2016年1月31日 星期日

"Étienne de la Boéce" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Étienne de La Boétie
    Étienne or Estienne de La Boétie was a French judge, writer, and "a founder of modern political philosophy in France." Wikipedia
    BornNovember 1, 1530, Sarlat-la-Canéda, France
    DiedAugust 18, 1563, Bordeaux, France

Everyman's Library
"Étienne de la Boéce" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
I serve you not, if you I follow,
Shadowlike, o’er hill and hollow;
And bend my fancy to your leading, 
All too nimble for my treading.
When the pilgrimage is done,
And we ’ve the landscape overrun,
I am bitter, vacant, thwarted,
And your heart is unsupported.
Vainly valiant, you have missed
The manhood that should yours resist,—
Its complement; but if I could,
In severe or cordial mood,
Lead you rightly to my altar,
Where the wisest Muses falter,
And worship that world-warming spark
Which dazzles me in midnight dark,
Equalizing small and large,
While the soul it doth surcharge,
Till the poor is wealthy grown,
And the hermit never alone,—
The traveller and the road seem one
With the errand to be done,—
That were a man’s and lover’s part,
That were Freedom’s whitest chart.
Emerson is one of the best-loved figures in nineteenth-century American literature. Though he earned his central place in our culture as an essayist and philosopher, since his death his reputation as a poet has grown as well. Known for challenging traditional thought and for his faith in the individual, Emerson was the chief spokesman for the Transcendentalist movement. His poems speak to his most passionately held belief: that external authority should be disregarded in favor of one’s own experience. From the embattled farmers who “fired the shot heard round the world” in the stirring “Concord Hymn,” to the flower in “The Rhodora,” whose existence demonstrates “that if eyes were made for seeing, / Then Beauty is its own excuse for being,” Emerson celebrates the existence of the sublime in the human and in nature.

2016年1月24日 星期日

American Supreme Court justices cited most often are:

American Supreme Court justices can't resist the temptation to dignify their opinions with literary wisdom. The authors cited most often are:
1. Shakespeare
2. Lewis Carroll
3. George Orwell
4. Charles Dickens

Shall I compare thee to a famous play?

2016年1月23日 星期六

'Experiments in Quantity', manuscript poems by Lord Alfred Tennyson

The manuscript poems shown here, written in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s hand, are examples of Tennyson experimenting with classical forms of poetry.
The poem headed ‘Milton: Alcaics’ was written on the 16th November 1863 and published in the Cornhill Magazine in December. Alcaics were a form of verse invented in around 600 BC by the Greek lyric poet Alcaeus, with a distinctive prosody and stanza form, both of which Tennyson accurately mimics here. Unlike English poetry which is metrical (i.e. based on the patterning of stressed and unstressed syllables) Greek and Latin verse was quantitative (i.e. based not on stress, but rather based on the patterning of short and long vowels – for example the word ‘pain’ includes a long vowel while ‘pan’ has a short one). Tennyson experimented with different verse forms throughout his life – the Lincolnshire dialect poems ‘Northern Farmer: Old Style’ and ‘Northern Farmer: New Style’ being further examples of his experimentation in language, rhyme and format. 
‘Hendecasyllabics’ was written in the autumn of 1863 and is another example of such experimentation with form. Hendecasyllabics are verses in which the lines contain eleven syllables. The Greek lyric poet Sappho (630–612BC) and the Roman poet Catullus (84–54 BC) are particularly associated with hendecasyllabics. 
All of the poems shown here were published, with alterations, in the volume Enoch Arden, etc.in 1864.

O mighty-mouth’d inventor of harmonies,
Equal ^ O skill’d  to sing of Time or Eternity,
            God-gifted organ-voice of England,
                        Milton, a name to resound for ages,
Whose Titan Angels, Gabriel, Abdiel,
Start^r’d  from Jehovah’s gorgeous armouries,
            Tower, as the deep-domed empyrëan
                        Rings to the roar of an angel onset -
Me rather all that bowery loneliness,
Those brooks of Eden mazily murmuring,
            And bloom profuse & cedar arches
                        Charm, as a wanderer out in ocean,
Where some refulgent sunset of India
Streams Dims Dies ^ Streams  o’er a rich ambrosial * ocean isle,
            And crimson-hued the stately palmwoods
                        Whisper in odorous heights of Eden:  ^ even.

* Not to be read as a dactyl, but as a trochee &
long syllable, for the line is meant to be read
- See more at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/experiments-in-quantity-manuscript-poems-by-lord-alfred-tennyson#sthash.YqkzT7yp.dpuf

2016年1月22日 星期五

"Bright Star" by John Keats

"Bright Star" by John Keats

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.


2016年1月19日 星期二

the Chorus's Prologue from Henry V, 亨利五世 開場白 

‪#‎UChicago‬ prof. David Bevington is one of the world's most devoted and distinguished Shakespeareans. He recently sat down withUChicago College to discuss the early days of theater at the University—and to recite the Chorus's Prologue from Henry V, completely from memory.

