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Excerpts taken from An Apology For Poetry

Sir Philip Sydney (1554-1586)

Century Reading For A Course In English Literature

Copyright, 1910, 1918 by The Century Co.

But since I have run so long a career in this matter, methinks, before I give my pen a full stop, it shall be but a little more lost time to inquire, why England, the mother of excellent minds, should be grown so hard a step-mother to poets, who certainly in wit ought to pass all others, since all only proceeds from their wit, being, indeed, makers of themselves, not takers of others. How can I but exclaim,

Musa, mihi causas memora, quo numine laeso?

[Muse, bring to my mind the reasons: for the injury of what divinity?]

 

 

 

 

Sweet poesy! that hath anciently had kings, emperors, senators, great captains, such as besides a thousand others, David, Adrian, Sophocles, Germanicus, not only to favor poets, but to be poets; and of our nearer times can present for her patrons, a Robert, King of Sicily; the great King Francis of France; King James of Scotland; such cardinals as Bembus and Bibiena; such famous preachers and teachers as Beza and Melancthon; so learned philosophers as Fracastorius and Scaliger; so great orators as Pontanus and Muretus; so piercing wits as George Buchanan; so grave councilors as, besides many, but before all, that Hospital of France, than whom, I think that realm never brought forth a more accomplished judgment, more firmly builded upon virtue, I say these, with numbers of others, not only to read others’ poesies, but to poetize for others’ reading: that poesy, thus embraced in all other places, should only find in our time a hard welcome in England, I think the very earth laments it, and therefore decks our soil with fewer laurels than it was accustomed.

But I that, before ever I durst aspire unto the dignity, am admitted into the company of the paper-blurrers, do find the very true cause of our wanting estimation is want of desert, taking upon us to be poets in despite of Pallas. Now wherein we want desert, were a thank-worthy labor to express. But if I knew, I should have mended my self; but as I never desired the title, so have I neglected the means to come by it; only overmastered by some thoughts, I yielded an inky tribute into them. Marry, they that delight in poesy itself, should seek to know what they do, and how they do, and, especially, look themselves in an unflattering glass of reason, if they be inclinable unto it.

For poesy must not be drawn by the ears, it must be gently led, or rather it must lead; which was partly the cause that made the ancient learned affirm it was a divine gift, and no human skill, since all other knowledges lie ready for any that have strength of wit, a poet no industry can make, if his own genius be not carried into it. And therefore is it an old proverb, Orator fit, poeta nascitur [The orator is made, the poet born].

For there being two principal parts, matter to be expressed by words, and words to express the matter, in neither we use art or imitation rightly. Our matter is quodlibet [what you will], indeed, although wrongly, performing Ovid’s verse,

Quicquid conabor dicere, versus erit;

[Whatever I shall try to say will be verse]

never marshaling it into any assured rank, that almost the readers cannot tell where to find themselves.

Chaucer, undoubtedly, did excellently in his Troilus and Criseyde; of whom, truly, I know not whether to marvel more, either that he in that misty time could see so clearly, or that we in this clear age go so stumblingly after him. Yet had he great wants, fit to be forgiven in so reverend antiquity. I account the Mirror for Magistrates meetly furnished of beautiful parts. And in the Earl of Surrey’s lyrics, many things tasting of a noble birth, and worthy of a noble mind. The Shepherd’s Calendar hath much poetry in it’s eclogues, indeed, worthy the reading, if I be not deceived. That same framing of its style to an old rustic language, I dare not allow; since neither Theocritus in Greek, Virgil in Latin, nor Sannazaro in Italian, did affect it. Besides these, I do not remember to have seen but few (to speak boldly) printed that have poetical sinews in them. For proof whereof, let but most of the verses be put in prose, and then ask the meaning, and it will be found that one verse did but beget another, without ordering at the first what should be at the last; which becomes a confused mass of words, with a tinkling sound of rime, barely accompanied with reason.

