View Full Version : Today's - Poem Of The Day

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-18-2017, 10:09 AM
Poem Of The Day, chosen by the poetry administration at my home poetry site, its primarily an agreement on quality, poetic excellence and beauty of verse which is decided by administration and the votes of other poets at the site.

Today, one of my newest poems was chosen, in fact one very recently posted, just two days ago!--Tyr


Below is the poem of the day entitled Bit Of Truth And Wisdom, Found In Old Age which was written by poet Robert Lindley.
Form: Sonnet | + Fav Poem | Make a CommentComment | Email PoemEmail | Print PoemPrint
Bit Of Truth And Wisdom, Found In Old Age

Bit Of Truth And Wisdom, Found In Old Age

At that age wisdom says life is a joke
consider blindness of other poor folk.
Stop to ponder why on earth we exist
you may just find giving on that big list.

To live well, love hard and thus procreate
easy to see easier to relate.
Living life together with your soulmate
should be a part of everybody's Fate!

Finding life is not about what you got
should be holding solid, number one spot
Tis more about life lived well and deeper
with one you found, knew to be a keeper

If long life, happiness is your great aim
if reaching not for it, you are to blame!

Robert J. Lindley, 1-16-2017

Robert Lindley
Thank you, one and all for the very kind words and encouragements. A happy surprise for me to find this very recently presented poem as POTD.

Comments for poem: Bit Of Truth And Wisdom, Found In Old Age

Commented on 1/20/2017 2:42:00 AM by Connie Marcum Wong

"It is all about family Robert I agree. A lovely poem! Congratulations on POTD! 7 ; )"

Commented on 1/18/2017 8:31:00 PM by Marilyn Williams

"I truly love this poem. Congrats on POTD!"

Commented on 1/18/2017 8:25:00 PM by john fleming

"An excellent creed to espouse, Robert. Congratulations on your POTD...Very well done! All my very best! :) john"

Commented on 1/18/2017 4:20:00 PM by Wendy Rycroft

"True words and a good poem x"

Commented on 1/18/2017 1:34:00 PM by Karen Edwards-Gregory

"This is really a POD. Simple but profound."

Commented on 1/18/2017 12:50:00 PM by Stephanie Yarbrough Quinn

"Love that"

Commented on 1/18/2017 12:29:00 PM by The Seeker

"Aww... wishing the other would have been selected but it's all good, robert. Nice to see you here"

Commented on 1/18/2017 12:23:00 PM by Chris Green

"Such a wonderful poetic message and a perfect choice for POTD. So true, the one you love is the most important in life, every thing else is just things."

Commented on 1/18/2017 12:09:00 PM by Robert Lindley

"Thank you, one and all for the very kind words and encouragements. A happy surprise for me to find this very recently presented poem as POTD."

Commented on 1/18/2017 10:55:00 AM by Freddie Robinson Jr.

"Great poem of truth and wisdom, Robert. Kudos and congrats to you for POTD. Well earned w/this must-read poem. A golden nugget of verity wrapped in silver-laced words. A classic for sure. Love and peace to you."

Commented on 1/18/2017 10:26:00 AM by Cindi Rockwell

"Too bad nobody wants advice from us old folk! Cute poem! Congrats on POTD! ~Cindi~"

Commented on 1/18/2017 10:10:00 AM by Carrie Richards

"A big hooray for your wonderful poem of the day, Robert !! :)"

Commented on 1/18/2017 8:01:00 AM by Sunshine Smile

"- Congratulations on your great poem o.t.d., Robert - hugs // Anne-Lise :)"

Commented on 1/18/2017 6:38:00 AM by Charlie Smith

"If you are not prospering in old age from life's lessons your reading from the wrong book. Congratulations Robert for deserving POTD honors..."

Commented on 1/17/2017 9:27:00 AM by Judy Ball

"Yes indeed Robert. God gives to us so we can give to others. Love this. God Bless, JB"

Commented on 1/17/2017 7:02:00 AM by Elaine George

"Words of wisdom in this powerful sonnet, Robert; as spoken by one who has lived the sonnet. This goes to my favorite list. Elaine"

Commented on 1/16/2017 2:12:00 PM by Maurice Yvonne

"Love, love, love, love this important sonnet. A Fav."

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-19-2017, 07:23 PM
Now on to other poets I will NOW chose to award POTD status too other poets, myself...
Be they famous or not, alive or not...-Tyr

The Dance Of The Horizon

Cascading thoughts of lovers’ ways
Echo home fulfilling days.
The absence of the only one,
My stars, my moon, my shining sun.

Reflections fade into obscurity,
Now nobody’s around to see.
Upon the horizon, colour ensues,
In moonlight’s dance, those blended hues.

Oh midnight sparkle, return to me,
And know when eyes are lost at sea:
Look for the dance of the horizon,
Conducted by maestro Poseidon.

That’s where my thoughts of you now lie
No matter the ships that pass on by.
For there’s none so grand that can compare
To your love I feel when you’re not there.

1st January 2016

Copyright © Nicola Byrne | Year Posted 2017

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-20-2017, 08:23 AM
Air and Angels
By John Donne
Twice or thrice had I lov'd thee,
Before I knew thy face or name;
So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame
Angels affect us oft, and worshipp'd be;
Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing I did see.
But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,
More subtle than the parent is
Love must not be, but take a body too;
And therefore what thou wert, and who,
I bid Love ask, and now
That it assume thy body, I allow,
And fix itself in thy lip, eye, and brow.

Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,
And so more steadily to have gone,
With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw I had love's pinnace overfraught;
Ev'ry thy hair for love to work upon
Is much too much, some fitter must be sought;
For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme, and scatt'ring bright, can love inhere;
Then, as an angel, face, and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure, doth wear,
So thy love may be my love's sphere;
Just such disparity
As is 'twixt air and angels' purity,
'Twixt women's love, and men's, will ever be.

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-21-2017, 10:27 AM
Today's choice is White Rabbit, by Jefferson Airplane. Yes it is a great and very famous song but it is also truly great poetry- IN LYRIC FORM..-Tyr

White Rabbit
----------- by Jefferson Airplane

One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you, don't do anything at all

Go ask Alice, when she's ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call

And call Alice, when she was just small

When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low

Go ask Alice, I think she'll know

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen's off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head, feed your head

Written by Grace Wing Slick • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-22-2017, 12:34 PM
POTD as chosen by me, choosing from sources of the very famous poets as well as sources listing poems by amateur poets.

Today- another poem from a poet not famous(at least not yet!)--;)--TYR

Let Love Come Shining Through

Everything is beautiful
When you’ve found that peace within
If you’ve heard that whispered call
Symphony will then begin

When you’ve gazed within your self
And you know just who you are
Life will be so filled with wealth
You will feel just like a star

When you’ve gazed into the light
Joy will live in you always
Then that beam will shine so bright
Everything will you amaze

All you ever need to do
Let that love come shining through

12 January 2016

Each Stanza seven Syllables

Copyright © Lazy dog Smith | Year Posted 2017


Lazy dog Smith,

I love the new name he chose as it truly represents his laid back. peaceful personality and great sense of humor!-Tyr
In this new poem he experiments using 7 syllable verses.


Edit- Found this magnificent poem , written by another fine poet at my home poetry site.
Had to post it here right now, least I forget..-Tyr

Form: Iambic Pentameter |

The Ancient Bitch Of Days, for Chad Bittner Hurt

It stood a while, alone, the perfect phrase
Entire and beautiful upon the stage
As lovely as two words could ever be
‘Till came the muse, the ancient bitch of days
Demanding blood and ink upon the page
Insisting passion and complexity
And sacrifice, and violent hymns of praise
Her hunger and her ardour to assuage
In wild defiance of simplicity

The poet quaked in terror, and betrayed
His words to slake her raw and awesome rage
In her cold hands they cried for company

© Gail Foster 13th December 2016

Copyright © Gail Foster | Year Posted 2016

^^^^ This poetess, has written a truly magnificent poem IMHO.
Thus you get a double POTD, today my friends!
Both are top class poets! --Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-23-2017, 07:39 AM

Be the sands of time flow within thy mind,
Every second of the day drifts away,
More elusive than the last I do find,
It's the nights I cry, I wish they would stay.

For it is in the night, that time does cease,
Moments before awakening, we're there,
Trapped between two worlds, one soon to unleash,
Leaving one behind, the one kind and fair.

It fascinates me so, how time doth grow,
Like a tree in the spring, when evergreen,
Can be seen as a river, endless flow,
Science can't tell you, that it can be seen.

One thing is certain, it has its own law,
I just know one thing, I wish I had more.

Copyright © White Wolf | Year Posted 2017

Great poem by my friend....--Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-24-2017, 10:27 AM

There seemed no end to the lightness of days,
darkness could not settle, and stars would hide,
to give way to brightness of life in rays,
of lasting sunshine for life to preside.
The light of life to let nature’s gifts grow,
emerge in lushness of flora’s array,
the blue reflection of the sky aglow
the calm waters, worldly beauty's display.
Throughout the cycle of life there is light,
to guide along the journey of vision,
but not for the blinded minds to see as might,
the one that understands life’s true passion.

The learned will follow the way of life,
the laws of nature, to enjoy love’s rife.

T.J Grén

Copyright © Teppo Gren | Year Posted 2015

From my very good friend Teppo.
This poet does any poetry form with deep thinking, superb verses and clear message.

Myself, I think his sonnets are better than mine..-Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-25-2017, 10:03 AM
The Angel
by Mikhail Lermontov

The angel was flying through sky in midnight,
And softly he sang in his flight;
And clouds, and stars, and the moon in a throng
Hearkened to that holy song.
He sang of the garden of God's paradise,
Of innocent ghosts in its shade;
He sang of the God, and his vivacious praise
Was glories and unfeigned.
The juvenile soul he carried in arms
For worlds of distress and alarms;
The tune of his charming and heavenly song
Was left in the soul for long.
It roamed on earth many long nights and days,
Filled with a wonderful thirst,
And earth's boring songs could not ever replace
The sounds of heaven it lost.

© Copyright, 1996
Translated from Russian by Yevgeny Bonver, October 1995.
************************************************** **
************************************************** *

Mikhail Lermontov

The Captive Knight
by Mikhail Lermontov

By a loophole, I sit in my prison,
Could see the blue of the heaven from there,
I feel sharp pain and a shame at the vision
Of heedless birds, freely playing in air.

On my dry lips, I’ve not any prayers,
Nor any songs, that have ever to fly on,
But I remember the ancient battles,
My heavy sword and my coat of iron.

My stony armor – the cross I’m to bear,
My stony helmet compresses my brow,
My shield’s worn from a sword and a spear,
My horse takes roads – I don’t now how.

Time is my horse that stays always my own,
A helmet’s mask-visor – the grate on a hole,
The walls are my armor that’s made of the stone,
My permanent shield is the door’s iron fold.

Time! I desire to speed your hooves’ rattle!
My stony armor is heavy to rise on!
Death, when we’ve come, will help me by the saddle;
I will dismount and rise up my visor.

Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, November, 2000
Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, June, 2001



Mikhail Lermontov
Poet Details
Romantic poet Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov was born in Moscow, Russia and was raised in the Penzenskaya province by his wealthy maternal grandmother. His mother, an aristocrat, died when he was three years old after a bitter and trying marriage, and his father, a retired army officer, was separated from Lermontov upon his mother’s death by his grandmother. In 1830 Lermontov enrolled in the University of Moscow, where he studied for two years among classmates including Konstantin Aksakov, Nicholas Stankevich, Vissarion Belinsky, and Aleksandr Herzen before withdrawing in 1832 and entering the Guards School in Saint Petersburg.

Lermontov is the author of the narrative poems The Corsair (1828), The Angel (1831), Tambov Treasurer’s Wife (1838), The Fugitive (1846), and the much-revised Romantic masterpiece Demon (1839) and the first Russian psychological novel A Hero of Our Time (1840). Lord Byron greatly influenced Lermontov, and his early poems often featured a Byronic hero. Lermontov’s interest in the Russian Middle Ages drove the creation of historical poems and his love of the Russian countryside came out in colorful imagery and characters. Lermontov’s poetry is marked by Romantic intensity, and his lyricism was greatly admired by Anton Chekhov who said, “I know no better language than that of Lermontov.”

On Aleksander Pushkin’s death, Lermontov wrote the controversial and widely popular elegy Death of a Poet (1837), which launched him to a new level of fame. This elegy accused the high courts of playing a role in Pushkin’s death and caused Lermontov to be arrested and exiled to Caucusus for two years. In 1838, through the intercession of his grandmother and the poet Vasily Zhukovsky, Lermontov returned to Moscow, where critics hailed him as Pushkin’s heir. He wrote prolifically during this time and enjoyed literary fame and friendships. However, his strong personality and boastfulness also produced several enemies.

Lermontov died in a duel at the age of 26. In 1917 Boris Pasternak dedicated his first poetry collection My Sister, Life (1917) to the memory of Lermontov’s Demon.



Mikhail Lermontov
(Born 1814, Died 1841)
(Translations from Russian)

Mikhail Lermontov was descended from George Learmont, a Scottish officer who entered the Russian service in the early seventeenth century. His literary fame began with a poem on the death of Pushkin, full of angry invective against the court circles ; for this Lermontov, a Guards officer, was courtmartialled and temorarily transferred to the Caucasus. With the conspicuous exception of The Angel (1831), the best of his poetry was written during the last five years of his life. The Last House-warming (1840), in which he protests against the transfer of Napoleon's body from St. Helena to the Invalides, is an example of his rhetorical power. He was killed in a duel at the age of twenty-seven.

From "The Heritage of Russian Verse," by Dimitri Obolensky

The Angel

The Beggar

The Captive Knight
The Confession
The Cross On the Rock

The Dagger
Death Of the Poet
"Don't Trust In Self..."

The Dream

The First Of January
"Forever You, the Unwashed Russia!"
From Goethe

The Grave of Ossian

"He Has Been Born..."

"I Come Out To the Path..."
"I Want To Live..."

Jewish Melody


My Country
My Home

The Neighbor
"No, I'm Not Byron..."
"No, Not With You..."
"Not With the Proud Kind Of Beauty"

"On a Bare Hill's Top..."

"The People Of Israel, Cry, Cry!"
The Prayer
The Prophecy


The Sail

"Their Love Was So Gentle..."
To A. O. Smirnoff
To the Countess Rostopchin
To Naryshkin
To the Picture Of Rembrandt
To the Portrait
To Trubetskoy

To ***

Waves And People
"We Stood In the Ranks..."

"When, In the Corny Field..."

See more translations by Yevgeny Bonver.
Special thanks to Yevgeny Bonver, Tanya Karshtedt and Dmitry Karshtedt for providing me with unique material for this page (i.e. with their translations of famous poems by Mikhail Lermontov)

Mikhail Lermontov on the Web: Google | Wikipedia

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-26-2017, 09:35 AM
The Boatman
----by Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky

Driven by misfortune's whirlwind,
Having neither oar nor rudder,
By a storm my bark was driven
Out upon the boundless sea.
'midst black clouds a small star sparkled;
'Don't conceal yourself!' I cried;
But it disappeared, unheeding;
And my anchor was lost, too.

All was clothed in gloomy darkness;
Great swells heaved all round;
In the darkness yawned the depths
I was hemmed in by cliffs.
'There's no hope for my salvation!'
I bemoaned, with heavy spirit…
Madman! Providence
Was your secret helmsman.

With a hand invisible,
'midst the roaring waves,
Through the gloomy, veiled depths
Past the terrifying cliffs,
My all-powerful savior guided me.
Then-all's quiet ! gloom has vanished;
I behold a paradisical realm…
Three celestial angels.

Providence - O, my protector!
My dejected groaning ceases;
On my knees, in exaltation,
On their image I did gaze.
Who could sing their charm?
Or their power o'er the soul?
All around them holy innocence
And an aura divine.

A delight as yet untasted -
Live and breathe for them;
Take into my soul and heart
All their words and glances sweet.
O fate! I've but one desire:
Let them sample every blessing;
Vouchsafe them delight - me suffering;
Only let me die before they do.

Плове ;ц

Вихрk 7;м бедстви я гонимый ,
Без кормила и весла,
В океан неисход имый
Бу 088;я челн мой занесла .
В тучах звездоч ка светила сь;
'Не скрывай ся!' - я взывал;
&# 1053;епрекл&# 1086;нная сокрыла сь;
Якор&# 1100; был - и тот пропал.
Все оделось черной мглою:
В&# 1089;колыха&# 1083;ися валы;
Бе&# 1079;дны в мраке предо мною;
Вк&# 1088;уг ужасные скалы.
'Н& #1077;т надежды на спасень е!' -
Я роптал, уныв душой...
О безумец! Провиде нье
Был 086; тайный кормщик твой.

Нk 7;видимоn 2; рукою,
С&# 1082;возь ревущие валы,
Ск&# 1074;озь одеты бездны мглою
И грозящи е скалы,
М&# 1086;щный вел меня храните ль.
Вдру&# 1075; - все тихо! мрак исчез;
В&# 1080;жу райскую обитель ...
В ней трех ангелов небес.

i 4; спасите ль - провиде нье!
Ско&# 1088;бный ропот мой утих;
На коленах, в восхище нье,
Я смотрю на образ их.
О! кто прелест ь их опишет?
&# 1050;то их силу над душой?
В&# 1089;е окрест их небом дышит
И невинно стью святой.
Неиспыm 0;анная радость -
Ими жить, для них дышать;
&# 1048;х речей, их взоров сладост ь
В душу, в сердце принима ть.
О судьба! одно желанье :
Дай все блага им вкусить ;
Пусть им радость - мне страдан ье;
Но... не дай их пережит ь.
Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-27-2017, 12:11 PM

A Country Boy in Winter

-----By Sarah Orne Jewett
The wind may blow the snow about,
For all I care, says Jack,
And I don’t mind how cold it grows,
For then the ice won’t crack.
Old folks may shiver all day long,
But I shall never freeze;
What cares a jolly boy like me
For winter days like these?

Far down the long snow-covered hills
It is such fun to coast,
So clear the road! the fastest sled
There is in school I boast.
The paint is pretty well worn off,
But then I take the lead;
A dandy sled’s a loiterer,
And I go in for speed.

When I go home at supper-time,
Ki! but my cheeks are red!
They burn and sting like anything;
I’m cross until I’m fed.
You ought to see the biscuit go,
I am so hungry then;
And old Aunt Polly says that boys
Eat twice as much as men.

There’s always something I can do
To pass the time away;
The dark comes quick in winter-time—
A short and stormy day
And when I give my mind to it,
It’s just as father says,
I almost do a man’s work now,
And help him many ways.

I shall be glad when I grow up
And get all through with school,
I’ll show them by-and-by that I
Was not meant for a fool.
I’ll take the crops off this old farm,
I’ll do the best I can.
A jolly boy like me won’t be
A dolt when he’s a man.

I like to hear the old horse neigh
Just as I come in sight,
The oxen poke me with their horns
To get their hay at night.
Somehow the creatures seem like friends,
And like to see me come.
Some fellows talk about New York,
But I shall stay at home.

Source: American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (1993)

Bonus today....-Tyr

When he would have his Verses Read
-------------By Robert Herrick
In sober mornings do thou not rehearse
The holy incantation of a verse;
But when that men have both well drunk, and fed,
Let my enchantments then be sung, or read.
When laurel spurts i' th' fire, and when the hearth
Smiles to itself, and gilds the roof with mirth;
When up the thyrse is raised, and when the sound
Of sacred orgies flies: "A round, a round;"
When the rose reigns, and locks with ointments shine,
Let rigid Cato read these lines of mine.

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-28-2017, 05:53 PM

An Old Man
--- by C.P. Cavafy

At the noisy end of the café, head bent
over the table, an old man sits alone,
a newspaper in front of him.

And in the miserable banality of old age
he thinks how little he enjoyed the years
when he had strength, eloquence, and looks.

He knows he’s aged a lot: he sees it, feels it.
Yet it seems he was young just yesterday.
So brief an interval, so very brief.

And he thinks of Prudence, how it fooled him,
how he always believed—what madness—
that cheat who said: “Tomorrow. You have plenty of time.”

He remembers impulses bridled, the joy
he sacrificed. Every chance he lost
now mocks his senseless caution.

But so much thinking, so much remembering
makes the old man dizzy. He falls asleep,
his head resting on the café table.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

- Original Greek Poem

************************************************** ************************************************** ****************************


Constantine P. Cavafy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Constantine P. Cavafy
Constantine Cavafy c. 1900
Born April 29, 1863
Alexandria, Egypt Province, Ottoman Empire
Died April 29, 1933 (aged 70)
Alexandria, Kingdom of Egypt
Occupation Poet, journalist, civil servant
Ethnicity Greek

Constantine P. Cavafy (/kəˈvɑːfɪ/;[1] also known as Konstantin or Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, or Kavaphes; Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης; April 29 (April 17, OS), 1863 – April 29, 1933) was a Greek poet, journalist and civil servant. His consciously individual style earned him a place among the most important figures not only in Greek poetry, but in Western poetry as well.[2]

Cavafy wrote 154 poems, while dozens more remained incomplete or in sketch form. During his lifetime, he consistently refused to formally publish his work and preferred to share it through local newspapers and magazines, or even print it out himself and give it away to anyone interested. His most important poems were written after his fortieth birthday, and officially published two years after his death.


1 Biography
2 Work
2.1 Excerpt from Ithaca
2.2 Historical poems
2.3 Sensual poems
2.4 Philosophical poems
3 Museum
4 Bibliography
4.1 Volumes with translations of Cavafy's poetry in English
4.2 Other works
4.3 Filmography
4.4 Other references
5 References
6 External links

Constantine P. Cavafy street sign in his city Alexandria, 24 January 2014. Photo By: Ahmed Hamed

Cavafy was born in 1863 in Alexandria, Egypt, to Greek parents, and was baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church. His father's name was Πέτρος Ἰωάννης, Petros Ioannēs —hence the Petrou patronymic (GEN) in his name— and his mother's Charicleia (Greek: Χαρίκλεια; née Γεωργάκη Φωτιάδη, Georgakē Photiadē). His father was a prosperous importer-exporter who had lived in England in earlier years and acquired British nationality. After his father died in 1870, Cavafy and his family settled for a while in Liverpool in England. In 1876, his family faced financial problems due to the Long Depression of 1873, so, by 1877, they had to move back to Alexandria.

In 1882, disturbances in Alexandria caused the family to move again, though temporarily, to Constantinople. This was the year when a revolt broke out in Alexandria against the Anglo-French control of Egypt, thus precipitating the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War. Alexandria was bombarded by a British fleet, and the family apartment at Ramleh was burned.

In 1885, Cavafy returned to Alexandria, where he lived for the rest of his life. His first work was as a journalist; then he took a position with the British-run Egyptian Ministry of Public Works for thirty years. (Egypt was a British protectorate until 1926.) He published his poetry from 1891 to 1904 in the form of broadsheets, and only for his close friends. Any acclaim he was to receive came mainly from within the Greek community of Alexandria. Eventually, in 1903, he was introduced to mainland-Greek literary circles through a favourable review by Xenopoulos. He received little recognition because his style differed markedly from the then-mainstream Greek poetry. It was only twenty years later, after the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), that a new generation of almost nihilist poets (e.g. Karyotakis) would find inspiration in Cavafy's work.

A biographical note written by Cavafy reads as follows:

"I am from Constantinople by descent, but I was born in Alexandria—at a house on Seriph Street; I left very young, and spent much of my childhood in England. Subsequently I visited this country as an adult, but for a short period of time. I have also lived in France. During my adolescence I lived over two years in Constantinople. It has been many years since I last visited Greece. My last employment was as a clerk at a government office under the Ministry of Public Works of Egypt. I know English, French, and a little Italian."[3]

He died of cancer of the larynx on April 29, 1933, his 70th birthday. Since his death, Cavafy's reputation has grown. His poetry is taught in school in Greece and Cyprus, and in universities around the world.

E. M. Forster knew him personally and wrote a memoir of him, contained in his book Alexandria. Forster, Arnold J. Toynbee, and T. S. Eliot were among the earliest promoters of Cavafy in the English-speaking world before the Second World War.[citation needed] In 1966, David Hockney made a series of prints to illustrate a selection of Cavafy's poems, including In the dull village.
Manuscript of his poem "Thermopylae".
Cavafy's poem Κρυμμένα ("Krimmena", Hidden Things) painted on a building in Leiden, Netherlands.

Cavafy was instrumental in the revival and recognition of Greek poetry both at home and abroad. His poems are, typically, concise but intimate evocations of real or literary figures and milieux that have played roles in Greek culture. Uncertainty about the future, sensual pleasures, the moral character and psychology of individuals, homosexuality, and a fatalistic existential nostalgia are some of the defining themes.

Besides his subjects, unconventional for the time, his poems also exhibit a skilled and versatile craftsmanship, which is extremely delicate to translate.[4] Cavafy was a perfectionist, obsessively refining every single line of his poetry. His mature style was a free iambic form, free in the sense that verses rarely rhyme and are usually from 10 to 17 syllables. In his poems, the presence of rhyme usually implies irony.

Cavafy drew his themes from personal experience, along with a deep and wide knowledge of history, especially of the Hellenistic era. Many of his poems are pseudo-historical, or seemingly historical, or accurately but quirkily historical.

One of Cavafy's most important works is his 1904 poem Waiting for the Barbarians.The poem begins by describing a city-state in decline, whose population and legislators are waiting for the arrival of the barbarians. When night falls, the barbarians have not arrived. The poem ends: "What is to become of us without barbarians? Those people were a solution of a sort."

In 1911, Cavafy wrote "Ithaca", inspired by the Homeric return journey of Odysseus to his home island, as depicted in the Odyssey. The poem's theme is that enjoyment of the journey of life, and the increasing maturity of the soul as that journey continues, are all the traveler can ask for. To Homer, and to the Greeks in general, not the island, but the idea of Ithaca is important. Life is also a journey, and everyone has to face difficulties like Odysseus, when he returned from Troy. When you reach Ithaca, you have gained so much experience from the voyage, that it is not very important if you reached your goals (e.g. Odysseus returned all alone). Ithaca cannot give you riches, but she gave you the beautiful journey.

Almost all of Cavafy's work was in Greek; yet, his poetry remained unrecognized in Greece until after the publication of his first anthology in 1935. He is known for his prosaic use of metaphors, his brilliant use of historical imagery, and his aesthetic perfectionism. These attributes, amongst others, have assured him an enduring place in the literary pantheon of the Western World.
Excerpt from Ithaca
Original Greek English Translation

Σὰ βγεῖς στὸν πηγαιμὸ γιὰ τὴν Ἰθάκη,
νὰ εὔχεσαι νἆναι μακρὺς ὁ δρόμος,
γεμάτος περιπέτειες, γεμάτος γνώσεις.
Τους Λαιστρυγόνας και τους Κύκλωπας,
το θυμωμένο Ποσειδώνα μη φοβάσαι

When you depart for Ithaca,
wish for the road to be long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Don't fear the Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon.

A reading of this can be heard at the George Barbanis website
Historical poems

These poems are mainly inspired by the Hellenistic era with Alexandria at primary focus. Other poems originate from Helleno-romaic antiquity and the Byzantine era. Mythological references are also present. The periods chosen are mostly of decline and decadence (e.g. Trojans); his heroes facing the final end.
Sensual poems

The sensual poems are filled with the lyricism and emotion of same-sex love; inspired by recollection and remembrance. The past and former actions, sometimes along with the vision for the future underlie the muse of Cavafy in writing these poems.
Philosophical poems

Also called instructive poems they are divided into poems with consultations to poets and poems that deal with other situations such as closure (for example, "The walls"), debt (for example, "Thermopylae"), and human dignity (for example, "The God Abandons Antony").

The poem "Thermopylae" reminds us of the famous battle of Thermopylae where the 300 Spartans and their allies fought against the greater numbers of Persians, although they knew that they would be defeated. There are some principles in our lives that we should live by, and Thermopylae is the ground of duty. We stay there fighting although we know that there is the potential for failure. (At the end the traitor Ephialtes will appear, leading the Persians through the secret trail).[5]
House-museum of Cavafy, Alexandria.
A bust of Constantine Cavafy located in his apartment.
Death mask of Cavafy.

Cavafy's Alexandria apartment has since been converted into a museum. The museum holds several of Cavafy's sketches and original manuscripts as well as containing several pictures and portraits of and by Cavafy.

Selections of Cavafy's poems appeared only in pamphlets, privately printed booklets and broadsheets during his lifetime. The first publication in book form was "Ποιήματα" (Poiēmata, "Poems"), published posthumously in Alexandria, 1935.
Volumes with translations of Cavafy's poetry in English

Poems by C. P. Cavafy, translated by John Mavrogordato (London: Chatto & Windus, 1978, first edition in 1951)
The Complete Poems of Cavafy, translated by Rae Dalven, introduction by W. H. Auden (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961)
The Greek Poems of C.P. Cavafy As Translated by Memas Kolaitis, two volumes (New York: Aristide D. Caratzas, Publisher, 1989)
Complete Poems by C P Cavafy, translated by Daniel Mendelsohn, (Harper Press, 2013)
Passions and Ancient Days - 21 New Poems, Selected and translated by Edmund Keeley and George Savidis (London: The Hogarth Press, 1972)
Poems by Constantine Cavafy, translated by George Khairallah (Beirut: privately printed, 1979)
C. P. Cavafy, Collected Poems, translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard, edited by George Savidis, Revised edition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992)
Selected Poems of C. P. Cavafy, translated by Desmond O'Grady (Dublin: Dedalus, 1998)
Before Time Could Change Them: The Complete Poems of Constantine P. Cavafy, translated by Theoharis C. Theoharis, foreword by Gore Vidal (New York: Harcourt, 2001)
Poems by C. P. Cavafy, translated by J.C. Cavafy (Athens: Ikaros, 2003)
I've Gazed So Much by C. P. Cavafy, translated by George Economou (London: Stop Press, 2003)
C. P. Cavafy, The Canon, translated by Stratis Haviaras, foreword by Seamus Heaney (Athens: Hermes Publishing, 2004)
The Collected Poems, translated by Evangelos Sachperoglou, edited by Anthony Hirst and with an introduction by Peter Mackridge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, [ISBN 9608762707] 2007)
The Collected Poems of C. P. Cavafy: A New Translation, translated by Aliki Barnstone, Introduction by Gerald Stern (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007)
C. P. Cavafy, Selected Poems, translated with an introduction by Avi Sharon (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2008)
C. P. Cavafy, Collected Poems, translated by Daniel Mendelsohn (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009)
C. P. Cavafy, Poems: The Canon, translated by John Chioles, edited by Dimitrios Yatromanolakis (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Early Modern and Modern Greek Library, ISBN 9780674053267, 2011)
"C.P. Cavafy, Selected Poems", translated by David Connolly, Aiora Press, Athens 2013
Clearing the Ground: C.P. Cavafy, Poetry and Prose, 1902-1911, translations and essay by Martin McKinsey (Chapel Hill: Laertes, 2015)

Translations of Cavafy's poems are also included in

Lawrence Durrell, Justine (London, UK: Faber & Faber, 1957)
Modern Greek Poetry, edited by Kimon Friar (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973)
Memas Kolaitis, Cavafy as I knew him (Santa Barbara, CA: Kolaitis Dictionaries, 1980)
James Merrill, Collected Poems (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002)
Don Paterson, Landing Light (London, UK: Faber & Faber, 2003)
Derek Mahon, Adaptations (Loughcrew, Ireland: The Gallery Press, 2006)
A.E. Stallings, Hapax (Evanston, Illinois: Triquarterly Books, 2006)
Don Paterson, Rain (London, UK: Faber & Faber, 2009)
John Ash, In the Wake of the Day (Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 2010)
David Harsent, Night (London, UK: Faber & Faber, 2011)
Selected Prose Works, C.P. Cavafy, edited and translated by Peter Jeffreys (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010)

Other works

Panagiotis Roilos, C. P. Cavafy: The Economics of Metonymy, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.
Panagiotis Roilos (ed.), Imagination and Logos: Essays on C. P. Cavafy, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 2010 (ISBN 9780674053397).
Robert Liddell, Cavafy: A Critical Biography (London: Duckworth, 1974). A widely acclaimed biography of Cavafy. This biography has also been translated in Greek (Ikaros, 1980) and Spanish (Ediciones Paidos Iberica, 2004).
P. Bien, Constantine Cavafy (1964)
Edmund Keeley, Cavafy's Alexandria (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995). An extensive analysis of Cavafy's works.
Michael Haag, Alexandria: City of Memory (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005). Provides a portrait of the city during the first half of the 20th century and a biographical account of Cavafy and his influence on E.M. Forster and Lawrence Durrell.
Michael Haag, Vintage Alexandria: Photographs of the City 1860-1960 (New York and Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2008). A photographic record of the cosmopolitan city as it was known to Cavafy. It includes photographs of Cavafy, E M Forster, Lawrence Durrell, and people they knew in Alexandria.
Martin McKinsey, Hellenism and the Postcolonial Imagination: Yeats, Cavafy, Walcott (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2010). First book to approach Cavafy's work from a postcolonial perspective.


Cavafy, a biographical film was directed by Iannis Smaragdis in 1996 with music by Vangelis. A literary form of the script of the film was also published in book form by Smaragdis.

Other references

C. P. Cavafy appears as a character in the Alexandria Quartet of Lawrence Durrell.
The Weddings Parties Anything song 'The Afternoon Sun' is based on the Cavafy poem of the same title.
The American poet Mark Doty's book My Alexandria uses the place and imagery of Cavafy to create a comparable contemporary landscape.
The Canadian poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen memorably transformed Cavafy's poem "The God Abandons Antony," based on Mark Antony's loss of the city of Alexandria and his empire, into "Alexandra Leaving," a song around lost love.[6]
Scottish songwriter Donovan featured one of Cavafy's poems in his 1970 film There is an Ocean.
The Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, in an extended essay published in the "New York Times", writes about how Cavafy's poetry, particularly his poem "The City," has changed the way Pamuk looks at, and thinks about, the city of Istanbul, a city that remains central to Pamuk's own writing.[7]
Frank H. T. Rhodes' last commencement speech given at Cornell University in 1995 was based on Cavafy's poem, Ithaca.[8]


Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, HarperCollins Publishers, 2003: "Cavafy"
Encyclopaedia Britannica - Constantine P. Cavafy biography, Britannica.com
Woods, Gregory (1999). A History of Gay Literature, the Male Tradition. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-08088-9.
More Cavafy, Stallings A.E., Poetryfoundation.org
Thermopylae, analysis
Alexandra Leaving

Rhodes, Frank H. T. "Commencement Address 1995" (PDF). Retrieved August 29, 2016.

External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Constantine P. Cavafy.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Constantine P. Cavafy
Greek Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Cavafy in Greek

C. P. Cavafy - The official website of the Cavafy Archive (in English)
"The official website of the Cavafy Archive" (in Greek)
A comprehensive website, including a biography, a gallery, bibliography, news and extensive selections of poetry in English and Greek
Cavafy in English and Greek, Select Online Resources
Audio introduction to Cavafy's poems In English, with examination of ten of his finest poems
The Cavafy Museum in Alexandria
Cavafy: surviving immortality
"Artificial Flowers"—translations by Peter J. King & Andrea Christofidou
Extensive collection of poems, in English & Greek & audio
Ithaki.net A search engine named in honor of the poem "Ithaki"
'As Good as Great Poetry Gets' Daniel Mendelsohn article on Cavafy from The New York Review of Books
"Of the Jews (A.D. 50)" by C. P. Cavafy
Audio: Cavafy's poem Ithaka read by Edmund Keeley
"In the dull village", a painting by David Hockney inspired by Cavafy, now in the British Museum
Babis Koulouras recites Cavafy's poems by heart. The orchestra of "K.P.Kavafis" team of Culture Club of Ano Syros plays Cavafy's songs (in Greek)
Works by or about Constantine P. Cavafy at Internet Archive
Works by Constantine P. Cavafy at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-29-2017, 10:47 AM
Missing Mom

She's gone
no longer here
but I need her here
it wasn't time
not my time to let go
memories are clear

Can't live without her
the only one, only one
but the time since is a blur

I took you for granted
thought you'd always be there
you know I loved you so dear

I miss you Mom
the pain is still here
it will never die
I love you so dear

I love you Mom
that's unchanged
you held my heart first
that's unchanged

I think of you daily
morning, noon and night
this I know is true
I so love and miss you

Jim, you finally titled it, but you forgot to sign and date your poem..
I decided to post it as is, even tho' unsigned and not dated, by you the author..
Now posted as my choice for My, Poem Of The Day.....

