Thersites

Original Text: 
The Verse of Christopher Brennan, ed. A. R. Chisholm and J. J. Quinn (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1960): 184. PR 6003 R352A17 Robarts Library
"... still wars and lechery!"
Troilus and Cressida
2"Lo, all your dream of glory, how it lies!
3Was this its promise then, the dust and dung,
5Even such we knew, some worm o' the cesspit stung,
6Who rail'd on fair love's arrogant emprise
7Because no breath from heaven made broad their lung
8And mire of flesh dwelt in their abject eyes.
9But how could glory be, save that she must
10Stoop from her sphere to quicken sordid dust
11Turning to rapture our inflicted need?
12Poor souls! to have never known the immortal will
13That bends to no defeat, the heroic deed

Notes

1] The title is the name of an acidly cynical character in Shakespeare's problem play, Troilus and Cressida. One of his final assessments of all figures in this play of sexual domination and betrayal is "Lechery, lechery, still wars and lechery, nothing else holds fashion. A burning devil take them" (Internet Shakespeare V.2.3195). scrannel: harsh. Back to Line
4] sexton: parish officer responsible for bell-ringing and grave-digging. Back to Line
14] Sub-note: The Australian Soldiers' Gift Book, ed. Ethel Turner and Bertram Stevens (Sydney: Voluntary Workers' Association, 1918), an anthology of works by New South Wales authors and artists that aimed "To raise funds for building homes for returned soldiers in New South Wales." Back to Line
Publication Notes: 
Christopher Brennan, A Chant of Doom and Other Verses (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1918). Digital facsimile by the University of Sydney Library, 1999. See http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire; Cameron La Follette
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
Form: