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Best Famous Entry Poems

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12
Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE EPIC OF THE LION

 ("Un lion avait pris un enfant.") 
 
 {XIII.} 


 A Lion in his jaws caught up a child— 
 Not harming it—and to the woodland, wild 
 With secret streams and lairs, bore off his prey— 
 The beast, as one might cull a bud in May. 
 It was a rosy boy, a king's own pride, 
 A ten-year lad, with bright eyes shining wide, 
 And save this son his majesty beside 
 Had but one girl, two years of age, and so 
 The monarch suffered, being old, much woe; 
 His heir the monster's prey, while the whole land 
 In dread both of the beast and king did stand; 
 Sore terrified were all. 
 
 By came a knight 
 That road, who halted, asking, "What's the fright?" 
 They told him, and he spurred straight for the site! 
 The beast was seen to smile ere joined they fight, 
 The man and monster, in most desperate duel, 
 Like warring giants, angry, huge, and cruel. Beneath his shield, all blood and mud and mess: 
 Whereat the lion feasted: then it went 
 Back to its rocky couch and slept content. 
 Sudden, loud cries and clamors! striking out 
 Qualm to the heart of the quiet, horn and shout 
 Causing the solemn wood to reel with rout. 
 Terrific was this noise that rolled before; 
 It seemed a squadron; nay, 'twas something more— 
 A whole battalion, sent by that sad king 
 With force of arms his little prince to bring, 
 Together with the lion's bleeding hide. 
 
 Which here was right or wrong? Who can decide? 
 Have beasts or men most claim to live? God wots! 
 He is the unit, we the cipher-dots. 
 Ranged in the order a great hunt should have, 
 They soon between the trunks espy the cave. 
 "Yes, that is it! the very mouth of the den!" 
 The trees all round it muttered, warning men; 
 Still they kept step and neared it. Look you now, 
 Company's pleasant, and there were a thou— 
 Good Lord! all in a moment, there's its face! 
 Frightful! they saw the lion! Not one pace 
 Further stirred any man; but bolt and dart 
 Made target of the beast. He, on his part, 
 As calm as Pelion in the rain or hail, 
 Bristled majestic from the teeth to tail, 
 And shook full fifty missiles from his hide, 
 But no heed took he; steadfastly he eyed, 
 And roared a roar, hoarse, vibrant, vengeful, dread, 
 A rolling, raging peal of wrath, which spread, 
 Making the half-awakened thunder cry, 
 "Who thunders there?" from its black bed of sky. 
 This ended all! Sheer horror cleared the coast; 
 As fogs are driven by the wind, that valorous host 
 Melted, dispersed to all the quarters four, 
 Clean panic-stricken by that monstrous roar. 
 Then quoth the lion, "Woods and mountains, see, 
 A thousand men, enslaved, fear one beast free!" 
 He followed towards the hill, climbed high above, 
 Lifted his voice, and, as the sowers sow 
 The seed down wind, thus did that lion throw 
 His message far enough the town to reach: 
 "King! your behavior really passes speech! 
 Thus far no harm I've wrought to him your son; 
 But now I give you notice—when night's done, 
 I will make entry at your city-gate, 
 Bringing the prince alive; and those who wait 
 To see him in my jaws—your lackey-crew— 
 Shall see me eat him in your palace, too!" 
 Next morning, this is what was viewed in town: 
 Dawn coming—people going—some adown 
 Praying, some crying; pallid cheeks, swift feet, 
 And a huge lion stalking through the street. 
 It seemed scarce short of rash impiety 
 To cross its path as the fierce beast went by. 
 So to the palace and its gilded dome 
 With stately steps unchallenged did he roam; 
 He enters it—within those walls he leapt! 
 No man! 
 
 For certes, though he raged and wept, 
 His majesty, like all, close shelter kept, 
 Solicitous to live, holding his breath 
 Specially precious to the realm. Now death 
 Is not thus viewed by honest beasts of prey; 
 And when the lion found him fled away, 
 Ashamed to be so grand, man being so base, 
 He muttered to himself, "A wretched king! 
 'Tis well; I'll eat his boy!" Then, wandering, 
 Lordly he traversed courts and corridors, 
 Paced beneath vaults of gold on shining floors, 
 Glanced at the throne deserted, stalked from hall 
 To hall—green, yellow, crimson—empty all! 
 Rich couches void, soft seats unoccupied! 
 And as he walked he looked from side to side 
 To find some pleasant nook for his repast, 
 Since appetite was come to munch at last 
 The princely morsel!—Ah! what sight astounds 
 That grisly lounger? 
 
