Poems collected by Beatrice Keyfitz

Beauty Extoll'd, Anon. (1671)
Song, John Bennet (1575-1614)
Song, Anon. (early 17th century)
The Lover In Winter Pineth For The Spring, Anon. (early 16th cent.)
On His Child, Thomas Hood (1799-1845)
Desire, William Cornish (14??-1523)
Shepherd's Dirge, George Peele (1556-1596)
Of His Dear Son, Gervase, Sir John Beaumont (c.1583-1627)
Drop Golden Showers, Thomas Goffe (1591-1629?)
A Charm, Thomas Randolph (1605-1635)
Rose Aylmer
Upon Rose Aylmer's Hair
Mother, I Cannot Mind My Wheel
Ianthe's Question
A Sad Song, Philip Massinger (1683-1740)
The Dying Child, John Clare (1793-1864)
Ode To A Nightingale, John Keats (1795-1821)
Sonnet---to A Cat, John Keats (1795-1821)
On The Grasshopper And The Cricket, John Keats (1795-1821)
Ode On Melancholy, John Keats (1795-1821)
I Am The Only Being Whose Doom, Emily Bronte (1818-1848)
The Prisoner, Emily Bronte (1818-1848)
The Philosopher, Emily Bronte (1818-1848)
The Lady Who Offers Her Looking-glass To Venus, Matthew Prior (1664-1721)
To His Mistress, Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
In Commendation Of Music, William Strode (1602-1645)
Chloris In The Snow, William Strode (1602-1645)
Egypt's Might Is Tumbled Down, Mary Coleridge (1861-1907)
The Bell-man, Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
To Catch Dame Fortune's Golden Smile, Robert Burns (1759-1796)
To A Mouse On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough November, 1785, Robert Burns (1759-1796)
M'pherson's Farewell, Robert Burns (1759-1796)
John Anderson, My Jo, Robert Burns (1759-1796)
A Lecture Upon The Shadow., John Donne (1572-1631)
The Computation, John Donne (1572-1631)
The Relic, John Donne (1572-1631)
That Time And Absence Proves Rather Helps Than Hurts To Loves, John Donne (1572-1631)
The Good-morrow, John Donne (1572-1631)
Love's Deity, John Donne (1572-1631)
The Triple Fool, John Donne (1572-1631)
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, John Donne (1572-1631)
The Tiger, William Blake (1757-1827)
Ah! Sun-flower, William Blake (1757-1827)
The Enemy, William Blake (1757-1827)
London, William Blake (1757-1827)
Love's Secret, William Blake (1757-1827)
Saint John Baptist, William Drummond (1585-1649)
The Wife A-lost, William Barnes (1801-86)
Rat Riddles, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
They All Want To Play Hamlet, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
Ossawatomie, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
Broken-face Gargoyles, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
Spring's Welcome, John Lyly (1554-1606)
Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Non Vitat Incohare Longam
Epitaph On A Jacobite, T.B. Macaulay (1800-1859)
Fighting South Of The Castle
Grongar Hill, John Dyer ( 1699-1757)
Thoughts In A Garden, Andrew Marvell (1621-78)
Bermudas, Andrew Marvell (1621-78)
The World A Hunt, William Drummond (1585-1649)
Kubla Khan, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Cologne, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Bantams In Pine Woods, Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)
On The Death Of Mr. Robert Levet A Practitioner Of Physic, Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
Proud Maisie, Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
On Scott's Ôthe Fields Of Waterloo
Is It Well With The Child?, Christina Rosetti (l830-1894)
Up-hill, Christina Rosetti (l830-1894)
Remember Me, Christina Rosetti (l830-1894)
Song, Christina Rosetti (l830-94)
The Question, P. B. Shelley (1792Ð1822)
Sonnet, Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)
Prayer For Indifference, Fanny Greville (18th Century)
Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
Growing Old, Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
Pity, Babette Deutsch (1895-1982)
The Grey Squirrel, Humbert Wolfe (1885-1940)
Youth And Age, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
Darkness, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
Oh! Snatched Away In Beauty's Bloom, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
The Quiet Life, Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
The Listeners, Walter de la Mare (1873-1953)
Fare Well, Walter de la Mare (1873-1953)
Away, Walter de la Mare (1873-1953)
Say Not The Struggle Nought Availeth, Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-61)
Devotion, Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
Vespers, Thomas Edward Brown (1830-1897)
I Bended Unto Me A Bough, Thomas Edward Brown (1830-1897)
The Question, Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (1878-1962)
The Shrouding Of The Duchess Of Malfi, John Fletcher (1579-1625)
The Widow Of Drynam, Patrick MacDonogh (1902-1961)
Beauty Clear And Fair, John Fletcher (1579-1625)
The Flower, George Herbert (1593-1633)
The Temper, George Herbert (1593-1633)
The Church Windows, George Herbert (1593-1633)
Fable, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
The Tables Turned, W. Wordsworth (1770-1850)
The Changeling, Charlotte Mew (1879-1928)
The Parting, Michael Drayton (1563-1631)
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)
The Darkling Thrush, Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
Transformations, Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
Ode, Hafiz (Shams-ud-din, c.1300-1388)
The Suicide, Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) (Trans. Richard Barnes)
El Suicida
Tenebris Interlucentum, James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)
To A Poet A Thousand Years Hence, James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)
Ad Leuconoen (ode I, 13), Horace (tr. F.P. Adams)
Love And Age, Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866)
Rubayat Of Omar Khayyam, Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883)
Two In The Campagna, Robert Browning (1812-1889)
Menelaus And Helen, Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)
The Despot, Edith Nesbit (1858-1924)
Parable Of The Old Men And The Young, Richard Aldington (1892-1962)
Pisan Cantos, LXXXI, Ezra Pound (1885-1973)
If This Is A Man, Primo Levi (1920-1987)
The Day Is Done, H. W. Longfellow (1807-1882)
King John And The Abbot Of Canterbury
The City In The Sea, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
To Helen, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
Requiem, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
The Lamplighter, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
The Bishop Orders His Tomb At Saint Praxed's Church
Prospice, Robert Browning (1812-1889)
Tomlinson, Rudyard (1865-1936)
The Deserted Village, Oliver Goldsmith (1730?-1774)
Waring., Robert Browning (1812-1889)
Piano, D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
The Farmer's Bride, Charlotte Mew (1870-1928)
The Toys, Coventry Patmore (1823-1896)
Sonnet, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (l828-1882)
The Earthly Paradise: Apology, William Morris (1834-1896)
A Ballad Of Hell, John Davidson (1859-1909)
Child Labor, Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)
Tilly, James Joyce (1882-1941)
Old Men, Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
The Youth Of The Heart, Irish Folk Song (I wish I knew the tune)
Madam Life's A Piece In Bloom, W. E. Henley (1849-1903)
I Remember, I Remember, Thomas Hood (1799-1845)
Gold, Thomas Hood (1799-1845)
From Book XII Of Paradise Lost, John Milton (1608-1674)
Wolsey's Farewell, W. Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Sonnet LVII, W. Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Sonnet CXXX, W. Shakespeare (1564-1616)
The City In The Sea, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
To Helen, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came, Robert Browning, (1855-1889)
Ode, Joseph Addison (1672-1719)
To Die, Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
'because I Could Not Stop For Death', Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Locksley Hall, Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
The Door In The Dark, Robert Frost (1874-1963)
Adam Cast Forth, Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)
See, See, Mine Own Sweet Jewel, Thomas Morley (1557/g8-1602)
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,, Dylan Thomas (1914-53)
Far In A Western Brookland
"from Clee To Heaven The Beacon Burns...", A.E. Housman (1858-1936)
The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Who Goes With Fergus, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
The Song Of Wandering Aengus, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Down By The Salley Gardens, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
When You Are Old, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
The Swans At Coole, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Mignonne Allons Voir ...
Chant D'automne, Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
Brise Marine, StŽphane MallarmŽ (1842-1898)
Tristesse D'ƒtƒ., StŽphane MallarmŽ (1842-1898)
J'ai Tant Rævƒ De Toi, Robert Desnos (1900-1945)
IL Est Un Air..., GŽrard de Nerval (1808-1855)
Love And Sleep, A.C. Swinburne (1837-1909)
The Power Of The Dog, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
Milk For The Cat, Harold Munro (1879-1932)
Minstrel Man, Langston Hughes (l902-1967)
The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
Spring And Fall: To A Young Child, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
God's Grandeur, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
Felix Randal, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
Psalm 23
Ecclesiastes 12
Corinthians 13:1-13
Not To Be Taken Seriously
Sorrows Of Werther, W.M. Thackeray (1811-1863)
A Terrible Infant, Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821-1895)
The House That Jack Built
Another Version
"the Day Is Done", Phoebe Cary (1824-1871)
The Lovers, Phoebe Cary (1824-1871)
Ravin's Of Piute Poet Poe
Double Limerick, Author Unknown (to me)
A Ballade Of Suicide, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
Ode For A Social Meeting, With Slight Alterations For A Teetotaler, Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)
Der Doppelg€nger, Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
Fragen, Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
Der Asra, Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
Ballade Des €u§eren Lebens, Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929)
The Last Man To Speak Ubyk, John Burnside (LRB 8/22/02)


Anon. (1671)

Gaze not on Swans, in whose soft breast
A full-hatch'd Beauty seems to nest,
Nor Snow, which falling from the Sky,
Hovers in its Virginity.

Gaze not on Roses, though new-blown,
Graced with a fresh complexion;
Nor Lillies, which no subtle Bee
Hath robb'd by kissing chymistree.

Gaze not on that pure milky way,
Where night vies splendour with the day;
Nor Pearl, whose silver walls confine
The riches of an Indian mine.

For if my Emperess appears,
Swans moulting die, Snow melts to tears;
Roses do blush and hang their heads,
Pale Lillies shrink into their beds.

The milky way rides post to shroud
Its baffl'd glory in a cloud;
And pearls do climb into her ear,
To hang themselves for envy there.

So I have seen Stars big with light,
Prove lanthorns to the Moon-eyed Night;
Which when Sol's rays were once display'd,
Sunk in their sockets, and decay'd.


John Bennet (1575-1614)

Thyrsis, sleepest thou? Holla! Let not sorrow stay us.
Hold up thy head, man, said the gentle Meliboeus.
See Summer comes again, the country's pride adorning,
Hark how the cuckoo singeth, this fair April morning.
O! said the shepherd, and sighed as one all undone,
Let me alone, alas, and drive him back to London.


Anon. (early 17th century)

Ha ha! ha ha! this world doth pass
Most merrily, I'll be sworn;
For many an honest Indian ass
Goes for a Unicorn.
Farra diddle dino,
This is idle fino.

Ty hye! ty hye! O sweet delight!
He tickles this age that can
Call Tullia's ape a marmosite
And Leda's goose a swan.
Farra diddle dino,
This is idle fino.

So ho! so ho! fine English days!
When false play's no reproach;
For he that doth the coachman praise
May safely use the coach.
Farra diddle dino,
This is idle fino.


Anon. (early 16th cent.)

O Western wind, when wilt thou blow
That the small rain down can rain?
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!


Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

Little eyes that scarce did see,
Little lips that never smiled;
Alas! my little dear dead child,
Death is thy father, and not me,
I but embraced thee soon as he.


William Cornish (14??-1523)

You and I and Amyas,
Amyas and you and I,
To the green wood must we go, alas!
You and I, my life, and Amyas.

The knight knocked at the castle gate;
The lady marvelled who was thereat.

To call the porter he would not blin;
The lady said he should not come in.

The portress was a lady bright;
Strangeness that lady hight.

She asked him what was his name;
He said, 'Desire, your man, Madame.'

She said, 'Desire, what do ye here?'
He said, 'Madame, as your prisoner.'

He was counselled to brief a bill,
And show my lady his own will.

'Kindness,' said she, 'would it bear,
'And Pity,' said she, 'would be there.'

Thus how they did we cannot say;
We left them there and went our way.


George Peele (1556-1596)

Welladay, welladay, poor Colin, thou art going to the ground,
The love whom Thestylis hath slain.
Hard heart, fair face, fraught with disdain,
Disdain in love a deadly wound.
Wound her, sweet Love, so deep again,
That she may feel the dying pain,
Of this unhappy shepherd's swain,
And die for love as Colin died, as Colin died.

Two songs from THE OLD WIFE'S TALE
George Peele (1558-1597)
Whenas the rye reach to the chin,
And chopcherry, chopcherry ripe within,
Strawberies swimming in the cream
And schoolboys playing in the stream;
Then O, then O, then O, my true love said,
Till that time come again,
She could not live a maid.
(A head comes up with ears of corn, and
she combs them into her lap)
Gently dip, but not too deep,
For fear thou make the golden beard to weep.
Fair maiden, white and red,
Comb me smooth and stroke my head,
And thou shalt have some cockle-bread.

(A second head comes up, full of gold,
which she combs into her lap)

Gently dip, but not too deep,
For fear thou make the golden beard to weep.
Fair maid, white and red,
Comb me smooth and stroke my head,
And every hair a sheath shall be,
And every sheaf a golden tree.


Sir John Beaumont (c.1583-1627)

Dear Lord, receive my son, whose winning love
To me was like a friendship, far above
The course of nature or his tender age;
Whose looks could all my bitter griefs assuage:
Let his pure soul, ordain'd seven years to be
In that frail body which was part of me,
Remain my pledge in Heaven, as sent to show
How to this port at every step I go.


Thomas Goffe (1591-1629?)

Drop golden showers, gentle sleep;
And all the angels of the night,
Which do us in protection keep,
Make this queen dream of delight.
Morpheus, be kind a while, and be
Death's now true image, for 'twill prove
To her that sleeps here thou art he.
Her grave is made i' the bed of love:
Now when she looks her lord should come
She's dreaming sent to Elysium.
Her marriage night she well may call
No wedding but a funeral


Thomas Randolph (1605-1635)

Quiet, sleep! or I will make
Erinnys whip thee with a snake,
And cruel Rhadamanthus take
Thy body to the burning lake,
Where fire and brimstone never slake;
Thy heart shall burn, thy head shall ache,
And every joint about thee quake;
And therefore dare not yet to wake.

Quiet, sleep! or thou shalt see
The horrid hags of Tartary,
Whose tresses ugly serpents be,
And Cerberus shall bark at thee,
And all the Furies that are three—
The worst is called Tisiphone—
Shall lash thee to eternity;
And therefore sleep thou peacefully.

Seven by Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864)


There is a flower I wish to wear
But not until first worn by you—
Heartsease—of all earth's flowers most rare;
Bring it; and bring enough for two.


Why do our joys depart
For cares to seize the heart?
I know not. Nature says
Obey; and Man obeys.
I see, and know not why,
Thorns live, and roses die.


Ah,what avails the sceptred race!
Ah, what the form divine!
What every virtue, every grace!
Rose Aylmer, all were thine.
Rose Aylmer whom these wakeful eyes
May weep but never see,
A night of memories and sighs
I consecrate to thee.


(Found after his death)

Beautiful spoil! borne off from vanquished death!
Upon my heart's high altar shall ye lie,
Moved but by only one adorer's breath,
Retaining youth, rewarding constancy.


Mother, I cannot mind my wheel;
My fingers ache, my lips are dry:
O, if you felt the pain I feel!
But O, who ever felt as I?

No longer could I doubt him true—
All other men may use deceit;
He always said my eyes were blue,
And often swore my lips were sweet.


'Do you remember me? or are you proud?'
Lightly advancing through her star-trimmed crowd,
Ianthe said, and look'd into my eyes.
'A yes, a yes to both: for Memory
Where you but once have been must ever be,
And at your voice Pride from his throne must rise.'


I stove with none, for none was worth my strife,
Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art:
I warm'd both hands before the fire of life;
It sinks, and I am ready to depart.


Philip Massinger (1683-1740)

Why art thou slow, thou rest of trouble, Death,
To stop a wretches breath,
That calls on thee, and offers her sad heart
A prey unto thy dart?
I am not young, nor fair, be therefore bold,
Sorrow hath made me old,
Deformed and wrinkled; all that I can crave
Is quiet in my grave.
Such as live happy hold long life a jewell,
But to me thou art cruell,
If thou end not my tedious miserie,
And I soon cease to be.
Strike, and strike home then; pity unto me
In one short hour's delay is tyrannie.


John Clare (1793-1864)

He could not die when trees were green,
For he loved the time too well.
His little hands, when flowers were seen,
Were held for the bluebell,
As he was carried o'er the green.

His eye glanced at the white-nosed bee;
He knew those children of the Spring.
When he was well and on the lea
He held one in his hands to sing,
Which filled his heart with glee.

Infants, the children of the Spring!
How can an infant die
When butterflies are on the wing,
Green grass, and such a sky?
How can they die at Spring?
He held his hands for daisies white,
And then for violets blue,
And took them all to bed at night
That in the green fields grew,
As childhood's sweet delight.

And then he shut his little eyes,
And flowers would notice not;
Birds' nests and eggs caused no surprise,
He now no blossoms got:
They met with plaintive sighs.
When Winter came and blasts did sigh,
And bare were plain and tree,
And he for ease in bed did lie,
His soul seemed with the free,
He died so quietly.

LIFE AND DEATH (From The Last Man)
Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803-1849)

Let him lean
Against his life, that glassy interval
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five Twixt us and nothing; and upon the ground
Of his own slippery breath, draw hueless dreams,
And gaze on frost-work hopes. Uncourteous Death
Knuckles the pane and ...

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-92)

There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,
Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes;
Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.
Here are cool mosses deep;
And through the moss the ivies creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,
And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleeps.


John Keats (1795-1821)

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness—
That thou, light winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvŽd earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth.
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim
And purple-stainŽd mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim.

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new love pine at them beyond tomorrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen Moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmŽd darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves
And mid-May's eldest child
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death.
Call'd him soft names in many a musŽd rhyme
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing and I have ears in vain—
To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the selfsame song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf,
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side, and now Ôtis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:--do I wake or sleep?

John Keats (1795-1821)

Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
In some untrodden region of my mind,
Where branchèd thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain,
Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind:
Far, far around shall those dark-cluster'd trees
Fledge the wild-ridgèd mountains steep by steep;
And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,
The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull'd to sleep;
And in the midst of this wide quietness
A rosy sanctuary will I dress
With the wreath'd trellis of a working brain,
With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,
With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign,
Who, breeding flowers, will never breed the same;
And there shall be for thee all soft delight
That shadowy thought can win,
A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,
To let the warm Love in!


John Keats (1795-1821)

Cat! who hast pass'd thy grand climacteric,
How many mice and rats hast in thy days
Destroyed?--How many tit bits stolen?--Gaze
With those bright languid segments green, and prick
Those velvet ears—but prithee do not stick
Thy latent talons in me—and upraise
Thy gentle mew—and tell me all thy frays
Of fish and mice and rats and tender chick.
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists—
For all the wheezy asthma—and for all
Thy tail's tip is nick'd off—and though the fists
Of many a maid have given thee many a maul,
Still is that fur as soft as when the lists
In youth thou enterd'st on glass bottled wall.


John Keats (1795-1821)

The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the warm sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper's—he takes the lead
In summer luxury—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half-lost
The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.


John Keats (1795-1821)

No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf's bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to Poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.


Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

I am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask, no eye would mourn;
I've never caused a thought of gloom.
A smile of joy, since I was born.
In secret pleasure, secret tears,
This changeful life has slipped away,
As friendless after eighteen years,
As lone as on my natal day.
There have been times, I cannot hide,
There have been times when this was drear,
When my sad soul forgot its pride
And longed for one to love me here.

But those were in the early glow
Of feelings that subdued by care,
And they have died so long ago,
I hardly now believe they were.
First melted off the hope of youth,
Then fancy's rainbow fast withdrew;
And then experience told me truth
In mortal bosoms never grew.
ÔTwas grief enough to think mankind
All hollow, servile, insincere;
But worse to trust to my own mind
And find the same corruption there.


Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

Still let my tyrants know, I am not doomed to wear
Year after year in gloom and desolate despair;
A messenger of Hope comes every night to me,
And offers for short life, eternal liberty.

He comes with Western winds, with evening's wandering airs,
With that clear dusk of heaven, that brings the thickest stars;
Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire,
And visions rise and change, that kill me with desire.

But first a hush of peace—a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distress and fierce impatience ends.
Mute music soothes my breast—unuttered harmony
That I could never dream, Ôtil Earth was lost to me.

Then dawns the Invisible: the Unseen its truth reveals;
My outward sense is gone, my inward essence feels
Its wings are almost free—its home, its harbour found,
Measuring the gulf, it stoops, and dares the final bound.

O dreadful is the check—intense the agony—
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb—the brain to think again—
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.

Yet I would lose no sting, would wish no torture less;
The more that anguish racks, the earlier it will bless;
And robed in fires of hell, or bright with heavenly shine,
If it but herald Death, the vision is divine.


Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

Oh, for the time when I shall sleep
Without identity,
And never care how rain may steep,
Or snow may cover me!
No promised heaven, these wild desires
Could all or half fulfill;
No threatened hell, with quenchless fires
Subdue this quenchless will!

So said I, and still say the same;
Still, to my death, will say—
Three gods, within this little frame,
Are warring night and day;
Heaven could not hold them all, and yet
They all are held in me;
And must be mine till I forget
My present entity!

Oh, for the time, when in my breast
Their struggle will be o'er!
Oh, for the day when I shall rest,
And never suffer more!

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

And more, to lulle him in his slumber soft,
A trickling streame from high rock tumbling downe
And ever-drizzling raine upon the loft,
Mixt with a murmuring winde, much like the sowne
Of swarming Bees, did cast him in a swowne:
No other noyse, nor peoples troublous cryes
As still are wont t'annoy the wallèd towne,
Might there be heard; but careless Quiet lyes,
Wrapt in eternal silence farre from enemyes.


Matthew Prior (1664-1721)

Venus take my votive glass:
Since I am not what I was,
What from this day I may be.
Venus, let me never see.


Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Put on your silks; and piece by piece
Give them the scent of Amber-Greece:
And for your breaths too, let them smell
Ambrosia-like, or Nectarell;
While other gums their sweets perspire,
By your own jewels set on fire.


William Strode (1602-1645)

WHEN whispering strains do softly steal
With creeping passion through the heart
And when at every touch we feel
Our pulses beat and bear a part;
When threads can make
A heartstring shake
Can scarce deny
The soul consists of harmony.

When unto heavenly joy we feign
Whate'er the soul affecteth most,
Which only thus we can explain
By music of the wingˆed host,
Whose lays we think
Make stars to wink,
Can scarce deny
Our souls consist of harmony.

O lull me, lull me, charming air!
My senses rock with wonder sweet,
Like snow on wool thy fallings are;
Soft like a spirit's are thy feet.
Grief who needs fear
That hath an ear?
Down let him lie
And slumbering die
And change his soul for harmony.


William Strode (1602-1645)

I saw fair Chloris walk alone,
When feather'd rain came softly down,
As Jove descending from his Tower
o court her in a silver shower:
The wanton snow flew to her breast,
Like pretty birds into their nest,
But, overcome with whiteness there,
For grief it thaw'd into a tear:
Thence falling to her garment's hem,
To deck her, freez'd into a gem.


Mary Coleridge (1861-1907)

Egypt's might is tumbled down
Down a-down the deeps of thought;
Greece is fallen, and Troy town,
Glorious Rome hath lost her crown,
Venice' pride is naught.

But the dreams their children dreamed,
Fleeting, unsubstantial, vain,
Shadowy, as the shadows seemed
Airy nothing, as they deemed,
These remain.


Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Along the dark and silent night,
With my Lantern and my Light,
And the tinkling of my Bell,
Thus I walk and thus I tell:
Death and dreadfulness call on,
To the gen'ral Session;
To whose dismall Barre, we there
All accompts must come to cleere:
Scores of sins w'ave made here many,
Wip't out few (God knows) if any.
Rise ye Debtors then, and fall
To make payment, while I call.
Ponder this,when I am gone;
By the clock Ôtis almost One.

From noise of Scare-fires rest ye free,
From murder's Benedicitie.
From all mischances that may fright
Your pleasing slumbers in the night:
Mercie secures ye all, and keep
The Goblin from ye, while ye sleep.
Past one o'clock,and almost two,
My Masters all, Good day to you.

Francis Brett Young (1894-1954)

He goes down
Unerringly as though he knew the way
Through green, through gloom, to absolute watery darkness,
Where no weed sways, nor curious fin quivers:
To the sad, sunless deeps where, endlessly,
A downward drift of death spreads its wan mantle
In the wave-molded valleys that shall enfold him
Till the sea gives up its dead.

There shall he lie dispersed amid great riches:
Such gold, such arrogance, so many bold hearts!
All the sunken armadas pressed to powder
By weight of incredible seas! That mingled wrack
No living sun shall visit till the crust
Of earth be riven, or this rolling planet
Reel on its axis; till the moon-chained tides
Unloosed, deliver up that white Atlantis
Whose naked peaks shall beach above the slaked
Thirst of Sahara, fringed by weedy tangles
Of Atlas's drowned cedars,frowning eastward
To where the sands of India lie cold,
Slowly uplifted, grain on grain ...


Robert Burns (1759-1796)

To catch Dame Fortune's golden smile,
Assiduous wait upon her;
And gather gear by every wile
That's justified by honour;
Not for to hide it in a hedge,
Nor for a train attendant,
But for the glorious privilege
Of being independent.


Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Wee sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou needna start awa' sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
An' fellow mortal.

