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Best Famous Sidney Lanier Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Sidney Lanier poems. This is a select list of the best famous Sidney Lanier poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Sidney Lanier poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Sidney Lanier poems.

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by Sidney Lanier |

The Revenge Of Hamish

 It was three slim does and a ten-tined buck in the bracken lay;
And all of a sudden the sinister smell of a man,
Awaft on a wind-shift, wavered and ran
Down the hill-side and sifted along through the bracken and passed that way.
Then Nan got a-tremble at nostril; she was the daintiest doe; In the print of her velvet flank on the velvet fern She reared, and rounded her ears in turn.
Then the buck leapt up, and his head as a king's to a crown did go Full high in the breeze, and he stood as if Death had the form of a deer; And the two slim does long lazily stretching arose, For their day-dream slowlier came to a close, Till they woke and were still, breath-bound with waiting and wonder and fear.
Then Alan the huntsman sprang over the hillock, the hounds shot by, The does and the ten-tined buck made a marvellous bound, The hounds swept after with never a sound, But Alan loud winded his horn in sign that the quarry was nigh.
For at dawn of that day proud Maclean of Lochbuy to the hunt had waxed wild, And he cursed at old Alan till Alan fared off with the hounds For to drive him the deer to the lower glen-grounds: "I will kill a red deer," quoth Maclean, "in the sight of the wife and the child.
" So gayly he paced with the wife and the child to his chosen stand; But he hurried tall Hamish the henchman ahead: "Go turn," -- Cried Maclean -- "if the deer seek to cross to the burn, Do thou turn them to me: nor fail, lest thy back be red as thy hand.
" Now hard-fortuned Hamish, half blown of his breath with the height of the hill, Was white in the face when the ten-tined buck and the does Drew leaping to burn-ward; huskily rose His shouts, and his nether lip twitched, and his legs were o'er-weak for his will.
So the deer darted lightly by Hamish and bounded away to the burn.
But Maclean never bating his watch tarried waiting below Still Hamish hung heavy with fear for to go All the space of an hour; then he went, and his face was greenish and stern, And his eye sat back in the socket, and shrunken the eyeballs shone, As withdrawn from a vision of deeds it were shame to see.
"Now, now, grim henchman, what is't with thee?" Brake Maclean, and his wrath rose red as a beacon the wind hath upblown.
"Three does and a ten-tined buck made out," spoke Hamish, full mild, "And I ran for to turn, but my breath it was blown, and they passed; I was weak, for ye called ere I broke me my fast.
" Cried Maclean: "Now a ten-tined buck in the sight of the wife and the child I had killed if the gluttonous kern had not wrought me a snail's own wrong!" Then he sounded, and down came kinsmen and clansmen all: "Ten blows, for ten tine, on his back let fall, And reckon no stroke if the blood follow not at the bite of thong!" So Hamish made bare, and took him his strokes; at the last he smiled.
"Now I'll to the burn," quoth Maclean, "for it still may be, If a slimmer-paunched henchman will hurry with me, I shall kill me the ten-tined buck for a gift to the wife and the child!" Then the clansmen departed, by this path and that; and over the hill Sped Maclean with an outward wrath for an inward shame; And that place of the lashing full quiet became; And the wife and the child stood sad; and bloody-backed Hamish sat still.
But look! red Hamish has risen; quick about and about turns he.
"There is none betwixt me and the crag-top!" he screams under breath.
Then, livid as Lazarus lately from death, He snatches the child from the mother, and clambers the crag toward the sea.
Now the mother drops breath; she is dumb, and her heart goes dead for a space, Till the motherhood, mistress of death, shrieks, shrieks through the glen, And that place of the lashing is live with men, And Maclean, and the gillie that told him, dash up in a desperate race.
Not a breath's time for asking; an eye-glance reveals all the tale untold.
They follow mad Hamish afar up the crag toward the sea, And the lady cries: "Clansmen, run for a fee! -- Yon castle and lands to the two first hands that shall hook him and hold Fast Hamish back from the brink!" -- and ever she flies up the steep, And the clansmen pant, and they sweat, and they jostle and strain.
But, mother, 'tis vain; but, father, 'tis vain; Stern Hamish stands bold on the brink, and dangles the child o'er the deep.
Now a faintness falls on the men that run, and they all stand still.
And the wife prays Hamish as if he were God, on her knees, Crying: "Hamish! O Hamish! but please, but please For to spare him!" and Hamish still dangles the child, with a wavering will.
On a sudden he turns; with a sea-hawk scream, and a gibe, and a song, Cries: "So; I will spare ye the child if, in sight of ye all, Ten blows on Maclean's bare back shall fall, And ye reckon no stroke if the blood follow not at the bite of the thong!" Then Maclean he set hardly his tooth to his lip that his tooth was red, Breathed short for a space, said: "Nay, but it never shall be! Let me hurl off the damnable hound in the sea!" But the wife: "Can Hamish go fish us the child from the sea, if dead? Say yea! -- Let them lash ME, Hamish?" -- "Nay!" -- "Husband, the lashing will heal; But, oh, who will heal me the bonny sweet bairn in his grave? Could ye cure me my heart with the death of a knave? Quick! Love! I will bare thee -- so -- kneel!" Then Maclean 'gan slowly to kneel With never a word, till presently downward he jerked to the earth.
Then the henchman -- he that smote Hamish -- would tremble and lag; "Strike, hard!" quoth Hamish, full stern, from the crag; Then he struck him, and "One!" sang Hamish, and danced with the child in his mirth.
And no man spake beside Hamish; he counted each stroke with a song.
When the last stroke fell, then he moved him a pace down the height, And he held forth the child in the heartaching sight Of the mother, and looked all pitiful grave, as repenting a wrong.
And there as the motherly arms stretched out with the thanksgiving prayer -- And there as the mother crept up with a fearful swift pace, Till her finger nigh felt of the bairnie's face -- In a flash fierce Hamish turned round and lifted the child in the air, And sprang with the child in his arms from the horrible height in the sea, Shrill screeching, "Revenge!" in the wind-rush; and pallid Maclean, Age-feeble with anger and impotent pain, Crawled up on the crag, and lay flat, and locked hold of dead roots of a tree -- And gazed hungrily o'er, and the blood from his back drip-dripped in the brine, And a sea-hawk flung down a skeleton fish as he flew, And the mother stared white on the waste of blue, And the wind drove a cloud to seaward, and the sun began to shine.


