Basil Bunting

I hate Science. It denies a man’s responsibility for his own deeds, abolishes the brotherhood that springs from God’s fatherhood. It is a hectoring, dictating expertise, which makes the least lovable of the Church Fathers seem liberal by contrast. It is far easier for a Hitler or a Stalin to find a mock- scientific excuse for persecution than it was for Dominic to find a mock-Christian one.

William Wordsworth

I am already kindly disposed towards you. My friendship it is not in my power to give: this is a gift which no man can make, it is not in our own power: a sound and healthy friendship is the growth of time and circumstance, it will spring up and thrive like a wildflower when these favor, and when they do not, it is in vain to look for it.

Observatory – Sarah Day

The rattle of wind in sclerophyll
is the murmur of cosmic dust
and particle shift. With each break
in the clouds the queue shuffles
a patient step forward.
Beyond the observatory’s dim glow
bush is black as dark matter tonight;
the distant river is negative space,
and the city on the other side
a scattered galaxy.
Swathed in overcoats against the cold
we wait and wait to put an eye to the telescope.
Through a fish-eye lens
the universe gazes back
into the great eye of humanity
orbiting a mundane star on the outer margins
of the Milky Way, one stella cluster
among the infinite.

The Last Smile – John Ruskin

She sat beside me yesterday
With lip and eye, so blandly smiling,
So full of soul, of life, of light,
So sweetly my lorn heart beguiling
That she had almost made me gay
Had almost charmed the thought away
(Which, like the poisoned desert wind,
Came sick and heavy o’er my mind)
That memory soon mine all would be,
And she would smile no more for me.

Night – John Ruskin

Faint from the bell the ghastly echoes fall,
That grates within the grey cathedral tower;
Let me not enter through the portal tall,
Lest the strange spirit of the moonless hour
Should give life to those pale people, who
Lie in their fretted niches, two and two,
Each with his head on pillowy stone reposed,
And his hands lifted, and his eyelids closed.

From many a moldering oriel, as to flout,
Its pale, grave brow of ivy-tressed stone,
Comes the incongruous laugh, and revel shout-
Above, some solitary casement, thrown
Wide-open to the wavering night wind,
Admits its chill, so deathful, yet so kind,
Unto the fevered brow and fiery eye
Of one, whose night hour passeth sleeplessly.

Ye melancholy chambers! I could shun
The darkness of your silence, with such fear,
As places where slow murder has been done,
How many noble spirits have died here
Withering away in yearnings to aspire
Gnawed by mocked hope-devoured by their own fire!
Methinks the grave must feel a colder bed
To spirits such as these, then unto common dead.

To-Day, This Insect – Dylan Thomas

To-day, this insect, and the world I breathe,
Now that my symbols have outelbowed space,
Time at the city spectacles, and half
The dear, daft time I take to nudge the sentence,
In trust and tale I have divided sense,
Slapped down the guillotine, the blood-red double
Of head and tail made witnesses to this
Murder of Eden and green genesis.

The insect certain is the plague of fables.

This story’s monster has a serpent caul,
Blind in the coil scrams round the blazing outline,
Measures his own length on the garden wall
And breaks his shell in the last shocked beginning;
A crocodile before the chrysalis,
Before the fall from love the flying heartbone,
Winged like a sabbath ass this children’s piece
Uncredited blows Jericho on Eden.

The insect fable is the certain promise.

Death: death of Hamlet and the nightmare madmen,
An air-drawn windmill on a wooden horse,
John’s beast, Job’s patience, and the fibs of vision,
Greek in the Irish sea the ageless voice:
‘Adam I love, my madmen’s love is endless,
No tell-tale lover has an end more certain,
All legends’ sweethearts on a tree of stories,
My cross of tales behind the fabulous curtain.’

This Bread I Break – Dylan Thomas

This bread I break was once the oat,
This wine upon a foreign tree
Plunged in its fruit;
Man in the day or wine at night
Laid the crops low, broke the grape’s joy.

Once in this time wine the summer blood
Knocked in the flesh that decked the vine,
Once in this bread
The oat was merry in the wind;
Man broke the sun, pulled the wind down.

This flesh you break, this blood you let
Make desolation in the vein,
Were oat and grape
Born of the sensual root and sap;
My wine you drink, my bread you snap.

Comfort – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

SPEAK low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet
From out the hallelujahs, sweet and low
Lest I should fear and fall, and miss Thee so
Who art not missed by any that entreat.
Speak to mo as to Mary at thy feet !
And if no precious gums my hands bestow,
Let my tears drop like amber while I go
In reach of thy divinest voice complete
In humanest affection — thus, in sooth,
To lose the sense of losing. As a child,
Whose song-bird seeks the wood for evermore
Is sung to in its stead by mother’s mouth
Till, sinking on her breast, love-reconciled,
He sleeps the faster that he wept before.

The Autumn – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them —
The summer flowers depart —
Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,
Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.

Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!

The dearest hands that clasp our hands, —
Their presence may be o’er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh’d our mind,
Shall come — as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.

Hear not the wind — view not the woods;
Look out o’er vale and hill-
In spring, the sky encircled them —
The sky is round them still.
Come autumn’s scathe — come winter’s cold —
Come change — and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne’er be desolate.

Twenty Four Years – Dylan Thomas

Twenty-four years remind the tears of my eyes.
(Bury the dead for fear that they walk to the grave in labour.)
In the groin of the natural doorway I crouched like a tailor
Sewing a shroud for a journey
By the light of the meat-eating sun.
Dressed to die, the sensual strut begun,
With my red veins full of money,
In the final direction of the elementary town
I advance as long as forever is.

Being But Men – Dylan Thomas

Being but men, we walked into the trees
Afraid, letting our syllables be soft
For fear of waking the rooks,
For fear of coming
Noiselessly into a world of wings and cries.

If we were children we might climb,
Catch the rooks sleeping, and break no twig,
And, after the soft ascent,
Thrust out our heads above the branches
To wonder at the unfailing stars.

Out of confusion, as the way is,
And the wonder, that man knows,
Out of the chaos would come bliss.

That, then, is loveliness, we said,
Children in wonder watching the stars,
Is the aim and the end.

Being but men, we walked into the trees.

The Choice – Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Think thou and act; to-morrow thou shalt die.
Outstretch’d in the sun’s warmth upon the shore,
Thou say’st: ‘Man’s measured path is all gone o’er:
Up all his years, steeply, with strain and sigh,
Man clomb until he touch’d the truth; and I,
Even I, am he whom it was destined for.’
How should this be? Art thou then so much more
Than they who sow’d, that thou shouldst reap thereby?

Nay, come up hither. From this wave-wash’d mound
Unto the furthest flood-brim look with me;
Then reach on with thy thought till it be drown’d.
Miles and miles distant though the last line be,
And though thy soul sail leagues and leagues beyond,—
Still, leagues beyond those leagues, there is more sea.

During Music – Dante Gabriel Rossetti

O COOL unto the sense of pain
That last night’s sleep could not destroy;
O warm unto the sense of joy,
That dreams its life within the brain.
What though I lean o’er thee to scan
The written music cramped and stiff;—
‘Tis dark to me, as hieroglyph
On those weird bulks Egyptian.
But as from those, dumb now and strange,
A glory wanders on the earth,
Even so thy tones can call a birth
From these, to shake my soul with change.
O swift, as in melodious haste
Float o’er the keys thy fingers small;
O soft, as is the rise and fall
Which stirs that shade within thy breast.

June – John Clare

Now summer is in flower and natures hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done
Wi’ glittering dance and reeling in the sun
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee
Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streakd woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun.’

Market Day – John Clare

With arms and legs at work and gentle stroke
That urges switching tail nor mends his pace,
On an old ribbed and weather beaten horse,
The farmer goes jog trotting to the fair.
Both keep their pace that nothing can provoke
Followed by brindled dog that snuffs the ground
With urging bark and hurries at his heels.
His hat slouched down, and great coat buttoned close
Bellied like hooped keg, and chuffy face
Red as the morning sun, he takes his round
And talks of stock: and when his jobs are done
And Dobbin’s hay is eaten from the rack,
He drinks success to corn in language hoarse,
And claps old Dobbin’s hide, and potters back.

Milkmaid – Laurie Lee

The girl’s far treble, muted to the heat,
calls like a fainting bird across the fields
to where her flock lies panting for her voice,
their black horns buried deep in marigolds.

They climb awake, like drowsy butterflies,
and press their red flanks through the tall branched grass,
and as they go their wandering tongues embrace
the vacant summer mirrored in their eyes.

Led to the limestone shadows of a barn
they snuff their past embalmed in the hay,
while her cool hand, cupped to the udder’s fount,
distils the brimming harvest of their day.