One can never go wrong when they put this much heart and depth into a poem my friend...
You write poetry-- you just didn't know it previously - now you do.--Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
01-30-2017, 01:03 PM

The Dream
------------------By Aphra Behn
All trembling in my arms Aminta lay,
Defending of the bliss I strove to take;
Raising my rapture by her kind delay,
Her force so charming was and weak.
The soft resistance did betray the grant,
While I pressed on the heaven of my desires;
Her rising breasts with nimbler motions pant;
Her dying eyes assume new fires.
Now to the height of languishment she grows,
And still her looks new charms put on;
Now the last mystery of Love she knows,
We sigh, and kiss: I waked, and all was done.

‘Twas but a dream, yet by my heart I knew,
Which still was panting, part of it was true:
Oh how I strove the rest to have believed;
Ashamed and angry to be undeceived!

Epitaph on the Tombstone of a Child, the Last of Seven that Died Before

-------------------By Aphra Behn

This Little, Silent, Gloomy Monument,
Contains all that was sweet and innocent ;
The softest pratler that e'er found a Tongue,
His Voice was Musick and his Words a Song ;
Which now each List'ning Angel smiling hears,
Such pretty Harmonies compose the Spheres;
Wanton as unfledg'd Cupids, ere their Charms
Has learn'd the little arts of doing harms ;
Fair as young Cherubins, as soft and kind,
And tho translated could not be refin'd ;
The Seventh dear pledge the Nuptial Joys had given,
Toil'd here on Earth, retir'd to rest in Heaven ;
Where they the shining Host of Angels fill,
Spread their gay wings before the Throne, and smile.

Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn was the first female writer to make her living through her art; she was a significant seventeenth‑century dramatist,The Rover being one of her best‑known plays. Little is known of her early life, but we do know that she was an accomplished poet, worked as a scribe for the King’s Company players, produced many plays, wrote a novel about an enslaved African prince (Oroonoko) and was a spy for the English Crown, operating for a period in the Netherlands.

She caused some scandal, touching as she did on topics of a sexual nature, and, during the late‑nineteenth century, her work was largely dismissed for this reason. Behn claimed that no such scandal would have arisen had such plays been penned by a man. Herpoetic voice is distinctive and strong. She often comments on contemporary events and situations, and writes from the position of both men and women.


Aphra Behn
Poet Details

Aphra Behn, one of the most influential dramatists of the late seventeenth century, was also a celebrated poet and novelist. Her contemporary reputation was founded primarily on her "scandalous" plays, which she claimed would not have been criticized for impropriety had a man written them. Behn's assertion of her unique role in English literary history is confirmed not only by the extraordinary circumstances of her writings, but by those of her life history as well.

No one really knows her birth name or when exactly she was born. Her parentage has been traced to Wye, and tradition has it that she was born in 1640. One version of her life postulates that her parents were a barber, John Amis, and Amy, his wife. Another speculation about Behn has her the child of a couple named Cooper. However, an essay by the unidentified "One of the Fair Sex" affixed to the collection of The Histories And Novels of the Late Ingenious Mrs. Behn (1696) maintains that Aphra was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson of nearby Canterbury. Johnson was a gentleman related to Francis, Lord Willoughby, who appointed him lieutenant general of Surinam, for which Willoughby was the royal patentee. Whether Aphra was Johnson's natural child or fostered by him is not known, but what has been established with reasonable certainty was that in 1663 Aphra accompanied Johnson, his wife, and a young boy, mentioned as Behn's brother, on a voyage to take up residence in the West Indies. Johnson died on the way, and the mother and two children lived for several months in Surinam. This episode was to have lasting effects on Behn's life. Her most famous novel, Oroonoko (1688), is based on her experiences there and her friendship with a prince of the indigenous peoples. The facts about Behn's life after her return to England in 1664 are also unclear. She is known to have met and taken the name of a man considered to be her husband, who was perhaps a Dutch merchant whose name was either "Ben," "Beane," "Bene," or "Behn." Whatever the true circumstances, from that time on she was known publicly as "Mrs. Behn," the name she later used for her professional writing. Aphra Behn was propelled into writing for a living by the death of her husband in 1665, and her indebtedness as a result of her employment as a spy for King Charles II.

When her husband died, Behn was left without funds. Perhaps because of her association, through him, with the Dutch, she was appointed an intelligence gatherer for the king, who was, at least, to pay for her trip to Antwerp as his spy. But Charles did not respond to Behn's requests for money for her trip home, so in December 1666 she was forced to borrow for her passage back to England. Charles continued to refuse payment, and in 1668 Behn was thrown into debtor's prison. The circumstances of her release are unknown, but in 1670 her first play, The Forc'd Marriage (published, 1671), was produced in London, and Behn, having vowed never to depend on anyone else for money again, became one of the period's foremost playwrights. She earned her living in the theater and then as a novelist until her death on 16 April 1689.

Even before her arrest for indebtedness Aphra Behn had written poetry. These early poems are not as polished as the later incidental poems or those from her plays, but they indicate the versatility of her literary gifts and prefigure the skill and grace that characterize all of Behn's verse. Although it was impossible to make a living from writing poems exclusively, Behn, in the tradition of famous English playwrights whose poetry was also accorded distinction, pursued verse writing as an adjunct to her more lucrative work.

Behn's contemporary reputation as a poet was no less stunning than her notoriety as a dramatist. She was heralded as a successor to Sappho, inheriting the great gifts of the Greek poet in the best English tradition exemplified by Behn's immediate predecessor, Katherine Philips. Just as Philips was known by her pastoral nom de plume and praised as "The Matchless Orinda," so Behn was apostrophized as "The Incomparable Astrea," an appellation based on the code name she had used when she was Charles's spy.

Some of Behn's lyrics originally appeared in her plays, and there were longer verses, such as the Pindaric odes, published for special occasions. But the majority of her poetry was published in two collections that included longer narrative works of prose and poetry as well as Behn's shorter verses. Poems upon Several Occasions: with A Voyage to the Island of Love (1684) and Lycidus: Or The Lover in Fashion (1688) reflect Behn's customary use of classical, pastoral, courtly, and traditionally English lyric modes. Forty-five poems appeared in Poems upon Several Occasions; ten poems were appended to Lycidus. Ten more works appeared in the 1685 Miscellany. Posthumous publications include poems in Charles Gildon's Miscellany Poems Upon Several Occasions (1692) and in The Muses Mercury (1707-1708).

Behn's distinctive poetic voice is characterized by her audacity in writing about contemporary events, frequently with topical references that, despite their allegorical maskings, were immediately recognizable to her sophisticated audience. Although she sometimes addressed her friends by their initials or their familiar names, she might just as easily employ some classical or pastoral disguise that was transparent to the initiated. Behn's poetry, therefore, was less public than her plays or her prose fiction, as it depended, in some cases, on the enlightened audience's recognition of her topics for full comprehension of both the expression and implications of her verse. Such poetic technique involved a skill and craft that earned her the compliments of her cohorts as one who, despite her female form, had a male intelligence and masculine powers of reason.

Behn's response to this admiration was to display even more fully those characteristics which had earned her praise. Frequently her poems are specifically addressed to members of her social community and might employ mild satire as commentary, present events of their lives, and detail or explore the emotional states of their frequently complex relationships, expecially those of love and sex. Less commonly Behn might use a translation or adaptation of another author's verse to discuss these issues in her own style. In these cases the poems are frequently redrawn to reveal Behn's own emphases and display more her artistic perspective than that of the original author.

Whatever the source of the texts, whether her plays, a political or personal occasion, an adaptation or translation, or an emotional or psychological exploration, Behn's verse style is particular and identifiable, with a very distinctive voice. The speaker is usually identified as a character or as "Astrea," Behn's poetic self, and there is usually a specific audience. There may be dialogue within a poem, but, unlike the dialogue in her plays, in the poetry the voices are joined in lyrical rather than dramatic expression. In fact, the musicality of Behn's verse is another identifying characteristic. Whereas many of Behn's predecessors and contemporaries, including Philips, to whom Behn was frequently compared, are known for the Metaphysical aspects of their verse, Behn's poems are more classical, in the tradition of Ben Jonson rather than John Donne. As such they rely more on the heritage of sixteenth-century ornate lyricism as practiced by Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, and William Shakespeare, along with the epigrammatic tradition of light Juvenalian satire in Jonson and Robert Herrick, than the Marvellian wit and Miltonic grandeur of later seventeenth-century verse. Behn shares with John Dryden a preference for the couplet, but she also uses a modified ballad stanza and more varied verse forms if the content permits. The decorum of her verse is based in a very traditional relationship between structure and meaning, so that her discourse has a sense of immediacy and directness despite the conventionality of her literary forms. Perhaps it is because her use of vocabulary and form is so traditional that Behn, who was in her lifetime criticized as outrageous for the content of her works, was able, nevertheless, to thrive as a successful author.

The first of the Poems upon Several Occasions, "The Golden Age," presents Behn's customary combination of tradition and innovation. It is described in the text as "A Paraphrase on a Translation out of French," and although Behn criticism usually emphasizes that the poem is a translation, Behn herself presents rather more of the aspect of paraphrase. The poem restates well-known concepts in a typically idiosyncratic way. Behn conventionally places her paradise in a prelapsarian garden but then goes on to describe that sinless state as devoid also of "civilized" constraints. Lovers' vows are "Not kept in fear of Gods, no fond Religious cause, / Nor in obedience to duller Laws" but merely for joy alone. Honor, rather than being perceived as a desirable characteristic, is furiously attacked in two long verses as responsible for introducing the shame and formality that "first taught lovely Eyes the art, / To wound, and not to cure the heart." This, she maintains, is "a Cruel Law." She asserts that women have sexuality and can teach men how to express their feelings if only this false value, honor, were not in the way.

Business and the rules of honor are also rejected in favor of a natural and easy "Love" in the poem "A Farewel to Celladon, On his Going into Ireland." These verses ask Celladon why he bothers with boring government business ("To Toyl, be Dull, and to be Great"), when he knows that success will not bring happiness. It is more important, the speaker advises him, to enjoy the company of his close good friend, Damon, to whom Celladon is "by Sacred Friendship ty'd," and from whom "Love nor Fate can nere divide" him. The tradition of close male friendships has both a literary and social history based in the classics. In this "Pindarique," Behn elevates such a relationship over politics and commerce. In her other poems as well, there is a precedence of close personal relationships over public enterprise. The portrayal of many of these relationships is in the classical pastoral tradition, and several of the poems also present the classical concept of the person with attributes of both sexes, the androgyne or hermaphrodite.

"Friendship" that is "Too Amorous for a Swain to a Swain" is the basis for one section in the long poem describing Behn's social circle, "Our Cabal." The verses on "Mr. Ed. Bed." describe the relationship between Philander and Lycidas as conventionally androgynous, with implicit overtones of sexuality. Philander, she writes, "nere paid / A Sigh or Tear to any Maid: / ... / But all the Love he ever knew, / On Lycidas he does bestow."

Homoeroticism is standard in Behn's verse, either in descriptions such as these of male to male relationships or in depictions of her own attractions to women. Behn was married and widowed early, and as a mature woman her primary publicly acknowledged relationship was with a gay male, John Hoyle, himself the subject of much scandal. Behn was known to have had male lovers throughout her lifetime, most notably the man allegorized as "Amintas" in her verses, but she also writes explicitly of the love of women for each other. Just as the emotional and physical closeness of males is justified by their androgynous qualities, so, for women, hermaphroditic characteristics transcend conventional boundaries by allowing the enjoyment of female and male qualities in lovers.

The breaking of boundaries in poetry, as in her life, caused Behn to be criticized as well as admired publicly. Her best-known poem, "The Disappointment," finely illustrates Behn's ability to portray scandalous material in an acceptable form. The poem was sent to Hoyle with a letter asking him to deny allegations of ill conduct circulating about his activities. Both the letter and the poem were reprinted in early miscellaneous collections. "The Disappointment" has been traditionally interpreted to be about impotence. But it is also about rape, another kind of potency test, and presents a woman's point of view cloaked in the customary language of male physical license and sexual access to females. The woman's perspective in this poem provides the double vision that plays the conventional against the experiential.

One evening Lysander comes across Cloris in the woods. They are in love, and he makes sexual advances. She resists and tells him to kill her if he must, but she will not give up her honor, even though she loves him. He persists. She swoons. He undresses her. She lies defenseless and fully exposed to him, but he cannot maintain an erection. He tries self-stimulation without success. She recovers consciousness, discovers his limp penis with her hand, recoils in confusion, and runs away with supernatural speed. He rages at the gods and circumstance but mostly directs his anger at Cloris, blaming her for his impotence.

The traditional interpretation of this poem is that Cloris, having been aroused by Lysander's advances, flees from him in shame and that the lovers are both disappointed by Lysander's inability to consummate their relationship sexually. But that is only one line of meaning in the poem. Embedded in the text is another interpretation of these fourteen stanzas. Cloris is definite: she says leave me alone or kill me. For her, defloration is a fate worse than death, and she will not endure dishonor even for one she loves. When Lysander continues to force her "without Respect," she lies "half dead" and shows "no signs of life" but breathing. Traditionally her passion and breathlessness have been read as sexual arousal, but they might just as easily be read as signs of her struggle to escape Lysander, which exhausts her. As soon as her struggle ends, he is "unable to perform." In the poem, even though Cloris is unconscious, Lysander unsuccessfully tries self-stimulation, ostensibly to continue the attack. Cloris awakens, however, and takes the first opportunity she has to run away from him as fast as she can. Her decision to flee may clearly be seen as an attempt to escape. When she sees the state of things, she shows no sympathy. Lysander's anger is greater than mere disappointment--he rants at the gods and the universe for his impotence and accuses Cloris of witchcraft. The extent of his rage is more that of a thwarted assailant than an embarrassed lover.

For the first thirteen stanzas of the poem, the story is told in the third person, with an omniscient speaker. But in the last verse, in a startling change of voice to the first person, the speaker identifies herself with Cloris and closes the narrative in sympathy with the "Nymph's Resentments," which the speaker, as a woman, can "well Imagine" and "Condole." The usual interpretation of "The Disappointment" will stand in a conventional reading, but this point of view ignores a particularly female perspective that Behn clearly asserts when, in the last stanza, she identifies with Cloris and not Lysander. The unconventionality of this poem is apparent when it is contrasted with the presentation of joyous amorous relations in some of Behn's other poems.

One of her best-known verses, happily juxtaposed to "The Disappointment," is "Song: The Willing Mistriss." This poem describes how the female speaker becomes so aroused by the excellent courtship of her lover that she is "willing to receive / That which I dare not name." After three verses describing their lovemaking, she concludes with the coy suggestion, "Ah who can guess the rest?" The poem is a good example of Behn's treatment of conventional courtly and pastoral modes, as is the "Song. Love Arm'd," which describes Cupid's power to enamour.

Convention and ingenuity are further united in the poem "Song: The Invitation," where, witnessing Damon's pursuit of Sylvia, the speaker interposes herself to meet "the Arrows" of love and save Sylvia "from their harms" because Sylvia already has a lover and Damon would more appropriately be paired with the speaker.

In her poems Behn uses the dramatic qualities of voice which gave her such great stage success. Her verses are always spoken by a specific, identifiable individual, whose self-characterization becomes clear in the text. The effect of this technique is to give the poems a sense of immediacy and energy that reveals Behn's personality through her works. She almost always speaks from the point of view of a female, and her attitudes convey a woman's confidence in dealing with men's amorous advances and betrayals. In the poem "A Ballad on M. JH to Amoret, asking why I was so sad," the speaker tells how she was betrayed by her lover, and she warns Amoret to be careful and be sure to get the better of the man. Here the relationship between women is primary, as they are allies on the same side of the war of love. Men are frequently shown as enemies in the battle of the sexes, as Behn's poem "The Return" illustrates. In it she warns a tyrannous shepherd not to stray, since "Some hard-hearted Nymph may return you your own."

"The Reflection" is a classic song of betrayal with a twist. It is written from the point of view of a woman who gave in to her lover. He used every means he could to get her; then, the more she wanted him, the less he wanted her. Although he made many vows, he betrayed her. Since her pain is too great for tears, traditional consolation is inadequate; therefore, she will die. This poem is a variation on the standard pastoral "lover's complaint" of the male: conventionally the courtly beloved refuses to give in to her suitor, and he proclaims he will die of lovesickness. This poem uses the conventional pastoral mode, including the appeal to nature, to witness and participate in the lover's grief. But although the woman's sorrow is conventional, the consequences of betrayal are far more profound for her than they would be for a male counterpart. She is, in the old-fashioned meaning of the word, "dis-maid," bereft of her maidenhood, and as one no longer virgin, banished from consideration by future suitors. In her society there is nothing for her to look forward to, so she may as well die.

In "To Alexis in Answer to his Poem against Fruition. Ode" Behn asserts that men are only interested in conquest and that once they get what they want from one woman, they go on to another. This point of view, as presented by a male speaker, is also a highlight of the poems interspersed throughout the prose text of Lycidus: Or The Lover in Fashion. The popular "A Thousand Martyrs I have made" presents the philanderer's scorn for "the Fools that whine for Love" in the context of the narrator's lighthearted appraisal of his unreformed self. The speaker of the poem takes delight in his ability to play the game of love in appearances only, exempting himself from serious hurt. Because of his emotional detachment, ironically, he scores more conquests than those for whom love is serious.

One of Behn's strongest statements on the failure of a double standard in heterosexual love is "To Lysander, on some Verses he writ, and asking more for his Heart then 'twas worth." This poem uses metaphors from banking and investment to illustrate Lysander's materialism, and the speaker promises to get even. She tells him to take back his heart, since he wants too much from her for it. He does not want an equal or fair return (her heart for his heart) but much more from her than he is willing to give. He does not allow her even to be friendly with others, but, at the same time, he is cheating on her. She protests that he gives her rival easily what she only gets with pain, and his intimacy with another hurts her. She calls for fairness in love--if he takes such liberties, she should be allowed them as well. If Lysander does not maintain honesty with her, she warns, he will find that she can play a trick too. Her "P. S. A Song" declares: "Tis not your saying that you love, / Can ease me of my Smart; / Your Actions must your Words approve, / Or else you break my Heart."

Behn's poems express anticonventional attitudes about other topics as well. She makes a strong antiwar statement in "Song: When Jemmy first began to Love," concluding with the question of what is to become of the woman left behind. In "To Mr. Creech (under the Name of Daphnis on his Excellent Translation of Lucretius)," she praises the translator for making accessible to unlearned women a work originally in Latin. As a member of the female class, which is denied education in the classics, she would like, she says, to express her admiration to him in an acceptable, manly fashion. Because she is a woman, however, her response to his translation is not mere admiration, but a fiery adoration, since women are thereby advanced to knowledge from ignorance. She describes the state of women as her own: "Till now, I curst my Birth, my Education, / And more the scanted Customes of the Nation: / Permitting not the Female Sex to tread, / The mighty Paths of Learned Heroes dead."

Behn writes, then, as the representative of all women, allying herself openly with women against men in the war conventionally called love. She tells her friend Carola, "Lady Morland at Tunbridge," that even though she is a rival for Behn's lover, when she saw her, she grew to admire and love her. Because of that, she warns, beware of taking my lover as your own--he is experienced and can slip the chains of love. You deserve a virgin, she says, someone who has never loved before, who only has eyes for you and has a "soul as Great as you are Fair."

Women uniting to oppose a faithless male lover is the theme of Behn's entertainment, "Selinda and Cloris," in which the title characters befriend each other in order to deal with betrayal. First Selinda is warned by Cloris about Alexis, who was untrue to her. Selinda's response is to ally herself with the other woman and vow that Alexis will not conquer her as he did Cloris. The women praise each other's generosity and intelligence, agreeing to be good friends. The reciprocal relationship between the women includes both physical and intellectual attraction, friendship, and sexuality. Cloris "will sing, in every Grove, / The Greatness of your Mind," to which Selinda responds, "And I your Love." They trade verses and sing together just as traditional pastoral speakers do. In this case, however, in addition to being poets, lovers, singers, and shepherds, the speakers are also, untraditionally, female. The celebration of their mutual joy is a variant on the conventional masque of Hymen, and it presents in song and dance a formal poetic drama that emphasizes the eroticism of the women's relationship.

The bonding of women in female friendship is most clearly stated by Behn in her explicitly lesbian love poem, "To the fair Clarinda, who made Love to me, imagin'd more than woman." This is the last of the poems appended to Lycidus, and in it Behn shows how important to her were those androgynous qualities for which she herself was praised. Just as she was commended in the dedicatory verses of her Poems upon Several Occasions for having "A Female Sweetness and a Manly Grace," Behn asserts the unity of "masculine" and "feminine" characteristics in her "beloved youth." She cleverly argues that she "loves" only the "masculine" part of Clarinda and to the "feminine" gives merely friendship. Since Clarinda's perfection manifests the idealized Platonic form, loving her cannot and should not be resisted. Further, since that by which society defines sex is not found in the female form, that is, women do not have the necessary physical equipment to consummate what is culturally considered "the sex act," love between women is, by definition, "innocent," and therefore not subject to censure. Clarinda is a hermaphrodite, a "beauteous Wonder of a different kind, / Soft Cloris with the dear Alexis join'd."

The poem may be read as the speaker's justification of her own approach to a forbidden beloved, but Clarinda is not a passive fair maiden. She is the one who, the title states, "made Love" to the speaker, and, in the last quatrain, her "Manly part ... wou'd plead" while her "Image of the Maid" tempts. Clarinda, therefore, may also be seen as the initiator of their sexual activity, with the speaker justifying her own response in reaction to the public sexual mores of her time. As the poem ends, Behn, in a witty pun on her first name, asserts the multigendered sexuality of both Clarinda and the speaker, and "the noblest Passions do extend / The Love to Hermes, Aphrodite the Friend."

The complexity of Behn's verse, its logical argument, pastoral and courtly conventions, biblical and classical allusions, and incisive social comment define a unique poetic vision. Through the centuries, interest in at least some of her poetry has been maintained.

Aphra Behn's later reputation as a playwright, novelist, and poet has benefited from her value as a model for women writers as noted first by those distinguished Victorian women of letters, Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf. Sackville-West's early biography (1927) and Woolf's memorializing of Behn in A Room of One's Own (1929) as the first woman in England to earn her living by writing place Behn foremost in feminist literary history. Where she was previously criticized, today she is lauded, her poetry, along with her novels and plays, achieving the status it rightly deserves.
— Arlene Stiebel, California State University, Northridge


The Forc'd Marriage, Or The Jealous Bridegroom, A Tragi-Comedy, As it is Acted at His Highnesse The Duke of York's Theatre (London: Printed by H. L. & R. B. for James Magnus, 1671).
The Amorous Prince, or, The Curious Husband. A Comedy, As it is Acted at his Royal Highness, the Duke of York's Theatre (London: Printed by J. M. for Thomas Dring, 1671).
The Dutch Lover: A Comedy, Acted At The Dukes Theatre (London: Printed for Thomas Dring, 1673).
Abdelazer, or The Moor's Revenge. A Tragedy. As it is Acted at his Royal Highness the Duke's Theatre (London: Printed for J. Magnes & R. Bentley, 1677).
The Town-Fopp: Or Sir Timothy Tawdrey. A Comedy. As it is Acted at his Royal Highness the Duke's Theatre (London: Printed by T. N. for James Magnes & Rich Bentley, 1677).
The Debauchee: Or, The Credulous Cuckold, A Comedy. Acted at His Highness the Duke of York's Theatre (London: Printed for John Amery, 1677).
The Rover. Or, The Banish't Cavaliers. As it is Acted At His Royal Highness the Duke's Theatre (London: Printed for John Amery, 1677); modern edition, edited by Frederick M. Link (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967; London: Arnold, 1967).
The Counterfeit Bridegroom: Or The Defeated Widow. A Comedy, As it is Acted at His Royal Highness The Duke's Theatre (London: Printed for Langley Curtiss, 1677).
Sir Patient Fancy: A Comedy. As it is Acted at the Duke's Theatre (London: Printed by D. Flesher for Richard Tonson & Jacob Tonson, 1678).
The Feign'd Curtizans, Or, A Nights Intrigue. A Comedy. As it is Acted at the Dukes Theatre (London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1679).
The Revenge: Or, A Match In Newgate. A Comedy. As it was Acted at the Dukes Theatre (London: Printed for W. Cademan, 1680).
The Second Part Of The Rover. As it is Acted by the Servants of His Royal Highness (London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1681).
A Farce Call'd The False Count, Or, A New Way to play An Old Game. As it is Acted at the Duke's Theatre (London: Printed by M. Flesher for Jacob Tonson, 1682).
The Roundheads Or, The Good Old Cause, A Comedy As it is Acted at His Royal Highness the Dukes Theatre (London: Printed for D. Brown, T. Benskin & H. Rhodes, 1682).
The City-Heiress: Or, Sir Timothy Treat-all. A Comedy. As it is Acted at his Royal Highness his Theatre (London: Printed for D. Brown, T. Benskin & H. Rhodes, 1682).
Prologue to Romulus [single sheet with epilogue on verso] (London: Printed by Nath. Thompson, 1682); republished in Romulus and Hersilia; or, The Sabine War. A Tragedy Acted at the Dukes Theatre (London: Printed for D. Brown & T. Benskin, 1683).
The Young King: Or, The Mistake. As 'tis acted at his Royal Highness The Dukes Theatre (London: Printed for D. Brown, T. Benskin & H. Rhodes, 1683).
Poems upon Several Occasions: with A Voyage to the Island of Love (London: Printed for R. Tonson & J. Tonson, 1684).
Prologue [to John Fletcher's Valentinian, altered by John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester] [single sheet] (London: Printed for Charles Tebroc, 1684).
Love-Letters Between a Noble-Man And his Sister, 2 volumes (London: Printed by Randal Taylor, 1684, 1687).
A Pindaric on the Death of Our Late Sovereign with an Ancient Prophecy on His Present Majesty (London: Printed by J. Playford for Henry Playford, 1685).
A Pindaric Poem on the Happy Coronation of His Most Sacred Majesty James II and His Illustrious Consort Queen Mary (London: Printed by J. Playford for Henry Playford, 1685).
La Montre; or, The Lover's Watch, Behn's translation of a work by Balthazar de Bonnecorse (London: Printed by R. H. for W. Canning, 1686).
The Luckey Chance, or An Alderman's Bargain. A Comedy. As it is Acted by their Majesty's Servants (London: Printed by R. H. for W. Canning, 1687).
The Emperor of the Moon: A Farce. As it is Acted by Their Majesties Servants, At the Queens Theatre (London: Printed by R. Holt for Joseph Knight & Francis Saunders, 1687).
A Congratulatory Poem to Her Most Sacred Majesty on the Universal Hopes of all Loyal Persons for a Prince of Wales (London: Printed for W. Canning, 1688).
The Fair Jilt: Or, The History of Prince Tarquin and Miranda (London: Printed by R. Holt for Will. Canning, 1688).
Oroonoko; Or, The Royal Slave. A True History (London: Printed for W. Canning, 1688).
The History of Oracles and the Cheats of the Pagan Priests, Behn's translation of Bernard Le Bovier Fontenelle's French adaptation of A. van Dale's De oraculis ethnicorum (London, 1688).
A Discovery of New Worlds. From the French. Made English by Mrs. A. Behn. To which is prefixed a preface, by way of essay on translated prose; wherein the arguments of Father Tacquet, and others, against the System of Copernicus ... are likewise considered, and answered, Behn's translation of, and preface to, a work by Fontenelle (London: Printed for William Canning, 1688).
Agnes de Castro or, The Force of Generous Love. Written in French by a Lady of Quality. Made English by Mrs. Behn, Behn's translation of a novel by J. B. de Brilhac (London: Printed for William Canning, 1688).
Lycidus: Or The Lover in Fashion. Being an Account from Lycidus to Lysander, of his Voyage from the Island of Love. From the French. By the Same Author Of the Voyage to the Isle of Love. Together with a Miscellany Of New Poems. By Several Hands, Behn's translation of a work by Paul Tallemant, with poems by Behn and others (London: Printed for Joseph Knight & F. Saunders, 1688)--includes the following poems by Behn: "Song. On Occasion"; "On the Honourable Sir Francis Fane, on his Play call'd the Sacrifice"; "To Damon. To inquire of him if he cou'd tell me by the Style, who writ me a Copy of Verses that came to me in an unknown Hand"; "To Alexis in Answer to his Poem against Fruition. Ode"; "To Alexis, On his saying, I lov'd a Man that talk'd much"; "A Pastoral Pindarick. On the Marriage of the Right Honourable the Earle of Dorset and Midlesex, to the Lady Mary Compton"; "On Desire A Pindarick"; "To Amintas, Upon reading the Lives of some of the Romans"; "On the first discovery of falseness in Amintas"; "To the fair Clarinda, who made Love to me, imagin'd more than woman".
The History of the Nun: Or, The Fair Vow-Breaker (London: Printed for A. Baskerville, 1689).
The Lucky Mistake: A New Novel (London: Printed by R. Bentley, 1689).
A Pindaric Poem to the Reverend Dr. Burnet (London: Printed for R. Bentley, 1689).
The Widdow Ranter or, The History of Bacon in Virginia. A Tragi-Comedy, Acted by their Majesties Servants (London: Printed for James Knapton, 1690).
The Younger Brother: Or, The Amorous Jilt. A Comedy, Acted at the Theatre Royal, By His Majesty's Servants (London: Printed for J. Harris & sold by R. Baldwin, 1696).
The Histories And Novels of the Late Ingenious Mrs. Behn: In One Volume.... Together with The Life and Memoirs of Mrs. Behn (London: Printed for S. Briscoe, 1696).
The Lady's Looking-Glass, to dress herself by; or, The Whole Art of Charming (London: W. Onley for S. Briscoe, 1697).
Histories, Novels, and Translations, written by the most ingenious Mrs. Behn; the second volume (London: Printed by W. O. for S. B. & sold by M. Brown, 1700).

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-06-2017, 06:49 AM
A Cottage there by the Willows

By the willows,

where the sun shone gazing,

streaming through arbors hazed,

And apple-cider scents were fermenting,

by a pasture where the tree-people play ----

sits a cottage by the bay

Where the willows weep long to seeking love,

and sway they through will-o-wisps above,

Every evening the mountains moan with mists,

with rainbows upon their darkling tips;

polka-dot rocks along the path....

and always butterfly's about the saplings,

red earth rich from summer moons....

(a cottage there by the willows)

Copyright © Keith O.J. Hunt | Year Posted 2014

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-07-2017, 10:02 AM

Truly I have lost weight, I have
lost weight,
grown lean in love’s defense,
in love’s defense grown grave.
It was concupiscence
that brought me to the state:
all bone and a bit of skin
to keep the bone within.

Flesh is no heavy burden
for one possessed of little
and accustomed to its loss.
I lean to love, which leaves me lean
till lean turn into lack.

A wanton bone, I sing my song
and travel where the bone is blown
and extricate true love from lust
as any man of wisdom must.

Then wherefore should I rage
against this pilgrimage
from gravel unto gravel?
Circuitous I travel
from love to lack
and lack to lack,
from lean to lack
and back.

Jack Foley

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-09-2017, 08:21 AM
Quadro : Sunset Tears

Tears...I fall apart.
The sun lingers at my window...
one final attempt
to melt the pain within my heart.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Contest: Quadro
Sponsor: Nette Onclaud
Placed 1st
© 12th January 2017

The Quadro Form by Nette Onclaud: a
4-line verse with 5/8/5/8 syllable count,
lines 1 and 4 rhyming.

Copyright © Paul Callus | Year Posted 2017

From my good friend and talented poet, Paul Callus.
We have collaborated together a few times.
He is not only a very talented poet but also a very kind, generous and intelligent man.-Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-10-2017, 05:03 PM
by Seamus Heaney
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pin rest; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Having tried all my life to be the man my father wanted me to be.
I admit my failure,yet I still try and perhaps with a miracle I may yet make it---if , if only I can live another 62 years!!
Sad that such is not taught in our schools, where now even the famous ones that truly earned it , truly deserved it are openly spit upon by
the usual suspects, IMHO..-TYR

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-11-2017, 10:10 AM
Form: Quintain (Sicilian)

Rain Dance

On a crisp autumn afternoon,
Much to my stunned delight,
Storms clouds morph into monsoon
With jagged spears of light
And thunder cracks of doom.

Dancing in the storm’s eye
Fat raindrops bouncing all around
Afraid I will soon die
Trying hard not to drown
So happy I could cry.

After months of summer sun
Rivers and streams almost dry
Rain pounding like a drum
No chance of blue sky
Praying more rain will come.

Copyright © Miss Sassy | Year Posted 2015

Quintains (Sicilian), are always hard for me to write!
You did an a most excellent job with this gem my friend....Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-13-2017, 11:00 PM
The Blue-Flag In The Bog
---------------- by Edna St. Vincent Millay
God had called us, and we came;
Our loved Earth to ashes left;
Heaven was a neighbor's house,
Open to us, bereft.

Gay the lights of Heaven showed,
And 'twas God who walked ahead;
Yet I wept along the road,
Wanting my own house instead.

Wept unseen, unheeded cried,
"All you things my eyes have kissed,
Fare you well! We meet no more,
Lovely, lovely tattered mist!

Weary wings that rise and fall
All day long above the fire!"—
Red with heat was every wall,
Rough with heat was every wire—

"Fare you well, you little winds
That the flying embers chase!
Fare you well, you shuddering day,
With your hands before your face!

And, ah, blackened by strange blight,
Or to a false sun unfurled,
Now forevermore goodbye,
All the gardens in the world!

On the windless hills of Heaven,
That I have no wish to see,
White, eternal lilies stand,
By a lake of ebony.

But the Earth forevermore
Is a place where nothing grows,—
Dawn will come, and no bud break;
Evening, and no blossom close.

Spring will come, and wander slow
Over an indifferent land,
Stand beside an empty creek,
Hold a dead seed in her hand."

God had called us, and we came,
But the blessed road I trod
Was a bitter road to me,
And at heart I questioned God.

"Though in Heaven," I said, "be all
That the heart would most desire,
Held Earth naught save souls of sinners
Worth the saving from a fire?

Withered grass,—the wasted growing!
Aimless ache of laden boughs!"
Little things God had forgotten
Called me, from my burning house.

"Though in Heaven," I said, "be all
That the eye could ask to see,
All the things I ever knew
Are this blaze in back of me."

"Though in Heaven," I said, "be all
That the ear could think to lack,
All the things I ever knew
Are this roaring at my back."

It was God who walked ahead,
Like a shepherd to the fold;
In his footsteps fared the weak,
And the weary and the old,

Glad enough of gladness over,
Ready for the peace to be,—
But a thing God had forgotten
Was the growing bones of me.

And I drew a bit apart,
And I lagged a bit behind,
And I thought on Peace Eternal,
Lest He look into my mind:

And I gazed upon the sky,
And I thought of Heavenly Rest,—
And I slipped away like water
Through the fingers of the blest!

All their eyes were fixed on Glory,
Not a glance brushed over me;
"Alleluia! Alleluia!"
Up the road,—and I was free.

And my heart rose like a freshet,
And it swept me on before,
Giddy as a whirling stick,
Till I felt the earth once more.

All the earth was charred and black,
Fire had swept from pole to pole;
And the bottom of the sea
Was as brittle as a bowl;

And the timbered mountain-top
Was as naked as a skull,—
Nothing left, nothing left,
Of the Earth so beautiful!

"Earth," I said, "how can I leave you?"
"You are all I have," I said;
"What is left to take my mind up,
Living always, and you dead?"

