Month: June 2018

On A Portrait Of Wordsworth

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Wordswoth upon Helvellyn ! Let the cloud
Ebb audibly along the mountain-wind,
Then break against the rock, and show behind
The lowland valleys floating up to crowd
The sense with beauty. He with forehead bowed
And humble-lidded eyes, as one inclined
Before the sovran thought of his own mind,
And very meek with inspirations proud,
Takes here his rightful place as poet-priest
By the high altar, singing prayer and prayer

To the higher Heavens. A noble vision free
Our Haydon’s hand has flung out from the mist:
No portrait this, with Academic air !
This is the poet and his poetry.

 

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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30th June – On This Day In History

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Born:

1941 Peter Pollock (South African cricketer) 

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Died:

1520 Moctezuma II (Aztec Emperor)

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On This Day:

1894 Tower Bridge (London) opens

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Have a good Saturday, 30th June

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Sonnet XXV: A Heavy Heart, Beloved

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A heavy heart, Belovèd, have I borne
From year to year until I saw thy face,
And sorrow after sorrow took the place
Of all those natural joys as lightly worn
As the stringed pearls, each lifted in its turn
By a beating heart at dance-time. Hopes apace
Were changed to long despairs, till God’s own grace
Could scarcely lift above the world forlorn
My heavy heart. Than thou didst bid me bring
And let it drop adown thy calmly great
Deep being! Fast it sinketh, as a thing
Which its own nature doth precipitate,
While thine doth close above it, mediating
Betwixt the stars and the unaccomplished fate.

 

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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29th June – On This Day In History

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Born:

1943 Little Eva (pop singer)

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Died:

1861 Elizabeth Barrett Browning (poet)

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On This Day:

1962 First flight of the Vickers VC-10

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Have a good Friday, 29th June

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Love

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We cannot live, except thus mutually
We alternate, aware or unaware,
The reflex act of life: and when we bear
Our virtue onward most impulsively,
Most full of invocation, and to be
Most instantly compellant, certes, there
We live most life, whoever breathes most air
And counts his dying years by sun and sea.
But when a soul, by choice and conscience, doth
Throw out her full force on another soul,
The conscience and the concentration both make
mere life, Love. For Life in perfect whole
And aim consummated, is Love in sooth,
As nature’s magnet-heat rounds pole with pole.

 

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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28th June – On This Day In History

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Born:

1491 Henry VIII, founder of the Church of England

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Died:

1914 Franz Ferdinand (Archduke of Austria – assassination that triggered World War 1)

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On This Day:

1926 Mercedes Benz forms (merger of DMG and Benz & Cie)

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Have a good Thursday, 28th June

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The Old Apple Tree

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There’s a memory keeps a-runnin’
Through my weary head to-night,
An’ I see a picture dancin’
In the fire-flames’ ruddy-light;
‘Tis the picture of an orchard
Wrapped in autumn’s purple haze,
With the tender light about it
That I loved in other days.
An’ a-standin’ in a corner
Once again I seem to see
The verdant leaves an’ branches
Of an old apple-tree.
You perhaps would call it ugly,
An’ I don’t know but it’s so,
When you look the tree all over
Unadorned by memory’s glow;
For its boughs are gnarled an’ crooked,
An’ its leaves are gettin’ thin,
An’ the apples of its bearin’
Wouldn’t fill so large a bin
As they used to. But I tell you,
When it comes to pleasin’ me,
It’s the dearest in the orchard, —
Is that old apple-tree.
I would hide within its shelter,
Settlin’ in some cosy nook,
Where no calls nor threats could stir me
From the pages o’ my book.
Oh, that quiet, sweet seclusion
In its fulness passeth words!
It was deeper than the deepest
That my sanctum now affords.
Why, the jaybirds an’ the robins,
They was hand in glove with me,
As they winked at me ‘an warbled
In that old apple-tree.
It was on its sturdy branches
That in summers long ago
I would tie my swing an’ dangle
In contentment to an’ fro,
Idly dreaming’ childish fancies,
Buildin’ castles in the air,
Makin’ o’ myself a hero
Of romances rich an’ rare.
I kin shet my eyes an’ see it
Jest as plain as plain kin be,
That same old swing a-danglin’
To the old apple-tree.
There’s a rustic seat beneath it
That I never kin forget.
It’s the place where me an’ Hallie —
Little sweetheart — used to set,
When we’d wander to the orchard
So’s no listenin’ ones could hear
As I whispered sugared nonsense
Into her little willin’ ear.
Now my gray old wife is Hallie,
An’ I’m grayer still than she,
But I’ll not forget our courtin’
‘Neath the old apple-tree,
Life for us ain’t all been summer,
But I guess we’ve had our share
Of its flittin’ joys an’ pleasures,
An’ a sprinklin’ of its care.
Oft the skies have smiled upon us;
Then again we’ve seen ’em frown,
Though our load was ne’er so heavy
That we longed to lay it down.
But when death does come a-callin’,
This my last request shall be, —
That they’ll bury me an’ Hallie
‘Neath the old apple-tree.

– Paul Laurence Dunbar

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