Showing posts with label 18th century poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 18th century poetry. Show all posts

“Auld Lang Syne” (Robert Burns)

Here is the modern version of “Auld Lang Syne”:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?


For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


Here is the original Scottish version of “Auld Lang Syne” (Robert Burns, 1788):

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot,
sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.


The Cloud (Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822)--Happy Earth Day!

Photo: NASA
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.
I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning, my pilot, sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.
The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardors of rest and of love,

And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,

With wings folded I rest, on mine airy nest,
As still as a brooding dove.

That orbed maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,--
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-colored bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

Happy Birthday, Jerry!

Classic Poetry: John Gilpin (William Cowper, 1731-1800)

William Cowper (1731-1800); frontispiece in H.S. Milford, ed., The Complete Poetical Works of William Cowper, London: Oxford University Press, 1913. Described as being "From the picture in the National Portrait Gallery ascribed to George Romney."

John Gilpin was a citizen
-----Of credit and renown,
A train-band captain eke was he
-----Of famous London town.

John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear:
-----"Though wedded we have been
These twice ten tedious years, yet we
-----No holiday have seen.

The statue of John Gilpin's bell statue at Fore Street in Edmonton, London (Photo by "Northmepit"--released into the public domain)

"To-morrow is our wedding-day,
-----And we will then repair
Unto the Bell at Edmonton
-----All in a chaise and pair.

"My sister, and my sister's child,
-----Myself, and children three,
Will fill the chaise; so you must ride
-----On horseback after we."

He soon replied, "I do admire
-----Of womankind but one,
And you are she, my dearest dear,
-----Therefore it shall be done.

"I am a linendraper bold,
-----As all the world doth know,
And my good friend the calendrer
-----Will lend his horse to go."

Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, "That's well said;
-----And for that wine is dear,
We will be furnish'd with our own,
-----Which is both bright and clear."

John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife;
-----O'erjoy'd was he to find,
That, though on pleasure she was bent,
-----She had a frugal mind.

The morning came, the chaise was brought,
-----But yet was not allow'd
To drive up to the door, lest all
-----Should say that she was proud.

So three doors off, the chaise was stay'd,
-----Where they did all get in;
Six precious souls, and all agog
-----To dash through thick and thin.

Smack went the whip, round went the wheels,
-----Were never folk so glad,
The stones did rattle underneath,
-----As if Cheapside were mad.

John Gilpin at his horse's side
-----Seized fast the flowing mane,
And up he got, in haste to ride,
-----But soon came down again;

For saddle-tree scarce reach'd had he,
-----His journey to begin,
When, turning round his head, he saw
-----Three customers come in.

So down he came; for loss of time,
-----Although it grieved him sore,
Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,
-----Would trouble him much more.

'Twas long before the customers
-----Were suited to their mind,
When Betty screaming came down stairs,
-----"The wine is left behind!"

"Good lack!" quoth he, "Yet bring it me,
-----My leathern belt likewise,
In which I bear my trusty sword
-----When I do exercise."

Now mistress Gilpin (careful soul!)
-----Had two stone bottles found,
To hold the liquor that she loved,
-----And keep it safe and sound.

Each bottle had a curling ear,
-----Through which the belt he drew,
And hung a bottle on each side,
-----To make his balance true.

Then over all, that he might be
-----Equipp'd from top to toe,
His long red cloak, well brush'd and neat,
-----He manfully did throw.

Now see him mounted once again
-----Upon his nimble steed,
Full slowly pacing o'er the stones,
-----With caution and good heed.

But finding soon a smoother road
-----Beneath his well-shod feet,
The snorting beast began to trot,
-----Which gall'd him in his seat.

So, "Fair and softly," John he cried,
-----But John he cried in vain;
That trot became a gallop soon,
-----In spite of curb and rein.

So stooping down, as needs he must
-----Who cannot sit upright,
He grasp'd the mane with both his hands,
-----And eke with all his might.

His horse, who never in that sort
-----Had handled been before,
What thing upon his back had got
-----Did wonder more and more.

Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;
-----Away went hat and wig;
He little dreamt, when he set out,
-----Of running such a rig.

The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,
-----Like streamer long and gay,
Till, loop and button failing both,
-----At last it flew away.

Then might all people well discern
-----The bottles he had slung;
A bottle swinging at each side,
-----As hath been said or sung.

The dogs did bark, the children scream'd,
-----Up flew the windows all;
And every soul cried out, "Well done!"
-----As loud as he could bawl.

