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Best Famous Conflict Poems

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Written by Charlotte Bronte | Create an image from this poem

The Wood

 BUT two miles more, and then we rest ! 
Well, there is still an hour of day, 
And long the brightness of the West 
Will light us on our devious way; 
Sit then, awhile, here in this wood­ 
So total is the solitude, 
We safely may delay.
These massive roots afford a seat, Which seems for weary travellers made.
There rest.
The air is soft and sweet In this sequestered forest glade, And there are scents of flowers around, The evening dew draws from the ground; How soothingly they spread ! Yes; I was tired, but not at heart; No­that beats full of sweet content, For now I have my natural part Of action with adventure blent; Cast forth on the wide vorld with thee, And all my once waste energy To weighty purpose bent.
Yet­say'st thou, spies around us roam, Our aims are termed conspiracy ? Haply, no more our English home An anchorage for us may be ? That there is risk our mutual blood May redden in some lonely wood The knife of treachery ? Say'st thou­that where we lodge each night, In each lone farm, or lonelier hall Of Norman Peer­ere morning light Suspicion must as duly fall, As day returns­such vigilance Presides and watches over France, Such rigour governs all ? I fear not, William; dost thou fear ? So that the knife does not divide, It may be ever hovering near: I could not tremble at thy side, And strenuous love­like mine for thee­ Is buckler strong, 'gainst treachery, And turns its stab aside.
I am resolved that thou shalt learn To trust my strength as I trust thine; I am resolved our souls shall burn, With equal, steady, mingling shine; Part of the field is conquered now, Our lives in the same channel flow, Along the self-same line; And while no groaning storm is heard, Thou seem'st content it should be so, But soon as comes a warning word Of danger­straight thine anxious brow Bends over me a mournful shade, As doubting if my powers are made To ford the floods of woe.
Know, then it is my spirit swells, And drinks, with eager joy, the air Of freedom­where at last it dwells, Chartered, a common task to share With thee, and then it stirs alert, And pants to learn what menaced hurt Demands for thee its care.
Remember, I have crossed the deep, And stood with thee on deck, to gaze On waves that rose in threatening heap, While stagnant lay a heavy haze, Dimly confusing sea with sky, And baffling, even, the pilot's eye, Intent to thread the maze­ Of rocks, on Bretagne's dangerous coast, And find a way to steer our band To the one point obscure, which lost, Flung us, as victims, on the strand;­ All, elsewhere, gleamed the Gallic sword, And not a wherry could be moored Along the guarded land.
I feared not then­I fear not now; The interest of each stirring scene Wakes a new sense, a welcome glow, In every nerve and bounding vein; Alike on turbid Channel sea, Or in still wood of Normandy, I feel as born again.
The rain descended that wild morn When, anchoring in the cove at last, Our band, all weary and forlorn, Ashore, like wave-worn sailors, cast­ Sought for a sheltering roof in vain, And scarce could scanty food obtain To break their morning fast.
Thou didst thy crust with me divide, Thou didst thy cloak around me fold; And, sitting silent by thy side, I ate the bread in peace untold: Given kindly from thy hand, 'twas sweet As costly fare or princely treat On royal plate of gold.
Sharp blew the sleet upon my face, And, rising wild, the gusty wind Drove on those thundering waves apace, Our crew so late had left behind; But, spite of frozen shower and storm, So close to thee, my heart beat warm, And tranquil slept my mind.
So now­nor foot-sore nor opprest With walking all this August day, I taste a heaven in this brief rest, This gipsy-halt beside the way.
England's wild flowers are fair to view, Like balm is England's summer dew, Like gold her sunset ray.
But the white violets, growing here, Are sweeter than I yet have seen, And ne'er did dew so pure and clear Distil on forest mosses green, As now, called forth by summer heat, Perfumes our cool and fresh retreat­ These fragrant limes between.
That sunset ! Look beneath the boughs, Over the copse­beyond the hills; How soft, yet deep and warm it glows, And heaven with rich suffusion fills; With hues where still the opal's tint, Its gleam of poisoned fire is blent, Where flame through azure thrills ! Depart we now­for fast will fade That solemn splendour of decline, And deep must be the after-shade As stars alone to-night will shine; No moon is destined­pale­to gaze On such a day's vast Phoenix blaze, A day in fires decayed ! There­hand-in-hand we tread again The mazes of this varying wood, And soon, amid a cultured plain, Girt in with fertile solitude, We shall our resting-place descry, Marked by one roof-tree, towering high Above a farm-stead rude.
Refreshed, erelong, with rustic fare, We'll seek a couch of dreamless ease; Courage will guard thy heart from fear, And Love give mine divinest peace: To-morrow brings more dangerous toil, And through its conflict and turmoil We'll pass, as God shall please.
Written by Sarojini Naidu | Create an image from this poem

Life

 CHILDREN, ye have not lived, to you it seems 
Life is a lovely stalactite of dreams, 
Or carnival of careless joys that leap 
About your hearts like billows on the deep 
In flames of amber and of amethyst.
Children, ye have not lived, ye but exist Till some resistless hour shall rise and move Your hearts to wake and hunger after love, And thirst with passionate longing for the things That burn your brows with blood-red sufferings.
Till ye have battled with great grief and fears, And borne the conflict of dream-shattering years, Wounded with fierce desire and worn with strife, Children, ye have not lived: for this is life.
Written by Charlotte Bronte | Create an image from this poem

