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Best Famous Character Poems

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

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12
Written by John Trumbull | Create an image from this poem

To A Young Lady

 In vain, fair Maid, you ask in vain,
My pen should try th' advent'rous strain,
And following truth's unalter'd law,
Attempt your character to draw.
I own indeed, that generous mind That weeps the woes of human kind, That heart by friendship's charms inspired, That soul with sprightly fancy fired, The air of life, the vivid eye, The flowing wit, the keen reply-- To paint these beauties as they shine, Might ask a nobler pen than mine.
Yet what sure strokes can draw the Fair, Who vary, like the fleeting air, Like willows bending to the force, Where'er the gales direct their course, Opposed to no misfortune's power, And changing with the changing hour.
Now gaily sporting on the plain, They charm the grove with pleasing strain; Anon disturb'd, they know not why, The sad tear trembles in their eye: Led through vain life's uncertain dance, The dupes of whim, the slaves of chance.
From me, not famed for much goodnature, Expect not compliment, but satire; To draw your picture quite unable, Instead of fact accept a Fable.
One morn, in Æsop's noisy time, When all things talk'd, and talk'd in rhyme, A cloud exhaled by vernal beams Rose curling o'er the glassy streams.
The dawn her orient blushes spread, And tinged its lucid skirts with red, Wide waved its folds with glitt'ring dies, And gaily streak'd the eastern skies; Beneath, illumed with rising day, The sea's broad mirror floating lay.
Pleased, o'er the wave it hung in air, Survey'd its glittering glories there, And fancied, dress'd in gorgeous show, Itself the brightest thing below: For clouds could raise the vaunting strain, And not the fair alone were vain.
Yet well it knew, howe'er array'd, That beauty, e'en in clouds, might fade, That nothing sure its charms could boast Above the loveliest earthly toast; And so, like them, in early dawn Resolved its picture should be drawn, That when old age with length'ning day Should brush the vivid rose away, The world should from the portrait own Beyond all clouds how bright it shone.
Hard by, a painter raised his stage, Far famed, the Copley[1] of his age.
So just a form his colours drew, Each eye the perfect semblance knew; Yet still on every blooming face He pour'd the pencil's flowing grace; Each critic praised the artist rare, Who drew so like, and yet so fair.
To him, high floating in the sky Th' elated Cloud advanced t' apply.
The painter soon his colours brought, The Cloud then sat, the artist wrought; Survey'd her form, with flatt'ring strictures, Just as when ladies sit for pictures, Declared "whatever art can do, My utmost skill shall try for you: But sure those strong and golden dies Dipp'd in the radiance of the skies, Those folds of gay celestial dress, No mortal colours can express.
Not spread triumphal o'er the plain, The rainbow boasts so fair a train, Nor e'en the morning sun so bright, Who robes his face in heav'nly light.
To view that form of angel make, Again Ixion would mistake,[2] And justly deem so fair a prize, The sovereign Mistress of the skies," He said, and drew a mazy line, With crimson touch his pencils shine, The mingling colours sweetly fade, And justly temper light and shade.
He look'd; the swelling Cloud on high With wider circuit spread the sky, Stretch'd to the sun an ampler train, And pour'd new glories on the main.
As quick, effacing every ground, His pencil swept the canvas round, And o'er its field, with magic art, Call'd forth new forms in every part.
But now the sun, with rising ray, Advanced with speed his early way; Each colour takes a differing die, The orange glows, the purples fly.
The artist views the alter'd sight, And varies with the varying light; In vain! a sudden gust arose, New folds ascend, new shades disclose, And sailing on with swifter pace, The Cloud displays another face.
In vain the painter, vex'd at heart, Tried all the wonders of his art; In vain he begg'd, her form to grace, One moment she would keep her place: For, "changing thus with every gale, Now gay with light, with gloom now pale, Now high in air with gorgeous train, Now settling on the darken'd main, With looks more various than the moon; A French coquette were drawn as soon.
" He spoke; again the air was mild, The Cloud with opening radiance smiled; With canvas new his art he tries, Anew he joins the glitt'ring dies; Th' admiring Cloud with pride beheld Her image deck the pictured field, And colours half-complete adorn The splendor of the painted morn.
When lo, the stormy winds arise, Deep gloom invests the changing skies; The sounding tempest shakes the plain, And lifts in billowy surge the main.
The Cloud's gay dies in darkness fade, Its folds condense in thicker shade, And borne by rushing blasts, its form With lowering vapour joins the storm.
Written by Ogden Nash | Create an image from this poem

The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus

 In Baltimore there lived a boy.
He wasn't anybody's joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes, His character was full of flaws.
In school he never led his classes, He hid old ladies' reading glasses, His mouth was open when he chewed, And elbows to the table glued.
He stole the milk of hungry kittens, And walked through doors marked NO ADMITTANCE.
He said he acted thus because There wasn't any Santa Claus.
Another trick that tickled Jabez Was crying 'Boo' at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town, Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin, And viewed his antics with a grin, Till they were told by Jabez Dawes, 'There isn't any Santa Claus!' Deploring how he did behave, His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly, And Jabez left the funeral early.
Like whooping cough, from child to child, He sped to spread the rumor wild: 'Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes There isn't any Santa Claus!' Slunk like a weasel of a marten Through nursery and kindergarten, Whispering low to every tot, 'There isn't any, no there's not!' The children wept all Christmas eve And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared hang up his stocking For fear of Jabez' ribald mocking.
He sprawled on his untidy bed, Fresh malice dancing in his head, When presently with scalp-a-tingling, Jabez heard a distant jingling; He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door? A shower of soot was on the floor.
What was beheld by Jabez Dawes? The fireplace full of Santa Claus! Then Jabez fell upon his knees With cries of 'Don't,' and 'Pretty Please.
' He howled, 'I don't know where you read it, But anyhow, I never said it!' 'Jabez' replied the angry saint, 'It isn't I, it's you that ain't.
Although there is a Santa Claus, There isn't any Jabez Dawes!' Said Jabez then with impudent vim, 'Oh, yes there is, and I am him! Your magic don't scare me, it doesn't' And suddenly he found he wasn't! From grimy feet to grimy locks, Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box, An ugly toy with springs unsprung, Forever sticking out his tongue.
The neighbors heard his mournful squeal; They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes, Which led to thunderous applause, And people drank a loving cup And went and hung their stockings up.
All you who sneer at Santa Claus, Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes, The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.
Written by John Drinkwater | Create an image from this poem