Away went Gilpin - who but he?
-----His fame soon spread around,
"He carries weight! he rides a race!
-----Tis for a thousand pound!"

And still, as fast as he drew near,
-----'Twas wonderful to view,
How in a trice the turnpike men
-----Their gates wide open threw.

And now, as he went bowing down
-----His reeking head full low,
The bottles twain behind his back
-----Were shatter'd at a blow.

Down ran the wine into the road,
-----Most piteous to be seen,
Which made his horse's flanks to smoke,
-----As they had basted been.

But still he seem'd to carry weight,
-----With leathern girdle braced;
For all might see the bottlenecks
-----Still dangling at his waist.

Thus all through merry Islington
-----These gambols he did play,
Until he came unto the Wash
-----Of Edmonton so gay;

And there he threw the wash about
-----On both sides of the way,
Just like unto a trundling mop,
-----Or a wild goose at play.

At Edmonton, his loving wife
-----From the balcony spied
Her tender husband, wondering much
-----To see how he did ride.

"Stop, stop, John Gilpin! - Here's the house!"
-----They all at once did cry;
"The dinner waits, and we are tired":
-----Said Gilpin, "So am I!"

But yet his horse was not a whit
-----Inclined to tarry there;
For why?  his owner had a house
-----Full ten miles off, at Ware.

So like arrow swift he flew,
-----Shot by an archer strong?
So did he fly--which brings me to
-----The middle of my song.

Away went Gilpin out of breath,
-----And sore against his will,
Till at his friend the calendrer's
-----His horse at last stood still.

The Calend'rer, amazed to see
-----His neighbour in such trim,
Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,
-----And thus accosted him:

"What news? what news? your tidings tell;
-----Tell me you must and shall -
Say why bareheaded you are come,
-----Or why you come at all?"

Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,
-----And loved a timely joke!
And thus unto the calendrer
-----In merry guise he spoke:

"I came, because your horse would come,
-----And, if I well forebode,
My hat and wig will soon be here,
-----They are upon the road."

The Calendrer, right glad to find
-----His friend in merry pin,
Return'd him not a single word,
-----But to the house went in;

Whence straight he came with hat and wig;
-----A wig that flow'd behind,
A hat not much the worse for wear,
-----Each comely in its kind.

He held them up, and in his turn
-----Thus show'd his ready wit:
"My head is twice as big as yours,
-----They therefore needs must fit.

"But let me scrape the dirt away
-----That hangs upon your face;
And stop and eat, for well you may
-----Be in a hungry case."

Said John, "It is my wedding-day,
-----And all the world would stare,
If wife should dine at Edmonton,
-----And I should dine at Ware."

So turning to his horse, he said,
-----"I am in haste to dine;
'Twas for your pleasure you came here,
-----You shall go back for mine."

Ah, luckless speech, and bootless boast!
-----For which he paid full dear;
For, while he spake, a braying ass
-----Did sing most loud and clear;

Whereat his horse did snort, as he
-----Had heard a lion roar,
And gallop'd off with all his might,
-----As he had done before.

Away went Gilpin, and away
-----Went Gilpin's hat and wig:
He lost them sooner than at first,
-----For why? -- they were too big.

Now mistress Gilpin, when she saw
-----Her husband posting down
Into the country far away,
-----She pull'd out half-a-crown;

And thus unto the youth she said,
-----That drove them to the Bell,
"This shall be yours, when you bring back
-----My husband safe and well."

The youth did ride, and soon did meet
-----John coming back amain;
Whom in a trice he tried to stop,
-----By catching at his rein;

But not performing what he meant,
-----And gladly would have done,
The frighten'd steed he frighten'd more,
-----And made him faster run.

Away went Gilpin, and away
-----Went postboy at his heels,
The postboy's horse right glad to miss
-----The lumbering of the wheels.

Six gentlemen upon the road
-----Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
With postboy scampering in the rear,
-----They raised the hue and cry:

"Stop thief! stop thief! -- a highwayman!"
-----Not one of them was mute;
And all and each that pass'd that way
-----Did join in the pursuit.

And now the turnpike gates again
-----Flew open in short space;
The toll-men thinking as before,
-----That Gilpin rode a race.

And so he did, and won it too!
-----For he got first to town;
Nor stopp'd till where he had got up
-----He did again get down.

-- Now let us sing, Long live the King,
-----And Gilpin, long live he;
And when he next doth ride abroad,
-----May I be there to see!



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