I doubt na', whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin' wi' the laive,
And never miss't.

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the winds are strewin'!
An' naething now to big a new ane
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin',
Baith snell and keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin' fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till, crash! the cruel colter past
Out through thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice and men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us naught but grief and pain,
For promised joy.

Still thou art blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But, och! I backward cast my e'e
On prospects drear;
An' forward, though I canna see,
I guess an' fear.


Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Farewell, ye dungeons dark and strong,
The wretch's destinie!
M'Pherson's time will not be long
On yonder gallows tree.

Sae rantinly, sae wantonly,
Sae dauntinly gaed he;
He played a spring and danced it round
Below the gallows tree.

I've lived a life of sturt and strife,
I die by treacherie:
It burns my heart I must depart
And not avenged be.

Sae rantinly, sae wantonly,
Sae dauntinly gaed he;
He played a spring and danced it round
Below the gallows tree.

Now farewell light, thou sunshine bright,
And all beneath the sky!
May coward shame distain his name,
The wretch that dare not die!

Sae rantinly, sae wantonly,
Sae dauntinly gaed he;
He played a spring and danced it round
Below the gallows tree.


Robert Burns (1759-1796)

John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent,
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonny brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snaw;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill tegither;
And mony a canty day, John,
We've had with one anither.
Now we maun totter down, John,
But hand in hand we'll go;
And sleep tegither at the foot,
John Anderson, my jo.


John Donne (1572-1631)

Stand still, and I will read to thee
A lecture, Love, in Love's philosophy.
These three hours that we have spent,
Walking here, two shadows went
Along with us, which we ourselves produced.
But, now the sun is just above our head,
We do those shadows tread,
And to brave clearness all things are reduced.
So whilst our infant loves did grow,
Disguises did, and shadows, flow
From us and our cares ; but now 'tis not so.
That love hath not attain'd the highest degree,
Which is still diligent lest others see.

Except our loves at this noon stay,
We shall new shadows make the other way.
As the first were made to blind
Others, these which come behind
Will work upon ourselves, and blind our eyes.
If our loves faint, and westerwardly decline,
To me thou, falsely, thine
And I to thee mine actions shall disguise.
The morning shadows wear away,
But these grow longer all the day ;
But O ! love's day is short, if love decay.
Love is a growing, or full constant light,
And his short minute, after noon, is night.


John Donne (1572-1631)

For the first twenty years since yesterday,
I scarce believ'd thou could'st be gone away,
For forty more, I fed on favours past,
And forty on hopes that, thou would'st they might last.
Teares drowned one hundred, and sighs blew out two,
A thousand, I did neither think nor do,
Or not divide, all being one thought of you;
Or in a thousand more, forgot that too.
Yet call not this long life; but think that I
Am, by being dead, immortall; can ghosts die?


John Donne (1572-1631)

When my grave is broke up again
Some second guest to entertain,
For graves have learn'd that woman-head,
To be to more than one a bed—
And he that digs it, spies
A bracelet of bright hair about the bone,
Will he not let us alone,
And think that there a loving couple lies,
Who thought that this device might be some way
To make their souls at the last busy day
Meet at this grave, and make a little stay?

If this fall in a time, or land,
Where mass-devotion doth command,
Then he that digs us up will bring
Us to the bishop or the king,
To make us relics; then
Thou shalt be a Mary Magdalen, and I
A something else thereby;
All women shall adore us, and some men.
And, since at such time miracles are sought,
I would have that age by this paper taught
What miracles we harmless lovers wrought.

First we loved well and faithfully,
Yet knew not what we loved, nor why ;
Difference of sex we never knew,
No more than guardian angels do ;
Coming and going we
Perchance might kiss, but not between those meals ;
Our hands ne'er touch'd the seals,
Which nature, injured by late law, sets free.
These miracles we did ; but now alas !
All measure, and all language, I should pass,
Should I tell what a miracle she was.


John Donne (1572-1631)

Absence, hear thou my protestation
Against thy strength,
Distance and length:
Do what thou canst for alteration,
For hearts of truest mettle
Absence doth join and Time doth settle.

Who loves a mistress of such qualtiy,
His mind hath found
Affection's ground
Beyond time, place, and all mortality.
To hearts that cannot vary
Absence is present, Time doth tarry.

My senses want their outward motion
Which now within
Reason doth win,
Redoubled by her secret notion:
Like rich men that take pleasure
In hiding more than handling treasure.

By Absence this good means I gain,
That I can catch her
Where none can watch her,
In some close corner of my brain:
There I embrace and kiss her,
And so enjoy her and none miss her.


John Donne (1572-1631)

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? were we not wean'd till then?
But sucked on counry pleasures childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den?
ÔTwas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be,
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, Ôtwas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp North, without declining West?
Whatever dies was not mixt equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike, that none do sicken, none can die.


John Donne (1572-1631)

I long to talk with some old lover's ghost,
Who died before the god of Love was born:
I cannot think that he, who then lov'd most,
Sunk so low, as to love one which did scorn.
But since this god produc'd a destiny,
And that vice-nature, custom, lets it be;
I must love her, that loves not me.

Sure, they which made him god, meant not so much,
Nor he, in his young godhead, practis'd it.
But when an even flame two hearts did touch,
His office was indulgently to fit
Actives to passives. Correspondency
Only his subject was; it cannot be
Love, till I love her, that loves me.

But every modern god will now extend
His vast prerogative, as far as Jove,
To rage, to lust, to write to, to commend,
All is the purlieu of the God of Love.
Oh were we waken'd by this Tyranny
To ungo this child again, it could not be
I should love her, who loves not me.

Rebel and Atheist too, why murmur I,
As though I felt the worst that love could do?
Love might make me leave loving, or might try
A deeper plague, to make her love me too,
Which, since she loves before, I'm loth to see;
Falsehood is worse than hate; and that must be
If she whom I love, should love me.


John Donne (1572-1631)

I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry;
But where's that wise man, that would not be I,
If she would not deny?
Then as th' earth's inward narrow crooked lanes
Do purge sea-water's fretful salt away,
I thought, if I could draw my pains
Through rhyme's vexation, I should them allay.
Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

But when I have done so,
Some man, his art and voice to show,
Doth set and sing my pain,
And, by delighting many, frees again
Grief, which verse did restrain.
To Love and Grief tribute of Verse belongs,
But not of such as pleases when 'tis read;
Both are increasèd by such songs:
For both their triumphs so are publishèd,
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three;
Who are a little wise the best fools be.


John Donne (1572-1631)

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"The breath goes now," and some say, "No,"

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we, by a love so much refined
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion.
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two:
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do;

And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like the other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.


William Blake (1757-1827)

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of they heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was they brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


William Blake (1757-1827)

Ah! Sun-flower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime,
Where the traveller's journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.


William Blake (1757-1827)

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunnèd it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.


William Blake (1757-1827)

I wander through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear:
How the chimney-sweeper's cry
Every blackening church appals,
And the hapless soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down palace walls.
But most, through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful harlot's curse
Blasts the new-born infant's tear,
And blights with plagues the marriage hearse.


William Blake (1757-1827)

Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind doth move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all me heart.
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears
Ah, she did depart!

Soon after she was gone from me,
A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly:
He took her with a sigh.


William Drummond (1585-1649)

The last and greatest Herald of Heaven's King
Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,
Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,
Which he than man more harmless found and mild.
His food was locusts, and what young doth spring
With honey that from virgin hives distill'd;
Parch'd body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing
Made him appear, long since from earth exiled.
Then burst he forth: ÔAll ye whose hopes rely
On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn:
Repent, repent, and from old errors turn!'
Who listen'd to his voice, obey'd his cry?
Only the echoes, which he made relent,
Rung from their flinty caves, ÔRepent! Repent!'`


William Barnes (1801-86)

Since I noo mwore do zee your feace,
Up stears or down below,
I'll zit me in the lwonesome pleace,
Where flat-bough'd beech do grow;
Below the beeches' bough, my love,
Where you did never come,
An' I don't look to meet ye now,
As I do look at hwome.

Since you noo mwore be at my zide,
In walks in zummer het,
I'll goo alwone where must do ride,
Droo trees a-drippen wet;
Below the rain-wet bough, my love,
Where you did never come,
An' I don't grieve to miss ye now,
As I do grieve at hwome.

Since now bezide my dinner-board
Your voice do never sound,
I'll eat the bit I can avword
A-vield upon the ground;
Below the darksome bough, my love,
Where you did never dine,
An' I don't grieve to miss ye now,
As I at hwome do pine.

Since I do miss your voice and feace,
In prayer at eventide,
I'll pray wi' woone sad voice for greace
To goo where you do bide;
Above the tree an' bough, my love,
Where you be gone avore,
An' be a-waiten vor me now,
To come vor evermwore.

Here it is without the dialect—Who needs it?

Since I no more do see your face,
Upstairs or down below,
I'll sit me in the lonesome place,
Where flat-bough'd beech do grow;
Below the beeches' bough, my love,
Where you did never come,
And I don't look to meet you now,
As I do look at home.

Since you no more be at my side,
In walks in summer heat,
I'll go alone where most do ride,
Through trees a-dripping wet;
Below the rain-wet bough, my love,
Where you did never come,
And I don't grieve to miss you now,
As I do grieve at home.

Since now beside my dinner-board
Your voice does never sound,
I'll eat the bit I can afford
A-field upon the ground;
Below the darksome bough, my love,
Where you did never dine,
And I don't grieve to miss you now,
As I at home do pine.

Since I do miss your voice and face,
In prayer at eventide,
I'll pray with one sad voice for grace
To go where you do bide;
Above the tree and bough, my love,
Where you be gone afore,
And be a-waiting for me now,
To come for evermore.


Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

There was a gray rat looked at me
with green eyes out of a rat hole

ÒHello rat,Ó I said,
ÒIs there any chance for me
to get on to the language of the rats?Ó

And the green eyes blinked at me,
blinked from a gray rat's rat hole.

ÒCome again,Ó I said,
ÒSlip me a couple of riddles;
there must be riddles among the rats.Ó

And the green eyes blinked at me
and a whisper came from the gray rat hole:
ÒWho do you think you are and why is a rat?
Where did you sleep last night and why do you sneeze
on Tuesdays? And why is the grave of a
rat no deeper than the grave of a man?Ó

And the tail of a green-eyed rat
whipped and was gone at a gray rat hole.


Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

They all want to play Hamlet:
They have not exactly seen their fathers killed,
Nor their mothers in a frame up to kill,
Nor an Ophelia dying with a dust gagging the heart,
Not exactly the spinning circles of singing golden spiders,
Not exactly this have they got at nor the meaning of
flowers—O flowers, flowers slung by a
dancing girl—in the saddest play
the inkfish, Shakespeare, ever wrote;
Yet they all want to play Hamlet because it is sad
like all actors are sad and to stand by an open grave
with a joker's skull in the hand and then
to say over slow and say over slow
wise, keen, beautiful words
masking a heart's breaking, breaking.
This is something that calls and calls to their blood.
They are acting when they talk about it and they know
it is acting to be particular about it and yet:
They all want to play Hamlet.


Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

I don't know how he came,
Shambling, dark, and strong.
He stood in the city and told men:
My people are fools,
my people are young and strong,
my people must learn,
my people are terrible workers and fighters.
Always he kept on asking: Where did that blood come from?

They said: You for the fool killer,
you for the booby hatch
and a necktie party.

They hauled him into jail,
They sneered at him and spit on him,
And he wrecked their jails,
Saying, ÔGod damn your jails.'
And when he was most in jail
Crummy among the crazy in the dark
Then he was most of all out of jail,
Shambling, dark, and strong.
Always asking: Where did that blood come from?

They laid hands on him
And the fool killers had a laugh
And the necktie party was a go, by God;
They laid hands on him and he was a goner.
They hammered him to pieces and he stood up.
They buried him and he walked out of the grave, by God,
Asking again: Where did that blood come from?


Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

All I can give you is broken-face gargoyles.
It is too early to sing and dance at funerals,
Though I can whisper to you I am looking for an undertaker
humming a lullaby and throwing his feet in a swift and mystic
buck-and-wing, now you see it and now you don't.
Fish to swim a pool in your garden flashing a speckled silver,
A basket of wine-saps filling your room with flame-dark for
your eyes and the tang of valley orchards for your nose,
Such a beautiful pail of fish, such a beautiful peck of apples,
I cannot bring you now.
It is too early and I am not footloose yet.
I shall come in the night when I come with a hammer and saw.
I shall come near your window, where you look out when your
eyes open in the morning,
And there I shall slam together bird-houses and bird-baths for
wing-loose wrens and hummers to live in, birds with yellow
wing tips to blur and buzz soft all summer,
So I shall make little fool homes with doors, always open doors
for all and each to run away when they want to.
I shall come just like that even though now it is early and I am
not yet footloose,
Even though I am still looking for an undertaker with a raw,
wind-bitten face and a dance in his feet.
I make a date with you (put it down) for six o'clock in the evening
a thousand years from now.
All I can give you now is broken-face gargoyles.
All I can give you now is a double gorilla head with two fish mouths
and four eagle eyes hooked on a street wall, spouting water and
looking two ways to the ends of the street for the new people, the
young strangers, coming, coming, always coming.
It is early.
I shall yet be footloose.


John Lyly (1554-1606)

What bird so sings, yet so does wail?
O 'tis the ravish'd nightingale.
Jug, jug, jug, jug, tereu! she cries,
And still her woes at midnight rise.

Brave prick song! Who is't now we hear?
None but the lark so shrill and clear;
Now at heaven's gate she claps her wings,
The morn not waking till she sings.

Hark, hark, with what a pretty throat
Poor robin redbreast tunes his note!
Hark how the joly cuckoos sing
Cuckoo! to welcome in the spring!
Cuckoo! to welcome in the spring!


(Life's short span forbids us to enter
on far-reaching hopes—Horace)
Ernest Dowson (1867-1900)

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses;
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.


T.B. Macaulay (1800-1859)

To my true king I offered, free from stain,
Courage and faith; vain faith and courage vain.
For him I threw lands, honours, wealth, away,
And one dear hope that was more prized than they.
For him I languished in a foreign clime,
Grey-haired with sorrow in my manhood's prime;
Heard on Lavernia Scargill's whispering trees,
And pined by Arno for my lovelier Tees;
Beheld each night my home in fevered sleep,
Each morning started from the dream to weep.
Till God,who saw me tried too sorely, gave
The resting place I asked, an early grave.
O, thou, whom chance leads to this nameless stone,
From that proud country which was once mine own,
By those white cliffs I never more shall see,
By that dear language which I spake like thee,
Forget all feuds, and shed one English tear
O'er English dust—A broken heart lies here.


(From the Chinese, c. 124 B.C. Trans. Arthur Waley)

They fought south of the Castle,
They died north of the wall,
They died in the moors and were not buried.
Their flesh was the food of crows.
ÒTell the crows we are not afraid;
We have died in the moors and cannot be buried.
Crows, how can our bodies escape you?Ó
The waters flowed deep
And the rushes in the pool were dark.
The riders fought and were slain:
Their horses wander neighing.
By the bridge there was a house,
Was it south, was it north?
The harvest was never gathered.
How can we give you your offerings?
You served your Prince faithfully,
Though all in vain.
I think of you, faithful soldiers;
Your service shall not be forgotten.
For in the morning you went out to battle
And at night you did not return.


John Dyer ( 1699-1757)

Silent nymph, with curious eye!
Who, the purple evening, lie,
On the mountain's lonely van,
Beyond the noise of busy man;
Painting fair the form of things,
While the yellow linnet sings;
Or the tuneful nightingale
Charms the forest with her tale;
Come, with all thy various hues,
Come and aid thy sister Muse;
Now, while Phoebus riding high
Gives lustre to the land and sky!
Grongar Hill invites my song,
Draw the landscape bright and strong;
Grongar in whose mossy cells,
Sweetly musing Quiet dwells;
Grongar, in whose silent shade,
For the modest Muses made,
So oft I have, the evening still,
At the fountain of a rill,
Sate upon a flowering bed,
With my hand beneath my head;
While strayed my eyes o'er Towy's flood,
Over mead and over wood,
From house to house, from hill to hill,
Till Contemplation had her fill.

About his chequered sides I wind,
And leave his brooks and meads behind,
And groves and grottoes where I lay,
And vistas shooting beams of day;
Wide and wider spreads the vale,
As circles on a smooth canal:
The mountains round, unhappy fate!
Sooner or later, of all height,
Withdraw their summits from the skies,
And lessen as the others rise:
Still the prospect wider spreads,
Adds a thousand woods and meads:
Still it widens, widens still,
And sinks the newly-risen hill.

Now, I gain the mountain's brow,
What a landscape lies below!
No clouds, no vapours intervene:
But the gay, the open scene
Does the face of Nature show,
In all the hues of heaven's bow!
And, swelling to embrace the light,
Spreads around beneath the sight.

Old castles on the cliffs arise,
Proudly towering to the skies!
Rushing from the woods, the spires
Seem from hence ascending fires!
Half his beams Apollo sheds
On the yellow mountain-heads!
Gilds the fleeces of the flocks
And glitters on the broken rocks!

Below me trees unnumbered rise,
Beautiful in various dyes:
The gloomy pine, the poplar blue,
The yellow beech, the sable yew,
The slender fir that taper grows,
The sturdy oak with broad-spread boughs.
And beyond the purple grove,
Haunt of Phyllis, queen of love!
Gaudy as the opening dawn,
Lies a long and level lawn,
On which a dark hill, steep and high,
Holds and charms the wandering eye!
Deep are his feet in Towy's flood,
His sides are clothed with waving wood,
And ancient towers crown his brow,
That cast an awful look below;
Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps;
So both a safety from the wind
On mutual dependence find.

ÔTis now the raven's bleak abode;
ÔTis now the apartment of the toad;
And there the fox securely feeds;
And there the poisonous adder breeds,
Concealed in ruin, moss, and weekd;
While, ever and anon, there falls
Huge heaps of hoary mouldered walls
Yet Time has seen, that lifts the low,
And level lays the lofty brow,
Has seen this broken pile complete,
Big with the vanity of state,
But transient is the smile of Fate!
A little rule, a litle sway,
A sunbeam in a winer's day,
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave. . .

Ever charming, ever new,
When will the landscape tire the view?
The fountain's fall, the river's flow,
The woody valleys, warm and low,
The windy summit, wild and high,
Roughly rushing on the sky!
The pleasant seat, the ruined tower,
The naked rock, the shady bower,
The town and village, dome and farm,
Each give each a double charm,
As pearls upon an Ethiop's arm.

See the mountain's southern side,
Where the prospect opens wide,
Where the evening gilds the tide,
How close and small the hedges lie!
What streaks of meadow cross the eye!
A step methinks may pass the stream,
So little distant dangers seem;
So we mistake the Future's face,
Eyed through Hope's deluding glass;
As yon summit's soft and fair,
Clad in colours of the air,
Which to those who journey near,
Barren, brown, and rough appear;
Still we tread the same coarse way,
The present's still a cloudy day...

Grass and flowers Quiet treads
On the meads and mountain-heads,
Along with Pleasure, close allied,
Ever by each other's side:
And often, by the murmuring rull,
Hears the thrush, while all is still
Within the groves of Grongar Hill.


Andrew Marvell (1621-78)

How vainly men themselves amaze
To win the palm, the oak, or bays,
And their uncessant labours see
Crown'd from some single herb or tree,
Whose short and narrow-vergèd shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid;
While all the flowers and trees do close
To weave the garlands of repose!

Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
And Innocence thy sister dear?
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men:
Your sacred plants, if here below
Only among the plants will grow:
Society is all but rude
To this delicious solitude.

No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green.
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress' name.
Little, alas! they know or heed
How far these beauties hers exceed!
Fair trees! wheres'e'er your barks I wound,
No name shall but your own be found.

When we have run our passions' heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat:
The gods, that mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race;
Apollo hunted Daphne so
Only that she might laurel grow;
And Pan did after Syrinx speed
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.

What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themseslves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.

Meanwhile the mind from pleasure less
Withdraws into its happiness;
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.

Here at the foundtain's sliding foot,
Or at some fruit tree's mossy root,
Casting the body's vest aside,
My soul into the boughs does glide;
There like a bird it sits and sings,
Then whets and combs its silver wings,
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.

Such was that happy Garden-state
While man there walk'd without a mate:
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But Ôtwas beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there:
Two paradises Ôtwere in one,
To live in Paradise alone.

How well the skilful gard'ner drew
Of flowers and herbs this dial new!
Where, from above, the milder sun
Does through a fragrant zodiac run:
And, as it works, th' industrious bee
Computes its time as well as we.
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckon'd but with herbs and flowers!


Andrew Marvell (1621-78)

Where the remote Bermudas ride
In th' ocean's bosom unespy'd,
From a small boat, that row'd along,
The list'ning winds receiv'd this song.

What should we do but sing his praise
That led us through the wat'ry maze
Unto an isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own?
Where he the huge sea-monsters wracks,
That lift the deep upon their backs,
He lands us on a grassy stage,
Safe from the storm's and prelates' rage.
He gave us this eternal spring
Which here enamels everything,
And sends the fowls to us in care,
On daily visits through the air.
He hangs in shades the orange bright,
Like golden lamps in a green night;
And does in the pomegranates close
Jewels more rich than Ormus shows.
He makes the figs our mouths to meet
And throws the melons at our feet,
But apples plants of such a price,
No tree could ever bear them twice.
With cedars, chosen by his hand,
From Lebanon, he stores the land,
And makes the hollow seas that roar
Proclaim the ambergris on shore.
He cast (of which we rather boast)
The Gospel's pearl upon our coast,
And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple, where to sound his name.
Oh let our voice his praise exalt,
Till it arrive at heaven's vault;
Which thence (perhaps) rebounding, may
Echo beyond the Mexique Bay.

Thus sung they in the English boat
An holy and a cheerful note,
And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time.


William Drummond (1585-1649)

The World a Hunting is,
The prey, poore Man, the Nimrod fierce is Death,
His speedy Grey-hounds are
Lust, Sickness, Ennuie, Care,
Strife that ne'er falls amisse,
With all those ills which haunt us while we breathe.
Now if (by chance) wee flie
Of these the eager Chase,
Old Age with stealing Pace
Casts up his Nets, and there we panting die.

From "COMUS"
John Milton (1608-1674)

Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph that liv'st unseen
Within thy airy shell
By slow Meander's margent green,
And in the violet embroider'd vale
Where the love-lorn Nightingale
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well.
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle Pair
That likest thy Narcissus are?
O, if thou have
Hid them in some flowery Cave,
Tell me but where,
Sweet Queen of Parly, Daughter of the Sphere!
So mayst thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all Heav'ns Harmonies!


Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills
Where blossom'd many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But O, that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced;
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reach'd the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And Ômid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me,
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 't would win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

In Kšhln, a town of monks and bones,
And pavements fanged with murderous stones,
And rags, and hags, and hideous wenches,
I counted two and seventy stenches,
All well-defined and several stinks!
Ye nymphs that rule o'er sewers and sinks,
The river Rhine, it is well known,
Doth wash the city of Cologne:
But tell me, Nymphs, what power divine
Shall henceforth wash the river Rhine?


Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)

Chieftain of Iffucan of Azcan in caftan
Of tan with henna hackles, halt!

Damned universal cock, as if the sun
Was blackamoor to bear your blazing tail.

Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat! I am the personal.
Your world is you. I am my world.

You ten foot poet among inchlings. Fat!
Begone! An inchling bristles in these pines.

Bristles, and points their Appalachian tangs,
And fears not portly Azcan nor his hoos.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Condemn'd to hope's delusive mine,
As on we toil from day to day,
By sudden blasts or slow decline,
Our social comforts drop away.

Well tried through many a varying year,
See Levet to the grave descend,
Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of every friendless name the friend.

Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise and coarsely kind;
Nor, letter'd Arrogance, deny
Thy praise to merit unrefined.

When fainting nature calll'd for aid,
And hov'ring death prepared the blow,
His vig'rous remedy display'd
The power of art without the show.

In Misery's darkest cavern known,
His useful care was ever nigh,
Where hopeless Anguish pour'd his groan,
And lonely Want retir'd to die.

No summons mock'd by chill delay,
No petty gain disdain'd by pride;
The modest wants of every day
The toil of every day suupplied.

His virtues walk'd their narrow round,
Nor made a pause, nor left a void;
And sure th'Eternal Master found
The single talent well employ'd.

The busy day, the peaceful night,
Unfelt, uncounted, glided by;
His frame was firm—his powers were bright,
Though now his eightieth year was nigh.

Then with no fiery throbbing pain,
No cold gradations of decay,
Death broke at once the vital chain,
And freed his soul the nearest way.


Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Proud Maisie is in the wood,
Walking so early,
Sweet Robin sits on the bush,
Singing so rarely.

ÔTell me, thou bonny bird,
When shall I marry me?'
ÒWhen six braw gentlemen
Kirkward shall carry ye.'

ÔWho makes the bridal bed
Birdie, say truly?'
ÔThe grey-headed sexton
That delves the grave duly.

ÔThe glow worm o'er grave and stone
Shall light thee steady;
The owl from the steeple sing
Welcome, proud lady.'


Thomas, Lord Erskine

On Waterloo's ensanguined plain.
Lie tens of thousands of the slain;
But none by sabre or by shot,
Fell half so flat as Walter Scott.


