Monthly Archives: October 2018
Poem of the day
by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir—
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
Here once, through an alley Titantic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul—
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll—
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole—
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.
Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere—
Our memories were treacherous and sere—
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year—
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
We noted not the dim lake of Auber—
(Though once we had journeyed down here)—
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
And now, as the night was senescent
And star-dials pointed to morn—
As the star-dials hinted of morn—
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn—
Astarte’s bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.
And I said—“She is warmer than Dian:
She rolls through an ether of sighs—
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion
To point us the path to the skies—
To the Lethean peace of the skies—
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes—
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With love in her luminous eyes.”
But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
Said—“Sadly this star I mistrust—
Her pallor I strangely mistrust: —
Oh, hasten!—oh, let us not linger!
Oh, fly!—let us fly!—for we must.”
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Wings until they trailed in the dust—
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust—
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.
I replied—“This is nothing but dreaming:
Let us on by this tremulous light!
Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
Its Sybilic splendor is beaming
With Hope and in Beauty to-night:—
See!—it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will lead us aright—
We safely may trust to a gleaming
T hat cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.”
Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom—
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But were stopped by the door of a tomb—
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said—“What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?”
’Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!”
Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and sere—
As the leaves that were withering and sere,
And I cried—“It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed—I journeyed down here—
That I brought a dread burden down here—
On this night of all nights in the year,
Ah, what demon has tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber—
This misty mid region of Weir—
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
This ghoul-hannted woodland of Weir.”
The argument that the 14th Amendment does not automatic citizenship to everyone born in the US and “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is total BS. Undocumented immigrants are subject to US jurisdiction. If they weren’t, we couldn’t try them for any crimes they might commit. The language was originally there so that Native Americans (regarded by legal fiction as sovereign nations) wouldn’t become citizens (Congress granted them citizenship in 1924). Nowadays, the only people born here and not subject to US jurisdiction are the children of diplomats (who have diplomatic immunity). They’re not citizens.
Poem of the day
by Paul Valéry (1871-1945)
Je rêve un fort splendide et calme, où la nature
S’endort entre la rive et le flot infini,
Près de palais portant des dômes d’or bruni,
Près des vaisseaux couvrant de drapeaux leur mâture.
Vers le large horizon où vont les matelots
Les cloches d’argent fin jettent leurs chants étranges.
L’enivrante senteur des vins et des oranges
Se mêle à la senteur enivrante des flots.
Une lente chanson monte vers les étoiles,
Douce comme un soupir, triste comme un adieu.
Sur l’horizon la lune ouvre son œil de feu
Et jette ses rayons parmi les lourdes voiles.
Brune à la lèvre rose et couverte de fards,
La fille, l’œil luisant comme une girandole,
Sur la hanche roulant ainsi qu’une gondole,
Hideusement s’en va sous les flots blafards.
Et moi, mélancolique amant de l’onde sombre,
Ami des grands vaisseaux noirs le silencieux,
J’erre dans la fraîcheur du vent délicieux
Qui fait trembler dans l’eau des lumières sans nombre.
The ugly can only get uglier
Game of the week
(Once again, I have failed to post this feature on Sunday as planned. This time, however, I have an excuse in the form of David Anthony Huntington, who was born on October 25, 2018 and had deprived me of much sleep. But it’s okay. He’s adorable.)
This week’s game features two grandmasters fighting it out in something called “pre-chess.” This is similar to Chess960 or FischerRandom except that it’s not random. The players begin with an empty back rank and the first eight moves are spent with each player putting a piece down on a back-rank square each move (bishops must be placed on opposite colored squares). So, unlike the other variants, the positions are not symmetrical (usually). Then regular play begins on move 9.
In this game, Benko outmaneuvers Bisguier to reach a superior endgame, only to hang a piece and have to resign.
Poem of the day
Ode to Liberty
by James Boswell
Goddess supreme! whose power divine
The yielding Passions all obey,
On me, O! with thy influence shine!
O! send a spark to fire each lay!
A soul by nature form’d to feel
Grief sharper than the tyrants steel,
And bosom big with swelling thought,
From ancient lore’s remembrance brought,
Prompt me with pinions bold my way to wing,
And like the sky-lark at heaven’s gate to sing.
Come, mistress of superior grace,
Daughter in hour sublime of Jove!
O’er the strong features of whose face
With air of distant awe we rove:
While mingling softness to the eye
Seems o’er each lineament to fly;
As when the sun’s resplendent rays
In summer glow with redd’ning blaze,
A floating blue-ting’d cloud does interveen,
And thro’ a veil the sire of light is seen.
Come, Muse! while Terror’s ghastly form,
And Pity, gentle maid, appear,
Or to assault the soul by storm,
Or steal the generous heart-sprung tear:
While they attendant on thy state,
Submissive thy behests await,
Dread as a hideous lion chain’d,
And Pity’s looks with crying stain’d,
O in thy dazzling majesty advance,
Thou who thro’ nature shoot’st with eagle glance.
’Tis thine the soul to humanize
By fancied wo;—Goddess! ’tis thine
To bid compassion melt the eyes,
And all the feelings soft refine.
’Tis thine, with great Apollo’s skill,
The inmost springs of life to thrill;
’Tis thine to move a breast of stone,
And make a brazen heart to own,
That solemn tragic numbers are of force,
To stop a villain in his bloody course.
Behold the buskin’d bard of Greece!
Th’ inchantment of whose tuneful shell
Could sooth the mind to gentle peace,
Or rouse to fury sprung from hell!
See in his kindling look, the fire
Bright flaming from his golden lyre!
Hark how he sweeps the strings!—such tones
Nature design’d affliction’s groans.
I feel, when now he wakes another strain,
The love of glory panting in each vein!
Unhappy Oedipus! thy fate—
—Gods! for one mortal how severe!—
While Sophocles deigns to relate,
In pomp of sadness shall appear.
The direful oracle we dread,
While on thy bare dejected head,
We see the black tempest’ous shower
Of Fortune’s wrath incessant pour:
We see a wretch o’er boiling eddies tost,
Till in a gulf of wo the victim’s lost!
O say, thou arbitress of mind,
What sympathy unites our race,
That even in savages we find
This wondrous tender, human grace?
How is the heart of man so soft?
—Which I, alas! have felt too oft.—
How are we mov’d with others wo?
How do the streams of pity flow?
How does the breast with throbs spontaneous beat?
How is compassion found so strangely sweet?
Hail! father of the British stage!
Shakespear! to whom shall still belong
Thro’ each successive wond’ring age,
The glories of immortal song!
Melpomene, with aspect mild,
With joyful hope exulting smil’d,
What time on Avon’s banks she saw
Thee young thy first rude sketches draw
Of richest poesy, whose strains sublime
Already aim’d th’ empyreum’s height to climb.
Genius unbounded as the sky,
That spreads itself from pole to pole,
Disdains a formal course to fly,
Or sweep the ground with lazy stole.
The Stagyrite may preach in vain,
And tasteless critics cold complain
That thou all rules of art hast broke,
And flung away the stated yoke;
To the kind heart alone thou dost appeal,
And bidst th’ ingenuous there conviction feel.
Say thou! th’ illustrious poet’s shade!
Whether old Westminster’s fam’d dome
Thou haunt’st, or where his childhood stray’d,
And where his bones have fix’d their home;
O say from whence such powers he drew,
By which the universe he knew:
Ye ghosts, and beings of the brain!
Witches, and all the magic train!
You he could lively paint with pencil nice,
And scourge, by force infernal, blasted vice!
Greatest of bards! O hear my prayer!
Gleam on my soul with chearing view:
Yet think not that I rashly dare
One of thy footsteps to pursue.
How have I, in my youthful age,
Ador’d to see the passions rage!
As when her swain with Juliet strove,
Who felt the anguish most of love;
Or when Old England’s annals were display’d,
And Piercy storm’d in martial fire array’d.
Forgive, tho’ I forbear to tell
Of you, ye other bards who shine,
Forgive tho’ I forbear to swell
With croud of names the sounding line.
When Oroonoko’s godlike soul,
By misery distracted, roll
In gloomy blood-streak’d eyes we see,
Can any bosom ruthless be?
Will not a hapless orphan make us weep?
Or Randolph’s lady plung’d in sorrows deep?
Augusta’s theatres!—with pride
How often have I witness’d there,
The lucid pearls of pity glide
From lovely eyes of British fair!
How often have I raptur’d seen
The passion of the present queen
With uncontroll’d applauses loud
Burn in each feature of the croud!
Lo! boundless liberty submissive deigns—
Triumph how great! to wear the actor’s chains!
See Garrick in poor Lear rave,
Borne down the tide of sore distress!
He seems ’gainst each o’erwhelming wave
With hoary majesty to press!
See Sheridan in Denmark’s heir!—
Wide spreads the prospect of despair!
With dusky clouds the sky is hung!
Pale horror falters on his tongue!
Torn is his wretched mind! ev’n now I view
Cold, pain-wrought drops his mournful face bedew!
O why by Cam’s delightful streams,
Does he who sung Elfrida’s wo,
Indulge his warm, poetic dreams,
But to the private eye to show?
Why does the moralizing train
Him from the world’s just glass detain?
Beams not bright beauty brighter still,
From the high summit of yon hill?
Drive him, Ambition, from th’ inglorious seat,
Tho’ Hurd approve his indolent retreat.
Goddess supreme! my vows attend.
O let the honour’d task be mine,
Thy temple trembling to ascend;
Trembling to offer at thy shrine.
While idle Folly’s glitt’ring train
Bask in the sunshine, ever vain;
Like Juno’s bird so pert and gay,
Their gaudy plumage still display;
O! let me visit oft thy sacred store,
And in ecstatic heat intranc’d adore!
“Why they left: Death threats, extortion and poverty”
Poem of the day
The New Colossus
by Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Poem of the day
The Noble Nature
by Ben Jonson (1574-1637)
It is not growing like a tree
In bulk doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night,—
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.