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Universal Elements of Poetry

eclogue - A Greek term for "selection" to be applied to any moderately short song or poem or a passage from a longer one (see Epithalamium.)The eclogue may be a song of love and romance and may refer to courtship, lament for a lost love, or a dirge on the death of a shepherd, may be dilivered in a first person monologue, or dialogue. The eclogue first appeared in the Idylls written by the Sicilian Greek poet Theocritus (c. 310250 bc), who is believed to be the inventor of pastoral poetry. Reminder, the term pastoral has to do with content not form.

Here is an example of an eclogue by Theocritus:

Courting Amaryllis with song I go,
while my she-goats feed on the hill,
and Tityrus herds them.
Ah, Tityrus, my dearly beloved, feed thou the goats,
and to the well-side lead them, Tityrus,
and ware the yellow Libyan he-goat,
lest he butt thee with his horns.
Ah, lovely Amaryllis, why no more, as of old,
dust thou glance through this cavern after me,
nor callest me, thy sweetheart, to thy side.
Can it be that thou hatest me?
Do I seem snub-nosed, now thou hast seen me near,
maiden, and under-hung? Thou wilt make me strangle myself!
Lo, ten apples I bring thee,
plucked from that very place
where thou didst bid me pluck them, and others
to-morrow I will bring thee.
Ah, regard my hearts deep sorrow!
ah, would I were that humming bee,
and to thy cave might come dipping beneath the fern that hides thee,
and the ivy leaves!
Now know I Love, and a cruel God is he.
Surely he sucked the lionesss dug,
and in the wild wood his mother reared him,
whose fire is scorching me, and bites even to the bone.
Ah, lovely as thou art to look upon,
ah heart of stone, ah dark-browed maiden,
embrace me, thy true goatherd,
that I may kiss thee, and even in empty kisses there is a sweet delight!
Soon wilt thou make me rend the wreath in pieces small,
the wreath of ivy, dear Amaryllis,
that I keep for thee, with rose-buds twined, and fragrant parsley.
Ah me, what anguish! Wretched that I am, whither shall I turn!
Thou dust not hear my prayer!
I will cast off my coat of skins, and into yonder waves
I will spring, where the fisher Olpis watches for the tunny shoals,
and even if I die not, surely thy pleasure will have been done.
I learned the truth of old, when,
amid thoughts of thee,
I asked, Loves she, loves she not? and the poppy petal clung not,
and gave no crackling sound,
but withered on my smooth forearm, even so.
And she too spoke sooth, even Agroeo,
she that divineth with a sieve,
and of late was binding sheaves behind the reapers,
who said that I had set all my heart on thee,
but that thou didst nothing regard me.
Truly I keep for thee the white goat with the twin kids
that Mermnons daughter too, the brown-skinned Erithacis,
prays me to give her; and give her them I will,
since thou dost flout me.
My right eyelid throbs, is it a sign that I am to see her?
Here will I lean me against this pine tree, and sing,
and then perchance she will regard me, for she is not all of adamant.
Lo, Hippomenes when he was eager to marry the famous maiden,
took apples in his hand, and so accomplished his course; and Atalanta saw, and madly longed, and leaped into the deep waters of desire.
Melampus too, the soothsayer, brought the herd of oxen from Othrys
to Pylos, and thus in the arms of Bias
was laid the lovely mother of wise Alphesiboea.
And was it not thus that Adonis, as he pastured his sheep upon the hills, led beautiful Cytherea to such heights of frenzy,
that not even in his death doth she unclasp him from her bosom?
Blessed, methinks is the lot of him that sleeps, and tosses not, nor turns, even Endymion; and,
dearest maiden, blessed I call Iason, whom such things befell,
as ye that be profane shall never come to know.
My head aches, but thou carest not.
I will sing no more, but dead will I lie where I fall,
and here may the wolves devour me.
Sweet as honey in the mouth may my death be to thee.

To paraphrase: a goatherd, leaves his goats to his friend, Tityrus to tend on the hillside. He approaches the cavern of Amaryllis, with its veil of ferns and ivy, and attempts to win back the heart of the girl by song. He mingles promises with harmless threats, and repeats, in exquisite verses, the names of the famous lovers of old days, Milanion and Endymion. He fails; throws himself down and threatens to die beneath the trees.

Then came the Latin poet Publius Vergilius Maro or Vergil (70-19bc) who wrote the "ecologues" in imitation of the Idyls of Theocritus and established the genre of pastoral poetry. The translator of the famous work of the German poet Sebastian Brant, entitled by him The Ship of Fools. His eclogues were mainly modelled upon tjiose of the Italian poet Mantuanus and have elements of satire which we find absent from those of Virgil. Barclay's forte is his mastery of detail and his very effective handling of the dialogue between his shepherds. Further his work contains plentiful references to current English affairs. Even they are of great beauty they hardly represent reality. The Fourth Eclogue is one of the most famous poems in the world and prompted him to be dubbed "the pagan prophet of the birth of Christ."


Muses of Sicily, essay we now
A somewhat loftier task! Not all men love
Coppice or lowly tamarisk: sing we woods,
Woods worthy of a Consul let them be.
Now the last age by Cumae's Sibyl sung
Has come and gone, and the majestic roll
Of circling centuries begins anew:
Justice returns, returns old Saturn's reign,
With a new breed of men sent down from heaven.
Only do thou, at the boy's birth in whom
The iron shall cease, the golden race arise,
Befriend him, chaste Lucina; 'tis thine own
Apollo reigns. And in thy consulate,
This glorious age, O Pollio, shall begin,
And the months enter on their mighty march.
Under thy guidance, whatso tracks remain
Of our old wickedness, once done away,
Shall free the earth from never-ceasing fear.
He shall receive the life of gods, and see
Heroes with gods commingling, and himself
Be seen of them, and with his father's worth
Reign o'er a world at peace. For thee, O boy,
First shall the earth, untilled, pour freely forth
Her childish gifts, the gadding ivy-spray
With foxglove and Egyptian bean-flower mixed,
And laughing-eyed acanthus. Of themselves,
Untended, will the she-goats then bring home
Their udders swollen with milk, while flocks afield
Shall of the monstrous lion have no fear.
Thy very cradle shall pour forth for thee
Caressing flowers. The serpent too shall die,
Die shall the treacherous poison-plant, and far
And wide Assyrian spices spring. But soon
As thou hast skill to read of heroes' fame,
And of thy father's deeds, and inly learn
What virtue is, the plain by slow degrees
With waving corn-crops shall to golden grow,
From the wild briar shall hang the blushing grape,
And stubborn oaks sweat honey-dew. Nathless
Yet shall there lurk within of ancient wrong
Some traces, bidding tempt the deep with ships,
Gird towns with walls, with furrows cleave the earth.
Therewith a second Tiphys shall there be,
Her hero-freight a second Argo bear;
New wars too shall arise, and once again
Some great Achilles to some Troy be sent.
Then, when the mellowing years have made thee man,
No more shall mariner sail, nor pine-tree bark
Ply traffic on the sea, but every land
Shall all things bear alike: the glebe no more
Shall feel the harrow's grip, nor vine the hook;
The sturdy ploughman shall loose yoke from steer,
Nor wool with varying colours learn to lie;
But in the meadows shall the ram himself,
Now with soft flush of purple, now with tint
Of yellow saffron, teach his fleece to shine.
While clothed in natural scarlet graze the lambs.
"Such still, such ages weave ye, as ye run,"
Sang to their spindles the consenting Fates
By Destiny's unalterable decree.
Assume thy greatness, for the time draws nigh,
Dear child of gods, great progeny of Jove!
See how it totters- the world's orbed might,
Earth, and wide ocean, and the vault profound,
All, see, enraptured of the coming time!
Ah! might such length of days to me be given,
And breath suffice me to rehearse thy deeds,
Nor Thracian Orpheus should out-sing me then,
Nor Linus, though his mother this, and that
His sire should aid- Orpheus Calliope,
And Linus fair Apollo. Nay, though Pan,
With Arcady for judge, my claim contest,
With Arcady for judge great Pan himself
Should own him foiled, and from the field retire.
Begin to greet thy mother with a smile,
O baby-boy! ten months of weariness
For thee she bore: O baby-boy, begin!
For him, on whom his parents have not smiled,
Gods deem not worthy of their board or bed.

The eclogue of pastoral content, was revived during the Renaissance by the Italians Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio. and Battista Spagnoli; by the Spanish notably Baptista Mantuanus; the French by Pierre de Ronsard; Alexander Barclay (1476-1552) is credited with introducing the eclogue to England as well as Spenser in Shepherd's Calandar.

Barclay's Eclogue I from Ship of Fools:

"As if diuers wayes laye vnto Islington,
To Stow on the Wold, Quaueneth or Trompington,
To Douer, Durham, to Barwike or Exeter,
To Grantham, Totnes, Bristow or good Manchester,
To Roan, Paris, to Lions or Floraunce.

(What ho man abide, what already in Fraunce,
Lo, a fayre iourney and shortly ended to,
With all these townes what thing haue we to do?

By Gad man knowe thou that I haue had to do
In all these townes and yet in many mo,
To see the worlde in youth me thought was best,
And after in age to geue my selfe to rest.

Thou might haue brought one and set by our village.

What man I might not for lacke of cariage.
To cary mine owne selfe was all that euer I might,
And sometime for ease my sachell made I light."

Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770) wrote several eclogues in the traditional manner.

Eclogue the First

Whanne Englonde, smeethynge from her lethal wounde,
From her galled necke dyd twytte the chayne awaie,
Kennynge her legeful sonnes falle all arounde,
(Myghtie theie fell, 'twas Honoure ledde the fraie,)
Thanne inne a dale, bie eve's dark surcote graie,
Twayne lonelie shepsterres dyd abrodden flie,
(The rostlyng liff doth theyr whytte hartes affraie,)
And whythe the owlette trembled and dyd crie;
Firste Roberte Neatherde hys sore boesom stroke,
Then fellen on the grounde and thus yspoke.

Ah, Raufe! gif thos the howres do comme alonge,
Gif thos wee flie in chase of farther woe,
Oure fote wylle fayle, albeytte wee bee stronge,
Ne wylle oure pace swefte as oure danger goe.
To oure grete wronges we have enheped moe,
The Baronnes warre! oh! woe and well-a-daie!
I haveth lyff, bott have escaped soe
That lyff ytsel mie senses doe affraie.
Oh Raufe, comme lyste, and hear mie dernie tale,
Comme heare the balefull dome of Robynne of the dale.

Saie to mee nete; I kenne thie woe in myne;
O! I've a tale that Sabalus mote telle.
Swote flouretts, mantled meedows, forestes dynge;
Gravots far-kend around the Errmiets cell;
The swote ribible dynning yn the dell;
The joyous dauncynge ynn the hoastrie courte;
Eke the highe songe and everych joie farewell,
Farewell the verie shade of fayre dysporte;
Impestering trobble onn mie dernie tale,
Ne one kynde Seyncte to warde the aye encreasynge dome.

Oh! I could waile mie kynge-coppe-decked mees,
Mie spreedynge flockes of shepe of lillie white,
Mie tendre applynges; and embodyde trees,
Mie Parker's Grange, far spreedynge to the syghte,
Mie cuyen kyne, mie bullockes stringe yn fyghte,
Mie gorne emblaunched with the comfreie plante,
Mie floure Seyncte Marie shottyng wythe the lyghte,
Mie store of all the blessynges Heaven can grant.
I amm duressed unto sorrowes blowe,
I hantend to the peyne, will lette ne salte teare flowe.

Here I wille obaie untylle Dethe doe 'pere,
Here lyche a foule empoysoned leathel tree,
Whyche sleaeth everichone that commeth nere,
Soe wille I, fyxed unto thys place, gre.
I to bement haveth moe cause than thee;
Sleene in the warre mie boolie fadre lies;
Oh! joieous Ihys mortherer would slea,
And bie hys syde for aie enclose myne eies.
Calked from everych joie, heere wylle I blede;
Fell ys the Cullys-yatte of mie hartes castle stede.

Oure woes alyche, alyche our dome shal bee.
Mie sonne, mie sonne alleyn, ystorven ys;
Here wylle I staie, and end mie lyff with thee;
A lyff leche myne a borden ys ywis.
Now from e'en logges fledden is selyness,
Mynsterres alleyn can boaste the hallie Seyncte,
Now doeth Englonde wearea a bloudie dresse
And wyth her champyonnes gore her face depeyncte;
Peace fledde, disorder sheweth her dark rode,
And thorow ayre doth flie, yn garments steyned with bloude.

For a very special collection of eclogues we recognize the Persian Eclogues of William Collins (1721-1759), a pre-romantic of the 18th century.

Here is Eclogue the Second titled Hasan, the Camel Driver:

In silent Horror o'er the Desart-Waste
The Driver Hassan with his Camels past.
One Cruise of Water on his Back he bore,
And his light Scrip contain'd a scanty Store:
A Fan of painted Feathers in his Hand,
To guard his shaded Face from scorching Sand.
The sultry Sun had gain'd the middle Sky,
And not a Tree, and not an Herb was nigh.
The Beasts, with Pain, their dusty Way pursue,
Shrill roar'd the Winds, and dreary was the View!
With desp'rate Sorrow wild th' affrighted Man
Thrice sigh'd, thrice strook his Breast, and thus began:
Sad was the Hour, and luckless was the Day,
When first from Schiraz' Walls I bent my Way.

Ah! little thought I of the blasting Wind,
The Thirst or pinching Hunger that I find!
Rethink thee, Hassan, where shall Thirst assuage,
When fails this Cruise, his unrelenting Rage?
Soon shall this Scrip its precious Load resign,
Then what but Tears and Hunger shall be thine?

Ye mute Companions of my Toils, that bear
In all my Griefs a more than equal Share!
Here, where no Springs in Murmurs break away,
Or Moss-crown'd Fountains mitigate the Day:
In vain ye hope the green Delights to know,
Which Plains more blest, or verdant Vales bestow,
Here Rocks alone, and tasteless Sands are found,
And faint and sickly Winds for ever howl around.
Sad was the Hour, &c.

Curst be the Gold and Silver which persuade
Weak Men to follow far-fatiguing Trade.
The Lilly-Peace outshines the silver Store,
And Life is dearer than the golden Ore.
Yet Money tempts us o'er the Desart brown,
To ev'ry distant Mart, and wealthy Town:
Full oft we tempt the Land, and oft the Sea,
And are we only yet repay'd by Thee?
Ah! why was Ruin so attractive made,
Or why fond Man so easily betray'd?
Why heed we not, whilst mad we haste along,
The gentle Voice of Peace, or Pleasure's Song?
Or wherefore think the flow'ry Mountain's Side,
The Fountain's Murmurs, and the Valley's Pride,
Why think we these less pleasing to behold,
Than dreary Desarts, if they lead to Gold?
Sad was the Hour, &c.

O cease, my Fears! all frantic as I go,
When Thought creates unnumber'd Scenes of Woe,
What if the Lion in his Rage I meet!
Oft in the Dust I view his printed Feet:
And fearful! oft, when Day's declining Light
Yields her pale Empire to the Mourner Night,
By Hunger rous'd, he scours the groaning Plain,
Gaunt Wolves and sullen Tygers in his Train:
Before them Death with Shrieks directs their Way,
Fills the wild Yell, and leads them to their Prey.
Sad was the Hour, &c.

At that dead Hour the silent Asp shall creep,
If ought of rest I find, upon my Sleep:
Or some swoln Serpent twist his Scales around,
And wake to Anguish with a burning Wound.
Thrice happy they, the wise contented Poor,
From Lust of Wealth, and Dread of Death secure;
They tempt no Desarts, and no Griefs they find;
Peace rules the Day, where Reason rules the Mind.
Sad was the Hour, &c.

O hapless Youth! for she thy Love hath won,
The tender Zara, will be most undone!
Big swell'd my Heart, and own'd the pow'rful Maid,
When fast she dropt her Tears, as thus she said;
"Farewel the Youth whom Sighs could not detain,
Whom Zara's breaking Heart implor'd in vain;
Yet as thou go'st, may ev'ry Blast arise,
Weak and unfelt as these rejected Sighs!
Safe o'er the Wild, no Perils mayst thou see,
No Griefs endure, nor weep, false Youth, like me."
O let me safely to the Fair return,
Say with a Kiss, she must not, shall not mourn.
Go teach my Heart to lose its painful Tears,
Recall'd by Wisdom's Voice, and Zara's Tears.

He said, and call'd on Heav'n to bless the Day,
When back to Schiraz' Walls he bent his Way.

Here are comments from critics about these eclogues. First is John Scott of Amwell, written after reading Collins's Oriental Eclogues in Critical Essays (1785):

"The second of these little pieces, called Hassan, or the Camel Driver, is of superior character. This poem contradicts history in one particular instance; the merchants of the east travel in numerous caravans, but Hassan is introduced travelling alone in the desart. But this circumstance detracts little from our author's merit; adherence to historical fact is seldom required in poetry, and there are few, even of the best compositions, in which it is not more or less violated. Hassan, struck with a sudden and forcible impression of the inconveniences he suffers, and the perils he expects, describes them both, reproaches his own avarice which prompted him to risk them for the sake of gain; and reflecting on the supposed anxiety of a beloved fair-one, whom he had left, determines to return. The opening of the Eclogue paints solitary distress and danger in a manner that it were perhaps impossible to exceed."

From Richard Foster Jones: William Collins, whose Persian Eclogues, 1742, won instant popularity. These poems, four in number, are cast in the strict dramatic form with phrases at the beginning giving the time and place of each. 'Selim'; or The Shepherd's Moral. Scene, A Valley near Bagdat. Time. The Morning'; 'Hassan; or, The Camel Driver. Scene, The Desert. Time. Mid-day'; 'Abra, or, The Georgian Sultana. Scene, A Forest. Time, The evening'; 'Agib and Secander; or, The Fugitives. Scene, A mountain in Circassia. Time, Midnight.' The first and third of these poems, being purely conventional, require no comment except to note their obvious moral purpose. Since the last established a distinct variety of the foreign eclogue [the "war eclogue"], it will be treated later. The second eclogue, however, reveals the peculiar nature of the type and emphasizes how far it departed from the authentic pastoral. It gives us a picture of a camel-driver, suffering hardships in the desert and lamenting his departure from Bagdad. Certainly this is so far removed in content and mood from the genuine bucolic that unless we identify pastoral with descriptive poetry, it can in no way be considered a pastoral. As soon as the scene of an eclogue was transferred to a foreign country, the characteristic details of that country were naturally suggested, even though it was with the haziness with which the romantic imagination invests the remote Eclogue Types in English Poetry of the Eighteenth Century (1925).

