2018年2月15日 星期四

ThomasGray’s great ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard’

“Full many a desert flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air”.
#ThomasGray’s great ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard’ was first published #onthisday 1751. Two years later the celebrated edition with designs by Richard Bentley appeared. Here it is:

2018年1月31日 星期三


"The Rambler" by Thomas Hardy
I do not see the hills around,
Nor mark the tints the copses wear;
I do not note the grassy ground 
And constellated daisies there.
I hear not the contralto note
Of cuckoos hid on either hand,
The whirr that shakes the nighthawk's throat
When eve's brown awning hoods the land.
Some say each songster, tree and mead--
All eloquent of love divine--
Receives their constant careful heed:
Such keen appraisement is not mine.
The tones around me that I hear,
The aspects, meanings, shapes I see,
Are those far back ones missed when near,
And now perceived too late by me!
Poems: Hardy contains poems from Moments of Vision, Satires of Circumstance, Veteris Vestigia Flammae, Heredity, Short Stories, Afterwards, and an index of first lines. READ more here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/…/hardy-poems-by-thomas…/


2018年1月30日 星期二

"Barbarian" by Arthur Rimbaud

"Barbarian" by Arthur Rimbaud
Long after the days and the seasons, and people and countries.
The banner of raw meat against the silk of seas and arctic flowers;
(they do not exist). Recovered from the old fanfares of heroism,-- 
which still attack the heart and head,-- far from the old assassins.
-- Oh! the banner of raw meat against the silk of seas and arctic flowers;
(they do not exist).-- Bliss! Live embers raining in gusts of frost.--
Bliss!-- fires in the rain of the wind of diamonds
flung out by the earth's heart eternally carbonized for us.
-- O world! (Far from the old retreats and the old flames, still heard, still felt.)
Fire and foam. Magic, veering of chasms and clash of icicles against the stars.
O bliss, O world, O music! And forms, sweat, eyes
and long hair floating there. And white tears boiling,--
O bliss!-- and the feminine voice reaching to the bottom of volcanoes
and grottos of the arctic seas. The banner...
Poems: Rimbaud contains selections from Rimbaud’s work, including over 100 poems, selected prose, "Letter to Paul Demeny, May 15, 1871," and an index of first lines. READ an excerpt here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/…/rimbaud-poems-by-arth…/

2018年1月29日 星期一

"Demon" 等 by Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (/ˈpʊʃkɪn/;[1] RussianАлекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкинtr. Aleksandr Sergeyevich PushkinIPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr sʲɪˈrɡʲejɪvʲɪtɕ ˈpuʂkʲɪn] (About this sound listen); 6 June [O.S. 26 May] 1799 – 10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1837) was a Russian poetplaywright, and novelist of the Romantic era[2] who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet[3][4][5][6] and the founder of modern Russian literature.[7][8]


(Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. )

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin died in St. Petersburg, Russia on this day in 1837 (aged 37). Pushkin was fatally wounded in a duel with his brother-in-law, and died two days later.
"What good is my name to you?
It will die, like the melancholy sound
Of a wave breaking on a distant shore,
Like night’s noises in the dense forest.
On the album page
It will leave a dead trace, like
The pattern of an epitaph on a tombstone
In an unknown language.
What good is it? Long forgotten
In new, stormy emotions,
It will not evoke in your soul
Peaceful, tender memories.
But... on a day of grief, in the silence
Pronounce it, pining;
Say: someone remembers me,
There is in the world a heart, in which I live..."
— Alexander Pushkin (5 January 1830) as quoted in PUSHKIN: A BIOGRAPHY by T. J. Binyon

In the course of his short, dramatic life, Aleksandr Pushkin gave Russia not only its greatest poetry–including the novel-in-verse Eugene Onegin–but a new literary language. He also gave it a figure of enduring romantic allure–fiery, restless, extravagant, a prodigal gambler and inveterate seducer of women. Having forged a dazzling, controversial career that cost him the enmity of one tsar and won him the patronage of another, he died at the age of thirty-eight, following a duel with a French officer who was paying unscrupulous attention to his wife.
In his magnificent, prizewinning Pushkin, T. J. Binyon lifts the veil of the iconic poet’s myth to reveal the complexity and pathos of his life while brilliantly evoking Russia in all its nineteenth-century splendor. Combining exemplary scholarship with the pace and detail of a great novel, Pushkin elevates biography to a work of art. READ an excerpt here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/…/13660/pushkin-by-t-j-…/

