Thursday, March 31, 2011

Doubt me, my dim companion!



Doubt me, my dim companion!
Why, God would be content
With but a fraction of the love
Poured thee without a stint.
The whole of me, forever,
What more the woman can, --
Say quick, that I may dower thee
With last delight I own!

It cannot be my spirit,
For that was thine before;
I ceded all of dust I knew, --
What opulence the more
Had I, a humble maiden,
Whose farthest of degree
Was that she might,
Some distant heaven,
Dwell timidly with thee!

Emily Dickinson

As much as you can



And if you can't shape your life the way you want,
at least try as much as you can
not to degrade it
by too much contact with the world,
by too much activity and talk.

Try not to degrade it by dragging it along,
taking it around and exposing it so often
to the daily silliness
of social events and parties,
until it comes to seem a boring hanger-on.

Constantine P Cavafy

Beloved, Let Us Once More Praise The Rain



Beloved, let us once more praise the rain.
Let us discover some new alphabet,
For this, the often praised; and be ourselves,
The rain, the chickweed, and the burdock leaf,
The green-white privet flower, the spotted stone,
And all that welcomes the rain; the sparrow too,—
Who watches with a hard eye from seclusion,
Beneath the elm-tree bough, till rain is done.
There is an oriole who, upside down,
Hangs at his nest, and flicks an orange wing,—
Under a tree as dead and still as lead;
There is a single leaf, in all this heaven
Of leaves, which rain has loosened from its twig:
The stem breaks, and it falls, but it is caught
Upon a sister leaf, and thus she hangs;
There is an acorn cup, beside a mushroom
Which catches three drops from the stooping cloud.
The timid bee goes back to the hive; the fly
Under the broad leaf of the hollyhock
Perpends stupid with cold; the raindark snail
Surveys the wet world from a watery stone...
And still the syllables of water whisper:
The wheel of cloud whirs slowly: while we wait
In the dark room; and in your heart I find
One silver raindrop,—on a hawthorn leaf,—
Orion in a cobweb, and the World.

Conrad Potter Aiken

Hymns to the Night : 3



Once when I was shedding bitter tears, when, dissolved in pain, my hope was melting away, and I stood alone by the barren mound which in its narrow dark bosom hid the vanished form of my life -- lonely as never yet was lonely man, driven by anxiety unspeakable -- powerless, and no longer anything but a conscious misery. -- As there I looked about me for help, unable to go on or to turn back, and clung to the fleeting, extinguished life with an endless longing: -- then, out of the blue distances -- from the hills of my ancient bliss, came a shiver of twilight -- and at once snapt the bond of birth -- the chains of the Light. Away fled the glory of the world, and with it my mourning -- the sadness flowed together into a new, unfathomable world -- Thou, Night-inspiration, heavenly Slumber, didst come upon me -- the region gently upheaved itself; over it hovered my unbound, newborn spirit. The mound became a cloud of dust -- and through the cloud I saw the glorified face of my beloved. In her eyes eternity reposed -- I laid hold of her hands, and the tears became a sparkling bond that could not be broken. Into the distance swept by, like a tempest, thousands of years. On her neck I welcomed the new life with ecstatic tears. It was the first, the only dream -- and just since then I have held fast an eternal, unchangeable faith in the heaven of the Night, and its Light, the Beloved.

Novalis

The Myth of Arthur



O learned man who never learned to learn,
Save to deduce, by timid steps and small,
From towering smoke that fire can never burn
And from tall tales that men were never tall.
Say, have you thought what manner of man it is
Of who men say "He could strike giants down" ?
Or what strong memories over time's abyss
Bore up the pomp of Camelot and the crown.
And why one banner all the background fills,
Beyond the pageants of so many spears,
And by what witchery in the western hills
A throne stands empty for a thousand years.
Who hold, unheeding this immense impact,
Immortal story for a mortal sin;
Lest human fable touch historic fact,
Chase myths like moths, and fight them with a pin.
Take comfort; rest--there needs not this ado.
You shall not be a myth, I promise you.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