by Sidney Lanier |

The Raven Days

 Our hearths are gone out and our hearts are broken,
And but the ghosts of homes to us remain,
And ghastly eyes and hollow sighs give token
From friend to friend of an unspoken pain.
O Raven days, dark Raven days of sorrow, Bring to us in your whetted ivory beaks Some sign out of the far land of To-morrow, Some strip of sea-green dawn, some orange streaks.
Ye float in dusky files, forever croaking.
Ye chill our manhood with your dreary shade.
Dumb in the dark, not even God invoking, We lie in chains, too weak to be afraid.
O Raven days, dark Raven days of sorrow, Will ever any warm light come again? Will ever the lit mountains of To-morrow Begin to gleam athwart the mournful plain?


by Sidney Lanier |

A Song Of The Future.

 Sail fast, sail fast,
Ark of my hopes, Ark of my dreams;
Sweep lordly o'er the drowned Past,
Fly glittering through the sun's strange beams;
Sail fast, sail fast.
Breaths of new buds from off some drying lea With news about the Future scent the sea: My brain is beating like the heart of Haste: I'll loose me a bird upon this Present waste; Go, trembling song, And stay not long; oh, stay not long: Thou'rt only a gray and sober dove, But thine eye is faith and thy wing is love.


by Sidney Lanier |

A Song Of Eternity In Time

 Once, at night, in the manor wood
My Love and I long silent stood,
Amazed that any heavens could
Decree to part us, bitterly repining.
My Love, in aimless love and grief, Reached forth and drew aside a leaf That just above us played the thief And stole our starlight that for us was shining.
A star that had remarked her pain Shone straightway down that leafy lane, And wrought his image, mirror-plain, Within a tear that on her lash hung gleaming.
"Thus Time," I cried, "is but a tear Some one hath wept 'twixt hope and fear, Yet in his little lucent sphere Our star of stars, Eternity, is beaming.
"


by Sidney Lanier |

Night

 BURNING our hearts out with longing
 The daylight passed:
Millions and millions together,
 The stars at last!