Look what a cloudy cream the earth gives out,
fat juice of buttercups and meadow-rye;
the girl dreams milk within her body’s field
and hears, far off, her muted children cry

Town Owl – Laurie Lee

On eves of cold, when slow coal fires,
rooted in basements, burn and branch,
brushing with smoke the city air;
When quartered moons pale in the sky,
and neons glow along the dark
like deadly nightshade on a briar;
Above the muffled traffic then
I hear the owl, and at his note
I shudder in my private chair.
For like an auger he has come
to roost among our crumbling walls,
his blooded talons sheathed in fur.
Some secret lure of time it seems
has called him from his country wastes
to hunt a newer wasteland here.
And where the candlabra swung
bright with the dancers’ thousand eyes,
now his black, hooded pupils stare,
And where the silk-shoed lovers ran
with dust of diamonds in their hair,
he opens now his silent wing,
And, like a stroke of doom, drops down,
and swoops across the empty hall,
and plucks a quick mouse off the stair… 

To The Mind Of Man – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Thou living light that in thy rainbow hues
Clothest this naked world; and over Sea
And Earth and air, and all the shapes that be
In peopled darkness of this wondrous world
The Spirit of thy glory dost diffuse
… truth … thou Vital Flame
Mysterious thought that in this mortal frame
Of things, with unextinguished lustre burnest
Now pale and faint now high to Heaven upcurled
That eer as thou dost languish still returnest
And ever
Before the … before the Pyramids

So soon as from the Earth formless and rude
One living step had chased drear Solitude
Thou wert, Thought; thy brightness charmed the lids
Of the vast snake Eternity, who kept
The tree of good and evil.–

Genesis Bk I – Caedmon


(ll. 1-28) Right is it that we praise the King of heaven, the
Lord of hosts, and love Him with all our hearts. For He is great
in power, the Source of all created things, the Lord Almighty.
Never hath He known beginning, neither cometh an end of His
eternal glory. Ever in majesty He reigneth over celestial
thrones; in righteousness and strength He keepeth the courts of
heaven which were established, broad and ample, by the might of
God, for angel dwellers, wardens of the soul. The angel legions
knew the blessedness of God, celestial joy and bliss. Great was
their glory! The mighty spirits magnified their Prince and sang
His praise with gladness, serving the Lord of life, exceeding
blessed in His splendour. They knew no sin nor any evil; but
dwelt in peace for ever with their Lord. They wrought no deed in
heaven save right and truth, until the angel prince in pride
walked in the ways of error. Then no longer would they work
their own advantage, but turned away from the love of God. They
boasted greatly, in their banded strength, that they could share
with God His glorious dwelling, spacious and heavenly bright.

(ll. 28-46) Then sorrow came upon them, envy and insolence and
pride of the angel who first began that deed of folly, to plot
and hatch it forth, and, thirsting for battle, boasted that in
the northern borders of heaven he would establish a throne and a
kingdom. Then was God angered and wrathful against that host
which He had crowned before with radiance and glory. For the
traitors, to reward their work, He shaped a house of pain and
grim affliction, and lamentations of hell. Our Lord prepared
this torture-house of exiles, deep and joyless, for the coming of
the angel hosts. Well He knew it lay enshrouded in eternal night,
and filled with woe, wrapped in fire and piercing cold,
smoke-veils and ruddy flame. And over that wretched realm He
spread the brooding terror of torment. They had wrought grievous
wrong together against God. Grim the reward they gained!

(ll. 47-77) Fierce of heart, they boasted they would take the
kingdom, and easily. But their hope failed them when the Lord,
High King of heaven, lifted His hand against their host. The
erring spirits, in their sin, might not prevail against the Lord,
but God, the Mighty, in His wrath, smote their insolence and
broke their pride, bereft these impious souls of victory and
power and dominion and glory; despoiled His foes of bliss and
peace and joy and radiant grace, and mightily avenged His wrath
upon them to their destruction. His heart was hardened against
them; with heavy hand He crushed His foes, subdued them to His
will, and, in His wrath, drove out the rebels from their ancient
home and seats of glory. Our Lord expelled and banished out of
heaven the presumptuous angel host. All-wielding God dismissed
the faithless horde, a hostile band of woeful spirits, upon a
long, long journey. Crushed was their pride, their boasting
humbled, their power broken, their glory dimmed. Thenceforth
those dusky spirits dwelt in exile. No cause had they to laugh
aloud, but, racked with pangs of hell, they suffered pain and woe
and tribulation, cloaked with darkness, knowing bitter anguish, a
grim requital, because they sought to strive with God.

(ll. 78-81) Then was there calm as formerly in heaven, the kindly
ways of peace. The Lord was dear to all, a Prince among His
thanes, and glory was renewed of angel legions knowing
blessedness with God.

poem – kate kearney

WHY doth the maiden turn away
From voice so sweet, and words so dear?
Why doth the maiden turn away
When love and flattery woo her ear?
And rarely that enchanted twain
Whisper in woman’s ear in vain.
Why doth the maiden leave the hall?
No face is fair as hers is fair,
No step has such a fairy fall,
No azure eyes like hers are there.

The maiden seeks her lonely bower,
Although her father’s guests are met;
She knows it is the midnight hour,
She knows the first pale star is set,
And now the silver moon-beams wake
The spirits of the haunted Lake.
The waves take rainbow hues, and now
The shining train are gliding by,
Their chieftain lifts his glorious brow,
The maiden meets his lingering eye.

The glittering shapes melt into night;
Another look, their chief is gone,
And chill and gray comes morning’s light,
And clear and cold the Lake flows on;
Close, close the casement, not for sleep,
Over such visions eyes but weep.

How many share such destiny,
How many, lured by fancy’s beam,
Ask the impossible to be,
And pine, the victims of a dream.

poem – hannibal’s oath

AND the night was dark and calm,
There was not a breath of air,
The leaves of the grove were still,
As the presence of death were there;

Only a moaning sound
Came from the distant sea,
It was as if, like life,
It had no tranquillity.

A warrior and a child
Pass’d through the sacred wood,
Which, like a mystery,
Around the temple stood.

The warrior’s brow was worn
With the weight of casque and plume,
And sun-burnt was his cheek,
And his eye and brow were gloom.

The child was young and fair,
But the forehead large and high,
And the dark eyes’ flashing light
Seem’d to feel their destiny.

They enter’d in the temple,
And stood before the shrine,
It stream’d with the victim’s blood,
With incense and with wine.

The ground rock’d beneath their feet,
The thunder shook the dome,
But the boy stood firm, and swore
Eternal hate to Rome.

There’s a page in history
O’er which tears of blood were wept,
And that page is the record
How that oath of hate was kept.

poem – the sheperd boy

LIKE some vision olden
Of far other time,
When the age was golden,
In the young world’s prime
Is thy soft pipe ringing,
O lonely shepherd boy,
What song art thou singing,
In thy youth and joy?

Or art thou complaining
Of thy lowly lot,
And thine own disdaining
Dost ask what thou hast not?
Of the future dreaming,
Weary of the past,
For the present scheming,
All but what thou hast.

No, thou art delighting
In thy summer home;
Where the flowers inviting
Tempt the bee to roam;
Where the cowslip bending,
With its golden bells,
Of each glad hour’s ending
With a sweet chime tells.

All wild creatures love him
When he is alone,
Every bird above him
Sings its softest tone.
Thankful to high Heaven,
Humble in thy joy,
Much to thee is given,
Lowly shepherd boy.

OH lone and lovely solitude,
Washed by the sounding sea;
Nature was in a poet’s mood,
When she created thee.

How pleasant in the hour of noon
To wander through the shade;
The soft and golden shade which June
Flings o’er thy inland glade:

The wild rose like a wreath above,
The ash-tree’s fairy keys,
The aspen trembling, as if love
Were whispered by the breeze;

These, or the beech’s darker bough,
For canopy o’er head,
While moss and fragile flowers below
An elfin pillow spread.

Here one might dream the hours away,
As if the world had not
Or grief, or care, or disarray,
To darken human lot.

Yet ’tis not here that I would dwell,
Though fair the place may be,
The summer’s favourite citadel:—
A busier scene for me!

I love to see the human face
Reflect the human mind,
To watch in every crowded place
Their opposites combined.

There’s more for thought in one brief hour
In yonder busy street,
Than all that ever leaf or flower
Taught in their green retreat.

Industry, intellect, and skill
Appear in all their pride,
The glorious force of human will
Triumphs on every side.

Yet touched with meekness, for on all
Is set the sign and seal
Of sorrow, suffering, and thrall,
Which none but own and feel;
The hearse that passes with its dead,
The homeless beggar’s prayer,
Speak words of warning, and of dread,
To every passer there.

Aye beautiful the dreaming brought
By valleys and green fields;
But deeper feeling, higher thought,
Is what the city yields.

poem – the sea shore

I SHOULD like to dwell where the deep blue sea
Rock’d to and fro as tranquilly,
As if it were willing the halcyon’s nest
Should shelter through summer its beautiful guest.
When a plaining murmur like that of a song,
And a silvery line come the waves along:
Now bathing—now leaving the gentle shore,
Where shining sea-shells lay scattered o’er.

And children wandering along the strand,
With the eager eye and the busy hand,
Heaping the pebbles and green sea-weed,
Like treasures laid up for a time of need.
Or tempting the waves with their daring feet,
To launch, perhaps, some tiny fleet:
Mimicking those which bear afar
The wealth of trade—and the strength of war.

I should love, when the sun-set reddened the foam,
To watch the fisherman’s boat come home,
With his well-filled net and glittering spoil:
Well has the noon-tide repaid its toil.
While the ships that lie in the distance away
Catch on their canvass the crimsoning ray;
Like fairy ships in the tales of old,
When the sails they spread were purple and gold.

