Friday, March 02, 2007

Poetry Friday 39

My Poetry Friday offering this week is celebrating two birthdays. February 26 was the birthday of playwright, Christopher Marlowe and the following is from his Doctor Faustus:

The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships

Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss:
Her lips suck forth my soul, see where it flies:
And all is dross that is not Helena:
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy shall Wertenberg be sack'd,
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest:
Yea I will wound Achillis in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O thou art fairer than the evening air,
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars,
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter,
When he appear'd to hapless Semele,
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa's azur'd arms,
And none but thou shalt be my paramour.

And February 27 was the birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and is apt for those who are experiencing winter weather. I personally have no liking for snow, except when seen at a distance, but this is a gorgeous poem.


Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair.
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

(And yes, if you take note of these things, my Poetry Friday offerings are getting earlier and earlier in the day ! Who needs sleep ?)


Vivian Mahoney said...

These poems are so lovely. Thanks for sharing them.

Michele said...

You're very welcome !