 In the palace grounds 
 An alcove on a garden gives, and there 
 A tiny thing—forgot in the general fear, 
 Lulled in the flower-sweet dreams of infancy, 
 Bathed with soft sunlight falling brokenly 
 Through leaf and lattice—was at that moment waking; 
 A little lovely maid, most dear and taking, 
 The prince's sister—all alone, undressed— 
 She sat up singing: children sing so best. 
 Charming this beauteous baby-maid; and so 
 The beast caught sight of her and stopped— 
 
 And then 
 Entered—the floor creaked as he stalked straight in. 
 Above the playthings by the little bed 
 The lion put his shaggy, massive head, 
 Dreadful with savage might and lordly scorn, 
 More dreadful with that princely prey so borne; 
 Which she, quick spying, "Brother, brother!" cried, 
 "Oh, my own brother!" and, unterrified, 
 She gazed upon that monster of the wood, 
 Whose yellow balls not Typhon had withstood, 
 And—well! who knows what thoughts these small heads hold? 
 She rose up in her cot—full height, and bold, 
 And shook her pink fist angrily at him. 
 Whereon—close to the little bed's white rim, 
 All dainty silk and laces—this huge brute 
 Set down her brother gently at her foot, 
 Just as a mother might, and said to her, 
 "Don't be put out, now! There he is, dear, there!" 
 
 EDWIN ARNOLD, C.S.I. 


 






Written by Christopher Smart | Create an image from this poem

The Pig

 In ev'ry age, and each profession, 
Men err the most by prepossession; 
But when the thing is clearly shown, 
And fairly stated, fully known, 
We soon applaud what we deride, 
And penitence succeeds to pride.
-- A certain Baron on a day Having a mind to show away, Invited all the wits and wags, Foot, Massey, Shuter, Yates, and Skeggs, And built a large commodious stage, For the Choice Spirits of the age; But above all, among the rest, There came a Genius who profess'd To have a curious trick in store, Which never was perform'd before.
Thro' all the town this soon got air, And the whole house was like a fair; But soon his entry as he made, Without a prompter, or parade, 'Twas all expectance, all suspense, And silence gagg'd the audience.
He hid his head behind his wig, With with such truth took off* a Pig, [imitated] All swore 'twas serious, and no joke, For doubtless underneath his cloak, He had conceal'd some grunting elf, Or was a real hog himself.
A search was made, no pig was found-- With thund'ring claps the seats resound, And pit and box and galleries roar, With--"O rare! bravo!" and "Encore!" Old Roger Grouse, a country clown, Who yet knew something of the town, Beheld the mimic and his whim, And on the morrow challeng'd him.
Declaring to each beau and bunter That he'd out-grunt th'egregious grunter.
The morrow came--the crowd was greater-- But prejudice and rank ill-nature Usurp'd the minds of men and wenches, Who came to hiss, and break the benches.
The mimic took his usual station, And squeak'd with general approbation.
"Again, encore! encore!" they cry-- 'Twas quite the thing--'twas very high; Old Grouse conceal'd, amidst the racket, A real Pig berneath his jacket-- Then forth he came--and with his nail He pinch'd the urchin by the tail.
The tortur'd Pig from out his throat, Produc'd the genuine nat'ral note.
All bellow'd out--"'Twas very sad! Sure never stuff was half so bad! That like a Pig!"--each cry'd in scoff, "Pshaw! Nonsense! Blockhead! Off! Off! Off!" The mimic was extoll'd, and Grouse Was hiss'd and catcall'd from the house.
-- "Soft ye, a word before I go," Quoth honest Hodge--and stooping low Produc'd the Pig, and thus aloud Bespoke the stupid, partial crowd: "Behold, and learn from this poor creature, How much you Critics know of Nature.
"
Written by Jorge Luis Borges | Create an image from this poem