Then the deep delight of the starry night,
With its shadowy depths and dreamy light:
When far away spreads the boundless sea,
As if it imaged infinity.
Let me hear the winds go singing by,
Lulling the waves with their melody:
While the moon like a mother watches their sleep,
And I ask no home but beside the deep.

poem – the funeral

MARK you not yon sad procession;
‘Mid the ruin’d abbey’s gloom,
Hastening to the worm’s possession,
To the dark and silent tomb!

See the velvet pall hangs over
Poor mortality’s remains;
We should shudder to discover
What that coffin’s space contains.

Death itself is lovely—wearing
But the colder shape of sleep;
Or the solemn statue bearing
Beauty that forbids to weep.

But decay—the pulses tremble
When its livid signs appear;
When the once-loved lips resemble
All we loathe, and all we fear.

Is it not a ghastly ending
For the body’s godlike form,
Thus to the damp earth descending,
Food and triumph to the worm?

Better far the red pile blazing
With the spicy Indian wood,
Incense unto heaven raising
From the sandal oil’s sweet flood.

In the bright pyre’s kindling flashes,
Let my yielded soul ascend;
Fling to the wild winds my ashes
‘Till with mother-earth they blend.

Not so,—let the pale urn keep them;
Touch’d with spices, oil, and wine;
Let there be some one to weep them;
Wilt thou keep that urn? Love mine!

poem – i have changed the numbers

I have changed the numbers on my watch,
And now perhaps something else will change.
Now perhaps
At precisely 2a.m.
You will not get up
And gathering your things together
Go forever.
Perhaps now you will find it is
Far too early to go,
Or far too late,
And stay forever

poem – doubt shall not make

Doubt shall not make an end of you
nor closing eyes lose your shape
when the retina’s light fades;
what dawns inside me will light you.
In our public lives we may confine ourselves to darkness,
our nowhere mouths explain away our dreams,
but alone we are incorruptible creatures,
our light sunk too deep to be of any social use
we wander free and perfect without moving
or love on hard carpets
where couples revolving round the room
end found at its centre.
Our love like a whale from its deepest ocean rises –
I offer this and a multitude of images
from party rooms to oceans,
the single star and all its reflections;
being completed we include all
and nothing wishes to escape us.
Beneath my hand your hardening breast agrees
to sing of its own nature,
then from a place without names our origin comes shivering.
Feel nothing separate then,
we have translated each other into light
and into love go streaming.

poem – there is a boat down

There is a boat down on the quay come home at last.
The paint’s chipped, the sails stained as if
Time’s pissed up against them.
I imagine the sea routes it’s followed,
Sailing through the world’s sunken veins
With its cargo of longings;
A little boat that’s nuzzled its way
Into the armpits of forests,
That’s sliced through the moon’s reflection,
Through the phosphate that clings to the lips of waves.
I knew its crew once,
Those boys manacled to freedom
Who set sail over half a century ago,
And were like giants to me.
A solitary child in awe of oceans
I saw them peel their shadows from the land
And watched as they departed.
What did they think when they peered
Over the rim of the world,
Where Time roared and bubbled
And angels swooped like swallows?
Reading an ancient Morse code of starlight,
Stranded by the longing to be elsewhere,
What secrets did they learn to forget?
I longed to be among them,
A passenger curled up in fate’s pocket,
I longed to be a part of them –
Those ghosts who set sail in my childhood,
Those phantoms who shaped me,
That marvellous crew for whom
I have stretched a simple goodbye
Out over a lifetime.

poem – gust becos

Gust becos I cud not spel
It did not mean I was daft
When the boys in school red my riting
Some of them laffed

But now I am the dictater
They have to rite like me
Utherwise they cannot pas

Some of the girls were ok
But those who laffed a lot
Have al bean rownded up
And hav recintly bean shot

The teecher who corrected my speling
As not been shot at al
But four the last fifteen howers
As bean standing up against a wal

He has to stand ther until he can spel
Figgymisgrugifooniyn the rite way
I think he will stand ther for ever
I just inventid it today

poem – the day i got my finger

When I got my finger stuck up my nose
I went to a doctor, who said,
“Nothing like this has happened before,
We will have to chop off your head.”

“It’s only my finger stuck up my nose,
It’s only my finger!” I said.
“I see what it is,” the doctor replied,
“But we’ll still have to chop off your head.”

He went to the cabinet and took out an axe.
I watched with considerable dread.
“But it’s only my finger stuck up my nose.
It’s only a finger!” I said.

“Perhaps we can yank it out with a hook
Tied to some surgical thread.
Maybe we can try that,” he replied
“Rather than chop off your head.”

“I’m never going to pick it again.
I’ve now learned my lesson,” I said.
“I won’t stick my finger up my nose –
I’ll stick it in my ear instead.”

poem – remembering snow

I did not sleep last night.
The falling snow was beautiful and white.
I dressed, sneaked down the stairs
And opened wide the door.
I had not seen such snow before.
Our grubby little street had gone;
The world was brand-new, and everywhere
There was a pureness in the air.
I felt such peace. Watching every flake
I felt more and more awake.
I thought I’d learned all there was to know
About the trillion million different kinds
Of swirling frosty falling flakes of snow.
But that was not so.
I had not known how vividly it lit
The world with such a peaceful glow.
Upstairs my mother slept.
I could not drag myself away from that sight
To call her down and have her share
That mute miracle of snow.
It seemed to fall for me alone.
How beautiful our grubby little street had grown!

poem – good night

Good-night? ah! no; the hour is ill
Which severs those it should unite;
Let us remain together still,
Then it will be good night.

How can I call the lone night good,
Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight?
Be it not said, thought, understood —
Then it will be — good night.

To hearts which near each other move
From evening close to morning light,
The night is good; because, my love,
They never say good-night.

poem – the crusader

He is come from the land of the sword and shrine,
From the sainted battles of Palestine;
The snow plumes wave o’er his victor crest,
Like a glory, the red cross hangs at his breast;
His courser is black, as black can be,
Save the brow star, white as the foam of the sea,
And he wears a scarf of broidery rare,
The last love gift of his lady fair;
It bore for device a cross and a dove,
And the words – ‘I am vowed to my God and my love.’

He comes not back the same that he went;
For his sword has been tried, and his strength has been spent,
His golden hair has a deeper brown,
And his brow has caught a darker frown;
And his lip has lost its youthful red,
And the shade of the South o’er his cheek is spread,
But stately his step, and his bearing high,
And wild the light of his fiery eye;
And proud in the lists were the maiden bright,
Who might claim the Knight of the Cross for her knight.

He rides for the home he had pined to see,
In the court, in the camp, in captivity!
He reached the castle – his own step was all
That echoed within the deserted hall;
He stood on the roof of the ancient tower;
And, for banner, there waved one pale wall flower,
And, for sound of the trumpet and peal of the horn,
Came the scream of the owl, on the night wind borne.
The turrets were falling, the vassals were flown,
And the bat ruled the halls, he had called his own;
His heart throbbed high – Oh! never again
Might he soothe with sweet thoughts his spirit’s pain;
He never might think of his boyish years,
Till his eyes grew dim with those sweet warm tears,
Which hope and memory shed when they meet –
The grave of his kindred was at his feet –
He stood alone, the last of his race,
With the cold wide world for his dwelling place;
The home of his fathers gone to decay,
All but their memory had passed away –
No one to welcome, no one to share
The laurel, he no more was proud to wear.
He came, in the pride of his war-success,
But to weep over very desolateness.

They pointed him to a barren plain,
Where his father, his brothers, his kinsmen were slain;
They shewed him the lowly grave, where slept
The maiden, whose scarf he so truly had kept;
But they could not shew him one living thing,
To which his withered heart could cling –

Amid the warriors of Palestine
Is one, the first in the battle line.
It is not for glory he seeks the field,
For a blasted tree is upon his shield,
And the motto it bears is, ‘I fight for a grave.’
He found it – That warrior has died with the brave.

poem – a suttee

GATHER her raven hair in one rich cluster,
Let the white champac light it, as a star
Gives to the dusky night a sudden lustre,
Shining afar.

Shed fragrant oils upon her fragrant bosom,
Until the breathing air around grows sweet;
Scatter the languid jasmine’s yellow blossom
Beneath her feet.

Those small white feet are bare—too soft are they
To tread on aught but flowers; and there is roll’d
Round the slight ankle, meet for such display,
The band of gold.

Chains and bright stones are on her arms and neck;
What pleasant vanities are linked with them,
Of happy hours, which youth delights to deck
With gold and gem.

She comes! So comes the Moon, when she has found
A silvery path wherein thro’ heaven to glide.
Fling the white veil—a summer cloud—around;
She is a bride!

And yet the crowd that gather at her side
Are pale, and every gazer holds his breath.
Eyes fill with tears unbidden, for the bride—
The bride of Death!

She gives away the garland from her hair,
She gives the gems that she will wear no more;
All the affections, whose love-signs they were,
Are gone before.

The red pile blazes—let the bride ascend,
And lay her head upon her husband’s heart,
Now in a perfect unison to blend—
No more to part.

poem – sickness

WAVING slowly before me, pushed into the dark,
Unseen my hands explore the silence, drawing the bark
Of my body slowly behind.

