ANNUS MIRABILIS (The Good Words Podcast)

In this bonus episode, host Lynn Hickernell reviews her favorite moments from the past year on the Good Words Podcast.  Also features excerpts from the John Dryden poem, "Annus Mirabilis."


Full text of Annus Mirabilis by John Dryden 

Full audio of Annus Mirabilis by John Dryden (on Librivox) 

Selected stanzas from Annus Mirabilis by John Dryden, as featured in this podcast: 

217 In this deep quiet, from what source unknown, 

       Those seeds of fire their fatal birth disclose; 

     And first few scattering sparks about were blown, 

       Big with the flames that to our ruin rose. 

 218 Then in some close-pent room it crept along, 

       And, smouldering as it went, in silence fed; 

     Till the infant monster, with devouring strong, 

       Walk'd boldly upright with exalted head. 

 219 Now like some rich or mighty murderer, 

       Too great for prison, which he breaks with gold; 

     Who fresher for new mischiefs does appear, 

       And dares the world to tax him with the old: 

 220 So 'scapes the insulting fire his narrow jail, 

       And makes small outlets into open air: 

     There the fierce winds his tender force assail, 

       And beat him downward to his first repair. 

225 At length the crackling noise and dreadful blaze 

       Call'd up some waking lover to the sight; 

     And long it was ere he the rest could raise, 

       Whose heavy eyelids yet were full of night. 

 226 The next to danger, hot pursued by fate, 

       Half-clothed, half-naked, hastily retire: 

     And frighted mothers strike their breasts too late, 

       For helpless infants left amidst the fire. 

 227 Their cries soon waken all the dwellers near; 

       Now murmuring noises rise in every street: 

     The more remote run stumbling with their fear, 

       And in the dark men jostle as they meet. 

 228 So weary bees in little cells repose; 

       But if night-robbers lift the well-stored hive, 

     An humming through their waxen city grows, 

       And out upon each other's wings they drive. 

 229 Now streets grow throng'd and busy as by day: 

       Some run for buckets to the hallow'd quire: 

     Some cut the pipes, and some the engines play; 

       And some more bold mount ladders to the fire. 

231 A quay of fire ran all along the shore, 

       And lighten'd all the river with a blaze: 

     The waken'd tides began again to roar, 

       And wondering fish in shining waters gaze. 

 238 Now day appears, and with the day the King, 

       Whose early care had robb'd him of his rest: 

     Far off the cracks of falling houses ring, 

       And shrieks of subjects pierce his tender breast. 

 239 Near as he draws, thick harbingers of smoke 

       With gloomy pillars cover all the place; 

     Whose little intervals of night are broke 

       By sparks, that drive against his sacred face. 

 240 More than his guards, his sorrows made him known, 

       And pious tears, which down his cheeks did shower; 

     The wretched in his grief forgot their own; 

       So much the pity of a king has power. 

 241 He wept the flames of what he loved so well, 

       And what so well had merited his love: 

     For never prince in grace did more excel, 

       Or royal city more in duty strove. 

 242 Nor with an idle care did he behold: 

       Subjects may grieve, but monarchs must redress; 

     He cheers the fearful, and commends the bold, 

       And makes despairers hope for good success. 

 243 Himself directs what first is to be done, 

       And orders all the succours which they bring, 

     The helpful and the good about him run, 

       And form an army worthy such a king. 

 244 He sees the dire contagion spread so fast, 

       That, where it seizes, all relief is vain: 

     And therefore must unwillingly lay waste 

       That country, which would else the foe maintain. 

278 And now four days the sun had seen our woes: 

       Four nights the moon beheld the incessant fire: 

     It seem'd as if the stars more sickly rose, 

       And farther from the feverish north retire. 

280 At length the Almighty cast a pitying eye, 

       And mercy softly touch'd his melting breast: 

     He saw the town's one half in rubbish lie, 

       And eager flames drive on to storm the rest. 

 281 An hollow crystal pyramid he takes, 

       In firmamental waters dipt above; 

     Of it a broad extinguisher he makes, 

       And hoods the flames that to their quarry drove. 

 282 The vanquish'd fires withdraw from every place, 

       Or, full with feeding, sink into a sleep: 

     Each household genius shows again his face, 

       And from the hearths the little Lares creep. 

 283 Our King this more than natural change beholds; 

       With sober joy his heart and eyes abound: 

     To the All-good his lifted hands he folds, 

       And thanks him low on his redeemed ground. 

285 By such degrees the spreading gladness grew 

       In every heart which fear had froze before: 

     The standing streets with so much joy they view, 

       That with less grief the perish'd they deplore. 

286 The father of the people open'd wide 

       His stores, and all the poor with plenty fed: 

     Thus God's anointed God's own place supplied, 

       And fill'd the empty with his daily bread. 

 287 This royal bounty brought its own reward, 

       And in their minds so deep did print the sense, 

     That if their ruins sadly they regard, 

       'Tis but with fear the sight might drive him thence. 

 288 But so may he live long, that town to sway, 

       Which by his auspice they will nobler make, 

     As he will hatch their ashes by his stay, 

       And not their humble ruins now forsake.


ANNUS MIRABILIS episode transcript

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