Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Thursday 31 May 2012

Wooden Boy: Bus notes 4


Guy Arab on the Pear Tree Estate, Rugely 1976: photo by Walsall 1965, 2 May 2010

We were moving slowly up Cape Hill.                     
............A double jointed girl
............bent her fingers back
for her baby brother
who looked hard with wide eyes.
............When she had stopped,
he turned to look at me.
............I smiled without feeling anything
............but a quiet desire to hold the gaze.
He turned away
and grabbed his mother’s thumb.
............I felt the muscles in my face and made them the movements one more time.
Is this a way of making something really said?
............The double jointed girl was watching me.
I looked up front and felt the engine heat.

File:Travel West Midlands bus 703 Optare Excel S703 YOL in Wolverhampton, West Midlands 31 March 2009.jpg

Bushbury bus at Hanson's Bridge, Wolverhampton. Travel West Midlands Optare Excel 703 (S703 YOL), on route 598: photo by Roger Kidd, 31 March 2009

File:Buses, seen from Birmingham Snow Hill railway station - DSC08884.JPG

Buses on the A41 St Chad's Circus Queensway as seen from Snow Hill station, Birmingham, England: photo by Green Lane, 18 August 2010

Wooden Boy: Bus notes 4, from The Little Wooden Boy, 25 May 2011

Wednesday 30 May 2012

William Yackulic: A Private Delivery Service


The Williamsburg Bridge and the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn: photo by David Shankbone, 28 May 2012

My back being to the window
where I might have once found
salutations, I find salvage
is an odd job among
odd jobs I'm predisposed to
divulge the inner-workings:
....the fewer the questions, the less the task
....steal dear, sell cheap
....planned obsolescence is a fact of modern manufacturing
....clean copper commands a good price 
I have absorbed the lessons, the costs,
and what little in the way of wages
with a determination bordering on fixation
through the Cloud City corridors

Fireworks for Memorial Day over Asbury Park oceanfront: photo by David Shankbone, 28 May 2012

A cop pulling a car off the FDR Drive in Manhattan: photo by David Shankbone, 28 May 2012

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Nin Andrews: Learning to Write the MFA Poem


"Even Sarah De Angelo looked like a penguin in black slacks"
: King Penguins (Aptenoydes patagonicus patagonicus), Stanley, East Falkland Island: photo by Ben Tubby, 18 March 2007

I’ve heard people argue that there’s an awful kind of poem
called an MFA poem, and usually these people
who hate MFA poems have never earned an MFA,
so the MFA poets argue vehemently in defense
of their craft and their MFAs, and I, an MFA poet
try to agree and say, I’m on the MFA’s team.
We’re right and they’re wrong. Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah.
But the truth is, well,

there is a certain kind of poem I was taught to write
when I was earning what my husband calls my mail-order degree
from a low-res program in the Northeast.  And I guess
I would call this kind of poem an MFA poem,
though the truth is, I never learned to write one very well
(though this is one of them, or is trying to be),
but I do see them everywhere now, these MFA poems,
which I despise, not because the poems are bad
but because I was taught how to write them
by this asshole professor (he was such a creep)
who was abusive to women, mostly,
fucked with their heads if not their bodies,
you know the type.  Back then
the women took whatever he dished out
because he was famous I guess.
I hated that, and how he would write poems
about being an asshole, which he was and is,
and about everything and anything else
because, he would explain, everything is happening at once,
so everything is happening in his poems, and happening so fast,
that the past, present, and future are all there in the poems
though nothing is ever really happening
because the poems are usually in some static place

like an airplane seat, where he is safely buckled in,
or a dream, or a therapist's office or a hospital room . . .
He was so often in hospital rooms
because he had just had an appendectomy
or a case of gout or a kidney stone
or gangrene or hemorrhoids or who knows what else,
hypochondria maybe, and usually there was a TV on
(this is America, after all, and everything
is always happening on TV, he said),
and so the I of the poem is always watching
scenes of violence and destruction from far away
while obsessing about himself
and thinking of what the I really wants
which is usually pretty predictable:
a shower, a cup of Starbucks,
a few martinis, a really good fuck.
Yes, he smirked, a good fuck is always nice,
and it’s nice to fuck or use the word, fuck,
in a poem as often as possible
while on TV people are drowning in the mud
at the Grande Island at Angra dos Reis
or being tortured, bombed, or raped in South Waziristan
or maybe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
or they are being massacred in Conakry, Guinea
or dumped into mass graves in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero . . .
and somehow the poet usually picks which crisis
to write about, depending on the sound of the name
of the place.  The poet likes the name of the city of Sarajevo,
for example, because it sounds like music on his tongue
and reminds him of his first love, Sarah De Angelo.
Yes, Sarah De Angelo.  He says her name aloud
as he wonders whatever happened to the lovely Sarah De Angelo
whose name still feels like an ache in his gut,
whose name still fills him with longing and angst,
even now so many years later, even in this hospital room
with horrible scenes of death and disaster playing over and over again,