The Missionary

 Lough, vessel, plough the British main,
Seek the free ocean's wider plain; 
Leave English scenes and English skies,
Unbind, dissever English ties; 
Bear me to climes remote and strange, 
Where altered life, fast-following change,
Hot action, never-ceasing toil, 
Shall stir, turn, dig, the spirit's soil; 
Fresh roots shall plant, fresh seed shall sow, 
Till a new garden there shall grow, 
Cleared of the weeds that fill it now,­ 
Mere human love, mere selfish yearning, 
Which, cherished, would arrest me yet.
I grasp the plough, there's no returning, Let me, then, struggle to forget.
But England's shores are yet in view, And England's skies of tender blue Are arched above her guardian sea.
I cannot yet Remembrance flee; I must again, then, firmly face That task of anguish, to retrace.
Wedded to home­I home forsake, Fearful of change­I changes make; Too fond of ease­I plunge in toil; Lover of calm­I seek turmoil: Nature and hostile Destiny Stir in my heart a conflict wild; And long and fierce the war will be Ere duty both has reconciled.
What other tie yet holds me fast To the divorced, abandoned past? Smouldering, on my heart's altar lies The fire of some great sacrifice, Not yet half quenched.
The sacred steel But lately struck my carnal will, My life-long hope, first joy and last, What I loved well, and clung to fast; What I wished wildly to retain, What I renounced with soul-felt pain; What­when I saw it, axe-struck, perish­ Left me no joy on earth to cherish; A man bereft­yet sternly now I do confirm that Jephtha vow: Shall I retract, or fear, or flee ? Did Christ, when rose the fatal tree Before him, on Mount Calvary ? 'Twas a long fight, hard fought, but won, And what I did was justly done.
Yet, Helen ! from thy love I turned, When my heart most for thy heart burned; I dared thy tears, I dared thy scorn­ Easier the death-pang had been borne.
Helen ! thou mightst not go with me, I could not­dared not stay for thee ! I heard, afar, in bonds complain The savage from beyond the main; And that wild sound rose o'er the cry Wrung out by passion's agony; And even when, with the bitterest tear I ever shed, mine eyes were dim, Still, with the spirit's vision clear, I saw Hell's empire, vast and grim, Spread on each Indian river's shore, Each realm of Asia covering o'er.
There the weak, trampled by the strong, Live but to suffer­hopeless die; There pagan-priests, whose creed is Wrong, Extortion, Lust, and Cruelty, Crush our lost race­and brimming fill The bitter cup of human ill; And I­who have the healing creed, The faith benign of Mary's Son; Shall I behold my brother's need And selfishly to aid him shun ? I­who upon my mother's knees, In childhood, read Christ's written word, Received his legacy of peace, His holy rule of action heard; I­in whose heart the sacred sense Of Jesus' love was early felt; Of his pure full benevolence, His pitying tenderness for guilt; His shepherd-care for wandering sheep, For all weak, sorrowing, trembling things, His mercy vast, his passion deep Of anguish for man's sufferings; I­schooled from childhood in such lore­ Dared I draw back or hesitate, When called to heal the sickness sore Of those far off and desolate ? Dark, in the realm and shades of Death, Nations and tribes and empires lie, But even to them the light of Faith Is breaking on their sombre sky: And be it mine to bid them raise Their drooped heads to the kindling scene, And know and hail the sunrise blaze Which heralds Christ the Nazarene.
I know how Hell the veil will spread Over their brows and filmy eyes, And earthward crush the lifted head That would look up and seek the skies; I know what war the fiend will wage Against that soldier of the cross, Who comes to dare his demon-rage, And work his kingdom shame and loss.
Yes, hard and terrible the toil Of him who steps on foreign soil, Resolved to plant the gospel vine, Where tyrants rule and slaves repine; Eager to lift Religion's light Where thickest shades of mental night Screen the false god and fiendish rite; Reckless that missionary blood, Shed in wild wilderness and wood, Has left, upon the unblest air, The man's deep moan­the martyr's prayer.
I know my lot­I only ask Power to fulfil the glorious task; Willing the spirit, may the flesh Strength for the day receive afresh.
May burning sun or deadly wind Prevail not o'er an earnest mind; May torments strange or direst death Nor trample truth, nor baffle faith.
Though such blood-drops should fall from me As fell in old Gethsemane, Welcome the anguish, so it gave More strength to work­more skill to save.
And, oh ! if brief must be my time, If hostile hand or fatal clime Cut short my course­still o'er my grave, Lord, may thy harvest whitening wave.
So I the culture may begin, Let others thrust the sickle in; If but the seed will faster grow, May my blood water what I sow ! What ! have I ever trembling stood, And feared to give to God that blood ? What ! has the coward love of life Made me shrink from the righteous strife ? Have human passions, human fears Severed me from those Pioneers, Whose task is to march first, and trace Paths for the progress of our race ? It has been so; but grant me, Lord, Now to stand steadfast by thy word ! Protected by salvation's helm, Shielded by faith­with truth begirt, To smile when trials seek to whelm And stand 'mid testing fires unhurt ! Hurling hell's strongest bulwarks down, Even when the last pang thrills my breast, When Death bestows the Martyr's crown, And calls me into Jesus' rest.
Then for my ultimate reward­ Then for the world-rejoicing word­ The voice from Father­Spirit­Son: " Servant of God, well hast thou done !"
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

