Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dream Land



Where sunless rivers weep
Their waves into the deep,
She sleeps a charmed sleep:
Awake her not.
Led by a single star,
She came from very far
To seek where shadows are
Her pleasant lot.

She left the rosy morn,
She left the fields of corn,
For twilight cold and lorn
And water springs.
Through sleep, as through a veil,
She sees the sky look pale,
And hears the nightingale
That sadly sings.

Rest, rest, a perfect rest
Shed over brow and breast;
Her face is toward the west,
The purple land.
She cannot see the grain
Ripening on hill and plain;
She cannot feel the rain
Upon her hand.

Rest, rest, for evermore
Upon a mossy shore;
Rest, rest at the heart's core
Till time shall cease:
Sleep that no pain shall wake;
Night that no morn shall break
Till joy shall overtake
Her perfect peace.


Christina Georgina Rossetti

All Things Bright and Beautiful



All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;--

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.


Cecil Frances Alexander

Her Reply



IF all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy Love.

But Time drives flocks from field to fold;
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward Winter reckoning yields:
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
Soon break, soon wither--soon forgotten,
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy-buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,--
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy Love.

But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joys no date, nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy Love.


Sir Walter Raleigh

Rain



Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into this solitude.
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
But here I pray that none whom once I loved
Is dying to-night or lying still awake
Solitary, listening to the rain,
Either in pain or thus in sympathy
Helpless among the living and the dead,
Like a cold water among broken reeds,
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
Like me who have no love which this wild rain
Has not dissolved except the love of death,
If love it be towards what is perfect and
Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.


Edward Thomas

More reading

It’s always been my opinion that reading – no matter what the format – will lead to more reading. I know that when I’m through with a good book, I can’t wait to pick up the next one. E-readers simplify that process, making it easy to move from one great title to another. And the more readers read, the more they will become interested in an author or genre, and the more they will seek out similar titles. That interest leads the reader down new roads, some of which end up at booksellers such as myself.

Michael Popek

When you’re different

When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.

Jodi Picoult

Felt, not thought

"I often feel like I want to think something but I can’t find the language that coincides with the thoughts, so it remains felt, not thought. Sometimes I feel like I’m thinking in Swedish without knowing Swedish."

Peter Cameron

I Speak Not



I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name;
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame;
But the tear that now burns on my cheek may impart
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart.
Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace,
Were those hours - can their joy or their bitterness cease?
We repent, we abjure, we will break from our chain, -
We will part, we will fly to - unite it again!
Oh! thine be the gladness, and mine be the guilt!
Forgive me, adored one! - forsake if thou wilt;
But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased,
And man shall not break it - whatever thou may'st.
And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
This soul in its bitterest blackness shall be;
And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet,
With thee at my side, than with worlds at our feet.
One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thy love,
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove.
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign -
Thy lips shall reply, not to them, but to mine.


George Gordon Byron

A Woman's Last Word



I.

Let's contend no more, Love,
Strive nor weep:
All be as before, Love,
---Only sleep!

II.

What so wild as words are?
I and thou
In debate, as birds are,
Hawk on bough!

III.

See the creature stalking
While we speak!
Hush and hide the talking,
Cheek on cheek!

IV.

What so false as truth is,
False to thee?
Where the serpent's tooth is
Shun the tree---

V.

Where the apple reddens
Never pry---
Lest we lose our Edens,
Eve and I.

VI.

Be a god and hold me
With a charm!
Be a man and fold me
With thine arm!

VII.

Teach me, only teach, Love
As I ought
I will speak thy speech, Love,
Think thy thought---

VIII.

Meet, if thou require it,
Both demands,
Laying flesh and spirit
In thy hands.

IX.

That shall be to-morrow
Not to-night:
I must bury sorrow
Out of sight:

X

---Must a little weep, Love,
(Foolish me!)
And so fall asleep, Love,
Loved by thee.


Robert Browning

Le Tonneau de la Haine



Le Tonneau de la Haine

La Haine est le tonneau des pâles Danaïdes;
La Vengeance éperdue aux bras rouges et forts
À beau précipiter dans ses ténèbres vides
De grands seaux pleins du sang et des larmes des morts,


Le Démon fait des trous secrets à ces abîmes,
Par où fuiraient mille ans de sueurs et d'efforts,
Quand même elle saurait ranimer ses victimes,
Et pour les pressurer ressusciter leurs corps.


