Best Famous Affliction Poems

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12
Written by George (Lord) Byron | Create an image from this poem

The Dream

 I

Our life is twofold; Sleep hath its own world,
A boundary between the things misnamed
Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world,
And a wide realm of wild reality,
And dreams in their development have breath,
And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy;
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
They take a weight from off waking toils,
They do divide our being; they become
A portion of ourselves as of our time,
And look like heralds of eternity;
They pass like spirits of the past—they speak
Like sibyls of the future; they have power— 
The tyranny of pleasure and of pain;
They make us what we were not—what they will,
And shake us with the vision that's gone by,
The dread of vanished shadows—Are they so?
Is not the past all shadow?—What are they?
Creations of the mind?—The mind can make
Substances, and people planets of its own
With beings brighter than have been, and give
A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.
I would recall a vision which I dreamed Perchance in sleep—for in itself a thought, A slumbering thought, is capable of years, And curdles a long life into one hour.
II I saw two beings in the hues of youth Standing upon a hill, a gentle hill, Green and of mild declivity, the last As 'twere the cape of a long ridge of such, Save that there was no sea to lave its base, But a most living landscape, and the wave Of woods and corn-fields, and the abodes of men Scattered at intervals, and wreathing smoke Arising from such rustic roofs: the hill Was crowned with a peculiar diadem Of trees, in circular array, so fixed, Not by the sport of nature, but of man: These two, a maiden and a youth, were there Gazing—the one on all that was beneath Fair as herself—but the boy gazed on her; And both were young, and one was beautiful: And both were young—yet not alike in youth.
As the sweet moon on the horizon's verge, The maid was on the eve of womanhood; The boy had fewer summers, but his heart Had far outgrown his years, and to his eye There was but one beloved face on earth, And that was shining on him; he had looked Upon it till it could not pass away; He had no breath, no being, but in hers: She was his voice; he did not speak to her, But trembled on her words; she was his sight, For his eye followed hers, and saw with hers, Which coloured all his objects;—he had ceased To live within himself: she was his life, The ocean to the river of his thoughts, Which terminated all; upon a tone, A touch of hers, his blood would ebb and flow, And his cheek change tempestuously—his heart Unknowing of its cause of agony.
But she in these fond feelings had no share: Her sighs were not for him; to her he was Even as a brother—but no more; 'twas much, For brotherless she was, save in the name Her infant friendship had bestowed on him; Herself the solitary scion left Of a time-honoured race.
—It was a name Which pleased him, and yet pleased him not—and why? Time taught him a deep answer—when she loved Another; even now she loved another, And on the summit of that hill she stood Looking afar if yet her lover's steed Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew.
III A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
There was an ancient mansion, and before Its walls there was a steed caparisoned: Within an antique Oratory stood The Boy of whom I spake;—he was alone, And pale, and pacing to and fro: anon He sate him down, and seized a pen, and traced Words which I could not guess of; then he leaned His bowed head on his hands and shook, as 'twere With a convulsion—then rose again, And with his teeth and quivering hands did tear What he had written, but he shed no tears.
And he did calm himself, and fix his brow Into a kind of quiet: as he paused, The Lady of his love re-entered there; She was serene and smiling then, and yet She knew she was by him beloved; she knew— For quickly comes such knowledge—that his heart Was darkened with her shadow, and she saw That he was wretched, but she saw not all.
He rose, and with a cold and gentle grasp He took her hand; a moment o'er his face A tablet of unutterable thoughts Was traced, and then it faded, as it came; He dropped the hand he held, and with slow steps Retired, but not as bidding her adieu, For they did part with mutual smiles; he passed From out the massy gate of that old Hall, And mounting on his steed he went his way; And ne'er repassed that hoary threshold more.