Persuasion

Persuasion

I 	At any moment love unheralded
Comes, and is king.
Then as, with a fall Of frost, the buds upon the hawthorn spread Are withered in untimely burial, So love, occasion gone, his crown puts by, And as a beggar walks unfriended ways, With but remembered beauty to defy The frozen sorrows of unsceptred days.
Or in that later travelling he comes Upon a bleak oblivion, and tells Himself, again, again, forgotten tombs Are all now that love was, and blindly spells His royal state of old a glory cursed, Saying 'I have forgot', and that's the worst.
II If we should part upon that one embrace, And set our courses ever, each from each, With all our treasure but a fading face And little ghostly syllables of speech; Should beauty's moment never be renewed, And moons on moons look out for us in vain, And each but whisper from a solitude To hear but echoes of a lonely pain, — Still in a world that fortune cannot change Should walk those two that once were you and I, Those two that once when moon and stars were strange Poets above us in an April sky, Heard a voice falling on the midnight sea, Mute, and for ever, but for you and me.
III This nature, this great flood of life, this cheat That uses us as baubles for her coat, Takes love, that should be nothing but the beat Of blood for its own beauty, by the throat, Saying, you are my servant and shall do My purposes, or utter bitterness Shall be your wage, and nothing come to you But stammering tongues that never can confess.
Undaunted then in answer here I cry, 'You wanton, that control the hand of him Who masquerades as wisdom in a sky Where holy, holy, sing the cherubim, I will not pay one penny to your name Though all my body crumble into shame.
' IV Woman, I once had whimpered at your hand, Saying that all the wisdom that I sought Lay in your brain, that you were as the sand Should cleanse the muddy mirrors of my thought; I should have read in you the character Of oracles that quick a thousand lays, Looked in your eyes, and seen accounted there Solomons legioned for bewildered praise.
Now have I learnt love as love is.
I take Your hand, and with no inquisition learn All that your eyes can tell, and that's to make A little reckoning and brief, then turn Away, and in my heart I hear a call, 'I love, I love, I love'; and that is all.
V When all the hungry pain of love I bear, And in poor lightless thought but burn and burn, And wit goes hunting wisdom everywhere, Yet can no word of revelation learn; When endlessly the scales of yea and nay In dreadful motion fall and rise and fall, When all my heart in sorrow I could pay Until at last were left no tear at all; Then if with tame or subtle argument Companions come and draw me to a place Where words are but the tappings of content, And life spreads all her garments with a grace, I curse that ease, and hunger in my heart Back to my pain and lonely to depart.
VI Not anything you do can make you mine, For enterprise with equal charity In duty as in love elect will shine, The constant slave of mutability.
Nor can your words for all their honey breath Outsing the speech of many an older rhyme, And though my ear deliver them from death One day or two, it is so little time.
Nor does your beauty in its excellence Excel a thousand in the daily sun, Yet must I put a period to pretence, And with my logic's catalogue have done, For act and word and beauty are but keys To unlock the heart, and you, dear love, are these.
VII Never the heart of spring had trembled so As on that day when first in Paradise We went afoot as novices to know For the first time what blue was in the skies, What fresher green than any in the grass, And how the sap goes beating to the sun, And tell how on the clocks of beauty pass Minute by minute till the last is done.
But not the new birds singing in the brake, And not the buds of our discovery, The deeper blue, the wilder green, the ache For beauty that we shadow as we see, Made heaven, but we, as love's occasion brings, Took these, and made them Paradisal things.
VIII The lilacs offer beauty to the sun, Throbbing with wonder as eternally For sad and happy lovers they have done With the first bloom of summer in the sky; Yet they are newly spread in honour now, Because, for every beam of beauty given Out of that clustering heart, back to the bough My love goes beating, from a greater heaven.
So be my love for good or sorry luck Bound, it has virtue on this April eve That shall be there for ever when they pluck Lilacs for love.
And though I come to grieve Long at a frosty tomb, there still shall be My happy lyric in the lilac tree.
IX When they make silly question of my love, And speak to me of danger and disdain, And look by fond old argument to move My wisdom to docility again; When to my prouder heart they set the pride Of custom and the gossip of the street, And show me figures of myself beside A self diminished at their judgment seat; Then do I sit as in a drowsy pew To hear a priest expounding th' heavenly will, Defiling wonder that he never knew With stolen words of measured good and ill; For to the love that knows their counselling, Out of my love contempt alone I bring.
X Not love of you is most that I can bring, Since what I am to love you is the test, And should I love you more than any thing You would but be of idle love possessed, A mere love wandering in appetite, Counting your glories and yet bringing none, Finding in you occasions of delight, A thief of payment for no service done.
But when of labouring life I make a song And bring it you, as that were my reward, To let what most is me to you belong, Then do I come of high possessions lord, And loving life more than my love of you I give you love more excellently true.
XI What better tale could any lover tell When age or death his reckoning shall write Than thus, 'Love taught me only to rebel Against these things, — the thieving of delight Without return; the gospellers of fear Who, loving, yet deny the truth they bear, Sad-suited lusts with lecherous hands to smear The cloth of gold they would but dare not wear.
And love gave me great knowledge of the trees, And singing birds, and earth with all her flowers; Wisdom I knew and righteousness in these, I lived in their atonement all my hours; Love taught me how to beauty's eye alone The secret of the lying heart is known.
' XII This then at last; we may be wiser far Than love, and put his folly to our measure, Yet shall we learn, poor wizards that we are, That love chimes not nor motions at our pleasure.
We bid him come, and light an eager fire, And he goes down the road without debating; We cast him from the house of our desire, And when at last we leave he will be waiting.
And in the end there is no folly but this, To counsel love out of our little learning.
For still he knows where rotten timber is, And where the boughs for the long winter burning; And when life needs no more of us at all, Love's word will be the last that we recall.
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Gus: The Theatre Cat

 Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before, Is really Asparagus.
That's such a fuss To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.
His coat's very shabby, he's thin as a rake, And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake.
Yet he was, in his youth, quite the smartest of Cats-- But no longer a terror to mice and to rats.
For he isn't the Cat that he was in his prime; Though his name was quite famous, he says, in its time.
And whenever he joins his friends at their club (Which takes place at the back of the neighbouring pub) He loves to regale them, if someone else pays, With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days.
For he once was a Star of the highest degree-- He has acted with Irving, he's acted with Tree.
And he likes to relate his success on the Halls, Where the Gallery once gave him seven cat-calls.
But his grandest creation, as he loves to tell, Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
"I have played," so he says, "every possible part, And I used to know seventy speeches by heart.
I'd extemporize back-chat, I knew how to gag, And I knew how to let the cat out of the bag.
I knew how to act with my back and my tail; With an hour of rehearsal, I never could fail.
I'd a voice that would soften the hardest of hearts, Whether I took the lead, or in character parts.
I have sat by the bedside of poor Little Nell; When the Curfew was rung, then I swung on the bell.
In the Pantomime season I never fell flat, And I once understudied Dick Whittington's Cat.
But my grandest creation, as history will tell, Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
" Then, if someone will give him a toothful of gin, He will tell how he once played a part in East Lynne.
At a Shakespeare performance he once walked on pat, When some actor suggested the need for a cat.
He once played a Tiger--could do it again-- Which an Indian Colonel purused down a drain.
And he thinks that he still can, much better than most, Produce blood-curdling noises to bring on the Ghost.
And he once crossed the stage on a telegraph wire, To rescue a child when a house was on fire.
And he says: "Now then kittens, they do not get trained As we did in the days when Victoria reigned.
They never get drilled in a regular troupe, And they think they are smart, just to jump through a hoop.
" And he'll say, as he scratches himself with his claws, "Well, the Theatre's certainly not what it was.
These modern productions are all very well, But there's nothing to equal, from what I hear tell, That moment of mystery When I made history As Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
"
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Faces