"Speak!" I said, "Oh, tell me something!
Make a sign that I can see!
For a keepsake! To keep always!
Quick!—before God misses me!"

And I listened for a voice;—
But my heart was all I heard;
Not a screech-owl, not a loon,
Not a tree-toad said a word.

And I waited for a sign;—
Coals and cinders, nothing more;
And a little cloud of smoke
Floating on a valley floor.

And I peered into the smoke
Till it rotted, like a fog:—
There, encompassed round by fire,
Stood a blue-flag in a bog!

Little flames came wading out,
Straining, straining towards its stem,
But it was so blue and tall
That it scorned to think of them!

Red and thirsty were their tongues,
As the tongues of wolves must be,
But it was so blue and tall—
Oh, I laughed, I cried, to see!

All my heart became a tear,
All my soul became a tower,
Never loved I anything
As I loved that tall blue flower!

It was all the little boats
That had ever sailed the sea,
It was all the little books
That had gone to school with me;

On its roots like iron claws
Rearing up so blue and tall,—
It was all the gallant Earth
With its back against a wall!

In a breath, ere I had breathed,—
Oh, I laughed, I cried, to see!—
I was kneeling at its side,
And it leaned its head on me!

Crumbling stones and sliding sand
Is the road to Heaven now;
Icy at my straining knees
Drags the awful under-tow;

Soon but stepping-stones of dust
Will the road to Heaven be,—
Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Reach a hand and rescue me!

"There—there, my blue-flag flower;
Hush—hush—go to sleep;
That is only God you hear,
Counting up His folded sheep!

That is only God that calls,
Missing me, seeking me,
Ere the road to nothing falls!

He will set His mighty feet
Firmly on the sliding sand;
Like a little frightened bird
I will creep into His hand;

I will tell Him all my grief,
I will tell Him all my sin;
He will give me half His robe
For a cloak to wrap you in.

Rocks the burnt-out planet free!—
Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Reach a hand and rescue me!

Ah, the voice of love at last!
Lo, at last the face of light!
And the whole of His white robe
For a cloak against the night!

And upon my heart asleep
All the things I ever knew!—
"Holds Heaven not some cranny, Lord,
For a flower so tall and blue?"

All's well and all's well!
Gay the lights of Heaven show!
In some moist and Heavenly place
We will set it out to grow.

Easily one of the most brilliant and talented female poets that ever lived..-Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-18-2017, 11:24 AM
Another Winter Star

***This poem is a metaphysical response to my
poem 'Winter Star' which attempts on some level
to make a connection to us and creation, and follows
the adage that your outlook on life is a direct
reflection of how much you like yourself ( attitudal
metaphysics) which in turn is a reflection of how
you look at others --- that we are all Stars, burning
bright; and though it may not be reality to some,
at least the practice is healthy****

Another Winter Storm

I awoke to find the tall splendor of the world,
in those cosmic canyons,
shearing darkness ----
in the pallet of some ethereal night;
ancient with desire.....
to Illume the thick shadow of hades itself

Not death nor mortal doubt
couldst thou flee from me,
mighty as Aphrodite ----
Shooting thy silver smile
beautiful as heaven's promise!

In your shimmering I see hope,
for the heart which beholds thy majesty
the world could fade,
yet you remain.....
a friendly face if none should be found,
but you.....
that thou Creator dost reveal;
my soul,
ageless as thee
(am spun from the same loom)

Copyright © Keith O.J. Hunt | Year Posted 2017

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-20-2017, 09:03 PM
the nervous violinist

soon the performance starts.
After so many years
stage fright still takes its toll.
I'm nervous. Listen:
People talk, subdued,
chairs moved gratingly,
someone coughs raucously.
Humid air and bad smells
already permeate the hall.
Will they distract me,
flaw my performance?
Have i practiced enough?
I look at my delicate hands.
Will they obey my mind's commands?
I think of you, sitting
placidly, expectantly, assured
on a front seat and i'll know,
i'll hardly dare look at you.
The stiff tuxedo chokes me to death,
but i must control myself.
I must be calm.

I move out, center stage,
take up my violin.
Then as always i forget
i'm in an imperfect world,
for what i play is sheer delight
pure masterpiece of harmony.
All else has no relevance
all evaporate into oblivion.
I am now in ecstasy, i drown
in the rhythm of perfection.


copyright © victor buhagiar | year posted 2017

exceptional poet and friend.
This is great free verse but i think he writes even betttttttttttttttter in rhyme.. -tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-21-2017, 05:39 PM
The wondrous moment of our meeting
---------------- by Alexander Pushkin
The wondrous moment of our meeting...
Still I remember you appear
Before me like a vision fleeting,
A beauty's angel pure and clear.

In hopeless ennui surrounding
The worldly bustle, to my ear
For long your tender voice kept sounding,
For long in dreams came features dear.

Time passed. Unruly storms confounded
Old dreams, and I from year to year
Forgot how tender you had sounded,
Your heavenly features once so dear.

My backwoods days dragged slow and quiet --
Dull fence around, dark vault above --
Devoid of God and uninspired,
Devoid of tears, of fire, of love.

Sleep from my soul began retreating,
And here you once again appear
Before me like a vision fleeting,
A beauty's angel pure and clear.

In ecstasy my heart is beating,
Old joys for it anew revive;
Inspired and God-filled, it is greeting
The fire, and tears, and love alive.

02-21-2017, 05:49 PM
The wondrous moment of our meeting
---------------- by Alexander Pushkin
The wondrous moment of our meeting...

It sounds strange, but fine in English. Thanks! :slap::clap:

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-21-2017, 06:00 PM
It sounds strange, but fine in English. Thanks! :slap::clap:

Check out the poems of this new poet I have found and posted in this thread titled-

Paying Homage To Those Magnificently Talented But Lesser Known Poets.

I am truly knocked over by this new discovery. As this poetess awes me, my friend..-Tyr

02-22-2017, 02:18 AM
Check out the poems of this new poet I have found and posted in this thread titled-

Paying Homage To Those Magnificently Talented But Lesser Known Poets.

I am truly knocked over by this new discovery. As this poetess awes me, my friend..-Tyr
Thank you Robert,
I read all your threads and love them, but mark only your poems and sonnets.
Thank you again for what you are doing - you open a possibility to see and understand that side of Americans which is usually hidden in mass media as well as refresh and enrich my grand children and mine active vocabulary. :slap:

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-22-2017, 08:24 AM
Previously I had no plans to ever choose any of my poems to present in this thread----but,
this creation and my great writing partner leads me to do so because of her verses, not mine!
Ihope you may enjoy this collaboration as she is truly a great poetess! -Tyr

In Love's Embrace This Soul Shall Flourish
(Collaboration Nicola Byrne and Robert Lindley)

“Beloved, forgive my reservations, for dismay has taken hold;
Though thy love has cast infinite smiles upon a jaded grimace,
I am bound by poisoned notions, of daring actions and desire so bold.
Oh how, in thy impassioned embrace, I have found divine solace:
Lightning strikes me, a glow reverberating into the dusky twilight,
With every charged beating of my heart against thy shielding arms.
Only with you, can one hear the beauty of the lark’s song at night,
And feel warmth, more sublime than the midday sun’s inviting charms.

“I now spend my days longing for but one taste of thy tender lips,
And weep with thoughts that thou should ever tire of mine.
For thy love illuminates all darkness, and never shall eclipse
My undying adoration, for a most sincere heart, such as thine.
But I have become daunted and overcome with profound emotion,
For untamed passion such as this, to me, was previously unknown.
If it be the case, that thou holdst even a glimpse of such devotion,
Rest assured that this captivated heart would eternally be thine own.”

“Thy joyful smile brought deep light to his weary and lost soul,
Every new dawn, gave desserts of thy soft, sweet nectar;
Holding thy daring love became my truest and greatest goal,
Praying I, not the tragic sad fate of Troy's dying Hector.
We saw heavens shine and visited stars in brilliant glow,
Each precious moment, I sought to always touch thy hand;
My prayer is that my depth of passion shall always show,
To bring us to paradise, dancing to music of its golden band.

“With the only future that could hold this passionate heart,
Thy kiss, could bring a fearful spirit such fantastic relief.
Shall we in eternal truth, vow to never, ever need a restart
From any time apart, and such dark caverns of epic grief.
My darling, accept this my forever promise in loving vow,
Where we will always seek each others soft, embracing touch;
Even should we live only for joy in our passionate nights now,
Know thy sweet depths of infinite love are returned just as much.”

Nicola Byrne
Robert J. Lindley
2- 22, 2017

(The first half of this poem shows the words of a lady who is looking for some reassurance from her lover, that his is a lasting/committed love. The second part is the man’s response to her.)

Note. I have been honored by composing with Nicola, as her talent awes me and inspires me to improve my poetry. A truly wonderful poetess and a friend.

Copyright © Robert Lindley | Year Posted 2017

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-23-2017, 11:02 AM
This poem, using my new form , LinCrazyEights- written by Doug Vinson has made Poem Of The Day at my poetry site today.
Has gotten lots of comments even before being announced as POTD.
I hope you may enjoy reading his creation, as both he and his new poem are top level, IMHO.-Tyr

Robert Lindley's format of 100 words, 8 syllables per line.

Become a Premium Member and post notes and photos about your poem.

The Rider

In a mass grave so long ago,
They spoke to me before they died,
I saw their souls, the outward flow,
All hope buried beneath that tide.

The many starving, sent afar,
With wearied feet and hunger's burn,
Impel them on - my repertoire,
The children that fail to return.

I rose up tall against the shore,
Wood and iron to hold them fast,
Freedom vanished for evermore,
Slavery's journey to the last.

I set you fighting, tribe on tribe,
The dogs of war so fierce to roam,
Ensure no safety to describe,
What has worth if you can't go home?

Copyright © Doug Vinson | Year Posted 2017

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-24-2017, 11:33 AM
It Rained That Day

Soft autumn rain ...
cascading over brightly colored cherry blossoms,
releasing a sweet scent of aromatic aphrodisiac
A fragrance of springtime love blowing in the gentle autumn wind
Our two hearts made a vow that day
We promised to fall in love anew
each day all over again
Fall madly in love a thousand times
every twenty-four hour spin
As the light, misty rain came down,
meeting our joyous laughter rising up to the clouds
Two lovebirds being purified,
two souls now joined together
as husband and wife
It rained gently that beautiful day
The maple and evergreen trees
greeted us with a mélange of bright promise,
of an ever evolving love that would last a lifetime
We beheld the colors of change all around us,
holding hands as our lives were changing as well
Upon the lifting of her white veil,
our eyes kissed and our lips looked
for no more words than two
I do
After a pregnant pause, we added another ...
I love you
Then we ran outside,
and frolicked like two little children
Me tugging at her beautiful, African zakiya dress,
she tossing aside my African kente vest
And when we pressed our cheeks together,
the soft autumn rain began to fall ... and we too were falling
more in love
I remember so well:
how it rained that day,
how gently the autumn rain fell

Copyright © Freddie Robinson Jr. | Year Posted 2017

02-24-2017, 08:46 PM
Previously I had no plans to ever choose any of my poems to present in this thread----but,
this creation and my great writing partner leads me to do so because of her verses, not mine!
Ihope you may enjoy this collaboration as she is truly a great poetess! -Tyr

In Love's Embrace This Soul Shall Flourish
(Collaboration Nicola Byrne and Robert Lindley)

“Beloved, forgive my reservations, for dismay has taken hold;
Though thy love has cast infinite smiles upon a jaded grimace,
I am bound by poisoned notions, of daring actions and desire so bold.
Oh how, in thy impassioned embrace, I have found divine solace:
Lightning strikes me, a glow reverberating into the dusky twilight,
With every charged beating of my heart against thy shielding arms.
Only with you, can one hear the beauty of the lark’s song at night,
And feel warmth, more sublime than the midday sun’s inviting charms.

“I now spend my days longing for but one taste of thy tender lips,
And weep with thoughts that thou should ever tire of mine.
For thy love illuminates all darkness, and never shall eclipse
My undying adoration, for a most sincere heart, such as thine.
But I have become daunted and overcome with profound emotion,
For untamed passion such as this, to me, was previously unknown.
If it be the case, that thou holdst even a glimpse of such devotion,
Rest assured that this captivated heart would eternally be thine own.”

“Thy joyful smile brought deep light to this weary and lost soul,
Every new dawn, gave desserts of thy soft, sweet nectar;
Holding thy daring love became my truest and greatest goal,
Praying I, not the tragic sad fate of Troy's dying Hector.
We saw heavens shine and visited stars in brilliant glow,
Each precious moment, I sought to always touch thy hand;
My prayer is that my depth of passion shall always show,
To bring us to paradise, dancing to music of its golden band.

“With the only future that could hold this passionate heart,
Thy kiss, could bring a fearful spirit such fantastic relief.
Shall we in eternal truth, vow to never, ever need a restart
From any time apart, and such dark caverns of epic grief.
My darling, accept this my forever promise in loving vow,
Where we will always seek each others soft, embracing touch;
Even should we live only for joy in our passionate nights now,
Know thy sweet depths of infinite love are returned just as much.”

Nicola Byrne
Robert J. Lindley
2- 22, 2017

(The first half of this poem shows the words of a lady who is looking for some reassurance from her lover, that his is a lasting/committed love. The second part is the man’s response to her.)

Note. I have been honored by composing with Nicola, as her talent awes me and inspires me to improve my poetry. A truly wonderful poetess and a friend.

Copyright © Robert Lindley | Year Posted 2017

Excellent poem, Robert! :clap:
(Who is Nicola Byrne, btw?)

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
02-25-2017, 10:10 AM
Excellent poem, Robert! :clap:
(Who is Nicola Byrne, btw?)
Thanks for your comment my friend.. :beer: :beer:

She is a poetess at my home poetry site. That is our first collaboration, and it rated extremely high at the poetry site.
We are now about to do at least one more--she waits for my first half to be sent to her.
Although several top poets have disagreed with my judgment on that, I think it on the mark.
Never one not to be competitive in anything I do. I will now take a bit longer to slam out my next presentation to her.
Maybe instead of 25 minutes I took writing that first one, I'll donate a whole hour on this new one.-;)--Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-01-2017, 06:16 PM
A Crow's Command

I be a common salty, once,
No captain's bars, did bear,
Yet blessed was I to venture,
Where few a skipper dared.

From steadfast crow's high perch
I watched the bright coast beacons wink,
Through a biting spray's December gale,
What goring shoals would sink.

For untold days I rocked atop
An oaken spar at length,
While wake and skies conveyed my eyes,
Lord Neptune's sullen strength.

Busy dogs, the mates and jacks
Bent hard to tasks below,
While toward the sky, with glass to eye,
My post waved to-and-fro.

First was I to e'er spot land,
My voice the first to yell,
Aye, first to sight the skull and bone,
And raise the warning bell.

"Thar she blows!" was oft my call
If viewed a breach, had I,
And "Friend or foe?!?" the question barked,
If strange sails split the sky.

But the moments that becalmed my soul,
As the swells ticked off my time,
Were star-filled nights, a bullion moon,
And the phosphorescent brine.

The darkest times were battlements,
When the ship groaned in its might,
But never dark, the eventide,
Sea and sky awash with light!

So rare, it was, to find this tar
On deck or down below,
And rarer still, did I abdicate,
My nest there in the crow.

Well, I'm adrift on shore now,
With brittle bones and gray,
Yet still my mind climbs up the mast,
To man my post and sway.

And when the angels task me,
To a new and heavenly crow,
I'll bend my gaze to the looking glass,
And give a hearty "Tally-ho!"

Copyright © Greg Barden | Year Posted 2017

Truly outstanding poetry!!! Chosen as POTD at my home poetry site, on Feb 28, 2017...Quite deserving..-Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-02-2017, 03:24 PM
The Supreme Sacrifice
---------by Emma Lazarus

Well-nigh two thousand years hath Israel
Suffered the scorn of man for love of God;
Endured the outlaw's ban, the yoke, the rod,
With perfect patience.
Empires rose and fell,
Around him Nebo was adored and Bel;
Edom was drunk with victory, and trod
On his high places, while the sacred sod
Was desecrated by the infidel.

His faith proved steadfast, without breach or flaw,
But now the last renouncement is required.

His truth prevails, his God is God, his Law
Is found the wisdom most to be desired.

Not his the glory! He, maligned, misknown,
Bows his meek head, and says, "Thy will be done!"

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-03-2017, 10:47 AM
Love, the Destroyer
------------------------------ by Anne Reeve Aldrich

Love is a Fire;
Nor Shame, nor Pride can well withstand Desire.
"For what are they," we cry, "that they should dare
To keep, O Love, the haughty look they wear?
Nay, burn the victims, O thou sacred Fire,
That with their death thou mayst but flame the higher.
Let them feel once the fierceness of thy breath,
And make thee still more beauteous with their death."

Love is a Fire;
But ah, how short-lived is the flame Desire!
Love, having burnt whatever once we cherished,
And blackened all things else, itself hath perished.
And now alone in gathering night we stand,
Ashes and ruin stretch on either hand.
Yet while we mourn, our sad hearts whisper low:
"We served the mightiest God that man can know."

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-05-2017, 09:58 AM
A Grave Stone
by William Allingham

Far from the churchyard dig his grave,
On some green mound beside the wave;
To westward, sea and sky alone,
And sunsets. Put a mossy stone,
With mortal name and date, a harp
And bunch of wild flowers, carven sharp;
Then leave it free to winds that blow,
And patient mosses creeping; slow,
And wandering wings, and footsteps rare
Of human creature pausing there.

William Allingham

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-06-2017, 03:00 PM
The Ruby Spires
-------- by Greg Barden

There, among the Ruby Spires,
I stood a-gazing toward the mist,
The Red Wind cut skin, heaven-kissed,
Far too cold for Hades' fires.

Ages and eons behind me, then,
The joys of youth were swallowed, thus,
By wormholes, ranged and turned to dust,
All for the sake of gloried men.

Such an odyssey, we crossed
Three galaxies and matter, dark,
To find this rare and conscious spark
Of Life, (tho' life is what it cost).

Though I, their peerless proxy, was,
I felt no debt to human kind,
And through that struggle there, did bind,
A union true, of alien cause.

My own, a naught-but-violent race,
Had found these creatures far from home,
And sought to then rewrite their tome,
With our corrupt and vain disgrace.

Yet before we could our ruin, spread,
This planet's unseen chaperones,
Wreaked mortal plague on us alone,
'Til naught but I was cold and dead.

Then, those sentient souls and I,
Did journey up from mountain's base,
Until we met that jagged face,
With ruby columns to the sky.

To every side but one, we saw,
For endless breadth, the crimson sphere,
The vermilion glow, both far and near,
That wondrous planet's crystal maw.

The sparkling slopes of gemstone red,
That slanted down and out of sight,
Were being swallowed by the night,
And yet, no trail had shown ahead.

Far too late to turn around,
We gave our final fate its due,
That breathtaking red, exquisite view,
That few blessed eyes had ever found.

Such astounding visions we beheld,
That far exceeded all we knew,
That held us, transfixed, to that view,
With yearning that could not be quelled.

Colors that challenged conscious thought,
With light at angles inconceived,
Iridescence otherwise not believed,
Were we not breathless, on that spot.

The misty opalescent glow,
Refracting hues beyond compare,
Prismatic sparkles here-and-there,
That danced with flakes of scarlet snow.

Rainbow shafts of glistening light,
Swirling phosphorescent sprays,
Shimmering hues in broad displays,
That flashed and faded out of sight.

Palettes and shades we'd never seen,
Reflected beams from crystal shards,
The wondrous muse of godly bards,
Presented there for us alone.

Such vistas, no words can e'er construe,
A beauty that language does not appease,
That brought us, weeping, to our knees,
And left us shaken, through-and-through.

The consuming joy that view inspired,
Was known to only us who'd trade
Our lives for the sight, that covenant made,
There among the Ruby Spires.

** For the "Fable" Poetry Contest - Nayda Ivette Negron, Sponsor **

Copyright © Greg Barden | Year Posted 2017

This poet, my friend is truly awesome!!!!! -Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-08-2017, 11:56 AM
Night is Darkening Around Me
---------------by Emily Bronte

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow ;
But a tyrant spell has bound me,
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow ;
The storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below ;
But nothing drear can move me :
I will not, cannot go.

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-10-2017, 08:44 PM
A Rolling Stone
--------------------------by Robert William Service

There's sunshine in the heart of me,
My blood sings in the breeze;
The mountains are a part of me,
I'm fellow to the trees.

My golden youth I'm squandering,
Sun-libertine am I;
A-wandering, a-wandering,
Until the day I die.

I was once, I declare, a Stone-Age man,
And I roomed in the cool of a cave;
I have known, I will swear, in a new life-span,
The fret and the sweat of a slave:
For far over all that folks hold worth,
There lives and there leaps in me
A love of the lowly things of earth,
And a passion to be free.

To pitch my tent with no prosy plan,
To range and to change at will;
To mock at the mastership of man,
To seek Adventure's thrill.

Carefree to be, as a bird that sings;
To go my own sweet way;
To reck not at all what may befall,
But to live and to love each day.

To make my body a temple pure
Wherein I dwell serene;
To care for the things that shall endure,
The simple, sweet and clean.

To oust out envy and hate and rage,
To breathe with no alarm;
For Nature shall be my anchorage,
And none shall do me harm.

To shun all lures that debauch the soul,
The orgied rites of the rich;
To eat my crust as a rover must
With the rough-neck down in the ditch.

To trudge by his side whate'er betide;
To share his fire at night;
To call him friend to the long trail-end,
And to read his heart aright.

To scorn all strife, and to view all life
With the curious eyes of a child;
From the plangent sea to the prairie,
From the slum to the heart of the Wild.

From the red-rimmed star to the speck of sand,
From the vast to the greatly small;
For I know that the whole for good is planned,
And I want to see it all.

To see it all, the wide world-way,
From the fig-leaf belt to the Pole;
With never a one to say me nay,
And none to cramp my soul.

In belly-pinch I will pay the price,
But God! let me be free;
For once I know in the long ago,
They made a slave of me.

In a flannel shirt from earth's clean dirt,
Here, pal, is my calloused hand!
Oh, I love each day as a rover may,
Nor seek to understand.

To enjoy is good enough for me;
The gipsy of God am I;
Then here's a hail to each flaring dawn!
And here's a cheer to the night that's gone!
And may I go a-roaming on
Until the day I die!

Then every star shall sing to me
Its song of liberty;
And every morn shall bring to me
Its mandate to be free.

In every throbbing vein of me
I'll feel the vast Earth-call;
O body, heart and brain of me
Praise Him who made it all!

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-11-2017, 03:10 PM

After Death
----------By Christina Rossetti

The curtains were half drawn, the floor was swept
And strewn with rushes, rosemary and may
Lay thick upon the bed on which I lay,
Where through the lattice ivy-shadows crept.
He leaned above me, thinking that I slept
And could not hear him; but I heard him say,
‘Poor child, poor child’: and as he turned away
Came a deep silence, and I knew he wept.
He did not touch the shroud, or raise the fold
That hid my face, or take my hand in his,
Or ruffle the smooth pillows for my head:
He did not love me living; but once dead
He pitied me; and very sweet it is
To know he still is warm though I am cold.

Poems by Christina Rossetti
After Death
Amor Mundi
A Better Resurrection
A Birthday



Christina Rossetti
Poet Details

Of all Victorian women poets, posterity has been kindest to Christina Rossetti. Her poetry has never disappeared from view, and her reputation, though it suffered a decline in the first half of the twentieth century, has always been preserved to some degree. Critical interest in Rossetti’s poetry swelled in the final decades of the twentieth century, a resurgence largely impelled by the emergence of feminist criticism; much of this commentary focuses on gender issues in her poetry and on Rossetti as a woman poet. In Rossetti’s lifetime opinion was divided over whether she or Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the greatest female poet of the era; in any case, after Browning’s death in 1861 readers and critics saw Rossetti as the older poet’s rightful successor. The two poets achieved different kinds of excellence, as is evident in Dante Gabriel Rossetti‘s comment on his sister, quoted by William Sharp in The Atlantic Monthly (June 1895): “She is the finest woman-poet since Mrs. Browning, by a long way; and in artless art, if not in intellectual impulse, is greatly Mrs. Browning’s superior.” Readers have generally considered Rossetti’s poetry less intellectual, less political, and less varied than Browning’s; conversely, they have acknowledged Rossetti as having the greater lyric gift, with her poetry displaying a perfection of diction, tone, and form under the guise of utter simplicity.

Rossetti was the youngest child in an extraordinarily gifted family. Her father, the Italian poet and political exile Gabriele Rossetti, immigrated to England in 1824 and established a career as a Dante scholar and teacher of Italian in London. He married the half-English, half-Italian Frances Polidori in 1826, and they had four children in quick succession: Maria Francesca in 1827, Gabriel Charles Dante (famous under the name Dante Gabriel but always called Gabriel by family members) in 1828, William Michael in 1829, and Christina Georgina on 5 December 1830. In 1831 Gabriele Rossetti was appointed to the chair of Italian at the newly opened King’s College. The children received their earliest education, and Maria and Christina all of theirs, from their mother, who had been trained as a governess and was committed to cultivating intellectual excellence in her family. Certainly this ambition was satisfied: in addition to Christina’s becoming one of the Victorian age’s finest poets, Maria was the author of a respected study of Dante, as well as books on religious instruction and Italian grammar and translation; Dante Gabriel distinguished himself as one of the foremost poets and painters of his era; and William was a prolific art and literary critic, editor, and memoirist of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

Rossetti’s childhood was exceptionally happy, characterized by affectionate parental care and the creative companionship of older siblings. In temperament she was most like her brother Dante Gabriel: their father called the pair the “two storms” of the family in comparison to the “two calms,” Maria and William. Christina was given to tantrums and fractious behavior, and she fought hard to subdue this passionate temper. Years later, counseling a niece subject to similar outbursts, the mature Christina looked back on the fire now stifled: “You must not imagine, my dear girl, that your Aunt was always the calm and sedate person you now behold. I, too, had a very passionate temper; but I learnt to control it. On one occasion, being rebuked by my dear Mother for some fault, I seized upon a pair of scissors, and ripped up my arm to vent my wrath. I have learnt since to control my feelings—and no doubt you will!” Self-control was, indeed, achieved—perhaps too much so. In his posthumous memoir of his sister that prefaces The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti (1904) William laments the thwarting of her high spirits: “In innate character she was vivacious, and open to pleasurable impressions; and, during her girlhood, one might readily have supposed that she would develop into a woman of expansive heart, fond of society and diversions, and taking a part in them of more than average brilliancy. What came to pass was of course quite the contrary.” As an adult Christina Rossetti was considered by many to be overscrupulous and excessively restrained.

Frances Rossetti read to her children, favoring religious texts such as the Bible, John Bunyan‘s The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), and the writings of St. Augustine, or moralistic tales such as those by Maria Edgeworth. When the children began reading for themselves, however, they generally shunned their mother’s edifying selections in favor of the imaginative delights of The Arabian Nights or Thomas Keightley’s Fairy Mythology (1828); later favorites included Sir Walter Scott, Ann Radcliffe, and Matthew Gregory “Monk” Lewis. Until 1836, when the boys began attending day school, the four children were offered similar instruction by their mother; thereafter, only Dante Gabriel and William were formally instructed in classics, mathematics, and sciences. Asked to describe her poetic influences, Rossetti speculated in a 26 March 1884 letter to Edmund Gosse: “If any one thing schooled me in the direction of poetry, it was perhaps the delightful idle liberty to prowl all alone about my grandfather’s cottage-grounds some thirty miles from London.” At Gaetano Polidori’s cottage at Holmer Green she fostered the attention to the minute in nature that marks her poetry; there she also observed the corruptibility and mortality that became keynotes in her work. Her reminiscences in Time Flies: A Reading Diary (1885) include reflections on childhood adventures at the cottage: her patient attendance on a strawberry, only to find it blighted before it has fully ripened, and her burial of a dead mouse and later observation of its decay. The visits to Holmer Green ended in 1839 when her grandfather sold the house and moved to London. A great lover of nature, Rossetti nevertheless spent most of her life in the city.

In his memoir William notes that Christina composed her first verse, “Cecilia never went to school / Without her gladiator,” before she was old enough to write. Her next attempt was an aborted tale, modeled on The Arabian Nights, about a dervish named Hassan; and she wrote her first poem, “To my Mother on her Birthday,” when she was eleven. The children produced a family newspaper, “The Hodge-Podge or Weekly Efforts,” the first issue of which was dated 20 May 1843, and later a periodical titled “The Illustrated Scrapbook.” Christina’s early poetic efforts included experiments in lyric, devotional, pastoral, ballad, and fantasy forms.

Caught up in the Tractarian or Oxford Movement when it reached London in the 1840s, the Rossettis shifted from an Evangelical to an Anglo-Catholic orientation, and this outlook influenced virtually all of Christina Rossetti’s poetry. She was also influenced by the poetics of the Oxford Movement, as is documented in the annotations and illustrations she added to her copy of John Keble’s The Christian Year (1827) and in her reading of poetry by Isaac Williams and John Henry Newman. For more than twenty years, beginning in 1843, she worshiped at Christ Church, Albany Street, where services were influenced by the innovations emanating from Oxford. The Reverend William Dodsworth, the priest there until his conversion to Catholicism in 1850, assumed a leading role as the Oxford Movement spread to London. In addition to coming under the religious influence of prominent Tractarians such as Dodsworth, W. J. E. Bennett, Henry W. Burrows, and E. B. Pusey, Rossetti had close personal ties with Burrows and Richard Frederick Littledale, a High Church theologian who became her spiritual adviser. The importance of Rossetti’s faith for her life and art can hardly be overstated. More than half of her poetic output is devotional, and the works of her later years in both poetry and prose are almost exclusively so. The inconstancy of human love, the vanity of earthly pleasures, renunciation, individual unworthiness, and the perfection of divine love are recurring themes in her poetry.

Gabriele Rossetti’s health collapsed in 1843, leaving him virtually blind and unable to teach. Frances Rossetti returned to her former employment as a daily governess. Maria and William also took employment, Maria as a nursery governess and William in the civil service. Dante Gabriel continued his art studies, while Christina remained at home as a companion to their ailing father. In 1845 she, too, suffered a collapse in health. The breakdown has mystified biographers, some of whom have surmised that the physical symptoms were psychosomatic and rescued Rossetti from having to make a financial contribution to the family by working as a governess like her mother and sister. She was diagnosed as having a heart condition, but another doctor speculated that she was mentally ill, suffering from a kind of religious mania. Her biographer Jan Marsh conjectures that there may have been an attempt at paternal incest: the father’s breakdown and the resultant changes in family fortunes leaving a needy patriarch in the daily care of his pubescent daughter, Christina’s recurring bouts of depression, her lifelong sense of sinfulness, nightmarish poems about a crocodile devouring his kin, a poetic image of a “clammy fin” repulsively reaching out to her, and the recurring motif of an unnameable secret, Marsh suggests, could be indications of suppressed sexual trauma. Rossetti had bouts of serious illness throughout her life; William insists in his memoir that one cannot understand his sister unless one recognizes that she “was an almost constant and often a sadly-smitten invalid.” The morbidity that readers have so often noted in her poetry, William suggests, was attributable to Christina’s ill health and the ever-present prospect of early death rather than any innate disposition.”

By her sixteenth birthday Christina, who was regarded as the poet in the family, had written more than fifty poems that were transcribed into a notebook by her sister. In 1847 a collection of her poems, titled Verses, was privately printed by her grandfather Polidori. As Marsh points out, this private publication, dedicated to her mother, decorously avoided anything resembling public display, but at the same time it constituted a juvenile literary debut in the tradition of other women poets such as Browning and Felicia Hemans. It was circulated among family and friends and was well received. The thirty-nine poems are notably literary in their inspiration, which is traceable to the Gothic writers Radcliffe, Lewis, and Charles Maturin; the English poets George Herbert, George Crabbe, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, and Alfred Tennyson; and the Italian poets Dante, Torquato Tasso, and Pietro Metastasio. The first and most striking poem in the collection is “The Dead City,” an ambitious 275-line dream vision of a magnificent city, succulent banquet, and voluptuous revelers all turned to stone, the evocative descriptions of which anticipate the Pre-Raphaelite style. Here, as in Rossetti’s most famous poem, “Goblin Market“ (1862), lusciously described fruits represent the temptations of self-indulgence and pleasure. This genre—a narrative that combines fantasy with moral allegory—was an important one for Rossetti, and she employed it in more-accomplished poems such as “Goblin Market,” “From House to Home,” “The Prince’s Progress,” and “A Ballad of Boding,” as well as in her tales “Nick,” “Hero,” and Speaking Likenesses, with Pictures thereof by Arthur Hughes (1874). A morbid strain can be seen in many of the poems in the collection: themes of mortality, inconstancy, and corruptibility figure prominently. Although Rossetti’s mature style is not fully realized at this point, Verses is important as a tangible sign of her commitment to poetry and of her family’s recognition of her vocation.”

Later in 1847 Dante Gabriel, William, and Christina began a tradition of playing bouts rimés, a game in which two of them would race to compose a sonnet conforming to a set of line endings provided by the third. Christina excelled at the exercise, composing sonnets in a matter of minutes. In 1848 she had her first taste of fame when, at Dante Gabriel’s instigation, she submitted two of her poems, “Death’s Chill Between” and “Heart’s Chill Between,” to the prestigious literary periodical The Athenaeum; their acceptance made her a nationally published poet at seventeen. During this period Dante Gabriel was gathering around him the circle of young men who named themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Although he assumed that Christina would participate, she was never a member of this artistic and literary group; she even refused to have her work read aloud in her absence at its meetings, on the grounds that such display was unseemly. Nevertheless, her poetry has been described as “Pre-Raphaelite” in its rich and precise natural detail, its use of symbol, its poignancy, and its deliberate medievalism. Later in her career a reviewer in the Catholic World (October 1876) called her the “queen of the Preraphaelite school”; but more-recent critics have remarked that the Pre-Raphaelite elements in Rossetti’s work have been overemphasized at the expense of proper notice of the Tractarian influences. Certainly, Rossetti was involved in the early days of Pre-Raphaelitism. She sat as Mary for Dante Gabriel’s paintings The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1848-1849) and Ecce Ancilla Domini! (1850), and her pensive Italianate countenance was a familiar image in the first phase of the movement. The art and poetry of the brotherhood has a strong sacramental element, and Rossetti had more in common with this early manifestation of the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic than she did with its later developments.”

Late in 1849 the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood initiated a periodical, The Germ, as a vehicle for the members’ innovative views on art. Its four issues—dated January to April 1850—provided a venue for seven of Rossetti’s poems: “Dreamland,” “An End,” “Song“ (“Oh roses for the flush of youth” ), “A Pause of Thought,” “A Testimony,” “Repining,” and “Sweet Death.” These publications, which were anonymous in the first issue and pseudonymous thereafter, found an appreciative, though small, audience. The poems, and others composed at this time but not published until later, show that Rossetti had by then attained her mature poetic style, in which pain, loss, and resignation are expressed in diction and images that strike the reader as simple, perfect, and effortless.”

One of the Pre-Raphaelite brethren, James Collinson, proposed marriage to Rossetti in 1848. She refused the offer, giving Collinson’s recent conversion to Roman Catholicism as the reason. Collinson promptly returned to the Church of England, proposed a second time, and was accepted. Collinson has struck biographers as an unlikely suitor (anecdotes generally portray him as a lackluster sleepyhead), and opinion is mixed as to whether Rossetti was ever in love with him. The engagement ended in the spring of 1850 when Collinson reverted to Catholicism.”