Purple the woods where the dewdrops,
 Pearly and grey,
Wash in the cool from our faces
 The flame of day.
Glory and shadow grow one in The hazel wood: Laughter and peace in the stillness Together brood.
Hopes all unearthly are thronging In hearts of earth: Tongues of the starlight are calling Our souls to birth.
Down from the heaven its secrets Drop one by one; Where time is for ever beginning And time is done.
There light eternal is over Chaos and night: Singing with dawn lips for ever, “Let there be light!” There too for ever in twilight Time slips away, Closing in darkness and rapture Its awful day.


by Sidney Lanier |

Night and Day

 When the golden day is done, 
Through the closing portal, 
Child and garden, Flower and sun, 
Vanish all things mortal.
As the blinding shadows fall As the rays diminish, Under evening's cloak they all Roll away and vanish.
Garden darkened, daisy shut, Child in bed, they slumber-- Glow-worm in the hallway rut, Mice among the lumber.
In the darkness houses shine, Parents move the candles; Till on all the night divine Turns the bedroom handles.
Till at last the day begins In the east a-breaking, In the hedges and the whins Sleeping birds a-waking.
In the darkness shapes of things, Houses, trees and hedges, Clearer grow; and sparrow's wings Beat on window ledges.
These shall wake the yawning maid; She the door shall open-- Finding dew on garden glade And the morning broken.
There my garden grows again Green and rosy painted, As at eve behind the pane From my eyes it fainted.
Just as it was shut away, Toy-like, in the even, Here I see it glow with day Under glowing heaven.
Every path and every plot, Every blush of roses, Every blue forget-me-not Where the dew reposes, "Up!" they cry, "the day is come On the smiling valleys: We have beat the morning drum; Playmate, join your allies!"


by Sidney Lanier |

Night

 HEART-HIDDEN from the outer things I rose;
The spirit woke anew in nightly birth
Unto the vastness where forever glows
 The star-soul of the earth.
There all alone in primal ecstasy, Within her depths where revels never tire, The olden Beauty shines: each thought of me Is veined through with its fire.
And all my thoughts are throngs of living souls; They breathe in me, heart unto heart allied; Their joy undimmed, though when the morning tolls The planets may divide.


by Sidney Lanier |

Martha Washington

 Written for the "Martha Washington Court Journal".
Down cold snow-stretches of our bitter time, When windy shams and the rain-mocking sleet Of Trade have cased us in such icy rime That hearts are scarcely hot enough to beat, Thy fame, O Lady of the lofty eyes, Doth fall along the age, like as a lane Of Spring, in whose most generous boundaries Full many a frozen virtue warms again.
To-day I saw the pale much-burdened form Of Charity come limping o'er the line, And straighten from the bending of the storm And flush with stirrings of new strength divine, Such influence and sweet gracious impulse came Out of the beams of thine immortal name!


by Sidney Lanier |

Ireland.

 Written for the Art Autograph during the Irish Famine, 1880.
Heartsome Ireland, winsome Ireland, Charmer of the sun and sea, Bright beguiler of old anguish, How could Famine frown on thee? As our Gulf-Stream, drawn to thee-ward, Turns him from his northward flow, And our wintry western headlands Send thee summer from their snow, Thus the main and cordial current Of our love sets over sea, -- Tender, comely, valiant Ireland, Songful, soulful, sorrowful Ireland, -- Streaming warm to comfort thee.


by Sidney Lanier |

Night

 A pale enchanted moon is sinking low
Behind the dunes that fringe the shadowy lea, 
And there is haunted starlight on the flow
Of immemorial sea.
I am alone and need no more pretend Laughter or smile to hide a hungry heart; I walk with solitude as with a friend Enfolded and apart.
We tread an eerie road across the moor Where shadows weave upon their ghostly looms, And winds sing an old lyric that might lure Sad queens from ancient tombs.
I am a sister to the loveliness Of cool far hill and long-remembered shore, Finding in it a sweet forgetfulness Of all that hurt before.
The world of day, its bitterness and cark, No longer have the power to make me weep; I welcome this communion of the dark As toilers welcome sleep.