Sabrina Fair by John Milton

I’ve always been curious about this poem. I love the artwork and Play/Films it has inspired, but I confess that the classic-ness of the poem eludes me. Maybe it’s because it’s John Milton – I’ve never been able to really enjoy him.

This poem is nice, and pleasant to read, but it doesn’t stir my heart and wrench my gut like most classic poetry. But I wanted to share it, just to see if, by investing in it, I can appreciate it the way Arthur Rackham clearly did. Enjoy the flowing meter and gorgeous artwork!

731ce153b10d9af3c95686989a1d4586Sweet Echo, sweetest Nymph that livst unseen
Within thy airy shell
By slow Meander’s margent green,
And in the violet imbroider’d vale
Where the love-lorn Nightingale
Nightly to thee her sad Song mourneth well.
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle Pair
That likest thy Narcissus are?fd95fbedbf41c1ce24338d0246253ab5
O if thou have
Hid them in som flowry Cave,
Tell me but where
Sweet Queen of Parly, Daughter of the Sphear,
So maist thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all Heavns Harmonies

1fda379e48c45836b806074fc2828ba2Sabrina fair
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassie, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of Lillies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair,
Listen for dear honour’s sake,
Goddess of the silver lake,
Listen and save.

Listen and appear to us63761dea88ae9d1af10a21726c636b6c
In name of great Oceanus,
By the earth-shaking Neptune’s mace,
And Tethys grave majestick pace,
By hoary Nereus wrincled look,
And the Carpathian wisards hook,
By scaly Tritons winding shell,
And old sooth-saying Glaucus spell,
By Leucothea’s lovely hands,
And her son that rules the strands,
c35a80cad712a8c7b09ed32881c22e72By Thetis tinsel-slipper’d feet,
And the Songs of Sirens sweet,
By dead Parthenope’s dear tomb,
And fair Ligea’s golden comb,
Wherwith she sits on diamond rocks
Sleeking her soft alluring locks,
By all the Nymphs that nightly dance
Upon thy streams with wily glance,


Rise, rise, and heave thy rosie head
From thy coral-pav’n bed,
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answered have.
Listen and save.

02dea57501ff6fe8178a94d7761178bdSabrina rises, attended by water-Nymphes, and sings.

1258c084b6804e729e5f239d44d4fdb1By the rushy-fringed bank,
Where grows the Willow and the Osier dank,
My sliding Chariot stayes,
Thick set with Agat, and the azurn sheen
Of Turkis blew, and Emrauld green
That in the channell strayes, 6a0b21f1e344e0e39959998be8571d3e
Whilst from off the waters fleet
Thus I set my printless feet
O’re the Cowslips Velvet head,
That bends not as I tread,
Gentle swain at thy request
I am here.

Spirit. Goddess dear

We implore thy powerful band

To’ undo the charmed band

Of true Virgin here distrest,

Through the force, and through the wile

Of unblest inchanter vile.

Sabrina Shepherd, ’tis my office best

To help insnared chastity.


9d7befdf8c1073f8e54dae2711ad8a09Brightest Lady look on me,
Thus I sprinkle on thy brest
Drops that from my fountain pure,
I have kept of pretious cure,
Thrice upon thy fingers tip
Thrice upon thy rubied lip,
Next this marble venom’d seat
Smear’d with gumms of glutenous heat
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold,
Now the spell hath lost his hold;
And I must haste ere morning hour
To wait in Amphitrite’s bowr.

Source Text

Gorgeous Illustrations all done by Arthur Rackham


NANOWRIMO Challenge Day 5

Day 5 already! Even though it’s the 8th of November. 😉 (So I missed a few days over the weekend… oh well. It’ll probably happen again)

There was no exercise with the reading today, so I just decided to write five pairs of verse with what I learned.




NANOWRIMO Challenge Day 4

Well, this is a bit late in the day, but I’m just proud of myself for actually doing it!

I decided to repeat exercise 3 since I had so much difficulty with it yesterday.


Nanowrimo Challenge Day 3


My nonsensical lines for this exercise, although I kind of failed on the caesuras…😯😑


1) I listen – and I gawk at music played

By pianist for famous Bach: concert!


2) She loves – and waits in tower for

a lovely man to whisk her – well away.


3) But though he rides beneath, his eyes are cast

Unto the weary world and earthen place.


4) Mary, each day, for twenty greedy mouths

Bakes. Til she meets death above the stove.


5) Each saint or sinner is unknown, until

The ancient godly judge he stands before.