But our comedians think there is no delight without laughter, which is very wrong; for though laughter may come with delight, yet cometh it not of delight, as though delight should be the cause of laughter; but well may one thing breed both together. Nay, in themselves, they have, as it were, a kind of contrariety. For delight, we scarcely do, but in things that have a conveniency to ourselves, or to the general nature. Laughter almost ever cometh of things most disproportioned to ourselves and nature: delight hath a joy in it, either permanent or present; laughter hath only a scornful tickling. For example: we are ravished with delight to see a fair woman, and yet are far from being moved to laughter; we laugh at deformed creatures, wherein certainly we cannot delight; we delight in good chances; we laugh at mischances; we delight to hear the happiness of our friends or country, at which he were worthy to be laughed at that would laugh: we shall, contrarily, laugh sometimes to find a matter quite mistaken, and go down the hill against the bias, in the mouth of some such men, as for the respect of them, one shall be heartily sorry, yet he cannot choose but laugh, and so is rather pained than delighted with laughter. Yet deny I not, but  that they may go well together; for, as in Alexander’s picture well set out, we delight without laughter, and in twenty mad antics we laugh without delight: so in Hercules, painted with his great beard and furious countenance, in a woman’s attire, spinning at Omphale’s commandment, it breedeth both delight and laughter; for the representing of so strange a power in love procures delight, and the scornfulness of the action stirreth laughter.

But I speak to this purpose, that all the end of the comical part be not upon such scornful matters as stir laughter only, but mix with it that delightful teaching which is in the end of poesy. And the great fault, even in that point of laughter, and the forbidden plainly by Aristotle, is, that they stir laughter in sinful things, which are rather execrable than ridiculous; or in the miserable, which are rather to be pitied than scorned. For what is it to make folks gape at a wretched beggar, and a beggarly clown; or against the law of hospitality, to jest at strangers, because they speak not English so well as we do? what do we learn? since it is certain,

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." - Psalm 1:1-3

Nil havet infelix paupertas durius in se,

Quam quid riciulos, homines facit.

[Of all the griefs that harass the distrest,

Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest].

Other sorts of poetry, almost have we none, but that lyrical kind of songs and sonnets, which, if the Lord gave us so good minds, how well it might be employed, and with how heavenly fruits, both private and public in singing the praises of the immortal beauty, the immortal goodness of that God, who giveth as hands to write, and wits to conceive; of which we might well want words, but never matter; of which we could turn our eyes to nothing, but we should ever have new budding occasions. But, truly, many of such writings as come under the banner of irresistible love, if I were a mistress, would never persuade me they were in love; so coldly they apply fiery speeches, as men that had rather read lovers’ writings, and so caught up certain swelling phrases, which hang together — like a man which once told me, ‘the wind was at northwest and by south,’ because he would be sure to name winds enough — than that, in truth, they feel those passions, which easily, as I think, may be bewrayed by the same forcibleness, or energia (as the Greeks call it), of the writer. But let this be a sufficient, though short note, that we miss the right use of the material point of poesy.

Now for the outside of it, which is words, or, as I may term it, diction, it is even well worse; so is that honey-flowing matron Eloquence, appareled, or rather disguised, in a courtesan-like painted affectation. One time with so far-fetched words, that may seem monsters, but must seem strangers to any poor Englishman: another time with coursing of a letter, as if they were bound to follow the method of a dictionary: another time with figures and flowers, extremely winter-starved.

But I would this fault were only peculiar to versifiers, and had not as large possession among prose printers: and, which is to be marveled, among many scholars, and, which is to be pitied, among some preachers. Truly, I could wish (if at least I might be so bold to wish, in a thing beyond the reach of my capacity) the diligent imitators of Tully and Demosthenes, most worthy to be imitated, did not so much keep Nizolian paper-books of their figures and phrases, as by attentive translation, as it were, devour them whose, and make them wholly theirs. For now they cast sugar and spice upon every dish that is served to the table: like those Indians, not content to wear earrings at the fit and natural place of the ears, but they will thrust jewels through their nose and lips, because they will be sure to be fine. Tully, when he was to drive out Catiline, as it were with a thunderbolt of eloquence, often used the figure of repetition.

