Month: February 2016
In thy western halls of gold
When thou sittest in thy state,
Bards, that erst sublimely told
Heroic deeds, and sang of fate,
With fervour seize their adamantine lyres,
Whose chords are solid rays, and twinkle radiant fires.
Here Homer with his nervous arms
Strikes the twanging harp of war,
And even the western splendour warms,
While the trumpets sound afar:
But, what creates the most intense surprise,
His soul looks out through renovated eyes.
Then, through thy Temple wide, melodious swells
The sweet majestic tone of Maro’s lyre:
The soul delighted on each accent dwells,–
Enraptur’d dwells,–not daring to respire,
The while he tells of grief around a funeral pyre.
‘Tis awful silence then again;
Expectant stand the spheres;
Breathless the laurell’d peers,
Nor move, till ends the lofty strain,
Nor move till Milton’s tuneful thunders cease,
And leave once more the ravish’d heavens in peace.
Thou biddest Shakespeare wave his hand,
And quickly forward spring
The Passions–a terrific band–
And each vibrates the string
That with its tyrant temper best accords,
While from their Master’s lips pour forth the inspiring words.
A silver trumpet Spenser blows,
And, as its martial notes to silence flee,
From a virgin chorus flows
A hymn in praise of spotless Chastity.
‘Tis still! Wild warblings from the Aeolian lyre
Enchantment softly breathe, and tremblingly expire.
Next thy Tasso’s ardent numbers
Float along the pleased air,
Calling youth from idle slumbers,
Rousing them from Pleasure’s lair:–
Then o’er the strings his fingers gently move,
And melt the soul to pity and to love.
But when Thou joinest with the Nine,
And all the powers of song combine,
We listen here on earth:
Thy dying tones that fill the air,
And charm the ear of evening fair,
From thee, great God of Bards, receive their heavenly birth
– John Keats
It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
Often ’tis in such gentle temper found
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be mov’d for days from whence it sometime fell,
When last the winds of heaven were unbound.
Oh ye! who have your eye-balls vex’d and tir’d,
Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
Oh ye! whose ears are dinn’d with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody,–
Sit ye near some old cavern’s mouth, and brood
Until ye start, as if the sea-nymphs quir’d!
– John Keats
1906 Bugsy Siegel (gangster pioneer of casinos in Las Vegas)
1968 Frankie Lymon (singer)
On This Day:
1971 Jack Nicklaus shoots 281 at the 53rd PGA to win his second Grand Slam
Have a good Sunday, 28th February
All gentle folks who owe a grudge
To any living thing
Open your ears and stay your t[r]udge
Whilst I in dudgeon sing.
The Gadfly he hath stung me sore–
O may he ne’er sting you!
But we have many a horrid bore
He may sting black and blue.
Has any here an old grey Mare
With three legs all her store,
O put it to her Buttocks bare
And straight she’ll run on four.
Has any here a Lawyer suit
Take Lawyer’s nose and put it to’t
And you the end will see.
Is there a Man in Parliament
Dum[b-] founder’d in his speech,
O let his neighbour make a rent
And put one in his breech.
O Lowther how much better thou
Hadst figur’d t’other day
When to the folks thou mad’st a bow
And hadst no more to say.
If lucky Gadfly had but ta’en
His seat * * * * * * * * *
And put thee to a little pain
To save thee from a worse.
Better than Southey it had been,
Better than Mr. D——-,
Better than Wordsworth too, I ween,
Better than Mr. V——-.
Forgive me pray good people all
For deviating so —
In spirit sure I had a call —
And now I on will go.
Has any here a daughter fair
Too fond of reading novels,
Too apt to fall in love with care
And charming Mister Lovels,
O put a Gadfly to that thing
She keeps so white and pert —
I mean the finger for the ring,
And it will breed a wort.
Has any here a pious spouse
Who seven times a day
Scolds as King David pray’d, to chouse
And have her holy way —
O let a Gadfly’s little sting
Persuade her sacred tongue
That noises are a common thing,
But that her bell has rung.
And as this is the summon bo
num of all conquering,
I leave ‘withouten wordes mo’
The Gadfly’s little sting.
– John Keats
Hast thou from the caves of Golconda, a gem
Pure as the ice-drop that froze on the mountain?
Bright as the humming-bird’s green diadem,
When it flutters in sun-beams that shine through a fountain?
Hast thou a goblet for dark sparkling wine?
That goblet right heavy, and massy, and gold?
And splendidly mark’d with the story divine
Of Armida the fair, and Rinaldo the bold?
Hast thou a steed with a mane richly flowing?
Hast thou a sword that thine enemy’s smart is?
Hast thou a trumpet rich melodies blowing?
And wear’st thou the shield of the fam’d Britomartis?
What is it that hangs from thy shoulder, so brave,
Embroidered with many a spring peering flower?
Is it a scarf that thy fair lady gave?
And hastest thou now to that fair lady’s bower?
Ah! courteous Sir Knight, with large joy thou art crown’d;
Full many the glories that brighten thy youth!
I will tell thee my blisses, which richly abound
In magical powers to bless, and to sooth.
On this scroll thou seest written in characters fair
A sun-beamy tale of a wreath, and a chain;
And, warrior, it nurtures the property rare
Of charming my mind from the trammels of pain.
This canopy mark: ’tis the work of a fay;
Beneath its rich shade did King Oberon languish,
When lovely Titania was far, far away,
And cruelly left him to sorrow, and anguish.
There, oft would he bring from his soft sighing lute
Wild strains to which, spell-bound, the nightingales listened;
The wondering spirits of heaven were mute,
And tears ‘mong the dewdrops of morning oft glistened.
In this little dome, all those melodies strange,
Soft, plaintive, and melting, for ever will sigh;
Nor e’er will the notes from their tenderness change;
Nor e’er will the music of Oberon die.
So, when I am in a voluptuous vein,
I pillow my head on the sweets of the rose,
And list to the tale of the wreath, and the chain,
Till its echoes depart; then I sink to repose.
Adieu, valiant Eric! with joy thou art crown’d;
Full many the glories that brighten thy youth,
I too have my blisses, which richly abound
In magical powers, to bless and to sooth.
– John Keats
1932 Johnny Cash (country singer)
1965 Jimmie Lee Jackson (civil rights activist)
On This Day:
1907 British Petroleum formed by the merger of Royal Oil and Shell
Have a good Friday, 26th February
Son of the old Moon-mountains African!
Chief of the Pyramid and Crocodile!
We call thee fruitful, and that very while
A desert fills our seeing’s inward span:
Nurse of swart nations since the world began,
Art thou so fruitful? or dost thou beguile
Such men to honour thee, who, worn with toil,
Rest for a space ‘twixt Cairo and Decan?
O may dark fancies err! They surely do;
‘Tis ignorance that makes a barren waste
Of all beyond itself. Thou dost bedew
Green rushes like our rivers, and dost taste
The pleasant sunrise. Green isles hast thou too,
And to the sea as happily dost haste.
– John Keats