La Haine est un ivrogne au fond d'une taverne,
Qui sent toujours la soif naître de la liqueur
Et se multiplier comme l'hydre de Lerne.


— Mais les buveurs heureux connaissent leur vainqueur,
Et la Haine est vouée à ce sort lamentable
De ne pouvoir jamais s'endormir sous la table.


— Charles Baudelaire


Hatred's Cask


Hatred is the cask of the pale Danaides;
Bewildered Vengeance with arms red and strong
Vainly pours into its empty darkness
Great pailfuls of the blood and the tears of the dead;


The Demon makes secret holes in this abyss,
Whence would escape a thousand years of sweat and strain,
Even if she could revive her victims,
Could restore their bodies, to squeeze them dry once more.


Hatred is a drunkard in a tavern,
Who feels his thirst grow greater with each drink
And multiply itself like the Lernaean hydra.


— While fortunate drinkers know they can be conquered,
Hatred is condemned to this lamentable fate,
That she can never fall asleep beneath the table.


— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)



The Cask of Hate

The Cask of the pale Danaids is Hate.
Vainly Revenge, with red strong arms employed,
Precipitates her buckets, in a spate
Of blood and tears, to feed the empty void.


The Fiend bores secret holes to these abysms
By which a thousand years of sweat and strain
Escape, though she'd revive their organisms
In order just to bleed them once again.


Hate is a drunkard in a tavern staying,
Who feels his thirst born of its very cure,
Like Lerna's hydra, multiplied by slaying.


Gay drinkers of their conqueror are sure,
And Hate is doomed to a sad fate, unable
Ever to fall and snore beneath the table.


— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

http://fleursdumal.org/poem/170

L'Amour du mensonge



L'Amour du mensonge


Quand je te vois passer, ô ma chère indolente,
Au chant des instruments qui se brise au plafond
Suspendant ton allure harmonieuse et lente,
Et promenant l'ennui de ton regard profond;


Quand je contemple, aux feux du gaz qui le colore,
Ton front pâle, embelli par un morbide attrait,
Où les torches du soir allument une aurore,
Et tes yeux attirants comme ceux d'un portrait,


Je me dis: Qu'elle est belle! et bizarrement fraîche!
Le souvenir massif, royale et lourde tour,
La couronne, et son coeur, meurtri comme une pêche,
Est mûr, comme son corps, pour le savant amour.


Es-tu le fruit d'automne aux saveurs souveraines?
Es-tu vase funèbre attendant quelques pleurs,
Parfum qui fait rêver aux oasis lointaines,
Oreiller caressant, ou corbeille de fleurs?


Je sais qu'il est des yeux, des plus mélancoliques,
Qui ne recèlent point de secrets précieux;
Beaux écrins sans joyaux, médaillons sans reliques,
Plus vides, plus profonds que vous-mêmes, ô Cieux!


Mais ne suffit-il pas que tu sois l'apparence,
Pour réjouir un coeur qui fuit la vérité?
Qu'importe ta bêtise ou ton indifférence?
Masque ou décor, salut! J'adore ta beauté.


— Charles Baudelaire


The Love of Lies


When I see you pass by, my indolent darling,
To the sound of music that the ceiling deadens,
Pausing in your slow and harmonious movements,
Turning here and there the boredom of your gaze;


When I study, in the gaslight which colors it,
Your pale forehead, embellished with a morbid charm,
Where the torches of evening kindle a dawn,
And your eyes alluring as a portrait's,


I say within: "How fair she is! How strangely fresh!"
Huge, massive memory, royal, heavy tower,
Crowns her; her heart bruised like a peach
Is ripe like her body for a skillful lover.


Are you the autumn fruit with sovereign taste?
A funereal urn awaiting a few tears?
Perfume that makes one dream of distant oases?
A caressive pillow, a basket of flowers?


I know that there are eyes, most melancholy ones,
In which no precious secrets lie hidden;
Lovely cases without jewels, lockets without relics,
Emptier and deeper than you are, O Heavens!


But is it not enough that you are a semblance
To gladden a heart that flees from the truth?
What matter your obtuseness or your indifference?
Mask or ornament, hail! I adore your beauty.


— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)



Love of Lies

Dear indolent, I love to watch you so,
While on the ceiling break the tunes of dances,
And hesitant, harmoniously slow,
You turn the wandering boredom of your glances.