So that since the ever praiseworthy poesy is full of virtue-breeding delightfulness, and void of no gift that ought to be in the noble name of learning; since the blames laid against it are either false or feeble; since the cause why it is not esteemed in England is the fault of poet-apes, not poets; since, lastly, our tongue is most fit to honor poesy, and to be honored by poesy; I conjure you all that have had the evil luck to read this inkwasting toy of mine, even in the name of the Nine Muses, no more to scorn the sacred mysteries of poesy; not more to laugh at the name of poets, as though they were next inheritors to fools; no more to jest at the reverend title of a rimer; but to believe, with Aristotle, that they were the ancient treasurers of the Grecians’ divinity; to believe, with Bembus, that they were the first bringers in of all civility; to believe, with Clauserus, the translator of Cornutus, that it pleased the heavenly deity by Hesiod and Homer, under the veil of fables, to give us all knowledge, logic, rhetoric, philosophy natural and moral, and Quid non? [Why not] to believe, with me, that there are many mysteries contained in poetry, which of purpose were written darkly, lest by profane wits it should be abused; to believe, with Landin, that they are so beloved of the gods that whatsoever they write proceeds of a divine fury. Lastly, to believe themselves, when they tell you they will make you immortal by their verses.

Thus doing, your names shall flourish in the printers’ shops: thus doing, you shall be of kin to many a poetical preface: thus doing, you shall be most fair, most rich, most wise, most all: you shall dwell upon superlatives; thus doing, though you  be Libertino patre natus [Born of a freedman father], you shall suddenly grow Herculea proles [Descendant of Hercules],

Si quid mea Carmina possunt:

[If my poems are good for anything]

Thus doing, your soul shall be placed with Dante’s Beatrice, or Virgil’s Anchises.

But if (fie of such a but!) you be born so near the dull-making cataract of Nilus, that you cannot hear the planet-like music of poetry; if you have so earth-creeping a mind, that it cannot lift itself up to look to the sky of poetry, or rather, by a certain rustical disdain, will become such a Mome, as to be a Momus of poetry; then, though I will not wish unto you the ass’s ears of Midas, nor to be driven by a poet’s verses, as Bubonax was, to hang himself; nor to be rimed to death, as is said to be down in Ireland; yet thus much curse I must send you in the behalf of all poets; that while you live, you live in love, and never get favor, for lacking skill of a sonnet; and when you die, your memory die from the earth for want of an epitaph.

Kimberley Formosa © 2011

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Dedicated to our nation as we struggle with the aftermath of tragedy and death experienced in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday, January 8, 2011. May our prayers and thoughts be turned toward our Maker for all who are suffering the loss of those they so dearly loved and those that are in need of healing.

My wounds are deep

Their pain intense

So much that

My flesh is weak and frail

Faltering within lies my voice

Silent is my prayer

Hope on. Hope ever.

His presence hovers over me

He heals my broken heart

My Father carries my sorrows

He restores my soul

I look to the heavens

I know where my help comes from

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Kimberley Formosa © 2011

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Born from the undesirable excess of a long-endured abusive relationship.

It is quite disturbing

when the spirit within me

reveals to me

the spirit within you

As a demon

Yes, you, a demon

appeared to me

in a nightmare

Where you were

completely controlled

Isn’t that ironic?

with constant nervous

movements

and unseen before

contortions

of every one

of your limbs.

You were fully clothed

unlike the man Jesus healed.

You know, where the

Legion of demons

entered the pigs? Mark 5

You had three dumb powerhouses

To aid you in your plans.

whatever those plans may have been

Although,

you never

accomplished anything

other than your

strange gestures and

psychotic writhing.

I found it all quite sickening

You never moved

from your chair

along the wall.

You were waiting for court to proceed

waiting for the judge to proclaim to you

‘Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

The activities your children

participate in

are invalid!’

Really?

I should send your argument to SNL.

‘Yes. Music lessons are valid,

but the instrument is not.’

Really?

It was frightful to see you

Possessed

Oppressed

Tormented

It was emotionally draining to have to

deal with you in this manner.

