Life & Death

When I have looked Life in the eyes,Grown calm and very coldly wise,Life will have given me the Truth,And taken in exchange–my youth. “Wisdom” – Sara Teasdale, American lyric poet, born on 8 August 1884. Not one would mind, neither bird nor treeIf mankind perished utterly; And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,Would scarcely… Read More Life & Death

Barbara Allen/2

As I’ve already written (here) “Barbara Allen” began as a ballad in the seventeenth century or earlier and was published and performed under many different titles, in a vast array of tunes and narrative details.The earliest text was published in London in 1690, under the title “Barbara Allen’s cruelty: or, the young-man’s tragedy”. It appeared… Read More Barbara Allen/2

W. E. Henley: “Margaritae Sorori”

William Ernest Henley‘s poem “Invictus” (here) insists on individual strength and unwavering resilience in the face of adversity. Even the loss of his five-year-old daughter Margaret, despite being a deeply traumatising event, did not truly dampen his outlook on life as a whole. The following lesser-known poem, instead, evokes the acceptance of death and dying,… Read More W. E. Henley: “Margaritae Sorori”

W. E. Henley, Long John Silver and Wendy

William Ernest Henley, the author of “Invictus” (see here), was the inspiration for one of the most recognisable characters in Victorian fiction. When his friend Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his first novel, “Treasure Island” (1883), he was inspired by Henley’s appearance to create Long John Silver, the one-legged pirate, one of the main characters.After the… Read More W. E. Henley, Long John Silver and Wendy