 1
SAUNTERING the pavement, or riding the country by-road—lo! such faces! 
Faces of friendship, precision, caution, suavity, ideality; 
The spiritual, prescient face—the always welcome, common, benevolent face, 
The face of the singing of music—the grand faces of natural lawyers and judges, broad
 at
 the
 back-top; 
The faces of hunters and fishers, bulged at the brows—the shaved blanch’d faces
 of
 orthodox citizens;
The pure, extravagant, yearning, questioning artist’s face; 
The ugly face of some beautiful Soul, the handsome detested or despised face; 
The sacred faces of infants, the illuminated face of the mother of many children; 
The face of an amour, the face of veneration; 
The face as of a dream, the face of an immobile rock;
The face withdrawn of its good and bad, a castrated face; 
A wild hawk, his wings clipp’d by the clipper; 
A stallion that yielded at last to the thongs and knife of the gelder.
Sauntering the pavement, thus, or crossing the ceaseless ferry, faces, and faces, and faces: I see them, and complain not, and am content with all.
2 Do you suppose I could be content with all, if I thought them their own finale? This now is too lamentable a face for a man; Some abject louse, asking leave to be—cringing for it; Some milk-nosed maggot, blessing what lets it wrig to its hole.
This face is a dog’s snout, sniffing for garbage; Snakes nest in that mouth—I hear the sibilant threat.
This face is a haze more chill than the arctic sea; Its sleepy and wobbling icebergs crunch as they go.
This is a face of bitter herbs—this an emetic—they need no label; And more of the drug-shelf, laudanum, caoutchouc, or hog’s-lard.
This face is an epilepsy, its wordless tongue gives out the unearthly cry, Its veins down the neck distended, its eyes roll till they show nothing but their whites, Its teeth grit, the palms of the hands are cut by the turn’d-in nails, The man falls struggling and foaming to the ground while he speculates well.
This face is bitten by vermin and worms, And this is some murderer’s knife, with a half-pull’d scabbard.
This face owes to the sexton his dismalest fee; An unceasing death-bell tolls there.
3 Those then are really men—the bosses and tufts of the great round globe! Features of my equals, would you trick me with your creas’d and cadaverous march? Well, you cannot trick me.
I see your rounded, never-erased flow; I see neath the rims of your haggard and mean disguises.
Splay and twist as you like—poke with the tangling fores of fishes or rats; You’ll be unmuzzled, you certainly will.
I saw the face of the most smear’d and slobbering idiot they had at the asylum; And I knew for my consolation what they knew not; I knew of the agents that emptied and broke my brother, The same wait to clear the rubbish from the fallen tenement; And I shall look again in a score or two of ages, And I shall meet the real landlord, perfect and unharm’d, every inch as good as myself.
4 The Lord advances, and yet advances; Always the shadow in front—always the reach’d hand bringing up the laggards.
Out of this face emerge banners and horses—O superb! I see what is coming; I see the high pioneer-caps—I see the staves of runners clearing the way, I hear victorious drums.
This face is a life-boat; This is the face commanding and bearded, it asks no odds of the rest; This face is flavor’d fruit, ready for eating; This face of a healthy honest boy is the programme of all good.
These faces bear testimony, slumbering or awake; They show their descent from the Master himself.
Off the word I have spoken, I except not one—red, white, black, are all deific; In each house is the ovum—it comes forth after a thousand years.
Spots or cracks at the windows do not disturb me; Tall and sufficient stand behind, and make signs to me; I read the promise, and patiently wait.
This is a full-grown lily’s face, She speaks to the limber-hipp’d man near the garden pickets, Come here, she blushingly cries—Come nigh to me, limber-hipp’d man, Stand at my side till I lean as high as I can upon you, Fill me with albescent honey, bend down to me, Rub to me with your chafing beard, rub to my breast and shoulders.
5 The old face of the mother of many children! Whist! I am fully content.
Lull’d and late is the smoke of the First-day morning, It hangs low over the rows of trees by the fences, It hangs thin by the sassafras, the wild-cherry, and the cat-brier under them.
I saw the rich ladies in full dress at the soiree, I heard what the singers were singing so long, Heard who sprang in crimson youth from the white froth and the water-blue, Behold a woman! She looks out from her quaker cap—her face is clearer and more beautiful than the sky.
She sits in an arm-chair, under the shaded porch of the farmhouse, The sun just shines on her old white head.
Her ample gown is of cream-hued linen, Her grandsons raised the flax, and her granddaughters spun it with the distaff and the wheel.
The melodious character of the earth, The finish beyond which philosophy cannot go, and does not wish to go, The justified mother of men.
Written by Kenneth Patchen | Create an image from this poem