"Demon" by Alexander Pushkin
In bygone days when life's array -
The sweet song of the nightingale
And maidens' eyes, the rustling woods - 
Still left a fresh impression on me,
When loftiness of feeling,
And freedom, glory, love
Artistic inspiration
So deeply stirred my blood,
My times of hope were cast in shade
And pleasure dimmed by longing,
For it was then an evil genius
Began to pay me secret visits.
Our meetings were quite dolorous:
His smile, his glance mysterious,
His venom-filled and caustic sermons
Poured frozen poison in my soul.
With endless slandering remarks
He tempted Providence;
He claimed that beauty's but a dream;
Felt scorn for inspiration;
He had no faith in love or freedom;
He looked on life with ridicule-
And in the whole of nature
He did not wish to praise a single thing.

2018年1月28日 星期日

"An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


"An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" is a poem by Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) written in 1918 and first published in the Macmillan edition of The Wild Swans at Coole in 1919.[1] The poem is a soliloquy given by an aviator in the First World War in which the narrator describes the circumstances surrounding his imminent death. The poem is a work that discusses the role of Irish soldiers fighting for the United Kingdom during a time when they were trying to establish independence for Ireland. Wishing to show restraint from publishing political poems during the height of the war, Yeats withheld publication of the poem until after the conflict had ended.[2]


I know that I shall meet my fate,
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

2018年1月25日 星期四

Martin Puchner'sreview of THE WRITTEN WORLD How literature shaped history

Writing wrongs

Modigliani and Anna Akhmatova

熊宗慧 《俄羅斯私風景:走過生活,讀過文學 時代的不安與女人的心事--阿赫瑪托娃的情詩》2013,pp.244-54,
我去Thames and Hudson的World of Art叢書確認。

Modigliani and the Russian beauty: the affair that changed him ...

Modigliani would be out drinking in Paris when a sudden desire came over him to remove his clothes, flex his naked body, and give a performance of Dante’s Divine Comedy. If it wasn’t Dante then it was something else – he could recite dozens of poems from memory, even while drunk, a skill that served him particularly well when he met the young Russian poet Anna Akhmatova in 1910 and determined to win her heart. She was on her honeymoon at the time but Modigliani was undeterred. They soon began an affair, absconding to the Jardin du Luxembourg to sit in the rain and intone the poetry of Verlaine. “We rejoiced that we both remembered the same work of his”, Akhmatova recalled later.
Modigliani captured her on paper, nude and perpendicular and as long in body and round in stomach as a butternut squash. And he drew her clothed and sphinx-like on a chaise longue. He is said to have sketched her sixteen times in all. Their relationship did not last, but Akhmatova took the drawings back to Russia and hung one on her wall. When we meet her in Martin Puchner’s vivid new history of writing, she is twice divorced but still reciting poetry, this time her own and to friends in Leningrad in the 1930s. Modigliani’s is one of the rare sheets of paper left in her home. She has burned the drafts of her latest poems after committing them to memory and is anxiously entrusting them to a group of women to remember until the Great Purge is over, and it is safe enough to write them down. Her devastating Requiem was finally published in Germany in 1963 and in Russia in 1989.

Anna Akhmatova, 1911 by Amedeo Modigliani. Expressionism. nude painting (nu)

LRB · Virginia Woolf · The Symbol

Virginia Woolf was born #otd in 1882. Her story 'The Symbol' had not previously appeared in print when we published it in 1985. The typescript, originally called 'Inconclusions', was dated 1941; it seems to have been among the last stories she wrote.
There was a little dent on the top of the mountain like a crater on the moon. It was filled with snow, iridescent like a pigeon’s breast, or dead white.