A Carol of Harvest for 1867

 1
A SONG of the good green grass! 
A song no more of the city streets; 
A song of farms—a song of the soil of fields.
A song with the smell of sun-dried hay, where the nimble pitchers handle the pitch-fork; A song tasting of new wheat, and of fresh-husk’d maize.
2 For the lands, and for these passionate days, and for myself, Now I awhile return to thee, O soil of Autumn fields, Reclining on thy breast, giving myself to thee, Answering the pulses of thy sane and equable heart, Tuning a verse for thee.
O Earth, that hast no voice, confide to me a voice! O harvest of my lands! O boundless summer growths! O lavish, brown, parturient earth! O infinite, teeming womb! A verse to seek, to see, to narrate thee.
3 Ever upon this stage, Is acted God’s calm, annual drama, Gorgeous processions, songs of birds, Sunrise, that fullest feeds and freshens most the soul, The heaving sea, the waves upon the shore, the musical, strong waves, The woods, the stalwart trees, the slender, tapering trees, The flowers, the grass, the lilliput, countless armies of the grass, The heat, the showers, the measureless pasturages, The scenery of the snows, the winds’ free orchestra, The stretching, light-hung roof of clouds—the clear cerulean, and the bulging, silvery fringes, The high dilating stars, the placid, beckoning stars, The moving flocks and herds, the plains and emerald meadows, The shows of all the varied lands, and all the growths and products.
4 Fecund America! To-day, Thou art all over set in births and joys! Thou groan’st with riches! thy wealth clothes thee as with a swathing garment! Thou laughest loud with ache of great possessions! A myriad-twining life, like interlacing vines, binds all thy vast demesne! As some huge ship, freighted to water’s edge, thou ridest into port! As rain falls from the heaven, and vapors rise from earth, so have the precious values fallen upon thee, and risen out of thee! Thou envy of the globe! thou miracle! Thou, bathed, choked, swimming in plenty! Thou lucky Mistress of the tranquil barns! Thou Prairie Dame that sittest in the middle, and lookest out upon thy world, and lookest East, and lookest West! Dispensatress, that by a word givest a thousand miles—that giv’st a million farms, and missest nothing! Thou All-Acceptress—thou Hospitable—(thou only art hospitable, as God is hospitable.
) 5 When late I sang, sad was my voice; Sad were the shows around me, with deafening noises of hatred, and smoke of conflict; In the midst of the armies, the Heroes, I stood, Or pass’d with slow step through the wounded and dying.
But now I sing not War, Nor the measur’d march of soldiers, nor the tents of camps, Nor the regiments hastily coming up, deploying in line of battle.
No more the dead and wounded; No more the sad, unnatural shows of War.
Ask’d room those flush’d immortal ranks? the first forth-stepping armies? Ask room, alas, the ghastly ranks—the armies dread that follow’d.
6 (Pass—pass, ye proud brigades! So handsome, dress’d in blue—with your tramping, sinewy legs; With your shoulders young and strong—with your knapsacks and your muskets; —How elate I stood and watch’d you, where, starting off, you march’d! Pass;—then rattle, drums, again! Scream, you steamers on the river, out of whistles loud and shrill, your salutes! For an army heaves in sight—O another gathering army! Swarming, trailing on the rear—O you dread, accruing army! O you regiments so piteous, with your mortal diarrhoea! with your fever! O my land’s maimed darlings! with the plenteous bloody bandage and the crutch! Lo! your pallid army follow’d!) 7 But on these days of brightness, On the far-stretching beauteous landscape, the roads and lanes, the high-piled farm-wagons, and the fruits and barns, Shall the dead intrude? Ah, the dead to me mar not—they fit well in Nature; They fit very well in the landscape, under the trees and grass, And along the edge of the sky, in the horizon’s far margin.
Nor do I forget you, departed; Nor in winter or summer, my lost ones; But most, in the open air, as now, when my soul is rapt and at peace—like pleasing phantoms, Your dear memories, rising, glide silently by me.
8 I saw the day, the return of the Heroes; (Yet the Heroes never surpass’d, shall never return; Them, that day, I saw not.
) I saw the interminable Corps—I saw the processions of armies, I saw them approaching, defiling by, with divisions, Streaming northward, their work done, camping awhile in clusters of mighty camps.
No holiday soldiers!—youthful, yet veterans; Worn, swart, handsome, strong, of the stock of homestead and workshop, Harden’d of many a long campaign and sweaty march, Inured on many a hard-fought, bloody field.
9 A pause—the armies wait; A million flush’d, embattled conquerors wait; The world, too, waits—then, soft as breaking night, and sure as dawn, They melt—they disappear.
Exult, indeed, O lands! victorious lands! Not there your victory, on those red, shuddering fields; But here and hence your victory.
Melt, melt away, ye armies! disperse, ye blue-clad soldiers! Resolve ye back again—give up, for good, your deadly arms; Other the arms, the fields henceforth for you, or South or North, or East or West, With saner wars—sweet wars—life-giving wars.
10 Loud, O my throat, and clear, O soul! The season of thanks, and the voice of full-yielding; The chant of joy and power for boundless fertility.
All till’d and untill’d fields expand before me; I see the true arenas of my race—or first, or last, Man’s innocent and strong arenas.
I see the Heroes at other toils; I see, well-wielded in their hands, the better weapons.
11 I see where America, Mother of All, Well-pleased, with full-spanning eye, gazes forth, dwells long, And counts the varied gathering of the products.
Busy the far, the sunlit panorama; Prairie, orchard, and yellow grain of the North, Cotton and rice of the South, and Louisianian cane; Open, unseeded fallows, rich fields of clover and timothy, Kine and horses feeding, and droves of sheep and swine, And many a stately river flowing, and many a jocund brook, And healthy uplands with their herby-perfumed breezes, And the good green grass—that delicate miracle, the ever-recurring grass.
12 Toil on, Heroes! harvest the products! Not alone on those warlike fields, the Mother of All, With dilated form and lambent eyes, watch’d you.
Toil on, Heroes! toil well! Handle the weapons well! The Mother of All—yet here, as ever, she watches you.
Well-pleased, America, thou beholdest, Over the fields of the West, those crawling monsters, The human-divine inventions, the labor-saving implements: Beholdest, moving in every direction, imbued as with life, the revolving hay-rakes, The steam-power reaping-machines, and the horse-power machines, The engines, thrashers of grain, and cleaners of grain, well separating the straw—the nimble work of the patent pitch-fork; Beholdest the newer saw-mill, the southern cotton-gin, and the rice-cleanser.
Beneath thy look, O Maternal, With these, and else, and with their own strong hands, the Heroes harvest.
All gather, and all harvest; (Yet but for thee, O Powerful! not a scythe might swing, as now, in security; Not a maize-stalk dangle, as now, its silken tassels in peace.
) 13 Under Thee only they harvest—even but a wisp of hay, under thy great face, only; Harvest the wheat of Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin—every barbed spear, under thee; Harvest the maize of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee—each ear in its light-green sheath, Gather the hay to its myriad mows, in the odorous, tranquil barns, Oats to their bins—the white potato, the buckwheat of Michigan, to theirs; Gather the cotton in Mississippi or Alabama—dig and hoard the golden, the sweet potato of Georgia and the Carolinas, Clip the wool of California or Pennsylvania, Cut the flax in the Middle States, or hemp, or tobacco in the Borders, Pick the pea and the bean, or pull apples from the trees, or bunches of grapes from the vines, Or aught that ripens in all These States, or North or South, Under the beaming sun, and under Thee.
Written by Thomas Gray | Create an image from this poem