IV A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Boy was sprung to manhood: in the wilds Of fiery climes he made himself a home, And his Soul drank their sunbeams; he was girt With strange and dusky aspects; he was not Himself like what he had been; on the sea And on the shore he was a wanderer; There was a mass of many images Crowded like waves upon me, but he was A part of all; and in the last he lay Reposing from the noontide sultriness, Couched among fallen columns, in the shade Of ruined walls that had survived the names Of those who reared them; by his sleeping side Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds Were fastened near a fountain; and a man, Glad in a flowing garb, did watch the while, While many of his tribe slumbered around: And they were canopied by the blue sky, So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful, That God alone was to be seen in heaven.
V A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Lady of his love was wed with One Who did not love her better: in her home, A thousand leagues from his,—her native home, She dwelt, begirt with growing Infancy, Daughters and sons of Beauty,—but behold! Upon her face there was a tint of grief, The settled shadow of an inward strife, And an unquiet drooping of the eye, As if its lid were charged with unshed tears.
What could her grief be?—she had all she loved, And he who had so loved her was not there To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish, Or ill-repressed affliction, her pure thoughts.
What could her grief be?—she had loved him not, Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved, Nor could he be a part of that which preyed Upon her mind—a spectre of the past.
VI A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Wanderer was returned.
—I saw him stand Before an altar—with a gentle bride; Her face was fair, but was not that which made The Starlight of his Boyhood;—as he stood Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came The selfsame aspect and the quivering shock That in the antique Oratory shook His bosom in its solitude; and then— As in that hour—a moment o'er his face The tablet of unutterable thoughts Was traced—and then it faded as it came, And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke The fitting vows, but heard not his own words, And all things reeled around him; he could see Not that which was, nor that which should have been— But the old mansion, and the accustomed hall, And the remembered chambers, and the place, The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade, All things pertaining to that place and hour, And her who was his destiny, came back And thrust themselves between him and the light; What business had they there at such a time? VII A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Lady of his love;—Oh! she was changed, As by the sickness of the soul; her mind Had wandered from its dwelling, and her eyes, They had not their own lustre, but the look Which is not of the earth; she was become The queen of a fantastic realm; her thoughts Were combinations of disjointed things; And forms impalpable and unperceived Of others' sight familiar were to hers.
And this the world calls frenzy; but the wise Have a far deeper madness, and the glance Of melancholy is a fearful gift; What is it but the telescope of truth? Which strips the distance of its fantasies, And brings life near in utter nakedness, Making the cold reality too real! VIII A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Wanderer was alone as heretofore, The beings which surrounded him were gone, Or were at war with him; he was a mark For blight and desolation, compassed round With Hatred and Contention; Pain was mixed In all which was served up to him, until, Like to the Pontic monarch of old days, He fed on poisons, and they had no power, But were a kind of nutriment; he lived Through that which had been death to many men, And made him friends of mountains; with the stars And the quick Spirit of the Universe He held his dialogues: and they did teach To him the magic of their mysteries; To him the book of Night was opened wide, And voices from the deep abyss revealed A marvel and a secret.
—Be it so.
IX My dream is past; it had no further change.
It was of a strange order, that the doom Of these two creatures should be thus traced out Almost like a reality—the one To end in madness—both in misery.
Written by George Herbert | Create an image from this poem

