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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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  • 2 weeks later...

It's gone very quiet here... So here's an old favourite:

 

"Whenever I plunge my arm, like this,
In a basin of water, I never miss
The sweet sharp sense of a fugitive day
Fetched back from the thickening shroud of grey.
    Hence the only prime
    And real love-rhyme
    That I know by heart
    And that leaves no smart,
Is the purl of a little valley fall
About three spans wide and two spans tall
Over a table of solid rock
And into a scoop of the self-same block;
The purl of a runlet that never ceases
In stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces;
With a hollow, boiling voice it speaks
And has spoken since hills were turfless peaks."

"And why gives this the only prime
Idea to you of a real love-rhyme?
And why does plunging your arm in a bowl
Full of spring water, bring throbs to your soul?"
"Well, under the fall, in a crease of the stone,
Though where precisely none ever has known,
Jammed darkly, nothing to show how prized,
And by now with its smoothness opalised,
    Is a drinking-glass:
    For, down that pass,
    My love and I
    Walked under a sky
Of blue with a leaf-wove awning of green,
In the burn of August, to paint the scene,
And we placed our basket of fruit and wine
By the runlet's rim, where we sat to dine;
And when we had drunk from the glass together,
Arched by the oak-copse from the weather,
I held the vessel to rinse in the fall,
Where it slipped, and sank, and was past recall,
Though we stooped and plumbed the little abyss
With long bared arms. There the glass still is.
And, as said, if I thrust my arm below
Cold water in basin or bowl, a throe
From the past awakens a sense of that time,
And the glass we used, and the cascade's rhyme.
The basin seems the pool, and its edge
The hard smooth face of the brook-side ledge,
And the leafy pattern of china-ware
The hanging plants that were bathing there.

"By night, by day, when it shines or lours,
There lies intact that chalice of ours,
And its presence adds to the rhyme of love
Persistently sung by the fall above.
No lip has touched it since his and mine
In turn therefrom sipped lovers' wine."

 

Thomas Hardy, "Under the Waterfall"

Edited by jfp
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6 hours ago, jfp said:

It's gone very quiet here...

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'

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  • 2 weeks later...
Glory be to God for dappled things –
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
 
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                Praise him.
 
Gerard Manley Hopkins, "Pied Beauty"
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I will go with my father a-ploughing 
To the green field by the sea, 
And the rooks and the crows and the seagulls 
Will come flocking after me. 
I will sing to the patient horses 
With the lark in the white of the air, 
And my father will sing the plough song 
That blesses the cleaving share. 

 

I will go with my father a-sowing 
To the red field by the sea, 
And the rooks and the gulls and the starlings 
Will come flocking after me. 
I will sing to the striding sowers 
With the finch on the greening sloe, 
And my father will sing the seed song 
That only the wise men know. 

 

I will go with my father a-reaping 
To the brown field by the sea, 
And the geese and the crows and the children 
Will come flocking after me. 

I will sing to the tan-faced reapers 
With the wren in the heat of the sun, 
And my father will sing the scythe song 
That joys for the harvest done.

 

Joseph Campbell - 'I will go with my father a-ploughing '

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Whaur yon broken brig hings owre;
Whaur yon water maks nae soun';
Babylon blaws by in stour:
Gang doun wi' a sang, gang doun.

Deep, owre deep, for onie drouth:
Wan eneuch an ye wud droun:
Saut, or seelfu', for the mouth;
Gang doun wi' a sang, gang doun.

Babylon blaws by in stour
Whaur yon water maks nae soun':
Darkness is your only door;
Gang doun wi' a sang, gang doun.

 

William Soutar - 'Song'

 

brig - bridge
stour - dust
drouth - drought
wan - dark (perhaps implying dangerous)
saut or seelfu' - salt or pleasant

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The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
         The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
         And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
 
Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight,
         And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
         And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
 
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
         The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
         Molest her ancient solitary reign.
 
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
         Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
         The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

 

Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (first four stanzas)

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There trudges one to a merry-making

With sturdy swing,

On whom the rain comes down.

