Ezra Pound |
(From the early Anglo-Saxon text)
May I for my own self song's truth reckon,
Journey's jargon, how I in harsh days
Hardship endured oft.
Bitter breast-cares have I abided,
Known on my keel many a care's hold,
And dire sea-surge, and there I oft spent
Narrow nightwatch nigh the ship's head
While she tossed close to cliffs.
My feet were by frost benumbed.
Chill its chains are; chafing sighs
Hew my heart round and hunger begot
Lest man know not
That he on dry land loveliest liveth,
List how I, care-wretched, on ice-cold sea,
Weathered the winter, wretched outcast
Deprived of my kinsmen;
Hung with hard ice-flakes, where hail-scur flew,
There I heard naught save the harsh sea
And ice-cold wave, at whiles the swan cries,
Did for my games the gannet's clamour,
Sea-fowls, loudness was for me laughter,
The mews' singing all my mead-drink.
Storms, on the stone-cliffs beaten, fell on the stern
In icy feathers; full oft the eagle screamed
With spray on his pinion.
Not any protector
May make merry man faring needy.
This he little believes, who aye in winsome life
Abides 'mid burghers some heavy business,
Wealthy and wine-flushed, how I weary oft
Must bide above brine.
Neareth nightshade, snoweth from north,
Frost froze the land, hail fell on earth then
Corn of the coldest.
Nathless there knocketh now
The heart's thought that I on high streams
The salt-wavy tumult traverse alone.
Moaneth alway my mind's lust
That I fare forth, that I afar hence
Seek out a foreign fastness.
For this there's no mood-lofty man over earth's midst,
Not though he be given his good, but will have in his youth greed;
Nor his deed to the daring, nor his king to the faithful
But shall have his sorrow for sea-fare
Whatever his lord will.
He hath not heart for harping, nor in ring-having
Nor winsomeness to wife, nor world's delight
Nor any whit else save the wave's slash,
Yet longing comes upon him to fare forth on the water.
Bosque taketh blossom, cometh beauty of berries,
Fields to fairness, land fares brisker,
All this admonisheth man eager of mood,
The heart turns to travel so that he then thinks
On flood-ways to be far departing.
Cuckoo calleth with gloomy crying,
He singeth summerward, bodeth sorrow,
The bitter heart's blood.
Burgher knows not --
He the prosperous man -- what some perform
Where wandering them widest draweth.
So that but now my heart burst from my breast-lock,
My mood 'mid the mere-flood,
Over the whale's acre, would wander wide.
On earth's shelter cometh oft to me,
Eager and ready, the crying lone-flyer,
Whets for the whale-path the heart irresistibly,
O'er tracks of ocean; seeing that anyhow
My lord deems to me this dead life
On loan and on land, I believe not
That any earth-weal eternal standeth
Save there be somewhat calamitous
That, ere a man's tide go, turn it to twain.
Disease or oldness or sword-hate
Beats out the breath from doom-gripped body.
And for this, every earl whatever, for those speaking after --
Laud of the living, boasteth some last word,
That he will work ere he pass onward,
Frame on the fair earth 'gainst foes his malice,
Daring ado, .
So that all men shall honour him after
And his laud beyond them remain 'mid the English,
Aye, for ever, a lasting life's-blast,
Delight mid the doughty.
Days little durable,
And all arrogance of earthen riches,
There come now no kings nor Cæsars
Nor gold-giving lords like those gone.
Howe'er in mirth most magnified,
Whoe'er lived in life most lordliest,
Drear all this excellence, delights undurable!
Waneth the watch, but the world holdeth.
Tomb hideth trouble.
The blade is layed low.
Earthly glory ageth and seareth.
No man at all going the earth's gait,
But age fares against him, his face paleth,
Grey-haired he groaneth, knows gone companions,
Lordly men are to earth o'ergiven,
Nor may he then the flesh-cover, whose life ceaseth,
Nor eat the sweet nor feel the sorry,
Nor stir hand nor think in mid heart,
And though he strew the grave with gold,
His born brothers, their buried bodies
Be an unlikely treasure hoard.
Robert Burns |
GUID-MORNIN’ to our Majesty!
May Heaven augment your blisses
On ev’ry new birth-day ye see,
A humble poet wishes.
My bardship here, at your Levee
On sic a day as this is,
Is sure an uncouth sight to see,
Amang thae birth-day dresses
Sae fine this day.
I see ye’re complimented thrang,
By mony a lord an’ lady;
“God save the King” ’s a cuckoo sang
That’s unco easy said aye:
The poets, too, a venal gang,
Wi’ rhymes weel-turn’d an’ ready,
Wad gar you trow ye ne’er do wrang,
But aye unerring steady,
On sic a day.
