Posted by: John Rey Q Talisaysay


Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Nov. 13, 1850. His father was a prosperous civil engineer, and the boy showed interest in that profession. Later, however, he decided to study law instead. Stevenson attended the University of Edinburgh and was admitted to the bar in 1875. But he was more interested in writing. and in 1878 he published An Inland Voyage which described a canoe trip through France and Belgium. Critics recognized the grace of the young writer's style, but the public paid little attention to the sketh.In 1876, Stevenson met and fell in love with Mrs. Fanny Osbourne. Three years later, he learned that she was ill in San Francisco, and decided to go see her. He traveled as a steerage passenger and crossed the United States in the immigrant train.

After he arrived in San Francisco, Stevenson married Mrs. Osbourne. After a few months, he returned to Scotland with his wife and his new son, Lloyd. In 1879, Stevenson wrote two stories, The Amateur Emigrant and Across the Plains, which made use of his travel experiences in the U.S. The following years were wandering ones for Stevenson, spent in a long effort to find health. Yet in spite of his poor health, Stevenson wrote two collections of delightful essays between 1880 and 1888. These were Virginibus Puerisque (1881) and Familiar Studies of Men and Books (1882). He also wrote a volume of fanciful and entertaining stories, The New Arabian Nights (1882); the ever-popular Treasure Island (1883); Prince Otto (1885), a lovely romance; The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde (1886), a story in which physical change in man symbolizes moral change;Kidnapped (1886) and The Master of Ballantre (1888), two excellent and widely read stories of Scottish life; and two collections of poems, A Child's Garden of Verses (1885), familiar to many English-speaking children, and Underwoods (1887). Stevenson's works earned him great popularity because of his clear and careful style, and his extraordinary power as a storyteller. His stories are existing, not because of exaggerations, but because they give an accurate picture of the action, and let the reader fill that he/she is seeing everything just as if he were present.In 1888, Stevenson went with his family to Samoa in the South Seas, in search of better climate for his still declining health. The people there loved him, and looked up to him. They named himtusitala, taller of tales. Stevenson died of apoplexy in 1894, when he was just 44 years old. Sixty Samoans carried his body to the top of Mount Vaea, where he was buried.

"About the Sheltered Garden Ground"

About the sheltered garden ground

The trees stand strangely still.

The vale ne'er seemed so deep before,

Nor yet so high the hill.

An awful sense of quietness,

A fulness of repose,

Breathes from the dewy garden-lawns,

The silent garden rows.

As the hoof-beats of a troop of horse

Heard far across a plain,

A nearer knowledge of great thoughts

Thrills vaguely through my brain.

I lean my head upon my arm,

My heart's too full to think;

Like the roar of seas, upon my heart

Doth the morning stillness sink.

"The Wind is Without There..."

The wind is without there and howls in the trees,

And the rain-flurries drum on the glass:

Alone by the fireside with elbows on knees

I can number the hours as they pass.

Yet now, when to cheer me the crickets begin,

And my pipe is just happily lit,

Believe me, my friend, tho' the evening draws in,

That not all uncontested I sit.

Alone, did I say?  O no, nowise alone

With the Past sitting warm on my knee,

To gossip of days that are over and gone,

But still charming to her and to me.

With much to be glad of and much to deplore,

Yet, as these days with those we compare,

Believe me, my friend, tho' the sorrows seem more

They are somehow more easy to bear.

And thou, faded Future, uncertain and frail,

As I cherish thy light in each draught,

His lamp is not more to the miner - their sail

Is not more to the crew on the raft.

For Hope can make feeble ones earnest and brave,

And, as forth thro' the years I look on,

Believe me, my friend, between this and the grave,

I see wonderful things to be done.

To do or to try; and, believe me, my friend,

If the call should come early for me,

I can leave these foundations uprooted, and tend

For some new city over the sea.

To do or to try; and if failure be mine,

And if Fortune go cross to my plan,

Believe me, my friend, tho' I mourn the design

I shall never lament for the man.

"Death, To the Dead For Evermore"

Death, to the dead for evermore

A King, a God, the last, the best of friends -

Whene'er this mortal journey ends

Death, like a host, comes smiling to the door;

Smiling, he greets us, on that tranquil shore

Where neither piping bird nor peeping dawn

Disturbs the eternal sleep,

But in the stillness far withdrawn

Our dreamless rest for evermore we keep.