The Fatal Sisters

 Now the storm begins to lower,
(Haste, the loom of Hell prepares!)
Iron-sleet of arrowy shower
Hurtles in the darkened air.
Glittering lances are the loom, Where the dusky warp we strain, Weaving many a soldier's doom, Orkney's woe and Randver's bane.
See the grisly texture grow, ('Tis of human entrails made!) And the weights that play below, Each a gasping warrior's head.
Shafts for shuttles, dipped in gore, Shoot the trembling cords along.
Sword, that once a monarch bore, Keep the tissue close and strong.
Mista, black, terrific maid, Sangrida, and Hilda, see, Join the wayward work to aid; 'Tis the woof of victory.
Ere the ruddy sun be set, Pikes must shiver, javelins sing, Blade with clattering buckler meet, Hauberk crash, and helmet ring.
(Weave the crimson web of war!) Let us go, and let us fly Where our friends the conflict share, Where they triumph, where they die.
As the paths of fate we tread, Wading through the ensanguined field, Gondula and Geira, spread O'er the youthful king your shield.
We the reins to slaughter give; Ours to kill, and ours to spare; Spite the dangers he shall live.
(Weave the crimson web of war!) They whom once the desert beach Pent within its bleak domain, Soon their ample sway shall stretch O'er the plenty of the plain.
Low the dauntless earl is laid, Gored with many a gaping wound; Fate demands a nobler head; Soon a king shall bite the ground.
Long his loss shall Eirin weep Ne'er again his likeness see; Long her strains in sorrow steep, Strains of immortality! Horror covers all the heath; Clouds of carnage blot the sun.
Sisters, weave the web of death; Sisters, cease, the work is done.
Hail the task, and hail the hands! Songs of joy and triumph sing! Joy to the victorious bands Triumph to the younger king.
Mortal, thou that hear'st the tale, Learn the tenor of our song.
Scotland, through each winding vale Far and wide the notes prolong.
Sisters, hence with spurs of speed; Each her thundering falchion wield; Each bestride her sable steed.
Hurry, hurry to the field!
Written by Charlotte Bronte | Create an image from this poem

The Wood

 But two miles more, and then we rest ! 
Well, there is still an hour of day, 
And long the brightness of the West 
Will light us on our devious way; 
Sit then, awhile, here in this wood­ 
So total is the solitude, 
We safely may delay.
These massive roots afford a seat, Which seems for weary travellers made.
There rest.
The air is soft and sweet In this sequestered forest glade, And there are scents of flowers around, The evening dew draws from the ground; How soothingly they spread ! Yes; I was tired, but not at heart; No­that beats full of sweet content, For now I have my natural part Of action with adventure blent; Cast forth on the wide vorld with thee, And all my once waste energy To weighty purpose bent.
Yet­say'st thou, spies around us roam, Our aims are termed conspiracy ? Haply, no more our English home An anchorage for us may be ? That there is risk our mutual blood May redden in some lonely wood The knife of treachery ? Say'st thou­that where we lodge each night, In each lone farm, or lonelier hall Of Norman Peer­ere morning light Suspicion must as duly fall, As day returns­such vigilance Presides and watches over France, Such rigour governs all ? I fear not, William; dost thou fear ? So that the knife does not divide, It may be ever hovering near: I could not tremble at thy side, And strenuous love­like mine for thee­ Is buckler strong, 'gainst treachery, And turns its stab aside.
I am resolved that thou shalt learn To trust my strength as I trust thine; I am resolved our souls shall burn, With equal, steady, mingling shine; Part of the field is conquered now, Our lives in the same channel flow, Along the self-same line; And while no groaning storm is heard, Thou seem'st content it should be so, But soon as comes a warning word Of danger­straight thine anxious brow Bends over me a mournful shade, As doubting if my powers are made To ford the floods of woe.
Know, then it is my spirit swells, And drinks, with eager joy, the air Of freedom­where at last it dwells, Chartered, a common task to share With thee, and then it stirs alert, And pants to learn what menaced hurt Demands for thee its care.
Remember, I have crossed the deep, And stood with thee on deck, to gaze On waves that rose in threatening heap, While stagnant lay a heavy haze, Dimly confusing sea with sky, And baffling, even, the pilot's eye, Intent to thread the maze­ Of rocks, on Bretagne's dangerous coast, And find a way to steer our band To the one point obscure, which lost, Flung us, as victims, on the strand;­ All, elsewhere, gleamed the Gallic sword, And not a wherry could be moored Along the guarded land.
I feared not then­I fear not now; The interest of each stirring scene Wakes a new sense, a welcome glow, In every nerve and bounding vein; Alike on turbid Channel sea, Or in still wood of Normandy, I feel as born again.
The rain descended that wild morn When, anchoring in the cove at last, Our band, all weary and forlorn, Ashore, like wave-worn sailors, cast­ Sought for a sheltering roof in vain, And scarce could scanty food obtain To break their morning fast.
Thou didst thy crust with me divide, Thou didst thy cloak around me fold; And, sitting silent by thy side, I ate the bread in peace untold: Given kindly from thy hand, 'twas sweet As costly fare or princely treat On royal plate of gold.
Sharp blew the sleet upon my face, And, rising wild, the gusty wind Drove on those thundering waves apace, Our crew so late had left behind; But, spite of frozen shower and storm, So close to thee, my heart beat warm, And tranquil slept my mind.
So now­nor foot-sore nor opprest With walking all this August day, I taste a heaven in this brief rest, This gipsy-halt beside the way.
England's wild flowers are fair to view, Like balm is England's summer dew, Like gold her sunset ray.
But the white violets, growing here, Are sweeter than I yet have seen, And ne'er did dew so pure and clear Distil on forest mosses green, As now, called forth by summer heat, Perfumes our cool and fresh retreat­ These fragrant limes between.
That sunset ! Look beneath the boughs, Over the copse­beyond the hills; How soft, yet deep and warm it glows, And heaven with rich suffusion fills; With hues where still the opal's tint, Its gleam of poisoned fire is blent, Where flame through azure thrills ! Depart we now­for fast will fade That solemn splendour of decline, And deep must be the after-shade As stars alone to-night will shine; No moon is destined­pale­to gaze On such a day's vast Phoenix blaze, A day in fires decayed ! There­hand-in-hand we tread again The mazes of this varying wood, And soon, amid a cultured plain, Girt in with fertile solitude, We shall our resting-place descry, Marked by one roof-tree, towering high Above a farm-stead rude.
Refreshed, erelong, with rustic fare, We'll seek a couch of dreamless ease; Courage will guard thy heart from fear, And Love give mine divinest peace: To-morrow brings more dangerous toil, And through its conflict and turmoil We'll pass, as God shall please.
[The preceding composition refers, doubtless, to the scenes acted in France during the last year of the Consulate.
]
Written by David Herbert Lawrence | Create an image from this poem