Oliver Elton: "The Eclogues are not much more Persian, or 'oriental,' than the Vision of Mirzah [by Joseph Addison], and have little enough poetic thought behind them. Yet in their easy couplets we catch a new, a soft and musical ripple, which reminds us of Goldsmith. The sharp edges of the heroic measure are softened away, as they had been, long before, in Parnell's Hermit Survey of English Literature 1730-1780 (1928).

"All the advantages that any species of poetry can derive from the novelty of the subject and scenery, this eclogue possesses. The route of a camel-driver is a scene that scarce could exist in the imagination of a European, and of its attendant distresses he could have no idea. These are very happily and minutely painted by our descriptive poet. What sublime simplicity of expression! what nervous plainness in the opening of the poem!

In silent horror o'er the boundless waste
The driver Hassan with his camels past.

The magic pencil of the poet brings the whole scene before us at once, as it were by enchantment; and in this single couplet we feel all the effect that arises from the terrible wildness of a region unenlivened by the habitations of men. The verses that describe so minutely the camel-driver's little provisions have a touching influence on the imagination, and prepare the reader to enter more feelingly into his future apprehensions of distress:

Bethink thee, Hassan, where shall thirst assuage,
When fails this cruise, his unrelenting rage!

It is difficult to say whether his apostrophe to the 'mute companions of his toils,' is more to be admired for the elegance and beauty of the poetical imagery, or for the tenderness and humanity of the sentiment. He who can read it without being affected, will do his heart no injustice if he concludes it to be destitute of sensibility:

Ye mute companions of my toils, that bear
In all my griefs a more than equal share!
Here, where no springs in murmurs break away,
Or moss-crown'd fountains mitigate the day,
In vain ye hope the green delights to know,
Which plains more blest, or verdant vales, bestow:
Here rocks alone and tasteless sands are found,
And faint and sickly winds for ever howl around.

Yet in these beautiful lines there is a slight error, which writers of the greatest genius very frequently fall into. It will be needless to observe to the accurate reader, that in the fifth and sixth verses there is a verbal pleonasm where the poet speaks of the "green' delights of verdant vales.

Mr. Collins speaks like a true Poet as well in sentiment as expression, when, with regard to the thirst of wealth, he says,
Why heed we not, while mad we haste along,
The gentle voice of Peace, or Pleasure's song?
Or wherefore think the flowery mountain's side,
The fountain's murmurs, and the valley's pride,
Why think we these less pleasing to behold,
Than dreary deserts, if they lead to gold?

But however just these sentiments may appear to those who have not revolted from nature and simplicity, had the author proclaimed them in Lombard-street, or Cheapside, he would not have been complimented with the understanding of the bellman. A striking proof, that our own particular ideas of happiness regulate our opinions concerning the sense and wisdom of others!

It is impossible to take leave of this most beautiful eclogue, without paying the tribute of admiration so justly due to the following nervous lines:

What if the lion in his rage I meet!
Oft in the dust I view his printed feet:
And, fearful! oft, when day's declining light
Yields her pale empire to the mourner night,
By hunger roused, he scours groaning plain,
Gaunt wolves and sullen tigers in his train:
Before them death with shrieks directs their way,
Fills the wild yell, and leads them to their prey.

This, amongst many other passages to be met with in the writings of Collins, shows that his genius was perfectly capable of the grand and magnificent in description, notwithstanding what a learned writer has advanced to the contrary. Nothing, certainly, could be more greatly conceived, or more adequately expressed, than the image in the last couplet.

ecologue - A dialogue between two shepherds differing from the pastoral in this respect. It is more likely to carry an ethical message. Also called bucolic. Introduced by Theocritus, adopted by Virgil, and revived in the Italian Renaissance by Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio.

Edmund Spenser's Shepheardes Calender, a series of 12 eclogues, published in 1579, was the first outstanding pastoral poem in English. See the conclusion here:

Loe I haue made a Calender for euery yeare,
that steele in strength, and time in durance shall outweare:
And if I marked well the starres reuolution,
It shall continewe till the worlds dissolution.
To teach the ruder shepheard how to feed his sheepe,
And from the falsers fraud his folded flocke to keepe.
Goe lyttle Calender, thou hast a free passeporte,

Goe but a lowly gate emongste the meaner sorte.
Dare not to match thy pipe with Tityrus his style,
Nor with the Pilgrim that the Ploughman playde a whyle:
But followe them farre off, and their high steppes adore,
The better please, the worse despise, I aske nomore.

Egyptian poetry - The major device of Egyptian poetry was repetition of regular alternate lines. However examples of Egyptian literature display a a mixture of prose, symmetrically structured speech, and lyric poetry. In some poems the stanzas that are formed by the repetition of lines are tristichs (a stroph, stanza or poem of three lines). Attribution is not credible even fictional; inscriptions are incomplete due to intentional and unintentional destruction and evidence is dependent on tomb reliquaries. See in this example Dispute between Man and his Ba, found in a single manuscript which dates from the twelfth dynasty of the Middle Kingdom 1990-1785. The first or prose portion is missing in this example:

Lo, my name reeks
Lo, more than carron smell
On summer days of burning sky.

Lo, my name reeks
Lo, more than a catch of fish
On fishing days of burning sky.

Lo, my name reeks
Lo, more than ducks smell,
More than reed-coverts full of waterfowl.

Lo, my name reeks
Lo, more than fishermen smell,
More than the marsh-pools where they fish.

Lo, my name reeks
Lo, more than crocodiles smell,
More than a shoresite full of crocodiles,

Lo, my name reeks
Lo more than that of a wife
About whom lies are told to the husband.

Lo, my name reeks
Lo, more than that of a sturdy child,
Who is said to belong to one who rejets him,

Lo, my name reeks
Lo, more than king's town
That utters sedition behind his back.


To whom shall I speak today?
Brothers are mean,
The friends of today do not love.

To whom shall I speak today?
Hearts are greedy,
Everyone robs his comrade's goods.

To whom shall I speak today?
Kindness has perished.
Insolence assaults everyone.

To whom shall I speak today?
He who should enrage men by his crives
He makes everyone laugh at evildoing.

To whom shall I speak today?
Men plunder,
Everyone robs his comrade.

To whom shall I speak today?
The criminal is one's intimate,
The brother whith whom one dealt is a foe.

To whom shal I speak today?
The past is not remembered,
Now one does not help him who helped.

To whom shall I speak today?
Brothers are mean,
One goes to strangers for affection.

To whom shall I speak today?
Faces are blank,
Everyone turns his face from his brothers.

To whom shall I speak today?
Hearts are greedy,
No man's heart can be relied on.

To whom shall I speak today?
None are righteous,
The land is left to evildoers.

To whom shall I speak today?
One lacks an intimate,
One resorts to an unknown to complain.

To whom shall I speak today?
No one is cheerful,
He with whom one walked is no more.

To whom shall I speak today?
I am burdened with grief
For lack of an intimate.

To whom shall I speak Today?
Wrong roams the earth,
And ends not.

The thematic material in this verse is still relevant today. Another characteristic of Egyptian poetry is the "utterance", an historic and cultural specific form extinct in modern poetry titled The Pyramid Texts. With no specific rhyme or rhythm pattern we have this example from the Unas of the Fifth Dynasty 2450-2300, the famous Cannibal Hymn taken from the antechamber of the East Wall of the pyramid of Unas:

Sky rains, stars darken,
The vaults quiver, earth's bones tremble,
The planets (gnmw) stand still
At seeing Unas rise as power,
A god who lives on his fathers,
Who feeds on his mothers!

Unas is master of cunning
Whose mother knows not his name'
Unas's glory is in heaven,
His power is in light land'
Like Atum, his father, his begetter,
Though his son, he is stronger than he!

The forces of Unas are behind him,
His helpers are under his feet,
His gods on his head, his serpents on his brow,
Unas's lead-serpent is on his brow,
Soul-searcher whose flame consumes,
Unas's neck is in its place.

Unas is the bull of heaven
Who rages in his heart,
Who lives on the being of every god,
Ahoe eats their entrails
When they come, their bodies full of magic
From the Isle of Flame.

Unas is one equipped who has gathered his spirits,
Unas has risen as great as Great One, as master of servants,
He will sit with his back to Geb,
Unas will judge with Him-whose-name-is-hidden
On the day of slaying the eldest.
Unas is lord of offerings who knots the cord,
Who himself prepares his meal.

Unas is he who eats men, feeds on gods,
Master of messengers who sends instructions:
It is Horn-grasper who lassoes them for Unas,
It is Serpent Raised-head who guards, who holds them for him,
It is He-upon-the-willows who binds them for him
It is Khons, slayer of lords, who cuts their throats for Unas,
Who tears their entrails out for him,
He the envoy who is sent to punish.
It is Shesmu who carves them up for Unas,
Cooks meals of them for him in his dinner-pots.

Unas eats their magic swallows their spirits:
Their big ones are for his morning meal,
Their middle ones for his evening meal,
Their little ones for his night meal,
And the oldest males and females for his fuel.
The Great Ones in the northern sky light him fire
For the kettles' contents with the old ones' thighs,
For the sky-dwellers serve Unas,
And the pots are scraped for him with their women's legs.

He has encompassed the two skies,
He has circled the two shores:
Unas is the great power that overpowers the powers,
Unas is the divine hawk, the great hawk of hawks,
Whom he finds on his way he devours whole.
Unas's place is before all the nobles in lightland,
Unas is god, oldest of the old,
Thousands serve him, hundreds offer to him,
Great-Power rank was given him by Orion, father of gods.

Unas has risen again in heaven,
He is crowned as lord of lightland,
He has smashed bones and marrow,
He has seized the hearts of gods,
He has eaten the Red, swallowed the Green.
Unas feeds on the lulngs sof the wise,
Likes to live on hearts and their magic;
Unas abhors licking the coils of the Red,
But delights to have their magic in his belly.

The dignities of Unas will not be taken from him,
For he has swallowed the knowledge of every god;
Unas's liftime is forever, his limit is eternity
In his dignity of "If he likes he does if he hates he does not."
As he dwells ihn lightland for all eternity.
Lo, their power is in Unas's belly,
Their spirits are before Unas as broth of the gods,
Cooked for Unas from their bones.
Lo, their power is with Unas,
Their shadows from their owners,
For Unas is of those who risen is risen, lasting lasts,
Not can evildoers harm Unas's chosen seat
Among the living in thie land for all eternity!

Beginning with the Middle Kingdom added a new genre, that of "instruction" which in modern times would be classified as "didactic". A very early work, The Instruction of Ptahhotep, is written in four sections the first three are on papyrus the last is on wood. The British Museum has two written on papyrus. It consts of thirty-seven maxims framed plus a prologue and an epilogue which set the stage for the teaching. In this example the summarized cardinal virtues are: self-control, moderation, kindness, generosity, justice, and truthfulness. Here is the excerpt:

May this servant be ordered to make a staff of old age,
So as to tell him the words of those who heard.
The ways of the ancestors,
Who have listened to the gods.
May such be done for you,
So that strife may be banned from the people,
And the Two Shores may serve you!
Said the majesty of this god:
Instruct him then in the sayings of the past,
May he become a model for the children of the great,
May obedience enter him,
And the devotion of him who speaks to him
No one is born wise.

Now this one from the Middle Kingdom and the Instruction of King Amenemhet for his Son Sesostris written in orational style sans rhyme or rhythm; a type of free verse. Written as a regicide this is believed to be the only surviving example so far:

Risen as god, hear what I tell you,
That you may rule the land, govern the sores,
Increase well-being!
Beward of subjects who are nobodies,
Of those plotting one is not aware,
Trust not a brother, know not a friend,
Make no intimates, it is worthless.
When you lie down, guard your heart yourself,
For no man has adherents on the day of woe.
I gave to the beggar, I rased the orphan,
I gave success to the poor as to the wealthy;
But he who are my food raised oppostion,
He whom I gave my trust used it to plot.
Wearers of my fine linen looked at me as if they were needy,
You my living peers, my partners among men,
Make for me mourning such as has noe been heard,
For so great a combat had not yet been seen!
If one fights in the arena forgetful of the past,
Success will elude him who ignores what he should know.

Another form that emerged during the end of the Hiksos Period around the eighteenth dynasty is the "satire" or what some experts have designated as early satire. There are some notable metaphors. Here is an example written by a scribe Duakhety for his son Pepi. In this instruction the writer is trying to presuade his son toward scholarship. He is detemined that his son will not succomb to being a laborer or some sort but better to follow in his footsteps. He extols the life of those who write and read (sound familiar) against those who toil for others. In some ways it celebrates the pride of the accomplishments of labor but at the same time writes of them in the most unflattering terms. There is one instance of repetition. He ends the piece with suggestions for good behavior and some suggestions that are repeated often in Greek and Roman literature "Who hides his thought, shields himself" and "He who neglects to praise, his name will not endure". Here are excerpts:

I have seen many beatings
Set your heart on books!
I awatched those seized for labor
There's nothing better than books!
It's like a boat on water.

Read the end of the Kemit-Book
You'll find this saying there:
A scribe at whatever post in town,
He will not suffer in it;
As he fills another's need,
He will not lack rewards.
I don't wsee a calling like it
Of which this saying could be said.

I'll make you love scribedom more than your mother,
I'll make its beauties stand before you;
It's the greatest of all callings,
There's nothing like it in the land.

Barely grown, still a child,
He is greeted, sent on errands,
Hardly returned he wears a gown.
I never saw a sculptor as envoy,
Nor is a goldsmith ever sent'
But it have seen the smith at work
At the opening of his furnace;
With fingers like claws of a crocodile
He stinks more than fish roe.

The carpenter who wiels an adze,
He is wearier han a field-laborer;
Hie field is the timber, his how the adze.
There is no end to his labor,
He does more than his arms can do,
Yet at night he kindles light.
The jewel-maker bores with his chisel
In hard stone of all kinds;
When he has finished the inlay of the eye,
His arms are spent, he's weary;
Sitting down when the sun goes down,
His knees and back are cramped.

The barber barbers til nightfall,
He betakes himself to town,
He sets himself up in his corner,
He moves from street to street,
Looking for someone to barber.
He strains his arms to fill his belly,
Like the bee that eats as it works.

The reed-cutter travels to the Delta to get arrows:
When he has done more than his arms can do,
Mosquitoes have slain him,
Gnats have slaugtered him,
He is quite worn out.

The potter is under the soil,
Though as yet among the living;
He grubs in the mud more than a pig,
In order to fire his pots.
His clothes are stiff with clay,
His girdle is in shreds;
If air enters his nose,
It comes straight from the fire.
He makes a pounding with his feet,
And is himself crushed;
He grubs the yard of every house
And roams the public placed.

I'll describe to you also the mason;
his loins give him pain;
Though he is out in the wind,
He works without a cloak;
His loincloth is a twisted rope
And a string in the rear.
His arms are spent from exertion,
Having mixed all kinds of dirt;
When he eats bread his fingers,
He has washed at the same time.

The weaver in the workshop,
He is worse off than a woman;
With knees against his chest,
He cannot breathe airl
If he skips a day of weaving,
He is beaten fifty strokes;
He gives food to the doorkeeper,
To let him see the light of day.

The arrow-maker suffers much
As he goes out to the desert;
More is what he gives his donkey
Than the work it does for him.
Much is what he gives the hersmen,
So they'll put him on his way.
When he reaches home at night,
The march has worn him out.

The courier goes into the desert,
Leaving his goods to his children;
Fearful of lions and Asiatics,
He knows himself when he's in Egypt.
When he riaches hom at night,
The march has worn him out;
Be his home of cloth or brick
His return is joyless.

The stoker, his fingers are foul,
Their smell is that of corpses:
His eyes are inflamed by much smoke,
He cannot get rid of his dirt.
He spends the day cutting reeds,
His clothes are loathsome to him.

The cobbler suffers much
Among his vats of oil;
He is well if one's well with corpses,
What he bites is leather.

The bird-catcher suffers much
As he watches out for birds;
When the swarms pass over him,
He keeps saying, "had I net"!
But the god grants it not,
And he's angry with his lot.

I'll speak of the fisherman also,
His is the worst of all jobs;
He labors on the river,
Mingling with crocodiles.
When the time of reckoning comes,
He is full of lamentations;
He does not say, "there's a crocodile"
Fear has made him blind.
Coming from the flowing water
He says, "Mighty god!"

See, there's no profession without a boss,
Except for the scripbe; he is the boss.
Hence if you know writing,
It will do better for you
Than those professions I've set before you,
Each more wretched than the other.
A peasant is not called a man,
Beware of it!

I'll tell you other things,
So as to teach you knowledge.
Such as: if a quarrel breaks out,
Do not approach the contenders!
If you are chided
And don't know how to repel the heat,
Call the listeners to witness,
And delay the answer.

When you walk behind officials
Follow at a proper distance.
When you enter a man's house,
And he's busy with someone before you,
Sit with you hand over your mouth.
Do not ask him for anything,
Only do as he tells you,
Beware of rushing to the table!

Be weighty and very dignified,
Do not speak of secret things,
Who hides his thought shields himself.
Do not say things recklessly,
When you sit with one who's hostile
If you leave the schoolhouse
When midday is called,
And go roaming in the streets,
All will scold you in the end.
When an official sends you with a message,
Tell it as he told it,
Don't omit, don't add to it.
He who neglects to praise,
His name will not endure:
He who is skilled in all his conduct,
From him nothing is hidden,
He is not opposed anywhere.

Do not tell lies against your mother,
The magistrates abhor it.
The descendant who does what is good,
His actions all emulate the past.
Do not consort with a rowdy,
It harms you when one hears of it.
If you have eaten three loaves,
Drunk twoo jugs of beer,
And the belly is not sated, restrain it!
When another eats, don't stand there,
Beware of rushing to the table!