For me! before a monarch’s face
Ev’n there I winna flatter;
For neither pension, post, nor place,
Am I your humble debtor:
So, nae reflection on your Grace,
Your Kingship to bespatter;
There’s mony waur been o’ the race,
And aiblins ane been better
Than you this day.
’Tis very true, my sovereign King,
My skill may weel be doubted;
But facts are chiels that winna ding,
An’ downa be disputed:
Your royal nest, beneath your wing,
Is e’en right reft and clouted,
And now the third part o’ the string,
An’ less, will gang aboot it
Than did ae day.
Far be’t frae me that I aspire
To blame your legislation,
Or say, ye wisdom want, or fire,
To rule this mighty nation:
But faith! I muckle doubt, my sire,
Ye’ve trusted ministration
To chaps wha in barn or byre
Wad better fill’d their station
Than courts yon day.
And now ye’ve gien auld Britain peace,
Her broken shins to plaister,
Your sair taxation does her fleece,
Till she has scarce a tester:
For me, thank God, my life’s a lease,
Nae bargain wearin’ faster,
Or, faith! I fear, that, wi’ the geese,
I shortly boost to pasture
I’ the craft some day.
I’m no mistrusting Willie Pitt,
When taxes he enlarges,
(An’ Will’s a true guid fallow’s get,
A name not envy spairges),
That he intends to pay your debt,
An’ lessen a’ your charges;
But, God-sake! let nae saving fit
Abridge your bonie barges
An’boats this day.
Adieu, my Liege; may freedom geck
Beneath your high protection;
An’ may ye rax Corruption’s neck,
And gie her for dissection!
But since I’m here, I’ll no neglect,
In loyal, true affection,
To pay your Queen, wi’ due respect,
May fealty an’ subjection
This great birth-day.
Hail, Majesty most Excellent!
While nobles strive to please ye,
Will ye accept a compliment,
A simple poet gies ye?
Thae bonie bairntime, Heav’n has lent,
Still higher may they heeze ye
In bliss, till fate some day is sent
For ever to release ye
Frae care that day.
For you, young Potentate o’Wales,
I tell your highness fairly,
Down Pleasure’s stream, wi’ swelling sails,
I’m tauld ye’re driving rarely;
But some day ye may gnaw your nails,
An’ curse your folly sairly,
That e’er ye brak Diana’s pales,
Or rattl’d dice wi’ Charlie
By night or day.
Yet aft a ragged cowt’s been known,
To mak a noble aiver;
So, ye may doucely fill the throne,
For a’their clish-ma-claver:
There, him 2 at Agincourt wha shone,
Few better were or braver:
And yet, wi’ funny, queer Sir John, 3
He was an unco shaver
For mony a day.
For you, right rev’rend Osnaburg,
Nane sets the lawn-sleeve sweeter,
Altho’ a ribbon at your lug
Wad been a dress completer:
As ye disown yon paughty dog,
That bears the keys of Peter,
Then swith! an’ get a wife to hug,
Or trowth, ye’ll stain the mitre
Some luckless day!
Young, royal Tarry-breeks, I learn,
Ye’ve lately come athwart her—
A glorious galley, 4 stem and stern,
Weel rigg’d for Venus’ barter;
But first hang out, that she’ll discern,
Your hymeneal charter;
Then heave aboard your grapple airn,
An’ large upon her quarter,
Come full that day.
Ye, lastly, bonie blossoms a’,
Ye royal lasses dainty,
Heav’n mak you guid as well as braw,
An’ gie you lads a-plenty!
But sneer na British boys awa!
For kings are unco scant aye,
An’ German gentles are but sma’,
They’re better just than want aye
On ony day.
Gad bless you a’! consider now,
Ye’re unco muckle dautit;
But ere the course o’ life be through,
It may be bitter sautit:
An’ I hae seen their coggie fou,
That yet hae tarrow’t at it.
But or the day was done, I trow,
The laggen they hae clautit
Fu’ clean that day.
The American colonies had recently been lost.
King Henry V.
Sir John Falstaff, vid.
Alluding to the newspaper account of a certain Royal sailor’s amour.
This was Prince William Henry, third son of George III, afterward King William IV.
Gerard Manley Hopkins |
Repeat that, repeat,
Cuckoo, bird, and open ear wells, heart-springs, delightfully sweet,
With a ballad, with a ballad, a rebound
Off trundled timber and scoops of the hillside ground, hollow hollow hollow ground:
The whole landscape flushes on a sudden at a sound.