Blue

 The earth again like a ship steams out of the dark sea over
The edge of the blue, and the sun stands up to see us glide
Slowly into another day; slowly the rover 
Vessel of darkness takes the rising tide.
I, on the deck, am startled by this dawn confronting Me who am issued amazed from the darkness, stripped And quailing here in the sunshine, delivered from haunting The night unsounded whereon our days are shipped.
Feeling myself undawning, the day’s light playing upon me, I who am substance of shadow, I all compact Of the stuff of the night, finding myself all wrongly Among the crowds of things in the sunshine jostled and racked.
I with the night on my lips, I sigh with the silence of death; And what do I care though the very stones should cry me unreal, though the clouds Shine in conceit of substance upon me, who am less than the rain.
Do I know the darkness within them? What are they but shrouds? The clouds go down the sky with a wealthy ease Casting a shadow of scorn upon me for my share in death; but I Hold my own in the midst of them, darkling, defy The whole of the day to extinguish the shadow I lift on the breeze.
Yea, though the very clouds have vantage over me, Enjoying their glancing flight, though my love is dead, I still am not homeless here, I’ve a tent by day Of darkness where she sleeps on her perfect bed.
And I know the host, the minute sparkling of darkness Which vibrates untouched and virile through the grandeur of night, But which, when dawn crows challenge, assaulting the vivid motes Of living darkness, bursts fretfully, and is bright: Runs like a fretted arc-lamp into light, Stirred by conflict to shining, which else Were dark and whole with the night.
Runs to a fret of speed like a racing wheel, Which else were aslumber along with the whole Of the dark, swinging rhythmic instead of a-reel.
Is chafed to anger, bursts into rage like thunder; Which else were a silent grasp that held the heavens Arrested, beating thick with wonder.
Leaps like a fountain of blue sparks leaping In a jet from out of obscurity, Which erst was darkness sleeping.
Runs into streams of bright blue drops, Water and stones and stars, and myriads Of twin-blue eyes, and crops Of floury grain, and all the hosts of day, All lovely hosts of ripples caused by fretting The Darkness into play.
Written by Friedrich von Schiller | Create an image from this poem

The Conflict

 No! I this conflict longer will not wage,
The conflict duty claims--the giant task;--
Thy spells, O virtue, never can assuage
The heart's wild fire--this offering do not ask

True, I have sworn--a solemn vow have sworn,
That I myself will curb the self within;
Yet take thy wreath, no more it shall be worn--
Take back thy wreath, and leave me free to sin.
Rent be the contract I with thee once made;-- She loves me, loves me--forfeit be the crown! Blessed he who, lulled in rapture's dreamy shade, Glides, as I glide, the deep fall gladly down.
She sees the worm that my youth's bloom decays, She sees my spring-time wasted as it flees; And, marvelling at the rigor that gainsays The heart's sweet impulse, my reward decrees.
Distrust this angel purity, fair soul! It is to guilt thy pity armeth me; Could being lavish its unmeasured whole, It ne'er could give a gift to rival thee! Thee--the dear guilt I ever seek to shun, O tyranny of fate, O wild desires! My virtue's only crown can but be won In that last breath--when virtue's self expires!
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Myself and Mine

 MYSELF and mine gymnastic ever, 
To stand the cold or heat—to take good aim with a gun—to sail a boat—to
 manage
 horses—to beget superb children, 
To speak readily and clearly—to feel at home among common people, 
And to hold our own in terrible positions, on land and sea.
Not for an embroiderer; (There will always be plenty of embroiderers—I welcome them also;) But for the fibre of things, and for inherent men and women.
Not to chisel ornaments, But to chisel with free stroke the heads and limbs of plenteous Supreme Gods, that The States may realize them, walking and talking.
Let me have my own way; Let others promulge the laws—I will make no account of the laws; Let others praise eminent men and hold up peace—I hold up agitation and conflict; I praise no eminent man—I rebuke to his face the one that was thought most worthy.
(Who are you? you mean devil! And what are you secretly guilty of, all your life? Will you turn aside all your life? Will you grub and chatter all your life?) (And who are you—blabbing by rote, years, pages, languages, reminiscences, Unwitting to-day that you do not know how to speak a single word?) Let others finish specimens—I never finish specimens; I shower them by exhaustless laws, as Nature does, fresh and modern continually.
I give nothing as duties; What others give as duties, I give as living impulses; (Shall I give the heart’s action as a duty?) Let others dispose of questions—I dispose of nothing—I arouse unanswerable questions; Who are they I see and touch, and what about them? What about these likes of myself, that draw me so close by tender directions and indirections? I call to the world to distrust the accounts of my friends, but listen to my enemies—as I myself do; I charge you, too, forever, reject those who would expound me—for I cannot expound myself; I charge that there be no theory or school founded out of me; I charge you to leave all free, as I have left all free.
After me, vista! O, I see life is not short, but immeasurably long; I henceforth tread the world, chaste, temperate, an early riser, a steady grower, Every hour the semen of centuries—and still of centuries.
I will follow up these continual lessons of the air, water, earth; I perceive I have no time to lose.
Written by William Topaz McGonagall | Create an image from this poem

Captain Teach alias Black Beard

 Edward Teach was a native of Bristol, and sailed from that port
On board a privateer, in search of sport,
As one of the crew, during the French War in that station,
And for personal courage he soon gained his Captain's approbation.
'Twas in the spring of 1717, Captajn Harnigold and Teach sailed from Providence For the continent of America, and no further hence; And in their way captured a vessel laden with flour, Which they put on board their own vessels in the space of an hour.
They also seized two other vessels snd took some gallons of wine, Besides plunder to a considerable value, and most of it most costly design; And after that they made a prize of a large French Guinea-man, Then to act an independent part Teach now began.
But the news spread throughout America, far and near, And filled many of the inhabitants' hearts with fear; But Lieutenant Maynard with his sloops of war directly steered, And left James River on the 17th November in quest of Black Beard, And on the evening of the 21st came in sight of the pirate; And when Black Beard spied his sloops he felt elate.
When he saw the sloops sent to apprehend him, He didn't lose his courage, but fiendishly did grin; And told his men to cease from drinking and their tittle-tattle, Although he had only twenty men on board, and prepare for battle.
In case anything should happen to him during the engagement, One of his men asked him, who felt rather discontent, Whether his wife knew where he had buried his pelf, When he impiously replied that nobody knew but the devil and himself.
In the Morning Maynard weighed and sent his boat to sound, Which, coming near the pirate, unfortunately ran aground; But Maynard lightened his vessel of the ballast and water, Whilst from the pirates' ship small shot loudly did clatter.
But the pirates' small shot or slugs didn't Maynard appal, He told his men to take their cutlasses and be ready upon his call; And to conceal themselves every man below, While he would remain at the helm and face the foe.
Then Black Beard cried, "They're all knocked on the head," When he saw no hand upon deck he thought they were dead; Then Black Beard boarded Maynard'a sloop without dismay, But Maynard's men rushed upon deck, then began the deadly fray.
Then Black Beard and Maynard engaged sword in hand, And the pirate fought manfully and made a bold stand; And Maynard with twelve men, and Black Beard with fourteen, Made the most desperate and bloody conflict that ever was seen.
At last with shots and wounds the pirate fell down dead, Then from his body Maynard severed the pirate's head, And suspended it upon his bowsprit-end, And thanked God Who so mercifully did him defend.
Black Beard derived his name from his long black beard, Which terrified America more than any comet that had ever appeared; But, thanks be to God, in this age we need not be afeared, Of any such pirates as the inhuman Black Beard.
Written by Friedrich von Schiller | Create an image from this poem

Genius

 "Do I believe," sayest thou, "what the masters of wisdom would teach me,
And what their followers' band boldly and readily swear?
Cannot I ever attain to true peace, excepting through knowledge,
Or is the system upheld only by fortune and law?
Must I distrust the gently-warning impulse, the precept
That thou, Nature, thyself hast in my bosom impressed,
Till the schools have affixed to the writ eternal their signet,
Till a mere formula's chain binds down the fugitive soul?
Answer me, then! for thou hast down into these deeps e'en descended,--
Out of the mouldering grave thou didst uninjured return.
Is't to thee known what within the tomb of obscure works is hidden, Whether, yon mummies amid, life's consolations can dwell? Must I travel the darksome road? The thought makes me tremble; Yet I will travel that road, if 'tis to truth and to right.
" Friend, hast thou heard of the golden age? Full many a story Poets have sung in its praise, simply and touchingly sung-- Of the time when the holy still wandered over life's pathways,-- When with a maidenly shame every sensation was veiled,-- When the mighty law that governs the sun in his orbit, And that, concealed in the bud, teaches the point how to move, When necessity's silent law, the steadfast, the changeless, Stirred up billows more free, e'en in the bosom of man,-- When the sense, unerring, and true as the hand of the dial, Pointed only to truth, only to what was eternal? Then no profane one was seen, then no initiate was met with, And what as living was felt was not then sought 'mongst the dead; Equally clear to every breast was the precept eternal, Equally hidden the source whence it to gladden us sprang; But that happy period has vanished! And self-willed presumption Nature's godlike repose now has forever destroyed.
Feelings polluted the voice of the deities echo no longer, In the dishonored breast now is the oracle dumb.
Save in the silenter self, the listening soul cannot find it, There does the mystical word watch o'er the meaning divine; There does the searcher conjure it, descending with bosom unsullied; There does the nature long-lost give him back wisdom again.
If thou, happy one, never hast lost the angel that guards thee, Forfeited never the kind warnings that instinct holds forth; If in thy modest eye the truth is still purely depicted; If in thine innocent breast clearly still echoes its call; If in thy tranquil mind the struggles of doubt still are silent, If they will surely remain silent forever as now; If by the conflict of feelings a judge will ne'er be required; If in its malice thy heart dims not the reason so clear, Oh, then, go thy way in all thy innocence precious! Knowledge can teach thee in naught; thou canst instruct her in much! Yonder law, that with brazen staff is directing the struggling, Naught is to thee.
What thou dost, what thou mayest will is thy law, And to every race a godlike authority issues.
What thou with holy hand formest, what thou with holy mouth speakest, Will with omnipotent power impel the wondering senses; Thou but observest not the god ruling within thine own breast, Not the might of the signet that bows all spirits before thee; Simple and silent thou goest through the wide world thou hast won.
Written by John Wilmot | Create an image from this poem

