George Herbert | |
My God, I heard this day
That none doth build a stately habitation,
But he that means to dwell therein.
What house more stately hath there been,
Or can be, than is Man? to whose creation
All things are in decay.
For Man is every thing,
And more: he is a tree, yet bears more fruit;
A beast, yet is or should be more:
Reason and speech we only bring.
Parrots may thank us, if they are not mute,
They go upon the score.
Man is all symmetry,
Full of proportions, one limb to another,
And all to all the world besides:
Each part may call the furthest, brother;
For head with foot hath private amity,
And both with moons and tides.
Nothing hath got so far,
But man hath caught and kept it, as his prey.
His eyes dismount the highest star:
He is in little all the sphere.
Herbs gladly cure our flesh, because that they
Find their acquaintance there.
For us the winds do blow,
The earth doth rest, heaven move, and fountains flow.
Nothing we see but means our good,
As our delight or as our treasure:
The whole is either our cupboard of food,
Or cabinet of pleasure.
The stars have us to bed;
Night draws the curtain, which the sun withdraws;
Music and light attend our head.
All things unto our flesh are kind
In their descent and being; to our mind
In their ascent and cause.
Each thing is full of duty:
Waters united are our navigation;
Distinguishèd, our habitation;
Below, our drink; above, our meat;
Both are our cleanliness.
Hath one such beauty?
Then how are all things neat?
More servants wait on Man
Than he'll take notice of: in every path
He treads down that which doth befriend him
When sickness makes him pale and wan.
O mighty love! Man is one world, and hath
Another to attend him.
Since then, my God, thou hast
So brave a palace built, O dwell in it
That it may dwell with thee at last!
Till then, afford us so much wit,
That, as the world serves us, we may serve thee,
And both thy servants be.
Alfred Lord Tennyson | |
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
Conrad Aiken | |
In the mazes of loitering people, the watchful and furtive,
The shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves,
In the drowse of the sunlight, among the low voices,
I suddenly face you,
Your dark eyes return for a space from her who is with you,
They shine into mine with a sunlit desire,
They say an 'I love you, what star do you live on?'
They smile and then darken,
And silent, I answer 'You too--I have known you,--I love you!--'
And the shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves
Interlace with low voices and footsteps and sunlight
To divide us forever.
More great poems below...
Edgar Allan Poe | |
Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart
Vulture whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood
The Elfin from the green grass and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?
William Blake | |
THE sun descending in the west
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest.
And I must seek for mine.
The moon like a flower 5
In heaven's high bower
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.
Farewell green fields and happy grove
Where flocks have took delight: 10
Where lambs have nibbled silent move
The feet of angels bright;
Unseen they pour blessing
And joy without ceasing
On each bud and blossom 15
And each sleeping bosom.
They look in every thoughtless nest
Where birds are cover'd warm;
They visit caves of every beast
To keep them all from harm: 20
If they see any weeping
That should have been sleeping
They pour sleep on their head
And sit down by their bed.
When wolves and tigers howl for prey 25
They pitying stand and weep
Seeking to drive their thirst away
And keep them from the sheep.
But if they rush dreadful
The angels most heedful 30
Receive each mild spirit
New worlds to inherit.
And there the lion's ruddy eyes
Shall flow with tears of gold:
And pitying the tender cries 35
And walking round the fold:
Saying 'Wrath by His meekness
And by His health sickness
Are driven away
From our immortal day.
'And now beside thee bleating lamb
I can lie down and sleep
Or think on Him who bore thy name
Graze after thee and weep.
For wash'd in life's river 45
My bright mane for ever
Shall shine like the gold
As I guard o'er the fold.
Edgar Allan Poe | |
In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
"Whose heart-strings are a lute";
None sing so wildly well
As the angel Israfel
And the giddy stars (so legends tell)
Ceasing their hymns attend the spell
Of his voice all mute.
In her highest noon
The enamored moon
Blushes with love
While to listen the red levin
(With the rapid Pleiads even
Which were seven )
Pauses in Heaven.
And they say (the starry choir
And the other listening things)
That Israfeli's fire
Is owing to that lyre
By which he sits and sings-
The trembling living wire
Of those unusual strings.
But the skies that angel trod
Where deep thoughts are a duty-
Where Love's a grown-up God-
Where the Houri glances are
Imbued with all the beauty
Which we worship in a star.
Therefore thou art not wrong
Israfeli who despisest
An unimpassioned song;
To thee the laurels belong
Best bard because the wisest!