Limits

 Of all the streets that blur in to the sunset,
There must be one (which, I am not sure)
That I by now have walked for the last time
Without guessing it, the pawn of that Someone

Who fixes in advance omnipotent laws,
Sets up a secret and unwavering scale
for all the shadows, dreams, and forms
Woven into the texture of this life.
If there is a limit to all things and a measure And a last time and nothing more and forgetfulness, Who will tell us to whom in this house We without knowing it have said farewell? Through the dawning window night withdraws And among the stacked books which throw Irregular shadows on the dim table, There must be one which I will never read.
There is in the South more than one worn gate, With its cement urns and planted cactus, Which is already forbidden to my entry, Inaccessible, as in a lithograph.
There is a door you have closed forever And some mirror is expecting you in vain; To you the crossroads seem wide open, Yet watching you, four-faced, is a Janus.
There is among all your memories one Which has now been lost beyond recall.
You will not be seen going down to that fountain Neither by white sun nor by yellow moon.
You will never recapture what the Persian Said in his language woven with birds and roses, When, in the sunset, before the light disperses, You wish to give words to unforgettable things.
And the steadily flowing Rhone and the lake, All that vast yesterday over which today I bend? They will be as lost as Carthage, Scourged by the Romans with fire and salt.
At dawn I seem to hear the turbulent Murmur of crowds milling and fading away; They are all I have been loved by, forgotten by; Space, time, and Borges now are leaving me.
Written by Robert Browning | Create an image from this poem

From ‘Paracelsus'

 I

TRUTH is within ourselves; it takes no rise 
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.
There is an inmost centre in us all, Where truth abides in fullness; and around, Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in, This perfect, clear perception—which is truth.
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh Binds it, and makes all error: and, to KNOW, Rather consists in opening out a way Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape, Than in effecting entry for a light Supposed to be without.
II I knew, I felt, (perception unexpressed, Uncomprehended by our narrow thought, But somehow felt and known in every shift And change in the spirit,—nay, in every pore Of the body, even,)—what God is, what we are What life is—how God tastes an infinite joy In infinite ways—one everlasting bliss, From whom all being emanates, all power Proceeds; in whom is life for evermore, Yet whom existence in its lowest form Includes; where dwells enjoyment there is he: With still a flying point of bliss remote, A happiness in store afar, a sphere Of distant glory in full view; thus climbs Pleasure its heights for ever and for ever.
The centre-fire heaves underneath the earth, And the earth changes like a human face; The molten ore bursts up among the rocks, Winds into the stone’s heart, outbranches bright In hidden mines, spots barren river-beds, Crumbles into fine sand where sunbeams bask— God joys therein! The wroth sea’s waves are edged With foam, white as the bitten lip of hate, When, in the solitary waste, strange groups Of young volcanos come up, cyclops-like, Staring together with their eyes on flame— God tastes a pleasure in their uncouth pride.
Then all is still; earth is a wintry clod: But spring-wind, like a dancing psaltress, passes Over its breast to waken it, rare verdure Buds tenderly upon rough banks, between The withered tree-roots and the cracks of frost, Like a smile striving with a wrinkled face; The grass grows bright, the boughs are swoln with blooms Like chrysalids impatient for the air, The shining dorrs are busy, beetles run Along the furrows, ants make their ade; Above, birds fly in merry flocks, the lark Soars up and up, shivering for very joy; Afar the ocean sleeps; white fishing-gulls Flit where the strand is purple with its tribe Of nested limpets; savage creatures seek Their loves in wood and plain—and God renews His ancient rapture.
Thus He dwells in all, From life’s minute beginnings, up at last To man—the consummation of this scheme Of being, the completion of this sphere Of life: whose attributes had here and there Been scattered o’er the visible world before, Asking to be combined, dim fragments meant To be united in some wondrous whole, Imperfect qualities throughout creation, Suggesting some one creature yet to make, Some point where all those scattered rays should meet Convergent in the faculties of man.
Written by Keith Douglas | Create an image from this poem

