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Heather

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  1. Sorry, I've been away - with no wifi. Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green, The night above the dingle starry, Time let me hail and climb Golden in the heydays of his eyes, And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves Trail with daisies and barley Down the rivers of the windfall light. And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home, In the sun that is young once only, Time let me play and be Golden in the mercy of his means, And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold, And the sabbath rang slowly In the pebbles of the holy streams. All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air And playing, lovely and watery And fire green as grass. And nightly under the simple stars As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away, All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars Flying with the ricks, and the horses Flashing into the dark. And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all Shining, it was Adam and maiden, The sky gathered again And the sun grew round that very day. So it must have been after the birth of the simple light In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm Out of the whinnying green stable On to the fields of praise. And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long, In the sun born over and over, I ran my heedless ways, My wishes raced through the house high hay And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs Before the children green and golden Follow him out of grace, Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand, In the moon that is always rising, Nor that riding to sleep I should hear him fly with the high fields And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land. Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, Time held me green and dying Though I sang in my chains like the sea. Dylan Thomas - 'Fern Hill'
  2. Busy old fool, unruly sun, Why dost thou thus, Through windows, and through curtains call on us? Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run? Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide Late school boys and sour prentices, Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride, Call country ants to harvest offices, Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime, Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time. Thy beams, so reverend and strong Why shouldst thou think? I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink, But that I would not lose her sight so long; If her eyes have not blinded thine, Look, and tomorrow late, tell me, Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me. Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday, And thou shalt hear, All here in one bed lay. She's all states, and all princes, I, Nothing else is. Princes do but play us; compared to this, All honor's mimic, all wealth alchemy. Thou, sun, art half as happy as we, In that the world's contracted thus. Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be To warm the world, that's done in warming us. Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere; This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere. John Donne - 'the Sun Rising'
  3. If I should ever by chance grow rich I'll buy Codham, Cockridden, and Childerditch, Roses, Pyrgo, and Lapwater, And let them all to my elder daughter. The rent I shall ask of her will be only Each year's first violets, white and lonely, The first primroses and orchises— She must find them before I do, that is. But if she finds a blossom on furze Without rent they shall all for ever be hers, Whenever I am sufficiently rich: Codham, Cockridden, and Childerditch, Roses, Pyrgo and Lapwater,— I shall give them all to my elder daughter. Edward Thomas - 'If I Should Ever by Chance'