The Fairy



Said Ann to Matilda, 'I wish that we knew
If what we've been reading of fairies be true.
Do you think that the poet himself had a sight of
The fairies he here does so prettily write of?
O what a sweet sight if he really had seen
The graceful Titania, the Fairy-land Queen!
If I had such dreams, I would sleep a whole year;
I would not wish to wake while a fairy was near.-
Now I'll fancy that I in my sleep have been seeing
A fine little delicate lady-like being,
Whose steps and whose motions so light were and airy,
I knew at one glance that she must be a fairy.
Her eyes they were blue, and her fine curling hair
Of the lightest of browns, her complexion more fair
Than I e'er saw a woman's; and then for her height,
I verily think that she measured not quite
Two feet, yet so justly proportioned withal,
I was almost persuaded to think she was tall.
Her voice was the little thin note of a sprite-
There-d'ye think I have made out a fairy aright?
You'll confess, I believe, I've not done it amiss.'
'Pardon me,' said Matilda, 'I find in all this
Fine description, you've only your young sister Mary
Been taking a copy of here for a fairy.'

Charles Lamb

A Woman’s Sonnets: VIII



I sue thee not for pity on my case.
If I have sinned, the judgment has begun.
My joy was but one day of all the days,
And clouds have blotted it and hid the sun.
Thou wert so much to me! But soon I knew
How small a part could mine be in thy life,
That all a woman may endure or do
Counts little to her hero in the strife.
I do not blame thee who deserved no blame;
Thou hast so many worlds within thy ken.
I staked my all upon a losing game,
Knowing the nature and the needs of men,
And knowing too how quickly pride is spent.
With open eyes to Love and Death I went.

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Dinah in Heaven



She did not know that she was dead,
But, when the pang was o'er,
Sat down to wait her Master's tread
Upon the Golden Floor,

With ears full-cock and anxious eye
Impatiently resigned;
But ignorant that Paradise
Did not admit her kind.

Persons with Haloes, Harps, and Wings
Assembled and reproved;
Or talked to her of Heavenly things,
But Dinah never moved.

There was one step along the Stair
That led to Heaven's Gate;
And, till she heard it, her affair
Was--she explained--to wait.

And she explained with flattened ear,
Bared lip and milky tooth--
Storming against Ithuriel's Spear
That only proved her truth!

Sudden--far down the Bridge of Ghosts
That anxious spirits clomb--
She caught that step in all the hosts,
And knew that he had come.

She left them wondering what to do,
But not a doubt had she.
Swifter than her own squeal she flew
Across the Glassy Sea;

Flushing the Cherubs every where,
And skidding as she ran,
She refuged under Peter's Chair
And waited for her man.

. . . . . . .

There spoke a Spirit out of the press,
'Said:--"Have you any here
That saved a fool from drunkenness,
And a coward from his fear?

"That turned a soul from dark to day
When other help was vain;
That snatched it from Wanhope and made
A cur a man again?"

"Enter and look," said Peter then,
And set The Gate ajar.
"If know aught of women and men
I trow she is not far."

"Neither by virtue, speech nor art
Nor hope of grace to win;
But godless innocence of heart
That never heard of sin:

"Neither by beauty nor belief
Nor white example shown.
Something a wanton--more a thief--
But--most of all--mine own."

"Enter and look," said Peter then,
"And send you well to speed;
But, for all that I know of women and men
Your riddle is hard to read."

Then flew Dinah from under the Chair,
Into his arms she flew--
And licked his face from chin to hair
And Peter passed them through!

Rudyard Kipling

Regret



There's a regret that from my bosom aye
Wrings forth a dirgy sweetness, like a rain
Of deathward love; that ever in my brain
Uttereth such tones as in some foregone way
Seem gathered from the harmonies that start
Into the dayspring, when some rarest view
Unveileth its Tempèan grace anew
To meet the sun—the great world’s fervent heart.
’Tis that, though living in his tuneful day,
My boyhood might not see the gentle smile,
Nor hear the voice of Shelley; that away
His soul had journeyed, ere I might beguile
In my warm youth, by some fraternal lay,
One thought of his towards this may native isle.

Charles Harpur

The Poplar Field



'The poplars are fell'd: farewell to the shade,
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.

'Twelve years have elapsed, since I last took a view
Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew;
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat, that once lent me a shade.

'The blackbird has fled to another retreat,
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat,
And the scene where his melody charm'd me before
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.

'My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.

''Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Tho' his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,
Have a being less durable even than he.'

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton

To E---



Let Folly smile, to view the names
Of thee and me in friendship twined;
Yet Virtue will have greater claims
To love, than rank with vice combined.

And though unequal is thy fate,
Since title deck'd my higher claims
Yet envy not this gaudy state;
Thine is the pride of modest worth.

