2018年5月20日 星期日

Coronach. Sir Walter Scott

Oxford World's Classics

"He is gone on the mountain,
He is lost to the forest,
Like a summer-dried fountain,
When our need was the sorest." - Sir Walter Scott

HE is gone on the mountain, 
  He is lost to the forest, 
Like a summer-dried fountain, 
  When our need was the sorest. 
The font reappearing         5
  From the raindrops shall borrow; 
But to us comes no cheering, 
  To Duncan no morrow! 
The hand of the reaper 
  Takes the ears that are hoary,  10
But the voice of the weeper 
  Wails manhood in glory. 
The autumn winds rushing 
  Waft the leaves that are searest, 
But our flower was in flushing  15
  When blighting was nearest. 
Fleet foot on the correi, 
  Sage counsel in cumber, 
Red hand in the foray, 
  How sound is thy slumber!  20
Like the dew on the mountain, 
  Like the foam on the river, 
Like the bubble on the fountain, 
  Thou art gone—and for ever!

2018年5月19日 星期六

LRB · Quentin Skinner · What does it mean to be a free person?

Of splendid vassalage, but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous, when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse
We can create.'
For Milton, as for so many later writers in the republican tradition, the price of freedom is nothing less than eternal vigilance.

2018年5月12日 星期六

"Broken Thoughts" by Gabriel Dante Rossetti

"Broken Thoughts" by Gabriel Dante Rossetti
Poet Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti was born in London, England on this day in 1828.
The thoughts are broken in my memory,
Thou lovely Joy, whene'er I see thy face;
When thou art near me, Love fills up the space,
Often repeating, "If death irk thee, fly."
My face shows my heart's color, verily,
Which, fainting, seeks for any leaning-place;
Till, in the drunken terror of disgrace,
The very stones seem to be shrieking, "Die!"
It were a grievous sin, if one should not
Strive then to comfort my bewildered mind
(Though merely with a simple pitying)
For the great anguish which thy scorn has wrought
In the dead sight o' the eyes grown nearly blind,
Which look for death as for a blessed thing.

"On Carpaccio's Picture: The Dream of St. Ursula" (1912) by Amy Lowell

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Amy Lawrence Lowell died in Brookline, Massachusetts on this day in 1925 (aged 51).
"On Carpaccio's Picture: The Dream of St. Ursula" (1912) by Amy Lowell
Swept, clean, and still, across the polished floor
From some unshuttered casement, hid from sight,
The level sunshine slants, its greater light
Quenching the little lamp which pallid, poor,
Flickering, unreplenished, at the door
Has striven against darkness the long night.
Dawn fills the room, and penetrating, bright,
The silent sunbeams through the window pour.
And she lies sleeping, ignorant of Fate,
Enmeshed in listless dreams, her soul not yet
Ripened to bear the purport of this day.
The morning breeze scarce stirs the coverlet,
A shadow falls across the sunlight; wait!
A lark is singing as he flies away.

"As I Walked Out One Evening" (1937) by W.H. Auden

"As I Walked Out One Evening" (1937) by W.H. Auden
As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.
And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
‘Love has no ending.
‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,
‘I’ll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.
‘The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'
But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
‘O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.
‘In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.
‘In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.
‘Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver’s brilliant bow.
‘O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you’ve missed.
‘The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.
‘Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.
‘O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.
‘O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.'
It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.
W. H. Auden once defined light verse as the kind that is written by poets who are democratically in tune with their audience and whose language is straightforward and close to general speech. Given that definition, the 123 poems in this collection all qualify; they are as accessible as popular songs yet have the wisdom and profundity of the greatest poetry. AS I WALKED OUT ONE EVENING contains some of Auden’s most memorable verse: "Now Through the Night’s Caressing Grip," "Lullaby: Lay your Sleeping Head, My Love," "Under Which Lyre," and "Funeral Blues." Alongside them are less familiar poems, including seventeen that have never before appeared in book form. Here, among toasts, ballads, limericks, and even a foxtrot, are "Song: The Chimney Sweepers," a jaunty evocation of love, and the hilarious satire "Letter to Lord Byron." By turns lyrical, tender, sardonic, courtly, and risqué, AS I WALKED OUT ONE EVENING is Auden at his most irresistible and affecting. READ more here:https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/…/as-i-walked-out-one-e…/