When We Were Here Together

 when we were here together in a place we did not know, nor one
another.
A bit of grass held between the teeth for a moment, bright hair on the wind.
What we were we did not know, nor even the grass or the flame of hair turning to ash on the wind.
But they lied about that.
From the beginning they lied.
To the child, telling him that there was somewhere anger against him, and a hatred against him, and the only reason for his being in the world.
But never did they tell him that the only evil and danger was in themselves; that they alone were the prisoners and the betrayers; that they - they alone - were responsible for what was being done in the world.
And they told the child to starve and to kill the child that was within him; for only by doing this could he become a useful and adjusted member of the community which they had prepared for him.
And this time, alas, they did not lie.
And with the death of the child was born a thing that had neither the character of a man nor the character of a child, but was a horrible and monstrous parody of the two; and it is in this world now that the flesh of man’s spirit lies twisted and despoiled under the indifferent stars.
When we were here together in a place we did not know, nor one another.
O green the bit of warm grass between our teeth.
O beautiful the hair of our mortal goddess on the indifferent wind.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Carol of Words

 1
EARTH, round, rolling, compact—suns, moons, animals—all these are words to be
 said; 
Watery, vegetable, sauroid advances—beings, premonitions, lispings of the future, 
Behold! these are vast words to be said.
Were you thinking that those were the words—those upright lines? those curves, angles, dots? No, those are not the words—the substantial words are in the ground and sea, They are in the air—they are in you.
Were you thinking that those were the words—those delicious sounds out of your friends’ mouths? No, the real words are more delicious than they.
Human bodies are words, myriads of words; In the best poems re-appears the body, man’s or woman’s, well-shaped, natural, gay, Every part able, active, receptive, without shame or the need of shame.
2 Air, soil, water, fire—these are words; I myself am a word with them—my qualities interpenetrate with theirs—my name is nothing to them; Though it were told in the three thousand languages, what would air, soil, water, fire, know of my name? A healthy presence, a friendly or commanding gesture, are words, sayings, meanings; The charms that go with the mere looks of some men and women, are sayings and meanings also.
3 The workmanship of souls is by the inaudible words of the earth; The great masters know the earth’s words, and use them more than the audible words.
Amelioration is one of the earth’s words; The earth neither lags nor hastens; It has all attributes, growths, effects, latent in itself from the jump; It is not half beautiful only—defects and excrescences show just as much as perfections show.
The earth does not withhold, it is generous enough; The truths of the earth continually wait, they are not so conceal’d either; They are calm, subtle, untransmissible by print; They are imbued through all things, conveying themselves willingly, Conveying a sentiment and invitation of the earth—I utter and utter, I speak not, yet if you hear me not, of what avail am I to you? To bear—to better—lacking these, of what avail am I? 4 Accouche! Accouchez! Will you rot your own fruit in yourself there? Will you squat and stifle there? The earth does not argue, Is not pathetic, has no arrangements, Does not scream, haste, persuade, threaten, promise, Makes no discriminations, has no conceivable failures, Closes nothing, refuses nothing, shuts none out, Of all the powers, objects, states, it notifies, shuts none out.
5 The earth does not exhibit itself, nor refuse to exhibit itself—possesses still underneath; Underneath the ostensible sounds, the august chorus of heroes, the wail of slaves, Persuasions of lovers, curses, gasps of the dying, laughter of young people, accents of bargainers, Underneath these, possessing the words that never fail.
To her children, the words of the eloquent dumb great mother never fail; The true words do not fail, for motion does not fail, and reflection does not fail; Also the day and night do not fail, and the voyage we pursue does not fail.
6 Of the interminable sisters, Of the ceaseless cotillions of sisters, Of the centripetal and centrifugal sisters, the elder and younger sisters, The beautiful sister we know dances on with the rest.
With her ample back towards every beholder, With the fascinations of youth, and the equal fascinations of age, Sits she whom I too love like the rest—sits undisturb’d, Holding up in her hand what has the character of a mirror, while her eyes glance back from it, Glance as she sits, inviting none, denying none, Holding a mirror day and night tirelessly before her own face.
