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Friday, September 21, 2007

Poetry Friday- Anonymous Poems

It seems like every poetry anthology has at least one or two poems written by the versatile and seemingly ageless "Anonymous". Wouldn't it be nice to find an entire collection of Anonymous poems? An Incomplete Works of Anonymous perhaps? If it doesn't already exist, I think I shall start compiling. No need to worry about copyright, eh?

Here are some of my favourites...

There was a young bard of Japan
Whose limericks never would scan;
When they said it was so,
He replied: `Yes, I know,
But I make a rule of always trying to get just as many words into the last line as I possibly can."


And

Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

( This last one is often attributed to Mary Frye but that is disputed and I have seen it credited simply to Anonymous).

Any favourite works by the master known as Anonymous?

9 comments:

Kelly Fineman said...

Confirmation on Mary Frye: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article1076614.ece

Boy, do I love that limerick!

John Mutford said...

Kelly, thanks for that link. My anthology is already shrinking!

Sara said...

Why have I never heard that limerick before? It'd be perfect for teaching limericks, wouldn't it?

Good luck with your anonymous collection. At least obtaining permissions will be easy. :)

Susan said...

You know, Anonymous wrote some really good poems--and lived/s a really long time.

The "bard from Japan" limerick made me laugh.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Here's one for your anthology, to replace the now-disallowed Frye poem. I believe it is one of Anonymous' more famous works:

Here I sit, brokenhearted
paid a dime and only farted
next time I will take a chance
save a dime and ...

oh I forget how the rest goes.

John Mutford said...

Sara: You're right, it could be a good one to teach. Plus, it's pretty clean as far as limericks go.

Susan: Yes, s/he was one of our most gifted writers.

Barbara: You ended it just where Lulu would have. Nice job. (And are pay toilets common enough to have their own poems?)

cj said...

The last one was the poem my mother chose to have read at her funeral.

The limerick is great, too.

cjh

Dewey said...

HA HA that almost-limerick was the best.

John Mutford said...

A few others:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
by Anonymous (Once attributed to King Solomon, most modern scholars refute this)


To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.

Lord Randall
by Anonymous


"Oh where ha'e ye been, Lord Randall my son?
O where ha'e ye been, my handsome young man?"
"I ha'e been to the wild wood: mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down."

"Where gat ye your dinner, Lord Randall my son?
Where gat ye your dinner, my handsome young man?"
"I dined wi' my true love; mother, make my bed soon,
For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down."

"What gat ye to your dinner, Lord Randall my son?
What gat ye to your dinner, my handsome young man?"
"I gat eels boiled in broo: mother, make my bed soon,
For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down."

"What became of your bloodhounds, Lord Randall my son?
What became of your bloodhounds, my handsome young man?"
"O they swelled and they died: mother, make my bed soon,
for I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down."

"O I fear ye are poisoned, Lord Randall my son!
O I fear ye are poisoned, my handsome young man!"
"O yes, I am poisoned: mother, make my bed soon,
For I'm sick at the heart, and I fain wald lie down."

Old English riddle
by Anonymous

My dress is silent when I tread the ground
Or stay at home or stir upon the waters.
Sometimes my trappings and the lofty air
Raise me above the dwelling-place of men,
And then the power of clouds carries me far
Above the people; and my ornaments
Loudly resound, send forth a melody
And clearly sing, when I am not in touch
With earth or water, but a flying spirit.

Summer is Icumen In
by Anonymous

Svmer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,
Sing cuccu!
Awe bleteþ after lomb,
Lhouþ after calue cu.
Bulluc sterteþ, bucke uerteþ,
Murie sing cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu, wel singes þu, cuccu;
Ne swik þu nauer nu.
Pes:

Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu.
Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu!

I Sing Of A Maiden
by anonymous

I sing of a maiden
That is matchless,
King of all kings
For her son she chose.
He came as still
Where his mother was
As dew in April
That falls on the flower.
He came as still
Where his mother lay
As dew in April
That falls on the spray.
Mother and maiden
There was never one but she;
Well may such a lady
God's mother be.

