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object:Sappho
class:author
subject class:Poetry
db:630-570
wiki:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sappho

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now begins generated list of local instances, definitions, quotes, instances in chapters, wordnet info if available and instances among weblinks


OBJECT INSTANCES [0] - TOPICS - AUTHORS - BOOKS - CHAPTERS - CLASSES - SEE ALSO - SIMILAR TITLES

TOPICS
SEE ALSO


AUTH

BOOKS
Infinite_Library

IN CHAPTERS TITLE

IN CHAPTERS CLASSNAME

IN CHAPTERS TEXT
1.47_-_Lityerses
1.jk_-_Sleep_And_Poetry
1.jk_-_Sonnet_-_After_Dark_Vapors_Have_Oppressd_Our_Plains
1.rb_-_Cleon
1.wby_-_The_Gift_Of_Harun_Al-Rashid
2.05_-_On_Poetry
3.02_-_The_Formulae_of_the_Elemental_Weapons
Talks_With_Sri_Aurobindo_1

PRIMARY CLASS

author
SIMILAR TITLES
Sappho

DEFINITIONS


TERMS STARTING WITH

sappho ::: n. --> Any one of several species of brilliant South American humming birds of the genus Sappho, having very bright-colored and deeply forked tails; -- called also firetail.


TERMS ANYWHERE

sapphic ::: a. --> Of or pertaining to Sappho, the Grecian poetess; as, Sapphic odes; Sapphic verse.
Belonging to, or in the manner of, Sappho; -- said of a certain kind of verse reputed to have been invented by Sappho, consisting of five feet, of which the first, fourth, and fifth are trochees, the second is a spondee, and the third a dactyl. ::: n.


sapphics ::: a metre used by Sappho (the famous Greek poetess of Lesbos [c 600 b.c.]).

sappho ::: n. --> Any one of several species of brilliant South American humming birds of the genus Sappho, having very bright-colored and deeply forked tails; -- called also firetail.



QUOTES [10 / 10 - 260 / 260]


KEYS (10k)

   9 Sappho
   1 Umberto Eco

NEW FULL DB (2.4M)

  185 Sappho
   3 Dorothy Parker
   3 Alexander Pope
   2 Umberto Eco
   2 Samuel Taylor Coleridge
   2 Robert Browning
   2 Poetical Works of John Keats
   2 Nick Cave
   2 Mercedes Lackey
   2 Jeanette Winterson
   2 Erica Jong
   2 Emily Dickinson
   2 Camille Paglia
   2 Bliss William Carman
   2 Anna Laetitia Barbauld

1:What cannot be said will be wept. ~ Sappho,
2:Whatever one loves most is beautiful. ~ Sappho,
3:I know not what to do, my mind is divided ~ Sappho,
4:Although only breath, words which I speak are immortal. ~ Sappho,
5:You are, I think, an evening star, the fairest of all the stars. ~ Sappho, [T5],
6:Death is an evil; the gods have so judged; had it been good, they would die. ~ Sappho,
7:For the man who is beautiful is beautiful to see but the good man will at once also beautiful be ~ Sappho,
8:That man to me seems equal to the gods,
the man who sits opposite you
and close by listens
to your sweet voice ~ Sappho,
9:Poetry... it consumed Sappho's young years, it nourished Goethe's old age. Drug, the Greeks called it, both poison and medicine. ~ Umberto Eco,
10:The gleaming stars all about the shining moon
Hide their bright faces, when full-orbed and splendid
In the sky she floats, flooding the shadowed earth
with clear silver light.
~ Sappho,

*** WISDOM TROVE ***

1:But the act, called the sexual act, is not for the depositing of seed. It is for leaping off into the unknown, as from a cliff's edge, like Sappho into the sea. ~ d-h-lawrence, @wisdomtrove
2:You ask whether I have ever been in love: fool as I am, I am not such a fool as that. But if one is only to talk from first-hand experience, conversation would be a very poor business. But though I have no personal experience of the things they call love, I have what is better - the experience of Sappho, of Euripides, of Catallus, of Shakespeare, of Spenser, of Austen, of Bronte, of anyone else I have read. ~ c-s-lewis, @wisdomtrove

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:Dancing up the full moon ~ Sappho,
2:I desire
And I crave. ~ Sappho,
3:nyt jumalainen lyyrani
soi ~ Sappho,
4:of all stars the most beautiful ~ Sappho,
5:What cannot be said will be wept. ~ Sappho,
6:What cannot be said will be wept. ~ Sappho,
7:...but I say whatever / one loves, is ~ Sappho,
8:For me, neither the honey nor the bee ~ Sappho,
9:sinä kaunis, sinä riemastuttava tyttö ~ Sappho,
10:Whatever one loves most is beautiful. ~ Sappho,
11:neither for me honey nor the honey bee ~ Sappho,
12:Whatever one loves most is beautiful. ~ Sappho,
13:Because I prayed
this word:
I want ~ Sappho,
14:No honey for me, if it comes with a bee. ~ Sappho,
15:gathering flowers so very delicate a girl ~ Sappho,
16:How love the limb-loosener sweeps me away ~ Sappho,
17:I know not what to do, my mind is divided ~ Sappho,
18:I know not what to do, my mind is divided ~ Sappho,
19:Some say an army of horsemen, or infantry, ~ Sappho,
20:The dice of love are shouting and madness. ~ Sappho,
21:I do not know what to do, my mind's in two. ~ Sappho,
22:(sinä olet)
kaunein
kaikista tähdistä ~ Sappho,
23:Amor es gozar mucho y llorar luego mucho más. ~ Sappho,
24:Mere air, these words, but delicious to hear. ~ Sappho,
25:sanokaa minun sanoneen: meistä puhutaan kauan ~ Sappho,
26:In the crooks of your body, I find my religon. ~ Sappho,
27:Uni on varannut heidät itselleen
koko yöksi ~ Sappho,
28:Wealth without virtue is no harmless neighbor. ~ Sappho,
29:I would not think to touch the sky with two arms ~ Sappho,
30:Love is a cunning weaver of fantasies and fables. ~ Sappho,
31:And a sweet expression spreads over her fair face. ~ Sappho,
32:their heart grew cold
they let their wings down ~ Sappho,
33:bir an bile baksam sana
boğazımda kalıyor sesim ~ Sappho,
34:Ei sovi että runoilijan talosta
kuuluu valitusta ~ Sappho,
35:I don't know what to do
two states of mind in me ~ Sappho,
36:In gold sandals / dawn like a thief / fell upon me. ~ Sappho,
37:may you sleep on the breast of your delicate friend ~ Sappho,
38:The evening star Is the most beautiful of all stars ~ Sappho,
39:I am weary of all your words and soft, strange ways. ~ Sappho,
40:kevään sanansaattaja satakieli
kaipaus sen äänessä ~ Sappho,
41:niin kuin Lesboksen runoilija, kaikkia muita etevämpi ~ Sappho,
42:Someone, I tell you, in another time will remember us ~ Sappho,
43:And
Her soul! Her soul is consumed by this longing. ~ Sappho,
44:for you beautiful ones my thought
is not changeable ~ Sappho,
45:Someone, I tell you, in another time will remember us. ~ Sappho,
46:Although only breath, words which I speak are immortal. ~ Sappho,
47:If you are squeamish
Don't prod the
beach rubble. ~ Sappho,
48:Although only breath, words which I speak are immortal. ~ Sappho,
49:Although only breath, words which I command are immortal. ~ Sappho,
50:if only I, O goldcrowned Aphrodite,
could win this lot ~ Sappho,
51:someone will remember us
I say
even in another time ~ Sappho,
52:And with precious and royal perfume you anointed yourself. ~ Sappho,
53:Someone will remember us
I say
Even in another time ~ Sappho,
54:Minä rakastan aurinkoa, kauneutta, se on minun osani täällä ~ Sappho,
55:someone will remember us
I say
even in another time ~ Sappho,
56:For some the fairest thing on the dark earth is Thermopylae, ~ Sappho,
57:I have a daughter who reminds me of A marigold in bloom. Kle ~ Sappho,
58:I will let my body flow like water over the gentle cushions. ~ Sappho,
59:Now the Earth with many flowers puts on her spring embroidery ~ Sappho,
60:There is no place for grief in a house which serves the Muse. ~ Sappho,
61:but me you have forgotten
or you love some man more than me ~ Sappho,
62:Stand and face me, my love,and scatter the grace in your eyes. ~ Sappho,
63:Hesperus bringing together All that the morning star scattered. ~ Sappho,
64:Stand to face me beloved
And open out the grace of your eyes ~ Sappho,
65:The evening star

Is the most
beautiful
of all stars ~ Sappho,
66:You are, I think, an evening star, the fairest of all the stars. ~ Sappho,
67:Although they are only breath, words which I command are immortal ~ Sappho,
68:and on a soft bed
delicate
you would let loose your longing ~ Sappho,
69:Eros seizes and shakes my very soul like the wind on the mountain ~ Sappho,
70:Love shook my heart like a wind falling on oaks
on a mountain. ~ Sappho,
71:What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful. ~ Sappho,
72:Love - bittersweet, irrepressible - loosens my limbs and I tremble. ~ Sappho,
73:You are, I think, an evening star,
the fairest of all the stars. ~ Sappho,
74:Without warning as a whirlwind swoops on an oak Love shakes my heart ~ Sappho,
75:…You are, I think, an evening star,
of all the stars, the fairest… ~ Sappho,
76:Stand and face me, my love,
and scatter the grace in your eyes.
~ Sappho,
77:All the while, believe me, I prayed our night would last twice as long. ~ Sappho,
78:You are, I think, an evening star, the fairest of all the stars. ~ Sappho, [T5],
79:From all the offspring of the earth and heaven love is the most precious. ~ Sappho,
80:]sing to us
the one with violets in her lap
]mostly
]goes astray ~ Sappho,
81:Kuu laskenut
ja Seulaset
On keskiyö, minun aikani on ohi Nukun yksin ~ Sappho,
82:When anger spreads through the breath, guard thy tongue from barking idly. ~ Sappho,
83:Love shook my heart/ Like the wind on the mountain/ Troubling the oak-trees ~ Sappho,
84:Death is an evil; the gods have so judged; had it been good, they would die. ~ Sappho,
85:Death is an evil; the gods have so judged; had it been good, they would die. ~ Sappho,
86:Eros harrows my heart: wild gales sweeping desolate mountains, uprooting oaks. ~ Sappho,
87:Äiti rakas en jaksa kutoa
olen nääntynyt ikävästä
kiitos ihanan Afrotiden ~ Sappho,
88:frequently
for those
I treat well are the ones who most of all
harm me ~ Sappho,
89:He who is fair to look upon is good, and he who is good will soon be fair also. ~ Sappho,
90:Death must be an evil and the gods agree; for why else would they live for ever? ~ Sappho,
91:The moon is setand the Pleiades; Middle ofthe night, time passes by,I lie alone. ~ Sappho,
92:Experience shows us Wealth unchaperoned by Virtue is never an innocuous neighbor. ~ Sappho,
93:Sappho and Emily Dickinson are the only woman geniuses in poetic history. ~ Camille Paglia,
94:Love, like a mountain-wind upon an oak, falling upon me, shakes me leaf and bough. ~ Sappho,
95:She who loves roses must be patient and not cry out when she is pierced by thorns. ~ Sappho,
96:You came and I was longing for you.
You cooled a heart that burned with desire. ~ Sappho,
97:Love shook my heart
Like the wind on the mountain
rushing over the oak trees. ~ Sappho,
98:you came and I was crazy for you
and you cooled my mind that burned with longing ~ Sappho,
99:Eros harrows my heart:
wild gales sweeping desolate mountains,
uprooting oaks. ~ Sappho,
100:Nightingale,
All you sing
Is desire;
You are the crier
Of coming spring ~ Sappho,
101:When they were tired

Night rained her
thick dark sleep
upon their eyes. ~ Sappho,
102:[I was dreaming of you but]
just then
Dawn, in her golden sandals
[woke me] ~ Sappho,
103:The moon has set

And the Pleiades.

Midnight.

I lie in bed alone. ~ Sappho,
104:The moon has set, and the Pleiades; it is midnight, and time passes, and I sleep alone. ~ Sappho,
105:The gorgeous man presents a gorgeous view;
The good man will in time be gorgeous, too. ~ Sappho,
106:Who, Sappho, at a word, must grow
Again receptive to your love?
Who wronged you so? ~ Sappho,
107:Death is an ill; 'tis thus the Gods decide: / For had death been a boon, the Gods had died. ~ Sappho,
108:I took my lyre and said: come now, my heavenly tortoise shell: become a speaking instrument. ~ Sappho,
109:The moon is set
and the Pleiades; Middle of
the night, time passes by,
I lie alone. ~ Sappho,
110:Sappho survives, because we sing her songs; And Eschylus, because we read his plays! ~ Robert Browning,
111:We shall enjoy it

As for him who finds
fault, may silliness
and sorrow take him! ~ Sappho,
112:rikkaus ilman hyvettä
on vaarallista;
mutta molempien yhtymisestä
seuraa korkein onni ~ Sappho,
113:Sweet mother, I cannot weave –
slender Aphrodite has overcome me
with longing for a girl. ~ Sappho,
114:For the man who is beautiful is beautiful to see but the good man will at once also beautiful be ~ Sappho,
115:For the man who is beautiful is beautiful to see but the good man will at once also beautiful be ~ Sappho,
116:Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man. ~ Sappho,
117:Raise high the roof-beam, carpenters. Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man. ~ Sappho,
118:You may forget but
let me tell you
this: someone in
some future time
will think of us ~ Sappho,
119:I declare
That later on,
Even in an age unlike our own,
Someone will remember who we are. ~ Sappho,
120:not one girl I think
who looks on the light of the sun
will ever
have wisdom
like this ~ Sappho,
121:Eros the melter of limbs (now again) stirs me -
sweetbitter unmanageable creature who steals in ~ Sappho,
122:I declare
That later on,
Even in an age unlike our own,
Someone will remember who we are. ~ Sappho,
123:In fact she herself once blamed me
Kyprogeneia

because I prayed
this word:
I want. ~ Sappho,
124:Like a gale smiting an oak
On mountainous terrain,
Eros, with a stroke,
Shattered my brain. ~ Sappho,
125:Later on I published these poems as Sappho’s Boat to make damn sure everyone knew what I meant. ~ Eileen Myles,
126:With his venom irresistible and bittersweet that loosener of limbs, Love reptile-like strikes me down ~ Sappho,
127:Beauty endures only for as long as it can be seen; goodness, beautiful today, will remain so tomorrow. ~ Sappho,
128:Eros, again now, the loosener of limbs troubles me,

Bittersweet, sly, uncontrollable creature…. ~ Sappho,
129:Once again Love, that loosener of limbs,
bittersweet and inescapable, crawling thing,
seizes me. ~ Sappho,
130:The Moon and Pleiades have set, / Midnight is nigh, / The time is passing, passing, yet / Alone I lie. ~ Sappho,
131:but if you love us
choose a younger bed
for I cannot bear
to live with you when I am the older one ~ Sappho,
132:May I write words more naked than flesh, stronger than bone, more resilient than sinew, sensitive than nerve. ~ Sappho,
133:Once again love drives me on, that loosener of limbs, bittersweet creature against which nothing can be done. ~ Sappho,
134:You may
blame Aphrodite

soft as she is
she has almost
killed me with
love for that boy ~ Sappho,
135:May I write words more naked than flesh,
stronger than bone, more resilient than
sinew, sensitive than nerve. ~ Sappho,
136:Know thyself,’ said Socrates. Know thyself,’ said Sappho, ‘and make sure that the Church never finds out. ~ Jeanette Winterson,
137:Come to me now and loosen me
from blunt agony. Labor
and fill my heart with fire. Stand by me
and be my ally. ~ Sappho,
138:yakıp tüketen
ateşler saldın içime -
Çok yaşa!

yokluğunda
bitmek tükenmek bilmeyen
saatlerce yaşa! ~ Sappho,
139:... and some men say an army of ships the most beautiful thing
on the black earth. But I say it is
what you love. ~ Sappho,
140:]
]you will remember
]for we in our youth
did these things

yes many and beautiful things
]
]
] ~ Sappho,
141:Know thyself,’ said Socrates.
Know thyself,’ said Sappho, ‘and make sure that the Church never finds out. ~ Jeanette Winterson,
142:Stars veil their beauty soon / Beside the glorious moon, / When her full silver light / Doth make the whole earth bright. ~ Sappho,
143:That man to me seems equal to the gods,
the man who sits opposite you
and close by listens
to your sweet voice ~ Sappho,
144:To me the Muses truly gave / An envied and a happy lot: / E'en when I lie within the grave, / I cannot, shall not, be forgot. ~ Sappho,
145:...gracious your form and your eyes as honey : desire is poured upon your lovely face Aphrodite has honored you exceedingly... ~ Sappho,
146:Wealth without real worthiness
Is no good for the neighbourhood;
But their proper mixture
Is the summit of beatitude. ~ Sappho,
147:I said: 'Go with my blessing if you go
Always remembering what we did. To me
You have meant everything, as you well know. ~ Sappho,
148:stars around the beautiful moon
hide back their luminous form
whenever all full she shines
on the earth

silvery ~ Sappho,
149:As you are dear to me, go claim a younger
Bed as your due.
I can't stand being the old one any longer,
Living with you. ~ Sappho,
150:You're Sappho, I'm Phaon, agreed.
But there's one thing still troubling me:
You don't know your way to the sea. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
151:Fantastic truths perish slower... Sappho's moon will survive the moon of Armstrong. Different computations are necessary. ~ Odysseas Elytis,
152:Poetry… it consumed Sappho’s young years, it nourished Goethe’s old age. Drug, the Greeks called it, both poison and medicine. ~ Umberto Eco,
153:Some call ships, infantry or horsemen
The greatest beauty earth can offer;
I say it is whatever a person
Most lusts after. ~ Sappho,
154:Poetry... it consumed Sappho's young years, it nourished Goethe's old age. Drug, the Greeks called it, both poison and medicine. ~ Umberto Eco,
155:Evening you gather back
all that dazzling dawn has put asunder:
you gather a lamb, gather a kid,
gather a child to its mother. ~ Sappho,
156:You searched through all my poets, From Sappho through to Auden, I saw the book fall from your hands, As you slowly died of boredom. ~ Nick Cave,
157:You searched through all my poets,
From Sappho through to Auden,
I saw the book fall from your hands,
As you slowly died of boredom. ~ Nick Cave,
158:The touched heart madly stirs,
your laughter is water hurrying over pebbles -
every gesture is a proclamation,
every sound is speech... ~ Sappho,
159:You will have memories
Because of what we did back then
When we were new at this,

Yes, we did many things, then - all
Beautiful... ~ Sappho,
160:Would Jove appoint some flower to reign, in matchless beauty on the plain, the Rose (mankind will all agree). The Rose the queen of flowers should be. ~ Sappho,
161:George Eliot has the heart of Sappho; but the face, with the long proboscis, the protruding teeth of the Apocalyptic horse, betrayed animality. ~ George Meredith,
162:Some say an army of horsemen, or infantry,
A fleet of ships is the fairest thing
On the face of the black earth, but I say
It's what one loves. ~ Sappho,
163:At noontime

When the earth is
bright with flaming
heat falling straight down

the cricket sets
up a high-pitched
singing in his wings ~ Sappho,
164:Eros once again limb-loosener whirls me sweetbitter, impossible to fight off, creature stealing up...I don't know what I should do: two states of mind in me... ~ Sappho,
165:Come to me once more, and abate my torment;
Take the bitter care from my mind, and give me
All I long for; Lady, in all my battles
Fight as my comrade. ~ Sappho,
166:Builders, raise the ceiling high, Raise the dome into the sky, Hear the wedding song! For the happy groom is near, Tall as Mars, and statelier, Hear the wedding song! ~ Sappho,
167:But the act, called the sexual act, is not for the depositing of seed. It is for leaping off into the unknown, as from a cliff's edge, like Sappho into the sea. ~ D H Lawrence,
168:What happens when a female writer invokes a female muse? Does something else happen? With Sappho's figures of desire, we have a different lesbian energy. ~ Shirley Geok lin Lim,
169:There is a boy, and lust
Has crushed my spirit - just
As gentle Aphrodite planned.
Since I have cast my lot, please, golden-crowned
Aphrodite, let me win this round! ~ Sappho,
170:Some men say an army of horse and some men say an arm on foot / and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing / on the black earth. But I say it is / what you love. ~ Sappho,
171:The gleaming stars all about the shining moon
Hide their bright faces, when full-orbed and splendid
In the sky she floats, flooding the shadowed earth
with clear silver light.
~ Sappho,
172:The gleaming stars all about the shining moon
Hide their bright faces, when full-orbed and splendid
In the sky she floats, flooding the shadowed earth
with clear silver light.
~ Sappho,
173:The moon has set In a bank of jet That fringes the Western sky, The pleiads seven Have sunk from heaven And the midnight hurries by; My hopes are flown And, alas! alone On my weary couch I lie. ~ Sappho,
174:yet if you had a desire for good or beautiful things
and your tongue were not concocting some evil to say
shame would not hold down your eyes
but rather you would speak about what is just ~ Sappho,
175:If for things good and noble thou wert yearning,
If to speak baseness were thy tongue not burning,
No load of shame would on thine eyelids weigh;
What thou with honour wishest thou wouldst say. ~ Sappho,
176:When these idiot rightwingers start complaining about poetry being political, I'm fond of reciting Sappho to them, who excluded men from her world. Why does she exclude them? Mostly because of their warmongering. ~ Sam Hamill,
177:Words Of Comfort To Be Scratched On A Mirror
Helen of Troy had a wandering glance;
Sappho's restriction was only the sky;
Ninon was ever the chatter of France;
But oh, what a good girl am I!
~ Dorothy Parker,
178:I feel that women of my kind are a profound mistake. There have been few women poets of distinction, and, if we count only the suicides of Sappho, Lawrence Hope and Charlotte Mew, their despair rate has been very high. ~ Anna Wickham,
179:The modern sensibility attempts to drain the contents of experience; these Greek poets strive to state the fact so poignantly that it becomes an ever-flowing spring as Sappho says, "More real than real, more gold than gold. ~ Kenneth Rexroth,
180:A profile was visible against the dull monochrome of cloud around her; and it was as though side shadows from the features of Sappho and Mrs. Siddons had converged upwards from the tomb to form an image like neither but suggesting both. ~ Thomas Hardy,
181:Pero las rosas se marchitan y se acabará el verano y las promesas de amor serán rotas. Por eso nunca jures amor, O, si lo haces, recuerda que ninguna promesa dará eternidad a la rosa ni impedirá que el sol se ponga, ni traerá un segundo verano. ~ Sappho,
182:When I look on you a moment, then I can speak no more, but my tongue falls silent, and at once a delicate flame courses beneath my skin, and with my eyes I see nothing, and my ears hum, and a wet sweat bathes me and a trembling seizes me all over. ~ Sappho,
183:The extraordinarily facile and in literary terms long lived works tend to be about ordinary people. Even Sappho writes about the utterly insignificant . What art can do is make the extraordinary more ordinary and ordinary more extraordinary. ~ Robert Dessaix,
184:I want to say something but shame
prevents me

yet if you had a desire for good or beautiful things
and your tongue were not concocting some evil to say,
shame would not hold down your eyes
but rather you would speak about what is just ~ Sappho,
185:If Death Be Good
(Sappho LXXIV)
If death be good,
Why do the gods not die?
If life be ill,
Why do the gods still live?
If love be naught,
Why do the gods still love?
If love be all,
What should men do but love?
~ Bliss William Carman,
186:Hesperus, you are
The most fetching star.
What Dawn flings afield
You bring back together -
Sheep to the fold, goats to the pen,
And the child to his mother again.

Nightingale,
All you sing
Is desire;
You are the crier
Of coming spring ~ Sappho,
187:No holy place existed without us then,
no woodland, no dance, no sound.


Beyond all hope, I prayed those timeless
days we spent might be made twice as long.


I prayed one word: I want.


Someone, I tell you, will remember us,
even in another time. ~ Sappho,
188:Culture is like the sum of special knowledge that accumulates in any large united family and is the common property of all its members. When we of the great Culture Family meet, we exchange reminiscences about Grandfather Homer, and that awful old Dr. Johnson, and Aunt Sappho, and poor Johnny Keats. ~ Aldous Huxley,
189:I want to be William Shakespeare and Galileo and Robert Frost. I want to be Sappho. I want to be Jane Austen. I want to be Holden Caulfield and Marilyn Monroe and Joan of Arc. I’m sad to think they came before me in history, they made their mark without me.
But they were there.
They happened. ~ Brenna Yovanoff,
190:The Bowl Of Song
Sweet the song ~ Anacreon



sings,
Sweet notes flow from Sappho's strings:
Pindar's strains, their sweets among,
Add, to crown the bowl of song.
Such a triple charm would sure
Dionysus' lips allure;
Paphos' sleek-skinn'd queen would deign,
Or Love's self, the cup to drain.
~ Anacreon,
191:What creature is it that is
female in nature and hides
in its womb unborn children
who, although they are voiceless,
speak to people far away?

The female creature is a letter.
The unborn children are the letters
(of the alphabet) it carries. And the
letters, although they have no voices,
speak to people far away. ~ Sappho,
192:The greatest feminists have also been the greatest lovers. I'm thinking not only of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley, but of Anais Nin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and of course Sappho. You cannot divide creative juices from human juices. And as long as juicy women are equated with bad women, we will err on the side of being bad. ~ Erica Jong,
193:Age weighs heavily on me, and the knees
Buckle that long ago, like fawns, pranced nimbly.
I groan much but to what end? Humans simply
Cannot be ageless like divinities.
They say that rosy-forearmed Dawn, when stung
With love, swept a sweet youth to the earth's rim -
Tithonus. Even there age withered him,
Bound still to a wife forever young. ~ Sappho,
194:In the end he became as fragmentary as the poems of Sappho he never succeeded in restoring, and finally one morning he looked up into the face of the woman who’d been the greatest love of his life and failed to recognize her. And then there was another kind of blow inside his head; blood pooled in his brain for the last time, washing even the last fragments of his self away. ~ Jeffrey Eugenides,
195:I ask'd my fair one happy day, What I should call her in my lay; By what sweet name from Rome or Greece; [319] Lalage, Neaera, Chloris, Sappho, Lesbia, or Doris, 5 Arethusa or Lucrece. 'Ah!' replied my gentle fair, 'Belovéd, what are names but air? Choose thou whatever suits the line; Call me Sappho, call me Chloris, 10 Call me Lalage or Doris, Only, only call me Thine. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
196:Some say thronging cavalry, some say foot soldiers, others call a fleet the most beautiful of sights the dark earth offers, but I say it's what- ever you love best.

. . . .

But that reminds me:

now my Anactória is gone,
and I'd rather see her lovely step, her sparkling glance and her face than gaze on all the troops in Lydia in their chariots and glittering armor. ~ Sappho,
197:I emphasize the distinction between brackets and no brackets because it will affect your reading experience, if you will allow it. Brackets are exciting. Even though you are approaching Sappho in translation, that is no reason you should miss the drama of trying to read a papyrus torn in half or riddled with holes or smaller than a postage stamp--brackets imply a free space of imaginal adventure. ~ Anne Carson,
198:You ask whether I have ever been in love: fool as I am, I am not such a fool as that. But if one is only to talk from first-hand experience, conversation would be a very poor business. But though I have no personal experience of the things they call love, I have what is better - the experience of Sappho, of Euripides, of Catallus, of Shakespeare, of Spenser, of Austen, of Bronte, of anyone else I have read. ~ C S Lewis,
199:Whoever he is who opposite you
sits and listens close
to your sweet speaking
and lovely laughing – oh it
puts the heart in my chest on wings
for when I look at you, even a moment, no speaking
is left in me
no: tongue breaks and thin
fire is racing under skin
and in eyes no sight and drumming
fills ears
and cold sweat holds me and shaking
grips me all, greener than grass ~ Sappho,
200:NAMES [318:1] [FROM LESSING] I ask'd my fair one happy day, What I should call her in my lay; By what sweet name from Rome or Greece; [319] Lalage, Neaera, Chloris, Sappho, Lesbia, or Doris, 5 Arethusa or Lucrece. 'Ah!' replied my gentle fair, 'Belovéd, what are names but air? Choose thou whatever suits the line; Call me Sappho, call me Chloris, 10 Call me Lalage or Doris, Only, only call me Thine. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
201:Sappho is a great poet because she is a lesbian, which gives her erotic access to the Muse. Sappho and the homosexual-tending Emily Dickinson stand alone above women poets, because poetry's mystical energies are ruled by a hierach requiring the sexual subordination of her petitioners. Women have achieved more as novelists than as poets because the social novel operates outside the ancient marriage of myth and eroticism. ~ Camille Paglia,
202:LXVII

INDOORS the fire is kindled;
Beechwood is piled on the hearthstone;
Cold are the chattering oak-leaves;
And the ponds frost-bitten.

