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From the Archive, Issue 229
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- The Students Companion to Physiotherapy E-Book: A Survival Guide!
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- Nightingale (disambiguation)?
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The Last American Slave Ship
Explore Seasonal sale Gift guide View the whole range. Confucius was not born; We lived in those great days Confucius later said were lived aright … And this gray bird, on that day of spring, With a bright-bronze breast, and a bronze-brown wing, Captured the world with his carolling.
Late at night his tune was spent. Peasants, Sages, Children, Homeward went, And then the bronze bird sang for you and me. We walked alone. Our hearts were high and free.
Jamaica (18th Century): advertisements; 4, runaway slaves
I had a silvery name, I had a silvery name, I had a silvery name — do you remember The name you cried beside the tumbling sea? Chang turned not to the lady slim — He bent to his work, ironing away; But she was arch, and knowing and glowing, And the bird on his shoulder spoke for him. The great gray joss on a rustic shelf, Rakish and shrewd, with his collar awry, Sang impolitely, as though by himself, Drowning with his bellowing the nightingale's cry: "Back through a hundred, hundred years Hear the waves as they climb the piers, Hear the howl of the silver seas, Hear the thunder.
Then the lady, rosy-red, Turned to her lover Chang and said: "Dare you forget that turquoise dawn, When we stood in our mist-hung velvet lawn, And worked a spell this great joss taught Till a God of the Dragons was charmed and caught? From the flag high over our palace home He flew to our feet in rainbow-foam — A king of beauty and tempest and thunder Panting to tear our sorrows asunder: A dragon of fair adventure and wonder.
We mounted the back of that royal slave With thoughts of desire that were noble and grave. We swam down the shore to the dragon-mountains, We whirled to the peaks and the fiery fountains. To our secret ivory house we were borne. We looked down the wonderful wing-filled regions Where the dragons darted in glimmering legions. Right by my breast the nightingale sang; The old rhymes rang in the sunlit mist That we this hour regain — Song-fire for the brain.
Jamaica (18th Century): 740 advertisements; 4,150 runaway slaves
When my hands and my hair and my feet you kissed, When you cried for your heart's new pain, What was my name in the dragon-mist, In the rings of rainbowed rain? And now the joss broke in with his song: "Dying ember, bird of Chang, Soul of Chang, do you remember? On their prows were painted terrible bright eyes. But I was then a wizard and a scholar and a priest; I stood upon the sand; With lifted hand I looked upon them And sunk their vessels with my wizard eyes, And the stately lacquer-gate made safe again.
Deep, deep below the bay, the sea-weed and the spray, Embalmed in amber every pirate lies, Embalmed in amber every pirate lies. Then this did the noble lady say: "Bird, do you dream of our home-coming day When you flew like a courier on before From the dragon-peak to our palace-door, And we drove the steed in your singing path — The ramping dragon of laughter and wrath: And found our city all aglow, And knighted this joss that decked it so?
There were golden fishes in the purple river And silver fishes and rainbow fishes. There were golden junks in the laughing river, And silver junks and rainbow junks: There were golden lilies by the bay and river, And silver lilies and tiger-lilies, And tinkling wind-bells in the gardens of the town By the black-lacquer gate Where walked in state The kind king Chang And his sweetheart mate … With his flag-born dragon And his crown of pearl … and … jade, And his nightingale reigning in the mulberry shade, And sailors and soldiers on the sea-sands brown, And priests who bowed them down to your song — By the city called Han, the peacock town, By the city called Han, the nightingale town, The nightingale town.
Then sang the bird, so strangely gay, Fluttering, fluttering, ghostly and gray, A vague, unravelling, final tune, Like a long unwinding silk cocoon; Sang as though for the soul of him Who ironed away in that bower dim: — "I have forgotten Your dragons great, Merry and mad and friendly and bold. Dim is your proud lost palace-gate. I vaguely know There were heroes of old, Troubles more than the heart could hold, There were wolves in the woods Yet lambs in the fold, Nests in the top of the almond tree … The evergreen tree … and the mulberry tree … Life and hurry and joy forgotten, Years on years I but half-remember … Man is a torch, then ashes soon, May and June, then dead December, Dead December, then again June.
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