2018年5月11日 星期五

Don Marquis's Archy and Mehitabel

Everyman's Library
15小時 ·

"what the ants are saying" (1935) by Don Marquis

dear boss i was talking with an ant
the other day
and he handed me a lot of
gossip which ants the world around
are chewing over among themselves

i pass it on to you
in the hope that you may relay it to other
human beings and hurt their feelings with it
no insect likes human beings
and if you think you can see why
the only reason i tolerate you is because
you seem less human to me than most of them
here is what the ants are saying

it wont be long now it wont be long
man is making deserts of the earth
it wont be long now
before man will have used it up
so that nothing but ants
and centipedes and scorpions
can find a living on it
man has oppressed us for a million years
but he goes on steadily
cutting the ground from under
his own feet making deserts deserts deserts

we ants remember
and have it all recorded
in our tribal lore
when gobi was a paradise
swarming with men and rich
in human prosperity
it is a desert now and the home
of scorpions ants and centipedes

what man calls civilization
always results in deserts
man is never on the square
he uses up the fat and greenery of the earth
each generation wastes a little more
of the future with greed and lust for riches

north africa was once a garden spot
and then came carthage and rome
and despoiled the storehouse
and now you have sahara
sahara ants and centipedes

toltecs and aztecs had a mighty
civilization on this continent
but they robbed the soil and wasted nature
and now you have deserts scorpions ants and centipedes
and the deserts of the near east
followed egypt and babylon and assyria
and persia and rome and the turk
the ant is the inheritor of tamerlane
and the scorpion succeeds the caesars

america was once a paradise
of timberland and stream
but it is dying because of the greed
and money lust of a thousand little kings
who slashed the timber all to hell
and would not be controlled
and changed the climate
and stole the rainfall from posterity
and it wont be long now
it wont be long
till everything is desert
from the alleghenies to the rockies
the deserts are coming
the deserts are spreading
the springs and streams are drying up
one day the mississippi itself
will be a bed of sand
ants and scorpions and centipedes
shall inherit the earth

men talk of money and industry
of hard times and recoveries
of finance and economics
but the ants wait and the scorpions wait
for while men talk they are making deserts all the time
getting the world ready for the conquering ant
drought and erosion and desert
because men cannot learn

rainfall passing off in flood and freshet
and carrying good soil with it
because there are no longer forests
to withhold the water in the
billion meticulations of the roots

it wont be long now It won’t be long
till earth is barren as the moon
and sapless as a mumbled bone

dear boss i relay this information
without any fear that humanity
will take warning and reform



A selection of the best of the hilarious free-verse poems by the irreverent cockroach poet Archy and his alley-cat pal Mehitabel. Don Marquis’s famous fictional insect appeared in his newspaper columns from 1916 into the 1930s, and he has delighted generations of readers ever since. A poet in a former life, Archy was reincarnated as a bug who expresses himself by diving headfirst onto a typewriter. His sidekick Mehitabel is a streetwise feline who claims to have been Cleopatra in a previous life. As E. B. White wrote in his now-classic introduction, the Archy poems “contain cosmic reverberations along with high comedy” and have “the jewel-like perfection of poetry.” Adorned with George Herriman’s whimsical illustrations and including White’s introduction, our Pocket Poets selection—the only hardcover Archy and Mehitabel in print—is a beautiful volume, and perfectly sized for its tiny hero. 

READ an excerpt from the introduction by E.B. White
here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/…/the-best-of-archy-and…/


Marquis's best-known creation was Archy, a fictional cockroach (developed as a character during 1916) who had been a free-verse poet in a previous life, and who supposedly left poems on Marquis's typewriter by jumping on the keys. Archy usually typed only lower-case letters, without punctuation, because he could not operate the shift key. His verses were a type of social satire, and were used by Marquis in his newspaper columns titled "archy and mehitabel"; mehitabel was an alley cat, occasional companion of archy and the subject of some of archy's verses. The archy and mehitabel pieces were illustrated by cartoonist George Herriman, better known to posterity as the author of the newspaper comic Krazy Kat. Other characters developed by Marquis included Pete the Pup, Clarence the ghost, and an egomaniacal toad named Warty Bliggins.

Marquis was the author of about 35 books. He co-wrote (or contributed posthumously) to the films The Sports Pages, Shinbone Alley, The Good Old Soak and Skippy. The 1926 film The Cruise of the Jasper B was supposedly based on his 1916 novel of the same name, although the plots have little in common.