Christina Rosetti (l830-1894)

Safe, where I cannot die yet,
Safe, where I hope to lie too,
Safe from the fume and the fret;
You, and you,
Whom I never forget.

Safe from the frost and the snow,
Safe from the storm and the sun,
Safe where the seeds wait to grow
One by one,
And to come back in blow.


Christina Rosetti (l830-1894)

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.


Christina Rosetti (l830-1894)

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.


Christina Rosetti (l830-94)

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.


P. B. Shelley (1792Ð1822)

I dream'd that, as I wandered by the way,
Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Srping;
And gentle odours led my steps astray,
Mix'd with a sound of waters murmuring
Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay
Under a copse and hardly dared to fling
Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,
But kiss'd it and then fled, as thou mightest in dream.

There grew pied wind-flowers and violets;
Daisies, those pearl'd Arcturi of the earth,
The constellated flower that never sets;
Faint oxlips; tender bluebells at whose birth
The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets—
Like a child, half in tenderness and mirth—
Its mother's face with heaven-collected tears
When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears.

And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine,
Green cowbind and the moonlight-colour'd may,
And cherry blossoms and white cups whose wine
Was the bright dew yet drain'd not by the day;
And wild roses, and ivy serpentine,
With its dark buds and leaves wandering astray;
And flowers, azure, black, and streak'd with gold,
Fairer than any waken'd eyes behold.
And nearer to the river's trembling edge,
There grew broad flag flowers, purple prank'd with white,
And starry riverbuds among the sedge,
And floating water-lilies, broad and bright,
Which lit the oak that over hung the hedge
With moonlight beams of their own watery light;
And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green
As soothed the dazzled eyes with sober sheen.

Methought that of these visionary flowers
I made a nosegay, bound in such a way
That the same hues which in their natural bowers
Were mingled or opposed, the like aray
Kept these imprison'd children of the Hours
Within my hand;--and then, elate and gay,
I hastened to the spot whence I had come,
That I might there present it—O! to whom?


Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning, but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.


Fanny Greville (18th Century)

I ask no kind return of love,
No tempting charm to please;
Far from the heart those gifts remove,
That sighs for peace and ease.

No peace and ease the heart can know,
That like the needle true,
Turns at the touch of joy or woe,
But, turning, trembles too.

Far as distress the soul can wound,
ÔTis pain in each degree:
ÔTis bliss but to a certain bound,
Beyond is agony.


Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

The sea is calm tonight
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the Straits;--on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!
Only from the long line of spray
Where the ebb meets the moon-blanched sand,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves suck back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The sea of faith
Was once, too, at the full, the round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd;
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating to the breath
Of the night wind down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The lustre of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
Yes, but not for this alone.

Is it to feel our strength--
Not our bloom only, but our strength--decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?

Yes, this, and more! but not,
Ah, 'tis not what in youth we dreamed 'twould be!
'Tis not to have our life
Mellowed and softened as with sunset-glow,
A golden day's decline!

'Tis not to see the world
As from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes,
And heart profoundly stirred;
And weep, and feel the fulness of the past,
The years that are no more!

It is to spend long days
And not once feel that we were ever young.
It is to add, immured
In the hot prison of the present, month
To month with weary pain.

It is to suffer this,
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel:
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion--none.

It is--last stage of all--
When we are frozen up within, and quite
The phantom of ourselves,
To hear the world applaud the hollow ghost
Which blamed the living man.


Babette Deutsch (1895-1982)

I do not pity the old men, fumbling after
The golden bird of love, the purple grapes of laughter;
They drank honey once, they fingered the falcon's hood.
I do not pity the old, with ash in their veins for blood.
It is the young whom I pity, the young who are lovely and cruel,
The young whose lips and limbs are time's quick-colored fuel.
Death can comfort the old; pain, age understands—
Not the tossed bright head of folly, the soft impatient hands.
I do not pity the old men's forgetful tears and mirth.
But the young must eat pomegranate seeds in the darkness under the earth.


Humbert Wolfe (1885-1940)

Like a small grey
sits the squirrel.
He is not

all he should be,
kills by dozens
trees, and eats
his red-brown cousins.

The keeper on the
other hand
, who shot him, is
a Christian, and

loves his enemies,
which shows
the squirrel was not
one of those.


Lord Byron (1788-1824)

There's not a joy the world can give like that it takes away,
When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay;
ÔTis not on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone which fades so fast,
But the tender bloom of heart is gone, ere youth itself be past.

Then the few whose spirits float above the wreckof happiness
Are driven o'er the shoals of guilt or ocean of excess:
The magnet of their course is gone, or only points in vain
The shore to which their shiver'd sail shall never stretch again.

Then the mortal coldness of the soul like death itself comes down;
It cannot feel for other's woes, it dare not dream its own;
That heavy chill has frozen o'er the fountain of our tears,
And though the eye may sparkle still, Ôtis where the ice appears.

Though wit may flash from fluent lips, and mirth distract the breast,
Through midnight hours that yield no more their former hope of rest;
ÔTis but as ivy-leaves around the ruin'd turret wreathe,
All green and wildly fresh without, but worn and grey beneath.

O could I feel as I have felt, or be what I have been,
Or weep as I could once have wept, o'er many a vanish'd scene,
As springs in deserts found seem sweet, all brackish though they be,
So midst the wither'd waste of life, those tears would flow to me!


Lord Byron (1788-1824)

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum'd,
And men were gather'd round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour
They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash—and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smil'd;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twin'd themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again: a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought—and that was death
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails—men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour'd,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lur'd their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer'd not with a caress—he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they rak'd up,
And shivering scrap'd with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects—saw, and shriek'd, and died—
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,

Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless—
A lump of death—a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirr'd within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge—
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, had expir'd before;
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them—She was the Universe.


Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Oh! snatched away in beauty's bloom,
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb;
But on thy turf shall roses rear
Their leaves, the earliest of the year;
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom:
And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause and lightly tread;
Fond wretch! as if her step disturbed the dead!

Away! we know that tears are vain,
That death nor heeds nor hears distress:
Will this unteach us to complain?
Or make one mourner weep the less?
And thou - who tell'st me to forget,
Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wet.


Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

Happy the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
On his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

Blest who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mixed; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.


Walter de la Mare (1873-1953)

ÒIs there anybody there?Ó said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
ÒIs there anybody there?Ó he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moon beams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
ÔNeath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:--
ÒTell them that I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,Ó he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone
And how the silence surged softly backward
When the plunging hoofs were gone.


Walter de la Mare (1873-1953)

When I lie where shades of darkness
Shall no more assail mine eyes,
Nor the rain make lamentation
When the wind sighs;
How will fare the world whose wonder
Was the very proof of me?
Memory fades, must the remembered
Perishing be?

Oh, when this my dust surrenders
Hand, foot, lip, to dust again,
May these loved and loving faces
Please other men!
May the rusting harvest hedgerow
Still the Traveller's Joy entwine,
And as happy children gather
Posies once mine.

Look thy last on all things lovely,
Every hour. Let no night
Seal thy sense in deathly slumber
Till to delight
Thou have paid thy utmost blessing;
Since that all things thou wouldst praise
Beauty took from those who loved them
In other days.


Walter de la Mare (1873-1953)

There is no sorrow
Time heals never;
No loss, betrayal,
Beyond repair.
Balm for the soul, then,
Though grave shall sever
Lover from loved
And all they share.
See, the sweet sun shines,
The shower is over;
Flowers preen their beauty,
The day how fair!
Brood not too closely
On love or duty;
Friends long forgotten
May wait you where
Life with death
Brings all to an issue;
None will long mourn for you,
Pray for you, miss you,
Your place left vacant,
You not there.


Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-61)

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright.


Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

Follow your saint, follow with accents sweet!
Haste you, sad notes, fall at her flying feet!
There, wrapt in cloud of sorrow, pity move,
And tell the ravisher of my soul I perish for her love.
But if she scorns my never-ceasing pain,
Then burst with sighing in her sight, and ne'er return again!
All that I sung still to her praise did tend;
Still she was first, still she my songs did end;
Yet she my love and music both doth fly,
The music that her echo is and beauty's sympathy:
Then let my notes pursue her scornful flight!
It shall suffice that they were breathed and died for her delight.


Thomas Edward Brown (1830-1897)

O blackbird what a boy you are!
How you do go it!
Blowing your bugle to that one sweet star—
How you do blow it!
And does she hear you, blackbird boy, so far?
Or is it wasted breath?
ÔGood Lord! she is so bright
The blackbird saith.


Thomas Edward Brown (1830-1897)

I bended unto me a bough of May,
That I might see and smell:
It bore it in a sort of way,
It bore it very well.
But, when I let it backward sway,
Then it were hard to tell
With what a toss, with what a swing,
The dainty thing
Resumed its proper level,
And sent me to the devil.
I know it did--you doubt it?
I turned, and saw them whispering about it.


Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (1878-1962)

I wonder if the old cow died or not
Gey bad she was the night I left, and sick.
Dick reckoned she would mend. He knows a lot—
At least he fancies so himself, does Dick.
Dick knows a lot. But maybe I did wrong
To leave the cow to him, and come away.
Over and over like a silly song
These words keep humming in my head all day.
And all I think of, as I face the foe
And take my lucky chance of being shot
Is this—that if I'm hit, I'll never know
Till Doomsday if the old cow died or not.


John Fletcher (1579-1625)

Hark! Now everything is still,
The screech-owl and the whistler shrill,
Call upon our dame aloud,
And bid her quickly don her shroud!
Much you had of land and rent;
Your length in clay's now competent:
A long war disturb'd you mind;
Here your perfect peace is sign'd.

Of what is't fools make such vain keeping?
Sin their conception, their birth weeping,
Their life a general mist of error,
Their death a hideous storm of terror.
Strew your hair with powders sweet,
Don clean linen, bathe your feet,
And—the foul fiend more to check—
A crucifix let bless your neck:
Tis now full tide 'tween night and day;
End your groan and come away.


Patrick MacDonogh (1902-1961)

I stand in my door and look over the low fields of Drynam.
No man but the one man has known me, no child but the one
Grew big at my breast, and what are my sorrows beside
That pride and that glory? I come from devotions on Sunday
And leave them to pity or spite; and though I who had music have none
But crying of seagulls at morning and calling of curlews at night,
I wake and remember my beauty and think of my son
Who would stare the loud fools into silence
And rip the dull parish asunder.
Small wonder indeed he was wild with breeding and beauty
And why would my proud lad not straighten his back from the plough?
My son was not got and I bound in a cold bed of duty
Nor led to the side of the road by some clay-clabbered lout!
No, but rapt by a passionate poet away from the dancers
To curtains and silver and firelight,--
O wisely and gently he drew down the pale shell of satin
And all the bright evening's adornment and clad me
Again in the garment of glory, the joy of his eyes.
I stand in my door and look over the low fields of Drynam
When skies move westward, the way he will come from the war;
Maybe on a morning of March when a thin sun is shining
And starlings have blackened the thorn,
He will come, my bright limb of glory, my mettlesome wild one,
With coin in his pocket and tales on the tip of his tongue,
And the proud ones that slight me will bring back forgotten politeness
To see me abroad on the roads with my son,
The two of us laughing together or stepping in silence.


John Fletcher (1579-1625)

Beauty clear and fair,
Where the air
Rather like a perfume dwells;
Where the violet and the rose
Their blue veins and blush disclose,
And come to honour nothing else.
Where to live near
And planted there
Is to live, and still live new;
Where to gain a favour is
More than light, perpetual bliss—
Make me live by serving you!
Dear, again back recall
To this light,
A stranger to himself and all!
Both the wonder and the story
Shall be yours, and eke the glory;
I am your servant, and your thrall.


George Herbert (1593-1633)

How fresh, oh Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! even as the flowers in spring;
To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.

Who would have thought my shriveled heart
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
Quite underground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown,
Where they together
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.

These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
Killing and quickening, bringing down to hell
And up to heaven in an hour;
Making a chiming of a passing-bell
We say amiss
This or that is:
Thy word is all, if we could spell.

Oh that I once past changing were,
Fast in thy Paradise, where no flower can wither!
Many a spring I shoot up fair,
Offering at heaven, growing and groaning thither;
Nor doth my flower
Want a spring shower,
My sins and I joining together.

But while I grow in a straight line,
Still upwards bent, as if heaven were mine own,
Thy anger comes, and I decline:
What frost is that? what pole is not the zone
Where all things burn,
When thou dost turn,
And the least frown of thine is shown?

And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing. Oh, my only light,
It cannot be
That I am he
On whom thy tempests fell all night.

These are thy wonders, Lord of love,
To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide;
Who would be more,
Swelling through store,
Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.


George Herbert (1593-1633)

How should I praise thee, Lord! how should my rhymes
Gladly engrave thy love in steel,
If what my soul doth feel sometimes,
My soul might ever feel!
Although there were some forty heav'ns, or more,
Sometimes I peer above them all;
Sometimes I hardly reach a score,
Sometimes to hell I fall.

O rack me not to such a vast extent;
Those distances belong to thee;
The world's too little for thy tent,
A grave's too big for me.
Wilt thou meet arms with man, that thou dost stretch
A crumb of dust from heav'n to hell?
Will great God measure with a wretch?
Shall he thy stature spell?

O let me, when thy roof my soul hath hid,
O let me roost and nestle there:
Then of a sinner thou art rid,
And I of hope and fear.
Yet take thy way; for sure thy way is best:
Stretch or contract me, thy poor debtor:
This is but tuning of my breast,
To make the music better.

Whether I fly with angels, fall with dust
Thy hands made both, and I am there:
Thy power and love, my love and trust,
Make one place ev'rywhere.


George Herbert (1593-1633)

Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?
He is a brittle crazy glass:
Yet in thy temple thoui dost him afford
This glorious and transcendent place,
To be a window, through thy grace.

But when thou dost acceal in glass thy story,
Making thy life to shine within
The holy Preachers; then the light and glory
More rev'rend grows, and more doth win;
Which else shows watrish, bleak, and thin.

Doctrine and life, colours and light, in one
When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and awe: but speech alone
Doth vanish like a flaring thing,
And in the ear, not conscience ring.



Have you any work for a tinker, Mistris,
Old brass, old pots, or kettles?
I'll mend them all with a tink terry tink,
And never hurt your mettles:
First let me have but a touch of your ale,
Ôtwill steel me against cold weather,
Or Tinker's Frees or Vintner's Lees,
or Tobacco, chuse you whether.
But of your Ale, your nappy Ale,
I would I had a ferkin,
For I am old, and very very cold,
and never wear a jerkin.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel;
And the former called the latter "Little prig."
Bun replied,
"You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together,
To make up a year
And a sphere.
And I think it no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I'm not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.
I'll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut."


W. Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks,
Why all this toil and trouble?

The Sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless—
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.


Charlotte Mew (1879-1928)

Toll no bell for me, dear Father, dear Mother,
Waste no sighs;
There are my sisters, there is my little brother
Who plays in the place called Paradise,
Your children all, your children for ever;
But I, so wild,
Your disgrace, with the queer brown face, was never,
Never, I know, but half your child!
In the garden at play, all day, last summer,
Far and away I heard
The sweet "tweet-tweet" of a strange new-comer,
The dearest, clearest call of a bird.
It lived down there in the deep green hollow,
My own old home, and the fairies say
The word of a bird is a thing to follow,
So I was away a night and a day.
One evening, too, by the nursery fire,
We snuggled close and sat round so still,
When suddenly as the wind blew higher,
Something scratched on the window-sill,
A pinched brown fact peered in—I shivered;
No one listened or seemed to see;
The arms of it waved and the wings of it quivered,
Whoo—I knew it had come for me!
Some are as bad as bad can be!

All night long they danced in the rain,
Round and round in a dripping chain,
Threw their caps at the window-pane,
Tried to make me scream and shout
And fling the bedclothes all about:
I meant to stay in bed that night,
And if only you had left a light
They would never have got me out!
Sometimes I wouldn't speak, you see,
Or answer when you spoke to me,
Because in the long, still dusks of Spring
You can hear the whole world whispering;
The shy green grasses making love,
The feathers grow on the dear grey dove,
The tiny heart of the redstart beat,
The patter of the squirrel's feet,
The pebbles pushing in the silver streams,
The rushes talking in their dreams,
The swish-swish of the bat's black wings,
The wild-wood bluebell's sweet ting-tings,
Humming and hammering at your ear,
Everything there is to hear
In the heart of hidden things.
But not in the heart of the nursery riot,
That's why I wanted to be quiet,
Couldn't do my sums, or sing,
Or settle down to anything.
And when for that I was sent upstairs,
I did kneel down to say my prayers;
But the King who sits on your high church steeple
Has nothing to do with us fairy people!

'Times I pleased you, dear Father, dear Mother,
Learned all my lessons and liked to play,
And dearly I loved the little pale brother
Whom some other bird must have called away.
Why did they bring me here to make me
Not quite bad and not quite good,
Why, unless They're wicked, do They want, in spite,
to take me
Back to Their wet, wild wood?
Now every night I shall see the windows shining,
The gold lamp's glow, and the fire's red gleam,
While the best of us are twining twigs and the rest of us
are whining
In the hollow by the stream.
Black and chill are Their nights on the wold;
And They live so long and They feel no pain:
I shall grow up, but never grow old,
I shall always, always be very cold,
I shall never come back again.


Michael Drayton (1563-1631)

Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part—
Nay, I have done, you get no more of me;
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands forever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of Love's latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.


Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy goodnight air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.


Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Portion of this yew
Is a man my grandsire knew,
Bosomed here at its foot:
This branch may be his wife,
A ruddy human life
Now turned to a green shoot.

These grasses must be made
Of her who often prayed,
Last century, for repose;
And the fair girl long ago
Whom I often tried to know
May be entering this rose.

So, they are not underground,
But as nerves and veins abound
In the growths of upper air,
And they feel the sun and rain,
And the energy again
That made them what they were!


Hafiz (Shams-ud-din, c.1300-1388)

Trans. from the Persian by John Hindley

I have borne the anguish of love, which
ask me not to describe:
I have tasted the poison of absence, which
ask me not to relate.
Far through the world have I roved, and
at length I have chosen
A sweet creature (a ravisher of hearts),
whose name ask me not to disclose.
The flowing of my tears bedews her footsteps
In such a manner as ask me not to utter.
Only yesternight from her own mouth
with my own ears I heard
Such words as pray ask me not to repeat.
Why dost thou bite thy lip at me? What dost
thou not hint (that I may have told?)
I have devoured a lip like a ruby: but whose
ask me not to mention.
Absent from thee, and the sole tenant of my cottage,
I have endured such tortures,
as ask me not to enumerate:
Thus am I, Hafiz, arrived at an extremity in the ways of Love,
Which, alas! ask me not to explain.


Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) (Trans. Richard Barnes)

Not a single star will be left in the night.
The night will not be left.
I will die and, with me,
the weight of the intolerable universe.
I shall erase the pyramids, the medallions,
the continents and faces.
I shall erase the accumulated past.
I shall make dust of history, dust of dust.
Now I am looking on the final sunset.
I am hearing the last bird.
I bequeath nothingness to no one.


No quedar‡ en la noche una estrella.
No quedar‡ en la noche.
MorirŽ y conmigo la suma
del intolerable universo.
BorrarŽ las pir‡mides, las medallas,
los continentes y las caras.
BorrarŽ la acumulaci—n del pasado.
HarŽ polvo la historia,
polvo a polvo.
Estoy mirando el œltimo poniente.
Oigo el œltimo p‡jaro.
Lego la nada a nadie.


James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

A linnet who had lost her way
Sang on a blackened bough in Hell,
Till all the ghosts remembered well
The trees, the wind, the golden day.

At last they knew that they had died
When they heard music in that land,
And someone there stole forth a hand
To draw a brother to his side.


James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

I who am dead a thousand years,
And wrote this sweet archaic song,
Send you my words for messengers
The way I shall not pass along.

I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.

But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above?

How shall we conquer? Like a wind
That falls at eve our fancies blow,
And old Maeonides the blind
Said it three thousand years ago.

O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.

Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.


Horace (tr. F.P. Adams)

It is not right for you to know, so do not ask, Leucono‘,
How long a life the gods may give or or ever we are gone away;
Try not to read the Final Page, the ending colophonian,
Trust not the gypsy's tea-leaves, nor the prophets Babylonian,
Better to have what is to come enshrouded in obscurity
Than to be certain of the sort and length of our futurity.
Why, even as I monologue on wisdom and longevity
How Time has flown! Spear some of it!
The longest life is brevity.


Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866)

I played with you 'mid cowslips blowing,
When I was six and you were four;
When garlands weaving, flowerballs throwing,
Were pleasures soon to please no more.
Through groves and meads, o'er grass and heather,
With little playmates, to and fro,
We wandered hand in hand together;
But that was sixty years ago.

You grew a lovely roseate maiden,
And still our early love was strong;
Still with no care our days were laden,
They glided joyously along;
And I did love you very dearly,
How dearly words want power to show;
I thought your heart was touched as nearly;
But that was fifty years ago.

Then other lovers came around you,
Your beauty grew from year to year,
And many a splendid circle found you
The centre of its glittering sphere.
I saw you then, first vows forsaking,
On rank and wealth your hand bestow;
Oh, then I thought my heart was breaking,--
But that was forty years ago.

And I lived on, to wed another:
No cause she gave me to repine;
And when I heard you were a mother,
I did not wish the children mine.
My own young flock, in fair progression,
Made up a pleasant Christmas row:
My joy in them was past expression;--
But that was thirty years ago.

You grew a matron plump and comely,
You dwelt in fashion's brightest blaze;
My earthly lot was far more homely;
But I too had my festal days.
No merrier eyes have ever glistened
Around the hearth-stone's wintry glow,
Than when my youngest child was christened,--
But that was twenty years ago.

Time passed. My eldest girl was married,
And I am now a grandsire grey;
One pet of four years old I've carried
Among the wild-flowered meads to play.
In our old fields of childish pleasure,
Where now as then the cowslips blow,
She fills her basket's ample measure;--
And that is not ten years ago.

But though love's first impassioned blindness
Has passed away in colder light,
I still have thought of you with kindness,
And shall do, till our last good-night.
The ever-rolling silent hours
Will bring a time we shall not know,
When our young days of gathering flowers
Will be an hundred years ago.


Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883)

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.
Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."
And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted—"Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more."
Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.
Iram indeed is gone with all its Rose,
And Jamshyd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one Knows;
But still the Vine her ancient ruby yields,
And still a Garden by the Water blows.
And David's Lips are lock't; but in divine
High piping Pehlevi, with "Wine! Wine! Wine!
Red Wine!"—the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That yellow Cheek of hers to incarnadine.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly—and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.
Whether at Naishapur or Babylon,
Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run,
The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop,
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one.
Morning a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.
But come with old Khayyam, and leave the Lot
Of Kaikobad and Kaikhosru forgot:
Let Rustum lay about him as he will,
Or Hatim Tai cry Supper—heed them not.
With me along the strip of Herbage strewn
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave and Sultan is forgot—
And Peace is Mahmud on his Golden Throne!
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, -- and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
Some for the Glories of This World; and some
Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
Ah, take the Cash, and let the Promise go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!
Were it not Folly, Spider-like to spin
The Thread of present Life away to win—
What? for ourselves, who know not if we shall
Breathe out the very Breath we now breathe in!
Look to the Rose that blows about us—"Lo,
Laughing," she says, "into the World I blow:
At once the silken Tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw."
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes—or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
Lighting a little Hour or two—is gone.
And those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
And those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.
Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his Hour or two and went his way.
They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
And Bahram, that great Hunter—the Wild Ass
Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.
I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.
And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean—
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!
Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
To-day of past Regrets and future Fears—
To-morrow? -- Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.
Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to Rest.
And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new Bloom,
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend, ourselves to make a Couch—for whom?
Ah, make the most of what we may yet spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie;
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and—sans End!
Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
And those that after some To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
"Fools! Your Reward is neither Here nor There!"
Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are thrust
Like foolish Prophets forth; their Works to Scorn
Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.
Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown forever dies.
Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about; but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.
With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd—
"I came like Water and like Wind I go."
Into this Universe, and Why not knowing,
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.
Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Master-Knot of Human Fate.
There was the Door to which I found no Key:
There was the Veil through which I could not see:
Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
There was—and then no more of Thee and Me.
Then to the rolling Heav'n itself I cried,
Asking, "What Lamp had Destiny to guide
Her little Children stumbling in the Dark?"
And—"A blind Understanding!" Heav'n replied.
Then to the Lip of this poor earthen Urn
I lean'd, the secret Well of Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur'd—"While you live,
Drink! -- for, once dead, you never shall return."
I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
Articulation answer'd, once did live,
And merry-make, and the cold Lip I kiss'd,
How many Kisses might it take—and give!
For in the Market-place, one Dusk of Day,
I watch'd the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all obliterated Tongue
It murmur'd—"Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"
And has not such a Story from of Old
Down Man's successive generations roll'd
Of such a clod of saturated Earth
Cast by the Maker into Human mould?
Ah, fill the Cup: -- what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday,
Why fret about them if To-day be sweet!
A Moment's Halt—a momentary taste
Of Be+ing from the Well amid the Waste—
And Lo! the phantom Caravan has reach'd
The Nothing it set out from—Oh, make haste!
Oh, plagued no more with Human or Divine,
To-morrow's tangle to itself resign,
And lose your fingers in the tresses of
The Cypress-slender Minister of Wine.
Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That endeavor and dispute;
Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, fruit.
You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.
And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas—the Grape!
The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.
Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare
Blaspheme the twisted tendril as Snare?
A Blessing, we should use it, should we not?
And if a Curse—why, then, Who set it there?
But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
And, in some corner of the Hubbub couch'd,
Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.
For in and out, above, about, below,
'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.
Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.
The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd
Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn'd,
Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep,
They told their fellows, and to Sleep return'd.
Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside,
And naked on the Air of Heaven ride,
Is't not a shame—Is't not a shame for him
So long in this Clay suburb to abide?
But that is but a Tent wherein may rest
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest;
The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash
Strikes, and prepares it for another guest.
I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And after many days my Soul return'd
And said, "Behold, Myself am Heav'n and Hell."
Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire,
And Hell the Shadow of a Soul on fire,
Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves,
So late emerg'd from, shall so soon expire.
While the Rose blows along the River Brink,
With old Khayyam and ruby vintage drink:
And when the Angel with his darker Draught
Draws up to Thee—take that, and do not shrink.
And fear not lest Existence closing your
Account, should lose, or know the type no more;
The Eternal Saki from the Bowl has pour'd
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.
When You and I behind the Veil are past,
Oh but the long long while the World shall last,
Which of our Coming and Departure heeds
As much as Ocean of a pebble-cast.
'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.
The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Right or Left, as strikes the Player goes;
And he that toss'd Thee down into the Field,
He knows about it all—He knows—HE knows!
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
For let Philosopher and Doctor preach
Of what they will, and what they will not—each
Is but one Link in an eternal Chain
That none can slip, nor break, nor over-reach.
And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to it for help—for It
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.
With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead,
And then of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed:
Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.
Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare;
To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.
I tell You this—When, starting from the Goal,
Over the shoulders of the flaming Foal
Of Heav'n Parwin and Mushtari they flung,
In my predestin'd Plot of Dust and Soul.
The Vine has struck a fiber: which about
If clings my Being—let the Dervish flout;
Of my Base metal may be filed a Key,
That shall unlock the Door he howls without.
And this I know: whether the one True Light,
Kindle to Love, or Wrath—consume me quite,
One Glimpse of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.
What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke
A conscious Something to resent the yoke
Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain
Of Everlasting Penalties, if broke!
What! from his helpless Creature be repaid
Pure Gold for what he lent us dross-allay'd—
Sue for a Debt we never did contract,
And cannot answer—Oh the sorry trade!
Nay, but for terror of his wrathful Face,
I swear I will not call Injustice Grace;
Not one Good Fellow of the Tavern but
Would kick so poor a Coward from the place.
Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou will not with Predestin'd Evil round
Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?
Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give—and take!
Listen again. One Evening at the Close
Of Ramazan, ere the better Moon arose,
In that old Potter's Shop I stood alone
With the clay Population round in Rows.
And, strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried—
"Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?"
Then said another—"Surely not in vain
My Substance from the common Earth was ta'en,
That He who subtly wrought me into Shape
Should stamp me back to common Earth again."
Another said—"Why, ne'er a peevish Boy,
Would break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;
Shall He that made the vessel in pure Love
And Fancy, in an after Rage destroy?"
None answer'd this; but after Silence spake
A Vessel of a more ungainly Make:
"They sneer at me for leaning all awry;
What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?"
"Why," said another, "Some there are who tell
Of one who threatens he will toss to Hell
The luckless Pots he marred in making—Pish!
He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well."
Then said another with a long-drawn Sigh,
"My Clay with long oblivion is gone dry:
But, fill me with the old familiar Juice,
Methinks I might recover by-and-by!"
So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
The Little Moon look'd in that all were seeking:
And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother! Brother!
Now for the Porter's shoulder-knot a-creaking!"
Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash my Body whence the Life has died,
And in a Windingsheet of Vine-leaf wrapt,
So bury me by some sweet Garden-side.
That ev'n my buried Ashes such a Snare
Of Perfume shall fling up into the Air,
As not a True Believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my Credit in Men's Eye much wrong:
Have drown'd my Honour in a shallow Cup,
And sold my Reputation for a Song.
Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before
I swore—but was I sober when I swore?
And then, and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.
And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honor—well,
I often wonder what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the Goods they sell.
Alas, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the Branches sang,
Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!
Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse—If dimly, yet indeed, reveal'd
To which the fainting Traveller might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!
Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits—and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!
Ah, Moon of my Delight who know'st no wane,
The Moon of Heav'n is rising once again:
How oft hereafter rising shall she look
Through this same Garden after me—in vain!
And when like her, oh Saki, you shall pass
Among the Guests star-scatter'd on the Grass,
And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made one—turn down an empty Glass!


Robert Browning (1812-1889)

I wonder do you feel to-day
As I have felt since hand in hand
We sat down on the grass, to stray
In spirit better thro' the land,
This morn of Rome and May?

For me, I touched a thought, I know,
Has tantalized me many times,
(Like turns of thread the spiders throw
Mocking across our path) for rhymes
To catch at and let go.

Help me to hold it! First it left
The yellowing fennel, run to seed
There, branching from the brickwork's cleft,
Some old tomb's ruin: yonder weed
Took up the floating weft,

Where one small orange cup amassed
Five beetles—blind and green they grope
Among the honey-meal: and last,
Everywhere on the grassy slope
I traced it. Hold it fast!

The champaign with its endless fleece
Of feathery grasses, everywhere!
Silence and passion, joy and peace,
An everlasting wash of air
Rome's ghost since her decease.

Such life here, thro' such lengths of hours,
Such miracles performed in play,
Such primal naked forms of flowers,
Such letting nature have her way
While heaven looks from its towers!

How say you? Let us, O my dove,
Let us be unashamed of soul,
As earth lies bare to heaven above!
How is it under our control
To love or not to love?

I would that you were all to me,
You that are just so much, no more.
Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free!
Where does the fault lie? What the core
O' the wound, since wound must be?

I would I could adopt your will,
See with your eyes, and set my heart
Beating by yours, and drink my fill
At your soul's springs, -- your part my part
In life, for good and ill.

No. I yearn upward, touch you close,
Then stand away. I kiss your cheek,
Catch your soul's warmth, -- I pluck the rose
And love it more than tongue can speak—
Then the good minute goes.

Already how am I so far
Out of that minute? Must I go
Still like the thistle-ball, no bar,
Onward, whenever light winds blow
Fixed by no friendly star?

Just when I seemed about to learn
Where is the thread now? Off' again.
The old trick! Only I discern -
Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.


Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

Hot through Troy's ruin Menelaus broke
To Priam's palace, sword in hand, to sate
On that adulterous whore a ten years hate
And a king's honour. Through red death, and smoke,
And cries, and then by quieter ways he strode,
Till the still innermost chamber fronted him.
He swung his sword, and crashed into the dim
Luxurious bower, flaming like a god.

High sat white Helen, lonely and serene.
He had not remembered that she was so fair,
And that her neck curved down in such a way;
And he felt tired. He flung the sword away,
And kissed her feet, and knelt before her there,
The perfect Knight before the perfect Queen.
So far the poet. How should he behold
That journey home, the long connubial years?
He does not tell you how white Helen bears
Child on legitimate child, becomes a scold,
Haggard with virtue. Menelaus bold
Waxed garrulous, and sacked a hundred Troys
ÔTwixt noon and supper. And her golden voice
Got shrill as he grew deafer. And both were old.

Often he wonders why on earth he went
Troyward, or why poor Paris ever came.
Oft she weeps, gummy-eyed and impotent;
Her dry shanks twitch at Paris' mumbled name.
So Menelaus nagged; and Helen cried;
And Paris slept on by Scamander side.


Edith Nesbit (1858-1924)

The garden mould was damp and chill,
Winter had had his brutal will
Since over all the year's content
His devastating legions went.

Then Spring's bright banners came: there woke
Millions of little growing folk
Who thrilled to know the winter done,
Gave thanks, and strove towards the sun.

Not so the elect; reserved, and slow
To trust a stranger-sun and grow,
They hesitated, cowered and hid
Waiting to see what others did.

Yet even they, a little, grew,
Put out prim leaves to day and dew,
And lifted level formal heads
In their appointed garden beds.

The gardener came: he coldly loved
The flowers that lived as he approved,
That duly, decorously grew
As he, the despot, meant them to.

He saw the wildlings flower more brave
And bright than any cultured slave;
Yet, since he had not set them there,
He hated them for being fair.

So he uprooted, one by one
The free things that had loved the sun,
The happy, eager, fruitful seeds
That had not known that they were weeds.


Richard Aldington (1892-1962)

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son
And half the youth of Europe one by one.


Ezra Pound (1885-1973)

What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross,
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee,
What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage.
Whose world, or mine or theirs or is it of none?
First came the seen, then thus the palpable
Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell,
What thou lovest well is thy true heritage.
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee


Primo Levi (1920-1987)

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies becauses of a yes or a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.


H. W. Longfellow (1807-1882)

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.


From Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.

An ancient story I'll tell you anon,
Of a notable prince, that was called King John;
He ruled over England with main and might,
But he did great wrong, and maintained little right.

And I'll tell you a story, a story so merry,
Concerning the Abbot of Canterbury;
How for his housekeeping and high renown,
They rode post to bring him to London town.

A hundred men, as the King heard say,
The Abbot kept in his house every day;
And fifty gold chains, without any doubt,
In velvet coats waited the Abbot about.

"How now, Father Abbot? I hear it of thee,
Thou keepest a far better house than me;
And for thy housekeeping and high renown,
I fear thou work'st treason against my crown."

"My liege," quoth the Abbot, "I would it were known,
I am spending nothing but what is my own;
And I trust your Grace will not put me in fear,
For spending my own true-gotten gear."

"Yes, Yes, Father Abbot, thy fault is high,
And now for the same thou needest must die;
And except thou canst answer me questions three
Thy head struck off from thy body shall be.

"Now first," quo' the King, "as I sit here,
With my crown of gold on my head so fair,
Among all my liegemen of noble birth,
Thou must tell to one penny what I am worth.

"Secondly, tell me, beyond all doubt,
How quickly I .may ride the whole world about;
And at the third question thou must not shrink,
But tell me here truly, what do I think?"

"O, these are deep questions for my shallow wit,
And I cannot answer your Grace as yet;
But if you will give me a fortnight's space,
I'll do my endeavor to answer your Grace."

"Now a fortnight's space to thee will I give,
And that is the longest thou hast to live;
For unless thou answer my questions three,
Thy life and thy lands are forfeit to me."

Away rode the Abbot all sad at this word;
He rode to Cambridge and Oxenford;
But never a doctor there was so wise,
That could by his learning an answer devise.

Then home rode the Abbot, with comfort so cold
And he met his shepherd, a-going to fold:
"Now, good Lord Abbot, you are welcome home
What news do you bring us from great King John?"

"Sad news, sad news, Shepherd, I must give;
That I have but three days more to live.
I must answer the King his questions three,
Or my head struck off from my body shall be.

"The first is to tell him, as he sits there,
With his crown of gold on his head so fair
Among all his liegemen of noble birth,
To within one penny, what he is worth.

"The second, to tell him, beyond all doubt,
How quickly he may ride this whole world about;
And at question the third, I must not shrink,
But tell him there truly, what does he think?"

"O, cheer up, my lord; did you never hear yet
That a fool may teach a wise man wit?
Lend me your serving-men, horse, and apparel,
And I'll ride to London to answer your quarrel.

"With your pardon, it oft has been told to me
That I'm like your lordship as ever can be:
And if you will but lend me your gown,
There is none shall know us at London town."

"Now horses and serving-men thou shalt have,
With sumptuous raiment gallant and brave;
With crosier and mitre, and rochet, and cope,
Fit to draw near to our father, the pope."

"Now welcome, Sir Abbot," the King he did say,
"'Tis well thou'rt come back to keep thy day;
For if thou canst answer my questions three,
Thy life and thy living both saved shall be.

"And first, as thou seest me sitting here,
With my crown of gold on my head so fair,
Among my liegemen of noble birth,
Tell to one penny what I am worth."

"For thirty pence our Saviour was sold
Among the false Jews as I have been told;
And twenty-nine is the worth of thee;
For I think thou art one penny worse than he."

The King, he laughed, and swore by St. Bittle.
"I did not think I was worth so little!
Now secondly tell me, beyond all doubt,
How quickly I may ride this world about."

"You must rise with the sun, and ride with the same,
Until the next morning he riseth again;
And then your Grace need never doubt
But in twenty-four hours you'll ride it about."

The King he laughed, and swore by St. Jone,
"I did not think I could do it so soon!
Now from question the third thou must not shrink,
But tell me truly, what do I think?"

"Yea, that I shall do, and make your Grace merry:
You think I'm the Abbot of Canterbury.
But I'm his poor shepherd, as plain you may see,
That am come to beg pardon for him and for me."

The King he laughed, and swore by the mass,
"I'll make thee Lord Abbot this day in his place!"
"Now nay, my Liege, be not in such speed;
For alas! I can neither write nor read."

"Four nobles a week, then I'll give to thee,
For this merry jest thou hast shown to me;
And tell the old Abbot, when thou gettest home,
Thou hast brought a free pardon from good King John."


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
Rays from the holy heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently—
Gleams up the pinncles far and free—
Up domes—up spires—up kingly halls—
Up fanes—up Babylon-like walls—
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers—
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Whose wreathŽd friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.

There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye—
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass—
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea—
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.
But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave—there is a movement there
As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide—
As if their tops had feebly given
7A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow—
The hours are breathing faint and low—
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence.


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those NicŽan barks of yore,
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, way-worn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.
On desperateseas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome.

Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy-Land!


Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.


Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.
It's time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.
Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
And my papa's a banker and as rich as he can be;
But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I'm to do,
O Leerie, I'll go round at night and light the lamps with you!
For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!


Vanity, saith the preacher, vanity!
Draw round my bed: is Anselm keeping back?
Nephews—sons mine . . . ah God, I know not! Well—
She, men would have to be your mother once,
Old Gandolf envied me, so fair she was!
What's done is done, and she is dead beside,
Dead long ago, and I am Bishop since,
And as she died so must we die ourselves,
And thence ye may perceive the world's a dream.
Life, how and what is it? As here I lie
In this state-chamber, dying by degrees,
Hours and long hours in the dead night, I ask
"Do I live, am I dead?" Peace, peace seems all.
Saint Praxed's ever was the church for peace;
And so, about this tomb of mine. I fought
Wi0th tooth and nail to save my niche, ye know:
Old Gandolf cozened me, despite my care;
Shrewd was that snatch from out the corner South
He graced his carrion with, God curse the same!
Yet still my niche is not so cramped but thence
One sees the pulpit o' the epistle-side,
And somewhat of the choir, those silent seats,
And up into the aery dome where live
The angels, and a sunbeam's sure to lurk:
And I shall fill my slab of basalt there,
And 'neath my tabernacle take my rest,
With those nine columns round me, two and two,
The odd one at my feet where Anselm stands:
Peach-blossom marble all, the rare, the ripe
As fresh- poured red wine of a mighty pulse.
Old Gandolf with his paltry onion-stone,
Put me where I may look at him! True peach,
Rosy and flawless: how I earned the prize!
Draw close: that conflagration of my church
What then? So much was saved if aught were missed!
My sons, ye would not be my death? Go dig
The white-grape vineyard where the oil-press stood,
Drop water gently till the surface sink,
And if ye find . . . Ah God, I know not, I! ...
Bedded in store of rotten fig-leaves soft,
And corded up in a tight olive-frail,
Some lump, ah God, of lapis lazuli,
Big as a Jew's head cut off at the nape,
Blue as a vein o'er the Madonna's breast ...
Sons, all have I bequeathed you, villas, all,
That brave Frascati villa with its bath,
So, let the blue lump poise between my knees,
Like God the Father's globe on b th His hands
Ye worship in the Jesu Church so gay,
For Gandolf shall not choose but see and burst!
Swift as a weaver's shuttle fleet our years:
Man goeth to the grave, and where is he?
Did I say basalt for my slab, sons? Black—
'Twas ever antique-black I meant! How else
Shall ye contrast my frieze to come beneath?
The bas-relief in bronze ye promised me,
Those Pans and Nymphs ye wot of, and perchance
Some tripod, thyrsus, with a vase or so,
The Saviour at his sermon on the mount,
Saint Praxed in a glory, and one Pan
Ready to twitch the Nymph's last garment off,
And Moses with the tables . . . but I know
Ye mark me not! What do they whisper thee,
Child of my bowels, Anselm? Ah, ye hope
To revel down my villas while I gasp
Bricked o'er with beggar's mouldy travertine
Which Gandolf from his tomb-top chuckles at!
Nay, boys, ye love me—all of jasper, then!
'Tis jasper ye stand pledged to, lest I grieve.
My bath must needs be left behind, alas!
One block, pure green as a pistachio-nut,
There's plenty jasper somewhere in the world—
And have I not Saint Praxed's ear to pray
Horses for ye, and brown Greek manuscripts,
And mistresses with great smooth marbly limbs?
That's if ye carve my epitaph aright,
Choice Latin, picked phrase, Tully's every word,
No gaudy ware like Gandolf's second line—
Tully, my masters? Ulpian serves his need!
And then how I shall lie through centuries,
And hear the blessed mutter of the mass,
And see God made and eaten all day long,
And feel the steady candle-flame, and taste
Good strong thick stupefying incense-smoke!
For as I lie here, hours of the dead night,
Dying in state and by such slow degrees,
I fold my arms as if they clasped a crook,
And stretch my feet forth straight as stone can point,
And let the bedclothes, for a mortcloth, drop
Into great laps and folds of sculptor's-work:
And as yon tapers dwindle, and strange thoughts
Grow, with a certain humming in my ears,
About the life before I lived this life,
And this life too, popes, cardinals and priests,
Saint Praxed at his sermon on the mount,
Your tall pale mother with her talking eyes,
And new-found agate urns as fresh as day,
And marble's language, Latin pure, discreet,
Aha, Elucescebat quoth our friend?
No Tully, said I, Ulpian at the best!
Evil and brief hath been my pilgrimage.
0All lapis, all, sons! Else I give the Pope
My villas! Will ye ever eat my heart?
Ever your eyes were as a lizard's quick,
They glitter like your mother's for my soul,
Or ye would heighten my impoverished frieze,
Piece out its starved design, and fill my vase
With grapes, and add a vizor and a Term,
And to the tripod ye would tie a lynx
That in his struggle throws the thyrsus down,
To comfort me on my entablature
Whereon I am to lie till I must ask
"Do I live, am I dead?" There, leave me, there!
For ye have stabbed me with ingratitude
To death—ye wish it—God, ye wish it! Stone—
Gritstone, a-crumble! Clammy squares which sweat
As if the corpse they keep were oozing through—
And no more lapis to delight the world!
Well, go! I bless ye. Fewer tapers there,
But in a row: and, going, turn your backs
Ay, like departing altar-ministrants,
And leave me in my church, the church for peace,
That I may watch at leisure if he leers—
Old Gandolf, at me, from his onion-stone,
As still he envied me, so fair she was!

Robert Browning (1812-1889)

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn:
God's in his heaven—
All's right with the world!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Give her but a least excuse to love me!
How—can this arm establish her above me,
If fortune fixed her as my lady there,
There already, to eternally reprove me?
("Hist"—said Kate the queen;
But "Oh—" cried the maiden, binding her tresses,
"'Tis only a page that carols unseen
"Crumbling your hounds their messes!")

Is she wronged?--To the rescue of her honour,
My heart!
Is she poor?--What cost it to be styled a donor?
Merely an earth's to cleave, a sea's to part!
But that fortune should have thrust all this upon her!
("Nay, list,"—bade Kate the queen;
And still cried the maiden, binding her tresses,
"'Tis only a page that carols unseen
"Fitting your hawks their jesses!")
. . . . . . . .
But I told you, did I not,
Ere night we travel for your land—some isle
With the sea's silence on it? . . . .
Some unsuspected isle in the far seas!
Like a god going through his world, there stands
One mountain for a moment in the dusk,
Whole brotherhoods of cedars on its brow:
And you are ever by me as I gaze
--- Are in my arms as now—as now—as now!
Some unsuspected isle in the far seas!
Some unsuspected isle in far-off seas!
. . . . . . . . .
Overhead the tree-tops meet—
Flowers and grass spring 'neath one's feet—
There was nought above me, and nought below,
My childhood had not learned to know
For, what are the voices of birds
Ay, and of beasts—but words—our words,
Only so much more sweet?
The knowledge of that with my life begun!
But I had so near made out the sun,
And counted your stars, the Seven and One,
Like the fingers of my hand:
Nay, I could all but understand
Wherefore through heaven the white moon ranges;
And just when out of her soft fifty changes
No unfamiliar face might overlook me—
Suddenly God took me!


Robert Browning (1812-1889)

Fear death?--to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face,
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
I am nearing the place,
The power of the night, the press of the storm,
The post of the foe;
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,
Yet the strong man must go:
For the journey is done and the summit attained,
And the barriers fall,
Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained,
The reward of it all.
I was ever a fighter, so—one fight more,
The best and the last!
I would hate that death bandaged my eyes and forbore,
And bade me creep past.
No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers
The heroes of old,
Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears
Of pain, darkness and cold.
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
The black minute's at end,
And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
Shall dwindle, shall blend,
Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,
Then a light, then thy breast,
O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
And with God be the rest!

Robert Browning (1812-1889)

Are there not, dear Michal,
Two points in the adventure of the diver:
One—when, a beggar, he prepares to plunge?
One—when, a prince, he rises with his pearl?
Festus, I plunge!