  致辭者上。   致辭者:   啊!光芒萬丈的繆斯女神呀,你登上了無比輝煌的幻想的天堂;拿整個王國當做舞台,叫帝王們充任演員,讓君主們瞪眼瞧著那偉大的場景!——只有這樣,那威武的亨利,才像他本人,才具備著戰神的氣概;在他的腳後跟,“饑饉”、“利劍”和“烈火”像是套上皮帶的獵狗一樣,蹲伏著,只等待一聲命令。   可是,在座的諸君,請原諒吧!像咱們這樣低微的小人物,居然在這幾塊破板搭成的戲台上,也搬演什麼轟轟烈烈的事蹟。難道說,這麼一個“鬥雞場”容得下法蘭西的萬里江山?還是我們這個木頭的圓框子裡塞得進那麼多將士?——只消他們把頭盔晃一晃,管叫阿金庫爾的空氣都跟著震盪!請原諒吧!可不是,一個小小的圓圈兒,湊在數字的末尾,就可以變成個一百萬;那麼,讓我們就憑這點渺小的作用,來激發你們龐大的想像力吧。①法國北部的一個村落,亨利五世大敗法軍於此。   就算在這團團一圈的牆壁內包圍了兩個強大的王國:國境和國境(一片緊接的高地),卻叫驚濤駭浪(一道海峽)從中間一隔兩斷。發揮你們的想像力,來彌補我們的貧乏吧——一個人,把他分身為一千個,組成了一支幻想的大軍。我們提到馬兒,眼前就彷佛真有萬馬奔騰,捲起了半天塵土。把我們的帝王裝扮得像個樣兒,這也全靠你們的想像幫忙了;憑著那想像力,把他們搬東移西,在時間裡飛躍,叫多少年代的事蹟都擠塞在一個時辰裡。就為了這個使命,請容許我在這個史劇前面,做個致辭者——要說的無非是那幾句開場白:這齣戲文,要請諸君多多地包涵,靜靜地聽。    (下。) 


The Life of King Henry the Fifth


Enter Chorus
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,
The flat unraised spirits that have dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object: can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million;
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confined two mighty monarchies,
Whose high upreared and abutting fronts
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;
Into a thousand parts divide on man,
And make imaginary puissance;
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth;
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times,
Turning the accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this history;
Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.

Long and Sluggish Lines by Wallace Stevens

Long and Sluggish Lines
by Wallace Stevens
It makes so little difference, at so much more
Than seventy, where one looks, one has been there before.
Wood-smoke rises through the trees, is caught in an upper flow
Of air and whirled away. But it has been often so.
The trees have a look as if they bore sad names
And kept saying over and over one same, same thing,
In a kind of uproar, because an opposite, a contradiction,
Has enraged them and made them want to talk it down.
What opposite? Could it be that yellow patch, the side
Of a house, that makes one think the house is laughing;
Or these–escent–issant pre-personae: first fly,
A comic infanta among the tragic drapings,
Babyishness of forsythia, a snatch of belief,
The spook and makings of the nude magnolia?
... Wanderer, this is the pre-history of February.
The life of the poem in the mind has not yet begun.
You were not born yet when the trees were crystal
Nor are you now, in this wakefulness inside a sleep.

Reading these long and sluggish lines, I can see Wallace Stevens at work in his quiet office, looking out of the window at a cold, sunny winter day much like today.

2016年1月17日 星期日

"There is no Frigate like a Book" by Emily Dickinson

"There is no Frigate like a Book" by Emily Dickinson
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a 
Page Of prancing Poetry-
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll-
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul.

2016年1月15日 星期五

William Shakespeare 二處: Mark Antony, Cleopatra

克莉奧佩特拉:不,那是免不了的,伊拉絲。放肆的衛士們將要追逐我們像追逐娼妓一樣;歌功頌德的詩人們將要用荒腔走韻的謠曲吟詠我們;俏皮的喜劇伶人們將要把我們編成即興的戲劇,扮演我們亞歷山大里亞的歡宴。安東尼將要以一個醉漢的姿態登場,而我將要看見一個逼尖了喉音的男童穿著克莉奧佩特拉的冠服賣弄著淫婦的風情。 (朱生豪)
RIP Alan Rickman (1946–2016)

"Nay, ’tis most certain, Iras. Saucy lictors

Will catch at us like strumpets, and scald rhymers

Ballad us out o’ tune. The quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present
Our Alexandrian revels. Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I’ th’ posture of a whore."
--Cleopatra from Antony and Cleopatra" (V.ii.210–217)

Born on this day in 83 B.C. was Roman politician and commander Mark Antony, beloved of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Pliny's "Natural History" is the source for the interesting story about them. Once, seeking to amaze with her wealth her beloved, Mark Antony, Cleopatra dissolved a large pearl in a glass of vinegar, and then drank it down to the very last. This story was depicted by Flemish painter Jacob Jordaens in the painting 'Cleopatra's Feast' (1653) – http://ow.ly/X2uZ8

William Shakespeare
"They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rained many a tear.
Fare you well, my dove."
--Ophelia singing to Laertes in "Hamlet" (Act 4, Scene 5)

2016年1月14日 星期四

THE BALLAD OF FATHER GILLIGAN: THE WHITE BIRDS./ But Love has pitched his mansion in The place of excrement;

But Love has pitched his mansion in 
The place of excrement; 
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.