If is good if you are sent out often,
And hear the magistrates speak.
You should acquire the manner of the wellborn,
As you follow in their steps.
The scibe is regarded as one who hears,
For the hearer becomes a doer.
You should rise when you are addressed,
Your feet should hurry when you go;
Do not trust.
Associate with men of distinction,
Befriend a man of your generation.

Yet to come is the Alexandrian (Ptolemaic) Period from 323 to 330 followed by the Roman Period 30 bc to 395 ad.

ekstasis - From the Greek for "trance". A character becomes displaced from the scene, babbles in mystical language. The clearest examples may be found in the verse of Metaphysical poets especially Andrew Marvell. The Garden "a green thought in a green shade" and "withdraw to happiness".

elegaic pentameter - Having five metrical units. This form was used primarily in threnetic, mournful poems lamenting the dead. In Greek and Roman it forms an epithet noting a distich, the first line of which is a dactylic hexameter and the second a pentameter, The principal Roman elegiac poets are Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid. The latter poet describes it as "Sex mihi surgat opus numeris, in quinque residat" - Let my work surge in six feet, quiet down in five. Goethe and Schiller, in modern German literature. Coleridge as the English representative.

elegaic stanza - A quatrain with the rhyme scheme abab. Ex. Thomas Gray Elegy Written in a Church Courtyard, rising action of the first verse with a falling quality in the second:

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Elegiac couplets are a poetic form used by Greek lyric poets for a variety of themes usually of smaller scale than those of epic poetry. The ancient Romans frequently used elegiac couplets in love poetry. In Elegiac the couplets consist of alternating lines of dactylic hexameter and pentameter with two dactyls followed by a long syllable, a caesura, then two more dactyls followed by a long syllable.

Another example is Sir William Watson's Hymn to the Sea:

"Man with inviolate caverns, impregnable holds in his nature, Depths no storm can pierce, pierced with a shaft of the sun:
Man that is galled with his confines, and burdened yet more with his vastness, Born too great for his ends, never at peace with his goal." 1899

elegy - One of two varieties of lyric poetry the other being the ode. In classical Greek it would be a poem in elegaic distich (see distich) accompanied by a flute. It could also be an epitaph to which the dead spoke in the first person. In Latin many excellent examples are offered by Sextus Propertius his Elegy 15: Book two:

O me felicem! o nox mihi candida! et o tu
    lectule deliciis facte beate meis!
quam multa apposita narramus verba lucerna,
    quantaque sublato lumine rixa fuit!
nam modo nudatis mecum est luctata papillis,
    interdum tunica duxit operta moram.
illa meos somno lapsos patefecit ocellos
    ore suo et dixit 'Sicine, lente, iaces?'
quam vario amplexu mutamus bracchia! quantum
    oscula sunt labris nostra morata tuis!
non iuvat in caeco Venerem corrumpere motu:
    si nescis, oculi sunt in amore duces.
ipse Paris nuda fertur periisse Lacaena,
    cum Menelaeo surgeret e thalamo;
nudus et Endymion Phoebi cepisse sororem
    dicitur et nudae concubuisse deae.
quod si pertendens animo vestita cubaris,
    scissa veste meas experiere manus:
quin etiam, si me ulterius provexerit ira,
    ostendes matri bracchia laesa tuae.
necdum inclinatae prohibent te ludere mammae:
    viderit haec, si quam iam peperisse pudet.
dum nos fata sinunt, oculos satiemus amore:
    nox tibi longa venit, nec reditura dies.
atque utinam haerentis sic nos vincire catena
    velles, ut numquam solveret ulla dies!
exemplo iunctae tibi sint in amore columbae,
    masculus et totum femina coniugium.
errat, qui finem vesani quaerit amoris:
    verus amor nullum novit habere modum.
terra prius falso partu deludet arantis,
    et citius nigros Sol agitabit equos,
fluminaque ad caput incipient revocare liquores,
    aridus et sicco gurgite piscis erit,
quam possim nostros alio transferre dolores:
    huius ero vivus, mortuus huius ero.
quod mihi secum talis concedere noctes
    illa velit, vitae longus et annus erit.
si dabit haec multas, fiam immortalis in illis:
    nocte una quivis vel deus esse potest.
qualem si cuncti cuperent decurrere vitam
    et pressi multo membra iacere mero,
non ferrum crudele neque esset bellica navis,
    nec nostra Actiacum verteret ossa mare,
nec totiens propriis circum oppugnata triumphis
    lassa foret crinis solere Roma suos.
haec certe merito poterunt laudare minores:
    laeserunt nullos pocula nostra deos.
tu modo, dum lucet, fructum ne desere vitae!
    omnia si dederis oscula, pauca dabis.
ac veluti folia arentis liquere corollas,
    quae passim calathis strata natare vides,
sic nobis, qui nunc magnum spiramus amantes,
    forsitan includet crastina fata dies.

In translation

O happy me! O night of radiance, and you,
   sweet bed that's strewn with such delights!
What declarations when the lamp was lit, what fights
   and tussles when the light was doused!
With breasts undone she teased me as we wrestled: then,
   with clothes drawn up, she feigned delay.
Her breath fell on my eyelids thick with sleep: she hissed,
   'Is this the way you finish, sluggard?'
Such length of arms' embraces as we changed positions,
   kisses lengthening on the lips!

No pleasure comes from sightless acts, and you must know
   that eyes go forward in desire,
as Paris found who met the Spartan naked, coming
   from the bed of Menelaus,
as splendidly undone was chaste Diana, where
   Endymion as naked lay.
So do not come to bed still wearing clothes, or my
   delirious hands will rip them off.
Avoid the further angering me, or your bruised arms
   will bear their witness to your mother.
Allow no loosened breasts prevent our playing, look
   for shame to those who've given birth.
Let's feast our eyes with lover's scenes: for days bring on
   the night from which no day returns,
and pray that we ever are like this, bound in chains
   that none at daybreak can undo,
and close as murmuring doves are, that is man and woman,
   one and so completely joined.
Who looks for limit to love's madness finds no end,
   for love will never have enough.
And sooner earth betray the farmer with false crops,
   or jet-black horses draw the sun,
or streams call waters back to source, or deeps dry up
   and leave their fish in cindery earth,
than I should think to loan my love-pains to another:
   hers in life, and in my death.

Grant she give me such a few more times: a year
   with these would serve me for a life.
Grant she give me many of such nights, from each
   I am more godlike than before.
Grant that everyone so run through life, their limbs
   be weighted down as though with wine -
there'd be no blows from daggers, nor from ships of war
   would bones be tossed to Actium's deeps,
nor Rome attacked by its own triumphs, shown forever
   grieving with its hair undone.
Posterity would surely raise their cups to us
   who did not injure any gods.

You give, in glory in our loving, all your kisses,
   yet those kisses are but few.
As petals wither from the garlands, fall in cups
   and drift at loss there listlessly,
so we, who fill ourselves with lovers' breath, may find
   tomorrow fate will shut us in.

Poetic form evolves as the culture and times change such links are preserved by poets of the time. In English prosody the elegy is a lament written on the occasion of a death or other solemn event. The greatest of English elegies Of these would Milton's Lycidas commemorating the death of a schoolmate who drowned in the Irish Sea. It goes a bit beyond just mourning a death it also a looks at a world in which the good die young and false priests prevail. Another English example is from Sir Thomas Moore (1477-1535) in A Lamentation of Queen Elizabeth. (Elizabeth, mother to king Henry VIII, wife to king Henry VII, and eldest daughter to king Edward IV).

O! ye that put your trust and confidence
In worldly joy and frail prosperity,
That so live here as ye should never hence,
Remember death and look here upon me;
Ensample I think there may no better be.
Yourself wot well that in this realm was I
Your queen but late, and lo now here I lie.

Was I not born of old worthy lineage,
Was not my mother queen my, father king,
Was I not a king's fare in marriage,
Had I not plenty of every pleasant thing?
Merciful God, this is a strange reckoning;
Riches, honour, wealth, and ancestry,
Hath me forsaken, and lo now here I lie.

If worship might have kept me, I had not gone,
If wit might have me saved, I needed not fear,
If money might have holpe, I lacked none,
But O! good God, what vaileth all this gear?
When Death is come thy mighty messenger,
Obey we must, there is no remedy,
Me hath he summoned, and lo now here I lie.

Yet was I late promised otherwise,
This year to live in wealth and delice;
Lo whereto cometh thy blandishing promise,
O! false astrology and devinatrice,
Of God's secrets making thyself so wise;
How true is for this year thy prophecy,
The year yet lasteth, and lo now here I lie.

O brittle wealth, aye full of bitterness,
Thy single pleasure doubled is with pain;
Account my sorrow first and my distress
In sundrywise, and reckon thereagain
The joy that I have had, and I dare sayne,
For all my honour, endured yet have I
More woe than wealth, and lo now here I lie.

Where are our castles now, where are our towers?
Goodly Richmond soon art thou gone from me;
At Westminster, that costly work of yours,
Mine own dear lord, now shall I never see.
Almighty God vouchsafe to grant that ye,
For you and your children well may edify!
My palace builded is, and lo now here I lie.

Adieu mine own dear spouse, my worthy lord,
The faithful love that did us both combine,
In marriage and peaceable concord
Into your handes here I clean resign,
To be bestowed upon your children and mine.
Erst were you father, and now must you supply
The mother's part also, for lo now here I lie.

Farewell my daughter, Lady Margaret,
God wot full oft it grieved hath my mind,
That ye should go where we should seldom meet,
Now am I gone and have left you behind.
O mortal folk that we be, very blind!
That we least fear, full oft it is most nigh,
From you depart I first, and lo now here I lie.

Farewell Madam, my lord's worthy mother,
Comfort your son and be you of good cheer,
Take all a worth, for it will be none other.
Farewell my daughter Catharine, late the fare
To prince Arthur, mine own child so dear.
It booteth not for me to weep or cry,
Pray for my soul, for lo now here I lie.

Adieu Lord Henry, my loving son adieu,
Our Lord increase your honour and estate.
Adieu my daughter Mary, bright of hue,
God make you virtuous, wise and fortunate.
Adieu sweet heart, my little daughter Kate,
Thou shalt, sweet babe, such is thy destiny,
Thy mother never know, for lo now here I lie.

Lady Cicyly, Anne, and Catharine,
Farewell my well-beloved sisters three.
O! Lady Bridget, other sister mine,
Lo here the end of worldly vanity!
Now well are ye that earthly folly flee,
And heavenly thinges love and magnify.
Farewell and pray for me, for lo now here I lie.

Adieu my lords, adieu my ladies all,
Adieu my faithful servants every chone,
Adieu my commons, whom I never shall
See in this world; wherefore to the alone,
Immortal God, verily three and one,
I me commend; thy infinite mercy
Shew to thy servant, for lo now here I lie.

Another of the greatest English elegies is Shelley's Adonais (1821) written on the death of fellow poet Keats in 1821. The elegy is at this point not just a description reserved exclusively for dead poets as and Matthew Arnold's Thyrsis (1861). Shelley reaches back to the latin Virgil's Bucolics and combines characteristics of the honored poet with a renewed function of the word "pastoral elegy" to include criticism, subtle and not so subtle, of society as fruitless, corrupt, and unworthy. Thus Anonais as a pastoral elegy ponders the meaning of life and death.

I weep for Adonais-he is dead!
O, weep for Adonais! though our tears
Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head!
And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years
To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers,
And teach them thine own sorrow, say: "With me
Died Adonais; till the Future dares
Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be
An echo and a light unto eternity!"
Where wert thou, mighty Mother, when he lay,
When thy Son lay, pierced by the shaft which flies
In darkness? where was lorn Urania
When Adonais died? With veiled eyes,
Mid listening Echoes, in her Paradise
She sate, while one, with soft enamoured breath,
Rekindled all the fading melodies
With which, like flowers that mock the corse beneath,
He had adorned and hid the coming bulk of death.

O, weep for Adonais-he is dead!
Wake, melancholy Mother, wake and weep!
Yet wherefore? Quench within their burning bed
Thy fiery tears, and let thy loud heart keep
Like his, a mute and uncomplaining sleep;
For he is gone, where all things wise and fair
Descend;-oh, dream not that the amorous Deep
Will yet restore him to the vital air;
Death feeds on his mute voice, and laughs at our despair.

Most musical of mourners, weep again!
Lament anew, Urania!-He died,
Who was the Sire of an immortal strain,
Blind, old, and lonely, when his country's pride,
The priest, the slave, and the liberticide
Trampled and mocked with many a loathed rite
Of lust and blood; he went, unterrified,
Into the gulf of death; but his clear Sprite
Yet reigns o'er earth; the third among the sons of light.

Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
Not all to that bright station dared to climb;
And happier they their happiness who knew,
Whose tapers yet burn through that night of time
In which suns perished; others more sublime,
Struck by the envious wrath of man or god,
Have sunk, extinct in their refulgent prime;
And some yet live, treading the thorny road
Which leads, through toil and hate, to Fame's serene abode.

But now, thy youngest, dearest one, has perished-
The nursling of thy widowhood, who grew,
Like a pale flower by some sad maiden cherished,
And fed with true-love tears, instead of dew;
Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
Thy extreme hope, the loveliest and the last,
The bloom, whose petals nipped before they blew
Died on the promise of the fruit, is waste;
The broken lily lies-the storm is overpast.

To that high Capital, where kingly Death
Keeps his pale court in beauty and decay,
He came; and bought, with price of purest breath,
A grave among the eternal.-Come away!
Haste, while the vault of blue Italian day
Is yet his fitting charnel-roof! while still
He lies, as if in dewy sleep he lay;
Awake him not! surely he takes his fill
Of deep and liquid rest, forgetful of all ill.

He will awake no more, oh, never more!-
Within the twilight chamber spreads apace
The shadow of white Death, and at the door
Invisible Corruption waits to trace
His extreme way to her dim dwelling-place;
The eternal Hunger sits, but pity and awe
Soothe her pale rage, nor dares she to deface
So fair a prey, till darkness, and the law
Of change, shall o'er his sleep the mortal curtain draw.

O, weep for Adonais!-The quick Dreams,
The passion-winged Ministers of thought,
Who were his flocks, whom near the living streams
Of his young spirit he fed, and whom he taught
The love which was its music, wander not,-
Wander no more, from kindling brain to brain,
But droop there, whence they sprung; and mourn their lot
Round the cold heart, where, after their sweet pain,
They ne'er will gather strength, or find a home again.

And one with trembling hands clasps his cold head,
And fans him with her moonlight wings, and cries,
"Our love, our hope, our sorrow, is not dead;
See, on the silken fringe of his faint eyes,
Like dew upon a sleeping flower, there lies
A tear some Dream has loosened from his brain."
Lost Angel of a ruined Paradise!
She knew not 'twas her own; as with no stain
She faded, like a cloud which had outwept its rain.

One from a lucid urn of starry dew
Washed his light limbs as if embalming them;
Another clipped her profuse locks, and threw
The wreath upon him, like an anadem,
Which frozen tears instead of pearls begem;
Another in her wilful grief would break
Her bow and winged reeds, as if to stem
A greater loss with one which was more weak;
And dull the barbed fire against his frozen cheek.

Another Splendour on his mouth alit,
That mouth, whence it was wont to draw the breath
Which gave it strength to pierce the guarded wit,
And pass into the panting heart beneath
With lightning and with music: the damp death
Quenched its caress upon his icy lips;
And, as a dying meteor stains a wreath
Of moonlight vapour, which the cold night clips,
It flushed through his pale limbs, and passed to its eclipse.

And others came... Desires and Adorations,
Winged Persuasions and veiled Destinies,
Splendours, and Glooms, and glimmering Incarnations
Of hopes and fears, and twilight Phantasies;
And Sorrow, with her family of Sighs,
And Pleasure, blind with tears, led by the gleam
Of her own dying smile instead of eyes,
Came in slow pomp;-the moving pomp might seem
Like pageantry of mist on an autumnal stream.

All he had loved, and moulded into thought,
From shape, and hue, and odour, and sweet sound,
Lamented Adonais. Morning sought
Her eastern watch-tower, and her hair unbound,
Wet with the tears which should adorn the ground,
Dimmed the aereal eyes that kindle day;
Afar the melancholy thunder moaned,
Pale Ocean in unquiet slumber lay,
And the wild Winds flew round, sobbing in their dismay.

Lost Echo sits amid the voiceless mountains,
And feeds her grief with his remembered lay,
And will no more reply to winds or fountains,
Or amorous birds perched on the young green spray,
Or herdsman's horn, or bell at closing day;
Since she can mimic not his lips, more dear
Than those for whose disdain she pined away
Into a shadow of all sounds:-a drear
Murmur, between their songs, is all the woodmen hear.

Grief made the young Spring wild, and she threw down
Her kindling buds, as if she Autumn were,
Or they dead leaves; since her delight is flown,
For whom should she have waked the sullen year?
To Phoebus was not Hyacinth so dear
Nor to himself Narcissus, as to both
Thou, Adonais: wan they stand and sere
Amid the faint companions of their youth,
With dew all turned to tears; odour, to sighing ruth.

Thy spirit's sister, the lorn nightingale
Mourns not her mate with such melodious pain;
Not so the eagle, who like thee could scale
Heaven, and could nourish in the sun's domain
Her mighty youth with morning, doth complain,
Soaring and screaming round her empty nest,
As Albion wails for thee: the curse of Cain
Light on his head who pierced thy innocent breast,
And scared the angel soul that was its earthly guest!

Ah, woe is me! Winter is come and gone,
But grief returns with the revolving year;
The airs and streams renew their joyous tone;
The ants, the bees, the swallows reappear;
Fresh leaves and flowers deck the dead Season's bier;
The amorous birds now pair in every brake,
And build their mossy homes in field and brere;
And the green lizard, and the golden snake,
Like unimprisoned flames, out of their trance awake.

Through wood and stream and field and hill and Ocean
A quickening life from the Earth's heart has burst
As it has ever done, with change and motion,
From the great morning of the world when first
God dawned on Chaos; in its stream immersed,
The lamps of Heaven flash with a softer light;
All baser things pant with life's sacred thirst;
Diffuse themselves; and spend in love's delight
The beauty and the joy of their renewed might.