I watch the gas-flares colouring your drawn,
Pale forehead, which a morbid charm enhances,
Where evening lamps illuminate a dawn
In eyes as of a painting that entrances:


And then I say, "She's fair and strangely fresh,
Whom memory crowns with lofty towers above.
Her heart is like a peach's murdered flesh,
Or like her own, most ripe for learned love."


Are you an autumn fruit of sovereign flavour?
A funeral urn awaiting tearful showers?
Of far oases the faint, wafted savour?
A dreamy pillow? or a sheaf of flowers?


I have known deep, sad eyes that yet concealed
No secrets: caskets void of any gem:
Medallions where no sacred charm lay sealed,
Deep as the Skies, but vacuous like them!


It is enough that your appearance flatters,
Rejoicing one who flies from truth or duty.
Your listless, cold stupidity — what matters?
Hail, mask or curtain, I adore your beauty!


— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)



L'Amour du mensonge


when I behold thee in thy nonchalance,
while from the dome the shards of music fall:
— thy feet that slowly weave a weary dance
— thy gaze a wearier flood engulfing all —


and when I watch thy brow so palely wan,
yet haunting in the gaslight's warm disguise,
— where evening's torches paint the rose of dawn
— thine eyes that hold me like a portrait's eyes


I cry: o rose bizarre, now bloomed afresh!
for regal memories crown her, towering, vast,
and all her heart's fruit, whose bruisèd flesh
is, like her body, riped for love at last.


art thou October fruit of sovereign wiles?
art thou an urn of tears for Sorrow's hours?
a fragrance wafting me to slumberous isles,
a roseleaf bed or funeral wreath of flowers?


some eyes are deep as though they always mourned
— eyes where no secret pearl of sorrow lies:
fair empty caskets by no gems adorned,
profound and bottomless as ye, o skies!


mere seeming this? but if thy seeming be
a balsam in my heart, with truth at war?
dull or indifferent, what were that to me?
hail, mask of art! thy beauty I adore.


— Lewis Piaget Shanks, Flowers of Evil (New York: Ives Washburn, 1931)

http://fleursdumal.org/poem/227

A Forsaken Garden



IN a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland,
At the sea-down's edge between windward and lee,
Walled round with rocks as an inland island,
The ghost of a garden fronts the sea.
A girdle of brushwood and thorn encloses
The steep square slope of the blossomless bed
Where the weeds that grew green from the graves of its roses
Now lie dead.

The fields fall southward, abrupt and broken,
To the low last edge of the long lone land.
If a step should sound or a word be spoken,
Would a ghost not rise at the strange guest's hand?
So long have the grey bare walks lain guestless,
Through branches and briars if a man make way,
He shall find no life but the sea-wind's, restless
Night and day.

The dense hard passage is blind and stifled
That crawls by a track none turn to climb
To the strait waste place that the years have rifled
Of all but the thorns that are touched not of time.
The thorns he spares when the rose is taken;
The rocks are left when he wastes the plain.
The wind that wanders, the weeds wind-shaken,
These remain.

Not a flower to be pressed of the foot that falls not;
As the heart of a dead man the seed-plots are dry;
From the thicket of thorns whence the nightingale calls not,
Could she call, there were never a rose to reply.
Over the meadows that blossom and wither
Rings but the note of a sea-bird's song;
Only the sun and the rain come hither
All year long.

The sun burns sere and the rain dishevels
One gaunt bleak blossom of scentless breath.
Only the wind here hovers and revels
In a round where life seems barren as death.
Here there was laughing of old, there was weeping,
Haply, of lovers none ever will know,
Whose eyes went seaward a hundred sleeping
Years ago.

Heart handfast in heart as they stood, "Look thither,"
Did he whisper? "look forth from the flowers to the sea;
For the foam-flowers endure when the rose-blossoms wither,
And men that love lightly may die---but we?"
And the same wind sang and the same waves whitened,
And or ever the garden's last petals were shed,
In the lips that had whispered, the eyes that had lightened,
Love was dead.

Or they loved their life through, and then went whither?
And were one to the endÑbut what end who knows?
Love deep as the sea as a rose must wither,
As the rose-red seaweed that mocks the rose.
Shall the dead take thought for the dead to love them ?
What love was ever as deep as a grave ?
They are loveless now as the grass above them
Or the wave.