But you were never able to touch me

or any of my loved ones.

You were thoroughly consumed

in nonsensical demonic activity.

No, I did not wipe the drool off of your face.

It just puddled to the floor.

I had this nightmare.

I remain on my knees

in love with

my Father God.

Maon…           my Dwelling Place

Machseh…     my Refuge

Magen…         my Shield

Metsuda…     my Fortress

Migdal-Oz…  my Strong Tower

Now I have penned this

dreadful bout of anguish

while continuing to deal

with the years of fear

You heaved upon me.

I am not perfect but

I am beautiful and

I am free.

I no longer live your nightmare.

You are not perfect

You are ugly

You are living this nightmare.

Somehow,

I still pray for you.

But honestly,

I don’t think it is me.

It must be someone

much more nobler than I,

one whom resides within.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowlers snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:1-16 TCR NIV Bible

http://helpguide.org/

http://www.ncadv.org/

Kimberley Formosa © 2010

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Joy is the nature of God in our blood.

Habakkuk 3:19 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. TCR NIV Bible

Kimberley Formosa © 2010

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1

On a quiet path

of varied bricks

strolling along

Silently

musing the beauty all around

in one corner of the walkway

weeds and grasses

of countless varieties

had                                          overgrown                               overtaken

the beauty that was originally there

looking down and taking notice

my eyes fell upon one lonely wildflower

of bright yellow petals

with a brilliant orange pistil

the morning dew, still refreshing it

but the stem was fragile looking

almost weary

2

A very hot and sunny summer day

a fledgling

testing his wings

Enjoying                                  his                                            freedom

finding himself a bit of earth

for the pleasure of bathing

Unaware

of the dangers surrounding

Unknowing

by the dear soul driving

the young bird

met death that afternoon

Dismayed

I picked the sparrow up

carried it to a shady place

under a great pine tree

where the air is cool and tender

laying it to rest

3

Like the flower

You may feel lonely and separated

Overcome by situations in your life

Not able to see through the confusion

Searching for a glimpse of hope

Weary of trying

the dewdrops                 are the tears                     from a sorrowful heart

watching the sparrow

wondering

if death occurred

Would anyone care?

Would anyone take notice?

by all means

Yes

4

A simple wildflower

A simple sparrow

A simple life of beauty

as the wildflower was nearly consumed

by weeds of all sorts

it was still in full view of the Maker

as the sparrow was kissed by death

He was still in full view of the Maker

when feelings of loneliness

attempt to discourage you

know that you are in full view

of the Maker of heaven and earth

as He clothed the lilies resplendently

so has He brought beauty

to His creation

by placing you here

In the midst

as His eye is on the sparrow

realize that you are never alone

He will never leave you

He will never forsake you

His love for you is eternal

5

Reveal to Loneliness               that you have a Friend            His name is Truth

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Luke 12:27

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13b

Thompson Chain-Reference Bible NIV

Kimberley Formosa © 2010

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Jesύs te  ama                (Spanish)

Lyubov Maistrova, 15 ~Children of Chernobyl Foundation

Jésus vous aime      (French)

ישו אוהב אותך                    (Hebrew)

Gesύ vi ama               (Italian)

Jesus loves you

Bless the children of the world

Lord, we love them

Bless the children with the gift of life

Lord, we love them

Yῑśu nē tumhēm pyara karatā hai     (Hindi)

Jesus is life vir jou      (Afrikaans)

Yēsū ài nĭ       (Chinese)

Jezi renmen ou       (Haitian Creole)

Jesus loves you

Bless the children of the world

Lord, we love them

Bless the children with the gift of life

Lord, we love them

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 Thompson Chain-Reference Bible NIV

Kimberley Formosa © 2010

Translations by Google Translate


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The only joy

obtained

in wiping away your

last

tear shed

is in the

promise

that you will

never

shed another.

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, O lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 116:7-9 Thompson Chain-Reference Bible NIV

I love you forever Gram. ~Kimberley Formosa © 2010

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