he thinks only of Sarah De Angelo, and he remembers
the first time he saw her.  He was eleven years old
and new at Saint Charles School in Toledo, Ohio,
and she was wearing a pink frock, pink socks,
and pink ribbons in her yellow hair.  Yes, frock,
he thinks, now that's a word no one uses much
anymore.  Maybe the poem should include
a few more words like that, like slacks perhaps.
Slacks aren’t nearly as nice as a good frock, of course.
But maybe the poet remembers when the girls
were first allowed to wear slacks to school . . .
and there was that distinction, carefully explained
in the dress code manual, between pants and slacks,
between trousers and slacks,
and as far as he was concerned, slacks
were a big mistake.  No one should ever be allowed
to wear slacks, those polyester twills
that made the girls look shapeless and manly . . .
Even Sarah De Angelo looked like a penguin in black slacks.

And at some point (who knows when, but it was never soon enough)
the poet realizes that his poem is getting a bit too long,
and he also notices that the nurse on night duty is wearing slacks
beneath her white gown, and he can't help thinking
of Sarah in a silk white blouse with ruffles and black slacks,
and how he wouldn’t mind if the nurse would linger
a while longer and maybe ask him how he feels for once,
and pretend she gives a fuck about him,
and he then begins to wonder what it would be like
to release the nurse from those double knits.
Maybe he could do her a favor or two,
make her smile, laugh, sigh . . .
but when she rolls her little tray up to his bedside
and hands him a pink pill and a plastic cup, she just says, Take this,
and he does.  Yes, he takes whatever she gives. 

Nin Andrews: Learning to Write the MFA Poem, from The Secret Life of Mannequins, Kattywompus Press, 2011

King Penguins (Aptenoydes patagonicus patagonicus), Stanley, East Falkland Island: photo by Ben Tubby, 18 March 2007

King Penguins (Aptenoydes patagonicus patagonicus), Stanley, East Falkland Island: photo by Ben Tubby, 18 March 2007

King Penguins (Aptenoydes patagonicus patagonicus), Stanley, East Falkland Island: photo by Ben Tubby, 18 March 2007

King Penguins (Aptenoydes patagonicus patagonicus), Stanley, East Falkland Island: photo by Ben Tubby, 18 March 2007

King Penguins (Aptenoydes patagonicus patagonicus), Stanley, East Falkland Island: photo by Ben Tubby, 18 March 2007

King Penguins (Aptenoydes patagonicus patagonicus), Stanley, East Falkland Island: photo by Ben Tubby, 18 March 2007

Monday 28 May 2012

Moment of Clarity


Rapeseed field near Bavenhausen, Germany
: photo by Daniel Schwen, 29 April 2007

The happiness promised in names like Lord's
Valley and Wind Gap recedes like the fading
Of a rainbow, yet hope walks in anyway,
Where there's life she's there -- nature's utopian
Possibility remains part of the scheme
As long as there's a breeze to blow the past away.