Easter Wings

 Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
  Though foolishly he lost the same,
   Decaying more and more,
     Till he became
      Most poor:
      With thee
     O let me rise
    As larks, harmoniously, 
  And sing this day thy victories:
 Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did begin: And still with sicknesses and shame Thou didst so punish sin, That I became Most thin.
With thee Let me combine And feel this day thy victory: For, if I imp my wing on thine, Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
Written by Alexander Pushkin | Create an image from this poem

An Elegy

 The senseless years' extinguished mirth and laughter
Oppress me like some hazy morning-after.
But sadness of days past, as alcohol - The more it age, the stronger grip the soul.
My course is dull.
The future's troubled ocean Forebodes me toil, misfortune and commotion.
But no, my friends, I do not wish to leave; I'd rather live, to ponder and to grieve - And I shall have my share of delectation Amid all care, distress and agitation: Time and again I'll savor harmony, Melt into tears about some fantasy, And on my sad decline, to ease affliction, May love yet show her smile of valediction.
Written by Mary Darby Robinson | Create an image from this poem

Ode to Despair

 TERRIFIC FIEND! thou Monster fell, 
Condemn'd in haunts profane to dwell, 
Why quit thy solitary Home, 
O'er wide Creation's paths to roam? 
Pale Tyrant of the timid Heart, 
Whose visionary spells can bind 
The strongest passions of the mind, 
Freezing Life's current with thy baneful Art.
Nature recoils when thou art near, For round thy form all plagues are seen; Thine is the frantic tone, the sullen mien, The glance of petrifying fear, The haggard Brow, the low'ring Eye, The hollow Cheek, the smother'd Sigh, When thy usurping fangs assail, The sacred Bonds of Friendship fail.
Meek-bosom'd Pity sues in vain; Imperious Sorrow spurns relief, Feeds on the luxury of Grief, Drinks the hot Tear, and hugs the galling Chain.
AH! plunge no more thy ruthless dart, In the dark centre of the guilty Heart; The POW'R SUPREME, with pitying eye, Looks on the erring Child of Misery; MERCY arrests the wing of Time; To expiate the wretch's crime; Insulted HEAV'N consign'd thy brand To the first Murd'rer's crimson hand.
Swift o'er the earth the Monster flew, And round th' ensanguin'd Poisons threw, By CONSCIENCE goaded­driven by FEAR, Till the meek Cherub HOPE subdued his fell career.
Thy Reign is past, when erst the brave Imbib'd contagion o'er the midnight lamp, Close pent in loathsome cells, where poisons damp Hung round the confines of a Living Grave; * Where no glimm'ring ray illum'd The flinty walls, where pond'rous chains Bound the wan Victim to the humid earth, Where VALOUR, GENIUS, TASTE, and WORTH, In pestilential caves entomb'd, Sought thy cold arms, and smiling mock'd their pains.
THERE,­each procrastinated hour The woe-worn suff'rer gasping lay, While by his side in proud array Stalk'd the HUGE FIEND, DESPOTIC POW'R.
There REASON clos'd her radiant eye, And fainting HOPE retir'd to die, Truth shrunk appall'd, In spells of icy Apathy enthrall'd; Till FREEDOM spurn'd the ignominious chain, And roused from Superstition's night, Exulting Nature claim'd her right, And call'd dire Vengeance from her dark domain.
Now take thy solitary flight Amid the turbid gales of night, Where Spectres starting from the tomb, Glide along th' impervious gloom; Or, stretch'd upon the sea-beat shore, Let the wild winds, as they roar, Rock Thee on thy Bed of Stone; Or, in gelid caverns pent, Listen to the sullen moan Of subterranean winds;­or glut thy sight Where stupendous mountains rent Hurl their vast fragments from their dizzy height.
At Thy approach the rifted Pine Shall o'er the shatter'd Rock incline, Whose trembling brow, with wild weeds drest, Frowns on the tawny EAGLE's nest; THERE enjoy the 'witching hour, And freeze in Frenzy's dire conceit, Or seek the Screech-owl's lone retreat, On the bleak rampart of some nodding Tow'r.
In some forest long and drear, Tempt the fierce BANDITTI's rage, War with famish'd Tygers wage, And mock the taunts of Fear.
When across the yawning deep, The Demons of the Tempest sweep, Or deaf'ning Thunders bursting cast Their red bolts on the shivering mast, While fix'd below the sea-boy stands, As threat'ning Death his soul dismays, He lifts his supplicating hands, And shrieks, and groans, and weeps, and prays, Till lost amid the floating fire The agonizing crew expire; THEN let thy transports rend the air, For mad'ning Anguish feeds DESPAIR.
When o'er the couch of pale Disease The MOTHER bends, with tearful eye, And trembles, lest her quiv'ring sigh, Should wake the darling of her breast, Now, by the taper's feeble rays, She steals a last, fond, eager gaze.
Ah, hapless Parent! gaze no more, Thy CHERUB soars among the Blest, Life's crimson Fount begins to freeze, His transitory scene is o'er.
She starts­she raves­her burning brain, Consumes, unconscious of its fires, Dead to the Heart's convulsive Pain, Bewilder'd Memory retires.
See! See! she grasps her flowing hair, From her fix'd eye the big drops roll, Her proud Affliction mocks controul, And riots in DESPAIR, Such are thy haunts, malignant Pow'r, There all thy murd'rous Poisons pour; But come not near my calm retreat, Where Peace and holy FRIENDSHIP meet; Where SCIENCE sheds a gentle ray, And guiltless Mirth beguiles the day, Where Bliss congenial to the MUSE Shall round my Heart her sweets diffuse, Where, from each restless Passion free, I give my noiseless hours, BLESS'D POETRY, TO THEE.
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Hiawathas Lamentation