Digital image of the dust jacket of Hermione and her Little Group of Serious Thinkers, an early work of humour, produced in 1916 (early edition, hardcover).
1912: Danny's Own Story (novel)
1915: Dreams & Dust (poems)
1916: Cruise of the Jasper B. (novel)
1916: Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers (sketches)
1919: Prefaces (essays)
1921: The Old Soak and Hail and Farewell (sketches) Dramatized 1921, 1926, 1937.
1921: Carter and Other People (short stories)
1921: Noah an' Jonah an' Cap'n John Smith (poems, sketches)
1922: Poems and Portraits (poems)
1922: Sonnets to a Red-Haired Lady and Famous Love Affairs(poems)
1922: The Revolt of the Oyster (short stories)
1924: The Dark Hours (play) This story of the trial, passion and crucifixion of Jesus had its professional premiere on 14 March 1932 at the Maryland Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland. Bretaigne Windustdirected the University Players with a cast of more than 50, which included Joshua Logan as Caiaphas, Charles Crane Leatherbee as Pilate, Henry Fonda as Peter, and Kent Smith as Jesus. The play subsequently opened on Broadway on 14 November 1932 and ran 8 performances. See, Houghton, Norris. But Not Forgotten: The Adventure of the University Players, New York, William Sloane Associates: 1951, pp. 285–6.
1924: Pandora Lifts the Lid (novel)
1924: Words and Thoughts (play)
1924: The Awakening (poems)
1927: Out of the Sea (play)
1927: The Almost Perfect State (essays)
1927: archy and mehitabel (poems, sketches)
1928: Love Sonnets of a Cave Man (poems)
1928: When the Turtles Sing (short stories)
1929: A Variety of People (short stories)
1930: Off the Arm (novel)
1933: archys life of mehitabel (poems, sketches)
1934: Master of the Revels (play)
1934: Chapters for the Orthodox (short stories)
1935: archy does his part (poems, sketches)
1936: Sun Dial Time (short stories)
1939: Sons of the Puritans (novel)
1940: the lives and times of archy and mehitabel (omnibus)
1946: The Best of Don Marquis (omnibus)
1978: Everything's Jake (play)
1982: Selected Letters of Don Marquis (letters) Edited by William McCollum Jr.
1996: archyology (poems, sketches) Edited by Jeff Adams.
1998: archyology ii (poems, sketches) Edited by Jeff Adams.
2006: The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel (poems, sketches) Edited by Michael Sims.

2018年4月29日 星期日

"One of Their Gods" by C P Cavafy

Poet Constantine Peter Cavafy was born in Alexandria, Egypt on this day in 1863.
"One of Their Gods" by C P Cavafy
Whenever one of Them would cross Seleucia’s
marketplace, around the time that evening falls—
like some tall and flawlessly beautiful boy,
with the joy of incorruptibility in his eye,
with that dark and fragrant hair of his—
the passersby would stare at him
and one would ask another if he knew him,
and if he were a Syrian Greek, or foreign. But some,
who’d paid him more attention as they watched,
understood, and would make way.
And as he disappeared beneath the arcades,
among the shadows and the evening lights,
making his way to the neighborhood that comes alive
only at night—that life of revels and debauch,
of every known intoxication and lust—
they’d wonder which of Them he really was
and for which of his suspect diversions
he’d come down to walk Seleucia’s streets
from his Venerable, Sacrosanct Abode.
The Alexandrian Greek poet Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933) is a towering figure of twentieth-century literature. No modern poet brought so vividly to life the history and culture of Mediterranean antiquity; no writer dared break, with such taut energy, the taboos of his time surrounding homoerotic desire. In this edition, award-winning translator and editor Daniel Mendelsohn has made a selection of the poet’s best-loved works, including such favorites as “Waiting for the Barbarians,” “Ithaca,” and “The God Abandons Antony.” Accompanied by Mendelsohn’s explanatory notes, the poems collected here cover the vast sweep of Hellenic civilization, from the Trojan War through Cavafy’s own lifetime. Whether advising Odysseus as he returns home to Ithaca or portraying a doomed Marc Antony on the eve of his death, Cavafy’s poems make the historic profoundly and movingly personal. READ an excerpt from the preface here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/…/cavafy-poems-by-c-p-c…/