For as from open windows forth we peep

Upon the night-time star beset

And with dews for ever wet;

So from this garish life the spirit peers;

And lo! as a sleeping city death outspread,

Where breathe the sleepers evenly; and lo!

After the loud wars, triumphs, trumpets, tears

And clamour of man's passion, Death appears,

And we must rise and go.

Soon are eyes tired with sunshine; soon the ears

Weary of utterance, seeing all is said;

Soon, racked by hopes and fears,

The all-pondering, all-contriving head,

Weary with all things, wearies of the years;

And our sad spirits turn toward the dead;

And the tired child, the body, longs for bed.

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William Ernest Henley (August 23, 1849 - July 11, 1903) was a British poet, critic and editor.

Henley was born in Gloucester and educated at the Crypt Grammar School. The school was a poor relation of the Cathedral School, and Henley indicated its shortcomings in his article (Pall Mall Magazine, Nov. 1900) on T. E. Brown the poet, who was headmaster there for a brief period. Brown's appointment was a stroke of luck for Henley, for whom it represented a first acquaintance with a man of genius. "He was singularly kind to me at a moment when I needed kindness even more than I needed encouragement." Brown did him the essential service of lending him books. Henley was no classical scholar, but his knowledge and love of literature were vital.

After suffering tuberculosis as a boy, he found himself, in 1874, aged twenty-five, an inmate of the hospital at Edinburgh. From there he sent to the Cornhill Magazine where he wrote poems in irregular rhythms, describing with poignant force his experiences in hospital. Leslie Stephen, then editor, visited his contributor in hospital and took Robert Louis Stevenson, another recruit of the Cornhill, with him. The meeting between Stevenson and Henley, and the friendship of which it was the beginning, form one of the best-known episodes in English literature (see Stevenson's letter to Mrs Sitwell, Jan. 1875, and Henley's poems "An Apparition" and "Envoy to Charles Baxter").

In 1877 Henley went to London and began his editorial career by editing London, a journal written for the sake of its contributors rather than the public. Among other distinctions it first gave to the world The New Arabian Nights of Stevenson. Henley himself contributed a series of verses chiefly in old French forms. He had been writing poetry since 1872, but (so he told the world in his “ advertisement” to his collected Poems, 1898) he “found himself about 1877 so utterly unmarketable that he had to own himself  beaten in art and to addict himself to journalism for the next ten years.” When London folded, he edited the Magazine of Art from 1882 to 1886. At the end of that period he came into the public eye as a poet.  In 1887 Gleeson White made for the popular series of Canterbury Poets (edited by William Sharp) a selection of poems in old French forms. In his selection Gleeson White included many pieces from London, and only after completing the selection did he discover that the verses were all by Henley. In the following year, HB Donkin in his volume Voluntaries, written for an East End hospital, included Henley's unrhymed rhythms quintessentializing the poet's memories of the old Edinburgh Infirmary. Alfred Nutt read these, and asked for more; and in 1888 his firm published A Book of Verse.

Henley was by this time well known within a restricted literary circle, and the publication of this volume determined his fame as a poet, which rapidly outgrew these limits, two new editions of the volume being printed within three years. In this same year (1888) Fitzroy Bell started the Scots Observer in Edinburgh, with Henley as literary editor, and early in 1889 Bell left the conduct of the paper to him. It was a weekly review on the lines of the old Saturday Review, but inspired in every paragraph by the vigorous and combative personality of the editor. It was transferred to London as the National Observer, and remained under Henley's editorship until 1893. Though, as Henley confessed, the paper had almost as many writers as readers, and its fame was mainly confined to the literary class, it was a lively and influential feature of the literary life of its time. Henley had the editor's great gift of discerning promise, and the "Men of the Scots Observer," as Henley affectionately and characteristically called his band of contributors, in most instances justified his insight. The paper found utterance for the growing imperialism of its day, and among other services to literature gave to the world Rudyard Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads. 

"Beside the Idle Summer Sea..."

Beside the idle summer sea,
And in the vacant summer days,
Light Love came fluting down the ways,
Where you were loitering with me.

Who have not welcomed even as we,
That jocund minstrel and his lays
Beside the idle summer sea
And in the vacant summer days?

