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Best Famous Aeschylus Poems

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Written by Sidney Lanier | Create an image from this poem

The Crystal

 At midnight, death's and truth's unlocking time,
When far within the spirit's hearing rolls
The great soft rumble of the course of things --
A bulk of silence in a mask of sound, --
When darkness clears our vision that by day
Is sun-blind, and the soul's a ravening owl
For truth and flitteth here and there about
Low-lying woody tracts of time and oft
Is minded for to sit upon a bough,
Dry-dead and sharp, of some long-stricken tree
And muse in that gaunt place, -- 'twas then my heart,
Deep in the meditative dark, cried out:

"Ye companies of governor-spirits grave,
Bards, and old bringers-down of flaming news
From steep-wall'd heavens, holy malcontents,
Sweet seers, and stellar visionaries, all
That brood about the skies of poesy,
Full bright ye shine, insuperable stars;
Yet, if a man look hard upon you, none
With total lustre blazeth, no, not one
But hath some heinous freckle of the flesh
Upon his shining cheek, not one but winks
His ray, opaqued with intermittent mist
Of defect; yea, you masters all must ask
Some sweet forgiveness, which we leap to give,
We lovers of you, heavenly-glad to meet
Your largesse so with love, and interplight
Your geniuses with our mortalities.
Thus unto thee, O sweetest Shakespeare sole, A hundred hurts a day I do forgive ('Tis little, but, enchantment! 'tis for thee): Small curious quibble; Juliet's prurient pun In the poor, pale face of Romeo's fancied death; Cold rant of Richard; Henry's fustian roar Which frights away that sleep he invocates; Wronged Valentine's unnatural haste to yield; Too-silly shifts of maids that mask as men In faint disguises that could ne'er disguise -- Viola, Julia, Portia, Rosalind; Fatigues most drear, and needless overtax Of speech obscure that had as lief be plain; Last I forgive (with more delight, because 'Tis more to do) the labored-lewd discourse That e'en thy young invention's youngest heir Besmirched the world with.
Father Homer, thee, Thee also I forgive thy sandy wastes Of prose and catalogue, thy drear harangues That tease the patience of the centuries, Thy sleazy scrap of story, -- but a rogue's Rape of a light-o'-love, -- too soiled a patch To broider with the gods.
Thee, Socrates, Thou dear and very strong one, I forgive Thy year-worn cloak, thine iron stringencies That were but dandy upside-down, thy words Of truth that, mildlier spoke, had mainlier wrought.
So, Buddha, beautiful! I pardon thee That all the All thou hadst for needy man Was Nothing, and thy Best of being was But not to be.
Worn Dante, I forgive The implacable hates that in thy horrid hells Or burn or freeze thy fellows, never loosed By death, nor time, nor love.
And I forgive Thee, Milton, those thy comic-dreadful wars Where, armed with gross and inconclusive steel, Immortals smite immortals mortalwise And fill all heaven with folly.
Also thee, Brave Aeschylus, thee I forgive, for that Thine eye, by bare bright justice basilisked, Turned not, nor ever learned to look where Love Stands shining.
So, unto thee, Lucretius mine (For oh, what heart hath loved thee like to this That's now complaining?), freely I forgive Thy logic poor, thine error rich, thine earth Whose graves eat souls and all.
Yea, all you hearts Of beauty, and sweet righteous lovers large: Aurelius fine, oft superfine; mild Saint A Kempis, overmild; Epictetus, Whiles low in thought, still with old slavery tinct; Rapt Behmen, rapt too far; high Swedenborg, O'ertoppling; Langley, that with but a touch Of art hadst sung Piers Plowman to the top Of English songs, whereof 'tis dearest, now, And most adorable; Caedmon, in the morn A-calling angels with the cow-herd's call That late brought up the cattle; Emerson, Most wise, that yet, in finding Wisdom, lost Thy Self, sometimes; tense Keats, with angels' nerves Where men's were better; Tennyson, largest voice Since Milton, yet some register of wit Wanting; -- all, all, I pardon, ere 'tis asked, Your more or less, your little mole that marks You brother and your kinship seals to man.
But Thee, but Thee, O sovereign Seer of time, But Thee, O poets' Poet, Wisdom's Tongue, But Thee, O man's best Man, O love's best Love, O perfect life in perfect labor writ, O all men's Comrade, Servant, King, or Priest, -- What `if' or `yet', what mole, what flaw, what lapse, What least defect or shadow of defect, What rumor, tattled by an enemy, Of inference loose, what lack of grace Even in torture's grasp, or sleep's, or death's, -- Oh, what amiss may I forgive in Thee, Jesus, good Paragon, thou Crystal Christ?"
Written by Sidney Lanier | Create an image from this poem

