but rock and tree;
Nothing but wood and stone,
Oh, God, it's hell to be
Alone, alone, alone!
Snow-peaks and deep-gashed draws
Corral me in a ring.
I feel as if I was
The only living thing
On all this blighted earth;
And so I frowst and shrink,
And crouching by my hearth
I hear the thoughts I think.
I think of all I miss--
The boys I used to know;
The girls I used to kiss;
The coin I used to blow:
The bars I used to haunt;
The racket and the row;
The beers I didn't want
(I wish I had 'em now).
Day after day the same,
Only a little worse;
No one to grouch or blame--
Oh, for a loving curse!
Oh, in the night I fear,
Haunted by nameless things,
Just for a voice to cheer,
Just for a hand that clings!
Faintly as from a star
Voices come o'er the line;
Voices of ghosts afar,
Not in this world of mine;
Lives in whose loom I grope;
Words in whose weft I hear
Eager the thrill of hope,
Awful the chill of fear.
I'm thinking out aloud;
I reckon that is bad;
(The snow is like a shroud)--
Maybe I'm going mad.
Say! wouldn't that be tough?
This awful hush that hugs
And chokes one is enough
To make a man go "bugs".
There's not a thing to do;
I cannot sleep at night;
No wonder I'm so blue;
Oh, for a friendly fight!
The din and rush of strife;
A music-hall aglow;
A crowd, a city, life--
Dear God, I miss it so!
Here, you have moped enough!
Brace up and play the game!
But say, it's awful tough--
Day after day the same
(I've said that twice, I bet).
Well, there's not much to say.
I wish I had a pet,
Or something I could play.
Cheer up! don't get so glum
And sick of everything;
The worst is yet to come;
God help you till the Spring.
God shield you from the Fear;
Teach you to laugh, not moan.
Ha! ha! it sounds so queer--
Alone, alone, alone!
Robert William Service |
Said Hongray de la Glaciere unto his proud Papa:
"I want to take a wife mon Père," The Marquis laughed: "Ha! Ha!
And whose, my son?" he slyly said; but Hongray with a frown
Cried, "Fi! Papa, I mean - to wed, I want to settle down.
The Marquis de la Glaciere responded with a smile;
"You're young my boy; I much prefer that you should wait awhile.
But Hongray sighed: "I cannot wait, for I am twenty-four;
And I have met my blessed fate: I worship and adore.
Such beauty, grace and charm has she, I'm sure you will approve,
For if I live a century none other can I love.
"I have no doubt," the Marquis shrugged, "that she's a proper pet;
But has she got a decent dot, and is she of our set?"
"Her dot," said Hongray, "will suffice; her family you know.
The girl with whom I fain would splice is Mirabelle du Veau.
What made the Marquis start and stare, and clutch his perfumed beard?
Why did he stagger to a chair and murmur: "As I feared?"
Dilated were his eyes with dread, and in a voice of woe
He wailed: "My son, you cannot wed with Mirabelle du Veau.
"Why not? my Parent," Hongray cried.
"Her name's without a slur.
Why should you look so horrified that I should wed with her?"
The Marquis groaned: "Unhappy lad! Forget her if you can,
And see in your respected Dad a miserable man.
"What id the matter? I repeat," said Hongray growing hot.
"She's witty, pretty, rich and sweet.
Then- mille diables!- what?"
The Marquis moaned: "Alas! that I your dreams of bliss should banish;
It happened in the days gone-by, when I was Don Juanish.
Her mother was your mother's friend, and we were much together.
Ah well! You know how such things end.
(I blame it on the weather.
We had a very sultry spell.
One day, mon Dieu! I kissed her.
My son, you can't wed Mirabelle.
she is your sister.
So broken-hearted Hongray went and roamed the world around,
Till hunting in the Occident forgetfulness he found.
Then quite recovered, he returned to the paternal nest,
Until one day, with brow that burned, the Marquis he addresses:
"Felicitate me, Father mine; my brain s in a whirl;
For I have found the mate divine, the one, the perfect girl.
She's healthy, wealthy, witching, wise, with loveliness serene.
And Proud am I to win a prize, half angel and half queen.
"'Tis time to wed," the Marquis said, "You must be twenty-seven.
But who is she whose lot may be to make your life a heaven?"
"A friend of childhood," Hongray cried.
"For whom regard you feel.
The maid I fain would be my bride is Raymonde de la Veal.
The Marquis de la Glaciere collapsed upon the floor,
And all the words he uttered were: "Forgive me, I implore.
My sins are heavy on my head.
Profound remorse I feel.
My son, you simply cannot wed with Raymonde de la Veal.
