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Austen Saunders rss

English Romantic poet George Gordon Byron in Albanian dress, painted by Thomas Phillips circa 1815. Image: Getty

Discovering poetry: Lord Byron’s myth-making through verse

11 September 2013 9:00

‘So, we’ll go no more a roving’ So, we’ll go no more a roving So late into the night, Though the heart be still as loving, And the moon be… Continue reading

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England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege/ Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,/ With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds.

Is England too good for the English? Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt seems to think so

26 August 2013 9:30

From Shakespeare’s Richard II, lines spoken by John of Gaunt. This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise,… Continue reading

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What did Thomas Traherne mean when he wrote: 'The stars did entertain my sense'?  (Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)

Discovering Poetry: Thomas Traherne’s life lessons

19 August 2013 10:40

From ‘Wonder’, by Thomas Traherne How like an angel came I down! How bright are all things here! When first among his works I did appear O how their glory… Continue reading

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A visitor examines 'The Illustrated Odyssey' of Marc Chagall (Jose CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Which Ulysses is the most heroic?

29 July 2013 15:13

From ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson                                     Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and sitting well in order smite The sounding furrows;… Continue reading

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Pride and Prejudice Ball To Celebrate The 200th Anniversary Of The Book

Alexander Pope, mock-epic, modernity and misogyny

16 July 2013 12:01

from The Rape of the Lock And now, unveiled, the toilet stands displayed, Each silver vase in mystic order laid. First, robed in white, the nymph intent adores With head… Continue reading

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Way Of The Cross Led By Pope Benedict XVI

Laughing at sin

1 July 2013 11:27

Francis Quarles, An emblem on books ‘The world’s a book, writ by the eternal art Of the great Maker, printed in man’s heart; ‘Tis falsely printed, though divinely penned, And… Continue reading

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Had we but world enough and time... (PAL PILLAI/AFP/Getty Images)

To their coy mistresses: two poems about the arts of seduction

17 June 2013 11:18

Andrew Marvell, from ‘To His Coy Mistress’ But at my back I always hear Times winged chariot hurrying near: And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity. Thy… Continue reading

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Journey Of The Cross And Icon Takes Place In Sydney

Discovering poetry: John Donne, from deviant to Dean of St. Paul’s

3 June 2013 12:43

Holy Sonnet 7, John Donne At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise From death, you numberless infinities Of souls, and to your scattered bodies… Continue reading

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The crown of England being offered to William of Orange (1650 -1702) and his wife, Mary (1662 - 1694) by the Lords and Commons at Whitehall. Engraving by H. Bourne from the fresco by Edward Matthew Ward in the new Houses of Parliament, painted circa 1860. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Glorious Revolution and small ‘c’ conservatism

13 May 2013 9:45

From a dialogue  between a non-juring clergyman and his wife by Edward ‘Ned’ Ward Wife: Why will you prove so obstinate, my dear, And rather choose to starve, than yield to… Continue reading

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The ‘hey nonino’ nonsense in As you Like It has certainly not aged well. But the sense of love and lovers it articulates is timeless. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

In defence of William Shakespeare’s nonsense

29 April 2013 10:43

‘It was a lover and his lass’ from As You Like It It was a lover and his lass With a hey and a ho and a hey nonino, That… Continue reading

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Dancers of the Badora Dance Company perform on the stage of the National Dance Theatre in Budapest on December 20, 2011 during their rehearsal of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", choreographed by Hungarian Dora Barta. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK (Photo credit should read ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)

Falling out of love, William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 97 – discovering poetry

15 April 2013 9:07

How like a winter hath my absence been From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen, What old December’s bareness everywhere!… Continue reading

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A gathering around 'our chief of men', by the Cromwell Association in 2008.

John Milton’s ambiguous love for Oliver Cromwell – Discovering poetry

2 April 2013 10:28

‘To Oliver Cromwell’ Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud Not of war only, but detractions rude, Guided by faith and matchless fortitude To peace and truth thy… Continue reading

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Circa 1700, Drawings of classical ladies' hairstyles. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Was Katherine Philips a lesbian love poet?