Softer than rainfall at twilight,
Bringing the fields benediction
And the hills quiet and greyness,
Are my long thoughts of thee.

How should thy friend fear the seasons?
They only perish of winter
Whom Love, audacious and tender,
Never hath visited. ~ Sappho,
203:A shoe's material - leather - is calculable and finite. work of art's material (not sound, not word, not stone, not canvas, but spirit) is incalculable and infinite. There are no shoes once for always. Every last line of Sappho is once for always. This is why (calculability of material) boots held by the bootmaker are in better hands than are poems in the hand of the critic. There are no misunderstood boots, but how many misunderstood poems! ~ Marina Tsvetaeva,
204:The argument of Alcidamas: Everyone honours the wise. Thus the Parians have honoured Archilochus, in spite of his bitter tongue; the Chians Homer, though he was not their countryman; the Mytilenaeans Sappho, though she was a woman; the Lacedaemonians actually made Chilon a member of their senate, though they are the least literary of men; the inhabitants of Lampsacus gave public burial to Anaxagoras, though he was an alien, and honour him even to this day. ~ Aristotle,
205:But thou shalt ever lie dead nor shall there be any remembrance of thee then or ever, for thou hast none of the roses of Pieria; but thou shalt wander unnoticed, even in the houses of Hades, flitting among the shadowy dead.

Forever shalt thou lie dead, nor shall there be any remembrance of thee now or hereafter, for never has thou had any of the roses of Pieria; but thou shalt wander, eternally unregarded in the houses of Hades, flitting among the insubstantial shades. ~ Sappho,
206:Song Of One Of The Girls
Here in my heart I am Helen;
I'm Aspasia and Hero, at least.
I'm Judith, and Jael, and Madame de Stael;
I'm Salome, moon of the East.
Here in my soul I am Sappho;
Lady Hamilton am I, as well.
In me Recamier vies with Kitty O'Shea,
With Dido, and Eve, and poor Nell.
I'm of the glamorous ladies
At whose beckoning history shook.
But you are a man, and see only my pan,
So I stay at home with a book.
~ Dorothy Parker,
207:In Ancient Greek literature male poets tend not simply to portray women as lecherous but to attribute to them a species of lust different from that of males: a subhuman and automatic reflex, an animalistic urge. Sappho is important because she gives a fulle human voice to female desire for the first time in Western history. Since she defiantly chooses the quintessential love-object Helen of Troy as her freethinking agent, she seems fully conscious of the revolutionary claim she is making. ~ Sappho,
208:Check it out-this is a copy of a painting of a Greek High Priestess named Calliope. it says she was also the Poet Laureate after Sappho. Doesn't she look exactly like Cher?'
Wow, that's insane. She does look just like young Cher,' Erin said.
Yeah, before she started wearing those white wigs. What the hell's up with that?' Shaunee said.
Damien gave the Twins a look. 'There is nothing wrong with Cher. Absolutely. Nothing.'
Uh-oh,' Shaunee said.
Stepped on a gay nerve,' Erin agreed. ~ P C Cast,
209:]Sardis
often turning her thoughts here

]
you like a goddess
and in your song most of all she rejoiced.

But now she is conspicuous among Lydian women
as sometimes at sunset
the rosyfingered moon

surpasses all the stars. And her light
stretches over salt sea
equally and flowerdeep fields.

And the beautiful dew is poured out
and roses bloom and frail
chervil and flowering sweetclover.

But she goes back and forth remembering
gentle Atthis and in longing
she bites her tender mind ~ Sappho,
210:Then you my goddess with your immortal lips smiling
Would ask what now afflicts me, why again
I am calling and what now I with my restive heart
Desired:
Whom now shall I beguile
To bring you to her love?
Who now injures you, Sappho?
For if she flees, soon shall she chase
And, rejecting gifts, soon shall she give.
If she does not love you, she shall do so soon
Whatsoever is her will.
Come to me now to end this consuming pain
Bringing what my heart desires to be brought:
Be yourself my ally in this fight. ~ Sappho,
211:Sappho
I sigh at day-dawn, and I sigh
When the dull day is passing by.
I sigh at evening, and again
I sigh when night brings sleep to men.
Oh! it were far better to die
Than thus forever mourn and sigh,
And in death's dreamless sleep to be
Unconscious that none weep for me;
Eased from my weight of heaviness,
Forgetful of forgetfulness,
Resting from care and pain and sorrow
Thro' the long night that knows no morrow;
Living unloved, to die unknown,
Unwept, untended, and alone.
~ Christina Georgina Rossetti,
212:Live for the gifts the fragrant-breasted Muses
send, for the clear, the singing, lyre, my children.
Old age freezes my body, once so lithe,
rinses the darkness from my hair, now white.
My heart’s heavy, my knees no longer keep me
up through the dance they used to prance like fawns in.
Oh, I grumble about it, but for what?
Nothing can stop a person’s growing old.
They say that Tithonus was swept away
in Dawn’s passionate, rose-flushed arms to live
forever, but he lost his looks, his youth,
failing husband of an immortal bride. ~ Sappho,
213:I was interested in all kinds of things, whether it be Avatar, Mad Men, Troy, 300, Battlestar Gallactica, or the poems of Horace and Sappho. I always joke about this to my students, who can't quite wrap their mind around the fact that you can have a Ph.D in classics, but not do that full time. I never wanted to write anything with footnotes for the rest of my life. I always think of what I do as the kind of conversation you'd have with somebody, like a good friend, when you've gone and seen a movie together, and you come home and you start talking about it. ~ Daniel Mendelsohn,
214:Mister Cameron - I have read the unexpurgated Ovid, the love poems of Sappho, the Decameron in the original, and a great many texts in Greek and Latin histories that were not though fit for proper gentlemen to read, much less proper ladies. I know in precise detail what Caligula did to, and with, his sisters, and I can quote it to you in Latin or in my own translation if you wish. I am interested in historical truth, and truth in history is often unpleasant and distasteful to those of fine sensibility. I frankly doubt that you will produce anything to shock me. ~ Mercedes Lackey,
215:Mister Cameron - I have read the unexpurgated Ovid, the love poems of Sappho, the Decameron in the original, and a great many texts in Greek and Latin histories that were not though fit for proper gentlemen to read, much less proper ladies. I know in precise detail what Caligula did to, and with, his sisters, and I can quote it to you in Latin or in my own translation if you wish. I am interested in historical truth, and truth in history is often unpleasant and distasteful to those of fine sensibility. I frankly doubt that you will produce anything to shock me. ~ Mercedes Lackey,
216:Some call ships, infantry or horsemen
The greatest beauty earth can offer;
I say it is whatever a person
Most lusts after.

Showing you all will be no trouble:
Helen surpassed all humankind
In looks but left the world's most noble
Husband behind,

Coasting off to Troy where she
Thought nothing of her loving parents
And only child but, led astray...

... and I think of Anaktoria
Far away,...

And I would rather watch her body
Sway, her glistening face flash dalliance
Than Lydian war cars at the ready
And armed battalions. ~ Sappho,
217:Honestly, I wish I were dead.
Weeping many tears, she left me and said,
“Alas, how terribly we suffer, Sappho.
I really leave you against my will.”

And I answered: “Farewell, go and remember me.
You know how we cared for you.

If not, I would remind you
... of our wonderful times.

For by my side you put on
many wreaths of roses
and garlands of flowers
around your soft neck.

And with precious and royal perfume
you anointed yourself.

On soft beds you satisfied your passion.

And there was no dance,
no holy place
from which we were absent. ~ Sappho,
218:I can reveal to you that I wished to die -
For with much weeping she left me
Saying: "Sappho - what suffering is ours!
For it is against my will that I leave you."
In answer, I said: "Go, happily remembering me
For you know what we shared and pursued -
If not, I wish you to see again our [ former joys ] .....
The many braids of rose and violet you [ wreathed ]
Around yourself at my side
And the many garlands of flowers
With which you adorned your soft neck:
With royal oils from [ fresh flowers ]
You anointed [ yourself ]
And on soft beds fulfilled your longing
[ For me ] .... ~ Sappho,
219:[You for] the fragrant-blossomed Muses’ lovely gifts
[be zealous,] girls, [and the] clear melodious lyre:

[but my once tender] body old age now
[has seized;] my hair’s turned [white] instead of dark;

my heart’s grown heavy, my knees will not support me,
that once on a time were fleet for the dance as fawns.

This state I oft bemoan; but what’s to do?
Not to grow old, being human, there’s no way.

Tithonus once, the tale was, rose-armed Dawn,
love-smitten, carried off to the world’s end,

handsome and young then, yet in time grey age
o’ertook him, husband of immortal wife. ~ Sappho,
220:Blest as the immortal gods is he,
The youth who fondly sits by thee,
And hears and sees thee, all the while,
Softly speaks and sweetly smile.

'Twas this deprived my soul of rest,
And raised such tumults in my breast;
For, while I gazed, in transport tossed,
My breath was gone, my voice was lost;

My bosom glowed; the subtle flame
Ran quick through all my vital frame;
O'er my dim eyes a darkness hung;
My ears with hollow murmurs rung;

In dewy damps my limbs were chilled;
My blood with gentle horrors thrilled:
My feeble pulse forgot to play;
I fainted, sunk, and died away. ~ Sappho,
221:After dark vapors have oppress’d our plains
For a long dreary season, comes a day
Born of the gentle South, and clears away
From the sick heavens all unseemly stains.
The anxious month, relieved of its pains,
Takes as a long-lost right the feel of May;
The eyelids with the passing coolness play
Like rose leaves with the drip of Summer rains.
The calmest thoughts came round us; as of leaves
Budding—fruit ripening in stillness—Autumn suns
Smiling at eve upon the quiet sheaves—
Sweet Sappho’s cheek—a smiling infant’s breath—
The gradual sand that through an hour-glass runs—
A woodland rivulet—a Poet’s death. ~ John Keats,
222:When I’d checked into the bathroom with Seymour’s diary under my arm, and had carefully secured the door behind me, I spotted a message almost immediately. It was not, however, in Seymour’s handwriting but, unmistakably, in my sister Boo Boo’s. With or without soap, her handwriting was always almost indecipherably minute, and she had easily managed to post the following message up on the mirror; 'Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man. Love, Irving Sappho, formerly under contract to Elysium Studios Ltd. Please be happy happy happy with your beautiful Muriel. This is an order. I outrank everybody on this block. ~ J D Salinger,
223:I have not had one word from her

Frankly I wish I were dead
When she left, she wept
a great deal; she said to me, "This parting must be
endured, Sappho. I go unwillingly."

I said, "Go, and be happy
but remember (you know
well) whom you leave shackled by love

"If you forget me, think
of our gifts to Aphrodite
and all the loveliness that we shared

"all the violet tiaras,
braided rosebuds, dill and
crocus twined around your young neck

"myrrh poured on your head
and on soft mats girls with
all that they most wished for beside them

"while no voices chanted
choruses without ours,
no woodlot bloomed in spring without song... ~ Sappho,
224:Peer of gods he seemeth to me, the blissful
Man who sits and gazes at thee before him,
Close beside thee sits, and in silence hears thee
Silverly speaking,
Laughing love’s low laughter. Oh this, this only
Stirs the troubled heart in my breast to tremble!
For should I but see thee a little moment,
Straight is my voice hushed;
Yea, my tongue is broken, and through and through me
’Neath the flesh impalpable fire runs tingling;
Nothing see mine eyes, and a noise of roaring
Waves in my ears sounds;
Sweat runs down in rivers, a tremor seizes
All my limbs, and paler than grass in autumn,
Caught by pains of menacing death, I falter,
Lost in the love trance. ~ Sappho,
225:Some say an army of horsemen,
some of footsoldiers, some of ships,
is the fairest thing on the black earth,
but I say it is what one loves.

It's very easy to make this clear
to everyone, for Helen,
by far surpassing mortals in beauty,
left the best of all husbands

and sailed to Troy,
mindful of neither her child
nor her dear parents, but
with one glimpse she was seduced by

Aphrodite. For easily bent...
and nimbly...[missing text]...
has reminded me now
of Anactoria who is not here;

I would much prefer to see the lovely
way she walks and the radiant glance of her face
than the war-chariots of the Lydians or
their footsoldiers in arms. ~ Sappho,
226:ERANNA TO SAPPHO

O You wild adept at throwing!
Like a spear by other things, I'd lain
there beside my next of kin. Your strain
flung me far. To where's beyond my knowing.
None can bring me back again.

Sisters think upon me as they twine,
and the house is full of warm relation.
I alone am out of the design,
and I tremble like a supplication;
for the lovely goddess all creation
bowers in legend lives this life of mine.

SAPPHO TO ERANNA

With unrest I want to inundate you,
want to brandish you, you vine-wreathed stave.
Want, like death itself, to penetrate you
and to pass you onwards like the grave
to the All: to all these things that wait you. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke,
227:Dream Song 187

Them lady poets must not marry, pal.
Miss Dickinson—fancy in Amherst bedding hér.
Fancy a lark with Sappho,
a tumble in the bushes with Miss Moore,
a spoon with Emily, while Charlotte glare.
Miss Bishop’s too noble-O.

That was the lot. And two of them are here
as yet, and—and: Sylvia Plath is not.
She—she her credentials
has handed in, leaving alone two tots
and widower to what he makes of it—
surviving guy, &

when Tolstoy’s pathetic widow doing her whung
(after them decades of marriage) & kids, she decided he was queer
& loving his agent.
Wherefore he rush off, leaving two journals, & die.
It is a true error to marry with poets
or to be by them. ~ John Berryman,
228:Sappho's Dirge
Looking at the Pleiades
Poetess Sappho sheds tears
Do the Pleiades ever know
That a friend here is waiting for them
Magic and marvel fill the green isles
That throb like the rosary of the sea
The spark, the dream, and the sea-speak:
Surging and surfing over the waves of Time
Fighting and fighting, the men are in ruins
Still they are beating the war-drums again
Divorced and distempered the women in huts
Are distressed without enough drinking water
They shout there is no place at home
For those who do not return to work at home
We shall never clear their debts
We stand only for ourselves hereafter
Watching the Pleiades
Sappho sings her tears
To listen to the dirge of long waiting
The Pleiades come down
~ Ayyappa Paniker,
229:I God, a very Gomorry on wheels! You lead the most exciting life I know of, and complain more about it than any two well-off bastards in the running. I am glad to hear you sound like your old self, though I never hearn of no Jonathan with two Davids.

Top of this letter is an allusion to that wonderful novel, The SotWeed Factor, in which Ebenezer Cooke, “poet and virgin,” is about to be raped by a buncher sailors (they have him tied across a table in the fo’c’sle; he is saved by a raiding party of pirates, one of whom strides into the scene and says, “I God, this here ship’s a very floatin’ Gomorry!”

Have come down with the flu since inditing the above. [...]. The mail yestiddy brought a letter from Sam Beckett! asked to see Sappho and Arky. I sag with fatigue. Blessings.

Guy ~ Guy Davenport,
230:Hearthside
Half across the world from me
Lie the lands I'll never seeI, whose longing lives and dies
Where a ship has sailed away;
I, that never close my eyes
But to look upon Cathay.
Things I may not know nor tell
Wait, where older waters swell;
Ways that flowered at Sappho's tread,
Winds that sighed in Homer's strings,
Vibrant with the singing dead,
Golden with the dust of wings.
Under deeper skies than mine,
Quiet valleys dip and shine.
Where their tender grasses heal
Ancient scars of trench and tomb
I shall never walk: nor kneel
Where the bones of poets bloom.
If I seek a lovelier part,
Where I travel goes my heart;
Where I stray my thought must go;
With me wanders my desire.
Best to sit and watch the snow,
Turn the lock, and poke the fire.
~ Dorothy Parker,
231:Girls, be good to these spirits of music and poetry
that breast your threshold with their scented gifts.
Lift the lyre, clear and sweet, they leave with you.

As for me, this body is now so arthritic
I cannot play, hardly even hold the instrument.
Can you believe my white hair was once black?

And oh, the soul grows heavy with the body.
Complaining knee-joints creak at every move.
To think I danced as delicate as a deer!

Some gloomy poems came from these thoughts:
useless: we are all born to lose life,
and what is worse, girls, to lose youth.

The legend of the goddess of the dawn
I’m sure you know: how rosy Eos
madly in love with gorgeous young Tithonus

swept him like booty to her hiding-place
but then forgot he would grow old and grey
while she in despair pursued her immortal way. ~ Sappho,
232:I Loved Thee, Atthis, In The Long Ago
(Sappho XXIII)
I loved thee, Atthis, in the long ago,
When the great oleanders were in flower
In the broad herded meadows full of sun.
And we would often at the fall of dusk
Wander together by the silver stream,
When the soft grass-heads were all wet with dew
And purple-miste d in the fading light.
And joy I knew and sorrow at thy voice,
And the superb magnificence of love,—
The loneliness that saddens solitude,
And the sweet speech that makes it durable,—
The bitter longing and the keen desire,
The sweet companionshi p through quiet days
In the slow ample beauty of the world,
And the unutterable glad release
Within the temple of the holy night.
O Atthis, how I loved thee long ago
In that fair perished summer by the sea!
~ Bliss William Carman,
233:After Catullus and Horace
only the manners of centuries ago can teach me
how to address you my lover as who you are
O Sestius, how could you put up with my children
thinking all the while you were bearing me as in your mirror
it doesn't matter anymore if spring wreaks its fiery
or lamblike dawn on my new-found asceticism, some joke
I wouldn't sleep with you or any man if you paid me
and most of you poets don't have the cash anyway
so please rejoin your fraternal books forever
while you miss in your securest sleep Ms. Rosy-fingered dawn
who might've been induced to digitalize a part of you
were it not for your self-induced revenge of undoneness
it's good to live without a refrigerator! why bother
to chill the handiwork of Ceres and of Demeter?
and of the lonesome Sappho. let's have it warm for now.
~ Bernadette Mayer,
234:Sappho isn't really meant to be read. It's meant to be sung and there were dances for the songs, also. Sappho was a performance artist, and now she exists as a textual project. She was saved by her critics, and by people who wrote of her in letters to each other. As the morning sun lathers the pool through the long windows and stripes the opposite walls in gold, I look at the fragment translations. She's paper, too. A paper poet for a paper boy. People claim to be translating her but they don't, really, they use her to write poems from as they fill in the gaps in the fragments. A duet. She may have meant for these to be solos but they're duets now, though the second singer blends in with the first. The first singer in this case is offstage, like in the old days of stars who couldn't sing, a real singer hidden behind a curtain, which is the velvet drape of history. ~ Alexander Chee,
235:Farewell To Anactoria
(Sappho)
Never the tramp of foot or horse,
Nor lusty cries from ship at sea,
Shall I call loveliest on the dark earthMy heart moves lovingly.
I say that what one loves is best:
The midnight fastness of the heart.
Helen, you took the beauty of men
With unpitying art!
White Paris from Idean hills
For you the Trojan towers razed
Who swiftly ploughed the black seas
Had on your white arm gazed!
Oh, how loving from afar
Led you to grief, for in your mind
The present was too light, as ever
Among fair womankind. . . .
So, Anactoria, go you away
With what calm carelessness of sorrow!
Your gleaming footstep and your grace,
When comes another morrow,
Much would I rather then behold
Than Lydian cars or infantry.
I ask the lot of blessedness,
Beloved, in memory.
~ Allen Tate,
236:A precious mouldering pleasure 't is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,

His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.

His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind.
The literature of old;

What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty,
And Sophocles a man;

When Sappho was a living girl,
And Beatrice wore
The gown that Dante deified.
Facts, centuries before,

He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town
And tell you all your dreams were true:
He lived where dreams were born.