Then Hongray spoke voice that broke, and corrugated brow:
"Inform me, Sir, why you demur.
What is the matter now?"
The Marquis wailed: "My wicked youth! Ah! how it gives me pain.
But let me tell the awful truth, my agony explain.
A cursed Casanova I; a finished flirt her mother;
And so alas! it came to pass we fell for one another:
Our lives were blent in bliss and joy, The sequel you may gather:
You cannot wed Raymonde, my boy, because I am.
Again sore-stricken Hongray fled, and sought his grief to smother,
And as he writhed upon his bed to him there came his Mother.
The Marquise de la Glaciere was snowy-haired and frigid.
Her wintry featured chiselled were, her manner stiff and rigid.
The pride of race was in her face, her bearing high and stately,
And sinking down by Hongray's side she spoke to him sedately:
"What ails you so, my precious child? What throngs of sorrow smite you?
Why are your eyes so wet and wild? Come tell me, I invite you.
"Ah! if I told you, Mother dear," said Hongray with a shiver,
"Another's honour would, I fear, be in the soup forever.
"Nay trust," she begged, "My only boy, the fond Mama who bore you.
Perhaps I may, your grief alloy.
Please tell me, I implore you.
And so his story Hngray told, in accents choked and muffled.
The Marquise listened calm and cold, her visage quite unruffled.
He told of Mirabelle du Veau, his agony revealing.
For Raymonde de la Veal his woe was quite beyond concealing.
And still she sat without a word, her look so high and haughty,
You'd ne'er have thought it was her lord who had behaved so naughty.
Then Hongray finished up: "For life my hopes are doomed to slaughter;
For if I choose another wife, she's sure to be his daughter.
The Marquise rose.
"Cheer up," said she, "the last word is not spoken.
A Mother cannot sit and see her boy's heart rudely broken.
So dry your tears and calm your fears; no longer need you tarry;
To-day your bride you may decide, to-morrow you may marry.
Yes, you may wed with Mirabelle, or Raymonde if you'd rather.
For I as well the truth may tell.
Papa is not your father.
Robert William Service |
You've heard of Julot the apache, and Gigolette, his mome.
Montmartre was their hunting-ground, but Belville was their home.
A little chap just like a boy, with smudgy black mustache, --
Yet there was nothing juvenile in Julot the apache.
From head to heel as tough as steel, as nimble as a cat,
With every trick of twist and kick, a master of savate.
And Gigolette was tall and fair, as stupid as a cow,
With three combs in the greasy hair she banged upon her brow.
You'd see her on the Place Pigalle on any afternoon,
A primitive and strapping wench as brazen as the moon.
And yet there is a tale that's told of Clichy after dark,
And two gendarmes who swung their arms with Julot for a mark.
And oh, but they'd have got him too; they banged and blazed away,
When like a flash a woman leapt between them and their prey.
She took the medicine meant for him; she came down with a crash .
"Quick now, and make your get-away, O Julot the apache!" .
But no! He turned, ran swiftly back, his arms around her met;
They nabbed him sobbing like a kid, and kissing Gigolette.
Now I'm a reckless painter chap who loves a jamboree,
And one night in Cyrano's bar I got upon a spree;
And there were trollops all about, and crooks of every kind,
But though the place was reeling round I didn't seem to mind.
Till down I sank, and all was blank when in the bleary dawn
I woke up in my studio to find -- my money gone;
Three hundred francs I'd scraped and squeezed to pay my quarter's rent.
"Some one has pinched my wad," I wailed; "it never has been spent.
And as I racked my brains to seek how I could raise some more,
Before my cruel landlord kicked me cowering from the door:
A knock .
"Come in," I gruffly groaned; I did not raise my head,
Then lo! I heard a husky voice, a swift and silky tread:
"You got so blind, last night, mon vieux, I collared all your cash --
Three hundred francs.
There! Nom de Dieu," said Julot the apache.
And that was how I came to know Julot and Gigolette,
And we would talk and drink a bock, and smoke a cigarette.
And I would meditate upon the artistry of crime,
And he would tell of cracking cribs and cops and doing time;
Or else when he was flush of funds he'd carelessly explain
He'd biffed some bloated bourgeois on the border of the Seine.
So gentle and polite he was, just like a man of peace,
And not a desperado and the terror of the police.
Now one day in a bistro that's behind the Place Vendôme
I came on Julot the apache, and Gigolette his mome.
And as they looked so very grave, says I to them, says I,
"Come on and have a little glass, it's good to rinse the eye.
You both look mighty serious; you've something on the heart.
"Ah, yes," said Julot the apache, "we've something to impart.
When such things come to folks like us, it isn't very gay .
It's Gigolette -- she tells me that a gosse is on the way.
