BIRDS OF PASSAGE Song of the Universal 1 Come said the Muse, Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted, Sing me the universal.
I have asked some learned men, whether they are not in reality as much tired as myself with reading this poet: those who spoke ingenuously, assured me that he had made them fall asleep, and yet that they could not well avoid giving him a place in their libraries; but that it was merely as they would do an antique, or those rusty medals which are kept only for curiosity, and are of no manner of use in commerce.”
Dear Kind Poet,This is your birthday; that was the first thought which came into my mind when I awoke this morning; and it made me glad to think I could write you a letter and tell you how much your little friends love their sweet poet and his birthday.
FN42-10} Illustration: Mr. Wright, myself, Miss Bletch--in Egypt--see camel.jpg Illustration: Rabindranath Tagore, inspired poet of Bengal, and Nobel Prizeman in literature--see tagore.jpg Illustration: Mr. Wright and I pose with the venerable Swami Keshabananda and a disciple at the stately hermitage in Brindaban--see keshabananda.jpg After dinner, Keshabananda led me to a secluded nook.
Those two hundred years, eventful as they were, produced no poet at all worthy to take up the mantle that fell from Chaucer’s shoulders; and Spenser does not need his affected archaisms, nor his frequent and reverent appeals to “Dan Geffrey,” to vindicate for himself a place very close to his great predecessor in the literary history of England.
I doubt that I have ever met a greater poet of conversation.
There are jests which you would be ashamed to make yourself, and yet on the comic stage, or indeed in private, when you hear them, you are greatly amused by them, and are not at all disgusted at their unseemliness;--the case of pity is repeated;--there is a principle in human nature which is disposed to raise a laugh, and this which you once restrained by reason, because you were afraid of being thought a buffoon, is now let out again; and having stimulated the risible faculty at the theatre, you are betrayed unconsciously to yourself into playing the comic poet at home.
He questions Plato when Plato would exile poets from his Utopia, for poetry is a power; he directs his energy along a line diametrically opposed to Socrates' depreciation of Anaxagoras.
To anyone visiting Mecca about A.D. 600 he would probably have seemed something of a loafer, a rather shy, good-looking individual, sitting about and listening to talk, a poor poet, and an altogether second-rate man.
The seemingly unending supply of Turkish slaves and Byzantine spice added to the richness of the revenues of Irak, and, combined with the vast commercial traffic of which Bagdad was the centre, produced a large and powerful moneyed class, composed of the sons of generals, officials, landed proprietors, royal favorites, merchants, and the like, who encouraged the arts, literature, philosophy, and poetry as the mood took them, building palaces for themselves, vying with each other in the luxury of their entertainments, suborning poets to sound their praises, dabbling in philosophy, supporting various schools of thought, endowing charities, and, in fact, behaving as the wealthy have always behaved in all ages.
The new British imperialism found its poet in Mr. Kipling and its practical support in a number of financial and business interests whose way to monopolies and exploitations was lighted by its glow.
Pulci here again imitates our poet: Avicenna quel che il sentimento Intese di Aristotile e i segreti, Averrois che fece il gran comento.
Virgil assures our poet, that these evil spirits had formerly shown the same insolence when our Savior descended into hell.
The imitative nature of these animals supplies our Poet with another comparison in his Convito Opere, t. i. p 34.
Dante, as many others have done, confounds Statius the poet, who was a Neapolitan, with a rhetorician of the same name, who was of Tolosa, or Thoulouse.
Morlock had been discussing the minor British poets for the benefit of a bored and listless class in English III when the summons came.
The common class of day labourers has given us Brindley the engineer, Cook the navigator, and Burns the poet.
Cowper prided himself upon his business punctuality, though he confessed that he “never knew a poet, except himself, who was punctual in anything.”
The earth, saith the poet, doth often long after the rain.
I am sure I saw a poet yesterday and I do not know what a musician would look like and Mr. Dugald said he did not know, either.
Trude a bride when everyone had thought that she would never marry, just because she had no beaus like Vick or languishing poets like Issy.