The leprous corpse, touched by this spirit tender,
Exhales itself in flowers of gentle breath;
Like incarnations of the stars, when splendour
Is changed to fragrance, they illumine death
And mock the merry worm that wakes beneath;
Nought we know, dies. Shall that alone which knows
Be as a sword consumed before the sheath
By sightless lightning?-the intense atom glows
A moment, then is quenched in a most cold repose.

Alas! that all we loved of him should be,
But for our grief, as if it had not been,
And grief itself be mortal! Woe is me!
Whence are we, and why are we? of what scene
The actors or spectators? Great and mean
Meet massed in death, who lends what life must borrow.
As long as skies are blue, and fields are green,
Evening must usher night, night urge the morrow,
Month follow month with woe, and year wake year to sorrow.

He will awake no more, oh, never more!
"Wake thou," cried Misery, "childless Mother, rise
Out of thy sleep, and slake, in thy heart's core,
A wound more fierce than his with tears and sighs."
And all the Dreams that watched Urania's eyes,
And all the Echoes whom their sister's song
Had held in holy silence, cried: "Arise!"
Swift as a Thought by the snake Memory stung,
From her ambrosial rest the fading Splendour sprung.

She rose like an autumnal Night, that springs
Our of the East, and follows wild and drear
The golden Day, which, on eternal wings,
Even as a ghost abandoning a bier,
Had left the Earth a corpse. Sorrow and fear
So struck, so roused, so rapt Urania;
So saddened round her like an atmosphere
Of stormy mist; so swept her on her way
Even to the mournful place where Adonais lay.

Our of her secret Paradise she sped,
Through camps and cities rough with stone, and steel,
And human hearts, which to her aery tread
Yielding not, wounded the invisible
Palms of her tender feet where'er they fell:
And barbed tongues, and thoughts more sharp than they,
Rent the soft Form they never could repel,
Whose sacred blood, like the young tears of May,
Paved with eternal flowers that undeserving way.

In the death-chamber for a moment Death,
Shamed by the presence of that living Might,
Blushed to annihilation, and the breath
Revisited those lips, and Life's pale light
Flashed through those limbs, so late her dear delight.
"Leave me not wild and drear and comfortless,
As silent lightning leaves the starless night!
Leave me not!" cried Urania: her distress
Roused Death: Death rose and smiled, and met her vain caress.

"'Stay yet awhile! speak to me once again;
Kiss me, so long but as a kiss may live;
And in my heartless breast and burning brain
That word, that kiss, shall all thoughts else survive,
With food of saddest memory kept alive,
Now thou art dead, as if it were a part
Of thee, my Adonais! I would give
All that I am to be as thou now art!
But I am chained to Time, and cannot thence depart!

"O gentle child, beautiful as thou wert,
Why didst thou leave the trodden paths of men
Too soon, and with weak hands though mighty heart
Dare the unpastured dragon in his den?
Defenceless as thou wert, oh, where was then
Wisdom the mirrored shield, or scorn the spear?
Or hadst thou waited the full cycle, when
Thy spirit should have filled its crescent sphere,
The monsters of life's waste had fled from thee like deer.

"The herded wolves, bold only to pursue;
The obscene ravens, clamorous o'er the dead;
The vultures to the conqueror's banner true
Who feed where Desolation first has fed,
And whose wings rain contagion;-how they fled,
When, like Apollo, from his golden bow
The Pythian of the age one arrow sped
And smiled!-The spoilers tempt no second blow,
They fawn on the proud feet that spurn them lying low.

"The sun comes forth, and many reptiles spawn;
He sets, and each ephemeral insect then
Is gathered into death without a dawn,
And the immortal stars awake again;
So is it in the world of living men:
A godlike mind soars forth, in its delight
Making earth bare and veiling heaven, and when
It sinks, the swarms that dimmed or shared its light
Leave to its kindred lamps the spirit's awful night."

Thus ceased she: and the mountain shepherds came,
Their garlands sere, their magic mantles rent;
The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame
Over his living head like Heaven is bent,
An early but enduring monument,
Came, veiling all the lightnings of his song
In sorrow; from her wilds Irene sent
The sweetest lyrist of her saddest wrong,
And Love taught Grief to fall like music from his tongue.

Midst others of less note, came one frail Form,
A phantom among men; companionless
As the last cloud of an expiring storm
Whose thunder is its knell; he, as I guess,
Had gazed on Nature's naked loveliness,
Actaeon-like, and now he fled astray
With feeble steps o'er the world's wilderness,
And his own thoughts, along that rugged way,
Pursued, like raging hounds, their father and their prey.

A pardlike Spirit beautiful and swift-
A Love in desolation masked;-a Power
Girt round with weakness;-it can scarce uplift
The weight of the superincumbent hour;
It is a dying lamp, a falling shower,
A breaking billow;-even whilst we speak
Is it not broken? On the withering flower
The killing sun smiles brightly: on a cheek
The life can burn in blood, even while the heart may break.

His head was bound with pansies overblown,
And faded violets, white, and pied, and blue;
And a light spear topped with a cypress cone,
Round whose rude shaft dark ivy-tresses grew
Yet dripping with the forest's noonday dew,
Vibrated, as the ever-beating heart
Shook the weak hand that grasped it; of that crew
He came the last, neglected and apart;
A herd-abandoned deer struck by the hunter's dart.

All stood aloof, and at his partial moan
Smiled through their tears; well knew that gentle band
Who in another's fate now wept his own,
As in the accents of an unknown land
He sung new sorrow; sad Urania scanned
The Stranger's mien, and murmured: "Who art thou?"
He answered not, but with a sudden hand
Made bare his branded and ensanguined brow,
Which was like Cain's or Christ's-oh! that it should be so!

What softer voice is hushed over the dead?
Athwart what brow is that dark mantle thrown?
What form leans sadly o'er the white death-bed,
In mockery of monumental stone,
The heavy heart heaving without a moan?
If it be He, who, gentlest of the wise,
Taught, soothed, loved, honoured the departed one,
Let me not vex, with inharmonious sighs,
The silence of that heart's accepted sacrifice.

Our Adonais has drunk poison-oh!
What deaf and viperous murderer could crown
Life's early cup with such a draught of woe?
The nameless worm would now itself disown:
It felt, yet could escape, the magic tone
Whose prelude held all envy, hate, and wrong,
But what was howling in one breast alone,
Silent with expectation of the song,
Whose master's hand is cold, whose silver lyre unstrung.

Live thou, whose infamy is not thy fame!
Live! fear no heavier chastisement from me,
Thou noteless blot on a remembered name!
But be thyself, and know thyself to be!
And ever at thy season be thou free
To spill the venom when thy fangs o'erflow:
Remorse and Self-contempt shall cling to thee;
Hot Shame shall burn upon thy secret brow,
And like a beaten hound tremble thou shalt-as now.

Nor let us weep that our delight is fled
Far from these carrion kites that scream below;
He wakes or sleeps with the enduring dead;
Thou canst not soar where he is sitting now-
Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit shall flow
Back to the burning fountain whence it came,
A portion of the Eternal, which must glow
Through time and change, unquenchably the same,
Whilst thy cold embers choke the sordid hearth of shame.

Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep-
He hath awakened from the dream of life-
'Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit's knife
Invulnerable nothings.-We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

He has outsoared the shadow of our night;
Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
And that unrest which men miscall delight,
Can touch him not and torture not again;
From the contagion of the world's slow stain
He is secure, and now can never mourn
A heart grown cold, a head grown grey in vain;
Nor, when the spirit's self has ceased to burn,
With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn.

He lives, he wakes-'tis Death is dead, not he;
Mourn not for Adonais.-Thou young Dawn,
Turn all thy dew to splendour, for from thee
The spirit thou lamentest is not gone;
Ye caverns and ye forests, cease to moan!
Cease, ye faint flowers and fountains, and thou Air
Which like a mourning veil thy scarf hadst thrown
O'er the abandoned Earth, now leave it bare
Even to the joyous stars which smile on its despair!

He is made one with Nature: there is heard
His voice in all her music, from the moan
Of thunder, to the song of night's sweet bird;
He is a presence to be felt and known
In darkness and in light, from herb and stone,
Spreading itself where'er that Power may move
Which has withdrawn his being to its own;
Which wields the world with never-wearied love,
Sustains it from beneath, and kindles it above.

He is a portion of the loveliness
Which once he made more lovely: he doth bear
His part, while the one Spirit's plastic stress
Sweeps through the dull dense world, compelling there
All new successions to the forms they wear;
Torturing th' unwilling dross that checks its flight
To its own likeness, as each mass may bear;
And bursting in its beauty and its might
From trees and beasts and men into the Heavens' light.

The splendours of the firmament of time
May be eclipsed, but are extinguished not;
Like stars to their appointed height they climb,
And death is a low mist which cannot blot
The brightness it may veil. When lofty thought
Lifts a young heart above its mortal lair,
And love and life contend in it, for what
Shall be its earthly doom, the dead live there
And move like winds of light on dark and stormy air.

The inheritors of unfulfilled renown
Rose from their thrones, built beyond mortal thought,
Far in the Unapparent. Chatterton
Rose pale,-his solemn agony had not
Yet faded from him; Sidney, as he fought
And as he fell and as he lived and loved
Sublimely mild, a Spirit without spot,
Arose; and Lucan, by his death approved:
Oblivion as they rose shrank like a thing reproved.

And many more, whose names on Earth are dark,
But whose transmitted effluence cannot die
So long as fire outlives the parent spark,
Rose, robed in dazzling immortality.
"Thou art become as one of us," they cry,
"It was for thee yon kingless sphere has long
Swung blind in unascended majesty,
Silent alone amid an Heaven of Song.
Assume thy winged throne, thou Vesper of our throng!"

Who mourns for Adonais? Oh, come forth,
Fond wretch! and know thyself and him aright.
Clasp with thy panting soul the pendulous Earth;
As from a centre, dart thy spirit's light
Beyond all worlds, until its spacious might
Satiate the void circumference: then shrink
Even to a point within our day and night;
And keep thy heart light lest it make thee sink
When hope has kindled hope, and lured thee to the brink.

Or go to Rome, which is the sepulchre,
Oh, not of him, but of our joy: 'tis nought
That ages, empires, and religions there
Lie buried in the ravage they have wrought;
For such as he can lend,-they borrow not
Glory from those who made the world their prey;
And he is gathered to the kings of thought
Who waged contention with their time's decay,
And of the past are all that cannot pass away.

Go thou to Rome,-at once the Paradise,
The grave, the city, and the wilderness;
And where its wrecks like shattered mountains rise,
And flowering weeds, and fragrant copses dress
The bones of Desolation's nakedness
Pass, till the spirit of the spot shall lead
Thy footsteps to a slope of green access
Where, like an infant's smile, over the dead
A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread;

And grey walls moulder round, on which dull Time
Feeds, like slow fire upon a hoary brand;
And one keen pyramid with wedge sublime,
Pavilioning the dust of him who planned
This refuge for his memory, doth stand
Like flame transformed to marble; and beneath,
A field is spread, on which a newer band
Have pitched in Heaven's smile their camp of death,
Welcoming him we lose with scarce extinguished breath.

Here pause: these graves are all too young as yet
To have outgrown the sorrow which consigned
Its charge to each; and if the seal is set,
Here, on one fountain of a mourning mind,
Break it not thou! too surely shalt thou find
Thine own well full, if thou returnest home,
Of tears and gall. From the world's bitter wind
Seek shelter in the shadow of the tomb.
What Adonais is, why fear we to become?

The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death tramples it to fragments.-Die,
If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
Follow where all is fled!-Rome's azure sky,
Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, are weak
The glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speak.

Why linger, why turn back, why shrink, my Heart?
Thy hopes are gone before: from all things here
They have departed; thou shouldst now depart!
A light is passed from the revolving year,
And man, and woman; and what still is dear
Attracts to crush, repels to make thee wither.
The soft sky smiles,-the low wind whispers near:
'Tis Adonais calls! oh, hasten thither,
No more let Life divide what Death can join together.

That Light whose smile kindles the Universe,
That Beauty in which all things work and move,
That Benediction which the eclipsing Curse
Of birth can quench not, that sustaining Love
Which through the web of being blindly wove
By man and beast and earth and air and sea,
Burns bright or dim, as each are mirrors of
The fire for which all thirst, now beams on me,
Consuming the last clouds of cold mortality.

The breath whose might I have invoked in song
Descends on me; my spirit's bark is driven
Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng
Whose sails were never to the tempest given;
The massy earth and sphered skies are riven!
I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar;
Whilst, burning through the inmost veil of Heaven,
The soul of Adonais, like a star,
Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.

Russian poets contributed their own adaptation of elegaic verse. Their verse was short by comparison and looked to the north rather than to Greet or Latin for form. For exmaple The Bard written in 1811 by Russia's great poet Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky embodies a pronounced pseudo-Gaelic literary overtone. Critics called this particular poem a "velikolepnyy obrazets poezii russkogo sentimentalizma", or "a magnificent model of the poetry of Russian Sentimentalism."


В тени дерев, над чистыми водами
Дерновый холм вы видите ль, друзья?
Чуть слышно там плескает в брег струя;
Чуть ветерок там дышит меж листами;
На ветвях лира и венец...
Увы! друзья, сей холм - могила;
Здесь прах певца земля сокрыла;
Бедный певец!

Он сердцем прост, он нежен был душою
Но в мире он минутный странник был;
Едва расцвел - и жизнь уж разлюбил
И ждал конца с волненьем и тоскою;
И рано встретил он конец,
Заснул желанным сном могилы...
Твой век был миг, но миг унылый,
Бедный певец!

Он дружбу пел, дав другу нежну руку,-
Но верный друг во цвете лет угас;
Он пел любовь - но был печален глас;
Увы! он знал любви одну лишь муку;
Теперь всему, всему конец;
Твоя душа покой вкусила;
Ты спишь; тиха твоя могила,
Бедный певец!

Здесь, у ручья, вечернею порою
Прощальну песнь он заунывно пел:
"О красный мир, где я вотще расцвел;
Прости навек; с обманутой душою
Я счастья ждал - мечтам конец;
Погибло все, умолкни, лира;
Скорей, скорей в обитель мира,
Бедный певец!

Что жизнь, когда в ней нет очарованья?
Блаженство знать, к нему лететь душой,
Но пропасть зреть меж ним и меж собой;
Желать всяк час и трепетать желанья...
О пристань горестных сердец,
Могила, верный путь к покою,
Когда же будет взят тобою
Бедный певец?"

И нет певца... его не слышно лиры...
Его следы исчезли в сих местах;
И скорбно все в долине, на холмах;
И все молчит... лишь тихие зефиры,
Колебля вянущий венец,
Порою веют над могилой,
И лира вторит им уныло:
Бедный певец!

The Bard

My friends, can you descry that mound of earth
Above clear waters in the shade of trees?
You can just hear the babbling spring against the bank;
You can just feel a breeze that's wafting in the leaves;
A wreath and lyre hang upon the boughs...
Alas, my friends! This mound'ss a grave;
Here earth conceals the ashes of a bard;
Poor bard!

A gentle soul, a simple heart
He was a sojourner in the world;
He'd barely bloomed, yet lost his taste for life
He craved his end with yearning and excitement;
And early on he met his end,
He found the grave's desired sleep.
Your time was but a moment - a moment sad
Poor bard!

He sang with tenderness of friendship to his friend, -
His loyal friend cut down in his life's bloom;
He sang of love - but in a doleful voice;
Alas! Of love he knew naught but its woe;
Now all has met with its demise,
Your soul partakes of peace eternal;
You slumber in your silent grave,
Poor bard!

Here, by this stream one eventide
He sang his doleful farewell song:
"O lovely world, where blossomed I in vain;
Farewell forever; with a soul deceived
For happiness I waited - but my dreams have died;
All's perished; lyre, be still;
To your serene abode, o haste,
Poor bard!

What's life, when charm is lacking?
To know of bliss, with all the spirit's striving,
Only to see oneself cut off by an abyss;
Each moment to desire and yet fear desiring...
O refuge of vexatious hearts,
O grave, sure path to peace,
When will you call to your embrace
The poor bard?"

Our last example of the English pastoral elegy and perhaps the most popular is Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. This elegy is considered by many to be the greatest poem written in the eighteenth century. It contains the classic theme "death comes to all men." It combines the rural, simple life with a meditation on death and the tragedy of man. A long poem twenty-nine four line stanzas including an epitaph of three four line verses written shortly after the death of a friend.

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.

Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes,

Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Tr heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, ling'ring look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
"Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

"There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

"Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove,
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.

"One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
Along the heath and near his fav'rite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

"The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow thro' the church-way path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."

We offer the last three four line verses or "Epitaph" under that term.

elision - a method used to drop a letter at the beginning or middle of a word in order to conform to the metrical pattern. Ex. O’er many a dark and dreary vale. O’er many a frozen, many a fiery Alpe Milton. Example of middle drop would be “ trav’ler.” Also called a syncope.

ellipsis - From the Ancient Greek lleipsis meaning "defect" loosely "omission." In poetry an ellipsis may be an intentional pause indicated by three dots ... then continue to the next line. Or in early poetry ellipses indicated the omission of words which are essential to the syntax of the thought and where the reader must fill in to complete the meaning. It is considered a minor trope.

In the opening lines of the first stanza of the poem A Man's a Man for a That by Robert Burns. Burns is asking: Is there an honest man among us who hangs his head, and otherwise cringes, because of his Poverty?

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that
The coward slave we pass him by
We dare be poor for a' that
For a' that, an' a' that
Our toils obscure an' a' that
The rank is but the guinea's stamp
The Man's the gowd for a' that

Another example from the Romantic poet Robert Burns would be My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose the ellipsis are shown.

My love is like a red red rose
Thats newly sprung in June;
My love is like the melodie
Thats sweetly playd in tune.

So fair (are you) art thou,
my (sweetheart or equivalent synonym) bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I;
And I will love (you) thee still, my dear,
Till a (dialect-all) the seas gang (dialect-go) dry.

Till a the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi the sun:
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o life shall run.

