Classic English Poetry

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Nicholas Weeks
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Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat May 20, 2017 2:10 am

For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Not harsh or grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
Wordsworth, from "Tintern Abbey"
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat May 20, 2017 2:48 am

AH! SUN-FLOWER

AH, sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime,
Where the traveller's journey is done;
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my sun-flower wishes to go.
William Blake
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

tingdzin
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by tingdzin » Sat May 20, 2017 3:13 am

"Tintern Abbey" has always been among my favorite poems. The quoted part is one of its best.

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conebeckham
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by conebeckham » Sat May 20, 2017 3:57 am

Blake and Wordsworth, favorites of mine.

Keats, too.

Coleridge was an ass.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat May 20, 2017 3:22 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Coleridge was an ass.

Tut, tut - poetic license for Sam, please.
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Losal Samten
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Losal Samten » Sat May 20, 2017 3:26 pm

  • Fruits fail and love dies and time ranges;
    Thou art fed with perpetual breath,
    And alive after infinite changes,
    And fresh from the kisses of death;
    Of languors rekindled and rallied,
    Of barren delights and unclean,
    Things monstrous and fruitless, a pallid
    And poisonous queen.


    By the ravenous teeth that have smitten
    Through the kisses that blossom and bud,
    By the lips intertwisted and bitten
    Till the foam has a savour of blood,
    By the pulse as it rises and falters,
    By the hands as they slacken and strain,
    I adjure thee, respond from thine altars,
    Our Lady of Pain.


    By the hunger of change and emotion,
    By the thirst of unbearable things,
    By despair, the twin-born of devotion,
    By the pleasure that winces and stings,
    The delight that consumes the desire,
    The desire that outruns the delight,
    By the cruelty deaf as a fire
    And blind as the night,


    We shall know what the darkness discovers,
    If the grave-pit be shallow or deep;
    And our fathers of old, and our lovers,
    We shall know if they sleep not or sleep.
    We shall see whether hell be not heaven,
    Find out whether tares be not grain,
    And the joys of thee seventy times seven,
    Our Lady of Pain.
Excerpts, Dolores - Notre-Dame des Sept Douleurs (1866), Algernon Swinburne.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat May 20, 2017 3:51 pm

Kubla Khan

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
Excerpt - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat May 20, 2017 3:58 pm

Invictus

by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

tingdzin
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by tingdzin » Mon May 22, 2017 2:24 am

I think "Kubla Khan" is probably the best of Coleridge -- ""Beware, beware , his flashing eyes, his floating hair/ Weave a circle round him thrice/ And close your eyes with holy dread/ For he on honey-dew hath fed/ And drunk the milk of Paradise"

Great stuff.

I don't care too much for "Invictus", though. If you like inspirational poems, I think Kipling's "If" is still among the best. "If you can keep your head when all about you/ Are losing theirs and blaming it on you?" etc. (Sorry, I don't know how to reproduce poetry from other sites)

Much could be said on a Buddhist site for Omar the Tentmaker, but to start:

"Myself when young eagerly did frequent
Doctor and saint, and heard great argument
About it and about, but evermore
Came out by the same door wherein I went.

With them the seed of wisdom I did sow
And with my own hand strove to make it grow
But this was all the harvest that I reaped:
I came like water, and like wind I go."

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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by DGA » Mon May 22, 2017 2:32 am

Define "classic." So far we've covered the Romantic period and one or two Victorians.

The only classic in the English canon is Paradise Lost. Self-consciously so.

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Mon May 22, 2017 2:41 am

DGA wrote:Define "classic." .
Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.
Judgements vary among us - which is fine.
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Mon May 22, 2017 2:50 am

ON THE DEATH OF DR. ROBERT LEVET

CONDEMN'D to Hope's delusive mine,
As on we toil from day to day,
By sudden blasts or slow decline
Our social comforts drop away.

Well tried through many a varying year,
See Levet to the grave descend,
Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of every friendless name the friend.

Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise and coarsely kind;
Nor, letter'd Arrogance, deny
Thy praise to merit unrefined.

When fainting nature called for aid,
And hovering death prepared the blow,
His vigorous remedy display'd
The power of art without the show.

In misery's darkest cavern known,
His useful care was ever nigh,
Where hopeless anguish pour'd his groan,
And lonely want retired to die.

No summons mock'd by chill delay,
No petty gain disdain'd by pride;
The modest wants of every day
The toil of every day supplied.