7 Seen at hand, or seen at a distance, Duly the twenty-four appear in public every day, Duly approach and pass with their companions, or a companion, Looking from no countenances of their own, but from the countenances of those who are with them, From the countenances of children or women, or the manly countenance, From the open countenances of animals, or from inanimate things, From the landscape or waters, or from the exquisite apparition of the sky, From our countenances, mine and yours, faithfully returning them, Every day in public appearing without fail, but never twice with the same companions.
8 Embracing man, embracing all, proceed the three hundred and sixty-five resistlessly round the sun; Embracing all, soothing, supporting, follow close three hundred and sixty-five offsets of the first, sure and necessary as they.
9 Tumbling on steadily, nothing dreading, Sunshine, storm, cold, heat, forever withstanding, passing, carrying, The Soul’s realization and determination still inheriting, The fluid vacuum around and ahead still entering and dividing, No balk retarding, no anchor anchoring, on no rock striking, Swift, glad, content, unbereav’d, nothing losing, Of all able and ready at any time to give strict account, The divine ship sails the divine sea.
10 Whoever you are! motion and reflection are especially for you; The divine ship sails the divine sea for you.
Whoever you are! you are he or she for whom the earth is solid and liquid, You are he or she for whom the sun and moon hang in the sky, For none more than you are the present and the past, For none more than you is immortality.
11 Each man to himself, and each woman to herself, such is the word of the past and present, and the word of immortality; No one can acquire for another—not one! Not one can grow for another—not one! The song is to the singer, and comes back most to him; The teaching is to the teacher, and comes back most to him; The murder is to the murderer, and comes back most to him; The theft is to the thief, and comes back most to him; The love is to the lover, and comes back most to him; The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him—it cannot fail; The oration is to the orator, the acting is to the actor and actress, not to the audience; And no man understands any greatness or goodness but his own, or the indication of his own.
12 I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete! I swear the earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and broken! I swear there is no greatness or power that does not emulate those of the earth! I swear there can be no theory of any account, unless it corroborate the theory of the earth! No politics, art, religion, behavior, or what not, is of account, unless it compare with the amplitude of the earth, Unless it face the exactness, vitality, impartiality, rectitude of the earth.
13 I swear I begin to see love with sweeter spasms than that which responds love! It is that which contains itself—which never invites, and never refuses.
I swear I begin to see little or nothing in audible words! I swear I think all merges toward the presentation of the unspoken meanings of the earth! Toward him who sings the songs of the Body, and of the truths of the earth; Toward him who makes the dictionaries of words that print cannot touch.
14 I swear I see what is better than to tell the best; It is always to leave the best untold.
When I undertake to tell the best, I find I cannot, My tongue is ineffectual on its pivots, My breath will not be obedient to its organs, I become a dumb man.
The best of the earth cannot be told anyhow—all or any is best; It is not what you anticipated—it is cheaper, easier, nearer; Things are not dismiss’d from the places they held before; The earth is just as positive and direct as it was before; Facts, religions, improvements, politics, trades, are as real as before; But the Soul is also real,—it too is positive and direct; No reasoning, no proof has establish’d it, Undeniable growth has establish’d it.
15 This is a poem—a carol of words—these are hints of meanings, These are to echo the tones of Souls, and the phrases of Souls; If they did not echo the phrases of Souls, what were they then? If they had not reference to you in especial, what were they then? I swear I will never henceforth have to do with the faith that tells the best! I will have to do only with that faith that leaves the best untold.
16 Say on, sayers! Delve! mould! pile the words of the earth! Work on—(it is materials you must bring, not breaths;) Work on, age after age! nothing is to be lost; It may have to wait long, but it will certainly come in use; When the materials are all prepared, the architects shall appear.
I swear to you the architects shall appear without fail! I announce them and lead them; I swear to you they will understand you, and justify you; I swear to you the greatest among them shall be he who best knows you, and encloses all, and is faithful to all; I swear to you, he and the rest shall not forget you—they shall perceive that you are not an iota less than they; I swear to you, you shall be glorified in them.
Written by William Butler Yeats | Create an image from this poem