Yeats' Heart and Soul - In a Dark Time ... The Eye Begins to ...


Feb 19, 2002 - When on love intent; But Love has pitched his mansion in. The placeof excrement; For nothing can be sole or whole. That has not been rent.

Crazy Jane Talks With The Bishop Poem by William Butler ...

www.poemhunter.com › Poems

Dec 18, 2008 - But Love has pitched his mansion in. The place of excrement; Fornothing can be sole or whole. That has not been rent.' William Butler Yeats.

I WOULD that we were, my beloved, white birds on the
foam of the sea!
We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can fade
and flee;
And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low
on the rim of the sky,
Has awaked in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that
may not die.
A weariness comes from those dreamers, dew-dabbled,
the lily and rose;
Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the
meteor that goes,
Or the flame of the blue star that lingers hung low in
the fall of the dew:
For I would we were changed to white birds on the
wandering foam: I and you!
I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a
Danaan shore,
Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come
near us no more;
Soon far from the rose and the lily and fret of the
flames would we be,
Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on
the foam of the sea!


THE old priest Peter Gilligan
Was weary night and day;
For half his flock were in their beds,
Or under green sods lay.

Once, while he nodded on a chair,
At the moth-hour of eve,
Another poor man sent for him,
And he began to grieve.

'I have no rest, nor joy, nor peace,
For people die and die';
And after cried he, 'God forgive!
My body spake, not I!'

He knelt, and leaning on the chair
He prayed and fell asleep;
And the moth-hour went from the fields,
And stars began to peep.

They slowly into millions grew,
And leaves shook in the wind;
And God covered the world with shade,
And whispered to mankind.

Upon the time of sparrow-chirp
When the moths came once more.
The old priest Peter Gilligan
Stood upright on the floor.

'Mavrone, mavrone! the man has died
While I slept on the chair';
He roused his horse out of its sleep,
And rode with little care.

He rode now as he never rode,
By rocky lane and fen;
The sick man's wife opened the door:
'Father! you come again!'

'And is the poor man dead?' he cried.
'He died an hour ago.'
The old priest Peter Gilligan
In grief swayed to and fro.

'When you were gone, he turned and died
As merry as a bird.'
The old priest Peter Gilligan
He knelt him at that word.

'He Who hath made the night of stars
For souls who tire and bleed,
Sent one of His great angels down
To help me in my need.

'He Who is wrapped in purple robes,
With planets in His care,
Had pity on the least of things
Asleep upon a chair.'

2016年1月13日 星期三


They Flee From Me

They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.

Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”

It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.


Wait, why are they fleeing?

Damion Searls on Wyatt’s famous poem, the end of love, and the strange…

2016年1月11日 星期一

"Rain on a Grave" by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy died in Dorchester, Dorset, England on this day in 1928 (aged 87). In his later years Hardy published only poetry.
"Rain on a Grave" by Thomas Hardy
Clouds spout upon her
Their waters amain
In ruthless disdain, -
Her who but lately
Had shivered with pain
As at touch of dishonour
If there had lit on her
So coldly, so straightly
Such arrows of rain:
One who to shelter
Her delicate head
Would quicken and quicken
Each tentative tread
If drops chanced to pelt her
That summertime spills
In dust-paven rills
When thunder-clouds thicken
And birds close their bills.
Would that I lay there
And she were housed here!
Or better, together
Were folded away there
Exposed to one weather
We both, - who would stray there
When sunny the day there,
Or evening was clear
At the prime of the year.
Soon will be growing
Green blades from her mound,
And daisies be showing
Like stars on the ground,
Till she form part of them -
Ay - the sweet heart of them,
Loved beyond measure
With a child's pleasure
All her life's round.
Poems: Hardy contains poems from Moments of Vision, Satires of Circumstance, Veteris Vestigia Flammae, Heredity, Short Stories, Afterwards, and an index of first lines.

2016年1月10日 星期日

Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind

"My honour'd lord, you know right well you did;
And, with them, words of so sweet breath composed
As made the things more rich: their perfume lost,
Take these again; for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord."
--Ophelia to Hamlet from "Hamlet" - (Act III, Scene I).

2016年1月9日 星期六

The citizen by Pablo Neruda

The citizen
by Pablo Neruda

I went into the toolshops
in all innocence
to buy a simple hammer
or some vague scissors.
I should never have done it.
Since then and restlessly
I devote my time to steel,
to the most shadowy tools:
hoes bring me to my knees,
horseshoes enslave me.

"Leda and the Swan" ... THE PITY OF LOVE By W B Yeats

A PITY beyond all telling
Is hid in the heart of love:
The folk who are buying and selling,
The clouds on their journey above,
The cold wet winds ever blowing,
And the shadowy hazel grove
Where mouse-grey waters are flowing,
Threaten the head that I love.


"Leda and the Swan" by W.B.Yeats (1865 - 1939)

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?