In 1850 Rossetti wrote Maude: A Story for Girls (1897), a novella that was not published until after her death. The title character’s appearance and personality bear many similarities to accounts of the author, and this work, with its exploration of the tensions among the sometimes incompatible categories of female, poet, and Anglo-Catholic, is usually considered a semi-autobiographical portrait of the adolescent Rossetti. Fifteen-year-old Maude Foster is a poet whose “broken-hearted” verse dwells on themes of suffering, world-weariness, resignation, and religious devotion. Some of Rossetti’s important early poems, later published under the titles “Song“ (“She sat and sang alway”), “Three Nuns,” and “Symbols,” are included as Maude’s productions, and a bouts rimés contest also appears in the narrative. Rossetti returned to this mixing of genres—prose punctuated with poetry—in her devotional works Called to Be Saints: The Minor Festivals Devotionally Studied (1881), Time Flies, and The Face of the Deep: A Devotional Commentary on the Apocalypse (1892). Religious issues play a central role in the story when Maude suffers a spiritual crisis, and Anglo-Catholic practices are described as she discusses with her cousins the heavily symbolic lectern cover they are embroidering, the question of a vocation as a nun, and the Eucharist. The main conflict in the narrative revolves around Maude’s experience of the incompatibility of ladylike behavior and poetic achievement. Like the author, Maude is torn between pride in her work and moral qualms about that pride. The heroine’s overactive conscience and endless self-recriminations provide considerable insight into Rossetti’s own overscrupulous nature.”

The family’s financial crisis continued, and in 1851 the Rossettis moved from Charlotte Street to Camden Town, where Christina and her mother briefly ran a small day school. A second attempt at establishing a school, this time in Frome, lasted from March 1853 to February 1854, the only period in Rossetti’s life when she made her home outside London. When she returned to the city, the family moved to Albany Street. At this point Christina and her mother permanently gave up teaching, and the family lived on William’s and Mary’s earnings and Frances’s modest inherited income. Gabriele Rossetti died on 26 April 1854. For most of her adulthood Christina was financially supported primarily by William, a debt that she made provisions in her will to repay.”

Throughout her twenties Rossetti continued to write poetry and prose. Her Italian heritage is apparent in the Italian poems “Versi” and “L’Incognita” and an unfinished epistolary novel, “Corrispondenza [sic] Famigliare,” which were published in a privately printed periodical, The Bouquet from Marylebone Gardens during 1851 and 1852. Attempts at publication in prestigious periodicals such as Blackwood’s and Fraser’s in 1854 failed. In a letter of 1 August 1854 to William Edmonstoune Aytoun of Blackwood’s Rossetti declared: “poetry is with me, not a mechanism, but an impulse and a reality; and . . . I know my aims in writing to be pure, and directed to that which is true and right.”

Rossetti has often been depicted as shrinking from worldly concerns, but, in fact, she did engage in humanitarian work. In 1854, during the Crimean War, she volunteered to join Florence Nightingale’s nurses but was turned down. Her aunt Eliza Polidori did join Nightingale in Scutari, and Rossetti temporarily took over some of Polidori’s district visiting, providing assistance to the sick and poor of the parish. In early 1859 Rossetti began volunteering at the St. Mary Magdalene Penitentiary in Highgate, a charitable institution for the reclamation of “fallen“ women. As an “associate” at Highgate, Rossetti was known as “Sister Christina” and wore a habitlike black uniform with a veil. When she was on duty she resided at the penitentiary, probably for a fortnight at a time. By the summer of 1859 Rossetti was devoting a good deal of time to her work at Highgate, and its influence can be seen in her poems about illicit love, betrayal, and illegitimacy, such as “Cousin Kate,” “‘The Iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children,’“ and “From Sunset to Star Rise,” though poems composed before the period of her work at Highgate— “An Apple-Gathering,” “The Convent Threshold,” and “Maude Clare” for instance—demonstrate her prior interest in the fallen woman. “Goblin Market,” with its theme of a fallen woman being saved by a “sister,” can also be seen as informed by Rossetti’s experiences at the St. Mary Magdalene Penitentiary. Her interest in this topic reflects the Victorian concern about prostitution as a social evil; other Pre-Raphaelite treatments of the subject include Dante Gabriel’s poem “Jenny,” begun in 1847 and revised in 1858-1859 and again in 1870; his unfinished painting Found (1854-1881); and William Holman Hunt’s The Awakened Conscience (1853).”

In the 1850s a few of Rossetti’s poems were published in anthologies; “Maude Clare” appeared in Once a Week (5 November 1859) and the short stories “The Lost Titian” (The Crayon, 1856) and “Nick” (National Magazine, October 1857). In 1861 she submitted poems to Macmillan’s Magazine, and Dante Gabriel sent “Goblin Market“ to the art critic John Ruskin in the hope that he would recommend it to William Makepeace Thackeray, editor of The Cornhill. Ruskin’s criticism of Rossetti’s masterpiece is infamous. In his letter of 24 January 1861 to Dante Gabriel, Ruskin singled out for criticism the original meter that is now so often praised: he acknowledged the poem’s “beauty and power” but asserted that it was unpublishable because it was “so full of quaintnesses and offences,” adding, “Irregular measure . . . is the chief calamity of modern poetry . . . your sister should exercise herself in the severest commonplace of metre until she can write as the public like.” Almost simultaneously, Rossetti’s poem “Up-hill” was accepted enthusiastically for Macmillan’s (February 1861), and Alexander Macmillan expressed an interest in seeing more of her work. During 1861 Macmillan’s published two more of Rossetti’s poems: “A Birthday“ (April 1861) and “An Apple-Gathering” (August 1861). In June of that year Rossetti took a short vacation in France.”

In 1862 the Macmillan firm brought out Rossetti’s first commercially published volume of poetry, Goblin Market and Other Poems. Although some of the poems had been published in Macmillan’s, Once a Week, and The Germ, and others were included in the manuscript for Maude, most were taken from the notebooks in which Rossetti had been writing since the private printing of Verses in 1847. Comparisons of the manuscript and printed versions of the poems show that most were not substantially revised. Usually the earliest extant version of a given poem is the fair copy transcribed into the notebook; if Rossetti reworked it in the act of composition, such drafts no longer exist. She often changed a word or two in preparation for publication; where major revisions occurred, they took the form of the deletion of whole stanzas, sometimes reducing a poem by more than half its original length: such is the case with “Maude Clare,” “Echo,” and “Bitter for Sweet.” This tendency to reduce is part of the economy of expression that is a Rossetti trademark, and the result is poetry in which meaning is suggestive rather than explicit. Looking back on her career, Rossetti wrote in an 1888 letter to an unknown clergyman that “Perhaps the nearest approach to a method I can lay claim to was a distinct aim at conciseness; after a while I received a hint from my sister that my love of conciseness tended to make my writing obscure, and I then endeavoured to avoid obscurity as well as diffuseness. In poetics, my elder brother was my acute and most helpful critic.” Throughout her career Dante Gabriel not only critiqued her work but also negotiated with publishers, assisted with book design, corrected proofs, and provided illustrations for her publications. As Goblin Market and Other Poems was being prepared for the press, he advised on the selection of poems, suggested dividing them into secular and devotional sections, and proposed new titles for some—including the title poem, which was originally called “A Peep at the Goblins.” He also provided frontispiece and title-page designs drawn from that poem.”

Goblin Market and Other Poems was a critical success, with favorable notices in many periodicals, including The London Review (12 April 1862), The Spectator (12 April 1862), The Athenaeum (26 April 1862), The Saturday Review (24 May 1862), The Eclectic Review (June 1862), and The British Quarterly Review (July 1862). Critics welcomed a fresh and original poetic voice: The Eclectic Review hailed “a true and most genuine poet,” while The Athenaeum remarked that “To read these poems after the laboured and skilful but not original verse which has been issued of late, is like passing from a picture gallery, with its well-feigned semblances of nature, to the real nature out-of-doors which greets us with the waving grass and the pleasant shock of the breeze.” “Goblin Market,” “Up-hill,” “An Apple-Gathering,” and “Advent” were frequently singled out for praise.”

Today “Goblin Market“ remains Rossetti’s most discussed poem. Critics have dismissed her protest that she intended no allegorical meaning and have interpreted in various ways her fairy tale of two sisters’ responses to the temptation of goblin fruit. Lizzie rejects the luscious fruit as “evil,” but Laura purchases it with a lock of her hair and indulges. Afterward she wastes away, pining for more fruit. The goblins refuse to allow Lizzie to purchase fruit to save her sister, try to persuade her to eat with them, then attempt to force the fruit into her mouth. Lizzie escapes and runs home to Laura, who is cured by tasting the juices smeared on her sister’s face. The poem ends years later with Laura telling the story to the sisters’ offspring; she concludes by saying:

For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.

The suggestiveness of the narrative runs in many directions, and this multivalency is perhaps the most striking quality of the poem. It can be read as a straightforward moral allegory of temptation, indulgence, sacrifice, and redemption. It has also been interpreted as a specifically Christian allegory, with a reenactment of the temptation in the Garden of Eden and a Christ-like offer of redemption through sacrifice—a reading that is encouraged by the Eucharistic diction of Lizzie’s greeting, “‘Eat me, drink me, love me; / Laura, make much of me.’“ Significantly, this Christ is a female one, and feminist readings of “Goblin Market“ have often focused on its positive image of sisterhood. Psychoanalytic interpretations have regarded the sisters as two aspects of one psyche and have emphasized the sexuality of the poem, noting both its orality and its lesbian dynamics. Marxist critics have pointed to the poem’s separation of the domestic and commercial spheres and to Lizzie and Laura’s attempts to do business in a marketplace designed to make women into goods to be exchanged rather than agents in their own right. Critics of many orientations have noted that the sensuality of the fruit, its prohibition to maidens, and its association with nuptial pleasures suggest that Laura’s transgression is a sexual one. In this interpretation, Lizzie’s climactic redemption of Laura can be seen as a critique of the Victorian cultural understanding of the fallen woman, for here she is not forever lost but is saved by a sister’s intervention.”

In “Goblin Market“ the sisters are endangered by male goblins, and Laura is redeemed through the strength of sisterhood; elsewhere in Goblin Market and Other Poems, however, the danger that men pose as sexual predators is not offset by female solidarity. Throughout the volume Rossetti presents a bleak appraisal of gender relations. The flimsiness and inconstancy of romantic love is a recurring theme, as is the treachery of sister against sister in a ruthlessly competitive marriage market. In “Cousin Kate” the unnamed speaker has been seduced by a nobleman and has borne him a son; now she finds herself a discarded “plaything,” supplanted by her fair and pure cousin Kate, whom the lord has taken not as a mistress but as his wife. The women in this ballad do not live up to the code of sisterly conduct with which “Goblin Market“ concludes. Kate usurps her cousin’s position and ensures the latter’s status as “an outcast thing”; the speaker accuses Kate of betrayal of female loyalty, but her own moral integrity comes under question in the final stanza when she gloats that while she has borne her former lover a son, her cousin remains barren.”

Adversarial women are also depicted in “Noble Sisters,” a deftly ambiguous dialogue in which the reader must evaluate the reliability of two speakers with opposed moral viewpoints. Similarly, in “Sister Maude” the reader is asked to consider whose sin is greater: the woman who has taken a lover or her sister, who exposes the illicit union. Other pieces in Goblin Market and Other Poems that depict the failure or betrayal of human (as opposed to divine) love and explore women’s sexual and economic vulnerability include “At Home,” “A Triad,” “After Death,” “The Hour and the Ghost,” “An Apple-Gathering,” “Maude Clare,” and “The Convent Threshold.” These works serve to reinforce the devotional poems’ theme of looking to the next life for reward, happiness, and fulfillment. Indeed, with the exception of “A Birthday“ and its ecstatic declaration that “the birthday of my life / Is come, my love is come to me,” little evidence exists anywhere in the volume that human love is satisfied or satisfying.”

The theme of the inconstancy and insufficiency of any love except God’s pervades the devotional section. Deferral of satisfaction is constantly advocated, as in “The Convent Threshold,” in which the speaker urges her lover to join her in repentance for their “pleasant sin.” The speaker’s motives are complex, however, for her purpose seems to be the prospect of resuming their “old familiar love” in heaven. Consistently in Rossetti’s poetry the concerns of this world are regarded as inconsequential in comparison to the promise of salvation. Throughout her canon, but especially in the devotional poems, biblical image and idiom merge with Rossetti’s own voice. Revelation and Ecclesiastes are favorite sources, and the “vanity of vanity” refrain is a recurring motif.”

Other pieces reveal some of Rossetti’s poetical range: the political subject matter of “In the Round Tower at Jhansi, June 8, 1857”; the social critique of “A Triad”; the banter of “No, Thank You, John” ; the whimsical, teasing mystery of “Winter: My Secret” ; and the darker, suggestive mystery of poems with enigmatic and unnamed significances, such as “My Dream,” “May,” and “A Pause of Thought.” In a style that has affinities with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood but that she made distinctively her own, Rossetti’s precisely drawn natural details assume the weight of suggestive symbolism. For example, in “An Apple-Gathering,” in which the speaker finds herself abandoned by Willie and replaced by “Plump Gertrude,” the speaker’s ill-considered plucking of apple blossoms and the concomitant forfeit of a rich harvest resonates on many levels. Similarly, “Up-hill” and “Symbols” effortlessly evoke profound meaning from the simplest details: an uphill journey toward a place of rest, a flower that blooms and fades, and eggs that fail to hatch. Many poems in Goblin Market and Other Poems continue the morbid strain that was so prominent in Verses. “Dream-land,” “At Home,” “Remember,” “After Death,” “An End,” “Song“ (“Oh roses for the flush of youth”), “Echo,” “A Peal of Bells,” “May,” “A Pause of Thought,” “Shut Out,” “Song” (“When I am dead, my dearest“), “Dead Before Death,” “Bitter for Sweet,” and “Rest” strike the signature Rossetti notes of longing, loss, resignation, and death. In the final two poems in the volume, “Old and New Year Ditties” and “Amen,” this loss is met with the promise of fulfillment, expressed in the biblical figures of marriage and the fruitful garden. Critics have noted that Rossetti’s volumes are carefully arranged into meaningful sequences, and Goblin Market and Other Poems includes many examples of significant continuities among the poems and correlations between the nondevotional and devotional sections.”

During the early 1860s Rossetti was often in contact with female artists—including the members of the Portfolio Society, an informal group organized by Barbara Bodichon—and female poets, such as Jean Ingelow and Dora Greenwell. She published poems in the feminist periodicals The English Woman’s Journal and Victoria Magazine and in various anthologies, in addition to making regular appearances in Macmillan’s. A respiratory complaint led her to spend the winter of 1864-1865 in Hastings, where she began work on her next poetry volume, The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems (1866).”

That Dante Gabriel played a large role in the preparation of the book is evident from the almost daily correspondence between brother and sister, which provides valuable insight into Rossetti’s methods and includes some spirited rebuttals to Dante Gabriel’s criticisms. Rossetti’s letters make it clear that she tried to write to order for the book, which was not her preferred method of composition. In later years she acknowledged in a 20 May 1885 letter to W. Garrett Horder that “Just because poetry is a gift . . . I am not surprised to find myself unable to summon it at will and use it according to my choice.” According to William Michael Rossetti in Rossetti Papers 1862 to 1870 (1903), the title poem originated in a suggestion from Dante Gabriel that she “turn a brief dirge-song . . . into that longish narrative, as pièce de résistance for a new volume.” The Prince’s sojourn with the Alchemist gave Rossetti some difficulties, as she explained in a 16 January 1865 letter to Dante Gabriel: “the Alchemist makes himself scarce, and I must bide his time.” Rossetti was not given to rewriting, and once written, the Alchemist remained unchanged: “He’s not precisely the Alchemist I prefigured, but thus he came,” she wrote to Dante Gabriel on 30 January, “& thus he must stay: you know my system of work.”

In a letter of 10 February she rejected Dante Gabriel’s suggestion that she try to write an episode in which the Prince would fight in a tournament, pleading inability, lack of inspiration, and the formidable precedent of Tennyson’s two tournaments in Idylls of the King (1859). Publication of the volume was delayed for a year, while Rossetti waited for Dante Gabriel’s promised illustrations. In May 1865 she, William, and their mother traveled in France, Switzerland, and Italy. That same year she met Robert Browning, who visited her in London and told her about his work in progress, The Ring and the Book (1868-1869).”

The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems was met with mildly favorable reviews. The critic for The Saturday Review (23 June 1866) thought that the title poem lacked “subtle suggestion,” while the reviewer for The Reader (30 June 1866) pronounced it “too long to suit Christina Rossetti’s genius for short lyrical thoughts.” In a letter of 6 March 1865 to Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti agreed that “The Prince’s Progress” lacked “the special felicity (!) of my Goblins.” “The Prince’s Progress” has never attracted the same intensity of critical scrutiny as “Goblin Market“ and typically suffers in comparisons with that masterpiece. As the reviewer for the 23 June 1866 issue of The Athenaeum observed, the two title poems are similar in that both are allegories of temptation; in “Goblin Market,” however, temptation is overcome, while in “The Prince’s Progress” it wins out. The Prince procrastinates at great length before setting out to claim his waiting bride. He does not, however, remain true to his purpose, and on his journey he is sidetracked and delayed first by a milkmaid, then by an alchemist, and finally by a circle of ministering females who save him from drowning. When he arrives at his bride’s palace, she is dead. The element of spiritual allegory is evident in “The Prince’s Progress”; even the title echoes Bunyan’s allegorical The Pilgrim’s Progress, a literary influence from Rossetti’s earliest childhood. The pilgrimage of Bunyan’s Christian through an emblematic landscape is a topos that Rossetti must have absorbed into her own consciousness, for her poems often depict journeys in which topographical details, such as paths that go uphill or downhill, are morally and spiritually significant. For instance, the easy downhill path of “Amor Mundi“ is clearly the way to damnation, while the upward climbs of “Up-hill” and “The Convent Threshold” are made by those who aspire to salvation.”

While biblical language and image are pervasive in “The Prince’s Progress,” the poem also has a fairy-tale quality; the unhappy ending, however, serves to critique the gender roles typical of that genre. Relegated to a passive role, the waiting bride dies because of the Prince’s failure to complete his quest in a timely fashion; her fate underlines the dangerous predicament of women waiting to be rescued. Elsewhere in The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems, however, women engage in lives of active service, deferring satisfaction in this life in favor of the reward promised in the next. In “A Portrait” the sacrifice of “youth,” “hope and joy and pleasant ways” for the sake of serving the “poor and stricken” earns the heroine union with the Bridegroom Christ in Paradise. In “A Royal Princess,” which originally appeared in Poems: An Offering to Lancashire (1863), an anthology published in support of Lancashire textile workers, the title figure realizes that her wealth and privilege are based on the enslavement of others: “Once it came into my heart and whelmed me like a flood, / That these too are men and women, human flesh and blood.” The poem ends with the princess’s rebellion against the insulation from social concerns to which she has been subject because of her class and gender; echoing the biblical Esther, she risks all in offering herself and her wealth to an angry, hungry mob.”

Dante Gabriel was highly critical of a long poem that his sister included in The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems, “‘The Iniquity of the Fathers Upon the Children.’“ Responding in a letter of 13 March 1865, Rossetti vigorously defended the woman poet’s right to explore indelicate issues such as illegitimacy: “whilst I endorse your opinion of the unavoidable and indeed much-to-be-desired unreality of women’s work on many social matters, I yet incline to include within female range such an attempt as this: where the certainly possible circumstances are merely indicated as it were in skeleton, where the subordinate characters perform (and no more) their accessory parts, where the field is occupied by a single female figure whose internal portrait is set forth in her own words. . . . and whilst it may truly be urged that unless white could be black and Heaven Hell my experience (thank God) precludes me from hers, I yet don’t see why ‘the Poet mind’ should be less able to construct her from its own inner consciousness than a hundred other unknown quantities.” The speaker of “‘The Iniquity of the Fathers Upon the Children’“ lives as a servant in the household of her mother, who so fears social condemnation that she does not acknowledge her illegitimate daughter. Mother and daughter suffer the lifelong consequences of illegitimacy, while the seducer father is absent from the poem and, presumably, free of social stigma. The poem shows the injustice of conventional morality in a patriarchal society and offers the equality of the grave as the only solution.”

Typically, Rossetti’s poems evince a concern with individual salvation rather than social reform. Writing to Dante Gabriel in April 1870, she declared, “It is not in me, and therefore it will never come out of me, to turn to politics or philanthropy with Mrs Browning: such many-sidedness I leave to a greater than I, and having said my say may well sit silent.” The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems lays great emphasis on the transitoriness of this life, a recurring theme in the Rossetti canon. The lesson to be learned from poems such as “On the Wing,” “Beauty is Vain,” “The Bourne,” “Vanity of Vanities,” “Grown and Flown,” “A Farm Walk,” and “Gone for Ever” is that all earthly things are unreliable, illusory, and passing. Implicitly contrasted with the fleeting quality of this life is the permanence of God and the heavenly reward. With its comparison of human and divine love, “Twice” is a characteristic statement of this theme. The speaker first offers her heart to her lover, who, with a “friendly smile” and “critical eye,” sets it aside as “unripe.” The speaker then offers the broken heart to God, with the entreaty “Refine with fire its gold, / Purge Thou its dross away.” The failure of human love is a keynote in the volume, beginning with the title poem and appearing again in “Jessie Cameron,” “The Poor Ghost,” “Songs in a Cornfield,” “One Day,” “A Bird’s-Eye View,” “Light Love,” “On the Wing,” “Maggie a Lady,” “The Ghost’s Petition,” “Grown and Flown,” and “‘The Iniquity of the Fathers Upon the Children.’“

In the autumn of 1866 Rossetti declined an offer of marriage from Charles Bagot Cayley. Cayley had begun studying Italian with her father in 1847, sharing the Rossettis’ enthusiasm for Dante and endearing himself to them with his attentive visits during their father’s final illness. A hesitant romance probably began to develop between Rossetti and the awkward, absentminded scholar around 1862. Rossetti’s reasons for rejecting his proposal can only be surmised. In a note in his edition of The Family Letters of Christina Georgina Rossetti (1908) William says that she turned Cayley down “on grounds of religious faith.” At the time, William thought that there might be financial obstacles to the union and offered the couple a place in his household; his sister responded on 11 September 1866: “As to money I might be selfish enough to wish that were the only bar, but you see from my point of view it is not.— Now I am at least unselfish enough altogether to deprecate seeing C.B.C. continually (with nothing but mere feeling to offer) to his hamper & discomfort: but, if he likes to see me, God knows I like to see him, & any kindness you will show him will only be additional kindness loaded on me.” Much is unknown about the relationship between Cayley and Rossetti. In his memoir William notes that “Christina was extremely reticent in all matters in which her affections were deeply engaged” and that “it would have been both indelicate and futile to press her with inquiries, and of several details in the second case [Rossetti’s relationship with Cayley]— though important to a close understanding of it—I never was cognizant.” Cayley and Rossetti remained close until his death in 1883, and Rossetti served as his literary executor. She declined to have a large packet of her letters to him returned to her, asking that they be destroyed. After Rossetti’s death, William found in her desk a series of twenty-one highly personal poems written in Italian. Composed between 1862 and 1868 and titled “Il Rosseggiar dell’Oriente” (The Reddening Dawn), the sequence is generally understood to be addressed to Cayley; it was first published in Rossetti’s New Poems, Hitherto Unpublished or Uncollected (1896).”

In 1867 Rossetti published in The Churchman’s Shilling Magazine three religious and moralistic stories: “The Waves of this Troublesome World: A Tale of Hastings Ten Years Ago” (April and May 1867), “Some Pros and Cons about Pews” (July 1867), and “A Safe Investment” (November 1867); all were republished in Commonplace and Other Short Stories (1870). For this volume Rossetti was persuaded by Dante Gabriel to defect from Macmillan to his publisher, F. S. Ellis. Commonplace and Other Short Stories was a commercial failure, though reviewers singled out “The Lost Titian” and the title story, with its Jane Austen-like social comment, for praise.”

From 1870 to 1872 Rossetti was dangerously ill, at times apparently near death, with a condition characterized by fever, exhaustion, heart palpitations, stifling sensations, occasional loss of consciousness, violent headaches, palsied hands, and swelling in the neck that made swallowing difficult. Her hair fell out, her skin became discolored, her eyes began to protrude, and her voice changed. After some months her doctors diagnosed a rare thyroid condition, exophthalmic bronchocele, more commonly known as Graves’ disease. Although Rossetti recovered, the threat of a relapse always remained. Moreover, the crisis left her appearance permanently altered and her heart weakened.”

The reception of Rossetti’s collection of stories left Ellis disinclined to publish her next work, a collection of poems for children. Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book was published by Routledge in 1872 and was favorably received; the public was particularly pleased by the illustrations by Arthur Hughes. Some of the poems are primarily edifying, promoting, for instance, patience or good manners; others are memory aids for learning about numbers, time, money, months, and colors. The sound and meter of these little rhymes delight the ear, and Rossetti’s wit is evident in the playfulness of lines such as “A hill has no leg, but has a foot; / A wine-glass a stem, but not a root.” Again nature presents an emblematic aspect, and the phenomena of wind, rain, growth, and death and the alternation of night and day suggest a larger order. Most of the poems are evocative of the security of an ideal childhood, but others modulate into more-serious subject matter in simple and moving explorations of death and loss. Some critics have questioned the appropriateness of these darker themes for the intended audience.”

Dante Gabriel had been prone to insomnia for some time and had become dependent on alcohol and chloral in his attempts to sleep. By June 1872 his paranoid belief that there was a conspiracy led by Robert Buchanan, author of “The Fleshly School of Poetry” (1871), to ruin his reputation had become clearly delusional, and he was raving and hearing voices. William concluded that his brother was insane and put him under the care of Dante Gabriel’s friend Dr. Thomas Gordon Hake, in whose home he took a large dose of laudanum in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Cared for by friends, Dante Gabriel made a partial recovery, though he continued his use of alcohol and chloral.”

In 1873 Maria Rossetti joined the All Saints’ Sisterhood. In March 1874 William married Lucy Brown, daughter of the painter Ford Madox Brown. The combined household of the newly married couple and William’s mother, sister, and aunts Charlotte and Eliza Polidori was not a harmonious one.”

Following her recovery from Graves’ disease Rossetti published the first of her six volumes of devotional prose, Annus Domini: A Prayer for Each Day of the Year, Founded on a Text of Holy Scripture (1874). In these devotional writings readers can find explicit statements of themes treated in the poetry of previous decades, and in many instances Rossetti discusses natural and biblical images, virtually glossing favorite poetic symbols. More generally, the devotional prose provides insight into Rossetti’s symbolic method, for she repeatedly indicates that this world is to be read as “typical,” “suggestive,” “emblematical,” and “symbolical.” Annus Domini consists of 366 meditations, each of which includes a passage from scripture followed by a collect beginning with an invocation to Christ. The texts are arranged in the order of their appearance in the Bible, and prayers throughout are intensely Christ-centered; even Old Testament passages prompt an address to Christ.”

Rossetti returned to Macmillan for the publication of Speaking Likenesses in 1874. The book consists of three tales framed by the dialogue among a storytelling aunt and her nieces. Many readers have noted the sexual implications of the monstrous children in the first tale—boys bristling with hooks, quills, and angles; girls exuding sticky and slimy fluids—and that the predatory games they play amount to a figurative rape. While terror predominates in the first tale, in the second a young child’s desire to have a gypsy tea ends in frustration and despair as she fails to master the tasks of lighting a fire and boiling a kettle. The final tale, in which danger and temptation are overcome, rounds out the volume with a happy ending. The influence of Lewis Carroll‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1872) is evident, and Rossetti herself described the work to Dante Gabriel in a letter of 4 May 1874 as “a Christmas trifle, would-be in the Alice style, with an eye to the market.” The title, Rossetti explained to Macmillan on 27 July 1874, refers to the way the heroines “perpetually encounter ‘speaking (literally speaking) likenesses’ or embodiments or caricatures of themselves or their faults.” Ruskin lamented in a 21 January 1875 letter to the publisher Ellis that Speaking Likenesses was the worst of the children’s books from the previous Christmas season: “How could she or Arthur Hughes sink so low after their pretty nursery rhymes?”

In 1874 Macmillan offered to bring out a new edition of Rossetti’s complete poems and inquired after new compositions. On 4 February Rossetti responded, “the possibility of your thinking proper some day to reprint my two volumes, is really gratifying to me as you may suppose; but as to the additional matter, I fear there will be little indeed to offer you. The fire has died out, it seems; and I know of no bellows potent to revive dead coals. I wish I did.” In 1875 the idea of a new edition of Goblin Market and Other Poems and Prince’s Progress and Other Poems was taken up again. In a 30 January letter to Macmillan, Rossetti said that she would try to gather new pieces as well as “waifs and strays,” poems that had appeared in magazines but had not been published in her collections. In Goblin Market, The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems (1875) pieces from the previous volumes and thirty-seven new ones are intermingled into a single poetic sequence. Rossetti omitted some poems from the new collection, most notably “A Triad,” “Cousin Kate,” and “Sister Maude,” all of which explore sexual issues. Evidently she did not work under her brother’s guidance in preparing the volume, for Dante Gabriel’s 3 December 1875 letter addressed the book as a fait accompli. While he conceded that “A Royal Princess” is “too good to omit,” he thought it bore the taint of “modern vicious style,” a kind of “falsetto muscularity” in part traceable to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s influence. He also perceived this taint in “No, Thank You, John” and, more prominently, in “The Lowest Room,” and he lectured his sister that “everything in which this tone appears is utterly foreign to your primary impulses” and warned that she should “rigidly keep guard” against it. Although “The Lowest Room” had been published in Macmillan’s Magazine in March 1864, Dante Gabriel had prevailed in keeping it out of The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems. In this extended dialogue between two sisters the younger asks, “Why should not you, why should not I / Attain heroic strength?”—a question at the heart of the poem’s engagement with Homeric epic and with women’s search for fulfilment in the modern Christian age. The tensions between the sisters, between aspiration and opportunity, and between ambition and resignation are highly charged and never fully resolved. One speaker’s hard-won submission—”Not to be first: how hard to learn / That lifelong lesson of the past; / Line graven on line and stroke on stroke; / But, thank God, learned at last”—and acceptance of the “lowest place” are undermined in the final stanza by her anticipation of an inversion of this hierarchy in the heavenly order, where “many last be first.” This inversion of earthly and heavenly status appears again in “The Lowest Place,” the final poem in the collection. The richness of this well-known lyric comes largely from its curious blend of timidity and temerity, for self-abnegation promises to be rewarded with exaltation, and thus the speaker’s humble request is also an audacious one.”

In 1876 Rossetti, her mother, and her aunts left William’s Euston Square home and moved to Torrington Square, Bloomsbury. In November, Maria died of cancer; Christina’s reminiscence in Time Flies portrays her death as an example of spiritual confidence and anticipation of salvation. Biographers have often commented on its contrast to Christina’s deathbed anguish.”

Rossetti’s next book, Seek and Find: A Double Series of Short Studies on the Benedicite (1879), was published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (S.P.C.K.), which published the rest of her devotional prose works as well as Verses (1893), her collection of devotional poems. Seek and Find consists of two series of studies on the Benedicite, a long poem praising a catalogue of God’s works that is included in the Book of Common Prayer as an apocryphal addition to the Book of Daniel. The first series of studies in Seek and Find, “Creation,” contemplates each item in the Benedicite—heavens, waters, the sun, birds, other animals, and human beings—in the context of its creation by providing and discussing scriptural passages that are generally, though not exclusively, from the Old Testament. The second series, “Redemption,” considers the same items in relation to Christ and cites mainly New Testament passages.”

Like many of Rossetti’s poems, her devotional works are double-edged swords of submission and assertion: while they urge obedience to divine will, they also encroach into the traditionally male territories of theological study, biblical exegesis, and spiritual guidance. Similarly, Rossetti’s views on gender issues combine the conservative with the radical. Citing biblical teaching on woman’s subordination to man, Rossetti had written to the poet Augusta Webster in 1878 that because she believed that “the highest functions are not in this world open to both sexes,” she could not sign a petition for women’s suffrage. She went on, however, to suggest that suffrage is not enough to protect women’s interests and that female representation in Parliament would be more consistent with the aims of the women’s movement. She also argued for the heroic possibilities of maternal love and its potential to sweep away “the barrier of sex.” It is not uncommon to find such traces of subversiveness in Rossetti’s apparently conservative statements on gender roles. An extended discussion of the subject in Seek and Find begins with a quite traditional discussion of woman as a lesser light—a moon to man’s sun. But Rossetti then moves from a statement about the feminine lot being one of obedience to a paragraph-long comparison between the feminine role and the position that Christ voluntarily assumed on earth, and she ends with a leveling of gender hierarchies: “one final consolation yet remains to careful and troubled hearts: in Christ there is neither male nor female, for we are all one (Gal.iii.28).”

Biographers have painted an overly simplistic portrait of the middle-aged Rossetti as narrowly conservative, reclusive, and overly pious. Her dedication to Anglo-Catholicism certainly intensified, and it took some odd forms, such as her habit of stooping to pick up stray pieces of paper on the street lest they have the Lord’s name printed on them. From 1876, when she moved to Torrington Square, until her final illness Rossetti worshiped at Christ Church, Woburn Square. Mackenzie Bell relates the impression that she made on a fellow member of the congregation: “A friend informs me that towards the close of her life Christina always sat in the very front pew in church. She remained until the very last before leaving the building, and it was evident from her demeanour that even then she strove to avoid ordinary conversation, evidently feeling that it would disturb her mood of mind.” Never comfortable socially, by this time she was reluctant to venture beyond her intimate circle of family and friends: she was aware that she possessed a degree of fame, and she felt self-conscious in conversations that bore the aspect of an interview. She also dreaded receiving unsolicited poems from aspiring writers, because she was torn between kindness and honesty regarding the merit of the work. Though increasingly reclusive, however, Rossetti was more politically outspoken in these later years. Critical of slavery, imperialism, and military aggression, she was most passionately committed to the antivivisection movement, at one point breaking with the S.P.C.K. over its publication of a work condoning animal experimentation. She also petitioned for legislation to protect children from prostitution and sexual exploitation by raising the age of consent.”

Rossetti’s next work, Called to Be Saints: The Minor Festivals Devotionally Studied, published in 1881, had been completed by 1876; Macmillan had turned it down under its previous title, “Young Plants and Polished Corners.” A devotional accompaniment for the red-letter saints’ days, Called to Be Saints provides for each day an account of the saint’s life, a prayer, an intricate “memorial” in two columns linking the saint’s life with biblical texts, and descriptions of the emblem, precious stone, and flower associated with the saint and discussions of their appropriateness. Although biographers have tended to emphasize the narrowing of Rossetti’s interests in her later life in that she then wrote in an exclusively devotional vein, one might note that she dealt with a wide array of topics within this framework. In Called to Be Saints she ranges from the biblical and hagiographical to the botanical and petrographical.”

As her poetic creativity decreased, Rossetti cultivated a modest scholarly impulse. Earlier instances of her scholarly writing include her entries on Italian writers and other celebrities in the Imperial Dictionary of Universal Biography (1857-1863); in her article on Petrarch she claims to be a descendant of Laura. In 1867 she had published the first of two articles on Dante, a commendatory piece written in support of Cayley’s terza rima translation of The Divine Comedy (1851-1855). After attending lectures on The Divine Comedy at University College, London, from 1878 to 1880 she wrote a more ambitious article, “Dante: The Poet Illustrated out of the Poem” (1884). In 1882 she considered undertaking literary biographies of Adelaide Proctor and Elizabeth Barrett Browning; and she took a commission and began to research a life of Ann Radcliffe, but a lack of materials prevented her from completing it. She agreed to trace allusions to Dante, Petrarch, and Giovanni Boccaccio for Alexander Balloch Grosart’s scholarly edition of The Faerie Queene in The Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Edmund Spenser (1882-1884), a project from which she withdrew because of ill health. She spent many afternoons at the British Museum and was a tireless reader of periodicals, including The Athenaeum, Macmillan’s Magazine, The Saturday Review, Blackwood’s, and The Edinburgh Review.”

