Monday, October 31, 2011

Web of echoes

The stories that unfold in the space of a writer’s study, the objects chosen to watch over a desk, the books selected to sit on the shelves, all weave a web of echoes and reflections of meanings and affections, that lend a visitor the illusion that something of the owner of this space lives on between these walls, even if the owner is no more.

Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night

Do you fall in love often?



"Do you fall in love often?” Yes often. With a view, with a book, with a dog, a cat, with numbers, with friends, with complete strangers, with nothing at all."

Jeanette Winterson

Pleasant

"Be you writer or reader, it is very pleasant to run away in a book."

Jean Craighead George

If you care

If you care about what others think of you, then you will always be their slave.

James Frey

In books

In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.

Anna Quindlen

Strange girl

How can you be so many women to so many strange people, oh you strange girl?

Sylvia Plath

Stories

"We are the only animals that tell stories to understand the world we live in."

Salman Rushdie

The Witch



I have walked a great while over the snow,
And I am not tall nor strong.
My clothes are wet, and my teeth are set,
And the way was hard and long.
I have wandered over the fruitful earth,
But I never came here before.
Oh, lift me over the threshold, and let me in at the door!

The cutting wind is a cruel foe.
I dare not stand in the blast.
My hands are stone, and my voice a groan,
And the worst of death is past.
I am but a little maiden still,
My little white feet are sore.
Oh, lift me over the threshold, and let me in at the door!

Her voice was the voice that women have,
Who plead for their heart's desire.
She came—she came—and the quivering flame
Sunk and died in the fire.
It never was lit again on my hearth
Since I hurried across the floor,
To lift her over the threshold, and let her in at the door.

Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

Aubade



HARK! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With everything that pretty bin,
My lady sweet, arise!
Arise, arise!

William Shakespeare

Iseult Of Brittany



So delicate my hands, and long,
They might have been my pride.
And there were those to make them song
Who for their touch had died.

Too frail to cup a heart within,
Too soft to hold the free-
How long these lovely hands have been
A bitterness to me!


Dorothy Parker

Ever And Everywhere



FAR explore the mountain hollow,
High in air the clouds then follow!

To each brook and vale the Muse

Thousand times her call renews.

Soon as a flow'ret blooms in spring,
It wakens many a strain;

And when Time spreads his fleeting wing,

The seasons come again.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Song



O FLY not, Pleasure, pleasant-hearted Pleasure;
Fold me thy wings, I prithee, yet and stay:
For my heart no measure
Knows, nor other treasure
To buy a garland for my love to-day.

And thou, too, Sorrow, tender-hearted Sorrow,
Thou gray-eyed mourner, fly not yet away:
For I fain would borrow
Thy sad weeds to-morrow,
To make a mourning for love's yesterday.

The voice of Pity, Time's divine dear Pity,
Moved me to tears: I dared not say them nay,
But passed forth from the city,
Making thus my ditty
Of fair love lost for ever and a day.


Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Darest Thou Now O Soul



Darest thou now O soul,
Walk out with me toward the unknown region,
Where neither ground is for the feet nor any path to follow?

No map there, nor guide,
Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand,
Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips, are in that land.

I know it not O soul,
Nor dost thou, all is blank before us,
All waits undream'd of in that region, that inaccessible land.

Till when the ties loosen,
All but the ties eternal, Time and Space,
Nor darkness, gravitation, sense, nor any bounds bounding us.

Then we burst forth, we float,
In Time and Space O soul, prepared for them,
Equal, equipt at last, (O joy! O fruit of all!) them to fulfill O soul.


Walt Whitman

Where Be Ye Going, You Devon Maid?



WHERE be ye going, you Devon maid?
And what have ye there i' the basket?
Ye tight little fairy, just fresh from the dairy,
Will ye give me some cream if I ask it?

I love your meads, and I love your flowers,
And I love your junkets mainly,
But 'hind the door, I love kissing more,
O look not so disdainly!

I love your hills, and I love your dales,
And I love your flocks a-bleating;
But O, on the heather to lie together,
With both our hearts a-beating!