The splendour and elegance at the new imperial court of the Han dynasty attracted many poets who sang the praises of the emperor and his court and were given official posts and dignities.
So also with poetry: the poets of the gentry, united in "clubs", chose the poets of the Sung epoch as their models to emulate.
It is indeed their interest, who endeavour the subversion of governments, to discourage poets and historians; for the best which can happen to them, is to be forgotten.
Tis true, they proclaimed themselves poets by sound of trumpet; and poets they were, upon pain of death to any man who durst call them otherwise.
With croaking notes they bode some dire event, And follow dying poets by the scent.
Those Roman wits have never been in Egypt; Cytheris and Delia else had been unsung: I, who have seen—had I been born a poet, Should choose a nobler name.
The following day, after lunch, I bade the poet a reluctant farewell.
said he softly to Martin, “I am afraid this man holds our German poets in great contempt.”
There is, it may be said at the outset, peculiar advantage and propriety in placing the two poets side by side in the manner now attempted for the first time.
In the Prologue to “The Legend of Good Women”, there is a reference to Dante which can hardly have reached the poet at second-hand.
Necessarily, no space whatever could be given to Chaucer’s prose works — his translation of Boethius’ Treatise on the Consolation of Philosophy; his Treatise on the Astrolabe, written for the use of his son Lewis; and his “Testament of Love,” composed in his later years, and reflecting the troubles that then beset the poet.
Lydgate is responsible for the assertion that Lollius meant Boccaccio; and though there is no authority for supposing that the English really meant to designate the Italian poet under that name, there is abundant internal proof that the poem was really founded on the “Filostrato” of Boccaccio.
But now,”exclaims the poet —But now help, God, to quenchen all this sorrow!
We are not here concerned with the history of literature, nor with the solution of the “dear riddle of woman;”we are dry-soured lawyers who seek to avoid mistakes at the expense of the honor and liberty of others, and if we do not want to believe the poets it is only because of many costly mistakes.
Of course I do not mean to drag our poets to court and accuse them of seducing our youth with false gods—I am convinced that if the poets were asked they would tell us that their poetry was intended for all save for physicians and criminalists.
said the niece, "your worship had better order these to be burned as well as the others; for it would be no wonder if, after being cured of his chivalry disorder, my uncle, by reading these, took a fancy to turn shepherd and range the woods and fields singing and piping; or, what would be still worse, to turn poet, which they say is an incurable and infectious malady."
The lines seemed pearls to me and his voice sweet as syrup; and afterwards, I may say ever since then, looking at the misfortune into which I have fallen, I have thought that poets, as Plato advised, ought to be banished from all well-ordered States; at least the amatory ones, for they write verses, not like those of 'The Marquis of Mantua,' that delight and draw tears from the women and children, but sharp-pointed conceits that pierce the heart like soft thorns, and like the lightning strike it, leaving the raiment uninjured.
I know not what could have possessed the great Cordovan poet to call thee 'holy gift ungratefully received.'
I took a poet to board for a fortnight about those times, which caused me to be put to it for room.
It upholds a logical connection as approximation in time and space, just as the painter, who groups all the poets for his picture of Parnassus who, though they have never been all together on a mountain peak, yet form ideally a community.
A farmer, a hunter, a soldier, a reporter, even a philosopher, may be daunted; but nothing can deter a poet, for he is actuated by pure love.
It was a wonderful, glorious song, and it won the blind poet an immortal crown, the admiration of all ages.
Now I must tell my gentle poet goodbye, for I have a letter to write home before I go to bed.
I tried to imagine my gentle poet when he was a school-boy
How well I remember the aged poet Sophocles, when in answer to the question, How does love suit with age, Sophocles,--are you still the man you were?
And let us equally refuse to believe, or allow to be repeated, the tale of Theseus son of Poseidon, or of Peirithous son of Zeus, going forth as they did to perpetrate a horrid rape; or of any other hero or son of a god daring to do such impious and dreadful things as they falsely ascribe to them in our day: and let us further compel the poets to declare either that these acts were not done by them, or that they were not the sons of gods;--both in the same breath they shall not be permitted to affirm.