September 27, 2011

Who's Free?

Found here:
John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895), There is None Free But Jove, in his Messis Vitae: Gleanings of Song from a Happy Life (London: Macmillan and Co., 1886), pp. 64-66:
Οὐδεὶς ἐλεύθερος, πλὴν Διός.—AESCHYLUS.

'There is none free but Jove;' thus speaks
A weighty old tragedian,
Who sang whilom to tuneful Greeks
In Doric airs and Lydian;
And wisely sang—for truth and right,
Once true, are true for ever,
Even as the sun pours forth his light
With strength that faileth never.

Who's free?—a king?—Who first must please
Before he rule a people,
And turn him lightly to the breeze,
Like cock upon the steeple!
A priest—a churchman?—who to fan
The people's hot devotion,
Must fear to stretch his faith a span,
Beyond their narrow notion.

Who's free?—a democrat?—no more
Than any salt sea bubble,
When far-drawn billows rage and roar,
Is free from yeasty trouble;
No more than Autumn leaves are free
To choose their place of falling,
When sea-birds shriek from sea to sea,
And blast to blast is calling.

Who's free?—the lawyer?—not he, bound
With knots of old traditions,
His reason prisoned round and round
With clauses and conditions;
Whose thought to mouldy record clings,
Who loves to walk in fetters,
And chokes the sacred soul of things
With rolls of old black letters.

Who's free?—the scholar?—no; not he
The slave of printed paper,
Who where the sun is free to see,
Lights his own twinkling taper,
And from much nonsense picks some sense
And makes a mighty clamour,
And strangles living eloquence
In mummy bands of grammar.

Who's free?—the statesman?—ask the man
Who fain would do a little,
But shrinks back from the factious clan
That snaps at every tittle,
And fears his party most of all,
Who, at his boldness frowning,
May cast him with a weighty fall
From out the street called Downing!

There is none free but Him above,
The mighty Lord of all things,
With bond of everlasting love
Who binds both great and small things.
And who treads Earth with pure intent
To search into His wonders,
Will live least slaved to sinful bent,
Most free from evil blunders.

3 comments:

Bob the Ape said...

Emulation:

Who else to name? The partisan,
Who's forced to be a hypocrite;
Who spouts the line whene'er he can,
Regardless of the truth of it.
Who takes the means to get the end,
Aware they are unjustified;
Who will to lies his honor lend,
For fear of letting down his side.

The feminist who used to jeer
At Man with great acerbity,
At length abandons her career
For marriage and maternity.
No decent man is left to wed;
Her solitude grows ominous -
Despairing, she is brought to bed
Of offspring by Anonymous.

To all but the post-modernist
The text is plain; but to it he
Will bring perverted wit and twist
Its sense to incongruity.
Such cleverness, employed amain,
Tears soul from mind asunder;
From any tale he reads, he'll gain
No thrill, no joy, no wonder.

TS said...

Wow you are talented Bob. I hope Bill Luse sees this.

Bob the Ape said...

Thank you, sir.