Rudyard (1865-1936)

Now Tomlinson gave up the ghost at his house in Berkeley Square,
And a Spirit came to his bedside and gripped him by the hair—
A Spirit gripped him by the hair and carried him far away,
Till he heard as the roar of a rain-fed ford the roar of the Milky Way:
Till he heard the roar of the Milky Way die down and drone and cease,
And they came to the Gate within the Wall where Peter holds the keys.
"Stand up, stand up now, Tomlinson, and answer loud and high
"The good that ye did for the sake of men or ever ye came to die—
"The good that ye did for the sake of men on the little Earth so lone!"
And the naked soul of Tomlinson grew white as the rain-washed bone.
"O I have a friend on Earth," he said, "that was my priest and guide,
"And well would he answer all for me if he were at my side."
"For that ye strove in neighbour-love it shall be written fair,
"But now ye wait at Heaven's Gate and not in Berkeley Square:
"Though we called your friend from his bed this night, he could not speak for you,
"For the race is run by one and one and never by two and two."
Then Tomlinson looked up and down, and little gain was there,
For the naked stars grinned overhead, and he saw that his soul was bare.
The Wind that blows between the Worlds, it cut him like a knife,
And Tomlinson took up the tale and spoke of his good in life.
"O this I have read in a book," he said, "and that was told to me,
"And this I have thought that another man thought of a Prince in Muscovy."
The good souls flocked like homing doves and bade him clear the path,
And Peter twirled the jangling Keys in weariness and wrath.
"Ye have read, ye have heard, ye have thought," he said, "and the tale is yet to run:
"By the worth of the body that once ye had, give answer—what ha' ye done?"
Then Tomlinson looked back and forth, and little good it bore,
For the darkness stayed at his shoulder-blade and Heaven's Gate before:—
"O this I have felt, and this I have guessed, and this I heard men say,
"And this they wrote that another man wrote of a carl in Norroway."
"Ye have read, ye have felt, ye have guessed, good lack! Ye have hampered Heaven's Gate;
"There's little room between the stars in idleness to prate!
"For none may reach by hired speech of neighbour, priest, and kin
"Through borrowed deed to God's good meed that lies so fair within;
"Get hence, get hence to the Lord of Wrong, for thy doom has yet to run,
"And . . . the faith that ye share with Berkeley Square uphold you, Tomlinson!"
The Spirit gripped him by the hair, and sun by sun they fell
Till they came to the belt of Naughty Stars that rim the mouth of Hell.
The first are red with pride and wrath, the next are white with pain,
But the third are black with clinkered sin that cannot burn again.
They may hold their path, they may leave their path, with never a soul to mark:
They may burn or freeze, but they must not cease in the Scorn of the Outer Dark.
The Wind that blows between the Worlds, it nipped him to the bone,
And he yearned to the flare of Hell-gate there as the light of his own hearth-stone.
The Devil he sat behind the bars, where the desperate legions drew,
But he caught the hasting Tomlinson and would not let him through.
"Wot ye the price of good pit-coal that I must pay?" said he,
"That ye rank yoursel' so fit for Hell and ask no leave of me?
"I am all o'er-sib to Adam's breed that ye should give me scorn,
"For I strove with God for your First Father the day that he was born.
"Sit down, sit down upon the slag, and answer loud and high
"The harm that ye did to the Sons of Men or ever you came to die."
And Tomlinson looked up and up, and saw against the night
The belly of a tortured star blood-red in Hell-Mouth light;
And Tomlinson looked down and down, and saw beneath his feet
The frontlet of a tortured star milk-white in Hell-Mouth heat.
"O I had a love on earth," said he, "that kissed me to my fall;
"And if ye would call my love to me I know she would answer all."
"All that ye did in love forbid it shall be written fair,
"But now ye wait at Hell-Mouth Gate and not in Berkeley Square:
"Though we whistled your love from her bed to-night, I trow she would not run,
"For the sin that ye do by two and two ye must pay for one by one!"
The Wind that blows between the Worlds, it cut him like a knife,
And Tomlinson took up the tale and spoke of his sins in life:—
"Once I ha' laughed at the power of Love and twice at the grip of the Grave,
"And thrice I ha' patted my God on the head that men might call me brave."
The Devil he blew on a brandered soul and laid it aside to cool:—
"Do ye think I would waste my good pit-coal on the hide of a brain-sick fool?
"I see no worth in the hobnail mirth or the jolthead jest ye did
"That I should waken my gentlemen that are sleeping three on a grid."
Then Tomlinson looked back and forth, and there was little grace,
For Hell-Gate filled the houseless soul with the Fear of Naked Space.
"Nay, this I ha' heard," quo' Tomlinson, "and this was noised abroad,
"And this I ha' got from a Belgian book on the word of a dead French lord."
"Ye ha' heard, ye ha' read, ye ha' got, good lack! and the tale begins afresh—
"Have ye sinned one sin for the pride o' the eye or the sinful lust of the flesh?"
Then Tomlinson he gripped the bars and yammered, "Let me in—
"For I mind that I borrowed my neighbour's wife to sin the deadly sin."
The Devil he grinned behind the bars, and banked the fires high:
"Did ye read of that sin in a book?" said he; and Tomlinson said, "Ay!"
The Devil he blew upon his nails, and the little devils ran,
And he said: "Go husk this whimpering thief that comes in the guise of a man:
"Winnow him out 'twixt star and star, and sieve his proper worth:
"There's sore decline in Adam's line if this be spawn of Earth."
Empusa's crew, so naked-new they may not face the fire,
But weep that they bin too small to sin to the height of their desire,
Over the coal they chased the Soul, and racked it all abroad,
As children rifle a caddis-case or the raven's foolish hoard.
And back they came with the tattered Thing, as children after play,
And they said: "The soul that he got from God he has bartered clean away.
"We have threshed a stook of print and book, and winnowed a chattering wind,
"And many a soul wherefrom he stole, but his we cannot find.
"We have handled him, we have dandled him, we have seared him to the bone,
"And, Sire, if tooth and nail show truth he has no soul of his own."
The Devil he bowed his head to his breast and rumbled deep and low:—
"I'm all o'er-sib to Adam's breed that I should bid him go.
"Yet close we lie, and deep we lie, and if I gave him place,
"My gentlemen that are so proud would flout me to my face;
"They'd call my house a common stews and me a careless host,
"And—I would not anger my gentlemen for the sake of a shiftless ghost."
The Devil he looked at the mangled Soul that prayed to feel the flame,
And he thought of Holy Charity, but he thought of his own good name:—
"Now ye could haste my coal to waste, and sit ye down to fry.
"Did ye think of that theft for yourself?" said he; and Tomlinson said, "Ay!"
The Devil he blew an outward breath, for his heart was free from care:—
"Ye have scarce the soul of a louse," he said, "but the roots of sin are there,
"And for that sin should ye come in were I the lord alone,
"But sinful pride has rule inside—ay, mightier than my own.
"Honour and Wit, fore-damned they sit, to each his Priest and Whore;
"Nay, scarce I dare myself go there, and you they'd torture sore.
"Ye are neither spirit nor spirk," he said; "ye are neither book nor brute—
"Go, get ye back to the flesh again for the sake of Man's repute.
"I'm all o'er-sib to Adam's breed that I should mock your pain,
"But look that ye win to a worthier sin ere ye come back again.
"Get hence, the hearse is at your door—the grim black stallions wait—
"They bear your clay to place to-day. Speed, lest ye come too late!
"Go back to Earth with lip unsealed—go back with open eye,
"And carry my word to the Sons of Men or ever ye come to die:
"That the sin they do by two and two they must pay for one by one,
"And . . . the God you took from a printed book be with you, Tomlinson!"


Oliver Goldsmith (1730?-1774)

Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain
Where health and plenty cheer'd the labouring swain
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer's lingering bloom`s delay'd:
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,
How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear'd each scene!
How often have I paus'd on every charm,
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that topt the neighbouring hill,
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whisp'ring lovers made!
How often have I blest the coming day,
When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
And all the village train, from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree;
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old survey'd;
And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground,
And sleights of art and feats of strength went round;
And still, as each repeated pleasure tir'd,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspir'd;
The dancing pair that simply sought renown
By holding out to tire each other down:
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titter'd round the place;
The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,
The matron's glance that would those looks reprove:
These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like these
With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please:
These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,
These were thy charms—but all these charms are fled.
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;
Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen,
And desolation saddens all thy green:
One only master grasps the whole domain,
And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain.
No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But, chok'd with sedges, works its weedy way;
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries;
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall;
And trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
Far, far away, thy children leave the land.
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made:
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroy'd, can never be supplied.
A time there was, ere England's griefs began,
When every rood of ground maintain'd its man;
For him light labour spread her wholesome store,
Just gave what life requir'd, but gave no more:
His best companions, innocence and health;
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
But times are alter'd; trade's unfeeling train
Usurp the land and dispossess the swain;
Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlets rose,
Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose,
And every want to opulence allied,
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that ask'd but little room,
Those healthful sports that grac'd the peaceful scene,
Liv'd in each look, and brighten'd all the green,--
These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more.

Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.
Here, as I take my solitary rounds,
Amidst thy tangling walks and ruin'd grounds,
And, many a year elaps'd, return to view
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew,
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.

In all my wand'rings round this world of care,
In all my griefs—and God has giv'n my share—
I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;
To husband out life's taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose:
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amidst the swains to show my booklearn'd skill,
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt and all I saw;
And as a hare whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return, and die at home at last.

O blest retirement, friend to life's decline,
Retreats from care, that never must be mine!
How happy he who crowns in shades like these
A youth of labour with an age of ease;
Who quits a world where strong temptations try,
And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly!
For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dang'rous deep;
No surly porter stands in guilty state,
To spurn imploring famine from the gate;
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue's friend;
Bends to the grave with unperceiv'd decay,
While resignation gently slopes the way;
And, all his prospects bright'ning to the last,
His heav'n commences ere the world be past!
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose.
There, as I past with careless steps and slow,
The mingling notes came soften'd from below;
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,
The sober herd that low'd to meet their young,
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school,
The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whisp'ring wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind,--
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread,
\For all the bloomy flush of life is fled!
All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring:
She, wretched matron, forc'd in age for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn;
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain.
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd,
And still where many a garden flower grows wild;
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher's modest mansion rose.
A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had changed, nor wish'd to change, his place;
Unpractis'd he to fawn, or seek for power,
By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour;
Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize,
More skill'd to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train;
He chid their wand'rings but reliev'd their pain;
The long remember'd beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud,
Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd;
The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away,
Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
Shoulder'd his crutch and show'd how fields were won.
Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn'd to glow,
And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
His pity gave ere charity began.
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And e'en his failings lean'd to virtue's side;
But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt for all;
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries
To tempt its new-fledg'd offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reprov'd each dull delay,
Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismay'd
The rev'rend champion stood. At his control
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last falt'ring accents whisper'd praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorn'd the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway,
And fools who came to scoff remain'd to pray.
The service past, around the pious man,
With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran;
E'en children follow'd with endearing wile,
And pluck'd his gown to share the good man's smile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest:
Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares distrest:
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven.
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule,
The village master taught his little school.
A man severe he was, and stern to view;
I knew him well, and every truant knew;
Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper circling round
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd.
Yet he was kind, or, if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault;
The village all declar'd how much he knew;
'Twas certain he could write, and cypher too:
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And ev'n the story ran that he could gauge.
In arguing, too, the parson own'd his skill,
For, ev'n though vanquish'd, he could argue still;
While words of learned length and thundering sound
Amazed the gazing rustics rang'd around;
And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.

But past is all his fame. The very spot
Where many a time he triumph'd is forgot.
Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,
Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye,
Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspir'd,
Where grey-beard mirth and smiling toil retir'd,
Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profound,
And news much older than their ale went round.
Imagination fondly stoops to trace
The parlour splendours of that festive place;
The white-wash'd wall, the nicely-sanded floor,
The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door;
The chest contriv'd a double debt to pay,
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;
The pictures plac'd for ornament and use,
The Twelve Good Rules, the Royal Game of Goose;
The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day,
With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel gay;
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show,
Rang'd o'er the chimney, glisten'd in a row.

Vain transitory splendours! could not all
Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall?
Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart
An hour's importance to the poor man's hear
Thither no more the peasant shall repair
To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,
No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his pond'rous strength, and lean to hear;
The host himself no longer shall be found
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;
Nor the coy maid, half willing to be prest,
Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.

Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
These simple blessings of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art;
Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play,
The soul adopts, and owns their firstborn sway;
Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind,
Unenvied, unmolested, unconfin'd.
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
With all the freaks of wanton wealth array'd—
In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,
The toiling pleasure sickens into pain;
And, e'en while fashion's brightest arts decoy,
The heart distrusting asks if this be joy.
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey
The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay,
'Tis yours to judge, how wide the limits stand
Between a splendid and a happy land.
Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore,
And shouting Folly hails them from her shore;
Hoards e'en beyond the miser's wish abound,
And rich men flock from all the world around.
Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a name
That leaves our useful products still the same.
Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride
Takes up a space that many poor supplied;
Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds,
Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds:
The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth
Has robb'd the neighb'ring fields of half their growth:
His seat, where solitary sports are seen,
Indignant spurns the cottage from the green:
Around the world each needful product flies,
For all the luxuries the world supplies;
While thus the land adorn'd for pleasure all,
In barren splendour feebly waits the fall.
As some fair female unadorn'd and plain,
Secure to please while youth confirms her reign,
Slights every borrow'd charm that dress supplies,
Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes;
But when those charms are past, for charms are frail,
When time advances, and when lovers fail,
She then shines forth, solicitous to bless,
In all the glaring impotence of dress.
Thus fares the land by luxury betray'd:
In nature's simplest charms at first array'd,
But verging to decline, its splendours rise,
Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise;
While, scourg'd by famine from the smiling land,
The mournful peasant leads his humble band,
And` while he sinks, without one arm to save,
The country blooms—a garden and a grave.
Where then, ah! where, shall poverty reside,
To 'scape the pressure of contiguous pride?
If to some common's fenceless limits stray'd
He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,
Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide,
And ev'n the bare-worn common is denied.
If to the city sped—what waits him there?
To see profusion that he must not share;
To see ten thousand baneful arts combin'd
To pamper luxury, and thin mankind;
To see those joys the sons of pleasure know
Extorted from his fellow-creature's woe.
Here while the courtier glitters in brocade,
There the pale artist plies the sickly trade;
Here while the proud their long-drawn pomps display,
There the black gibbet glooms beside the way.
The dome where pleasure holds her midnight reign
Here, richly deck'd, admits the gorgeous train:
Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square,
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare.
Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er annoy!
Sure these denote one universal joy!
Are these thy serious thoughts.?--Ah, turn thine eyes
Where the poor houseless shiv'ring female lies.
She once, perhaps, in village plenty blest,
Has wept at tales of innocence distrest;
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn
Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn:
Now lost to all—her friends, her virtue fled,
Near her betrayer's door she lays her head,
And, pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from the shower,
With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,
When idly first, ambitious of the town,
She left her wheel and robes of country brown.

Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train,--
Do thy fair tribes participate her pain?
Ev'n now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,
At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!
Ah, no! To distant climes, a dreary scene,
Where half the convex world intrudes between,
Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go,
Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe.
Far different there from all that charm'd before,
The various terrors of that horrid shore:
Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray,
And fiercely shed intolerable day;
Those matted woods, where birds forget to sing,
But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling;
Those pois'nous fields with rank luxuriance crown'd,
Where the dark scorpion gathers death around;
Where at each step the stranger fears to wake
The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake;
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,
And savage men more murd'rous still than they;
While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,
Mingling the ravag'd landscape with the skies.
Far different these from every former scene,
The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green,
The breezy covert of the warbling grove,
That only shelter'd thefts of harmless love.
Good Heaven! what sorrows gloom'd that parting day,
That call'd them from their native walks away;
When the poor exiles, every pleasure past,
Hung round their bowers, and fondly look'd their last,
And took a long farewell, and wish'd in vain
For seats like these beyond the western main,
And shudd'ring still to face the distant deep,
Return'd and wept, and still return'd to weep!
The good old sire the first prepar'd to go
To new found worlds, and wept for others' woe;
But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,
He only wish'd for worlds beyond the grave.
His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of his helpless years,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
And left a lover's for a father's arms.
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And bless'd the cot where every pleasure rose,
And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear,
Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief
In all the silent manliness of grief.

O luxury! thou curst by Heaven's decree,
How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee!
How do thy potions, with insidious joy,
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy!
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,
Boast of a florid vigour not their own.
At every draught more large and large they grow,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe;
Till sapp'd their strength, and every part unsound,
Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round.
Ev'n now the devastation is begun,
And half the business of destruction done;
Ev'n now, methinks, as pond'ring here I stand,
I see the rural virtues leave the land.
Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail,
That idly waiting flaps with every gale,
Downward they move, a melancholy band,
Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand.
Contented toil, and hospitable care,
And kind connubial tenderness, are there;
And piety, with wishes placed above,
And steady loyalty, and faithful love.
And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid,
Still first to fly where sensual joys invade;
Unfit in these degenerate times of shame
To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame;
Dear charming nymph, neglected and decried,
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride;
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,
That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so;
Thou guide by which the nobler arts excel,
Thou nurse of every virtue, fare thee well!
Farewell, and oh! where'er thy voice be tried,
On Torno's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side,
That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the labour'd mole away;
While self-dependent power can time defy,
As rocks resist the billows and the sky.


Robert Browning (1812-1889)

What's become of Waring
Since he gave us all the slip,
Chose land-travel or seafaring,
Boots and chest or staff and scrip,
Rather than pace up and down
Any longer London town?
Who'd have guessed it from his lip
Or his brow's accustomed bearing,
On the night he thus took ship
Or started landward?---little caring
For us, it seems, who supped together
(Friends of his too, I remember)
And walked home thro' the merry weather,
The snowiest in all December.
I left his arm that night myself
For what's-his-name's, the new prose-poet
Who wrote the book there, on the shelf---
How, forsooth, was I to know it
If Waring meant to glide away
Like a ghost at break of day?
Never looked he half so gay!
He was prouder than the devil:
How he must have cursed our revel!
Ay and many other meetings,
Indoor visits, outdoor greetings,
As up and down he paced this London,
With no work done, but great works undone,
Where scarce twenty knew his name.
Why not, then, have earlier spoken,
Written, bustled? Who's to blame
If your silence kept unbroken?
"True, but there were sundry jottings,
Stray-leaves, fragments, blurts and blottings,
Certain fixst steps were achieved
Already which"---(is that your meaning?)
"Had well borne out whoe'er believed
In more to come!'' But who goes gleaning
Hedgeside chance-glades, while full-sheaved
Stand cornfields by him? Pride, o'erweening
Pride alone, puts forth such claims
O'er the day's distinguished names.
Meantime, how much I loved him,
I find out now I've lost him.
I who cared not if I moved him,
Who could so carelessly accost him,
Henceforth never shall get free
Of his ghostly company,
His eyes that just a little wink
As deep I go into the merit
Of this and that distinguished spirit---
His cheeks' raised colour, soon to sink,
As long I dwell on some stupendous
And tremendous (Heaven defend us!)
Penman's latest piece of graphic.
Nay, my very wrist grows warm
With his dragging weight of arm.
E'en so, swimmingly appears,
Through one's after-supper musings,
Some lost lady of old years
With her beauteous vain endeavour
And goodness unrepaid as ever;
The face, accustomed to refusings,
We, puppies that we were ... Oh never
Surely, nice of conscience, scrupled
Being aught like false, forsooth, to?
Telling aught but honest truth to?
What a sin, had we centupled
Its possessor's grace and sweetness!
No! she heard in its completeness
Truth, for truth's a weighty matter,
And truth, at issue, we can't flatter!
Well, 'tis done with; she's exempt
From damning us thro' such a sally;
And so she glides, as down a valley,
Taking up with her contempt,
Past our reach; and, in the flowers
Shut her unregarded hours.
Oh, could I have him back once more,
This Waring, but one half-day more!
Back, with the quiet face of yore,
So hungry for acknowledgment
Like mine! I'd fool him to his bent.
Feed, should not he, to heart's content?
I'd say, "to only have conceived,
Planned your great works, apart from progress,
Surpasses little works achieved!"
I'd lie so, I should be believed.
I'd make such havoc of the claims
Of the day's distinguished names
To feast him with, as feasts an ogress
Her feverish sharp-toothed gold-crowned child!
Or as one feasts a creature rarely
Captured here, unreconciled
To capture; and completely gives
Its pettish humours license, barely
Requiring that it lives.
Ichabod, Ichabod,
The glory is departed!
Travels Waring East away?
Who, of knowledge, by hearsay,
Reports a man upstarted
Somewhere as a god,
Hordes grown European-hearted,
Millions of the wild made tame
On a sudden at his fame?
In Vishnu-land what Avatar?
Or who in Moscow, toward the Czar,
With the demurest of footfalls
Over the Kremlin's pavement bright
With serpentine and syenite,
Steps, with five other Generals
That simultaneously take snuff,
For each to have pretext enough
And kerchiefwise unfold his sash
Which, softness' self, is yet the stuff
To hold fast where a steel chain snaps,
And leave the grand white neck no gash?
Waring in Moscow, to those rough
Cold northern natures born perhaps,
Like the lambwhite maiden dear
From the circle of mute kings
Unable to repress the tear,
Each as his sceptre down he flings,
To Dian's fane at Taurica,
Where now a captive priestess, she alway
Mingles her tender grave Hellenic speech
With theirs, tuned to the hailstone-beaten beach
As pours some pigeon, from the myrrhy lands
Rapt by the whirlblast to fierce Scythian strands
Where breed the swallows, her melodious cry
Amid their barbarous twitter!
In Russia? Never! Spain were fitter!
Ay, most likely 'tis in Spain
That we and Waring meet again
Now, while he turns down that cool narrow lane
Into the blackness, out of grave Madrid
All fire and shine, abrupt as when there's slid
Its stiff gold blazing pall
From some black coffin-lid.
Or, best of all,
I love to think
The leaving us was just a feint;
Back here to London did he slink,
And now works on without a wink
Of sleep, and we are on the brink
Of something great in fresco-pain:
Some garret's ceiling, walls and floor,
Up and down and o'er and o'er
He splashes, as none splashed before
Since great Caldera Polidore.
Or Music means this land of ours
Some favour yet, to pity won
By Purcell from his Rosy Bowers,---
"Give me my so-long promised son,
Let Waring end what I begun!''
Then down he creeps and out he steals
Only when the night conceals
His face; in Kent 'tis cherry-time,
Or hops are picking: or at prime
Of March he wanders as, too happy,
Years ago when he was young,
Some mild eve when woods grew sappy
And the early moths had sprung
To life from many a trembling sheath
Woven the warm boughs beneath;
While small birds said to themselves
What should soon be actual song,
And young gnats, by tens and twelves,
Made as if they were the throng
That crowd around and carry aloft
The sound they have nursed, so sweet and pure,
Out of a myriad noises soft,
Into a tone that can endure
Amid the noise of a July noon
When all God's creatures crave their boon,
All at once and all in tune,
And get it, happy as Waring then,
Having first within his ken
What a man might do with men:
And far too glad, in the even-glow,
To mix with the world he meant to take
Into his hand, he told you, so---
And out of it his world to make,
To contract and to expand
As he shut or oped his hand.
Oh Waring, what's to really be?
A clear stage and a crowd to see!
Some Garrick, say, out shall not he
The heart of Hamlet's mystery pluck?
Or, where most unclean beasts are rife,
Some Junius---am I right?---shall tuck
His sleeve, and forth with flaying-knife!
Some Chatterton shall have the luck
Of calling Rowley into life!
Some one shall somehow run a-muck
With this old world for want of strife
Sound asleep. Contrive, contrive
To rouse us, Waring! Who's alive?
Our men scarce seem in earnest now.
Distinguished names!---but 'tis, somehow,
As if they played at being names
Still more distinguished, like the games
Of children. Turn our sport to earnest
With a visage of the sternest!
Bring the real times back, confessed
Still better than our very best!
"When I last saw Waring ...''
(How all turned to him who spoke!
"You saw Waring? Truth or joke?
In land-travel or sea-faring?")
"We were sailing by Triest
Where a day or two we harboured:
A sunset was in the West,
When, looking over the vessel's side,
One of our company espied
A sudden speck to larboard.
And as a sea-duck flies and swims
At once, so came the light craft up,
With its sole lateen sail that trims
And turns (the water round its rims
Dancing, as round a sinking cup)
And by us like a fish it curled,
And drew itself up close beside,
Its great sail on the instant furled,
And o'er its thwarts a shrill voice cried,
(A neck as bronzed as a Lascar's)
'Buy wine of us, you English Brig?
Or fruit, tobacco and cigars?
A pilot for you to Triest?
Without one, look you ne'er so big,
They'll never let you up the bay!
We natives should know best.'
I turned, and 'just those fellows' way,'
Our captain said,
'The 'long-shore thieves
Are laughing at us in their sleeves.'"
"In truth, the boy leaned laughing back;
And one, half-hidden by his side
Under the furled sail, soon I spied,
With great grass hat and kerchief black,
Who looked up with his kingly throat,
Said somewhat, while the other shook
His hair back from his eyes to look
Their longest at us; then the boat,
I know not how, turned sharply round,
Laying her whole side on the sea
As a leaping fish does; from the lee
Into the weather, cut somehow
Her sparkling path beneath our bow
And so went off, as with a bound,
Into the rosy and golden half
O' the sky, to overtake the sun
And reach the shore, like the sea-calf
Its singing cave; yet I caught one
Glance ere away the boat quite passed,
And neither time nor toil could mar
Those features: so I saw the last
Of Waring!''—You? Oh, never star
Was lost here but it rose afar!
Look East, where whole new thousands are!
In Vishnu-land what Avatar?


D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as
she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastry of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlor, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamor
With the great black piano apassionato. The glamor
Of childhood days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child
for the past.


Charlotte Mew (1870-1928)

Three summers since I chose a maid,
Too young maybe—but more's to do
At harvest-time than bide and woo.
When us was wed she turned afraid
Of love and me and all things human;
Like the shut of a winter's day.
Her smile went out, and 'twasn't a woman—
More like a little, frightened fay.
One night, in the Fall, she runned away.

"Out 'mong the sheep, her be," they said,
'Should properly have been abed;
But sure enough she wasn't there
Lying awake with her wide brown stare.
So over seven-acre field and up-along across the down
We chased her, flying like a hare
Before our lanterns. To Church-Town
All in a shiver and a scare
We caught her, fetched her home at last
And turned the key upon her, fast.

She does the work about the house
As well as most, but like a mouse:
Happy enough to chat and play
With birds and rabbits and such as they,
So long as men-folk stay away.
"Not near, not near!" her eyes beseech
When one of us comes within reach.
The women say that beasts in stall
Look round like children at her call.
I've hardly heard her speak at all.

Shy as a leveret, swift as he,
Straight and slight as a young larch tree,
Sweet as the first wild violets, she,
To her wild self. But what to me?
The short days shorten and the oaks are brown,
The blue smoke rises to the low gray sky,
One leaf in the still air falls slowly down,
A magpie's spotted feathers lie
On the black earth spread white with rime,
The berries redden up to Christmas-time.
What's Christmas-time without there be
Some other in the house than we!

She sleeps up in the attic there
Alone, poor maid. 'Tis but a stair
Betwixt us. Oh, my God!--the down,
The soft young down of her; the brown,
The brown of her—her eyes, her hair, her hair!


Coventry Patmore (1823-1896)

My little son, who looked from thoughtful eyes
And moved and spoke in quite grown-up wise,
Having my law the seventh time disobeyed,
I struck him and dismissed
With hard words and unkissed,
His Mother, who was patient, being dead.
Then, fearing lest his grief should hinder sleep
I visited his bed,
But found him slumbering deep,
With darkened eyelids, and their lashes yet
From his late sobbing wet.
And I, with moan,
Kissing away his tears, left others of my own;
For, on a table drawn beside his head,
He had put, within his reach,
A box of counters and a red-veined stone,
A piece of glass abraded by the beach,
And six or seven shells,
A bottle with bluebells,
And two French copper coins, ranged there with careful art,
To comfort his sad heart.
So when that night I prayed
To God, I wept, and said:
Ah, when at last we lie with trancèd breath,
Not vexing Thee in death,
And Thou rememberest of what toys
We made our joys,
How weakly understood
Thy great commanded good,
Then, fatherly not less
Than I whom Thou hast moulded from the clay,
Thou'lt leave Thy wrath, and say,
"I will be sorry for their childishness."

Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Sweet Hour of Twilight! -- in the solitude
Of the pine forest, and the silent shore
Which bounds Ravenna's immemorial wood,
Rooted where once the Adrian wave flow'd o'er,
To where the last Caesarean fortress stood,
Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio's lore
And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to me,
How have I loved the twilight hour and thee!

Oh,! thou bringest all good things—
Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer,
To the young bird the parent's brooding wings,
The welcome stall to the o'erlabour'd steer;
Whate'er of peace about our hearthstone clings,
Whate'er our household gods protect of dear,
Are gather'd round us by thy look of rest;
Thou bring'st the child, too, to the mother's breast.