Ode To The Johns Hopkins University

 How tall among her sisters, and how fair, --
How grave beyond her youth, yet debonair
As dawn, 'mid wrinkled Matres of old lands
Our youngest Alma Mater modest stands!
In four brief cycles round the punctual sun
Has she, old Learning's latest daughter, won
This grace, this stature, and this fruitful fame.
Howbeit she was born Unnoised as any stealing summer morn.
From far the sages saw, from far they came And ministered to her, Led by the soaring-genius'd Sylvester That, earlier, loosed the knot great Newton tied, And flung the door of Fame's locked temple wide.
As favorable fairies thronged of old and blessed The cradled princess with their several best, So, gifts and dowers meet To lay at Wisdom's feet, These liberal masters largely brought -- Dear diamonds of their long-compressed thought, Rich stones from out the labyrinthine cave Of research, pearls from Time's profoundest wave And many a jewel brave, of brilliant ray, Dug in the far obscure Cathay Of meditation deep -- With flowers, of such as keep Their fragrant tissues and their heavenly hues Fresh-bathed forever in eternal dews -- The violet with her low-drooped eye, For learned modesty, -- The student snow-drop, that doth hang and pore Upon the earth, like Science, evermore, And underneath the clod doth grope and grope, -- The astronomer heliotrope, That watches heaven with a constant eye, -- The daring crocus, unafraid to try (When Nature calls) the February snows, -- And patience' perfect rose.
Thus sped with helps of love and toil and thought, Thus forwarded of faith, with hope thus fraught, In four brief cycles round the stringent sun This youngest sister hath her stature won.
Nay, why regard The passing of the years? Nor made, nor marr'd, By help or hindrance of slow Time was she: O'er this fair growth Time had no mastery: So quick she bloomed, she seemed to bloom at birth, As Eve from Adam, or as he from earth.
Superb o'er slow increase of day on day, Complete as Pallas she began her way; Yet not from Jove's unwrinkled forehead sprung, But long-time dreamed, and out of trouble wrung, Fore-seen, wise-plann'd, pure child of thought and pain, Leapt our Minerva from a mortal brain.
And here, O finer Pallas, long remain, -- Sit on these Maryland hills, and fix thy reign, And frame a fairer Athens than of yore In these blest bounds of Baltimore, -- Here, where the climates meet That each may make the other's lack complete, -- Where Florida's soft Favonian airs beguile The nipping North, -- where nature's powers smile, -- Where Chesapeake holds frankly forth her hands Spread wide with invitation to all lands, -- Where now the eager people yearn to find The organizing hand that fast may bind Loose straws of aimless aspiration fain In sheaves of serviceable grain, -- Here, old and new in one, Through nobler cycles round a richer sun O'er-rule our modern ways, O blest Minerva of these larger days! Call here thy congress of the great, the wise, The hearing ears, the seeing eyes, -- Enrich us out of every farthest clime, -- Yea, make all ages native to our time, Till thou the freedom of the city grant To each most antique habitant Of Fame, -- Bring Shakespeare back, a man and not a name, -- Let every player that shall mimic us In audience see old godlike Aeschylus, -- Bring Homer, Dante, Plato, Socrates, -- Bring Virgil from the visionary seas Of old romance, -- bring Milton, no more blind, -- Bring large Lucretius, with unmaniac mind, -- Bring all gold hearts and high resolved wills To be with us about these happy hills, -- Bring old Renown To walk familiar citizen of the town, -- Bring Tolerance, that can kiss and disagree, -- Bring Virtue, Honor, Truth, and Loyalty, -- Bring Faith that sees with undissembling eyes, -- Bring all large Loves and heavenly Charities, -- Till man seem less a riddle unto man And fair Utopia less Utopian, And many peoples call from shore to shore, `The world has bloomed again, at Baltimore!'
Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare

 MASTER WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE,
AND WHAT HE HATH LEFT US
by Ben Jonson


To draw no envy, SHAKSPEARE, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame ;
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage.
But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise ;
For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right ;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance ;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
These are, as some infamous bawd or whore
Should praise a matron ; what could hurt her more ?
But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin: Soul of the age!
The applause ! delight ! the wonder of our stage!
My SHAKSPEARE rise ! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room :
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still while thy book doth live
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so my brain excuses,
I mean with great, but disproportioned Muses :
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names : but call forth thund'ring Aeschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To life again, to hear thy buskin tread
And shake a stage : or when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show
To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time !
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm !
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines !
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please ;
But antiquated and deserted lie,
As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all ; thy art,
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion : and, that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil ; turn the same,
And himself with it, that he thinks to frame ;
Or for the laurel he may gain a scorn ;
For a good poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou ! Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue, even so the race
Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well torned and true filed lines;
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandisht at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza, and our James !
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there !
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage
Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.



Source:
Jonson, Ben.
The Works of Ben Jonson, vol.
3.
London: Chatto & Windus, 1910.
287-9.


Written by Aeschylus | Create an image from this poem

The Battle of Salamis

THE night was passing, and the Grecian host
By no means sought to issue forth unseen.
But when indeed the day with her white steeds
Held all the earth, resplendent to behold,
First from the Greeks the loud-resounding din
Of song triumphant came; and shrill at once
Echo responded from the island rock.
Then upon all barbarians terror fell,
Thus disappointed; for not as for flight
The Hellenes sang the holy pæan then,
But setting forth to battle valiantly.
The bugle with its note inflamed them all;
And straightway with the dip of plashing oars
They smote the deep sea water at command,
And quickly all were plainly to be seen.
Their right wing first in orderly array
Led on, and second all the armament
Followed them forth; and meanwhile there was heard
A mighty shout: "Come, O ye sons of Greeks,
Make free your country, make your children free,
Your wives, and fanes of your ancestral gods,
And your sires' tombs! For all we now contend!"
And from our side the rush of Persian speech
Replied. No longer might the crisis wait.
At once ship smote on ship with brazen beak;
A vessel of the Greeks began the attack,
Crushing the stem of a Phoenician ship.
Each on a different vessel turned its prow.
At first the current of the Persian host
Withstood; but when within the strait the throng
Of ships was gathered, and they could not aid
Each other, but by their own brazen bows
Were struck, they shattered all our naval host.
The Grecian vessels not unskillfully
Were smiting round about; the hulls of ships
Were overset; the sea was hid from sight,
Covered with wreckage and the death of men;
The reefs and headlands were with corpses filled,
And in disordered flight each ship was rowed,
As many as were of the Persian host.
But they, like tunnies or some shoal of fish,
With broken oars and fragments of the wrecks
Struck us and clove us; and at once a cry
Of lamentation filled the briny sea,
Till the black darkness' eye did rescue us.
The number of our griefs, not though ten days
I talked together, could I fully tell;
But this know well, that never in one day
Perished so great a multitude of men.
Written by Aeschylus | Create an image from this poem