Our souls at least congenial meet,
Nor can thy lot my rank disgrace;
Our intercourse is not less sweet,
Since worth of rank supplies the place.

November 1802

Lord George Gordon Byron

To A Husband



Brighter than fireflies upon the Uji River
Are your words in the dark, Beloved.

Amy Lowell

The Quadroon Girl



The Slaver in the broad lagoon
Lay moored with idle sail;
He waited for the rising moon,
And for the evening gale.

Under the shore his boat was tied,
And all her listless crew
Watched the gray alligator slide
Into the still bayou.

Odors of orange-flowers, and spice,
Reached them from time to time,
Like airs that breathe from Paradise
Upon a world of crime.

The Planter, under his roof of thatch,
Smoked thoughtfully and slow;
The Slaver's thumb was on the latch,
He seemed in haste to go.

He said, 'My ship at anchor rides
In yonder broad lagoon;
I only wait the evening tides,
And the rising of the moon.'

Before them, with her face upraised,
In timid attitude,
Like one half curious, half amazed,
A Quadroon maiden stood.

Her eyes were large, and full of light,
Her arms and neck were bare;
No garment she wore save a kirtle bright,
And her own long, raven hair.

And on her lips there played a smile
As holy, meek, and faint,
As lights in some cathedral aisle
The features of a saint.

'The soil is barren,--the farm is old,'
The thoughtful planter said;
Then looked upon the Slaver's gold,
And then upon the maid.

His heart within him was at strife
With such accurséd gains:
For he knew whose passions gave her life,
Whose blood ran in her veins.

But the voice of nature was too weak;
He took the glittering gold!
Then pale as death grew the maiden's cheek,
Her hands as icy cold.

The Slaver led her from the door,
He led her by the hand,
To be his slave and paramour
In a strange and distant land!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Give all

Give all to love; obey thy heart.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Free

"Only the educated are free."

Epictetus

A lover for life

Find the person who will love you because of your differences and not in spite of them and you have found a lover for life.

Leo Buscaglia

Management

So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.

Peter Drucker

Good advice

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.

Wilde, Oscar

Troubled seas

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put on the troubled seas of thought.

Galbraith, John Kenneth

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

First Farewell to J.G.



Farewell my dearer half, joy of my heart,
Heaven only knows how loth I am to part:
Whole Months but hours seem, when you are here,
When absent, every Minute is a Year:
Might I but always see thy charming Face
I'de live on Racks, and wish no easier place.
But we must part, your Interest says we must;
Fate, me no longer with such Treasure trust.
I wou'd not tax you with Inconstancy,
Yet Strephon, you are not so kind as I:
No Interest, no nor Fate it self has pow'r
To tempt me from the Idol I adore:
But since you needs will go, may Africk be
Kinder to you, than Europe is to me:
May all you meet and every thing you view
Give you such Transport as I met in you.
May no sad thoughts disturb your quiet mind,
Except you'l think of her you left behind.

by 'Ephelia'

I had a guinea golden



I had a guinea golden;
I lost it in the sand,
And though the sum was simple,
And pounds were in the land,
Still had it such a value
Unto my frugal eye,
That when I could not find it
I sat me down to sigh.

I had a crimson robin
Who sang full many a day,
But when the woods were painted
He, too, did fly away.
Time brought me other robins, --
Their ballads were the same, --
Still for my missing troubadour
I kept the 'house at hame.'

I had a star in heaven;
One Pleiad was its name,
And when I was not heeding
It wandered from the same.
And though the skies are crowded,
And all the night ashine,
I do not care about it,
Since none of them are mine.

My story has a moral:
I have a missing friend, --
Pleiad its name, and robin,
And guinea in the sand, --
And when this mournful ditty,
Accompanied with tear,
Shall meet the eye of traitor
In country far from here,
Grant that repentance solemn
May seize upon his mind,
And he no consolation
Beneath the sun may find.

Emily Dickinson

The Psalm Of Life



What the heart of the young man said to the psalmist
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!--
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Wind



He shouts in the sails of the ships at sea,
He steals the down from the honeybee,
He makes the forest trees rustle and sing,
He twirls my kite till it breaks its string.
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.
He calls up the fog and hides the hills,
He whirls the wings of the great windmills,
The weathercocks love him and turn to discover
His whereabouts -- but he's gone, the rover!
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.