His virtues walked their narrow round,
Nor made a pause, nor left a void;
And sure the eternal Master found
The single talent well employ'd.

The busy day, the peaceful night,
Unfelt, uncounted, glided by;
His frame was firm—his powers were bright,
Though now his eightieth year was nigh.

Then with no fiery throbbing pain,
No cold gradations of decay,
Death broke at once the vital chain,
And freed his soul the nearest way.
Samuel Johnson
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue May 23, 2017 2:58 am

So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity
That, when a soul is found sincerely so,
A thousand liveried angels lackey her,
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
And in clear dream and solemn vision
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear;
Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape,
The unpolluted temple of the mind,
And turns it by degrees to the soul’s essence,
Till all be made immortal. But, when lust,
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
But most by lewd and lavish act of sin,
Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
The soul grows clotted by contagion,
Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite lose
The divine property of her first being.
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp
Oft seen in charnel-vaults and sepulchres,
Lingering and sitting by a new-made grave,
As loth to leave the body that it loved,
And linked itself by carnal sensualty
To a degenerate and degraded state.
From Comus - John Milton
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by DGA » Tue May 23, 2017 10:30 pm

Nicholas Weeks wrote:
DGA wrote:Define "classic." .
Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.
Judgements vary among us - which is fine.
I was taking the conservative approach, the traditional distinction between the classics (or "ancients") and moderns. The moderns would include everyone from Chaucer to the present.

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue May 23, 2017 11:48 pm

DGA wrote: I was taking the conservative approach, the traditional distinction between the classics (or "ancients") and moderns. The moderns would include everyone from Chaucer to the present.
Then give us a poet before Chaucer whose English is comprehensible. Even Chaucer is often (mostly?) opaque to our ear.
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu May 25, 2017 3:57 am

The Prisoner

Still, let my tyrants know, I am not doomed to wear
Year after year in gloom, and desolate despair;
A messenger of Hope comes every night to me,
And offers for short life, eternal liberty.

He comes with western winds, with evening’s wandering airs,
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars.
Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire,
And visions rise, and change, that kill me with desire.

Desire for nothing known in my maturer years,
When Joy grew mad with awe, at counting future tears.
When, if my spirit’s sky was full of flashes warm,
I knew not whence they came, from sun or thunder-storm.

But, first, a hush of peace – a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distress, and fierce impatience ends;
Mute music soothes my breast – unuttered harmony,
That I could never dream, till Earth was lost to me.

Then dawns the Invisible; the Unseen its truth reveals;
My outward sense is gone, my inward essence feels:
Its wings are almost free – its home, its harbour found,
Measuring the gulph, it stoops and dares the final bound.

Oh dreadful is the check – intense the agony –
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again;
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.

Yet I would lose no sting, would wish no torture less;
The more that anguish racks, the earlier it will bless;
And robed in fires of hell, or bright with heavenly shine,
If it but herald death, the vision is divine!
Emily Brontë
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

tingdzin
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by tingdzin » Thu May 25, 2017 2:34 pm

I'd never seen that one before. Is there a story that goes with it?

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu May 25, 2017 3:18 pm

tingdzin wrote:I'd never seen that one before. Is there a story that goes with it?
Surely, but it is not clear to me. Here are some clues from this site:

http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/engli ... #visionary

Also Poetry Foundation site has a good biography.
Last edited by Nicholas Weeks on Thu May 25, 2017 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu May 25, 2017 3:20 pm

Here is perhaps E. Bronte's most famous one. Charlotte Brontë notes, "The following are the last lines my sister Emily ever wrote."
No coward soul is mine (Jan. 2, 1846)

No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere
I see Heaven's glories shine
And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear

0 God within my breast
Almighty ever-present Deity
Life, that in me hast rest
As I Undying Life, have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts, unutterably vain,
Worthless as withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thy infinity
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of Immortality

With wide-embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears

Though Earth and moon were gone
And suns and universes ceased to be
And thou wert left alone
Every Existence would exist in thee

There is not room for Death
Nor atom that his might could render void
Since thou art Being and Breath
And what thou art may never be destroyed.
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Mantrik
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Re: Classic English Poetry

Post by Mantrik » Thu May 25, 2017 4:33 pm

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Several recent events brought this to mind. Manchester's 'innocence' and Trump' s 'rough beast' tour.
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Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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