 In those days the Evil Spirits,
All the Manitos of mischief,
Fearing Hiawatha's wisdom,
And his love for Chibiabos,
Jealous of their faithful friendship,
And their noble words and actions,
Made at length a league against them,
To molest them and destroy them.
Hiawatha, wise and wary, Often said to Chibiabos, "O my brother! do not leave me, Lest the Evil Spirits harm you!" Chibiabos, young and heedless, Laughing shook his coal-black tresses, Answered ever sweet and childlike, "Do not fear for me, O brother! Harm and evil come not near me!" Once when Peboan, the Winter, Roofed with ice the Big-Sea-Water, When the snow-flakes, whirling downward, Hissed among the withered oak-leaves, Changed the pine-trees into wigwams, Covered all the earth with silence, Armed with arrows, shod with snow-shoes, Heeding not his brother's warning, Fearing not the Evil Spirits, Forth to hunt the deer with antlers All alone went Chibiabos.
Right across the Big-Sea-Water Sprang with speed the deer before him.
With the wind and snow he followed, O'er the treacherous ice he followed, Wild with all the fierce commotion And the rapture of the hunting.
But beneath, the Evil Spirits Lay in ambush, waiting for him, Broke the treacherous ice beneath him, Dragged him downward to the bottom, Buried in the sand his body.
Unktahee, the god of water, He the god of the Dacotahs, Drowned him in the deep abysses Of the lake of Gitche Gumee.
From the headlands Hiawatha Sent forth such a wail of anguish, Such a fearful lamentation, That the bison paused to listen, And the wolves howled from the prairies, And the thunder in the distance Starting answered "Baim-wawa!" Then his face with black he painted, With his robe his head he covered, In his wigwam sat lamenting, Seven long weeks he sat lamenting, Uttering still this moan of sorrow: "He is dead, the sweet musician! He the sweetest of all singers! He has gone from us forever, He has moved a little nearer To the Master of all music, To the Master of all singing! O my brother, Chibiabos!" And the melancholy fir-trees Waved their dark green fans above him, Waved their purple cones above him, Sighing with him to console him, Mingling with his lamentation Their complaining, their lamenting.
Came the Spring, and all the forest Looked in vain for Chibiabos; Sighed the rivulet, Sebowisha, Sighed the rushes in the meadow.
From the tree-tops sang the bluebird, Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa, "Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweet musician!" From the wigwam sang the robin, Sang the robin, the Opechee, "Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweetest singer!" And at night through all the forest Went the whippoorwill complaining, Wailing went the Wawonaissa, "Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweet musician! He the sweetest of all singers!" Then the Medicine-men, the Medas, The magicians, the Wabenos, And the Jossakeeds, the Prophets, Came to visit Hiawatha; Built a Sacred Lodge beside him, To appease him, to console him, Walked in silent, grave procession, Bearing each a pouch of healing, Skin of beaver, lynx, or otter, Filled with magic roots and simples, Filled with very potent medicines.
When he heard their steps approaching~, Hiawatha ceased lamenting, Called no more on Chibiabos; Naught he questioned, naught he answered, But his mournful head uncovered, From his face the mourning colors Washed he slowly and in silence, Slowly and in silence followed Onward to the Sacred Wigwam.
There a magic drink they gave him, Made of Nahma-wusk, the spearmint, And Wabeno-wusk, the yarrow, Roots of power, and herbs of healing; Beat their drums, and shook their rattles; Chanted singly and in chorus, Mystic songs like these, they chanted.