Solitary tree near Lausheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany: photo by Hansueli Krapf, 27 April 2007

Sunday 27 May 2012

Samuel Beckett: One evening


Unidentified Asteraceae, Death Valley National Park: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2005

He was found lying on the ground. No one had missed him. No one was looking for him. An old woman found him. To put it vaguely. It happened so long ago. She was straying in search of wild flowers. Yellow only. With no eyes but for these she stumbled on him lying there. He lay face downward and arms outspread. He wore a greatcoat in spite of the time of year. Hidden by the body a long row of buttons fastened it all the way down. Buttons of all shapes and sizes. Worn upright the skirts swept the ground. That seems to hang together. Near the head a hat lay askew on the ground. At once on its brim and crown. He lay inconspicuous in the greenish coat. To catch an eye searching from afar there was only the white head. May she have seen him somewhere before? Somewhere on his feet before? Not too fast. She was all in black. The hem of her long black skirt trailed in the grass. It was close of day. Should she now move away into the east her shadow would go before. A long black shadow. It was lambing time. But there were no lambs. She could see none. Were a third party to chance that way theirs were the only bodies he would see. First that of the old woman standing. Then on drawing near it lying on the ground. That seems to hang together. The deserted fields. The old woman all in black stockstill. The body stockstill on the ground. Yellow at the end of the black arm. The white hair in the grass. The east foundering in night. Not too fast. The weather. Sky overcast all day till evening. In the west-north-west near the verge already the sun came out at last. Rain? A few drops if you will. A few drops in the morning if you will. In the present to conclude. It happened so long ago. Cooped indoors all day she comes out with the sun. She makes haste to gain the fields. Surprised to have seen no one on the way she strays feverishly in search of the wild flowers. Feverishly seeing the imminence of night. She remarks with surprise the absence of lambs in great numbers here at this time of year. She is wearing the black she took on when widowed young. It is to reflower the grave she strays in search of the flowers he had loved. But for the need of yellow at the end of the black arm there would be none. There are therefore only as few as possible. This is for her the third surprise since she came out. For they grow in plenty here at this time of year. Her old friend her shadow irks her. So much so that she turns to face the sun. Any flower wide of her course she reaches sidelong. She craves for sundown to end and to stray freely again in the long afterglow. Further to her distress the familiar rustle of her long black skirt in the grass. She moves with half-closed eyes as if drawn on into the glare. She may say to herself it is too much strangeness for a single March or April evening. No one abroad. Not a single lamb. Scarcely a flower. Shadow and rustle irksome. And to crown all the shock of her foot against a body. Chance. No one had missed him. No one was looking for him. Black and green of the garments touching now. Near the white head the yellow of the few plucked flowers. The old sunlit face. Tableau vivant if you will. In its way. All is silent from now on. For as long as she cannot move. The sun disappears at last and with it all shadow. All shadow here. Slow fade of afterglow. Night without moon or stars. All that seems to hang together. But no more about it.

Samuel Beckett: One evening, from The Complete Short Prose 1929-1979 (1985)

File:Samuel Beckett by Reginald Gray.jpg

Samuel Beckett: Reginald Gray, egg tempera on wood, 1961

File:XN Centaurea cyanus 01.jpg

Centaurea cyanus and chamomile in a field of barleycorn, Munster, NRW, Germany: photo by Guido Gerding, 2006

File:Vessertal trollblumen.jpg

Trollus europaeus in the Vesser valley, Thuringia, Germany
: photo by SehLax, 1 June 2005

File:Tagetes tenuifolia g122.JPG

Tagetes tenuifolia
: photo by Goku122, 18 August 2006

File:Rapeseed field (Brassica napus) in Germany.JPG

Rapeseed field, Germany
: photo by Vincent van Zeijst, May 2010


Meadow with dandelions: photo by Mdgrafrath, 27 April 2008

Buttercup field, Dedham, Essex: photo by Keven Law, 11 May 2008

Swamp Buttercup (Ranunculus hispidus), Newport Wilderness State Park, Door County, Wisconsin: photo by J M, 22 May 2010

Saturday 26 May 2012

Robert Herrick: In the West (His Lachrimae or Mirth, turn'd to mourning)


Golden Gate Bridge refracted in rain drops acting as lenses: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2007


.....Call me no more, 
.....As heretofore, 
The musick of a Feast; 
.....Since now (alas) 
.....The mirth, that was 
In me, is dead or ceast. 


.....Before I went 
.....To banishment 
Into the loathed West; 
.....I co'd rehearse 
.....A Lyrick verse, 
And speak it with the best. 


.....But time (Ai me) 
.....Has laid, I see, 
My Organ fast asleep; 
.....And turn'd my voice 
.....Into the noise 
Of those that sit and weep. 

File:2005-12-25 Magnifying drop.jpg

Magnifying and light collecting effect of a drop of oil on a glass plate held a short distance above a text: photo by Roger McLassus, 2005

Robert Herrick: His Lachrimae or Mirth, turn'd to mourning, from Hesperides, 1648

Friday 25 May 2012

Beth Copeland: My Life as a Slut


Stairway in rooming house, Washington, D.C.
: photo by Carl Mydans, September 1935 (U.S. Resettlement Administration / Farm Security Administration Collection, Library of Congress)

Age 6: A boy finds a penny on the playground. He says he’ll give it to me if I go in a closet, take off all my clothes, and let him look. My sister says, “Don’t,” but I do it, anyway.

Age 21: My mother calls me a “harlot,” “Jezebel,” and “strumpet” after I stay out all night with my boyfriend. I roll my eyes and say, “If we’re going to have this conversation, at least update your vocabulary. The word is ‘slut.’”

Age 16: A teacher tells me to kneel in the girls’ bathroom. Am I supposed to pray for forgiveness? I get sent home from school because my skirt doesn’t touch the floor.

Age 27: I walk down the aisle in an off-white satin dress. It’s snowing, and the next day I lose my voice.


The Spiral Staircase, directed by Robert Siodmak, 1946: screenshot from film trailer by wondersinthedark, 2008

Age 20: I have sex with three different men in one week. I write their names on my calendar in wisteria-blue ink.

Age 10: At recess I tell Tommy Faircloth I’m going to be a stripper when I grow up. Tommy tattles to the teacher, who scolds him and says I’m a good girl. I would never say a terrible thing like that.

Age 32: A man at my college reunion tells me a lot of other girls in our class were sluttier than I was. I feel like a failure.

Age 23: I fall in love with a Vietnam vet who plays guitar and writes bad poetry. I sleep with him on the first date. He dumps me for a frumpy girl who waits until the second date. 

The Spiral Staircase, directed by Robert Siodmak, 1946: screenshot from film trailer by wondersinthedark, 2008

Age 9: I’m walking down the sidewalk wearing short-shorts, and a teenage boy leans out a car window and yells, “Call me when you’re 16!”

Age 30: I buy a bar of Saints and Sinners soap in New Orleans. My husband says it’s a rip-off.

Age 18: I get drunk at a party and lose my virginity. The next morning hot water runs down my thighs in a stream of silver and blood.

Age 5: I’m afraid of dogs, strangers, and the dark. Shadows cast by tree branches and leaves on the bedroom wall look like the devil’s face. Do I hear footsteps in the stairwell? I’m afraid I‘ll die in my sleep. I know I’m going to Hell.

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Stairway in rooming house, Washington, D.C.: photo by Carl Mydans, September 1935 (U.S. Resettlement Administration / Farm Security Administration Collection, Library of Congress)

Beth Copeland: My Life as a Slut from Transcendental Telemarketer, BlazeVOX 2012

Alexander Pope: The various Off'rings of the World


Still-Life: Samuel van Hoogstratten, 1666-1668 (Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe)

And now, unveil'd, the Toilet stands display'd,
Each Silver Vase in mystic Order laid.
First, rob'd in White, the Nymph intent adores
With Head uncover'd, the Cosmetic Pow'rs.
A heav'nly Image in the Glass appears,     
To that she bends, to that her Eyes she rears;
Th' inferior Priestess, at her Altar's side,
Trembling, begins the sacred Rites of Pride.
Unnumber'd Treasures ope at once, and here
The various Off'rings of the World appear;
From each she nicely culls with curious Toil,
And decks the Goddess with the glitt'ring Spoil.
This casket India's glowing Gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder Box.
The Tortoise here and Elephant unite,
Transform'd to Combs, the speckled and the white.
Here Files of Pins extend their shining Rows,
Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux.
Now awful Beauty puts on all its Arms;
The Fair each moment rises in her Charms,
Repairs her Smiles, awakens ev'ry Grace,
And calls forth all the Wonders of her Face;
Sees by Degrees a purer Blush arise,
And keener Lightnings quicken in her Eyes.
The busy Sylphs surround their darling Care;
These set the Head, and those divide the Hair,
Some fold the Sleeve, whilst others plait the Gown;
And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.

