Alan Seeger |
You have the grit and the guts, I know;
You are ready to answer blow for blow
You are virile, combative, stubborn, hard,
But your honor ends with your own back-yard;
Each man intent on his private goal,
You have no feeling for the whole;
What singly none would tolerate
You let unpunished hit the state,
Unmindful that each man must share
The stain he lets his country wear,
And (what no traveller ignores)
That her good name is often yours.
You are proud in the pride that feels its might;
From your imaginary height
Men of another race or hue
Are men of a lesser breed to you:
The neighbor at your southern gate
You treat with the scorn that has bred his hate.
To lend a spice to your disrespect
You call him the "greaser".
The greaser has spat on you more than once;
He has handed you multiple affronts;
He has robbed you, banished you, burned and killed;
He has gone untrounced for the blood he spilled;
He has jeering used for his bootblack's rag
The stars and stripes of the gringo's flag;
And you, in the depths of your easy-chair --
What did you do, what did you care?
Did you find the season too cold and damp
To change the counter for the camp?
Were you frightened by fevers in Mexico?
I can't imagine, but this I know --
You are impassioned vastly more
By the news of the daily baseball score
Than to hear that a dozen countrymen
Have perished somewhere in Darien,
That greasers have taken their innocent lives
And robbed their holdings and raped their wives.
Not by rough tongues and ready fists
Can you hope to jilt in the modern lists.
The armies of a littler folk
Shall pass you under the victor's yoke,
Sobeit a nation that trains her sons
To ride their horses and point their guns --
Sobeit a people that comprehends
The limit where private pleasure ends
And where their public dues begin,
A people made strong by discipline
Who are willing to give -- what you've no mind to --
And understand -- what you are blind to --
The things that the individual
Must sacrifice for the good of all.
You have a leader who knows -- the man
Most fit to be called American,
A prophet that once in generations
Is given to point to erring nations
Brighter ideals toward which to press
And lead them out of the wilderness.
Will you turn your back on him once again?
Will you give the tiller once more to men
Who have made your country the laughing-stock
For the older peoples to scorn and mock,
Who would make you servile, despised, and weak,
A country that turns the other cheek,
Who care not how bravely your flag may float,
Who answer an insult with a note,
Whose way is the easy way in all,
And, seeing that polished arms appal
Their marrow of milk-fed pacifist,
Would tell you menace does not exist?
Are these, in the world's great parliament,
The men you would choose to represent
Your honor, your manhood, and your pride,
And the virtues your fathers dignified?
Oh, bury them deeper than the sea
In universal obloquy;
Forget the ground where they lie, or write
For epitaph: "Too proud to fight.
I have been too long from my country's shores
To reckon what state of mind is yours,
But as for myself I know right well
I would go through fire and shot and shell
And face new perils and make my bed
In new privations, if ROOSEVELT led;
But I have given my heart and hand
To serve, in serving another land,
Ideals kept bright that with you are dim;
Here men can thrill to their country's hymn,
For the passion that wells in the Marseillaise
Is the same that fires the French these days,
And, when the flag that they love goes by,
With swelling bosom and moistened eye
They can look, for they know that it floats there still
By the might of their hands and the strength of their will,
And through perils countless and trials unknown
Its honor each man has made his own.
They wanted the war no more than you,
But they saw how the certain menace grew,
And they gave two years of their youth or three
The more to insure their liberty
When the wrath of rifles and pennoned spears
Should roll like a flood on their wrecked frontiers.
They wanted the war no more than you,
But when the dreadful summons blew
And the time to settle the quarrel came
They sprang to their guns, each man was game;
And mark if they fight not to the last
For their hearths, their altars, and their past:
Yea, fight till their veins have been bled dry
For love of the country that WILL not die.
O friends, in your fortunate present ease
(Yet faced by the self-same facts as these),
If you would see how a race can soar
That has no love, but no fear, of war,
How each can turn from his private role
That all may act as a perfect whole,
How men can live up to the place they claim
And a nation, jealous of its good name,
Be true to its proud inheritance,
Oh, look over here and learn from FRANCE!
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz |
My Lady (Español)
Perdite, señora, quiero
de mi silencio perdón,
si lo que ha sido atención
le hace parecer grosero.
Y no me podrás culpar
si hasta aquí mi proceder,
por ocuparse en querer,
se ha olvidado de explicar.
Que en mi amorosa pasión
no fue desuido, ni mengua,
quitar el uso a la lengua
por dárselo al corazón.
Ni de explicarme dejaba:
que, como la pasión mía
acá en el alma te vía,
acá en el alma te hablaba.
Y en esta idea notable
porque en mi mano tenia
el fingirte favorable.
Con traza tan peregrina
vivió mi esperanza vana,
pues te pudo hacer humana
¡Oh, cuán loca llegué a verme
en tus dichosos amores,
que, aun fingidos, tus favroes
¡Oh, cómo, en tu sol hermoso
mi ardiente afecto encendido,
por cebarse en lo lucido,
olvidó lo peligroso!
Perdona, si atrevimiento
fue atreverme a tu ardor puro;
que no hay sagrado seguro
de culpas de pensamiento.
De esta manera engañaba
la loca esperanza mía,
y dentro de mí tenía
todo el bien que deseaba.
Mas ya tu precepto grave
rompe mi silencio mudo;
que él solamente ser pudo
de mi respeto la llave.
Y aunque el amar tu belleza
es delito sin disculpa
castígueseme la culpa
primero que la tibieza.
No quieras, pues, rigurosa,
que, estando ya declarada,
sea de veras desdichada
quien fue de burlas dichosa.
Si culpas mi desacato,
culpa también tu licencia;
que si es mala mi obediencia,
no fue justo tu mandato
Y si es culpable mi intento,
será mi afecto precito,
porque es amarte un delito
de que nunca me arrepiento.
Esto en mis afectos hallo,
y más, que explicar no sé;
mas tú, de lo que callé,
inferirás lo que callo.
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My Lady (English)
My lady, I must implore
forgiveness for keeping still,
if what I meant as tribute
ran contrary to your will.
Please do not reproach me
if the course I have maintained
in the eagerness of my love
left my silence unexplained.
I love you with so much passion,
neither rudeness nor neglect
can explain why I tied my tongue,
yet left my heart unchecked.
The matter to me was simple:
love for you was so strong,
I could see you in my soul
and talk to you all day long.
With this idea in mind,
I lived in utter delight,
pretending my subterfuge
found favor in your sight.
In this strange, ingenious fashion,
I allowed the hope to be mine
that I still might see as human
what I really conceived as divine.
Oh, how mad I became
in my blissful love of you,
for even though feigned, your favor
made all my madness seem true!
How unwisely my ardent love,
which your glorious sun inflamed,
sought to feed upon your brightness,
though the risk of your fire was plain!
Forgive me if, thus emboldened,
I made bold with that sacred fire:
there's no sanctuary secure
when thought's transgressions conspire.
Thus it was I kept indulging
these foolhardy hopes of mine,
enjoying within myself
a happiness sublime.
But now, at your solemn bidding,
this silence I herewith suspend,
for your summons unlocks in me
a respect no time can end.
And, although loving your beauty
is a crime beyond repair,
rather the crime be chastised
than my fervor cease to dare.
With this confession in hand,
I pray, be less stern with me.
Do not condemn to distress
one who fancied bliss so free.
If you blame me for disrespect,
remember, you gave me leave;
thus, if obedience was wrong,
your commanding must be my reprieve.
Let my love be ever doomed
if guilty in its intent,
for loving you is a crime
of which I will never repent.
This much I descry in my feelings--
and more that I cannot explain;
but you, from what I've not said,
may infer what words won't contain.
William Topaz McGonagall |
Welcome! thrice welcome! to the year 1893,
For it is the year I intend to leave Dundee,
Owing to the treatment I receive,
Which does my heart sadly grieve.
Every morning when I go out
The ignorant rabble they do shout
'There goes Mad McGonagall'
In derisive shouts as loud as they can bawl,
And lifts stones and snowballs, throws them at me;
And such actions are shameful to be heard in the city of Dundee.
And I'm ashamed, kind Christians, to confess
That from the Magistrates I can get no redress.
Therefore I have made up my mind in the year of 1893
To leave the ancient City of Dundee,
Because the citizens and me cannot agree.
The reason why? -- because they disrespect me,
Which makes me feel rather discontent.
Therefore to leave them I am bent;
And I will make my arrangements without delay,
And leave Dundee some early day.
Coventry Patmore |
Why, having won her, do I woo?
Because her spirit's vestal grace
Provokes me always to pursue,
But, spirit-like, eludes embrace;
Because her womanhood is such
That, as on court-days subjects kiss
The Queen's hand, yet so near a touch
Affirms no mean familiarness;
Nay, rather marks more fair the height
Which can with safety so neglect
To dread, as lower ladies might,
That grace could meet with disrespect;
Thus she with happy favour feeds
Allegiance from a love so high
That thence no false conceit proceeds
Of difference bridged, or state put by;
Because although in act and word
As lowly as a wife can be,
Her manners, when they call me lord,
Remind me 'tis by courtesy;
Not with her least consent of will,
Which would my proud affection hurt,
But by the noble style that still
Imputes an unattain'd desert;
Because her gay and lofty brows,
When all is won which hope can ask,
Reflect a light of hopeless snows
That bright in virgin ether bask;
Because, though free of the outer court
I am, this Temple keeps its shrine
Sacred to Heaven; because, in short,
She 's not and never can be mine.
Robert William Service |
'Twas in the grave-yard's gruesome gloom
That May and I were mated;
We sneaked inside and on a tomb
Our love was consummated.
It's quite all right, no doubt we'll wed,
Our sin will go unchidden .
Ah! sweeter than the nuptial bed
Are ecstasies forbidden.
And as I held my sweetheart close,
And she was softly sighing,
I could not help but think of those
In peace below us lying.
Poor folks! No disrespect we meant,
And beg you'll be forgiving;
We hopes the dead will not resent
The rapture of the living.
And when in death I, too, shall lie,
And lost to those who love me,
I wish two sweethearts roving by
Will plight their troth above me.
Oh do not think that I will grieve
To hear the vows they're voicing,
And if their love new life conceive,
'Tis I will be rejoicing.
Emily Dickinson |
How destitute is he
Whose Gold is firm
Who finds it every time
The small stale Sum --
When Love with but a Pence
Will so display
As is a disrespect