We listened, we were fancy-free;
And lo! in terror and amaze
We stood alone – alone and gaze
With an implacable memory
Beside the idle summer sea.

Double Ballad of Life and Death


Fools may pine, and sots may swill,
Cynics gibe, and prophets rail,
Moralists may scourge and drill,
Preachers prose, and fainthearts quail.
Let them whine, or threat, or wail!
Till the touch of Circumstance
Down to darkness sink the scale,
Fait’s a fiddler, Life’s a dance.

What if skies be wan and chill?
What if winds be harsh and stale?
Presently the east will thrill,
And the sad and shrunken sail
Bellying with a kindly gale,
Bear you sunwards, while your chance
Sends you back the hopeful hail: -
‘Fate’s a fiddler, Life’s a dance.’

Idle shot or coming bill,
Hapless love or broken bail,
Gulp it (never chew your pill!)
And if Burgundy should fail,
Try the humbler pot of ail!
Over all is heaven’s expanse.
Gold’s to find among the shale,
Fate’s a fiddler, Life’s a dance.



Out of the night that covers me,
   Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
   For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
   I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
   My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond the place of wrath and tears
   Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
   Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
   How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
   I am the captain of my soul.

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portrait of Byron in Albanian dress by Thomas Phillips, 1835

George Gordon Noel Byron, 6th Baron Byron, was born 22 January 1788 in London and died 19 April 1824 in Missolonghi, Greece.  He was among the most famous of the English 'Romantic' poets; his contemporaries included Percy Shelley and John Keats.  He was also a satirist whose poetry and personality captured the imagin(1819-24).  He died of fever and exposure while engaged in the Greek struggle for independence.
 ation of Europe.  His major works include Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-18) and Don Juan

   As a child he was known simply as George Noel Gordon.  Born with a clubfoot, he was taken by his mother, Catherine Gordon, to Aberdeen, Scotland, where they lived in lodgings on a meager income.  He attended the grammar school there.  He was extremely sensitive of his lameness; its effect upon his character was obvious enough .  It was rumored that his nurse, May Gray, made physical advances to him when he was only nine.  This experience and his idealized love for his distant cousins Mary Duff and Margaret Parker shaped his paradoxical attitudes toward women.
    At the age of 10, George inherited the title and estates of his great-uncle, the "wicked" Lord Byron.  His mother proudly took him to England.  The boy fell in love with the ghostly halls and spacious grounds of Newstead Abbey, which had been presented to the Byron family by the infamous King Henry VIII, and he and his mother lived in its ruins for a while.  He was privately tutored in Nottingham and his clubfoot was doctored by a quack named Lavender.  John Hanson, Mrs. Byron’s attorney, rescued him from the pernicious influence of May Gray, the tortures of Lavender, and the increasingly uneven temper of his mother.  He took him to London, where a reputable doctor prescribed a special brace, and in the autumn of 1799 Hanson sent him to a school in Dulwich.
     In 1801 Byron went to Harrow, where his friendships with younger boys fostered a romantic attachment to the school.  It is possible that these friendships gave the first impetus to his sexual ambivalence, which became more pronounced at Cambridge and later in Greece.  He spent the summer of 1803 with his mother at Southwell, near Nottingham, but soon escaped to Newstead and stayed with his tenant, Lord Grey, and courted his distant cousin Mary Chaworth.  When she grew tired of "that lame boy," he indulged his grief by writing melancholy poetry and Mary became the symbol of idealized and unattainable love.  Later, when he had achieved fame and become the darling of London society, she came to regret her rejection.
     After a term at Trinity College, Byron indulged in dissipation and undue generosity in London that put him deeply into debt.  He returned in the summer of 1806 to Southwell, where he gathered his early poems in a volume privately printed in November with the title Fugitive Pieces.  The following June his first published poems, Hours of Idleness, appeared.  When he returned to Trinity he formed a close friendship with John Cam Hobhouse, who stirred his interest in liberal Whiggism.  At the beginning of 1808, he entered into "an abyss of sensuality" in London that threatened to undermine his health.  On reaching his majority in January 1809, he took his seat in the House of Lords, published an anonymous satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, and embarked with Hobhouse on a grand tour.
     The sailed on the Lisbon packet, which inspired one of Byron's funniest poems, crossed Spain, and proceeded by Gibraltar to Malta.  There Byron fell in love with a married woman and almost fought a duel on her account.  Byron and Hobhouse next landed at Preveza, Greece, and made an inland voyage to Janina and later to Tepelene in Albania to visit Ali Pasa.  On there return Byron began at Janina an autobiographical poem, Childe Harold, which he continued during the journey to Athens.  They lodged with a widow, whose daughter, Theresa Macri, Byron celebrated as The Maid of Athens.  In March 1810 he sailed with Hobhouse for Constantinople by way of Smyrna, and, while becalmed at the mouth of the Hellespont, Byron visited the site of Troy and swam the channel in imitation of Leander.  Byron’s sojourn in Greece made a lasting impression on his mind and character - he delighted in the sunshine and moral tolerance of the people.  After leaving, he often spoke longingly of his visit - and his desire to return.
    Byron arrived in London on 14 July 1811, and his mother died on August 1 before he could reach her at Newstead.  On 27 February 1812, he made his first speech in the House of Lords, and at the beginning of March, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage published by John Murray and took the town by storm.  Besides furnishing a poetic travelogue of picturesque lands, it gave vents to the moods of melancholy and disillusionment of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras.  And the poem conveyed  the disparity between the romantic ideal and the world of reality, a unique achievement in 19th century verse.  Byron was lionized in Whig society and the handsome poet with the clubfoot was swept into affairs with the passionate Lady Caroline Lamb, the "autumnal" Lady Oxford, Lady Frances Webster, and - possibly - his 
 half-sister, Augusta Leigh.  The agitation of these affairs and the sense of mingled guilt and exultation they aroused in his mind are reflected in the Oriental tales he wrote during the period. 