NANOWRIMO Challenge Day 2

Stephen Fry’s second exercise:

This was my attempt. It was more difficult than I anticipated, so most of it’s just silly and nonsensical. But it was fun to do!

I think the hardest part was following his command not to rhyme!

  1. I see no reason to exclaim or cry
  2. The little bird has only bent her wing
  3. The back bears pack of heavy load and I
  4. Sink low and carry more than I can bear
  5. Meticulous and crazily I jerk
  6. Reading and books are bread and butter to me
  7. And Pluto is a faithful dog to Mouse
  8. Maximus eats apples and crunches nuts
  9. And Mag and Iron keep me fit and well
  10. I brave migraine amid the pits of woe
  11. Bernadette saw a lady dressed in white
  12. Her name I bear and to the lady pray
  13. A sweater warms and chases out the cold
  14. My slippers snug and warmly keep my feet
  15. Samantha had an uncle with a car
  16. The little bear found no more food
  17. The porridge pot would make no more
  18. The agony of wasted time drags each
  19. and all beneath her time encrusted hand
  20. By Merlyn’s magic great and small were wrapped


Artwork Credit: Michelle St. Laurent


My NaNoWriMo Poetry Challenge

So, I’ve decided to go a different direction this year with NaNoWriMo. I’m reading Stephen Fry’s book The Ode Less Traveled, Unlocking the Poet Within, and I’m loving it!


Every day I’m going to read some of it and write a new poem/verse. I’m hoping to improve my ability to write poetry, which is a writing art that has always eluded me. 🙂

Today’s I learned Iambic Pentameter, and here’s my verse:

And searching o’er from top to pit for it

For what is lost and missing left unfound


Shattered Pieces

In shattered pieces on the floor

I gazed upon the massive door

I heaved upon the blistered knees;

with bloodied fists took hold of a burning tree.


Burning, burning crosses and tangled tongues.


With broken voice I begged the truth

She spoke around her haggled tooth

And showed me a land of filling promise.

What land can pierce my blistered solace?Fireplace


I am a HUGE fan of T. S. Elliot’s The Wasteland, and one day, I sat down and threw together this piece inspired by the line, “Hurry up please, it’s time.” We never have enough, especially when we concentrate on what’s not important.




Hurry up please its time

Time to hurry, you see

Time don’t offer mercy

Before the clock chimes.


Hurry, hurry

Rush the stuff in the streets

Marry the scary mean treats!

We only have time to scurry.


Up up

To the very top we go

The stop of the skyscraper row

Until we drop…


Please please

The end is nearing

The cars stopped steering

And there’s a dead jangle of keys


It’s it’s

It’s all life’n’death important

All professionally subservient

All falls to bits


Time time

Why don’t we have more?

What was it all for?

I thought it was all mine.


Ghastly charm emits

Lies from its marriages

The chime scurries

It drops dead to bits.

Burning Crosses

They think that by burning crosses

The crosses will not bear.

But I feel the splinters forming

I know the weight is there.


How do they not feel?

Am I alone in the noticing?

Do they think it works –

…the cross burning?


Do they think the crosses

Are for seeing?

Do they think that smoke

Is for breathing?

Cross Burning Poem Image
By Elizabeth Russell


Unseen, unseen

I cannot cry out.

Silent, so silent

A voiceless shout –





All is empty and plain.

The tabernacle unadorned

and the rafters oak and all forlorn.


Basilica of the National Shrine


Oh give me the ancient churches long ago,

with their sighing organs and windy towers,

but with stained saints and adorned spires.



For here in this lonely, empty, sealed church,Desperate_4

I am completely desolate.

But there, though spooks and whispers,

troubled prayer, I had the plaster saints

when I was desperate.

Three-Fold Fires without Pain

And when the winds of June

And when the cornflowers bloom

And when, when earth meets sky

in vast array of glorious show,

the apple blossoms lie

across the fresh-strewn mow,

then the rains have passed

then the pain is cast

then my lying abed has met at last

it’s final fresh-strewn grave.


Upon the silent, still cement

the sun has cast her golden raiment,

and if my final gripping pain,

is washed and dried and gone like rain,

then truly, cruelly, I can claim,

my pain is really gone again.


But if on soaring wings I fly,

to meet the scattered, star-filled sky,

then pure upon the wind I call

with joyful, alleluia yells.

At last I’m free and free to last,

among seraph, angels and eternal choirs.

I forget already the bitter, biting past,

and rise to burn exultant in the three-fold fires.