And fare thee weel (to you), my only love
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my love,
Tho it were ten thousand mile.

There are several good examples from the Modernist poet T.S. Elliot's Preludes where the reader must add the missing pronouns such as the possessive your:

The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o'clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.

The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.

You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters,
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed's edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.

His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o'clock
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.
I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.
Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

The English poet W. H. Auden (1907-1929) is a master of the ellipse. Here are two poems:

This Lunar Beauty

This lunar beauty
Has no history
Is complete and early,
If beauty later
Bear any feature
It had a lover
And is another.

This like a dream
Keeps other time
And daytime is
The loss of this,
For time is inches
And the hearts changes
Where ghost has haunted
Lost and wanted.

But this was never
A ghosts endeavor
Nor finished this,
Was ghost at ease,
And till it pass
Love shall not near
The sweetness here
Nor sorrow take
His endless look.

In this poem the reader must identify "moon" ... person, place, thing? This ellipse stands for "is it a"

The Wanderer

O Where Are You Going?
Our Hunting Fathers
On This Island
As I Walked Out One Evening
Fish in the Unruffled Lakes
Autumn Song
Death's Echo
Muse des Beaux Arts
from In Time of War
in Memory of W. B. Yeats
Law Like Love
Under Which Lyre
A Walk After Dark
The More Loving One
The Shield of Achilles
Friday's Child
Thanksgiving for a Habitat
The Common Life
August 1968
Moon Landing
River Profile
A New Year Greeting

The ellipsis is present in poetry of most countries. In Western European poetry the representation is by dots.

In Chinese the ellipsis should always occupy the same horizontal space as two characters, not the rendering of dots.

In Polish the ellipsis is called wielokropek, which means "multidot". The word wielokropek distinguishes the ellipsis of Polish syntax from that of mathematical notation, in which it is known as an elipsa. When an ellipsis replaces a fragment omitted from a quotation, the ellipsis is enclosed in parentheses or square brackets. An unbracketed ellipsis indicates an interruption or pause in speech. When a sentence terminates with an ellipsis, the ellipsis replaces the full stop; therefore, there is no occasion to use a four-dot ellipsis in written Polish.

In Indonesia the contemporary poet Laksmi Pamuntjak has written an entire collection called "Ellipsis."

In Japan there are written and spoken indicators of an ellipse. The written uses three dots "ten-ten-ten" (the japanese word for dot is ten).

Be wary, the ellipsis is one of the most frequent errors of misuse in written discourse.

emblem poems - These were actually small books published about familiar scenes. They made for popular every day poetry reading during the metaphysical period written by poets: George Herbert and Francis Quarles. Today they would be similar to magazine articles written for the elementary level reader. At the time of the Commonwealth Period each page of the an emblem book would have a woodcut or print of a place, a familiar life scene suggesting the theme of the poem. The poem would have all the characteristics of metaphysical poetry: religious or moral reminder, visual, symbolic, and allegorical. Think of it as a poem to explain how to deal with life’s everyday problems as Godly men. An example is Quarles’ A Good Night Sleep:

Close now thine eyes and rest secure;
Thy soul is safe enough, thy body sure;
He that loves thee, He that keeps
And guards thee, never slumbers, never sleeps.
The smiling conscience in a sleeping breast
Has only peace, has only rest;
The music and the mirth of kings
Are all but very discords, when she sings;
Then close thine eyes and rest secure;
No sleep so sweet as thine, no rest so sure.

This next one, also from Quarles, is taken from the Biblical text "Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?"

Why Dost Thou Shade Thy Lovely Face?

Why dost thou shade thy lovely face? Oh, why
Does that eclipsing hand so long deny
The sunshine of thy soul-enliv'ning eye?
Without that light, what light remains in me?
Thou art my life, my way, my light; in thee
I live, I move, and by thy beams I see.
Thou art mv life; if thou but turn away
My life's a thousand deaths: thou art my way;
Without thee, Lord, I travel not, but stray.
My light thou art; without thy glorious sight
Mine eyes are darken'd with perpetual night.
My God, thou art my way, my life, my light.
Thou art my way; I wander if thou fly:
Thou art my light; if hid, how blind am I!
Thou art my life; if thou withdraw, I die.
Mine eyes are blind and dark, I cannot see;
To whom or whither should my darkness flee,
But to the light? and who's that light but thee?
My path is lost, my wand'ring steps do stray;
I cannot safely go, nor safely stay;
Whom should I seek but thee, my path, my way?
Oh, I am dead: to whom shall I, poor I,
Repair? to whom shall my sad ashes fly,
But life? and where is life but in thine eye?
And yet thou turn'st away thy face, and fly'st me;
And yet I sue for grace, and thou deny'st me;
Speak, art thou angry, Lord, or only try'st me?
Unscreen those heavenly lamps, or tell me why
Thou shad'st thy face; perhaps thou think'st no eye
Can view those flames, and not drop down and die.
If that be all, shine forth, and draw thee nigher;
Let me behold and die, for my desire
Is phœnix-like to perish in that fire.
Death-conquer'd Laz'rus was redeem'd by thee;
If I am dead, Lord, set death's prisoner free;
Am I more spent, or stink I worse than he?
If my puff'd life be out, give leave to tine
My shameless snuff at that bright lamp of thine;
Oh, what's thy light the less for lighting mine?
If I have lost my path, great Shepherd, say,
Shall I still wander in a doubtful way?
Lord, shall a lamb of Israel's sheep-fold stray?
Thou art the pilgrim's path, the blind man's eye,
The dead man's life; on thee my hopes rely;
If thou remove, I err, I grope, I die.
Disclose thy sunbeams; close thy wings, and stay;
See, see how I am blind, and dead, and stray,
O thou, that art my light, my life, my way.

enclosed (enclosing) rhyme - A pattern of abba found in quatrains as in this poem by Milton:

On His Being Arrived to the Age of Twenty-three (1631)

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three ad twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew’th,
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some ore timely-happy spirits indu’th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me and the will of Heaven.
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-master’s eye.

For another example look at Matthew Arnold’s Shakespeare

end-rhyme - A rhyme at the end of a line. Ex: Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, Frost

end-stopped - A line that ends with a natural pause in the sense or sentence structure. Easy to spot because they are marked by some type of punctuation: a dash, closing parenthesis, a semicolon, question mark or a period. A line is also considered to be end-stopped if it contains a complete phrase. Some good examples are from Alexander Pope's coupletes from Essay on Man.

Epistle I

Then say not man's imperfect, Heav'n in fault;
Say rather, man's as perfect as he ought:
His knowledge measur'd to his state and place,
His time a moment, and a point his space.
If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
What matter, soon or late, or here or there?
The blest today is as completely so,
As who began a thousand years ago.

For opposite of end-stopped see: enjambed

Also from Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism:

"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again."

englyn - A Welsh poetic form. The englyn is still the most popular Welsh metre. Englynion as a three-line poem was the preferred form in the early Middle Ages, Later it grew into four-lines. An englyn (plural englynion) simply means a verse of three or four lines written in strict metre. It was the preferred form in the early Middle Ages. Here are examples of the three line englyn.

Englyn Milwr or "soldier's englyn" is comprised of three lines of seven syllables each using an end-rhyme although not required. It is straightforward to use, and adapts easily to the English language. This is an example in Welsh:

Pen y borthaf a'm porthes.
Neud anwen nad er fy lles.
Gwae fy llaw, llym ddigones.

And another translated:

I carry a head in the grasp of my hand
of a generous lord he used to lead a country.
The chief support of Britain has been carried off

I carry a head which cared for me.
I know it is not for my good.
Alas, my hand, it performed harshly.

I carry a head from the side of the hill
and on his lips is a fine foam
of blood. Woe to Rheged because of this day.

It has wrenched my arm, it has crushed my ribs,
it has broken my heart
I carry a head which cared for me.

High over the sea stands a fine stronghold,
Old, but less old than the long
Beat and boom of ocean song

After the Middle ages the four-line stanza became the preferred form. There are several types:

englyn unodl union: or one-rhymed englyn is the only englyn form remaining in Welsh poetry starting around the fourteenth century. It is a combination of a cywydd (rhyming couplets) and cynghanedd (alliteration). It has one main rhyme throughout the stanzas. Within the main rhyme there are thirty syllables in lines ten, six, seven and seven syllables. The first two lines are called the "paladr or shaft" while the third and fourth are called esgyll or wings. Each line contains some cynghanedd. The last syllables of the last three lines rhyme with the sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth of the first line. A "gair cyrch" is found in the shaft and meets the cynghanedd at the first half of the second line. See this example of unknown authorship:

Cei fynwes gynes geni cu fwynwalch
cei f'einioes os mynnni;
cei fy ilaw yn dy law di,
cei fy nerth eyfan wrthi.

englyn unodl crwca: the crooked one-rhymed englyn is a reverse of the englyn unodl union in that the esgyll or wings come first followed by the gair cyrch or shaft. See this example from Einion Offeiriad, a teacher, whose book on Welsh metrical grammar is a work dealing with the art of metrics used in the Middle Ages.

Hynys hirloyn y hystlys
gwymp y ilun yn y llaesgrys
gwnlliw owyn gwendonn lawn
O dwfyn eigiawn pan dyurys.

The last word of lines one, two and four are the main rhyme. Note the secondary rhyme of "lawn" and "eigiawn."

Englyn cyrch: The englyn cyrch became the basis of the penillion telin or harp stanzas of the seventeeth century. It became one of the twenty-four official measures. This required an unaccented or falling rhyme in the first couplet. In this Einion example:

Hunys hirloyn y hystls
gwymp y llun yn y llaesgrys
gwnlliw owyn gwendonn iawn
O dwfyn eigiawn pan dyurys.

Several englyn forms can be found as well as the cyrch in the following example by Dafydd Nanmor. Here is his ode in translation Rhys ap Maredudd of the Tywyn in Cardiganshire (In honor of the House of Tywyn) written around the middle of the fifteenth century:

Genau'r Glyn, Tywyn, each day from this
to Rhys's halls men flock in companies.
May plenty reigh there, may rich peace
Through endless ages never cease!

Long age, as of an oak, be his; may he
no end to fortune's favour see
Till every star shall numbered be,
Earth's dust and glossoms of each tree

Like the pied blossoms which the trees adorn, like snow,
Like birds that haunt the corn,
Like rain, like dew that decks the morn,
To him be so my blessing borne.

Blessing like dew, I pray, each valley fill;
may Rhys at Tywyn have all that he will
While stand the ancient heavens still,
And, earth and stone, the nearby hill.

Liquor he'll buy; vineyards their bounteous store of wine
Will send the south seas o'er
Eighteen stout merchantmen and more
With freight of wine-vats by the score.

Wine-vats and weapons, store enow at his command
Now and for evermo,
Good meinie wheresoe'er he go
Of weaponed men, like trees a-row.

Like trees a-row, thousand, stout and bold; to each
Aye, thousands more, is told
Largesse of silver and gold,
Of wine and mead ten thousandfold.

Thousand, two thousand to his hest repair,
A thousand ever his gay livery wear,
Thousand, two thousand poets rare his greatness greet,
Songs honey-sweet a thousand minstrels sing.

Many as snowflakes on Rhydodin shed,
Many as leaves on the ash boughs o'er head,
As seeds o'er fertile furrows spread each first of May,
So lavish is the pay his hands will fling.

A hundred halls are his if he demand,
Acres and men to match at his command,
Estates a hundred of good land wre his each one,
Houses and farms a hundred at his whim.

Nine score of chargers in the year he buys,
Nine score of breastplates 'gainst the shaft that flies,
Nine score of gleaming lances rise in stalwart hands,
At need nine score of lands will follow him.

Nor Italy nor Scotland boasts a knight,
Nor calais, proof against all foemen's might,
Nor on wide-nostrilled charger white a lord of Wales,
Nor England, who less quails at sight of foe.

Eye never saw in hall with holly gay,
Tongue hath not told on great lord's mustering day,
No host hath heard so far away as distant liyn
Of one e'er seen good fare to lavish so.

No foam-flecked courser half so swiftly hies,
No hart from ford or buck from bracken flies,
No salmon through the water plies at turn of tide
As, when the feast is cried, men to Tywyn.

Not so far yet hath journeyed bird or star,
Nor sun nor moon nor all the waves that are,
Nor the wide cirque of heaven so far, since first he came,
As rhys's fame hath spread beyong the Glyn.

Obviously an ode of exagerated praise. The first seven stanzas are "englyn unodl union" connected with a repetition of one or more than one words or cyrch-gymeriad: ages/age; tree/trees; blessing; wine-vats; trees a-row; thousand.

enjambement - From the French enjamber, to encroach. In English prosody also called run-on. The continuation of a statement from one line to another without a syntactic pause or caesura. More favored than end-stopped in English verse:

Milton (1608-1674) Paradise Lost

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world. . . (Book 1, lines 1-3).

Yet Chains in Hell, not Realms expect: mean while
From me returned, as erst thou saidst, from flight,
This greeting on thy impious Crest receive. (Book 6, lines 186-188)

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) Dover Beach

"The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; - on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone..."

T.S. Eliot (1888-)1965) used enjambment in the opening lines of his poem The Waste Land:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

Lord Byron Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Man marks the earth with ruin - his control
Stops with the shore

Adelaide Crapsey Song

I make my shroud, but no one knows
So shimmering fine it is and fair,
With stitches set in even rows,
I make my shroud, but no one knows.

In door-way where the lilac blows,
Humming a little wandering air,
I make my shroud and no one knows,
So shimmering fine it is and fair.

The use enjambement is worldwide with the exception of Iceland. In Arabic poetry the enjambement appears regularly in a fixed form with the first line a conditional clause that resolves the sentence in the second line.

elliptical: In poetry, it refers to style as opposed to its prose meaning “obscurity.” The style is to use as few words as possible and still convey meaning. A good textbook example would be W. H. Auden’s This Lunar Beauty:

“But this was never
A ghost’s endeavor
Nor finished this,
Was ghost at ease;
And till it pass
Love shall not hear
The sweetness here
Nor sorrow take
His endless look.”

And T. S. Eliot’s Le Directeur:

Malheur à la malheureuse Tamise!
Tamisel Qui coule si pres du Spectateur.
Le directeur
Du Spectateur
Empeste la brise.
Les actionnaires
Du Spectateur
Bras dessus bras dessous
Font des tours
A pas de loup.
Dans un égout
Une petite fille
En guenilles
Le directeur
Du Spectateur
Et crève d'amour.

(This last one makes a good translation exercise for French beginners.)

enthymeme - (EN-thu-miem') From the Greek, en "to" thymeme "reason." Latin from Greek enthumema, from enthumeisthai to infer "to have in the mind." Aristotle noted that most arguments take the form of an enthymeme, an incomplete or not-quite-air-tight syllogism. Thus an enthymeme is a figure of reasoning in which one or more statements of a syllogism or three-pronged deductive argument is left out of the configuration or better understood as an abbreviated syllogism or truncated deductive argument in which one or more premises are given but a conclusion would be omitted. All syllogisms contain at least three statements, two premises followed by a conclusion. The form is not of frequent use in poetry but look to Shakespeare for examples as in Act III, Scene 2 of Julius Caesar:

"Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown. (major premise)Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious." (minor premise)
The omission is who is Mark Antony speaking of. The listener/reader must infer Julius Caesar.

In modern times, listen carefully as political speeches are fertile ground for enthymemes. They follow a definite form were an argumentative statement contains the argument followed by a premise, the other part of the argument is omitted and is to be implied by the reader. Here is an example from a recent movie:

"It is quite recent history, Lord Randolph was Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister, as he is now. And on this same issue of economy Lord Randolph Churchill went down -- forever. But wise words, Sir, stand the test of time. And his words were wise."

Wise words stand the test of time. (major premise)
Churchill's words were wise (minor premise)
Churchill's words will stand the test of time. (conclusion)

A statement like this by Mark Twain would be regarded as an enthymeme:

"There is no law against composing music when one has no ideas whatsoever.
(major premise)
The music of Wagner, therefore, is perfectly legal." (minor premise)
Richard Wagner's music has no ideas. (conclusion)

envelope - Occurs when a line opens and closes a stanza. It is frequently seen as a quatrain with a repeated last line. This first example is from Sir Philip Sydney (1554-1586) in My True Love Hath My Heart:

“My true love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for another given;
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a better bargain driven.
My true love hath my heart and I have his.

My heart in my keeps him and me in one,
My heart I him his thoughts and senses guides;
He loves my heart, for once it was his own,
I cherish his, because in me it bides.
My true love hath my heart and I have his.”

Also two from another court poet Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542) Is It Possible?

“Is is possible
That so high debate,
So sharp, so sore, and of such rate,
Should end so soon and was begun so late?
Is it possible?”

And Forget Not Yet the Tried Intent:

“Forget not yet the tried intent
Of such a truth as I have meant,
My great travail, so gladly spent,
Forget no yet.

Forget not yet when first began
The weary life ye know, since when
The suit, the service none tell can,
Forget not yet.

Forget not yet the great assays,
The cruel wrong, the scornful ways,
The painful patience in denays,
Forget not yet.

Forget not yet, forget not this,
How long ago hath been, and is,
The mind that never meant amiss,
Forget not yet.

Forget not, then, thine own approved,
Tdhe which so long hath thee so loved,
Whose steadfast faith yet never moved,
Forget not this.”

envoi - From the French meaning "sending forth." A loosely defined form depending whose purpose was at the whim of the poem it could conclude, summarize, or encourage. It is a short stanza that appears at the end of certain poetic forms such as: sestina, the Franch ballade, and the virelai nouveau. In the chant royal the envoi begins the poem in French verse.

The Envoi has fewer lines than the previous stanzas of the poem and may use rhyme words or sounds from the main body of the poem. For example, the chant royal consists of five eleven-line stanzas with a rhyme scheme abab ccdd edE and a five-line envoi rhyming ddedE.