 

To fetch the saving medicament

Is another bent,

On whom the rain comes down.

 

One slowly drives his herd to the stall

Ere ill befall,

On whom the rain comes down.

 

This bears his missives of life and death

With quickening breath,

On whom the rain comes down.

 

One watches for signals of wreck or war

From the hill afar,

On whom the rain comes down.

 

No care if he gain a shelter or none,

Unhired moves on,

On whom the rain comes down.

 

And another knows nought of its chilling fall

Upon him aat all,

On whom the rain comes down.

An Autumn Rain-Scene -Thomas Hardy

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  Weel mounted on his grey mare, Meg,—
A better never lifted leg,—
Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire,
Despising wind and rain and fire;
Whiles holding fast his guid blue bonnet,
Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet,
Whiles glowrin round wi' prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch him unawares.
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
 
         By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare in the snaw the chapman smoor'd;
And past the birks and meikle stane,
Whare drucken Charlie brak's neckbane:
And thro' the whins, and by the cairn,
Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel.
Before him Doon pours all his floods;
The doubling storm roars thro' the woods;
The lightnings flash from pole to pole,
Near and more near the thunders roll;
When, glimmering thro' the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze:
Thro' ilka bore the beams were glancing,
And loud resounded mirth and dancing.
 
         Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou can'st make us scorn!
Wi' tippenny we fear nae evil;
Wi' usquebae we'll face the devil!
The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle,
Fair play, he car'd na deils a boddle.
But Maggie stood right sair astonish'd,
Till, by the heel and hand admonish'd,
She ventur'd forward on the light;
And, wow! Tam saw an unco sight!
 
Robert Burns - from 'Tam O'Shanter'
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Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.
 
Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all,—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.
 
Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.
 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox, "Solitude"

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10 hours ago, megustaleer said:

How rude!!

Sorry, what's rude exactly?

 

My soul, there is a country
Far beyond the stars,
Where stands a wingèd sentry
All skilful in the wars:
 
There, above noise and danger,
Sweet Peace sits crown'd with smiles,
And One born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.
 
He is thy gracious Friend,
And—O my soul, awake!—
Did in pure love descend
To die here for thy sake.
 
If thou canst get but thither,
There grows the flower of Peace,
The Rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress, and thy ease.
 
Leave then thy foolish ranges;
For none can thee secure
But One who never changes—
Thy God, thy life, thy cure.
 
Henry Vaughan - 'My soul, there is a country'
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The Shepherd - William Blake C18

How sweet is the Shepherd's sweet lot

From the morn to the evening he strays;

He shall follow his sheep all the day,

And his tongue shall be filled with praise.

 

For he hears the lamb's innocent call,

And he hears the ewe's tender reply;

He is watchful while they are in peace,

For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.

 

The Shepherd - William Blake

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MACBETH

Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale! Light thickens; and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood:
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
While night's black agents to their preys do rouse.
Thou marvell'st at my words: but hold thee still;
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
 

Shakespeare, Macbeth III/ii

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On 19/10/2021 at 00:05, megustaleer said:

I, as "meg", was taking it personally

should have added a couple of ;);), but thought it was obvious.

Sorry, Meg - I honestly never thought of that!

 

Warlocks and witches in a dance;
Nae cotillion brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east,
There sat auld Nick, in shape o’ beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.—
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shaw’d the dead in their last dresses;
And by some devilish cantraip slight
Each in its cauld hand held a light.—
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer’s banes in gibbet airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristen’d bairns;
A thief, new-cutted frae a rape,
Wi’ his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi’ blude red-rusted;
Five scymitars, wi’ murder crusted;
A garter, which a babe had strangled;
A knife, a father’s throat had mangled,
Whom his ain son o’ life bereft,
The grey hairs yet stack to the heft;
Three lawyers’ tongues, turn’d inside out,
Wi’ lies seam’d like a beggar’s clout;
Three priests’ hearts, rotten, black as muck,
Lay stinking, vile in every neuk.

 

Robert Burns - from 'Tam O'Shanter'

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