  4. But rumours hung about the country-side, That the lost Scholar long was seen to stray, Seen by rare glimpses, pensive and tongue-tied, In hat of antique shape, and cloak of grey, The same the gipsies wore. Shepherds had met him on the Hurst in spring; At some lone alehouse in the Berkshire moors, On the warm ingle-bench, the smock-frock'd boors Had found him seated at their entering, But, 'mid their drink and clatter, he would fly. And I myself seem half to know thy looks, And put the shepherds, wanderer! on thy trace; And boys who in lone wheatfields scare the rooks I ask if thou hast pass'd their quiet place; Or in my boat I lie Moor'd to the cool bank in the summer-heats, 'Mid wide grass meadows which the sunshine fills, And watch the warm, green-muffled Cumner hills, And wonder if thou haunt'st their shy retreats. For most, I know, thou lov'st retired ground! Thee at the ferry Oxford riders blithe, Returning home on summer-nights, have met Crossing the stripling Thames at Bab-lock-hithe, Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers wet, As the punt's rope chops round; And leaning backward in a pensive dream, And fostering in thy lap a heap of flowers Pluck'd in shy fields and distant Wychwood bowers, And thine eyes resting on the moonlit stream. And then they land, and thou art seen no more!— Maidens, who from the distant hamlets come To dance around the Fyfield elm in May, Oft through the darkening fields have seen thee roam, Or cross a stile into the public way. Oft thou hast given them store Of flowers—the frail-leaf'd, white anemony, Dark bluebells drench'd with dews of summer eves, And purple orchises with spotted leaves— But none hath words she can report of thee. And, above Godstow Bridge, when hay-time's here In June, and many a scythe in sunshine flames, Men who through those wide fields of breezy grass Where black-wing'd swallows haunt the glittering Thames, To bathe in the abandon'd lasher pass, Have often pass'd thee near Sitting upon the river bank o'ergrown; Mark'd thine outlandish garb, thy figure spare, Thy dark vague eyes, and soft abstracted air— But, when they came from bathing, thou wast gone! At some lone homestead in the Cumner hills, Where at her open door the housewife darns, Thou hast been seen, or hanging on a gate To watch the threshers in the mossy barns. Children, who early range these slopes and late For cresses from the rills, Have known thee eyeing, all an April-day, The springing pasture and the feeding kine; And mark'd thee, when the stars come out and shine, Through the long dewy grass move slow away. In autumn, on the skirts of Bagley Wood— Where most the gipsies by the turf-edged way Pitch their smoked tents, and every bush you see With scarlet patches tagg'd and shreds of grey, Above the forest-ground called Thessaly— The blackbird, picking food, Sees thee, nor stops his meal, nor fears at all; So often has he known thee past him stray, Rapt, twirling in thy hand a wither'd spray, And waiting for the spark from heaven to fall. And once, in winter, on the causeway chill Where home through flooded fields foot-travellers go, Have I not pass'd thee on the wooden bridge, Wrapt in thy cloak and battling with the snow, Thy face tow'rd Hinksey and its wintry ridge? And thou has climb'd the hill, And gain'd the white brow of the Cumner range; Turn'd once to watch, while thick the snowflakes fall, The line of festal light in Christ-Church hall— Then sought thy straw in some sequester'd grange. Matthew Arnold - from 'The Scholar-Gypsy'
  5. This reminds me of the worn pennies in my change when I was young - Elizabeth II, George VI, George V, Edward VII, Victoria - occasionally the very worn outline of an early portrait of Victoria with a bun, before she was a widow. Modern children have never seen anyone but Elizabeth II on coins! You gave but will not give again Until enough of Paudeen’s pence By Biddy’s halfpennies have lain To be ‘some sort of evidence,’ Before you’ll put your guineas down, That things it were a pride to give Are what the blind and ignorant town Imagines best to make it thrive. What cared Duke Ercole, that bid His mummers to the market place, What th’ onion-sellers thought or did So that his Plautus set the pace For the Italian comedies? And Guidobaldo, when he made That grammar school of courtesies Where wit and beauty learned their trade Upon Urbino’s windy hill, Had sent no runners to and fro That he might learn the shepherds’ will. And when they drove out Cosimo, Indifferent how the rancour ran, He gave the hours they had set free To Michelozzo’s latest plan For the San Marco Library, Whence turbulent Italy should draw Delight in Art whose end is peace, In logic and in natural law By sucking at the dugs of Greece. Your open hand but shows our loss, For he knew better how to live. Let Paudeens play at pitch and toss, Look up in the sun’s eye and give What the exultant heart calls good That some new day may breed the best Because you gave, not what they would But the right twigs for an eagle’s nest! December 1912. W.B. Yeats - 'To a Wealthy Man who promised a second Subscription to the Dublin Municipal Gallery if it were proved the People wanted Pictures.'