The main exponents of these French forms were Christine de Pizan (1364-1430), Charles d'Orlans (1394-1465), and Jean Froissart (1337-1404). The envoi of Pizan and d'Orleans served as a commentary on the preceding stanzas either by reinforcing or less often weakening the message of the poem. Froissart adhered to the true purpose and summarized the content. Here is a poem with envoi by Francois Villon's (1460) Arbor Amoris:

I have a tree, a graft of Love,
That in my heart has taken root;
Sad are the buds and blooms thereof,
And bitter sorrow is its fruit;
Yet, since it was a tender shoot,
So greatly hath its shadow spread,
That underneath all joy is dead,
And all my pleasant days are flown,
Nor can I slay it, nor instead
Plant any tree, save this alone.

Ah, yet, for long and long enough
My tears were rain about its root,
And though the fruit be harsh thereof,
I scarcely looked for better fruit
Than this, that carefully I put
In garner, for the bitter bread
Whereon my weary life is fed:
Ah, better were the soil unsown
That bears such growths; but Love instead
Will plant no tree, but this alone.

Ah, would that this new spring, whereof
The leaves and flowers flush into shoot,
I might have succour and aid of Love,
To prune these branches at the root,
That long have borne such bitter fruit,
And graft a new bough, comforted
With happy blossoms white and red;
So pleasure should for pain atone,
Nor Love slay this tree, nor instead
Plant any tree, but this alone.


Princess, by whom my hope is fed,
My heart thee prays in lowlihead
To prune the ill boughs overgrown,
Nor slay Love's tree, nor plant instead
Another tree, save this alone.

Note repeated words.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this introductory envoi to A Child's Garden of Verses:

Whether upon the garden seat
You lounge with your uplifted feet
Under the May's whole Heaven of blue;
Or whether on the sofa you,
No grown up person being by,
Do some soft corner occupy;
Take you this volume in your hands
And enter into other lands,
For lo! (as children feign) suppose
You, hunting in the garden rows,
Or in the lumbered attic, or
The cellar - a nail-studded door
And dark, descending stairway found
That led to kingdoms underground:
There standing, you should hear with ease
Strange birds a-singing, or the trees
Swing in big robber woods, or bells
On many fairy citadels:

There passing through a step or so
Neither mamma nor nurse need know!
From your nice nurseries you would pass,
Like Alice through the Looking-Glass
Or Gerda following Little Ray,
To wondrous countries far away.
Well, and just so this volume can
Transport each little maid or man
Presto from where they live away
Where other children used to play.
As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see if you but look
Through the windows of this book
Another child far, far away
And in another garden play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is still on his play-business bent.
He does not hear, he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away;
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.

There are other later examples in English poetry especially G.K. Chesterton, Charles Swinburne, and Ezra Pound. Here is a sestina with envoi by the 1949 Poet Laureate Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979):


September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,
reading the jokes from the almanac,
laughing and talking to hide her tears.

She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child, and the envoy:

Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove.
and the child draws another inscrutable house.

Here is a poem of G. K. Chesterton A Ballad of Suicide with envoi:

A Ballad Of Suicide by G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall;
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbourson the wall
Are drawing a long breath to shout "Hurray!"

The strangest whim has seized me. After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.
To-morrow is the time I get my pay
My uncle's sword is hanging in the hall
I see a little cloud all pink and grey

Perhaps the rector's mother will not call
I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way
I never read the works of Juvenal
I think I will not hang myself to-day.
The world will have another washing-day;

The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H.G. Wells has found that children play,
And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall,
Rationalists are growing rational
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray

So secret that the very sky seems small
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,
The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
Even to-day your royal head may fall,
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

epic - This describes a extra long narrative poem describing adventures on a grand, heroic scale of a central figure. The heroic protagonist engages in acts of great mythic or historical significance. The most famous is The Iliad by Homer, an epic of twenty-four books written in dactylic hexameter. It tells of the events leading up to the end of the Trojan war. It involves abductions, false dreams, extended similes, invokes the Muses and shows supernatural beings interfering in the outcome of events. These events became characteristic of all future epics.

Example of the epic form can be found in both Eastern and Western cultures. From India there are two magnificent major Sanskrit examples: The Mahabharata (attributed to Vyasa) and the Ramayana. Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kauravas and Pandavas, the Mahabharata epic contains much philosophical material in the form of a a discussion of the four "goals of life": dharma (right action), artha (purpose), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation).

The Anglo-Saxon early 8th century Teutonic literature Beowulf has almost thirty-two hundred lines in alliterative verse. This narrative epic covers based on Norse legends begins in Denmark extends to England. The story is not characteristically chronological. Instead The events are anticipated in prophecy and given in retrospect. It contains long speeches of celebration or lament.

The Latin poet Vergil gave us the Aeneid composed of twelve books in which the legendary Trojan origin of the Romans is told. Written as the request of the Emperor it served a nationalistic purpose.

There is Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queen which also contains twelve books. It portrays a person in the form of a leading knight, Prince Arthur, who embodies all the twelve private moral virtues. It also varies in structure in that it does not begin with a prologue or opening event but "in media res" where Prince Arthur is setting out on his adventure. Much of this epic deals with the religio-political quandary of the times with aspects of Roman Catholicism as a spiritual allegory of man's quest for salvation.

We should recognize The Song of Roland (1066) the most famous of Charlemagne's paladins of medieval romance. It is regarded as the tradition of Franch ballads in that it was originally sung, hence the title. It has four thousand and two decasyllabic lines using assonance rather than rhyme, divided into stanzas of unequal length.

From Spanish literature the most famous epic is El Cid (1140) whose author remains unknown. The Arabic word Cidi meaning chief. It was first published in 1779 by Temas Antonio Sanchez. It recounts the deeds of Ruy Dias de Bivar who appears as a model Castilian knight. This epic has three thousand thirty-five lines with three cantores or divisions. Is is said to resemble more the form of Chanson de Roland with little exaggeration of feats of the hero in simple language.

From German literature there is the Nibelungenlied, a Middle High German narrative of 1218 of unknown authorship. One of the most popular and celebrated tales of Germanic adventure. It is almost the same length as the Aeneid and is written in four line stanzas rhyming aabb with a pause in the middle of each line. It follows the epic form by giving the beginning of the story through flashback. Another characteristic is that loyalty is personal not political that is; love, hate, greed, loyalty, and pride. There is one other oddity, within the last few stanzas the victor commiserates with the grief of vanguished other half.

The next epic example we cite is Dante's Divine Comedy (1321). It has one hundred cantos (divisions) in terza rima. It is divided evenly into three sections of thirty-three cantos. Filled with doctrinal content based on the system of St. Thomas Aquinas. Dante is met on Good Friday, 1300 by the spirit of Vercil viewed by Dante as incarnation of the highest knolwedge attainable by the human mind. It is Vergil who takes him through the Inferno. It is actually an allegory of the progress of the individual soul in its quest for God.

The last of probably the greatest of all the epics would be Milton's Paradise Lost (1667) with its twelve books. These opening lines begin the story:

Of Man's first disobedience and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden.

epic simile - A device thought to have originated with Homer and, for this reason, is frequently referred to as the "Homeric simile". Although others prefer the term "extended simile". It is a complex comparison that is revealed after the passing of several lines of poem and the absence of any syntactic clues such as "like" or "as". Here is an example from Book I of Milton's Paradise Lost where the army is compared to the scattering of autumn leaves:

His legions angel forms, who lay entranced
Thick as autumnal leaves that strew along the brooks.
In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades
High over-arch'd embower; or scatter'd sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd
Hath vex'd the Red Sea coast...
Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.

Vergil provides is with several epic similes in the Aeneid. The first is provided in these lines where he compares Neptune calming the storm brought about by Juno and Aeolus to an orator calming a rioting crowd:

"Just as often when in a great crowd a riot has arisen
and the common throng rages in their souls;
and now torches and stones fly, and frenzy supplies the arms;
then, if by chance they have seen some man important in loyalty and services, they are silent and stand with ears raised;
that man rules their minds with words and calms their hearts."

In this simile, all the comparisons are relatively clear - the rioting crowd:the insolent winds, and the dutiful orator: Neptune. The only odd aspect of the simile is that the god Neptune is being compared to a mere mortal, however important or he may be. Vergil clearly intends, however, to foreshadow in this way Aeneas' calming of his despairing comrades fifty lines later.

In another example of an epic simile is from the Inferno XXIV, lines one through fifteen:

In that part of the young year when the sun
begins to warm its locks beneath Aquarius
and nights grow shorter, equaling the days,
when hoarfrost mimes the image of his white
sister upon the ground - but not for long,
because the pen he uses is not sharp
the farmer who is short of fodder rises
and looks and sees the fields all white, at which
he slaps his thigh, turns back into the house,
and here and there complains like some poor wretch
who doesn't know what can be done, and then
goes out again and gathers up new hope
on seeing that the world has changed its face
in so few hours, and he takes his staff
and hurries out his flock of sheep to pasture.

Almost all of the similes created by these poets, Homer, Vergil, Dante, Spenser and others are used to connect a narrative, completely foreign to readers, with to familiar images. So that a reader might not be able to picture the Achaians as builders of the wall, or may not understand Dante's frustration and gesture of despair, but anyone can visualize a child destroying a "sand castle" and sympathize with a farmer "whose fields are covered with snow" who by "slapping of his thigh," indicates his despair.

epigram - From the Greek "epigramma" is inscription. It is exactly the same definition in Latin. A short clever statement. These examples from classic Greek:

"Wit is educated insolence." Aristotle"
"Money is the wise man's religion" Euripides
"By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be
happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher' Socrates

Epitaph on Plato's stone:

"Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
but go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea."

The epigram was a popular literary form in classic Latin literature mostly by Marcus Valerius Martialis (42-302) familiarily known as Martial. His epigrams have come down to us in fifteen books and have left historians with a graphic picture of life and manners in first-centry Rome. His style is described as "elegant grotesquerie". Here are some that are printable:

He's Here

Heres the one you read, and you demand,
Martial, who is known throughout the land
for these witty little books of epigrams:
to whom, wise reader, you keep giving,
while he still feels, among the living,
what few poets merit in their graves.

My Books

Rome praises, loves, and quotes my little books,
Im there in every pocket, every hand.
See them blush, turn white, stunned, yawn, disgusted.
I like it: nows when my poems give me delight


Zoilus, he lies: the man who says youre vicious.
Youre not vicious, Zoilous, youre vice itself.

There have been attempts to classify the Latin epigram into five specimens by Scaliger in Poetics. The first class is "mel" or honey; sweet. second called "fel" or gall, bite, rile; third "acetum" or vinegar; the fourth "sal" or salt; and the fifth "condense" or cut off.

An example of the second class is shown in these lines:

The qualities rare in a bee that we meet in an epigram
never should fail. The body should always be little and sweet.
And a sting should be left in its tail.

Third class are more lilkely to be the modern variety. In Homer's day epithets were mostly complimentary. Today the opposite is true, bordering on the offensive. Such as the unending stream of epitaphs that begin "You know you're a redneck..." such as:

"You know you're a redneck if your family tree don't fork."
You know you're a redneck if your cars are on blocks and your house has wheels.

In Japan epigrams are called senyru and are written in haiku form with seventeen syllables, three lines with five-seven-five syllabication. Examples:

The doctor killed him,
But they express their thanks,
Most graciously.


Is the age of forty
Of a beautiful woman.

From the French Renaissance Michel Montaigne (1533-1592):

The births of all things are weak and tender,
therefore we should have our eyes intent on beginnings.

And for more recent treatments there is Jonathan Swift's Epigram From The French in the context of an occasion when A French gentleman dining with some company on a fast-day, called for some bacon and eggs. The rest were very angry, and reproved him for so heinous a sin; whereupon he wrote the following lines:

"Peut-on croire avec bon sens
Qu'un lardon le mil en colere,
Ou, que manger un hareng,
C'est un secret pour lui plaire?
En sa gloire envelope,
Songe-t-il bien de nos soupes?"


Who can believe with common sense,
A bacon slice gives God offence;
Or, how a herring has a charm
Almighty vengeance to disarm?
Wrapp'd up in majesty divine,
Does he regard on what we dine?

Some epigrams have provided titles or subjects for great novels of the 20th century and for spurring political revolutions. For example here is a Robert Burns epigram taken from lines thirty-nine to forty-two of the poem "To a Mouse" written after turning up the nest of a field-mouse with his plough. This epigram provided the title for John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
For promis'd joy"

And another of Burns' poems "For a' That and a' That with several epigrams that some suggest helped fuel the American Revolution:

For a' That and a' That

Is there, for honest poverty,
That hings his head, an' a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Our toils obscure, an' a' that;
The rank is but the guinea's stamp;
The man's the gowd for a' that,

What tho' on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin-gray, an' a' that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their tinsel show an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His riband, star, an' a' that,
The man o' independent mind,
He looks and laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's aboon his might,
Guid faith he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities, an' a' that,
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
As come it will for a' that,
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,
May bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet, for a' that,
That man to man, the warld o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

The number of oral epigrams from comediens, politicians, sports figures, even scientists is endless. Yes, even Albert Einstein gave us this two notables from his lectures:

"I don't know what weapons will be used in World War III, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

"Sit next to a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. Sit on a red-hot stove for a minute, it seems like an hour. That's relativity!"

The epigram is one of the most universal of literary forms. It allows the expression of almost any feeling or thought and may be presented in an elegy, ode, or love poem, limerick or paradox; a more serious side of human behavior or just playful humor. A limerick example:

There once was a woman named Bright
who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day
in a relative way
and came back the previous night!

Here is a paradoxical epigram from the American poet Richard Moore:

"Nowadays we make quick work of our courtships; it's our divorces that we spend a lot of time on."

It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before, to test your limits, to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anais Nin (1903-1977)

And this one from the greatest of all apigramists the Anglo-Irish writer Oscar Wilde (1854-1900):

"Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality"

We end with this one from the 6th century B.C. given by King Croesus of Lydia:

"In peace sons bury their fathers, but in war fathers bury their sons."

epistle(s) – A letter written on paper (recall that early writing was recorded on tablets) and was to be sent to someone far away. They had a definite form that is the name of the sender and person receiving were prefixed. No final signature was required. The word was corrupted as a biblical entry as “apostle” where letters were sent in the form of messages to churches located in far countries. For example, there were thirteen letters ascribed to St. Paul; one from St. Jude; three from St. John; two from St. Peter. In poetry there are several good examples. But even before these the Greeks , especially Horace, the great satirist, wrote over 25 epistles. Also, Ovid’s Heroides or Epistulae heroidum. The composition could be in poetry or prose. Much later Alexander Pope (1688-1744) took to writing epistles in the style of Horace.Satires. I,x) His Moral Essays in Four Epistles to Several Persons are in the Horace tradition of satirical attack on one's contemporaries. The Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot (1735) is “a sort of bill of a complaint.” where he attacks Lord Hervey:

“Let Sporus tremble
Arbuthnot: What? That thing of silk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of Ass’s milk?
Satire or sense, alas! Can Sporous feel?
Who breaks a butterfly (Lord Hervey) upon a wheel?”

(Lord Hervey is a character in the 1999 BBC TV offering The Aristocrats)

epistolary – The epistle as a novel. It is one of the earliest novel forms. The first that I can recall was the novel Pamela published in 1740 written by Samuel Richardson. The epistolary appears as a type of psychological story. Some later examples would be Abraham Stoker’s Dracula (1897) This novel uses both letters and diary. More recently there is Stephen King’s Carrie (1974) .

epitaph - From Greek epitaphion, literally "on the gravestone." Latin epitaphium; Middle English, Old French epitaphe. An inscription in verse or prose on a tomb, or anything written to be inscribed on a tomb. The epitaph can be in prose or poetry; if poetry, it can be in any rhythmical pattern or none, rhymed or unrhymed. What distinguishes the epitaph from the elegy is length.

The earliest surviving epitaphs are those written on ancient Egyptian sarcophagi and coffins. There are few ancient Greek examples except for this ancient Greek burial stele on which Seikilos enscribed in marble a dedication to his wife. The grave was discovered in 1883, near Aydin in Turkey. Archaeologists believe it dates between 200 BC and AD 100. which bore the following epitaph:

I am a portrait in stone.
I was put here by Seikilos,
where I remain forever,
the symbol of timeless remembrance.

Epitaphs were written throughout the Middle Ages, too, but it wasn't until the 15th century in England. the time of Elizabeth, that the epitaph developed into an exceptionally high art as "parting words of the deceased." Ben Jonson, John Milton, Alexander Pope, and Samuel Johnson were considered masters of the art. The epitaph on Ben Jonson's own tomb in Westminster Abbey was remarably short:

"O rare Ben Jonson!"

Epitaphs are often humorous as this one written to himself:

Here lie I Martin Elginbrodde:
Have mercy on my soul,
Lord God, As I wad do,
Were I Lord God,
And ye were Martin Elginbrodde.

See this example by Ben Johnson:

Epitaph on Elizabeth

Wouldst thou hear what man can say
In a little? Reader, stay.
Underneath this stone doth lie
As much beauty as could die;
Which in life did harbor give
To more virtue than doth live.
If at all she had a fault,
Leave it buried in this vault.
One name was Elizabeth,
Th' other let it sleep with death;
Fitter, where it died to tell,
Than that it lived at all. Farewell.

From the grave of William Shakespeare:

Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
But cursed be he that moves my bones.

Most European countries wrote literary epitaphs. This one is from Hungary, the period of 13th through the 17th century. The red marble tombstone at the beginning of the unit from the 13th century is the oldest in the collection of the National Museum of Budapest. It's a simply executed inscription, a typical rhymed epitaph of the Middle Ages:

I am, what you will be,
what you are,
what I was myself,
please say a prayer for me.

From second generation of the romantic movement John Keats for his epitaph requested this one:

This Grave contains all that was Mortal of a Young English Poet
Who on his Death Bed in the Bitterness of his Heart
at the Malicious Power of his Enemies
Desired these words to be engraved on his Tomb Stone
Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water.

In the late romantic era the epitaph had become a commemoration of the death of a friend, noted person, family member and yes even a pet. Here is Thomas Gray's Epitaph (lines 117-128) written in elegaic form added to Elegy Written in a Country Courtyard after the death of a friend.


Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Mis'ry all he had, a tear,
He gain'd from Heav'n ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

From Walter de la Mare (1873-1956):


Here lies a most beautiful lady,
Light of step and heart was she:
I think she was the most beautiful lady
That ever was in the West Country.
But beauty vanishes; beauty passes;
However rare, rare it be;
And when I crumble who shall remember
This lady of the West Country?

epistrophe - The repetition of a word or expression at the end of verse or a speech. Used mostly in oratory but some in verse. The most often familiar oratorical example would be Abraham Lincoln in The Gettysburg Address "Of the people, by the people, for the people." Also in Shakespeare's Tempest:

"Hourly joys be still upon you!
Juno sings her blessings on you
Scarcity and what shall shun you.
Ceres' blessing so is on you."

And Merchant of Venice, the famous "ring" verse:

Sweet Portia,
If you did know to whom I gave the ring.
If you did know for whom I gave the ring
And would conceive for what I gave the ring
And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When nought would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure.

If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to caontain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.

epithalmium - An ancient lyric poem in odic form in praise of Hymen, the Greek God of Marriage. Originally written in 3 strophes. One to be sung at the bedroom door, lusty in nature, urging the newly weds to enjoy their wedding night and designed to muffle the sounds that came from the room. The second strophe to refresh or encourage the couple to continue their conjugal efforts and the third strophe was saved for the next morning, congratulating the couple and instructing them in their duties to one another.

Other than the 3 divisions of this genre, the frame is at the discretion of the poet. But these four elements are usually present:

1-The poem is usually about a specific marriage, not marriage in general.
2-The event of the wedding is included.
3-Often something from the bride and groom's past is mentioned.
4-There are blessings and good wishes.

Following a time line oldest to newest we begin with Virgil IDYL XVIII

The epithalamium was chanted at night by a chorus of girls, outside the bridal chamber to wish the couple well.

In Sparta, once, to the house of fair-haired Menelaus, came maidens with the blooming hyacinth in their hair, and before the new painted chamber arrayed their dance, - twelve maidens, the first in the city, the glory of Laconian girls, - what time the younger Atrides had wooed and won Helen, and closed the door of the bridal-bower on the beloved daughter of Tyndarus. Then sang they all in harmony, beating time with woven paces, and the house rang round with the bridal song.

The Chorus.

Thus early art thou sleeping, dear bridegroom, say are thy limbs heavy with slumber, or art thou all too fond of sleep, or hadst thou perchance drunken over well, ere thou didst fling thee to thy rest? Thou shouldst have slept betimes, and alone, if thou wert so fain of sleep; thou shouldst have left the maiden with maidens beside her mother dear, to play till deep in the dawn, for to-morrow, and next day, and for all the years, Menelaus, she is thy bride.

O happy bridegroom, some good spirit sneezed out on thee a blessing, as thou wert approaching Sparta whither went the other princes, that so thou mightst win thy desire! Alone among the demigods shalt thou have Zeus for father! Yea, and the daughter of Zeus has come beneath one coverlet with thee, so fair a lady, peerless among all Achaean women that walk the earth. Surely a wondrous child would she bear thee, if she bore one like the mother!

For lo, we maidens are all of like age with her, and one course we were wont to run, anointed in manly fashion, by the baths of Eurotas. Four times sixty girls were we, the maiden flower of the land, {98} but of us all not one was faultless, when matched with Helen.

As the rising Dawn shows forth her fairer face than thine, O Night, or as the bright Spring, when Winter relaxes his hold, even so amongst us still she shone, the golden Helen. Even as the crops spring up, the glory of the rich plough land; or, as is the cypress in the garden; or, in a chariot, a horse of Thessalian breed, even so is rose-red Helen the glory of Lacedaemon. No other in her basket of wool winds forth such goodly work, and none cuts out, from between the mighty beams, a closer warp than that her shuttle weaves in the carven loom. Yea, and of a truth none other smites the lyre, hymning Artemis and broad-breasted Athene, with such skill as Helen, within whose eyes dwell all the Loves.

O fair, O gracious damsel, even now art thou a wedded wife; but we will go forth right early to the course we ran, and to the grassy meadows, to gather sweet-breathing coronals of flowers, thinking often upon thee, Helen, even as youngling lambs that miss the teats of the mother-ewe. For thee first will we twine a wreath of lotus flowers that lowly grow, and hang it on a shadowy plane tree, for thee first will we take soft oil from the silver phial, and drop it beneath a shadowy plane tree, and letters will we grave on the bark, in Dorian wise, so that the wayfarer may read:

In 1595 Edmund Spencer wrote twenty-three quatorzains each made up of four alternating rhyme quatrains and ending in a declamatory rhymed couplet, the poem ending with a seven line envoi, mostly iambic pentameter with the rhyme scheme abab,cdcd,efef,ghgh,ii. It is called his highest poetic achievement. Here is one of the quatorzains where you will find three of the four parts present in the content:

The Epithalamion by Sir Edmund Spenser

Calm was the day, and through the trembling air
Sweet-breathing Zephyrus did softly play?
A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay
Hot Titans beams, which then did glister fair;
When I whom sullen care,
Through discontent of my long fruitless stay
In princes court, and expectation vain
Of idle hopes, which still do fly away
Like empty shadows, did afflict my brain,
Walkd forth to ease my pain
Along the shore of silver-streaming Thames;
Whose rutty bank, the which his river hems,
Was painted all with variable flowers,
And all the meads adornd with dainty gems
Fit to deck maidens bowers,
And crown their paramours
Against the bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

There in a meadow by the rivers side
A flock of nymphs I chancd to espy,
All lovely daughters of the flood thereby,
With goodly greenish locks all loose untied
As each had been a bride;
And each one had a little wicker basket
Made of fine twigs, entraild curiously,
In which they gatherd flowers to fill their flasket,
And with fine fingers cropt full feateously
The tender stalks on high.
Of every sort which in that meadow grew
They gatherd some; the violet, pallid blue,
The little daisy that at evening closes,
The virgin lily and the primrose true:
With store of vermeil roses,
To deck their bridegrooms posies
Against the bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

With that I saw two swans of goodly hue
Come softly swimming down along the lee;
Two fairer birds I yet did never see;
The snow which doth the top of Pindus strow
Did never whiter show,
Nor Jove himself, when he a swan would be
For love of Leda, whiter did appear;
Yet Leda was (they say) as white as he,
Yet not so white as these, nor nothing near;
So purely white they were
That even the gentle stream, the which them bare,
Seemd foul to them, and bade his billows spare
To wet their silken feathers, lest they might
Soil their fair plumes with water not so fair,
And mar their beauties bright
That shone as Heavens light
Against their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

Eftsoons the nymphs, which now had flowers their fill,
Ran all in haste to see that silver brood
As they came floating on the crystal flood;
Whom when they saw, they stood amazd still,
Their wondering eyes to fill;
Them seemd they never saw a sight so fair
Of fowls, so lovely, that they sure did deem
Them heavenly born, or to be that same pair
Which through the sky draw Venus silver team;
For sure they did not seem
To be begot of any earthly seed,
But rather angels, or of angels breed;
Yet were they bred of summers heat, they say,
In sweetest season, when each flower and weed
The earth did fresh array;
So fresh they seemd as day,
Even as their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

Then forth they all out of their baskets drew
Great store of flowers, the honour of the field,
That to the sense did fragrant odours yield,
All which upon those goodly birds they threw
And all the waves did strew,
That like old Peneus waters they did seem
When down along by pleasant Tempes shore
Scatterd with flowers, through Thessaly they stream,
That they appear, through lilies plenteous store,
Like a brides chamber-floor.
Two of those nymphs meanwhile two garlands bound
Of freshest flowers which in that mead they found,
The which presenting all in trim array,
Their snowy foreheads therewithal they crownd;
While one did sing this lay
Prepared against that day,
Against their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

Ye gentle birds! the worlds fair ornament,
And Heavens glory, whom this happy hour
Doth lead unto your lovers blissful bower,
Joy may you have, and gentle hearts content
Of your loves complement;
And let fair Venus, that is queen of love,
With her heart-quelling son upon you smile,
Whose smile, they say, hath virtue to remove
All loves dislike, and friendships faulty guile
For ever to assoil.
Let endless peace your steadfast hearts accord,
And blessed plenty wait upon your board;
And let your bed with pleasures chaste abound,
That fruitful issue may to you afford
Which may your foes confound,
And make your joys redound
Upon your bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

So ended she; and all the rest around
To her redoubled that her undersong,
Which said their bridal day should not be long:
And gentle Echo from the neighbour ground
Their accents did resound.
So forth those joyous birds did pass along
Adown the lee that to them murmurd low,
As he would speak but that he lackd a tongue,
Yet did by signs his glad affection show,
Making his stream run slow.
And all the fowl which in his flood did dwell
Gan flock about these twain, that did excel
The rest, so far as Cynthia doth shend
The lesser stars. So they, enrangd well,
Did on those two attend,
And their best service lend
Against their wedding day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
At length they all to merry London came,
To merry London, my most kindly nurse,
That to me gave this lifes first native source,
Though from another place I take my name,
An house of ancient fame:
There when they came whereas those bricky towers
The which on Thames broad aged back do ride,
Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers,
There whilome wont the Templar-knights to bide,
Till they decayd through pride;
Next whereunto there stands a stately place,
Where oft I gaind gifts and goodly grace
Of that great lord, which therein wont to dwell,
Whose want too well now feels my friendless case;
But ah! here fits not well
Old woes, but joys to tell
Against the bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

Yet therein now doth lodge a noble peer,
Great Englands glory and the worlds wide wonder,
Whose dreadful name late thro all Spain did thunder,
And Hercules two pillars standing near
Did make to quake and fear:
Fair branch of honour, flower of chivalry!
That fillest England with thy triumphs fame
Joy have thou of thy noble victory,
And endless happiness of thine own name
That promiseth the same;
That through thy prowess and victorious arms
Thy country may be freed from foreign harms,
And great Elizas glorious name may ring
Through all the world, filld with thy wide alarms
Which some brave Muse may sing
To ages following,
Upon the bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

From those high towers this noble lord issing
Like radiant Hesper, when his golden hair
In th ocean billows he hath bathd fair,
Descended to the rivers open viewing
With a great train ensuing.
Above the rest were goodly to be seen
Two gentle knights of lovely face and feature,
Beseeming well the bower of any queen,
With gifts of wit and ornaments of nature,
Fit for so goodly stature,
That like the twins of Jove they seemd in sight
Which deck the baldric of the Heavens bright;
They two, forth pacing to the rivers side,
Received those two fair brides, their loves delight;
Which, at th appointed tide,
Each one did make his bride
Against their bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

ee cummings' epithalzmion is in 3 parts made up of seven iambic pentatmeter octaves each, rhyme scheme abca,dcbd,efge,hgfh... thus three double ballades with a slightly altered rhyme scheme and without a refrain but with a seventh stanza and in his usual no capitals.

Epithalamion by ee cummings

Thou aged unreluctant earth who dost
with quivering continual thighs invite
the thrilling rain the slender paramour
to toy with thy extraordinary lust,
(the sinuous rain which rising from thy bed
steals to his wife the sky and hour by hour
wholly renews her pale flesh with delight)
immortally whence are the high gods fled?

Speak elm eloquent pandar with thy nod
significant to the ecstatic earth
in token of his coming whom her soul
burns to embrace-and didst thou know the god
from but the imprint of whose cloven feet
the shrieking dryad sought her leafy goal,
at the mere echo of whose shining mirth
the furious hearts of mountains ceased to beat?

Wind beautifully who wanderest
over smooth pages of forgotten joy
proving the peaceful theorems of the flowers
didst e'er depart upon more exquisite quest?
and did thy fortunate fingers sometime dwell
(within a greener shadow of secret bowers)
among the curves of that delicious boy
whose serious grace one goddess loved too well?

Chryselephantine Zeus Olympian
sceptred colossus of the Pheidian soul
whose eagle frights creation,in whose palm
Nike presents the crown sweetest to man,
whose lilied robe the sun's white hands emboss,
betwixt whose absolute feet anoint with calm
of intent stars circling the acerb pole
poises,smiling,the diadumenos

in whose young chiseled eyes the people saw
their once again victorious Pantarkes
(whose grace the prince of artists made him bold
to imitate between the feet of awe),
thunderer whose omnipotent brow showers
its curls of unendured eternal gold
over the infinite breast in bright degrees,
whose pillow is the graces and the hours,

father of gods and men whose subtle throne
twain sphinxes bear each with a writhing youth
caught to her brazen breasts,whose foot-stool tells
how fought the looser of the warlike zone
of her that brought forth tall Hippolytus,
lord on whose pedestal the deep expels
(over Selene's car closing uncouth)
of Helios the sweet wheels tremulous-

are there no kings in Argos,that the song
is silent,of the steep unspeaking tower
within whose brightening strictness Danae
saw the night severed and the glowing throng
descend,felt on her flesh the amorous strain
of gradual hands and yielding to that fee
her eager body's unimmortal flower
knew in the darkness a more burning rain?

And still the mad magnificent herald Spring
assembles beauty from forgetfulness
with the wild trump of April:witchery
of sound and odour drives the wingless thing
man forth in the bright air,for now the red
leaps in the maple's cheek,and suddenly
by shining hordes in sweet unserious dress
ascends the golden crocus from the dead.

On dappled dawn forth rides the pungent sun
with hooded day preening upon his hand
followed by gay untimid final flowers
(which dressed in various tremulous armor stun
the eyes of ragged earth who sees them pass)
while hunted from his kingdom winter cowers,
seeing green armies steadily expand
hearing the spear-song of the marching grass.

A silver sudden parody of snow
tickles the air to golden tears,and hark!
the flicker's laughing yet,while on the hills
the pines deepen to whispers primeval and throw
backward their foreheads to the barbarous bright
sky,and suddenly from the valley thrills
the unimaginable upward lark
and drowns the earth and passes into light

(slowly in life's serene perpetual round
a pale world gathers comfort to her soul,
hope richly scattered by the abundant sun
invades the new mosaic of the ground
let but the incurious curtaining dusk be drawn
surpassing nets are sedulously spun
to snare the brutal dew,-the authentic scroll
of fairie hands and vanishing with the dawn).

Spring,that omits no mention of desire
in every curved and curling thing,yet holds
continuous intercourse-through skies and trees
the lilac's smoke the poppy's pompous fire
the pansy's purple patience and the grave
frailty of daises-by what rare unease
revealed of teasingly transparent folds-
with man's poor soul superlatively brave.

Surely from robes of particoloured peace
with mouth flower-faint and undiscovered eyes
and dim slow perfect body amorous
(whiter than lilies which are born and cease
for being whiter than this world)exhales
the hovering high perfume curious
of that one month for whom the whole years dies,
risen at length from palpitating veils.

O still miraculous May!O shining girl
of time untarnished!O small intimate
gently primeval hands,frivolous feet
divine!O singular and breathless pearl!
O indefinable frail ultimate pose!
O visible beatitude sweet sweet
intolerable!silence immaculate
of god's evasive audible great rose!

Lover, lead forth thy love unto that bed
prepared by whitest hands of waiting years,
curtained with wordless worship absolute,
unto the certain altar at whose head
stands that clear candle whose expecting breath
exults upon the tongue of flame half-mute,
(haste ere some thrush with silver several tears
complete the perfumed paraphrase of death).

Now is the time when all occasional things
close into silence,only one tree,one
svelte translation of eternity
unto the pale meaning of heaven clings,
(whose million leaves in winsome indolence
simmer upon thinking twilight momently)
as down the oblivious west's numerous dun
magnificence conquers magnificence.

In heaven's intolerable athanor
inimitably tortured the base day
utters at length her soft intrinsic hour,
and from those tenuous fires which more and more
sink and are lost the divine alchemist,
the magus of creation,lifts a flower-
whence is the world's insufferable clay
clothed with incognizable amethyst.

Lady at whose imperishable smile
the amazed doves flicker upon sunny wings
as if in terror of eternity,
(or seeming that they would mistrust a while
the moving of beauteous dead mouths throughout
that very proud transparent company
of quivering ghosts-of-love which scarcely sings
drifting in slow diaphanous faint rout),

queen in the inconceivable embrace
of whose tremendous hair that blossom stands
whereof is most desire,yet less than those
twain perfect roses whose ambrosial grace,
goddess,thy crippled thunder-forging groom
or the loud lord of skipping maenads knows,-
having Discordia's apple in thy hands,
which the scared shepherd gave thee for his doom-

O thou within the chancel of whose charms
the tall boy god of everlasting war
received the shuddering sacrament of sleep,
betwixt whose cool incorrigible arms
impaled upon delicious mystery,
with gaunt limbs reeking of the whispered deep,
deliberate groping ocean fondled o'er
the warm long flower of unchastity,

imperial Cytherea,from frail foam
sprung with irrevocable nakedness
to strike the young world into smoking song-
as the first star perfects the sensual dome
of darkness,and the sweet strong final bird
transcends the sight,O thou to whom belong
the hearts of lovers!-I beseech thee bless
thy suppliant singer and his wandering word.

For a bit more explicit epithalamium this example by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) A Roman Catholic convert, Jesuit priest:

Hark, hearer, hear what I do; lend a thought now, make believe
We are leafwhelmed somewhere with the hood
Of some branchy bunchy bushybowered wood,
Southern dene or Lancashire clough or Devon cleave,
That leans along the loins of hills, where a candycoloured, where a gluegold-brown
Marbled river, boisterously beautiful, between
Roots and rocks is danced and dandled, all in froth and waterblowballs, down.
We are there, when we hear a shout
That the hanging honeysuck, the dogeared hazels in the cover
Makes dither, makes hover
And the riot of a rout
Of, it must be, boys from the town
Bathing: it is summers sovereign good.

By there comes a listless stranger: beckoned by the noise
He drops towards the river: unseen
Sees the bevy of them, how the boys
With dare and with downdolphinry and bellbright bodies huddling out,
Are earthworld, airworld, waterworld thorough hurled, all by turn and turn about.

