History Girls











{May 28, 2010}   Longing by Matthew Arnold

     Longing

      Come to me in my dreams, and then
      By day I shall be well again!
      For so the night will more than pay
      The hopeless longing of the day.


      Come, as thou cam’st a thousand times,
      A messenger from radiant climes,
      And smile on thy new world, and be
      As kind to others as to me!


      Or, as thou never cam’st in sooth,
      Come now, and let me dream it truth,
      And part my hair, and kiss my brow,
      And say, My love why sufferest thou?


      Come to me in my dreams, and then
      By day I shall be well again!
      For so the night will more than pay
      The hopeless longing of the day.

        by Matthew Arnold



{April 22, 2010}   Wind and Window Flower

Wind and Window Flower

LOVERS, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.

When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the cagèd yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,

He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by,
To come again at dark.

He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.

But he sighed upon the sill,
He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
Who lay that night awake.

Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the firelit looking-glass
And warm stove-window light.

But the flower leaned aside
And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
A hundred miles away.

by Robert Frost



{October 2, 2009}   Maid Marian

There is no doubt that Marian is a gutsy, courageous presence in the classic ballads. In one version of her entry into the band of Merry Men, disguised in male costume, she challenges Robin, himself disguised, to a duel with swords, and gives as good as she gets:

They drew out their swords, and to cutting they went,
At least an hour or more,
That the blood ran apace from bold Robin’s face,
And Marian was wounded sore.

“O hold thy hand,” said Robin Hood.
“And thou shalt be one of my string,
“To range in the wood with bold Robin Hood,
“And hear the sweet nightingall sing.”

Note that it is Robin who concedes the contest. Far from being embarrassed when they discover each other’s true identities, he welcomes her with open arms into the woodland fraternity. She is already Robin’s lover, as an earlier verse of the ballad makes clear –

With kisses sweet their red lips meet,
For shee and the earl did agree;
In every place, they kindly imbrace,
With love and sweet unity.

– but now she is also his equal in the band.

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