All are at one now, roses and lovers,
Not known of the cliffs and the fields and the sea.
Not a breath of the time that has been hovers
In the air now soft with a summer to be.
Not a breath shall there sweeten the seasons hereafter
Of the flowers or the lovers that laugh now or weep,
When as they that are free now of weeping and laughter
We shall sleep.

Here death may deal not again for ever;
Here change may come not till all change end.
From the graves they have made they shall rise up never,
Who have left nought living to ravage and rend.
Earth, stones, and thorns of the wild ground growing,
While the sun and the rain live, these shall be;
Till a last wind's breath upon all these blowing
Roll the sea.

Till the slow sea rise and the sheer cliff crumble,
Till terrace and meadow the deep gulfs drink,
Till the strength of the waves of the high tides humble
The fields that lessen, the rocks that shrink,
Here now in his triumph where all things falter,
Stretched out on the spoils that his own hand spread,
As a god self-slain on his own strange altar,
Death lies dead.


Algernon Charles Swinburne

Post-Graduate



Hope it was that tutored me,
And Love that taught me more;
And now I learn at Sorrow's knee
The self-same lore.

Dorothy Parker

Hermann And Dorothea - IV. Euterpe



MOTHER AND SON.

THUS the men discoursed together; and meanwhile the mother
Went in search of her son,--at first in front of the dwelling
On the bench of stone, for he was accustom'd to sit there.
When she found him not there, she went to look in the stable,
Thinking perchance he was feeding his splendid horses, the stallions
Which he had bought when foals, and which he entrusted to no one.
But the servant inform'd her that he had gone to the garden.
Then she nimbly strode across the long double courtyard,
Left the stables behind, and the barns all made of good timber,
Enter'd the garden which stretch'd far away to the walls of the borough,
Walk'd across it, rejoicing to see how all things were growing,
Carefully straighten'd the props, on which the apple-tree's branches,
Heavily loaded, reposed, and the weighty boughs of the pear-tree,
Took a few caterpillars from off the strong-sprouting cabbage;
For a bustling woman is never idle one moment.
In this manner she came to the end of the long-reaching garden,
Where was the arbour all cover'd with woodbine: she found not her son there,
Nor was he to be seen in any part of the garden.
But she found on the latch the door which out of the arbour
Through the wall of the town had been made by special permission
During their ancestor's time, the worthy old burgomaster.
So she easily stepp'd across the dry ditch at the spot where
On the highway abutted their well-inclosed excellent vineyard.
Rising steeply upwards, its face tow'rd the sun turn'd directly.
Up the hill she proceeded, rejoicing, as farther she mounted,
At the size of the grapes, which scarcely were hid by the foliage.
Shady and well-cover'd in, the middle walk at the top was,
Which was ascended by steps of rough flat pieces constructed.
And within it were hanging fine chasselas and muscatels also,
And a reddish-blue grape, of quite an exceptional bigness,
All with carefulness planted, to give to their guests after dinner.
But with separate stems the rest of the vineyard was planted,
Smaller grapes producing, from which the finest wine made is.
So she constantly mounted, enjoying in prospect the autumn.
And the festal day, when the neighbourhood met with rejoicing,
Picking and treading the grapes, and putting the must in the wine-vats,
Every corner and nook resounding at night with the fireworks,
Blazing and cracking away, due honour to pay to the harvest.
But she uneasy became, when she in vain had been calling
Twice and three times her son, and when the sole answer that reach'd her
Came from the garrulous echo which out of the town towers issued.
Strange it appear'd to have to seek him; he never went far off,
(As he before had told her) in order to ward off all sorrow
From his dear mother, and her forebodings of coming disaster.
But she still was expecting upon the highway to find him,
For the doors at the bottom, like those at the top, of the vineyard
Stood wide open; and so at length she enter'd the broad field
Which, with its spreading expanse, o'er the whole of the hill's back extended.
On their own property still she proceeded, greatly rejoicing
At their own crops, and at the corn which nodded so bravely,
Over the whole field in golden majesty waving.
Then on the border between the fields she follow'd the footpath,
Keeping her eye on the pear-tree fix'd, the big one, which standing
Perch'd by itself on the top of the hill, their property bounded.
Who had planted it, no one knew; throughout the whole country
Far and wide was it visible; noted also its fruit was.
Under its shadow the reaper ate his dinner at noonday,
And the herdsman was wont to lie, when tending his cattle.
Benches made of rough stones and of turf were placed all about it.
And she was not mistaken; there sat her Hermann and rested
On his arm he was leaning, and seem'd to be looking cross country
Tow'rds the mountains beyond; his back was turn'd to his mother.
Softly creeping up, she lightly tapp'd on his shoulder;
And he hastily turn'd; she saw that his eyes full of tears were.