My Love in Her Attire
by anonymous

MY Love in her attire doth show her wit,
It doth so well become her:
For every season she hath dressings fit,
For Winter, Spring, and Summer.
No beauty she doth miss
When all her robes are on;
But Beauty's self she is
When all her robes are gone.

O Western Wind
by anonymous

O Western wind, when wilt thou blow
That the small rain down can rain?
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!

Who Is at My Window?
by Anonymous

Who is at my window? Who? Who?
Go from my window! Go! Go!
Who calls there, like a stranger?
Go from my window! Go!

--Lord, I am here, a wretched mortal,
That for Thy mercy doth cry and plead
Unto Thee, my Lord celestial,
'Tis me at Thy window, me--

Remember thy sin. Remember thy sort.
And also for thee remember my part,
Remember the spear that sundered my heart,
And in at my Door thou shalt go.
I ask no thing of thee therefore,
But love for love, to lay in store.
Give me thy heart; I ask no more,
And in at my Door thou shalt go.

Who is at my window? Who?
Go from my window! Go!
Cry no more there, like a stranger,
But in at my Door thou go!

Quia Amore Langeueo
by Anonymous

IN a valley of this restles mind
I sought in mountain and in mead,
Trusting a true love for to find.
Upon an hill then took I heed;
A voice I heard (and near I yede) 5
In great dolour complaining tho:
See, dear soul, how my sides bleed
Quia amore langueo.

Upon this hill I found a tree,
Under a tree a man sitting; 10
From head to foot wounded was he;
His hearte blood I saw bleeding:
A seemly man to be a king,
A gracious face to look unto.
I askèd why he had paining; 15
[He said,] Quia amore langueo.

I am true love that false was never;
My sister, man's soul, I loved her thus.
Because we would in no wise dissever
I left my kingdom glorious. 20
I purveyed her a palace full precious;
She fled, I followed, I loved her so
That I suffered this pain piteous
Quia amore langueo.

My fair love and my spouse bright! 25
I saved her from beating, and she hath me bet;
I clothed her in grace and heavenly light;
This bloody shirt she hath on me set;
For longing of love yet would I not let;
Sweete strokes are these: lo! 30
I have loved her ever as I her het
Quia amore langueo.

I crowned her with bliss and she me with thorn;
I led her to chamber and she me to die;
I brought her to worship and she me to scorn; 35
I did her reverence and she me villany.
To love that loveth is no maistry;
Her hate made never my love her foe:
Ask me then no question why—
Quia amore langueo. 40

Look unto mine handes, man!
These gloves were given me when I her sought;
They be not white, but red and wan;
Embroidered with blood my spouse them brought.
They will not off; I loose hem nought; 45
I woo her with hem wherever she go.
These hands for her so friendly fought
Quia amore langueo.

Marvel not, man, though I sit still.
See, love hath shod me wonder strait: 50
Buckled my feet, as was her will,
With sharpe nails (well thou may'st wait!)
In my love was never desait;
All my membres I have opened her to;
My body I made her herte's bait 55
Quia amore langueo.

In my side I have made her nest;
Look in, how weet a wound is here!
This is her chamber, here shall she rest,
That she and I may sleep in fere. 60
Here may she wash, if any filth were;
Here is seat for all her woe;
Come when she will, she shall have cheer
Quia amore langueo.

I will abide till she be ready, 65
I will her sue if she say nay;
If she be retchless I will be greedy,
If she be dangerous I will her pray;
If she weep, then bide I ne may:
Mine arms ben spread to clip her me to. 70
Cry once, I come: now, soul, assay
Quia amore langueo.

Fair love, let us go play:
Apples ben ripe in my gardayne.
I shall thee clothe in a new array, 75
Thy meat shall be milk, honey and wine.
Fair love, let us go dine:
Thy sustenance is in my crippe, lo!
Tarry thou not, my fair spouse mine,
Quia amore langueo. 80

If thou be foul, I shall thee make clean;
If thou be sick, I shall thee heal;
If thou mourn ought, I shall thee mene;
Why wilt thou not, fair love, with me deal?
Foundest thou ever love so leal? 85
What wilt thou, soul, that I shall do?
I may not unkindly thee appeal
Quia amore langueo.

