Malapert Minx

The discombobulate warbling of a malapert minx interspersed with reverential impartations of beauty and greatness.

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Location: London, United Kingdom
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29 November, 2005

11th: Keats

Ode to a Nightingale

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness, -
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs,
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain -
To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music: - Do I wake or sleep?
John Keats

27 November, 2005

10th: Shakespeare

Now entertain conjecture of a time
when creeping murmur and the poring dark
Fills the wide vessel of the universe.
From camp to camp through the foul womb of night
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fixed sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other's watch:
Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other's umber'd face;
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs
Piercing the night's dull ear, and from the tents
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation:
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,
And the third hour of drowsy morning name.
Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
The confident and over-lusty French
Do the low-rated English play at dice;
And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp
So tediously away. The poor condemned English,
Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
Sit patiently and inly ruminate
The morning's danger, and their gesture sad
Investing lank-lean; cheeks and war-worn coats
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts. O now, who will behold
The royal captain of this ruin'd band
Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,
Let him cry 'Praise and glory on his head!'
For forth he goes and visits all his host.
Bids them good morrow with a modest smile
And calls them brothers, friends and countrymen.
Upon his royal face there is no note
How dread an army hath enrounded him;
Nor doth he dedicate one jot of colour
Unto the weary and all-watched night,
But freshly looks and over-bears attaint
With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty;
That every wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks:
A largess universal like the sun
His liberal eye doth give to every one,
Thawing cold fear, that mean and gentle all,
Behold, as may unworthiness define,
A little touch of Harry in the night.
And so our scene must to the battle fly;
Where--O for pity!--we shall much disgrace
With four or five most vile and ragged foils,
Right ill-disposed in brawl ridiculous,
The name of Agincourt. Yet sit and see,
Minding true things by what their mockeries be.


26 November, 2005

9th: Baudelaire


I am as lovely as a dream in stone,
And this my heart where each finds death in turn,
Inspires the poet with a love as lone
As clay eternal and as taciturn.

Swan-white of heart, a sphinx no mortal knows,
My throne is in the heaven's azure deep;
I hate all movements that disturb my pose,
I smile not ever, neither do I weep.

Before my monumental attitudes,
That breathe a soul into the plastic arts,
My poets pray in austere studious moods,

For I, to fold enchantment round their hearts,
Have pools of light where beauty flames and dies,
The placid mirrors of my luminous eyes.
Charles Baudelaire

25 November, 2005

8th: Spencer


FAIR proud now tell me, why should fair be proud,
Sith all world's glory is but dross unclean:
and in the shade of death it self shall shroud,
how ever now thereof ye little ween.
That goodly Idol, now so gay beseen,
shall doff her flesh's borrowed fair attire:
and be forgot as it had never been,
that many now much worship and admire.
Ne any then shall after it inquire,
ne any mention shall thereof remain:
but what this verse, that never shall expire,
shall to you purchase with her thankless pain.
Fair be no longer proud of that shall perish,
but that which shall you make immortal, cherish


Edmund Spencer

24 November, 2005

7th: Marlowe

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love


Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of th purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love,

Christopher Marlowe

23 November, 2005

6th: The Bard XVIII

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

5th: A Dream of Fair Women

A Dream of Fair Women

I read, before my eyelids dropt their shade,
The Legend of Good Women,’ long ago
Sung by the morning star of song, who made
His music heard below;

Dan Chaucer, the first warbler, whose sweet breath
Preluded those melodious bursts that fill
The spacious times of great
With sounds that echo still.

And, for a while, the knowledge of his art
Held me above the subject, as strong gales
Hold swollen clouds from raining, tho’ my heart,
Brimful of those wild tales,

Charged both mine eyes with tears. In every land
I saw, wherever light illumineth,
Beauty and anguish walking hand in hand
The downward slope to death.