"All Is Vanity, Saith the Preacher"

(From "Hebrew Melodies")
Fame, Wisdom, Love and Power were mine,
And Health and Youth possessed me;
My goblets blushed from every vine,
And lovely forms caressed me;
I sunned my heart in Beauty’s eyes,
And felled my soul grow tender;
All Earth can give, or mortal prize,
Was mine of regal splendour.

I strive to number o’er what days
Remembrance can discover,
Which all that Life or Earth displays
Would lure me to live over.
There rose no day there rolled no hour
Of pleasure unembittered;
And not a trapping decked my Power
That galled not while it glittered.

The serpent of the field, by art
And spells, is won from harming;
But that which coils around the heart,
Oh, who hath power of charming?
It will not list to Wisdom’s lore,
Nor Music’s voice can lure it;
But there it stings for evermore
The soul that must endure it. 

Epitaph To a Dog

When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown by glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And stories urns record that rests below.
When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master’s own,
Who labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennoble but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on – it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one – and here he lies.

Love And Death

I watched thee when the foe was at our side,
Ready to strike at him – or thee and me
Were safety hopeless – rather than divide
Aught with one loved save love and liberty.

I watched thee on the breakers where a rock
Received our prow and all was storm and fear,
And bade thee cling to me through every shock;
This arm would be thy bark, or breast thy bier.

I watched thee when the fever glazed thine eyes,
Yielding my couch and stretched me on the ground,
When overworn with watching ne’er to rise
From thence if thou and early grave hadst found.

The earthquake came, and rocked the quivering wall,
And men and nature reeled as if with wine.
Whom did I seek around the tottering hall?
For thee. Whose safety first prove for? Thine.

And when convulsive throes denied my breath
The faintest utterance to my fading thought,
To thee – to thee – e’en in the gasp of death
My spirit turned, oh! oftener than it ought.

Thus much and more; and yet thou lovs’t me not,
And never wilt! Love dwells not in our will
Nor can I blame thee, though it be my lot
To strongly, wrongly, vainly love thee still.