His presence is enchantment,
You beg him not to go;
Old volumes shake their vellum heads
And tantalize just so. ~ Emily Dickinson,
237:A Precious—mouldering Pleasure
371
A precious—mouldering pleasure—'tis—
To meet an Antique Book—
In just the Dress his Century wore—
A privilege—I think—
His venerable Hand to take—
And warming in our own—
A passage back—or two—to make—
To Times when he—was young—
His quaint opinions—to inspect—
His thought to ascertain
On Themes concern our mutual mind—
The Literature of Man—
What interested Scholars—most—
What Competitions ran—
When Plato—was a Certainty—
And Sophocles—a Man—
When Sappho—was a living Girl—
And Beatrice wore
The Gown that Dante—deified—
Facts Centuries before
He traverses—familiar—
As One should come to Town—
And tell you all your Dreams—were true—
He lived—where Dreams were born—
His presence is Enchantment—
You beg him not to go—
Old Volume shake their Vellum Heads
And tantalize—just so—
~ Emily Dickinson,
238:AFFIRMATION CREED OF THE ARRIVIST: I am God, and all other gods are my imagery. I gave birth to myself. I am millions of forms excreating; eternal; and nothing exists except through me; yet I am not them—they serve me. I am inconceivable because I make the conceivable as I so will. I am beyond Law, for my casualness rationalizes all things to my pleasure. I am the stranger, ever. We, the new Arrivists have a lusty heritage from the hierocracy of ancient Egypt, and such great familiars as Lao-Tzu, Pythagoras, Sappho, Socrates, Zeno and others who have substantiated their beliefs (and like them we have been spat on by the ugliest denominators): our great copula is the giving. 'Arrivism' formulates from our integrals: our 'thisness' into 'as if becoming 'as now'—the intentional becoming extentional; action by spontaneity conforming everything critical and subvertive to itself, which is the mechanism of evoking our 'thisness'. 'As now' has no pendency: things are, because we are always the potential of what we last were. The gospel of the Arrivist is always his own. ~ Anonymous,
239:Five A.M.
Elan that lifts me above the clouds
into pure space, timeless, yea eternal
Breath transmuted into words
Transmuted back to breath
in one hundred two hundred years
nearly Immortal, Sappho's 26 centuries
of cadenced breathing - beyond time, clocks, empires, bodies, cars,
chariots, rocket ships skyscrapers, Nation empires
brass walls, polished marble, Inca Artwork
of the mind - but where's it come from?
Inspiration? The muses drawing breath for you? God?
Nah, don't believe it, you'll get entangled in Heaven or Hell Guilt power, that makes the heart beat wake all night
flooding mind with space, echoing through future cities, Megalopolis or
Cretan village, Zeus' birth cave Lassithi Plains - Otsego County
farmhouse, Kansas front porch?
Buddha's a help, promises ordinary mind no nirvana coffee, alcohol, cocaine, mushrooms, marijuana, laughing gas?
Nope, too heavy for this lightness lifts the brain into blue sky
at May dawn when birds start singing on East 12th street Where does it come from, where does it go forever? .
~ Allen Ginsberg,
240:We were nobodies, two young lit. students chatting away in a rickety old house in a small town at the edge of the world, a place where nothing of any significance had ever happened and presumably never would, we had barely started out on our lives and knew nothing about anything, but what we read was not nothing, it concerned matters of the utmost significance and was written by the greatest thinkers and writers in Western culture, and that was basically a miracle, all you had to do was fill in a library lending slip and you had access to what Plato, Sappho or Aristophanes had written in the incomprehensibly distant mists of time, or Homer, Sophocles, Ovid, Lucullus, Lucretius or Dante, Vasari, da Vinci, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Cervantes or Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Lukács, Arendt or those who wrote in the modern day, Foucault, Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Deleuze, Serres. Not to mention the millions of novels, plays and collections of poetry which were available. All one lending slip and a few days away. We didn’t read any of these to be able to summarise the contents, as we did with the literature on the syllabus, but because they could give us something. ~ Karl Ove Knausg rd,
241:Land
[For Christopher Merrill]
Swear by the olive in the God-kissed land—
There is no sugar in the promised land.
Why must the bars turn neon now when, Love,
I’m already drunk in your capitalist land?
If home is found on both sides of the globe,
home is of course here—and always a missed land.
The hour’s come to redeem the pledge (not wholly?)
in Fate’s 'Long years ago we made a tryst' land.
Clearly, these men were here only to destroy,
a mosque now the dust of a prejudiced land.
Will the Doomsayers die, bitten with envy,
when springtime returns to our dismissed land?
The prisons fill with the cries of children.
Then how do you subsist, how do you persist, Land?
“Is my love nothing for I’ve borne no children?”
I’m with you, Sappho, in that anarchist land.
A hurricane is born when the wings flutter ...
Where will the butterfly, on my wrist, land?
You made me wait for one who wasn’t even there
though summer had finished in that tourist land.
Do the blind hold temples close to their eyes
when we steal their gods for our atheist land?
Abandoned bride, Night throws down her jewels
so Rome—on our descent—is an amethyst land.
At the moment the heart turns terrorist,
14
are Shahid’s arms broken, O Promised Land?
~ Agha Shahid Ali,
242:After dark vapors have oppress'd our plains
For a long dreary season, comes a day
Born of the gentle South, and clears away
From the sick heavens all unseemly stains.
The anxious month, relieved of its pains,
Takes as a long-lost right the feel of May;
The eyelids with the passing coolness play
Like rose leaves with the drip of Summer rains.
The calmest thoughts came round us; as of leaves
Budding -- fruit ripening in stillness -- Autumn suns
Smiling at eve upon the quiet sheaves --
Sweet Sappho's cheek -- a smiling infant's breath --
The gradual sand that through an hour-glass runs --
A woodland rivulet -- a Poet's death.
'This sonnet appeared in The Examiner for the 23rd of February 1817, and is dated January 1817 in Lord Houghton's editions. In line 5 The Examiner reads 'relieving of;' his Lordship reads 'relieved from,' and again 'And' for 'The' at the beginning of line 9, and 'sleeping' for 'smiling' at line 12.
The word 'relieving' in the earlier version must, I think, have been a slip, and not an intentional use of 'relieve' as an intransitive verb, though Keats was perhaps capable of such use in his early strife after freshness of speech.'
~ Poetical Works of John Keats, ed. H. Buxton Forman, Crowell publ. 1895. by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes
~ John Keats, Sonnet - After Dark Vapors Have Oppressd Our Plains
,
243:Dear Colette
Dear Colette,
I want to write to you
about being a woman
for that is what you write to me.
I want to tell you how your face
enduring after thirty, forty, fifty. . .
hangs above my desk
like my own muse.
I want to tell you how your hands
reach out from your books
& seize my heart.
I want to tell you how your hair
electrifies my thoughts
like my own halo.
I want to tell you how your eyes
penetrate my fear
& make it melt.
I want to tell you
simply that I love you-though you are "dead"
& I am still "alive."
Suicides & spinsters-all our kind!
Even decorous Jane Austen
never marrying,
& Sappho leaping,
& Sylvia in the oven,
& Anna Wickham, Tsvetaeva, Sara Teasdale,
& pale Virginia floating like Ophelia,
& Emily alone, alone, alone. . . .
But you endure & marry,
47
go on writing,
lose a husband, gain a husband,
go on writing,
sing & tap dance
& you go on writing,
have a child & still
you go on writing,
love a woman, love a man
& go on writing.
You endure your writing
& your life.
Dear Colette,
I only want to thank you:
for your eyes ringed
with bluest paint like bruises,
for your hair gathering sparks
like brush fire,
for your hands which never willingly
let go,
for your years, your child, your lovers,
all your books. . . .
Dear Colette,
you hold me
to this life.
~ Erica Jong,
244:The Red Dance
There was a girl
who danced in the city that night,
that April 22nd,
all along the Charles River.
It was as if one hundred men were watching
or do I mean the one hundred eyes of God?
The yellow patches in the sycamores
glowed like miniature flashlights.
The shadows, the skin of them
were ice cubes that flashed
from the red dress to the roof.
Mile by mile along the Charles she danced
past the benches of lovers,
past the dogs pissing on the benches.
She had on a red, red dress
and there was a small rain
and she lifted her face to it
and thought it part of the river.
And cars and trucks went by
on Memorial Drive.
And the Harvard students in the brick
hallowed houses studied Sappho in cement rooms.
And this Sappho danced on the grass.
and danced and danced and danced.
It was a death dance.
The Larz Anderson bridge wore its lights
and many cars went by,
and a few students strolling under
their Coop umbrellas.
And a black man who asked this Sappho the time,
the time, as if her watch spoke.
Words were turning into grease,
and she said, 'Why do you lie to me? '
And the waters of the Charles were beautiful,
sticking out in many colored tongues
and this strange Sappho knew she would enter the lights
and be lit by them and sink into them.
And how the end would come it had been foretold to her -
311
she would aspirate swallowing a fish,
going down with God's first creature
dancing all the way.
~ Anne Sexton,
245:Sappho
She lay among the myrtles on the cliff;
Above her glared the noon; beneath, the sea.
Upon the white horizon Atho's peak
Weltered in burning haze; all airs were dead;
The cicale slept among the tamarisk's hair;
The birds sat dumb and drooping. Far below
The lazy sea-weed glistened in the sun;
The lazy sea-fowl dried their steaming wings;
The lazy swell crept whispering up the ledge,
And sank again. Great Pan was laid to rest;
And Mother Earth watched by him as he slept,
And hushed her myriad children for a while.
She lay among the myrtles on the cliff;
And sighed for sleep, for sleep that would not hear,
But left her tossing still; for night and day
A mighty hunger yearned within her heart,
Till all her veins ran fever; and her cheek,
Her long thin hands, and ivory-channelled feet,
Were wasted with the wasting of her soul.
Then peevishly she flung her on her face,
And hid her eyeballs from the blinding glare,
And fingered at the grass, and tried to cool
Her crisp hot lips against the crisp hot sward:
And then she raised her head, and upward cast
Wild looks from homeless eyes, whose liquid light
Gleamed out between deep folds of blue-black hair,
As gleam twin lakes between the purple peaks
Of deep Parnassus, at the mournful moon.
Beside her lay her lyre. She snatched the shell,
And waked wild music from its silver strings;
Then tossed it sadly by.-'Ah, hush!' she cries;
'Dead offspring of the tortoise and the mine!
Why mock my discords with thine harmonies?
Although a thrice-Olympian lot be thine,
Only to echo back in every tone
The moods of nobler natures than thine own.'
Eversley, 1847
83
From Yeast.
~ Charles Kingsley,
246:Verses On Mrs Rowe
SUCH were the notes our chaster SAPPHO sung,
And every muse dropt honey on her tongue.
Blest shade ! how pure a breath of praise was thine,
Whose spotless life was faultless as thy line:
In whom each worth and every grace conspire,
The Christian's meekness and the Poet's fire.
Learn'd without pride, a woman without art;
The sweetest manners and the gentlest heart.
Smooth like her verse her passions learnt to move,
And her whole soul was harmony and love:
Virtue that breast without a conflict gain'd,
And easy like a native monarch reign'd.
On earth still favour'd as by heaven approv'd,
The world applauded, and ALEXIS lov'd.
With love, with health, with fame, and friendship blest,
And of a chearful heart the constant feast,
What more of bliss sincere could earth bestow?
What purer heaven could angels taste below?
But bliss from earth's vain scenes too quickly flies;
The golden chord is broke, ALEXIS dies.
Now in the leafy shade, and widow'd grove,
Sad PHILOMELA mourns her absent love.
Now deep retir'd in FROME's enchanting vale,
She pours her tuneful sorrows on the gale;
Without one fond reserve the world disclaims,
And gives up all her soul to heavenly flames.
Yet in no useless gloom she wore her days;
She lov'd the work, and only shun'd the praise.
Her pious hand the poor, the mourner blest;
Her image liv'd in every kindred breast.
THYNN, CARTERET, BLACKMORE, ORRERY approv'd,
And PRIOR prais'd, and noble HERTFORD lov'd;
Seraphic KENN, and tuneful WATTS were thine,
And virtue's noblest champions fill'd the line.
Blest in thy friendships! in thy death too blest !
Receiv'd without a pang to endless rest.
Heaven call'd the Saint matur'd by length of days,
189
And her pure spirit was exhal'd in praise.
Bright pattern of thy sex, be thou my muse;
Thy gentle sweetness thro' my soul diffuse:
Let me thy palm, tho' not thy laurel share,
And copy thee in charity and prayer.
Tho' for the bard my lines are yet too faint,
Yet in my life let me transcribe the saint.
~ Anna Laetitia Barbauld,
247:If we consider the possibility that all women–from the infant suckling her mother’s breast, to the grown woman experiencing orgasmic sensations while suckling her own child, perhaps recalling her mother’s milk-smell in her own; to two women, like Virginia Woolf’s Chloe and Olivia, who share a laboratory; to the woman dying at ninety, touched and handled by women–exist on a lesbian continuum, we can see ourselves as moving in and out of this continuum, whether we identify ourselves as lesbian or not. It allows us to connect aspects of woman-identification as diverse as the impudent, intimate girl-friendships of eight- or nine-year-olds and the banding together of those women of the twelfth and fifteenth centuries known as Beguines who “shared houses, rented to one another, bequeathed houses to their room-mates … in cheap subdivided houses in the artisans’ area of town,” who “practiced Christian virtue on their own, dressing and living simply and not associating with men,” who earned their livings as spinners, bakers, nurses, or ran schools for young girls, and who managed–until the Church forced them to disperse–to live independent both of marriage and of conventual restrictions. It allows us to connect these women with the more celebrated “Lesbians” of the women’s school around Sappho of the seventh century B.C.; with the secret sororities and economic networks reported among African women; and with the Chinese marriage resistance sisterhoods–communities of women who refused marriage, or who if married often refused to consummate their marriages and soon left their husbands–the only women in China who were not footbound and who, Agnes Smedley tells us, welcomed the births of daughters and organized successful women’s strikes in the silk mills. It allows us to connect and compare disparate individual instances of marriage resistance: for example, the type of autonomy claimed by Emily Dickinson, a nineteenth-century white woman genius, with the strategies available to Zora Neale Hurston, a twentieth-century black woman genius. Dickinson never married, had tenuous intellectual friendships with men, lived self-convented in her genteel father’s house, and wrote a lifetime of passionate letters to her sister-in-law Sue Gilbert and a smaller group of such letters to her friend Kate Scott Anthon. Hurston married twice but soon left each husband, scrambled her way from Florida to Harlem to Columbia University to Haiti and finally back to Florida, moved in and out of white patronage and poverty, professional success and failure; her survival relationships were all with women, beginning with her mother. Both of these women in their vastly different circumstances were marriage resisters, committed to their own work and selfhood, and were later characterized as “apolitical ”. Both were drawn to men of intellectual quality; for both of them women provided the ongoing fascination and sustenance of life. ~ Adrienne Rich,
248:The Last Song Of Sappho
Thou tranquil night, and thou, O gentle ray
Of the declining moon; and thou, that o'er
The rock appearest, 'mid the silent grove,
The messenger of day; how dear ye were,
And how delightful to these eyes, while yet
Unknown the furies, and grim Fate! But now,
No gentle sight can soothe this wounded soul.
Then, only, can forgotten joy revive,
When through the air, and o'er the trembling fields
The raging south wind whirls its clouds of dust;
And when the car, the pondrous car of Jove,
Omnipotent, high-thundering o'er our heads,
A pathway cleaves athwart the dusky sky.
Then would I love with storm-charged clouds to fly
Along the cliffs, along the valleys deep,
The headlong flight of frightened flocks to watch,
Or hear, upon some swollen river's shore
The angry billows' loud, triumphant roar.
How beautiful thou art, O heaven divine,
And thou, O dewy earth! Alas no part
Of all this beauty infinite, the gods
And cruel fate to wretched Sappho gave!
To thy proud realms, O Nature, I, a poor,
Unwelcome guest, rejected lover, come;
To all thy varied forms of loveliness,
My heart and eyes, a suppliant, lift in vain.
The sun-lit shore hath smiles no more for me,
Nor radiant morning light at heaven's gate;
The birds no longer greet me with their songs,
Nor whispering trees with gracious messages;
And where, beneath the bending willows' shade,
The limpid stream its bosom pure displays,
As I, with trembling and uncertain foot,
Oppressed with grief, upon its margin pause,
The dimpled waves recoil, as in disdain,
And urge their flight along the flowery plain.
What fearful crime, what hideous excess
92
Have so defiled me, e'en before my birth,
That heaven and fortune frown upon me thus?
Wherein have I offended, as a child,
When we of evil deeds are ignorant,
That thus disfigured, of the bloom of youth
Bereft, my little thread of life has from
The spindle of the unrelenting Fate
Been drawn? Alas, incautious are thy words!
Mysterious counsels all events control,
And all, except our grief, is mystery.
Deserted children, we were born to weep;
But why, is known to those above, alone.
O vain the cares, the hopes of earlier years!
To idle shows Jove gives eternal sway
O'er human hearts. Unless in shining robes arrayed,
All manly deeds in arms, or art, or song,
Appeal in vain unto the vulgar throng.
I die! This wretched veil to earth I cast,
And for my naked soul a refuge seek
Below, and for the cruel faults atone
Of gods, the blind dispensers of events.
And thou, to whom I have been bound so long,
By hopeless love, and lasting faith, and by
The frenzy vain of unappeased desire,
Live, live, and if thou canst, be happy here!
My cup o'erflows with bitterness, and Jove
Has from his vase no drop of sweetness shed,
For all my childhood's hopes and dreams have fled.
The happiest day the soonest fades away;
And then succeed disease, old age, the shade
Of icy death. Behold, alas! Of all
My longed-for laurels, my illusions dear,
The end,--the gulf of hell! My spirit proud
Must to the realm of Proserpine descend,
The Stygian shore, the night that knows no end.
~ Count Giacomo Leopardi,
249:The Origin Of Song Writing
WHEN Cupid, wanton boy, was young,
His wings unfledg'd, and rude his tongue,
He loiter'd in Arcadian bowers,
And hid his bow in wreaths of flowers;
Or pierc'd some fond unguarded heart,
With now and then a random dart;
But heroes scorned the idle boy,
And love was but a shepherd's toy:
When Venus, vex'd to see her child
Amidst the forests thus run wild,
Would point him out some nobler game,
Gods, and godlike men to tame.
She seiz'd the boy's reluctant hand,
And led them to the virgin band,
Where the sister muses round
Swell the deep majestic sound;
And in solemn strains unite,
Breathing chaste, severe delight:
Songs of chiefs, and heroes old,
In unsubmitting virtue bold;
Of even valour's temperate heat,
And toils to stubborn patience sweet;
Of nodding plumes, and burnish'd arms,
And glory's bright terrific charms.
The potent sounds like light'ning dart
Resistless thro' the glowing heart;
Of power to lift the fixed soul
High o'er fortune's proud controul;
Kindling deep, prophetic musing;
Love of beauteous death infusing;
Scorn, and unconquerable hate
Of tyrant pride's unhallow'd state.
The boy abash'd, and half afraid,
Beheld each chaste immortal maid:
Pallas spread her Egis there;
Mars stood by with threat'ning air;
145
And stern Diana's icy look
With sudden chill his bosom struck.
Daughters of Jove receive the child,
The queen of beauty said, and smil'd:
(Her rosy breath perfum'd the air,
And scatter'd sweet contagion there;
Relenting nature learnt to languish,
And sicken'd with delightful anguish; )
Receive him, artless yet and young;
Refine his air and smooth his tongue;
Conduct him thro' your fav'rite bowers,
Enrich'd with fair perennial flowers,
To solemn shades and springs that lie
Remote from each unhallow'd eye;
Teach him to spell those mystic names
That kindle bright immortal flames;
And guide his young unpractis'd feet
To reach coy learning's lofty seat.
Ah, luckless hour! mistaken maids!
When Cupid sought the Muses shades :
Of their sweetest notes beguil'd,
By the sly insidious child,
Now of power his darts are found
Twice ten thousand times to wound.
Now no more the slacken'd strings
Breathe of high immortal things,
But Cupid tunes the Musis lyre,
To languid notes of soft desire:
In every clime, in every tongue,
'Tis love inspires the poet's song.
Hence Sappho's soft infectious page;
Monimia's woe; Othello's rage;
Abandon'd Dido's fruitless prayer;
And Eloisa's long despair;
The garland bless'd with many a vow,
For haughty Sacharissa's brow;
And wash'd with tears the mournful verse
146
That Petrarch laid on Laura's herse.
But more than all the sister quire,
Music confess'd the pleasing fire.
Here sovereign Cupid reign'd alone;
Music and song were all his own.
Sweet as in old Arcadian plains,
The British pipe has caught the strains:
And where the Tweed's pure current glides,
Or Lissy rolls her limpid tides,
Or Thames his oozy waters leads
Thro' rural bowers or yellow meads,
With many an old romantic tale
Has cheer'd the lone sequester'd vale;
With many a sweet and tender lay
Deceiv'd the tiresome summer-day.
'Tis yours to cull with happy art
Each meaning verse that speaks the heart;
And fair array'd, in order meet,
To lay the wreath at beauty's feet.
~ Anna Laetitia Barbauld,
250:Variations Of Greek Themes
A HAPPY MAN
(Carphyllides)
When these graven lines you see,
Traveler, do not pity me;
Though I be among the dead,
Let no mournful word be said.
Children that I leave behind,
And their children, all were kind;
Near to them and to my wife,
I was happy all my life.
My three sons I married right,
And their sons I rocked at night;
Death nor sorrow ever brought
Cause for one unhappy thought.
Now, and with no need of tears,
Here they leave me, full of years,—
Leave me to my quiet rest
In the region of the blest.
II
A MIGHTY RUNNER
(Nicarchus)
The day when Charmus ran with five
In Arcady, as I’m alive,
He came in seventh.—“Five and one
Make seven, you say? It can’t be done.”—
Well, if you think it needs a note,
A friend in a fur overcoat
Ran with him, crying all the while,
“You’ll beat ’em, Charmus, by a mile!”
And so he came in seventh.
Therefore, good Zoilus, you see
394
The thing is plain as plain can be;
And with four more for company,
He would have been eleventh.
III
THE RAVEN
(Nicarchus)
The gloom of death is on the raven’s wing,
The song of death is in the raven’s cries:
But when Demophilus begins to sing,
The raven dies.
IV
EUTYCHIDES
(Lucilius)
Eutychides, who wrote the songs,
Is going down where he belongs.
O you unhappy ones, beware:
Eutychides will soon be there!
For he is coming with twelve lyres,
And with more than twice twelve quires
Of the stuff that he has done
In the world from which he’s gone.
Ah, now must you know death indeed,
For he is coming with all speed;
And with Eutychides in Hell,
Where’s a poor tortured soul to dwell?
DORICHA
(Posidippus)
So now the very bones of you are gone
Where they were dust and ashes long ago;
And there was the last ribbon you tied on
To bind your hair, and that is dust also;
And somewhere there is dust that was of old
395
A soft and scented garment that you wore—
The same that once till dawn did closely fold
You in with fair Charaxus, fair no more.
But Sappho, and the white leaves of her song,
Will make your name a word for all to learn,
And all to love thereafter, even while
It’s but a name; and this will be as long
As there are distant ships that will return
Again to your Naucratis and the Nile.
VI
THE DUST OF TIMAS
(Sappho)
This dust was Timas; and they say
That almost on her wedding day
She found her bridal home to be
The dark house of Persephone.
And many maidens, knowing then
That she would not come back again,
Unbound their curls; and all in tears,
They cut them off with sharpened shears.
VII
ARETEMIAS
(Antipater of Sidon)
I’m sure I see it all now as it was,
When first you set your foot upon the shore
Where dim Cocytus flows for evermore,
And how it came to pass
That all those Dorian women who are there
In Hades, and still fair,
Came up to you, so young, and wept and smiled
When they beheld you and your little child.
And then, I’m sure, with tears upon your face
To be in that sad place,
You told of the two children you had borne,
396
And then of Euphron, whom you leave to mourn.
“One stays with him,” you said,
“And this one I bring with me to the dead.”
VIII
THE OLD STORY
(Marcus Argentarius)
Like many a one, when you had gold
Love met you smiling, we are told;
But now that all your gold is gone,
Love leaves you hungry and alone.
And women, who have called you more
Sweet names than ever were before,
Will ask another now to tell
What man you are and where you dwell.
Was ever anyone but you
So long in learning what is true?
Must you find only at the end
That who has nothing has no friend?
IX
TO-MORROW
(Macedonius)
To-morrow? Then your one word left is always now the same;
And that’s a word that names a day that has no more a name.
To-morrow, I have learned at last, is all you have to give:
The rest will be another’s now, as long as I may live.
You will see me in the evening?—And what evening has there been,
Since time began with women, but old age and wrinkled skin?
LAIS TO APHRODITE
(Plato)
When I, poor Lais, with my crown
397
Of beauty could laugh Hellas down,
Young lovers crowded at my door,
Where now my lovers come no more.
So, Goddess, you will not refuse
A mirror that has now no use;
For what I was I cannot be,
And what I am I will not see.
XI
AN INSCRIPTION BY THE SEA
(Glaucus)
No dust have I to cover me,
My grave no man may show;
My tomb is this unending sea,
And I lie far below.
My fate, O stranger, was to drown;
And where it was the ship went down
Is what the sea-birds know.
~ Edwin Arlington Robinson,
251:KUSTA BEN LUKA is my name, I write
To Abd Al-Rabban; fellow-roysterer once,
Now the good Caliph's learned Treasurer,
And for no ear but his.
Carry this letter
Through the great gallery of the Treasure House
Where banners of the Caliphs hang, night-coloured
But brilliant as the night's embroidery,
And wait war's music; pass the little gallery;
Pass books of learning from Byzantium
Written in gold upon a purple stain,
And pause at last, I was about to say,
At the great book of Sappho's song; but no,
For should you leave my letter there, a boy's
Love-lorn, indifferent hands might come upon it
And let it fall unnoticed to the floor.
pause at the Treatise of parmenides
And hide it there, for Caiphs to world's end
Must keep that perfect, as they keep her song,
So great its fame.
When fitting time has passed
The parchment will disclose to some learned man
A mystery that else had found no chronicler
But the wild Bedouin. Though I approve
Those wanderers that welcomed in their tents
What great Harun Al-Rashid, occupied
With Persian embassy or Grecian war,
Must needs neglect, I cannot hide the truth
That wandering in a desert, featureless
As air under a wing, can give birds' wit.
In after time they will speak much of me
And speak but fantasy. Recall the year
When our beloved Caliph put to death
His Vizir Jaffer for an unknown reason:
"If but the shirt upon my body knew it
I'd tear it off and throw it in the fire.'
That speech was all that the town knew, but he
Seemed for a while to have grown young again;
Seemed so on purpose, muttered Jaffer's friends,
That none might know that he was conscience-struck
But that s a traitor's thought. Enough for me
That in the early summer of the year
The mightiest of the princes of the world
Came to the least considered of his courtiers;
Sat down upon the fountain's marble edge,
One hand amid the goldfish in the pool;
And thereupon a colloquy took place
That I commend to all the chroniclers
To show how violent great hearts can lose
Their bitterness and find the honeycomb.
"I have brought a slender bride into the house;
You know the saying, ""Change the bride with spring.''
And she and I, being sunk in happiness,
Cannot endure to think you tread these paths,
When evening stirs the jasmine bough, and yet
Are brideless.'
"I am falling into years.'
"But such as you and I do not seem old
Like men who live by habit. Every day
I ride with falcon to the river's edge
Or carry the ringed mail upon my back,
Or court a woman; neither enemy,
Game-bird, nor woman does the same thing twice;
And so a hunter carries in the eye
A mimic of youth. Can poet's thought
That springs from body and in body falls
Like this pure jet, now lost amid blue sky,
Now bathing lily leaf and fish's scale,
Be mimicry?'
"What matter if our souls
Are nearer to the surface of the body
Than souls that start no game and turn no rhyme!
The soul's own youth and not the body's youth
Shows through our lineaments. My candle's bright,
My lantern is too loyal not to show
That it was made in your great father's reign,
And yet the jasmine season warms our blood.'
"Great prince, forgive the freedom of my speech:
You think that love has seasons, and you think
That if the spring bear off what the spring gave
The heart need suffer no defeat; but I
Who have accepted the Byzantine faith,
That seems unnatural to Arabian minds,
Think when I choose a bride I choose for ever;
And if her eye should not grow bright for mine
Or brighten only for some younger eye,
My heart could never turn from daily ruin,
Nor find a remedy.'
"But what if I
Have lit upon a woman who so shares
Your thirst for those old crabbed mysteries,
So strains to look beyond Our life, an eye
That never knew that strain would scarce seem bright,
And yet herself can seem youth's very fountain,
Being all brimmed with life?'
"Were it but true
I would have found the best that life can give,
Companionship in those mysterious things
That make a man's soul or a woman's soul
Itself and not some other soul.'
"That love
Must needs be in this life and in what follows
Unchanging and at peace, and it is right
Every philosopher should praise that love.
But I being none can praise its opposite.
It makes my passion stronger but to think
Like passion stirs the peacock and his mate,
The wild stag and the doe; that mouth to mouth
Is a man's mockery of the changeless soul.'
And thereupon his bounty gave what now
Can shake more blossom from autumnal chill
Than all my bursting springtime knew. A girl
Perched in some window of her mother's housc
Had watched my daily passage to and fro;
Had heard impossible history of my past;
Imagined some impossible history
Lived at my side; thought time's disfiguring touch
Gave but more reason for a woman's care.
Yet was it love of me, or was it love
Of the stark mystery that has dazed my sight,
perplexed her fantasy and planned her care?
Or did the torchlight of that mystery
Pick out my features in such light and shade
Two contemplating passions chose one theme
Through sheer bewilderment? She had not paced
The garden paths, nor counted up the rooms,
Before she had spread a book upon her knees
And asked about the pictures or the text;
And often those first days I saw her stare
On old dry writing in a learned tongue,
On old dry ****s that could never please
The extravagance of spring; or move a hand
As if that writing or the figured page
Were some dear cheek.
Upon a moonless night
I sat where I could watch her sleeping form,
And wrote by candle-light; but her form moved.
And fearing that my light disturbed her sleep
I rose that I might screen it with a cloth.
I heard her voice, "Turn that I may expound
What's bowed your shoulder and made pale your cheek
And saw her sitting upright on the bed;
Or was it she that spoke or some great Djinn?
I say that a Djinn spoke. A livelong hour
She seemed the learned man and I the child;
Truths without father came, truths that no book
Of all the uncounted books that I have read,
Nor thought out of her mind or mine begot,
Self-born, high-born, and solitary truths,
Those terrible implacable straight lines
Drawn through the wandering vegetative dream,
Even those truths that when my bones are dust
Must drive the Arabian host.
The voice grew still,
And she lay down upon her bed and slept,
But woke at the first gleam of day, rose up
And swept the house and sang about her work
In childish ignorance of all that passed.
A dozen nights of natural sleep, and then
When the full moon swam to its greatest height
She rose, and with her eyes shut fast in sleep
Walked through the house. Unnoticed and unfelt
I wrapped her in a hooded cloak, and she,
Half running, dropped at the first ridge of the desert
And there marked out those emblems on the sand
That day by day I study and marvel at,
With her white finger. I led her home asleep
And once again she rose and swept the house
In childish ignorance of all that passed.
Even to-day, after some seven years
When maybe thrice in every moon her mouth
Murmured the wisdom of the desert Djinns,
She keeps that ignorance, nor has she now
That first unnatural interest in my books.
It seems enough that I am there; and yet,
Old fellow-student, whose most patient ear
Heard all the anxiety of my passionate youth,
It seems I must buy knowledge with my peace.
What if she lose her ignorance and so
Dream that I love her only for the voice,
That every gift and every word of praise
Is but a payment for that midnight voice
That is to age what milk is to a child?
Were she to lose her love, because she had lost
Her confidence in mine, or even lose
Its first simplicity, love, voice and all,
All my fine feathers would be plucked away
And I left shivering. The voice has drawn
A quality of wisdom from her love's
Particular quality. The signs and shapes;
All those abstractions that you fancied were
From the great Treatise of parmenides;
All, all those gyres and cubes and midnight things
Are but a new expression of her body
Drunk with the bitter sweetness of her youth.
And now my utmost mystery is out.
A woman's beauty is a storm-tossed banner;
Under it wisdom stands, and I alone
Of all Arabia's lovers I alone
Nor dazzled by the embroidery, nor lost
In the confusion of its night-dark folds,
Can hear the armed man speak.

~ William Butler Yeats, The Gift Of Harun Al-Rashid
,
252:Love Sonnets
I.
HOW beautiful doth the morning rise
O’er the hills, as from her bower a bride
Comes brightened—blushing with the shame-faced pride
Of love that now consummated supplies
All her full heart can wish, and to the eyes
Dear are the flowers then, in their green haunts spied,
Glist ning with dew: pleasant at noon the side
Of shadowy mountains ridging to the skies:
At eve ’tis sweet to hear the breeze advance
Through the responding forest dense and tall;
And sweeter in the moonlight is the dance
And natural music of the waterfall:
And yet we feel not the full charm of all,
Till love be near us with his magic glance.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
II.

WHY tower my spirits, and what means this wild

Commotion at my heart—this dreamy chase

Of possible joys that glow like stars in space?

Now feel I even to all things reconciled,

As all were one in spirit. Rudely up-piled

Brown hills grow beautiful; a novel grace

Exalts the moorland’s once unmeaning face;

The river that, like a pure mind beguiled,

Grows purer for its errors, and the trees

That fringe its margin with a dusky shade,

Seem robed in fairy wonder; and are these

Exalted thus because with me surveyed

By one sweet sould whom well they seem to please

Here at my side—an almost stranger maid?

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III.

NOW sunny, as the noontide heavens, are

The eyes of my sweet friend, and now serene

And chastely shadowy in their maiden mien;

Or dream-power, sparkling like a brilliant star

Fills all their blue depths, taking me afar

To where, in the rich past, through song is seen

Some sovereign beauty, knighthood’s mystic queen,

Pluming with love the iron brows of war!

Bright eyes before, with subtle lightning glance

Have kindled all my being into one

Wild tumult; but a charm thus to enhance

My heart’s love-loyalty till now had none!

And can this witchery be the work of chance?

I know not—I but know my rest is gone.

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IV.

A VAST and shadowy hope breaks up my rest

Unspoken; nor dares even my pen to write

How my pent spirit pineth day and night

For one fair love with whom I might be blest!

And ever with vague jealousies possessed

The more I languish, feeling these may so

Oppress affection that for very woe

She longs at last to die deep buried in my breast!

O for a beaker of the wine of love,

Or a deep draught of the Lethèan wave!

The power a mutual passion to emove,

Or that repose which sealeth up the grave!

Yet these my bonds are blameless; one more wise

Had dreamt away his freedom, dreaming of her eyes.

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V.

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HER image haunts me! Lo! I muse at even,

And straight it gathers from the gloom, to make

My soul its mirror; which (as some still lake

Holds pictured in its depths the face of heaven)

Through the hushed night retains it: when ’tis given

To take a warmer presence and incline

A glowing cheek burning with love to mine,

Saying—“The heart for which thou long hast stiven

With looks so fancy-pale, I grant thee now;

And if for ruth, yet more for love’s sweet sake,

My lips shall seal this promise on thy brow. ”

Thus blest in sleep—oh! Who would care to wake,

When the cold real from his belief must shake

Such vows, like blossoms from a shattered bough?

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VI.

SHE loves me! From her own bliss-breathing lips

The live confession came, like rich perfume

From crimson petals bursting into bloom!

And still my heart at the remembrance skips

Like a young lion, and my tongue too trips

As drunk with joy! While very object seen

In life’s diurnal round wears in its mien

A clear assurance that no doubts eclipse.