Three Songs To The One Burden

 I

The Roaring Tinker if you like,
But Mannion is my name,
And I beat up the common sort
And think it is no shame.
The common breeds the common, A lout begets a lout, So when I take on half a score I knock their heads about.
From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.
All Mannions come from Manannan, Though rich on every shore He never lay behind four walls He had such character, Nor ever made an iron red Nor soldered pot or pan; His roaring and his ranting Best please a wandering man.
From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.
Could Crazy Jane put off old age And ranting time renew, Could that old god rise up again We'd drink a can or two, And out and lay our leadership On country and on town, Throw likely couples into bed And knock the others down.
From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.
II My name is Henry Middleton, I have a small demesne, A small forgotten house that's set On a storm-bitten green.
I scrub its floors and make my bed, I cook and change my plate, The post and garden-boy alone Have keys to my old gate.
From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.
Though I have locked my gate on them, I pity all the young, I know what devil's trade they learn From those they live among, Their drink, their pitch-and-toss by day, Their robbery by night; The wisdom of the people's gone, How can the young go straight? From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.
When every Sunday afternoon On the Green Lands I walk And wear a coat in fashion.
Memories of the talk Of henwives and of ***** old men Brace me and make me strong; There's not a pilot on the perch Knows I have lived so long.
From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.
III Come gather round me, players all: Come praise Nineteen-Sixteen, Those from the pit and gallery Or from the painted scene That fought in the Post Office Or round the City Hall, praise every man that came again, Praise every man that fell.
From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.
Who was the first man shot that day? The player Connolly, Close to the City Hall he died; Catriage and voice had he; He lacked those years that go with skill, But later might have been A famous, a brilliant figure Before the painted scene.
From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.
Some had no thought of victory But had gone out to die That Ireland's mind be greater, Her heart mount up on high; And yet who knows what's yet to come? For patrick pearse had said That in every generation Must Ireland's blood be shed.
From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Poem of Remembrance for a Girl or a Boy

 YOU just maturing youth! You male or female! 
Remember the organic compact of These States, 
Remember the pledge of the Old Thirteen thenceforward to the rights, life, liberty,
 equality of
 man, 
Remember what was promulged by the founders, ratified by The States, signed in black and
 white
 by the Commissioners, and read by Washington at the head of the army, 
Remember the purposes of the founders,—Remember Washington;
Remember the copious humanity streaming from every direction toward America; 
Remember the hospitality that belongs to nations and men; (Cursed be nation, woman, man,
 without hospitality!) 
Remember, government is to subserve individuals, 
Not any, not the President, is to have one jot more than you or me, 
Not any habitan of America is to have one jot less than you or me.
Anticipate when the thirty or fifty millions, are to become the hundred, or two hundred millions, of equal freemen and freewomen, amicably joined.
Recall ages—One age is but a part—ages are but a part; Recall the angers, bickerings, delusions, superstitions, of the idea of caste, Recall the bloody cruelties and crimes.
Anticipate the best women; I say an unnumbered new race of hardy and well-defined women are to spread through all These States, I say a girl fit for These States must be free, capable, dauntless, just the same as a boy.
Anticipate your own life—retract with merciless power, Shirk nothing—retract in time—Do you see those errors, diseases, weaknesses, lies, thefts? Do you see that lost character?—Do you see decay, consumption, rum-drinking, dropsy, fever, mortal cancer or inflammation? Do you see death, and the approach of death?
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

The Choice

 Some inherit manly beauty,
Some come into worldly wealth;
Some have lofty sense of duty,
Others boast exultant health.
Though the pick may be confusing, Health, wealth, charm or character, If you had the chance of choosing Which would you prefer? I'm not sold on body beauty, Though health I appreciate; Character and sense of duty I resign to Men of State.
I don't need a heap of money; Oh I know I'm hard to please.
Though to you it may seem funny, I want none of these.
No, give me Imagination, And the gift of weaving words Into patterns of creation, With the lilt of singing birds; Passion and the power to show it, Sense of life with love expressed: Let my be a bloody poet,-- You can keep the rest.
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