Category Archives: Poetry

Railway Station

There are such towns, which, and even if willing,
one can’t find words for, enough information:
the streets, the market, the presbytery building –
and there’s only one event: that’s the station.

Daily, unfailing, the punctual train comes
(o, the sad tedium of city expresses),
tremble before it the one-legged lamps
saluting, armless, the passengers passing.

The ladies, yearning upon platform empty,
whence blows provincial and sad ennui,
by the strange world of train windows are tempted;
a fairy-land journey. It lasts minutes three.

And then each slowly returns to her home,
chewing a longing that’s dull and unguessed.
And each says nothing to any in town,
but it stays hid in the words ‘all is lost’.

And when the train’s gone, and powdery gusts
of smoke hang drifting above the dull waste,
like some mysterious and farewelling ghosts
lone barriers salute with arm stiffly upraised.

Kazimierz Wierzynski (1894-1969), Dworzec (1921).

The word: two hundred years of Polish poetry / [translator: Marcel Weyland.] Blackheath (NSW): Brandl & Schlesinger, 2010; p417.

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Tomlinson

For some reason, Mr Tomlinson in the following poem of Kipling’s happens to seem reminiscent of me.

Tomlinson

1891

Rudyard Kipling


NOW Tomlinson gave up the ghost in his house in Berkeley Square,
And a Spirit came to his bedside and gripped him by the hair—
A Spirit gripped him by the hair and carried him far away,
Till he heard as the roar of a rain-fed ford the roar of the Milky Way:
Till he heard the roar of the Milky Way die down and drone and cease,
And they came to the Gate within the Wall where Peter holds the keys.
“Stand up, stand up now, Tomlinson, and answer loud and high
“The good that ye did for the sake of men or ever ye came to die—
“The good that ye did for the sake of men in little earth so lone!”
And the naked soul of Tomlinson grew white as a rain-washed bone.
“O I have a friend on earth,” he said, “that was my priest and guide,
“And well would he answer all for me if he were by my side.”
—“For that ye strove in neighbour-love it shall be written fair,
“But now ye wait at Heaven’s Gate and not in Berkeley Square:
“Though we called your friend from his bed this night, he could not speak for you,
“For the race is run by one and one and never by two and two.”
Then Tomlinson looked up and down, and little gain was there,
For the naked stars grinned overhead, and he saw that his soul was bare:
The Wind that blows between the worlds, it cut him like a knife,
And Tomlinson took up his tale and spoke of his good in life.
“This I have read in a book,” he said, “and that was told to me,
“And this I have thought that another man thought of a Prince in Muscovy.”
The good souls flocked like homing doves and bade him clear the path,
And Peter twirled the jangling keys in weariness and wrath.
“Ye have read, ye have heard, ye have thought,” he said, “and the tale is yet to run:
“By the worth of the body that once ye had, give answer—what ha’ ye done?”
Then Tomlinson looked back and forth, and little good it bore,
For the Darkness stayed at his shoulder-blade and Heaven’s Gate before:—
“O this I have felt, and this I have guessed, and this I have heard men say,
“And this they wrote that another man wrote of a carl in Norroway.”
—“Ye have read, ye have felt, ye have guessed, good lack! Ye have hampered Heaven’s Gate;
“There’s little room between the stars in idleness to prate!
“O none may reach by hired speech of neighbour, priest, and kin
“Through borrowed deed to God’s good meed that lies so fair within;
“Get hence, get hence to the Lord of Wrong, for doom has yet to run,
“And . . .the faith that ye share with Berkeley Square uphold you, Tomlinson!”

.     .     .     .     .