 Still-Life: Samuel van Hoogstraten, 1664 (Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht)

Alexander Pope: The Rape of the Lock (1714), Canto I, ll. 121-148

Thursday 24 May 2012

Stolen Delights: Ben Jonson: Kisse me, sweet / Catullus: Carmen VII

File:Roman mosaic- Love Scene - Centocelle - Rome - KHM - Vienna.jpg

Mosaic from Centocelle, love scene: Roman, 1st c. AD
: photo by Alberto Fernandez Fernandez, January 2008 (Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) 

Kisse me, sweet: the warie lover
Can your favours keepe, and cover,
When the common courting jay
All your bounties will betray.
Kisse again: no creature comes.
Kisse, and score up wealthy summes
On my lips, thus hardly sundred,
While you breath. First give a hundred,
Then a thousand, then another
Hundred, then unto the tother              
Adde a thousand, and so more:
Till you equall with the store,
All the grasse that Rumney yields,
Or the sands in Chelsey fields,
Or the drops in silver Thames,
Or the starres, that gild his streames,
In the silent sommer-nights,
When youths ply their stolne delights.
That the curious may not know
How to tell' hem as they flow,              
And the envious, when they find
What their number is, be pin'd.

Ben Jonson: To the Same [Celia], The Forrest, 6, in Workes (1616)

File:Clodia Metelli.jpg

Clodia Metelli, third daughter of the patrician Appius Claudius Pulcher and Caecilia Metella Balearica; thought to be the original of the Lesbia of the poems of Catullus: image from Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum, 1553, published by Guillaume Rouille (1518?-1589)

Quaeris, quot mihi basiationes
tuae, Lesbia, sint satis superque.
quam magnus numerus Libyssae harenae
lasarpiciferis iacet Cyrenis
oraclum Iouis inter aestuosi
et Batti ueteris sacrum sepulcrum;
aut quam sidera multa, cum tacet nox,
furtiuos hominum uident amores:
tam te basia multa basiare
uesano satis et super Catullo est,
quae nec pernumerare curiosi
possint nec mala fascinare lingua.

Catullus: Carmina VII: Ad Lesbiam

Grains of sand, Yoff, Dakar, Senegal: photo by R G, 8 March 2009

You ask how many kissings of you, Lesbia, are enough for me and more than enough. As great as is the number of Libyan sand that lies on Silphium-bearing Cyrene, between the oracle of sultry Jove and the sacred tomb of old Battus; or as many as are the stars, when night is silent, that see the stolen loves of men, -- to kiss you with so many kisses, Lesbia, is enough and more than enough for your mad Catullus: kisses, which neither curious eyes shall count up nor an evil tongue bewitch.

Catullus: Carmina VII: English translation by F. W. Cornish in The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus, 1913

File:Sand from Gobi Desert.jpg

Rounded and fine-grained eolian sand sample from the Gobi Desert (near Dalanzadgad in Mongolia). The width of the view is 10 mm
: photo by Siim Sepp, 24 October 2011

File:Casale Bikini modified.jpg

Mosaic from Villa Romana del Casale, near Piazza Amerina, Sicily
: photo by M. Disdero, June 2006

Wednesday 23 May 2012



File:Dionysus Sarcophagus.jpg

Dionysus sarcophagus: Hellenistic sculpture, artist unknown; image by Haiduc, October 2007 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

Age this wandering
through a museum
of consequence
and fortune
takes responsibility
for nothing
that happens along the way.

File:Dionisos plate Barcelona.jpg

Dionysos on an earthen plate
: artist unknown, between 550 and 600 AD; image by Léna, 14 July 2011

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Sappho: Aeolic Fragment


Apple orchard, Villeneuve-sur-Lot, south-west France
: photo by DSHover, August 2005

Frae the Aiolic o Psappho

Caller rain frae abune
reeshles among the epple-trees:
the leaves are soughan wi the breeze,
and sleep faas drappan doun.

reeshles = rustles

Douglas Young: Frae the Aiolic o Psappho, from A Baird o Thristles: Scots Poems, 1947

Tanew Nature Reserve, Poland: photo by Merlin, 2006


...Rain, a breeze, Aeolic
Within the cool trough of apple-wood
There is a rustle, air, water move,
...Sleep sifts through the leaves

Red-figure vase by the Group of Polygnotos, ca. 440–430 BC. Seated, Sappho is reading one of her poems to a group of three student-friends:
photo by Marsyas, 22 December 2005 (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)

     αμφὶ δ᾽ ὔδωρ
ψῖχρον ὤνεμοσ κελάδει δἰ ὔσδων
μαλίνων, αἰθυσσομένων δὲ φύλλων
     κῶμα κατάρρει.