The pine trees toss him their cones with glee,
The flowers bend low in courtesy,
Each wave flings up a shower of pearls,
The flag in front of the school unfurls.
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.

Amy Lowell

To D--



In thee I fondly hoped to clasp
A friend whom death alone could sever;
Till envy, with malignant grasp,
Detach'd thee from my breast for ever.

True, she has forced thee from my breast,
Yet in my heart thou keep'st thy seat;
There, there thine image still must rest,
Until that heart shall cease to beat.

And when the grave restored her dead,
When life again to dust is given,
On thy dear breast I'll lay my head--
Without thee where would be my heaven?

February 1803

Lord George Gordon Byron

The Poet’s Choice



I.

'Twas in youth, that hour of dreaming;
Round me, visions fair were beaming,
Golden fancies, brightly gleaming,
Such as start to birth
When the wandering restless mind,
Drunk with beauty, thinks to find
Creatures of a fairy kind
Realised on Earth!
II.

Then, for me, in every dell
Hamadryads seem'd to dwell
(They who die, as Poets tell,
Each with her own tree);
And sweet mermaids, low reclining,
Dim light through their grottos shining,
Green weeds round their soft limbs twinng,
Peopled the deep Sea.
III.

Then, when moon and stars were fair,
Nymph-like visions fill'd the air,
With blue wings and golden hair
Bending from the skies;
And each cave by echo haunted
In its depth of shadow granted,
Brightly, the Egeria wanted,
To my eager eyes.
IV.

But those glories pass'd away;
Earth seem'd left to dull decay,
And my heart in sadness lay,
Desolate, uncheer'd;
Like one wrapt in painful sleeping,
Pining, thirsting, waaking, weeping,
Watsh thro' Life's dark midnight keeping,
Till THY form appear'd!
V.

THEN my soul, whose erring measure
Knew not where to find true pleasure
Woke and seized the golden treasure
Of thy human love;
And, looking on thy radiant brow,
My lips in gladness breathed the vow
Which angels, not more fair than thou,
Have register'd above.
VI.

And now I take my quiet rest,
With my head upon thy breast,
I will make no fiurther quest
In Fancy's realms of light;
Fay, nor nymph, nor wingēd spirit,
Shall my store of love inherit;
More thy mortal charm doth merit
Than dream, however bright:
VII.

And my soul,-like some sweet bird
Whose song at summer eve is heard,
When the breeze, so lightly stirr'd,
Leaves the branch unbent,--
Sits and all-triumphant sings,
Folding up her brooding wings,
And gazing out on earthly things
With a calm content.

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton

Records of Romantic Passion



THERE’S a rare Soul of Poesy which may be
But concentrated by the chastened dreams
Of constant hearts. Where’er the ministry
Of beautiful Nature hath enhanced the themes
Of some Petrarchian mind whose story gleams
Within the Past like a moon-silvered sea,
Or where grey Interest the spirit free
Of faithful Love hath caged in iron schemes,
Or round it stirr’d such dangers as o’erdrove
Long Ruin’s storm at last—there evermore
The very airs that whisper to the grove,
The echo’s mystery and the streamlet’s lore
Savour of Passion and transfusive pour
Abroad suggestions to heroic Love.

Charles Harpur

Delilah



We have another viceroy now, -- those days are dead and done
Of Delilah Aberyswith and depraved Ulysses Gunne.


Delilah Aberyswith was a lady -- not too young --
With a perfect taste in dresses and a badly-bitted tongue,
With a thirst for information, and a greater thirst for praise,
And a little house in Simla in the Prehistoric Days.

By reason of her marriage to a gentleman in power,
Delilah was acquainted with the gossip of the hour;
And many little secrets, of the half-official kind,
Were whispered to Delilah, and she bore them all in mind.

She patronized extensively a man, Ulysses Gunne,
Whose mode of earning money was a low and shameful one.
He wrote for certain papers, which, as everybody knows,
Is worse than serving in a shop or scaring off the crows.

He praised her "queenly beauty" first; and, later on, he hinted
At the "vastness of her intellect" with compliment unstinted.
He went with her a-riding, and his love for her was such
That he lent her all his horses and -- she galled them very much.

One day, THEY brewed a secret of a fine financial sort;
It related to Appointments, to a Man and a Report.
'Twas almost wortth the keeping, -- only seven people knew it --
And Gunne rose up to seek the truth and patiently ensue it.

