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Poetic Wanderings


Claire
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On 28/08/2021 at 16:15, jfp said:

Thoughts that shuffle round like pence
Through each reign,
Wear down to their simplest sense,
Yet remain.

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.'

 

 

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“To make this condiment, your poet begs

The pounded yellow of two hard-boiled eggs;

Two boiled potatoes, passed through kitchen sieve,

Smoothness and softness to the salad give.

Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl,

And, half-suspected, animate the whole.

Of mordant mustard add a single spoon,

Distrust the condiment that bites so soon;

But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault,

To add a double quantity of salt.

Four times the spoon with oil from Lucca brown,

And twice with vineger procured from town;

And, lastly, o’er the flavored compound toss

A magic soupçon of anchovy sauce.

Oh, green and glorious! Oh, herbaceous treat!

‘Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat:

Back to the world he’d turn his fleeting soul,

And plunge his fingers in the salad bowl!

Serenely full, the epicure would say,

“Fate cannot harm me, I have dined to-day.”

 

 

Salad Recipe -Sydney Smith

 

 

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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'
 
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On 31/08/2021 at 19:21, Heather said:

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!

 

Heather: Oh yes, those flat old pennies, chunky twelve-sided "thruppenny bits", florins, half crowns etc. My grandfather had a groat (an old coin worth four pence... or rather fourpence...) I wonder what ever became of it: perhaps one of my cousins has it...

 

 

She dwelt among th' untrodden ways
    Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
    And very few to love:

 

A Violet by a mossy stone
    Half-hidden from the Eye!
— Fair, as a star when only one
    Is shining in the sky.

 

She lived unknown, and few could know
    When Lucy ceased to be;                                  
But she is in her Grave, and Oh!

    The difference to me.

 

William Wordsworth, "Song"

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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'

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IAGO

How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
And wit depends on dilatory time.
Does't not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee.
And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier'd Cassio:
Though other things grow fair against the sun,
Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:
Content thyself awhile. By the mass, 'tis morning;
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter:
Nay, get thee gone.
 

Shakespeare, Othello II/iii

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  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'
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Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o'er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer's honey breath hold out
Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

 

Shakespeare, Sonnet 65

 

(Not sure why this has appeared the way it has...)

 

Edited by jfp
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The radiance of the star that leans on me

Was shining years ago. The light that now

Glitters up there my eyes may never see,

And so the time lag teases me with how

 

Love that loves now may not reach me until

Its first desire is spent. The star's impulse

Must wait for eyes to claim it beautiful

And love arrived may find us somewhere else.

 

Delay - Elizabeth Jennings

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What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
 
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.
 
Edna St. Vincent Millay
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