I'll put your basket all safe in a nook,
Your shawl I'll hang up on this willow,
And we will sigh in the daisy's eye,
And kiss on a grass-green pillow.


John Keats

Crisis is a Hair



Crisis is a Hair
Toward which the forces creep
Past which forces retrograde
If it come in sleep

To suspend the Breath
Is the most we can
Ignorant is it Life or Death
Nicely balancing.

Let an instant push
Or an Atom press
Or a Circle hesitate
In Circumference

It—may jolt the Hand
That adjusts the Hair
That secures Eternity
From presenting—Here—


Emily Dickinson

Camouflage



Camouflage is all the rage.
Ladies in their fight with age-
Soldiers in their fight with foes-
Demagogues who mask and pose
In the guise of statesmen-girls
Black of eyes with golden curls-
Politicians, votes in mind,
Smiling, affable and kind,
All use camouflage to-day.
As you go upon your way,
Walk with caution, move with care;
Camouflage is everywhere!


Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Poem 12



Open the temple gates vnto my loue,
Open them wide that she may enter in,
And all the postes adorne as doth behoue,
And all the pillours deck with girlands trim,
For to recyue this Saynt with honour dew,
That commeth in to you,
With trembling steps and humble reuerence,
She commeth in, before th'almighties vew,
Of her ye virgins learne obedience,
When so ye come into those holy places,
To humble your proud faces
Bring her vp to th'high altar that she may,
The sacred ceremonies there partake,
The which do endlesse matrimony make,
And let the roring Organs loudly play;
The praises of the Lord in liuely notes,
The whiles with hollow throates.
The Choristers the ioyous Antheme sing,
That al the woods may answere and their eccho ring


Edmund Spenser

Find

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

Crowd

The time when most of you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd.

Epicurus

Never too old

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

C S Lewis

I refuse

I refuse the compliment that I think like a man, thought has no sex, one either thinks or one does not.

Luce, Clare Boothe

Joy

Joy, has no cost.

Williamson, Marianne

Tangled web

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!

Sir Walter Scott

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Morning



1

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.

2

Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.

3

Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.

4

She says, 'I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?'
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven's hill, that has endured
As April's green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow's wings.

5

She says, 'But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.'
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.

6

Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.

7

Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feet shall manifest.

8

She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, 'The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.'
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

Wallace Stevens

Inventory



Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.

Four be the things I’d been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.

Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.

Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.


Dorothy Parker

Ergo Bibamus!



FOR a praiseworthy object we're now gather'd here,

So, brethren, sing: ERGO BIBAMUS!
Tho' talk may be hush'd, yet the glasses ring clear,

Remember then: ERGO BIBAMUS!
In truth 'tis an old, 'tis an excellent word,
With its sound so befitting each bosom is stirr'd,
And an echo the festal hall filling is heard,

A glorious ERGO BIBAMUS!

I saw mine own love in her beauty so rare,

And bethought me of: ERGO BIBAMUS;
So I gently approach'd, and she let me stand there,

While I help'd myself, thinking: BIBAMUS!
And when she's appeased, and will clasp you and kiss,
Or when those embraces and kisses ye miss,
Take refuge, till sound is some worthier bliss,

In the comforting ERGO BIBAMUS!

I am call'd by my fate far away from each friend;

Ye loved ones, then: ERGO BIBAMUS!
With wallet light-laden from hence I must wend.

So double our ERGO BIBAMUS!
Whate'er to his treasures the niggard may add,
Yet regard for the joyous will ever be had,
For gladness lends over its charms to the glad,

So, brethren, sing; ERGO BIBAMUS!

And what shall we say of to-day as it flies?

I thought but of: ERGO BIBAMUS
'Tis one of those truly that seldom arise,

So again and again sing: BIBAMUS!
For joy through a wide-open portal it guides,
Bright glitter the clouds, as the curtain divides,
An a form, a divine one, to greet us in glides,

While we thunder our: ERGO BIBAMUS!