Marble head of Sappho, found at Smyrna, near present-day Izmir,Turkey
: photo by Bjorn Christian Torresen, 2009 (Istanbul Archeological Museum)

Sapphic fragment: text from Greek Lyric I: Sappho and Alcaeus, ed. D.A. Campbell (Loeb Classical Library)

Rain, a breeze, Aeolic: TC version

A Revolutionary Arcadia


Apollon Terroriste: Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006), in Little Sparta Sculpture Garden, Dunsyre, Pentland Hills, Lanarkshire: photo by yellow book, 2 September 2007

Apollon Terroriste: Ian Hamilton Finlay, in Little Sparta Sculpture Garden, Dunsyre, Pentland Hills, Lanarkshire: photo by photoeali, 28 July 2010

Apollon Terroriste: Ian Hamilton Finlay, in Little Sparta Sculpture Garden, Dunsyre, Pentland Hills, Lanarkshire: photo by photoeali, 3 July 2009

Apollon Terroriste: Ian Hamilton Finlay, in Little Sparta Sculpture Garden, Dunsyre, Pentland Hills, Lanarkshire: photo by onceawildchild, 31 May 2009

It is not true
that the blade was terrible:
it was Terrible.


In the first chapters
of the Revolution
when the ribbons
were still on the haycocks...


You cannot step
into the same Revolution


"Who are these men
who have no streets
named after them?"

-- French person of 1987, on
The Committee of Public Safety, 1794.


The French Revolution
was something other
than the French nation
on the psychoanalyst's couch.


Three Parties
in The Convention:
The Mountain, The Plain,
The Ravine.


In the Picturesque landscape
of the Revolution
the wildest of the banditti
were all ex-lawyers.


For the best of the Jacobins
the Revolution was intended
as a pastoral whose
Virgil was Rousseau.


Revolutions conceived in the fields
are very different from
Revolutions conceived in the cellar.

Ian Hamilton Finlay: texts from Revolutionary Pursuits (1987)

The present order is the disorder of the future -- Saint-Just: Ian Hamilton Finlay, in Ian Hamilton Finlay and Sue Finlay, Little Sparta Sculpture Garden, Dunsyre, Pentland Hills, Lanarkshire: photo by onceawildchild, 31 May 2009

The present order is the disorder of the future -- Saint-Just (with view on the Pentland Hills from the upper reaches of Ian Hamilton Finlay's garden at Little Sparta)
: Ian Hamilton Finlay, in Ian Hamilton Finlay and Sue Finlay, Little Sparta Sculpture Garden, Dunsyre, Pentland Hills, Lanarkshire: photo by Ergonomik, 21 August 2009

Ian Hamilton Finlay: Plaque 1, Little Sparta: photo by Flora Laura Hammond, 3 July 2011

Ian Hamilton Finlay: Plaque 2, Little Sparta: photo by Flora Laura Hammond, 3 July 2011

Ian Hamilton Finlay: Plaque 3, Little Sparta: photo by Flora Laura Hammond, 3 July 2011

Ian Hamilton Finlay: Arcadia Column, Little Sparta: photo by Flora Laura Hammond, 3 July 2011

This countrie Arcadia among all the prouinces of Greece, hath euer beene had in singular reputation: partly for the sweetnesse of the ayre, and other natural benefites, but principally for the well tempered minds of the people, who (finding that the shining title of glorie so much affected by other nations, doth in deed helpe little to the happinesse of life) are the onely people, which as by their Iustice and pruidence geue neither cause nor hope to their neyghbours to annoy them, so are they not sturred with false praise to trouble others quiet, thinking it a small reward for the wasting of their owne liues in rauening, that their posteritie should long liue after saie, they had done so. Euen the Muses seeme to approue their good determinatio[n], by chosing this countrie for their chiefe repairing place, & by bestowing their perfections so largely here, that the very shepheards haue their fancies lifted to so high conceits, as the learned of other nations are content both to borrow their names, and imitate their cunning.

-- from The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia, written by Sir Philippe Sidnei, London 1590. Book One.