Robert William Service |
No lyric line I ever penned
The praise this parasitic bird;
And what is more, I don't intend
To write a laudatory word,
Since in my garden robins made
A nest with eggs of dainty spot,
And then a callous cuckoo laid
A lone on on the lot.
Of course the sillies hatched it out
Along with their two tiny chicks,
And there it threw its weight about,
But with the others would not mix.
In fact, it seemed their guts to hate,
And crossly kicked them to the ground,
So that next morning, sorry fate!
Two babes stone dead I found.
These stupid robins, how they strove
To gluttonize that young cuckoo!
And like a prodigy it throve,
And daily greedier it grew.
How it would snap and glup and spit!
Till finally it came to pass,
Growing too big the nest to fit,
It fell out on the grass.
So for a week they fed it there,
As in a nook of turf it lay;
But it was scornful of their care,
for it was twice as big as they.
When lo! one afternoon I heard
A flutelike call: Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
Then suddenly that foulsome bird
Flapped to its feet and flew.
I'm sure it never said goodbye
To its fond foster Pa and Ma,
Though to their desolated sigh
It might have chirruped: "Au revoir.
But no, it went in wanton mood,
Flying the coop for climates new
And so I say: "Ingratitude,
They name's Cuckoo.
David Herbert Lawrence |
If you live along with all the other people
and are just like them, and conform, and are nice
you're just a worm --
and if you live with all the other people
and you don't like them and won't be like them and won't conform
then you're just the worm that has turned,
in either case, a worm.
The conforming worm stays just inside the skin
respectably unseen, and cheerfully gnaws away at the heart of life,
making it all rotten inside.
The unconforming worm -- that is, the worm that has turned --
gnaws just the same, gnawing the substance out of life,
but he insists on gnawing a little hole in the social epidermis
and poking his head out and waving himself
and saying: Look at me, I am not respectable,
I do all the things the bourgeois daren't do,
I booze and fornicate and use foul language and despise your honest man.
But why should the worm that has turned protest so much?
The bonnie bonnie bourgeois goes a-whoring up back streets just the same.
The busy busy bourgeois imbibes his little share
just the same
if not more.
The pretty pretty bourgeois pinks his language just as pink
if not pinker,
and in private boasts his exploits even louder, if you ask me,
than the other.
While as to honesty, Oh look where the money lies!
So I can't see where the worm that has turned puts anything over
the worm that is too cunning to turn.
On the contrary, he merely gives himself away.
The turned worm shouts.
I bravely booze!
the other says.
Have one with me!
The turned worm boasts: I copulate!
the unturned says: You look it.
You're a d----- b----- b----- p----- bb-----, says the worm that's turned.
Quite! says the other.
Robert Browning |
Oh, what a dawn of day!
How the March sun feels like May!
All is blue again
After last night's rain,
And the South dries the hawthorn-spray.
Only, my Love's away!
I'd as lief that the blue were grey,
Runnels, which rillets swell,
Must be dancing down the dell,
With a foaming head
On the beryl bed
Paven smooth as a hermit's cell;
Each with a tale to tell,
Could my Love but attend as well.
Dearest, three months ago!
When we lived blocked-up with snow,---
When the wind would edge
In and in his wedge,
In, as far as the point could go---
Not to our ingle, though,
Where we loved each the other so!
Laughs with so little cause!
We devised games out of straws.
We would try and trace
One another's face
In the ash, as an artist draws;
Free on each other's flaws,
How we chattered like two church daws!
What's in the `Times''?---a scold
At the Emperor deep and cold;
He has taken a bride
To his gruesome side,
That's as fair as himself is bold:
There they sit ermine-stoled,
And she powders her hair with gold.
Fancy the Pampas' sheen!
Miles and miles of gold and green
Where the sunflowers blow
In a solid glow,
And---to break now and then the screen---
Black neck and eyeballs keen,
Up a wild horse leaps between!
Try, will our table turn?
Lay your hands there light, and yearn
Till the yearning slips
Thro' the finger-tips
In a fire which a few discern,
And a very few feel burn,
And the rest, they may live and learn!
Then we would up and pace,
For a change, about the place,
Each with arm o'er neck:
'Tis our quarter-deck,
We are seamen in woeful case.
Help in the ocean-space!
Or, if no help, we'll embrace.
See, how she looks now, dressed
In a sledging-cap and vest!
'Tis a huge fur cloak---
Like a reindeer's yoke
Falls the lappet along the breast:
Sleeves for her arms to rest,
Or to hang, as my Love likes best.
Teach me to flirt a fan
As the Spanish ladies can,
Or I tint your lip
With a burnt stick's tip
And you turn into such a man!