Those far-renowned brides of ancient song
Peopled the hollow dark, like burning stars,
And I heard sounds of insult, shame, and wrong,
And trumpets blown for wars;

And clattering flints batter’d with clanging hoofs;
And I saw crowds in column’d sanctuaries;
And forms that pass’d at windows and on roofs
Of marble palaces;

Corpses across the threshold; heroes tall
Dislodging pinnacle and parapet
Upon the tortoise creeping to the wall;
Lances in ambush set;

And high shrine-doors burst thro’ with heated blasts
That run before the fluttering tongues of fire;
White surf wind-scatter’d over sails and masts,
And ever climbing higher;

Squadrons and squares of men in brazen plates,
Scaffolds, still sheets of water, divers woes,
Ranges of glimmering vaults with iron grates,
And hush’d seraglios.

So shape chased shape as swift as, when to land
Bluster the winds and tides the self-same way,
Crisp foam-flakes scud along the level sand,
Torn from the fringe of spray.

I started once, or seem’d to start in pain,
Resolved on noble things, and strove to speak,
As when a great thought strikes along the brain,
And flushes all the cheek.

And once my arm was lifted to hew down
A cavalier from off his saddle-bow,
That bore a lady from a leaguer’d town;
And then, I know not how,

All those sharp fancies, by down-lapsing thought
Stream’d onward, lost their edges, and did creep
Roll’d on each other, rounded, smooth’d, and brought
Into the gulfs of sleep.

At last methought that I had wander’d far
In an old wood: fresh-wash’d in coolest dew
The maiden splendours of the morning star
Shook in the stedfast blue.

Enormous elm-tree-boles did stoop and lean
Upon the dusky brushwood underneath
Their broad curved branches, fledged with clearest green,
New from its silken sheath.

The dim red morn had died, her journey done,
And with dead lips smiled at the twilight plain,
Half-fall’n across the threshold of the sun,
Never to rise again.

There was no motion in the dumb dead air,
Not any song of bird or sound of rill;
Gross darkness of the inner sepulchre
Is not so deadly still

As that wide forest. Growths of jasmine turn’d
Their humid arms festooning tree to tree,
And at the root thro’ lush green grasses burn’d
The red anemone.

I knew the flowers, I knew the leaves, I knew
The tearful glimmer of the languid dawn
On those long, rank, dark wood-walks drench’d in dew,
Leading from lawn to lawn.

The smell of violets, hidden in the green,
Pour’d back into my empty soul and frame
The times when I remember to have been
Joyful and free from blame.

And from within me a clear under-tone
Thrill’d thro’ mine ears in that unblissful clime,
‘Pass freely thro’: the wood is all thine own,
Until the end of time.’

At length I saw a lady within call,
Stiller than chisell’d marble, standing there;
A daughter of the gods, divinely tall,
And most divinely fair.

Her loveliness with shame and with surprise
Froze my swift speech: she turning on my face
The star-like sorrows of immortal eyes,
Spoke slowly in her place.

‘I had great beauty: ask thou not my name:
No one can be more wise than destiny.
Many drew swords and died. Where’er I came
I brought calamity.’

‘No marvel, sovereign lady: in fair field
Myself for such a face had boldly died,’
I answer’d free; and turning I appeal’d
To one that stood beside.

But she, with sick and scornful looks averse,
To her full height her stately stature draws;
‘My youth,’ she said, ‘was blasted with a curse:
This woman was the cause.

‘I was cut off from hope in that sad place,
Which men call’d
Aulis in those iron years:
My father held his hand upon his face;
I, blinded with my tears,

‘Still strove to speak: my voice was thick with sighs
As in a dream. Dimly I could descry
The stern black-bearded kings with wolfish eyes,
Waiting to see me die.

‘The high masts flicker’d as they lay afloat;
The crowds, the temples, waver’d, and the shore;
The bright death quiver’d at the victim’s throat;
Touch’d; and I knew no more.’

Whereto the other with a downward brow:
‘I would the white cold heavy-plunging foam,
Whirl’d by the wind, had roll’d me deep below,
Then when I left my home.’

Her slow full words sank thro’ the silence drear,
As thunder-drops fall on a sleeping sea:
Sudden I heard a voice that cried, ‘Come here,
That I may look on thee.’

