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Claire

Poetic Wanderings

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CAPULET

God's bread! it makes me mad:
Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play,
Alone, in company, still my care hath been
To have her match'd: and having now provided
A gentleman of noble parentage,
Of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly train'd,
Stuff'd, as they say, with honourable parts,
Proportion'd as one's thought would wish a man;
And then to have a wretched puling fool,
A whining mammet, in her fortune's tender,
To answer 'I'll not wed; I cannot love,
I am too young; I pray you, pardon me.'
But, as you will not wed, I'll pardon you:
Graze where you will you shall not house with me:
Look to't, think on't, I do not use to jest.
Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise:
An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend;
And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
For, by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge thee,
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good:
Trust to't, bethink you; I'll not be forsworn.

 

Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet III/v

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On Monday, when the sun is hot
I wonder to myself a lot:
“Now is it true, or is it not,
“That what is which and which is what?”

On Tuesday, when it hails and snows
The feeling on me grows and grows
That hardly anybody knows
If those are these or these are those.

On Wednesday, when the sky is blue,
And I have nothing else to do,
I sometimes wonder if it’s true
That who is what and what is who.

On Thursday, when it starts to freeze
And hoar-frost twinkles on the trees,
How very readily one sees
That these are whose - but whose are these?

On Friday -

 

[At this point Kanga interrupted, and the rest of the poem is lost.]

 

A.A. Milne – ‘Lines Written by a Bear of Very Little Brain’

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FATHER'S GHOST

I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood.

 

Shakespeare, Hamlet I/v

Edited by jfp
porcupine > porpentine

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Shouldn't that be 'porpentine'?

 

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white--then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.--
Nae man can tether time or tide;
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he taks the road in
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.

The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow'd:
That night, a child might understand,
The Deil had business on his hand.

Robert Burns - from 'Tam O'Shanter'

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On 12/12/2018 at 18:54, Heather said:

Shouldn't that be 'porpentine'?

Odd that he [Hamlet's ghost] should have said porpentine when he meant porcupine. Slip of the tongue, no doubt, as so often happens with ghosts.}}

[https://wikidiff.com/porpentine/porcupine]

It does appear to be porpentine in most editions (but not the one I copied/pasted from)... I'll change it...

 

Out of the bosom of the Air,
      Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
      Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
            Silent, and soft, and slow
            Descends the snow.
 
Even as our cloudy fancies take
      Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
      In the white countenance confession,
            The troubled sky reveals
            The grief it feels.
 
This is the poem of the air,
      Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
      Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
            Now whispered and revealed
            To wood and field.
 
Henry Wasworth Longfellow, "Snow-flakes"
Edited by jfp

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He could not die when trees were green,
         For he loved the time too well.
His little hands, when flowers were seen,
         Were held for the bluebell,
         As he was carried o'er the green.
 
His eye glanced at the white-nosed bee;
         He knew those children of the spring:
When he was well and on the lea
         He held one in his hands to sing,
         Which filled his heart with glee.
 
Infants, the children of the spring!
         How can an infant die
When butterflies are on the wing,
         Green grass, and such a sky?
         How can they die at spring?

 

He held his hands for daisies white,
         And then for violets blue,
And took them all to bed at night
         That in the green fields grew,
         As childhood's sweet delight.
 
And then he shut his little eyes,
         And flowers would notice not;
Birds' nests and eggs caused no surprise,
         He now no blossoms got;
         They met with plaintive sighs.
 
When winter came and blasts did sigh,
         And bare were plain and tree,
As he for ease in bed did lie
         His soul seemed with the free,
         He died so quietly.
 
John Clare - 'The Dying Child'
 

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PERDITA

You'd be so lean, that blasts of January
Would blow you through and through.
Now, my fair'st friend,
I would I had some flowers o'th'spring, that might
Become your time of day - and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet
Your maidenheads growing: O Proserpina,
For the flowers now that, frighted, thou let'st fall
From Dis's wagon! Daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets, dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes
Or Cytherea's breath; pale primroses
That die unmarried ere they can behold
Bright Phoebus in his strength—a malady
Most incident to maids; bold oxlips and
The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds,
The flower-de-luce being one: O, these I lack,
To make you garlands of, and my sweet friend,
To strew him o'er and o'er!

 

Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale IV/iv

Edited by jfp

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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.
 
Matthew Arnold - from 'The Scholar-Gipsy'

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[...]

