Monday, August 31, 2009


I am Winter, that do keep
Longing safe amidst of sleep.
Who should say if I were dead
What should be remembered?

-William Morris-


Summer looked for long am I;
Much shall change or e'er I die.
Prithee take it not amiss
Though I weary thee with bliss.

-William Morris-

Friday, August 28, 2009

Martial: Epigrams


You came to see me only once
When I was sick in bed;
I thank you, Oppian; had you come
More often, I'd be dead.


I'll not believe that I'm your heir, until
I read it after probate, in your will.


Fabulla swears the hair she wears is hers;
Does that place her among the perjurers?


Matho complains that my book is more than a little uneven;
If he is telling the truth, then he is praising my pen.
Books that are even throughout, Matho, are sure to be dreadful;
Books without height and depth come from the stupidest men.

-Translated by Rolfe Humphreys-

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mass at Dawn

I dropped my sail and dried my dripping seines
Where the white quay is chequered by cool planes
In whose great branches, always out of sight,
The nightingales are singing day and night.
Though all was grey beneath the moon's grey beam,
My boat in her new paint shown like a bride,
And silver in my baskets shown the bream:
My arms were heavy and I was heavy-eyed,
But when with food and drink, at morning light,
The children met me at the water side,
Never was wine so red or bread so white.

-Roy Campbell-

Since There's No Help

Since there's no help, come, let us kiss and part.
Nay, I have done, you get no more of me,
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands forever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of Love's latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, passion speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now, if thou wouldst, when all have giv'n him over,
From death to life thou might'st yet him recover.

-Michael Drayton-

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


'What is the world O Soldiers?
It is I.
I, this incessant snow,
This northern sky,
Soldiers, this solitude
Through which we go
Is I.'

-Walter de la mare-

Saturday, August 22, 2009


See, Mignonne, hath not the rose
That this morning did unclose
Her purple blossoms to the light,
Lost before the day be dead,
The glory of her raiment red,
Her color, bright as yours is bright?

Ah, Mignonne, in how few hours
The petals of her purple flowers
All have faded, fallen, died;
Sad Nature, mother ruinous,
That seest thy child perish thus
'Twixt matin song and eventide.

Hear me, my darling, speaking sooth,
Gather the flower of thy youth,
Take ye your pleasure at the best;
Be merry ere your beauty flit,
For length of days will tarnish it
Like roses that were loveliest.

-Pierre Ronsard-

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nil Nimium Studeo, Caesar, Tibi Velle Placere

Caesar, it is not much my care
To flatter in a pleasing light;
Nor do I care which rumor's true,
Whether your soul be black or white.

-Translated from the Latin by Thomas Banks-

From the Greek of Plato

Thou wert the morning star among the living,
Ere thy fair light had fled;
Now, having died, thou art as Hesperus, giving
New splendour to the dead.

-Translated by P.B. Shelley-

The Fall of a Soul

I sat unsphering Plato ere I slept:
Then through my dream the choir of gods was borne,
Swift as the wind and splendid as the morn,
Fronting the night of stars; behind them swept
Tempestuous darkness o'er a drear descent,
Wherein I saw a crowd of charioteers
Urging their giddy steeds with cries and cheers,
To join the choir that aye before them went:
But one there was who fell, with broken car
And horses swooning down the gulf of gloom;
Heavenward his eyes, though prescient of their doom,
Reflected glory like a falling star,
While with wild hair blown back and listless hands
Ruining he sank toward undiscovered lands.

-John Addington Symonds-

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish Politics?

Yet here's a well traveled man
That knows what he's about,
And there's a politician,
That has both read and thought;

And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war's alarms,
But oh, that I were young again,
And held her in my arms!

-William Butler Yeats-

Sunday, August 16, 2009

As I Gird on for Fighting

As I gird on for fighting
My sword upon my thigh,
I think on old misfortunes
Of better men than I.

Think I, the round world over,
What golden lads are low
With hurts not mine to mourn for
And shames I shall not know.

What evil luck soever
Remains for me in store,
'Tis sure much finer fellows
Have fared much worse before.

So here are things to think on
That ought to make me brave,
As I strap on for fighting
My sword that will not save.

-A.E. Housman-

Monday, August 10, 2009


Bind up your hair with a golden pin,
And bind up every wandering tress:
I bade my heart build these poor rhymes:
It worked at them, day our, day in,
Building a sorrowful loveliness
Out of the battles of old times.

You need but lift a pearl-pale hand,
And bind up your long hair and sigh:
And all men's hearts must burn and beat;
And candle-like foam on the dim sand,
And stars climbing the dew-dropping sky,
Live but to light your passing feet.

-William Butler Yeats-

Saturday, August 8, 2009


The sickness of desire, that in dark days
Looks on the imagination in despair,
Forgetteth man, and stinteth God his praise;
Nor but in sleep findeth a cure for care.
Uncertainty that once gave scope to dream
Of laughing enterprise and glory untold,
Is now a blackness that no stars redeem,
A wall of terror in a night of cold.

Fool! thou that hast impossibly desired
And now impatiently despairest, see
How naught is changed; joy's wisdom is attired
Splendid for others' eyes if not for thee.
Not love or beauty or youth from earth is fled;
If they delight thee not, 'tis thou art dead.

-Robert Bridges-

Thursday, August 6, 2009


When Adam day by day
Woke up in Paradise,
He always used to say
"Oh, this is very nice."

But Eve to realms of bliss
Transported him for life;
The more I think on this,
The more I beat my wife.

-A.E. Houseman-

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

-W.H. Auden-

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Epitaph on a Tyrant

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And he was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

-W.H. Auden-