"I myself, myself! behold me! `T Is the great Gray Eagle talking; Come, ye white crows, come and hear him! The loud-speaking thunder helps me; All the unseen spirits help me; I can hear their voices calling, All around the sky I hear them! I can blow you strong, my brother, I can heal you, Hiawatha!" "Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Wayha-way!" the mystic chorus.
Friends of mine are all the serpents! Hear me shake my skin of hen-hawk! Mahng, the white loon, I can kill him; I can shoot your heart and kill it! I can blow you strong, my brother, I can heal you, Hiawatha !" "Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Wayhaway!" the mystic chorus.
"I myself, myself! the prophet! When I speak the wigwam trembles, Shakes the Sacred Lodge with terror, Hands unseen begin to shake it! When I walk, the sky I tread on Bends and makes a noise beneath me! I can blow you strong, my brother! Rise and speak, O Hiawatha!" "Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Way-ha-way!" the mystic chorus.
Then they shook their medicine-pouches O'er the head of Hiawatha, Danced their medicine-dance around him; And upstarting wild and haggard, Like a man from dreams awakened, He was healed of all his madness.
As the clouds are swept from heaven, Straightway from his brain departed All his moody melancholy; As the ice is swept from rivers, Straightway from his heart departed All his sorrow and affliction.
Then they summoned Chibiabos From his grave beneath the waters, From the sands of Gitche Gumee Summoned Hiawatha's brother.
And so mighty was the magic Of that cry and invocation, That he heard it as he lay there Underneath the Big-Sea-Water; From the sand he rose and listened, Heard the music and the singing, Came, obedient to the summons, To the doorway of the wigwam, But to enter they forbade him.
Through a chink a coal they gave him, Through the door a burning fire-brand; Ruler in the Land of Spirits, Ruler o'er the dead, they made him, Telling him a fire to kindle For all those that died thereafter, Camp-fires for their night encampments On their solitary journey To the kingdom of Ponemah, To the land of the Hereafter.
From the village of his childhood, From the homes of those who knew him, Passing silent through the forest, Like a smoke-wreath wafted sideways, Slowly vanished Chibiabos! Where he passed, the branches moved not, Where he trod, the grasses bent not, And the fallen leaves of last year Made no sound beneath his footstep.
Four whole days he journeyed onward Down the pathway of the dead men; On the dead-man's strawberry feasted, Crossed the melancholy river, On the swinging log he crossed it, Came unto the Lake of Silver, In the Stone Canoe was carried To the Islands of the Blessed, To the land of ghosts and shadows.
On that journey, moving slowly, Many weary spirits saw he, Panting under heavy burdens, Laden with war-clubs, bows and arrows, Robes of fur, and pots and kettles, And with food that friends had given For that solitary journey.
"Ay! why do the living," said they, "Lay such heavy burdens on us! Better were it to go naked, Better were it to go fasting, Than to bear such heavy burdens On our long and weary journey!" Forth then issued Hiawatha, Wandered eastward, wandered westward, Teaching men the use of simples And the antidotes for poisons, And the cure of all diseases.
Thus was first made known to mortals All the mystery of Medamin, All the sacred art of healing.
Written by Charlotte Bronte | Create an image from this poem