Oh! when I have hung
Above the raven's nest, by knots of grass
And half-inch fissures in the slippery rock
But ill sustain'd, and almost, as it seem'd,
Suspended by the blast which blew amain,
Shouldering the naked crag; Oh! at that time,
While on the perilous ridge I hung alone,
With what strange utterance did the loud dry wind
Blow through my ears! the sky seem'd not a sky
Of earth, and with what motion mov'd the clouds!
[...]
 
From: William Wordsworth, The Prelude (Book I)

 

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He did not wear his scarlet coat,

For blood and wine are red,

And blood and wine were on his hands

When they found him with the dead,

The poor dead woman whom he loved,

And murdered in her bed.

 

He walked amongst the Trial Men

In a suit of shabby grey;

A cricket cap was on his head,

And his step seemed light and gay;

But I never saw a man who looked

So wistfully at the day.

 

I never saw a man who looked

With such a wistful eye

Upon that little tent of blue

Which prisoners call the sky,

And at every drifting cloud that went

With sails of silver by.

 

I walked, with other souls in pain,

Within another ring,

And was wondering if the man had done

A great or little thing,

When a voice behind me whispered low,

"That fellow’s got to swing."

 

Oscar Wilde - from 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol'

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I

A traveller on the skirt of Sarum's Plain
Pursued his vagrant way, with feet half bare;
Stooping his gait, but not as if to gain
Help from the staff he bore; for mien and air
Were hardy, though his cheek seemed worn with care
Both of the time to come, and time long fled:
Down fell in straggling locks his thin grey hair;
A coat he wore of military red
But faded, and stuck o'er with many a patch and shred.

II
While thus he journeyed, step by step led on,
He saw and passed a stately inn, full sure
That welcome in such house for him was none.
No board inscribed the needy to allure
Hung there, no bush proclaimed to old and poor
And desolate, "Here you will find a friend!"
The pendent grapes glittered above the door;--
On he must pace, perchance 'till night descend,
Where'er the dreary roads their bare white lines extend.

[...]

 

William Wordsworth, "Guilt and Sorrow", stanzas I & II

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YET if His Majesty, our sovereign lord, 

Should of his own accord 

Friendly himself invite, 

And say 'I'll be your guest to-morrow night,' 

How should we stir ourselves, call and command        

All hands to work! 'Let no man idle stand! 

 

'Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall; 

See they be fitted all; 

Let there be room to eat 

And order taken that there want no meat. 

See every sconce and candlestick made bright, 

That without tapers they may give a light. 

 

'Look to the presence: are the carpets spread, 

The dazie o'er the head, 

The cushions in the chairs, 

And all the candles lighted on the stairs? 

Perfume the chambers, and in any case 

Let each man give attendance in his place!' 

 

Thus, if a king were coming, would we do; 

And 'twere good reason too; 

For 'tis a duteous thing 

To show all honour to an earthly king, 

And after all our travail and our cost, 

So he be pleased, to think no labour lost. 

 

But at the coming of the King of Heaven 

All 's set at six and seven; 

We wallow in our sin, 

Christ cannot find a chamber in the inn

We entertain Him always like a stranger, 

And, as at first, still lodge Him in the manger. 

 

Thought to be by Thomas Ford - 'Preparations'

 

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Now the festive season's ended

Comes the sequel parents dread;

Pale and visibly distended

Bilious Tommy lies in bed,

Face to face with retribution

And an outraged constitution.

 

What a change since, pink and perky

Tommy swiftly put away

Three enormous goes of turkey

At the feast on Christmas Day,

Getting by judicious bluffing

Double quantities of stuffing.

 

As to pudding, who could reckon

Tommy's load in terms of size?

Who attempt to keep a check on

Tommy's numberless mince pies?

Hopeless task! His present pallor

Proves his prodigies of valour.

 

Then I found him, notwithstanding

Such colossal feats as these,

After dinner on the landing

Secretly devouring cheese,

Flanked by ginger-beer-and-coffee,

Sweetened with a slab of toffee.

 

I, his uncle, gave him warning,

Showed him the error of his ways,

Hinted at tomorrow morning,

Talked about my boyhood days;

All in vain I waved the bogey

He despised me as a fogey.

 

Well, perhaps the pains he suffers

May be gifts of fairy gold,

Since he now says, 'Only duffers

Eat as much as they can hold.'

Thus, through physic and privations,

Tommy learns his limitations.

 

The Reckoning -  Published in 'Punch',  2 Jan 1907, author unknown

 

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MACBETH

Throw physic to the dogs; I'll none of it.
Come, put mine armour on; give me my staff.
Seyton, send out. Doctor, the thanes fly from me.
Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast
The water of my land, find her disease,
And purge it to a sound and pristine health,
I would applaud thee to the very echo,
That should applaud again.—Pull't off, I say.—
What rhubarb, cyme, or what purgative drug,
Would scour these English hence?