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

She Shall Not Guess



Even if I died no sound should tell it her.
Death babbles, but the calm of her dear eyes
In vain would ask, no tell--tale breath should stir
The lips still treasuring a thought unwise.
How vain my life has been in its disguise,
Left unregarded, her least pensioner,
Yielding to all, unasking even with sighs
The dole of hope not Heaven could quite confer.
--To--day behold me on this page her name
Over my own inscribing, with no prayer,
Nor daring even to kneel in my distress.
What I have written in this candle's flame
Shrinks ere 'tis finished, and the incensed air
Bears but betrays it not. She shall not guess.


Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

City Of Ships



CITY of ships!
(O the black ships! O the fierce ships!
O the beautiful, sharp-bow'd steam-ships and sail-ships!)
City of the world! (for all races are here;
All the lands of the earth make contributions here;)
City of the sea! city of hurried and glittering tides!
City whose gleeful tides continually rush or recede, whirling in and
out, with eddies and foam!
City of wharves and stores! city of tall façades of marble and iron!
Proud and passionate city! mettlesome, mad, extravagant city!
Spring up, O city! not for peace alone, but be indeed yourself,
warlike! 10
Fear not! submit to no models but your own, O city!
Behold me! incarnate me, as I have incarnated you!
I have rejected nothing you offer'd me--whom you adopted, I have
adopted;
Good or bad, I never question you--I love all--I do not condemn
anything;
I chant and celebrate all that is yours--yet peace no more;
In peace I chanted peace, but now the drum of war is mine;
War, red war, is my song through your streets, O city!


Walt Whitman

When I Have Fears



When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;--then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.


John Keats

Could—I do more—for Thee



Could—I do more—for Thee—
Wert Thou a Bumble Bee—
Since for the Queen, have I—
Nought but Bouquet?


Emily Dickinson

By-And-Bye



‘By-and-bye, ’ the maiden sighed – ‘by-and-bye
He will claim me for his bride,
Hope is strong and time is fleet;
Youth is fair, and love is sweet,
Clouds will pass that fleck my sky,
He will come back by-and-bye.’

‘By-and-bye, ’ the soldier said – ‘by-and-bye,
After I have fought and bled,
I shall go home from the wars,
Crowned with glory, seamed with scars,
Joy will flash from some one’s eye
When she greets me by-and-bye- by-and-bye.’

‘By-and-bye, ’ the mother cried – ‘by-and-bye,
Strong and sturdy at my side,
Like a staff supporting me,
Will my bonnie baby be.
Break my rest, then, wail and cry –
Thou’lt repay me by-and-bye - by-and-bye.’

Fleeting years of time have sped – hurried by –
Still the maiden is unwed:
All unknown soldier lies,
Buried under alien skies;
And the son, with blood-shot eye,
Saw his mother starve and die.
God in heaven! dost Thou on high
Keep the promised ‘by-and-bye’ - by-and-bye?


Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Poem 11



BVt if ye saw that which no eyes can see,
The inward beauty of her liuely spright,
Garnisht with heauenly guifts of high degree,
Much more then would ye wonder at that sight,
And stand astonisht lyke to those which red
Medusaes mazeful hed.
There dwels sweet loue and constant chastity,
Vnspotted fayth and comely womanhood,
Regard of honour and mild modesty,
There vertue raynes as Queene in royal throne,
And giueth lawes alone.
The which the base affections doe obay,
And yeeld theyr seruices vnto her will
Ne thought of thing vncomely euer may
Thereto approch to tempt her mind to ill.
Had ye once seene these her celestial threasures,
And vnreuealed pleasures,
Then would ye wonder and her prayses sing,
That al the woods should answer and your echo ring.


Edmund Spenser

Gifts



You ask me what since we must part
You shall bring back to me.
Bring back a pure and faithful heart
As true as mine to thee.
You talk of gems from foreign lands,
Of treasure, spoil, and prize.
Ah love! I shall not search your hands
But look into your eyes.