Pilates Wifes Dream

 I've quenched my lamp, I struck it in that start
Which every limb convulsed, I heard it fall­
The crash blent with my sleep, I saw depart
Its light, even as I woke, on yonder wall;
Over against my bed, there shone a gleam
Strange, faint, and mingling also with my dream.
It sunk, and I am wrapt in utter gloom; How far is night advanced, and when will day Retinge the dusk and livid air with bloom, And fill this void with warm, creative ray ? Would I could sleep again till, clear and red, Morning shall on the mountain-tops be spread! I'd call my women, but to break their sleep, Because my own is broken, were unjust; They've wrought all day, and well-earned slumbers steep Their labours in forgetfulness, I trust; Let me my feverish watch with patience bear, Thankful that none with me its sufferings share.
Yet, Oh, for light ! one ray would tranquilise My nerves, my pulses, more than effort can; I'll draw my curtain and consult the skies: These trembling stars at dead of night look wan, Wild, restless, strange, yet cannot be more drear Than this my couch, shared by a nameless fear.
All black­one great cloud, drawn from east to west, Conceals the heavens, but there are lights below; Torches burn in Jerusalem, and cast On yonder stony mount a lurid glow.
I see men stationed there, and gleaming spears; A sound, too, from afar, invades my ears.
Dull, measured, strokes of axe and hammer ring From street to street, not loud, but through the night Distinctly heard­and some strange spectral thing Is now upreared­and, fixed against the light Of the pale lamps; defined upon that sky, It stands up like a column, straight and high.
I see it all­I know the dusky sign­ A cross on Calvary, which Jews uprear While Romans watch; and when the dawn shall shine Pilate, to judge the victim will appear, Pass sentence­yield him up to crucify; And on that cross the spotless Christ must die.
Dreams, then, are true­for thus my vision ran; Surely some oracle has been with me, The gods have chosen me to reveal their plan, To warn an unjust judge of destiny: I, slumbering, heard and saw; awake I know, Christ's coming death, and Pilate's life of woe.
I do not weep for Pilate­who could prove Regret for him whose cold and crushing sway No prayer can soften, no appeal can move; Who tramples hearts as others trample clay, Yet with a faltering, an uncertain tread, That might stir up reprisal in the dead.
Forced to sit by his side and see his deeds; Forced to behold that visage, hour by hour, In whose gaunt lines, the abhorrent gazer reads A triple lust of gold, and blood, and power; A soul whom motives, fierce, yet abject, urge Rome's servile slave, and Judah's tyrant scourge.
How can I love, or mourn, or pity him ? I, who so long my fettered hands have wrung; I, who for grief have wept my eye-sight dim; Because, while life for me was bright and young, He robbed my youth­he quenched my life's fair ray­ He crushed my mind, and did my freedom slay.
And at this hour­although I be his wife­ He has no more of tenderness from me Than any other wretch of guilty life; Less, for I know his household privacy­ I see him as he is­without a screen; And, by the gods, my soul abhors his mien ! Has he not sought my presence, dyed in blood­ Innocent, righteous blood, shed shamelessly ? And have I not his red salute withstood ? Aye,­when, as erst, he plunged all Galilee In dark bereavement­in affliction sore, Mingling their very offerings with their gore.
Then came he­in his eyes a serpent-smile, Upon his lips some false, endearing word, And, through the streets of Salem, clanged the while, His slaughtering, hacking, sacrilegious sword­ And I, to see a man cause men such woe, Trembled with ire­I did not fear to show.
And now, the envious Jewish priests have brought Jesus­whom they in mockery call their king­ To have, by this grim power, their vengeance wrought; By this mean reptile, innocence to sting.
Oh ! could I but the purposed doom avert, And shield the blameless head from cruel hurt! Accessible is Pilate's heart to fear, Omens will shake his soul, like autumn leaf; Could he this night's appalling vision hear, This just man's bonds were loosed, his life were safe, Unless that bitter priesthood should prevail, And make even terror to their malice quail.
Yet if I tell the dream­but let me pause.
What dream ? Erewhile the characters were clear, Graved on my brain­at once some unknown cause Has dimmed and rased the thoughts, which now appear, Like a vague remnant of some by-past scene;­ Not what will be, but what, long since, has been.
I suffered many things, I heard foretold A dreadful doom for Pilate,­lingering woes, In far, barbarian climes, where mountains cold Built up a solitude of trackless snows, There, he and grisly wolves prowled side by side, There he lived famished­there methought he died; But not of hunger, nor by malady; I saw the snow around him, stained with gore; I said I had no tears for such as he, And, lo ! my cheek is wet­mine eyes run o'er; I weep for mortal suffering, mortal guilt, I weep the impious deed­the blood self-spilt.
More I recall not, yet the vision spread Into a world remote, an age to come­ And still the illumined name of Jesus shed A light, a clearness, through the enfolding gloom­ And still I saw that sign, which now I see, That cross on yonder brow of Calvary.
What is this Hebrew Christ ? To me unknown, His lineage­doctrine­mission­yet how clear, Is God-like goodness, in his actions shewn ! How straight and stainless is his life's career ! The ray of Deity that rests on him, In my eyes makes Olympian glory dim.
The world advances, Greek, or Roman rite Suffices not the inquiring mind to stay; The searching soul demands a purer light To guide it on its upward, onward way; Ashamed of sculptured gods­Religion turns To where the unseen Jehovah's altar burns.
Our faith is rotten­all our rites defiled, Our temples sullied, and methinks, this man, With his new ordinance, so wise and mild, Is come, even as he says, the chaff to fan And sever from the wheat; but will his faith Survive the terrors of to-morrow's death ? * * * * * I feel a firmer trust­a higher hope Rise in my soul­it dawns with dawning day; Lo ! on the Temple's roof­on Moriah's slope Appears at length that clear, and crimson ray, Which I so wished for when shut in by night; Oh, opening skies, I hail, I bless your light ! Part, clouds and shadows ! glorious Sun appear ! Part, mental gloom ! Come insight from on high ! Dusk dawn in heaven still strives with daylight clear, The longing soul, doth still uncertain sigh.
Oh ! to behold the truth­that sun divine, How doth my bosom pant, my spirit pine ! This day, time travails with a mighty birth, This day, Truth stoops from heaven and visits earth, Ere night descends, I shall more surely know What guide to follow, in what path to go; I wait in hope­I wait in solemn fear, The oracle of God­the sole­true God­to hear.
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