 

Shakespeare, Macbeth V/iii

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Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,

And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.

But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

 

T.S. Eliot - from 'Journey of the Magi'

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VI.

Most epic poets plunge "in medias res"
(Horace makes this the heroic turnpike road),
And then your hero tells, whene'er you please,
What went before--by way of episode,
While seated after dinner at his ease,
Beside his mistress in some soft abode,
Palace, or garden, paradise, or cavern,
Which serves the happy couple for a tavern.

 

VII.

That is the usual method, but not mine --
My way is to begin with the beginning;
The regularity of my design
Forbids all wandering as the worst of sinning,
And therefore I shall open with a line
(Although it cost me half an hour in spinning),
Narrating somewhat of Don Juan's father,
And also of his mother, if you'd rather.

 

Lord Byron, Don Juan, Canto I

Edited by jfp

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Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

 

T.S. Eliot - from 'East Coker'

 

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To write one song, I said,

As sad as the sad wind

That walks around my bed,

Having one simple fall

As a candle-flame swells, and is thinned,

As a curtain stirs by the wall

- For this I must visit the dead.

Headstone and wet cross,

Paths where the mourners tread,

A solitary bird,

These call up the shade of loss,

Shape word to word.

 

That stones would shine like gold

Above each sodden grave,

This, I had not foretold,

Nor the birds' clamour, nor

The image morning gave

Of more and ever more,

As some vast seven-piled wave,

Mane-flinging, manifold,

Streams at an endless shore.

 

Philip LARKIN

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It was like a church to me.
I entered it on soft foot,
Breath held like a cap in the hand.
It was quiet.
What God there was made himself felt,
Not listened to, in clean colours
That brought a moistening of the eye,
In a movement of the wind over grass.


There were no prayers said. But stillness
Of the heart’s passions — that was praise
Enough; and the mind’s cession
Of its kingdom. I walked on,
Simple and poor, while the air crumbled
And broke on me generously as bread.

 

R.S. Thomas - 'The Moor'

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HAMLET

‘A took my father grossly, full of bread,

With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May,

And how his audit stands who knows save heaven?

But in our circumstance and course of thought

’Tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged,

To take him in the purging of his soul,

When he is fit and season’d for his passage?

No!

Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent:

When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,

Or in th’ incestuous pleasure of his bed,

At game a-swearing, or about some act

That has no relish of salvation in’t —

Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,

And that his soul may be as damn’d and black

As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays,

This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.

 

Shakespeare, Hamlet III/iii

Edited by jfp

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In going to my naked bed, as one that would have slept,
I heard a wife sing to her child that long before had wept.
She sighed sore and sang full sweet to bring the babe to rest,
That would not cease but cried still in sucking at her breast.
She was full weary of her watch, and grieved with her child,
She rocked it and rated it till that on her it smiled:
Then did she say now have I found this proverb true to prove,
The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.

 

Richard Edwardes - from 'Amantium Irae' 

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And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
 
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
 
Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
 
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land.
 
William BLAKE, "Jerusalem"

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I've been trying to link to this all week.
 
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
 
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
 
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
 
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
 
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
 
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
 
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
 
Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
 
Alfred, Lord Tennyson - 'Ring Out, Wild Bells'
 

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Dogs, or men (for I flatter you in saying
That ye are dogs - your betters far), ye may
Read, or read not, what I am now essaying
To show ye what ye are in every way.
As little as the moon stops for the baying
Of wolves, will the bright Muse withdraw one ray
From out her skies. Then howl your idle wrath,
While she still silvers o'er your gloomy path!

 

'Fierce loves and faithless wars' - I am not sure
If this be the right reading - 'tis no matter.
The fact's about the same, I am secure.
I sing them both and am about to batter
A town which did a famous siege endure,
And was beleaguered both by land and water
By Suvaroff  or anglice Suwarrow,
Who loved blood as an alderman loves marrow.

 

Lord Byron, Don Juan, canto VII, stanzas 7 & 8

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Yet once more, O ye laurels, and once more
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude,
And with forc'd fingers rude
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
Bitter constraint and sad occasion dear
Compels me to disturb your season due;
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer.
Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.
He must not float upon his wat'ry bier
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
Without the meed of some melodious tear.
 
      Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring;
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string.
Hence with denial vain and coy excuse!
So may some gentle muse
With lucky words favour my destin'd urn,
And as he passes turn
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud!
 
John Milton - from 'Lycidas'
 

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