Monday, 15 July 2013

A Phrasis is a structured verse where the poet uses selected prose phrases from another writer’s prose (from out of copyright works of prose)  to compile  new ,unique poetry therefrom  in structured verse as a tribute thereto,(the word phrasis is Greek for phrase).

This blog contains examples of my phrasis from the prose of Rutherford/Hogarth/Van Gogh/Reynolds/Gainsborough/Donne/Vaughan/Herbert and Gilfillan
YOU CAN READ MORE examples   in my SELECTED PHRASIS my 2014 kindle edition.

These phrasis are my copyright but maybe used for educational purposes provided advice is made to me at

My inspiration in this case by a particular letter of Rutherford's fames 'Letters'but an amalgam of  Rutherford’s exceptional literary turn of phrase taken from many letters and created into unique theme poems that reflect the phrases contained therein ,hence I have labelled this verse form as as ‘phrasis’.

As a contemporay  evangelical Christian , I am in ‘sympathy’ with much of Rutherford’s theology and a poet of some years experience of many poetic forms and therefore offered this ebook on kindle to ‘enrich the universal church’ as Thomson  suggested by Rutherford's 19th century biographer, and hopefully to encourage others to read Samuel Rutherford’s pastoral letters for themselves. 

SAMPLE VERSES below are from my three of my nine  ebooks of a phrasis form Samuel Rutherford Phrasis and  Joshua Reynolds Phrasis  Art  Phrasis(1) more available to read and listen to on youtube under the name ichthyschiro and read on kindle  Art Phrasis (2)(3)(4) and Christian Literary Phrasis









I had but one joy,this apple

of my eye, to preach of Christ

,my Lord.Now I hang but by

a thread,but if I may say,

it is all of Christ’s spinning;

Day by day the bloom fell

off my branches and joy did

cast its flower.And yet I might

still meet with joy up in the

rainbow’s bower.There the

good Husbandman does pick

His rose and gather His lily.

The night will close the door

And hasten my anchor within

the veil and I shall go away

to sleep,leaving others,now

to tell my tale.
An phrasis epitaph of Samuel Rutherford

using phrases selected from his letters.

No 56;74;180;185;225;310;333


What thou lovest in her face
is colour,if her face be painted
on a board or wall, thou wilt
love it.She speaks,smiles and
kisses much. Because it is
painted do you not behold with
pleasure her painted face? Love
her who shows her love to thee,
in this smile , lovely to thee,all
her love forever be,if her face
forever, rests upon thee.
I see her often,solaced with beauty,
the rich sweet softness of her
eyes,that all my senses now
apprehend. Elixir of all vertues,
handmaidens,Pandars of the
bodies pleasure.That Virginity
a virtue,kept by modest chastity
‘til willing and desirous to yield.
When the name Virgin shall be
exchanged ,for the more
honourable name, of Wife .
From John Donne’s prose Juvenilia 2,11,12



This man Christ,very God and

very  man,this great design and ‘til

the end of time,to make all sinners

‘mine’. To commemorate this

sacrifice this glorious sacrament,

a preparation daye, a solemne

Feast of mercy and miracles.Pledges

of Thy love, sacred institutions

regularly to be said, of prayer and

meditation,lest they wither away,

dead, with time.When all the world

is asleep we should’st watch upon the

Day-lilie of life as if the sun were

already set.When all is gone,and

all is dust, deformity ,desolation

and stress.Keep me Lord from hours,

and the powers, of the darknesse.

From Henry Vaughan’s Solitary Desolations



Think not my silence forgetfulness

my meaning now to you declare,

my resolution to be, all in this

poetry.This diversity of your

favours now,I dare no longer

silent stay.Some observations

I have framed to myself and

relate to you today.My tears,

many for you,to bud .glow

and bear fruit in your soul and

not take their toll,such fruit of

my observations will I’m sure

bless you more and more.I fear

onl that I haver omitted some

fitting circumstance,yet you will

pardon my haste and forgive if

my verse is not entirely to your taste.


From George Herbert letters 1,2,3,4,8




Shell like and thin,without and

within,whose surface naturally

co-incide.Straight rays from the


prace with beauty personified.

Simplicity,intricacy uniformity

 Quanitified.inlets of beauty

evident,entertaining the eye

glutted with variety.A plain

space,pleasant to see,scroll

and volute in symmetry,surprised

by mimicry to avoid regularity.

Simple,distinct enjoying with

ease, in cone form or pyramid

will ever please.Allegory,riddle

where angles amuse,magnitude

ill-shaped,adds greatness to grace,

a broken line to enhance each

face.Lines rgat entwine,twisting

then un-wind.Serpentine,well

composed adds variety to art,

waving,dotted or straight,elegant

grace in our eye will impart.


From Hogarth’s Analysis of Beauty



Fancy which has no foundation

constancy or precision,resemblance

or harmony,lies.Not fixed or variable

in its effort to please,no better than

prejudice,transitory,fantastical it dies,

unguided, unseen.In narrow

bounds of the exotic rude and

wild,uncultured forlorn,dressed

in the fashion of its times,an

allegorical ornament with ideas

of grandeur.Thoughts conveyed

as statues,bas-relief,intaglios

cameos melted and refined

borrowed and made anew,

complemented ,complimented,too.

From Joshua Reynolds discourse on art lectures


Broken fullness, in finished fragments

instantly incarnate falls upon the

fantastic mirror of the human heart,

truth entire and absolute living fills

as a hand in glove,clear,succinct

consistent,by this God of love.It

coversa nd commands the finite

over which it bends,the amplest

and clearest,highest spoken to man.

This ideal once of man and of God.

A manual of worship sublimates

the springs of hope and joy,charms

heart and imagination in Christ,

our predestination.

From George Gilfillan preface to The Bards of the Bible



The sound of water,escaping dams

willows,old rotten planks,slimy

posts,brickwork,old timber props

wet ditches,sedges and silvery nets

towpaths without gates,horses that

tow barges collared with a crimson fringe.

Wheat and thatched cottages and cornstacks

grasses in flower,bogrush bulrush and

teazle,so tall.Bindweed,wild carrot,

hemlock in bloom,cow parsley,plantain

bramble in June.Poppy,thistle mallow

and hop.Purple heath,hills and swift

running streams,true clear fresh and

brisk as champagne ,about to pop.

From Constable letters to Rev John Fisher




Create a little business for

the Eye to be drawn from

trees, to return them with more

glee.Variety, lively touches,

surprising effects to make

the heart dance so pictures

walk out from their frame.

All is simplicity and elegance

almost motionless plainness

in a grand style.The eye may

be cheated by appearance and

size, as a tune confused by a

false bass, a fictious bundle of

trumpery in poetical impossibilities.

Fools talk of imitation and

copying, all is imitation, what

makes the difference,notgenius

or conception but performance.

From the Letters of Thomas Gainsborough