Juliana Horatia Ewing

Good

You're dealing with the demon of external validation. You can't beat external validation. You want to know why? Because it feels sooo good.

Barbara Hall

Qualities

Nothing endures but personal qualities.

Walt Whitman

Either

"You're either part of the solution or part of the problem"

Eldridge Cleaver

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In love

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.

William Blake

No right

"I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime."

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Possessive

"Books can be possessive, can’t they? You’re walking around in a bookstore and a certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to get your attention. Sometimes what’s inside will change your life, but sometimes you don’t even have to read it. Sometimes it’s a comfort just to have a book around. Many of these books haven’t even had their spines cracked. ‘Why do you buy books you don’t even read?’ our daughter asks us. That’s like asking someone who lives alone why they bought a cat. For company, of course."

Sarah Addison Allen

I am not absentminded



"I am not absentminded. It is the presence of mind that makes me unaware of everything else."

G.K. Chesterton

Axe

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.If the book we are reading doesn’t wakes us up with blow on the head,what are we reading it for? We need the books that affect us like a disaster,that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide.A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”

Franz Kafka

A thing with many colors

"Do you never pick up the world as a child picks up a crystal globe – a thing of many colours? Do you never love this ridiculous world of ours? The wicked and the good of it? The thieves and angels of it?"

Mervyn Peake

From the Dark Tower



We shall not always plant while others reap
The golden increment of bursting fruit,
Not always countenance, abject and mute,
That lesser men should hold their brothers cheap;
Not everlastingly while others sleep
Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute,
Not always bend to some more subtle brute;
We were not made to eternally weep.
The night whose sable breast relieves the stark,
White stars is no less lovely being dark,
And there are buds that cannot bloom at all
In light, but crumple, piteous, and fall;
So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds,
And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.

Countée Cullen

Poem 10



Tell me ye merchants daughters did ye see
So fayre a creature in your towne before,
So sweet, so louely, and so mild as she,
Adornd with beautyes grace and vertues store,
Her goodly eyes lyke Saphyres shining bright,
Her forehead yuory white,
Her cheekes lyke apples which the sun hath rudded,
Her lips lyke cherryes charming men to byte,
Her brest like to a bowle of creame vncrudded,
Her paps lyke lyllies budded,
Her snowie necke lyke to a marble towre,
And allher body like a pallace fayre,
Ascending vppe with many a stately stayre,
To honors seat and chastities sweet bowre.
Why stand ye still ye virgins in amaze,
Vpon her so to gaze,
Whiles ye forget your former lay to sing,
To which the woods did answer and your eccho ring


Edmund Spenser

But One



The year has but one June, dear friend;
The year has but one June;
And when that perfect month doth end,
The robin's song, though loud, though long,
Seems never quite in tune.
The rose, though still its blushing face
By bee and bird is seen,
May yet have lost that subtle grace—
That nameless spell the winds know
Which makes it garden's queen.
Life's perfect June, love's red, red rose,
Have burned and bloomed for me.
Though still youth's summer sunlight glows;
Though thou art kind, dear friend, I find
I have no heart for thee.


Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Could live—did live



Could live—did live—
Could die—did die—
Could smile upon the whole
Through faith in one he met not,
To introduce his soul.

Could go from scene familiar
To an untraversed spot—
Could contemplate the journey
With unpuzzled heart—

Such trust had one among us,
Among us not today—
We who saw the launching
Never sailed the Bay!


Emily Dickinson

Two Sonnets. To Haydon, With A Sonnet Written On Seeing The Elgin Marbles



I.
Haydon! forgive me that I cannot speak
Definitively of these mighty things;
Forgive me, that I have not eagle's wings,
That what I want I know not where to seek,
And think that I would not be over-meek,
In rolling out upfollowed thunderings,
Even to the steep of Heliconian springs,
Were I of ample strength for such a freak.
Think, too, that all these numbers should be thine;
Whose else? In this who touch thy vesture's hem?
For, when men stared at what was most divine
With brainless idiotism and o'erwise phlegm,
Thou hadst beheld the full Hesperian shine
Of their star in the east, and gone to worship them.