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SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM (1564—1616), English poet, player and playwright, was baptized in the parish church of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire on the 26th of April. Birth 1564. The exact date of his birth is not known. 18th-century antiquaries, William Oldys and Joseph Greene, gave it as April 23, but without quoting authority for their statements, and the fact that April 23 was the day of Shakespeare’s death in 1616 suggests a possible source of error. In any case his birthday cannot have been later than April 23, since the inscription upon his monument is evidence that on April 23, 1616, he had already begun his fifty-third year. His father, John Shakespeare, was a burgess of the recently constituted corporation of Stratford, and had already filled certain minor municipal offices. From 1561 to 1563 he had been one of the two chamberlains to whom the finance of the town was entrusted. By occupation he was a glover, but he also appears to have dealt from time to time in various kinds of agricultural produce, such as barley, timber and wool. Aubrey (Lives, 1680) spoke of him as a butcher, and it is quite possible that he bred and even killed the calves whose skins he manipulated. He is sometimes described in formal documents as a yeoman, and it is highly probable that he combined a certain amount of farming with the practice of his trade. He was living in Stratford as early as 1552, in which year he was fined for having a dunghill in Henley Street, but he does not appear to have been a native of the town, in whose records the name is not found before his time; and be may reasonably be identified with the John Shakespeare of Snitterfield, who administered the goods of his father, Richard Shakespeare, in 1561. Snitterfield is a village in the immediate neighbourhood of Stratford, and here Richard Shakespeare had been settled as a farmer since 1529. It is possible that John Shakespeare carried on the farm for some time after his father’s death, and that by 1570 he had also acquired a small holding called Ingon in Hampton Lucy, the next village to Snitterfield. But both of these seem to have passed subsequently to his brother Henry, who was buried at Snitterfield in. 1596. There was also at Snitterfield a Thomas Shakespeare and an Anthony Shakespeare, who afterwards moved to Hampton Corley; and these may have been of the same family. A John Shakespeare, -who dwelt at Clifford Chambers, another village close to Stratford, is clearly distinct. Strenuous efforts have been made to trace Shakespeare’s genealogy beyond Richard of Snitterfield, but so far without success. Certain drafts of heraldic exemplifications of the Shakespeare arms speak, in one case of John Shakespeare’s grandfather, in another of his great-grandfather, as having been rewarded with lands and tenements in Warwickshire for service to Henry VII. No such grants, however, have been traced, and even in the 16th-century statements as to” antiquity and service “ in heraldic preambles were looked upon with suspicion.

The name Shakespeare is extremely widespread, and is spelt in an astonishing variety of ways. That of John Shakespeare occurs 166 times in the Council Book of the Stratford corporation, and appears to take 16 different forms. The verdict, not altogether unanimous, of competent palaeographers is to the effect that Shakespeare himself, in the extant examples of his signature, always wrote “Shakspere.” In the printed signatures to the dedications of his poems, on the title-pages of nearly all the contemporary editions of his plays that bear his name, and in many formal documents it appears as Shakespeare.

This may be in part due to the martial derivation which the poet’s literary contemporaries were fond of assigning to his name, and which is acknowledged in the arms that he bore. The forms in use at Stratford, however, such as Shaxpeare, by far the commonest, suggest a short pronunciation of the first syllable, and thus tend to support Dr Henry Bradley’s derivation from the Anglo-Saxon personal name, Seaxberht. It is interesting, and even amusing, to’ record that in 1487 Hugh Shakspere of Merton College, Oxford, changed his name to Sawndare, because his former name vile reputatum est. The earliest record of a Shakespeare that has yet been traced is in 1248 at Clapton in G]oucester~ shire, about seven miles from Stratford. The name also occurs during the ,3th century in Kent, Essex and Surrey, and durin~ the I4th in Cumberland, Yorkshire,  Nottinghamshire, Essex, Warwickshire and as far away as Yougbal in Ireland. Thereafter it is found in London and most of the English counties, particularly those of the midlands; and nowhere more freely than in Warwickshire. There were Shakespeares in Warwick and in Coventry, as well as around Stratford; and the clan appears to have been very numerous in a group of villages about twelve miles north of Stratford, which includes Baddesley Clinton, Wroxall, Rowington, I{aseley, Hatton, Lapworth, Packwood, Balsall and Knowle. William was in common use as a personal name, and Williams from more than one other family have from time to time been confounded with the dramatist. Many Shakespeares are upon the register of the gild of St Anne at Knowle from about 1457 to about 1526. Amongst these were Isabella Shakespeare, prioress of the Benedictine convent of Wroxall, and Jane Shakespeare, a nun of the same convent. Shakespeares are also found as tenants on the manors belonging to the convent, and at the time of the Dissolution in 1534 one Richard Shakespeare was its bailiff and collector of rents. Conjectural attempts have been made on the one hand to connect the ancestors of this Richard Shakespeare with ‘a family of the same name who held land by military tenure at Baddesley Clinton in the 14th and 15th centuries, and on usc other to ideniify him with the poet’s grandfather, Richard Shakespeare of’ Snitterfield. But Shakespeares are to be traced at Wroxall nearly as far back as at Baddesley Clinton, and there is no reason to suppose that Richard the bailiff, who was certainly still a tenant of Wroxall in 1556, had also since 1529 been farming land ten miles off at Snitterfield.

