That ocean you have late survey’d

That ocean you have late survey’d,
Those rocks I too have seen;
But I, afflicted and dismay’d,
You, tranquil and serene.

You from the flood-controlling steep
Saw stretch’d before your view,
With conscious joy, the threatening deep,
No longer such to you.

To me the waves, that ceaseless broke
Upon the dangerous coast,
Hoarsely and ominously spoke
Of all my treasure lost.

Your sea of troubles you have past,
And found the peaceful shore;
I, tempest-toss’d, and wreck’d at last,
Come home to port no more.

 

William Cowper – October 1780

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though the heart breaks

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In human intimacy there’s a secret border:

love’s being, love’s passion, cannot pass –

though lips are sealed together in sacred silence,

though the heart breaks in two with longing.

*****

from “intimacy” by anna akhmatova, translated by a.s. kline.

When the just and gentle Monarch

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When the just and gentle Monarch

Shall summon from the tomb,
Let man, the guilty, tremble.

For Man, the God, shall doom.
Arise, arise, good Christian,

Let right to wrong succeed ;
Let penitential sorrow

To heavenly gladness lead ;
To the light that hath no evening,

That knows nor moon nor sun.
The light so new and golden.

The light that is but one.
And when the Sole-Begotten

Shall render up once more
The kingdom to the Father

Whose own it was before, —

From “De Contemptu Mundi” by Bernard of Cluny, 12th century

Translated by John Mason, 1818-1866

I called the little pool a sea

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I called the little pool a sea;
The little hills were big to me;
For I am very small.
I made a boat, I made a town,
I searched the caverns up and down,
And named them one and all.

And all about was mine, I said,
The little sparrows overhead,
The little minnows too.
This was the world and I was king;
For me the bees came by to sing,
For me the swallows flew.

from My Kingdom by Robert Louis Stevenson