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BurtLaw's Law and Poetry
-  LawAndEverythingElse.Com  - Copyright (c) 2006 Burton Randall Hanson
"It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there." William Carlos Williams

A Valentine Collection

 Amore e 'l cor gentil sono una cosa
(Amore and the gentle heart are one)

Amore e 'l cor gentil sono una cosa,
Sì come il saggio in suo dittare pone,
E così esser l'un sanza l'altro osa
Com'alma razional sanza ragione.
Fàlli natura quand'è amorosa,
Amor per sire e 'l cor per sua magione,
Dentro la qual dormendo si riposa
Tal volta poca e tal lunga stagione.
Bieltate appare in saggia donna pui,
Che piace a gli occhi sì, che dentro al core
Nasce un disio de la cosa piacente;
E tanto dura talora in costui,
Che fa svegliar lo spirito d'Amore.
E simil face in donna omo valente.

-- Dante Alighieri

 A Thunderstorm in Town

She wore a new "terra-cotta" dress,
And we stayed, because of the pelting storm,
Within the hansom's dry recess,
Though the horse had stopped; yea, motionless
We sat on, snug and warm.

Then the downpour ceased, to my sharp sad pain
And the glass that had screened our forms before
Flew up, and out she sprang to her door:
I should have kissed her if the rain
Had lasted a minute more.

-- Thomas Hardy

 It Was a Lover, and His Lass

It was a lover, and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o'er the green corn field did pass,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding.
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
Those pretty country folk would lie,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding.
Sweet lovers love the spring.

This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino:
How that a life was but a flower,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding.
Sweet lovers love the spring.

-- William Shakespeare
 Never Seek to Tell Thy Love

Never seek to tell thy love
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears--
Ah, she doth depart.

Soon as she was gone from me
A traveller came by
Silently, invisibly--
O, was no deny.

-- William Blake

 Never Give All the Heart              

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

-- William Butler Yeats

 Lines To a Movement in Mozart's E-Flat Symphony

Show me again the time
When in the Junetide's prime
We flew by meads and mountains northerly! -
Yea, to such freshness, fairness, fulness, fineness, freeness,
Love lures life on.

Show me again the day
When from the sandy bay
We looked together upon the pestered sea! -
Yea, to such surging, swaying, sighing, swelling, shrinking,
Love lures life on.

Show me again the hour
When by the pinnacled tower
We eyed each other and feared futurity! -
Yea, to such bodings, broodings, beatings, blanchings, blessings,
Love lures life on.

Show me again just this:
The moment of that kiss
Away from the prancing folk, by the strawberry-tree! -
Yea, to such rashness, ratheness, rareness, ripeness, richness,
Love lures life on.

-- Thomas Hardy

 Sweet Hope

Sweet hope of mine,
That break'st impossibilities and briars,
And down that path dost run
Which thou thyself didst make for thy desires,
Be not dismayed to see
At every step thyself nigh death to be.

Sluggards do not deserve
The glory of triumphs or of victory;
Good luck will never serve
Those who resist not fortune manfully,
But weakly fall to ground,
And in soft sloth their senses all confound.

That love his glories holds
At a high rate is reasonable and best;
No precious stones nor gold
Excel those pledges by love's hand impressed;
And 'tis a thing most clear,
Nothing is worth esteem that costs not dear.

An amorous persistence
Will often win things most impossible;
So though I find resistance
To my soul's deep desires, in her stern will,
There's not a fear denies
That I shall climb from earth to her fair skies.

-- Cervantes


Ah my deare angrie Lord,
Since thou dost love, yet strike;
Cast down, yet help afford;
Sure I will do the like.
I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve:
And all my sowre-sweet dayes
I will lament, and love.

-- George Herbert


"C'est toi dors dans l'ombre, o sacre Souvenir."

If we could have remembrance now
And see, as in the days to come
We shall, what's venturous in these hours:
The swift, intangible romance of fields at home,
The gleams of sun, the showers,
Our workaday contentments, or our powers
To fare still forward through the uncharted haze
Of present days....

For, looking back when years shall flow 
Upon this olden day that's now,
We'll see, romantic in dimn'd hours,
These memories of ours.

-- Frontpiece, Romance, Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford


It is in this tweed
and in the colors of your dress.
Open your eyes
or close them
and you'll see it.
With us always
this shadow partner
gives glint
to the palest light.

-- (c) 1995 Burton Randall Hanson

 Late Night, Late August          

Sometimes I forget what day it is
and concentrate my mind
on the blur of days passed,
abstracting time into your voice,
silent now so many days.
I find relief in this blurring.
Troubled by concrete reality,
I enjoy the abstraction of dance,
the confusion of pollen,
the haze of late summer.
I wonder where you are now,
if you are.

-- (c) 2000 Burton Randall Hanson
 Sonnet No. 18

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 dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
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.

-- William Shakespeare

 To His Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough and time
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest:
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, Lady, you deserve this state;
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

-- Andrew Marvell

Announcement. We've finally gotten around to launching our new webzine/blawg: BurtLaw's The Daily Judge:

It is not an online newspaper and is not affiliated with or intended to be mistaken for any existing or previously-existing newspaper or journal. Rather, it is a so-called "blawg," a law-related personal "web log" or "blog," one with a subjective, idiosyncratic, and eccentric sociological and social-psychological slant that focuses not on the latest judicial decisions of supposed great importance but on a) the institution of judge in the United States and in other countries throughout the world, b) the judicial office and role, c) judicial personalities, d) the great common law tradition of judging as practiced here and throughout the world, e) judges as judges, f) judges as ordinary people with the usual mix of virtues and flaws, etc. We link to newspapers and other sources in order to alert the reader to ideas, articles, stories, speeches, law books, literary works and other things about "judges" that have interested us and that may interest the reader.

We don't promote our blawgs, but readers of this blog and of our affiliated political opinion blog, BurtonHanson.Com, may be interested in it. We don't think there is another blawg quite like it.