Unfortunately, grandmaster Sherzer passed away recently.
Men Improve With the Years
by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
I am worn out with dreams;
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams;
And all day long I look
Upon this lady’s beauty
As though I had found in book
A pictured beauty,
Pleased to have filled the eyes
Or the discerning ears,
Delighted to be but wise,
For men improve with the years;
And yet and yet
Is this my dream, or the truth?
O would that we had met
When I had my burning youth;
But I grow old among dreams,
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams.
by Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
”You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”
“You are old,” said the youth, “As I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door—
Pray, what is the reason of that?”
“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment—one shilling a box—
Allow me to sell you a couple?”
“You are old,” said the youth, “And your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak—
How on earth did you manage to do it?”
“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”
“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—
What made you so awfully clever?”
“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
Said his father; “don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs!”
by Anne Bradstreet (c. 1612-1672)
To sing of wars, of captains, and of kings,
Of cities founded, commonwealths begun,
For my mean pen are too superior things:
Or how they all, or each, their dates have run;
Let poets and historians set these forth,
My obscure lines shall not so dim their worth.
But when my wondering eyes and envious heart
Great Bartas‘ sugared lines do but read o’er,
Fool I do grudge the Muses did not part
‘Twixt him and me that overfluent store;
A Bartas can do what a Bartas will,
But simple I according to my skill.
From school-boys tongues no rhetoric we expect,
Nor yet a sweet consort from broken strings,
Nor perfect beauty where’s a main defect:
My foolish, broken, blemished Muse so sings;
And this to mend, alas, no art is able,
‘Cause nature made is so, irreparable.
Nor can I, like that fluent, sweet-tongued Greek
Who lisped at first, in future times speak plain;
By art he gladly found what he did seek—
A full requital of his striving pain.
Art can do much, but this maxim’s most sure:
A weak or wounded brain admits no cure.
I am obnoxious to each carping tongue
Who says my hand a needle better fits.
A poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong;
For such despite they cast on female wits,
If what I do prove well, it won’t advance–
They’ll say it was stolen, or else it was by chance.
But sure the ancient Greeks were far more mild,
Else of our sex why feignéd they those Nine,
And Posey made Calliope’s own child?
So ‘mongst the rest they placed the Arts Divine.
But this weak knot they will full soon untie–
The Greeks did naught but play the fools and lie.
Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are.
Men have precedency, and still excell.
It is but vain unjustly to wage war,
Men can do best, and women know it well.
Preheminence in all and each is yours—
Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours.
And oh, ye high flown quills that soar the skies,
And ever with your prey still catch your praise,
If e’er you deign these lowly lines your eyes,
Give thyme or parsley wreath; I ask no bays.
This mean and unrefinéd ore of mine
Will make your glistening gold but more to shine.
In memory of Michael Basman who passed away in October.
On His Mistress (Elegy XVI)
by John Donne (1572-1631)
By our first strange and fatal interview,
By all desires which thereof did ensue,
By our long starving hopes, by that remorse
Which my words’ masculine persuasive force
Begot in thee, and by the memory
Of hurts which spies and rivals threatened me,
I calmly beg; but by thy parents’ wrath,
By all pains which want and divorcement hath,
I conjure thee; and all those oaths which I
And thou have sworn, to seal joint constancy,
Here I unswear, and overswear them thus:
Thou shalt not love by means so dangerous.
Temper, O fair Love, love’s impetuous rage,
Be my true mistress still, not my feigned page.
I’ll go, and, by thy kind leave, leave behind
Thee, only worthy to nurse in my mind
Thirst to come back; O, if thou die before,
From other lands my soul towards thee shall soar.
Thy (else almighty) beauty cannot move
Rage from the seas, nor thy love teach them love,
Nor tame wild Boreas’ harshness: thou hast read
How roughly he in pieces shivered
Fair Orithea, whom he swore he loved.
Fall ill or good, ’tis madness to have proved
Dangers unurged; feed on this flattery,
That adsent lovers one in the other be.
Dissemble nothing, not a boy, nor change
Thy body’s habit, nor mind’s; be not strange
To thyself only; all will spy in thy face
A blushing womanly discovering grace.
Richly clothed apes are called apes, and as soon
Eclipsed as bright, we call the moon the moon.
Men of France, changeable chameleons,
Spittles of diseases, shops of fashions,
Love’s fuellers, and the rightest company
Of players, which upon the world’s stage be,
Will quickly know thee, and know thee; and alas,
The indifferent Italian, as we pass
His warm land, well content to think thee page,
Will haunt thee, with such lust and hideous rage
As Lot’s fair guests were vexed: but none of these,
Nor spongy hydroptic Dutch, shall thee displease,
If thou stay here. O stay here, for, for thee
England is only a worthy gallery,
To walk in expectation, till from thence
Our great King call thee into his presence.
When I am gone, dream me some happiness,
Nor let thy looks our long-hid love confess,
Nor praise, nor dispraise me, bless, nor curse
Openly love’s force; nor in bed fright thy nurse
With midnight’s startings, crying out, ‘Oh, Oh,
Nurse, Oh, my love is slain; I saw him go
O’er the white Alps, alone; I saw him, I,
Assailed, fight, taked, stabbed, bleed, fall, and die.’
Augur me better chance, except dread Jove
Think it enough for me to have had thy love.
A Prairie Water Colour
by Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947)
Beside the slew the poplars play
In double lines of silver-grey: —
A trembling in the silver trees
A shadow-trembling in the slew.
Standing clear above the hill
The snow-grey clouds are still,
Floating there idle as light;
Beyond, the sky is almost white
Under the pure deep zenith-blue.
Acres of summer-fallow meet
Acres of growing gold-green wheat
That ripen in the heat.
Where a disc-harrow tears the soil,
Up the long slope six horses toil,
The driver, one with the machine; —
The group is dimly seen
For as they go a cloud of dust
Comes like a spirit out of earth
And follows where they go.
Upward they labour, drifting slow,
The disc-rims sparkle through the veil;
Now upon the topmost height
The dust grows pale,
The group springs up in vivid light
And, dipping below the line of sight,
Is lost to view.
Yet still the little cloud is there,
All dusky-luminous in air,
Then thins and settles on the land
And lets the sunlight through.
All is content. The fallow field
Is waiting there till next year’s yield
Shall top the rise with ripening grain,
When the green-gold harvest plain
Shall break beneath the harrow.
Still-purple, growing-gold they lie,
The crop and summer fallow. The vast sky
Holds all in one pure round of blue —
And nothing moves except the play
Of silver-grey in the poplar trees
Of shadow in the slew.