  6. The King sits in Dunferline toun, Drinkin the blude-reid wine ‘O whaur will A get a skeely skipper Tae sail this new ship o mine?’ O up and spak an eldern knight, Sat at the king’s richt knee; ‘Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor That ever sailt the sea.’ Our king has written a braid letter And sealed it wi his hand, And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens, Wis walkin on the strand. ‘Tae Noroway, to Noroway, Tae Noroway ower the faem; The King’s dauchter o Noroway, Tis thou maun bring her hame.’ The first word that Sir Partick read Sae loud, loud laucht he; The neist word that Sir Patrick read The tear blindit his ee. ‘O wha is this has duin this deed An tauld the king o me, Tae send us out, at this time o year, Tae sail abuin the sea? ‘Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet, Our ship maun sail the faem; The King’s dauchter o Noroway, Tis we maun fetch her hame.’ They hoystit their sails on Monenday morn, Wi aw the speed they may; They hae landit in Noroway Upon a Wodensday. ‘Mak ready, mak ready, my merry men aw! Our gude ship sails the morn.’ ‘Nou eer alack, ma maister dear, I fear a deadly storm.’ ‘A saw the new muin late yestreen Wi the auld muin in her airm And gif we gang tae sea, maister, A fear we’ll cam tae hairm.’ They hadnae sailt a league, a league, A league but barely three, When the lift grew dark, an the wind blew loud An gurly grew the sea. The ankers brak, an the topmaist lap, It was sic a deadly storm. An the waves cam ower the broken ship Til aw her sides were torn. ‘Go fetch a web o silken claith, Anither o the twine, An wap them into our ship’s side, An let nae the sea cam in.’ They fetcht a web o the silken claith, Anither O the twine, An they wappp’d them roun that gude ship’s side, But still the sea cam in. O laith, laith were our gude Scots lords Tae weet their cork-heelt shuin; But lang or aw the play wis playd They wat their hats abuin. And mony wis the feather bed That flattert on the faem; And mony wis the gude lord’s son That never mair cam hame. O lang, lang may the ladies sit, Wi their fans intae their hand, Afore they see Sir Patrick Spens Come sailin tae the strand! And lang, lang may the maidens sit Wi their gowd kames in their hair, A-waitin for their ane dear loes! For them they’ll see nae mair. Half-ower, half-ower to Aberdour, Tis fifty fathoms deep; An there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens, Wi the Scots lords at his feet! Anonymous - 'Sir Patrick Spens'
  7. Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green, The night above the dingle starry, Time let me hail and climb Golden in the heydays of his eyes, And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves Trail with daisies and barley Down the rivers of the windfall light. And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home, In the sun that is young once only, Time let me play and be Golden in the mercy of his means, And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold, And the sabbath rang slowly In the pebbles of the holy streams. All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air And playing, lovely and watery And fire green as grass. And nightly under the simple stars As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away, All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars Flying with the ricks, and the horses Flashing into the dark. And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all Shining, it was Adam and maiden, The sky gathered again And the sun grew round that very day. So it must have been after the birth of the simple light In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm Out of the whinnying green stable On to the fields of praise. And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long, In the sun born over and over, I ran my heedless ways, My wishes raced through the house high hay And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs Before the children green and golden Follow him out of grace, Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand, In the moon that is always rising, Nor that riding to sleep I should hear him fly with the high fields And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land. Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, Time held me green and dying Though I sang in my chains like the sea. Dylan Thomas - 'Fern Hill'
  8. O wha's the bride that cairries the bunch O' thistles blinterin' white? Her cuckold bridegroom little dreids What he sall ken this nicht. For closer than gudeman can come And closer to'r than hersel', Wha didna need her maidenheid Has wrocht his purpose fell. O wha's been here afore me, lass, And hoo did he get in? —A man that deed or' was I born This evil thing has din. And left, as it were on a corpse, Your maidenheid to me? —Nae lass, gudeman, sin' Time began 'S hed ony mair to g'e. But I can gi'e ye kindness, lad, And a pair o' willin' hands, And you sall ha'e my breists like stars, My limbs like willow wands. And on my lips ye'll heed nae mair, And in my hair forget, The seed o' a' the men that in My virgin womb ha'e met. … Hugh MacDiarmid - 'Oh Wha's the Bride?'