It was a Viceroy's Secret, but -- perhaps the wine was red --
Perhaps an Aged Concillor had lost his aged head --
Perhaps Delilah's eyes were bright -- Delilah's whispers sweet --
The Aged Member told her what 'twere treason to repeat.

Ulysses went a-riding, and they talked of love and flowers;
Ulysses went a-calling, and he called for several hours;
Ulysses went a-waltzing, and Delilah helped him dance --
Ulysses let the waltzes go, and waited for his chance.

The summer sun was setting, and the summer air was still,
The couple went a-walking in the shade of Summer Hill.
The wasteful sunset faded out in turkis-green and gold,
Ulysses pleaded softly, and . . . that bad Delilah told!

Next morn, a startled Empire learnt the all-important news;
Next week, the Aged Councillor was shaking in his shoes.
Next month, I met Delilah and she did not show the least
Hesitation in affirming that Ulysses was a "beast."

* * * * *

We have another Viceroy now, those days are dead and done --
Off, Delilah Aberyswith and most mean Ulysses Gunne!

Rudyard Kipling

A Woman’s Sonnets: VII



What have I gained? A little charity?
I never more may dare to fling a stone
At any weakness, nor make boast that I
A better fence or fortitude had shown;
Some learning? I in love's lore have grown wise,
Plucked apples of the evil and the good,
Made one short trespass into Paradise
And known the full taste of forbidden food.
But love, if it be gold, has much alloy,
And I would gladly buy back ignorance,
But for the thought which still is my heart's joy
That once your life grew happier in my hands,
That in your darkest and most troubled hour
I had, like Jesse's son, a soothing power.

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

The Confidant



Anna was always full of thought
As if she'd many sorrows known,
Yet mostly her full heart was fraught
With troubles that were not her own;
For the whole school to Anna used to tell
Whatever small misfortunes unto them befell.

And being so by all beloved,
That all into her bosom poured
Their dearest secrets, she was moved
To pity all-her heart a hoard,
Or storehouse, by this means became for all
The sorrows can to girls of tender age befall.

Though individually not much
Distress throughout the school prevailed,
Yet as she shared it all, 'twas such
A weight of woe that her assailed,
She lost her colour, loathed her food, and grew
So dull, that all their confidence from her withdrew.

Releasëd from her daily care,
No longer listening to complaint,
She seems to breathe a different air,
And health once more her cheek does paint.
Still Anna loves her friends, but will not hear
Again their list of grievances which cost so dear.

Charles Lamb

Gold Leaves



Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.

In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.

But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.

In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Hymns to the Night : 2



Must the morning always return? Will the despotism of the earthly never cease? Unholy activity consumes the angel-visit of the Night. Will the time never come when Love's hidden sacrifice shall burn eternally? To the Light a season was set; but everlasting and boundless is the dominion of the Night. -- Endless is the duration of sleep. Holy Sleep -- gladden not too seldom in this earthly day-labor, the devoted servant of the Night. Fools alone mistake thee, knowing nought of sleep but the shadow which, in the twilight of the real Night, thou pitifully castest over us. They feel thee not in the golden flood of the grapes -- in the magic oil of the almond tree -- and the brown juice of the poppy. They know not that it is thou who hauntest the bosom of the tender maiden, and makest a heaven of her lap -- never suspect it is thou, opening the doors to Heaven, that steppest to meet them out of ancient stories, bearing the key to the dwellings of the blessed, silent messenger of secrets infinite.

Novalis

Annihilation



While the blue noon above us arches,
And the poplar sheds disconsolate leaves,
Tell me again why love bewitches,
And what love gives.

It is the trembling finger that traces
The eyebrow’s curve, the curve of the cheek?
The mouth that quivers, when the hand caresses,
But cannot speak?

No, not these, not in these is hidden
The secret, more than in other things:
Not only the touch of a hand can gladden
Till the blood sings.

It is the leaf that falls between us,
The bells that murmur, the shadows that move,
The autumnal sunlight that fades upon us:
These things are love.

It is the ‘No, let us sit here longer,’
The ‘Wait till tomorrow,’ the ‘Once I knew —’
These trifles, said as I touch your finger,
And the clock strikes two.

The world is intricate, and we are nothing.
It is the complex world of grass,
A twig on the path, a look of loathing,
Feelings that pass —

These are the secret! And I could hate you,
When, as I lean for another kiss,
I see in your eyes that I do not meet you,
And that love is this.