Soft hour! which wakes the wish and melts the heart
Of those who sail the seas, on the first day
When they from their sweet friends are torn apart;
Or fills with love the pilgrim on his way
As the far bell of vesper makes him start,
Seeming to weep the dying day's decay;
Is this a fancy which our reason scorns?
Ah! surely nothing dies but something mourns!


Dante Gabriel Rossetti (l828-1882)

Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;
I am also call'd No-more, Too-late, Farewell;
Unto thine ear I hold the dead-sea shell
Cast up thy Life's foam-fretted feet between;
Unto thine eyes the glass where that is seen
Which had Life's form and Love's, but by my spell
Is now a shaken shadow intolerable,
Of ultimate things unutter'd the frail screen.
Mark me, how still I am! But should there dart
One moment through thy soul the soft surprise
Of that wing'd Peace which lulls the breath of sighs,--
Then shalt thou see me smile, and turn apart
Thy visage to mine ambush at thy heart
Sleepless with cold commemorative eyes.


William Morris (1834-1896)

Of Heaven or Hell I have no power to sing,
I cannot ease the burden of your fears,
Or make quick-coming death a little thing,
Or bring again the pleasure of past years,
Nor for my words shall ye forget your tears,
Or hope again for aught that I can say,
The idle singer of an empty day.
But rather, when aweary of your mirth,
From full hearts still unsatisfied ye sigh,
And, feeling kindly unto all the earth,
Grudge every minute as it passes by,
Made the more mindful that the sweet days die
—Remember me a little then I pray,
The idle singer of an empty day.
The heavy trouble, the bewildering care
That weighs us down who live and earn our bread,
These idle verses have no power to bear;
So let em sing of names remember{`e}d,
Because they, living not, can ne'er be dead,
Or long time take their memory quite away
From us poor singers of an empty day.

Dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time,
Why should I strive to set the crooked straight?
Let it suffice me that my murmuring rhyme
Beats with light wing against the ivory gate,
Telling a tale not too importunate
To those who in the sleepy region stay,
Lulled by the singer of an empty day.

Folk say, a wizard to a northern king
At Christmas-tide such wondrous things did show,
That through one window men beheld the spring,
And through another saw the summer glow,
And through a third the fruited vines a-row,
While still, unheard, but in its wonted way,
Piped the drear wind of that December day.
So with this Earthly Paradise it is,
If ye will read aright, and pardon me,
Who strive to build a shadowy isle of bliss
Midmost the beating of the steely sea,
Where tossed about all hearts of men must be;
Whose ravening monsters mighty men shall slay,
Not the poor singer of an empty day.


John Davidson (1859-1909)

'A letter from my love to-day!
Oh, unexpected, dear appeal!'
She struck a happy tear away,
And broke the crimson seal.

'My love, there is no help on earth,
No help in heaven; the dead-man's bell
Must toll our wedding; our first hearth
Must be the well-paved floor of hell.'

The colour died from out her face,
Her eyes like ghostly candles shone;
She cast dread looks about the place,
Then clenched her teeth and read right on.

'I may not pass the prison door;
Here must I rot from day to day,
Unless I wed whom I abhor,
My cousin, Blanche of Valencay.

'At midnight with my dagger keen,
I'll take my life; it must be so.
Meet me in hell to-night, my queen,
For weal and woe.'

She laughed although her face was wan,
She girded on her golden belt,
She took her jewelled ivory fan,
And at her glowing missal knelt.

Then rose, 'And am I mad?' she said:
She broke her fan, her belt untied;
With leather girt herself instead,
And stuck a dagger at her side.

She waited, shuddering in her room,
Till sleep had fallen on all the house.
She never flinched; she faced her doom:
They two must sin to keep their vows.

Then out into the night she went,
And, stooping, crept by hedge and tree;
Her rose-bush flung a snare of scent,
And caught a happy memory.

She fell, and lay a minute's space;
She tore the sward in her distress;
The dewy grass refreshed her face;
She rose and ran with lifted dress.

She started like a morn-caught ghost
Once when the moon came out and stood
To watch; the naked road she crossed,
And dived into the murmuring wood.

The branches snatched her streaming cloak;
A live thing shrieked; she made no stay!
She hurried to the trysting-oak—
Right well she knew the way.

Without a pause she bared her breast,
And drove her dagger home and fell,
And lay like one that takes her rest,
And died and wakened up in hell.

She bathed her spirit in the flame,
And near the centre took her post;
From all sides to her ears there came
The dreary anguish of the lost.

The devil started at her side,
Comely, and tall, and black as jet.
'I am young Malespina's bride;
Has he come hither yet?'

'My poppet, welcome to your bed.'
'Is Malespina here?'
'Not he! To-morrow he must wed
His cousin Blanche, my dear!'

'You lie, he died with me to-night.'
'Not he! it was a plot' ... 'You lie.'
'My dear, I never lie outright.'
'We died at midnight, he and I.'

The devil went. Without a groan
She, gathered up in one fierce prayer,
Took root in hell's midst all alone,
And waited for him there.

She dared to make herself at home
Amidst the wail, the uneasy stir.
The blood-stained flame that filled the dome,
Scentless and silent, shrouded her.

How long she stayed I cannot tell;
But when she felt his perfidy,
She marched across the floor of hell;
And all the damned stood up to see.

The devil stopped her at the brink:
She shook him off; she cried, 'Away!'
'My dear, you have gone mad, I think.'
'I was betrayed: I will not stay.'

Across the weltering deep she ran;
A stranger thing was never seen:
The damned stood silent to a man;
They saw the great gulf set between.

To her it seemed a meadow fair;
And flowers sprang up about her feet
She entered heaven; she climbed the stair
And knelt down at the mercy-seat.

Seraphs and saints with one great voice
Welcomed that soul that knew not fear.
Amazed to find it could rejoice,
Hell raised a hoarse, half-human cheer.

Doggerel, but what a last line! John Davidson was born at
Barrhead, Renfrewshire, in 1857. His Ballads and Songs (1895)
and New Ballads (1897) attained a sudden but too short-lived
popularity, and his great promise was quenched by an apathetic
public and by his own growing disillusion and despair. His
sombre yet direct poetry never tired of repeating his favorite
theme: "Man is but the Universe grown conscious."
Davidson died by his own hand in 1909.


Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)

No fledgling feeds the fatherbird,
No chicken feeds the hen,
No kitten mouses for the cat—
This glory is for men.

We are the wisest, strongest race:
Long may our praise be sung—
The only animal alive
That lives upon its young!


James Joyce (1882-1941)

He travels after a winter sun,
Urging the cattle along a cold red road,
Calling to them, a voice they know,
He drives his beasts above Cabra.

The voice tells them home is warm.
They moo and make brute music with their hoofs.
He drives them with a flowering branch before him,
Smoke pluming their foreheads.

Boor, bond of the herd,
Tonight stretch full by the fire!
I bleed by the black stream
For my torn bough!


Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

People expect old men to die,
They really do not mourn old men.
Old men are different. People look
At them with eyes that wonder when . . .
People watch with unshocked eyes;
But the old men know when an old man dies.


Anon. From the Gaelic
(Trans. A. Carmichael)

Early on the morning of Monday,
I heard the bleating of a lamb,

And the kid-like cry of snipe,
While gently sitting bent,

And the grey-blue cuckoo,
And no food on my stomach.

On the fair evening of Tuesday,
I saw on the smooth stone,
The snail slimy, pale,

And the ashy wheatear
On the top of the dyke of holes,

The foal of the old mare,
Of sprauchly gait and its back to me.

And I knew from these
That the year would not go well with me.

Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774)

"Turn, gentle Hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way,
To where yon taper cheers the vale
With hospitable ray.

For here forlorn and lost I tread,
With fainting steps and slow,
Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem length'ning as I go."

"Forbear, my son," the Hermit cries,
"To tempt the dangerous gloom;
For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.

"Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still;
And though my portion is but scant,
I give it with good will.

"Then turn to-night, and freely share
Whate'er my cell bestows;
My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.

"No flocks that range the valley free,
To slaughter I condemn;
Taught by that Power that pities me,
I learn to pity them;

"But from the mountain's grassy side,
A guiltless feast I bring;
A script with herbs and fruits supplied,
And water from the spring.

"Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego
All earth-born cares are wrong:
Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long."


Irish Folk Song (I wish I knew the tune)

When I was a young man I hadn't a penny.
"Oh, when shall we marry?" my Molly would say.
But I was a wise man and said to my darling:
"Love that is true love will not fade away".

Oh, the youth of the heart
And the dew in the morning.
You wake, and they've left you
Without any warning.

I went to America looking for money.
I worked all the day and I slept all alone.
And the sweet silver dollars I saved for my darling
To clothe her in satin and make her my own.

Oh, the youth of the heart
And the dew in the morning.
You wake, and they've left you
Without any warning.

I came back to Ireland, my pockets a-jingle,
And the wedding bells rang as I came down the street.
"Oh, where is the colleen I've come back to marry?"
I asked the first neighbour I happened to meet.

Oh, the youth of the heart
And the dew in the morning.
You wake, and they've left you
Without any warning.

"Your love has grown weary of keeping her kisses,
And of learning a song that will never be sung.
This morning your Molly has married another,
A penniless man with a heart that is young".

Oh, the youth of the heart
And the dew in the morning.
You wake, and they've left you
Without any warning.

So, all you young lovers all ready to marry,
Remember my story and mind what I say.
For I was a wise man, and now I am sorry,
For the wisdom of winter is madness in May.

Oh, the youth of the heart
And the dew in the morning.
You wake, and they've left you
Without any warning.


W. E. Henley (1849-1903)

Madam life's a piece in bloom
Death goes dogging everywhere:
She's the tenant in the room,
He's the ruffian on the stair.

You shall see her as a friend.
You shall bilk him once or twice;
But he'll trap you in the end,
And he'll stick you for her price

With his kneebone at your chest,
And his knuckles in your throat,
You would reason - plead - protest!
Clutching at her petticoat;

But she's heard it all before,
Well she knows you've had your fun,
Gingerly she gains the door,
And your little job is done.


Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon
Nor brought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember
The roses, red and white,
The violets, and the lily-cups—
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,--
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then
That is so heavy now,
The summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow.

I remember, I remember
The fir frees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from Heaven
Than when I was a boy.


Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
Bright and yellow, hard and cold
Molten, graven, hammered and rolled,
Heavy to get and light to hold,
Hoarded, bartered, bought and sold,
Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled,
Spurned by young, but hugged by old
To the verge of the churchyard mold;
Price of many a crime untold.

Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
Good or bad a thousand fold!
How widely its agencies vary,
To save - to ruin - to curse - to bless -
As even its minted coins express :
Now stamped with the image of good Queen Bess,
And now of a bloody Mary.


John Milton (1608-1674)

He [the Archangel]ended; and thus Adam last replied: -
"How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest,
Measured this transient World, the race of Time,
Till Time stand fixed! Beyond is all abyss -
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.
Greatly instructed I shall hence depart,
Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
Henceforth I learn that to obey is best,
And love with fear the only God, to walk
As in his presence, ever to observe
His providence, and on him sole depend,
Merciful over all his works, with good
Still overcoming evil, and by small
Accomplishing great things - by things deemed weak
Subverting worldly - strong, and worldly - wise
By simply meek; that suffering for Truth's sake
Is fortitude to highest victory,
And to the faithful death the gate of life -
Taught this by his example whom I now
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest."

To whom thus also the Angel last replied: -
"This having learned, thou hast attained the sum
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars
Thou knew'st by name, and all the ethereal powers,
All secrets of the Deep, all Nature's works,
Or works of God in heaven, air, earth, or sea,
And all the riches of this world enjoy'dst,
And all the rule, one empire. Only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith;
Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love,
By name to come called Charity, the soul
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loth
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A Paradise within thee, happier far.
Let us descend now, therefore, from this top
Of speculation; for the hour precise
Exacts our parting hence; and, see! the guards,
By me encamped on yonder hill, expect
Their motion, at whose front a flaming sword,
In signal of remove, waves fiercely round.
We may no longer stay. Go, waken Eve;
Her also I with gentle dreams have calmed,
Portending good, and all her spirits composed
To meek submission: thou, at season fit,
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard -
Chiefly what may concern her faith to know,
The great deliverance by her seed to come
(For by the Woman's Seed) on all mankind -
That ye may live, which will be many days,
Both in one faith unanimous; though sad
With cause for evils past, yet much more cheered
With meditation on the happy end."

He ended, and they both descend the hill.
Descended, Adam to the bower where Eve
Lay sleeping ran before, but found her waked;
And thus with words not sad she him received: -
"Whence thou return'st and whither went'st I know;
For God is also in sleep, and dreams advise,
Which he hath sent propitious, some great good
Presaging, since, with sorrow and heart's distress
Wearied, I fell asleep. But now lead on;
In me is no delay; with thee to go
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay
Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me
Art all things under Heaven, all places thou,
Who for my wilful crime art banished hence.
This further consolation yet secure
I carry hence: though all by me is lost,
Such favour I unworthy am voutsafed,
By me the Promised Seed shall all restore."
So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard
Well pleased, but answered not; for now too nigh
The Archangel stood, and from the other hill
To their fixed station, all in bright array,
The Cherubim descended, on the ground
Gliding meteorous, as evening mist
Risen from a river o'er the marish glides,
And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel
Homeward returning. High in front advanced,
The brandished sword of God before them blazed,
Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat,
And vapour at the Libyan air adust,
Began to parch that temperate clime; whereat
In either hand the hastening Angel caught
Our lingering Parents, and to the eastern gate
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
To the subjected plain - then disappeared.
They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms.
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.


W. Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness!
This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory,
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me and now has left me,
Weary and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye:
I feel my heart new open'd. O, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours!
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have:
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.


W. Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu.
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of naught
Save where you are how happy you make those.
So true a fool is love that in your will,
Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.


W. Shakespeare (1564-1616)

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor'd and sorrows end.


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
No rays from the holy heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently—
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free—
Up domes—up spires—up kingly halls—
Up fanes—up Babylon-like walls—
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers—
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Whose wreathŽd friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.
There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye—
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass—
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea—
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.
But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave—there is a movement there
As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide—
As if their tops had feebly given
A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow—
The hours are breathing faint and low—
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence.


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those NicŽan barks of yore,.
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, way-worn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy-Land!


Robert Browning, (1855-1889)

My first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the workings of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored
Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby.
What else should he be set for, with his staff?
What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
All travellers who might find him posted there,
And ask the road? I guessed what skull-like laugh
Would break, what crutch 'gin write my epitaph
For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare.
If at his counsel I should turn aside
Into that ominous tract which, all agree,
Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly
I did turn as he pointed, neither pride
Now hope rekindling at the end descried,
So much as gladness that some end might be.
For, what with my whole world-wide wandering,
What with my search drawn out through years, my hope
Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
With that obstreperous joy success would bring,
I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring
My heart made, finding failure in its scope.
As when a sick man very near to death
Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end
The tears and takes the farewell of each friend,
And hears one bit the other go, draw breath
Freelier outside, ('since all is o'er,' he saith
And the blow fallen no grieving can amend;')
When some discuss if near the other graves
be room enough for this, and when a day
Suits best for carrying the corpse away,
With care about the banners, scarves and staves
And still the man hears all, and only craves
He may not shame such tender love and stay.
Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest,
Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ
So many times among 'The Band' to wit,
The knights who to the Dark Tower's search addressed
Their steps - that just to fail as they, seemed best,
And all the doubt was now - should I be fit?
So, quiet as despair I turned from him,
That hateful cripple, out of his highway
Into the path he pointed. All the day
Had been a dreary one at best, and dim
Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim
Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.
For mark! No sooner was I fairly found
Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two,
Than, pausing to throw backwards a last view
O'er the safe road, 'twas gone; grey plain all round;
Nothing but plain to the horizon's bound.
I might go on, naught else remained to do.
So on I went. I think I never saw
Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:
For flowers - as well expect a cedar grove!
But cockle, spurge, according to their law
Might propagate their kind with none to awe,
You'd think; a burr had been a treasure trove.
No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In some strange sort, were the land's portion. 'See
'Or shut your eyes,' said Nature peevishly,
'It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
''Tis the Last Judgement's fire must cure this place
'Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.'
If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk
Above its mates, the head was chopped, the bents
Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents
In the dock's harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to baulk
All hope of greenness? Tis a brute must walk
Pashing their life out, with a brute's intents.
As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair
In leprosy; thin dry blades pricked the mud
Which underneath looked kneaded up with blood.
One stiff blind horse, his every bone a-stare,
Stood stupified, however he came there:
Thrust out past service from the devil's stud!
Alive? he might be dead for aught I knew,
With that red gaunt and colloped neck a-strain.
And shut eyes underneath the rusty mane;
Seldom went such grotesqueness with such woe;
I never saw a brute I hated so;
He must be wicked to deserve such pain.
I shut my eyes and turned them on my heart,
As a man calls for wine before he fights,
I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights,
Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.
Think first, fight afterwards, the soldier's art:
One taste of the old time sets all to rights.
Not it! I fancied Cuthbert's reddening face
Beneath its garniture of curly gold,
Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold
An arm to mine to fix me to the place,
The way he used. Alas, one night's disgrace!
Out went my heart's new fire and left it cold.
Giles then, the soul of honour - there he stands
Frank as ten years ago when knighted first,
What honest man should dare (he said) he durst.
Good - but the scene shifts - faugh! what hangman hands
Pin to his breast a parchment? His own bands
Read it. Poor traitor, spit upon and curst!
Better this present than a past like that:
Back therefore to my darkening path again!
No sound, no sight as far as eye could strain.
Will the night send a howlet or a bat?
I asked: when something on the dismal flat
Came to arrest my thoughts and change their train.
A sudden little river crossed my path
As unexpected as a serpent comes.
No sluggish tide congenial to the glooms;
This, as it frothed by, might have been a bath
For the fiend's glowing hoof - to see the wrath
Of its black eddy bespate with flakes and spumes.
So petty yet so spiteful! All along,
Low scrubby alders kneeled down over it;
Drenched willows flung them headlong in a fit
Of mute despair, a suicidal throng:
The river which had done them all the wrong,
Whate'er that was, rolled by, deterred no whit.
Which, while I forded - good saints, how I feared
To set my foot upon a dead man's cheek,
Each step, of feel the spear I thrust to seek
For hollows, tangled in his hair or beard!
It may have been a water-rat I speared,
But, ugh! it sounded like a baby's shriek.
Glad was I when I reached the other bank.
Now for a better country. Vain presage!
Who were the strugglers, what war did they wage,
Whose savage trample thus could pad the dank
soil to a plash? Toads in a poisoned tank
Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage -
The fight must so have seemed in that fell cirque,
What penned them there, with all the plain to choose?
No footprint leading to that horrid mews,
None out of it. Mad brewage set to work
Their brains, no doubt, like galley-slaves the Turk
Pits for his pastime, Christians against Jews.
And more than that - a furlong on - why, there!
What bad use was that engine for, that wheel,
Or brake, not wheel - that harrow fit to reel
Men's bodies out like silk? With all the air
Of Tophet's tool, on earth left unaware
Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel.
Then came a bit of stubbed ground, once a wood,
Next a marsh it would seem, and now mere earth
Desperate and done with; (so a fool finds mirth,
Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood
Changes and off he goes!) within a rood -
Bog, clay and rubble, sand, and stark black dearth.
Now blotches rankling, coloured gay and grim,
Now patches where some leanness of the soil's
Broke into moss, or substances like boils;
Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him
Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim
Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils.
And just as far as ever from the end!
Naught in the distance but the evening, naught
To point my footstep further! At the thought,
A great black bird, Apollyon's bosom friend,
Sailed past, not best his wide wing dragon-penned
That brushed my cap - perchance the guide I sought.
For, looking up, aware I somehow grew,
'Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place
All round to mountains - with such name to grace
Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view.
How thus they had surprised me - solve it, you!
How to get from them was no clearer case.
Yet half I seemed to recognise some trick
Of mischief happened to me, God knows when -
In a bad dream perhaps. Here ended, then
Progress this way. When, in the very nick
Of giving up, one time more, came a click
As when a trap shuts - you're inside the den.
Burningly it came on me all at once,
This was the place! those two hills on the right,
Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight;
While to the left a tall scalped mountain ... Dunce,
Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
After a life spent training for the sight!
What in the midst lay but the Tower itself?
The round squat turret, blind as the fool's heart,
Built of brown stone, without a counterpart
In the whole world. The tempest's mocking elf
Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf
He strikes on, only when the timbers start.
Not see? because of night perhaps? - why day
Came back again for that! before it left
The dying sunset kindled through a cleft:
The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay,
Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay, -
'Now stab and end the creature - to the heft!'
Not hear? When noise was everywhere! it tolled
Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
Of all the lost adventurers, my peers -
How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
And such was fortunate, yet each of old
Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.
There they stood, ranged along the hillsides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame
For one more picture! In a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew. 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.'


Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heav'ns, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
Th'unwearied sun from day to day
Does his Creator's pow'r display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an almighty hand.

Soon as the ev'ning shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the list'ning earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence, all
Move round this dark terrestrial ball?
What though nor real voice nor sound
Amidst their radiant orbs be found?
In Reason's ear, they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine:
"The hand that made us is divine!"

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Trochee trips from long to short;
From long to long in solemn sort
Slow Spondee stalks, strong foot!, yet ill able
Ever to come up with Dactyl's trisyllable.
Iambics march from short to long.
With a leap and a bound the swift Anapests throng.
One syllable long, with one short at each side,
Amphibrachys hastes with a stately stride—
First and last being long, middle short, Amphimacer
Strikes his thundering hoofs like a proud high-bred Racer.

If Derwent be innocent, steady, and wise,
And delight in the things of earth, water, and skies;
Tender warmth at his heart, with these meters to show it,
WIth sound sense in his brains, may make Derwent a poet—
May crown him with fame, and must win him the love
Of his father on earth and his father above.
My dear, dear child!
Could you stand upon Skiddaw, you would not from its whole ridge
See a man who so loves you as your fond S.T. Coleridge.


Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

To die—takes just a little while—
They say it doesn't hurt—
It's only fainter—by degrees—
And then—it's out of sight—

A darker Ribbon—for a Day—
A Crape upon the Hat—
And then the pretty sunshine comes—
And helps us to forget—

The absent—mystic—creature—
That but for love of us—
Had gone to sleep—that soundest time—
Without the weariness—


Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
And immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor and leisure too,
For His Civility.

We passed the School, where Children strove--
At Recess--in the Ring--
We passed the Fields of Grazing Grain--
We passed the Setting Sun--

Or rather--He passed Us--
The Dews grew quivering and chill--
For only Gossamer, my Gown--
My Tippet--only Tulle.

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground;
The Roof was scarcely visible,
The Cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis Centuries--yet each
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were towards Eternity.


Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Comrades, leave me here a little, while as yet 't is early morn:
Leave me here, and when you want me, sound upon the bugle-horn.

'T is the place, and all around it, as of old, the curlews call,
Dreary gleams about the moorland flying over Locksley Hall;

Locksley Hall, that in the distance overlooks the sandy tracts,
And the hollow ocean-ridges roaring into cataracts.

Many a night from yonder ivied casement, ere I went to rest,
Did I look on great Orion sloping slowly to the West.

Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro' the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid.

Here about the beach I wander'd, nourishing a youth sublime
With the fairy tales of science, and the long result of Time;

When the centuries behind me like a fruitful land reposed;
When I clung to all the present for the promise that it closed:

When I dipt into the future far as human eye could see;
Saw the Vision of the world and all the wonder that would be.—

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin's breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;

In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove;
In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be for one so young,
And her eyes on all my motions with a mute observance hung.

And I said, "My cousin Amy, speak, and speak the truth to me,
Trust me, cousin, all the current of my being sets to thee."

On her pallid cheek and forehead came a colour and a light,
As I have seen the rosy red flushing in the northern night.

And she turn'd—her bosom shaken with a sudden storm of sighs—
All the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of hazel eyes—

Saying, "I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do me wrong";
Saying, "Dost thou love me, cousin?" weeping, "I have loved thee long."

Love took up the glass of Time, and turn'd it in his glowing hands;
Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.

Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass'd in music out of sight.

Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,
And her whisper throng'd my pulses with the fulness of the Spring.

Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,
And our spirits rush'd together at the touching of the lips.

O my cousin, shallow-hearted! O my Amy, mine no more!
O the dreary, dreary moorland! O the barren, barren shore!

Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have sung,
Puppet to a father's threat, and servile to a shrewish tongue!

Is it well to wish thee happy?--having known me—to decline
On a range of lower feelings and a narrower heart than mine!

Yet it shall be; thou shalt lower to his level day by day,
What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathize with clay.

As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a clown,
And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.

He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.

What is this? his eyes are heavy; think not they are glazed with wine.
Go to him, it is thy duty, kiss him, take his hand in thine.

It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is overwrought:
Soothe him with thy finer fancies, touch him with thy lighter thought.

He will answer to the purpose, easy things to understand—
Better thou wert dead before me, tho' I slew thee with my hand!

Better thou and I were lying, hidden from the heart's disgrace,
Roll'd in one another's arms, and silent in a last embrace.

Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength of youth!
Cursed be the social lies that warp us from the living truth!

Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature's rule!
Cursed be the gold that gilds the straiten'd forehead of the fool!

