Theocritus - A Villanelle

O singer of Persephone!
In the dim meadows desolate
Dost thou remember Sicily?

Still through the ivy flits the bee
Where Amaryllis lies in state;
O Singer of Persephone!

Simaetha calls on Hecate
And hears the wild dogs at the gate;
Dost thou remember Sicily?

Still by the light and laughing sea
Poor Polypheme bemoans his fate;
O Singer of Persephone!

And still in boyish rivalry
Young Daphnis challenges his mate;
Dost thou remember Sicily?


Thebais - Book Two

Now Jove’s Command fulfill’d, the Son of May
Quits the black Shades and slowly mounts to Day.
For lazy Clouds in gloomy Barriers rise,
Obstruct the God, and intercept the Skies;
No Zephyrs here their airy pinions move,
To spread his progress to the Realms above.
Scarce can he steer his dark laborious Flight,
Lost and encumber’d in the Damps of Night:
There roaring Tides of Fire his Course withstood,
Here Styx in nine wide Circles roll’d his Flood.
Behind old Laius trod th’ infernal Ground,


The Yelpers

Our rides in all directions bend,

For business or for pleasure,
Yet yelpings on our steps attend,

And barkings without measure.
The dog that in our stable dwells,

After our heels is striding,
And all the while his noisy yells

But show that we are riding.


The Wreck of the Barque Wm. Paterson of Liverpool

Ye landsmen all attend my verse, and I'll tell to ye a tale
Concerning the barque "Wm. Paterson" that was lost in a tempestuous gale;
She was on a voyage from Bangkok to the Clyde with a cargo of Teakwood,
And the crew numbered Fifteen in all of seamen firm and good.

'Twas on the 11th of March, when a violent gale from the southward broke out,
And for nine days during tempestuous weather their ship was tossed about
By the angry sea, and the barque she sprang a leak,


The Woods Shake in an Ague-Fit

The woods shake in an ague-fit,
The mad wind rocks the pine,
From sea to sea the white gulls flit
Into the roaring brine.

The moon as if in panic grief
Darts through the clouds on high,
Blown like a wild autumnal leaf
Across the wilder sky.

The gusty rain is driving fast,
And through the rain we hear,
Above the equinoctial blast,
The thunder of the Weir.

The voices of the wind and rain
Wail echoing through my heart--
That love is ever dogged by pain


The Wizard in the Street

[Concerning Edgar Allan Poe]


Who now will praise the Wizard in the street
With loyal songs, with humors grave and sweet —
This Jingle-man, of strolling players born,
Whom holy folk have hurried by in scorn,
This threadbare jester, neither wise nor good,
With melancholy bells upon his hood?

The hurrying great ones scorn his Raven's croak,
And well may mock his mystifying cloak
Inscribed with runes from tongues he has not read
To make the ignoramus turn his head.


The Witch's frolic

[Scene, the 'Snuggery' at Tappington.-- Grandpapa in a high-backed cane-bottomed elbow-chair of carved walnut-tree, dozing; his nose at an angle of forty-five degrees,--his thumbs slowly perform the rotatory motion described by lexicographers as 'twiddling.'--The 'Hope of the family' astride on a walking-stick, with burnt-cork mustachios, and a pheasant's tail pinned in his cap, solaceth himself with martial music.-- Roused by a strain of surpassing dissonance, Grandpapa Loquitur. ]

Come hither, come hither, my little boy Ned!
Come hither unto my knee--


The White Bees

I

LEGEND

Long ago Apollo called to Aristæus,
youngest of the shepherds,
Saying, "I will make you keeper of my bees."
Golden were the hives, and golden was the honey;
golden, too, the music,
Where the honey-makers hummed among the trees.

Happy Aristæus loitered in the garden, wandered
in the orchard,
Careless and contented, indolent and free;
Lightly took his labour, lightly took his pleasure,
till the fated moment
When across his pathway came Eurydice.


The Weakness

That time my grandmother dragged me
through the perfume aisles at Saks, she held me up
by my arm, hissing, "Stand up,"
through clenched teeth, her eyes
bright as a dog's
cornered in the light.
She said it over and over,
as if she were Jesus,
and I were dead.She had been
solid as a tree,
a fur around her neck, a
light-skinned matron whose car was parked, who walked
on swirling
marble and passed through
brass openings--in 1945.
There was not even a black
elevator operator at Saks.


The War Of Inis-Thona

Reflections on the poet's youth. An apostrophe to Selma. Oscar obtains leave to go to Inis-thona, an island of Scandinavia. The mournful story of Argon and Ruro, the two sons of the king of Inis-thona. Oscar revenges their death, and returns in triumph to Selma. A soliloquy by the poet himself.




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