Rock meeting rock can know love better
Than eyes that stare or lips that touch.
All that we know in love is bitter,
And it is not much.

Conrad Potter Aiken

Addition



I do not question whether I am happy or unhappy.
Yet there is one thing that I keep gladly in mind --
that in the great addition (their addition that I abhor)
that has so many numbers, I am not one
of the many units there. In the final sum
I have not been calculated. And this joy suffices me.

Constantine P Cavafy

Cheerfully

The man least dependent upon the morrow goes to meet the morrow most cheerfully.

Epicurus

Requirement

The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth.

Johann W. von Goethe

Macrocosm

In form you are the microcosm;
in reality you are the macrocosm.

Rumi

Opposite

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Evil

There is hardly a man clever enough to recognize the full extent of the evil he does.

La Rochefoucauld, Francois De

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

According to the Formulas of the Ancient Grecosyrian Magi



"What distillate can be discovered from herbs
of a witching brew," said an aesthete,
"what distillate prepared according
to the formulas of ancient Grecosyrian magi
which for a day (if no longer
its potency can last), or even for a short time
can bring my twenty three years to me
again; can bring my friend of twenty two
to me again -- his beauty, his love.

"What distillate prepared according
to the formulas of ancient Grecosyrian magi
which, in bringing back these things,
can also bring back our little room."

Constantine P Cavafy

All Lovely Things



All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
And youth, that's now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.

Fine ladies soon are all forgotten,
And goldenrod is dust when dead,
The sweetest flesh and flowers are rotten
And cobwebs tent the brightest head.

Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!--
But time goes on, and will, unheeding,
Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn,
And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.

Come back, true love! Sweet youth, remain!--
But goldenrod and daisies wither,
And over them blows autumn rain,
They pass, they pass, and know not whither.

Conrad Potter Aiken

Hymns to the Night : 1



Before all the wondrous shows of the widespread space around him, what living, sentient thing loves not the all-joyous light -- with its colors, its rays and undulations, its gentle omnipresence in the form of the wakening Day? The giant-world of the unresting constellations inhales it as the innermost soul of life, and floats dancing in its blue flood -- the sparkling, ever-tranquil stone, the thoughtful, imbibing plant, and the wild, burning multiform beast inhales it -- but more than all, the lordly stranger with the sense-filled eyes, the swaying walk, and the sweetly closed, melodious lips. Like a king over earthly nature, it rouses every force to countless transformations, binds and unbinds innumerable alliances, hangs its heavenly form around every earthly substance. -- Its presence alone reveals the marvelous splendor of the kingdoms of the world.

Aside I turn to the holy, unspeakable, mysterious Night. Afar lies the world -- sunk in a deep grave -- waste and lonely is its place. In the chords of the bosom blows a deep sadness. I am ready to sink away in drops of dew, and mingle with the ashes. -- The distances of memory, the wishes of youth, the dreams of childhood, the brief joys and vain hopes of a whole long life, arise in gray garments, like an evening vapor after the sunset. In other regions the light has pitched its joyous tents. What if it should never return to its children, who wait for it with the faith of innocence?

What springs up all at once so sweetly boding in my heart, and stills the soft air of sadness? Dost thou also take a pleasure in us, dark Night? What holdest thou under thy mantle, that with hidden power affects my soul? Precious balm drips from thy hand out of its bundle of poppies. Thou upliftest the heavy-laden wings of the soul. Darkly and inexpressibly are we moved -- joy-startled, I see a grave face that, tender and worshipful, inclines toward me, and, amid manifold entangled locks, reveals the youthful loveliness of the Mother. How poor and childish a thing seems to me now the Light -- how joyous and welcome the departure of the day -- because the Night turns away from thee thy servants, you now strew in the gulfs of space those flashing globes, to proclaim thy omnipotence -- thy return -- in seasons of thy absence. More heavenly than those glittering stars we hold the eternal eyes which the Night hath opened within us. Farther they see than the palest of those countless hosts -- needing no aid from the light, they penetrate the depths of a loving soul -- that fills a loftier region with bliss ineffable. Glory to the queen of the world, to the great prophet of the holier worlds, to the guardian of blissful love -- she sends thee to me -- thou tenderly beloved -- the gracious sun of the Night, -- now am I awake -- for now am I thine and mine -- thou hast made me know the Night -- made of me a man -- consume with spirit-fire my body, that I, turned to finer air, may mingle more closely with thee, and then our bridal night endure forever.

Novalis