I turning saw, throned on a flowery rise,
One sitting on a crimson scarf unroll’d;
A queen, with swarthy cheeks and bold black eyes,
Brow-bound with burning gold.

She, flashing forth a haughty smile, began:
‘I govern’d men by change, and so I sway’d
All moods. ’Tis long since I have seen a man.
Once, like the moon, I made

‘The ever-shifting currents of the blood
According to my humour ebb and flow.
I have no men to govern in this wood:
That makes my only woe.

‘Nay–yet it chafes me that I could not bend
One will; nor tame and tutor with mine eye
That dull cold-blooded Cæsar. Prythee, friend,
Where is Mark Antony?

‘The man, my lover, with whom I rode sublime
On Fortune’s neck: we sat as God by God:
The Nilus would have risen before his time
And flooded at our nod.

‘We drank the Libyan Sun to sleep, and lit
Lamps which out-burn’d
Canopus. O my life
Egypt! O the dalliance and the wit,
The flattery and the strife,

‘And the wild kiss, when fresh from war’s alarms,
My Hercules, my Roman Antony,
My mailed Bacchus leapt into my arms,
Contented there to die!

‘And there he died: and when I heard my name
Sigh’d forth with life I would not brook my fear
Of the other: with a worm I balk’d his fame.
What else was left? look here!’

(With that she tore her robe apart, and half
The polish’d argent of her breast to sight
Laid bare. Thereto she pointed with a laugh,
Showing the aspick’s bite.)

‘I died a Queen. The Roman soldier found
Me lying dead, my crown about my brows,
A name for ever!–lying robed and crown’d,
Worthy a Roman spouse.’

Her warbling voice, a lyre of widest range
Struck by all passion, did fall down and glance
From tone to tone, and glided thro’ all change
Of liveliest utterance.

When she made pause I knew not for delight;
Because with sudden motion from the ground
She raised her piercing orbs, and fill’d with light
The interval of sound.

Still with their fires Love tipt his keenest darts;
As once they drew into two burning rings
All beams of Love, melting the mighty hearts
Of captains and of kings.

Slowly my sense undazzled. Then I heard
A noise of some one coming thro’ the lawn,
And singing clearer than the crested bird
That claps his wings at dawn.

‘The torrent brooks of hallow’d Israel
From craggy hollows pouring, late and soon,
Sound all night long, in falling thro’ the dell,
Far-heard beneath the moon.

‘The balmy moon of blessed Israel
Floods all the deep-blue gloom with beams divine:
All night the splinter’d crags that wall the dell
With spires of silver shine.’

As one that museth where broad sunshine laves
The lawn by some cathedral, thro’ the door
Hearing the holy organ rolling waves
Of sound on roof and floor

Within, and anthem sung, is charm’d and tied
To where he stands,–so stood I, when that flow
Of music left the lips of her that died
To save her father’s vow;

The daughter of the warrior Gileadite,
A maiden pure; as when she went along
From Mizpeh’s tower’d gate with welcome light,
With timbrel and with song.

My words leapt forth: ‘Heaven heads the count of crimes
With that wild oath.’ She render’d answer high:
‘Not so, nor once alone; a thousand times
I would be born and die.

‘Single I grew, like some green plant, whose root
Creeps to the garden water-pipes beneath,
Feeding the flower; but ere my flower to fruit
Changed, I was ripe for death.

‘My God, my land, my father–these did move
Me from my bliss of life, that Nature gave,
Lower’d softly with a threefold cord of love
Down to a silent grave.

‘And I went mourning, “No fair Hebrew boy
Shall smile away my maiden blame among
The Hebrew mothers”–emptied of all joy,
Leaving the dance and song,

‘Leaving the olive-gardens far below,
Leaving the promise of my bridal bower,
The valleys of grape-loaded vines that glow
Beneath the battled tower.

‘The light white cloud swam over us. Anon
We heard the lion roaring from his den;
We saw the large white stars rise one by one,
Or, from the darken’d glen,

‘Saw God divide the night with flying flame,
And thunder on the everlasting hills.
I heard Him, for He spake, and grief became
A solemn scorn of ills.