Well—'t is well that I should bluster!--Hadst thou less unworty proved—
Would to God—for I had loved thee more than ever wife was loved.

Am I mad, that I should cherish that which bears but bitter fruit?
I will pluck it from my bosom, tho' my heart be at the root.

Never, tho' my mortal summers to such length of years should come
As the many-winter'd crow that leads the clanging rookery home.

Where is comfort? in division of the records of the mind?
Can I part her from herself, and love her, as I knew her, kind?

I remember one that perish'd; sweetly did she speak and move;
Such a one do I remember, whom to look at was to love.

Can I think of her as dead, and love her for the love she bore?
No—she never loved me truly; love is love for evermore.

Comfort? comfort scorn'd of devils! this is truth the poet sings,
That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.

Drug thy memories, lest thou learn it, lest thy heart be put to proof,
In the dead unhappy night, and when the rain is on the roof.

Like a dog, he hunts in dreams, and thou art staring at the wall,
Where the dying night-lamp flickers, and the shadows rise and fall.

Then a hand shall pass before thee, pointing to his drunken sleep,
To thy widow'd marriage-pillows, to the tears that thou wilt weep.

Thou shalt hear the "Never, never," whisper'd by the phantom years,
And a song from out the distance in the ringing of thine ears;

And an eye shall vex thee, looking ancient kindness on thy pain.
Turn thee, turn thee on thy pillow; get thee to thy rest again.

Nay, but Nature brings thee solace; for a tender voice will cry.
'T is a purer life than thine, a lip to drain thy trouble dry.

Baby lips will laugh me down; my latest rival brings thee rest.
Baby fingers, waxen touches, press me from the mother's breast.

O, the child too clothes the father with a dearness not his due.
Half is thine and half is his: it will be worthy of the two.

O, I see thee old and formal, fitted to thy petty part,
With a little hoard of maxims preaching down a daughter's heart.

"They were dangerous guides the feelings—she herself was not exempt—
Truly, she herself had suffer'd"—Perish in thy self-contempt!

Overlive it—lower yet—be happy! wherefore should I care?
I myself must mix with action, lest I wither by despair.

What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
Every door is barr'd with gold, and opens but to golden keys.

Every gate is throng'd with suitors, all the markets overflow.
I have but an angry fancy; what is that which I should do?

I had been content to perish, falling on the foeman's ground,
When the ranks are roll'd in vapour, and the winds are laid with sound.

But the jingling of the guinea helps the hurt that Honour feels,
And the nations do but murmur, snarling at each other's heels.

Can I but relive in sadness? I will turn that earlier page.
Hide me from my deep emotion, O thou wondrous Mother-Age!

Make me feel the wild pulsation that I felt before the strife,
When I heard my days before me, and the tumult of my life;

Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,
Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his father's field,

And at night along the dusky highway near and nearer drawn,
Sees in heaven the light of London flaring like a dreary dawn;

And his spirit leaps within him to be gone before him then,
Underneath the light he looks at, in among the throngs of men:

Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new:
That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do:

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales;

Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'd a ghastly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro' the thunder-storm;

Till the war-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.

So I triumph'd ere my passion sweeping thro' me left me dry,
Left me with the palsied heart, and left me with the jaundiced eye;

Eye, to which all order festers, all things here are out of joint:
Science moves, but slowly, slowly, creeping on from point to point:

Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion, creeping nigher,
Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly-dying fire.

Yet I doubt not thro' the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widen'd with the process of the suns.

What is that to him that reaps not harvest of his youthful joys,
Tho' the deep heart of existence beat for ever like a boy's?

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore,
And the individual withers, and the world is more and more.

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast,
Full of sad experience, moving toward the stillness of his rest.

Hark, my merry comrades call me, sounding on the bugle-horn,
They to whom my foolish passion were a target for their scorn:

Shall it not be scorn to me to harp on such a moulder'd string?
I am shamed thro' all my nature to have loved so slight a thing.

Weakness to be wroth with weakness! woman's pleasure, woman's pain—
Nature made them blinder motions bounded in a shallower brain:

Woman is the lesser man, and all thy passions, match'd with mine,
Are as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto wine—

Here at least, where nature sickens, nothing. Ah, for some retreat
Deep in yonder shining Orient, where my life began to beat;

Where in wild Mahratta-battle fell my father evil-starr'd,--
I was left a trampled orphan, and a selfish uncle's ward.

Or to burst all links of habit—there to wander far away,
On from island unto island at the gateways of the day.

Larger constellations burning, mellow moons and happy skies,
Breadths of tropic shade and palms in cluster, knots of Paradise.

Never comes the trader, never floats an European flag,
Slides the bird o'er lustrous woodland, swings the trailer from the crag;

Droops the heavy-blossom'd bower, hangs the heavy-fruited tree—
Summer isles of Eden lying in dark-purple spheres of sea.

There methinks would be enjoyment more than in this march of mind,
In the steamship, in the railway, in the thoughts that shake mankind.

There the passions cramp'd no longer shall have scope and breathing space;
I will take some savage woman, she shall rear my dusky race.

Iron-jointed, supple-sinew'd, they shall dive, and they shall run,
Catch the wild goat by the hair, and hurl their lances in the sun;

Whistle back the parrot's call, and leap the rainbows of the brooks,
Not with blinded eyesight poring over miserable books—

Fool, again the dream, the fancy! but I know my words are wild,
But I count the gray barbarian lower than the Christian child.

I, to herd with narrow foreheads, vacant of our glorious gains,
Like a beast with lower pleasures, like a beast with lower pains!

Mated with a squalid savage—what to me were sun or clime?
I the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time—

I that rather held it better men should perish one by one,
Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua's moon in Ajalon!

Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range,
Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.

Thro' the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day;
Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.

Mother-Age (for mine I knew not) help me as when life begun:
Rift the hills, and roll the waters, flash the lightnings, weigh the Sun.

O, I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not set.
Ancient founts of inspiration well thro' all my fancy yet.

Howsoever these things be, a long farewell to Locksley Hall!
Now for me the woods may wither, now for me the roof-tree fall.

Comes a vapour from the margin, blackening over heath and holt,
Cramming all the blast before it, in its breast a thunderbolt.

Let it fall on Locksley Hall, with rain or hail, or fire or snow;
For the mighty wind arises, roaring seaward, and I go.


Robert Frost (1874-1963)

In going from room to room in the dark,
I reached out blindly to save my face,
But neglected, however lightly, to lace
My fingers and close my arms in an arc.
A slim door got in past my guard,
And hit me a blow in the head so hard
I had my native simile jarred.
So people and things don't pair any more
With what they used to pair with before.


Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)

(Trans. Genia Gurarie)

Was there a Garden or was the Garden a dream?
Amid the fleeting light, I have slowed myself and queried,
Almost for consolation, if the bygone period
Over which this Adam, wretched now, once reigned supreme,
Might not have been just a magical illusion
Of that God I dreamed. Already it's imprecise
In my memory, the clear Paradise,
But I know it exists, in flower and profusion,

Although not for me. My punishment for life
Is the stubborn earth with the incestuous strife
Of Cains and Abels and their brood; I await no pardon.
Yet, it's much to have loved, to have known true joy,
To have had—if only for just one day—
The experience of touching the living Garden.


Thomas Morley (1557/g8-1602)

See, see, mine own sweet jewel,
See what I have here for my darling:
A robin-redbreast and a starling.
These I give both, in hope to move thee—
And yet thou say'st I do not love thee.


Dylan Thomas (1914-53)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

A.E. Housman (1858-1936)
From far, from eve and morning
And yon twelve-winded sky,
The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither: here am I.

Now—for a breath I tarry
Nor yet disperse apart—
Take my hand quick and tell me,
What have you in your heart.

Speak now, and I will answer;
How shall I help you, say;
Ere to the wind's twelve quarters
I take my endless way.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom long the bough,
An stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodland I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Oh, fair enough are sky and plain,
But I know fairer far:
Those are as beautiful again
That in the water are;

The pools and river wash so clean
The trees and clouds and air,
The like on earth was never seen,
And oh that I were there.

Those are the thoughts I often think
As I stand gazing down
In act upon the cressy brink
To strip and dive and drown;

But in the golden-sanded brooks
And azure meres I spy
A silly lad that longs and looks
And wishes he were I.

Into my heart an air that kills
From that far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

In summertime on Bredon
The bells they sound so clear;
Round both the shires they ring them
In steeples far and near,
A happy noise to hear.

Here of a Sunday morning
My love and I would lie,
And see the coloured counties,
And hear the larks so high
About us in the sky.

The bells would ring to call her
In valleys miles away;
ÒCome all to church good people;
Good people, come and pray.Ó
But here my love would stay.

And I would turn and answer
Among the springtime thyme,
ÒOh, peal upon our wedding,
And we will hear the chime,
And come to church in time.Ó

But when the snows at Christmas
On Bredon top were strown,
My love rose up so early
And stole out unbeknown
And went to church alone.

They tolled the one bell only,
Groom there was none to see,
The mourners followed after,
And so to church went she,
And would not wait for me.

The bells they sound on Bredon,
And still the steeples hum.
ÒCome all to church, good people,Ó—
Oh, noisy bells be dumb;
I hear you, I will come.


Far in a western brookland
That bred me long ago
The poplars stand and tremble
By pools I used to know.

There, in the windless night-time,
The wanderer, marvelling why,
Halts on the bridge to hearken
How soft the poplars sigh.

He hears: no more remembered
In fields where I was known,
Here I lie down in London
And turn to rest alone.

There, by the starlit fences,
The wanderer halts and hears
My soul that lingers sighing
About the glimmering weirs.

Be still, my soul, be still; the arms you bear are brittle,
Earth and high heaven are fixt of old and founded strong.
Think rather,-- call to thought, if now you grieve a little,
The days when we had rest, O soul, for they were long.

Men loved unkindness then, but lightless in the quarry
I slept and saw not; tears fell down, I did not mourn;
Sweat ran and blood sprang out and I was never sorry:
Then it was well with me, in days ere I was born.

Now, and I muse for why and never find the reason,
I pace the earth, and drink the air, and feel the sun.
Be still, be still, my soul; it is but for a season:
Let us endure an hour and see injustice done.

Ay, look: high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation;
All thoughts to rive the heart are here, and all are vain:
Horror and scorn and hate and fear and indignation—
Oh why did I awake? when shall I sleep again?

Crossing alone the nighted ferry
With the one coin for fee,
Whom, on the wharf of Lethe waiting,
Count you to find? Not me.

The brisk fond lackey to fetch and carry,
The true, sick-hearted slave,
Expect him not in the just city
And free land of the grave.


A.E. Housman (1858-1936)

From Clee to heaven the beacon burns,
The shires have seen it plain,
From north and south the sign returns
And beacons burn again.

Look left, look right, the hills are bright,
The dales are light between,
Because 'tis fifty years to-night
That God has saved the Queen.

Now, when the flame they watch not towers
Above the soil they trod,
Lads, we'll remember friends of ours
Who shared the work with God.

To skies that knit their heartstrings right,
To fields that bred them brave,
The saviors come not home to-night:
Themselves they could not save.

It dawns in Asia, tombstones show
And Shropshire names are read;
And the Nile spills his overflow
Beside the Severn's dead.

We pledge in peace by farm and town
The Queen they served in war,
And fire the beacons up and down
The land they perished for.

'God save the Queen' we living sing,
From height to height 'tis heard;
And with the rest your voices ring,
Lads of the Fifty-third.

Oh, God will save her, fear you not:
Be you the men you've been,
Get you the sons your fathers got,
And God will save the Queen.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Who will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood's woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
Young man, lift up your russet brow,
And lift your tender eyelids, maid,
And brood on hopes and fears no more.

And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love's bitter mystery;
For Fergus rules the brazen cars,
And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breast of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the wiers;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

When you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty Swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?


Pierre de Ronsard 1524-1585)

Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
Qui ce matin avoir desclose
Sa robe de pourpre au Soleil,
A point perdu ceste vesprŽe
Les plis de sa robe pourprŽe,
Et son teint au vostre pareil.

Las! voyez comme en peu d'espace,
Mignonne, elle a dessus la place
Las ! las ses beautez laissŽ cheoir !
ï vrayment marastre Nature,
Puis qu'une telle fleur ne dure
Que du matin jusques au soir!

Donc, si vous me croyez, mignonne,
Tandis que vostre ‰ge fleuronne
En sa plus verte nouveautŽ,
Cueillez, cueillez vostre jeunesse :
Comme ˆ ceste fleur la vieillesse
Fera ternir vostre beautŽ.


Pierre de Ronsard 1524-1585)

Pourtant si ta maitresse est un petit putain,
Tu ne dois pour cela te courrousser contre elle.
Voudrois-tu bien hayr ton ami plus fidelle
Pour estre un peu jureur ou trop haut a la main?
Il ne faut prendre ainsi tous peches a dedain,
Quand la faute en pechant n'est pas continuelle;
Puis il faut endurer d'une maitresse belle
Qui confesse sa faute, et s'en repent soudain.
Tu me diras qu'honneste et gentille est t'amie,
Et je te repondrai qu'honneste fut Cynthie,
L'amie de Properce en vers ingenieus,
Et si ne laissa pas de faire amour diverse:
Endure donq, Ami, car tu ne vaus pas mieux
Que Catulle valut, que Tibulle et Properce.

Pierre de Ronsard 1524-1585)

Quand vous serez bien vieille, au soir, ˆ la chandelle,
Assise auprez du feu, devidant et filant,
Direz, chantant mes vers, en vous esmerveillant:
Ronsard me celebroit du temps que j'estois belle.
Lors vous n'aurez servant oyant telle nouvelle,
Desja sous le labeur ˆ demy sommeillant,
Qui au bruit de Ronsard ne s'aille resveillant,
Benissant vostre nom de louange immortelle.
Je seray sous terre, et fantosme sans os,
Par les ombres myrteux je prendray mon repos;
Vous serez au fouyer une vieille accroupie,
Regrettant mon amour et vostre fier desdain.
Vivez, si m'en croyez, n'attendez ˆ demain,
Cueillez dès aujourd'huy les roses de la vie.

English rendition by Humbert Wolfe

When you are old, at evening candle-lit,
beside the fire bending to your wool,
read out my verse and murmur "Ronsard writ
this praise for me when I was beautiful."
And not a maid but at the sound of it,
though nodding at the stitch on broidered stool,
will start awake, and bless love's benefit,
whose long fidelities bring Time to school.
I shall be thin and ghost beneath the earth,
by myrtle-shade in quiet after pain,
but you, a crone will crouch beside the hearth,
mourning my love and all your proud disdain.
And what comes to-morrow who can say?
Live, pluck the roses of the world to-day.

LE VOYAGE: A Maxime du Camp
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
Pour l'enfant, amoureux de cartes et d'estampes,
L'univers est Žgal ˆ son vaste appŽtit.
Ah! que le monde est grand ˆ la clartŽ des lampes!
Aux yeux du souvenir que le monde est petit!

Un matin nous partons, le cerveau plein de flamme,
Le coeur gros de rancune et de dŽsirs amers,
Et nous allons, suivant le rythme de la lame,
Berçant notre infini sur le fini des mers:

Les uns, joyeux de fuir une patrie inf‰me;
D'autres, l'horreur de leurs berceaux, et quelques-uns,
Astrologues noyŽs dans les yeux d'une femme,
La CircŽ tyrannique aux dangereux parfums.

Pour n'être pas changŽs en bêtes, ils s'enivrent
D'espace et de lumière et de cieux embrasŽs;
La glace qui les mord, les soleils qui les cuivrent,
Effacent lentement la marque des baisers.

Mais les vrais voyageurs sont ceux-lˆ seuls qui partent
Pour partir; coeurs lŽgers, semblables aux ballons,
De leur fatalitŽ jamais ils ne s'Žcartent,
Et, sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!

Ceux-lˆ dont les dŽsirs ont la forme des nues,
Et qui rêvent, ainsi qu'un conscrit le canon,
De vastes voluptŽs, changeantes, inconnues,
Et dont l'esprit humain n'a jamais su le nom!
Nous imitons, horreur! la toupie et la boule
Dans leur valse et leurs bonds; même dans nos sommeils
La CuriositŽ nous tourmente et nous roule
Comme un Ange cruel qui fouette des soleils.

Singulière fortune où le but se dŽplace,
Et, n'Žtant nulle part, peut être n'importe où!
Où l'Homme, dont jamais l'espŽrance n'est lasse,
Pour trouver le repos court toujours comme un fou!

Notre ‰me est un trois-m‰ts cherchant son Icarie;
Une voix retentit sur le pont: "Ouvre l'oeil!"
Une voix de la hune, ardente et folle, crie:
"Amour... gloire... bonheur!" Enfer! c'est un Žcueil!

Chaque ”lot signalŽ par l'homme de vigie
Est un Eldorado promis par le Destin;
L'Imagination qui dresse son orgie
Ne trouve qu'un rŽcif aux clartŽs du matin.

O le pauvre amoureux des pays chimŽriques!
Faut-il le mettre aux fers, le jeter ˆ la mer,
Ce matelot ivrogne, inventeur d'AmŽriques
Dont le mirage rend le gouffre plus amer?

Tel le vieux vagabond, piŽtinant dans la boue,
Rêve, le nez en l'air, de brillants paradis;
Son oeil ensorcelŽ dŽcouvre une Capoue
Partout où la chandelle illumine un taudis.
Etonnants voyageurs! quelles nobles histoires
Nous lisons dans vos yeux profonds comme les mers!
Montrez-nous les Žcrins de vos riches mŽmoires,
Ces bijoux merveilleux, faits d'astres et d'Žthers.

Nous voulons voyager sans vapeur et sans voile!
Faites, pour Žgayer l'ennui de nos prisons,
Passer sur nos esprits, tendus comme une toile,
Vos souvenirs avec leurs cadres d'horizons.

Dites, qu'avez-vous vu?
"Nous avons vu des astres
Et des flots, nous avons vu des sables aussi;
Et, malgrŽ bien des chocs et d'imprŽvus dŽsastres,
Nous nous sommes souvent ennuyŽs, comme ici.

La gloire du soleil sur la mer violette,
La gloire des citŽs dans le soleil couchant,
Allumaient dans nos coeurs une ardeur inquiète
De plonger dans un ciel au reflet allŽchant.

Les plus riches citŽs, les plus grands paysages,
Jamais ne contenaient l'attrait mystŽrieux
De ceux que le hasard fait avec les nuages.
Et toujours le dŽsir nous rendait soucieux!

La jouissance ajoute au dŽsir de la force.
DŽsir, vieil arbre ˆ qui le plaisir sert d'engrais,
Cependant que grossit et durcit ton Žcorce,
Tes branches veulent voir le soleil de plus près!

Grandiras-tu toujours, grand arbre plus vivace
Que le cyprès? - Pourtant nous avons, avec soin,
Cueilli quelques croquis pour votre album vorace
Frères qui trouvez beau tout ce qui vient de loin!

Nous avons saluŽ des idoles ˆ trompe;
Des tr™nes constellŽs de joyaux lumineux;
Des palais ouvragŽs dont la fŽerique pompe
Serait pour vos banquiers un rêve ruineux;

Des costumes qui sont pour les yeux une ivresse;
Des femmes dont les dents et les ongles sont teints,
Et des jongleurs savants que le serpent caresse."
Et puis, et puis encore?
"O cerveaux enfantins!
Pour ne pas oublier la chose capitale,
Nous avons vu partout, et sans l'avoir cherchŽ,
Du haut jusques en bas de l'Žchelle fatale,
Le spectacle ennuyeux de l'immortel pŽchŽ:

La femme, esclave vile, orgueilleuse et stupide,
Sans rire s'adorant et s'aimant sans dŽgožt;
L'homme, tyran goulu, paillard, dur et cupide,
Esclave de l'esclave et ruisseau dans l'Žgout;

Le bourreau qui jouit, le martyr qui sanglote;
La fête qu'assaisonne et parfume le sang;
Le poison du pouvoir Žnervant le despote,
Et le peuple amoureux du fouet abrutissant;

Plusieurs religions semblables ˆ la n™tre,
Toutes escaladant le ciel; la SaintetŽ,
Comme en un lit de plume un dŽlicat se vautre,
Dans les clous et le crin cherchant la voluptŽ;

L'HumanitŽ bavarde, ivre de son gŽnie,
Et, folle maintenant comme elle Žtait jadis,
Criant ˆ Dieu, dans sa furibonde agonie:
"O mon semblable, mon ma”tre, je te maudis!"

Et les moins sots, hardis amants de la DŽmence,
Fuyant le grand troupeau parquŽ par le Destin,
Et se rŽfugiant dans l'opium immense!
-- Tel est du globe entier l'Žternel bulletin."
Amer savoir, celui qu'on tire du voyage!
Le monde, monotone et petit, aujourd'hui,
Hier, demain, toujours, nous fait voir notre image:
Une oasis d'horreur dans un dŽsert d'ennui!

Faut-il partir? rester? Si tu peux rester, reste;
Pars, s'il le faut. L'un court, et l'autre se tapit
Pour tromper l'ennemi vigilant et funeste,
Le Temps! Il est, hŽlas! des coureurs sans rŽpit,

Comme le Juif errant et comme les ap™tres,
A qui rien ne suffit, ni wagon ni vaisseau,
Pour fuir ce rŽtiaire inf‰me; il en est d'autres
Qui savent le tuer sans quitter leur berceau.

Lorsque enfin il mettra le pied sur notre Žchine,
Nous pourrons espŽrer et crier: En avant!
De même qu'autrefois nous partions pour la Chine,
Yeux fixŽs au large et les cheveux au vent,

Nous nous embarquerons sur la mer des TŽnèbres
Avec le coeur joyeux d'un jeune passager.
Entendez-vous ces voix charmantes et funèbres,
Qui chantent: "Par ici vous qui voulez manger

Le Lotus parfumŽ! c'est ici qu'on vendange
Les fruits miraculeux dont votre coeur a faim;
Venez vous enivrer de la douceur Žtrange
De cette après-midi qui n'a jamais de fin!"

A l'accent familier nous devinons le spectre;
Nos Pylades lˆ-bas tendent leurs bras vers nous.
"Pour rafra”chir ton coeur nage vers ton Electre!"
Dit celle dont jadis nous baisions les genoux.
O Mort, vieux capitaine, il est temps! levons l'ancre!
Ce pays nous ennuie, ™ Mort! Appareillons!
Si le ciel et la mer sont noirs comme de l'encre,
Nos coeurs que tu connais sont remplis de rayons!

Verse-nous ton poison pour qu'il nous rŽconforte!
Nous voulons, tant ce feu nous bržle le cerveau,
Plonger au fond du gouffre, Enfer ou Ciel, qu'importe?
Au fond de l'Inconnu pour trouver du nouveau!


Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

Bient™t nous plongerons dans les froides tŽnèbres;
Adieu, vive clartŽ de nos ŽtŽs trop courts!
J'entends dŽjˆ tomber avec des chocs funèbres
Le bois retentissant sur le pavŽ des cours.
Tout l'hiver va rentrer dans mon être: colère,
Haine, frissons, horreur, labeur dur et forcŽ,
Et, comme le soleil dans son enfer polaire,
Mon coeur ne sera plus qu'un bloc rouge et glacŽ.
J'Žcoute en frŽmissant chaque bžche qui tombe
L'Žchafaud qu'on b‰tit n'a pas d'Žcho plus sourd.
Mon esprit est pareil ˆ la tour qui succombe
Sous les coups du bŽlier infatigable et lourd.
II me semble, bercŽ par ce choc monotone,
Qu'on cloue en grande h‰te un cercueil quelque part.
Pour qui? - C'Žtait hier l'ŽtŽ; voici l'automne!
Ce bruit mystŽrieux sonne comme un dŽpart.


StŽphane MallarmŽ (1842-1898)

La chair est triste, hŽlas! et j'ai lu tous les livres.
Fuir! lˆ-bas fuir! Je sens que des oiseaux sont ivres
D'être parmi l'Žcume inconnue et les cieux!
Rien, ni les vieux jardins reflŽtŽs par les yeux
Ne retiendra ce coeur qui dans la mer se trempe
O nuits! ni la clartŽ dŽserte de ma lampe
Sur le vide papier que la blancheur dŽfend
Et ni la jeune femme allaitant son enfant.
Je partirai! Steamer balançant ta m‰ture,
Lève l'ancre pour une exotique nature!
Un Ennui, dŽsolŽ par les cruels espoirs,
Croit encore ˆ l'adieu suprême des mouchoirs!
Et, peut-être, les m‰ts, invitant les orages
Sont-ils de ceux qu'un vent penche sur les naufrages
Perdus, sans m‰ts, sans m‰ts, ni fertiles ”lots...
Mais, ™ mon coeur, entends le chant des matelots!


StŽphane MallarmŽ (1842-1898)

Le soleil, sur le sable, ™ lutteuse endormie,
En l'or de tes cheveux chauffe un bain langoureux
Et, consumant l'encens sur ta joue ennemie,
Il mêle avec les pleurs un breuvage amoureux.

De ce blanc Flamboiement l'immuable accalmie
T'a fait dire, attristŽe, ™ mes baisers peureux,
Ç Nous ne serons jamais une seule momie
Sous l'antique dŽsert et les palmiers heureux! È

Mais ta chevelure est une rivière tiède,
Où noyer sans frissons l'‰me qui nous obsède
Et trouver ce NŽant que tu ne connais pas.