The Beacon of Fires

AGLEAM -- a gleam -- from Ida's height,
By the Fire-god sent, it came;
From watch to watch it leapt, that light,
As a rider rode the flame!
It shot through the startled sky,
And the torch of that blazing glory
Old Lemnos caught on high,
On its holy promontory,
And sent it on, the jocund sign,
To Athos, Mount of Jove divine.
Wildly the while, it rose from the isle,
So that the might of the journeying Light
Skimmed over the back of the gleaming brine!
Farther and faster speeds it on,
Till the watch that keeps Macistus steep
See it burst like a blazing Sun!
Doth Macistus sleep
On his tower-clad steep?
No! rapid and red doth the wild fire sweep;
It flashes afar on the wayward stream
Of the wild Euripus, the rushing beam!
It rouses the light on Messapion's height,
And they feed its breath with the withered heath.
But it may not stay!
And away -- away --
It bounds in its freshening might.
 
Silent and soon,
Like a broadened moon,
It passes in sheen, Asopus green,
And bursts on Cithaeron gray!
The warder wakes to the Signal-rays,
And it swoops from the hill with a broader blaze.
On, on the fiery Glory rode;
Thy lonely lake, Gorgopis, glowed!
To Megara's Mount it came;
They feed it again
And it streams amain--
A giant beard of Flame!
The headland cliffs that darkly down
O'er the Saronic waters frown,
Are passed with the Swift One's lurid stride,
And the huge rock glares on the glaring tide.
With mightier march and fiercer power
It gained Arachne's neighboring tower;
Thence on our Argive roof its rest it won,
Of Ida's fire the long-descended Son!
Bright Harbinger of glory and of joy!
So first and last with equal honor crowned,
In solemn feasts the race-torch circles round. --
And these my heralds! -- this my SIGN OF PEACE;
Lo! while we breathe, the victor lords of Greece
Stalk, in stern tumult, through the halls of Troy!
Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE BOY ON THE BARRICADE

 ("Sur une barricade.") 
 
 {June, 1871.} 


 Like Casabianca on the devastated deck, 
 In years yet younger, but the selfsame core. 
 Beside the battered barricado's restless wreck, 
 A lad stood splashed with gouts of guilty gore, 
 But gemmed with purest blood of patriot more. 
 
 Upon his fragile form the troopers' bloody grip 
 Was deeply dug, while sharply challenged they: 
 "Were you one of this currish crew?"—pride pursed his lip, 
 As firm as bandog's, brought the bull to bay— 
 While answered he: "I fought with others. Yea!" 
 
 "Prepare then to be shot! Go join that death-doomed row." 
 As paced he pertly past, a volley rang— 
 And as he fell in line, mock mercies once more flow 
 Of man's lead-lightning's sudden scathing pang, 
 But to his home-turned thoughts the balls but sang. 
 
 "Here's half-a-franc I saved to buy my mother's bread!"— 
 The captain started—who mourns not a dear, 
 The dearest! mother!—"Where is she, wolf-cub?" he said 
 Still gruffly. "There, d'ye see? not far from here." 
 "Haste! make it hers! then back to swell their bier." 
 
 He sprang aloof as springald from detested school, 
 Or ocean-rover from protected port. 
 "The little rascal has the laugh on us! no fool 
 To breast our bullets!"—but the scoff was short, 
 For soon! the rogue is racing from his court; 
 
 And with still fearless front he faces them and calls: 
 "READY! but level low—she's kissed these eyes!" 
 From cooling hands of men each rifle falls, 
 And their gray officer, in grave surprise, 
 Life grants the lad whilst his last comrade dies. 
 
 Brave youth! I know not well what urged thy act, 
 Whether thou'lt pass in palace, or die rackt; 
 But then, shone on the guns, a sublime soul.— 
 A Bayard-boy's, bound by his pure parole! 
 Honor redeemed though paid by parlous price, 
 Though lost be sunlit sports, wild boyhood's spice, 
 The Gates, the cheers of mates for bright device! 
 