II. On Seeing The Elgin Marbles.

My spirit is too weak - mortality
Weighs heavily upon me like unwilling sleep,
And each imagined pinnacle and steep
Of godlike hardship tells me I must die
Like a sick eagle looking at the sky.
Yet 'tis a gentle luxury to weep
That I have not the cloudy winds to keep,
Fresh for the opening of the morning's eye.
Such dim-conceived glories of the brain
Bring round the heart an undescribable feud;
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,
That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude
Wasting of old Time -- with a billowy main --
A sun -- a shadow of a magnitude.


John Keats

City Of Orgies



CITY of orgies, walks and joys!
City whom that I have lived and sung in your midst will one day make
you illustrious,
Not the pageants of you--not your shifting tableaux, your spectacles,
repay me;
Not the interminable rows of your houses--nor the ships at the
wharves,
Nor the processions in the streets, nor the bright windows, with
goods in them;
Nor to converse with learn'd persons, or bear my share in the soiree
or feast;
Not those--but, as I pass, O Manhattan! your frequent and swift flash
of eyes offering me love,
Offering response to my own--these repay me;
Lovers, continual lovers, only repay me.


Walt Whitman

Sea-Lavender



Lavender, sea lavender!
Pale sweet flower how full of her!
Flower discreet, with your priest's eyes
Trained in all time's mysteries,
Yet how chastely calmly sealed!
Flower of passions unrevealed,
Stainless eyes, but none the less
Wise in life's most nakedness,
With its inward hours of sin,
Known to thee, and all therein;
And how soul with soul found might,
In the watches of the night,
Cherishing an unseen joy,
Man with woman, girl with boy,
Under the sky's multitude,
Till the pulsings of their blood
Led them into ways unknown,
Flesh of flesh and bone of bone
Clasped in one, till doubt was over,
And they went forth loved and lover
Bride and groom to their new home.

See, to--day to you I come,
Flower of wisdom who know all,
To your mute confessional,
Wanting love and wanting her,
(Lavender, sea lavender!)
In a world where she is not,
Mined with plot and counterplot
Built against our happiness.
You, who know her most, can guess
What her thought is far from me,
What soft wind of memory
Fans her with a scent of pleasure,
What sweet song in what sweet measure
Trilled by birds when day was breaking
And each tremulous throat awaking
Strained to make its passion heard
Louder there than other bird,
While we listened, we too, straining
Heart to heart, and watched the waning
Moon fade slowly like a feather
In the red East, close together,
Near, how near, who now are far.
Tell me what her fancies are.
Does she love still? Does she cherish,
In the waste of days that perish
That one dawn, which cannot die?
Nay, I know it, nor will I
Doubt of love or doubt of her,
(Lavender, sea lavender!)
Since she knows and understands
That my hands still hold her hands.


Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Epiphanias



THE three holy kings with their star's bright ray,--
They eat and they drink, but had rather not pay;
They like to eat and drink away,
They eat and drink, but had rather not pay.

The three holy kings have all come here,
In number not four, but three they appear;
And if a fourth join'd the other three,
Increased by one their number would be.

The first am I,--the fair and the white,
I ought to be seen when the sun shines bright!
But, alas! with all my spices and myrrh,
No girl now likes me,--I please not her.

The next am I,--the brown and the long,
Known well to women, known well to song.
Instead of spices, 'tis gold I bear,
And so I'm welcome everywhere.

The last am I,--the black and small,
And fain would be right merry withal.
I like to eat and to drink full measure,
I eat and drink, and give thanks with pleasure.

The three holy kings are friendly and mild,
They seek the Mother, and seek the Child;
The pious Joseph is sitting by,
The ox and the ass on their litter lie.

We're bringing gold, we're bringing myrrh,
The women incense always prefer;
And if we have wine of a worthy growth,
We three to drink like six are not loth.

As here we see fair lads and lasses,
But not a sign of oxen or asses,
We know that we have gone astray
And so go further on our way.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe