Sunday, January 31, 2016



He limps along the city street,
Men pass him with a pitying glance;
He is not there, but on the sweet
And troubled plains of France.

Once more he marches with the guns,
Reading the way by merry signs,
His Regent Street through trenches runs,
His Strand among the pines.

For there his comrades jest and fight,
And others sleep in that fair land;
They call him back in dreams of night
To join their dwindling band.

He may not go; on him must lie
The doom, through peaceful years to live,
To have a sword he cannot ply,
A life he cannot give.

Edward Shillito was an English pastor and poet who wrote many poems about the First World War.


Saturday, January 30, 2016


By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

'Twas there that we parted, in yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side o' Ben Lomond,
Where in purple hue, the hieland hills we view,
And the moon coming out in the gloaming.

The wee birdies sing and the wildflowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping.
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again,
Though the waeful may cease frae their grieving.

O ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.


Friday, January 29, 2016




We are not near enough to love,
I can but pity all your woe;
For wealth has lifted me above,
And falsehood set you down below.

If you were true, we still might be
Brothers in something more than name;
And were I poor, your love to me
Would make our differing bonds the same.

But golden gates between us stretch,
Truth opens her forbidding eyes;
You can't forget that I am rich,
Nor I that you are telling lies.

Love never comes but at love's call,
And pity asks for him in vain;
Because I cannot give you all,
You give me nothing back again.

And you are right with all your wrong,
For less than all is nothing too;
May Heaven beggar me ere long,
And Truth reveal herself to you! 

Mary Elizabeth Coleridge was a British poet,  essayist and novelist. Robert Bridges, the Poet Laureate described her poetry as "wondrously beautiful . . . but mystical rather and enigmatic."  


Thursday, January 28, 2016

JESA MacBETH (nothing known about this poet)


It is possible to speak truth in anger.
When so done, people tend to hear the anger and not the truth.
It is possible to speak truth in arrogance.
When so done, people tend to hear the arrogance
and not the truth.
It is possible to speak truth in deceitful ways.
When so done, people tend to sense the deceit and take the truth for more deceit
It is possible to speak truth in loving kindness.
When so done, people tend to hear the love and the truth.
Or so it seems in my experience.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016




Why is it anger, O Myfanwy,
That fills your eyes so dark and clear?
Your gentle cheeks, O sweet Myfanwy,
Why blush they not when I draw near?

Where is the smile that once most tender
Kindled my love so fond, so true?
Where is the sound of your sweet words,
That drew my heart to follow you?

What have I done, O my Myfanwy,
To earn your frown? What is my blame?
Was it just play, my sweet Myfanwy,
To set your poet's love aflame?

You truly once to me were promised,
Is it too much to keep your part?
I wish no more your hand, Myfanwy,
If I no longer have your heart.

Myfanwy, may you spend your lifetime
Beneath the midday sunshine's glow,
And on your cheeks O may the roses
Dance for a hundred years or so.

Forget now all the words of promise
You made to one who loved you well,
Give me your hand, my sweet Myfanwy,
But one last time, to say "farewell".

Richard Davies was a popular Welsh language poet. The words of "Myfanwy" were set to music by Wilfred Parry and the song is still popular with male voice choirs.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Archimedes Was All Wet
Anon (?)

King Hero of old Syracuse had doubts that made him frown.
"Perhaps my goldsmith did not use pure gold to make the crown."
Since proof of mischief must be strong to put a thief in collar,
The king who feared his judgment wrong called on his science scholar.
"Archimedes, friend of old, find me the solution!
Is my crown pure solid gold, or is that an illusion?"
The scholar's task was serious; he struggled hard with math.
His mind was near delirious until he poured his bath.
He noticed how the water pushed him up as he stepped in.
He thought about it harder as he stroked his bearded chin.
"The weight of displaced liquid should always let me know
When any golden solid has a density too low!"
"Eureka!", he resounded. "I have such a clever mind".
Yet his claim was unfounded 'cause he left his clothes behind!


Monday, January 25, 2016



Golden slumbers kiss your eyes, 
Smiles awake you when you rise ; 
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry, 
And I will sing a lullaby, 
Rock them, rock them, lullaby. 
Care is heavy, therefore sleep you, 
You are care, and care must keep you ; 
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry, 
And I will sing a lullaby, 
Rock them, rock them, lullaby. 

Thomas Dekker was an English dramatist and pamphleteer of the Elizabethan era.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

THOMAS HARDY 1840-1928



“O who’ll get me a healthy child -
I should prefer a son -
Seven have I had in thirteen years,
Sickly every one!

“Three mope about as feeble shapes;
Weak; white; they’ll be no good.
One came deformed; an idiot next;
And two are crass as wood.

“I purpose one not only sound
In flesh, but bright in mind;
And duly for producing him
A means I’ve now to find.”

She went away. She disappeared,
Years, years. Then back she came;
In her hand was a blooming boy
Mentally and in frame.

“I found a father at last who’d suit
The purpose in my head,
And used him till he’s done his job,”
Was all thereon she said.  

When Hardy died, his heart was removed and interred in Stinsford Church graveyard where his grandparents, parents and his first wife were buried. After cremation, his ashes were deposited in Poets Corner, Westminster Abbey. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016




Three fishers went sailing away to the west,
Away to the west as the sun went down;
 Each thought on the woman who loved him the best,
And the children stood watching them out of the town;
 For men must work, and women must weep,
 And there's little to earn, and many to keep,
 Though the harbour bar be moaning.

 Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower,
 And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down;
 They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower,
 And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown.
 But men must work, and women must weep,
 Though storms be sudden, and waters deep,
 And the harbour bar be moaning.

 Three corpses lay out on the shining sands
 In the morning gleam as the tide went down,
 And the women are weeping and wringing their hands
 For those who will never come home to the town;
 For men must work, and women must weep,
 And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep;
 And good-bye to the bar and its moaning. 

Charles Kingsley was a Church of England priest, a university professor, historian and novelist. He was sympathetic to the idea of evolution and was one of the first to welcome Charles Darwin's book "On the Origin of Species."

Friday, January 22, 2016




Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon, 
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair? 
How can ye chant, ye little birds, 
And I sae weary fu' o' care! 
Thou'll break my heart, thou warbling bird, 
That wantons thro' the flowering thorn: 
Thou minds me o' departed joys, 
Departed never to return. 

Aft hae I rov'd by bonnie Doon, 
To see the rose and woodbine twine: 
And ilka bird sang o' its Luve, 
And fondly sae did I o' mine; 
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, 
Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree! 
And may false Luver stole my rose, 
But ah! he left the thorn wi' me.

As well as writing his own poems, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. "Auld Lang Syne" is well-known throughout the world and is usually sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year.) Other poems and songs of Burns that remain  popular are "My Love is like a Red, Red Rose", "A Man's a Man for A' That", "To a Mouse", "Tam o' Shanter" and "Ae Fond Kiss".

Thursday, January 21, 2016

ROBERT FROST 1874-1963



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

During his lifetime, this American poet was awarded 4 Pulitzer Prizes, the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 and the following year was made Poet Laureate of Vermont.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016



All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then, a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then, the justice,
In fair round belly, with a good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

The Seven Ages Of Man
painted by William Mulready 1786-63


Tuesday, January 19, 2016




I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair,
Borne, like a vapour, on the summer air;
I see her tripping where the bright streams play,
Happy as the daisies that dance on her way.
Many were the wild notes her merry voice would pour,
Many were the blithe birds that warbled them o'er:
Oh! I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair,
Floating, like a vapour, on the soft summer air.

I long for Jeanie with the day-dawn smile,
Radiant in gladness, warm with winning guile;
I hear her melodies, like joys gone by,
Sighing round my heart o'er the fond hopes that die:
Sighing like the night wind and sobbing like the rain,
Wailing for the lost one that comes not again:
Oh! I long for Jeanie, and my heart bows low,
Never more to find her where the bright waters flow.

I sigh for Jeanie, but her light form strayed
Far from the fond hearts round her native glade;
Her smiles have vanished and her sweet songs flown,
Flitting like the dreams that have cheered us and gone.
Now the nodding wild flowers may wither on the shore
While her gentle fingers will cull them no more:
Oh! I sigh for Jeanie with the light brown hair,
Floating, like a vapour, on the soft summer air.

Stephen Foster was an American songwriter of parlour and minstrel music. He wrote more than 200 songs including Beautiful Dreamer, Old Folks at Home, Oh Susanna, Camptown Races and My Old Kentucky Home.

Monday, January 18, 2016




What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, 
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain 
Under my head till morning; but the rain 
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh 
Upon the glass and listen for reply, 
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain 
For unremembered lads that not again 
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry. 
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree, 
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, 
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: 
I cannot say what loves have come and gone, 
I only know that summer sang in me 
A little while, that in me sings no more. 

This American poet and playwright was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1923. She was also a writer of prose, usually under the nom de plume Nancy Boyd. The poet Richard Wilbur claimed that "she wrote some of the best sonnets of the century."


Sunday, January 17, 2016




The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but him had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.

Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form.

The flames rolled on -  he would not go
Without his father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.

He called aloud - "Say, father, say,
If yet my task is done?"
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.

"Speak, father!" once again he cried,
"If I may yet be gone!"
And but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames rolled on.

Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair,
And looked from that lone post of death
In still, yet brave despair.

And shouted but once more aloud,
"My father! must I stay?"
While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,
The wreathing fires made way.

They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And streamed above the gallant child,
Like banners in the sky.

There came a burst of thunder sound -
The boy  - oh! where was he?
Ask of the winds that far around
With fragments strewed the sea! -

With mast, and helm, and pennon fair
That well had borne their part -
But the noblest thing that perished there
Was that young, faithful heart.

The poem tells the story of Captain Louis de Casabianca and his 12-year-old son Giocante who both perished aboard the ship Orient during the Battle of the Nile. The poem was very popular from the 1850s on and was memorized in elementary schools for literary practice.


Saturday, January 16, 2016




I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

While a young man, this English poet served for a short time in the Merchant Navy and this experience was an inspiration for his sea poems. He was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 intil his death. 

Friday, January 15, 2016




A noiseless patient spider,
I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark'd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. One of the most influential poets of his time, he is often called the father of free verse.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

LEIGH HUNT 1784-1859



We the fairies blithe and antic,
Of dimensions not gigantic,
Though the moonshine mostly keep us,
Oft in orchards frisk and peep us.

Stolen sweets are always sweeter,
Stolen kisses much completer,
Stolen looks are nice in chapels,
Stolen, stolen, be your apples.

When to bed the world is bobbing,
Then’s the time for orchard robbing,
Yet the fruit were scarce worth peeling,
Were it not for stealing, stealing.

Leigh Hunt was an English critic, essayist, poet and writer.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

BEN JOHNSON 1572-1637



Have you seen but a bright lily grow
Before rude hands have touched it?
Have you marked but the fall of snow
Before the soil hath smutched it?
Have you felt the wool of beaver,
Or swan's down ever?
Or have smelt o' the bud o' the brier,
Or the nard in the fire?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
O so white, O so soft, O so sweet is she! 

Ben Johnson, the English poet, playwright, actor and literary critic, 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, January 12, 2016

LORD BYRON 1788-1924



She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent! 

Byron is regarded as one of the greatest of British poets. He was often described as "the most flamboyant and notorious" of the major Romantics and was both celebrated and condemned for his "aristocratic excesses."


Monday, January 11, 2016




Looks as though a cyclone hit him -
Can't buy clothes that seem to fit him;
An' his cheeks are rough like leather,
Made for standin' any weather.
Outwards he was fashioned plainly,
Loose o' joint an' blamed ungainly,
But I'd give a lot if I'd
Been built half as fine inside.

Best thing I can tell you of him
Is the way the children love him.
Now an' then I get to thinkin'
He's much like old Abe Lincoln;
Homely like a gargoyle graven -
Worse'n that when he's unshaven;
But I'd take his ugly phiz
Jes' to have a heart like his.

I ain't over-sentimental,
But old Blake is so blamed gentle
An' so thoughtful-like of others
He reminds us of our mothers.
Rough roads he is always smoothin'
An' his way is, Oh, so soothin',
That he takes away the sting
When your heart is sorrowing.

Children gather round about him
Like they can't get on without him.
An' the old depend upon him,
Pilin'' all their burdens on him,
Like as though the thing that grieves 'em
Has been lifted when he leaves 'em.
Homely? That can't be denied,
But he's glorious inside. 

This English-born American poet became very popular during the first half of the 20th century. He became known as The People's Poet.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

MAYA ANGELOU 1928-2014



Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone. 

This American author and poet is famous for her six autobiographical books, the first of which "I know why the Caged Bird sings" made her name known worldwide. She was awarded over 30 honorary degrees and in 1971 was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.


Saturday, January 9, 2016




When I led by zummer streams
The pride o' Lea, as naighbours thought her,
While the zun, wi' evenen beams,
Did cast our sheades athirt the water;
Winds a-blowen,
Streams a-flowen,
Skies a-glowen,
Tokens ov my jay zoo fleeten,
Heightened it, that happy meeten.

Then, when maid an' man took pleaces,
Gay in winter's Chris'mas dances,
Showen in their merry feaces
Kindly smiles an' glisnen glances;
Stars a-winken,
Day a-shrinken,
Sheades a-zinken,
Brought anew the happy meeten,
That did meake the night too fleeten. 

William Barnes was a Dorset clergyman whose poetry about local life soon made his name well-known. However, he was later writing on a variety of subjects including geography, mathematics and astronomy. Barnes is particularly remembered today for using the Dorset dialect in some of his poems.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

THOMAS HARDY 1840-1928


Why does she turn in that shy soft way
Whenever she stirs the fire,
And kiss to the chimney-corner wall,
As if entranced to admire
Its whitewashed bareness more than the sight
Of a rose in richest green?
I have known her long, but this raptured rite
I never before have seen.

Well, once when her son cast his shadow there,
A friend took a pencil and drew him
Upon that flame-lit wall. And the lines
Had a lifelike semblance to him.
And there long stayed his familiar look;
But one day, ere she knew,
The whitener came to cleanse the nook,
And covered the face from view.

"Yes," he said: "My brush goes on with a rush,
And the draught is buried under;
When you have to whiten old cots and brighten,
What else can you do, I wonder?"
But she knows he's there. And when she yearns
For him, deep in the labouring night,
She sees him as close as hand, and turns
To him under his sheet of white.

Author of Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the D'Urbervilles and The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy always regarded himself first and foremost as a poet. His large output of poetry was not properly discovered until the middle of the 20th century


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

(From The Point of View, U.S., 1905)

"The love I bear you, dearest,
Would make the sweetest tale,
We'd sail upon a sea of bliss,
And I would lift the sail.
Our happiness would be sublime,
Surpassing tongue or pen.
You may as well learn things from me,
As to learn from other men."

"Oh! you have touched me - deeply"
The young thing whispered low.
He pleaded: "Come! oh! come with me."
She could not answer: "No."
She said: "I'll be your pupil."
And softly added then:
"I may as well learn things from you
As to learn from other men."

They dined alone that evening,
And the young man got his wish.
They even broke the unwritten law
Of: "Never before the fish."
At half-past-three, next morning,
He staggered home again.
She had taught him tricks he never knew,
That she'd learned from other men. 

The new blog ART BY 20TH CENTURY WOMEN PAINTERS began on Monday


Tuesday, January 5, 2016




What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That's not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that's the burden of the year.

The best-known work of this American writer and poet was her Poems of Passion. She will always be remembered for  "Solitude" which contains the famous lines "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone."

The first post of the new blog ART BY 20TH CENTURY WOMEN PAINTERS appeared yesterday.


Monday, January 4, 2016

EUBULUS 4th century


Three cups of wine a prudent man may take,
The first of these for constitution’s sake.
The second to the girl he loves the best,
The third and last to lull him to his rest.

Then home to bed - but, if a fourth he pours,
That is the cup of folly and not ours.
Loud noisy talking on the fifth attends,
The sixth breeds feuds and falling out of friends.

Seven begets blows and faces stained with gore,
Eight, and the watch patrol breaks ope the door.
Mad with the ninth, another cup goes round,
And the swilled sot drops senseless to the ground.

The new blog ART BY 20TH CENTURY WOMEN PAINTERS began today