Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Palgrave's Golden Treasury

In my college days, I was a regular bookworm who could finish a book in the shortest time possible (a few hours, a night of continuous reading or reading in the college bus). My treasure house was the college library, where the dust-filled corners, I will hunt some good book or the other.

A book that I found there and later bought a personal copy is The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language by F.T. Palgrave. It has a collection of English poems from the Elizabethan Age till the Modern Age.

Palgrave published his first version in 1861 with the aim of propagating the best that is known and thought in the world?. The present edition was edited and more poems added by the Poet Laureate Cecil Day Lewis.

My favourite from this collection was the poem, The True Beauty By Thomas Carew:

HE that loves a rosy cheek
Or a coral lip admires,
Or from star-like eyes doth seek
Fuel to maintain his fires;
As old Time makes these decay,
So his flames must waste away.

But a smooth and steadfast mind,
Gentle thoughts, and calm desires,
Hearts with equal love combined,
Kindle never-dying fires:?
Where these are not, I despise
Lovely cheeks or lips or eyes.

This book is a rare find to those who cherish good poetry. I was so much in love with this book that I must have read it out aloud to many friends (poor things) who were willing to lend a ear.

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