Poetry: A dialogue, between the resolved soul and created pleasure by Andrew Marvell

Courage, my Soul, now learn to wield
The weight of thine immortal shield.
Close on thy head thy helmet bright.
Balance thy sword against the fight.
See where an army, strong as fair,
With silken banners spreads the air.
Now, if thou be’st that thing divine,
In this day’s combat let it shine:
And show that Nature wants an art
To conquer one resolvèd heart.

Welcome the creation’s guest,
Lord of earth, and heaven’s heir.
Lay aside that warlike crest,
And of Nature’s banquet share:
Where the souls of fruits and flowers
Stand prepared to heighten yours.

I sup above, and cannot stay
To bait so long upon the way.

On these downy pillows lie,
Whose soft plumes will thither fly:
On these roses strewed so plain
Lest one leaf thy side should strain.

My gentler rest is on a thought,
Conscious of doing what I ought.

If thou be’st with perfumes pleased,
Such as oft the gods appeased,
Thou in fragrant clouds shalt show
Like another god below.

A soul that knows not to presume
Is heaven’s and its own perfume.

Everything does seem to vie
Which should first attract thine eye:
But since none deserves that grace,
In this crystal view thy face.

When the Creator’s skill is prized,
The rest is all but earth disguised.

Hark how music then prepares
For thy stay these charming airs;
Which the posting winds recall,
And suspend the river’s fall.

Had I but any time to lose,
On this I would it all dispose.
Cease, tempter. None can chain a mind
Whom this sweet chordage cannot bind.

Earth cannot show so brave a sight
As when a single soul does fence
The batteries of alluring sense,
And heaven views it with delight.
Then persevere: for still new charges sound:
And if thou overcom’st, thou shalt be crowned.

All this fair, and soft, and sweet,
Which scatteringly doth shine,
Shall within one beauty meet,
And she be only thine.

If things of sight such heavens be,
What heavens are those we cannot see?

Wheresoe’er thy foot shall go
The minted gold shall lie,
Till thou purchase all below,
And want new worlds to buy.

Were’t not a price, who’d value gold?
And that’s worth naught that can be sold.

Wilt thou all the glory have
That war or peace commend?
Half the world shall be thy slave
The other half thy friend.

What friends, if to my self untrue!
What slaves, unless I captive you!

Thou shalt know each hidden cause;
And see the future time:
Try what depth the centre draws;
And then to heaven climb.

None thither mounts by the degree
Of knowledge, but humility.

Triumph, triumph, victorious Soul;
The world has not one pleasure more:
The rest does lie beyond the Pole,
And is thine everlasting store.

Shumpty’s Punt: Boxing Day Racing

It is a massive day of racing today with full programs at Caulfield and Randwick as well as a meeting at the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. I have never been much of a fan of punting at the Sunshine Coast and will limit my exposure by avoiding betting there. Here are my best bets at the other venues:


Race 6: Number 12 Solemn
Race 7: Number 9 Centre Pivot


Race 2: Number 4 Mango Mojito
Race 6: Number 4 Winta Chilla

As always, good luck and good punting and please gamble responsibly.

The Ashes: Boxing Day Test … 5 questions

It seems like it has been an age since Australia secured the return of the Ashes in the Perth and much has happened in the intervening period, not the least the retirement of Graeme Swann. From the outside looking in this fixture may seem like a dead rubber but for the Australian public this test presents another opportunity to demolish an English side seemingly close to breaking point.

Here are my 5 key questions the answers of which will, in my view, determine the ultimate outcome of the game:

1. How bad is the hangover?

The Australians celebrated their victory in Perth long and hard, as they were entirely entitled to do. It is completely understandable that they might be a little flat for this encounter given that the principle job they had for the series is done. One suspects the Darren Lehmann is too savvy a man manager to have let the Australians to have taken their collective eyes off the ball too much but still he will have a big job getting his team mentally up for this game.

2. Playing for careers, will England’s old guard fire?

The fact it is has been the senior players for England that have let them down in this series and one suspects that another failure in Melbourne could see the end of the careers of the likes of Pietersen, Anderson and maybe even Cook. All three are quality players and have too much class to have an extended long run of bad form. The question though will be whether mentally they have much more fight left them.

3. How is Broad’s foot?

In the midst of another woeful performance by the English is stood out, particularly when Shane Watson was going crazy on the fourth morning at Perth just how much they missed Stuart Broad. He has been the best bowler of tour for the English and, more to the point, he is a personality that has the ability to lift his team around him. If he is not 100% fit then that will be a body blow for the English chances.

4. Can Monty succeed where Graeme failed?

Shane Watson’s demolition of Graeme Swann has been one of the principal moments in the series where Australia’s dominance has been most overtly on display. The Australians have been overt about their intention to attack Panesar with vigour and how he reacts to such an assault will play a large factor in the course of this game. England relied on Swann for long spells of run less overs and Monty will need to replicate that in Melbourne.

5. Will the Johnson bubble burst?

Mitchell Johnson has been nothing short of excellent this test series. The plan from Australia has been to bowl short and intimidate the English batsmen and Johnson has been the perfect protagonist in the execution of that play. I commented during the Perth test match that I was wondering whether England had become aware, finally, of the plan and had found a way to combat same. We have not seen a plan B from Johnson which he may need on an MCG wicket that has been less than receptive to short bowling of late.

The Boxing Day test match is a special event on the Australian sporting calendar. I prefer the Gabba test for obvious reasons however all eyes in Australia will be drawn to TV sets around the country for the first ball which gets away at 10am today.

Poetry: For Christmas Day by Charles Wesley

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
“Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconcil’d!”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born to-day!”

Christ, by highest Heaven ador’d,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb!

Veil’d in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleas’d as man with men to appear,
Jesus, our Immanuel here!

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.

Come, desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
Ruin’d nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.

Let us thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner man:
O, to all thyself impart,
Form’d in each believing heart.