Just the two spots that span
Half the bill of the young male swan.
Dearest, three months ago
When the mesmerizer Snow
With his hand's first sweep
Put the earth to sleep:
'Twas a time when the heart could show
All---how was earth to know,
'Neath the mute hand's to-and-fro?
Dearest, three months ago
When we loved each other so,
Lived and loved the same
Till an evening came
When a shaft from the devil's bow
Pierced to our ingle-glow,
And the friends were friend and foe!
Not from the heart beneath---
'Twas a bubble born of breath,
Neither sneer nor vaunt,
Nor reproach nor taunt.
See a word, how it severeth!
Oh, power of life and death
In the tongue, as the Preacher saith!
Woman, and will you cast
For a word, quite off at last
Me, your own, your You,---
Since, as truth is true,
I was You all the happy past---
Me do you leave aghast
With the memories We amassed?
Love, if you knew the light
That your soul casts in my sight,
How I look to you
For the pure and true
And the beauteous and the right,---
Bear with a moment's spite
When a mere mote threats the white!
What of a hasty word?
Is the fleshly heart not stirred
By a worm's pin-prick
Where its roots are quick?
See the eye, by a fly's foot blurred---
Ear, when a straw is heard
Scratch the brain's coat of curd!
Foul be the world or fair
More or less, how can I care?
'Tis the world the same
For my praise or blame,
And endurance is easy there.
Wrong in the one thing rare---
Oh, it is hard to bear!
Here's the spring back or close,
When the almond-blossom blows:
We shall have the word
In a minor third
There is none but the cuckoo knows:
Heaps of the guelder-rose!
I must bear with it, I suppose.
Could but November come,
Were the noisy birds struck dumb
At the warning slash
Of his driver's-lash---
I would laugh like the valiant Thumb
Facing the castle glum
And the giant's fee-faw-fum!
Then, were the world well stripped
Of the gear wherein equipped
We can stand apart,
Heart dispense with heart
In the sun, with the flowers unnipped,---
Oh, the world's hangings ripped,
We were both in a bare-walled crypt!
Each in the crypt would cry
``But one freezes here! and why?
``When a heart, as chill,
``At my own would thrill
``Back to life, and its fires out-fly?
``Heart, shall we live or die?
So, she'd efface the score,
And forgive me as before.
It is twelve o'clock:
I shall hear her knock
In the worst of a storm's uproar,
I shall pull her through the door,
I shall have her for evermore!
Alfred Lord Tennyson |
THE groundflame of the crocus breaks the mould,
Fair Spring slides hither o'er the Southern sea,
Wavers on her thin stem the snowdrop cold
That trembles not to kisses of the bee:
Come Spring, for now from all the dripping eaves
The spear of ice has wept itself away,
And hour by hour unfolding woodbine leaves
O'er his uncertain shadow droops the day.
She comes! The loosen'd rivulets run;
The frost-bead melts upon her golden hair;
Her mantle, slowly greening in the Sun,
Now wraps her close, now arching leaves her bar
To breaths of balmier air;
Up leaps the lark, gone wild to welcome her,
About her glance the tits, and shriek the jays,
Before her skims the jubilant woodpecker,
The linnet's bosom blushes at her gaze,
While round her brows a woodland culver flits,
Watching her large light eyes and gracious looks,
And in her open palm a halcyon sits
Patient--the secret splendour of the brooks.
Come Spring! She comes on waste and wood,
On farm and field: but enter also here,
Diffuse thyself at will thro' all my blood,
And, tho' thy violet sicken into sere,
Lodge with me all the year!
Once more a downy drift against the brakes,
Self-darken'd in the sky, descending slow!
But gladly see I thro' the wavering flakes
Yon blanching apricot like snow in snow.
These will thine eyes not brook in forest-paths,
On their perpetual pine, nor round the beech;
They fuse themselves to little spicy baths,
Solved in the tender blushes of the peach;
They lose themselves and die
On that new life that gems the hawthorn line;
Thy gay lent-lilies wave and put them by,
And out once more in varnish'd glory shine
Thy stars of celandine.
She floats across the hamlet.
But in the tearful splendour of her smiles
I see the slowl-thickening chestnut towers
Fill out the spaces by the barren tiles.
Now past her feet the swallow circling flies,
A clamorous cuckoo stoops to meet her hand;
Her light makes rainbows in my closing eyes,
I hear a charm of song thro' all the land.
Come, Spring! She comes, and Earth is glad
To roll her North below thy deepening dome,
But ere thy maiden birk be wholly clad,
And these low bushes dip their twigs in foam,
Make all true hearths thy home.
Across my garden! and the thicket stirs,
The fountain pulses high in sunnier jets,
The blackcap warbles, and the turtle purrs,
The starling claps his tiny castanets.
Still round her forehead wheels the woodland dove,
And scatters on her throat the sparks of dew,
The kingcup fills her footprint, and above
Broaden the glowing isles of vernal blue.
Hail ample presence of a Queen,
Bountiful, beautiful, apparell'd gay,
Whose mantle, every shade of glancing green,
Flies back in fragrant breezes to display
A tunic white as May!
She whispers, 'From the South I bring you balm,
For on a tropic mountain was I born,
While some dark dweller by the coco-palm
Watch'd my far meadow zoned with airy morn;
From under rose a muffled moan of floods;
I sat beneath a solitude of snow;
There no one came, the turf was fresh, the woods
Plunged gulf on gulf thro' all their vales below
I saw beyond their silent tops
The steaming marshes of the scarlet cranes,
The slant seas leaning oll the mangrove copse,
And summer basking in the sultry plains
About a land of canes;
'Then from my vapour-girdle soaring forth
I scaled the buoyant highway of the birds,
And drank the dews and drizzle of the North,
That I might mix with men, and hear their words
On pathway'd plains; for--while my hand exults
Within the bloodless heart of lowly flowers
To work old laws of Love to fresh results,
Thro' manifold effect of simple powers--
I too would teach the man
Beyond the darker hour to see the bright,
That his fresh life may close as it began,
The still-fulfilling promise of a light
Narrowing the bounds of night.
So wed thee with my soul, that I may mark
The coming year's great good and varied ills,
And new developments, whatever spark
Be struck from out the clash of warring wills;
Or whether, since our nature cannot rest,
The smoke of war's volcano burst again
From hoary deeps that belt the changeful West,
Old Empires, dwellings of the kings of men;
Or should those fail, that hold the helm,
While the long day of knowledge grows and warms,
And in the heart of this most ancient realm
A hateful voice be utter'd, and alarms
Sounding 'To arms! to arms!'
A simpler, saner lesson might he learn
Who reads thy gradual process, Holy Spring.
Thy leaves possess the season in their turn,
And in their time thy warblers rise on wing.
How surely glidest thou from March to May,
And changest, breathing it, the sullen wind,
Thy scope of operation, day by day,
Larger and fuller, like the human mind '
Thy warmths from bud to bud
Accomplish that blind model in the seed,
And men have hopes, which race the restless blood
That after many changes may succeed
Life, which is Life indeed.
Kobayashi Issa |
A cuckoo sings
to me, to the mountain,
to me, to the mountain.
Thomas Carew |
Now that the winter's gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
Upon the silver lake or crystal stream;
But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,
And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
To the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree
The drowsy cuckoo and the humble-bee.
Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring
In triumph to the world the youthful spring.
The valleys, hills, and woods in rich array
Welcome the coming of the long'd-for May.
Now all things smile; only my love doth lour;
Nor hath the scalding noonday sun the power
To melt that marble ice, which still doth hold
Her heart congeal'd, and makes her pity cold.
The ox, which lately did for shelter fly
Into the stall, doth now securely lie
In open fields; and love no more is made
By the fireside, but in the cooler shade
Amyntas now doth with his Chloris sleep
Under a sycamore, and all things keep
Time with the season; only she doth carry
June in her eyes, in her heart January.
Katharine Tynan |
So I have sunk my roots in earth
Since that my pretty boys had birth;
And fear no more the grave and gloom,
I, with the centuries to come.
As the tree blossoms so bloom I,
Flinging wild branches to the sky;
Renew each year my leafy suit,
Strike with the years a deeper root.
Shelter a thousand birds to be,
A thousand herds give praise to me;
And in my kind and grateful shade
How many a weary head be laid.
I clothe myself without a stain.
In me a child is born again,
A child that looks with innocent eyes
On a new world with glad surprise.
The old mistakes are all undone,
All the old sins are purged and gone.
Old wounds and scars have left no trace,
There are no lines in this young face.
To hear the cuckoo the first time,
And 'mid new roses in the prime
To read the poets newly.
Year after year, shall be my bliss.
Of me shall love be born anew;
I shall be loved and lover too;
Years after this poor body has died
Shall be the bridegroom and the bride.
Of me shall mothers spring to know
The mother's bliss, the mother's woe;
And children's children yet to be
Shall learn their prayers about my knee.
And many million lights of home
Shall light for me the time to come.
Unto me much shall be forgiven,
I that make many souls for heaven.