Poem of the day

Epitaph
by Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

Well then, poor G—— lies under ground!
⁠      So there’s an end of honest Jack.
So little justice here he found,
⁠      ’Tis ten to one he’ll ne’er come back.

Game of the week

Poem of the day

A Ballad of Abbreviations
by Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)

The American’s a hustler, for he says so,
         And surely the American must know.
He will prove to you with figures why it pays so
         Beginning with his boyhood long ago.
When the slow-maturing anecdote is ripest,
         He’ll dictate it like a Board of Trade Report,
And because he has no time to call a typist,
         He calls her a Stenographer for short.

He is never known to loiter or malinger,
         He rushes, for he knows he has ‛a date’;
He is always on the spot and full of ginger,
         Which is why he is invariably late.
When he guesses that it’s getting even later,
         His vocabulary’s vehement and swift,
And he yells for what he calls the Elevator,
         A slang abbreviation for a lift.

Then nothing can be nattier or nicer
         For those who like a light and rapid style.
Than to trifle with a work of Mr Dreiser
         As it comes along in waggons by the mile.
He has taught us what a swift selective art meant
         By description of his dinners and all that,
And his dwelling, which he says is an Apartment,
         Because he cannot stop to say a flat.

We may whisper of his wild precipitation,
         That it’s speed in rather longer than a span,
But there really is a definite occasion
         When he does not use the longest word he can.
When he substitutes, I freely make admission,
         One shorter and much easier to spell;
If you ask him what he thinks of Prohibition,
         He may tell you quite succinctly it is Hell.

Poem of the day

Last Words
by Anne Brontë (1820-1849)

A dreadful darkness closes in
               On my bewildered mind;
O let me suffer and not sin,
               Be tortured yet resigned.

Through all this world of whelming mist
               Still let me look to Thee,
And give me courage to resist
               The Tempter till he flee.

Weary I am — O give me strength
               And leave me not to faint;
Say Thou wilt comfort me at length
               And pity my complaint.

I’ve begged to serve Thee heart and soul,
               To sacrifice to Thee
No niggard portion, but the whole
               Of my identity.

I hoped amid the brave and strong
               My portioned task might lie,
To toil amid the labouring throng
               With purpose pure and high.

But Thou hast fixed another part,
               And Thou hast fixed it well;
I said so with my breaking heart
               When first the anguish fell.

For Thou hast taken my delight
               And hope of life away,
And bid me watch the painful night
               And wait the weary day.

The hope and the delight were Thine;
               I bless Thee for their loan;
I gave Thee while I deemed them mine
               Too little thanks, I own.

Shall I with joy Thy blessings share
               And not endure their loss?
Or hope the martyr’s crown to wear
               And cast away the cross?

These weary hours will not be lost,
               These days of passive misery,
These nights of darkness anguish tost
               If I can fix my heart on Thee.

Weak and weary though I lie,
               Crushed with sorrow, worn with pain,
Still I may lift to Heaven mine eyes
               And strive and labour not in vain,

That inward strife against the sins
               That ever wait on suffering;
To watch and strike where first begins
               Each ill that would corruption bring,

That secret labour to sustain
               With humble patience every blow,
To gather fortitude from pain
               And hope and holiness from woe.

Thus let me serve Thee from my heart
               Whatever be my written fate,
Whether thus early to depart
               Or yet awhile to wait.

If Thou shouldst bring me back to life
               More humbled I should be;
More wise, more strengthened for the strife,
               More apt to lean on Thee.

Should Death be standing at the gate
               Thus should I keep my vow;
But, Lord, whate’er my future fate
               So let me serve Thee now.

Poem of the day

Battle Hymn of the Republic
by Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910)
This have been, of course, numerous recordings of this. My favorite is Odetta’s

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
            His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
            His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you My grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
            Since God is marching on.”

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
            Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
            While God is marching on.

Immigration success

“Yet, despite widespread reporting of our racial strife, Black immigrants continue to come to America in ever increasing numbers. Once here, their belief in American greatness remains intact. If they had to come all over again, most say they would. In this we can take solace and even dare contemplate that our racial divide may be exaggerated. In any event, it can be overcome, and is overcome, every day. …

“Black immigration is a belated rebuke to the efforts of the American Colonization Society, which enticed free Blacks to move to Africa in the 19th Century. It represents a vote of confidence in America, its principles, its institutions and its people.”

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott?s inspiring rebuttal to President Biden?s address to Congress last month was controversial because as an African American he proclaimed that "America is not a racist coun

Poem of the day

Serranilha
by Gil Vicente (c. 1470-c. 1540)

A serra é alta, fria e nevosa;
vi venir serrana gentil, graciosa.

Vi venir serrana, gentil, graciosa,
cheguei-me per’ela com grã cortesia.

Cheguei-me per’ela de grã cortesia,
disse-lhe: senhora, quereis companhia?

Disse-lhe: senhora, quereis companhia?
Disse-me: escudeiro, segui vossa via.

Poem of the day

Fable
by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel,
And the former called the latter Little Prig;
Bun replied,
“You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together,
To make up a year
And a sphere.
And I think it no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I’m not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.
I’ll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut.”

Poem of the day

The Love-Letter
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

Warmed by her hand and shadowed by her hair
      As close she leaned and poured her heart through thee,
      Whereof the articulate throbs accompany
The smooth black stream that makes thy whiteness fair,—
Sweet fluttering sheet, even of her breath aware,—
      Oh let thy silent song disclose to me
      That soul wherewith her lips and eyes agree
Like married music in Love’s answering air.

Fain had I watched her when, at some fond thought,
      Her bosom to the writing closelier press’d,
      And her breast’s secrets peered into her breast;
When, through eyes raised an instant, her soul sought
My soul, and from the sudden confluence caught
      The words that made her love the loveliest.