Rossetti’s research on Petrarch and Dante informs one of the most important poems of her maturity, “Monna Innominata,” which appeared in her third commercially published poetry collection, A Pageant and Other Poems (1880). A sequence of fourteen sonnets— thus subtitled “A Sonnet of Sonnets”—”Monna Innominata” draws attention to its links to the medieval amatory tradition both in its prose preface and in the epigraphs from Dante and Petrarch that introduce each sonnet. In his notes in The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti William Michael Rossetti attested that the introductory prose note was “a blind interposed to draw off attention from the writer in her proper person” and that the sonnet sequence was an “intensely personal” utterance. The subject matter of love deeply felt, reciprocated, and yet unfulfilled is generally taken to refer to Rossetti’s relationship with Cayley, but its import is not limited to this context. Recent criticism of “Monna Innominata” has explored its complex intertextual operations, particularly its revisionary treatment of the sonnet form, whose gender roles Rossetti deliberately and self-consciously reverses by having the unnamed lady, traditionally the silent object of the male sonneteer’s desire, express her love. In doing so, Rossetti is emulating the gender subversion of Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850), by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, to whom she refers in her preface as “the Great Poetess of our day and nation.”

Although it is not the title poem, “Monna Innominata,” with its valedictory mode, its questioning of the very possibility of fulfilled desire, and its reappraisal of the sonnet form, sets the tone for A Pageant and Other Poems. Rossetti opens the volume with a dedicatory sonnet addressed to her mother, drawing attention both to the expectations raised by the tradition of the genre— “Sonnets are full of love”—and to the preponderance of sonnets in her collection: “and this my tome / Has many sonnets.” But in the sonnet sequences that follow— “Monna Innominata,” “Later Life,” “‘If thou sayest, behold, we knew it not,’“ “The Thread of Life,” and “‘Behold a Shaking’“ — Rossetti veers away from the amatory tradition by dwelling on the love of and aspiration for union with God. These sonnet sequences are complemented by the abundance of multipart poems in the volume, such as “The Months: A Pageant,” “Mirrors of Life and Death,” and “‘All thy works praise Thee, O Lord.’ A Processional of Creation,” as well as smaller poetic sequences, such as the seasonal sequence “An October Garden,” “‘Summer is Ended,’“ and “Passing and Glassing” and the three Easter poems, “The Descent from the Cross,” “‘It is finished,’“ and “An Easter Carol.”

Anticipating the final farewell to youth, beauty, and song in “Monna Innominata,” in “The Key-note” Rossetti laments “the Winter of my year” and the silencing of “the songs I used to know.” Similarly, desire is relinquished in “Till Tomorrow”:”

Long have I longed, till I am tired
Of longing and desire;
Farewell my points in vain desired,
My dying fire;
Farewell all things that die and fail and tire.

By reiteration and accretion the passing months, the progression of seasons, and blooming and fading flowers become poignant and nostalgic symbols of the process of aging. Some poems provide consolation, as when the robin in “The Key-note” “sings thro’ Winter’s rest” or in the title poem, “The Months: A Pageant,” a performance piece consisting of a procession of personifications of the twelve months, where “October” offers comfort: “Nay, cheer up sister. Life is not quite over, / Even if the year has done with corn and clover.” But the real movement of the volume is toward relinquishment of love, beauty, Italy, hope, and life itself. The final poems of the non-devotional section return to the seasonal, vegetative cycle. “An October Garden” begins, “In my Autumn garden I was fain / To mourn among my scattered roses,” while the next poem, “‘Summer is Ended,’“ asks if bliss will inevitably end as the rose does, a “Scentless, colourless, . . . meaningless thing.” The following poem, “Passing and Glassing,” confirms the human analogy readable from “withered roses . . . the fallen peach,” and “summer joy that was,” saying that “All things that pass / Are woman’s looking glass; / They show her how her bloom must fade.”

Familiar Rossetti themes are in evidence in the devotional pieces: renounced desire, weariness with this life, the “vanity of vanities” refrain, and God’s love for the unworthy supplicant. Rossetti’s youthful verses had been called morbid, and death remains a central theme in A Pageant and Other Poems but with an altered emphasis. While in earlier verses death was presented in its more-sentimental aspect, often intruding into the frailty of romantic love, in A Pageant and Other Poems it is contemplated in a subdued and personal way, as a foreseeable and inevitable event. In the sonnet sequence “Later Life: a Double Sonnet of Sonnets” Rossetti writes, “I have dreamed of Death:—what will it be to die / Not in a dream, but in the literal truth / With all Death’s adjuncts ghastly and uncouth.” Always doubting her worthiness of salvation, Rossetti imagines her deathbed and acknowledges the possibility that she “May miss the goal at last, may miss a crown.” In “The Thread of Life,” a sequence of three sonnets, the speaker contemplates the essential and solitary self, aloof from external objects and bound by “inner solitude,” and realizes that “I am not what I have nor what I do; / But what I was I am, I am even I.” This self, her “sole possession,” she offers to God. The relation of the self to the external world is again contemplated in “An Old-World Thicket,” which begins with an epigraph from Dante and is obviously engaged with the legacy of Romanticism.

In “‘All Thy Works Praise Thee, O Lord.’ A Processional of Creation” all aspects of the created world declare God’s glory, each according to its nature. In “Spring and Autumn” the two seasons declare, respectively, “I hope,— / And I remember,” and these vernal and autumnal attitudes resonate through the volume. In “Later Life” the speaker is “glancing back” on “Lost hopes that leave our hearts upon the rack, / Hopes that were never ours yet seemed to be.” The devotional poems trace the yielding of unfulfilled earthly hopes in exchange for the heavenly reward. This life is full of “promise unfulfilled, of everything, / That is puffed vanity and empty talk.” Paradoxes abound in “Later Life” as Rossetti writes, “This Life we live is dead for all its breath,” “Its very Spring is not indeed like Spring,” and she looks for rebirth through “Death who art not Death.” The conundrum/insight is reiterated in the pair of sonnets titled “‘Behold a Shaking’“: “Here life is the beginning of our death, / And death the starting-point whence life ensues; / Surely our life is death, our death is life.” The final poems bring a satisfying closure to the volume, looking past the end of this life and ending with a divine embrace in “‘Love is as strong as death.’“ Though sales were sluggish, A Pageant and Other Poems was a critical success: the sonnet sequences, in particular, were praised by reviewers, and “Monna Innominata” was compared favorably with Sonnets from the Portuguese.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti died in Birchington on Easter Sunday 1882. Christina’s commemorative poem, “Birchington Churchyard,” was published in The Athenaeum (25 April 1882). The following winter she composed her fourth book of devotional prose, Letter and Spirit: Notes on the Commandments (1883), in which she considers the Ten Commandments in terms of Christ’s two great commandments, to love thy God and thy neighbor. “A Harmony on First Corinthians XIII,” first published in the January 1879 issue of New and Old, a church magazine, was revised and included as an appendix.

Rossetti’s next book, Time Flies: A Reading Diary, published in 1885, is both the most readable and the most autobiographical of her devotional works. As the subtitle suggests, the book is diarylike in structure, with daily entries consisting of meditations on religious feast days and saints’ days, poetic compositions, or personal reflections and reminiscences. The most often quoted passages are those in which Rossetti describes her experiences of nature and elaborates on the moral and symbolic meaning suggested by them. She regards a spider attempting to escape its own shadow as “a figure of each obstinate impenitent sinner, who having outlived enjoyment remains isolated irretrievably with his own horrible loathsome self.” One glimpses Rossetti’s affection for God’s smallest creatures in the pleasure she took in visiting a garden where she “sat so long and so quietly that a wild garden creature or two made its appearance: a water rat, perhaps, or a water-hunting bird.” She goes on, “Few have been my personal experiences of the sort, and this one gratified me.”

After her mother’s death in 1886 Rossetti continued to keep house for her elderly aunts Charlotte and Eliza until their deaths in 1890 and 1893, respectively, while working on a commentary on the Book of Revelation. The last of Rossetti’s six devotional studies, The Face of the Deep: A Devotional Commentary on the Apocalypse, published in 1892, bears the familiar dedication to her mother, but now “for the first time to her beloved, revered, cherished memory.” A substantial work, The Face of the Deep consists of wide-ranging, free-association meditations on each verse of Revelation. While some passages engage in traditional exegesis, others are more personally contemplative and address issues of spiritual and moral duty. More important for today’s reader, The Face of the Deep includes more than two hundred poems; Rossetti combined them with poems from Called to Be Saints and Time Flies into a volume of devotional poems titled simply Verses. Published in 1893 by the S.P.C.K., this collection of 331 religious lyrics was Rossetti’s last volume to appear during her lifetime. She undertook extensive revisions and arranged the poems into eight sections that form a double poetic sequence: spiritual progress is traced in terms of the individual’s relationship with God in the first four sections and from a universal perspective in the final four. Rossetti’s devotional poems have received scant critical attention, but Verses enjoyed great popularity and continued to be reprinted well into the twentieth century.

In 1892 Rossetti was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy that was performed in her own home. The cancer recurred the following year, and after months of acute suffering she died on 29 December 1894. Rossetti had attained fame as a poet and had earned high regard as a spiritual guide; some had even speculated, after Tennyson’s death in 1892, that she would make a suitable successor to the laureateship. After her death many articles appeared with personal reminiscences, expressing admiration of her saintliness and assessing her poetry and prose. The sole surviving sibling, William made special efforts to document his sister’s life and edit her work. In New Poems, Hitherto Unpublished or Uncollected he made available carefully edited and annotated texts of poems from periodicals and anthologies and many unpublished ones, some written late in Rossetti’s life and others that she had written earlier but had not published presumably because she deemed them either too personal or not up to the standard of her best work. Maude appeared in 1897 and The Poetical Works in 1904; the latter remained, despite its awkward divisions and arrangement, the standard edition of her poetry until Rebecca W. Crump’s The Complete Poems of Christina Rossetti: A Variorum Edition (1979- 1990), which prompted a modern reassessment of Rossetti’s poetry.

While many other women poets are still in the process of being “rediscovered,” Rossetti is undergoing a radical revaluation which promises a new appreciation of the complexity and variety of her work. In the century after her death her reputation survived largely on the strength of “Goblin Market” and a handful of lyrics. Her lyric gift has never been doubted, but the unassuming tone and flawless finish of these compositions has sometimes led critics to suggest that their lyric purity is achieved at the expense of intellectual depth and aesthetic complexity. Such assessments have been bolstered by William’s description of her as a “casual” and “spontaneous” poet to whom verse came “very easily, without her meditating a possible subject,” and without her having to undertake substantial revisions. More recently critics have expressed suspicion of William’s reconstruction of his sister’s life, his censorship of her letters, and his revisionist editing in the posthumous collections of her poetry.
For several decades after her death Rossetti criticism tended to be narrowly biographical, her mournful lyrics and fantastic allegories being used to construct narratives of agonizing conflict between secular and sacred impulses, renounced love, and repressed passion. In the 1980s a Rossetti renaissance began as feminist critics undertook a reexamination of her poetry, addressing particularly “Goblin Market” and exploring Rossetti’s representation of sororal bonds, female creativity, and sexuality and her critique of patriarchal amatory values and gender relations. The trends today run toward a proliferation of critical approaches, many of which re-contextualize Rossetti in Victorian culture, and toward critical interest in a wider range of her works, including her fiction, nonfiction, and children’s poetry. Critics continue to study Rossetti’s response to and influence in a women writers’ tradition; also under discussion are gender-conscious models for positioning Rossetti in the mainstream (that is, predominantly male) canon. Christina Rossetti has often been called the greatest Victorian woman poet, but her poetry is increasingly being recognized as among the most beautiful and innovative of the period by either sex.


Verses (London: Privately printed at G. Polidori's, 1847).
Goblin Market and Other Poems (Cambridge & London: Macmillan, 1862).
The Prince's Progress and Other Poems (London: Macmillan, 1866).
Poems (Boston: Roberts, 1866).
Commonplace and Other Short Stories (London: Ellis, 1870; Boston: Roberts, 1870).
Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book (London: Routledge, 1872; Boston: Roberts, 1872; revised and enlarged edition, London: Macmillan, 1893).
Annus Domini: A Prayer for Each Day of the Year, Founded on a Text of Holy Scripture (Oxford & London: Parker, 1874).
Speaking Likenesses, with Pictures thereof by Arthur Hughes (London: Macmillan, 1874; Boston: Roberts, 1875).
Goblin Market, The Prince's Progress, and Other Poems (London & New York: Macmillan, 1875); republished as Poems (Boston: Roberts, 1876).
Seek and Find: A Double Series of Short Studies on the Benedicite (London & Brighton: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge / New York: Young, 1879).
A Pageant and Other Poems (London: Macmillan, 1880; Boston: Roberts, 1881).
Called to Be Saints: The Minor Festivals Devotionally Studied (London & Brighton: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge / New York: Young, 1881).
Poems (Boston: Roberts, 1882; enlarged edition, London & New York: Macmillan, 1890).
Letter and Spirit: Notes on the Commandments (London & Brighton: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge / New York: Young, 1883).
Time Flies: A Reading Diary (London & Brighton: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1885; Boston: Roberts, 1886).
The Face of the Deep: A Devotional Commentary on the Apocalypse (London & Brighton: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge / New York: Young, 1892).
Verses: Reprinted from "Called to Be Saints," "Time Flies," "The Face of the Deep" (London & Brighton: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge / New York: Young, 1893).
New Poems, Hitherto Unpublished or Uncollected, edited by William Michael Rossetti (London & New York: Macmillan, 1896).
Maude: A Story for Girls (London: Bowden, 1897; enlarged edition, Chicago: Stone, 1897).
The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti. With Memoir and Notes, &c., edited by William Michael Rossetti (London & New York: Macmillan, 1904).
The Complete Poems of Christina Rossetti: A Variorum Edition, 3 volumes, edited by Rebecca W. Crump (Baton Rouge & London: Louisiana State University Press, 1979-1990).


John Francis Waller, ed., The Imperial Dictionary of Universal Biography, includes contributions by Rossetti, 3 volumes (London: Mackenzie, 1863).


"Versi" and "L'Incognita," Bouquet from Marylebone Gardens (June 1851-January 1852): 175, 216.
"Corrispondenza Famigliare," Bouquet from Marylebone Gardens (January-July 1852): 120-121, 218-219; (July-December 1852): 14-15, 55-57.
"True in the Main: Two Sketches," Dawn of Day (1 May 1882): 57-59; (1 June 1882): 69-70.
"Dante, an English Classic," Churchman's Shilling Magazine and Family Treasury, 2 (1867): 200-205.
"A Harmony on First Corinthians XIII," New and Old, 7 (January 1879): 34-39.
"Dante: The Poet Illustrated out of the Poem," Century, 27 (1884): 566-573.


Rossetti Papers 1862 to 1870, edited by William Michael Rossetti (London: Sands, 1903).
The Family Letters of Christina Georgina Rossetti, edited by William Michael Rossetti (London: Brown, Langham, 1908).
Three Rossettis: Unpublished Letters to and from Dante Gabriel, Christina, William, edited by Janet Camp Troxell (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1937).
The Rossetti-Macmillan Letters, edited by Lona Mosk Packer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963).
The Owl and the Rossettis: Letters of Charles A. Howell and Dante Gabriel, Christina, and William Michael Rossetti, edited by C. L. Cline (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1978).
Christina Rossetti in the Maser Collection, edited by Frederick E. Maser and Mary Louise Jarden Maser (Bryn Mawr, Pa.: Bryn Mawr College Library, 1991).
The Letters of Christina Rossetti, edited by Antony H. Harrison, 3 volumes published, 4 volumes projected (Charlottesville & London: University Press of Virginia, 1997-).


See also the Rossetti entries in DLB 35: Victorian Poets After 1850, and DLB 163: British Children's Writers, 1800- 1880.

Christina Rossetti's notebooks are held by the British Library; the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford; and the King's School, Canterbury; the contents of the various collections are listed by Rebecca W. Crump in Appendix A, volume 3, of The Complete Poems of Christina Rossetti: A Variorum Edition (1990). Significant manuscript collections are also at Princeton University, the University of British Columbia, and Bryn Mawr College. Holograph poems are scattered among various public and private collections, also listed by Crump. Antony H. Harrison notes in his edition of The Letters of Christina Rossetti (1997-) that more than 2,100 autograph letters are dispersed in more than one hundred public and private collections. The most substantial collections of letters are at the University of British Columbia, Princeton University, the British Library, the Harry Ransom Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Kansas, the New York Public Library, the Wellesley College Library, the Beinecke Library at Yale University, and the Bryn Mawr College Library.
Further Readings


William E. Fredeman, Pre-Raphaelitism: A Bibliocritical Study (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1965), pp. 176-182.
Fredeman, "Christina Rossetti," in The Victorian Poets: A Guide to Research, edited by Frederic E. Faverty (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968), pp. 284-293.
Rebecca W. Crump, Christina Rossetti: A Reference Guide (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1976).
Jane Addison, "Christina Rossetti Studies, 1974-1991: A Checklist and Synthesis," Bulletin of Bibliography, 52 (March 1995): 73-93.


Ellen A. Proctor, A Brief Memoir of Christina G. Rossetti (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1895).
Mackenzie Bell, Christina Rossetti: A Biographical and Critical Study (Boston: Roberts, 1898).
Mary F. Sandars, The Life of Christina Rossetti (London: Hutchinson, 1930).
Eleanor Walter Thomas, Christina Georgina Rossetti (New York: Columbia University Press, 1931).
Marya Zaturenska, Christina Rossetti: A Portrait with a Background (New York: Macmillan, 1949).
Margaret Sawtell, Christina Rossetti: Her Life and Religion (London: Mowbray, 1955).
Lona Mosk Packer, Christina Rossetti (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963).
Georgina Battiscombe, Christina Rossetti: A Divided Life (London: Constable, 1981).
Kathleen Jones, Learning Not to Be First: The Life of Christina Rossetti (Gloucestershire: Windrush Press, 1991).
Frances Thomas, Christina Rossetti: A Biography (London: Virago, 1994).
Jan Marsh, Christina Rossetti: A Literary Biography (London: Cape, 1994).


Isobel Armstrong, Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics and Politics (London & New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 344-367.
Mary Arseneau, "Incarnation and Interpretation: Christina Rossetti, the Oxford Movement, and Goblin Market," Victorian Poetry, 31 (1993): 79-93.
Arseneau, Antony H. Harrison, and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, eds., The Culture of Christina Rossetti: Female Poetics and Victorian Contexts (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1999).
Andrew Belsey and Catherine Belsey, "Christina Rossetti: Sister to the Brotherhood," Textual Practice, 2 (1988): 30-50.
Joseph Bristow, ed., Victorian Women Poets: Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti (London: Macmillan / New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995).
Jerome Bump, "Hopkins, Christina Rossetti, and Pre-Raphaelitism," Victorian Newsletter, 57 (1980): 1-6.
Kathryn Burlinson, "'All Mouth and Trousers': Christina Rossetti's Grotesque and Abjected Bodies," in Women's Poetry, Late Romantic to Late Victorian: Gender and Genre, 1830-1900, edited by Isobel Armstrong and Virgina Blain (Houndsmills: Macmillan, 1999), pp. 292-312.
Burlinson, Christina Rossetti (Plymouth: Northcote House in association with the British Council, 1998).
Elizabeth Campbell, "Of Mothers and Merchants: Female Economics in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market," Victorian Studies, 33 (1990): 393-410.
Mary Wilson Carpenter, "'Eat me, drink me, love me': The Consumable Female Body in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market," Victorian Poetry, 29 (1991): 415-434.
Alison Chapman, The Afterlife of Christina Rossetti (Houndsmills: Macmillan, 2000; New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000).
Steven Connor, "'Speaking Likenesses': Language and Repetition in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market," Victorian Poetry, 22 (1984): 439-448.
Stuart Curran, "The Lyric Voice of Christina Rossetti," Victorian Poetry, 9 (1971): 287-299.
Diane D'Amico, Christina Rossetti: Faith, Gener and Time (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1999).
D'Amico, "'Equal before God': Christina Rossetti and the Fallen Women of Highgate Penitentiary," in Gender and Discourse in Victorian Literature and Art, edited by Antony H. Harrison and Beverly Taylor (De Kalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1992), pp. 67-83.
Theo Dombrowski, "Dualism in the Poetry of Christina Rossetti," Victorian Poetry, 14 (1976): 70-76.
Ifor B. Evans, English Poetry of the Later Nineteenth Century (London: Methuen, 1933), pp. 65-80.
Hoxie Neale Fairchild, Religious Trends in English Poetry IV: 1830-1880 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1957), pp. 302-316.
Barbara Fass, "Christina Rossetti and St. Agnes' Eve," Victorian Poetry, 14 (1976): 33-46.
Mary E. Finn, Writing the Incommensurable: Kierkegaard, Rossetti, and Hopkins (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992).
Barbara Garlick, "Christina Rossetti and the Gender Politics of Fantasy," in The Victorian Fantasists, edited by Kath Filmer (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991), pp. 133-152.
Pamela K. Gilbert, "'A Horrid Game': Woman as Social Entity in Christina Rossetti's Prose," English, 41 (Spring 1992): 1-23.
Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), pp. 539-580.
Edmund Gosse, "Christina Rossetti," Century Magazine, 46 (June 1893): 211-217.
Eric Griffiths, "The Disappointment of Christina G. Rossetti," Essays in Criticism, 47 (April 1997): 107- 142.
Lila Hanft, "The Politics of Maternal Ambivalence in Christina Rossetti's Sing-Song," Victorian Literature and Culture, 19 (1991): 213-232.
Antony H. Harrison, "Christina Rossetti and the Romantics: Influence and Ideology," in Influence and Resistance in Nineteenth-Century English Poetry, edited by G. Kim Blank and Margot K. Louis (London & Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1993), pp. 131-149.
Harrison, "Christina Rossetti and the Sage Discourse of Feminist High Anglicanism," in Victorian Sages and Cultural Discourse: Renegotiating Gender and Power, edited by Thais E. Morgan (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1990), pp. 87-104.
Harrison, Christina Rossetti in Context (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988).
Harrison, ed., "Centennial of Christina Rossetti: 1830- 1894," Victorian Poetry, 32, nos. 3-4 (1994): 201-428.
Constance W. Hassett, "Christina Rossetti and the Poetry of Reticence," Philological Quarterly, 65 (1986): 495-514.
Elizabeth K. Helsinger, "Consumer Power and the Utopia of Desire: Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market," English Literary History, 58 (1991): 903-933.
Dawn Henwood, "Christian Allegory and Subversive Poetics: Christina Rossetti's Prince's Progress Reexamined," Victorian Poetry, 35 (1997): 83-94.
Kathleen Hickok, Representations of Women: Nineteenth-Century British Women's Poetry (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984), pp. 197-219.
Terrence Holt, "'Men sell not such in any town': Exchange in Goblin Market," Victorian Poetry, 28 (1990): 51-67; republished in Victorian Women Poets: A Critical Reader, edited by Angela Leighton (London: Blackwell, 1996), pp. 131-147.
Margaret Homans, "Syllables of Velvet: Dickinson, Rossetti, and the Rhetorics of Sexuality," Feminist Studies, 11 (1985): 569-593.
Nilda Jimenez, The Bible and the Poetry of Christina Rossetti: A Concordance (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979).
David A. Kent, ed., The Achievement of Christina Rossetti (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1987).
U. C. Knoepflmacher, "Avenging Alice: Christina Rossetti and Lewis Carroll," Nineteenth-Century Literature, 41 (1986): 299-328.
Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, "The Jael Who Led the Hosts to Victory: Christina Rossetti and Pre-Raphaelite Book-Making," Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, new series 8 (Spring 1999): 50-68.
Sharon Leder and Andrea Abbott, The Language of Exclusion: The Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987).
Angela Leighton, "'Because men made the laws': The Fallen Woman and the Woman Poet," Victorian Poetry, 27 (1989): 109-127.
Leighton, Victorian Women Poets: Writing Against the Heart (London & New York: Harvester, 1992), pp. 118- 163.
Linda E. Marshall, "Mysteries beyond Angels in Christina Rossetti's 'From House to Home,'" in Women's Poetry, Late Romantic to Late Victorian: Gender and Genre, 1830-1900, pp. 313-324.
Marshall, "'Transfigured to His Likeness': Sensible Transcendentalism in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market," University of Toronto Quarterly, 63 (1994): 429-450.
Marshall, "What the Dead are Doing Underground: Hades and Heaven in the Writings of Christina Rossetti," Victorian Newsletter, 72 (1987): 55-60.
Katherine J. Mayberry, Christina Rossetti and the Poetry of Discovery (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989).
Jerome J. McGann, "Christina Rossetti's Poems: A New Edition and a Revaluation," Victorian Studies, 23 (1980): 237-254; republished as "Christina Rossetti's Poems," in Victorian Women Poets: A Critical Reader, pp. 97-113.
McGann, "The Religious Poetry of Christina Rossetti," Critical Inquiry, 10 (1983): 127-144.
Dorothy Mermin, "The Damsel, the Knight, and the Victorian Woman Poet," Critical Inquiry, 13 (1986): 64-80; republished in Victorian Women Poets: A Critical Reader, pp. 198-214.
Mermin, "Heroic Sisterhood in Goblin Market," Victorian Poetry, 21 (1983) 107-118.
Helena Michie, "'There is no friend like a sister': Sisterhood as Sexual Difference," English Literary History, 52 (1989): 401-421.
Ellen Moers, Literary Women (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1976).
David F. Morrill, "'Twilight is Not Good for Maidens': Uncle Polidori and the Psychodynamics of Vampirism in Goblin Market," Victorian Poetry, 28 (1990): 1-16.
Kathy Alexis Psomiades, "Feminine and Poetic Privacy in Christina Rossetti's 'Autumn' and 'A Royal Princess,'" Victorian Poetry, 31 (1993): 187-202.
Psomiades, "Whose Body? Christina Rossetti and Aestheticist Femininity," in Women and British Aestheticism, edited by Psomiades and Talia Schaffer (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999), pp. 101-118.
Joan Rees, "Christina Rossetti: Poet," Critical Quarterly, 26 (Autumn 1984): 59-72.
Dolores Rosenblum, Christina Rossetti: The Poetry of Endurance (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986).
Rosenblum, "Christina Rossetti's Religious Poetry: Watching, Looking, Keeping Vigil," Victorian Poetry, 20 (1982): 33-49; republished in Victorian Women Poets: A Critical Reader, pp. 114-130.
Linda Schofield, "Displaced and Absent Texts as Contexts for Christina Rossetti's Monna Innominata," Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, new series 6 (Spring 1997): 38-52.
William Sharp, "Some Reminiscences of Christina Rossetti," Atlantic Monthly, 75 (June 1895): 736-749.
Virginia Sickbert, "Christina Rossetti and Victorian Children's Poetry: A Maternal Challenge to the Patriarchal Family," Victorian Poetry, 31 (1993): 385-410.
Sharon Smulders, Christina Rossetti Revisited, Twayne English Authors Series (New York: Twayne, 1996).
Smulders, "'A Form that Differences': Vocational Metaphors in the Poetry of Christina Rossetti and Gerard Manley Hopkins," Victorian Poetry, 29 (1991): 161-173.
Smulders, "Woman's Enfranchisement in Christina Rossetti's Poetry," Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 34 (1992): 568-588.
Lionel Stevenson, The Pre-Raphaelite Poets (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1972), pp. 78-122.
Deborah Ann Thompson, "Anorexia as a Lived Trope: Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market," Mosaic, 24 (1991): 89-106.
Winston Weathers, "Christina Rossetti: The Sisterhood of Self," Victorian Poetry, 3 (1965): 81-89.
Joel Westerholm, "'I Magnify Mine Office': Christina Rossetti's Authoritative Voice in Her Devotional Prose," Victorian Newsletter, 84 (Fall 1993): 11-17.

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-12-2017, 01:38 PM

Dragging the Lake
----------By Thomas James
They are skimming the lake with wooden hooks.
Where the oak throws its handful of shadows
Children are gathering fireflies.
I wait in the deep olive flux
As their cries ricochet out of the dark.
Lights spear the water. I hear the oak speak.

It foists its mouthful of sibilants
On a sky involved with a stillborn moon,
On the stock-still cottages. I lean
Into the dark. On tiny splints,
One trellised rose is folding back
Its shawls. The beacon strikes the lake.

Rowboats bob on the thick dark
Over my head. My fingers wave
Goodbye, remember me. I love
This cold, these captive stars. I shake
My blanket of shadows. I breathe in:
Dark replenishes my two wineskins.

My eyes are huge, two washed-out mollusks.
Oars fall, a shower of violet spray.
When will my hosts deliver me,
Tearing me with their wooden hooks?
Lights flicker where my live heart kicked.
I taste pine gum, they have me hooked.

They reel me in, a displaced anchor.
The cygnets scatter. I rise, I nod,
Wrapped in a jacket of dark weed.
I dangle, I am growing pure,
I fester on this wooden prong.
An angry nail is in my tongue.

Thomas James, "Dragging the Lake" from Letters to a Stranger, published by Graywolf Press. Copyright © 2008 by Thomas James. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Source: Letters to a Stranger (Graywolf Press, 2008)

Entire poem is brilliant and fascinating but the closing stanza is incredible beyond belief, in my opinion..-Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-25-2017, 06:58 PM
Natures Gift

It's how the stars are lit at night
and how the dew drops glisten
How evening shadows mock the light
and it's how the silence listens

From the gentle sway of trees
that bid such fond adieu
Songs in a summer breeze
a voice so clear, so true

The glory of such symmetry
so more than fills the eye
To the beauty of such poetry
this hopeful heart draws nigh

In natural peace all love is born
To live and thrive each blessed morn


Copyright © Charlie Smith | Year Posted 2017

From the golden and greatly wizened pen of my good friend Charlie!!--Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
03-31-2017, 04:39 PM
Grieve Not, Ladies
--------- by Anna Hempstead Branch

Oh, grieve not, Ladies, if at night
Ye wake to feel your beauty going.
It was a web of frail delight,
Inconstant as an April snowing.

In other eyes, in other lands,
In deep fair pools, new beauty lingers,
But like spent water in your hands
It runs from your reluctant fingers.

Ye shall not keep the singing lark
That owes to earlier skies its duty.
Weep not to hear along the dark
The sound of your departing beauty.

The fine and anguished ear of night
Is tuned to hear the smallest sorrow.
Oh, wait until the morning light!
It may not seem so gone to-morrow!

But honey-pale and rosy-red!
Brief lights that made a little shining!
Beautiful looks about us shed --
They leave us to the old repining.

Think not the watchful dim despair
Has come to you the first, sweet-hearted!
For oh, the gold in Helen's hair!
And how she cried when that departed!

Perhaps that one that took the most,
The swiftest borrower, wildest spender,
May count, as we would not, the cost --
And grow more true to us and tender.

Happy are we if in his eyes
We see no shadow of forgetting.
Nay -- if our star sinks in those skies
We shall not wholly see its setting.

Then let us laugh as do the brooks
That such immortal youth is ours,
If memory keeps for them our looks
As fresh as are the spring-time flowers.

Oh, grieve not, Ladies, if at night
Ye wake, to feel the cold December!
Rather recall the early light
And in your loved one's arms, remember.

Anna Hempstead Branch

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
04-03-2017, 03:54 PM
Fairer, Indeed
---------------------------------------------by Greg Barden


Truly amaze me ...
They possess the super-human

Strength to birth a child - one of
The most painful and demanding
Feats of endurance known to our
Species - yet they have the
Self-confidence to be meek and

Tender, with the gentle and sweet
Fortitude needed for motherhood ...
They have the extraordinary insight
To look into your eyes and know
What you're feeling ... they can be

Completely confident in who they
Are, and yet totally vulnerable in
Who they want to be ... they can
Have the strength of ten men in
Bearing young, and the sexuality to

Bring a hundred men to their knees ...
They are at one moment the most
Simple creatures in their need for
Love, and at the next so complicated
That they are unfathomable ...

They can be the most loving and
Accepting people you've ever
Known, or the most frighteningly
Fierce and formidable foes
Imaginable ... they can lay bare

Their soul before you and give it
Up with passion, or build walls so
Strong that nothing but time can
Bring them down ... they can let
You believe, in their confidence,

That you are the strongest being
Alive, or remind you that the very
Fires of Hell are at their beck-and-call ...
They are EACH and ALL an amazing
Creation of utter perfection and

Grace, and like brittle snowflakes,
Uniquely wondrous and different
In every way, at one moment a
Mystery beyond comprehension,
And at the next, the most delightfully

Familiar soul you've ever encountered ...
Their tears flow as freely as their
Laughter, and they are as spiritual as
They are sensible ... they measure
Their own elegance by how they

Feel INSIDE ... about themselves.
They are at once outspoken and
Demure ... they may need to be
Held and told everything will be
Alright, or they may need to take

The lead and be honored ... they
May want to hear about your
Wildest dreams, or need you to
Really LISTEN to how they feel ...
They may want YOU to take control

And show them your deepest desires,
Or they may need to have their
Every wish fulfilled ... they may want
You to be endlessly mysterious, then
Lay bare your broken spirit on the

Altar of their passion. A woman may
Want to look perfect, with every hair
And detail in place, or she may run wild
Through the rain ... she may share the
Fires of her deepest lust and desires,

Or she may make you feel the cold
Regard of her wrath ... she may want
You to be firm and forward, and then
Desire only tenderness and care ...
She may cry at your funniest joke,

Or laugh at your saddest story, and
Expect you to understand ... she
May howl at the moon in madness,
Yet require you to keep her sane ...
She may endear you with her ferocity,

Then frighten you with her kindness.
She may love you more in her anger
Than she ever could in her joy, or
Adore you for your carelessness,
Yet despise you for your attention.

A woman is the perfect vessel and
The ultimate contradiction, on
The pedestal one moment, and
At your feet the next. Their bodies
Are warm and cold, salty and sweet,

Rough and smooth, with hidden
Wonders and responses all their own,
First trembling at your lightest touch,
Then needing the firm press of flesh,
Every soft inch a sublime adventure,

Every subtle curve a joy ... but
Their minds are keen and as
Sharp-edged as any razor ... they
Can cut you with their words and
Their stare, then leave you bleeding ...

They are elation and anger, vigor
And vulnerability, coyness and
Carnality ... in a moment they
Can drag you through hell, or carry
You to heaven ... they can be angel

Or demon, mother or daughter,
Temptress or torturer ... they can
Make you the king of their heart,
Or remind you of your absolute
Insignificance ... they are told from

Birth that they are inferior to men -
Weaker, softer, more fragile - yet
Despite that they are more determined,
More durable, more wise, more
Diligent, more deft, more caring,

More tenacious, more hard-working,
And more intuitive, than most three
Men put together ... they can be
Great moms or be great boxers ...
They can be successful professionals

Or stay-at-home wives, they can
Do most jobs as well as any man,
And do a hundred other things that
Many men are never even taught!
They can teach, fight, love, paint,

Play drums, be weightlifters,
Ballerinas, truck drivers, nurses,
Army sergeants, cooks, seamstresses,
Basketball players, florists, pharmacists,
Doctors, lawyers ... women can

Wear dresses or they can wear work
Pants, they can wear toe shoes or
They can wear hockey skates,
They can wear ponytails or they
Can wear hard hats, they can wear

Steel-toed boots or they can wear
Stilettos, they can wear overalls
Or miniskirts. I believe that one
Of the primary reasons that they
Have been marginalized for so

Many centuries, is that men knew
That if women ever DID start doing
The things that men have always done,
Everyone would find out that women
Were BETTER at 99% of those things,

And would start demanding equal pay
And equal rights! That is starting to
Come to pass, and I think it scares
Many men ... women are told their
Whole lives what they CAN'T do, yet

They spend their whole lives doing
Things that many men are incapable
Of, things that men don't care to
Do or want to do or have to do ...
Men are intent on making a living,

Yet women are what we live FOR ...
Women have forever lived in the
Shadow of men, but men would
HAVE no shadow without the
Sunlight that women shine on our

Lives ... if Woman really WAS made
After Man, it's because the Creator
Didn't get human beings right the
First time, and perfected the species
With the female version ... and most

Of all, no matter how much you
Learn about them, or how much
You may know of all these things
I've touched on, or how much you
Listen and absorb what they tell

You about themselves, you will
Never, ever, EVER, understand them ...
Yet there is absolutely NOTHING in
Heaven or earth, that is as wonderfully
Sexy and sublime, entertaining and

Enticing, intently intense, or
Imperfectly perfect, as ...


Copyright © Greg Barden | Year Posted 2017

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
04-12-2017, 12:11 PM
Previously I had no plans to ever choose any of my poems to present in this thread----but,
this creation and my two great writing partners leads me to do so because of their verses, not mine!
I hope you may enjoy this collaboration as they both are top poets that spent over a month writing this poem with me!

Additional consideration is that, this poem posted at my home poetry site -only yesterday, was chosen as today's Top Poem of the Day there!
Thus I feel, they both ( Teppo Gren and Michael P Clarke) deserve to have it showcased here as it is truly a gem, a recognized gem by many others..
I have the greatest respect for these two friends and their poetic talents!!!! -Tyr

Remembered In Thy Full Bloom,Collaboration by Robert J Lindley, Teppo Gren and Michael P Clark

Remembered In Thy Full Bloom
A Collaboration By,
Robert Lindley, Teppo Gren
and Michael P Clarke.

Thou art remembered in thy full bloom,
a rose grown within my garden of life.
Thou art lost to me and this my doom,
Gone the tender love of my precious wife.

Ill wind had blown, poisoned arrows of fate,
love lost, ever I cry, we reunite.
Tho', should such be only at Heaven's gate,
illuminated, in true love's precious flight.

Thine effect so lives in my lonesome cast
as I meander in my ruthless path,
in darkened dust of my ill-fated past,
dying to break free from this endless wrath.

Yet memories sighs they recall our love,
when we did caress love's fiery desires.
In wondrous passions our hearts flew above,
Thou art memories ghost, kindling love's fires.

Pray I, your dream-winds soft and fair tonight,
eager heart leaps to melt in beauty's glows.
With yellow-moon kisses, all could be right,
our love's truth, written in destiny's scrolls.

As lonely spirits found love's true accord,
thy gentle soul caressed my heart with joy.
It was thy gracious beauty I adored,
for endless days thy soft caress enjoy.

Thou comest beloved, love for to bring,
thy wondrous beauty, darkness doth dispel.
In divinity thy heart it doth sing,
one moment of joy my heart did foretell.

Within each heart's spirit, desire to come
pray future treasures that announce their glow.
Thy touch, paradise in love's kingdom,
may we with grace, beg our romance to grow.

The light of life returned from dust to dust
be it not my destiny to abide,
and side with mortal ways in life unjust,
with a forlorn dream to be by my side.

Now back to the terror of my dark night,
once more into the pits of hell I fall.
Despair and sorrow darken God's bright light,
Deaths promised joys shall come, I hear death call.

Pray true, warmth and true color to the rose,
return pure gleam that sent my heart to thee.
Wherein all time, forever thee I chose,
thou art ripest flower, I thy lone bee.

Rejoice in death to treasure thine embrace
as end is nigh, with courage to depart.
A halo uncovers thy beauty's grace
to cast celestial light, and mend my heart.

And now doth come my end, I see death's light,
death doth touch my heart, now eternal love.
My beloved, I see thee shining bright,
I now praise death as I ascend above.

As my life's last shadow so swiftly falls,
pray I, this aching soul hears thy dear voice.
Ancient echoes whisper love words, thy calls,
now dear wife, I fly forth, your love my choice.

In heaven‘s garden thy rose blooms in trine,
as love’s eternal bond in sacred love
is cast beyond the faith of God’s design,
and prayers of truth are whispered up above.

Robert Lindley,Teppo Gren,
and Michael P Clarke.


This poem was written to try and find the sadness of a man lost in deep despair. His only escape are those small moments when his memories sigh his beloved to him. He is ready to welcome death so he can be with and hold his beloved again. Death will be a release.

I want to thank Micheal and Teppo, for the great pleasure it has been to
engage in this three way collaboration! Both for giving me such exquisite verses to write to and with...
I know this poem is long and took us a long time to complete, but to me it is well worth it .
As I could not be happier or any more proud of what our combined efforts have thus created.
I hope this fine poem gifts and pleases those that read it.. For such is the reward that any poet should hope for.
Mike and Teppo, my good friends may God bless you both..

Copyright © Robert Lindley | Year Posted 2017

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
04-13-2017, 09:25 PM
----- by Willa Sibert Cather

Oh this is the joy of the rose;
That it blows, And goes.
Winter lasts a five-month
Spring-time stays but one;
Yellow blow the rye-fields
When the rose is done.
Pines are clad at Yuletide
When the birch is bare,
And the holly's greenest
In the frosty air.
Sorrow keeps a stone house
Builded grim and gray;
Pleasure hath a straw thatch
Hung with lanterns gay.
On her petty savings
Niggard Prudence thrives;
Passion, ere the moonset,
Bleeds a thousand lives.
Virtue hath a warm hearth—
Folly's dead and drowned;
Friendship hath her own
when Love is underground.
Ah! for me the madness
Of the spendthrift flower,
Burning myriad sunsets
In a single hour.
For this is the joy of the rose;
That it blows, And goes.

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
04-24-2017, 05:42 PM
Poems By Ambrose Bierce

The Day of Wrath / Dies Iræ
An Inscription
The New Decalogue
The Statesmen
To the Bartholdi Statue
With a Book

The Day of Wrath / Dies Iræ
------------By Ambrose Bierce
Day of Satan's painful duty!
Earth shall vanish, hot and sooty;
So says Virtue, so says Beauty.

Ah! what terror shall be shaping
When the Judge the truth's undraping—
Cats from every bag escaping!

Now the trumpet's invocation
Calls the dead to condemnation;
All receive an invitation.

Death and Nature now are quaking,
And the late lamented, waking,
In their breezy shrouds are shaking.

Lo! the Ledger's leaves are stirring,
And the Clerk, to them referring,
Makes it awkward for the erring.

When the Judge appears in session,
We shall all attend confession,
Loudly preaching non-suppression.

How shall I then make romances
Mitigating circumstances?
Even the just must take their chances.

King whose majesty amazes,
Save thou him who sings thy praises;
Fountain, quench my private blazes.

Pray remember, sacred Saviour,
Mine the playful hand that gave your
Death-blow. Pardon such behavior.

Seeking me, fatigue assailed thee,
Calvary's outlook naught availed thee;
Now 'twere cruel if I failed thee.

Righteous judge and learnèd brother,
Pray thy prejudices smother
Ere we meet to try each other.

Sighs of guilt my conscience gushes,
And my face vermilion flushes;
Spare me for my pretty blushes.

Thief and harlot, when repenting,
Thou forgavest—complimenting
Me with sign of like relenting.

If too bold is my petition
I'll receive with due submission
My dismissal—from perdition.

When thy sheep thou hast selected
From the goats, may I, respected,
Stand amongst them undetected.

When offenders are indited,
And with trial-flames ignited,
Elsewhere I'll attend if cited.

Ashen-hearted, prone and prayerful,
When of death I see the air full,
Lest I perish too be careful.

On that day of lamentation,
When, to enjoy the conflagration,
Men come forth, O be not cruel:
Spare me, Lord—make them thy fuel


An Inscription
----- By Ambrose Bierce

For a Statue of Napoleon

A conqueror as provident as brave,
He robbed the cradle to supply the grave.
His reign laid quantities of human dust:
He fell upon the just and the unjust.


The Statesmen
-----By Ambrose Bierce
How blest the land that counts among
Her sons so many good and wise,
To execute great feats of tongue
When troubles rise.

Behold them mounting every stump,
By speech our liberty to guard.
Observe their courage—see them jump,
And come down hard!

"Walk up, walk up!" each cries aloud,
"And learn from me what you must do
To turn aside the thunder cloud,
The earthquake too.

"Beware the wiles of yonder quack
Who stuffs the ears of all that pass.
I—I alone can show that black
Is white as grass."

They shout through all the day and break
The silence of the night as well.
They'd make—I wish they'd go and make—
Of Heaven a Hell.

A advocates free silver, B
Free trade and C free banking laws.
Free board, clothes, lodging would from me
Win warm applause.

Lo, D lifts up his voice: "You see
The single tax on land would fall
On all alike." More evenly
No tax at all.

"With paper money," bellows E,
"We'll all be rich as lords." No doubt—
And richest of the lot will be
The chap without.

As many "cures" as addle-wits
Who know not what the ailment is!
Meanwhile the patient foams and spits
Like a gin fizz.

Alas, poor Body Politic,
Your fate is all too clearly read:
To be not altogether quick,
Nor very dead.

You take your exercise in squirms,
Your rest in fainting fits between.
'Tis plain that your disorder's worms—
Worms fat and lean.

Worm Capital, Worm Labor dwell
Within your maw and muscle's scope.
Their quarrels make your life a Hell,
Your death a hope.

God send you find not such an end
To ills however sharp and huge!
God send you convalesce! God send
You vermifuge.


Ambrose Bierce
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ambrose Bierce
Bierce around 1866
Born Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce
June 24, 1842
Meigs County, Ohio, United States
Died Circa 1914 (aged 71–72);[1]
last letter from Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico
Occupation Soldier · Journalist · Writer
Genres Satire, journalism, short story, horror fiction, war fiction, fantasy, science fiction, western (genre), memoir, humor, literary criticism, poetry
Literary movement Realism
Notable works "Chickamauga"
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
"The Death of Halpin Frayser"
"The Moonlit Road"
The Devil's Dictionary
Tales of Soldiers and Civilians
Spouse Mary Ellen "Mollie" Day (m. 1871; div. 1904)
Children Day (1872–1889), Leigh (1874–1901), Helen (1875–1940)
Military career
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch Union Army
Years of service 1861–1866
Rank Union army 1st lt rank insignia.jpg First Lieutenant
Unit 9th Indiana Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars American Civil War: Battle of Philippi (West Virginia), Battle of Laurel Mountain, Battle of Rich Mountain, Battle of Corrick's Ford, Battle of Cheat Mountain, Battle of Greenbrier River, Battle of Camp Allegheny, Battle of Shiloh, Siege of Corinth, Battle of Perryville, Battle of Stones River, Battle of Chickamauga, Chattanooga Campaign, Battle of Lookout Mountain, Battle of Missionary Ridge, Battle of Resaca, Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta Campaign, Battle of Jonesborough, Battle of Franklin (1864), Battle of Nashville

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842[2] – circa 1914[3]) was an American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer. In Bierce’s lifetime, eminent critic William Dean Howells said “Mr. Bierce is among our three greatest writers.” When told this, Bierce responded, “I am sure Mr. Howells is the other two.”[4]

Today Bierce is best known for his "howlingly funny"[5] book The Devil's Dictionary, which was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration;[6] for his story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” which is frequently anthologized and has been adapted into stage, radio, film, and television dramas more than a dozen times; and for his book Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (also published as In the Midst of Life), which was named by the Grolier Club as one of the 100 most influential American books printed before 1900.[7]

In addition, Bierce has been called “the one genuine wit that These States have ever seen” by H. L. Mencken[8] and “one of our preeminent satirists”.[9] A prolific and versatile writer, Bierce has earned recognition as “at the peak of his career, one of the most influential journalists in the United States,”[10] as “arguably the most important American writer of horror fiction—whether physical, psychological or supernatural—between Poe and Lovecraft,”[11] as a pioneering writer of realist fiction[12], as a writer of war stories who “was a demonstrable influence on Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, and many others,”[13] and as an influential—and feared—literary critic.[14] In recent decades Bierce has gained wider respect as a fabulist because “both the quantity and consistently high quality of Ambrose Bierce’s fables should guarantee them a place in the canon of American literature,”[15] and for his talent as “a poet, one who occupies a unique niche in nineteenth-century American verse.”[16]

In December 1913, Bierce traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution.[17] He was rumored to be traveling with rebel troops, and was never seen again.


1 Early life
2 Military career
3 Personal life
4 Journalism
4.1 Railroad Refinancing Bill
4.2 McKinley accusation
5 Literary works
6 Disappearance
7 Legacy and influence
8 Works
8.1 Volumes published
8.1.1 Published during Bierce's Lifetime
8.1.2 Published Posthumously
8.2 Short stories
9 See also
10 Notes
11 References
12 Further reading
13 External links

Early life

Bierce was born in a log cabin at Horse Cave Creek in Meigs County, Ohio, on June 24, 1842, to Marcus Aurelius Bierce (1799–1876) and Laura Sherwood Bierce.[2] His mother was a descendant of William Bradford.[citation needed] He was the tenth of thirteen children, whose father gave all names beginning with the letter "A": in order of birth, the Bierce siblings were Abigail, Amelia, Ann, Addison, Aurelius, Augustus, Almeda, Andrew, Albert, and Ambrose.[clarification needed]

His parents were a poor but literary couple who instilled in him a deep love for books and writing.[2] Bierce grew up in Kosciusko County, Indiana, attending high school at the county seat, Warsaw.

He left home at 15 to become a printer's devil at a small Ohio newspaper.[2]
Military career

At the outset of the American Civil War, Bierce enlisted in the Union Army's 9th Indiana Infantry. He participated in the Operations in Western Virginia campaign (1861); was present at the Battle of Philippi (the first organized land action of the war); and received newspaper attention for his daring rescue, under fire, of a gravely wounded comrade at the Battle of Rich Mountain. In February 1862 he was commissioned a first lieutenant, and served on the staff of General William Babcock Hazen as a topographical engineer, making maps of likely battlefields.

Bierce fought at the Battle of Shiloh (April 1862), a terrifying experience that became a source for several later short stories and the memoir "What I Saw of Shiloh". In June 1864, he sustained a serious head wound at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain,[18] and spent the rest of the summer on furlough, returning to active duty in September. He was discharged from the army in January 1865.

His military career resumed, however, when in mid-1866 he rejoined General Hazen as part of the latter's expedition to inspect military outposts across the Great Plains. The expedition proceeded by horseback and wagon from Omaha, Nebraska, arriving toward year's end in San Francisco, California.
Personal life
Ambrose Bierce, by J.H.E. Partington

Bierce married Mary Ellen "Mollie" Day on December 25, 1871. They had three children: sons Day (1872–1889)[19] and Leigh (1874–1901)[19] and daughter Helen (1875–1940). Both of Bierce's sons died before he did. Day committed suicide after a romantic rejection,[20][21] and Leigh died of pneumonia related to alcoholism.[19] Bierce separated from his wife in 1888, after discovering compromising letters to her from an admirer. They divorced in 1904.[19] Mollie Day Bierce died the following year.

Bierce was an avowed agnostic.[22] He suffered from lifelong asthma,[23] as well as complications from his war wounds.[24]

In San Francisco, Bierce was awarded the rank of brevet major before resigning from the Army. He remained in San Francisco for many years, eventually becoming famous as a contributor or editor of a number of local newspapers and periodicals, including The San Francisco News Letter, The Argonaut, the Overland Monthly, The Californian and The Wasp. A selection of his crime reporting from The San Francisco News Letter was included in The Library of America anthology True Crime.

Bierce lived and wrote in England from 1872 to 1875, contributing to Fun magazine. His first book, The Fiend's Delight, a compilation of his articles, was published in London in 1873 by John Camden Hotten under the pseudonym "Dod Grile".[25][26]

Returning to the United States, he again took up residence in San Francisco. From 1879 to 1880, he traveled to Rockerville and Deadwood in the Dakota Territory, to try his hand as local manager for a New York mining company. When the company failed he returned to San Francisco and resumed his career in journalism.

From January 1, 1881 until September 11, 1885 he was editor of The Wasp magazine, in which he began a column titled "Prattle". He also became one of the first regular columnists and editorialists on William Randolph Hearst's newspaper, The San Francisco Examiner,[2] eventually becoming one of the most prominent and influential writers and journalists[citation needed] of the West Coast. He remained associated with Hearst Newspapers until 1909.[27]

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
04-26-2017, 03:28 PM
The Ecstasy
- Poem by John Donne

Where, like a pillow on a bed
A pregnant bank swell'd up to rest
The violet's reclining head,
Sat we two, one another's best.
Our hands were firmly cemented
With a fast balm, which thence did spring;
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
Our eyes upon one double string;
So to'intergraft our hands, as yet
Was all the means to make us one,
And pictures in our eyes to get
Was all our propagation.
As 'twixt two equal armies fate
Suspends uncertain victory,
Our souls (which to advance their state
Were gone out) hung 'twixt her and me.
And whilst our souls negotiate there,
We like sepulchral statues lay;
All day, the same our postures were,
And we said nothing, all the day.
If any, so by love refin'd
That he soul's language understood,
And by good love were grown all mind,
Within convenient distance stood,
He (though he knew not which soul spake,
Because both meant, both spake the same)
Might thence a new concoction take
And part far purer than he came.
This ecstasy doth unperplex,
We said, and tell us what we love;
We see by this it was not sex,
We see we saw not what did move;
But as all several souls contain
Mixture of things, they know not what,
Love these mix'd souls doth mix again
And makes both one, each this and that.
A single violet transplant,
The strength, the colour, and the size,
(All which before was poor and scant)
Redoubles still, and multiplies.
When love with one another so
Interinanimates two souls,
That abler soul, which thence doth flow,
Defects of loneliness controls.
We then, who are this new soul, know
Of what we are compos'd and made,
For th' atomies of which we grow
Are souls. whom no change can invade.
But oh alas, so long, so far,
Our bodies why do we forbear?
They'are ours, though they'are not we; we are
The intelligences, they the spheres.
We owe them thanks, because they thus
Did us, to us, at first convey,
Yielded their senses' force to us,
Nor are dross to us, but allay.
On man heaven's influence works not so,
But that it first imprints the air;
So soul into the soul may flow,
Though it to body first repair.
As our blood labors to beget
Spirits, as like souls as it can,
Because such fingers need to knit
That subtle knot which makes us man,
So must pure lovers' souls descend
T' affections, and to faculties,
Which sense may reach and apprehend,
Else a great prince in prison lies.
To'our bodies turn we then, that so
Weak men on love reveal'd may look;
Love's mysteries in souls do grow,
But yet the body is his book.
And if some lover, such as we,
Have heard this dialogue of one,
Let him still mark us, he shall see
Small change, when we'are to bodies gone.

John Donne

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
05-08-2017, 08:24 AM
There is another sky
----------by Emily Dickinson
There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields -
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
05-09-2017, 09:52 AM
Written In March
----- by William Wordsworth
The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter
The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising;
There are forty feeding like one!

Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The plowboy is whooping—anon-anon:
There's joy in the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!

Resolution And Independence
---------by William Wordsworth


There was a roaring in the wind all night;
The rain came heavily and fell in floods;
But now the sun is rising calm and bright;
The birds are singing in the distant woods;
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods;
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters;
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.


All things that love the sun are out of doors;
The sky rejoices in the morning's birth;
The grass is bright with rain-drops;--on the moors
The hare is running races in her mirth;
And with her feet she from the plashy earth
Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun,
Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run.


I was a Traveller then upon the moor,
I saw the hare that raced about with joy;
I heard the woods and distant waters roar;
Or heard them not, as happy as a boy:
The pleasant season did my heart employ:
My old remembrances went from me wholly;
And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy.


But, as it sometimes chanceth, from the might
Of joy in minds that can no further go,
As high as we have mounted in delight
In our dejection do we sink as low;
To me that morning did it happen so;
And fears and fancies thick upon me came;
Dim sadness--and blind thoughts, I knew not, nor could name.


I heard the sky-lark warbling in the sky;
And I bethought me of the playful hare:
Even such a happy Child of earth am I;
Even as these blissful creatures do I fare;
Far from the world I walk, and from all care;
But there may come another day to me--
Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty.


My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought,
As if life's business were a summer mood;
As if all needful things would come unsought
To genial faith, still rich in genial good;
But how can He expect that others should
Build for him, sow for him, and at his call
Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all?


I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy,
The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride;
Of Him who walked in glory and in joy
Following his plough, along the mountain-side:
By our own spirits are we deified:
We Poets in our youth begin in gladness;
But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.


Now, whether it were by peculiar grace,
A leading from above, a something given,
Yet it befell, that, in this lonely place,
When I with these untoward thoughts had striven,
Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven
I saw a Man before me unawares:
The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs.


As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie
Couched on the bald top of an eminence;
Wonder to all who do the same espy,
By what means it could thither come, and whence;
So that it seems a thing endued with sense:
Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf
Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself;


Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead,
Nor all asleep--in his extreme old age:
His body was bent double, feet and head
Coming together in life's pilgrimage;
As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage
Of sickness felt by him in times long past,
A more than human weight upon his frame had cast.


Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face,
Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood:
And, still as I drew near with gentle pace,
Upon the margin of that moorish flood
Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood,
That heareth not the loud winds when they call
And moveth all together, if it move at all.


At length, himself unsettling, he the pond
Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look
Upon the muddy water, which he conned,
As if he had been reading in a book:
And now a stranger's privilege I took;
And, drawing to his side, to him did say,
"This morning gives us promise of a glorious day."


A gentle answer did the old Man make,
In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew:
And him with further words I thus bespake,
"What occupation do you there pursue?
This is a lonesome place for one like you."
Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise
Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes,


His words came feebly, from a feeble chest,
But each in solemn order followed each,
With something of a lofty utterance drest--
Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach
Of ordinary men; a stately speech;
Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use,
Religious men, who give to God and man their dues.


He told, that to these waters he had come
To gather leeches, being old and poor:
Employment hazardous and wearisome!
And he had many hardships to endure:
From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor;
Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance,
And in this way he gained an honest maintenance.


The old Man still stood talking by my side;
But now his voice to me was like a stream
Scarce heard; nor word from word could I divide;
And the whole body of the Man did seem
Like one whom I had met with in a dream;
Or like a man from some far region sent,
To give me human strength, by apt admonishment.


My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills;
And hope that is unwilling to be fed;
Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills;
And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
--Perplexed, and longing to be comforted,
My question eagerly did I renew,
"How is it that you live, and what is it you do?"


He with a smile did then his words repeat;
And said, that, gathering leeches, far and wide
He travelled; stirring thus about his feet
The waters of the pools where they abide.
"Once I could meet with them on every side;
But they have dwindled long by slow decay;
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may."


While he was talking thus, the lonely place,
The old Man's shape, and speech--all troubled me:
In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace
About the weary moors continually,
Wandering about alone and silently.
While I these thoughts within myself pursued,
He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed.


And soon with this he other matter blended,
Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind,
But stately in the main; and when he ended,
I could have laughed myself to scorn to find
In that decrepit Man so firm a mind.
"God," said I, "be my help and stay secure;

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
05-12-2017, 08:28 PM
"Go, Lovely Rose"
-----By Edmund Waller
Go, lovely Rose—
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die—that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
05-15-2017, 09:45 AM
Cathedral Of Trees

By, Michael P Clarke..

I am the wolf who guards your dreams,
someone in life you once did know.
When your time to sleep is come,
i shall meet you in the cathedral of trees.
Run with me through the lonesome pines,
your cries of joy fill nights lonely vault.
As you run to me to where we wish to be,
to the Cathedral Of Trees our love’s Boudioir.
The Cathedral Of Trees where we once lay,
where nights of passion did sing to the stars.
My beloved “Star Maiden” our nights so divine,
our love offered up in the Cathedral Of Trees.
Before our Cathedral we now do stand,
i, “Running Wolf”, for you, become a man.
Hand in hand we enter our world of love,
the dream of our desires, the Cathedral Of Trees.
Now lay us down and join in our night,
our time when dream’s desires do flow.
And passion’s memories in glory turn,
within our own Cathedral Of Trees.
Within the tribe an ancient memory stirs,
the guardians of dream come to protect.
The warrior changelings returned from final sleep,
once more returned to the Cathedral Of trees.
Let us join in primal passion once more “Star Maiden,”
our love in memories chasms ever shining.
In passion’s thrall i show adoration at your temple,
As our night spent together in the Cathedral Of Trees.

Copyright © Vladislav Raven | Year Posted 2017

From the golden pen of my very good friend and most talented poet, Michael P Clarke aka Vladislav Raven.....==Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
05-17-2017, 07:14 AM
How happy is the little Stone
--------- by Emily Dickinson
How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And doesn't care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears --
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity --


I like to see it lap the Miles --
----- by Emily Dickinson
I like to see it lap the Miles --
And lick the Valleys up --
And stop to feed itself at Tanks --
And then -- prodigious step

Around a Pile of Mountains --
And supercilious peer
In Shanties -- by the sides of Roads --
And then a Quarry pare

To fit its Ribs
And crawl between
Complaining all the while
In horrid -- hooting stanza --
Then chase itself down Hill --

And neigh like Boanerges --
Then -- punctual as a Star
Stop -- docile and omnipotent
At its own stable door --


Presented two poems today just because this is the greatest female poet that ever put pen and ink to paper!-TYR

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
05-29-2017, 11:11 AM
Song at Sunset
-------------by Walt Whitman

SPLENDOR of ended day, floating and filling me!
Hour prophetic—hour resuming the past!
Inflating my throat—you, divine average!
You, Earth and Life, till the last ray gleams, I sing.

Open mouth of my Soul, uttering gladness,
Eyes of my Soul, seeing perfection,
Natural life of me, faithfully praising things;
Corroborating forever the triumph of things.

Illustrious every one!
Illustrious what we name space—sphere of unnumber’d spirits;
Illustrious the mystery of motion, in all beings, even the tiniest insect;
Illustrious the attribute of speech—the senses—the body;
Illustrious the passing light! Illustrious the pale reflection on the new moon in the
Illustrious whatever I see, or hear, or touch, to the last.

Good in all,
In the satisfaction and aplomb of animals,
In the annual return of the seasons,
In the hilarity of youth,
In the strength and flush of manhood,
In the grandeur and exquisiteness of old age,
In the superb vistas of Death.

Wonderful to depart;
Wonderful to be here!
The heart, to jet the all-alike and innocent blood!
To breathe the air, how delicious!
To speak! to walk! to seize something by the hand!
To prepare for sleep, for bed—to look on my rose-color’d flesh;
To be conscious of my body, so satisfied, so large;
To be this incredible God I am;
To have gone forth among other Gods—these men and women I love.

Wonderful how I celebrate you and myself!
How my thoughts play subtly at the spectacles around!
How the clouds pass silently overhead!
How the earth darts on and on! and how the sun, moon, stars, dart on and on!
How the water sports and sings! (Surely it is alive!)
How the trees rise and stand up—with strong trunks—with branches and leaves!
(Surely there is something more in each of the tree—some living Soul.

O amazement of things! even the least particle!
O spirituality of things!
O strain musical, flowing through ages and continents—now reaching me and America!
I take your strong chords—I intersperse them, and cheerfully pass them forward.

I too carol the sun, usher’d, or at noon, or, as now, setting,
I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth, and of all the growths of the earth,
I too have felt the resistless call of myself.

As I sail’d down the Mississippi,
As I wander’d over the prairies,
As I have lived—As I have look’d through my windows, my eyes,
As I went forth in the morning—As I beheld the light breaking in the east;
As I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach of the Western Sea;
As I roam’d the streets of inland Chicago—whatever streets I have roam’d;
Or cities, or silent woods, or peace, or even amid the sights of war;
Wherever I have been, I have charged myself with contentment and triumph.

I sing the Equalities, modern or old,
I sing the endless finales of things;
I say Nature continues—Glory continues;
I praise with electric voice;
For I do not see one imperfection in the universe;
And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at last in the universe.

O setting sun! though the time has come,
I still warble under you, if none else does, unmitigated adoration.

05-29-2017, 08:02 PM
Song at Sunset
-------------by Walt Whitman

SPLENDOR of ended day, floating and filling me!
Hour prophetic—hour resuming the past!
Inflating my throat—you, divine average!
You, Earth and Life, till the last ray gleams, I sing.

Open mouth of my Soul, uttering gladness,
Eyes of my Soul, seeing perfection,
Natural life of me, faithfully praising things;
Corroborating forever the triumph of things.

Illustrious every one!
Illustrious what we name space—sphere of unnumber’d spirits;
Illustrious the mystery of motion, in all beings, even the tiniest insect;
Illustrious the attribute of speech—the senses—the body;
Illustrious the passing light! Illustrious the pale reflection on the new moon in the
Illustrious whatever I see, or hear, or touch, to the last.

Good in all,
In the satisfaction and aplomb of animals,
In the annual return of the seasons,
In the hilarity of youth,
In the strength and flush of manhood,
In the grandeur and exquisiteness of old age,
In the superb vistas of Death.

Wonderful to depart;
Wonderful to be here!
The heart, to jet the all-alike and innocent blood!
To breathe the air, how delicious!
To speak! to walk! to seize something by the hand!
To prepare for sleep, for bed—to look on my rose-color’d flesh;
To be conscious of my body, so satisfied, so large;
To be this incredible God I am;
To have gone forth among other Gods—these men and women I love.

Wonderful how I celebrate you and myself!
How my thoughts play subtly at the spectacles around!
How the clouds pass silently overhead!
How the earth darts on and on! and how the sun, moon, stars, dart on and on!
How the water sports and sings! (Surely it is alive!)
How the trees rise and stand up—with strong trunks—with branches and leaves!
(Surely there is something more in each of the tree—some living Soul.

O amazement of things! even the least particle!
O spirituality of things!
O strain musical, flowing through ages and continents—now reaching me and America!
I take your strong chords—I intersperse them, and cheerfully pass them forward.

I too carol the sun, usher’d, or at noon, or, as now, setting,
I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth, and of all the growths of the earth,
I too have felt the resistless call of myself.

As I sail’d down the Mississippi,
As I wander’d over the prairies,
As I have lived—As I have look’d through my windows, my eyes,
As I went forth in the morning—As I beheld the light breaking in the east;
As I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach of the Western Sea;
As I roam’d the streets of inland Chicago—whatever streets I have roam’d;
Or cities, or silent woods, or peace, or even amid the sights of war;
Wherever I have been, I have charged myself with contentment and triumph.

I sing the Equalities, modern or old,
I sing the endless finales of things;
I say Nature continues—Glory continues;
I praise with electric voice;
For I do not see one imperfection in the universe;
And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at last in the universe.

O setting sun! though the time has come,
I still warble under you, if none else does, unmitigated adoration.

What a wonderful, uplifting poem - this is a favorite. :clap:

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
06-05-2017, 11:56 AM
Song Of Nature
----- by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mine are the night and morning,
The pits of air, the gulf of space,
The sportive sun, the gibbous moon,
The innumerable days.

I hid in the solar glory,
I am dumb in the pealing song,
I rest on the pitch of the torrent,
In slumber I am strong.

No numbers have counted my tallies,
No tribes my house can fill,
I sit by the shining Fount of Life,
And pour the deluge still;

And ever by delicate powers
Gathering along the centuries
From race on race the rarest flowers,
My wreath shall nothing miss.

And many a thousand summers
My apples ripened well,
And light from meliorating stars
With firmer glory fell.

I wrote the past in characters
Of rock and fire the scroll,
The building in the coral sea,
The planting of the coal.

And thefts from satellites and rings
And broken stars I drew,
And out of spent and aged things
I formed the world anew;

What time the gods kept carnival,
Tricked out in star and flower,
And in cramp elf and saurian forms
They swathed their too much power.

Time and Thought were my surveyors,
They laid their courses well,
They boiled the sea, and baked the layers
Or granite, marl, and shell.

But he, the man-child glorious,--
Where tarries he the while?
The rainbow shines his harbinger,
The sunset gleams his smile.

My boreal lights leap upward,
Forthright my planets roll,
And still the man-child is not born,
The summit of the whole.

Must time and tide forever run?
Will never my winds go sleep in the west?
Will never my wheels which whirl the sun
And satellites have rest?

Too much of donning and doffing,
Too slow the rainbow fades,
I weary of my robe of snow,
My leaves and my cascades;

I tire of globes and races,
Too long the game is played;
What without him is summer's pomp,
Or winter's frozen shade?

I travail in pain for him,
My creatures travail and wait;
His couriers come by squadrons,
He comes not to the gate.

Twice I have moulded an image,
And thrice outstretched my hand,
Made one of day, and one of night,
And one of the salt sea-sand.

One in a Judaean manger,
And one by Avon stream,
One over against the mouths of Nile,
And one in the Academe.

I moulded kings and saviours,
And bards o'er kings to rule;--
But fell the starry influence short,
The cup was never full.

Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more,
And mix the bowl again;
Seethe, fate! the ancient elements,
Heat, cold, wet, dry, and peace, and pain.

Let war and trade and creeds and song
Blend, ripen race on race,
The sunburnt world a man shall breed
Of all the zones, and countless days.

No ray is dimmed, no atom worn,
My oldest force is good as new,
And the fresh rose on yonder thorn
Gives back the bending heavens in dew.

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
06-06-2017, 01:05 PM
Little Ships


It was a quarter to six, on the morning in June
When the little ships took to the sea
Loaded with men of all nations
The "Vanguard", to set the world free

They were guarded aloft by the Air-Force
And covered each side by the fleet
Each clad-man was sure of his task
In smashing the foe he would meet

The sea was white-crested and angry
As the little craft closed into line
But the Royal Marines who were forming the crew
Were undaunted, by wave-top or brine

For more than eight miles they struggled
To keep their formations intact
And when close to shore, where they came under fire
Neither mortar, nor shell, held them back

They all heard the fire of the big naval guns
And the shells that were screaming o'erhead
Exploding with roars, midst the enemy ranks
And strewing the fore-shore with dead

As these tiny craft beached at seven twenty five
That same morning on Normandy shore
To a person who watched could plainly be seen
That freedom was saved "Evermore"

As the allied troops swept up the beaches
Those small craft again faced the sea
Save those craft that were sunk by gunfire or stake
And had perished for "Liberty"

Any now the Invasion is over
And soon will be talked of no more
Still, I know that "Glenearn" will never forget
That day, June the sixth, forty four

[HMS Glenearn was a mother ship that carried minor Landing Craft, their crews and human cargos from UK waters to 8 miles or so off the Normandy coast where they were lowered into the water to make their way to the landing beaches under their own power. This poem was received with thanks from Myles Sutherland. If anyone knows who the poet was please let us know via "Contact Us" in the page banner.]

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
06-09-2017, 09:32 AM
Sorrowing Love
--- by Katherine Mansfield
And again the flowers are come,
And the light shakes,
And no tiny voice is dumb,
And a bud breaks
On the humble bush and the proud restless tree.
Come with me!

Look, this little flower is pink,
And this one white.
Here's a pearl cup for your drink,
Here's for your delight
A yellow one, sweet with honey.
Here's fairy money
Silver bright
Scattered over the grass
As we pass.

Here's moss. How the smell of it lingers
On my cold fingers!
You shall have no moss. Here's a frail
Hyacinth, deathyly pale.
Not for you, not for you!
And the place where they grew
You must promise me not to discover,
My sorrowful lover!
Shall we never be happy again?
Never again play?
In vain--in vain!
Come away!

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
06-15-2017, 11:07 AM
http://www.thehypertexts.com/The%20Best%20Free%20Verse%20Poems%20of%20All%20Tim e.htm

Wallace Stevens is one of the best modern free verse poets, although many of his best poems are written in what appears to be gorgeously-rhythmed blank verse (i.e., unrhymed iambic pentameter). His meter is so good it defies categorization; only Hart Crane rivals him when it comes to writing fluid verse.

The Snow Man
-----by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

************************************************** ***

Yes folks, I actually chose a free verse poem! When once , not too long ago, I detested free verse with an intense passion..
I guess an old dog can learn new tricks.... :laugh::laugh:--Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
06-20-2017, 10:29 PM
The Dream
----------by Louise Bogan
O God, in the dream the terrible horse began
To paw at the air, and make for me with his blows,
Fear kept for thirty-five years poured through his mane,
And retribution equally old, or nearly, breathed through his nose.

Coward complete, I lay and wept on the ground
When some strong creature appeared, and leapt for the rein.
Another woman, as I lay half in a swound
Leapt in the air, and clutched at the leather and chain.

Give him, she said, something of yours as a charm.
Throw him, she said, some poor thing you alone claim.
No, no, I cried, he hates me; he is out for harm,
And whether I yield or not, it is all the same.