'Mother,' he said in confusion:--'You greatly surprise me!' and quickly
Wiped he away his tears, the noble and sensitive youngster.
'What! You are weeping, my son?' the startled mother continued
'That is indeed unlike you! I never before saw you crying!
Say, what has sadden'd your heart? What drives you to sit here all lonely
Under the shade of the pear-tree? What is it that makes you unhappy?'

Then the excellent youth collected himself, and made answer
'Truly that man can have no heart, but a bosom of iron,
Who no sympathy feels for the wants of unfortunate exiles;
He has no sense in his head who, in times of such deep tribulation,
Has no concern for himself or for his country's well-being.
What I to-day have seen and heard, has stirr'd up my feelings;
Well, I have come up here, and seen the beautiful, spreading
Landscape, which in fruitful hills to our sight is presented,
Seen the golden fruit of the sheaves all nodding together,
And a plentiful crop of fruit, full garners foreboding.
But, alas, how near is the foe! By the Rhine's flowing waters
We are protected indeed; but what are rivers and mountains
To such a terrible nation, which hurries along like a tempest!
For they summon together the young and the old from all quarters,
Rushing wildly along, while the multitude little is caring
Even for death; when one falls, his place is straight fill'd by another,
Ah! and can Germans dare to remain at home in their dwellings,
Thinking perchance to escape from the widely-threat'ning disaster?
Dearest mother, I tell you that I to-day am quite sorry
That I was lately excused, when they selected the fighters
Out of the townfolk. 'Tis true I'm an only son, and more-over
Large is our inn, and our business also is very important;
Were it not better however for me to fight in the vanguard
On the frontier, than here to await disaster and bondage?
Yes, my spirit has told me, and in my innermost bosom
Feel I courage and longing to live and die for my country,
And to others to set an example worthy to follow.
Oh, of a truth, if the strength of the German youths was collected
On the frontier, all bound by a vow not to yield to the stranger,
He on our noble soil should never set foot, or be able
Under our eyes to consume the fruits of the land, or to issue
Orders unto our men, or despoil our women and maidens!
See, good mother, within my inmost heart I've determined
Soon and straightway to do what seems to me right and becoming;
For the man who thinks long, not always chooses what best is.
See, I will not return to the house, but will go from here straightway
Into the town, and there will place at the fighters' disposal
This stout arm and this heart, to serve, as I best can, my country.
Then let my father say whether feelings of honour are stirring
In my bosom or not, and whether I yearn to mount upwards.'

Then with significance answer'd his good and sensible mother,
Shedding tears in silence, which easily rose in her eyelids:--
'Son, what has wrought so strange a change in your temper and feelings,
That you freely and openly speak to your mother no longer,
As you till yesterday did, nor tell her truly your wishes?
If another had heard you speaking, he doubtless would praise you
Highly, and deem your new resolution as worthy of honour,
Being deceived by your words, and by your manner of speaking.
I however can only blame you. I know you much better.
You are concealing your heart, and very diff'rent your thoughts are;
For I am sure you care not at all for drum and for trumpet,
Nor, to please the maidens, care you to wear regimentals.
For, though brave you may be, and gallant, your proper vocation
Is to remain at home, the property quietly watching.
Therefore tell me truly: What means this sudden decision?'

Earnestly answer'd the son:--'You are wrong, dear-mother, one day is
Unlike another. The youth soon ripens into his manhood.
Ofttimes he ripens better to action in silence than living
That tumultuous noisy life which ruins so many.
And though silent I have been, and am, a heart has been fashion'd
Inside my bosom, which hates whatever unfair and unjust is,
And I am able right well to discriminate secular matters.
Work moreover my arms and my feet has mightily strengthen'd.
All that I tell you is true; I boldly venture to say so.
And yet, mother, you blame me with reason; you've caught me employing
Words that are only half true, and that serve to conceal my true feelings.
For I must need confess, it is not the advent of danger
Calls me away from my father's house, nor a resolute purpose
Useful to be to my country, and dreaded to be by the foeman.
Words alone it was that I utter'd,--words only intended
Those deep feelings to hide, which within my breast are contending.
And now leave me, my mother! For as in my bosom I cherish
Wishes that are but vain, my life will be to no purpose.
For I know that the Unit who makes a self-sacrifice, only
Injures himself, unless all endeavour the Whole to accomplish.'