Then Gigolette, she looked at me with eyes like stones of gall:
"If we were honest folks," said she, "I wouldn't mind at all.
But then .
you know the life we lead; well, anyway I mean
(That is, providing it's a girl) to call her Angeline.
"Cheer up," said I; "it's all in life.
There's gold within the dross.
Come on, we'll drink another verre to Angeline the gosse.
And so the weary winter passed, and then one April morn
The worthy Julot came at last to say the babe was born.
"I'd like to chuck it in the Seine," he sourly snarled, "and yet
I guess I'll have to let it live, because of Gigolette.
I only laughed, for sure I saw his spite was all a bluff,
And he was prouder than a prince behind his manner gruff.
Yet every day he'd blast the brat with curses deep and grim,
And swear to me that Gigolette no longer thought of him.
And then one night he dropped the mask; his eyes were sick with dread,
And when I offered him a smoke he groaned and shook his head:
"I'm all upset; it's Angeline .
she's covered with a rash .
She'll maybe die, my little gosse," cried Julot the apache.
But Angeline, I joy to say, came through the test all right,
Though Julot, so they tell me, watched beside her day and night.
And when I saw him next, says he: "Come up and dine with me.
We'll buy a beefsteak on the way, a bottle and some brie.
And so I had a merry night within his humble home,
And laughed with Angeline the gosse and Gigolette the mome.
And every time that Julot used a word the least obscene,
How Gigolette would frown at him and point to Angeline:
Oh, such a little innocent, with hair of silken floss,
I do not wonder they were proud of Angeline the gosse.
And when her arms were round his neck, then Julot says to me:
"I must work harder now, mon vieux, since I've to work for three.
He worked so very hard indeed, the police dropped in one day,
And for a year behind the bars they put him safe away.
So dark and silent now, their home; they'd gone -- I wondered where,
Till in a laundry near I saw a child with shining hair;
And o'er the tub a strapping wench, her arms in soapy foam;
Lo! it was Angeline the gosse, and Gigolette the mome.
And so I kept an eye on them and saw that all went right,
Until at last came Julot home, half crazy with delight.
And when he'd kissed them both, says he: "I've had my fill this time.
I'm on the honest now, I am; I'm all fed up with crime.
You mark my words, the page I turn is going to be clean,
I swear it on the head of her, my little Angeline.
And so, to finish up my tale, this morning as I strolled
Along the boulevard I heard a voice I knew of old.
I saw a rosy little man with walrus-like mustache .
I stopped, I stared.
By all the gods! 'twas Julot the apache.
"I'm in the garden way," he said, "and doing mighty well;
I've half an acre under glass, and heaps of truck to sell.
Come out and see.
Oh come, my friend, on Sunday, wet or shine .
Say! -- it's the First Communion of that little girl of mine.
Robert William Service |
Missis Moriarty called last week, and says she to me, says she:
"Sure the heart of me's broken entirely now -- it's the fortunate woman you are;
You've still got your Dinnis to cheer up your home, but me Patsy boy where is he?
Lyin' alone, cold as a stone, kilt in the weariful wahr.
Oh, I'm seein' him now as I looked on him last, wid his hair all curly and bright,
And the wonderful, tenderful heart he had, and his eyes as he wint away,
Shinin' and lookin' down on me from the pride of his proper height:
Sure I'll remember me boy like that if I live to me dyin' day.
And just as she spoke them very same words me Dinnis came in at the door,
Came in from McGonigle's ould shebeen, came in from drinkin' his pay;
And Missis Moriarty looked at him, and she didn't say anny more,
And she wrapped her head in her ould black shawl, and she quietly wint away.
And what was I thinkin', I ask ye now, as I put me Dinnis to bed,
Wid him ravin' and cursin' one half of the night, as cold by his side I sat;
Was I thinkin' the poor ould woman she was wid her Patsy slaughtered and dead?
Was I weepin' for Missis Moriarty? I'm not so sure about that.
Missis Moriarty goes about wid a shinin' look on her face;
Wid her grey hair under her ould black shawl, and the eyes of her mother-mild;
Some say she's a little bit off her head; but annyway it's the case,
Her timper's so swate that you nivver would tell she'd be losin' her only child.
And I think, as I wait up ivery night for me Dinnis to come home blind,
And I'm hearin' his stumblin' foot on the stair along about half-past three:
Sure there's many a way of breakin' a heart, and I haven't made up me mind --
Would I be Missis Moriarty, or Missis Moriarty me?
Omar Khayyam |
Cheer up! your lot was settled yesterday!
Heedless of all that you might do or say,
Without so much as «By your leave» they fixed
Your lot for all the morrows yesterday!