The Spirit gripped him by the hair, and sun by sun they fell
Till they came to the belt of Naughty Stars that rim the mouth of Hell:
The first are red with pride and wrath, the next are white with pain,
But the third are black with clinkered sin that cannot burn again:
They may hold their path, they may leave their path, with never a soul to mark,
They may burn or freeze, but they must not cease in the Scorn of the Outer Dark.
The Wind that blows between the worlds, it nipped him to the bone,
And he yearned to the flare of Hell-Gate there as the light of his own hearth-stone.
The Devil he sat behind the bars, where the desperate legions drew,
But he caught the hasting Tomlinson and would not let him through.
“Wot ye the price of good pit-coal that I must pay?” said he,
“That ye rank yoursel’ so fit for Hell and ask no leave of me?
“I am all o’er-sib to Adam’s breed that ye should give me scorn,
“For I strove with God for your First Father the day that he was born.
“Sit down, sit down upon the slag, and answer loud and high
“The harm that ye did to the Sons of Men or ever you came to die.”
And Tomlinson looked up and up, and saw against the night
The belly of a tortured star blood-red in Hell-Mouth light;
And Tomlinson looked down and down, and saw beneath his feet
The frontlet of a tortured star milk-white in Hell-Mouth heat.
“O I had a love on earth,” said he, “that kissed me to my fall,
“And if ye would call my love to me I know she would answer all.”
—“All that ye did in love forbid it shall be written fair,
“But now ye wait at Hell-Mouth Gate and not in Berkeley Square:
“Though we whistled your love from her bed to-night, I trow she would not run,
“For the sin ye do by two and two ye must pay for one by one!”
The Wind that blows between the worlds, it cut him like a knife,
And Tomlinson took up the tale and spoke of his sin in life:—
“Once I ha’ laughed at the power of Love and twice at the grip of the Grave,
“And thrice I ha’ patted my God on the head that men might call me brave.”
The Devil he blew on a brandered soul and set it aside to cool:—
“Do ye think I would waste my good pit-coal on the hide of a brain-sick fool?
“I see no worth in the hobnailed mirth or the jolthead jest ye did
“That I should waken my gentlemen that are sleeping three on a grid.”
Then Tomlinson looked back and forth, and there was little grace,
For Hell-Gate filled the houseless Soul with the Fear of Naked Space.
“Nay, this I ha’ heard,” quo’ Tomlinson, “and this was noised abroad,
“And this I ha’ got from a Belgian book on the word of a dead French lord.”
—“Ye ha’ heard, ye ha’ read, ye ha’ got, good lack! and the tale begins afresh—
“Have ye sinned one sin for the pride o’ the eye or the sinful lust of the flesh?”
Then Tomlinson he gripped the bars and yammered, “Let me in—
For I mind that I borrowed my neighbour’s wife to sin the deadly sin.”
The Devil he grinned behind the bars, and banked the fires high:
“Did ye read of that sin in a book?” said he; and Tomlinson said, “Ay!”
The Devil he blew upon his nails, and the little devils ran,
And he said: “Go husk this whimpering thief that comes in the guise of a man:
“Winnow him out ’twixt star and star, and sieve his proper worth:
“There’s sore decline in Adam’s line if this be spawn of earth.”
Empusa’s crew, so naked-new they may not face the fire,
But weep that they bin too small to sin to the height of their desire,
Over the coal they chased the Soul, and racked it all abroad,
As children rifle a caddis-case or the raven’s foolish hoard.
And back they came with the tattered Thing, as children after play,
And they said: “The soul that he got from God he has bartered clean away.
“We have threshed a stook of print and book, and winnowed a chattering wind
“And many a soul wherefrom he stole, but his we cannot find:
“We have handled him, we have dandled him, we have seared him to the bone,
“And sure if tooth and nail show truth he has no soul of his own.”
The Devil he bowed his head on his breast and rumbled deep and low:—
“I’m all o’er-sib to Adam’s breed that I should bid him go.
“Yet close we lie, and deep we lie, and if I gave him place,
“My gentlemen that are so proud would flout me to my face;
“They’d call my house a common stews and me a careless host,
“And—I would not anger my gentlemen for the sake of a shiftless ghost.”
The Devil he looked at the mangled Soul that prayed to feel the flame,
And he thought of Holy Charity, but he thought of his own good name:—
“Now ye could haste my coal to waste, and sit ye down to fry:
Did ye think of that theft for yourself?” said he; and Tomlinson said, “Ay!”
“The Devil he blew an outward breath, for his heart was free from care:—
“Ye have scarce the soul of a louse,” he said, “but the roots of sin are there,
“And for that sin should ye come in were I the lord alone.
“But sinful pride has rule inside—and mightier than my own.
“Honour and Wit, fore-damned they sit, to each his priest and whore:
“Nay, scarce I dare myself go there, and you they’d torture sore.
“Ye are neither spirit nor spirk,” he said; “ye are neither book nor brute—
“Go, get ye back to the flesh again for the sake of Man’s repute.
“I’m all o’er-sib to Adam’s breed that I should mock your pain,
“But look that ye win to worthier sin ere ye come back again.
“Get hence, the hearse is at your door—the grim black stallions wait—
“They bear your clay to place to-day. Speed, lest ye come too late!
“Go back to Earth with a lip unsealed—go back with an open eye,
“And carry my word to the Sons of Men or ever ye come to die:
“That the sin they do by two and two they must pay for one by one—
“And . . .the God that you took from a printed book be with you, Tomlinson!”

