“At stake now is whether the post-Saddam Iraq constructed by the US remains viable 16 years after the invasion that overturned the country’s regime and reset the balance of power in the region.”
Then and Now
by John McCrae (1872-1918)
Beneath her window in the fragrant night
I half forget how truant years have flown
Since I looked up to see her chamber-light,
Or catch, perchance, her slender shadow thrown
Upon the casement; but the nodding leaves
Sweep lazily across the unlit pane,
And to and fro beneath the shadowy eaves,
Like restless birds, the breath of coming rain
Creeps, lilac-laden, up the village street
When all is still, as if the very trees
Were listening for the coming of her feet
That come no more; yet, lest I weep, the breeze
Sings some forgotten song of those old years
Until my heart grows far too glad for tears.
by William Ellery Channing (1818-1901)
To live content with small means.
To seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion.
To be worthy not respectable,
and wealthy not rich.
To study hard, think quietly, talk gently,
act frankly, to listen to stars, birds, babes,
and sages with open heart, to bear all cheerfully,
do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.
Introduction to The Songs of Innocence
by William Blake (1757-1827)
Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he, laughing, said to me:
‛Pipe a song about a Lamb!’
So I piped with merry cheer.
‛Piper, pipe that song again;’
So I piped: he wept to hear.
‛Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer!’
So I sang the same again,
While he wept with joy to hear.
‛Piper, sit thee down and write
In a book, that all may read.’
So he vanish’d from my sight.
And I plucked a hollow reed,
And I made a rural pen.
And I stain’d the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.
Non Omnis Moriar (Odes, III, 30)
by Quintus Horatius Flaccus (“Horace”) (65-8 B.C.E.)
Exegi monumentum aere perennius
regalique situ pyramidum altius,
quod non imber edax, non Aquilo inpotens
possit diruere aut innumerabilis
annorum series et fuga temporum.
Non omnis moriar multaque pars mei
vitabit Libitinam; usque ego postera
crescam laude recens, dum Capitolium
scandet cum tacita virgine pontifex.
Dicar, qua violens obstrepit Aufidus
et qua pauper aquae Daunus agrestium
regnavit populorum, ex humili potens
princeps Aeolium carmen ad Italos
deduxisse modos. Sume superbiam
quaesitam meritis et mihi Delphica
lauro cinge volens, Melpomene, comam.
The Modern Patriot
by William Cowper (1731-1800)
Rebellion is my theme all day;
I only wish ’twould come
(As who knows but perhaps it may?)
A little nearer home.
Yon roaring boys, who rave and fight
On t’other side th’ Atlantic
I always held them in the right
But most so when most frantic.
When lawless mobs insult the court,
That man shall be my toast,
If breaking windows be the sport,
Who bravely breaks the most.
But oh! for him my fancy culls
The choicest flow’rs she bears,
Who constitutionally pulls
Your house about your ears.
Such civil broils are my delight;
Though some folks can’t endure ’em,
Who say the mob are mad outright,
And that a rope must cure ’em.
A rope! I wish we patrioits had
Such strings for all who need ’em –
What! hang a man for going mad?
Then farewell British freedom.
by Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918)
Nudes—stark and glistening,
Yelling in lurid glee. Grinning faces
And raging limbs
Whirl over the floor one fire.
For a shirt verminously busy
Yon soldier tore from his throat, with oaths
Godhead might shrink at, but not the lice.
And soon the shirt was aflare
Over the candle he’d lit while we lay.
Then we all sprang up and stript
To hunt the verminous brood.
Soon like a demons’ pantomime
The place was raging.
See the silhouettes agape,
See the gibbering shadows
Mixed with the battled arms on the wall.
See gargantuan hooked fingers
Pluck in supreme flesh
To smutch supreme littleness.
See the merry limbs in hot Highland fling
Because some wizard vermin
Charmed from the quiet this revel
When our ears were half lulled
By the dark music
Blown from Sleep’s trumpet.
Caliban upon Setebos
Or, Natural Theology in the Island
by Robert Browning (1812-1889)
“Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself.”
(David, Psalms 50.21)
[’Will sprawl, now that the heat of day is best,
Flat on his belly in the pit’s much mire,
With elbows wide, fists clenched to prop his chin.
And, while he kicks both feet in the cool slush,
And feels about his spine small eft-things course,
Run in and out each arm, and make him laugh:
And while above his head a pompion-plant,
Coating the cave-top as a brow its eye,
Creeps down to touch and tickle hair and beard,
And now a flower drops with a bee inside,
And now a fruit to snap at, catch and crunch,—
He looks out o’er yon sea which sunbeams cross
And recross till they weave a spider-web
(Meshes of fire, some great fish breaks at times)
And talks to his own self, howe’er he please,
Touching that other, whom his dam called God.
Because to talk about Him, vexes—ha,
Could He but know! and time to vex is now,
When talk is safer than in winter-time.
Moreover Prosper and Miranda sleep
In confidence he drudges at their task,
And it is good to cheat the pair, and gibe,
Letting the rank tongue blossom into speech.]
Setebos, Setebos, and Setebos!
’Thinketh, He dwelleth i’ the cold o’ the moon.
Chanson (“Qui veult avoir liesse”)
by Clément Marot (1496-1544)
Qui veult avoir liesse
Seulement d’un regard,
Vienne veoir ma maistresse,
Que Dieu maintienne, et gard:
Elle a si bonne grace,
Que celluy qui la veoit,
Mille douleurs efface,
Et plus, s’il en avoit.
Les vertus de la Belle
Me font esmerveiller.
La souvenance d’elle
Faict mon cueur esveiller.
Sa beaulté tant exquise
Me faict la mort sentir;
Mais sa grace requise
M’en peult bien garantir.