The Post That Fitted

 Ere the seamer bore him Eastward, Sleary was engaged to marry
An attractive girl at Tunbridge, whom he called "my little Carrie.
" Sleary's pay was very modest; Sleary was the other way.
Who can cook a two-plate dinner on eight poor rupees a day? Long he pondered o'er the question in his scantly furnished quarters -- Then proposed to Minnie Boffkin, eldest of Judge Boffkin's daughters.
Certainly an impecunious Subaltern was not a catch, But the Boffkins knew that Minnie mightn't make another match.
So they recognised the business and, to feed and clothe the bride, Got him made a Something Something somewhere on the Bombay side.
Anyhow, the billet carried pay enough for him to marry -- As the artless Sleary put it: -- "Just the thing for me and Carrie.
" Did he, therefore, jilt Miss Boffkin -- impulse of a baser mind? No! He started epileptic fits of an appalling kind.
[Of his modus operandi only this much I could gather: -- "Pears's shaving sticks will give you little taste and lots of lather.
"] Frequently in public places his affliction used to smite Sleary with distressing vigour -- always in the Boffkins' sight.
Ere a week was over Minnie weepingly returned his ring, Told him his "unhappy weakness" stopped all thought of marrying.
Sleary bore the information with a chastened holy joy, -- Epileptic fits don't matter in Political employ, -- Wired three short words to Carrie -- took his ticket, packed his kit -- Bade farewell to Minnie Boffkin in one last, long, lingering fit.
Four weeks later, Carrie Sleary read -- and laughed until she wept -- Mrs.
Boffkin's warning letter on the "wretched epilept.
" .
.
.
Year by year, in pious patience, vengeful Mrs.
Boffkin sits Waiting for the Sleary babies to develop Sleary's fits.
Written by Emily Dickinson | Create an image from this poem

Theres a certain Slant of light

 There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons --
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes --

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us --
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are --

None may teach it -- Any --
'Tis the Seal Despair --
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air --

When it comes, the Landscape listens --
Shadows -- hold their breath --
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death --
Written by George Herbert | Create an image from this poem