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The Ballad[e] Of Imitation / Austin Dobson

The Ballad[e] Of Imitation

 

If they hint, O Musician, the piece that you played
Is nought but a copy of Chopin or Spohr;
That the ballad you sing is but merely “conveyed”
From the stock of the Arnes and the Purcells of yore;
That there’s nothing, in short, in the words or the score
That is not as out-worn as the “Wandering Jew,”
Make answer—Beethoven could scarcely do more—
That the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!

If they tell you, Sir Artist, your light and your shade
Are simply “adapted” from other men’s lore;
That—plainly to speak of a “spade” as a “spade”—
You’ve “stolen” your grouping from three or from four;
That (however the writer the truth may deplore),
‘Twas Gainsborough painted your “Little Boy Blue”;
Smile only serenely—though cut to the core—
For the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!

And you too, my Poet, be never dismayed
If they whisper your Epic—”Sir Eperon d’Or”—
Is nothing but Tennyson thinly arrayed
In a tissue that’s taken from Morris’s store;
That no one, in fact, but a child could ignore
That you “lift” or “accommodate” all that you do;
Take heart—though your Pegasus’ withers be sore—
For the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!

POSTSCRIPTUM—And you, whom we all so adore,
Dear Critics, whose verdicts are always so new!—
One word in your ear. There were Critics before . . .
And the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!

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More Austin Dobson

SNAP-SHOT

A SWAN and cygnets, nothing more.
Background of silver, reedy shore,
Dim shapes of rounded trees, the high
Effulgence of a summer sky.

Only a snap-shot. Just a flash,
And it was fixed, — the mimic wash,
The parent bird on-oaring slow,
Her fussy little fleet in tow,
The all-pervading sultry haze,
The white lights on the waterways, —
A scene that never was before,
A scene that will be — Nevermore!

Alas! for us. We look and wait,
And labour but to imitate;
Vainly for new effects we seek . . .
Earth’s shortest second is unique!

1904.

WITH A VOLUME OF VERSE

ABOUT the ending of the Ramadán,
When leanest grows the famished Mussulman,
A haggard ne’er-do-well, Mahmoud by name,
At the tenth hour to Caliph OMAR came.
‘Lord of the Faithful (quoth he), at the last
The long moon waneth, and men cease to fast;
Hard then, O hard! the lot of him must be,
Who spares to eat . . . but not for piety!’
‘Hast thou no calling, Friend?’ — the Caliph said.
‘Sir, I make verses for my daily bread.’
‘Verse!’ — answered OMAR. ‘ ‘Tisa dish, indeed,
Whereof but scantily a man may feed.
Go. Learn the Tenter’s or the Potter’s Art, —
Verse is a drug not sold in any mart.’

I know not if that hungry Mahmoud died;
But this I know — he must have versified,
For, with his race, from better still to worse,
The plague of writing follows like a curse;
And men will scribble though they fail to dine,
Which is the Moral of more Books than mine.

1885.

VERSES READ AT THE DINNER OF THE
OMAR KHAYYÁM CLUB

MARCH 25, 1897

‘– Medio de fonte leporum surgit OMARI allquid.’ — LUCRETIUS (adapted).

While we the Feast by Fruit and Wine prolong, A Bard bobs up, and bores us with a Song. — THE APICIAD.

‘TWAS Swift who said that people ‘view
In HOMER more than HOMER knew.’
I can’t pretend to claim the gift
Of playing BENTLEY upon SWIFT;
But I suspect the reading true
IS ‘OMAR more than OMAR knew,’ —
Or why this large assembly met
Lest we this OMAR should forget?
(In a parenthesis I note
Our RUSTUM here, without red coat;
Where SOHRAB sits I’m not aware,
But that’s FIRDAUSI in the Chair!) —
I say then that we now are met
Lest we this OMAR should forget,
Who, ages back, remote, obscure,
Wrote verses once at Naishápúr, —
Verses which, as I understand,
Were merely copied out by hand,
And now, without etched plates, or aid
Of India paper, or hand-made,
Bid fair Parnassus’ top to climb,
And knock the Classics out of time.

Persicos odi — Horace said,
And therefore is no longer read.
Time, who could simply not endure
Slight to the Bard of Naishápúr,

(Time, by the way, was rather late
For one so often up-to-date!)
Went swiftly to the Roll of Fame
And blotted Q. H. F. his name,
Since when, for every Youth or Miss
That knows Quis multa gracilis,
There are a hundred who can tell
What OMAR thought of Heav’n and Hell;
Who BAHRÁM was; and where (at need)
Lies hid the Beaker of JAMSHYD; —
In short, without a break can quote
Most of what OMAR ever wrote.

Well, OMAR KHAYYÁM wrote of Wine,
And all of us, sometimes, must dine;
And OMAR KHAYYÁM wrote of Roses,
And all of us, no doubt, have noses;
And OMAR KHAYYÁM wrote of Love,
Which some of us are not above.
Also, he charms to this extent,
We don’t know, always, what he meant.
Lastly, the man’s so plainly dead
We can heap honours on his head.

Then, too, he scores in other wise
By his ‘deplorable demise.’
There is so much that we could say
Were he a Bard of yesterday!
We should discuss his draughts and pills,
His baker’s and his vintner’s bills;
Rake up — perhaps ’tis well we can’t —
Gossip about his maiden aunt;
And all that marketable matter
Which FREEMAN nicknamed ‘Harriet-chatter!’

But here not even Persian candles
Can light us to the smallest scandals; —
Thus far your OMAR gains at least
By having been so long deceased.

Failing of this, we needs must fall
Back on his opus after all: —
Those quatrains so compact, complete,
So suited to FITZGERALD’S feet,
(And, let us add, so subtly planned
To tempt the imitative band!) —
Those censers of Omari ware
That breathe into the perfumed air
His doubt, his unrest, his despair; —
Those jewels-four-lines-long that show,
Eight hundred years and more ago,
An old thing underneath the sun
In Babylonish Babylon: —
A Body and a Soul at strife
To solve the Mystery of Life!

So then all hail to OMAR K.!
(To take our more familiar way)
Though much of what he wrote and did
In darkest mystery is hid;
And though (unlike our bards) his task
Was less to answer than to ask;
For all his endless Why and Whether,
He brings us here to-night together;
And therefore (as I said before),
Hail! OMAR KHAYYÁM, hail! once more!

1897.

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So that’s who I remind me of…

When I consider men of golden talents,
I’m delighted, in my introverted way,
To discover, as I’m drawing up the balance,
How much we have in common, I and they.

Like Burns, I have a weakness for the bottle,
Like Shakespeare, little Latin and less Greek;
I bite my fingernails like Aristotle;
Like Thackeray, I have a snobbish streak.

I’m afflicted with the vanity of Byron,
I’ve inherited the spitefulness of Pope;
Like Petrarch, I’m a sucker for a siren,
Like Milton, I’ve a tendency to mope.

My spelling is suggestive of a Chaucer;
Like Johnson, well, I do not wish to die
(I also drink my coffee from the saucer);
And if Goldsmith was a parrot, so am I.

Like Villon, I have debits by the carload,
Like Swinburn, I’m afraid I need a nurse;
By my dicing is Christopher out-Marlowed,
And I dream as much as Coleridge, only worse.

In comparison with men of golden talents,
I am all a man of talent ought to be;
I resemble every genius in his vice, however heinous –
Yet I write so much like me.

– Ogden Nash / Good Intentions. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1942. pp. 81-82.

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Ballad of ‘Beau Brocade”

THE BALLAD OF ‘BEAU BROCADE’

Taken from Henry Austin Dobson’s Old-World Idylls. London, SI, 1883.

‘Hark! I hear the sound of coaches!’ — BEGGAR’S OPERA.

SEVENTEEN hundred and thirty-nine: —
That was the date of this tale of mine.

First great GEORGE was buried and gone;
GEORGE the Second was plodding on.

LONDON then, as the ‘Guides’ aver,
Shared its glories with Westminster ;

And people of rank, to correct their ‘tone’,
Went out of town to Marybone.

Those were the days of the War with Spain,
PORTO-BELLO would soon be ta’en;

WHITEFIELD preached to the colliers grim,
Bishops in lawn sleeves preached at him;

WALPOLE talked of ‘a man and his price’;
Nobody’s virtue was over-nice: —

Those, in fine, were the brave days when
Coaches were stopped by. . Highwaymen!

