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Previously Poetry Chain
Poetic Wanderings

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Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm'd,
As bending angels; that's their fame in peace:
But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls,
Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and, Jove's accord,
Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Æneas,
Peace, Trojan; lay thy finger on thy lips!
The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
If that the praised himself bring the praise forth:
But what the repining enemy commends,
That breath fame blows; that praise, sole sure, transcends.


Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida I.iii.
(apparently the only occurrence of debonair in the whole of Shakespeare...)

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A good sword and a trusty hand!
A merry heart and true!
King James's men shall understand
What Cornish lads can do!
And have they fixed the where and when?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here's twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!


Out spake their Captain brave and bold:
A merry wight was he:
Though London Tower were Michael's hold,
We'll set Trelawny free!
We'll cross the Tamar, land to land:
The Severn is no stay:
With "one and all," and hand in hand;
And who shall bid us nay?


And when we come to London Wall,
A pleasant sight to view,
Come forth! come forth! ye cowards all:
Here's men as good as you.
Trelawny he's in keep and hold;
Trelawny he may die:
Here's twenty thousand Cornish bold
Will know the reason why

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King Stephen was a worthy peer,
His breeches cost him but a crown;
He held them sixpence all too dear,
With that he call'd the tailor lown.
He was a wight of high renown,
And thou art but of low degree:
'Tis pride that pulls the country down;
Then take thine auld cloak about thee.
Some wine, ho!


Shakespeare, Othello II.iii.

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The lines above do occur in Othello, but they are a direct quote from an anonymous ballad 'The Old Cloak'.


I found a sixpence,
A little white sixpence.
I took it in my hand
To the market square.
I was buying my rabbit
I do like rabbits,
And I looked for my rabbit
'Most everywhere.

So I went to the stall where they sold fine saucepans
("Walk up, walk up, sixpence for a saucepan!").
"Could I have a rabbit, 'cos we've got two saucepans?"
But they hadn't got a rabbit, not anywhere there.


 A.A. Milne - Market Square

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I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.

Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.

In time the curtain-edges will grow light.

Till then I see what's really always there:

Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,

Makiing all thought impossible but how

And where and when I shall myself die.

Arid interrogation: yet the dread

Of dying, and being dead,

Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.


The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse

— The good not done the love not given, time

Torn off unused — nor wretchedly because

An only life can take so long to climb

Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;

But at the total emptiness for ever,

The sure extinciton that we travel to

And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,

Not to be anywhere,

And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.




Philip Larkin - "Aubade"

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I have a rendezvous with Death   
At some disputed barricade,   
When Spring comes back with rustling shade   
And apple-blossoms fill the air—   
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.   
It may be he shall take my hand   
And lead me into his dark land   
And close my eyes and quench my breath—   
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death   
On some scarred slope of battered hill,   
When Spring comes round again this year   
And the first meadow-flowers appear.   
God knows ‘twere better to be deep 
Pillowed in silk and scented down,   
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,   
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,   
Where hushed awakenings are dear...   
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,   
When Spring trips north again this year,   
And I to my pledged word am true,   
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

I Have a Rendezvous with Death - Alan Seeger


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How is it, Shadows! that I knew ye not?
    How came ye muffled in so hush a mask?
Was it a silent deep-disguisèd plot
    To steal away, and leave without a task
        My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;
    The blissful cloud of summer-indolence
Benumb’d my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;
        Pain had no sting, and pleasure’s wreath no flower:
    O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense
Unhaunted quite of all but—nothingness?


John Keats - "Ode on Indolence"

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First Nymph.
      Thus, thus begin, the yearly rites
      Are due to Pan on these bright nights;
      His morn now riseth and invites
      To sports, to dances, and delights:
        All envious and profane, away!
        This is the shepherds’ holiday.
Second Nymph.
      Strew, strew the glad and smiling ground
      With every flower, yet not confound;
      The primrose drop, the spring’s own spouse,
      Bright day’s-eyes, and the lips of cows,  
        The garden-star, the queen of May,
        The rose, to crown the holiday.
Third Nymph.
      Drop, drop you violets, change your hues
      Now red, now pale, as lovers use,
      And in your death go out as well,  
      As when you lived unto the smell:
        That from your odour all may say,

        This is the shepherds’ holiday.


The Shepherds' Holiday - Ben Jonson

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