Nothing to meet my fingers but the fleece of night
Invisible blinding my face and my eyes! What if in their flight
My hands should touch the door!

What if I suddenly stumble, and push the door
Open, and a great grey dawn swirls over my feet, before
I can draw back!

What if unwitting I set the door of eternity wide
And am swept away in the horrible dawn, am gone down the tide
Of eternal hereafter!

Catch my hands, my darling, between your breasts.
Take them away from their venture, before fate wrests
The meaning out of them.

poem – a baby running barefoot

When the bare feet of the baby beat across the grass
The little white feet nod like white flowers in the wind,
They poise and run like ripples lapping across the water;
And the sight of their white play among the grass
Is like a little robin’s song, winsome,
Or as two white butterflies settle in the cup of one flower
For a moment, then away with a flutter of wings.

I long for the baby to wander hither to me
Like a wind-shadow wandering over the water,
So that she can stand on my knee
With her little bare feet in my hands,
Cool like syringa buds,
Firm and silken like pink young peony flowers.

poem – a love song

Reject me not if I should say to you
I do forget the sounding of your voice,
I do forget your eyes that searching through
The mists perceive our marriage, and rejoice.

Yet, when the apple-blossom opens wide
Under the pallid moonlight’s fingering,
I see your blanched face at my breast, and hide
My eyes from diligent work, malingering.

Ah, then, upon my bedroom I do draw
The blind to hide the garden, where the moon
Enjoys the open blossoms as they straw
Their beauty for his taking, boon for boon.

And I do lift my aching arms to you,
And I do lift my anguished, avid breast,
And I do weep for very pain of you,
And fling myself at the doors of sleep, for rest.

And I do toss through the troubled night for you,
Dreaming your yielded mouth is given to mine,
Feeling your strong breast carry me on into
The peace where sleep is stronger even than wine.

poem – the record

HE sleeps, his head upon his sword,
His soldier’s cloak a shroud;
His church-yard is the open field,–
Three times it has been plough’d:

The first time that the wheat sprung up
‘Twas black as if with blood,
The meanest beggar turn’d away
From the unholy food.

The third year, and the grain grew fair,
As it was wont to wave;
None would have thought that golden corn
Was growing on the grave.

His lot was but a peasant’s lot,
His name a peasant’s name,
Not his the place of death that turns
Into a place of fame.

He fell as other thousands do,
Trampled down where they fall,
While on a single name is heap’d
The glory gain’d by all.

Yet even he whose common grave
Lies in the open fields,
Died not without a thought of all
The joy that glory yields.

That small white church in his own land,
The lime trees almost hide,
Bears on the walls the names of those
Who for their country died.

His name is written on those walls,
His mother read it there,
With pride,–oh! no, there could not be
Pride in the widow’s prayer.

And many a stranger who shall mark
That peasant roll of fame,
Will think on prouder ones, yet say
This was a hero’s name.

poem – the power of words

Tis a strange mystery, the power of words!
Life is in them, and death. A word can send
The crimson colour hurrying to the cheek.
Hurrying with many meanings; or can turn
The current cold and deadly to the heart.
Anger and fear are in them; grief and joy
Are on their sound; yet slight, impalpable:–
A word is but a breath of passing air.

poem – the pilgrim

Vain folly of another age,
This wandering over earth,
To find the peace by some dark sin
Banish’d our household hearth.

On Lebanon the dark green pines
Wave over sacred ground,
And Carmel’s consecrated rose
Springs from a hallow’d mound.

Glorious the truth they testify,
And blessed is their name;
But even in such a sacred spot,
Are sin and woe the same.

O pilgrim! with each toilsome step,
Vain every weary day;
There is no charm in soil or shrine,
To wash thy guilt away.

Return, with prayer and tear, return
To those who weep at home;
To dry their tears will more avail,
Than o’er a world to roam.

There’s hope for one who leaves with shame,
The guilt that lured before;
Remember, He who said, ‘Repent,’
Said also, ‘Sin no more.’

Return, and in thy daily round
Of duty and of love,
Thou best wilt find that patient faith
Which lifts the soul above.

In ev’ry innocent prayer, each child
Lisps at his father’s knee: –
If thine has been to teach that prayer,
There will be hope for thee.

There is a small white church, that stands
Beside thy father’s grave,
There kneel and pour those earnest prayers,
That sanctify and save.

Around thee draw thine own home-ties,
And, with a chasten’d mind,
In meek well-doing seek that peace,
No wandering will find.

In charity and penitence,
Thy sin will be forgiven: –
Pilgrim, the heart is the true shrine,
Whence prayers ascend to Heaven.

poem – the poor

Few, save the poor, feel for the poor:
The rich know not how hard
It is to be of needful food
And needful rest debarred.

Their paths are paths of plenteousness,
They sleep on silk and down;
And never think how heavily
The weary head lies down.

They know not of the scanty meal,
With small pale faces round;
No fire upon the cold, damp hearth
When snow is on the ground.

They never by the window lean,
And see the gay pass by;
Then take their weary task again,
But with a sadder eye.

poem – the orphan

Alone, alone! – no other face
Wears kindred smile, kindred line;
And yet they say my mother’s eyes.
They say my father’s brow, is mine;
And either had rejected to see
The other’s likeness in my face,
But now it is a stranger’s eye,
That finds some long forgotten trace.

I heard them name my father’s death,
His home and tomb alike the wave;
And I was early taught to weep,
Beside my youthful mother’s grave.
I wish I could recall one look, –
But only one familiar tone;
If I had aught of memory,
I should not feel so all alone.

My heart is gone beyond the grave,
In search of love I cannot find,
Till I could fancy soothing words
Are whisper’d by the ev’ning wind:
I gaze upon the watching stars,
So clear, so beautiful above,
Till I could dream they look on me
With something of an answering love.

My mother! does thy gentle eye
Look from those distant stars on me?
Or does the wind at ev’ning bear
A message to thy child from thee?
Dost thou pine for me, as I pine
Again a parent’s love to share?
I often kneel beside thy grave,
And pray to be a sleeper there.

The vesper bell! – ’tis eventide,
I will not weep, but I will pray:
God of the fatherless, ’tis Thou
Alone canst be the orphan’s stay!
Earth’s meanest flower, heaven’s mightiest star,
Are equal to their Maker’s love.
And I can say, ‘Thy will be done,’
With eyes that fix their hopes above.

poem – secrets

LIFE has dark secrets; and the hearts are few
That treasure not some sorrow from the world–
A sorrow silent, gloomy, and unknown,
Yet colouring the future from the past.
We see the eye subdued, the practised smile,
The word well weighed before it pass the lip,
And know not of the misery within:
Yet there it works incessantly, and fears
The time to come; for time is terrible,
Avenging, and betraying.

poem – revenge

Ay, gaze upon her rose-wreathed hair,
And gaze upon her smile;
Seem as you drank the very air
Her breath perfumed the while:

And wake for her the gifted line,
That wild and witching lay,
And swear your heart is as a shrine,
That only owns her sway.

‘Tis well: I am revenged at last,—
Mark you that scornful cheek,—
The eye averted as you pass’d,
Spoke more than words could speak.

Ay, now by all the bitter tears
That I have shed for thee,—
The racking doubts, the burning fears,—
Avenged they well may be—

By the nights pass’d in sleepless care,
The days of endless woe;
All that you taught my heart to bear,
All that yourself will know.

I would not wish to see you laid
Within an early tomb;
I should forget how you betray’d,
And only weep your doom:

But this is fitting punishment,
To live and love in vain,—
Oh my wrung heart, be thou content,
And feed upon his pain.

Go thou and watch her lightest sigh,—
Thine own it will not be;
And bask beneath her sunny eye,—
It will not turn on thee.

‘Tis well: the rack, the chain, the wheel,
Far better hadst thou proved;
Ev’n I could almost pity feel,
For thou art nor beloved.

Poem – Little Girls must not Fret

WHAT is it that makes little Emily cry? 

Come then, let mamma wipe the tear from her eye: 

There–lay down your head on my bosom–that’s right,

And now tell mamma what’s the matter to-night. 
What! Emmy is sleepy, and tired with play? 

Come, Betty, make haste then, and fetch her away; 

But do not be fretful, my darling; you know

Mamma cannot love little girls that are so. 
She shall soon go to bed and forget it all there–

Ah! here’s her sweet smile come again, I declare:

That’s right, for I thought you quite naughty before. 

Good night, my dear child, but don’t fret any more. 

Poem – Of Old Sat Freedom on the Heights

Of old sat Freedom on the heights,
The thunders breaking at her feet:

Above her shook the starry lights:

She heard the torrents meet.

There in her place she did rejoice,

Self-gather’d in her prophet-mind,

But fragments of her mighty voice

Came rolling on the wind.

Then stept she down thro’ town and field

To mingle with the human race,

And part by part to men reveal’d

The fulness of her face–
Grave mother of majestic works,

From her isle-altar gazing down,

Who, God-like, grasps the triple forks,

And, King-like, wears the crown:
Her open eyes desire the truth.