And of all the knights of the gentle trade
Nobody bolder than ‘BEAU’ BROCADE’.

This they knew on the whole way down;
Best, — maybe, — at the ‘Oak and Crown’.

For timorous cits on their pilgrimage
Would ‘club’ for a ‘Guard’ to ride the stage:

And the Guard that rode on more than one
Was the Host of this hostel’s sister’s son.

Open we here on a March day fine,
Under the oak with the hanging sign.

There was Barber DICK with his basin by;
Cobbler JOE with the patch on his eye;

Portly product of Beef and Beer,
JOHN the host, he was standing near.

Straining and creaking, with wheels awry,
Lumbering came the ‘Plymouth Fly’;

Lumbering up from Bagshot Heath,
Guard in the basket armed to the teeth;

Passengers heavily armed inside;
Not the less surely the coach had been tried!

Tried! — but a couple of miles away,
By a well-dressed man! — in the open day!

Tried successfully, never a doubt, —
Pockets of passengers all turned out!

Cloak-bags rifled, and cushions ripped, —
Even an Ensign’s wallet stripped!

Even a Methodist hosier’s wife
Offered the choice of her Money or Life!

Highwayman’s manners no less polite,
Hoped that their coppers (returned) were right; —

Sorry to find the company poor,
Hoped next time they’d travel with more; —

Plucked them all at his ease, in short: —
Such was the ‘Plymouth Fly’s’ report.

Sympathy! horror! and wonderment!
‘Catch the Villain!’ (But Nobody went).

Hosier’s wife led into the Bar;
(That’s where the best strong waters are!)

Followed the tale of the hundred-and-one
Things that Somebody ought to have done.

Ensign (of BRAGG’S) made a terrible clangour:
But for the Ladies had drawn his hanger!

Robber, of course, was ‘BEAU BROCADE,’
Out-spoke DOLLY the Chambermaid.

Devonshire DOLLY, plump and red,
Spoke from the gallery overhead; —

Spoke it out boldly, staring hard: —
‘Why didn’t you shoot then, GEORGE the Guard?’

Spoke it out bolder, seeing him mute: —
‘ GEORGE the Guard, why didn’t you shoot?’

Portly JOHN grew pale and red,
( JOHN was afraid of her, people said ; )

Gasped that ‘ DOLLY was surely cracked,’
( JOHN was afraid of her — that’s a fact!)

GEORGE the Guard grew red and pale,
Slowly finished his quart of ale: —

‘Shoot? Why — Rabbit him! — didn’t he shoot?’
Muttered — ‘The Baggage was far too ‘cute!’

‘Shoot? Why he’d flashed the pan in his eye!’
Muttered — ‘She’d pay for it by and by!’
Further than this made no reply.

Nor could a further reply be made,
For GEORGEwas in league with ‘BEAU BROCADE’!

And JOHN the Host, in his wakefullest state,
Was not — on the whole — immaculate.

But nobody’s virtue was over-nice
When WALPOLE talked of ‘a man and his price’;

And wherever Purity found abode,
‘Twas certainly not on a posting road.

II

‘Forty’ followed to ‘Thirty-nine.’
Glorious days of the Hanover line!

Princes were born, and drums were banged;
Now and then batches of Highwaymen hanged.

Glorious news!’ — from the Spanish Main;
PORTO-BELLO at last was ta’en.

‘Glorious news!’ — for the liquor trade;
Nobody dreamed of ‘BEAU BROCADE.’

People were thinking of Spanish Crowns;
Money
was coming from seaport towns!

Nobody dreamed of ‘BEAU BROCADE,’
Only DOLLY the Chambermaid!

Blessings on VERNON! Fill up the cans;
Money was coming in ‘Flys’ and ‘Vans.’

Possibly JOHN the Host had heard;
Also, certainly, GEORGE the Guard.

And DOLLY had possibly tidings, too,
That made her rise from her bed anew,

Plump as ever, but stern of eye,
With a fixed intention to warn the ‘Fly.’

Lingering only at JOHN his door,
Just to make sure of a jerky snore

Saddling the grey mare, Dumpling Star;
Fetching the pistol out of the bar;

(The old horse-pistol that, they say,
Came from the battle of Malplaquet;)

Loading with powder that maids would use,
Even in ‘Forty,’ to clear the flues;

And a couple of silver buttons, the Squire
Gave her, away in Devonshire.