Affliction

 When thou didst entice to thee my heart, 
I thought the service brave: 
So many joys I writ down for my part, 
Besides what I might have
Out of my stock of natural delights, 
Augmented with thy gracious benefits.
I looked on thy furniture so fine, And made it fine to me: Thy glorious household-stuff did me entwine, And 'tice me unto thee.
Such stars I counted mine: both heav'n and earth Paid me my wages in a world of mirth.
What pleasures could I want, whose King I served? Where joys my fellows were? Thus argu'd into hopes, my thoughts reserved No place for grief or fear.
Therefore my sudden soul caught at the place, And made her youth and fierceness seek thy face.
At first thou gav'st me milk and sweetnesses; I had my wish and way: My days were straw'd with flow'rs and happiness; There was no month but May.
But with my years sorrow did twist and grow, And made a party unawares for woe.
My flesh began unto my soul in pain, Sicknesses cleave my bones; Consuming agues dwell in ev'ry vein, And tune my breath to groans.
Sorrow was all my soul; I scarce believed, Till grief did tell me roundly, that I lived.
When I got health, thou took'st away my life, And more; for my friends die: My mirth and edge was lost; a blunted knife Was of more use than I.
Thus thin and lean without a fence or friend, I was blown through with ev'ry storm and wind.
Whereas my birth and spirit rather took The way that takes the town; Thou didst betray me to a lingering book, And wrap me in a gown.
I was entangled in the world of strife, Before I had the power to change my life.
Yet, for I threatened oft the siege to raise, Not simpring all mine age, Thou often didst with Academic praise Melt and dissolve my rage.
I took thy sweetened pill, till I came where I could not go away, nor persevere.
Yet lest perchance I should too happy be In my unhappiness, Turning my purge to food, thou throwest me Into more sicknesses.
Thus doth thy power cross-bias me; not making Thine own gift good, yet me from my ways taking.
Now I am here, what thou wilt do with me None of my books will show: I read, and sigh, and wish I were a tree; For sure I then should grow To fruit or shade: at least some bird would trust Her household to me, and I should be just.
Yet though thou troublest me, I must be meek; In weakness must be stout.
Well, I will change the service, and go seek Some other master out.
Ah my dear God! though I am clean forgot, Let me not love thee, if I love thee not.
Written by Edmund Spenser | Create an image from this poem

From Daphnaïda

An Elegy


SHE fell away in her first ages spring, 
Whil'st yet her leafe was greene, and fresh her rinde, 
And whil'st her braunch faire blossomes foorth did bring, 
She fell away against all course of kinde.
For age to dye is right, but youth is wrong; 5 She fel away like fruit blowne downe with winde.
Weepe, Shepheard! weepe, to make my undersong.
Yet fell she not as one enforst to dye, Ne dyde with dread and grudging discontent, But as one toyld with travaile downe doth lye, 10 So lay she downe, as if to sleepe she went, And closde her eyes with carelesse quietnesse; The whiles soft death away her spirit hent, And soule assoyld from sinfull fleshlinesse.
How happie was I when I saw her leade 15 The Shepheards daughters dauncing in a rownd! How trimly would she trace and softly tread The tender grasse, with rosie garland crownd! And when she list advance her heavenly voyce, Both Nymphes and Muses nigh she made astownd, 20 And flocks and shepheards caus¨¨d to rejoyce.
But now, ye Shepheard lasses! who shall lead Your wandring troupes, or sing your virelayes? Or who shall dight your bowres, sith she is dead That was the Lady of your holy-dayes? 25 Let now your blisse be turn¨¨d into bale, And into plaints convert your joyous playes, And with the same fill every hill and dale.
For I will walke this wandring pilgrimage, Throughout the world from one to other end, 30 And in affliction wast my better age: My bread shall be the anguish of my mind, My drink the teares which fro mine eyed do raine, My bed the ground that hardest I may finde; So will I wilfully increase my paine.
35 Ne sleepe (the harbenger of wearie wights) Shall ever lodge upon mine ey-lids more; Ne shall with rest refresh my fainting sprights, Nor failing force to former strength restore: But I will wake and sorrow all the night 40 With Philumene, my fortune to deplore; With Philumene, the partner of my plight.
And ever as I see the starres to fall, And under ground to goe to give them light Which dwell in darknes, I to minde will call 45 How my fair Starre (that shinde on me so bright) Fell sodainly and faded under ground; Since whose departure, day is turnd to night, And night without a Venus starre is found.
And she, my love that was, my Saint that is, 50 When she beholds from her celestiall throne (In which shee joyeth in eternall blis) My bitter penance, will my case bemone, And pitie me that living thus doo die; For heavenly spirits have compassion 55 On mortall men, and rue their miserie.
So when I have with sorowe satisfide Th' importune fates, which vengeance on me seeke, And th' heavens with long languor pacifide, She, for pure pitie of my sufferance meeke, 60 Will send for me; for which I daylie long: And will till then my painful penance eeke.
Weep, Shepheard! weep, to make my undersong!
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