Je gožterai le fard pleurŽ par tes paupières,
Pour voir s'il sait donner au coeur que tu frappas
L'insensibilitŽ de l'azur et des pierres.


Robert Desnos (1900-1945)

J'ai tant rêvŽ de toi que tu perds ta rŽalitŽ.
Est-il encore temps d'atteindre ce corps vivant
Et de baiser sur cette bouche la naissance
De la voix qui m'est chère?

J'ai tant rêvŽ de toi que mes bras habituŽs
En Žtreignant ton ombre
A se croiser sur ma poitrine ne se plieraient pas
Au contour de ton corps, peut-être.
Et que, devant l'apparence rŽelle de ce qui me hante
Et me gouverne depuis des jours et des annŽes,
Je deviendrais une ombre sans doute.
O balances sentimentales.

J'ai tant rêvŽ de toi qu'il n'est plus temps
Sans doute que je m'Žveille.
Je dors debout, le corps exposŽ
A toutes les apparences de la vie
Et de l'amour et toi, la seule
qui compte aujourd'hui pour moi,
Je pourrais moins toucher ton front
Et tes lèvres que les premières lèvres
et le premier front venu.

J'ai tant rêvŽ de toi, tant marchŽ, parlŽ,
CouchŽ avec ton fant™me
Qu'il ne me reste plus peut-être,
Et pourtant, qu'a être fant™me
Parmi les fant™mes et plus ombre
Cent fois que l'ombre qui se promène
Et se promènera allègrement
Sur le cadran solaire de ta vie.


GŽrard de Nerval (1808-1855)

Il est un air, pour qui je donnerais,
Tout Rossini, tout Mozart et tout Weber.
Un air très vieux, languissant et funèbre,
Qui pour moi seul a des charmes secrets!

Or, chaque fois que je viens ˆ l'entendre,
De deux cents ans mon ‰me rajeunit...
C'est sous Louis treize; et je crois voir s'Žtendre
Un coteau vert, que le couchant jaunit;

Puis un ch‰teau de brique ˆ coins de pierre,
Aux vitraux teints de rouge‰tres couleurs,
Ceint de grands parcs, avec une rivière
Baignant ses pieds, qui coule entre les fleurs;

Puis une dame ˆ sa haute fenêtre,
Blonde aux yeux noirs, en ses habits anciens,
Que dans une autre existence peut-être,
J'ai dŽjˆ vue...et dont je me souviens!

Translation by Andrew Lang

There is an air for which I would disown
Mozart's, Rossini's, Weber's melodies, -
A sweet sad air that languishes and sighs,
And keeps its secret charm for me alone.

Whene'er I hear that music vague and old,
Two hundred years are mist that rolls away;
The thirteenth Louis reigns, and I behold
A green land golden in the dying day.

An old red castle, strong with stony towers,
The windows gay with many coloured glass;
Wide plains, and rivers flowing among flowers,
That bathe the castle basement as they pass.

In antique weed, with dark eyes and gold hair,
A lady looks forth from her window high;
It may be that I knew and found her fair,
In some forgotten life, long time gone by.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

And slowly answer'd Arthur from the barge:
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within Himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
But now farewell. I am going a long way
With these thou se‘st—if indeed I go—
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)
To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard-lawns
And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound."

So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan
That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere
Revolving many memories, till the hull
Look'd one black dot against the verge of dawn,
And on the mere the wailing died away.


A.C. Swinburne (1837-1909)

Lying asleep between the strokes of night
I saw my love lean over my sad bed,
Pale as the duskiest lily's leaf or head,
Smooth-skinned and dark, with bare throat made to bite,
Too wan for blushing and too warm for white,
But perfect-colored without white or red.
And her lips opened amorously, and said—
I wist not what, saving one word—Delight,
And all her face was honey to my mouth,
And all her body pasture to mine eyes;
The long lithe arms and hotter hands than fire,
The quivering flanks, hair smelling of the south,
The bright light feet, the splendid supple thighs
And glittering eyelids of my soul's desire.


Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years that nature permits
Are closing in asthma or tumors or fits
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers, or loaded guns.
Then you will find—its your own affair
But—you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will
When the whimper of welcome is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You still discover how much you care
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em the more do we grieve;
For when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

James Stephens 1882-1950

I heard a sudden cry of pain
There is a rabbit in a snare:
Now I hear the cry again,
But I cannot tell from where.
But I cannot tell from where
He is calling out for aid;
Crying on the frightened air,
Making everything afraid.
Making everything afraid,
Wrinkling up his little face,
As he cries again for aid;
And I cannot find the place!
And I cannot find the place
Where his paw is in the snare:
Little one, Oh, little one!
I am searching everywhere.


Harold Munro (1879-1932)

When the tea is brought at five o'clock,
And all the neat curtains are drawn with care,
The little black cat with bright green eyes,
Is suddenly purring there.

At first she pretends, having nothing to do,
She has come in merely to blink by the grate;
But, though tea may be late or the milk may be sour,
She is never late.

And presently her agate eyes,
Take a soft large milky haze,
And her independent casual glance,
Becomes a stiff hard gaze.

Then she stamps her claws or lifts her ears,
Or twists her tail and begins to stir,
Till suddenly all her lithe body becomes,
One breathing trembling purr.

The children eat and wriggle and laugh;
The two old ladies stroke their silk:
But the cat is grown small and thin with desire,
Transformed to a creeping lust for milk.

The white saucer like some full moon descends,
At last from the clouds of the table above;
She sighs and dreams and thrills and glows,
Transfigured with love.

She nestles over the shining rim,
Buries her chin in the creamy sea;
Her tail hangs loose; each drowsy paw
Is doubled under each bending knee.

A long dim ecstacy holds her life;
Her world is an infinite shapeless white,
Till her tongue has curled the last holy drop,
Then she sinks back into the night.

Draws and dips her body to heap
Her sleepy nerves in the great arm-chair,
Lies defeated and buried deep,
Three or four hours unconscious there.


Langston Hughes (l902-1967)

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter
And my throat
Is deep with song,
you do not think
I suffer after
I've held my pain
So long?

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter,
You do not hear
My inner cry?
Because my feet
Are gay with dancing,
You do not know
I die?


T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question. . .
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions
And for a hundred visions and revisions
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
(They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!")
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!")
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all;
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? . . .

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep . . tired . . or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say, "That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all."

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more? --
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
"That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all."

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
I do not think they will sing to me.


Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.


Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge & shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast & with ah! bright wings.


Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

FŽlix R‡ndal the f‡rrier, O is he dŽad then? my dœty all Žnded,
Who have watched his mould of man, bigboned and hardy-handsome
Pining, pining, till time when reason rambled in it, and some
Fatal four disorders, fleshed there, all contended?
Sickness broke him. Impatient, he cursed at first, but mended
Being anointed & all; tho' a heavenlier heart began some
M—nths Žarlier, since ê had our swŽet repr’eve & r‡nsom
TŽndered to him. ‡h well, God rŽst him ‡ll road Žver he offŽnded!
This sŽeing the s’ck endŽars them t— us, us t—o it endŽars.
My tongue had taught thee comfort, touch had quenched thy tears,
Thy tears that touched my heart, child, Felix, poor Felix Randal;
How far from then forethought of, all thy more boisterous years,
When thou at the random grim forge, powerful amidst peers
Didst fettle for the great grey drayhorse his bright & battering sandal!



The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths
of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod
and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of
mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup
runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days
of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth,
while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh,
when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars
be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble,
and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders
cease because they are few, and those that look out of the
windows be darkened.
And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound
of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the
bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low.
Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears
shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the
grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man
goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be
broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel
broken at the cistern.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the
spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.


Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass,
or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand
all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith,
so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity,
I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,
and though I give my body to be burned,
and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things,
hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies,
they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease;
whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come,
then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly;
but then face to face: now I know in part;
but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity.

REVISED VERSISON (with a tin ear)

1 Corinthians 13
The Way of Love

13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not
have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
13:2 And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have
love, I am nothing.
13:3 If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order
to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit.
13:4 Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag,
it is not puffed up.
13:5 It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered, or resentful.
13:6 It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth.
13:7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
13:8 Love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside;
if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be set aside.
13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part,
13:10 but when what is perfect comes, the partial will be set aside.
13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned
like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways.
13:12 For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face.
Now I know in part, then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known.
13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.



W.M. Thackeray (1811-1863)

Werther had a love for Charlotte
Such as words could never utter;
Would you know how first he met her?
She was cutting bread and butter.

Charlotte was a married lady,
And a moral man was Werther,
And, for all the wealth of Indies,
Would do nothing for to hurt her.

So he sighed and pined and ogled,
And his passion boiled and bubbled,
Till he blew his silly brains out,
And no more was by it troubled.

Charlotte, having seen his body
Borne before her on a shutter,
Like a well-conducted person,
Went on cutting bread and butter.


Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821-1895)

I recollect a nurse call'd Ann
Who carried me about the grass,
And one fine day a fine young man
Came up and kiss'd the pretty lass.
She did not make the least objection!
Thinks I, "Aha!
When I can talk I'll tell Mamma"--
And that's my earliest recollection.


Mother Goose

This is the house that Jack built.
This is the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the rat
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cat
That killed the rat
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the dog
That worried the cat
That killed the rat
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog
That worried the cat
That killed the rat
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog
That worried the cat
That killed the rat
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog
That worried the cat
That killed the rat
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog
That worried the cat
That killed the rat
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cock that crowed in the morn
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog
That worried the cat
That killed the rat
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the farmer sowing the corn
That kept the the cock that crowed in the morn
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog
That worried the cat
That killed the rat
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.


(From C. C. Bombaugh, Gleanings for the Curious
from the Harvest Fields of Literature)

Behold the Mansion reared by daedal Jack.
See the malt stored in many a plethoric sack,
In the proud cirque of Ivan's bivouac.

Mark how the Rat's felonious fangs invade
The golden stores in John's pavilion laid.

Anon, with velvet foot and Tarquin strides,
Subtle Grimalkin to his quarry glides,_
Grimalkin grim, that slew the fierce rodent
Whose tooth insidious Johann's sackcloth rent.

Lo! now the deep-mouthed canine foe's assault,
That vexed the avenger of the stolen malt,
Stored in the hallowed precincts of that hall
That rose complete at Jack's creative call.

Here stalks the impet ous Cow with crumpled horn,
Whereon the exacerbating hound was torn,
Who bayed the feline slaughter-beast that slew
The Rat predacious, whose keen fangs ran through
The textile fibers that involved the grain
Which lay in Hans' inviolate domain.

Here walks forlorn the Damsel crowned with rue,
Lactiferous spoils from vaccine dugs, who drew,
Of that corniculate beast whose tortuous horn
Tossed to the clouds, in fierce vindictive scorn,
The harrowing hound, whose braggart bark and stir
Arched the lithe spine and reared the indignant fur
Of Puss, that with verminicidal claw
Struck the weird rat in whose insatiate maw
Lay reeking malt that erst in Juan's courts we saw.

Robed in senescent garb that seems in sooth
Too long a prey to Chronos' iron tooth,
Behold the man whose amorous lips incline,
Full with young Eros' osculative sign,
To the lorn maiden whose lact-albic hands
Drew albu-lactic wealth from lacteal glands
Of that immortal bovine, by whose horn
Distort, to realm ethereal was borne
The beast catulean, vexer of that sly
Ulysses quadrupedal, who made die
The old mordacious Rat that dared devour
Antecedaneous Ale in John's domestic bower.

Lo, here, with hirsute honors doffed, succinct
Of saponaceous locks, the Priest who linked
In Hymen's golden bands the torn unthrift,
Whose means exiguous stared from many a rift,
Even as he kissed the virgin all forlorn,
Who milked the cow with implicated horn,
Who in fine wrath the canine torturer skied,
That dared to vex the insidious muricide,
Who let auroral effluence through the pelt
Of the sly Rat that robbed the palace Jack had built.

The loud cantankerous Shanghae comes at last,
Whose shouts arouse the shorn ecclesiast,
Who sealed the vows of Hymen's sacrament,
To him who, robed in garments indigent,
Exosculates the damsel lachrymose,
The emulgator of that horned brute morose,
That tossed the dog, that worried the cat, that kilt
The rat, that ate the malt, that lay in the house that Jack built.


Phoebe Cary (1824-1871)

The day is done, and darkness
From the wing of night is loosed,
As a feather is wafted downward
From a chicken going to roost.

I see the lights of the baker
Gleam through the rain and mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
That I cannot well resist.

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not like being sick,
And resembles sorrow only
As a brick-bat resembles a brick.

Come, get for me some supper, --
A good and regular meal,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the pain I feel.

Not from the pastry's baker's,
Not from the shops for cake,
I wouldn't give a farthing
For all that they can make.

For, like the soup at dinner,
Such things would but suggest
Some dishes more substantial,
And to-night I want the best.

Go to some honest butcher,
Whose beef is fresh and nice
As any they have in the city,
And get a liberal slice.

Such things through days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
For sad and desperate feelings
Are wonderful remedies.

They have an astonishing power
To aid and reinforce,
And come like the "Finally, brethern,"
That follows a long discourse.

Then get me a tender sirloin
From off the bench or hook,
And lend to its sterling goodness
The silence of the cook.

And the night shall be filled with comfort,
And the cares with which it begun
Shall fold up their blankets like Indians,
And silently cut and run.


Phoebe Cary (1824-1871)

Sally Salter, she was a young teacher who taught,
And her friend, Charley Church, was a preacher who praught,
Though his enemies called him a screecher who scraught.

His heart, when he saw her, kept sinking and sunk,
And his eye, meeting hers, began winking, and wunk;
While she, in her turn, kept thinking, and thunk.

He hastened to woo her, and sweetly he wooed,
For his love grew until to a mountain it grewed,
And what he was longing to do then he doed.

In secret he wanted to speak, and he spoke,
To seek with his lips what his heart long had soke;
So he managed to let the truth leak, and it loke.

He asked her to ride to the church, and they rode;
They so sweetly did glide that they both thought they glode,
And they came to the place to be tied, and were toed.

Then homeward, he said, let us drive, and they drove,
And as soon as they wished to arrive, they arrove,
For whatever he couldn't contrive, she controve.

The kiss he was dying to steal, then he stole;
At the feet where he wanted to kneel then he knole;
And he said, "I feel better than ever I fole."

So they to each other kept clinging, and clung,
While Time his swift circuit was winging, and wung;
And this was the thing he was bringing, and brung:

The man Sally wanted to catch, and had caught;
That she wanted from others to snatch, and had snaught;
Was the one that she now liked to scratch, and she scraught.

And Charley's warm love began freezing, and froze,
While he took to teazing, and cruelly toze
The girl he had wished to be squeezing, and squoze.

"Wretch!" he cried, when she threatened to leave him, and left,
"How could you deceive me, as you have deceft?"
And she answered, "I promised to cleave, and I've cleft."


Charles L. Edson

Once upon a midnight dreary, eerie, scary,
I was wary, I was weary, full of worry, thinking of my lost Lenore,
Of my cheery, airy, faery, fiery Dearie-(Nothing more).
I was napping, when a tapping on the overlapping coping, woke me
grapping, yapping, groping . . . toward the rapping. I went hopping,
leaping . . . hoping that the rapping on the coping
Was my little lost Lenore.
That on opening the shutter to admit the latter critter, in she'd flutter
from the gutter with her bitter eyes a-glitter;
So I opened the wide door, what was there? The dark weir and the drear
moor,-or I'm a liar-the dark mire; the drear moor, the mere door and
nothing more!

Then in stepped a stately raven, shaven like the bard of Avon; yes, a
rovin' grievin' Raven, seeking haven at my door.
Yes, that shaven, rovin' Raven had been movin' (Get me Stephen) for the
warm and lovin' haven of my stove an' oven door-
Oven door and nothing more.

Ah, distinctly I remember, every ember that December turned from
amber to burnt umber;
I was burning limber lumber in my chamber that December, and it left
an amber ember.
With a silken, sad, uncertain flirtin' of a certain curtain,
That old Raven, cold and callous, perched upon the bust of Pallas,
Just above my chamber door;
(A lusty, trusty, bust, thrust just
Above my chamber door.)

Had that callous cuss shown malice? Or sought solace, there on Pallas?
(You may tell us, Alice Wallace.)
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, hidden in the shade an' broodin',-
If a maiden out of Eden sent this sudden bird invadin'
My poor chamber; and protrudin' half an inch above my door,
Tell this broodin' soul (he's breedin' bats by too much soddin' readin'-
readin' Snowden's ode to Odin)
Tell this soul by nightmares ridden, if (no kiddin') on a sudden
He shall clasp a radiant maiden born in Aidenn or in Leyden, or indeed
in Baden Baden-
Will he grab this buddin' maiden, gaddin' in forbidden Eden,
Whom the angels named Lenore?
Then that bird said: "Never more."

"Prophet," said I, "thing of evil, navel, novel, or boll weevil,
You shall travel, on the level! Scratch the gravel now and travel!
Leave my hovel, I implore"
And that Raven never flitting, never knitting, never tatting, never
spouting "Nevermore,"
Still is sitting (out this ballad) on the solid bust (and pallid)-
on the solid, valid, pallid bust above my chamber door;
And my soul is in the shadow, which lies floating on the floor,
Fleeting, floating, yachting, boating on the fluting of the matting,--
Matting on my chamber floor.


Author Unknown (to me)

There was an old skinflint of Hitching
Had a cook, Mrs Casey of Cork,
There was nothing but crusts in the kitchen,
While in parlour was sherry and pork.
So at last Mrs Casey, her pangs to assuage,
Having snipped off his buttonses, curried the page.
And now, while the skinflint gulps sherry and pork,
In his parlour adjacent to kitchen,
To the tune blithe and merry [or musical chiming] of knife and of fork,
Anthropophagy reigns in the kitchen.


G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall;
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours—on the wall—
Are drawing a long breath to shout "Hurray!"
The strangest whim has seized me. . . . After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

To-morrow is the time I get my pay—
My uncle's sword is hanging in the hall—
I see a little cloud all pink and grey—
Perhaps the rector's mother will NOT call—
I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way—
I never read the works of Juvenal—
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

The world will have another washing-day;
The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H.G. Wells has found that children play,
And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall;
Rationalists are growing rational—
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray,
So secret that the very sky sees small—
I think I will not hang myself to-day.


Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,
The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
Even to-day your royal head may fall—
I think I will not hang myself to-day.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

Come! fill a fresh bumper, for why should we go
While the nectar still reddens our cups as they flow?
Pour out the rich juices still bright with the sun,
Till o'er the brimmed crystal the rubies shall run.
half-ripened apples
The purple-globed clusters their life-dews have bled;
taste sugar of lead
How sweet is the breath of the fragrance they shed!
rank poisons wines!!!
For summer's last roses lie hid in the wines
stable-boys smoking long-nines.
That were gathered by maidens who laughed thro' the vines.
scowl howl scoff jeer
Then a smile, and a glass, and a toast, and a cheer,
strychnine and whiskey, and ratsbane and beer!
For all the good wine, and we've some of it here!
In cellar, in pantry, in attic, in hall,
Down, down with the tyrant that masters us all!
Long live the gay servant that laughs for us all!


Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

Still ist die Nacht, es ruhen die Gassen,
In diesem Hause wohnte mein Schatz;
Sie hat schon lŠngst die Stadt verlassen,
Doch steht noch das Haus auf demselben Platz.

Da steht auch ein Mensch und starrt in die Hšhe,
Und ringt die HŠnde, vor Schmerzensgewalt;
Mir graust es, wenn ich sein Antlitz sehe—
Der Mond zeigt mir meine eigne Gestalt.

Du DoppelgŠnger! du bleicher Geselle!
Was Šffst du nach mein Liebesleid,
Das mich gequŠlt auf dieser Stelle,
So manche Nacht, in alter Zeit?


Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

Am Meer, am wŸsten, nŠchtlichen Meer
Steht ein JŸngling-Mann,
Die Brust voll Wehmut, das Haupt voll Zweifel,
Und mit dŸstern Lippen fragt er die Wogen:
"O lšst mir das RŠtsel des Lebens,
Das qualvoll uralte RŠtsel,
WorŸber schon manche HŠupter gegrŸbelt,
HŠupter in HieroglyphenmŸtzen.
HŠupter in Turban und schwarzem Barett,
PerŸckenhŠupter und tausend andre
Arme, schwitzende MenschenhŠupter—
Sagt mir, was bedeutet der Mensch?
Woher ist er kommen? Wo geht er hin?
Wer wohnt dort oben auf goldenen Sternen?"
Es murmeln die Wogen ihr ewges Gemurmel,
Es wehet der Wind, es fliehen die Wolken,
Es blinken die Sterne, gleichgŸltig und kalt,
Und ein Narr wartet auf Antwort.

Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

(After rhapsodizing about the sun, the poet goes
on to describe a walk on the beach with a friend)

Wie schšn ist die Sonne!
So sprach nach langem Schweigen der Freund,
Der mit mir am Strande wandelte,
And scherzend halb und halb wehmutig
Versichert er mir: die Sonne sei
Eine schšne Frau, die den alten Meergott
Aus Konvenienz geheiratet;
Des Tages Ÿber wandle sie freudig
Am hohen Himmel, purpurgeputzt
Und diamentenblitzend,
Und allgeliebt und allbewundert
Von allen Weltkreaturen,
Und alle Weltkreaturen erfreuend
Mit ihres Blickes Licht und WŠrme;
Aber des Abends, trostlos gezwungen,
Kehre sie wieder zurŸck`
In das nasse Haus, in die šden Arme
Des greisen Gemahls.

(Then the friend, who sounds like someone I'd love to walk on the beach with,
describes the squalid home life of the lovely sun woman with her damp old
spouse who rages at her for whorishly glowing for others all day long and at
night giving him the old song about feeling tired. Of course the poor girl,
after some noisy wrangling, bursts into tears, and the desperate old fellow
jumps out of bed and swims up to the surface to collect himself.)

"So sah ich ihn selbst, verflossene Nacht,
Bis an die Brust dem Meer enttauchen.
Er trug eine Jacke von gelbem Flanell,
Und eine lilienweisse SchlafmŸtz,
Und ein abgewelktes Gesicht."


Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

TŠglich ging die wunderschšne
Sultanstochter auf und nieder
Um die Abendzeit am Springbrunn,
Wo die wei§en Wasser plŠtschern.

TŠglich stand der junge Sklave
Um die Abendzeit am Springbrunn,
Wo die wei§en Wasser plŠtschern;
TŠglich ward er bleich und bleicher.

Eines Abends trat die FŸrstin
Auf ihn zu mit raschen Worten:
Deinen Namen will ich wissen,
Deine Heimat, deine Sippschaft!

Und der Sklave sprach: Ich hei§e
Mohamet, ich bin aus Yemmen,
Und mein Stamm sind jene Asra,
Welche sterben, wenn sie lieben.


Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929)

Und Kinder wachsen auf mit tiefen Augen,
die von nichts wissen, wachsen auf und sterben,
und alle Menschen gehen ihre Wege.

Und sŸ§e FrŸchte werden aus den herben
und fallen nachts wie tote Všgel nieder
und liegen wenig Tage und verderben.

Und immer weht der Wind, und immer wieder
vernehmen wir und reden viele Worte
und spŸren Lust und MŸdigkeit der Glieder.

Und Stra§en laufen durch das Gras, und Orte
sind da und dort, voll Fackeln, BŠumen, Teichen,
und drohende, und totenhaft verdorrte...

Wozu sind diese aufgebaut? Und gleichen
einander nie ? Und sind unzŠhlig viele ?
Was wechselt Lachen, Weinen und Erbleichen?

Was frommt das alles uns und diese Spiele,
die wir doch gro§ und ewig einsam sind
und wandernd nimmer suchen irgend Ziele ?

Was frommt's, dergleichen viel gesehen haben?
Und dennoch sagt der viel, der "Abend sagt,
ein Wort, daraus Tiefsinn und Trauer rinnt
wie schwerer Honig aus den hohlen Waben.


John Burnside (LRB 8/22/02)

(The linguist Ole Stig Andersen was keen to seek out
the remaining traces of a West Caucasian language
called Ubykh. Having heard that there was one remaining
speaker he set out to find the man and arrived in the village
on 8 October 1992. The man had died a few hours earlier.)

At times, in those last few months,
he would think of a word
and he had to remember the tree, or the species of frog,

the sound denoted:
the tree itself, or the frog, or the state of mind
and not the equivalent word in another language.

the speech that had taken his sons
and the mountain light;
the graves he swept and raked; the wedding songs.

While years of silence gathered in the heat,
he stood in his yard and whispered the name of a bird
in his mother tongue,

while memories of snow and market days,
his father's hands, the smell of tamarind,
inklings of milk and blood on a sunlit floor

receded in the names no longer used:
the blue of childhood folded like a sheet
and tucked away.

Nothing he said was remembered; nothing he did
was fact or legend
in the village square,

yet later they would memorise the word
he spoke that morning, just before he died:
the word for death, perhaps, or meadow grass,

or swimming to the surface of his mind,
that other word they used when he was young,
for all they knew that nobody remembered.

As virtuous men pass mildly away,

And whisper to their souls, to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"The breath goes now," and some say, "No:"

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears;
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.
But we by a love so much refin'd,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end, where I begun.