But, like a lion in a legend, when I flung the glove
Pulled from my sweating, my cold right hand;
The terrible beast, that no one may understand,
Came to my side, and put down his head in love.

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
06-21-2017, 02:30 PM
Song: Memory, hither come
----------by William Blake
Memory, hither come,
And tune your merry notes;
And, while upon the wind
Your music floats,

I'll pore upon the stream
Where sighing lovers dream,
And fish for fancies as they pass
Within the watery glass.

I'll drink of the clear stream,
And hear the linnet's song;
And there I'll lie and dream
The day along:

And, when night comes, I'll go
To places fit for woe,
Walking along the darken'd valley
With silent Melancholy.

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
06-25-2017, 09:50 AM

- Poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!--yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost forever:

Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.

We rest.--A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise.--One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:

It is the same!--For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.

Percy Bysshe Shelley


Percy Bysshe Shelley
Poet Details
Painting of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Chronicle / Alamy Stock Photo

The life and works of Percy Bysshe Shelley exemplify Romanticism in both its extremes of joyous ecstasy and brooding despair. The major themes are there in Shelley’s dramatic if short life and in his works, enigmatic, inspiring, and lasting: the restlessness and brooding, the rebellion against authority, the interchange with nature, the power of the visionary imagination and of poetry, the pursuit of ideal love, and the untamed spirit ever in search of freedom—all of these Shelley exemplified in the way he lived his life and live on in the substantial body of work that he left the world after his legendary death by drowning at age twenty-nine. While Shelley shares many basic themes and symbols with his great contemporaries, he has left his peculiar stamp on Romanticism: the creation of powerful symbols in his visionary pursuit of the ideal, at the same time tempered by a deep skepticism. His thought is characterized by an insistence on taking the controversial side of issues, even at the risk of being unpopular and ridiculed. From the very beginning of his career as a published writer at the precocious age of seventeen, throughout his life, and even to the present day the very name of Shelley has evoked either the strongest vehemence or the warmest praise, bordering on worship. More than any other English Romantic writer, with the possible exception of his friend George Gordon, Lord Byron, Shelley’s life and reputation have had a history and life of their own apart from the reputation of his various works.

Born on 4 August 1792—the year of the Terror in France—Percy Bysshe Shelley (the “Bysshe” from his grandfather, a peer of the realm) was the son of Timothy and Elizabeth Shelley. As the elder son among one brother, John, and four sisters, Elizabeth, Mary, Margaret, and Hellen, Percy stood in line not only to inherit his grandfather’s considerable estate but also to sit in Parliament one day. In his position as oldest male child, young Percy was beloved and admired by his sisters, his parents, and even the servants in his early reign as young lord of Field Place, the family home near Horsham, Sussex. Playful and imaginative, he devised games to play with his sisters and told ghost stories to an enrapt and willing-to-be-thrilled audience.

However, the idyllic and receptive world of Field Place did not prepare him for the regimented discipline and the taunting boys of Syon House Academy, which Shelley entered in 1802. Here Shelley was subjected to the usual bullying, made all the worse by his failure to control his temper and his poor skills in fighting. The most positive memories Shelley had of his two years at Syon House were undoubtedly of the imaginative and lively lectures of Adam Walker on science-electricity, astronomy, and chemistry-an interest which Shelley retained throughout his life. In Shelley’s free-ranging mind there was no contradiction between an interest in science and an appetite for trashy Gothic romance thrillers, such as Matthew Gregory Lewis’s popular The Monk (1795).

Shelley’s six years at Eton College, which he entered at age twelve in 1804, are more notable for his early love interests and for his early literary endeavors than for what he learned in the formal curriculum. Shelley often found himself the victim of bullying and fragging, as well as being taunted with epithets such as “Mad Shelley” and “Shelley the atheist,” a situation alleviated sometimes by the intervention of his older cousin, Tom Medwin, who was later to become one of Shelley’s first biographers. The strongest adult influence on Shelley during this time was not one of his masters but Dr. James Lind, the physician to the royal household at nearby Windsor, whom Shelley admired for his knowledge and free spirits and idealized as a kind of substitute father figure. As Newman Ivey White notes, Dr. Lind was the prototype of the benevolent old man who frees Laon from prison in The Revolt of Islam. Shelley’s access to Dr. Lind’s extensive library enabled him to pursue his earlier interests in science and magic as well as to begin a wide range of reading in philosophy and literature. By the end of his career at Eton he was reading widely in Plato, Pliny, and Lucretius, reading Robert Southey enthusiastically and Walter Scott less so, as well as continuing to read many Gothic romances.

While at Eton Shelley began two pursuits that would continue with intense fervor throughout his life: writing and loving, the two often blending together so that the loving becomes the subject matter for the writing. Although Shelley began writing poems while at Eton, some of which were published in 1810 in Original Poetry; by Victor and Cazire and some of which were not published until the 1960s as The Esdaile Notebook, it was perhaps inevitable that his first publication should have been a Gothic novel, Zastrozzi (1810). As is typical of popular Gothic romances at the time, the innocent and virtuous hero and heroine, Verezzi and Julia, and the villains, Matilda and Zastrozzi, are broadly drawn. It is noteworthy that Shelley put his heretical and atheistical opinions into the mouth of the villain Zastrozzi, thereby airing those dangerous opinions without having them ascribed to him as the author or narrator. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Zastrozzi, aside from what it may suggest about Shelley’s psychological makeup at the time, is the fact that it was reviewed twice, one a suspiciously favorable review and the other a predictably vehement attack, the first but not the last to associate the author’s name with “immorality.”

Shelley’s other publication prior to entering Oxford, Original Poetry; by Victor and Cazire—a joint effort by Shelley and his sister Elizabeth—deservedly met the same fate with the critics as Zastrozzi, one reviewer having described the volume as “songs of sentimental nonsense, and very absurd tales of horror.” These early reviews, however justified they may have been concerning his juvenilia, set the tone for his treatment by the critics throughout his career, even for many of his greatest works. Certainly the doggerel verse does not foreshadow Shelley’s mastery of the lyric, but the subject matter of the poems is not only romantic but characteristically Shelleyan: poetry, love, sorrow, hope, nature, and politics. Shelley’s love interest in these poems was his cousin Harriet Grove, but their relationship was discouraged by their families.

When Shelley went up to University College, Oxford, in 1810 he was already a published and reviewed writer and a voracious reader with intellectual interests far beyond the rather narrow scope of the prescribed curriculum. Timothy Shelley, proud of his son and wanting to indulge his apparently harmless interests in literature, could not have foreseen where it might lead when he took Shelley to the booksellers Slatter and Munday and instructed them as follows: “My son here has a literary turn; he is already an author, and do pray indulge him in his printing freaks.”

Shortly after entering Oxford Shelley met another freshman, Thomas Jefferson Hogg, a meeting that was to change both their lives forever after, perhaps Hogg’s even more than Shelley’s. The two young men immediately became fast friends, each stimulating the imagination and intellect of the other in their animated discussions of philosophy, literature, science, magic, religion, and politics. In his biography of Shelley, Hogg recalled the time they spent in Shelley’s rooms, reading, discussing, arguing, and Shelley performing scientific experiments.

During his brief stay at Oxford (less than a year), Shelley undertook three publishing ventures, the first two comparatively harmless attempts at Gothic fiction and poetry, the third a prose pamphlet, The Necessity of Atheism (1811), which was to have such a disastrous effect on his relationship with his family and such a dramatic effect on his life. Already having written most of his second Gothic romance, St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian, before he entered Oxford, Shelley published it with Stockdale, whom he assured it would sell well to the circulating libraries, in 1811 under the epithet “a Gentleman of the University of Oxford.” St. Irvyne is notable for the appearance of a prototypical Shelleyan poet figure, but its two plots are hopelessly complicated and confusing, and, in the opinion of many commentators, unfinished. It appears that in the early excitement of college life and other interests, Shelley lost interest in following through on what was to have been a full-blown three-decker romance.

Shelley and Hogg’s joint collection of poems, Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson (1810, the title character taken from “that noted female who attempted the life of the King [George III] in 1786”), was purported to have been found and edited by “John Fitzvictor,” the two authors wisely having decided to place neither of their names on the title page in that age when both author and publisher could easily end up in prison on convictions of treason and sedition. The slender volume includes a mixed bag of poems, including Gothic and melancholy lyrics as well as an antiwar, antimonarchical poem simply titled “War,” notable for being the first appearance of Shelley’s lifelong attack on monarchies and all authority figures.

Indeed Shelley and Hogg’s decision to publish Shelley’s Necessity of Atheism, together with their sending copies of it to the conservative Oxford dons, seems more calculated to antagonize and flout authority than to persuade by rational argument. Actually the title of the pamphlet is more inflammatory than the argument, which centers upon “the nature of belief,” a position Shelley derived from the skeptical philosophies of John Locke and David Hume. Belief cannot come from a voluntary act of will; the burden of proof for belief can be found in only three sources: the senses, reason, or testimony. Nevertheless, the Oxford authorities acted swiftly and decisively, expelling both Shelley and Hogg in March 1811. The two could probably have been reinstated with the intervention of Shelley’s father, but they would have had to disavow the pamphlet and declare themselves Christians. Mr. Shelley insisted upon the additional demand that they should not see each other for a stipulated period of time. Shelley was intransigent, not only refusing to accede to his father’s demands but taking an insulting and high tone with him as well. The result was a complete break between Shelley and his father, which entailed financial distress for Shelley at least until he would come of age two years hence. Thus early in his life Shelley demonstrated his idealism by his willingness to sacrifice comfort and security rather than compromise his principles or beliefs.

For the next two years Shelley’s personal and financial affairs demanded so much of his attention and energies that he had little left to devote to literary ventures. After his expulsion from Oxford, in addition to being occupied with financial matters and keeping company with Hogg, Shelley’s attentions were given to two women, Elizabeth Hitchener, his philosophical “soul sister” and correspondent, and Harriet Westbrook, an attractive young woman of sixteen whom Shelley had met through his sister Hellen.

Apparently acting more from motives of principle and from the idea that he might mold the impressionable young Harriet than from real love for her, Shelley impulsively decided to “rescue” her from her oppressive situation at her boarding school in Clapham. Shelley and Harriet eloped to Edinburgh, where, Shelley violating his principle of Godwinian free love in favor of Harriet’s happiness and reputation, they were married on 28 or 29 August 1811. The couple was soon joined by Hogg, who went with them to York and, being unable to pursue Shelley’s plan for a liaison between Hogg and Shelley’s sister Elizabeth, promptly fell in love with Harriet and tried to seduce her-a pattern he was to repeat, later falling in love with Mary Shelley and eventually settling down with Jane Williams. Shelley’s principles of free love could have accommodated a ménage à trois but not without the willing consent of Harriet, so Hogg was effectively banished, and, though the breach was partially healed, he never again enjoyed the same intimacy with Shelley as he had had before this incident.

Shelley and Harriet, accompanied by Harriet’s sister Eliza, whose presence Shelley found increasingly oppressive, decided to leave York—probably to escape Hogg—and settle in Keswick in November 1811. Here Shelley met Robert Southey, whose Thalaba (1801) and Curse of Kehama (1810) he had much admired. But Shelley began to see the older poet as an apostate from radicalism, especially since Southey patronized him and tried to steer him away from radical causes. Shelley became much more interested in meeting another of his cultural heroes: William Godwin, whose Political Justice (1793) had been for Shelley a book to live by. Upon hearing that the author of his moral and political bible was still living, Shelley immediately introduced himself to Godwin in a letter dated 3 January 1812. This acquaintance was to have at least as much influence on Shelley’s personal life as his reading of Political Justice had on his political ideas.

While at Keswick Shelley conceived a plan to put his radical political ideas into action. He had been working on a pamphlet simply titled An Address, to the Irish People (1812), and nothing less would do than publishing it, distributing it, and delivering it in person to its intended audience, the oppressed Irish Catholics. Shelley, Harriet, and Eliza arrived in Dublin in February 1812 and began to distribute the pamphlet, which favored Catholic emancipation but cautioned the Irish to proceed slowly so as not to be drawn into violence. The influence of the philosophes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Paine, Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft is evident in the pamphlet, which ranges easily from the specific plight of the Irish to the need for “universal emancipation,” clearly echoing Paine’s international republicanism in its call for universal brotherhood. Shelley delivered a version of An Address to an audience on 28 February and was met with a mixed response, the crowd applauding the sections on Catholic emancipation and hissing some of his antireligious sentiments.

Another “Irish” pamphlet, Proposals for an Association of those Philanthropists, followed closely upon the first (March 1812). Despite Godwin’s misgivings, expressed strongly to Shelley in letters, lest radical organizations might follow the path of the Jacobinical societies that led to the French Terror, Shelley realized that the Irish would not attain any degree of freedom without unity and organization. The Proposals are Shelley’s earliest public statement of the way in which love and politics should be inseparable: “Love for humankind” should “place individuals at distance from self,” thereby promoting “universal feeling.” Shelley felt that he could do no more in Ireland, so the Shelleys and Eliza settled briefly in Cwm Elan, Wales, where Shelley continued to write radical pamphlets. He distilled the arguments in An Address and the Proposals in Declaration of Rights, a broadside which he distributed with the help of his servant Daniel Healey (or Hill), who was arrested, technically for distributing a broadside without a printer’s name on it, but really because the material was subversive. This episode incensed Shelley about how little real freedom of the press existed in England; his response was another pamphlet, A Letter to Lord Ellenborough (1812), an eloquent argument in favor of freedom of the press and of speech. Rather than pleading his own case, Shelley wisely focuses on the well-publicized trial of Daniel Isaac Eaton, a London bookseller who had been sentenced to prison for publishing part 3 of Paine’s The Age of Reason .

Amid financial difficulties, local gossip about an immoral household, and fears that Shelley himself might be arrested, the Shelleys and Eliza, now accompanied by Elizabeth Hitchener, who had joined them in Lynmouth, prudently decided to flee and stay for a while near Tremadoc, which attracted Shelley because of an embankment project that would claim land back from the sea. During this early period of his life, Shelley had quietly been composing poems in a notebook, which fell into the hands of the Esdaile family after Shelley’s death and which was not published until this century, as The Esdaile Notebook (1964). The poems included therein are an interesting mix of very personal poems, treating his feelings for Harriet and some of his moments of despair and isolation, and public, political, and social poems, treating themes of liberty, the Irish cause, the plight of the poor, the futility of war, and his hatred of religious hypocrisy and monarchies. Partaking of the central metaphors of poetic discourse of this time, showing the influence of William Wordsworth, the poems in The Esdaile Notebook are written in straightforward language and reiterate the power of nature and the naturalness of poetry. Devoid of mythology, these poems rely upon common personal and political allusions, the eighteenth-century convention of abstractions, contemporary lyric forms and genres, and topical content. Writing these poems was for Shelley a kind of poet’s apprenticeship, which he did not feel confident about bringing to the public’s eye during his lifetime.

The Shelleys spent periods during 1812 and 1813 in London, where Shelley was able to make new acquaintances among liberal and literary circles and to renew earlier friendships such as those with Hogg and Leigh Hunt, a radical London publisher and writer who was to be a lifelong defender of Shelley. In addition, Shelley became a member of the Boinville circle, an informal literary discussion group, and met Thomas Hookham, a radical bookseller and publisher, and another aspiring writer, Thomas Love Peacock, who became a kind of friendly literary foil for Shelley and later one of his biographers. In October 1812 Shelley finally met his political father, Godwin, who, like Elizabeth Hitchener (expelled from the Shelley circle), failed to live up to Shelley’s idealized image of him. Instead of inspiring Shelley with his political wisdom and intellect, Godwin became a nagging financial burden to Shelley for the rest of his life.

Shelley’s major literary project at this time was Queen Mab, printed by his friend Hookham in May or June of 1813. Queen Mab is a political epic in which the fairy queen Mab takes the spirit of Ianthe (the name Percy and Harriet gave their first child, born in June 1813) on a time and space journey to reveal the ideal nature of humanity’s potential behind the mistakes of history and the blind acceptance of “outward shows” of power. The poem reiterates many of the themes of Shelley’s political pamphlets, attacking the oppressiveness of religious dogma and superstition as well as of customs and institutions such as the monarchy. The poem’s perspective is utopian, viewing the pettiness and selfishness of the world from distant, lofty heights and suggesting the great potential of the uncorrupted human soul. The utopian and visionary perspectives of the poem foreshadow the apocalyptic and millennial vision of Shelley’s later poetry. That Shelley was using poetry to convey radical political ideas in response to the threats of freedom of the press is clear in his feeling the necessity to assure Hookham that “a poem is safe: the iron-souled attorney general would scarcely dare to attack.” Lest his philosophical or political points should get lost in the poetry, Shelley added copious prose notes to the end of the poem, the familiar attacks on religion, monarchy, and wealth, the advocacy of vegetarianism, free love, and free beliefs, and explanatory notes on geology, astronomy, necessity, and the labor theory of value. Queen Mab was distributed only privately at the time it was printed, but in 1821 it began to appear in unauthorized, pirated editions, somewhat to Shelley’s embarrassment. Interestingly enough, the poem became a kind of radical bible to many in the Chartist movement in the 1830s and 1840s.

Once Shelley became a frequent visitor to the Godwin household, it was inevitable that he would meet the three young women living there: Mary Godwin, Jane (later Claire) Clairmont, and Fanny Imlay. It was equally inevitable that all three women would fall in love with Shelley in varying degrees and that Shelley should fall in love with Mary. As the daughter of Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft (whose writings Shelley had already read and admired), Mary represented to Shelley an ideal offspring of two great minds. Growing up in the Godwin household had exposed Mary to ideas, and she could read freely in the books in Godwin’s library; moreover, she had an independent mind and was willing to argue with Shelley, when they would go to talk by the grave of Mary’s mother, rather than be passively molded by him, like Harriet. Perhaps the only real tragedy was that Shelley had not met Mary before he married Harriet. Although Shelley believed he was following Godwin’s principles of free love in replacing Harriet with Mary as the object of his highest love and in offering Harriet to live with them as his sister rather than his wife, Godwin bitterly opposed the relationship, and Harriet became estranged and completely shattered. Knowing that Godwin and his wife would do what they could to stop them, Shelley and Mary, accompanied by Jane Clairmont, eloped on the night of 27 July 1814, first to Calais, then to Paris, and on to Switzerland. After a six weeks’ stay, the three were forced to return to England because of money problems.

Upon their return to London, the Shelleys were ostracized for their elopement, especially by the Godwins, and Shelley, at least until his grandfather Bysshe died in January 1815, had to spend much of his time trying to raise money from post-obit bonds in order to meet Harriet’s needs and satisfy his own many creditors and thus keep out of the hands of the bailiffs. Harriet gave birth to a son, Charles, in November 1814, and in February 1815 Mary gave birth prematurely to a child who died only two weeks later. In his usual pattern Hogg conceived a love for Mary, and Shelley, with Mary’s initial consent, agreed to the experiment in free love, but Mary lost interest.

Shelley’s only publication in 1814, A Refutation of Deism: in a Dialogue, is a two-pronged attack on what he regarded as the crumbling superstructure of the established institutions of religious belief in early-nineteenth-century England. Directed toward intellectuals and Deists, A Refutation of Deism employs two interlocutors, Eusebes and Theosophus, to pick apart the arguments supporting both Christianity and Deism, thus leaving atheism as the only rational ground to stand upon.

With improved finances and health in 1815, Shelley not only found the time to write poetry but began to develop a more sophisticated and symbolic style that foreshadows his mature productions. The volume published in 1816, Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude: and Other Poems, is Shelley’s public initiation into the Romantic idiom of poetry pioneered by Wordsworth and perhaps directly inspired by the publication of The Excursion in 1814. Shelley had already served his apprenticeship in writing meditative poems in settings of solitude and nature’s grandeur while he was in Wales some three or four years earlier.

Alastor, with its use of symbols, visionary elements, and mythic sources (the Narcissus-Echo myth in particular), marks a real advance over Shelley’s earlier efforts in writing poetry. Thomas Love Peacock suggested the title to Shelley: Alastor, which refers not to the name of the Poet, but to an evil genius or avenging spirits of solitude. Certainly there are elements of autobiography in the poem, both in the sense that Shelley felt himself to be haunted by real (the bailiffs) or imagined (assailants) spirits at various times in his life and in the sense that in his personal relationships he had made and would again make the same mistake that the Poet makes: of seeking “in vain for a prototype of his conception” of the idealized part of himself. In the preface to the poem Shelley cautions against this solitary quest, warning not only that such pursuits will result in the neglect of one’s social duties but that they will lead one to loneliness, alienation, and ultimately death.

Yet what gives Alastor vibrancy and tension—life—is that it is not a didactic morality poem; it is a subtle and complex poem in which the two kinds of poetry represented by the Narrator, the Wordsworthian poet of nature, and the visionary Poet of genius are drawn into a kind of complementary conflict. The Narrator relates the story of the Poet’s life and quest, interspersing his narration with panegyrics to nature. Like his famous literary counterparts—Werther, St. Preux, the Solitary, Childe Harold—the Poet is alienated early in life, travels, and becomes a wanderer searching for some truth that will give his life meaning. In his travels he develops his sensibilities and imagination by viewing symbolic Shelleyan landscapes (volcanoes, caves, domes, springs), by becoming a vegetarian, and by steeping himself in “the awful ruins of the days of old.”

The Poet rejects an Arab maiden in favor of a veiled maid, a vision of his own imagination. Except for her feminine attributes, the veiled maid is his doppelgänger, an “echo” of his own narcissistic desires: “Her voice was like the voice of his own soul / Heard in the calm of thought.” After the Poet imagines that he consummates his physical passion for the veiled maid, the vision of the maid taunts him as he futilely pursues her through a blighted landscape. But he is really pursuing himself, and when he realizes this, he welcomes his early death, the fate of many Romantic poets and heroes. Shelley himself felt the lure of the life of solitude contrasted with the enforced solitude that he had experienced at various periods in his life, including the lack of a receptive audience for his writings. Predictably, with the exception of a favorable article on “Young Poets” in Leigh Hunt’s Examiner (1 December 1816), Alastor was dubbed in the reviews as “obscure” and “morbid.”

The year 1816 proved to be exciting for Shelley and Mary and for Claire Clairmont. In January, Mary gave birth to a son, named William after her father, who though he was still cold to Shelley and Mary, continued to be a financial burden on them. In the spring Claire threw herself at Lord Byron, who was recently separated from Lady Byron, and became his mistress. In May she persuaded Shelley and Mary to alter their plans for a trip to Italy and go to Lake Geneva instead, where she knew Byron was headed. The two poets found each other stimulating and spent much time together, sailing on Lake Geneva and discussing poetry and other topics, including ghosts and spirits, into the night. During one of these ghostly “seances,” Byron proposed that each person present—himself, Shelley, Mary, Claire, and his physician, Dr. John Polidori—should write a ghost story. Mary’s contribution to the contest became the novel Frankenstein; published in 1818 with a preface by Shelley, it became one of the most popular works of the whole Romantic period.

For his part Shelley was deeply impressed with the power of the natural scenery, brought on by the combination of the lake and the surrounding mountains, especially Mont Blanc. Both Shelley and Byron were inspired by the associations the area had with Rousseau, whom they regarded as the spiritual leader of romanticism. Shelley was deeply impressed with Rousseau’s descriptions of this area in Julie; ou La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761). Shelley also “dosed” Byron with Wordsworth’s descriptions of nature; this influence is evident in Canto III (1816) of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage .

Shelley too did not come out of this Switzerland trip empty-handed. He was stimulated to write two of his finest poems: “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” and Mont Blanc. The “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” reveals the influence of Wordsworth, of his “Tintern Abbey” and “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” in particular. As Wordsworth does in “Tintern Abbey,” Shelley in the “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” suggests how his imagination and poetic sensitivity were formed by nature, and more significantly, by visitations from the shadowy power of intellectual beauty and how, in turn, he dedicated his poetic powers to intellectual beauty. Much as Wordsworth did in his “Intimations” ode, Shelley laments his feeling that the presence of this power was stronger in his youth.

In Mont Blanc Shelley discovers a similar but even more enigmatic power, but the conclusion he reaches is more skeptical, less Wordsworthian. Shelley chose a familiar romantic topic for this poem: Coleridge’s “Hymn before Sun-Rise in the Vale of Chamouni,” passages from Rousseau’s Julie, Wordsworth’s poetry, and Byron’s Childe Harold and Manfred—all have in common the description of the awesome effect on the observer wrought by Mont Blanc in particular or the Alps in general. Though Shelley much admired the new kind of poetry ushered in by Wordsworth and Coleridge, he was equally convinced by 1815 that both the older poets were political apostates, having sold out to religion and the political status quo in the reaction that followed Napoleon’s defeat. Thus the relationship with nature that Shelley explores in Mont Blanc is more ridden with skepticism and doubt than the pantheism of Wordsworth or the Christian revelation of Coleridge. The only meaning the poet can draw from the mountain’s impenetrable, impassable visage is what his own imagination can supply. To the imaginative observer the mountain provides a parable of creation and destruction in its lower reaches and valleys and of unknowable permanence and power in the majestic solitudes of its uppermost heights. Probably no passage in Shelley’s canon has been more widely disputed than the final three lines of Mont Blanc:

And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and sea,
If to the human mind’s imaginings
Silence and solitude were vacancy?

The enigmatic mountain leaves the speaker with no assurance that the imagination may endow with meaning the awful blankness of nature.

After their return to England, Shelley and Mary were faced with the disasters of two suicides: Fanny Imlay, Mary’s half sister and an admirer of Shelley, and Harriet, Shelley’s wife. Since both women had been, at least at one time, in love with Shelley, Shelley and Mary must have felt in some measure responsible. Shelley married Mary on 30 December 1816, and became involved in drawn-out court proceedings with the Westbrooks, led by his old adversary Eliza, over the custody of Shelley and Harriet’s children, Ianthe and Charles. Some of Shelley’s writings, most prominently Queen Mab, were cited during the proceedings to show that Shelley held moral and religious opinions that rendered him unfit to assume custody. By the time the case was finally decided in 1818, with Lord Eldon making provisions for the children to be cared for by a guardian, the Shelleys were in Italy with Shelley never to return to England.

In March of 1817 the Shelleys settled in Marlow, an environment that provided the flexibility of moving in literary circles and the tranquillity needed for thinking and writing. Now more friendly with Mary and Shelley, probably because of their marriage, Godwin was a visitor. In addition to regular conversations with Peacock, Shelley became good friends with Leigh Hunt and met some of the young writers in Hunt’s circle, including John Keats and Horace Smith. Given the fact that Shelley’s liberal friends and acquaintances were politically opposed to the reactionary forces in England after Napoleon’s defeat, it is not surprising that Shelley’s writings during his Marlow period are politically charged: two pamphlets, A Proposal for Putting Reform to the Vote Throughout the Kingdom and An Address to the People on the Death of the Princess Charlotte, and one political epic, The Revolt of Islam.

Shelley signed both pamphlets “The Hermit of Marlow.” The first suggests petitions to increase suffrage, along the lines of what would eventually be put into practice in the 1832 Reform Bill. The second pamphlet (no copies of the first edition are extant) is a rhetorical tour de force in which Shelley chastises even liberals, borrowing a phrase from Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man: “We pity the plumage but forget the dying bird.” Shelley suggests that in the public outpour of mourning over the untimely death of Princess Charlotte, people, even the friends of liberty and reform, have neglected the executions of three laborers, who in turn become symbols of all the poor and the unjustly treated. Shelley concludes the essay with an allegorical account of the death of Liberty, a valid reason for mourning.

Shelley was again confronted with the problem of censorship with his longest poem in its original version, with its original title: Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City: A Vision of the Nineteenth Century, which was withdrawn after only a few copies were published. Even the comparatively liberal Ollier brothers, Shelley’s publishers, objected to the brother-sister incest between the two title characters and to some of the attacks on religion. Shelley took out the incestuous relationship, deleted other objectionable passages, and republished the poem as The Revolt of Islam; A Poem, in Twelve Cantos. His description of the poem in the preface suggests some of its structural difficulties: “It is a succession of pictures illustrating the growth and progress of individual mind aspiring to excellence, and devoted to the love of mankind.” Dedicated to the idea that “love is celebrated everywhere as the sole law which should govern the moral world,” The Revolt of Islam provides a poetic forum for Shelley to condemn oppression, religious fraud, war, tyrants, and their consequences—”civil war, famine, plague, superstition, and an utter extinction of the domestic affection”—and to recommend hope, enlightenment, love, “moral dignity and freedom.”

Written in Spenserian stanzas, The Revolt of Islam begins with an allegory of the eternal struggle between evil and good, here symbolized by “an Eagle and a Serpent wreathed in fight.” Laon, a Shelleyan hero representing love, begins his narrative in Canto II by relating the natural, loving, and inspiring childhood relationship between himself and Cythna, who appears as a liberated Wollstonecraftian woman. In Cantos III and IV Cythna is captured by soldiers, while Laon is imprisoned and goes mad. A kindly hermit frees him and nourishes him with nature and learning, finally bringing him back to sanity after seven years.

Laon rejoins Cythna as the revolutionary forces of good march into the Golden City. The revolution is kept peaceful as the soldiers throw down their weapons, and, through Laon’s intervention, the tyrant Othman is spared the revenge of the people. The forces of reaction overwhelm the patriots, but Cythna saves Laon, and they consummate their love. The king’s “Iberian Priest” decides that the only way to stop the famine and pestilence is to burn Laon and Cythna. The burning purifies them, and their spirits travel beyond the mutable world to the Temple of the Spirit, a permanent realm of virtue and happiness. J. G. Lockhart, the reviewer for Blackwood’s (January 1819), thought the poem obscure and unfinished, and in a way The Revolt of Islam was a kind of testing ground for Shelley to work out his system of symbols—caves, rivers, boats, veils—and his political mythology so that he could employ them with greater skill in later works.

Shelley probably wrote Rosalind and Helen, A Modern Eclogue before he left England, though the poem was not published by Ollier until 1819. Shelley derives the relationship between Rosalind and Helen from the friendship that had existed between Mary Shelley and Isabel Baxter before her husband, a domestic tyrant like Rosalind’s husband, caused the friendship to be broken off. For shock value Shelley introduces the incest theme in the relationship between Rosalind and her brother and the theme of free love in the relationship between Helen and Lionel, whose prototypes are Laon and Cythna. As an aristocrat who writes radical poetry, Lionel appears to be based upon Shelley himself. After both women lose their male lovers, they turn to each other in sisterly love, exchanging tales of woe and social injustice.

For reasons of health and finances, as well as for the obligation to take Allegra, Byron and Claire’s child (born in January 1817), to her father, the Shelleys and their children, William and Clara (born in September 1817), together with Claire and Allegra, and the children’s nurses set out for Italy in March 1818. For Shelley’s development as a poet the change of climate proved fruitful, for he was to write some of his greatest poetry under the clear blue Italian skies. Once in Italy, Shelley found himself in the delicate position of having to mediate between Claire and Byron over Allegra, with the later result of Allegra’s being placed in a convent and dying. The expatriates stayed in Pisa and Leghorn before settling for the summer in Bagni di Lucca, in the Apennines. They found congenial company in John and Maria Gisborne and her son, Henry Reveley, an engineer developing a steamboat.

Two poems written at Este, “Lines Written among the Euganean Hills” and Julian and Maddalo, grew directly out of Shelley’s Italian experiences in the summer and fall of 1818. The immediate source for “Lines” is a day spent in the Euganean Hills overlooking Padua and Venice. The emotional source is Shelley’s misery over the death of his child Clara in September 1818 and Mary’s subsequent depression and disaffection. The hills are “green isle[s] .../ In the deep wide sea of Misery,” moments of happiness and insight among man’s generally dark and miserable existence. That Shelley’s recent visit to Byron was very much in his mind is evident in his tribute to him as the poet of Ocean. The imagery of the changing intensity of light during the day reflects the poet’s visionary imagination. Shelley concludes this beautiful poem with a wish for domestic tranquillity for himself and those he loves and a hope that the world will recognize its brotherhood and “grow young again.”

Julian and Maddalo, not published until its inclusion in Posthumous Poems (1824), is Shelley’s most direct poetic treatment of his relationship with Lord Byron and reflects conversations during their horseback rides along the Lido while Shelley was visiting Byron at Venice in August 1818. In the poem Julian (Shelley) takes the side of optimism and hope in the face of despondency and evidence of misery, while Maddalo (Byron) takes a pessimistic view, stemming partly from his pride. For the side of hope Julian cites the beauty of Nature in this “Paradise of Exiles, Italy!” and the natural goodness of childhood, describing Shelley’s own play with Byron’s child Allegra as evidence: “A lovlier toy sweet nature never made, / A serious, subtle, wild, yet gentle being.” Julian asserts the power of the mind over itself: “Where is the love, beauty, and truth we seek / But in our mind?”

Maddalo accuses Julian of talking “Utopia,” citing as evidence for his pessimism a madman who was once as idealistic as Julian. Each thinking he will support his own arguments, they decide to visit the madman, whom commentators have variously identified as Tasso or as Shelley’s alter ego. But the madman’s soliloquy is inconclusive. He says that part of his suffering is his own doing, but part seems inflicted upon him from some outside power. However, he has retained his ideals and integrity, still believing in the possibility of social reform and eschewing revenge against his lover, who has scorned him for her paramour. He believes that love leads to misery, suggesting, “There is one road to peace and that is truth.” After hearing the madman’s soliloquy, both Julian and Maddalo are subdued and feel pity. Maddalo concludes, “Most wretched men / Are cradled into poetry by wrong, / They learn in suffering what they teach in song.” Julian returns many years later only to find Maddalo away, the madman and his lover dead, and Maddalo’s child a grown woman. He learns from her that the madman’s lover returned for a while but deserted him once again. He finally agrees with the woman that “the cold world shall not know” the last private details of the madman’s misery. Many of the other poems Shelley wrote during this same period, such as the fine lyric “Stanzas Written in Dejection near Naples,” depict Shelley’s despair over his estranged relationship with Mary and were also not published until Posthumous Poems .

Shelley provided rapturous descriptions of his travels in Italy in his letters to Peacock, expressing his particular delight in Roman ruins. But these delights were balanced, as always seemed to be the case for Shelley and Mary, by yet another tragedy, the death of their son, William, in June 1819. An additional cause for despair was what came to be known as the “Hoppner Scandal,” so called because the Shelleys’ discharged servant Elise Foggi had related to the Hoppners, Byron’s friends in Venice, that unbeknownst to Mary, Claire had born Shelley a child in Naples. Records do support the existence of Shelley’s “Neapolitan Charge,” Elena Adelaide Shelley, but to this day scholars view the parentage of this child as speculative.

During this 1818-1819 period Shelley wrote what many consider to be his masterpiece, Prometheus Unbound (1820), subtitled A Lyrical Drama, perhaps to suggest a hybrid genre in the way Wordsworth and Coleridge had signaled their pioneering efforts by titling their first volume of poetry Lyrical Ballads (1798). Shelley had been developing the symbolism, imagery, and ideas for the poem for several years. For example, he states in the preface that “the imagery which I have employed will be found ... to have been drawn from the operations of the human mind,” a technique he had already used in Mont Blanc. Shelley had had a longstanding interest in and familiarity with Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound, even translating it for Byron, but he could not accept the idea that Aeschylus had bound the champion of mankind for eternity, or even worse, that Prometheus would have been reconciled with Jupiter in Aeschylus’s lost drama, the sequel to Prometheus Bound. As Shelley avers in the preface, “I was averse from a catastrophe so feeble as that of reconciling the Champion with the Oppressor of mankind.” The choice of Prometheus as his hero is not surprising, given this mythological character’s association with rebellion and isolation from his act of giving fire to man against the gods’ wishes and his reputation as a “forethinker” or prophet. For Shelley he came to symbolize the mind or soul of man in its highest potential.