These she wadded — for want of better —
With the B — SH — P of L — ND — N’S ‘Pastoral Letter’;

Looked to the flint, and hung the whole,
Ready to use, at her pocket-hole.

Thus equipped and accoutred, DOLLY
Clattered away to ‘Exciseman’s Folly’;

Such was the name of a ruined abode,
just on the edge of the London road.

Thence she thought she might safely try,
As soon as she saw it, to warn the ‘Fly.’

But, as chance fell out, her rein she drew,
As the BEAU came cantering into the view.

By the light of the moon she could see him drest
In his famous gold-sprigged tambour vest;

And under his silver-grey surtout,
The laced, historical coat of blue,

That he wore when he went to london-Spaw,
And robbed Sir MUNGO MUCKLETHRAW.

Out-spoke DOLLY the Chambermaid,
Trembling a little, but not afraid,
‘Stand and Deliver, O”BEAU BROCADE”!’

But the BEAU rode nearer, and would not speak,
For he saw by the moonlight a rosy cheek;

And a spavined mare with a rusty hide;
And a girl with her hand at her pocket-side.

So never a word he spoke as yet,
For he thought ’twas a freak of MEG or BET; —
A freak of the ‘Rose’ or the ‘Rummer’ set.

Out-spoke DOLLY the Chambermaid,
(Tremulous now, and sore afraid,)
‘Stand and Deliver, O”BEAU BROCADE”!’ —

Firing then, out of sheer alarm,
Hit the BEAU in the bridle-arm.

Button the first went none knows where,
But it carried away his solitaire;

Button the second a circuit made,
Glanced in under the shoulder-blade; —
Down from the saddle fell ‘BEAU BROCADE”

Down from the saddle and never stirred
DOLLY grew white as a Windsor curd.

Slipped not less from the mare, and bound
Strips of her kirtle about his wound.

Then, lest his Worship should rise and flee,
Fettered his ankles — tenderly.

Jumped on his chestnut, BET the fleet
Called after BET of Portugal Street;

Came like the wind to the old Inn-door; —
Roused fat JOHN from a three-fold snore; —

Vowed she’d ‘peach if he misbehaved . . .
Briefly, the ‘Plymouth Fly’ was saved!

Staines and Windsor were all on fire: —
DOLLY was wed to a Yorkshire squire;
Went to Town at the K — G’S desire!

But whether His M — J — STY saw her or not,
HOGARTH jotted her down on the spot;

And something of DOLLY one still may trace
In the fresh contours of his ‘Milkmaid’s’ face.

GEORGE the Guard fled over the sea:
JOHN had a fit — of perplexity;

Turned King’s evidence, sad to state; —
But JOHN was never immaculate.

As for the BEAU, he was duly tried,
When his wound was healed, at Whitsuntide;

Served — for a day — as the last of ‘sights,’
To the world of St. James’s-Street and ‘While’s,’

Went on his way to TYBURN TREE,
With a pomp befitting his high degree.

Every privilege rank confers: —
Bouquet of pinks at St. Sepulchre’s;

Flagon of ale at Holborn Bar;
Friends in mourning to follow his Car —
(‘t’ is omitted where HEROES are!)

Every one knows the speech he made;
Swore that he ‘rather admired the Jade!’ —

Waved to the crowd with his gold-laced hat:
Talked to the Chaplain after that;

Turned to the Topsman undismayed . . .
This was the finish of ‘BEAU BROCADE’!

And this is the Ballad that seemed to hide
In the leaves of a dusty
‘LONDONER’S GUIDE’;

‘Humbly Inscrib’d with curls and tails
By the Author to
FREDERICK , Prince of WALES: —

‘Published by FRANCISand OLIVER PINE;
Ludgate-Hill, at the Blackmoor Sign,
Seventeen-Hundred-and-Thirty-Nine.’

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In memoriam: George Herbert

A  WREATH.
A WREATHED garland of deservèd praise,
Of praise deservèd, unto Thee I give,
I give to Thee, who knowest all my ways,
My crooked winding ways, wherein I live,—
Wherein I die, not live ; for life is straight,
Straight as a line, and ever tends to Thee,
To Thee, who art more far above deceit,
Than deceit seems above simplicity.
Give me simplicity, that I may live,
So live and like, that I may know Thy ways,
Know them and practise them : then shall I give
For this poor wreath, give Thee a crown of praise.

http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/herbert/wreath.htm

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Filed under George Herbert, Poetry