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Poetry once more. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Poetry once more.


Truth (Balade De Bon Conseyl)


Flee fro the prees, and dwelle with sothfastnesse,
Suffyce unto they good, though it be smal;
For hord hath hate, and climbing 
Prees hath envye, and wele 
blent overal;
Savour no more than thee 
bihove shall
Reule wel thyself, that other folk canst rede;
And trouthe the shal delivere, it is no drede.

Tempest thee noght al croked to redresse,
In trust of 
hir that turneth as a bal:
Gret reste stant in litel besinesse;
Be war also to 
sporne ayeyns an al;
Stryve not, as doth the 
crokke with the wal.
Daunte thyself, that dauntest otheres dede;
And trouth thee shal delivere, it is no drede.

That thee is sent, receyve in buxumnesse,
The wrastling for this world 
axeth a fal.
Her is not hoom, her
nis but wilderness:
Forth, pilgrim, forth! Forth
, beste, out of thy stal!
Know thy contree, look up, thank God of all;
Hold the heye wey, and lat thy 
gost thee lede;
And trouthe thee shal delivere, it is no drede.



Therfor, thou vache, leve thyn old whrechednesse
Unto the world; 
leve now to be thral;
Crye him mercy, that of his hy goodnesse
Maded the of noght, and in especial
Draw unto him, and pray in general
For thee, and 
eek for other, hevenlich mede
And trouthe thee shal delivere, it is no drede.


Explicit Le bon counseill de G. Chaucer


A carol of the fifteenth century: in winter as in bramble-time


Me think ys world is wonder wery

And fadyth as ye brymbyll bery:


When the world waxes of wonders weary

It fades as must the bramble’s berry.

It sinks in slumber winter-deep,

Whilst snowfall mocks and mimics sheep

Who huddle by the iron-frost hedge,

And hoarfrost seizes on the sedge

And ice the pond and pool congeals:

In winter sleep the wearied heals.


The frozen dream, the frosted sleep,

The dreams of summer stay and keep:

A hoarded larder of new days

To thaw to wonder and to praise,

Like peas or carrots.  Freshness caught

And kept from spoilage, cheaply bought

From God’s greengrocer, to await

The warmer days that soon or late

Shall follow, as in time they must.

The blowing may, the summer’s dust

In lanes where late the snow was banked:

Their time recurses, God be thanked.

The longer days, the warmer suns,

The wickets and the flaring runs,

The smack of willow on the cherry,

The summer dimpsey, sweet and merry;

And arable then crowned with gold

And all the farming tallies told:

Now comes again the bramble fruit,

The autumn and the spaded root.


Unwearied wonder unexpressed

In cordials for the winter pressed,

Joy strung like onions for to keep

Throughout the wonder-weary sleep

Of winter by mirth’s wonders sated,

Fed full by all that’s celebrated:

We store our ripened joys ’gainst dearth,

The wisest habit of wise earth:

Emotion we in calm recall,

Go forth, and know, give thanks for all;

Good counsel give, our country know,

And praise both summer sun, and snow.

This world is not of wonder weary:

The jam preserves the bramble’s berry.



AE Housman


From Clee to heaven the beacon burns,

  The shires have seen it plain,

From north and south the sign returns

  And beacons burn again.


Look left, look right, the hills are bright,

  The dales are light between,

Because ’tis fifty years to-night

  That God has saved the Queen.


Now, when the flame they watch not towers

  About the soil they trod,

Lads, we’ll remember friends of ours

  Who shared the work with God.


To skies that knit their heartstrings right,

  To fields that bred them brave,

The saviours come not home tonight:

  Themselves they could not save.


It dawns in Asia, tombstones show

  And Shropshire names are read;

And the Nile spills his overflow

  Beside the Severn’s dead.


We pledge in peace by farm and town

  The Queen they served in war,

And fire the beacons up and down

  The land they perished for.


‘God save the Queen’ we living sing,

  From height to height ’tis heard;

And with the rest your voices ring,

  Lads of the Fifty-third.


Oh, God will save her, fear you not;

  Be you the men you’ve been,

Get you the sons your fathers got,

  And God will save the Queen.


The way through the woods

Rudyard Kipling


They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods….
But there is no road through the woods.

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3 comments or Leave a comment
absynthedrinker From: absynthedrinker Date: March 3rd, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
For the Kipling piece alone I am pleased that I know you. Eerie and beautiful. Thank you.

From: tree_and_leaf Date: March 3rd, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always liked the Chaucer, and that bit of Kipling is a slightly eerie joy. It's deplorable how underrated Kipling is.
noeon From: noeon Date: March 4th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
'Joy strung like onions' is beautiful.
3 comments or Leave a comment