And if the common things of nature now

Are like old faces flushed with new delight,

Much more the consciousness of that rich vow

Deepens the beauteous, and refines the bright,

While throned I seem on love’s divinest height

Mid all the glories glowing round its brow.

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VII.

FAIR as the day—a genial day serene

Of early summer, when the vital air

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Breathes as ’twere God’s own breath, and blossoms rare

Fill many a bush, or nestle in between

The heapy folds of nature’s mantle green,

As they were happier for the joint joy there

Of birds and bees;—so genial, and so fair

And rich in pleasure, is my life’s sole queen.

My spirit in the sunshine of her grace

Glows with intenser being, and my veins

Fill as with nectar! In your pride of place

Ye mighty, boast! Ye rich, heap gold space!

I envy nor your grandeur nor your gains,

Thus gazing at the heaven of her face!

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VIII.

FAIR as the night—when all the astral fires

Of heaven are burning in the clear expanse,

My love is, and her eyes like star-depths glance

Lustrous with glowing thoughts and pure desires,

And that mysterious pathos which inspires

All moods divine in mortal passion’s trance—

All that its earthly music doth enhance

As with the rapture of seraphic lyres!

I gaze upon her till the atmosphere

Sweetens intensely, and to my charmed sight

All fair associated forms appear

Swimming in joy, as swim yon orbs in light—

And all sweet sounds, though common, to mine ear

Chime up like silver-winged dreams in flight.

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IX.

TO-DAY we part! I far away to dwell

From this the scene that saw our bud of love

Bloom into rosehood. The blue heavens above—

These hills and valleys, with each rocky dell,

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Echo’s dim hold,—shall these retain no spell

Of foregone passion? Shall they speak no tale

Of grief they shrouded in this shaded vale?

Shall they of all our joy the story tell?

To-morrow—and the sun shall climb yon hill

Bright as before; all winged things shall wake

To song as glad as if we listened still;

The stream as mirthfully its wild way make.

But I, pursuing fortune’s wandering star,

Shall see and hear them not—from thee and them afar.

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X.

ABSENCE

NIGHTLY I watch the moon with silvery sheen

Flaking the city house-tops—till I feel

Thy memory, dear one, like a presence steal

Down in her light; for always in her mien

Thy soul’s similitude my soul hath seen!

And as she seemeth now—a guardian seal

On heaven’s far bliss, upon my future weal

Even such thy truth is—radiantly serene.

But long my fancy may not entertain

These bright resemblances—for lo! A cloud

Blots her away! And in my breast the pain

Of absent love recurring pines aloud!

When shall I look in thy bright eyes again?

O my beloved with like sadness bowed!

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XI.

THERE is a trying spirit in the drift

Of human life, apportioning the prize

(In that true quality wherein it lies)

That each one seeketh, to that seeker’s gift.

Hence must he suffer many a perilous shift

96

Who unto fame by martial deeds would rise;

Hence look at liberty with lion-eyes

Must he who’d make the march of man more swift:

Hence heaven’s best crown, more glorious than the sun,

Is only gained by dying for our kind;

And hence, too, true love’s highest meed is won

Only through agonies of heart and mind.

Such, dear one, is the fate (and therefore ours)

Of all whom love would crown with faith’s divinest flowers.

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XII.

THE VOYAGE to that haven of true love

Was ever stormy since the world began,

Or story from its earliest fountain ran;

Teaching us truly that the gods approve,

In the superior destinies of man,

Only what most the noblest hearts shall move:

Hence was Leander’s life so brief a span,

Who, weltering a mortal while above

The bursting wave, sent on his soul to where

The Maid of Sestos from her watch-tower’s height

Looked for his coming through the troubled air,

Nor knew that he had died for her that night!

Hence Sappho’s fatal leap! (The cause the same)

Hence too was Petrarch’s heart the martyr of his flame!

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XIII.

LOSS follows gain, and sadness waits on mirth,

And much is wasted where too much is given;

We cannot fully have our joy on earth

Without diminishing our joy in heaven.

Envy dogs merit; madness neighbours wit;

Stale is their gladness who were never sad;

And Dives in this fleshly life, ’tis writ,

97

Received his good things, Lazarus his bad.

Thus, dearest, o’er the waves of many things

My troubled mind, even like a ship, is tossed,

And from the quest this only inference brings:

That true love in its earthly course is crossed,

Lest by dull worldly usage it should be

Too worldly cramped to soar in large eternity.

~ Charles Harpur,
253:Sappho To Phaon (Ovid Heroid Xv)
Say, lovely youth, that dost my heart command,
Can Phaon's eyes forget his Sappho's hand?
Must then her name the wretched writer prove,
To thy remembrance lost, as to thy love?
Ask not the cause that I new numbers choose,
The Lute neglected, and the Lyric muse;
Love taught my tears in adder notes to flow,
And tun'd my heart to Elegies of woe,
I burn, I burn, as when thro' ripen'd corn
By driving winds the spreading flames are borne!
Phaon to Aetna's scorching fields retires,
While I consume with more than Aetna's fires!
No more my soul a charm in music finds,
Music has charms alone for peaceful minds.
Soft scenes of solitude no more can please,
Love enters there, and I'm my own disease.
No more the Lesbian dames my passion move,
Once the dear objects of my guilty love;
All other loves are lost in only thine,
Ah youth ungrateful to a flame like mine!
Whom would not all those blooming charms surprize,
Those heav'nly looks, and dear deluding eyes?
The harp and bow would you like Phoebus bear,
A brighter Phoebus Phaon might appear;
Would you with ivy wreath your flowing hair,
Not Bacchus' self with Phaon could compare:
Yet Phoebus lov'd, and Bacchus felt the flame,
One Daphne warm'd, and one the Cretan dame,
Nymphs that in verse no more could rival me,
That ev'n those Gods contend in charms with thee.
The Muses teach me all their softest lays,
And the wide world resounds with Sappho's praise.
Tho' great Alcaeus more sublimely sings,
And strikes with bolder rage the sounding strings,
No less renown attends the moving lyre,
Which Venus tunes, and all her loves inspire;
To me what nature has in charms deny'd,
Is well by wit's more lasting flames supply'd.
Tho' short my stature, yet my name extends
146
To heav'n itself, and earth's remotest ends.
Brown as I am, an Ethiopian dame
Inspir'd young Perseus with a gen'rous flame;
Turtles and doves of diff'ring hues unite,
And glossy jet is pair'd with shining white.
If to no charms thou wilt thy heart resign,
But such as merit, such as equal thine,
By none, alas! by none thou canst be mov'd,
Phaon alone by Phaon must be lov'd!
Yet once thy Sappho could thy cares employ,
Once in her arms you center'd all your joy:
No time the dear remembrance can remove,
For oh! how vast a memory has love!
My music, then, you could for ever hear,
And all my words were music to your ear;
You stopp'd with kisses my enchanting tongue,
And found my kisses sweeter than my song.
In all I pleas'd, but most in what was best;
And the last joy was dearer than the rest.
Then with each word, each glance, each motion fir'd,
You still enjoy'd, and yet you still desir'd,
'Till all dissolving in the trance we lay,
And in tumultuous raptures died away.
The fair Sicilians now thy soul inflame;
Why was I born, ye Gods, a Lesbian dame?
But ah beware, Sicilian nymphs! nor boast
That wand'ring heart which I so lately lost;
Nor be with all those tempting words abus'd,
Those tempting words were all to Sappho us'd.
And you that rule Sicilia's happy plains,
Have pity, Venus, on your Poet's pains!
Shall fortune still in one sad tenor run,
And still increase the woes so soon begun?
Inur'd to sorrow from my tender years,
My parent's ashes drank my early tears:
My brother next, neglecting wealth and fame,
Ignobly burn'd in a destructive flame:
An infant daughter late my griefs increas'd,
And all a mother's cares distract my breast.
Alas, what more could fate itself impose,
But thee, the last and greatest of my woes?
No more my robes in waving purple flow,
147
Nor on my hand the sparkling di'monds glow;
No more my locks in ringlets curl'd diffuse
The costly sweetness of Arabian dews,
Nor braids of gold the varied tresses bind,
That fly disorder'd with the wanton wind,
For whom should Sappho use such arts as these?
He's gone, whom only she desir'd to please!
Cupid's light darts my tender bosom move,
Still is there cause for Sappho still to love:
So from my birth the Sisters fix'd my doom,
And gave to Venus all my life to come;
Or while my Muse in melting notes complains,
My yielding heart keeps measure to my strains.
By charms like thine which all my soul have won,
Who might not - ah! who would not be undone?
For those Aurora Cephalus might scorn,
And with fresh blushes paint the conscious morn.
For those might Cynthia lengthen Phaon's sleep,
And bit Endymion nightly tend his sheep.
Venus for those had rapt thee to the skies,
But Mars on thee might look with Venus' eyes.
O scarce a youth, yet scarce a tender boy!
O useful time for lovers to employ!
Pride of thy age, and glory of thy race,
Come to these arms, and melt in this embrace!
The vows you never will return, receive;
And take at least the love you will not give.
See, while I write, my words are lost in tears;
The less my sense, the more my love appears.
Sure 'twas not much to bid one kind adieu,
(At least to feign was never hard to you)
Farewell, my Lesbian love, you might have said,
Or coldly thus, Farewell, oh Lesbian maid!
No tear did you, no parting kiss receive,
Nor knew I then how much I was to grieve.
No lover's gift your Sappho could confer,
And wrongs and woes were all you left with her.
No charge I gave you, and no charge could give,
But this, Be mindful of our loves, and live.
Now by the Nine, those pow'rs ador'd by me,
And Love, the God that ever waits on thee,
When first I heard (from whom I hardly knew)
148
That you were fled, and all my joys with you,
Like some sad statue, speechless, pale I stood,
Grief chill'd my breast, and stopp'd my freezing blood;
No sigh to rise, no tear had powr to flow,
Fix'd in a stupid lethargy of woe:
But when its way th' impetuous passion found,
I rend my tresses, and my breast I wound,
I rave, then weep, I curse, and then complain,
Now swell to rage, no melt in tears again.
Not fiercer pangs distract the mournful dame,
Whose first-born infant feeds the fun'ral flame.
My scornful brother with a smile appears,
Insults my woes, and triumphs in my tears;
His hated image ever haunts my eyes,
And why this grief? thy daughter lives, he cries.
Stung with my Love, and furious with despair,
All torn my garments, and my bosom bare,
My woes, thy crimes, I to the world proclaim;
Such inconsistent things are love and shame!
'Tis thou art all my care and my delight,
My daily longing, and my dream by night:
Oh night more pleasing than the brightest day,
When fancy gives what absence takes away,
And, dress'd in all its visionary charms,
Restores my fair deserter to my arms!
Then round your neck in wanton wreaths I twine,
Then you, methinks, as fondly circle mine:
A thousand tender words I hear and speak;
A thousand melting kisses give, and take:
Then fiercer joys, I blush to mention these,
Yet while I blush, confess how much they please.
But when, with day, the sweet delusions fly,
And all things wake to life and joy, but I,
As if once more forsaken, I complain,
And close my eyes to dream of you again;
Then frantic rise, and like some Fury rove
Thro' lonely plains, and thro' the silent grove,
As if the silent grove, and lonely plains,
That knew my pleasures, could relieve my pains.
I view the Grotto, once the scene of love,
The rocks around, the hanging roofs above,
That charm'd me more, with native moss o'ergrown,
149
Than Phyrgian marble, or the Parian stone.
I find the shades that veil'd our joys before;
But, Phaon gone, those shades delight no more.
Here the press'd herbs with bending tops betray
Where oft entwin'd in am'rous folds we lay;
I kiss that earth which once was press'd by you,
And all with tears the with'ring herbs bedew.
For thee the fading trees appear to mourn,
And birds defer their songs till thy return;
Night shades the grove,s and all in silence lie,
All but the mournful Philomel and I:
With mournful Philomel I join my strain,
Of Tereus she, of Phaeon I complain.
A spring there is, whose silver waters show,
Clear as a glass, the shining sands below:
A flow'ry Lotos spreads its arms above,
Shades all the banks, and seems itself a grove;
Eternal greens the mossy margin grace,
Watch'd by the sylvan Genius of the place.
Here as I lay, and swell'd with tears the flood,
Before my sight a wat'ry Virgin stood:
She stood and cry'd, 'O you that love in vain!
'Fly hence, and seek the fair Leucadian main;
'There stands a rock, from whose impending steep
'Apollo's fane surveys the rolling deep;
'There injur'd lovers, leaping from above,
'Their flames extinguish, and forget to love.
'Deucalion once, with hopeless fury burn'd,
'In vain he lov'd, relentless Pyrrha scorn'd;
'But when from hence he plung'd into the main,
'Deucalion scorn'd, and Pyrrha lov'd in vain.
Haste, Sappho, haste, from high Leucadia throw
'Thy wretched weight, nor dread the deeps below!'
She spoke, and vanish'd with the voice - I rise,
And silent tears fall trickling from my eyes.
I go, ye Nymphs! those rocks and seas to prove;
How much I fear, but ah, how much I love!
I go, ye Nymphs! where furious love inspires;
Let female fears submit to female fires.
To rocks and seas I fly from Phaon's hate,
And hope from seas and rocks a milder fate.
150
Ye gentle gales, beneath my body blow,
And softly lay me on the waves below!
And thou, kind Love, my sinking limbs sustain,
Spread thy soft wings, and waft me o'er the main,
Nor let a Lover's death the guiltless flood profane!
On Phoebus' shrine my harp I'll then bestow,
And this Inscription shall be plac'd below.
'Here she who sung, to him that did inspire,
'Sappho to Phoebus consecrates her Lyre;
'What suits with Sappho, Phoebus, suits with thee;
The Gift, the giver, and the God agree.'
But why, alas, relentless youth, ah why
To distant seas must tender Sappho fly?
Thy charms than those may far more pow'rful be,
And Phoebus' self is less a God to me.
Ah! canst thou doom me to the rocks and sea,
O far more faithless and more hard than they?
Ah! canst thou rather see this tender breast
Dash'd on these rocks than to thy bosom prest?
This breast which once, in vain! you lik'd so well;
Where Loves play'd, and where the Muses dwell.
Alas! the Muses now no more inspire,
Untun'd my lute, and silent is my lyre,
My languid numbers have forgot to flow,
And fancy sinks beneath a weight of woe.
Ye Lesbian virgins, and ye Lesbian dames,
Themes of my verse, and objects of my flames,
No more your groves with my glad songs shall ring,
No more these hands shall touch the trembling string:
My Phaon's fled, and I those arts resign
(Wretch that I am, to call that Phaon mine!)
Return, fair youth, return, and bring along
Joy to my soul, and vigour to my song:
Absent from thee, the Poet's flame expires;
But ah! how fiercely burn the Lover's fires!
Gods! can no pray'rs, no sighs, no numbers move
One savage heart, or teach it how to love?
The winds my pray'rs, my sighs, my numbers bear,
The flying winds have lost them all in air!
Oh when, alas! shall more auspicious gales
To these fond eyes restore thy welcome sails?
If you return - ah why these long delays?
151
Poor Sappho dies while careless Phaon stays.
O launch thy bark, secure of prosp'rous gales;
Cupid for thee shall spread the swelling gales;
I you will fly - (yet ah! what cause can be,
Too cruel youth, that you should fly from me?)
If not from Phaon I must hope for ease,
Ah let me seek it from the raging seas:
To raging seas unpity'd I'll remove,
And either cease to live or cease to love!
~ Alexander Pope,
254:Epistle Ii: To A Lady (Of The Characters Of Women )
NOTHING so true as what you once let fall,
"Most Women have no Characters at all."
Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear,
And best distinguish'd by black, brown, or fair.
How many pictures of one Nymph we view,
All how unlike each other, all how true!
Arcadia's Countess, here, in ermin'd pride,
Is, there, Pastora by a fountain side.
Here Fannia, leering on her own good man,
And there, a naked Leda with a Swan.
Let then the Fair one beautifully cry,
In Magdalen's loose hair and lifted eye,
Or drest in smiles of sweet Cecilia shine,
With simpering Angels, Palms, and Harps divine;
Whether the Charmer sinner it, or saint it,
If Folly grow romantic, I must paint it.
Come then, the colours and the ground prepare!
Dip in the Rainbow, trick her off in Air;
Choose a firm Cloud, before it fall, and in it
Catch, ere she change, the Cynthia of this minute.
Rufa, whose eye quick-glancing o'er the Park,
Attracts each light gay meteor of a Spark,
Agrees as ill with Rufa studying Locke,
As Sappho's diamonds with her dirty smock;
Or Sappho at her toilet's greasy task,
With Sappho fragrant at an evening Masque:
So morning Insects that in muck begun,
Shine, buzz, and flyblow in the setting sun.
How soft is Silia! fearful to offend;
The Frail one's advocate, the Weak one's friend:
To her, Calista prov'd her conduct nice;
And good Simplicius asks of her advice.
Sudden, she storms! she raves! You tip the wink,
But spare your censure; Silia does not drink.
All eyes may see from what the change arose,
65
All eyes may see--a Pimple on her nose.
Papillia, wedded to her amorous spark,
Sighs for the shades--"How charming is a Park!"
A Park is purchas'd, but the Fair he sees
All bath'd in tears--"Oh odious, odious Trees!"
Ladies, like variegated Tulips, show;
'Tis to their Changes half their charms we owe;
Fine by defect, and delicately weak,
Their happy Spots the nice admirer take,
'Twas thus Calypso once each heart alarm'd,
Aw'd without Virtue, without Beauty charmed;
Her tongue bewitch'd as oddly as her Eyes,
Less Wit than Mimic, more a Wit than wise;
Strange graces still, and stranger flights she had,
Was just not ugly, and was just not mad;
Yet ne'er so sure our passion to create,
As when she touch'd the brink of all we hate.
Narcissa's nature, tolerably mild,
To make a wash, would hardly stew a child;
Has ev'n been prov'd to grant a Lover's pray'r,
And paid a Tradesman once to make him stare;
Gave alms at Easter, in a Christian trim,
And made a Widow happy, for a whim.
Why then declare Good-nature is her scorn,
When 'tis by that alone she can be borne?
Why pique all mortals, yet affect a name?
A fool to Pleasure, yet a slave to Fame:
Now deep in Taylor and the Book of Martyrs,
Now drinking citron with his Grace and Chartres:
Now Conscience chills her, and now Passion burns;
And Atheism and Religion take their turns;
A very Heathen in the carnal part,
Yet still a sad, good Christian at her heart.
See Sin in State, majestically drunk;
Proud as a Peeress, prouder as a Punk;
Chaste to her Husband, frank to all beside,
A teeming Mistress, but a barren Bride.
What then? let Blood and Body bear the fault,
66
Her Head's untouch'd, that noble Seat of Thought:
Such this day's doctrine--in another fit
She sins with Poets thro' pure Love of Wit.
What has not fir'd her bosom or her brain?
Caesar and Tallboy, Charles and Charlemagne.
As Helluo, late Dictator of the Feast,
The Nose of Hautgout, and the Tip of Taste,
Critick'd your wine, and analyz'd your meat,
Yet on plain Pudding deign'd at home to eat;
So Philomede, lecturing all mankind
On the soft Passion, and the Taste refin'd,
Th' Address, the Delicacy--stoops at once,
And makes her hearty meal upon a Dunce.
Flavia's a Wit, has too much sense to Pray;
To Toast our wants and wishes, is her way;
Nor asks of God, but of her Stars, to give
The mighty blessing, "while we live, to live."
Then all for Death, that Opiate of the soul!
Lucretia's dagger, Rosamonda's bowl.
Say, what can cause such impotence of mind?
A spark too fickle, or a Spouse too kind.
Wise Wretch! with Pleasures too refin'd to please;
With too much Spirit to be e'er at ease;
With too much Quickness ever to be taught;
With too much Thinking to have common Thought:
You purchase Pain with all that Joy can give,
And die of nothing but a Rage to live.
Turn then from Wits; and look on Simo's Mate,
No Ass so meek, no Ass so obstinate.
Or her, that owns her Faults, but never mends,
Because she's honest, and the best of Friends.
Or her, whose life the Church and Scandal share,
For ever in a Passion, or a Pray'r.
Or her, who laughs at Hell, but (like her Grace)
Cries, "Ah! how charming, if there's no such place!"
Or who in sweet vicissitude appears
Of Mirth and Opium, Ratafie and Tears,
The daily Anodyne, and nightly Draught,
To kill those foes to Fair ones, Time and Thought.
Woman and Fool are two hard things to hit;
67
For true No-meaning puzzles more than Wit.
But what are these to great Atossa's mind?
Scarce once herself, by turns all Womankind!
Who, with herself, or others, from her birth
Finds all her life one warfare upon earth:
Shines, in exposing Knaves, and painting Fools,
Yet is, whate'er she hates and ridicules.
No Thought advances, but her Eddy Brain
Whisks it about, and down it goes again.
Full sixty years the World has been her Trade,
The wisest Fool much Time has ever made.
From loveless youth to unrespected age,
No passion gratify'd except her Rage.
So much the Fury still outran the Wit,
The Pleasure miss'd her, and the Scandal hit.
Who breaks with her, provokes Revenge from Hell,
But he's a bolder man who dares be well.
Her ev'ry turn with Violence pursu'd,
Nor more a storm her Hate than Gratitude:
To that each Passion turns, or soon or late;
Love, if it makes her yield, must make her hate:
Superiors? death! and Equals? what a curse!
But an Inferior not dependant? worse.
Offend her, and she knows not to forgive;
Oblige her, and she'll hate you while you live:
But die, and she'll adore you--Then the Bust
And Temple rise--then fall again to dust.
Last night, her Lord was all that's good and great;
A Knave this morning, and his Will a Cheat.
Strange! by the Means defeated of the Ends,
By Spirit robb'd of Pow'r, by Warmth of Friends,
By Wealth of Followers! without one distress
Sick of herself thro' very selfishness!
Atossa, curs'd with ev'ry granted pray'r,
Childless with all her Children, wants an Heir.
To Heirs unknown descends th' unguarded store,
Or wanders, Heav'n-directed, to the Poor.
Pictures like these, dear Madam, to design,
Asks no firm hand, and no unerring line;
Some wandering touches, some reflected light,
68
Some flying stroke alone can hit 'em right:
For how should equal Colours do the knack?
Chameleons who can paint in white and black?
"Yet Chloe sure was form'd without a spot--"
Nature in her then err'd not, but forgot.
"With ev'ry pleasing, ev'ry prudent part,
Say, what can Chloe want?"--She wants a Heart.
She speaks, behaves, and acts just as she ought;
But never, never, reach'd one gen'rous Thought.
Virtue she finds too painful an endeavour,
Content to dwell in Decencies for ever.
So very reasonable, so unmov'd,
As never yet to love, or to be lov'd.
She, while her Lover pants upon her breast,
Can mark the figures on an Indian chest;
And when she sees her Friend in deep despair,
Observes how much a Chintz exceeds Mohair.
Forbid it Heav'n, a Favour or a Debt
She e'er should cancel--but she may forget.
Safe is your Secret still in Chloe's ear;
But none of Chloe's shall you ever hear.
Of all her Dears she never slander'd one,
But cares not if a thousand are undone.
Would Chloe know if you're alive or dead?
She bids her Footman put it in her head.
Chloe is prudent--Would you too be wise?
Then never break your heart when Chloe dies.
One certain Portrait may (I grant) be seen,
Which Heav'n has varnish'd out, and made a Queen:
The same for ever! and describ'd by all
With Truth and Goodness, as with Crown and Ball.
Poets heap Virtues, Painters Gems at will,
And show their zeal, and hide their want of skill.
'Tis well--but, Artists! who can paint or write,
To draw the Naked is your true delight.
That robe of Quality so struts and swells,
None see what Parts of Nature it conceals:
Th' exactest traits of Body or of Mind,
We owe to models of an humble kind.
If QUEENSBURY to strip there's no compelling,
69
'Tis from a Handmaid we must take a Helen.
From Peer or Bishop 'tis no easy thing
To draw the man who loves his God, or King:
Alas! I copy (or my draught would fail)
From honest Mah'met, or plain Parson Hale.
But grant, in Public Men sometimes are shown,
A Woman's seen in Private life alone:
Our bolder Talents in full light displayed;
Your Virtues open fairest in the shade.
Bred to disguise, in Public 'tis you hide;
There, none distinguish twixt your Shame or Pride,
Weakness or Delicacy; all so nice,
That each may seem a Virtue, or a Vice.
In Men, we various Ruling Passions find;
In Women, two almost divide the kind;
Those, only fix'd, they first or last obey,
The Love of Pleasure, and the Love of Sway.
That, Nature gives; and where the lesson taught
Is but to please, can Pleasure seem a fault?
Experience, this; by Man's oppression curst,
They seek the second not to lose the first.
Men, some to Business, some to pleasure take;
But ev'ry Woman is at heart a Rake:
Men, some to Quiet, some to public Strife;
But ev'ry Lady would be Queen for life.
Yet mark the fate of a whole Sex of Queens!
Pow'r all their end, but Beauty all the means:
In Youth they conquer, with so wild a rage,
As leaves them scarce a subject in their Age:
For foreign glory, foreign joy, they roam;
No thought of peace or happiness at home.
But Wisdom's triumph is a well-tim'd Retreat,
As hard a science to the Fair as Great!
Beauties, like Tyrants, old and friendless grown,
Yet hate repose, and dread to be alone,
Worn out in public, weary ev'ry eye,
Nor leave one sigh behind them when they die.
70
Pleasures the sex, as children Birds, pursue,
Still out of reach, yet never out of view;
Sure, if they catch, to spoil the Toy at most,
To covet flying, and regret when lost:
At last, to follies Youth could scarce defend,
It grows their Age's prudence to pretend;
Asham'd to own they gave delight before,
Reduc'd to feign it, when they give no more:
As Hags hold Sabbaths, less for joy than spite,
So these their merry, miserable Night;
Still round and round the Ghosts of Beauty glide,
And haunt the places where their Honour died.
See how the World its Veterans rewards!
A Youth of Frolics, an old Age of Cards;
Fair to no purpose, artful to no end,
Young without Lovers, old without a Friend;
A Fop their Passion, but their Prize a Sot;
Alive, ridiculous, and dead, forgot!
Ah Friend! to dazzle let the Vain design;
To raise the Thought, and touch the Heart be thine!
That Charm shall grow, while what fatigues the Ring,
Flaunts and goes down, an unregarded thing:
So when the Sun's broad beam has tir'd the sight,
All mild ascends the Moon's more sober light,
Serene in Virgin Modesty she shines,
And unobserv'd the glaring Orb declines.
Oh! blest with Temper, whose unclouded ray
Can make tomorrow cheerful as today;
She, who can love a Sister's charms, or hear
Sighs for a Daughter with unwounded ear;
She, who ne'er answers till a Husband cools,
Or, if she rules him, never shows she rules;
Charms by accepting, by submitting sways,
Yet has her humour most, when she obeys;
Let Fops or Fortune fly which way they will;
Disdains all loss of Tickets, or Codille;
Spleen, Vapours, or Smallpox, above them all,
And Mistress of herself, though China fall.
71
And yet, believe me, good as well as ill,
Woman's at best a Contradiction still.
Heav'n, when it strives to polish all it can
Its last best work, but forms a softer Man;
Picks from each sex, to make the Favorite blest,
Your love of Pleasure, our desire of Rest:
Blends, in exception to all general rules,
Your Taste of Follies, with our Scorn of Fools:
Reserve with Frankness, Art with Truth ally'd,
Courage with Softness, Modesty with Pride;
Fix'd Principles, with Fancy ever new;
Shakes all together, and produces--You.
Be this a Woman's Fame: with this unblest,
Toasts live a scorn, and Queens may die a jest.
This Phoebus promis'd (I forget the year)
When those blue eyes first open'd on the sphere;
Ascendant Phoebus watch'd that hour with care,
Averted half your Parents' simple Pray'r;
And gave you Beauty, but deny'd the Pelf
That buys your sex a Tyrant o'er itself.
The generous God, who Wit and Gold refines,
And ripens Spirits as he ripens Mines,
Kept Dross for Duchesses, the world shall know it,
To you gave Sense, Good Humour, and a Poet.
~ Alexander Pope,
255:"As certain also of your own poets have said"
   (Acts 17.28)
  Cleon the poet (from the sprinkled isles,
Lily on lily, that o'erlace the sea
And laugh their pride when the light wave lisps "Greece")
To Protus in his Tyranny: much health!