 Greeks would, whilom, have choicely clasped and circled thee, 
 Set thee the first to shield some new Thermopylae; 
 Thy deed had touched and tuned their true Tyrtaeus tongue, 
 And staged by Aeschylus, grouped thee grand gods among. 
 
 And thy lost name (now known no more) been gilt and graved 
 On cloud-kissed column, by the sweet south ocean laved. 
 From us no crown! no honors from the civic sheaf— 
 Purely this poet's tear-bejewelled, aye-green leaf! 
 
 H.L.W. 


 




Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

LOVE OF THE WOODLAND

 ("Orphée au bois du Caystre.") 
 
 {Bk. I. ii.} 


 Orpheus, through the hellward wood 
 Hurried, ere the eve-star glowed, 
 For the fauns' lugubrious hoots 
 Followed, hollow, from crookèd roots; 
 Aeschylus, where Aetna smoked, 
 Gods of Sicily evoked 
 With the flute, till sulphur taint 
 Dulled and lulled the echoes faint; 
 Pliny, soon his style mislaid, 
 Dogged Miletus' merry maid, 
 As she showed eburnean limbs 
 All-multiplied by brooklet brims; 
 Plautus, see! like Plutus, hold 
 Bosomfuls of orchard-gold, 
 Learns he why that mystic core 
 Was sweet Venus' meed of yore? 
 Dante dreamt (while spirits pass 
 As in wizard's jetty glass) 
 Each black-bossed Briarian trunk 
 Waved live arms like furies drunk; 
 Winsome Will, 'neath Windsor Oak, 
 Eyed each elf that cracked a joke 
 At poor panting grease-hart fast— 
 Obese, roguish Jack harassed; 
 At Versailles, Molière did court 
 Cues from Pan (in heron port, 
 Half in ooze, half treeward raised), 
 "Words so witty, that Boileau's 'mazed!" 
 
 Foliage! fondly you attract! 
 Dian's faith I keep intact, 
 And declare that thy dryads dance 
 Still, and will, in thy green expanse! 


 




Written by | Create an image from this poem

To The Memory Of My Beloved The Author Mr William Shakespeare And What He Hath Left Us

 To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage.
But these ways Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise; For silliest ignorance on these may light, Which when it sounds at best but echoes right; Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance The truth, but gropes, and urges all by chance; Or crafty malice might pretend this praise, And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
These are as some infamous bawd or whore Should praise a matron.
What could hurt her more? But thou art proof against them, and indeed Above th' ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin: Soul of the Age! The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage! My Shakespeare, rise; I will not lodge thee by Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie A little further, to make thee a room: Thou art a monument without a tomb, And art alive still, while thy book doth live, And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses, I mean with great but disproportioned Muses, For if I thought my judgement were of years, I should commit thee surely with thy peers, And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine, Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek, From thence to honour thee I would not seek For names; but call forth thundering Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles to us, Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead, To live again, to hear thy buskin tread, And shake a stage; or, when thy socks were on, Leave thee alone for the comparison Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time! And all the Muses still were in their prime When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm Our ears, or, like a Mercury, to charm! Nature herself was proud of his designs, And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines! Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit, As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes, Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please; But antiquated and deserted lie, As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all; thy art, My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be, His art doth give the fashion; and that he Who casts to write a living line must sweat (Such as thine are) and strike the second heat Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same, And himself with it, that he thinks to frame, Or for the laurel he may gain a scorn; For a good poet's made as well as born.
And such wert thou.
Look how the father's face Lives in his issue, even so the race Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly shines In his well turned and true-filed lines: In each of which he seems to shake a lance, As brandished at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet swan of Avon! what a sight it were To see thee in our waters yet appear, And make those flights upon the banks of Thames, That did so take Eliza and our James! But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere Advanced, and made a constellation there: Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage, Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage, Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night, And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.