An Allusion to Horace

 Well Sir, 'tis granted, I said Dryden's Rhimes, 
Were stoln, unequal, nay dull many times: 
What foolish Patron, is there found of his, 
So blindly partial, to deny me this? 
But that his Plays, Embroider'd up and downe, 
With Witt, and Learning, justly pleas'd the Towne, 
In the same paper, I as freely owne: 
Yet haveing this allow'd, the heavy Masse, 
That stuffs up his loose Volumes must not passe: 
For by that Rule, I might as well admit, 
Crownes tedious Scenes, for Poetry, and Witt.
'Tis therefore not enough, when your false Sense Hits the false Judgment of an Audience Of Clapping-Fooles, assembling a vast Crowd 'Till the throng'd Play-House, crack with the dull Load; Tho' ev'n that Tallent, merrits in some sort, That can divert the Rabble and the Court: Which blundring Settle, never cou'd attaine, And puzling Otway, labours at in vaine.
But within due proportions, circumscribe What e're you write; that with a flowing Tyde, The Stile, may rise, yet in its rise forbeare, With uselesse Words, t'oppresse the wearyed Eare: Here be your Language lofty, there more light, Your Rethorick, with your Poetry, unite: For Elegance sake, sometimes alay the force Of Epethets; 'twill soften the discourse; A Jeast in Scorne, poynts out, and hits the thing, More home, than the Morosest Satyrs Sting.
Shakespeare, and Johnson, did herein excell, And might in this be Immitated well; Whom refin'd Etheridge, Coppys not at all, But is himself a Sheere Originall: Nor that Slow Drudge, in swift Pindarique straines, Flatman, who Cowley imitates with paines, And rides a Jaded Muse, whipt with loose Raines.
When Lee, makes temp'rate Scipio, fret and Rave, And Haniball, a whineing Am'rous Slave; I laugh, and wish the hot-brain'd Fustian Foole, In Busbys hands, to be well lasht at Schoole.
Of all our Moderne Witts, none seemes to me, Once to have toucht upon true Comedy, But hasty Shadwell, and slow Witcherley.
Shadwells unfinisht workes doe yet impart, Great proofes of force of Nature, none of Art.
With just bold Stroakes, he dashes here and there, Shewing great Mastery with little care; And scornes to varnish his good touches o're, To make the Fooles, and Women, praise 'em more.
But Witcherley, earnes hard, what e're he gaines, He wants noe Judgment, nor he spares noe paines; He frequently excells, and at the least, Makes fewer faults, than any of the best.
Waller, by Nature for the Bayes design'd, With force, and fire, and fancy unconfin'd, In Panigericks does Excell Mankind: He best can turne, enforce, and soften things, To praise great Conqu'rours, or to flatter Kings.
For poynted Satyrs, I wou'd Buckhurst choose, The best good Man, with the worst Natur'd Muse: For Songs, and Verses, Mannerly Obscene, That can stirr Nature up, by Springs unseene, And without forceing blushes, warme the Queene: Sidley, has that prevailing gentle Art, That can with a resistlesse Charme impart, The loosest wishes to the Chastest Heart, Raise such a Conflict, kindle such a ffire Betwixt declineing Virtue, and desire, Till the poor Vanquisht Maid, dissolves away, In Dreames all Night, in Sighs, and Teares, all Day.
Dryden, in vaine, try'd this nice way of Witt, For he, to be a tearing Blade thought fit, But when he wou'd be sharp, he still was blunt, To friske his frollique fancy, hed cry Cunt; Wou'd give the Ladyes, a dry Bawdy bob, And thus he got the name of Poet Squab: But to be just, twill to his praise be found, His Excellencies, more than faults abound.
Nor dare I from his Sacred Temples teare, That Lawrell, which he best deserves to weare.
But does not Dryden find ev'n Johnson dull? Fletcher, and Beaumont, uncorrect, and full Of Lewd lines as he calls em? Shakespeares Stile Stiffe, and Affected? To his owne the while Allowing all the justnesse that his Pride, Soe Arrogantly, had to these denyd? And may not I, have leave Impartially To search, and Censure, Drydens workes, and try, If those grosse faults, his Choyce Pen does Commit Proceed from want of Judgment, or of Witt.
Of if his lumpish fancy does refuse, Spirit, and grace to his loose slatterne Muse? Five Hundred Verses, ev'ry Morning writ, Proves you noe more a Poet, than a Witt.
Such scribling Authors, have beene seene before, Mustapha, the English Princesse, Forty more, Were things perhaps compos'd in Half an Houre.
To write what may securely stand the test Of being well read over Thrice oat least Compare each Phrase, examin ev'ry Line, Weigh ev'ry word, and ev'ry thought refine; Scorne all Applause the Vile Rout can bestow, And be content to please those few, who know.
Canst thou be such a vaine mistaken thing To wish thy Workes might make a Play-house ring, With the unthinking Laughter, and poor praise Of Fopps, and Ladys, factious for thy Plays? Then send a cunning Friend to learne thy doome, From the shrew'd Judges in the Drawing-Roome.
I've noe Ambition on that idle score, But say with Betty Morice, heretofore When a Court-Lady, call'd her Buckleys Whore, I please one Man of Witt, am proud on't too, Let all the Coxcombs, dance to bed to you.
Shou'd I be troubled when the Purblind Knight Who squints more in his Judgment, than his sight, Picks silly faults, and Censures what I write? Or when the poor-fed Poets of the Towne For Scrapps, and Coach roome cry my Verses downe? I loath the Rabble, 'tis enough for me, If Sidley, Shadwell, Shepherd, Witcherley, Godolphin, Buttler, Buckhurst, Buckingham, And some few more, whom I omit to name Approve my Sense, I count their Censure Fame.
Written by Paul Laurence Dunbar | Create an image from this poem