‘When the next moon was roll’d into the sky,
Strength came to me that equall’d my desire.
How beautiful a thing it was to die
For God and for my sire!

‘It comforts me in this one thought to dwell,
That I subdued me to my father’s will;
Because the kiss he gave me, ere I fell,
Sweetens the spirit still.

‘Moreover it is written that my race
Hew’d Ammon, hip and thigh, from Aroer
On Arnon unto Minneth.’ Here her face
Glow’d, as I look’d at her.

She lock’d her lips: she left me where I stood:
‘Glory to God,’ she sang, and past afar,
Thridding the sombre boskage of the wood,
Toward the morning-star.

Losing her carol I stood pensively,
As one that from a casement leans his head,
midnight bells cease ringing suddenly,
And the old year is dead.

‘Alas! alas!’ a low voice, full of care,
Murmur’d beside me: ‘Turn and look on me:
I am that Rosamond, whom men call fair,
If what I was I be.

‘Would I had been some maiden coarse and poor!
O me, that I should ever see the light!
Those dragon eyes of anger’d Eleanor
Do hunt me, day and night.’

She ceased in tears, fallen from hope and trust:
To whom the Egyptian: ‘O, you tamely died!
You should have clung to Fulvia’s waist, and thrust
The dagger thro’ her side.’

With that sharp sound the white dawn’s creeping beams,
Stol’n to my brain, dissolved the mystery
Of folded sleep. The captain of my dreams
Ruled in the eastern sky.

Morn broaden’d on the borders of the dark,
Ere I saw her, who clasp’d in her last trance
Her murder’d father’s head, or Joan of Arc,
A light of ancient France;

Or her who knew that Love can vanquish Death,
Who kneeling, with one arm about her king,
Drew forth the poison with her balmy breath,
Sweet as new buds in Spring.

No memory labours longer from tbe deep
Gold-mines of thought to lift the hidden ore
That glimpses, moving up, than I from sleep
To gather and tell o’er

Each little sound and sight. With what dull pain
Compass’d, how eagerly I sought to strike
Into that wondrous track of dreams again!
But no two dreams are like.

As when a soul laments, which hath been blest,
Desiring what is mingled with past years,
In yearnings that can never be exprest
By signs or groans or tears;

Because all words, tho’ cull’d with choicest art,
Failing to give the bitter of the sweet,
Wither beneath the palate, and the heart
Faints, faded by its heat.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

22 November, 2005

4th: 3-toes Minx?

Fowl Temptress
(a poem)

Ach! Begone sultry Vixen of the Barnyard!
Strutting cock-less of the walk, of my heart.

Wing'ed hussey!

No longer come with your cluck-cluck here
and your cluck-cluck there! 3-toes minx!
Get thee to a hennery!


From Minx!

21 November, 2005

3rd: Malapert

From Whence the Name?

From beloved Geoffrey Chaucer's Poem, Troilus and Criseyde

This Troilus, that herde his lady preye
Of lordship him, wex neither quik ne deed,
Ne mighte a word for shame to it seye,
Al-though men sholde smyten of his heed.
But lord, so he wex sodeinliche reed,
And sire, his lesson, that he wende conne,
To preyen hir, is thurgh his wit y-ronne.

Cryseyde al this aspyede wel y-nough,
For she was wys, and lovede him never-the-lasse,
Al nere he malapert, or made it tough,
Or was to bold, to singe a fool a masse.
But whan his shame gan somwhat to passe,
His resons, as I may my rymes holde,
I yow wole telle, as techen bokes olde.

Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (Troilus and Cressida), in Middle English.
This is From Book 3 of 5.

2nd: Battles Lost

Remember this

Have you ever begun a battle knowing you would fall? But you fought regardless. And you lost.

Many things can be changed but a closed mind is not one of them.

When you argue, remember that giving voice is a great deal easier than listening with open ears, heart and mind.

And so to Lethe.

1st: Ego or Id?

And so we begin.
I am who I am but that is not what I am.
I do not care for your opinions
of my behaviours
of my speech
of my thoughts
of me.
I care not.
Remember that