'Now continue,' replied forthwith his sensible mother:--
'Tell me all that has happen'd, the least as w'ell as the greatest
Men are always hasty, and only remember the last thing,
And the hasty are easily forced from the road by obstructions.
But a woman is skillful, and full of resources, and scorns not
Bye-roads to traverse when needed, well-skill'd to accomplish her purpose.
Tell me then all, and why you are stirr'd by such violent feelings
More than I ever have seen, while the blood is boiling within you,
And from your eyes the tears against your will fain would fall now.'

Then the youth gave way to his sorrow, and burst into weeping,
Weeping aloud on the breast of his mother, and softly replying
'Truly, my father's words to-day have wounded me sadly,
Never have I deserved at his hands such treatment,--no, never!
For to honour my parents was always my wish from my childhood,
No one ever appear'd so prudent and wise as my parents,
Who in the darker days of childhood carefully watch'd me.
Much indeed it has been my lot to endure from my playmates,
When with their knavish pranks they used to embitter my temper.
Often I little suspected the tricks they were playing upon me:
But if they happen'd to ridicule Father, whenever on Sundays
Out of church he came with his slow deliberate footsteps,
If they laugh'd at the strings of his cap, and his dressing-gown's flowers,
Which he in stately wise wore, and to-day at length has discarded,
Then in a fury I clench'd my fist, and, storming and raging,
Fell upon them and hit and struck with terrible onslaught,
Heedless where my blows fell. With bleeding noses they halloed,
And could scarcely escape from the force of my blows and my kicking.
Then, as in years I advanced, I had much to endure from my father,
Who, in default of others to blame, would often abuse me,
When at the Council's last sitting his anger perchance was excited,
And I the penalty paid of the squabbles and strife of his colleagues.
You yourself have oft pitied me; I endured it with patience,
Always rememb'ring the much-to-be-honour'd kindness of parents,
Whose only thought is to swell for our sakes their goods and possessions,
And who deprive themselves of much, to save for their children.
But, alas, not saving alone, for enjoyment hereafter,
Constitutes happiness, no, not heaps of gold or of silver,
Neither field upon field, however compact the estate be.
For the father grows old, and his son at the same time grows older,
Feeling no joy in To-day, and full of care for To-morrow.
Now look down from this height, and see how beauteous before us
Lies the fair rich expanse, with vineyard and gardens at bottom;
There are the stables and barns, and the rest of the property likewise;
There I also descry the back of our house, in the gables
Of the roof may be seen the window of my small apartment.
When I remember the time when I used to look out for the moon there
Half through the night, or perchance at morning awaited the sunrise,
When with but few hours of healthy sleep I was fully contented,
Ah, how lonely do all things appear! My chamber, the court, and
Garden, the beautiful field which spreads itself over the hillside;
All appears but a desert to me: I still am unmarried!'
Then his good mother answer'd his speech in a sensible manner
'Son, your wish to be able to lead your bride to her chamber,
Turning the night to the dearest and happiest half of your lifetime,
Making your work by day more truly free and unfetter'd,
Cannot be greater than that of your father and mother. We always
Urged you,--commanded, I even might say,--to choose some fair maiden.
But I know full well, and my heart has told me already
If the right hour arrives not, or if the right maiden appears not
Instantly when they are sought for, man's choice is thrown in confusion,
And he is driven by fear to seize what is counterfeit only.
If I may tell you, my son, your choice already is taken,
For your heart is smitten, and sensitive more than is usual.
Answer me plainly, then, for my spirit already has told me:
She whom now you have chosen is that poor emigrant maiden!'

'Yes, dear mother, you're right!' the son with vivacity answer'd
Yes, it is she! And unless this very day I conduct her
Home as my bride, she will go on her way and escape me for ever,
In the confusion of war, and in moving backwards and forwards.
Mother, then before my eyes will in vain he unfolded
All our rich estate, and each year henceforward be fruitful.
Yes, the familiar house and the garden will be my aversion.
Ah, and the love of my mother no comfort will give to my sorrow,
For I feel that by Love each former bond must be loosen'd,
When her own bonds she knits; 'tis not the maiden alone who
Leaves her father and mother behind, when she follows her husband.
So it is with the youth; no more he knows mother and father.
When he beholds the maiden, the only beloved one, approaching.
Therefore let me go hence, to where desperation may lead me,
For my father already has spoken in words of decision,
And his house no longer is mine, if he shuts out the maiden
Whom alone I would fain take home as my bride from henceforward.'