This garland of their gambols flashes in his breast
Into such a sudden zest
Of summertime joys
That he hies to a pool neighbouring; sees it is the best
There; sweetest, freshest, shadowiest;
Fairyland; silk-beech, scrolled ash, packed sycamore, wild wychelm, hornbeam fretty overstood
By. Rafts and rafts of flake-leaves light, dealt so, painted on the air,
Hang as still as hawk or hawkmoth, as the stars or as the angels there,
Like the thing that never knew the earth, never off roots
Rose. Here he feasts: lovely all is! No more: off withdown he dings
His bleachd both and woolwoven wear:
Careless these in coloured wisp
All lie tumbled-to; then with loop-locks
Forward falling, forehead frowning, lips crisp
Over finger-teasing task, his twiny boots
Fast he opens, last he offwrings
Till walk the world he can with bare his feet
And come where lies a coffer, burly all of blocks
Built of chancequarrid, selfquaind rocks
And the water warbles over into, filleted with glassy grassy quicksilvery shivs and shoots
And with heavenfallen freshness down from moorland still brims,
Dark or daylight on and on. Here he will then, here he will the fleet
Flinty kind cold element let break across his limbs
Long. Where we leave him, frolic lavish while he looks about him, laughs, swims.

Enough now; since the sacred matter that I mean
I should be wronging longer leaving it to float
Upon this only gambolling and echoing-of-earth note
What is the delightful dene?
Wedlock. What the water? Spousal love.
Father, mother, brothers, sisters, friends
Into fairy trees, wild flowers, wood ferns
Rankd round the bower.

See Tyler Petty for analysis at

An example of a modern epithalamium by Matthew Rohrer where the characteristic classic form has disappeared and in its place a brief tribute given at the wedding reception; a sort of "proepithalamium."

In the middle garden is the secret wedding,
that hides always under the other one
and under the shiny things of the other one. Under a tree
one hand reaches through the grainy dusk toward another.
Two right hands. The ring is a weed that will surely die.

There is no one else for miles,
and even those people far away are deaf and blind.
There is no one to bless this.
There are the dark trees, and just beyond the trees.

epithet - Means "added". Adjective or phrase that is added to express characteristics of a person as in Ivan the Terrible. Homer used epithets regularly in The Odyssey (800 bc) as in this example:

"Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we feasted our fill on meat and drink, but when the sun went down and it came on dark, we camped upon the beach. When the child of morning, ROSY-FINGERED DAWN appeared, I bade my men on board and loose the hawsers. Then they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars; so we sailed on with sorrow in our hearts, but glad to have escaped death though we had lost our comrades.

Then spoke the GREY-EYED GODDESS answering,
Athena: " Cronus' son, Almighty King.

And again:

Now while the minstrel sweetly preluding
Fingered his viol and began to sing,
Close to GREY-EYED ATHENA leant his head
Telemachus, and said a secret thing:

Also the "ox-eyed Hera" and "fair-haired Circe"

epitrite - Epi "on" and trite "three": As a ratio 4:3: In classical prosody the term refers to three long syllables and one short syllable. The epitrite has four forms based on the position of the short syllable: short long long long; long short long long; long long short long; long long long short.

A typical sequence is the following from the Thebaid of Stesichorus or "chorus master," real name probably Tisias (650 bc to 555):

Forget the wars.
It is time to sing.
Take out the flute from Phrygia
recall the songs of our blond Graces.

Clamor of babbling swallows:
it is already spring.

epizeuxis - From Greek meaning repetition or joining together. An example would be the first and last lines of a song from Shakespeare's five act play Cymbeline:

Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chalic'd flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes;
With everything that pretty is,
My lady sweet, arise:
Arise, arise!

epode - Literally in Greek “stand” also called "after song". Most often found in the Pindaric odes when the chorus has three positions, turning to one side (strophe), the counterturn (antistrophe) , and the standing still (epode). Sometimes referred to as turn, counterturn, and pause.

epyllion – The diminutive form of the Greek epic. It requires love as subject with mythological references. Found in classical as Catullus (54 BC) in Peleus and Thetis:

“Never hath house closed yet o’er loves so blissful uniting.,
Never love so well his children in harmony knitten,
So as Thetic agrees, as Peleus bendeth according.
Trail ye a long-drawn thread and run with destiny spindles.
You shall a son see born that knows not terror, Achilles,
One whose back no foe whose front each knoweth in onset;
Often a conquore, he, where feet course swiftly together,
Steps of a fire-fleet doe shall leave in his hurry behind him.
Trail ye a long-drawn thread and run with destiny, spindles.”

Also Hero and Leander. The opening two lines and the first sestiad are quoted frequently.

“It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is over-rul'd by fate.
Then two are stript long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should lose, the other win;
And one especially do we affect
Of two gold ingots, like in each respect:
The reason no man knows; let it suffice,
What we behold is censur'd by our eyes.
Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight.

By this, sad Hero, with love unacquainted,
Viewing Leander's face, fell down and fainted.
He kissed her and breathed life into her lips,
Wherewith as one displeased away she trips.
Yet, as she went, full often looked behind,
And many poor excuses did she find
To linger by the way, and once she stayed,
And would have turned again, but was afraid,
In offering parley, to be counted light.
So on she goes and in her idle flight
Her painted fan of curled plumes let fall,
Thinking to train Leander therewithal.
He, being a novice, knew not what she meant
But stayed, and after her a letter sent,
Which joyful Hero answered in such sort,
As he had hope to scale the beauteous fort
Wherein the liberal Graces locked their wealth,
And therefore to her tower he got by stealth.
Wide open stood the door, he need not climb,
And she herself before the pointed time
Had spread the board, with roses strowed the room,
And oft looked out, and mused he did not come.
At last he came.
O who can tell the greeting
These greedy lovers had at their first meeting.
He asked, she gave, and nothing was denied.
Both to each other quickly were affied.
Look how their hands, so were their hearts united,
And what he did she willingly requited.
(Sweet are the kisses, the embracements sweet,
When like desires and affections meet,
For from the earth to heaven is Cupid raised,
Where fancy is in equal balance peised.)
Yet she this rashness suddenly repented
And turned aside, and to herself lamented
As if her name and honour had been wronged
By being possessed of him for whom she longed.
Ay, and she wished, albeit not from her heart
That he would leave her turret and depart.
The mirthful god of amorous pleasure smiled
To see how he this captive nymph beguiled.
For hitherto he did but fan the fire,
And kept it down that it might mount the higher.
Now waxed she jealous lest his love abated,
Fearing her own thoughts made her to be hated.
Therefore unto him hastily she goes
And, like light Salmacis, her body throws
Upon his bosom where with yielding eyes
She offers up herself a sacrifice
To slake his anger if he were displeased.
O, what god would not therewith be appeased?
Like Aesop's cock this jewel he enjoyed
And as a brother with his sister toyed
Supposing nothing else was to be done,
Now he her favour and good will had won.
But know you not that creatures wanting sense
By nature have a mutual appertinence,
And, wanting organs to advance a step,
Moved by love's force unto each other lep?
Much more in subjects having intellect
Some hidden influence breeds like effect.
Albeit Leander rude in love and raw,
Long dallying with Hero, nothing saw
That might delight him more, yet he suspected
Some amorous rites or other were neglected.
Therefore unto his body hers he clung.
She, fearing on the rushes to be flung,
Strived with redoubled strength; the more she strived
The more a gentle pleasing heat revived,
Which taught him all that elder lovers know.
And now the same gan so to scorch and glow
As in plain terms (yet cunningly) he craved it.
Love always makes those eloquent that have it.
She, with a kind of granting, put him by it
And ever, as he thought himself most nigh it,
Like to the tree of Tantalus, she fled
And, seeming lavish, saved her maidenhead.
Ne'er king more sought to keep his diadem,
Than Hero this inestimable gem.
Above our life we love a steadfast friend,
Yet when a token of great worth we send,
We often kiss it, often look thereon,
And stay the messenger that would be gone.
No marvel then, though Hero would not yield
So soon to part from that she dearly held.
Jewels being lost are found again, this never;
'Tis lost but once, and once lost, lost forever.
Now had the morn espied her lover's steeds,
Whereat she starts, puts on her purple weeds,
And red for anger that he stayed so long
All headlong throws herself the clouds among.
And now Leander, fearing to be missed,
Embraced her suddenly, took leave, and kissed.
Long was he taking leave, and loath to go,
And kissed again as lovers use to do.
Sad Hero wrung him by the hand and wept
Saying, 'Let your vows and promises be kept.'
Then standing at the door she turned about
As loath to see Leander going out.
And now the sun that through th' horizon peeps,
As pitying these lovers, downward creeps,
So that in silence of the cloudy night,
Though it was morning, did he take his flight.
But what the secret trusty night concealed
Leander's amorous habit soon revealed.
With Cupid's myrtle was his bonnet crowned,
About his arms the purple riband wound
Wherewith she wreathed her largely spreading hair.
Nor could the youth abstain, but he must wear
The sacred ring wherewith she was endowed
When first religious chastity she vowed.
Which made his love through Sestos to be known,
And thence unto Abydos sooner blown
Than he could sail; for incorporeal fame
Whose weight consists in nothing but her name,
Is swifter than the wind, whose tardy plumes
Are reeking water and dull earthly fumes.
Home when he came, he seemed not to be there,
But, like exiled air thrust from his sphere,
Set in a foreign place; and straight from thence,
Alcides like, by mighty violence
He would have chased away the swelling main
That him from her unjustly did detain.
Like as the sun in a diameter
Fires and inflames objects removed far,
And heateth kindly, shining laterally,
So beauty sweetly quickens when 'tis nigh,
But being separated and removed,
Burns where it cherished, murders where it loved.
Therefore even as an index to a book,
So to his mind was young Leander's look.
O, none but gods have power their love to hide,
Affection by the countenance is descried.
The light of hidden fire itself discovers,
And love that is concealed betrays poor lovers,
His secret flame apparently was seen.
Leander's father knew where he had been
And for the same mildly rebuked his son,
Thinking to quench the sparkles new begun.
But love resisted once grows passionate,
And nothing more than counsel lovers hate.
For as a hot proud horse highly disdains
To have his head controlled, but breaks the reins,
Spits forth the ringled bit, and with his hooves
Checks the submissive ground; so he that loves,
The more he is restrained, the worse he fares.
What is it now, but mad Leander dares?
'O Hero, Hero! ' thus he cried full oft;
And then he got him to a rock aloft,
Where having spied her tower, long stared he on't,
And prayed the narrow toiling Hellespont
To part in twain, that he might come and go;
But still the rising billows answered, 'No.'
With that he stripped him to the ivory skin
And, crying 'Love, I come,' leaped lively in.
Whereat the sapphire visaged god grew proud,
And made his capering Triton sound aloud,
Imagining that Ganymede, displeased,
Had left the heavens; therefore on him he seized.
Leander strived; the waves about him wound,
And pulled him to the bottom, where the ground
Was strewed with pearl, and in low coral groves
Sweet singing mermaids sported with their loves
On heaps of heavy gold, and took great pleasure
To spurn in careless sort the shipwrack treasure.
For here the stately azure palace stood
Where kingly Neptune and his train abode.
The lusty god embraced him, called him 'Love,'
And swore he never should return to Jove.
But when he knew it was not Ganymede,
For under water he was almost dead,
He heaved him up and, looking on his face,
Beat down the bold waves with his triple mace,
Which mounted up, intending to have kissed him,
And fell in drops like tears because they missed him.
Leander, being up, began to swim
And, looking back, saw Neptune follow him,
Whereat aghast, the poor soul 'gan to cry
'O, let me visit Hero ere I die! '
The god put Helle's bracelet on his arm,
And swore the sea should never do him harm.
He clapped his plump cheeks, with his tresses played
And, smiling wantonly, his love bewrayed.
He watched his arms and, as they opened wide
At every stroke, betwixt them would he slide
And steal a kiss, and then run out and dance,
And, as he turned, cast many a lustful glance,
And threw him gaudy toys to please his eye,
And dive into the water, and there pry
Upon his breast, his thighs, and every limb,
And up again, and close beside him swim,
And talk of love.
Leander made reply,
'You are deceived; I am no woman, I.'
Thereat smiled Neptune, and then told a tale,
How that a shepherd, sitting in a vale,
Played with a boy so fair and kind,
As for his love both earth and heaven pined;
That of the cooling river durst not drink,
Lest water nymphs should pull him from the brink.
And when he sported in the fragrant lawns,
Goat footed satyrs and upstaring fauns
Would steal him thence. Ere half this tale was done,
'Ay me,' Leander cried, 'th' enamoured sun
That now should shine on Thetis' glassy bower,
Descends upon my radiant Hero's tower.
O, that these tardy arms of mine were wings! '
And, as he spake, upon the waves he springs.
Neptune was angry that he gave no ear,
And in his heart revenging malice bare.
He flung at him his mace but, as it went,
He called it in, for love made him repent.
The mace, returning back, his own hand hit
As meaning to be venged for darting it.
When this fresh bleeding wound Leander viewed,
His colour went and came, as if he rued
The grief which Neptune felt. In gentle breasts
Relenting thoughts, remorse, and pity rests.
And who have hard hearts and obdurate minds,
But vicious, harebrained, and illiterate hinds?
The god, seeing him with pity to be moved,
Thereon concluded that he was beloved.
(Love is too full of faith, too credulous,
With folly and false hope deluding us.)
Wherefore, Leander's fancy to surprise,
To the rich Ocean for gifts he flies.
'tis wisdom to give much; a gift prevails
When deep persuading oratory fails.
By this Leander, being near the land,
Cast down his weary feet and felt the sand.
Breathless albeit he were he rested not
Till to the solitary tower he got,
And knocked and called. At which celestial noise
The longing heart of Hero much more joys
Than nymphs and shepherds when the timbrel rings,
Or crooked dolphin when the sailor sings.
She stayed not for her robes but straight arose
And, drunk with gladness, to the door she goes,
Where seeing a naked man, she screeched for fear
(Such sights as this to tender maids are rare)
And ran into the dark herself to hide.
(Rich jewels in the dark are soonest spied) .
Unto her was he led, or rather drawn
By those white limbs which sparkled through the lawn.
The nearer that he came, the more she fled,
And, seeking refuge, slipped into her bed.
Whereon Leander sitting thus began,
Through numbing cold, all feeble, faint, and wan.
'If not for love, yet, love, for pity sake,
Me in thy bed and maiden bosom take.
At least vouchsafe these arms some little room,
Who, hoping to embrace thee, cheerly swum.
This head was beat with many a churlish billow,
And therefore let it rest upon thy pillow.'
Herewith affrighted, Hero shrunk away,
And in her lukewarm place Leander lay,
Whose lively heat, like fire from heaven fet,
Would animate gross clay and higher set
The drooping thoughts of base declining souls
Than dreary Mars carousing nectar bowls.
His hands he cast upon her like a snare.
She, overcome with shame and sallow fear,
Like chaste Diana when Actaeon spied her,
Being suddenly betrayed, dived down to hide her.
And, as her silver body downward went,
With both her hands she made the bed a tent,
And in her own mind thought herself secure,
O'ercast with dim and darksome coverture.
And now she lets him whisper in her ear,
Flatter, entreat, promise, protest and swear;
Yet ever, as he greedily assayed
To touch those dainties, she the harpy played,
And every limb did, as a soldier stout,
Defend the fort, and keep the foeman out.
For though the rising ivory mount he scaled,
Which is with azure circling lines empaled,
Much like a globe (a globe may I term this,
By which love sails to regions full of bliss)
Yet there with Sisyphus he toiled in vain,
Till gentle parley did the truce obtain.
Wherein Leander on her quivering breast
Breathless spoke something, and sighed out the rest;
Which so prevailed, as he with small ado
Enclosed her in his arms and kissed her too.
And every kiss to her was as a charm,
And to Leander as a fresh alarm,
So that the truce was broke and she, alas,
(Poor silly maiden) at his mercy was.
Love is not full of pity (as men say)
But deaf and cruel where he means to prey.
Even as a bird, which in our hands we wring,
Forth plungeth and oft flutters with her wing,
She trembling strove.
This strife of hers (like that
Which made the world) another world begat
Of unknown joy. Treason was in her thought,
And cunningly to yield herself she sought.
Seeming not won, yet won she was at length.
In such wars women use but half their strength.
Leander now, like Theban Hercules,
Entered the orchard of th' Hesperides;
Whose fruit none rightly can describe but he
That pulls or shakes it from the golden tree.
And now she wished this night were never done,
And sighed to think upon th' approaching sun;
For much it grieved her that the bright daylight
Should know the pleasure of this blessed night,
And them, like Mars and Erycine, display
Both in each other's arms chained as they lay.
Again, she knew not how to frame her look,
Or speak to him, who in a moment took
That which so long so charily she kept,
And fain by stealth away she would have crept,
And to some corner secretly have gone,
Leaving Leander in the bed alone.
But as her naked feet were whipping out,
He on the sudden clinged her so about,
That, mermaid-like, unto the floor she slid.
One half appeared, the other half was hid.
Thus near the bed she blushing stood upright,
And from her countenance behold ye might
A kind of twilight break, which through the hair,
As from an orient cloud, glimpsed here and there,
And round about the chamber this false morn
Brought forth the day before the day was born.
So Hero's ruddy cheek Hero betrayed,
And her all naked to his sight displayed,
Whence his admiring eyes more pleasure took
Than Dis, on heaps of gold fixing his look.
By this, Apollo's golden harp began
To sound forth music to the ocean,
Which watchful Hesperus no sooner heard
But he the bright day-bearing car prepared
And ran before, as harbinger of light,
And with his flaring beams mocked ugly night,
Till she, o'ercome with anguish, shame, and rage,
Danged down to hell her loathsome carriage. Christopher Marlowe

And for another more familiar see Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis. Also Arnold’s Sohrab and Rustum.

eye-rhyme - A favorite of, and probably limited to Spenser, whereby the spelling of the last word is adjusted so as to make the rhyme clear to ear and eye. Most apparent in The Faerie Queen. This example is an excerpt from the opening:

A gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
Y cladd in mightie armes and siluer shielde,
Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
The cruell markes of many' a bloudy fielde;
Yet armes till that time did he neuer wield:
His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
As much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
Full iolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.

But on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore,
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore,
And dead as liuing euer him ador'd:
Vpon his shield the like was also scor'd,
For soueraine hope, which in his helpe he had:
Right faithfull true he was in deede and word,
But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad;
Yet nothing did he dread, but euer was ydrad.

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