They give thy letter to me, even now:
I read and seem as if I heard thee speak.
The master of thy galley still unlades
Gift after gift; they block my court at last
And pile themselves along its portico
Royal with sunset, like a thought of thee:
And one white she-slave from the group dispersed
Of black and white slaves (like the chequer-work
Pavement, at once my nation's work and gift,
Now covered with this settle-down of doves),
One lyric woman, in her crocus vest
Woven of sea-wools, with her two white hands
Commends to me the strainer and the cup
Thy lip hath bettered ere it blesses mine.

Well-counselled, king, in thy munificence!
For so shall men remark, in such an act
Of love for him whose song gives life its joy,
Thy recognition of the use of life;
Nor call thy spirit barely adequate
To help on life in straight ways, broad enough
For vulgar souls, by ruling and the rest.
Thou, in the daily building of thy tower,
Whether in fierce and sudden spasms of toil,
Or through dim lulls of unapparent growth,
Or when the general work 'mid good acclaim
Climbed with the eye to cheer the architect,
Didst ne'er engage in work for mere work's sake
Hadst ever in thy heart the luring hope
Of some eventual rest a-top of it,
Whence, all the tumult of the building hushed,
Thou first of men might'st look out to the East:
The vulgar saw thy tower, thou sawest the sun.
For this, I promise on thy festival
To pour libation, looking o'er the sea,
Making this slave narrate thy fortunes, speak
Thy great words, and describe thy royal face
Wishing thee wholly where Zeus lives the most,
Within the eventual element of calm.

Thy letter's first requirement meets me here.
It is as thou hast heard: in one short life
I, Cleon, have effected all those things
Thou wonderingly dost enumerate.
That epos on thy hundred plates of gold
Is mine,and also mine the little chant,
So sure to rise from every fishing-bark
When, lights at prow, the seamen haul their net.
The image of the sun-god on the phare,
Men turn from the sun's self to see, is mine;
The Po'er-storied its whole length,
As thou didst hear, with painting, is mine too.
I know the true proportions of a man
And woman also, not observed before;
And I have written three books on the soul,
Proving absurd all written hitherto,
And putting us to ignorance again.
For music,why, I have combined the moods,
Inventing one. In brief, all arts are mine;
Thus much the people know and recognize,
Throughout our seventeen islands. Marvel not.
We of these latter days, with greater mind
Than our forerunners, since more composite,
Look not so great, beside their simple way,
To a judge who only sees one way at once,
One mind-point and no other at a time,
Compares the small part of a man of us
With some whole man of the heroic age,
Great in his waynot ours, nor meant for ours.
And ours is greater, had we skill to know:
For, what we call this life of men on earth,
This sequence of the soul's achievements here
Being, as I find much reason to conceive,
Intended to be viewed eventually
As a great whole, not analyzed to parts,
But each part having reference to all,
How shall a certain part, pronounced complete,
Endure effacement by another part?
Was the thing done?then, what's to do again?
See, in the chequered pavement opposite,
Suppose the artist made a perfect rhomb,
And next a lozenge, then a trapezoid
He did not overlay them, superimpose
The new upon the old and blot it out,
But laid them on a level in his work,
Making at last a picture; there it lies.
So, first the perfect separate forms were made,
The portions of mankind; and after, so,
Occurred the combination of the same.
For where had been a progress, otherwise?
Mankind, made up of all the single men,
In such a synthesis the labour ends.
Now mark me! those divine men of old time
Have reached, thou sayest well, each at one point
The outside verge that rounds our faculty;
And where they reached, who can do more than reach?
It takes but little water just to touch
At some one point the inside of a sphere,
And, as we turn the sphere, touch all the rest
In due succession: but the finer air      
Which not so palpably nor obviously,  
Though no less universally, can touch
The whole circumference of that emptied sphere,
Fills it more fully than the water did;
Holds thrice the weight of water in itself
Resolved into a subtler element.
And yet the vulgar call the sphere first full
Up to the visible heightand after, void;
Not knowing air's more hidden properties.
And thus our soul, misknown, cries out to Zeus
To vindicate his purpose in our life:
Why stay we on the earth unless to grow?
Long since, I imaged, wrote the fiction out,
That he or other god descended here
And, once for all, showed simultaneously
What, in its nature, never can be shown,
Piecemeal or in succession;showed, I say,
The worth both absolute and relative
Of all his children from the birth of time,
His instruments for all appointed work.
I now go on to image,might we hear
The judgment which should give the due to each,
Show where the labour lay and where the ease,
And prove Zeus' self, the latent everywhere!
This is a dream:but no dream, let us hope,
That years and days, the summers and the springs,
Follow each other with unwaning powers.
The grapes which dye thy wine are richer far,
Through culture, than the wild wealth of the rock;
The suave plum than the savage-tasted drupe;
The pastured honey-bee drops choicer sweet;
The flowers turn double, and the leaves turn flowers;
That young and tender crescent-moon, thy slave,
Sleeping above her robe as buoyed by clouds,
Refines upon the women of my youth.
What, and the soul alone deteriorates?
I have not chanted verse like Homer, no
Nor swept string like Terpander, nonor carved
And painted men like Phidias and his friend:
I am not great as they are, point by point.
But I have entered into sympathy
With these four, running these into one soul,
Who, separate, ignored each other's art.
Say, is it nothing that I know them all?
The wild flower was the larger; I have dashed
Rose-blood upon its petals, pricked its cup's
Honey with wine, and driven its seed to fruit,
And show a better flower if not so large:
I stand myself. Refer this to the gods
Whose gift alone it is! which, shall I dare
(All pride apart) upon the absurd pretext
That such a gift by chance lay in my hand,
Discourse of lightly or depreciate?
It might have fallen to another's hand: what then?
I pass too surely: let at least truth stay!

And next, of what thou followest on to ask.
This being with me as I declare, O king,
My works, in all these varicoloured kinds,
So done by me, accepted so by men
Thou askest, if (my soul thus in men's hearts)
I must not be accounted to attain
The very crown and proper end of life?
Inquiring thence how, now life closeth up,
I face death with success in my right hand:
Whether I fear death less than dost thyself
The fortunate of men? "For" (writest thou)
"Thou leavest much behind, while I leave nought.
Thy life stays in the poems men shall sing,
The pictures men shall study; while my life,
Complete and whole now in its power and joy,
Dies altogether with my brain and arm,
Is lost indeed; since, what survives myself?
The brazen statue to o'erlook my grave,
Set on the promontory which I named.
And thatsome supple courtier of my heir
Shall use its robed and sceptred arm, perhaps,
To fix the rope to, which best drags it down.
I go then: triumph thou, who dost not go!"

Nay, thou art worthy of hearing my whole mind.
Is this apparent, when thou turn'st to muse
Upon the scheme of earth and man in chief,
That admiration grows as knowledge grows?
That imperfection means perfection hid,
Reserved in part, to grace the after-time?
If, in the morning of philosophy,
Ere aught had been recorded, nay perceived,
Thou, with the light now in thee, couldst have looked
On all earth's tenantry, from worm to bird,
Ere man, her last, appeared upon the stage
Thou wouldst have seen them perfect, and deduced
The perfectness of others yet unseen.
Conceding which,had Zeus then questioned thee,
"Shall I go on a step, improve on this,
Do more for visible creatures than is done?"
Thou wouldst have answered, "Ay, by making each
Grow conscious in himselfby that alone.
All's perfect else: the shell sucks fast the rock,
The fish strikes through the sea, the snake both swims
And slides, forth range the beasts, the birds take flight,
Till life's mechanics can no further go
And all this joy in natural life is put
Like fire from off thy finger into each,
So exquisitely perfect is the same.
But 'tis pure fire, and they mere matter are;
It has them, not they it: and so I choose
For man, thy last premeditated work
(If I might add a glory to the scheme),
That a third thing should stand apart from both,
A quality arise within his soul,
Which, intro-active, made to supervise
And feel the force it has, may view itself,
And so be happy." Man might live at first
The animal life: but is there nothing more?
In due time, let him critically learn
How he lives; and, the more he gets to know
Of his own life's adaptabilities,
The more joy-giving will his life become.
Thus man, who hath this quality, is best.

But thou, king, hadst more reasonably said:
Let progress end at once,man make no step
Beyond the natural man, the better beast,
Using his senses, not the sense of sense."
In man there's failure, only since he left
The lower and inconscious forms of life.
We called it an advance, the rendering plain
Man's spirit might grow conscious of man's life,
And, by new lore so added to the old,
Take each step higher over the brute's head.
This grew the only life, the pleasure-house,
Watch-tower and treasure-fortress of the soul,
Which whole surrounding flats of natural life
Seemed only fit to yield subsistence to;
A tower that crowns a country. But alas,
The soul now climbs it just to perish there!
For thence we have discovered ('tis no dream
We know this, which we had not else perceived)
That there's a world of capability
For joy, spread round about us, meant for us,
Inviting us; and still the soul craves all,
And still the flesh replies, "Take no jot more
Than ere thou clombst the tower to look abroad!
Nay, so much less as that fatigue has brought
Deduction to it." We struggle, fain to enlarge
Our bounded physical recipiency,
Increase our power, supply fresh oil to life,
Repair the waste of age and sickness: no,
It skills not! life's inadequate to joy,
As the soul sees joy, tempting life to take.
They praise a fountain in my garden here
Wherein a Naiad sends the water-bow
Thin from her tube; she smiles to see it rise.
What if I told her, it is just a thread
From that great river which the hills shut up,
And mock her with my leave to take the same?
The artificer has given her one small tube
Past power to widen or exchangewhat boots
To know she might spout oceans if she could?
She cannot lift beyond her first thin thread:
And so a man can use but a man's joy
While he sees God's. Is it for Zeus to boast,
"See, man, how happy I live, and despair
That I may be still happierfor thy use!"
If this were so, we could not thank our lord,
As hearts beat on to doing; 'tis not so
Malice it is not. Is it carelessness?
Still, no. If carewhere is the sign? I ask,
And get no answer, and agree in sum,
O king, with thy profound discouragement,
Who seest the wider but to sigh the more.
Most progress is most failure: thou sayest well.

The last point now:thou dost except a case
Holding joy not impossible to one
With artist-giftsto such a man as I
Who leave behind me living works indeed;
For, such a poem, such a painting lives.    
What? dost thou verily trip upon a word,      
Confound the accurate view of what joy is
(Caught somewhat clearer by my eyes than thine)  
With feeling joy? confound the knowing how
And showing how to live (my faculty)
With actually living?Otherwise
Where is the artist's vantage o'er the king?
Because in my great epos I display
How divers men young, strong, fair, wise, can act
Is this as though I acted? if I paint,
Carve the young Ph{oe}bus, am I therefore young?
Methinks I'm older that I bowed myself
The many years of pain that taught me art!
Indeed, to know is something, and to prove
How all this beauty might be enjoyed, is more:
But, knowing nought, to enjoy is something too.
Yon rower, with the moulded muscles there,
Lowering the sail, is nearer it than I.
I can write love-odes: thy fair slave's an ode.
I get to sing of love, when grown too grey
For being beloved: she turns to that young man,
The muscles all a-ripple on his back.
I know the joy of kingship: well, thou art king!

"But," sayest thou(and I marvel, I repeat,
To find thee trip on such a mere word) "what
Thou writest, paintest, stays; that does not die:
Sappho survives, because we sing her songs,
And Aeschylus, because we read his plays!"
Why, if they live still, let them come and take
Thy slave in my despite, drink from thy cup,
Speak in my place. Thou diest while I survive?
Say rather that my fate is deadlier still,
In this, that every day my sense of joy
Grows more acute, my soul (intensified
By power and insight) more enlarged, more keen;
While every day my hairs fall more and more,
My hand shakes, and the heavy years increase
The horror quickening still from year to year,
The consummation coming past escape,
When I shall know most, and yet least enjoy
When all my works wherein I prove my worth,
Being present still to mock me in men's mouths,
Alive still, in the praise of such as thou,
I, I the feeling, thinking, acting man,
The man who loved his life so over-much,
Sleep in my urn. It is so horrible,
I dare at times imagine to my need
Some future state revealed to us by Zeus,
Unlimited in capability
For joy, as this is in desire for joy,
To seek which, the joy-hunger forces us:
That, stung by straitness of our life, made strait
On purpose to make prized the life at large
Freed by the throbbing impulse we call death,
We burst there as the worm into the fly,
Who, while a worm still, wants his wings. But no!
Zeus has not yet revealed it; and alas,
He must have done so, were it possible!

Live long and happy, and in that thought die:
Glad for what was! Farewell. And for the rest,
I cannot tell thy messenger aright
Where to deliver what he bears of thine
To one called Paulus; we have heard his fame
Indeed, if Christus be not one with him
I know not, nor am troubled much to know.
Thou canst not think a mere barbarian Jew,
As Paulus proves to be, one circumcised,
Hath access to a secret shut from us?
Thou wrongest our philosophy, O king,
In stooping to inquire of such an one,
As if his answer could impose at all!
He writeth, doth he? well, and he may write.
Oh, the Jew findeth scholars! certain slaves
Who touched on this same isle, preached him and Christ;
And (as I gathered from a bystander)
Their doctrine could be held by no sane man.
NOTES



Form:
unrhyming

1.
The motto is from St. Paul's speech to the philosophers
of Athens, Acts. 17: 28. Cleon and King Protus are both
imaginary characters.

sprinkled isles: the Sporades, near Crete.

4.
tyranny: kingdom. In the Greek sense, tyrant simply
means absolute ruler, and implies no misgovernment or oppressions.

53.
P\;cile: the Portico in Athens.

140.
Terpander: founder of the first Greek School of
music (late seventh century B.C.).

141.
Phidias: famous Greek sculptor who supervised the
construction of the Parthenon, and made the great statue of
Pallas Athene for it. Died 432 B.C. "His friend" was Pericles,
ruler of Athens from 460-429 B.C.