The drama begins with Prometheus bound to a precipice of icy rocks in the Indian Caucasus, the situation of a Romantic outcast. Prometheus has reached the point of desperately needing to reveal his thoughts and so free himself of the self-imprisoning hatred of Jupiter. Many commentators regard line fifty-three, in which Prometheus says to Jupiter, “Disdain! Ah no! I pity thee,” as the turning point of the play. Prometheus also “recalls,” meaning he both remembers and takes back his curse against Jupiter, thus breaking the wintry deadlock between the two adversaries and initiating a change of consciousness. Believing that Prometheus’s recantation of his curse is a sign of submission, Jupiter sends Mercury and the Furies to extract from the Titan the price of his freedom: the secret that contains the key to Jupiter’s overthrow. The Furies try to demoralize Prometheus by reciting the great failures of human hope, the co-option of Christianity by reactionary elements and the violence of the Terror in the French Revolution. But the Furies’ message of futility is counterbalanced by the Spirits’ message of hope and courage.

Asia, the female counterpart of Prometheus and the embodiment of love and nature, opens act 2 in a vale in the Indian Caucasus, waiting for her sister Panthea to come. Asia’s and Panthea’s lyrics in the following sections image forth a change in nature, signaling the coming of spring, hope, and reawakening that will accompany Asia’s reunion with Prometheus. Asia descends into the cave of the enigmatic Demogorgon, who may represent the principle of necessity or of revolution, in order to gain knowledge of how to effect the overthrow of man’s oppressor. Demogorgon is terse with Asia, responding to her questions, such as “who made terror, madness, crime, remorse,” with simply, “He reigns,” and finally with, “The deep truth is imageless.” His terseness stems from his desire to make Asia see the need to change her mental outlook like Prometheus; once this is done, she will understand that the real tyrant exists only in her mind.

Act 3 depicts the fall of Jupiter and thus tyranny from the world. Shelley delighted in making tyrants fall at the moment of their greatest complacency over their omnipotence. Jupiter, thinking that his child Demogorgon will consolidate his power, is shocked to learn that he is a “fatal child,” the principle of revolutionary change. Rather than ascend Jupiter’s vacant throne, Prometheus retires with Asia and her “sister nymphs,” Panthea and Ione, to a cave, forming what one commentator has called “a typically Shelleyan household.” Shelley’s political point here is that even Prometheus would be corrupted by the structure of power, as were the well-intended French revolutionaries; therefore, the political model is an egalitarian utopia with its roots in the philosophical anarchism of Godwin’s Political Justice . Since Prometheus and Asia together symbolize the mind of man, the peoples of the earth undergo the same transformation in consciousness:

Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man
Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless
Exempt from awe, worship, degree [.]

Act 4, written several months after Shelley had completed the first three in April 1819, is a celestial celebration of the birth of a new age. All of nature joins the Earth and the Moon in celebrating in poetic song the passage into a millennium governed by universal love. Demogorgon’s final message to the universe reminds us that maintaining the millennium requires eternal vigilance:

To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
Neither to change, nor flatter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.

Shelley knew that Prometheus Unbound would never be popular, but he thought that it might have a beneficial influence on some already enlightened intellects. In letters to his publisher Ollier, Shelley proclaimed that although this was his “favorite poem,” he did not expect it to sell more than twenty copies and instructed Ollier to send copies to Hunt, Peacock, Hogg, Godwin, Keats, Horace Smith, Thomas Moore, and Byron. The reviewers were predictably harsh in their condemnation of the poem’s moral and political principles, with the reviewer for the Literary Gazette and Journal of the Belles Lettres (9 September 1820) quipping that “no one can ever think [Prometheus] worth binding,” but there was also praise, with words such as “beauty” and “genius” used in various reviews.

Bound with Prometheus Unbound in the volume published in 1820 by Ollier were some of Shelley’s finest extended lyrics, including “Ode to the West Wind,” “The Cloud,” “To a Skylark,” and “Ode to Liberty.” Written in the autumn of 1819 when the Shelleys were in Florence, “Ode to the West Wind” employs natural imagery and symbolism to foretell not only a change in the physical but in the political climate. Writing in terza rima to suggest the force and pace of the wind, Shelley addresses the wind as a “Wild Spirit” that is both “Destroyer and Preserver.” Shelley asks the wind to drive him forth as it does the leaves, the clouds, and the waves so that his poetic song will have the same irresistible power for change to awaken Earth:

Scatter as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth
The trumpet of a prophecy!

Both “An Ode, Written October 1819, before the Spaniards Had Recovered Their Liberty” and “Ode to Liberty” were written in Shelley’s enthusiasm for the recent Spanish revolution. The latter poem recites an idealized history of liberty from its birth in ancient Greece to its most recent appearance in Spain, and its possibilities in England. Recalling Shelley’s earlier interests in science, “The Cloud” demonstrates his knowledge of the meteorological cycle of cloud formation. It is perhaps unfortunate for Shelley’s reputation that “To a Skylark,” a dazzling exercise in metaphor, rather than “Ode to the West Wind,” has been his most frequently anthologized poem, for “To a Skylark” suffers by comparison with Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale.”

Almost immediately after finishing the first three acts of Prometheus Unbound, Shelley began work on another drama, The Cenci (1819). This time instead of using mythology and classical literature as his source material, he used the true Renaissance story of the macabre Cenci family, the villainous count and his virtuous daughter, Beatrice, of whom Shelley had a portrait. Shelley believed that this drama, unlike Prometheus Unbound, would be both popular and stageable, even suggesting his favorite actress, Miss O’Neill, for the part of Beatrice. The Gothic trappings, the elimination of “mere poetry,” and the absence of didactic political instruction were all calculated to make the drama accessible to a wide audience.

Shelley’s political disclaimer in the preface is, of course, belied by the fact that Beatrice’s rebellion against her tyrannical father is yet another version of Shelley’s lifelong struggle against any form of authority, be it kingly, priestly, or fatherly. Count Cenci acts on the assumption that his patriarchal power is absolute, sanctioned as it is by the Pope, the head of Church and State. He knows no checks, first toasting his sons’ deaths in a bizarre parody of the communion ceremony, then raping Beatrice, who has been abandoned by all powers—religious, state, personal—who might have helped her. Although the Count raped Beatrice to assert his domination over her and so make his control over his weak family complete, he is not prepared for Beatrice’s response of revenge. In Shelley’s hands Beatrice’s revenge is a revolutionary act against the oppression of patriarchal authority, not a personal vendetta. Though some commentators have found a character flaw in Beatrice because she lacks remorse for her part in the parricide, Shelley’s portrayal of her as an ascetic revolutionary personality seems justified.

In his hope that the play would be read widely and staged, Shelley again misjudged the predominance of conservativism in the literary milieu of Regency England. The taboo theme of incest, the horror of parricide, the “blasphemous” treatment of religion, the implicit attack on the family and all patriarchal institutions, and Shelley’s own dangerous reputation—all broke the rules of Regency society and ensured The Cenci would be condemned by all but a few reviewers and friends, such as Leigh Hunt, to whom the play is dedicated. One reviewer’s response is symptomatic: “The ties of father and daughter ... ought not to be profaned as they are in this poem” ( British Review, June 1821). The play was staged only once in the nineteenth century, by the Shelley Society in 1886.

Shelley’s political ire was stirred in 1819 by the shocking events in England that became known as the Manchester Massacre, or “Peterloo.” During an assembly in St. Peter’s fields, where a crowd was to be addressed by “Orator” Hunt, the local militia charged the crowd, killing at least nine people and wounding many more. Shelley’s response was to write several explicitly political poems, including The Masque of Anarchy (1832), the sonnet “England in 1819,” and “Song to the Men of England,” all of which were deemed even by Shelley’s friends, such as Leigh Hunt, to whom he sent The Masque of Anarchy, to be too dangerous to publish during Shelley’s life-time. The Masque of Anarchy begins with a dream vision of a procession, or masque, in which Murder, Fraud, and Hypocrisy have masks like Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh; John Scott, Earl of Eldon; and Henry Addington, Viscount Sidmouth—all ministers in the current English government. Anarchy, which Shelley identifies with tyranny and despotism, rides by “On a white horse, splashed with blood ..., / Like Death in the Apocalypse.” Though much of the poem’s rhetoric and imagery are violent and revolutionary, Shelley’s council to the victims of attacks from oppressors is to respond not with violence in kind, but with passive resistance:

With folded arms and steady eyes,
And little fear, and less surprise,
Look upon them as they slay
Till their rage has died away.

This tactic should shame the soldiers into joining the cause of freedom. Shelley assures the people of their ultimate victory over their oppressors, saying “Ye are many—they are few.” Shelley must have felt particularly frustrated that all his attempts, both in poetry and prose, to address explicitly the political events of 1819 and 1820 failed to be published during his lifetime.

While Hunt did not deem The Masque of Anarchy safe to be published until the more relaxed political climate that accompanied the Reform Bill of 1832, A Philosophical View of Reform, written by Shelley during this same period, did not find its way into publication until 1920. Actually, A Philosophical View of Reform is a calmer and more carefully reasoned response to Peterloo and the repressive policies of this period than the poems Shelley wrote in response. Shelley’s intended audience in the essay is the leaders in the reform movement, and he hoped to consolidate opinion and bring forth action on urgent issues: the need for expanded suffrage, for reforms in the way taxes are levied, and, most important, for greater freedom of speech, press, and assembly.

Lest Shelley should be thought of as only a humorless reformer where politics is concerned and a serious visionary where poetry is concerned, two satires, Peter Bell the Third and Oedipus Tyrannus; or, Swellfoot the Tyrant, and two light-hearted poems, the “Letter to Maria Gisborne” and The Witch of Atlas, suggest the contrary. Perhaps these more playful poems, written in late 1819 and during 1820, were an outlet after his intensive poetic efforts in 1819. Shelley got the idea to write his own Peter Bell from reading in the Examiner reviews of Wordsworth’s Peter Bell, published for the first time in 1819, and John Hamilton Reynold’s burlesque Peter Bell: A Lyrical Ballad , which had actually preceded Wordsworth’s poem into print. Though Shelley certainly admired Wordsworth for the advances in poetry that he had helped to initiate, he believed that the elder poet had become a political apostate and that his more recent poetry, such as Peter Bell, had become “Dull—beyond all conception—dull.” To counteract the pious moralizing in Wordsworth’s Peter Bell, Shelley portrays his Peter Bell as damned in hell.

Though Shelley never equals the satirical skills of his friend Byron, in Swellfoot the Tyrant, written in August 1820, he demonstrates an ability to sustain a satire on political events. Queen Caroline, who was strongly supported by the Whigs, was tried for infidelity, in an effort by George IV and his ministers to prevent her from taking part in the coronation ceremonies—prompting Shelley to write a satirical drama in the manner of Aristophanes, complete with a chorus of pigs, the choice of which was suggested to Shelley by the pigs being brought to market beneath his windows in his summer residence near Pisa. In the drama’s climatic scene Iona (Queen Caroline) snatches the green bag full of perjured testimony against her and pours its contents over Swellfoot (George IV) and his ministers, turning them into small predators. Iona mounts the Minotaur (John Bull) and with her loyal pigs gives chase. With all the targets of the satire readily identifiable, it is not surprising that the publisher, J. Johnston, under threat of prosecution, was forced to surrender all remaining copies after only seven were sold.

In the summer of 1820, while staying at the Gisbornes’ house in Leghorn while they were away in London, Shelley wrote one of his most informal poems, the “Letter to Maria Gisborne.” Written in the style of Coleridge’s conversation poems and even recalling the situation of his “This Lime Tree Bower My Prison,” Shelley’s verse epistle capsulizes his view of himself and his closest friends. Describing himself in the clutter of Henry Reveley’s study, Shelley depicts himself first as a spider and a silkworm and then as a scientist and a magician. After recalling the pleasant times he has spent with Maria Gisborne in Italy, Shelley then imagines the Gisbornes in London meeting his friends and briefly characterizes them fondly and playfully: Hunt, Hogg, Peacock, and Smith. The poem concludes with a vision of the future when Shelley will be reunited with all of these friends in a warm and supportive literary community.

Shelley composed The Witch of Atlas in a flight of fancy, taking only three days, 14-16 August 1820, to write the whole poem. Shelley addressed an introductory poem “To Mary” to answer her attempts to push him to write poems that were founded more realistically in “human interest and passion” rather than “in the abstract and dreamy spirit” of The Witch of Atlas. In addition to defending his flights into “visionary rhyme,” Shelley contrasts his Witch, an amoral creation of pure poetry, with Wordsworth’s Peter Bell, a moralistic bore nineteen years in the making. Relying upon visionary imagery and his own system of boat and water symbols more than on narrative plot, Shelley makes his Witch the embodiment of the creative ideal. She creates her own creature, “Hermaphroditus,” which as its name suggests, may embody the feminine and masculine principles. Finally, Shelley’s poem may be a comment on the otherworldliness of the poet, for she eschews human company and inhabits a world of her own making. The Witch of Atlas, even though no one could raise political objections to it, met the same fate as many of his Italian poems; though Shelley sent it to Ollier in 1820, it was not published until Posthumous Poems (1824).

Like The Witch of Atlas,Epipsychidion , written in 1821 in Pisa, is a poem for “the esoteric few.” Drawing upon ideal concepts of love in Dante’s Vita Nuova, as well as in Plato and Plutarch, upon political ideas of love from Godwin, and upon his own experiences with women, Shelley wrote Epipsychidion as a kind of idealized autobiography of his love relationships. The immediate impetus for the poem was Teresa (“Emilia”) Viviani, a bright, beautiful, nineteen-year-old Italian girl who had been placed in a convent by her father until he could arrange for her marriage. As one whose potential for ideal love was being repressed by her father, her situation was precisely calculated to win the sympathies of Shelley, Mary, and Claire. In his earlier days, such a situation might have prompted Shelley to rescue Emilia and pursue a physical union with her, but by this time he was convinced that “the error ... consist [ed] in seeking in a mortal image the likeness of what is perhaps eternal.” The poem’s title refers to “the soul of my soul” or the “soul out of my soul,” a concept of love Shelley had begun to develop as early as his letters to Elizabeth Hitchener and which he had explained more fully in the “Essay on Love,” probably written in 1818 or 1819. In the “Essay on Love,” Shelley explains the concept of the epipsyche as “a miniature ... of our entire self ..., the ideal prototype of everything excellent or lovely that we are capable of conceiving as belonging to the nature of man.” In the system of cosmic symbols Shelley develops in Epipsychidion, Emilia, Shelley’s epipsyche, is the Sun, Shelley is the Earth, Mary, the Moon, and Claire, the Comet. While the souls of Emilia and Shelley are united, those of Mary and Claire still have influence on his soul.

Shelley was prompted to write A Defence of Poetry, one of the most eloquent justifications of poetry ever written, by reading Peacock’s 1820 essay “The Four Ages of Poetry,” in which his friend had lightheartedly taken a cyclical view of poetry and history and had reached the conclusion that poetry was in decline, with the current age representing one of the low points in the cycle. Though Shelley addresses Peacock’s theory of history and poetry as well as his questions about the utility of poetry, A Defence of Poetry goes well beyond Peacock’s essay in the scope and vision of its comprehensive definitions of poetry, poets, and imaginative creation. Shelley defines poetry to include all of the arts and all creative endeavors that bring permanent beauty or goodness to the world. Shelley’s statement that “a Poet participates in the eternal, the infinite, and the one” illustrates that poetic creations are not subservient to the vicissitudes of history but rather partake of the Platonic realm of permanent forms and ideas. The inspiration that endows imaginative poets with a momentary vision into the realm of the beautiful and the permanent is another manifestation of Shelley’s “intellectual beauty.” And yet Shelley argues that the social and moral benefits of poetry are real. Poetry can help moral progress keep pace with scientific and material progress, and as “the unacknowledged legislators of the World,” poets can indirectly influence social consciousness for the better.

In addition to Byron, the Gisbornes, the Masons, and Teresa Viviani, the Shelleys’ Pisan circle of friends grew to include the eccentric Professor Francesco Pacchiani, who introduced them to Prince Mavrocordato, interesting to the Shelleys and to Byron for his involvement in the Greeks’ struggle against the Turks for independence. In 1821 Edward and Jane Williams both became intimate friends with the Shelleys, and in 1822 they all met the literary adventurer Edward John Trelawny, who would become another of Shelley’s biographers. Moreover, Shelley had hopes that Hunt and Keats might come to Italy. Upon hearing Keats was ill, he warmly invited him to Italy as his guest, but Keats died in Rome on 3 February 1821, before Shelley even knew he was in Italy. Perhaps not realizing the nature or the seriousness of Keats’s consumption, Shelley labored under the misconception that the harsh reviews of Endymion (1818) precipitated Keats’s illness and death. He was in this frame of mind as he quickly set about writing an elegy on the young poet.

Drawing upon the Greek elegies of Bion and Moshcus as well as upon Milton’s Lycidas, Shelley probably derived his title, Adonais, as Earl R. Wasserman suggests, from Bion’s Lament for Adonis and the Hebrew “Adonai” myth. Comprising fifty-five Spenserian stanzas, the poem begins as a conventional elegy with a call to Urania, muse and mother of the poet, as well as to all of nature, to mourn. But in the spring nature revives, emphasizing the contrast with the still-dead Keats, as a procession of his fellow poets—Byron, Moore, Hunt, and Shelley himself—comes forth, Shelley characterizing himself both as a “frail Form” and as “A pardlike Spirit beautiful and swift.” Shelley directs some vicious attacks toward the reviewer he holds responsible for Keats’s death, but the attacks may stem from his own treatment by the critics as much as from a desire to avenge Keats. Beginning with stanza thirty-nine, a reversal takes place as the speaker proclaims Adonais “is not dead,.../ He hath awakened from the dream of life.” From this point on Keats is apotheosized as a star in a Platonic realm of permanent beauty: “The soul of Adonais, like a star / Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.” Like many of Shelley’s heroes and heroines, Adonais in death escapes the shadowy and mutable world and passes into a higher visionary world that can only be described as “the white radiance of Eternity.”

Shelley’s enthusiasm for the stirrings of independence in Greece prompted him to write Hellas (1822), which he dedicated to Prince Mavrocordato. Shelley appropriately chose as his model Aeschylus’s The Persians , commemorating another Greek struggle for independence. As the title Hellas suggests, Shelley is most concerned with the liberty of the Hellenic spirit: as he says in the preface, “We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts have their root in Greece.” The “Lyrical Drama” is “a series of lyric pictures” spoken or sung by a chorus of captive Greek women interspersed with dialogue between the main characters—the Turkish Sultan Mahmud, his aid Hassan, the Wandering Jew Ahasuerus, and the Phantom of Mahomet III. The chorus pays homage to the eternal spirit of liberty and expresses hope for the Greek victory as Mahmud gradually draws the conclusion that the Turkish forces are losing. Above all, Shelley is concerned that the thought and ideals of Greece are preserved, not just the outward manifestations of present-day Greece:

But Greece and her foundations are
Built below the tide of war,
Based on the crystalline sea
Of thought and its eternity.

The poem ends with the final chorus prophesying in a soaring vision, “The world’s great age begins anew,” suggesting that another golden age, like the first one in Greece, will return to the world.

In what was to be the last year of his life-1822, Shelley was frustrated in his efforts to mediate between Byron and Claire over Allegra, irritated with the Olliers’ delays, and depressed over what seemed to be Mary’s increasing estrangement. He admired the apparently loving relationship between the Williamses, and not surprisingly developed at least a platonic love for the beautiful Jane Williams. Out of these feelings of despondency and admiration Shelley wrote some of his most musical lyrics, including “Lines: ‘When the lamp is shattered,’” “To Jane: The Invitation,” “To Jane: The Recollection,” “To Jane (‘The keen stars were twinkling’),” and “Lines written in the Bay of Lerici.”

In May 1822 the Shelleys and the Williamses left Pisa in order to rent Casa Magni on the Bay of San Terenzo, near Lerici. Here Shelley and Edward would be able to spend the summer sailing the Don Juan, their new boat, in the Gulf of Spezia. Though Mary was disconsolate, Shelley was generally happy and set about writing his last long poem, the fragmentary The Triumph of Life. Shelley uses Petrarch’s Trionfi and Dante’s Divine Comedy as models. The former provides the structure of a triumphal procession; the latter, the model of a guide leading the poet to a new understanding and the rhyme scheme, terza rima. In a vision the poet sees a chaotic procession of “life” in the midst of which is a chariot guided by a “Janus-visaged Shadow,” suggesting that this pageant has no goal or purpose. The poet is shocked to see Rousseau, the spiritual leader of Romanticism, his eyes now burned out. Other famous figures, such as Voltaire, Frederick the Great, and Immanuel Kant, appear in the procession, as Rousseau explains that they were all overcome by life and offers up an axiomatic dilemma: “why God made irreconcilable / Good and the means of good”? Only “the sacred few who could not tame / Their spirits to the Conqueror” (Life) have held themselves out of the corrupted procession: those who died young (one thinks of Keats) and those who resisted life’s corrupting influences, such as Socrates and Jesus.

At this point the poet’s vision of the pageant of life gives way to Rousseau’s vision of his own story. Rousseau relates seeing a form brighter than the sun, “A Shape all light,” a female form reminiscent of intellectual beauty and other ideal manifestations having to do with the poet’s creative powers. In the hopes of quenching his thirst for knowledge, Rousseau accepts a drink from the cup offered by the Shape, but the effect is to eclipse his vision of the Shape with the vision of a “cold bright car,” the same chariot leading the pageant of life. In the error of attempting to realize the ideal, a pattern recurrent in many of Shelley’s poems, Rousseau has lost the vision of the ideal, which exists only in its own realm and can be seen only in the imagination. In one of those ironic twists of fate that seem to bring literature and life together, near the end of the poem the poet asks Rousseau, “Then what is Life?” Shelley, who believed that the complete answer to this question might lie in a realm beyond this life, died before he could write the answer. Though many, including T. S. Eliot, not usually an admirer of Shelley, believe that in The Triumph of Life Shelley achieved a style and vision superior to all of his other writings, how the poem would end, whether optimistically or pessimistically, and what more Shelley might have achieved will be left to conjecture.

It is certainly tempting to speculate what additional literature might have been given the world had Keats, Hunt, Byron, and Shelley all been allowed to live in each other’s company in Italy. At the time of Shelley’s death a project had been hatched to bring Hunt to Italy, where he would begin a journal called The Liberal, with Shelley and Byron as principal sponsors and contributors. After several delays the Hunts had finally arrived in Leghorn, so Shelley and Edward Williams sailed from Lerici to greet them, leaving Mary and Jane at Casa Magni. After getting the Hunts settled in, Shelley and Williams set sail in the Don Juan for the return trip to Lerici on 8 July, but a squall enveloped and overcame the boat. After Mary, Jane, and their friends had undergone several days of anxious waiting with rapidly diminishing hopes, Shelley’s and Williams’s bodies were discovered washed ashore on 18 July. One of the identifying objects on Shelley’s body was an open copy of Keats’s 1820 volume of poems. Italian quarantine laws required that bodies washed ashore be burned, so Shelley was cremated in the presence of Byron, Hunt, and Trelawny. Trelawny began one of the Shelley legends—that Shelley’s heart, too pure to burn, would be preserved—when he plucked Shelley’s unburned heart and part of his jawbone from the fire. He later arranged for Shelley’s ashes to be buried near Keats’s grave in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome and is responsible for one of the epitaphs that appear on Shelley’s gravestone, three lines from The Tempest : “Nothing of him that doth fade / But doth suffer a sea-change / Into something rich and strange.” The other epitaph on the stone was Leigh Hunt’s idea: “Cor Cordium.”

The Pisan circle broke up shortly afterward, with Mary and her son Percy Florence (born in November 1819), Jane and her children, and the Hunts returning to England and with Byron dying less than two years later in his efforts to help the Greeks in their struggle for independence. Mary had difficulties with Sir Timothy, Shelley’s father, who would allow her a small pension only on the condition that nothing by or about Shelley be published during Sir Timothy’s lifetime. She nonetheless edited the Posthumous Poems (1824) and a collected edition of Poetical Works with her own explanatory notes (1839), and she published a novel, The Last Man (1826), with a Shelleyan protagonist. Hunt continued to be a valiant defender of Shelley’s works and reputation, and both Hogg, who, true to form, fell in love with another of Shelley’s beloved women (Jane Williams), and Peacock published biographies. Percy Florence Shelley eventually inherited the Shelley estate and married Jane St. John, an admirer of both his parents, who did all she could to preserve and enshrine Shelley’s reputation.

Shelley’s reputation after his death was shaped by the same extremes of worship and hatred that he and his writings had elicited during his life. Among the Victorians, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Kingsley, Walter Bagehot, and Ralph Waldo Emerson denigrated Shelley, and Samuel Clemens was never able to forgive Shelley for his treatment of Harriet. Matthew Arnold issued the most memorable and damaging statement on Shelley: “beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating in the void his luminous wings in vain.” But the list of those who admired him or were influenced by him is longer and perhaps even more distinguished: Benjamin Disraeli, who created a Shelleyan protagonist in his novel Venetia (1837); Robert Browning, who in his early poem Pauline (1833) paid tribute to Shelley as the “Sun-treader”; Alfred Tennyson, who along with other “Cambridge Apostles” argued the merits of Shelley versus Byron with Oxford debaters; William Michael Rossetti, who edited Shelley’s works and added a memoir; William Butler Yeats, whose poetry reveals the influence of Shelley’s visionary poetics and his symbol making; H. S. Salt and Edward and Eleanor Marx Aveling (Marx’s daughter), all of whom claimed Shelley as a prototypical Marxist; and Bernard Shaw, who admired Shelley’s radicalism and emulated his vegetarianism. In addition, Edgar Allan Poe, Algernon Charles Swinburne, George Eliot, George Lewes, and Thomas Hardy all admired Shelley and adopted some of his ideas.

Shelley worship reached its zenith in 1886 with the formation of the Shelley Society, the idea for which came from F. J. Furnivall, the son of Shelley’s physician at Marlow. The first meeting was addressed by Stopford Brooke; Browning, Shaw, W. M. Rossetti, H. B. Forman, and T. J. Wise were also among those in attendance. In addition to republishing several of Shelley’s works, the society succeeded in, at long last, staging The Cenci, with the well-known Victorian actress Alma Murray in the role of Beatrice. Because of the licensing laws that forbade staging scenes of incest, the production was private, for members only, with Browning, Wilde, and Shaw among those in attendance. Through the efforts of American, British, and Roman committees, Keats’s last residence, at 26 Piazza di Spagna in Rome, was purchased and on 3 April 1909 was formally dedicated as the Keats-Shelley Memorial House.

In the early twentieth century, however, Shelley’s literary reputation plunged to its nadir with the advent of the “new humanism” and the “new criticism.” Paul Elmer More and Irving Babbit attacked Romanticism in general and Shelley in particular for being simple, irrational, and dangerous. T. S. Eliot and F. R. Leavis criticized Shelley for being adolescent and for having “a weak grasp upon the actual.” But again Shelley’s reputation has arisen from the ashes by the efforts of respected scholars and critics of the latter half of this century—Newman Ivey White, Carlos Baker, Harold Bloom, Earl Wasserman, Kenneth Cameron, Donald Reiman, Stuart Curran, Timothy Webb, and many others—who have found in Shelley’s writings an inexhaustible fountainhead of social, political, and philosophical concerns, complexities and subtleties in his use of myth and language, including his skill in translating Greek, Italian, Spanish, and German literature, and rich relationships with his cultural milieu. His name forever linked with those of Byron and Keats, Shelley has come to symbolize the free and soaring spirit of humankind. Even in the popular imagination, he is associated with the idea that one should not content oneself with the mundane but aspire to ever-loftier ideals of perfecting the self, and above all, with the idea of hope. Though Shelley’s works will never be read by the masses, at least the spirit of his wish in “Ode to the West Wind” is perhaps closer to coming true today than he would have dared imagine:

by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!

Shelley’s ideas, embodied in his verse, his prose, and his life, remain as a challenge to the servile acceptance of authority and as a challenge to us to achieve our highest potential—to always aspire to higher goals for ourselves and for society.

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
07-12-2017, 07:51 AM
From Sunset to Star Rise
---- by Christina Rossetti

Go from me, summer friends, and tarry not:
I am no summer friend, but wintry cold,
A silly sheep benighted from the fold,
A sluggard with a thorn-choked garden plot.

Take counsel, sever from my lot your lot,
Dwell in your pleasant places, hoard your gold;
Lest you with me should shiver on the wold,
Athirst and hungering on a barren spot.

For I have hedged me with a thorny hedge,
I live alone, I look to die alone:
Yet sometimes, when a wind sighs through the sedge,
Ghosts of my buried years, and friends come back,
My heart goes sighing after swallows flown
On sometime summer's unreturning track.

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
07-25-2017, 11:41 PM
William Blake's "Songs of Innocence"

Songs of Innocence: The Chimney Sweeper

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.

There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved: so I said,
"Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head's bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair."

And so he was quiet; and that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight,―
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black.

And by came an angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins and set them all free;
Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run,
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.

Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind;
And the angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy,
He'd have God for his father, and never want joy.

And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark,
And got with our bags and our brushes to work.
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm;
So if all do their duty they need not fear harm.

Songs of Experience: The Chimney Sweeper

A little black thing in the snow,
Crying "'weep! 'weep!" in notes of woe!
"Where are thy father and mother? Say!"
"They are both gone up to the church to pray."

"Because I was happy upon the heath,
And smiled among the winter's snow,
They clothed me in the clothes of death,
And taught me to sing the notes of woe."

"And because I am happy and dance and sing,
They think they have done me no injury,
And are gone to praise God and his priest and king,
Who make up a heaven of our misery."

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
08-04-2017, 10:06 AM

Louise Bogan Biography

Louise Bogan

Louise Bogan was born in Livermore Falls, Maine, in 1897. She attended Boston Girls' Latin School and spent one year at Boston University. She married in 1916 and was widowed in 1920. In 1925, she married her second husband, the poet Raymond Holden, whom she divorced in 1937. Her poems were published in the New Republic, the Nation, Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Scribner's and Atlantic Monthly. For thirty-eight years, she reviewed poetry for The New Yorker.

Bogan found the confessional poetry of Robert Lowell and John Berryman distasteful and self-indulgent. With the poets whose work she admired, however, such as Theodore Roethke, she was extremely supportive and encouraging. She was reclusive and disliked talking about herself, and for that reason details are scarce regarding her private life. The majority of her poetry was written in the earlier half of her life when she published Body of This Death (1923) and Dark Summer (1929) and The Sleeping Fury (1937). She subsequently published volumes of her collected verse, and The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968, an overview of her life's work in poetry. Her ability is unique in its strict adherence to lyrical forms, while maintaining a high emotional pitch: she was preoccupied with exploring the perpetual disparity of heart and mind. She died in New York City in 1970.

Louise Bogan Poems

Total Poems: 22
1 Juan's Song
2 A Tale
3 Epitaph For A Romantic Woman
4 Knowledge
5 Man Alone
6 Betrothed
7 Chanson Un Peu Naïve
8 Last Hill In A Vista
9 Medusa
10 Men Loved Wholly Beyond Wisdom
11 Portrait
12 Roman Fountain
13 Solitary Observation Brought Back From A Sojourn In Hell
14 Song For The Last Act
15 Sonnet
16 Tears In Sleep
17 The Alchemist
18 The Crossed Apple
19 The Dream
20 The Frightened Man
21 Women
22 Words For Departure

The Frightened Man
---------------by Louise Bogan
In fear of the rich mouth
I kissed the thin,--
Even that was a trap
To snare me in.

Even she, so long
The frail, the scentless,
Is become strong,
And proves relentless.

O, forget her praise,
And how I sought her
Through a hazardous maze
By shafted water


The Dream
---------------by Louise Bogan
O God, in the dream the terrible horse began
To paw at the air, and make for me with his blows,
Fear kept for thirty-five years poured through his mane,
And retribution equally old, or nearly, breathed through his nose.

Coward complete, I lay and wept on the ground
When some strong creature appeared, and leapt for the rein.
Another woman, as I lay half in a swound
Leapt in the air, and clutched at the leather and chain.

Give him, she said, something of yours as a charm.
Throw him, she said, some poor thing you alone claim.
No, no, I cried, he hates me; he is out for harm,
And whether I yield or not, it is all the same.

But, like a lion in a legend, when I flung the glove
Pulled from my sweating, my cold right hand;
The terrible beast, that no one may understand,
Came to my side, and put down his head in love.


I simply can no say enough good things about this magnificent poetess's talents.-Tyr

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
09-06-2017, 12:05 PM
------ BY Lizette Woodworth Reese

When I consider Life and its few years --
A wisp of fog betwixt us and the sun;
A call to battle, and the battle done
Ere the last echo dies within our ears;
A rose choked in the grass; an hour of fears;
The gusts that past a darkening shore do beat;
The burst of music down an unlistening street, --
I wonder at the idleness of tears.
Ye old, old dead, and ye of yesternight,
Chieftains, and bards, and keepers of the sheep,
By every cup of sorrow that you had,
Loose me from tears, and make me see aright
How each hath back what once he stayed to weep:
Homer his sight, David his little lad!

Lizette Woodworth Reese

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
10-02-2017, 09:23 AM
Austerity Of Poetry
- Poem by Matthew Arnold

That son of Italy who tried to blow,
Ere Dante came, the trump of sacred song,
In his light youth amid a festal throng
Sate with his bride to see a public show.

Fair was the bride, and on her front did glow
Youth like a star; and what to youth belong--
Gay raiment, sparkling gauds, elation strong.
A prop gave way! crash fell a platform! lo,

'Mid struggling sufferers, hurt to death, she lay!
Shuddering, they drew her garments off--and found
A robe of sackcloth next the smooth, white skin.

Such, poets, is your bride, the Muse! young, gay,
Radiant, adorn'd outside; a hidden ground
Of thought and of austerity within.
Matthew Arnold

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
12-28-2017, 11:51 AM
Love, the Destroyer
-by Anne Reeve Aldrich

Love is a Fire;
Nor Shame, nor Pride can well withstand Desire.
"For what are they," we cry, "that they should dare
To keep, O Love, the haughty look they wear?
Nay, burn the victims, O thou sacred Fire,
That with their death thou mayst but flame the higher.
Let them feel once the fierceness of thy breath,
And make thee still more beauteous with their death."

Love is a Fire;
But ah, how short-lived is the flame Desire!
Love, having burnt whatever once we cherished,
And blackened all things else, itself hath perished.
And now alone in gathering night we stand,
Ashes and ruin stretch on either hand.
Yet while we mourn, our sad hearts whisper low:
"We served the mightiest God that man can know."

Tyr-Ziu Saxnot
05-23-2018, 09:33 AM
The Poor Ghost
---------by Christina Rossetti

"Oh whence do you come, my dear friend, to me,
With your golden hair all fallen below your knee,
And your face as white as snowdrops on the lea,
And your voice as hollow as the hollow sea?"

"From the other world I come back to you,
My locks are uncurled with dripping drenching dew.
You know the old, whilst I know the new:
But tomorrow you shall know this too."

"Oh not tomorrow into the dark, I pray;
Oh not tomorrow, too soon to go away:
Here I feel warm and well-content and gay:
Give me another year, another day."

"Am I so changed in a day and a night
That mine own only love shrinks from me with fright,
Is fain to turn away to left or right
And cover up his eyes from the sight?"

"Indeed I loved you, my chosen friend,
I loved you for life, but life has an end;
Thro' sickness I was ready to tend:
But death mars all, which we cannot mend.

"Indeed I loved you; I love you yet
If you will stay where your bed is set,
Where I have planted a violet
Which the wind waves, which the dew makes wet."

"Life is gone, then love too is gone,
It was a reed that I leant upon:
Never doubt 1 will leave you alone
And not wake you rattling bone with bone.

"I go home alone to my bed,
Dug deep at the foot and deep at the head,
Roofed in with a load of lead,
Warm enough for the forgotten dead.

"But why did your tears soak thro' the clay,
And why did your sobs wake me where I lay?
I was away, far enough away:
Let me sleep now till the Judgment Day.

This gem is from one of my favorite poets. One that had such immense talent, insight and character, IMHO..-Tyr