"Yet Here, Laertes!..."

(From "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark")
Yet here, Laertes! Aboard, aboard, for
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay’d for. There, -- my blessing with you!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. – Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Graplle them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull your palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in,
Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man;
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be:
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: -- to thine ownself be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!

"When Daffodils Begin To Peer..."

(From "The Winter's Tale")
When daffodils begin to peer, -- 
With hey! The doxy over the dale, --
Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year;
For the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale.

The white sheet bleaching on the hedge, --
With hey! the sweet birds, O, how they sing! --
Doth set my pugging tooth on edge;
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

The lark, that tirra-lirra chants, -- 
With hey! with hey! the thrush and the jay, --
Are summer songs for me and for my aunts,
While we lie tumbling in the hay.

"When I Have Seen..."

(From “Sonnets”, LXIV)
When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
The rich-proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras’d,
And brass eternal, slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate –
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, whish cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

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                        William Blake

"To see a World in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the Palm of your hand
And Eternity in an Hour."
from Auguries of Innocence
William Blake was born on November 28, 1757 in London, the third of five children. His father James was a hosier, and could only afford to give William enough schooling to learn the basics of reading and writing, though for a short time he was able to attend a drawing school run by Henry Par.
William worked in his father's shop until his talent for drawing became so obvious that he was apprenticed to engraver James Basire at age 14. He finished his apprenticeship at age 21, and set out to make his living as an engraver.
Blake married Catherine Boucher at age 25, and she worked with him on most of his artistic creations. Together they published a book of Blake's poems and drawings called Songs of Innocence.
Blake engraved the words and pictures on copper plates (a method he claimed he received in a dream), and Catherine coloured the plates and bound the books. Songs of Innocence sold slowly during Blake's lifetime, indeed Blake struggled close to poverty for much of his life.
More successful was a series of copperplate engravings Blake did to illustrate the Book of Job for a new edition of the Old Testament.
Blake did not have a head for business, and he turned down publisher's requests to focus on his own subjects. In his choice of subject Blake was often guided by his gentle, mystical views of Christianity. Songs of Experience (1794) was followed by Milton (1804-1808), and Jerusalem (1804-1820).
In 1800 Blake gained a patron in William Hayley, who commissioned him to illustrate his Life of Cowper, and to create busts of famous poets for his house in Felpham, Suurey.
While at Felpham, Blake was involved in a bizarre episode which could have proven disastrous; he was accused by a drunken soldier of cursing the king, and on this testimony he was brought to trial for treason. The cae against Blake proved flimsy, and he was cleared of the charges.
Blake poured his whole being into his work. The lack of public recognition sent him into a severe depression which lasted from 1810-1817, and even his close friends thought him insane.
Unlike painters like Gainsborough, Blake worked on a small scale; most of his engravings are little more than inches in height, yet the detailed rendering is superb and exact. Blake's work received far more public acclaim after his death, and an excerpt from his poem Milton was set to music, becoming a sort of unofficial Christian anthem of English nationalism in the 20th century.
William Blake died on August 12, 1827, and is buried in an unmarked grave at Bunhill Fields, London.

                       The Divine Image
From Songs of Innocence
The Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love 
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our Father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is man, His child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

For all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too. 

A Dream

From Songs of Innocence
Once a dream did weave a shade
O'er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangled spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:

'O my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.'

Pitying, I dropped a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, 'What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?'

'I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle's hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home!'

