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Name That Poem


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That's right, though there's no 'a' it's just Mending Wall, by Robert Frost. I'd copy and paste the whole thing but I'm suffering a fit of conscience about poetic copyright after reading last Saturday's Guardian ;-)

 

Heather, because it's from you and because 'river' is made to rhyme with 'ever' I'm guessing that this is meant to be read with a Scottish accent and taking a stab at Robert Burns. But I don't know the name of the poem.

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I have no idea how difficult this will be... my guess is, either very easy or all but impossible. Nevertheless, here's my quote...

And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him

In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,

And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plain extended,

And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.

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Bingo! It's Banjo. I really wasn't sure if anyone here would know it. Here's the whole poem (too old for copyright, surely);

 

Clancy of the Overflow

by A.B. (Banjo) Patterson.

 

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better

Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan years ago;

He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,

Just on spec, addressed as follows, "Clancy, of The Overflow."

 

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected

(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar);

'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:

"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."

 

In my wild erratic fancy, visions come to me of Clancy

Gone a-droving "down the Cooper" where the Western drovers go;

As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,

For the drover's life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.

 

And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him

In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,

And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plain extended,

And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.

 

I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy

Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,

And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city,

Through the open window floating, spreads it foulness over all.

 

And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle

Of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street;

And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting

Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.

 

And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me

As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,

With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,

For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.

 

And I somehow rather fancy that I'd like to change with Clancy,

Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,

While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal

But I doubt he'd suit the office, Clancy, of The Overflow.

your turn now, vald :)

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Here goes...

 

Cold-blooded, smooth-faced, placid miscreant!

Dabbling its sleek young hands in Erin's gore,

And thus for wider carnage taught to pant,

Transferr'd to gorge upon a sister shore,

The vulgarest tool that Tyranny could want,

With just enough of talent, and no more,

To lengthen fetters by another fix'd,

And offer poison long already mix'd.

 

An orator of such set trash of phrase

Ineffably - legitimately vile,

That even its grossest flatterers dare not praise,

Nor foes - all nations - condescend to smile;

Not even a sprightly blunder's spark can blaze

From that Ixion grindstone's ceaseless toil,

That turns and turns to give the world a notion

Of endless torments and perpetual motion.

 

Ouch! Sorry it's quite long, but I wanted to give a good flavour of the tone.

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That's from 'The Mask of Anarchy' by Shelley - the wonderfully cutting opening vision of the governmental figures of the day in a ghastly procession. Once it gets into the fanciful section of idealism imploring the populace to stand up against the troops after the Peterloo massacre it gets a bit silly. My 'favourite' bit from this section is:

 

'And if then the tyrants dare

Let them ride among you there,

Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew, -

What they like, that let them do.

 

Yeah - right guv: we'll just stand and get hacked to pieces. Good one! Where are you writing this from again? Oh Italy....

 

Ri-i-i-ght....

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Sorry David, it's not Shelley's "Mask of Anarchy".

Ha - that'll teach me to post impulsively on the basis of the first few lines. Since they're also satirising Castlereagh 'The Mask of Anarchy' was the first I thought of, but indeed that's actually by Percy's like-minded mate Byron in the dedication to Don Juan. The ottava rima should have been a complete giveaway. A proper D'oh moment! :rolleyes:

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