18 March 2013 9:58

To my Excellent Lucasia , on our Friendship. I did not live until this time Crowned my felicity – When I could say without a crime I am not thine,… Continue reading

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The tomb of Queen Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey, a prime example of the Elizabethans' desire to outlive death. Image: Getty

Discovering poetry: Samuel Daniel and the art of outliving death

4 March 2013 16:52

from Delia When winter snows upon thy golden hairs, And frost of age hath nipped thy flowers near; When dark shall seem thy day that never clears, And all lies… Continue reading

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The choir perform from within the Dome sanctuary of St Paul's Cathedral. Picture: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty

Discovering poetry: how the Psalms made the English

19 February 2013 11:14

Psalm 42, verses 1-8 Philip Sidney                                         Miles Coverdale Miles Coverdale’s translation of the psalms was among the first fruit of Henry VIII’s ambivalent reformation. The religion of Henry’s England was… Continue reading

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William of Orange rides to victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne, 7 years before the publication of Dryden's "Jacobite" translation of Virgil's Aeneid. Image: Getty

Discovering poetry: John Dryden, Jacobite superstar

4 February 2013 9:41

From Dryden’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid Arms and the man I sing who forced by fate And haughty Juno’s unrelenting hate Expelled and exiled left the Trojan shore. Long labours… Continue reading

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A man dressed as Henry VIII progresses up the Thames in search of more plenty. Image: Getty

Discovering poetry: Henry VIII’s Camelot

21 January 2013 10:23

‘Pastime with good company’, attributed to Henry VIII Pastime with good company I love and shall until I die. Grudge who list, but none deny, So God be pleased, thus… Continue reading

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A stained glass window in St. Catherine's Church, Bethlehem. Image: Getty

Discovering poetry: George Herbert’s ‘Prayer’ and the beauty of holiness

7 January 2013 10:00

‘Prayer’ Prayer the Church’s banquet, angels’ age, God’s breath in man returning to his birth, The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage, The Christian plummet sounding heaven and earth; Engine… Continue reading

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A clip taken from Gounod's opera Faust. Mephistopheles tempts Dr Faustus across the illuminated pages of a book of the Classics. Image: Getty

Why Dr Faustus’ dark obsessions still resonate

17 December 2012 10:43

Faustus to Helen of Troy from Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe Was this the face that launched a thousand ships? And burnt the topless towers of Ilium? Sweet Helen, make… Continue reading

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History suggests that if you throw enough bones to this pack of partisan dogs, they'll agree. Image: Getty.

300 years of hating party politics

3 December 2012 9:37

‘Whig and Tory Scratch and Bite’, by Aaron Hill Whig and Tory scratch and bite, Just as hungry dogs we see: Toss a bone ‘twixt two, they fight, Throw a… Continue reading

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John K. Thornton believes that the creation of a militaristic ‘Atlantic World’ was driven by the hunger of European states for hard cash. Image: Getty.

The Atlantic, the ocean that made the modern world

26 November 2012 11:31

Just as the classical world was built around the Mediterranean, the modern world was built around the Atlantic. The Romans called the Med ‘Mare Nostrum’ – Our Sea. The Atlantic,… Continue reading

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Dusk falls and life ends in Thomas Gray's 'Elegy written in a Country Churchyard.' Image: Getty

Do you wish you were far from the madding crowd?

19 November 2012 14:20

From ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ ‘The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,… Continue reading

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Prince Henry's death prompted an outpouring of public grief, similar to that of Winston Churchill. Image: Getty.

William Rowley and the death of Prince Henry – poetry

5 November 2012 10:26

‘To the Grave’ Unclasp thy womb, thou mortuary shrine, And take the worst part of the best we had. Thou hast no harbourage for things divine, That thou had’st any… Continue reading

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The Earl of Rochester's poetry remains valuable because it is still transgressive. Image: Getty.

The shock value of John Wilmot, earl of Rochester

15 October 2012 17:26

‘The Maidenhead’ Have you not in a chimney seen A sullen faggot wet and green, How coyly it receives the heat, And at both ends does fume and sweat? So… Continue reading

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The Olympic Park might be an Arcadia to some. Image: Getty.

William Shakespeare and the pursuit of human happiness

1 October 2012 16:51

‘Under the greenwood tree’ from As You Like It AMIENS: Under the greenwood tree Who loves to lies with me, And turn his merry note Uno the sweet bird’s throat, Come… Continue reading

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