What shall I do now with my spouse
But abide her of my gentleness, 90
Till that she look out of her house
Of fleshly affection? love mine she is;
Her bed is made, her bolster is bliss,
Her chamber is chosen; is there none mo.
Look out on me at the window of kindeness 95
Quia amore langueo.

My love is in her chamber: hold your peace!
Make ye no noise, but let her sleep.
My babe I would not were in disease,
I may not hear my dear child weep. 100
With my pap I shall her keep;
Ne marvel ye not though I tend her to:
This wound in my side had ne'er be so deep
But Quia amore langueo.

Long thou for love never so high, 105
My love is more than thine may be.
Thou weepest, thou gladdest, I sit thee by:
Yet wouldst thou once, love, look unto me!
Should I always feede thee
With children meat? Nay, love, not so! 110
I will prove thy love with adversitè
Quia amore langueo.

Wax not weary, mine own wife!
What mede is aye to live in comfort?
In tribulation I reign more rife 115
Ofter times than in disport.
In weal and in woe I am aye to support:
Mine own wife, go not me fro!
Thy mede is marked, when thou art mort:
Quia amore langueo.

Sir Patrick Spens
by Anonymous

The King sits in Dumferling toune,
Drinking the blude-reid wine: Up and spak an eldem knicht, 5
Sat at the King's ricbt kne:
"Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor
That sails upon the se."
The king has written a braid letter,
And signd it wi his hand, 10
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence
Was walking on the sand.

The first line that Sir Patrick red,
A loud lauch lauched he;
The next line that Sir Patrick red, 15
The teir blinded his ee.

"O wha is this has don this deid,
This ill deid don to me;
To send me out this time o' the yeir,
To sail upon the se? 20

"Mak hast, mak baste, my mirry men all,
Our guid schip sails the morne.
"O say na sae, my master deir,
For I feir a deadlic storme.

"Late late yestreen I saw the new moone 25
Wi the auld moone in hir arme;
And I feir, I feir, my deir master,
That we will cum to harme."

0 our Scots nobles wer richt laith
To weet their cork-heild schoone; 30
But lang owre a' the play wer playd,
'nair hats they swam aboone.

0 lang, lang may their ladies sit
Wi their fans into their hand,
Or eir they se Sir Patrick Spence 35
Cum sailing to the land.

0 lang, lang, may the ladies stand
Wi their gold kems in their hair,
Waiting for thair ain deir lords,
For they'll se thame na mair. 40

Haf owre, haf owre to Aberdour,
It's fiftie fadom deip:
And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence,
Wi the Scots lords at his feit.

The Wife of Usher's Well
by Anonymous

THERE lived a wife at Usher's well,
And a wealthy wife was she;
She had three stout and stalwart sons,
And sent them o'er the sea.

They hadna been a week from her, 5
A week but barely ane,
When word came to the carline wife
That her three sons were gane.

They hadna been a week from her,
A week but barely three, 10
When word came to the carline wife
That her sons she'd never see.

'I wish the wind may never cease.
Nor fashes in the flood,
Till my three sons come hame to me, 15
In earthly flesh and blood!'

It fell about the Martinmas,
When nights are lang and mirk,
The carline wife's three sons came hame,
And their hats were o' the birk. 20

It neither grew in syke nor ditch,
Nor yet in ony sheugh;
But at the gates o' Paradise
That birk grew fair eneugh.

'Blow up the fire, my maidens! 25
Bring water from the well!
For a' my house shall feast this night,
Since my three sons are well.'

And she has made to them a bed,
She 's made it large and wide; 30
And she 's ta'en her mantle her about,
Sat down at the bedside.

Up then crew the red, red cock,
And up and crew the gray;
The eldest to the youngest said. 35
''Tis time we were away.'

The cock he hadna craw'd but once,
And clapp'd his wings at a',
When the youngest to the eldest said,
'Brother, we must awa'. 40

'The cock doth craw, the day doth daw,
The channerin' worm doth chide;
Gin we be miss'd out o' our place,
A sair pain we maun bide.'

'Lie still, lie still but a little wee while, 45
Lie still but if we may;
Gin my mother should miss us when she wakes,
She'll go mad ere it be day.'

'Fare ye weel, my mother dear!
Fareweel to barn and byre! 50
And fare ye weel, the bonny lass
That kindles my mother's fire!'

Tom O'Bedlam's Song
by Anonymous

For to see Mad Tom of Bedlam
Ten thousand miles I traveled
Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes
To save her shoes from gravel.

Still I sing bonny boys, bonny mad boys
Bedlam boys are bonny
For they all go bare and they live by the air
And they want no drink nor money.

I went down to Satan's kitchen
To break my fast one morning
And there I got souls piping hot
All on the spit a-turning.

There I took a cauldron
Where boiled ten thousand harlots
Though full of flame I drank the same
To the health of all such varlets.

My staff has murdered giants
My bag a long knife carries
To cut mince pies from children's thighs
For which to feed the fairies.

From the hag and hungry goblin
That into rags would rend ye,
All the sprites that stand by the naked man
In the book of moons, defend ye.

With a thought I took for Maudlin,
And a cruse of cockle pottage,
With a thing thus tall, Sky bless you all,
I befell into this dotage.

I slept not since the Conquest,
Till then I never waked,
Till the naked boy of love where I lay
Me found and stript me naked.

I know more than Apollo,
For oft when he lies sleeping
I see the stars at mortal wars
In the wounded welkin weeping.

The moon embrace her shepherd,
And the queen of love her warrior
While the first doth horn the star of morn
And the next the heavenly farrier.

Of thirty years have I
Twice twenty been enragéd
And of forty been three times fifteen
In durance soundly cagéd

On the lordly lofts of Bedlam
With stubble soft and dainty,
Brave bracelets strong, sweet whips, ding-dong,
With wholesome hunger plenty.

When I short have shorn my sour-face
And swigged my horny barrel
In an oaken inn, I pound my skin
As a suit of gilt apparel.

The moon's my constant mistress,
And the lonely owl my marrow;
The flaming drake and the night crow make
Me music to my sorrow.

The spirits white as lightning
Would on my travels guide me
The stars would shake and the moon would quake
Whenever they espied me.

And then that I'll be murdering
The Man in the Moon to the powder
His staff I'll break, his dog I'll shake
And there'll howl no demon louder.

With a host of furious fancies,
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air
To the wilderness I wander.

By a knight of ghosts and shadows
I summoned am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wide world's end,
Methinks it is no journey.

The Fight At Montgomery's
by Anonymous

They have met -- that small band, resolved to be free,
As the fierce winds of Heaven that course over the sea --
They have met, in bright hope, with no presage of fear,
Tho' the bugle and drum of the foeman they hear:
Some seize the dread rifle, some wield the tall pike,
For God and their country -- for Freedom they strike,
No proud ensign of glory bespeaks their renown,
Yet the scorn of defiance now darkens their frown.
See the foeman advancing, and now sounds afar
The clang and the shout of disastrous war.
Yes! onward they come like the mountain's wild flood,
And the lion's dark talons are dappled in blood.
O, God of my country! they turn now to fly --
Hark! the Eagle of Liberty screams in the sky!
Where, where are the thousands that morn should have found
In battle array on that dew-covered ground?
The few that were there, now wildly have flown,
Did fear stay the others?


* * * * * *


Some in the dungeon -- some on swelling flood,
Some seek the shelter of the pathless wood,
And some in exile -- 'neath a foreign sky,
Curse the sad hour they madly turned to fly.
Firmer their tyrants o'er the oozy main
Bind on their shackles -- forge the triple chain,
Till other days they still must sadly bear
The withering curse that marks a Despot's care.

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