Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ANDREW LANG 1844-1912



We built a castle in the air,
In summer weather, you and I,
The wind and sun were in your hair,
Gold hair against a sapphire sky:
When autumn came, with leaves that fly
Before the storm, across the plain,
You fled from me, with scarce a sigh,
My Love returns no more again!

The windy lights of autumn flare:
I watch the moonlit sails go by;
I marvel how men toil and fare,
The weary business that they ply!
Their voyaging is vanity,
And fairy gold is all their gain,
And all the winds of winter cry,
"My Love returns no more again!"

Here, in my Castle of Despair,
I sit alone with memory;
The wind-fed wolf has left his lair,
To keep the outcast company.
The brooding owl he hoots hard by,
The hare shall kindle on thy hearth-stane,
The Rhymer's soothest prophecy,
My Love returns no more again!

Andrew Lang was a Scottish poet, novelist and literary critic. He was also well known as a collector of folk and fairy tales.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

WALTER de la MARE 1873-1958


"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest's ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:--
"Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word," he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone. 

This English poet, short story writer and novelist is especially remembered for his works for children. In 1947 his Collected Stories for Children won the Carnegie Medal for British children's books.


Monday, September 28, 2015

THOMAS HOOD 1789-1845



Some sigh for this and that, 
My wishes don't go far;
The world may wag at will,
So I have my cigar. 

Some fret themselves to death
With Whig and Tory jar;
I don't care which is in, 
So I have my cigar.

Sir John requests my vote,
And so does Mr. Marr;
I don't care how it goes,
So I have my cigar. 

Some want a German row,
Some wish a Russian war;
I care not. I'm at peace
So I have my cigar.

I never see the "Post,"
I seldom read the "Star;"
The "Globe" I scarcely heed,
So I have my cigar. 

Honours have come to men
My juniors at the Bar; 
No matter - I can wait,
So I have my cigar.

Ambition frets me not;
A cab or glory's car
Are just the same to me, 
So I have my cigar.

I worship no vain gods,
But serve the household Lar;*
I'm sure to be at home, 
So I have my cigar. 

I do not seek for fame,
A general with a scar;
A private let me be, 
So I have my cigar. 

To have my choice among
The toys of life's bazaar,
The deuce may take them all 
So I have my cigar.

Some minds are often tossed
By tempests like a tar;
I always seem in port,
So I have my cigar.

The ardent flame of love,
My bosom cannot char,
I smoke but do not burn,
So I have my cigar.

They tell me Nancy Low
Has married Mr. R.;
The jilt! but I can live,
So I have my cigar. 

*Lar - a spirit who watches over a house. Thomas Hood was an English poet,  author and humorist who contributed regularly to The London Magazine and Punch. He was the father of playwright and humorist Tom Hood 1835-74.
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Friday, September 25, 2015

THOMAS HARDY 1840-1928



"Poor wanderer," said the leaden sky,
"I fain would lighten thee,
But there are laws in force on high
Which say it must not be."

"I would not freeze thee, shorn one," cried
The North, "knew I but how
To warm my breath, to slack my stride;
But I am ruled as thou."

"To-morrow I attack thee, wight,"
Said Sickness. "Yet I swear
I bear thy little ark no spite,
But am bid enter there."

"Come hither, Son," I heard Death say;
"I did not will a grave
Should end thy pilgrimage to-day,
But I, too, am a slave!"

We smiled upon each other then,
And life to me had less
Of that fell look it wore ere when
They owned their passiveness.


This English novelist and poet was a Victorian realist whose writings were influenced by Romanticism, especially by William Wordsworth and Charles Dickens.



Thursday, September 24, 2015



Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you it's only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dying
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been to long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.


Amanda McBroom is an American singer, lyricist, actress and cabaret performer. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

BEN JOHNSON 1572-1637



Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I'll not look for wine.

The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honouring thee
As giving it a hope, that there
It could not withered be.

But thou thereon didst only breathe,
And sent'st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself, but thee.


Ben Johnson was an English poet, playwright, actor and literary critic who was an outstanding influence on English poetry and stage comedy. He is best known for his satirical plays such as "The Alchemist" and "Volpone."


Tuesday, September 22, 2015


The three sisters, Anne, Emily and Charlotte
painted by their brother Branwell



Ah! why, because the dazzling sun 
Restored our Earth to joy, 
Have you departed, every one, 
And left a desert sky? 

All through the night, your glorious eyes 
Were gazing down in mine, 
And, with a full heart's thankful sighs, 
I blessed that watch divine. 

I was at peace, and drank your beams
As they were life to me; 
And revelled in my changeful dreams,
Like petrel on the sea. 

Thought followed thought, star followed star
Through boundless regions on; 
While one sweet influence, near and far, 
Thrilled through, and proved us one! 

Why did the morning dawn to break
So great, so pure a spell; 
And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek,
Where your cool radiance fell?


Emily Jane Bronte was an English novelist and poet, best known for her novel "Wuthering Heights" which is now considered to be a classic of English literature.


Monday, September 21, 2015

JOHN KEATS 1795-1821



A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never 
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep 
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep 
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. 
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing 
A flowery band to bind us to the earth, 
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth 
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, 
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darken'd ways 
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all, 
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall 
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, 
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon 
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils 
With the green world they live in; and clear rills 
That for themselves a cooling covert make 
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake, 
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms: 
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms 
We have imagined for the mighty dead; 
An endless fountain of immortal drink, 
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink. 


This English Romantic poet, who died at the age of 25,  published only 54 poems, but what he produced involved a wide range in poetic forms.


Friday, September 18, 2015

JOHN DONNE 1572-1631



No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee. 

John Donne was an English poet and cleric in the Church of England. He was appointed the Dean of St.Paul's Cathedral, London in 1621. He was a Member of Parliament in 1601 and in 1614.

Following a short break, the art blog "NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL ART"
begins a new series on Monday


Thursday, September 17, 2015




Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,  
  As his corse to the rampart we hurried;  
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot  
  O'er the grave where our hero we buried.  

We buried him darkly at dead of night,        
  The sods with our bayonets turning,  
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light  
  And the lanthorn dimly burning.  

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
  Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;  
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest  
  With his martial cloak around him.  

Few and short were the prayers we said,  
  And we spoke not a word of sorrow;  
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
  And we bitterly thought of the morrow.  

We thought, as we hollow'd his narrow bed  
  And smooth'd down his lonely pillow,  
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,  
  And we far away on the billow!   

Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,  
  And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him -  
But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on  
  In the grave where a Briton has laid him.  

But half of our heavy task was done   
  When the clock struck the hour for retiring;  
And we heard the distant and random gun  
  That the foe was sullenly firing.  

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,  
  From the field of his fame fresh and gory;   
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,  
  But we left him alone with his glory.  

This Irish poet is best remembered for this particular poem. Written in 1816 and much collected in 19th and 20th century anthologies, the poem first appeared anonymously in the Newry Telegraph on 19th April 1817, and was re-printed in many other periodicals. It was forgotten until after his death when Lord Byron drew the attention of the public to it. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2015




Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forest of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake was an English poet, painter and printmaker.  Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, he is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015




The art of losing isn't hard to master; 
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster. 

Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and short-story writer.  She was Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950 and the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry in 1956.


Monday, September 14, 2015




My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

Wordsworth, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was an important figure in the launching of the Romantic Age in English literature. He was made Poet Laureate in 1843.


Friday, September 11, 2015

LAURIE LEE 1914-97


Behold the apples’ rounded worlds:
juice-green of July rain,
the black polestar of flowers, the rind
mapped with its crimson stain.

The russet, crab and cottage red
burn to the sun’s hot brass,
then drop like sweat from every branch
and bubble in the grass.

They lie as wanton as they fall,
and where they fall and break,
the stallion clamps his crunching jaws,
the starling stabs his beak.

In each plump gourd the cidery bite
of boys’ teeth tears the skin;
the waltzing wasp consumes his share,
the bent worm enters in.

I, with as easy hunger, take
entire my season’s dole;
welcome the ripe, the sweet, the sour,
the hollow and the whole. 


Laurie Lee OBE, the English poet, novelist and screenwriter, is particularly remembered for his autobiographical trilogy, Cider with Rosie, As I walked out one Midsummer Morning and A Moment of War.




Thursday, September 10, 2015




Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
      I am the captain of my soul.


This English schoolmaster became a very successful poet, critic and editor.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

THOMAS HARDY 1840-1928



Past the hills that peep
Where the leaze is smiling,
On and on beguiling
Crisply-cropping sheep;
Under boughs of brushwood
Linking tree and tree
In a shade of lushwood,
   There caressed we!

Hemmed by city walls
That outshut the sunlight,
In a foggy dun light,
Where the footstep falls
With a pit-pat wearisome
In its cadency
On the flagstones drearisome
   There pressed we!

Where in wild-winged crowds
Blown birds show their whiteness
Up against the lightness
Of the clammy clouds;
By the random river
Pushing to the sea,
Under bents that quiver
   There rest we.

*Epeisodia - an episode. The word refers to an interlude or section in ancient Greek drama.

Thomas Hardy was an English poet and novelist, author of Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, The Mayor of Casterbridge.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015




One road leads to London,
One road leads to Wales,
My road leads me seawards
To the white dipping sails.

One road leads to the river,
And it goes singing slow;
My road leads to shipping,
Where the bronzed sailors go.

Leads me, lures me, calls me
To salt green tossing sea;
A road without earth's road-dust
Is the right road for me.

A wet road heaving, shining,
And wild with seagull's cries,
A mad salt sea-wind blowing
The salt spray in my eyes.

My road calls me, lures me
West, east, south, and north;
Most roads lead men homewards,
My road leads me forth.

To add more miles to the tally
Of grey miles left behind,
In quest of that one beauty
God put me here to find.


John Masefield OM the English poet and writer was Poet Laureate of the UK from 1930 until his death. He was the author of the children's novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights.


Monday, September 7, 2015



I kept my answers small and kept them near;
Big questions bruised my mind but still I let
Small answers be a bullwark to my fear.

The huge abstractions I kept from the light;
Small things I handled and caressed and loved.
I let the stars assume the whole of night.

But the big answers clamoured to be moved Into my life. Their great audacity
Shouted to be acknowledged and believed.

Even when all small answers build up to
Protection of my spirit, still I hear
Big answers striving for their overthrow.

And all the great conclusions coming near.


Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell DBE was a British poet and critic. Her brothers were Osbert and Sacheverell who were both distinguished authors.


Friday, September 4, 2015



English Teeth, English Teeth!
Shining in the sun
A part of British heritage
Aye, each and every one.

English Teeth, Happy Teeth!
Always having fun
Clamping down on bits of fish
And sausages half done.

English Teeth, HEROES' Teeth!
Hear them click! and clack!
Let's sing a song of praise to them -
Three Cheers for the Brown, Grey and Black.


Terence Alan Patrick Seán Milligan KBE was an Irish comedian, writer, musician, poet and playwright. He was the co-creator and principal writer of the famous radio series The Goon Show (1951-1960), in which he also performed.




Thursday, September 3, 2015

CHARLES LAMB 1775-1834



The frugal snail, with forecast of repose,
Carries his house with him where’er he goes;
Peeps out, - and if there comes a shower of rain,
Retreats to his small domicile again.
Touch but a tip of him, a horn, - ’tis well, -         
He curls up in his sanctuary shell.
He’s his own landlord, his own tenant; stay
Long as he will, he dreads no Quarter Day.
Himself he boards and lodges; both invites
And feasts himself; sleeps with himself o’ nights.         
He spares the upholsterer trouble to procure
Chattels; himself is his own furniture,
And his sole riches. Wheresoe’er he roam, - 
Knock when you will, - he’s sure to be at home. 

This English writer and essayist is best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children's book Tales from Shakespeare which he wrote with his sister Mary Lamb.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015




Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

There will we sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair linèd slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,by a "
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.


Marlow was an English poet, playwright and translator. Said to be the foremost Elizabethan tragedian of his day, he was an important influence on Shakespeare. Marlow was stabbed to death by "a gentleman and business man" of doubtful reputation. Just a ten days earlier,  a warrant had been issued for Marlow's arrest and it was thought that the charge was connected to blasphemy.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015



Silent is the house: all are laid asleep:
One alone looks out o’er the snow-wreaths deep,
Watching every cloud, dreading every breeze
That whirls the ‘wildering drift, and bends the groaning trees.

Cheerful is the hearth, soft the matted floor;
Not one shivering gust creeps through pane or door;
The little lamp burns straight, its rays shoot strong and far:
I trim it well, to be the wanderer’s guiding star.

Frown, my haughty sire! chide, my angry dame!
Set your slaves to spy; threaten me with shame:
But neither sire nor dame, nor prying serf shall know
What angel nightly tracks that waste of frozen snow.

What I love shall come like visitant of air,
Safe in secret power from lurking human snare:
Who loves me, no word of mine shall e’er betray,
Though for faith unstained my life must forfeit pay.

But then, little lamp; glimmer straight and clear -
Hush! a rustling wing stirs, methinks, the air:
He for whom I wait thus ever comes to me;
Strange Power! I trust thy might; trust thou my constancy.


It is said that this poem written by Emily consisted of the first three verses and later Charlotte added the other two.