Friday, June 26, 2009

The Nation That Is Not

When I watch the living meet,
And the moving pageant file
Warm and breathing through the street
Where I lodge a little while,

If the heats of hate and lust
In the house of flesh be strong,
Let me mind the house of dust
Where my sojourn shall be long.

In the nation that is not
Nothing stands that stood before;
There revenges are forgot,
There the hater hates no more.

Lovers lying two by two
Care not whom they sleep beside,
And the bridegroom all night through
Never turns him to the bride.

-A.E. Houseman-

Monday, June 22, 2009


Never weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore,
Never tired pilgrim's limbs affected slumber more,
Than my wearied sprite now longs to fly out of my troubled breast:
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest!

Ever blooming are the joys of heaven's high paradise,
Cold age deafs not there our ears nor vapour dims our eyes,
Glory there the sun outshines, whose beams the blessed only see:
O come quickly, gracious Lord, and raise my sprite to thee!

-Thomas Campion-

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Multa per Gentis et Multa per Aequora Vectus

Cross land and sea, my brother, have I come
Unto thy grave, unto these tearful rites,
To make thee offering in these late lights,
Vain gifts for these thy ashes, fallen dumb,
And weep that wicked fate has stolen thee,
Alas, the better brother, lost to me.
This yet is mine, while still thy loss I wail,
To prove the ancient honors- to adorn
Thee brother; thy mound I pray receives our mourn;
To thee forever, brother, hail and farewell.

-Trans. from the Latin by Thomas Banks-

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Stand close around, ye Stygian set,
With Dirce in one boat conveyed,
Or Charon, rising, may forget
That he is old, and she a shade.

-Walter Savage Landor-

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Kiss

To these I turn, in these I trust-
Brother Lead and Sister Steel.
To his blind power I make appeal,
I guard her beauty clean from rust.

He spins and burns and loves the air,
And splits a skull to win my praise;
But up the nobly marching days
She glitters naked, cold and fair.

Sweet Sister, grant your soldier this:
That in good fury he may feel
The body where he sets his heel
Quail from your downward darting kiss.

-Siegfried Sassoon-

At Rubicon

"Te, Fortuna, sequor."

Stay you, great Caesar, for the battered cause
Smiles bruisedly on her beloved ones,
And we esteem ourselves too faithful sons
To cross this river with you, and Rome's laws.

Think us not traitors to your hopes and trust:
You follow Fortune. May she ever smile
On you; but we shall keep this shore awhile,
Sworn to old Gods, and to our fathers' dust.

Great sire, what triumph shall atone the loss?
No shining order has yet shown herself sure,
Only a hope that blinds from yonder shore.
Past Rubicon's a Rubicon to cross.

-Thomas Banks-

Friday, June 12, 2009

From the "Orphica"

And you shall find, arrived in Hades' land,
A spring and a white cypress there beside;
But come not near; on these banks do not stand;
For from the pool of Memory a tide

Of water, cool and rapid, pouring forth,
And by Her pool a gaurdian: this thy
Password: "A child I am of heaven and earth;
Yea, even thus. My birth was of the sky.

But I am dry with thirst and perishing.
Give me to drink from the pool of memory.
And this allowed, to taste the holy spring,
With heroes dwell, a god new born in thee.

-Translated from the Greek by Thomas Banks-

Thursday, June 11, 2009


There is one sin: to call a green leaf gray,
Whereat the sun in heaven shuddereth.
There is one blasphemy: for death to pray,
For God alone knoweth the praise of death.

There is one creed: 'neath no world-terror's wing
Apples forget to grow on apple-trees.
There is one thing is needful: everything.
The rest is vanity of vanities.

-G.K. Chesterton-


Forget all these, the barren fool in power,
The madman in command, the jealous O,
The bitter world biting its bitter hour,
The cruel now, the happy long ago,

Forget all these, for, though they truly hurt,
Even to the soul, they are not lasting things:
Men are no gods; we tread the city dirt,
But in our souls we can be queens and kings.

And I, O Beauty, O divine white wonder,
On whom my dull eyes, blind to all else, peer,
Have you for peace, that not the whole war's thunder,
Not the world's wreck, can threat or take from here.

So you remain, though all man's passionate seas
Roar their blind tides, I can forget all these.

-John Masefield-

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Fragment from Euripides

Who judges Eros for an impish god,
And less than lord of every holy thing?
O darling fool, naive and overawed!
No god directs our paths save this sweet king.

-Trans. from the Greek by Thomas Banks-