  9. I have fallen in love with American names, The sharp names that never get fat, The snakeskin-titles of mining-claims, The plumed war-bonnet of Medicine Hat, Tucson and Deadwood and Lost Mule Flat. Seine and Piave are silver spoons, But the spoonbowl-metal is thin and worn, There are English counties like hunting-tunes Played on the keys of a postboy's horn, But I will remember where I was born. I will remember Carquinez Straits, Little French Lick and Lundy's Lane, The Yankee ships and the Yankee dates And the bullet-towns of Calamity Jane. I will remember Skunktown Plain. I will fall in love with a Salem tree And a rawhide quirt from Santa Cruz, I will get me a bottle of Boston sea And a blue-gum singer to sing me blues. I am tired of loving a foreign muse. Rue des Martyrs and Bleeding-Heart-Yard, Senlis, Pisa, and Blindman's Oast, It is a magic ghost you guard But I am sick for a newer ghost, Harrisburg, Spartanburg, Painted Post. Henry and John were never so And Henry and John were always right? Granted, but when it was time to go And the tea and the laurels had stood all night, Did they never watch for Nantucket Light? I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse. I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea. You may bury my body in Sussex grass, You may bury my tongue at Champmedy. I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass. Bury my heart at Wounded Knee. Stephen Vincent Benét - 'American Names'
  10. Œnone. Fair and fair, and twice so fair, As fair as any may be; The fairest shepherd on our green, A love for any lady. Paris. Fair and fair, and twice so fair, As fair as any may be; Thy love is fair, for thee alone And for no other lady. Œnone. My love is fair, my love is gay, As fresh as bin the flowers in May, And of my love my roundelay, My merry, merry, merry roundelay, Concludes with Cupid’s curse,— “They that do change old love for new, Pray gods they change for worse!” Ambo simul. They that do change old love for new Pray gods they change for worse! George Peele - from 'The Arraignment of Paris'
  11. High the vanes of Shrewsbury gleam Islanded in Severn stream; The bridges from the steepled crest Cross the water east and west. The flag of morn in conqueror’s state Enters at the English gate: The vanquished eve, as night prevails, Bleeds upon the road to Wales. Ages since the vanquished bled Round my mother’s marriage-bed; There the ravens feasted far About the open house of war: When Severn down to Buildwas ran Coloured with the death of man, Couched upon her brother’s grave The Saxon got me on the slave. The sound of fight is silent long That began the ancient wrong; Long the voice of tears is still That wept of old the endless ill. In my heart it has not died, The war that sleeps on Severn side; They cease not fighting, east and west, On the marches of my breast. Here the truceless armies yet Trample, rolled in blood and sweat, They kill and kill and never die; And I think that each is I. None will part us, none undo The knot that makes one flesh of two, Sick with hatred, sick with pain, Strangling—When shall we be slain? When shall I be dead and rid Of the wrong my father did? How long, how long, till spade and hearse Put to sleep my mother’s curse? A.E. Housman - 'The Welsh Marches'
  12. I wish I had the editing of Nigella Lawson's cookery books. I would take out all the adverbs and all the non-essential adjectives. I use the books because her recipes are good, but I her style ('oozingly', anyone?) is like fingernails on a blackboard.
  13. Wi' sae mony wild roses Dancin' and daffin', It looks as tho' a' The countryside's laffin'. But I maun ca' canny Gin I'm no' to cumber Sic a lichtsome warld Wi' my hert's auld lumber. Hoo I mind noo your face When I spiered for a kiss 'Ud gae joukin' a' airts And colourin' like this! Hugh MacDiarmid - 'Wild Roses' I always think of this poem when the wild roses are out. I suggest it should be OK to link to words where the spelling is different, e.g. world to warld.
  14. Children's voices in the orchard Between the blossom- and the fruit-time: Golden head, crimson head, Between the green tip and the root. Black wing, brown wing, hover over; Twenty years and the spring is over; To-day grieves, to-morrow grieves, Cover me over, light-in-leaves; Golden head, black wing, Cling, swing, Spring, sing, Swing up into the apple-tree. T.S. Eliot - 'New Hampshire'
  15. I know what the caged bird feels, alas! When the sun is bright on the upland slopes; When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass, And the river flows like a stream of glass; When the first bird sings and the first bud opes, And the faint perfume from its chalice steals— I know what the caged bird feels! I know why the caged bird beats his wing Till its blood is red on the cruel bars; For he must fly back to his perch and cling When he fain would be on the bough a-swing; And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars And they pulse again with a keener sting— I know why he beats his wing! I know why the caged bird sings, ah me, When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,— When he beats his bars and he would be free; It is not a carol of joy or glee, But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core, But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings— I know why the caged bird sings! Paul Laurence Dunbar - 'Sympathy'
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