The Tiger

From Songs of Experience
Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

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Rudyard Kipling
  • Born: 30 December 1865
  • Birthplace: Bombay, India
  • Died: 18 January 1936
  • Best Known As: The author of The Jungle Book
Rudyard Kipling is the author of The Jungle Book and other British-flavored tales of the Indian subcontinent. Kipling was born in India to British parents, but spent much of his childhood at school in England before returning to India in his teens. His collection Barrack-Room Ballads (1892) was full of colorful, dusty, sing-song poems told from the point of view of the common British soldier, including the popular poem "Gunga Din." The Jungle Book (1894) was a collection of fictional stories about the wilds of India, many of them about Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves. It was followed by The Second Jungle Book in 1895 and was the basis for the popular 1967 Disney animated film. At the time Kipling began writing, Queen Victoria still held the title of "Empress of India," and Kipling is known as a romantic imperialist: sympathetic toward the British Empire's foreign subjects and yet proud of the British role in keeping and expanding its empire. Kipling traveled widely and wrote hundreds of essays, poems and stories, continuing to write nearly up to his death in 1936. Among his most popular poems are If ("IF you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you..."), Mandalay ("... An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!"). His 1897 book Captains Courageous was set among the fishing fleets of New England, and Kim (1901) in the Himalayas. Just So Stories (1902) was a collection of whimsical African tales, including "How the Leopard Got His Spots" and "The Elephant's Child." His son John was killed while fighting in World War I, and after the war Kipling published a history of John's regiment, titled The Irish Guards in the Great War (1923). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.
The poem "Gunga Din" includes the famous final line, "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" The poem was expanded into a 1939 feature film, with Cary Grant as a British soldier and Sam Jaffe as Gunga Din... Kipling's 1899 poem The White Man's Burden was the first public use of that phrase... Kipling's two Jungle Book volumes are often published together under the plural title The Jungle Books... Another well-travelled adventure author of Kipling's era was Scotland's Robert Louis Stevenson.


God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

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Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
                                          Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

The Gift of the Sea

The dead child lay in the shroud,
                        And the widow watched beside;
                     And her mother slept, and the Channel swept
                      The gale in the teeth of the tide.
                         But the mother laughed at all.
                      "I have lost my man in the sea,
                      And the child is dead.  Be still," she said,
                          "What more can ye do to me?"
                       The widow watched the dead,
                          And the candle guttered low,
                      And she tried to sing the Passing Song
                           That bids the poor soul go.
                    And "Mary take you now," she sang,
                         "That lay against my heart."
                      And "Mary smooth your crib to-night,"
                         But she could not say "Depart."
                     Then came a cry from the sea,
                   But the sea-rime blinded the glass,
                  And "Heard ye nothing, mother?" she said,
                     "'Tis the child that waits to pass."
                   And the nodding mother sighed:
                  "'Tis a lambing ewe in the whin,
                For why should the christened soul cry out
                   That never knew of sin?"
                   "O feet I have held in my hand,
                   O hands at my heart to catch,
                    How should they know the road to go,
                     And how should they lift the latch?"
                    They laid a sheet to the door,
                      With the little quilt atop,
               That it might not hurt from the cold or the dirt,
                      But the crying would not stop.
                       The widow lifted the latch
                      And strained her eyes to see,
                 And opened the door on the bitter shore
                    To let the soul go free.
                                         There was neither glimmer nor ghost,
                                               There was neither spirit nor spark,
                                        And "Heard ye nothing, mother?" she said,
                                                  "'Tis crying for me in the dark."

                                            And the nodding mother sighed:
                                               "'Tis sorrow makes ye dull;
                                           Have ye yet to learn the cry of the tern,
                                             Or the wail of the wind-blown gull?"

                                               "The terns are blown inland,
                                                The grey gull follows the plough.
                                                'Twas never a bird, the voice I heard,
                                                  O mother, I hear it now!"

                                                   "Lie still, dear lamb, lie still;
                                                  The child is passed from harm,
                                          'Tis the ache in your breast that broke your rest,
                                                  And the feel of an empty arm."

                                                         She put her mother aside,
                                                             "In Mary's name let be!
                                                    For the peace of my soul I must go," she said,
                                                            And she went to the calling sea.

                                                        In the heel of the wind-bit pier,
                                                     Where the twisted weed was piled,
                                               She came to the life she had missed by an hour,
                                                            For she came to a little child.

                                                       She laid it into her breast,
                                                     And back to her mother she came,
    But it would not feed and it would not heed,
Though she gave it her own child's name.
                      And the dead child dripped on her breast,
                         And her own in the shroud lay stark;
                        And "God forgive us, mother," she said,
                          "We let it die in the dark!"

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