‘The Singers’, Oxyrhynchus hymn, and ‘A Psalm of Life’

The Singers

A poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.

The first, a youth, with soul of fire,
Held in his hand a golden lyre;
Through groves he wandered, and by streams,
Playing the music of our dreams.

The second, with a bearded face,
Stood singing in the market-place,
And stirred with accents deep and loud
The hearts of all the listening crowd.

A gray old man, the third and last,
Sang in cathedrals dim and vast,
While the majestic organ rolled
Contrition from its mouths of gold.

And those who heard the Singers three
Disputed which the best might be;
For still their music seemed to start
Discordant echoes in each heart,

But the great Master said, “I see
No best in kind, but in degree;
I gave a various gift to each,
To charm, to strengthen, and to teach.

“These are the three great chords of might,
And he whose ear is tuned aright
Will hear no discord in the three,
But the most perfect harmony.

*The Oxyrhynchus Hymn is the oldest known music notation and lyrics of a Christian hymn, dating from the second or third century. The English lyrics are roughly translated as,

.. Let it be silent
Let the Luminous stars
not shine,
Let the winds (?) and all the noisy rivers die down;
And as we hymn the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Let all the powers add “Amen Amen”
Empire, praise always, and glory to God,
The sole giver of
good things,
Amen Amen

A Psalm of Life

A poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
     Life is but an empty dream!—
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
     And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
     And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
     Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
     Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
     Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
     And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
     Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
     In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
     Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
     Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,—act in the living Present!
     Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
     We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
     Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
     Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
     Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
     With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
     Learn to labor and to wait.

I
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
5
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
10
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us – if at all – not as lost
15
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
II
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
20
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
25
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
30
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
35
No nearer –
Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom
III
This is the dead land
This is cactus land
40
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this
45
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
50
Form prayers to broken stone.
IV
The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
55
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
60
Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
65
The hope only
Of empty men.
V
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
70
At five o’clock in the morning.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
75
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
80
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
85
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
90
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends
95
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

– T. S. Eliot, ‘The Hollow Men

 

Hold me, I am pathetic.

He farms gold, he uploads, he downloads, he pants loads, he MGTOWs, he cube codes, he Insta-chodes, he’s friendzoned, he faps alone, he dates low, he marries old, he’s sorta ‘mo (he’s proud to show), he cornholes, he corn sows, he’s a cuddle pro, he tucks a micro, he’s equality yo, he’s a harmless bro, he fucks slow (first licks her hole), no means no (as he well knows), he’s wow just wow (brash scares him so), he’s status quo, he’s a quota goat, his girlfriend’s gross (he won’t tell her though), he nuzzles cows, he scrapes and bows, he’s a cog-to-go, he luvs a ho, his titties grow, he’s GIRL YOU GO!, his ex-wife’s boyfriend spends his dough, his girlfriend fucked an asshole…

…he knows no home to call his own.

– Heartiste, ‘Fatter, Wimpier, More Pathetic