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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Another poetical potpourri.....

drawing inspiration from old and new sources. The first poem featured in this post is from Edward Rowland Sill, and the second is from one of our own commenters, Mack from Texas! Both pieces provide fine examples of rich, romantic themes set to stirring language. Take a look:


Opportunity


This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:-
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle’s edge,
And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel-
That blue blade that the king’s son bears,-but this
Blunt thing-!” he snapt and flung it from his hand,
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.



At the Sign of the Blue Boar

Under the oak tree, long ago,
We lived with merry Robin Hood,
Who taught us how to bend the bow
And live aright in green Sherwood

Now let us part the leaves again,
And find that merry life, and bold.
We’ll roam again as we did then --
How came it that we all grew old?

Let us stroll to the Blue Boar Inn,
Quaff a mug of October ale
Nigh unto Sherwood and the fen,
And, laughing, tell a jolly tale

Old Gaffer Swanthold might rest there
Easing his bones in the summer sun
Chatting sweet Joan whose auburn hair
Reminds him of his youthful fun.

Stout of sinew and bold of heart,
Home from the wars i’the Holy Land,
A gallant knight now takes his part,
A hero and a brave, strong man:

Sir Richard o’ the Lea, a knight
A warrior’s heart, but mortgaged land,
Always first in a desperate fight
Poor, but we know no better man

O Alan-a-Dale, tune your lute
And sing how Midge the Miller’s son
Bullied by men (of ill repute),
With Robin’s aid fought them, and won.

O sing of good Saint Swithin whose
Feast day predicts the summer’s moods,
Forty days as the Saint doth choose,
Smiling on England’s grain-fat roods

Maid Marian, she’s just a girl
So lightly dancing through the wood
But she can outshoot any churl
And she is sweet on Robin Hood

Will Scarlet, too, and Little John,
Scathelock and Stutely, still
Ambushing fat bishops anon,
Not far from old Hanacker Mill

And we were with them there along
The London Road from Nottingham
Whistling a happy, wordless song,
For nothing rhymes with “Nottingham.”

Sing of Sherwood’s high-leaping deer
Falling to arrows swift and sure
Around the campfire, such good cheer
Venison and ale – the poor man’s cure

Far off in London, Henry, King,
And his Eleanor of Aquitaine
Too oft ignore their far-off shires
And their people’s sheriff-ridden pain

But with us always, happy Tuck
Ever hungry but never mean,
A Friar of faith, of joy, of pluck,
A child of blessed Mary, Queen

Telling his beads, sharpening his sword
Saying Masses for Robin’s band
Seated first at the groaning board
Oft poaching on the bishop’s land

O, merry robbers once we were
In green and sunny barefoot youth
“Stand and deliver, noble sir!
Your purse is too heavy, in God’s truth!”

Under the oak tree, long ago,
We lived with merry Robin Hood,
Who taught us how to bend the bow
And live aright in green Sherwood




"This I beheld or dreamt in a dream...."
"And live aright in Green Sherwood....."



14 comments:

  1. All I can say is that, Mack, you have some bloody good talent!

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  2. I knew that Mack was talented but this poem exceeds all expectations, brilliant.

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  3. Gosh, thanks! I am so honored / honoured! May Robin's favorite / favourite, Saint Swithin, bless you for your kindness.

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  4. Blessings to you too, Mack! It was an honor to share your work with my loyal readers. By all means, keep writing, Sir! You truly have a God-given talent.

    Pax Tecum,
    Pearl

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  5. Good Morning Pearl

    I LOVE your blog! I wanted to let you know that I have just posted your amazing poem, Our Lady of Britannia, on my blog, LAST WELSH MARTYR, with a link back to Longbows and Rosary Beads. That poem was too beautiful not to spread around. Keep the inspiring work flowing! God bless you Pearl.

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  6. JOUSTING!!!!

    Sorry--not very intelligent, I know, but I loved that picture.

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  7. Mack, that was pure delight! Mind if I post it at New Sherwood?

    - Jeff

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  8. @Emerald: Indeed, jousting is something we both hold near and dear to our hearts. It has so much more "shabang" than football, anyway! By the way, have you ever watched a movie called "Merlin"? I recently ordered it from the library, and have yet to pick it up.

    @Jeff: I though you might like Mack's poem, since you a Robin Hood enthusiast like myself. Have you ever experimented with writing poetry?

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  9. Which "Merlin" is it? I know there are a few different versions floating around?

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  10. Hi, Emerald.

    The "Merlin" I'm talking about is a three-part TV min-series starring Sam Neill. It was made in 1998. I believe there was a sequel made, and also a completely different TV series called "Merlin" put together more recently. The new one is much longer and runs for whole seasons.

    Anyway, have you seen any of these varieties?

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  11. I'll have to look for it on Netflix. Thanks!

    Incidentally, I've also seen the modern "Merlin" series. It pretty much ignores every Arthurian legend that came before and goes off on its own little streaks, but the actors have such fun doing it that it's nearly impossible not to enjoy the episodes.

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  12. "@Jeff: I though you might like Mack's poem, since you a Robin Hood enthusiast like myself. Have you ever experimented with writing poetry?"

    Thanks very much for posting it, Pearl! Do you think he'd mind if I posted it at New Sherwood?

    I've tried a little poetry but, seriously, it can hardly be called poetry. How about yourself?

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  13. All the poems you have posted lately are very good, Pearl! Although my comparative ignorance of British folklore probably keeps me from fully appreciating some of them. Oh, well! I particularly enjoyed Michael Collins' piece.

    For some reason the opening lines of "Opportunity" (which was excellent!) immediately reminded me of "Ozymandias" by Percy B. Shelley. They are in similar styles, and both make their points very well:

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings!
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

    - Katherine

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  14. @Emerald: I finally finished watching "Merlin" the movie! It was pretty good, almost inspiring at different instances. Of course, it did alter the Arthurian legends quite a bit, but I think many of the changes were for the better. Plus, they enabled the whole plot to flow better since it was all from Merlin's perspective, and the main source of conflict was between the old Celtic Paganism and the new Christian religion. You'd probably enjoy it.

    @Jeff: I'm almost positive Mack would be happy to let you publish his poem, but I really should check with him to make sure. I believe he runs a blog about writing techniques, so I may be able to contact him through it. If he answers, I'll be sure to let you know!

    I'd love to read some of your poetry some time :-) I do dabble in poetry a bit; in fact, I posted one my poems back in May called "Our Lady of Britannia." I'm currently working on a poem based on the British sailor's song, "Heart of Oak."

    @Katherine: Thanks for posting "Ozymandias"! You're right; it does have a similar flow and impact as "Opportunity". It also brings to mind two other eerie poems about the fading glory of mortal endeavor: "Four Preludes to the Playthings of the Wind", and "The Twa Corbies." I plan on putting up both in future posts.

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