The wisdom of a thousand years

Is in them. May perpetual youth

Keep dry their light from tears;
That her fair form may stand and shine,

Make bright our days and light our dreams,

Turning to scorn with lips divine

The falsehood of extremes! 

Poem – Sound & Sense 

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, 
As those move easiest who have learned to dance. 

‘Tis not enough no harshness gives offense, 

The sound must seem an echo to the sense: 

Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows, 

And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows; 

But when loud surges lash the sounding shore, 

The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar; 

When Ajax strives some rock’s vast weight to throw, 

The line too labors, and the words move slow; 

Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain, 

Flies o’er the unbending corn, and skims along the main. 

Hear how Timotheus’ varied lays surprise, 

And bid alternate passions fall and rise! 

Poem – The Triumph of the Poeple

LO, the gods of Vice and Mammon from their pinnacles are hurled

By the workers’ new religion, which is oldest in the world;

And the earth will feel her children treading firmly on the sod,

For the triumph of the People is the victory of God.
Not the victory of Churches, nor of Punishment and Wrath,

Not the triumph of the sceptic, throwing shadows on the path,

But of Christ and love and mercy o’er the Monarch and the Rod,

For the harvest of the Saviour is the aftermath of God.
O the Light of Revelation, since the reign of Care began,

Has been shining through the ages on the darkened eyes of man.

And the willing slave of Error—he is senseless as a clod—

For the simple Book of Nature is the written scroll of God.
Who will dare to say the sunlight on the pregnant Earth was shed

That the few might rest and fatten, while the many fight for bread?

Lo, there springs a common garden, where the foot of Greed hath trod,

For the victory of Labour was the prophecy of God.
Mother Earth, in coming seasons, shall fulfil her motherhood;

Then the children of her bosom never more shall want for food,

And oppression shall no longer grind the people iron-shod;

For the lifted hand of Labour is the upraised hand of God. 

Poem – Daughters of War

Space beats the ruddy freedom of their limbs,

Their naked dances with man’s spirit naked

By the root side of the tree of life

(The under side of things

And shut from earth’s profoundest eyes).
I saw in prophetic gleams

These mighty daughters in their dances

Beckon each soul aghast from its crimson corpse

To mix in their glittering dances :

I heard the mighty daughters’ giant sighs

In sleepless passion for the sons of valour

And envy of the days fo flesh,

Barring their love with mortal boughs across-

The mortal boughs, the mortal tree of life.

The old bark burnt with iron wars

They blow to a live flame

To char the young green clays

And reach the occult soul; they have no softer lure,

No softer lure than the savage ways of death.
We were satisfied of our lords the moon and the sun

To take our wage of sleep and bread and warmth-

These maidens came-these strong everliving Amazons,

And in an easy might their wrists

Of night’s sway and noon’s sway the sceptres brake,

Clouding the wild, the soft lustres of our eyes.
Clouding the wild lustres, the clinging tender lights ;

Driving the darkness into the flame of clay

With the Amazonian wind of them

Over our corroding faces

That must be broken-broken for evermore,

So the soul can leap out

Into their huge embraces,

Though there are human faces

Best sculptures of Deity,

And sinews lusted after

By the Archangels tall,

Even these must leap to the love-heat of these maidens

From the flame of terrene days,

Leaving grey ashes to the wind-to the wind.
One (whose great lifted face,

Where wisdom’s strength and beauty’s strength

And the thewed strength of large beasts

Moved and merged, gloomed and lit)

Was speaking, surely, as the earth-men’s earth fell away ;

Whose new hearing drank the sound

Where pictures, lutes, and mountains mixed

With the loosed spirit of a thought, Essenced to language thus
‘My sisters force their males

From the doomed earth, from the doomed glee

And hankering of hearts.

Frail hands gleam up through the human quagmire, and lips of ash

Seem to wail, as in sad faded paintings

Far-sunken and strange.

My sisters have their males

Clean of the dust of old days

That clings about those white hands

And yearns in those voices sad :

But these shall not see them,

Or think of them in any days or years ;

They are my sisters’ lovers in other days and years.’ 

Poem – Weary Souls That Wander Wide

Hymn XX

Weary souls, that wander wide

From the central point of bliss,

Turn to Jesus crucified,

Fly to those dear wounds of his:

Sink into the purple flood;

Rise into the life of God! 
Find in Christ the way of peace,

Peace unspeakable, unknown;

By his pain he gives you ease,

Life by his expiring groan;

Rise, exalted by his fall,

Find in Christ your all in all. 
O believe the record true,

God to you his Son hath give

Ye may now be happy too,

Find on earth the life of heaven,

Live the life of heaven above,

All the life of glorious love. 
This the universal bliss,

Bliss for every soul designed,

God’s original promise this,

God’s great gift to all mankind:

Blest in Christ this moment be!

Blest to all eternity! 

Poem – To M

Oh! did those eyes, instead of fire,

With bright, but mild affection shine:

Though they might kindle less desire,

Love, more than mortal, would be thine.
For thou art form’d so heavenly fair,

Howe’er those orbs may wildly beam,

We must admire, but still despair;

That fatal glance forbids esteem.
When Nature stamp’d thy beauteous birth,

So much perfection in thee shone,

She fear’d that, too divine for earth,

The skies might claim thee for their own.
Therefore, to guard her dearest work,

Lest angels might dispute the prize,

She bade a secret lightning lurk,

Within those once celestial eyes.
These might the boldest Sylph appall,

When gleaming with meridian blaze;

Thy beauty must enrapture all;

But who can dare thine ardent gaze?
‘Tis said that Berenice’s hair,

In stars adorns the vault of heaven;

But they would ne’er permit thee there,

Who wouldst so far outshine the seven.
For did those eyes as planets roll,

Thy sister-lights would scarce appear:

E’en suns, which systems now control,

Would twinkle dimly through their sphere. 

Poem – To Florence 

Oh Lady! when I left the shore,

The distant shore which gave me birth,

I hardly thought to grieve once more

To quit another spot on earth:
Yet here, amidst this barren isle, 

Where panting Nature droops the head,

Where only thou art seen to smile,

I view my parting hour with dread.
Though far from Albin’s craggy shore,

Divided by the dark?blue main; 

A few, brief, rolling seasons o’er,

Perchance I view her cliffs again:
But wheresoe’er I now may roam,

Through scorching clime, and varied sea, 

Though Time restore me to my home,

I ne’er shall bend mine eyes on thee:
On thee, in whom at once conspire

All charms which heedless hearts can move,

Whom but to see is to admire, 

And, oh! forgive the word – to love.
Forgive the word, in one who ne’er

With such a word can more offend;

And since thy heart I cannot share,

Believe me, what I am, thy friend.
And who so cold as look on thee,

Thou lovely wand’rer, and be less?

Nor be, what man should ever be,

The friend of Beauty in distress?
Ah! who would think that form had past

Through Danger’s most destructive path

Had braved the death?wing’d tempest’s blast,

And ‘scaped a tyrant’s fiercer wrath?
Lady! when I shall view the walls

Where free Byzantium once arose,

And Stamboul’s Oriental halls

The Turkish tyrants now enclose;
Though mightiest in the lists of fame,

That glorious city still shall be;

On me ’twill hold a dearer claim,

As spot of thy nativity:
And though I bid thee now farewell,

When I behold that wondrous scene,

Since where thou art I may not dwell,

‘Twill soothe to be where thou hast been.
September 1809. 

The Lesson – Rudyard Kipling

1899-1902 — Boer War

Let us admit it fairly, as a business people should,

We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of good.
Not on a single issue, or in one direction or twain,

But conclusively, comprehensively, and several times and

Were all our most holy illusions knocked higher than Gilde-

roy’s kite.

We have had a jolly good lesson, and it serves us jolly well

right !
This was not bestowed us under the trees, nor yet in the shade

of a tent,

But swingingly, over eleven degrees of a bare brown conti-


From Lamberts to Delagoa Bay, and from Pietersburg to


Fell the phenomenal lesson we learned-with a fullness ac-

corded no other land.
It was our fault, and our very great fault, and not the judg-

ment of Heaven.

We made an Army in our own image, on an island nine by


Which faithfully mirrored its makers’ ideals, equipment, and

mental attitude–

And so we got our lesson: and we ought to accept it with

We have spent two hundred million pounds to prove the fact

once more,

That horses are quicker than men afoot, since two and two

make four;

And horses have four legs, and men have two legs, and two

into four goes twice,

And nothing over except our lesson–and very cheap at the

For remember (this our children shall know: we are too near

for that knowledge)

Not our mere astonied camps, but Council and Creed and


All the obese, unchallenged old things that stifle and overlie


Have felt the effects of the lesson we got-an advantage no

money could by us!
Then let us develop this marvellous asset which we alone


And which, it may subsequently transpire, will be worth as

much as the Rand.

Let us approach this pivotal fact in a humble yet hopeful


We have had no end of a lesson, it will do us no end of good!
It was our fault, and our very great fault–and now we must

turn it to use.

We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single


So the more we work and the less we talk the better results

we shall get–

We have had an Imperial lesson; it may make us an Empire


Don Juan – George Gordon Byron

Canto The First 

I want a hero: an uncommon want, 

When every year and month sends forth a new one, 

Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant, 

The age discovers he is not the true one; 

Of such as these I should not care to vaunt, 

I’ll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan, 

We all have seen him, in the pantomime, 

Sent to the Devil somewhat ere his time.II 

Vernon, the butcher Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke, 

Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppel, Howe, 

Evil and good, have had their tithe of talk, 

And filled their sign-posts then, like Wellesley now; 

Each in their turn like Banquo’s monarchs stalk, 

Followers of fame, “nine farrow” of that sow: 

France, too, had Buonaparté and Dumourier 

Recorded in the Moniteur and Courier.III 

Barnave, Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabeau, 
Pétion, Clootz, Danton, Marat, La Fayette 

Were French, and famous people, as we know; 

And there were others, scarce forgotten yet, 

Joubert, Hoche, Marceau, Lannes, Desaix, Moreau, 

With many of the military set, 

Exceedingly remarkable at times, 

But not at all adapted to my rhymes.IV 

Nelson was once Britannia’s god of War, 
And still should be so, but the tide is turn’d; 

There’s no more to be said of Trafalgar, 

‘Tis with our hero quietly inurn’d; 

Because the army’s grown more popular, 

At which the naval people are concern’d; 

Besides, the Prince is all for the land-service, 

Forgetting Duncan, Nelson, Howe, and Jervis.V 

Brave men were living before Agamemnon 
And since, exceeding valorous and sage, 

A good deal like him too, though quite the same none; 

But then they shone not on the poet’s page, 

And so have been forgotten: I condemn none, 

But can’t find any in the present age 

Fit for my poem (that is, for my new one); 

So, as I said, I’ll take my friend Don Juan.VI 

Most epic poets plunge “in medias res” 
(Horace makes this the heroic turnpike road), 

And then your hero tells, whene’er you please, 

What went before–by way of episode, 

While seated after dinner at his ease, 

Beside his mistress in some soft abode, 

Palace, or garden, paradise, or cavern, 

Which serves the happy couple for a tavern.VII 

That is the usual method, but not mine– 
My way is to begin with the beginning; 

The regularity of my design 

Forbids all wandering as the worst of sinning, 

And therefore I shall open with a line 

(Although it cost me half an hour in spinning), 

Narrating somewhat of Don Juan’s father, 

And also of his mother, if you’d rather….CC 

My poem’s epic, and is meant to be 
Divided in twelve books; each book containing, 

With love, and war, a heavy gale at sea, 

A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning, 

New characters; the episodes are three: 

A panoramic view of Hell’s in training, 

After the style of Virgil and of Homer, 

So that my name of Epic’s no misnomer.CCI 

All these things will be specified in time, 
With strict regard to Aristotle’s rules, 

The Vade Mecum of the true sublime, 

Which makes so many poets, and some fools: 

Prose poets like blank-verse, I’m fond of rhyme, 

Good workmen never quarrel with their tools; 

I’ve got new mythological machinery, 

And very handsome supernatural scenery.CCII 

There’s only one slight difference between 
Me and my epic brethren gone before, 

And here the advantage is my own, I ween, 

(Not that I have not several merits more, 

But this will more peculiarly be seen); 

They so embellish, that ’tis quite a bore 

Their labyrinth of fables to thread through, 

Whereas this story’s actually true.CCIII 

If any person doubt it, I appeal 
To history, tradition, and to facts, 

To newspapers, whose truth all know and feel, 

To plays in five, and operas in three acts; 

All these confirm my statement a good deal, 

But that which more completely faith exacts 

Is, that myself, and several now in Seville, 

Saw Juan’s last elopement with the Devil.CCIV 

If ever I should condescend to prose, 
I’ll write poetical commandments, which 

Shall supersede beyond all doubt all those 

That went before; in these I shall enrich 

My text with many things that no one knows, 

And carry precept to the highest pitch: 

I’ll call the work “Longinus o’er a Bottle, 

Or, Every Poet his own Aristotle.”CCV 

Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope; 
Thou shalt not set up Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey; 

Because the first is craz’d beyond all hope, 

The second drunk, the third so quaint and mouthy: 

With Crabbe it may be difficult to cope, 

And Campbell’s Hippocrene is somewhat drouthy: 

Thou shalt not steal from Samuel Rogers, nor 

Commit–flirtation with the muse of Moore.CCVI 

Thou shalt not covet Mr. Sotheby’s Muse, 

His Pegasus, nor anything that’s his; 

Thou shalt not bear false witness like “the Blues” 

(There’s one, at least, is very fond of this); 

Thou shalt not write, in short, but what I choose: 

This is true criticism, and you may kiss– 

Exactly as you please, or not–the rod; 

But if you don’t, I’ll lay it on, by G{-}d!

She Walks In Beauty – George Gordon Byron

She walks in Beauty, like the night 

Of cloudless climes and starry skies; 

And all that’s best of dark and bright 

Meet in her aspect and her eyes: 

Thus mellowed to that tender light 

Which Heaven to gaudy day denies. 
One shade the more, one ray the less, 

Had half impaired the nameless grace 

Which waves in every raven tress, 

Or softly lightens o’er her face; 

Where thoughts serenely sweet express, 

How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. 
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow, 

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, 

The smiles that win, the tints that glow, 

But tell of days in goodness spent, 

A mind at peace with all below, 

A heart whose love is innocent!

Poem – Childish Recollections – George Gordon Byron

‘I cannot but remember such things were, 

And were most dear to me.’ 
WHEN slow Disease, with all her host of pains, 

Chills the warm, tide which flows along the veins 

When Health,affrighted, spreads her rosy wing, 

And flies with every changing gale of spring; 

Not to the aching frame alone confined, 

Unyielding pangs avail the drooping mind: 

What grisly forms, the spectre-train of woe, 

Bid shuddering Nature shrink beneath the blow 

With Resignaion wage relentless strife, 

While Hope retires appall’d, and clings to life! 

Yet less the pang when, through the tedious hour, 

Remembrance sheds around her genial power, 

Calls back the vanish’d days to rapture given, 

When love was bliss, and Beauty form’d our heaven; 

Or, dear to youth, portrays each childish scene, 

Those farry bowers, where all in turn have been. 

As when through clouds that pour the sumrner storm 

The orb of day unveils his distant form, 

Gilds with faiht beams the crystal dews of rain, 

And dimly twinkles o’er the watery plain; 

Thus, while the future dark and cheerless gleams 

The sun of memory, glowing through my drearns 

Though sunk’ the radiance of his former blaze, 

To scenes far distant points his paler rays; 

Still rules my senses with unbounded sway, 

The past confounding with the present day. 
Oft does my heart indulge the rising thought, 

Which still recurs, uniook’d for and Unsought 

My soul to Fancy’s fond suggestion yields, 

And roams romantic o’er her airy fields. 

Scenes of my youth, developed, crowd to view, 

To which I long have bade a last adieu! 

Seats of delight, inspiring youthful themes; 

Friends lost to me for aye, except in dreams; 

Some who in marble prematurely sleep. 

Whose forms I now remember but to weep; 

Some who yet urge the same scholastic course 

Of early science, future fame the source; 

Who, still contending in the studious race, 

In quick rotation fill the senior place. 

These with a thousand visions now unite, 

To dazzle, though they please, my aching sight 

Ida blest spot, where science holds her reign, 

How joyous once I join’d thv youthful train! 

Bright in idea gleams thy lofty spire, 

Again I mingle with thy playful quire; 

Our tricks of mischief, every childish game, 

Unchanged by time or distance, seem the same. 

Through winding paths along the glade, I trace 

The social smile of every welcome face; 

My wonted haunts, my scenes of joy and woe, 

Each early boyish friend, or youthful foe, 

Our feuds dissolved, but not my friendship past,- 

I bless the former and forgive the last. 

Hours of my youth! when, nurtured in my breast, 

To love a stranger, friendship made me blest 

Friendship, the dear peculiar bond of youth 

When every artless bosom throbs with truth 

Untaught my worldly wisdom how to feign, 

And check each impulse with prudential rein; 

When all we feel, our honest souls disclose 

In love to friends, in open hate to toes; 

No varnish’d tales the lips of youth repeat, 

No dear-bought knowledge purchased by deceit, 

Hypocrisy, the gift of lengthen’d years, 

Matured by age, the garb of prudence wears. 

When now the boy is ripen’d into man, 

His careful sire chalks forth some wary plan; 

Instructs his son from candour’s path to shrink, 

Smoothly to speak, and cauautiously to think; 

Still to assent, and never to deny – 

A patron’s praise can well reward the lie: 

And who, when Fortune’s warning voice is heard, 

Would lose his opening prospects for a word, 

Although against that word his heart rebel, 

And truth indignant all his bosom swell. 
Away with themes like this! not mine the task 

From flattering friends to tear the hateful mask; 

Let keener bards delight in satire’s sting; 

My fancy soars not on Detraction’s wing: 

Once, and but once, she aim’d a deadly blow, 

To hurl defiance on a secret foe; 

But when that foe, from feeling or from shame, 

The cause unknown, yet still to me the same, 

Warn’d by some friendly hint, perchance, retired, 

With this submission all her rage expired. 

From dreaded pangs that feeble foe to save, 

She hush’d her young resentment, and forgave; 

Or, my muse a pedant’s portrait drew, 

POMPOSUS’ virtues are but known to few: 

I never fear’d the young usurper’s nod, 

And he who wields must sometimes feel the rod. 

If since on Granta’s failings, known to all 

Who share the converse of a college hall, 

She sometimes trifled in a lighter strain, 

‘Tis past, and thus she will not sin again; 

Soon must her early song for ever cease, 

And all may rsii when I shall rest in peace. 
Here first remember’d be the joyous band, 

Who hail’d me chief, obedient to command; 

Who join’d with rne in every boyish sport – 

Their first adviser, and their last resort; 

Nor shrunk beneath the upstart pedant’s frown, 

Or all the sable glories of his gown; 

Who, thus transplanted from his father’s school – 

Unfit to govern, ignorant of rule – 

Succeeded him, whom all unite to praise, 

The dear preceptor of my early days! 

PROBUS, the pride of science,and the boast, 

To IDA now, alas! for ever lost, 

With him, for years, we search’d the classic page, 

And fear’d the master, though we loved the sage: 

Retired at last’ his small yet peacefull seat 

From learning’s labour is the blest retreat, 

POMPOSUS fills his magisterial chair; 

POMPOSUS governs,- but, my muse, forbear: 

Contempt, in silence, be the pedant’s lot; 

His name and precepts be alike forgot; 

No more his mention shall my verse degrade 

To him my tribute is already paid. 
High through those elms, with hoary branches crown’d, 

Fair Ida’s bower adorns the landscape round; 

There Science, from her favour’d seat, surveys 

The vale where rural Nature claims her praise; 

To her awhile resigns her youthful train, 

Who move in joy, and dance along the plain. 

In scatter’d groups each favour’d haunt pursue, 

Repeat old pastimes, and discover new; 

Flush’d with his rays, beneath the noon-tide sun, 

In rival bands, between the wickets run, 

Drive o’er the sward the ball with active force, 

Or chase with nimble feet its rapid course. 

But these with slower steps direct their way, 

Where Brent’s cool waves in limpid currents stray; 

While yonder few search out some green retreat 

And arbours shade them from the summer heat: 

Others, again, a pert and lively crew, 

Some rough and thoughtless stranger placed in view, 

With frolic quaint their antic jests expose, 

And tease the grumbling rustic as he goes; 

Nor rest with this, but many a passing fray 

Tradition treasures for a future day: 

‘Twas here the gather’d swains for vengeance fought, 

And here we earn’d the conquest dearly bought; 

Here have we fled before superior might, 

And here renew’d the wild tumultuous fight.’ 

While thus our souls with early passions swell 

In lingering tones resounds the distant bell, 

Th’ allotted hour of daily sport is o’er, 

And Learning beckons from her temple’s door. 

No splendid tablets grace her simple hall, 

But ruder records fill the dusky wall; 

There, deeply carved, behold! each tyro’s name 

Secures its owner’s academic fame; 

Here mingling view the names of sire and son – 

The one long graved, the other just begun: 

These shall survive alike when son and sire 

Beneath one common stroke of fate expire; 

Perhaps their last memorial these alone, 

Denied in death a monumental stone, 

Whilst to the gale in mournful cadence wave 

The sighing weeds that hide their nameless grave. 

And here my name, and many an early friend’s, 

Along the wall in lengthen’d line extends. 

Though still our deeds amuse the youthful race, 

Who tread our steps, and fill our former place, 

Who young obey’d their lords in silent awe, 

Whose nod commanded, and whose voice was law; 

And now, in turn, possess the reins of power, 

To rule, the little tyrants of an hour; 

Though sometimes, with the tales of ancient day, 

They pass the dreary winter’s eve away — 

‘And thus our former rulers stemm’d the tide, 

And thus they dealt the combat side by side; 

Just in this place the mouldering walls they scaled, 

Nor bolts nor bars against their strength avail’d; 

Here PROBUS came, the rising fray to quell, 

And here he falter’d forth his last farewell; 

And here one night abroad they dared to roam, 

While bold POMPOSUS bravely stay’d at home;’ 

While thus they speak, the hour must soon arrive, 

When names of these, like ours, alone survive: 

Yet a few years, one general wreck will whelm 

The faint remembrance of our fairy realm. 
Dear honest race! though now we meet no more, 

One last long look on what we were before — 

Our first kind greetings, and our last adieu – 

Drew tears from eyes unused to weep with you. 

Through splendid circles, fashion’s gaudy world, 

Where folly’s glaring standard waves unfurl’d, 

I plunged to drown in noise my fond regret, 

And all I sought or hoped was to forget. 

Vain wish! if chance some well-remember’d face, 

Some old companion of my early race, 

Advanced to claim his friend with honest joy, 

My eyes, my heart, proclaim’d me still a boy; 

The glittering scene, the fluttering groups around’ 

Were quite forgotten when my friend was found; 

The smiles of beauty–(for, alas! I’ve known 

What ’tis to bend before Love’s mighty throne)– 

The smiles of beauty, though those smiles were dear, 

Could hardly charm me, when that friend was near; 

My thoughts bewilder’d in the fond surprise, 

The woods of IDA danced before my eyes; 

I saw the sprightly wand’rers pour along, 

I saw and join’d again the joyous throng; 

Panting, again I traced her lofty grove, 

And friendship’s feelings triumph’d over love. 

Yet why should I alone with such delight 

Retrace the circuit of my former flight? 

Is there no cause beyond the common claim 

Endear’d to all in childhood’s very name? 

Ah! sure some stronger impulse vibrates here, 

Which whispers friendship will be doubly dear 

To one who thus for kindred hearts must roam, 

And seek abroad the love denied at home. 

Those hearts, dear IDA, have I found in thee– 

A home, a worid, a paradise to me. 

Stern Death forbade my orphan youth to share 

The tender guidance of a father’s care. 

Can rank, or e’en a guardian’s name supply 

The love which glistens in a father’s eye? 

For this can wealth or title’s sound atone, 

Made, by a parent’s early loss, my own? 

What brother springs a brother’s love to seek? 

What sister’s gentle kiss has prest my cheek? 

For me how dull the vacant moments rise, 

To no fond bosom link’d by kindred ties! 

Oft in the progress of some fleeting dream 

Fraternal smiles collected round me seem; 

While still the visions to my heart are prest, 

The voice of love will murmur in my rest: 

I hear-I wake-and in the sound rejoice; 

I hear again,-but, ah! no brother’s voice. 

A hermit, ‘midst of crowds, I fain must stray 

Alone, though thousand pilgrims fill the way; 

While these a thousand kindred wreaths entwine 

I cannot call one single blossom mine: 

What then remains? in solitude to groan, 

To mix in friendship, or to sigh alone. 

Thus must I cling to some endearing hand, 

And none more dear than IDA’S social band. 

Alonzo! best and dearest of my friends, 

Thy name ennobles him who thus commends; 

From this fond tribute thou canst gain no praise; 

The praise as his who now that tribute pays. 

Oh! in the promise of thy early youth, 

If hope anticipate the words of truth, 

Some loftier bard shall sing thy glorious name, 

To build his own upon thy deathless fame. 

Friend of my heart, and foremost of the list 

Of those with whom I lived supremely blest, 

Oft have we drain’d the font of ancient lore; 

Though drinking deeply, thirsting still the more. 

Yet, when confinement’s lingering hour was done, 

Our sports, our studies, and our souls were one: 

Together we impell’d the flying ball; 

Together waited in our tutor’s hall; 

Together join’d in cricket’s manly toil, 

Or shared the produce of the river’s spoil; 

Or, plunging from the green declining shore, 

Our pliant limbs the buoyant billows bore; 

In every element, unchanged, the same, 

All, all that brothers should be, but the name. 
Nor yet are you forgot, my jocund boy! 

DAVUS, the harbinger of childish joy; 

For ever foremost in the ranks of fun, 

The laughing herald of the harmless pun; 

Yet with a breast of such materials made– 

Anxious to please, of pleasing half afraid; 

Candid and liberal, with a heart of steel 

In danger’s path, though not untaught to feel. 

Sill I remember, in the factious strife, 

The rustic’s musket aim’d against my life: 

High pois’d in air the massy weapon hung, 

A cry of horror burst from every tongue; 

Whilst I, in combat with another foe, 

Fought on, unconscious of th’ impending blow; 

Your arm, brave boy, arrested his career– 

Forward you sprung, insensible to fear; 

Disarm’d and baffled by your conquering hand, 

Thc grovelling savage roll’d upon,the sand: 

An act like this, can simple thanks repay? 

Or all the labours of a grateful lay? 

Oh no! whene’er my breast forgets the deed, 

That instant, DAVUS, it deserves to bleed. 
LYCUS! on me thy claims are justly great: 

Thy milder virtues could my muse relate, 

To thee alone, unrivall’d would belong. 

The feeble efforts of my lengthen’d song. 

Well canst thou boast, to lead in senates fit, 

A Spartan firmness with Athenian wit: 

Though yet in embryo these perfections shine, 

Lycus! thy father’s fame will soon be thine. 

Where learning nurtures the superior mind, 

What may we hope from genius thus re fined! 

When time at length matures thy growing years, 

How wilt thou tower above thy fellow peers! 

Prudence and sense, a spirit bold and free, 

With honour’s soul, united beam in thee. 
Shall fair EURYALUS pass by unsung? 

From ancient lineage, not unworthy sprung: 

What though one sad dissension bade us part? 

That name is yet embalm’d within my heart; 

Yet at the mention does that heart rebound, 

And palpitate, responsive to the sound. 

Envy dissolved our ties, and not our will: 

We once were friends, –I’ll think we are so still. 

A form unmatch’d in nature’s partial mould, 

A heart untainted, we in thee behold: 

Yet not the senate’s thunder thou shalt wield, 

Nor seek for glory in the tented field; 

To minds of ruder texture these be given– 

Thy soul shall nearer soar its native heaven. 

Haply, in polish’d courts might be thy seat, 

But that thy tongue could never forge deceit: 

The courtier’s supple bow and sneering smile, 

The flow of compliment, the slippery wile, 

Would make that breast with indignation burn, 

And all the glittering snares to tempt thee spurn. 

Domestic happiness will stamp thy fate; 

Sacred to love, unclouded e’er by hate; 

The world admire thee, and thy friends adore; 

Ambition’s slave alone would toil for more. 
Now last, but nearest of the social band, 

See honest, open, generous CLEON stand; 

With scarce one speck to cloud the pleasing scene, 

No vice degrades that purest soul serene. 

On the same day our studious race begun, 

On the same day our studious race was run; 

Thus side by side we pass’d our first career, 

Thus side by side we strove for many a year; 

At last concluded our scholastic life, 

We neither conquer’d in the classic strife: 

As speakers each supports an equal name, 

And crowds allow to both a partial fame: 

To soothe a youthful rival’s early pride, 

Though Cleon’s candour would the palm divide, 

Yet candour’s self compels me now to own 

Justice awards it to my friend alone. 
Oh! friends regretted, scenes for ever dear, 

Remembrance hails you with her warmest tear! 

Drooping, she bends o’er pensive Fancy’s urn, 

To trace the hours which never can return; 

Yet with the retrospection loves to dwell, 

And soothe the sorrows of her last farewell! 

Yet greets the triumph of my boyish mind, 

As infant laurels round my head were twined, 

When PROBUS’ praise repaid my lyric song, 

Or placed me higher in the studious throng; 

Or when my first harangue received applause, 

His sage instruction the primeval cause, 

What gratitude to him my soul posseat, 

While hope of dawning honours fill’d my breast! 

For all my humble fame, to him alone 

The praise is due, who made that fame my own. 

Oh! could I soar above these feeble lays, 

These young effusions of my early days, 

To him my muse her noblest strain would give: 

The song might perish, but the theme might live. 

Yet why for him the needless verse essay? 

His honour’d name requires no vain display: 

By every son of grateful IDA blest, 

It finds an echo in each youthful breast; 

A fame beyond the glories of the proud, 

Or all the plaudits of the venal crowd. 
IDA! not yet exhausted is the theme, 

Nor closed the progress of my youthful dream. 

How many a friend deserves the grateful strain! 

What scenes of childhood still unsung remain! 

Yet let me hush this echo of the past, 

This parting song, the dearest and the last; 

And brood in secret o’er those hours of joy, 

To me a silent and a sweet employ, 

While future hope and fear alike unknown, 

I think with pleasure on the past alone; 

Yes to the past alone my heart confine, 

And chase the phantom of what once was mine. 
IDA! still o’er thy hills in joy preside, 

And proudly steer through time’s eventful tide; 

Still may thy blooming sons thy name revere, 

Smile in thy bower, but quit thee with a tear,- 

That tear, perhaps, the fondest which will flow, 

O’er their last scene of happiness below. 

Tell me, ye hoary few, who glide along, 

The feeble veterans of some former throng, 

Whose friends, like autumn leaves by tempests whirl’d, 

Are swept for ever from this busy world; 

Revolve the fleeting moments of your youth, 

While Care has yet withheld her venom’d tooth; 

Say if remembrance days like these endears 

Beyond the rapture of succeeding years? 

Say, can ambition’s fever’d dream bestow 

So sweet a balm to soothe your hours of woe? 

Can treasures, hoarded for some thankless son, 

Can royal smiles, or wreaths by slaughter won, 

Can stars or ermine, man’s maturer toys 

(For glittering baubles are not left to boys), 

Recall one scene so much beloved to view, 

As those where Youth her garland twined for you? 

Ah, no! amidst the gloomy calm of age 

You turn with faltering hand life’s varied page; 

Peruse the record of your days on earth, 

Unsullied only where it marks your birth; 

Still lingering pause above each chequer’d leaf, 

And blot with tears the sable lines of grief; 

Where passion o’er the theme her mantle threw, 

Or weeping Virtue sigh’d a faint adieu; 

But bless the scroll which fairer words adorn, 

Traced by the rosy finger of the morn; 

When Friendship bow’d before the shrine of Truth, 

And Love without his pinion, smiled on Youth.

Poem – A Sketch – George Gordon Byron

 Born in the garret, in the kitchen bred, 

Promoted thence to deck her mistress’ head; 

Next for some gracious service unexpress’d, 

And from its wages only to be guess’d­ 

Raised from the toilette to the table,­ where 

Her wondering betters wait behind her chair. 

With eye unmoved, and forehead unabash’d, 

She dines from off the plate she lately wash’d. 

Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie, 

The genial confidante, and general spy, 

Who could, ye gods! her next employ­ment guess– 

An only infants earliest governess! 

She taught the child to read, and taught so well, 

That she herself, by teaching, learn’d to spell. 

An adept next in penmanship she grows; 

As many a nameless slander deftly shows. 

What she had made the pupil of her art, 

None know–but that high Soul secured the heart, 

And panted for the truth it could not hear, 

With longing breast and undeluded ear. 

Foil’d was perversion by that youthful mind, 

Which Flattery fool’d not, Baseness could not blind, 

Deceit infect not, near Contagion soil, 

Indulgence weaken, nor Example spoil, 

Nor master’d Science tempt her to look down 

On humbler talents with a pitying frown, 

Nor Genius swell, nor Beauty render vain, 

Nor Envy ruffle o retaliate pain, 

Nor Fortune change, Pride raise, nor Passion bow, 

Nor virtue teach austerity-till now. 

Serenely purest of her sex that live, 

But wanting one sweet weakness–to for­give, 

Too shock’d at faults her soul can never know, 

She deems that all could be like her be­low: 

Foe to all vice, yet hardly Virtue’s friend, 

For Virtue pardons those she would amend. 
But to the theme, now laid aside too long, 

The baleful burthen of this honest song, 

Though all her former functions are no more, 

She rules the circle which she served before. 
If mothers–none know why–before her quake; 

If daughters dread her for the mothers’ sake; 

If early habits–those false links, which bind 

At times the loftiest to the meanest mind­ 

Have given her power too deeply to instil 

The angry essence of her deadly will; 

If like a snake she steal within your walls, 

Till the black slime betray her as she crawls; 

If like a viper to the heart she wind, 

And leave the venom there she did not find; 

What marvel that this hag of hatred works 

Eternal evil latent as she lurks, 

To make a Pandemonium where she dwells, 

And reign the Hecate of domestic hells? 

Skill’d by a touch to deepen scandal’s tints 

With all the kind mendacity of hints, 

While mingling truth with falsehood, sneers with smiles,

A thread of candour with a web of wiles: 

A plain blunt show of briefly–spoken seaming, 

To hide her bloodless heart’s soul­-harden’d scheming; 

A lip of lies; a face form’d to conceal, 

And, without feeling, mock at all who feel: 

With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown , 

A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone. 

Mark, how the channels of her yellow blood 

Ooze to her skin, and stagnate there to mud, 

Cased like the centipede in saffron mail, 

Or darker greenness of the scorpion’s scale– 

(For drawn from reptiles only may we trace 

Congenial colours in that soul or face) 

Look on her features! and behold her mind 

As in a mirror of itself defined: 

Look on the picture! deem it not o’ercharged 

There is no trait which might not be enlarged: 

Yet true to ‘Nature’s journeymen,’ who made 

This monster when their mistress left off trade– 

This female dog-star of her little sky, 

Where all beneath her influence droop or die. 
Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought, 

Save joy above the ruin thou hast wrought– 

The time shall come, nor long remote, when thou 

Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now; 

Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain, 

And turn thee howling in unpitied pain. 

May the strong curse of crush ‘d affections light 

Back on thy bosom with reflected blight! 

And make thee in thy leprosy of mind 

As loathsome to thyself as to mankind! 

Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate, 

Black–as thy will for others would create: 

Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust, 

And thy soul welter in its hideous crust. 

Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed, 

The widow’d couch of fire, that thou hast spread! 

Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with prayer, 

Look on thine earthly victims–and despair! 

Down to the dust!–and, as thou rott’st away, 

Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay. 

But for the love I bore, and still must bear, 

To her thy malice from all ties would tear– 

Thy name–thy human name–to every eye 

The climax of all scorn should hang on high, 

Exalted o’er thy less abhorr’d compeers– 

And festering in the infamy of years.