Month: May 2016

Spring – The First Pastoral; Or Damon

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First in these fields I try the sylvan strains,

Nor blush to sport on Windsor’s blissful plains:
Fair Thames, flow gently from thy sacred spring,
While on thy banks Sicilian Muses sing;
Let vernal airs tho’ trembling osiers play,
And Albion’s cliffs resound the rural lay.
You, that too wise for pride, too good for pow’r,
Enjoy the glory to be great no more,
And carrying with you all the world can boast,
To all the world illustriously are lost!
O let my Muse her slender reed inspire,
Till in your native shades you tune the lyre:
So when the Nightingale to rest removes,
The Thrush may chant to the forsaken groves,
But, charm’d to silence, listens while she sings,
And all th’ aerial audience clap their wings.
Soon as the flocks shook off the nightly dews,
Two Swains, whom Love kept wakeful, and the Muse
Pour’d o’er the whitening vale their fleecy care,
Fresh as the morn, and as the season fair:
The dawn now blushing on the mountain’s side,
Thus Daphnis spoke, and Strephon thus reply’d.

Daphnis.
Hear how the birds, on ev’ry bloomy spray,
With joyous musick wake the dawning day!
Why sit we mute when early linnets sing,
When warbling Philomel salutes the spring?
Why sit we sad when Phosphor shines so clear,
And lavish nature paints the purple Year?

Strephon.
Sing, then, and Damon shall attend the strain,
While yon’ slow oxen turn the furrow’d Plain.
Here the bright crocus and blue vi’let glow;
Here western winds on breathing roses blow.
I’ll stake yon’ lamb, that near the fountain plays,
And from the brink his dancing shade surveys.

Daphnis.
And I this bowl, where wanton Ivy twines,
And swelling clusters bend the curling vines:
Four figures rising from the work appear,
The various seasons of the rolling year;
And what is that, which binds the radiant sky,
Where twelve fair Signs in beauteous order lie?

Damon.
Then sing by turns, by turns the Muses sing,
Now hawthorns blossom, now the daisies spring,
Now leaves the trees, and flow’rs adorn the ground,
Begin, the vales shall ev’ry note rebound.
Inspire me, Phoebus, in my Delia’s praise
With Waller’s strains, or Granville’s moving lays!
A milk-white bull shall at your altars stand,
That threats a fight, and spurns the rising sand.

Daphnis.
O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize,
And make my tongue victorious as her eyes;
No lambs or sheep for victims I’ll impart,
Thy victim, Love, shall be the shepherd’s heart.

Strephon.
Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain,
Then hid in shades, eludes her eager swain;
But feigns a laugh, to see me search around,
And by that laugh the willing fair is found.

Daphnis.
The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green,
She runs, but hopes she does not run unseen;
While a kind glance at her pursuer flies,
How much at variance are her feet and eyes!

Strephon.
O’er golden sands let rich Pactolus flow,
And trees weep amber on the banks of Po;
Blest Thames’s shores the brightest beauties yield,
Feed here my lambs, I’ll seek no distant field.

Daphnis.
Celestial Venus haunts Idalia’s groves;
Diana Cynthus, Ceres Hybla loves;
If Windsor-shades delight the matchless maid,
Cynthus and Hybla yield to Windsor-shade.

Strephon.
All nature mourns, the Skies relent in show’rs,
Hush’d are the birds, and clos’d the drooping flow’rs;
If Delia smile, the flow’rs begin to spring,
The skies to brighten, and the birds to sing.

Daphnis.
All nature laughs, the groves are fresh and fair,
The Sun’s mild lustre warms the vital air;
If Sylvia smiles, new glories gild the shore,
And vanquish’d nature seems to charm no more.

Strephon.
In spring the fields, in autumn hills I love,
At morn the plains, at noon the shady grove,
But Delia always; absent from her sight,
Nor plains at morn, nor groves at noon delight.

Daphnis.
Sylvia’s like autumn ripe, yet mild as May,
More bright than noon, yet fresh as early day;
Ev’n spring displeases, when she shines not here;
But blest with her, ’tis spring throughout the year.

Strephon.
Say, Daphnis, say, in what glad soil appears,
A wond’rous Tree that sacred Monarchs bears:
Tell me but this, and I’ll disclaim the prize,
And give the conquest to thy Sylvia’s eyes.

Daphnis.
Nay tell me first, in what more happy fields
The Thistle springs, to which the Lily yields:
And then a nobler prize I will resign;
For Sylvia, charming Sylvia, shall be thine.

Damon.
Cease to contend, for, Daphnis, I decree,
The bowl to Strephon, and the lamb to thee:
Blest Swains, whose Nymphs in ev’ry grace excel;
Blest Nymphs, whose Swains those graces sing so well!
Now rise, and haste to yonder woodbine bow’rs,
A soft retreat from sudden vernal show’rs,
The turf with rural dainties shall be crown’d,
While op’ning blooms diffuse their sweets around.
For see! the gath’ring flocks to shelter tend,
And from the Pleiads fruitful show’rs descend.

 

– Alexander Pope

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31st May – On This Day In History

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Born:

1930 Clint Eastwood (actor – Dirty Harry etc)

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Died:

1983 Jack Dempsey (heavy weight boxer / actor)

Portrait Dempsey

 

On This Day:

1902 Boer war end with the British annexing the Transvaal

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Have a good Tuesday, 31st May

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Lines Written In Windsor Forest

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All hail, once pleasing, once inspiring shade!
Scene of my youthful loves and happier hours!
Where the kind Muses met me as I stray’d,
And gently press’d my hand, and said ‘Be ours!-
Take all thou e’er shalt have, a constant Muse:
At Court thou may’st be liked, but nothing gain:
Stock thou may’st buy and sell, but always lose,
And love the brightest eyes, but love in vain.’

 

– Alexander Pope

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30th May – On This Day In History

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Born:

1961 Harry Enfield (comedian)

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Died:

1744 Alexander Pope (poet)

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On This Day:

1913 Albania forms

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Have a good Monday, 30th May

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Sail On, Sail On

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Sail on, sail on, thou fearless bark —
Where’er blows the welcome wind,
It cannot lead to scenes more dark,
More sad than those we leave behind.
Each wave that passes seems to say,
“Though death beneath our smile may be,
Less cold we are, less false than they,
Whose smiling wreck’d thy hopes and thee.”

Sail on, sail on — through endless space —
Through calm — through tempest — stop no more:
The stormiest sea’s a resting-place
To him who leaves such hearts on shore.
Or — if some desert land we meet,
Where never yet false-hearted men
Profaned a world, that else were sweet —
Then rest thee, bark, but not till then.

 

– Thomas Moore

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29th May – On This Day In History

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Born:

1917 John F Kennedy (35th President of the USA)

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Died:

1985 Madge West (actress)

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On This Day:

1848 Wisconsin accepted as the 30th State of the USA

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Have a good Sunday, 29th May

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The Origin Of The Harp

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Tis believed that this Harp, which I wake now for thee
Was a Siren of old, who sung under the sea;
And who often, at eve, through the bright waters roved,
To meet, on the green shore, a youth whom she loved.

But she loved him in vain, for he left her to weep,
And in tears, all the night, her gold tresses to steep,
Till heaven look’d with pity on true-love so warm,
And changed to this soft Harp the sea-maiden’s form.

Still her bosom rose fair — still her cheeks smiled the same —
While her sea-beauties gracefully form’d the light
And her hair, as, let loose, o’er her white arm it fell,
Was changed to bright chords uttering melody’s spell.

Hence it came, that this soft Harp so long hath been known
To mingle love’s language with sorrow’s sad tone;
Till thou didst divide them, and teach the fond lay
To speak love when I’m near thee, and grief when away.

 

– Thomas Moore

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