Then the excellent sensible mother answer'd with quickness
'Men are precisely like rocks when they stand opposed to each other!
Proud and unyielding, the one will never draw near to the other.
Neither will suffer his tongue to utter the first friendly accent.
Therefore I tell you, my son, a hope still exists in my bosom,
If she is worthy and good, he will give his consent to your marriage,
Poor though she be, and although with disdain he refused you the poor thing.
For in his hot-beaded fashion he utters many expressions
Which he never intends; and so will accept the Refused One.
But he requires kind words, and has a right to require them,
For your father he is; his anger is all after dinner,
When he more eagerly speaks, and questions the reasons of others,
Meaning but little thereby; the wine then excites all the vigour
Of his impetuous will, and prevents him from giving due weight to
Other people's opinions; he hears and he feels his own only.
But when evening arrives, the tone of the many discourses
Which his friends and himself hold together, is very much alter'd.
Milder becomes he, as soon as his liquor's effects have passed over
And he feels the injustice his eagerness did unto others.
Come, we will venture at once! Success the reward is of boldness,
And we have need of the friends who now have assembled around him.--
Most of all we shall want the help of our excellent pastor.'
Thus she eagerly spoke, and leaving the stone that she sat on,
Also lifted her son from his seat. He willingly follow'd,
And they descended in silence, revolving the weighty proposal.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part I: To Manon: XXI



HIS BONDAGE TO MANON IS BROKEN

From this day forth I lead another life,
Another life! A life without a tear!
To--day has ended the unequal strife;
My service and my sorrow finish here.
See, my soul cuts her cable of belief
And sails towards the ocean. She shall steer
Sublime henceforth o'er accidents of grief.
Her storm has rolled to a new Hemisphere.
I have loved too much, too loyally, too long.
To--day I am a pirate of the sea.
Let others suffer. I have suffered wrong.
Let others love, and love as tenderly.
Oh, Manon, there are women yet unborn
Shall rue thy frailty, else am I forsworn.


Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

In Paths Untrodden



IN paths untrodden,
In the growth by margins of pond-waters,
Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,
From all the standards hitherto publish'd--from the pleasures,
profits, eruditions, conformities,
Which too long I was offering to feed my soul;
Clear to me, now, standards not yet publish'd--clear to me that my
Soul,
That the Soul of the man I speak for, feeds, rejoices most in
comrades;
Here, by myself, away from the clank of the world,
Tallying and talk'd to here by tongues aromatic,
No longer abash'd--for in this secluded spot I can respond as I would
not dare elsewhere,
Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet contains
all the rest,
Resolv'd to sing no songs to-day but those of manly attachment,
Projecting them along that substantial life,
Bequeathing, hence, types of athletic love,
Afternoon, this delicious Ninth-month, in my forty-first year,
I proceed, for all who are, or have been, young men,
To tell the secret of my nights and days,
To celebrate the need of comrades.


Walt Whitman

Each Second is the last



Each Second is the last
Perhaps, recalls the Man
Just measuring unconsciousness
The Sea and Spar between.

To fail within a Chance—
How terribler a thing
Than perish from the Chance's list
Before the Perishing!


Emily Dickinson

Forward



Let me look always forward. Never back.
Was I not formed for progress? Otherwise
With onward pointing feet and searching eyes
Would God have set me squarely on the track
Up which we all must labour with life's pack?
Yonder the goal of all this travel lies.
What matters it, if yesterday the skies
With light were golden, or with clouds were black?
I would not lose to-morrow's glow of dawn
By peering backward after sun's long set.
New hope is fairer than an old regret;
Let me pursue my journey and press on-
Nor tearful eyed, stand ever in one spot,
A briny statue like the wife of Lot.


Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sell

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.

Rumi

That’s the thing

"That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet."

Jhumpa Lahiri

Dreams, books, are each a world



"Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good:
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow."

William Wordsworth

Loyal

There is no friend as loyal as a book.

Ernest Hemingway

Anyway

Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Women

Women are made to be loved, not understood.

Oscar Wilde (An Ideal Husband)