305.
Aeschylus: the earliest of the great writers of Greek tragedy
(525-456 B.C.).



~ Robert Browning, Cleon
,
256:Epistle To Dr. Arbuthnot
Shut, shut the door, good John! fatigu'd, I said,
Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.
The dog-star rages! nay 'tis past a doubt,
All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out:
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide;
By land, by water, they renew the charge;
They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.
No place is sacred, not the church is free;
Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me:
Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy! to catch me just at dinner-time.
Is there a parson, much bemus'd in beer,
A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
Who pens a stanza, when he should engross?
Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls
With desp'rate charcoal round his darken'd walls?
All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause:
Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song)
What drop or nostrum can this plague remove?
Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love?
A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped,
If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
Seiz'd and tied down to judge, how wretched I!
Who can't be silent, and who will not lie;
To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace,
And to be grave, exceeds all pow'r of face.
73
I sit with sad civility, I read
With honest anguish, and an aching head;
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
This saving counsel, 'Keep your piece nine years.'
'Nine years! ' cries he, who high in Drury-lane
Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before Term ends,
Oblig'd by hunger, and request of friends:
'The piece, you think, is incorrect: why, take it,
I'm all submission, what you'd have it, make it.'
Three things another's modest wishes bound,
My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me: 'You know his Grace,
I want a patron; ask him for a place.'
Pitholeon libell'd me- 'but here's a letter
Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine,
He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn Divine.'
Bless me! a packet- ''Tis a stranger sues,
A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse.'
If I dislike it, 'Furies, death and rage! '
If I approve, 'Commend it to the stage.'
There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends,
The play'rs and I are, luckily, no friends.
Fir'd that the house reject him, ''Sdeath I'll print it,
And shame the fools- your int'rest, sir, with Lintot! '
'Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much.'
'Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch.'
All my demurs but double his attacks;
At last he whispers, 'Do; and we go snacks.'
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door,
'Sir, let me see your works and you no more.'
'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring,
(Midas, a sacred person and a king)
His very minister who spied them first,
(Some say his queen) was forc'd to speak, or burst.
And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case,
74
When ev'ry coxcomb perks them in my face?
'Good friend, forbear! you deal in dang'rous things.
I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings;
Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick;
'Tis nothing'- Nothing? if they bite and kick?
Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass,
That secret to each fool, that he's an ass:
The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie?)
The queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
You think this cruel? take it for a rule,
No creature smarts so little as a fool.
Let peals of laughter, Codrus! round thee break,
Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack:
Pit, box, and gall'ry in convulsions hurl'd,
Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.
Who shames a scribbler? break one cobweb through,
He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew;
Destroy his fib or sophistry, in vain,
The creature's at his dirty work again;
Thron'd in the centre of his thin designs;
Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines!
Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer,
Lost the arch'd eye-brow, or Parnassian sneer?
And has not Colley still his lord, and whore?
His butchers Henley, his Free-masons Moore?
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
Still to one bishop Philips seem a wit?
Still Sappho- 'Hold! for God-sake- you'll offend:
No names! - be calm! - learn prudence of a friend!
I too could write, and I am twice as tall;
But foes like these! ' One flatt'rer's worse than all.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right,
It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent;
Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.
One dedicates in high heroic prose,
And ridicules beyond a hundred foes;
One from all Grub Street will my fame defend,
And, more abusive, calls himself my friend.
75
This prints my Letters, that expects a bribe,
And others roar aloud, 'Subscribe, subscribe.'
There are, who to my person pay their court:
I cough like Horace, and, though lean, am short,
Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high,
Such Ovid's nose, and 'Sir! you have an eye'Go on, obliging creatures, make me see
All that disgrac'd my betters, met in me:
Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,
'Just so immortal Maro held his head:'
And when I die, be sure you let me know
Great Homer died three thousand years ago.
Why did I write? what sin to me unknown
Dipp'd me in ink, my parents', or my own?
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
I left no calling for this idle trade,
No duty broke, no father disobey'd.
The Muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not wife,
To help me through this long disease, my life,
To second, Arbuthnot! thy art and care,
And teach the being you preserv'd, to bear.
But why then publish? Granville the polite,
And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write;
Well-natur'd Garth inflamed with early praise,
And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays;
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read,
Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head,
And St. John's self (great Dryden's friends before)
With open arms receiv'd one poet more.
Happy my studies, when by these approv'd!
Happier their author, when by these belov'd!
From these the world will judge of men and books,
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cookes.
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence,
While pure description held the place of sense?
Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme,
A painted mistress, or a purling stream.
76
Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill;
I wish'd the man a dinner, and sat still.
Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret;
I never answer'd, I was not in debt.
If want provok'd, or madness made them print,
I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.
Did some more sober critic come abroad?
If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss'd the rod.
Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence,
And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense.
Commas and points they set exactly right,
And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite.
Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds,
From slashing Bentley down to pidling Tibbalds.
Each wight who reads not, and but scans and spells,
Each word-catcher that lives on syllables,
Ev'n such small critics some regard may claim,
Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakespeare's name.
Pretty! in amber to observe the forms
Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms;
The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare,
But wonder how the devil they got there?
Were others angry? I excus'd them too;
Well might they rage; I gave them but their due.
A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find,
But each man's secret standard in his mind,
That casting weight pride adds to emptiness,
This, who can gratify? for who can guess?
The bard whom pilfer'd pastorals renown,
Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown,
Just writes to make his barrenness appear,
And strains, from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year:
He, who still wanting, though he lives on theft,
Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left:
And he, who now to sense, now nonsense leaning,
Means not, but blunders round about a meaning:
And he, whose fustian's so sublimely bad,
It is not poetry, but prose run mad:
All these, my modest satire bade translate,
And own'd, that nine such poets made a Tate.
77
How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe?
And swear, not Addison himself was safe.
Peace to all such! but were there one whose fires
True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires,
Blest with each talent and each art to please,
And born to write, converse, and live with ease:
Should such a man, too fond to rule alone,
Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne,
View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes,
And hate for arts that caus'd himself to rise;
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
Alike reserv'd to blame, or to commend,
A tim'rous foe, and a suspicious friend;
Dreading ev'n fools, by flatterers besieg'd,
And so obliging, that he ne'er oblig'd;
Like Cato, give his little senate laws,
And sit attentive to his own applause;
While wits and templars ev'ry sentence raise,
And wonder with a foolish face of praise.
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be?
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he?
What though my name stood rubric on the walls,
Or plaister'd posts, with claps, in capitals?
Or smoking forth, a hundred hawkers' load,
On wings of winds came flying all abroad?
I sought no homage from the race that write;
I kept, like Asian monarchs, from their sight:
Poems I heeded (now berhym'd so long)
No more than thou, great George! a birthday song.
I ne'er with wits or witlings pass'd my days,
To spread about the itch of verse and praise;
Nor like a puppy, daggled through the town,
To fetch and carry sing-song up and down;
Nor at rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd, and cried,
With handkerchief and orange at my side;
But sick of fops, and poetry, and prate,
To Bufo left the whole Castalian state.
78
Proud as Apollo on his forked hill,
Sat full-blown Bufo, puff'd by every quill;
Fed with soft dedication all day long,
Horace and he went hand in hand in song.
His library (where busts of poets dead
And a true Pindar stood without a head,)
Receiv'd of wits an undistinguish'd race,
Who first his judgment ask'd, and then a place:
Much they extoll'd his pictures, much his seat,
And flatter'd ev'ry day, and some days eat:
Till grown more frugal in his riper days,
He paid some bards with port, and some with praise,
To some a dry rehearsal was assign'd,
And others (harder still) he paid in kind.
Dryden alone (what wonder?) came not nigh,
Dryden alone escap'd this judging eye:
But still the great have kindness in reserve,
He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve.
May some choice patron bless each grey goose quill!
May ev'ry Bavius have his Bufo still!
So, when a statesman wants a day's defence,
Or envy holds a whole week's war with sense,
Or simple pride for flatt'ry makes demands,
May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands!
Blest be the great! for those they take away,
And those they left me- for they left me Gay;
Left me to see neglected genius bloom,
Neglected die! and tell it on his tomb;
Of all thy blameless life the sole return
My verse, and Queensb'ry weeping o'er thy urn!
Oh let me live my own! and die so too!
('To live and die is all I have to do:')
Maintain a poet's dignity and ease,
And see what friends, and read what books I please.
Above a patron, though I condescend
Sometimes to call a minister my friend:
I was not born for courts or great affairs;
I pay my debts, believe, and say my pray'rs;
Can sleep without a poem in my head,
79
Nor know, if Dennis be alive or dead.
Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light?
Heav'ns! was I born for nothing but to write?
Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave)
Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save?
'I found him close with Swift'- 'Indeed? no doubt',
(Cries prating Balbus) 'something will come out'.
'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will.
'No, such a genius never can lie still,'
And then for mine obligingly mistakes
The first lampoon Sir Will. or Bubo makes.
Poor guiltless I! and can I choose but smile,
When ev'ry coxcomb knows me by my style?
Curs'd be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear!
But he, who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace,
Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress,
Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about,
Who writes a libel, or who copies out:
That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name,
Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame;
Who can your merit selfishly approve,
And show the sense of it without the love;
Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honour, injur'd, to defend;
Who tells what'er you think, whate'er you say,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray:
Who to the Dean, and silver bell can swear,
And sees at Cannons what was never there;
Who reads, but with a lust to misapply,
Make satire a lampoon, and fiction, lie.
A lash like mine no honest man shall dread,
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Let Sporus tremble- 'What? that thing of silk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk?
Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel? '
80
Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'r enjoys,
So well-bred spaniels civilly delight
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,
As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.
Whether in florid impotence he speaks,
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks;
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad,
In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies,
Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies.
His wit all see-saw, between that and this,
Now high, now low, now Master up, now Miss,
And he himself one vile antithesis.
Amphibious thing! that acting either part,
The trifling head, or the corrupted heart,
Fop at the toilet, flatt'rer at the board,
Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
Eve's tempter thus the rabbins have express'd,
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest;
Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool,
Not lucre's madman, nor ambition's tool,
Not proud, nor servile, be one poet's praise,
That, if he pleas'd, he pleas'd by manly ways;
That flatt'ry, even to kings, he held a shame,
And thought a lie in verse or prose the same:
That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long,
But stoop'd to truth, and moraliz'd his song:
That not for fame, but virtue's better end,
He stood the furious foe, the timid friend,
The damning critic, half-approving wit,
The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit;
Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had,
The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad;
The distant threats of vengeance on his head,
The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed;
81
The tale reviv'd, the lie so oft o'erthrown;
Th' imputed trash, and dulness not his own;
The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape;
The libell'd person, and the pictur'd shape;
Abuse, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread,
A friend in exile, or a father, dead;
The whisper, that to greatness still too near,
Perhaps, yet vibrates on his sovereign's ear:Welcome for thee, fair Virtue! all the past:
For thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev'n the last!
'But why insult the poor? affront the great? '
A knave's a knave, to me, in ev'ry state:
Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
Sporus at court, or Japhet in a jail,
A hireling scribbler, or a hireling peer,
Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire;
If on a pillory, or near a throne,
He gain his prince's ear, or lose his own.
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
Sappho can tell you how this man was bit:
This dreaded sat'rist Dennis will confess
Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress:
So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door,
Has drunk with Cibber, nay, has rhym'd for Moore.
Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply?
Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie.
To please a mistress one aspers'd his life;
He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife.
Let Budgell charge low Grub Street on his quill,
And write whate'er he pleas'd, except his will;
Let the two Curlls of town and court, abuse
His father, mother, body, soul, and muse.
Yet why? that father held it for a rule,
It was a sin to call our neighbour fool:
That harmless mother thought no wife a whore,Hear this! and spare his family, James Moore!
Unspotted names! and memorable long,
If there be force in virtue, or in song.
Of gentle blood (part shed in honour's cause,
82
While yet in Britain honour had applause)
Each parent sprung- 'What fortune, pray? '- Their own,
And better got, than Bestia's from the throne.
Born to no pride, inheriting no strife,
Nor marrying discord in a noble wife,
Stranger to civil and religious rage,
The good man walk'd innoxious through his age.
No courts he saw, no suits would ever try,
Nor dar'd an oath, nor hazarded a lie:
Un-learn'd, he knew no schoolman's subtle art,
No language, but the language of the heart.
By nature honest, by experience wise,
Healthy by temp'rance and by exercise;
His life, though long, to sickness past unknown;
His death was instant, and without a groan.
O grant me, thus to live, and thus to die!
Who sprung from kings shall know less joy than I.
O friend! may each domestic bliss be thine!
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine:
Me, let the tender office long engage
To rock the cradle of reposing age,
With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,
Make langour smile, and smooth the bed of death,
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And keep a while one parent from the sky!
On cares like these if length of days attend,
May Heav'n, to bless those days, preserve my friend,
Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene,
And just as rich as when he serv'd a queen.
Whether that blessing be denied or giv'n,
Thus far was right, the rest belongs to Heav'n.
~ Alexander Pope,
257:Times
The Time hath been, a boyish, blushing Time,
When Modesty was scarcely held a crime,
When the most Wicked had some touch of grace,
And trembled to meet Virtue face to face,
When Those, who, in the cause of Sin grown grey,
Had serv'd her without grudging day by day,
Were yet so weak an awkward shame to feel,
And strove that glorious service to conceal;
We, better bred, and than our Sires more wise,
Such paltry narrowness of soul despise,
To Virtue ev'ry mean pretence disclaim,
Lay bare our crimes, and glory in our shame.
....
ITALIA, nurse of ev'ry softer art,
Who, feigning to refine, unmans the heart,
Who lays the realms of Sense and Virtue waste,
Who marrs whilst she pretends to mend our taste,
ITALIA, to compleat and crown our shame,
Sends us a Fiend, and LEGION is his name.
The Farce of greatness, without being great,
Pride without Pow'r, Titles without Estate,
Souls without vigour, Bodies without force,
Hate without case, Revenge without remorse,
Dark, mean Revenge, Murder without defence,
Jealousy without Love, Sound without Sense,
Mirth without Humour, without Wit Grimace,
Faith without Reason, Gospel without Grace,
Zeal without Knowledge, without Nature Art,
Men without Manhood, Women without Heart,
Half-Men, who, dry and pithless, are debarr'd
From Man's best joys — no sooner made than marr'd —
Half-Men, whom many a rich and noble Dame,
To serve her lust, and yet secure her fame,
Keeps on high diet, as We Capons feed,
To glut our appetites at last decreed;
Women, who dance, in postures so obscene,
They might awaken shame in ARETINE,
Who, when, retir'd from the day's piercing light,
They celebrate the mysteries of night,
286
Might make the Muses, in a corner plac'd
To view their monstrous lusts, deem SAPPHO chaste;
These, and a thousand follies rank as these,
A thousand faults, ten thousand Fools, who please
Our pall'd and sickly taste, ten thousand knaves,
Who serve our foes as spies, and us as slaves,
Who by degrees, and unperceiv'd, prepare
Our necks for chains which they already wear,
Madly we entertain, at the expence
Of Fame, of Virtue, Taste, and Common-Sense.
Nor stop we here — the soft luxurious EAST,
Where Man, his soul degraded, from the Beast
In nothing diff'rent but in shape we view,
They walk on four legs, and he walks on two,
Attracts our eye, and flowing from that source,
Sins of the blackest character, Sins worse
Than all her plagues, which truly to unfold
Would make the best blood in my veins run cold,
And strike all Manhood dead, which but to name
Would call up in my cheeks the marks of shame,
Sins, if such Sins can be, which shut out grace,
Which for the guilty leave no hope, no place
E'en in God's mercy, Sins 'gainst Nature's plan
Possess the land at large, and Man for Man
Burn in those fires, which Hell alone could raise
To make him more than damn'd, which, in the days
Of punishment, when guilt becomes her prey,
With all her tortures she can scarce repay.
Be Grace shut out, be Mercy deaf, let God
With tenfold terrors arms that dreadful nod
Which speaks them lost, and sentenc'd to despair;
Distending wide her jaws, let Hell prepare
For Those who thus offend amongst Mankind,
A fire more fierce, and tortures more refin'd;
On Earth, which groans beneath their monstrous weight,
On Earth, alas! They meet a diff'rent fate,
And whilst the laws, false grace, false mercy shewn,
Are taught to wear a softness not their own,
Men, whom the Beasts would spurn, should they appear
Amongst the honest herd, find refuge here.
287
No longer by vain fear, or shame controul'd
From long, too long security grown bold,
Mocking rebuke, they brave it in our streets,
And LUMLEY e'en at noon his mistress meets.
So public in their crimes, so daring grown,
They almost take a pride to have them known,
And each unnat'ral Villain scarce endures
To make a secret of his vile amours.
Go where We will, at ev'ry time and place,
SODOM confronts, and stares us in the face;
They ply in public at our very doors,
And take the bread from much more honest Whores.
Those who are mean high Paramours secure,
And the rich guilty screen the guilty poor;
The Sin too proud to feel from Reason awe,
And Those, who practise it, too great for Law.
Woman, the pride and happiness of Man,
Without whose soft endearments Nature's plan
Had been a blank, and Life not worth a thought;
Woman, by all the Loves and Graces taught,
With softest arts, and sure, tho' hidden skill,
To humanize, and mould us to her will;
Woman, with more than common grace form'd here,
With the persuasive language of a tear
To melt the rugged temper of our Isle,
Or win us to her purpose with a smile;
Woman, by fate the quickest spur decreed,
The fairest, best reward of ev'ry deed
Which bears the stamp of hoinour, at whose name
Our antient Heroes caught a quicker flame,
And dar'd beyond belief, whilst o'er the plain,
Spurning the carcases of Princes slain,
Confusion proudly strode, whilst Horror blew
The fatal trump, and Death stalk'd full in view;
Woman is out of date, a thing thrown by
As having lost its use; No more the Eye
With female beauty caught, in wild amaze,
Gazes entranc'd, and could for ever gaze;
No more the Heart, that seat where Love resides,
Each breath drawn quick and short, in fuller tides
Life posting thro' the veins, each pulse on fire,
288
And the whole body tingling with desire,
Pants for those charms, which Virtue might engage
To break his vow, and thaw the frost of age,
Bidding each trembling nerve, each muscle strain,
And giving pleasure which is almost pain.
Women are kept for nothing but the breed;
For pleasure we must have a GANYMEDE,
A fine, fresh HYLAS, a delicious boy,
To serve our purposes of beastly joy.
Fairest of Nymphs, where ev're Nymph is fair,
Whom Nature form'd with more than common care,
With more than common care whom Art improv'd,
And both declar'd most worthy to be lov'd,
—— neglected wanders, whilst a croud
Pursue, and consecrate the steps ——
She, hapless maid, born in a wretched hour,
Wastes life's gay prime in vain, like some fair flow'r,
Sweet in its scent, and lively in its hue,
Which withers on the stalk from whence it grew,
And dies uncropp'd, whilst He, admir'd, caress'd,
Belov'd, and ev'ry where a welcome guest,
With Brutes of rank and fortune plays the Whore,
For this unnat'ral lust a Common Sew'r.
Dine with APICIUS — at his sumptuous board
Find all, the world of dainties can afford —
And yet (so much distemper'd Spirits pall
The sickly appetite) amidst them all
APICIUS finds no joy, but, whilst he carves
For ev'ry guest, the Landlord sits and starves.
....
Whence flows this Sorrow then? behind his chair
Dids't Thou not see, deck'd with a Solitaire
Which on his bare breast glitt'ring play'd and grac'd
With nicest ornaments, a Stripling plac'd,
A Smooth, Smug, Stripling, in life's fairest prime?
Did'st Thou not mind too, how from time to time,
The monstrous Letcher, tempted to despise
All other dainties, thither turn'd his eyes?
How he seem'd inly to reproach us all,
Who strove his fix'd attention to recall,
289
And how he wish'd, e'en at the Time of grace,
Like JANUS, to have had a double face?
His cause of grief behold in that fair Boy;
APICIUS dotes, and CORYDON is coy.
Vain and unthinking Stripling! When the glass
Meets thy too curious eye, and, as You pass,
Flatt'ring, presents in smiles thy image there,
Why dost Thou bless the Gods, who made Thee fair?
Blame their lage bounties, and with reason blame;
Curse, curse thy beauty, for it leads to shame.
When thy hot Lord, to work Thee to his end,
Bids show'rs of gold into thy breast descend,
Suspect his gifts, nor the vile giver trust;
They're baits for Virtue, and smell strong of lust.
On those gay, gaudy trappings, which adorn
The temple of thy body, look with scorn,
View them with horror, they pollution mean
And deepest ruin; Thou hast often seen,
From 'mongst the herd, the fairest and the best
Carefully singled out, and richly drest,
With grandeur mock'd, for scarifice decreed,
Only in greater pomp at last to bleed.
Be warn'd in time, the threat'ned danger shun,
To stay a moment is to be undone.
What tho', temptation proof, thy Virtue shine,
Nor bribes can move, nor arts can undermine,
All other methods failing, one resource
Is still behind, and Thou must yield to force.
Paint to thyself the horrors of a rape,
Most strongly paint, and, while Thou can'st escape,
Mind not his promises — They're made in sport —
Made to be broke — Was He not bred at Court?
Trust not to Honour, He's a Man of birth;
Attend not to his oaths — They're made on earth,
Not register'd in Heav'n — He mocks at grace,
And in his Creed God never found a place —
Look not for Conscience — for He knows her not,
So long a Stranger, she is quite forgot —
Nor think thyself in Law secure and firm —
Thy Master is a Lord, and Thou a worm,
A poor mean Reptile, never meant to think,
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Who, being well supplied with meat and drink,
And suffer'd just to crawl from place to place,
Must serve his lusts, and think he does Thee grace.
Fly then, whilst yet 'tis in thy pow'r to fly,
But whither can'st Thou go? on whom rely
For wish'd protection? Virtue's sure to meet
An armed host of foes, in ev'ry street.
What boots it, of APICIUS fearful grown,
Headlong to fly into the arms of STONE,
Or why take refuge in the house of pray'd,
If sure to meet with an APICIUS there?
Trust not Old Age, which will thy faith betray;
Saint SOCRATES is still a Goat, tho' grey;
Trust not greet Youth; FLORIO will scarce go down,
And, at eighteen, hath surfeited the Town;
Trust not to Rakes — alas! 'tis all pretence —
They take up raking only as a sence
'Gainst Common Fame — place H—— in thy view;
He keeps one Whore as BARROWBY kept two;
Trust not to Marriage — T—— took a Wife,
Who caste as Dian might have pass'd her life,
Had she not, far more prudent in her aim,
(To propagate the honours of his name,
And save expiring titles) taken care
Without his knowledge to provide an heir;
Trust not to Marriage, in Mankind unread;
S[ackville]'s a married man, and S[troud's] new wed.
Would'st Thou be safe? Society forswear,
Fly to the desart, and seek shelter there,
Herd with the Brutes — they follow Nature's plan —
There's not one Brute so dangerous as Man
In Afric's wilds — 'mongst them that refuge find,
Which Lust denies thee here among Mankind;
Renounce thy name, thy nature, and no more
Pique thy vain Pride on Manhood, on all four
Walk, as Yous ee thouse honest creatures do,
And quite forget that once You walk'd on Two.
But, if the thoughts of Solitude alarm,
And social life hath one remaining charm,
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If still Thou art to Jeopardy decreed
Amongst the monsters of AUGUSTA's breed,
Lay by thy sex, thy safety to procure;
Put off the Man, from Men to live secure;
Go forth a Woman to the public view,
And with their garb assume their manners too.
Had the light-footed GREEK of Chiron's school
Been wise enough to keep this single rule,
The Maudlin Hero, like a puling boy
Robb'd of his play-thing, on the plains of Troy
Had never blubber'd at Patroclus' tomb,
And plac'd his Minion in his Mistress' room.
Be not in this than Catamites more nice,
Do that for Virtue, which they do for Vice.
Thus shalt Thou pass untained life's gay bloom,
Thus stand uncourted in the drawing-room,
At midnight thus, untempted, walk the street,
And run no danger but of being beat.
Where is the Mother, whose officious zeal
Discreetly judging what her Daughters feel
By what she felt hefself in days of yore,
Against that Letcher Man makes fast the door,
Who not permits, e'en for the sake of pray'r,
A Priest, uncastrated, to enter there,
Nor (could her wishes, and her care prevail)
Would suffer in the house a fly that's male?
Let her discharge her cares, throw wide her doors,
Her daughters cannot, if They would, be Whores,
Nor can a man be found, as Times now go,
Who thinks it worth his while to make them so.
Tho' they more fresh, more lively than the Morn,
And brighter than the noon-day Sun, adorn
The works of Nature, tho' the Mother's grace
Revives improv'd, in ev'ry Daughter's face,
Undisciplin'd in dull Discretion's rules,
Untaught, and Undebauch'd by Boarding-Schools,
Free and ungaurded, let Them range the Town,
Go forth at random, and run pleasure down;
Start where she will, discard all taint of fear,
Nor think of danger, when no danger's near.
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Watch not their steps — They're safe without thy care,
Unless, like Jennets, they conceive by air,
And ev're one of them may die a Nun,
Unless they breed, like Carrion, in the Sun.
Men, dead to pleasure, as they're dead to grace,
Against the law of Nature set their face,
The grand primaeval law, and seem combin'd
To stop the propagation of Mankind;
Vile Pathicks read the Marriage Act with pride,
And fancy that the Law is on their side.
Broke down, and Strength a stranger to his bed,
Old L—— tho' yet alive, is dead;
T—— lives no more, or lives not to our Isle;
No longer blest with a Cz——'s smile
T—— is at P—— disgrac'd,
And M—— grown grey, perforce grows chaste;
Nor to the credit of our modest race,
Rises one Stallion to supply their place.
A Maidenhead, which, twenty years ago,
In mid December, the rank Flky would blow
Tho' closely kept, now, when the Dog-Star's heat
Enflames the marrow, in the very street
May lie untouch'd, left for the worms, by Those
Who daintily pass by, and hold their nose.
Poor, plain Concupiscence is in disgrace,
And simple Letch'ry dares not shew her face
Lest she be sent to Bridewell; Bankrupts made,
To save their fortunes, Bawds leave off that trade,
Which first had left off them; to Well-close Square
Fine, fresh, young Strumpets (for DODD preaches there)
Throng for subsistence; Pimps no longer thrive,
And Pensions only keep L—— alive.
Where is the Mother, who thinks all her pain,
And all her jeopardy of travail, gain,
When a Man Child is born, thinks ev'ry pray'r,
Paid to the full, and answer'd in an heir?
Short-sighted Woman! little doth she know
What streams of sorrow from that source may flow,
Little suspect, while she surveys her Boy,
Her young NARCISSUS, with an eye of joy
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Too full for Continence, that Fate could give
Her darling as a cruse, that she may lvie,
E're sixteen Winters they short course have run,
In agonies of soul, to curse that Son.
Pray then for Daughters, Ye wise Mothers, pray;
They shall reward your love, not make ye grey
Before your time with sorrow; they shall give
Ages of peace and comfort, whilst Ye live
Make life most truly worth your care, and save,
In spite of death, your mem'ries from the grave.
....
Is a son born into this world of woe?
In never-ceasing streams let sorrow flow,
Be from that hour the house with sables hung
Let lamentations dwell upon thy tongue,
E'en from the moment that he first began
To wail and wine, let him not see a man.
Lock, Lock him up, far from thepublic eye,
Give him no opportunity to buy,
Or to be bought; B——, tho' rich, was sold,
And gave his body up to shame for gold.
Let it be bruited all about the Town,
That He is coarse, indelicate and brown,
An Antidote to Lust, his Face deep scarr'd
With the Small-Pox, his body maim'd and marr'd,
Eat up with the King's-evil, and his blood,
Tainted throughout, a thick and putrid flood,
Where dwells Corruption, making him all o'er,
From head to foot, a rank and running sore.
Should'st Thou report him as by Nature made,
He is undone, and by thy praise betray'd;
Give him out fair, Letchers in number more,
More brutal and more fierce, than throng'd the door
Of LOT in SODOM, shall to thine repair,
And force a passage, tho' a God is there.
Let him not have one Servant that is male;
Where Lords are baffled, Servants oft prevail.
Some vices They propose, to all agree;
H—— was guilty, but was M—— free?
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Give him no Tutor — throw him to a punk,
Rather than trust his morals to a Monk —
Monks we all know — We, who have liv'd at home,
From fair report, and Travellers, who roam,
More feelingly — nor trust him to the gown,
'Tis oft a covering in this vile town
For base designs; Ourselves have liv'd to see
More than one Parson in the Pillory.
Should He have Brothers, (Image to thy view
A Scene, which, tho' not public made, is true)
Let jot one Brother be to t'other known,
Nor let his Father sit with him alone.
Be all his Servants, Female, Young, and Fair,
And if the Pride of Nature spur thy heir
To deeds of Venery, if, hot and wild,
He chance to get some score of maids with child,
Chide, but forgive him; Whoredom is a crime,
Which, more at this, than any other time,
Calls for indulgence, and, 'mongst such a race,
To have a bastard is some sign of grace.
Born in such time, should I sit tamely down,
Suppress my rage, and saunter thro' the town
As One who knew not, or who shar'd these crimes?
Should I at lesser evils point my rimes,
And let this Giant Sin, in the full eye
Of Observation, pass unwounded by?
Tho' our meek Wives, passive Obedience taught,
Patiently bear those wrongs, for which They ought,
With the brave Spirit of their dams possess'd,
To plant a dagger in each husband's breast,
To cut off male increase from this fair Isle,
And turn our Thames into another Nile;
Tho', on his Sunday, the smug PULPITEER,
Loud 'gainst all other crimes is silent here,
And thinks himself absolv'd, in the pretence
Of Decency, which meant for the defence
Of real Virtue, and to raise her price,
Becomes an Agent for the cause of Vice;
Tho' the Law sleeps, and thro' the care They take
To drug her well, may never more awake;
295
Born in such times, nor with that patience curst
Which Saints may boast of, I must speak, or burst.
But if, too eager in my bold career,
Haply I wound the nice, and chaster ear,
If, all unguarded, all too rude, I speak,
And call up blushes in the maiden's cheek,
Forgive, Ye Fair — my real motives view,
And to forgiveness add your praises too.
For You I write — nor wish a better plan,
The Cause of Woman is most worthy Man —
For You I still will write, nor hold my hand,
Whilst there's one slave of SODOM in the land.
Let them fly far, and skulk from place to place,
Not daring to meet Manhood face to face,
Their steps I'll track, nor yield them one retreat
Where They may hide their heads, or rest their feet,
'Till God in wrath shall let his vengeance fall,
And make a great example of them all,
Bidding in one grand pile this Town expire,
Her Tow'rs in dust, her Thames a lake of fire,
Or They (most worth our wish) convinc'd, tho' late,
Of their past crimes, and dangerous estate,
Pardon of Women with Repentance buy,
And learn to honour them, as much as I.
~ Charles Churchill,
258:The Princess (Part 2)
At break of day the College Portress came:
She brought us Academic silks, in hue
The lilac, with a silken hood to each,
And zoned with gold; and now when these were on,
And we as rich as moths from dusk cocoons,
She, curtseying her obeisance, let us know
The Princess Ida waited: out we paced,
I first, and following through the porch that sang
All round with laurel, issued in a court
Compact of lucid marbles, bossed with lengths
Of classic frieze, with ample awnings gay
Betwixt the pillars, and with great urns of flowers.
The Muses and the Graces, grouped in threes,
Enringed a billowing fountain in the midst;
And here and there on lattice edges lay
Or book or lute; but hastily we past,
And up a flight of stairs into the hall.
There at a board by tome and paper sat,
With two tame leopards couched beside her throne,
All beauty compassed in a female form,
The Princess; liker to the inhabitant
Of some clear planet close upon the Sun,
Than our man's earth; such eyes were in her head,
And so much grace and power, breathing down
From over her arched brows, with every turn
Lived through her to the tips of her long hands,
And to her feet. She rose her height, and said:
'We give you welcome: not without redound
Of use and glory to yourselves ye come,
The first-fruits of the stranger: aftertime,
And that full voice which circles round the grave,
Will rank you nobly, mingled up with me.
What! are the ladies of your land so tall?'
'We of the court' said Cyril. 'From the court'
She answered, 'then ye know the Prince?' and he:
'The climax of his age! as though there were
One rose in all the world, your Highness that,
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He worships your ideal:' she replied:
'We scarcely thought in our own hall to hear
This barren verbiage, current among men,
Light coin, the tinsel clink of compliment.
Your flight from out your bookless wilds would seem
As arguing love of knowledge and of power;
Your language proves you still the child. Indeed,
We dream not of him: when we set our hand
To this great work, we purposed with ourself
Never to wed. You likewise will do well,
Ladies, in entering here, to cast and fling
The tricks, which make us toys of men, that so,
Some future time, if so indeed you will,
You may with those self-styled our lords ally
Your fortunes, justlier balanced, scale with scale.'
At those high words, we conscious of ourselves,
Perused the matting: then an officer
Rose up, and read the statutes, such as these:
Not for three years to correspond with home;
Not for three years to cross the liberties;
Not for three years to speak with any men;
And many more, which hastily subscribed,
We entered on the boards: and 'Now,' she cried,
'Ye are green wood, see ye warp not. Look, our hall!
Our statues!--not of those that men desire,
Sleek Odalisques, or oracles of mode,
Nor stunted squaws of West or East; but she
That taught the Sabine how to rule, and she
The foundress of the Babylonian wall,
The Carian Artemisia strong in war,
The Rhodope, that built the pyramid,
Clelia, Cornelia, with the Palmyrene
That fought Aurelian, and the Roman brows
Of Agrippina. Dwell with these, and lose
Convention, since to look on noble forms
Makes noble through the sensuous organism
That which is higher. O lift your natures up:
Embrace our aims: work out your freedom. Girls,
Knowledge is now no more a fountain sealed:
Drink deep, until the habits of the slave,
The sins of emptiness, gossip and spite
727
And slander, die. Better not be at all
Than not be noble. Leave us: you may go:
Today the Lady Psyche will harangue
The fresh arrivals of the week before;
For they press in from all the provinces,
And fill the hive.'
She spoke, and bowing waved
Dismissal: back again we crost the court
To Lady Psyche's: as we entered in,
There sat along the forms, like morning doves
That sun their milky bosoms on the thatch,
A patient range of pupils; she herself
Erect behind a desk of satin-wood,
A quick brunette, well-moulded, falcon-eyed,
And on the hither side, or so she looked,
Of twenty summers. At her left, a child,
In shining draperies, headed like a star,
Her maiden babe, a double April old,
Aglaïa slept. We sat: the Lady glanced:
Then Florian, but not livelier than the dame
That whispered 'Asses' ears', among the sedge,
'My sister.' 'Comely, too, by all that's fair,'
Said Cyril. 'Oh hush, hush!' and she began.
'This world was once a fluid haze of light,
Till toward the centre set the starry tides,
And eddied into suns, that wheeling cast
The planets: then the monster, then the man;
Tattooed or woaded, winter-clad in skins,
Raw from the prime, and crushing down his mate;
As yet we find in barbarous isles, and here
Among the lowest.'
Thereupon she took
A bird's-eye-view of all the ungracious past;
Glanced at the legendary Amazon
As emblematic of a nobler age;
Appraised the Lycian custom, spoke of those
That lay at wine with Lar and Lucumo;
Ran down the Persian, Grecian, Roman lines
Of empire, and the woman's state in each,
How far from just; till warming with her theme
She fulmined out her scorn of laws Salique
728
And little-footed China, touched on Mahomet
With much contempt, and came to chivalry:
When some respect, however slight, was paid
To woman, superstition all awry:
However then commenced the dawn: a beam
Had slanted forward, falling in a land
Of promise; fruit would follow. Deep, indeed,
Their debt of thanks to her who first had dared
To leap the rotten pales of prejudice,
Disyoke their necks from custom, and assert
None lordlier than themselves but that which made
Woman and man. She had founded; they must build.
Here might they learn whatever men were taught:
Let them not fear: some said their heads were less:
Some men's were small; not they the least of men;
For often fineness compensated size:
Besides the brain was like the hand, and grew
With using; thence the man's, if more was more;
He took advantage of his strength to be
First in the field: some ages had been lost;
But woman ripened earlier, and her life
Was longer; and albeit their glorious names
Were fewer, scattered stars, yet since in truth
The highest is the measure of the man,
And not the Kaffir, Hottentot, Malay,
Nor those horn-handed breakers of the glebe,
But Homer, Plato, Verulam; even so
With woman: and in arts of government
Elizabeth and others; arts of war
The peasant Joan and others; arts of grace
Sappho and others vied with any man:
And, last not least, she who had left her place,
And bowed her state to them, that they might grow
To use and power on this Oasis, lapt
In the arms of leisure, sacred from the blight
Of ancient influence and scorn.
At last
She rose upon a wind of prophecy
Dilating on the future; 'everywhere
Who heads in council, two beside the hearth,
Two in the tangled business of the world,
Two in the liberal offices of life,
729
Two plummets dropt for one to sound the abyss
Of science, and the secrets of the mind:
Musician, painter, sculptor, critic, more:
And everywhere the broad and bounteous Earth
Should bear a double growth of those rare souls,
Poets, whose thoughts enrich the blood of the world.'
She ended here, and beckoned us: the rest
Parted; and, glowing full-faced welcome, she
Began to address us, and was moving on
In gratulation, till as when a boat
Tacks, and the slackened sail flaps, all her voice
Faltering and fluttering in her throat, she cried
'My brother!' 'Well, my sister.' 'O,' she said,
'What do you here? and in this dress? and these?
Why who are these? a wolf within the fold!
A pack of wolves! the Lord be gracious to me!
A plot, a plot, a plot to ruin all!'
'No plot, no plot,' he answered. 'Wretched boy,
How saw you not the inscription on the gate,
LET NO MAN ENTER IN ON PAIN OF DEATH?'
'And if I had,' he answered, 'who could think
The softer Adams of your Academe,
O sister, Sirens though they be, were such
As chanted on the blanching bones of men?'
'But you will find it otherwise' she said.
'You jest: ill jesting with edge-tools! my vow
Binds me to speak, and O that iron will,
That axelike edge unturnable, our Head,
The Princess.' 'Well then, Psyche, take my life,
And nail me like a weasel on a grange
For warning: bury me beside the gate,
And cut this epitaph above my bones;
~Here lies a brother by a sister slain,
All for the common good of womankind.~'
'Let me die too,' said Cyril, 'having seen
And heard the Lady Psyche.'
I struck in:
'Albeit so masked, Madam, I love the truth;
Receive it; and in me behold the Prince
Your countryman, affianced years ago
To the Lady Ida: here, for here she was,
730
And thus (what other way was left) I came.'
'O Sir, O Prince, I have no country; none;
If any, this; but none. Whate'er I was
Disrooted, what I am is grafted here.
Affianced, Sir? love-whispers may not breathe
Within this vestal limit, and how should I,
Who am not mine, say, live: the thunderbolt
Hangs silent; but prepare: I speak; it falls.'
'Yet pause,' I said: 'for that inscription there,
I think no more of deadly lurks therein,
Than in a clapper clapping in a garth,
To scare the fowl from fruit: if more there be,
If more and acted on, what follows? war;
Your own work marred: for this your Academe,
Whichever side be Victor, in the halloo
Will topple to the trumpet down, and pass
With all fair theories only made to gild
A stormless summer.' 'Let the Princess judge
Of that' she said: 'farewell, Sir--and to you.
I shudder at the sequel, but I go.'
'Are you that Lady Psyche,' I rejoined,
'The fifth in line from that old Florian,
Yet hangs his portrait in my father's hall
(The gaunt old Baron with his beetle brow
Sun-shaded in the heat of dusty fights)
As he bestrode my Grandsire, when he fell,
And all else fled? we point to it, and we say,
The loyal warmth of Florian is not cold,
But branches current yet in kindred veins.'
'Are you that Psyche,' Florian added; 'she
With whom I sang about the morning hills,
Flung ball, flew kite, and raced the purple fly,
And snared the squirrel of the glen? are you
That Psyche, wont to bind my throbbing brow,
To smoothe my pillow, mix the foaming draught
Of fever, tell me pleasant tales, and read
My sickness down to happy dreams? are you
That brother-sister Psyche, both in one?
You were that Psyche, but what are you now?'
'You are that Psyche,' said Cyril, 'for whom
I would be that for ever which I seem,
731
Woman, if I might sit beside your feet,
And glean your scattered sapience.'
Then once more,
'Are you that Lady Psyche,' I began,
'That on her bridal morn before she past
From all her old companions, when the kind
Kissed her pale cheek, declared that ancient ties
Would still be dear beyond the southern hills;
That were there any of our people there
In want or peril, there was one to hear
And help them? look! for such are these and I.'
'Are you that Psyche,' Florian asked, 'to whom,
In gentler days, your arrow-wounded fawn
Came flying while you sat beside the well?
The creature laid his muzzle on your lap,
And sobbed, and you sobbed with it, and the blood
Was sprinkled on your kirtle, and you wept.
That was fawn's blood, not brother's, yet you wept.
O by the bright head of my little niece,
You were that Psyche, and what are you now?'
'You are that Psyche,' Cyril said again,
'The mother of the sweetest little maid,
That ever crowed for kisses.'
'Out upon it!'
She answered, 'peace! and why should I not play
The Spartan Mother with emotion, be
The Lucius Junius Brutus of my kind?
Him you call great: he for the common weal,
The fading politics of mortal Rome,
As I might slay this child, if good need were,
Slew both his sons: and I, shall I, on whom
The secular emancipation turns
Of half this world, be swerved from right to save
A prince, a brother? a little will I yield.
Best so, perchance, for us, and well for you.
O hard, when love and duty clash! I fear
My conscience will not count me fleckless; yet-Hear my conditions: promise (otherwise
You perish) as you came, to slip away
Today, tomorrow, soon: it shall be said,
These women were too barbarous, would not learn;
They fled, who might have shamed us: promise, all.'
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What could we else, we promised each; and she,
Like some wild creature newly-caged, commenced
A to-and-fro, so pacing till she paused
By Florian; holding out her lily arms
Took both his hands, and smiling faintly said:
'I knew you at the first: though you have grown
You scarce have altered: I am sad and glad
To see you, Florian. ~I~ give thee to death
My brother! it was duty spoke, not I.
My needful seeming harshness, pardon it.
Our mother, is she well?'
With that she kissed
His forehead, then, a moment after, clung
About him, and betwixt them blossomed up
From out a common vein of memory
Sweet household talk, and phrases of the hearth,
And far allusion, till the gracious dews
Began to glisten and to fall: and while
They stood, so rapt, we gazing, came a voice,
'I brought a message here from Lady Blanche.'
Back started she, and turning round we saw
The Lady Blanche's daughter where she stood,
Melissa, with her hand upon the lock,
A rosy blonde, and in a college gown,
That clad her like an April daffodilly
(Her mother's colour) with her lips apart,
And all her thoughts as fair within her eyes,
As bottom agates seen to wave and float
In crystal currents of clear morning seas.
So stood that same fair creature at the door.
Then Lady Psyche, 'Ah--Melissa--you!
You heard us?' and Melissa, 'O pardon me
I heard, I could not help it, did not wish:
But, dearest Lady, pray you fear me not,
Nor think I bear that heart within my breast,
To give three gallant gentlemen to death.'
'I trust you,' said the other, 'for we two
Were always friends, none closer, elm and vine:
But yet your mother's jealous temperament-Let not your prudence, dearest, drowse, or prove
733
The Danaïd of a leaky vase, for fear
This whole foundation ruin, and I lose
My honour, these their lives.' 'Ah, fear me not'
Replied Melissa; 'no--I would not tell,
No, not for all Aspasia's cleverness,
No, not to answer, Madam, all those hard things
That Sheba came to ask of Solomon.'
'Be it so' the other, 'that we still may lead
The new light up, and culminate in peace,
For Solomon may come to Sheba yet.'
Said Cyril, 'Madam, he the wisest man
Feasted the woman wisest then, in halls
Of Lebanonian cedar: nor should you
(Though, Madam, ~you~ should answer, ~we~ would ask)
Less welcome find among us, if you came
Among us, debtors for our lives to you,
Myself for something more.' He said not what,
But 'Thanks,' she answered 'Go: we have been too long
Together: keep your hoods about the face;
They do so that affect abstraction here.
Speak little; mix not with the rest; and hold
Your promise: all, I trust, may yet be well.'
We turned to go, but Cyril took the child,
And held her round the knees against his waist,
And blew the swollen cheek of a trumpeter,
While Psyche watched them, smiling, and the child
Pushed her flat hand against his face and laughed;
And thus our conference closed.
And then we strolled
For half the day through stately theatres
Benched crescent-wise. In each we sat, we heard
The grave Professor. On the lecture slate
The circle rounded under female hands
With flawless demonstration: followed then
A classic lecture, rich in sentiment,
With scraps of thunderous Epic lilted out
By violet-hooded Doctors, elegies
And quoted odes, and jewels five-words-long
That on the stretched forefinger of all Time
Sparkle for ever: then we dipt in all
That treats of whatsoever is, the state,
734
The total chronicles of man, the mind,
The morals, something of the frame, the rock,
The star, the bird, the fish, the shell, the flower,
Electric, chemic laws, and all the rest,
And whatsoever can be taught and known;
Till like three horses that have broken fence,
And glutted all night long breast-deep in corn,
We issued gorged with knowledge, and I spoke:
'Why, Sirs, they do all this as well as we.'
'They hunt old trails' said Cyril 'very well;
But when did woman ever yet invent?'
'Ungracious!' answered Florian; 'have you learnt
No more from Psyche's lecture, you that talked
The trash that made me sick, and almost sad?'
'O trash' he said, 'but with a kernel in it.
Should I not call her wise, who made me wise?
And learnt? I learnt more from her in a flash,
Than in my brainpan were an empty hull,
And every Muse tumbled a science in.
A thousand hearts lie fallow in these halls,
And round these halls a thousand baby loves
Fly twanging headless arrows at the hearts,
Whence follows many a vacant pang; but O
With me, Sir, entered in the bigger boy,
The Head of all the golden-shafted firm,
The long-limbed lad that had a Psyche too;
He cleft me through the stomacher; and now
What think you of it, Florian? do I chase
The substance or the shadow? will it hold?
I have no sorcerer's malison on me,
No ghostly hauntings like his Highness. I
Flatter myself that always everywhere
I know the substance when I see it. Well,
Are castles shadows? Three of them? Is she
The sweet proprietress a shadow? If not,
Shall those three castles patch my tattered coat?
For dear are those three castles to my wants,
And dear is sister Psyche to my heart,
And two dear things are one of double worth,
And much I might have said, but that my zone
Unmanned me: then the Doctors! O to hear
The Doctors! O to watch the thirsty plants
735
Imbibing! once or twice I thought to roar,
To break my chain, to shake my mane: but thou,
Modulate me, Soul of mincing mimicry!
Make liquid treble of that bassoon, my throat;
Abase those eyes that ever loved to meet
Star-sisters answering under crescent brows;
Abate the stride, which speaks of man, and loose
A flying charm of blushes o'er this cheek,
Where they like swallows coming out of time
Will wonder why they came: but hark the bell
For dinner, let us go!'
And in we streamed
Among the columns, pacing staid and still
By twos and threes, till all from end to end
With beauties every shade of brown and fair
In colours gayer than the morning mist,
The long hall glittered like a bed of flowers.
How might a man not wander from his wits
Pierced through with eyes, but that I kept mine own
Intent on her, who rapt in glorious dreams,
The second-sight of some Astræan age,
Sat compassed with professors: they, the while,
Discussed a doubt and tost it to and fro:
A clamour thickened, mixt with inmost terms
Of art and science: Lady Blanche alone
Of faded form and haughtiest lineaments,
With all her autumn tresses falsely brown,
Shot sidelong daggers at us, a tiger-cat
In act to spring.
At last a solemn grace
Concluded, and we sought the gardens: there
One walked reciting by herself, and one
In this hand held a volume as to read,
And smoothed a petted peacock down with that:
Some to a low song oared a shallop by,
Or under arches of the marble bridge
Hung, shadowed from the heat: some hid and sought
In the orange thickets: others tost a ball
Above the fountain-jets, and back again
With laughter: others lay about the lawns,
Of the older sort, and murmured that their May
Was passing: what was learning unto them?
736
They wished to marry; they could rule a house;
Men hated learned women: but we three
Sat muffled like the Fates; and often came
Melissa hitting all we saw with shafts
Of gentle satire, kin to charity,
That harmed not: then day droopt; the chapel bells
Called us: we left the walks; we mixt with those
Six hundred maidens clad in purest white,
Before two streams of light from wall to wall,
While the great organ almost burst his pipes,
Groaning for power, and rolling through the court
A long melodious thunder to the sound
Of solemn psalms, and silver litanies,
The work of Ida, to call down from Heaven
A blessing on her labours for the world.
Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.
Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother's breast,
Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west
Under the silver moon:
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
259:                        

    What is more gentle than a wind in summer?
    What is more soothing than the pretty hummer
    That stays one moment in an open flower,
    And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?
    What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing
    In a green island, far from all men's knowing?
    More healthful than the leafiness of dales?
    More secret than a nest of nightingales?
    More serene than Cordelia's countenance?
    More full of visions than a high romance?
    What, but thee Sleep? Soft closer of our eyes!
    Low murmurer of tender lullabies!
    Light hoverer around our happy pillows!
    Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows!
    Silent entangler of a beauty's tresses!
    Most happy listener! when the morning blesses
    Thee for enlivening all the cheerful eyes
    That glance so brightly at the new sun-rise.

    But what is higher beyond thought than thee?
    Fresher than berries of a mountain tree?
    More strange, more beautiful, more smooth, more regal,
    Than wings of swans, than doves, than dim-seen eagle?
    What is it? And to what shall I compare it?
    It has a glory, and naught else can share it:
    The thought thereof is awful, sweet, and holy,
    Chasing away all worldliness and folly;
    Coming sometimes like fearful claps of thunder,
    Or the low rumblings earth's regions under;
    And sometimes like a gentle whispering
    Of all the secrets of some wond'rous thing
    That breathes about us in the vacant air;
    So that we look around with prying stare,
    Perhaps to see shapes of light, aerial limning,
    And catch soft floatings from a faint-heard hymning;
    To see the laurel wreath, on high suspended,
    That is to crown our name when life is ended.
    Sometimes it gives a glory to the voice,
    And from the heart up-springs, rejoice! rejoice!
    Sounds which will reach the Framer of all things,
    And die away in ardent mutterings.

    No one who once the glorious sun has seen,
    And all the clouds, and felt his bosom clean
    For his great Maker's presence, but must know
    What 'tis I mean, and feel his being glow:
    Therefore no insult will I give his spirit,
    By telling what he sees from native merit.

    O Poesy! for thee I hold my pen
    That am not yet a glorious denizen
    Of thy wide heaven- Should I rather kneel
    Upon some mountain-top until I feel
    A glowing splendour round about me hung,
    And echo back the voice of thine own tongue?
    O Poesy! for thee I grasp my pen
    That am not yet a glorious denizen
    Of thy wide heaven; yet, to my ardent prayer,
    Yield from thy sanctuary some clear air,
    Smooth'd for intoxication by the breath
    Of flowering bays, that I may die a death
    Of luxury, and my young spirit follow
    The morning sun-beams to the great Apollo
    Like a fresh sacrifice; or, if I can bear
    The o'erwhelming sweets, 'twill bring to me the fair
    Visions of all places: a bowery nook
    Will be elysium- an eternal book
    Whence I may copy many a lovely saying
    About the leaves, and flowers- about the playing
    Of nymphs in woods, and fountains; and the shade
    Keeping a silence round a sleeping maid;
    And many a verse from so strange influence
    That we must ever wonder how, and whence
    It came. Also imaginings will hover
    Round my fire-side, and haply there discover
    Vistas of solemn beauty, where I'd wander
    In happy silence, like the clear Meander
    Through its lone vales; and where I found a spot
    Of awfuller shade, or an enchanted grot,
    Or a green hill o'erspread with chequer'd dress
    Of flowers, and fearful from its loveliness,
    Write on my tablets all that was permitted,
    All that was for our human senses fitted.
    Then the events of this wide world I'd seize
    Like a strong giant, and my spirit teaze
    Till at its shoulders it should proudly see
    Wings to find out an immortality.

    Stop and consider! life is but a day;
    A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way
    From a tree's summit; a poor Indian's sleep
    While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep
    Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan?
    Life is the rose's hope while yet unblown;
    The reading of an ever-changing tale;
    The light uplifting of a maiden's veil;
    A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air;
    A laughing school-boy, without grief or care,
    Riding the springy branches of an elm.

    O for ten years, that I may overwhelm
    Myself in poesy; so I may do the deed
    That my own soul has to itself decreed.
    Then will I pass the countries that I see
    In long perspective, and continually
    Taste their pure fountains. First the realm I'll pass
    Of Flora, and old Pan: sleep in the grass,
    Feed upon apples red, and strawberries,
    And choose each pleasure that my fancy sees;
    Catch the white-handed nymphs in shady places,
    To woo sweet kisses from averted faces,-
    Play with their fingers, touch their shoulders white
    Into a pretty shrinking with a bite
    As hard as lips can make it: till agreed,
    A lovely tale of human life we'll read.
    And one will teach a tame dove how it best
    May fan the cool air gently o'er my rest;
    Another, bending o'er her nimble tread,
    Will set a green robe floating round her head,
    And still will dance with ever varied ease,
    Smiling upon the flowers and the trees:
    Another will entice me on, and on
    Through almond blossoms and rich cinnamon;
    Till in the bosom of a leafy world
    We rest in silence, like two gems upcurl'd
    In the recesses of a pearly shell.

    And can I ever bid these joys farewell?
    Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life,
    Where I may find the agonies, the strife
    Of human hearts: for lo! I see afar,
    O'ersailing the blue cragginess, a car
    And steeds with streamy manes- the charioteer
    Looks out upon the winds with glorious fear:
    And now the numerous tramplings quiver lightly
    Along a huge cloud's ridge; and now with sprightly
    Wheel downward come they into fresher skies,
    Tipt round with silver from the sun's bright eyes.
    Still downward with capacious whirl they glide;
    And now I see them on the green-hill's side
    In breezy rest among the nodding stalks.
    The charioteer with wond'rous gesture talks
    To the trees and mountains; and there soon appear
    Shapes of delight, of mystery, and fear,
    Passing along before a dusky space
    Made by some mighty oaks: as they would chase
    Some ever- fleeting music on they sweep.
    Lo! how they murmur, laugh, and smile, and weep:
    Some with upholden hand and mouth severe;
    Some with their faces muffled to the ear
    Between their arms; some, clear in youthful bloom,
    Go glad and smilingly athwart the gloom;
    Some looking back, and some with upward gaze;
    Yes, thousands in a thousand different ways
    Flit onward- now a lovely wreath of girls
    Dancing their sleek hair into tangled curls;
    And now broad wings. Most awfully intent
    The driver of those steeds is forward bent,
    And seems to listen: O that I might know
    All that he writes with such a hurrying glow.

    The visions all are fled- the car is fled
    Into the light of heaven, and in their stead
    A sense of real things comes doubly strong,
    And, like a muddy stream, would bear along
    My soul to nothingness: but I will strive
    Against all doubtings, and will keep alive
    The thought of that same chariot, and the strange
    Journey it went.
               Is there so small a range
    In the present strength of manhood, that the high
    Imagination cannot freely fly
    As she was wont of old? prepare her steeds,
    Paw up against the light, and do strange deeds
    Upon the clouds? Has she not shown us all?
    From the clear space of ether, to the small
    Breath of new buds unfolding? From the meaning
    Of Jove's large eye-brow, to the tender greening
    Of April meadows? Here her altar shone,
    E'en in this isle; and who could paragon
    The fervid choir that lifted up a noise
    Of harmony, to where it aye will poise
    Its mighty self of convoluting sound,
    Huge as a planet, and like that roll round,
    Eternally around a dizzy void?
    Ay, in those days the Muses were nigh cloy'd
    With honors; nor had any other care
    Than to sing out and sooth their wavy hair.

    Could all this be forgotten? Yes, a schism
    Nurtured by foppery and barbarism,
    Made great Apollo blush for this his land.
    Men were thought wise who could not understand
    His glories: with a puling infant's force
    They sway'd about upon a rocking horse,
    And thought it Pegasus. Ah dismal soul'd!
    The winds of heaven blew, the ocean roll'd
    Its gathering waves- ye felt it not. The blue
    Bared its eternal bosom, and the dew
    Of summer nights collected still to make
    The morning precious: beauty was awake!
    Why were ye not awake? But ye were dead
    To things ye knew not of,- were closely wed
    To musty laws lined out with wretched rule
    And compass vile: so that ye taught a school
    Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit,
    Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit,
    Their verses tallied. Easy was the task:
    A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask
    Of Poesy. Ill-fated, impious race!
    That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face,
    And did not know it,- no, they went about,
    Holding a poor, decrepid standard out
    Mark'd with most flimsy mottos, and in large
    The name of one Boileau!

                   O ye whose charge
    It is to hover round our pleasant hills!
    Whose congregated majesty so fills
    My boundly reverence, that I cannot trace
    Your hallowed names, in this unholy place,
    So near those common folk; did not their shames
    Affright you? Did our old lamenting Thames
    Delight you? Did ye never cluster round
    Delicious Avon, with a mournful sound,
    And weep? Or did ye wholly bid adieu
    To regions where no more the laurel grew?
    Or did ye stay to give a welcoming
    To some lone spirits who could proudly sing
    Their youth away, and die? 'Twas even so:
    But let me think away those times of woe:
    Now 'tis a fairer season; ye have breathed
    Rich benedictions o'er us; ye have wreathed
    Fresh garlands: for sweet music has been heard
    In many places;- some has been upstirr'd
    From out its crystal dwelling in a lake,
    By a swan's ebon bill; from a thick brake,
    Nested and quiet in a valley mild,
    Bubbles a pipe; fine sounds are floating wild
    About the earth: happy are ye and glad.

    These things are doubtless: yet in truth we've had
    Strange thunders from the potency of song;
    Mingled indeed with what is sweet and strong,
    From majesty: but in clear truth the themes
    Are ugly clubs, the Poets' Polyphemes
    Disturbing the grand sea. A drainless shower
    Of light is poesy; 'tis the supreme of power;
    'Tis might half slumb'ring on its own right arm.
    The very archings of her eye-lids charm
    A thousand willing agents to obey,
    And still she governs with the mildest sway:
    But strength alone though of the Muses born
    Is like a fallen angel: trees uptorn,
    Darkness, and worms, and shrouds, and sepulchres
    Delight it; for it feeds upon the burrs,
    And thorns of life; forgetting the great end
    Of poesy, that it should be a friend
    To sooth the cares, and lift the thoughts of man.

     Yet I rejoice: a myrtle fairer than
    E'er grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds
    Lifts its sweet head into the air, and feeds
    A silent space with ever sprouting green.
    All tenderest birds there find a pleasant screen,
    Creep through the shade with jaunty fluttering,
    Nibble the little cupped flowers and sing.
    Then let us clear away the choking thorns
    From round its gentle stem; let the young fawns,
    Yeaned in after times, when we are flown,
    Find a fresh sward beneath it, overgrown
    With simple flowers: let there nothing be
    More boisterous than a lover's bended knee;
    Nought more ungentle than the placid look
    Of one who leans upon a closed book;
    Nought more untranquil than the grassy slopes
    Between two hills. All hail delightful hopes!
    As she was wont, th' imagination
    Into most lovely labyrinths will be gone,
    And they shall be accounted poet kings
    Who simply tell the most heart-easing things.
    O may these joys be ripe before I die.

    Will not some say that I presumptuously
    Have spoken? that from hastening disgrace
    'Twere better far to hide my foolish face?
    That whining boyhood should with reverence bow
    Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach? How!
    If I do hide myself, it sure shall be
    In the very fane, the light of Poesy:
    If I do fall, at least I will be laid
    Beneath the silence of a poplar shade;
    And over me the grass shall be smooth shaven;
    And there shall be a kind memorial graven.
    But off Despondence! miserable bane!
    They should not know thee, who athirst to gain
    A noble end, are thirsty every hour.
    What though I am not wealthy in the dower
    Of spanning wisdom; though I do not know
    The shiftings of the mighty winds that blow
    Hither and thither all the changing thoughts
    Of man: though no great minist'ring reason sorts
    Out the dark mysteries of human souls
    To clear conceiving: yet there ever rolls
    A vast idea before me, and I glean
    Therefrom my liberty; thence too I've seen
    The end and aim of Poesy. 'Tis clear
    As anything most true; as that the year
    Is made of the four seasons- manifest
    As a large cross, some old cathedral's crest,
    Lifted to the white clouds. Therefore should I
    Be but the essence of deformity,
    A coward, did my very eye-lids wink
    At speaking out what I have dared to think.
    Ah! rather let me like a madman run
    Over some precipice; let the hot sun
    Melt my Dedalian wings, and drive me down
    Convuls'd and headlong! Stay! an inward frown
    Of conscience bids me be more calm awhile.
    An ocean dim, sprinkled with many an isle,
    Spreads awfully before me. How much toil!
    How many days! what desperate turmoil!
    Ere I can have explored its widenesses.
    Ah, what a task! upon my bended knees,
    I could unsay those- no, impossible!
    Impossible!

           For sweet relief I'll dwell
    On humbler thoughts, and let this strange assay
    Begun in gentleness die so away.
    E'en now all tumult from my bosom fades:
    I turn full hearted to the friendly aids
    That smooth the path of honour; brotherhood,
    And friendliness the nurse of mutual good.
    The hearty grasp that sends a pleasant sonnet
    Into the brain ere one can think upon it;
    The silence when some rhymes are coming out;
    And when they're come, the very pleasant rout:
    The message certain to be done to-morrow.
    'Tis perhaps as well that it should be to borrow
    Some precious book from out its snug retreat,
    To cluster round it when we next shall meet.
    Scarce can I scribble on; for lovely airs
    Are fluttering round the room like doves in pairs;
    Many delights of that glad day recalling,
    When first my senses caught their tender falling.
    And with these airs come forms of elegance
    Stooping their shoulders o'er a horse's prance,
    Careless, and grand-fingers soft and round
    Parting luxuriant curls;- and the swift bound
    Of Bacchus from his chariot, when his eye
    Made Ariadne's cheek look blushingly.
    Thus I remember all the pleasant flow
    Of words at opening a portfolio.

    Things such as these are ever harbingers
    To trains of peaceful images: the stirs
    Of a swan's neck unseen among the rushes:
    A linnet starting all about the bushes:
    A butterfly, with golden wings broad parted,
    Nestling a rose, convuls'd as though it smarted
    With over pleasure- many, many more,
    Might I indulge at large in all my store
    Of luxuries: yet I must not forget
    Sleep, quiet with his poppy coronet:
    For what there may be worthy in these rhymes
    I partly owe to him: and thus, the chimes
    Of friendly voices had just given place
    To as sweet a silence, when I 'gan retrace
    The pleasant day, upon a couch at ease.
    It was a poet's house who keeps the keys
    Of pleasure's temple. Round about were hung
    The glorious features of the bards who sung
    In other ages- cold and sacred busts
    Smiled at each other. Happy he who trusts
    To clear Futurity his darling fame!
    Then there were fauns and satyrs taking aim
    At swelling apples with a frisky leap
    And reaching fingers, 'mid a luscious heap
    Of vine-leaves. Then there rose to view a fane
    Of liny marble, and thereto a train
    Of nymphs approaching fairly o'er the sward:
    One, loveliest, holding her white hand toward
    The dazzling sun-rise: two sisters sweet
    Bending their graceful figures till they meet
    Over the trippings of a little child:
    And some are hearing, eagerly, the wild
    Thrilling liquidity of dewy piping.
    See, in another picture, nymphs are wiping
    Cherishingly Diana's timorous limbs;-
    A fold of lawny mantle dabbling swims
    At the bath's edge, and keeps a gentle motion
    With the subsiding crystal: as when ocean
    Heaves calmly its broad swelling smoothness o'er
    Its rocky marge, and balances once more
    The patient weeds; that now unshent by foam
    Feel all about their undulating home.

    Sappho's meek head was there half smiling down
    At nothing; just as though the earnest frown
    Of over thinking had that moment gone
    From off her brow, and left her all alone.

    Great Alfred's too, with anxious, pitying eyes,
    As if he always listened to the sighs
    Of the goaded world; and Kosciusko's worn
    By horrid suffrance- mightily forlorn.
    Petrarch, outstepping from the shady green,
    Starts at the sight of Laura; nor can wean
    His eyes from her sweet face. Most happy they!
    For over them was seen a free display
    Of out-spread wings, and from between them shone
    The face of Poesy: from off her throne
    She overlook'd things that I scarce could tell.
    The very sense of where I was might well
    Keep Sleep aloof: but more than that there came
    Thought after thought to nourish up the flame
    Within my breast; so that the morning light
    Surprised me even from a sleepless night;
    And up I rose refresh'd, and glad, and gay,
    Resolving to begin that very day
    These lines; and howsoever they be done,
    I leave them as a father does his son.

            THE END
(lines 250-1): An idea, says Leigh Hunt... "of as lovely and powerful a nature in embodying an abstraction, as we ever remember to have seen put into words."

(line 354): Leigh Hunt's house: he says ... the poem "originated in sleeping in a room adorned with busts and pictures," -- "many a bust from Shout," as Shelley wrote to Mrs. Gisborne. In Hunt's Correspondence (Volume i, page 289) we read "Keats's Sleep and Poetry is a description of a parlour that was mine, no bigger than an old mansion's closet." Charles Cowden Clarke says (Gentleman's Magazine, February 1874) "It was in the library at Hunt's cottage, where an extemporary bed had been made up for him on the sofa." ~ Poetical Works of John Keats, ed. H. Buxton Forman, Crowell publ. 1895. by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes
~ Chaucer
,
260:The Bush
I wonder if the spell, the mystery,
That like a haze about your silence clings,
Moulding your void until we seem to see
Tangible Presences of Deathless Things,
Patterned but little to our spirits' woof,
Yet from our love or hate not all aloof,
Can. be the matrix where are forming slowly
Troy tales of Old Australia, to refine
Eras to come of ordered melancholy
'Neath lily-pale Perfection's anodyne.
For Troy hath ever been, and Homer sang
Its younger story for a lodging's fee,
While o'er Scamander settlers' axes rang
Amid the Bush where Ilium was to be.
For Cretan Art, dim centuries before,
Minoan Dream-times some Briseis bore.
Sumerian Phoebus by a willowed water
Song-built a Troy for far Chaldea, where
The sons of God, beholding Leda's daughter,
Bartered eternal thrones for love of her.
Across each terraced aeon Time hath sowed
With green tautology of vanished years,
Gaping aghast or webbed with shining lode,
Achilles' anger's earthquake-rift appears.
The towers that Phoebus builds can never fall:
Desire that Helen lights can never pall:
Yea, wounded Love hath still but gods to fly to,
When lust of war inflames Diomedes:
Must some Australian Hector vainly die, too?
Captives in ships? (0 change that omen, Trees!)
Yea, Mother Bush, in your deep dreams abide
Cupids alert for man and maid unborn,
Apprentice Pucks amid your saplings hide,
And wistful gorges wait a Roland horn:
Wallet of Sigurd shall this swag replace,
And centaurs curvet where those brumbies race.
39
That drover's tale of love shall greaten duly
Through magic prisms of a myriad years,
Till bums Isolde to Tristram's fervour newly,
Or Launcelot to golden Guinevere's.
The miner cradling washdirt by the creek,
Or pulled through darkness dripping to the plat:
The navvy boring tunnels through the peak:
The farmer grubbing box-trees on the flat:
The hawker camping by the roadside spring:
The hodman on the giddy scaffolding:
Moths that around the fashion windows flutter:
The racecourse spider and the betting fly:
The children romping by the city gutter,
While baby crows to every passer-byFrom these rough blocks strewn o'er our ancient stream
Sculptors shall chisel brownie, fairy, faun,
Any myrmidons of some Homeric dream
From Melbourne mob and Sydney push be drawn.
The humdrum lives that now we tire of, then
Romance shall be, and 'we heroic men
Treading the vestibule of Golden Ages,
The Isthmus of the Land of Heart's Desire:
For lo! the Sybil's final volume's pages
Ope with our Advent, close when we expire.
Forgetful Change in one 'antiquity'
Boreal gleams shall drown, and southern glows;
Out of some singing woman's heart-break plea
Australia's dawn shall flush with Sappho's rose:
Strong Shirlow's hand shall trace Mantegna's line,
And Soma foam from Victor Daley's wine:
Scholars to be our prehistoric drama
From Esson's 'Woman Tamer' shall restore,
Or find in Gilbert's 'Lotus Stream and Lama'
An Austral Nile and Buddhas we adore.
The sunlit Satyrs follow Hugh McCrae,
Quinn spans the ocean with a Celtic ford,
And Williamson the Pan-pipe learns to play
From magpie-songs our schoolboy ears ignored:
40
A sweeter woe no keen of Erin gave
Than Kendall sings o'er Araluen's grave:
Tasmanian Wordsworth to his chapel riding
The Burning Bush and Ardath mead shall pass,
Or, from the sea-coast of Bohemia gliding
On craft of dream, behold a shepherd lass.
Jessie Mackay on Southern Highlands sees
The elves deploy in kem and gallowglass:
Our Gilbert Murray writes 'Euripides':
Pirani merges in Pythagoras:
Marsyas plunges into Lethe, flayed,
From Rhadamanthine Stephens' steady blade:
While Benvenuto Morton, drunk with singing,
Sees salamanders in a bush-fire's bed,
And Spencer sails from Alcheringa bringing
Intaglios, totems and Books of the Dead.
On Southern fiords shall Brady's Long Snakes hiss,
Heavy with brides he wins to Viking troth:
O'Reilly's Sydney shall be Sybaris,
While Melbourne's Muses sup their Spartan broth:
Murdoch, Zenobia's counsellor, in time,
Redacts from Burke his book on The Sublime:
By Way was Homer into Greek translated:
And Shakespeare's self is Sophocles so plain
They know the kerb whereon the Furies waited
Outside the Mermaid Inn in Brogan's Lane.
Vane shall divide with Vern Eureka's fame;
Tillett and Mann are Tyler then and Cade:
Dowie's entwines with Cagliostro's name,
And in Tarpeia's, lo, those fair forms fade
Who drug the poor, for social bread and wine,
And lift the furtive latch to Catiline:
There, where the Longmore-featured Gracchi hurry,
And Greek-browed Higinbotham walks, anon,
The 'wealthy lower orders' leap the Murray
Before the stockwhip cracks of Jardine Don.
Cleons in 'Windsor dress at Syracuse
Their thin plebeians' promised meal delay;
41
And Archibald begets Australia's Muse
Upon an undine red of Chowder Bay:
Paterson's swan draws Amphitrite's car,
And Sidon learns from Young what purples are:
Rose Scott refutes dogmatic Cyril gaily,
Hypatia turns the anti-suffrage flank,
And Herod's daughter sools her 'morning daily'
On John the Baptist by the Yarra Bank.
Yon regal bustard, fading hence ere long,
Shall seem the guide we followed to the Grail;
This lyre-bird on his dancing-mound of song
Our mystagogue of some Bacchantic vale,
Where feathered Pan guffaws 'Evoe!' above,
And Maenad curlews shriek their midnight love:
That trailing flight of distant swans is bearing
Sarpedon's soul to its eternal joy:
This ibis, from the very Nile, despairing,
Memnon our own would warn from fatal Troy.
Primeval gnomes distilled the golden bribes
That have impregnated your musing waste with men;
But shall the spell of your pathetic tribes
Curl round, in time, our fairer limbs again?
Through that long tunnel of your gloom, I see
Gardens of a metropolis to be!
Out of the depths the mountain ash is soaring
To embryon gods of what unsounded space?
Out of the heights what influence is pouring
Thin desolation on your haunted face?
Many there are who see no higher lot
For all your writhing centuries of toil
Than that the avaricious plough should blot
Their wilding burgeon, and the red brand spoil
Your cyclopean garniture, to sow
The cheap parterres of Europe on your woe.
They weave all sorceries but yours, and borrow
The tinkling spells of alien winds and seas
To drown the chord of purifying sorrow,
Bom ere the world, that pulses through your trees.
42
For, save when we, in not o'er-subtle mood,
Hear magpies warbling soft November in,
Or, hand in hand with Love, a dreaming wood
Or bouldered crest of crisper April win,
Your harps, unblurred by glozing strings, intone
The dirges that behind Creation moan'Where, riding reinless billows, new lives dash on
The souring beach of yesterday's decay,
Where Love's chord leaps from mandrake shrieks of passion,
And groping gods mould man from quivering clay.
(Is Nature deaf and blind and dumb? A cruse
Unfilled of wine? Clay for an unbreathed soul?
Alien to man, till his desires transfuse
Their flames through wind and water, leaf and bole,
And each crude fane elaborately fit
With oracles that echo all his wit?
The living wilds of Greece saw death returning
When Pan that men had made fell from his throne:
Till through her sap our very blood is churning
The Bush her lonely alien woe shall moan!
Or is she reticent but to be kind?
Whispers she not beneath her mask of clods'Who asks he shall receive, who seeks shall find,
Who knocks shall open every door of God's?'
Dumb Faith's, blind Hope's eternal consort she,
Gravid with all that is on earth to be;
Corn, wine and oil in hungry granite hiding,
All Beauty under sober wings of clay,
All life beneath her dead heart long abiding,
Yea, all the gods her sons and she obey!)
What sin's wan expiation strewed your Vast
With mounded pillage of what conquering fire?
Slumbering throes of what prodigious Past
Exhale these lingering ghosts of its desire?
Sunshine that bleached corruption out, that glare?
Desolate blue of Purgatory, there?
Flagellant winds through guilty Eden scouring?
Sahara drowning Prester John's domain?
Satumian dam her progeny devouring?
Hath dawn-time Hun these footprints left? Hath Cain?
43
Even the human wave, that shall at length
To man's endurance key your strident surge,
Sings in your poignant tones and sombre strength,
And makes, as yet, its own your primal dirge:
A gun-shot startles dawn back from the sky,
And mourning tea-trees echo Gordon's sigh:
Nardoo with Burke's faint sweat is dank for ever:
Spectral a tribe round poisoned rations shrieks:
Till doomday Leichhardt walks die Never Never:
Pensive, of Boake, the circling stock-whip speaks.
The wraiths unseen of roadside crimes unnamed
About that old-time shanty's ruins roam:
This squatter's fenceless acres hide ashamed
The hearth and battered zinc of Naboth's home:
Deserted 'yam-holes' pit your harmonies
With sloughing pock-marks of the gold-disease:
The sludgy creek 'mid hungry rushes rambles,
Where teal once dived and lowan raised her mound:
That tree, with crows, o'erlooks the township shambles:
These paddocks, ordure-smeared, the city bound.
0 yield not all to factory and farm!
For we, who drew a milk no stranger knows
From her scant paps, yearn for the acrid charm
That gossamers the Bush Where No Tree Grows.
And we have ritual moments when we crave
For worship in some messmate-pillared nave,
Where contrite 'bears' for woodland sins are kneeling,
And, 'mid the censers of the mountain musk,
Acolyte bell-birds the Angelus are pealing,
And boobooks moan lone vespers in the dusk,
And you have Children of the Dreaming Star,
Who care but little for the crowded ways
Where meagre spirits' vapid prizes are,
Or for the paddocked ease of dreamless days
And hedges clipped of every sunny growth
That plights the soul to God in daily troth:
Their wayward love prefers your desolation,
Or (where the human trail hath seared its charm)
44
The briar-rose on some abandoned 'station',
To all the tilled obedience of the farm.
Vineyards that purblind thrift shall never glean
The weedy waste and thistly gully hold:
No mint shall melt to currency unclean
Yon river-rounded hillock's Cape-broom gold:
The onion-grass upon that dark green slope
Returns our gaze from eyes of heliotrope:
But more we seek your underflowered expanses
Of scrub monotonous, or, where, O Bush,
The craters of your fiery noon's romances,
Like great firm bosoms, through the bare plains push.
As many. Mother, are your moods and forms
As all the sons who love you. Here, you mow
Careering grounds for every brood of storms
The wild sea-mares to desert stallions throw;
Anon, up through a sea of sand you glance
With green ephemeral exuberance,
And then quick seeds dive deep to years of slumber
From hot-hoofed drought's precipitate return:
There, league on league, the snow's cold fingers number
The shrinking nerves of supple-jack and fern.
To other eyes and ears you are a great
Pillared cathedral tremulously green,
An odorous and hospitable gate
To genial mystery, the happy screen
Of truants or of lovers rambling there
'Neath sun-shot boughs o'er miles of maidenhair.
Wee rubies dot the leaflets of the cherries,
The wooing wagtails hop from log to bough,
The bronzewing comes from Queensland for the berries,
The bell-bird by the creek is calling now.
And you can ride, an Eastern queen, they say,
By living creatures sumptuously borne,
With all barbaric equipages gay,
Beneath the torrid blue of Capricorn.
That native lotus is the very womb
That was the Hindoo goddess' earthly tomb.
45
The gang-gang screams o'er cactus wildernesses,
Palm trees are there, and swampy widths of rice,
Unguents and odours ooze from green recesses,
The jungles blaze with birds of Paradise.
But I, in city exile, hear you sing
Of saplinged hill and box-tree dotted plain,
Or silver-grass that prays the North Wind's wing
Convey its sigh to the loitering rain:
And Spring is half distraught with wintry gusts,
Summer the daily spoil of tropic lusts
The sun and she too fiercely shared together
Lingering thro' voluptuous Hindoo woods,
But o'er my windless, soft autumnal weather
The peace that passes understanding broods.
When, now, they say 'The Bush!', I see the top
Delicate amber leanings of the gum
Flutter, or flocks of screaming green leeks drop
Silent, where in the shining morning hum
The gleaning bees for honey-scented hours
'Mid labyrinthine leaves and white gum flowers.
Cantering midnight hoofs are nearing, nearing,
The straining bullocks flick the harpy flies,
The 'hatter' weeds his melancholy clearing,
The distant cow-bell tinkles o'er the rise.
You are the brooding comrade of our way,
Whispering rumour of a new Unknown,
Moulding us white ideals to obey,
Steeping whate'er we learn in lore your own,
And freshening with unpolluted light
The squalid city's day and pallid night,
Till we become ourselves distinct, Australian,
(Your native lightning charging blood and nerve),
Stripped to the soul of borrowed garments, alien
To that approaching Shape of God you serve.
Brooding, brooding, your whispers murmur plain
That searching for the clue to mystery
In grottos of decrepitude is vain,
That never shall the eye of prophet see
46
In crooked Trade's tumultuous streets the plan
Of templed cities adequate to man.
Brooding, brooding, you make us Brahmins waiting
(While uninspired pass on the hurtling years),
Faithful to dreams your spirit is creating,
Till Great Australia, born of you, appears.
For Great Australia is not yet: She waits
(Where o'er the Bush prophetic auras play)
The passing of these temporary States,
Flaunting their tawdry flags of far decay.
Her aureole above the alien mists
Beacons our filial eyes to mountain trysts:
'Mid homely trees with all ideals fruited,
She shelters us till Trade's Simoom goes by,
And slakes our thirst from cisterns unpolluted .
For ages cold in brooding deeps of sky.
We love our brothers, and to heal their woe
Pluck simples from the known old gardens still:
We love our kindred over seas, and grow
Their symbols tenderly o'er plain and hill;
We feel their blood rebounding in our hearts,
And speak as they would speak our daily parts:
But under all we know, we know that only
A virgin womb unsoiled by ancient fear
Can Saviours bear. So, we, your Brahmins, lonely,
Deaf to the barren tumult, wait your Year.
The Great Year's quivering dawn pencils the Night
To be the morning of our children's prime,
And weave from rays of yet ungathered Light
A richer noon than e'er apparelled Time.
If it must be, as Tuscan wisdom knew,
Babylon's seer, and wistful Egypt too,
That mellow afternoon shall pensive guide us
Down somnolent Decay's ravine to rest,
Then you, reborn, 0 Mother Bush, shall hide us
All the long night at your dream-laden breast.
Australian eyes that heed your lessons know
Another world than older pilgrims may:
47
Prometheus chained in Kosciusko's snow
Sees later gods than Zeus in turn decay:
Boundless plateaux expand the spirit's sight,
Resilient gales uphold her steeper flight:
And your close beating heart, 0 savage Mother,
Throbs secret words of joy and starker pain
Than reach the ears all old deceptions smother
In Lebanon, or e'en in Westermain.
We marvel not, who hear your undersong,
And catch a glimpse in rare exalted hours
Of something like a Being gleam along
Festooned arcades of flossie creeper flowers,
Or, toward the mirk, seem privileged to share
The silent rapture of the trees at prayerWe marvel not that seers in other ages,
With eyes unstrained by peering logic, saw
The desolation glow with Koran pages,
Or Sinai stones with Tables of the Law.
Homers are waiting in the gum trees now,
Far driven from the tarnished Cyclades:
More Druids to your green enchantment bow
Than 'neath unfaithful Mona's vanished trees:
A wind hath spirited from ageing France
To our fresh hills the carpet of Romance:
Heroes and maids of old with young blood tingling
In ampler gardens grow their roses new:
And races long apart their manas mingling
Prepare the cradle of an Advent due.
And those who dig the mounded eld for runes
To read Religion's tangled cipher, here,
Where all Illusion haunts the fainting noons
Of days hysteric with the tireless leer
Of ravenous enamoured suns, shall find
How May a flings her mantle o'er the mind,
Till sober sand to shining water changes,
Dodona whispers from the she-oak groves,
Afreets upon the tempest cross the ranges,
And Fafnir through the bunyip marshes roves.
48
Once, when Uranian Love appeared to glow
Through that abysmal Night that bounds our reignLove that a man may scarcely feel and know i
Quite the same world as other men againWith earthward-streaming frontier wraiths distraught,
Your oracles, 0 Mother Bush, I sought:
But found, dismayed, that eerie light revealing
Those wraiths already in your depths on sleuth,
Termagant Scorns along your hillsides stealing,
Remorse unbaring slow her barbed tooth.
My own thoughts first from far dispersion flew
Back to their sad creator, with the crops
Of woes in flower and all the harvests due
Till tiring Time the fearful seeding stops:
In pigmy forms of friends and foes, anon
In my own image, they came, stung, were gone:
And then I heard the voice of Him Who Questions,
Knowing the faltered answer ere it came,
Chilling the soul by hovering suggestions
Of wan damnation at a wince of blame.
And all your leaves in symbols were arranged,
Despairs long dead would leap from bough to bough,
A gum-tree buttress to a goblin changed
Grinning the warmth of some old broken vow:
Furtive desires for scarce-remembered maids
Glanced in a fearful bo-peep from your shades:
Till you became a purgatory cleansing
With rosy flakes in form of manikins,
To fiercer shame within my soul condensing,
The dim pollution of forgotten sins.
And She, the human symbol of that Love,
Would, as my cleansed eyes forgot their fear,
Comrade beside me. Comforter above,
With sunny smile ubiquitous appear:
Run on before me to the nooks we knew,
Walk hand in hand as glad young lovers do,
Gravely reprove me toying with temptation,
Show me the eyes and ears in roots and clods,
Bend with me o'er some blossom's revelation,
49
Or read from clouds the judgments of the gods.
My old ideals She would tune until
The grating note of self no longer rang:
She drove the birds of gloom and evil will
Out of the cote wherein my poems sang.
Time at Her wand annulled his calendar,
And Space his fallacy of Near and Far,
For through my Bush along with me She glided,
And crowded days of Beauty made more fair,
Though lagging weeks and ocean widths divided
Her mortal casing from Her Presence there.
Her wetted finger oped my shuttered eyes
To boyhood's scership of the Real again:
Upon the Bush descended from the skies
The rapt-up Eden of primordial men:
August Dominions through the vistas strode:
On white-maned clouds the smiling cherubs rode:
Maltreated Faith restored my jangled hearing
Till little seraphs sang from chip and clod:
And prayers were radiant children that, unfearing,
Floated as kisses to the lips of God.
It matters not that for some purpose wise
Myopic Reason censored long ago
The revelations of that Paradise,
When, back of all I feel or will or know,
Its silent angels beacon through the Dark
And point to harbours new my drifted ark.
Nor need we dread the fogs that round us thicken
Questing the Bush for Grails decreed for man,
When Powers our fathers saw unseen still quicken
Eyes that were ours before the world began.
'Twas then I saw the Vision of the Ways,
And 'mid their gloom and glory seemed to live,
Threaded the coverts of the Dark Road's maze,
Toiled up, with tears, the Track Retributive,
And, on the Path of Grace, beheld aglow
The love-lit Nave of all that wheeled below.
And She who flowered, my Mystic Rose, in Heaven,
50
And lit the Purging Mount, my Guiding Star,
Trudged o'er the marl, my mate, through Hell's wan levin,
Nor shrank, like lonely Dante's love, afar.
High towered a cloud over one leafy wild,
And to a bridged volcano grew. Above,
A great Greek group of father, mother, child,
Illumed a narrow round with radiant love.
Below, a smoke-pool thick with faces swirled,
The mutinous omen. of an Under-world,
Defeated, plundered, blackened, but preparing,
E'en though that calm, white dominance fell down,
To overflow the rim, and, sunward faring,
Shape myriad perfect groups from slave and clown.
Or thus I read the symbol, though 'twas sent
To hound compunction on my wincing pride,
That dreamed of raceless brotherhood, content
Though all old Charm dissolved and Glory died.
For often signs will yield their deeper signs,
Virginal Bush, in your untrodden shrines,
Than where the craven ages' human clamour
Distorts the boldest oracle with fear,
Or where dissolving wizards dew with glamour
Arden, Broceliande, or Windermere.
Once while my mother by a spreading tree
Our church's sober rubric bade me con,
My vagrant eyes among the boughs would see
Forbidden wings and •wizard aprons on
Father's 'wee people' from their Irish glades
Brighten and darken with your lights and shades.
And I would only read again those stern leaves
For whispered bribe that, when their tale I told,
We would go and look for fairies in the fern-leaves
And red-capped leprechauns with crocks of gold.
Anon, my boyhood saw how Sunbursts flamed
Or filmy hinds lured on a pale Oisin,
Where lithe indignant saplings crowding claimed
The digger's ravage for their plundered queen:
And heard within yon lichened 'mullock-heap'
51
Lord Edward's waiting horsemen moan in sleep:
Or flew the fragrant path of swans consoling
Lir's exiled daughter wandering with me,
And traced below the Wattle River rolling
Exuberant and golden toward the sea.
Here, would the •wavering wings of heat uplift
Some promontory till the tree-crowned pile
Above a phantom sea would swooning drift,
St. Brendan's vision of the Winged Isle:
Anon, the isle divides again, again,
Till archipelagos poise o'er the main.
There, lazy fingers of a breeze have scattered
The distant blur of factory chimney smoke
hi poignant groups of all the young lives shattered
To feed the ravin of a piston-stroke!
Or when I read the tale of what you were
Beyond these hungry eyes' home-keeping view,
I peopled petrel rocks with Sirens fair,
In Maid Mirage the Fairy Morgan knew,
Steered Quetzalcoatl's skiff to coral coasts,
On Chambers' Pillar throned the Olympian hosts,
Heard in white sulphur-crested parrots' screeches
Remorseful Peris vent their hopeless rage,
Atlantis' borders traced on sunken beaches,
m Alcheringa found the Golden Age.
Sibyl and Siren, with alternate breaths
You read our foetal nation's boon and bane,
And lure to trysts of orgiastic Deaths
Adventurous love that listens to your strain:
Pelsarts and Vanderdeckens of the world
Circle your charms or at your feet are hurled:
And, Southern witch, whose glamour drew De Quiros
O'er half the earth for one unyielded kiss,
Were yours the arms that healed the scalded Eros
When Psyche's curious lamp darkened their bliss?
Ye, who would challenge when we claim to see
The bush alive with Northern wealth of wings,
Forget that at a common mother's knee
52
We learned, with you, the lore of Silent Things.
There is no New that is not older far
Than swirling cradle of the first-born star:
Our youngest hearts prolong the far pulsation
And churn the brine of the primordial sea:
The foetus writes the précis of Creation:
Australia is the whole world's legatee.
Imagination built her throne in us
Before your present bodies saw the sky:
Your myths were counters of our abacus,
And in your brain developed long our eye:
We from the misty folk have also sprung
Who saw the gnomes and heard the Ever Young:
Do Southern skies the fancy disinherit
Of moly flower and Deva-laden breeze?
Do nerves attuned by old defect and merit
Their timbre lose by crossing tropic seas?
All mysteries ye claim as yours alone
Have wafted secrets over oceans here:
Our living soil Antiquity hath sown
With just the corn and tares ye love and fear:
Romance and song enthral us just as you,
Nor change of zenith changes spirit too:
Our necks as yours are sore with feudal halters:
To the Pole ye know our compasses are set;
And shivering years that huddled round your altars
Beneath our stars auspicious tremble yet.
Who fenced the nymphs in European vales?
Or Pan tabooed from all but Oxford dreams?
Warned Shakespeare off from foreign Plutarch's tales?
Or tethered Virgil to Italian themes?
And when the body sailed from your control
Think ye we left behind in bond the soul?
Whate'er was yours is ours in equal measure,
The Temple was not built for you alone,
Altho' 'tis ours to grace the common treasure
With Lares and Penates of our own!
Ye stole yourselves from gardens fragrant long
53
The sprouting seed-pods of your choicest blooms,
And wove the splendid garments of your song
From Viking foam on grave Hebraic looms:
'Twas Roman nerve and rich Hellenic lymph
Changed your pale pixie to a nubile nymph:
Yea, breathed at dawn around Atlantis' islands,
Wind-home o'er some Hesperidean road,
The morning clouds on dim Accadian highlands
Spring-fed the Nile that over Hellas flowed!
As large-eyed Greek amid Sicilian dews
Saw Dis, as ne'er before, pursue the Maid,
Or, safe 'neath screening billows, Arethuse
Alpheus' rugged sleuth unsoiled evade:
We shall complete the tale ye left half-told,
Under the ocean lead your fountains old,
To slake our sceptic thirst with haunted water,
And tame our torrents with a wedding kiss,
Shall loose, mayhap, the spell on Ceres' daughter,
And show, unclouded, God in very Dis.
(Yet, there are moods and mornings when I hear,
Above the music of the Bush's breath,
The rush of alien breezes far and near
Drowning her oracles to very death:
Exotic battle-cries the silence mar,
Seductive perfumes drive the gum-scent far;
And organ-tones august a moment show me
Miltonic billows and Homeric gales
Until I feel the older worlds below me,
And all her wonder trembles, thins and fails.)
Yea, you are all that we may be, and yet
In us is all you are to be for aye!
The Giver of the gifts that we shall get?
An empty womb that waits the wedding day?
Thus drifting sense by age-long habit buoyed
Plays round the thought that knows all nature void!
And so, my song alternate would believe her
Idiot Bush and Daughter of the Sun,
A worthless gift apart from the receiver,
An empty womb, but in a Deathless One.
54
To shapes we would of Freedom, Truth and Joy
Shall we your willing plasm mould for man:
Afresh rebuild the world, and thus destroy
What only Ragnarok in Europe can:
There is no Light but in your dark blendes sleeps,
Drops from your stars or through your ether leaps:
Yea, you are Nature, Chaos since Creation,
Waiting what human Word to chord in song?
Matrix inert of what auspicious nation?
For what far bees your nectar hiving long?
Exhausted manas of the conquering North
Shall rise refreshed to vivid life again
At your approach, and in your lap pour forth
Grateful the gleanings of his mighty reign:
As, when a tropic heat-king southward crawls,
Blistering the ranges, till he hears the calls
Of some cold high-browed bride, her streaming tresses,
Sprinkled with rose-buds, make his wild eyes thrill
To such desire for her superb caresses
He yields his fiery treasures to her will.
'Where is Australia, singer, do you know?
These sordid farms and joyless factories,
Mephitic mines and lanes of pallid woe?
Those ugly towns and cities such as these
With incense sick to all unworthy power,
And all old sin in full malignant flower?
No! to her bourn her children still are faring:
She is a Temple that we are to build:
For her the ages have been long preparing:
She is a prophecy to be fulfilled!
All that we love in olden lands and lore
Was signal of her coming long ago!
Bacon foresaw her, Campanella, More
And Plato's eyes were with her star aglow!
Who toiled for Truth, whate'er their countries were,
Who fought for Liberty, they yearned for her!
No corsair's gathering ground, or tryst for schemers,
55
No chapman Carthage to a huckster Tyre,
She is the Eldorado of old dreamers,
The Sleeping Beauty of the world's desire!
She is the scroll on which we are to write
Mythologies our own and epics new:
She is the port of our propitious flight
From Ur idolatrous and Pharaoh's crew.
She is our own, unstained, if worthy we,
By dream, or god, or star we would not see:
Her crystal beams all but the eagle dazzle;
Her wind-wide ways none but the strong-winged sail:
She is Eutopia, she is Hy-Brasil,
The watchers on the tower of morning hail I
Yet she shall be as we, the Potter, mould:
Altar or tomb, as we aspire, despair:
What wine we bring shall she, the chalice, hold:
What word we write shall she, the script, declare:
Bandage our eyes, she shall be Memphis, Spain:
Barter our souls, she shall be Tyre again:
And if we pour on her the red oblation
All o'er the world shall Asshur's buzzards throng:
Love-lit, her Chaos shall become Creation:
And dewed with dream, her silence flower in song.
~ Bernard O'Dowd,

IN CHAPTERS [8/8]



   4 Poetry
   2 Occultism
   1 Mysticism
   1 Integral Yoga


   2 John Keats


   2 Keats - Poems


1.47 - Lityerses, #The Golden Bough, #James George Frazer, #Occultism
  probably uttered in mourning for Adonis; at least Sappho seems to
  have regarded Adonis and Linus as equivalent.

1.jk - Sleep And Poetry, #Keats - Poems, #John Keats, #Poetry
       Sappho's meek head was there half smiling down
      At nothing; just as though the earnest frown

1.jk - Sonnet - After Dark Vapors Have Oppressd Our Plains, #Keats - Poems, #John Keats, #Poetry
  Sweet Sappho's cheek -- a smiling infant's breath --
  The gradual sand that through an hour-glass runs --

1.rb - Cleon, #Browning - Poems, #Robert Browning, #Poetry
   Sappho survives, because we sing her songs,
   And Aeschylus, because we read his plays!"

1.wby - The Gift Of Harun Al-Rashid, #Yeats - Poems, #William Butler Yeats, #Poetry
  At the great book of Sappho's song; but no,
  For should you leave my letter there, a boy's

2.05 - On Poetry, #Evening Talks With Sri Aurobindo, #unset, #Integral Yoga
   Sri Aurobindo: Homer has written on war and action. Can one say that those who write on many subjects are greater than Homer? Sappho wrote only on one subject. Can we say therefore she is not great? What about Milton and Mirabai?
   Disciple: What Tagore wants to say is that to be a perfect poet one must have variety.

3.02 - The Formulae of the Elemental Weapons, #Liber ABA, #Aleister Crowley, #Occultism
  as an invocation Sapphos Ode to Venus before a Probationer of
  the AA who was ignorant of Greek, the language of the Ode.

Talks With Sri Aurobindo 1, #unset, #Anonymous, #Various
  Homer? Sappho wrote only on love: is she not a great poet? Milton also has
  no variety and yet he is one of the greatest poets. Mirabai has no variety either and she is still great.
  --
  greatest Greek lyricist. Nor has Pindar himself written very much. Sappho
  has come down to us in only one complete poem: the rest of her is in mere
  --
  NIRODBARAN: Yes, I told Dilip about Sappho and about the fragments Simonides wrote.
  SRI AUROBINDO: Simonides did not write fragments, but only fragments are

WORDNET



--- Overview of noun sappho

The noun sappho has 1 sense (no senses from tagged texts)
                    
1. Sappho ::: (the Greek lyric poet of Lesbos; much admired although only fragments of her poetry have been preserved (6th century BC))


--- Synonyms/Hypernyms (Ordered by Estimated Frequency) of noun sappho

1 sense of sappho                          

Sense 1
Sappho
   INSTANCE OF=> poetess
     => poet
       => writer, author
         => communicator
           => person, individual, someone, somebody, mortal, soul
             => organism, being
               => living thing, animate thing
                 => whole, unit
                   => object, physical object
                     => physical entity
                       => entity
             => causal agent, cause, causal agency
               => physical entity
                 => entity
   INSTANCE OF=> Lesbian
     => Greek, Hellene
       => European
         => inhabitant, habitant, dweller, denizen, indweller
           => person, individual, someone, somebody, mortal, soul
             => organism, being
               => living thing, animate thing
                 => whole, unit
                   => object, physical object
                     => physical entity
                       => entity
             => causal agent, cause, causal agency
               => physical entity
                 => entity


--- Hyponyms of noun sappho
                                    


--- Synonyms/Hypernyms (Ordered by Estimated Frequency) of noun sappho

1 sense of sappho                          

Sense 1
Sappho
   INSTANCE OF=> poetess
   INSTANCE OF=> Lesbian




--- Coordinate Terms (sisters) of noun sappho

1 sense of sappho                          

Sense 1
Sappho
  -> poetess
   HAS INSTANCE=> Millay, Edna Millay, Edna Saint Vincent Millay
   HAS INSTANCE=> Sappho
  -> Lesbian
   HAS INSTANCE=> Alcaeus
   HAS INSTANCE=> Sappho




--- Grep of noun sappho
sappho



IN WEBGEN [10000/79]

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https://religion.wikia.org/wiki/Garuda#In_Buddhism
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https://religion.wikia.org/wiki/Talk:Garuda
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https://nintendo.fandom.com/wiki/Garuda_(Dragalia_Lost)
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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:059_Garuda,_13c,_Lopburi_(34443588603).jpg
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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SANG_GARUDA.jpg
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List of Garuda Indonesia incidents and accidents
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