ODE FOR MEMORIAL DAY

Done are the toils and the wearisome marches,
Done is the summons of bugle and drum.
Softly and sweetly the sky over-arches,
Shelt'ring a land where Rebellion is dumb.
Dark were the days of the country's derangement,
Sad were the hours when the conflict was on,
But through the gloom of fraternal estrangement
God sent his light, and we welcome the dawn.
O'er the expanse of our mighty dominions,
Sweeping away to the uttermost parts,
Peace, the wide-flying, on untiring pinions,
Bringeth her message of joy to our hearts.
Ah, but this joy which our minds cannot measure,
What did it cost for our fathers to gain!
Bought at the price of the heart's dearest treasure,
[Pg 23]Born out of travail and sorrow and pain;
Born in the battle where fleet Death was flying,
Slaying with sabre-stroke bloody and fell;
Born where the heroes and martyrs were dying,
Torn by the fury of bullet and shell.
Ah, but the day is past: silent the rattle,
And the confusion that followed the fight.
Peace to the heroes who died in the battle,
Martyrs to truth and the crowning of Right!
Out of the blood of a conflict fraternal,
Out of the dust and the dimness of death,
Burst into blossoms of glory eternal
Flowers that sweeten the world with their breath.
Flowers of charity, peace, and devotion
Bloom in the hearts that are empty of strife;
Love that is boundless and broad as the ocean
Leaps into beauty and fulness of life.
So, with the singing of paeans and chorals,
And with the flag flashing high in the sun,
Place on the graves of our heroes the laurels
Which their unfaltering valor has won!
Written by Emily Dickinson | Create an image from this poem

A wild Blue sky abreast of Winds

 A wild Blue sky abreast of Winds
That threatened it -- did run
And crouched behind his Yellow Door
Was the defiant sun --
Some conflict with those upper friends
So genial in the main
That we deplore peculiarly
Their arrogant campaign --
Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | Create an image from this poem

DEDICATION

 The morn arrived; his footstep quickly scared

The gentle sleep that round my senses clung,
And I, awak'ning, from my cottage fared,

And up the mountain side with light heart sprung;
At every step I felt my gaze ensnared

By new-born flow'rs that full of dew-drops hung;
The youthful day awoke with ecstacy,
And all things quicken'd were, to quicken me.
And as I mounted, from the valley rose A streaky mist, that upward slowly spread, Then bent, as though my form it would enclose, Then, as on pinions, soar'd above my head: My gaze could now on no fair view repose, in mournful veil conceal'd, the world seem'd dead; The clouds soon closed around me, as a tomb, And I was left alone in twilight gloom.
At once the sun his lustre seem'd to pour, And through the mist was seen a radiant light; Here sank it gently to the ground once more, There parted it, and climb'd o'er wood and height.
How did I yearn to greet him as of yore, After the darkness waxing doubly bright! The airy conflict ofttimes was renew'd, Then blinded by a dazzling glow I stood.
Ere long an inward impulse prompted me A hasty glance with boldness round to throw; At first mine eyes had scarcely strength to see, For all around appear'd to burn and glow.
Then saw I, on the clouds borne gracefully, A godlike woman hov'ring to and fro.
In life I ne'er had seen a form so fair-- She gazed at me, and still she hover'd there.
"Dost thou not know me?" were the words she said In tones where love and faith were sweetly bound; "Knowest thou not Her who oftentimes hath shed The purest balsam in each earthly wound? Thou knows't me well; thy panting heart I led To join me in a bond with rapture crown'd.
Did I not see thee, when a stripling, yearning To welcome me with tears, heartfelt and burning?" "Yes!" I exclaim'd, whilst, overcome with joy, I sank to earth; "I long have worshipp'd thee; Thou gav'st me rest, when passions rack'd the boy, Pervading ev'ry limb unceasingly; Thy heav'nly pinions thou didst then employ The scorching sunbeams to ward off from me.
From thee alone Earth's fairest gifts I gain'd, Through thee alone, true bliss can be obtain'd.
"Thy name I know not; yet I hear thee nam'd By many a one who boasts thee as his own; Each eye believes that tow'rd thy form 'tis aim'd, Yet to most eyes thy rays are anguish-sown.
Ah! whilst I err'd, full many a friend I claim'd, Now that I know thee, I am left alone; With but myself can I my rapture share, I needs must veil and hide thy radiance fair.
She smiled, and answering said: "Thou see'st how wise, How prudent 'twas but little to unveil! Scarce from the clumsiest cheat are clear'd thine eyes, Scarce hast thou strength thy childish bars to scale, When thou dost rank thee 'mongst the deities, And so man's duties to perform would'st fail! How dost thou differ from all other men? Live with the world in peace, and know thee then!" "Oh, pardon me," I cried, "I meant it well: Not vainly did'st thou bless mine eyes with light; For in my blood glad aspirations swell, The value of thy gifts I know aright! Those treasures in my breast for others dwell, The buried pound no more I'll hide from sight.
Why did I seek the road so anxiously, If hidden from my brethren 'twere to be?" And as I answer'd, tow'rd me turn'd her face, With kindly sympathy, that god-like one; Within her eye full plainly could I trace What I had fail'd in, and what rightly done.
She smiled, and cured me with that smile's sweet grace, To new-born joys my spirit soar'd anon; With inward confidence I now could dare To draw yet closer, and observe her there.
Through the light cloud she then stretch'd forth her hand, As if to bid the streaky vapour fly: At once it seemed to yield to her command, Contracted, and no mist then met mine eye.
My glance once more survey'd the smiling land, Unclouded and serene appear'd the sky.
Nought but a veil of purest white she held, And round her in a thousand folds it swell'd.
"I know thee, and I know thy wav'ring will.
I know the good that lives and glows in thee!"-- Thus spake she, and methinks I hear her still-- "The prize long destined, now receive from me; That blest one will be safe from ev'ry ill, Who takes this gift with soul of purity,--" The veil of Minstrelsy from Truth's own hand, Of sunlight and of morn's sweet fragrance plann'd.
"And when thou and thy friends at fierce noon-day Are parched with heat, straight cast it in the air! Then Zephyr's cooling breath will round you play, Distilling balm and flowers' sweet incense there; The tones of earthly woe will die away, The grave become a bed of clouds so fair, To sing to rest life's billows will be seen, The day be lovely, and the night serene.
"-- Come, then, my friends! and whensoe'er ye find Upon your way increase life's heavy load; If by fresh-waken'd blessings flowers are twin'd Around your path, and golden fruits bestow'd, We'll seek the coming day with joyous mind! Thus blest, we'll live, thus wander on our road And when our grandsons sorrow o'er our tomb, Our love, to glad their bosoms, still shall bloom.