Wordsworth’s Lucy Poems

Illustration for William Wordsworth's Lucy Poems
Illustration for William Wordsworth’s Lucy Poems

Between 1799 and 1801, William Wordsworth composed five poems about an unknown woman or girl called Lucy, telling his love for her and her unfortunate death. They have since been called the “Lucy poems,” although he did not use this designation. The order in which they are usually given follows that in later editions of his works, such as the 1815 edition of Poems by William Wordsworth, where the first three appear in the part “Poems founded on the affections,” pages 128 to 131, and the last two in the part “Poems of the imagination,” pages 313 to 315. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Dream-Tryst, by Francis Thompson

Léon Bazille Perrault - Out in the Cold
Léon Bazille Perrault – Out in the Cold (1890) – from Wikimedia Commons

This is one of the first two published poems of Thompson; it first appeared in 1888 in Merry England, the journal edited by Wilfrid Meynell. While he was a vagrant and beggar in London, Thompson had sent to Meynell a dirty envelope containing two poems, one of which was ‘Dream-Tryst,’ and a prose essay; Meynell put them aside for a few weeks, then published the three texts in the issues of April, May and June 1888. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

A girl, by Michael Field

Aus der Welt der FKK-Jugend, Sonderheft 205
Aus der Welt der FKK-Jugend, Sonderheft 205

In 1893, Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper published, under their pen name Michael Field, a collection of poems titled Underneath the Bough. Their two previous volumes of poetry Long Ago (1889) and Sight and Song (1892) had as aim for the first “to express in English verse the passionate pleasure” of the works of the Greek poetess Sappho (edited and translated by by Henry Thornton Wharton), and for the second “to translate into verse what the lines and colours of certain chosen pictures sing in themselves;” on the other hand this third collection had no such scholarly purpose, its poems were like songs devoted to love and joy. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Love in catacombs

John William Waterhouse - Saint Eulalia
John William Waterhouse – Saint Eulalia (1885) – from jwwaterhouse.com

“First of all, you must never speak of anything by its name—in that country. So, if you see a tree on a mountain, it will be better to say ‘Look at the green on the high’; for that’s how they talk—in that country. And whatever you do, you must find a false reason for doing it—in that country. If you rob a man, you must say it is to help and protect him: that’s the ethics—of that country. And everything of value has no value at all—in that country. You must be perfectly commonplace if you want to be a genius—in that country. And everything you like you must pretend not to like; and anything that is there you must pretend is not there—in that country. And you must always say that you are sacrificing yourself in the cause of religion, and morality, and humanity, and liberty, and progress, when you want to cheat your neighbour—in that country.”

“Good heavens!” cried Iliel, “are we going to England?”

— Aleister Crowley, Moonchild (1917), Chapter XX

Poets and Lovers has been living for two years, in an epoch where freedom of art is increasingly under attack. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Adown the Lesbian vales, by Michael Field

William-Adolphe Bouguereau - Idylle enfantine
William-Adolphe Bouguereau – Idylle enfantine (1900) – from Art Renewal Center

My third selection from the collection Long Ago is a sapphic poem. Young girls make offerings to the poetess, who wonders what to give them in return. She will “sing of their soft cherishing” and “of marriage-loves;” the highest praises would crown them, as the rose “is not so good, so fresh as they,” “opening their glorious, candid maidenhood.CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…