Merrily live and long!
The ecstasies above
With thy burning measures suit-
Thy grief thy joy thy hate thy love
With the fervor of thy lute-
Well may the stars be mute!
Yes Heaven is thine; but this
Is a world of sweets and sours;
Our flowers are merely- flowers
And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
Is the sunshine of ours.
If I could dwell
Hath dwelt and he where I
He might not sing so wildly well
A mortal melody
While a bolder note than this might swell
From my lyre within the sky.
John Keats | |
BRIGHT Star! would I were steadfast as thou art¡ª
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching with eternal lids apart
Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite
The moving waters at their priest-like task 5
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors¡ª
No¡ªyet still steadfast still unchangeable
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast 10
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest
Still still to hear her tender-taken breath
And so live ever¡ªor else swoon to death.
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
THE sun is warm the sky is clear
The waves are dancing fast and bright
Blue isles and snowy mountains wear
The purple noon's transparent might:
The breath of the moist earth is light 5
Around its unexpanded buds;
Like many a voice of one delight¡ª
The winds' the birds' the ocean-floods'¡ª
The city's voice itself is soft like solitude's.
I see the deep's untrampled floor 10
With green and purple seaweeds strown;
I see the waves upon the shore
Like light dissolved in star-showers thrown.
I sit upon the sands alone;
The lightning of the noontide ocean 15
Is flashing round me and a tone
Arises from its measured motion¡ª
How sweet did any heart now share in my emotion!
Alas! I have nor hope nor health
Nor peace within nor calm around; 20
Nor that content surpassing wealth
The sage in meditation found
And walk'd with inward glory crown'd;
Nor fame nor power nor love nor leisure.
Others I see whom these surround¡ª 25
Smiling they live and call life pleasure:
To me that cup has been dealt in another measure.
Yet now despair itself is mild
Even as the winds and waters are;
I could lie down like a tired child 30
And weep away the life of care
Which I have borne and yet must bear ¡ª
Till death like sleep might steal on me
And I might feel in the warm air
My cheek grow cold and hear the sea 35
Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.
Emily Dickinson | |
I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks;
And then, prodigious, step
Around a pile of mountains,
And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads;
And then a quarry pare
To fit its sides, and crawl between,
Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza;
Then chase itself down hill
And neigh like Boanerges;
Then, punctual as a star,
Stop--docile and omnipotent--
At its own stable door.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |
THE SHADES of night were falling fast
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth who bore 'mid snow and ice
A banner with the strange device
His brow was sad; his eye beneath
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue
In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above the spectral glaciers shone
And from his lips escaped a groan
Try not the Pass! the old man said;
Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!
And loud that clarion voice replied
Oh, stay, the maiden said and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!
A tear stood in his bright blue eye
But still he answered with a sigh
Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!
This was the peasant's last Good-night
A voice replied far up the height
At break of day as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer
A voice cried through the startled air
A traveller by the faithful hound
Half-buried in the snow was found
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device
There in the twilight cold and gray
Lifeless but beautiful he lay
And from the sky serene and far
A voice fell like a falling star
John Keats | |
O GODDESS! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung
By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,
And pardon that thy secrets should be sung
Even into thine own soft-conch¨¨d ear:
Surely I dream'd to-day, or did I see 5
The wing¨¨d Psyche with awaken'd eyes?
I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly,
And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,
Saw two fair creatures, couch¨¨d side by side
In deepest grass, beneath the whisp'ring roof 10
Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran
A brooklet, scarce espied:
'Mid hush'd, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed,
Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian
They lay calm-breathing on the bedded grass; 15
Their arms embrac¨¨d, and their pinions too;
Their lips touch'd not, but had not bade adieu,
As if disjoin¨¨d by soft-handed slumber,
And ready still past kisses to outnumber
At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love: 20
The wing¨¨d boy I knew;
But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove?
His Psyche true!
O latest-born and loveliest vision far
Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy! 25
Fairer than Phoebe's sapphire-region'd star,
Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;
Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,
Nor altar heap'd with flowers;
Nor Virgin-choir to make delicious moan 30
Upon the midnight hours;
No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet
From chain-swung censer teeming;
No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.
O brightest! though too late for antique vows,
Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
When holy were the haunted forest boughs,
Holy the air, the water, and the fire;
Yet even in these days so far retired 40
From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,
Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspired.
So let me be thy choir, and make a moan
Upon the midnight hours; 45
Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet
From swing¨¨d censer teeming:
Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.
Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane 50
In some untrodden region of my mind,
Where branch¨¨d 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-ridg¨¨d mountains steep by steep; 55
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, 60
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, 65
A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,
To let the warm Love in!
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
ONE word is too often profaned
For me to profane it
One feeling too falsely disdain'd
For thee to disdain it.
One hope is too like despair 5
For prudence to smother
And pity from thee more dear
Than that from another.
I can give not what men call love;
But wilt thou accept not 10
The worship the heart lifts above
And the Heavens reject not:
The desire of the moth for the star
Of the night for the morrow
The devotion to something afar 15
From the sphere of our sorrow?
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
SWIFTLY walk over the western wave
Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave
Where all the long and lone daylight
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear 5
Which make thee terrible and dear ¡ª
Swift be thy flight!
Wrap thy form in a mantle gray
Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day 10
Kiss her until she be wearied out:
Then wander o'er city and sea and land
Touching all with thine opiate wand¡ª
When I arose and saw the dawn 15
I sigh'd for thee;
When light rode high and the dew was gone
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree
And the weary Day turn'd to his rest
Lingering like an unloved guest 20
I sigh'd for thee.
Thy brother Death came and cried
Wouldst thou me?
Thy sweet child Sleep the filmy-eyed
Murmur'd like a noontide bee 25
Shall I nestle near thy side?
Wouldst thou me? ¡ªAnd I replied
No, not thee!
Death will come when thou art dead
Soon too soon; 30
Sleep will come when thou art fled:
Of neither would I ask the boon
I ask of thee belov¨¨d Night¡ª
Swift be thine approaching flight
Come soon soon! 35
Wallace Stevens | |
An old man sits
In the shadow of a pine tree
He sees larkspur,
Blue and white,
At the edge of the shadow,
Move in the wind.
His beard moves in the wind.
The pine tree moves in the wind.
Thus water flows
The night is of the colour
Of a woman's arm:
Night, the female,
Fragrant and supple,
A pool shines,
Like a bracelet
Shaken in a dance.
I measure myself
Against a tall tree.
I find that I am much taller,
For I reach right up to the sun,
With my eye;
And I reach to the shore of the sea
With my ear.
Nevertheless, I dislike
The way ants crawl
In and out of my shadow.
When my dream was near the moon,
The white folds of its gown
Filled with yellow light.
The soles of its feet
Its hair filled
With certain blue crystallizations
Not far off.
Not all the knives of the lamp-posts,
Nor the chisels of the long streets,
Nor the mallets of the domes
And high towers,
What one star can carve,
Shining through the grape-leaves.
Rationalists, wearing square hats,
Think, in square rooms,
Looking at the floor,
Looking at the ceiling.
They confine themselves
To right-angled triangles.
If they tried rhomboids,
Cones, waving lines, ellipses --
As, for example, the ellipse of the half-moon --
Rationalists would wear sombreros.
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
BEST and brightest come away ¡ª
Fairer far than this fair day
Which like thee to those in sorrow
Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow
To the rough year just awake 5
In its cradle on the brake.
The brightest hour of unborn Spring
Through the winter wandering
Found it seems the halcyon morn
To hoar February born; 10
Bending from heaven in azure mirth
It kiss'd the forehead of the earth
And smiled upon the silent sea
And bade the frozen streams be free
And waked to music all their fountains 15
And breathed upon the frozen mountains
And like a prophetess of May
Strew'd flowers upon the barren way
Making the wintry world appear
Like one on whom thou smilest dear.
Away away from men and towns
To the wild woods and the downs¡ª
To the silent wilderness
Where the soul need not repress
Its music lest it should not find 25
An echo in another's mind
While the touch of Nature's art
Harmonizes heart to heart.
Radiant Sister of the Day
Awake! arise! and come away! 30
To the wild woods and the plains
To the pools where winter rains
Image all their roof of leaves
Where the pine its garland weaves
Of sapless green and ivy dun 35
Round stems that never kiss the sun;
Where the lawns and pastures be
And the sandhills of the sea;
Where the melting hoar-frost wets
The daisy-star that never sets 40
And wind-flowers and violets
Which yet join not scent to hue
Crown the pale year weak and new;
When the night is left behind
In the deep east dim and blind 45
And the blue noon is over us
And the multitudinous
Billows murmur at our feet
Where the earth and ocean meet
And all things seem only one 50
In the universal Sun.