Vergissmeinnicht

 Three weeks gone and the combatants gone
returning over the nightmare ground
we found the place again, and found
the soldier sprawling in the sun.
The frowning barrel of his gun overshadowing.
As we came on that day, he hit my tank with one like the entry of a demon.
Look.
Here in the gunpit spoil the dishonoured picture of his girl who has put: Steffi.
Vergissmeinnicht.
in a copybook gothic script.
We see him almost with content, abased, and seeming to have paid and mocked at by his own equipment that's hard and good when he's decayed.
But she would weep to see today how on his skin the swart flies move; the dust upon the paper eye and the burst stomach like a cave.
For here the lover and killer are mingled who had one body and one heart.
And death who had the soldier singled has done the lover mortal hurt.


Written by Alan Seeger | Create an image from this poem

The Rendezvous

 He faints with hope and fear.
It is the hour.
Distant, across the thundering organ-swell, In sweet discord from the cathedral-tower, Fall the faint chimes and the thrice-sequent bell.
Over the crowd his eye uneasy roves.
He sees a plume, a fur; his heart dilates -- Soars .
.
.
and then sinks again.
It is not hers he loves.
She will not come, the woman that he waits.
Braided with streams of silver incense rise The antique prayers and ponderous antiphones.
`Gloria Patri' echoes to the skies; `Nunc et in saecula' the choir intones.
He marks not the monotonous refrain, The priest that serves nor him that celebrates, But ever scans the aisle for his blonde head.
.
.
.
In vain! She will not come, the woman that he waits.
How like a flower seemed the perfumed place Where the sweet flesh lay loveliest to kiss; And her white hands in what delicious ways, With what unfeigned caresses, answered his! Each tender charm intolerable to lose, Each happy scene his fancy recreates.
And he calls out her name and spreads his arms .
.
.
No use! She will not come, the woman that he waits.
But the long vespers close.
The priest on high Raises the thing that Christ's own flesh enforms; And down the Gothic nave the crowd flows by And through the portal's carven entry swarms.
Maddened he peers upon each passing face Till the long drab procession terminates.
No princess passes out with proud majestic pace.
She has not come, the woman that he waits.
Back in the empty silent church alone He walks with aching heart.
A white-robed boy Puts out the altar-candles one by one, Even as by inches darkens all his joy.
He dreams of the sweet night their lips first met, And groans -- and turns to leave -- and hesitates .
.
.
Poor stricken heart, he will, he can not fancy yet She will not come, the woman that he waits.
But in an arch where deepest shadows fall He sits and studies the old, storied panes, And the calm crucifix that from the wall Looks on a world that quavers and complains.
Hopeless, abandoned, desolate, aghast, On modes of violent death he meditates.
And the tower-clock tolls five, and he admits at last, She will not come, the woman that he waits.
Through the stained rose the winter daylight dies, And all the tide of anguish unrepressed Swells in his throat and gathers in his eyes; He kneels and bows his head upon his breast, And feigns a prayer to hide his burning tears, While the satanic voice reiterates `Tonight, tomorrow, nay, nor all the impending years, She will not come,' the woman that he waits.
Fond, fervent heart of life's enamored spring, So true, so confident, so passing fair, That thought of Love as some sweet, tender thing, And not as war, red tooth and nail laid bare, How in that hour its innocence was slain, How from that hour our disillusion dates, When first we learned thy sense, ironical refrain, She will not come, the woman that he waits.
Written by Charles Simic | Create an image from this poem

The Wooden Toy

 1

The brightly-painted horse
Had a boy's face,
And four small wheels
Under his feet,

Plus a long string
To pull him by this way and that
Across the floor,
Should you care to.
A string in-waiting That slipped away In many wiles From each and every try.
2 Knock and they'll answer, Mother told me.
So I climbed four flights of stairs And went in unannounced.
And found a small wooden toy For the taking In the ensuing emptiness And the fading daylight That still gives me a shudder As if I held the key to mysteries in my hand.
3 Where's the Lost and Found Department, And the quiet entry, The undeveloped film Of the few clear moments Of our blurred lives? Where's the drop of blood And the teeny nail That pricked my finger As I bent down to touch the toy And caught its eye? 4 Evening light, Make me a Sunday Go-to meeting shadow For my toy.
My dearest memories are Steep stair-wells In dusty buildings On dead-end streets, Where I talk to the walls And closed doors As if they understood me.
5 The wooden toy sitting pretty.
No, quieter than that.
Like the sound of eyebrows Raised by a villain In a silent movie.
Psst, someone said behind my back.
------------------------------------ Poetry Volume CLXXI, Number 1 Eighty-Fifth Anniversary Special Double Issue October-November 1997
Written by James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem

Death

 Come thou, thou last one, whom I recognize,
unbearable pain throughout this body's fabric:
as I in my spirit burned, see, I now burn in thee:
the wood that long resisted the advancing flames
which thou kept flaring, I now am nourishinig
and burn in thee.
My gentle and mild being through thy ruthless fury has turned into a raging hell that is not from here.
Quite pure, quite free of future planning, I mounted the tangled funeral pyre built for my suffering, so sure of nothing more to buy for future needs, while in my heart the stored reserves kept silent.
Is it still I, who there past all recognition burn? Memories I do not seize and bring inside.
O life! O living! O to be outside! And I in flames.
And no one here who knows me.
[Written in December 1926, this poem was the last entry in Rilke's notebook, less than two weeks before his death at age 51.
]
Written by Robert Burns | Create an image from this poem

68. The Holy Fair

 UPON 1 a simmer Sunday morn
 When Nature’s face is fair,
I walked forth to view the corn,
 An’ snuff the caller air.
The rising sun owre Galston muirs Wi’ glorious light was glintin; The hares were hirplin down the furrs, The lav’rocks they were chantin Fu’ sweet that day.
As lightsomely I glowr’d abroad, To see a scene sae gay, Three hizzies, early at the road, Cam skelpin up the way.
Twa had manteeles o” dolefu’ black, But ane wi’ lyart lining; The third, that gaed a wee a-back, Was in the fashion shining Fu’ gay that day.
The twa appear’d like sisters twin, In feature, form, an’ claes; Their visage wither’d, lang an’ thin, An’ sour as only slaes: The third cam up, hap-stap-an’-lowp, As light as ony lambie, An’ wi’a curchie low did stoop, As soon as e’er she saw me, Fu’ kind that day.
Wi’ bonnet aff, quoth I, “Sweet lass, I think ye seem to ken me; I’m sure I’ve seen that bonie face But yet I canna name ye.
” Quo’ she, an’ laughin as she spak, An’ taks me by the han’s, “Ye, for my sake, hae gien the feck Of a’ the ten comman’s A screed some day.
” “My name is Fun—your cronie dear, The nearest friend ye hae; An’ this is Superstitution here, An’ that’s Hypocrisy.
I’m gaun to Mauchline Holy Fair, To spend an hour in daffin: Gin ye’ll go there, yon runkl’d pair, We will get famous laughin At them this day.
” Quoth I, “Wi’ a’ my heart, I’ll do’t; I’ll get my Sunday’s sark on, An’ meet you on the holy spot; Faith, we’se hae fine remarkin!” Then I gaed hame at crowdie-time, An’ soon I made me ready; For roads were clad, frae side to side, Wi’ mony a weary body In droves that day.
Here farmers gash, in ridin graith, Gaed hoddin by their cotters; There swankies young, in braw braid-claith, Are springing owre the gutters.
The lasses, skelpin barefit, thrang, In silks an’ scarlets glitter; Wi’ sweet-milk cheese, in mony a whang, An’ farls, bak’d wi’ butter, Fu’ crump that day.
When by the plate we set our nose, Weel heaped up wi’ ha’pence, A greedy glowr black-bonnet throws, An’ we maun draw our tippence.
Then in we go to see the show: On ev’ry side they’re gath’rin; Some carrying dails, some chairs an’ stools, An’ some are busy bleth’rin Right loud that day.
Here stands a shed to fend the show’rs, An’ screen our countra gentry; There “Racer Jess, 2 an’ twa-three whores, Are blinkin at the entry.
Here sits a raw o’ tittlin jads, Wi’ heaving breast an’ bare neck; An’ there a batch o’ wabster lads, Blackguarding frae Kilmarnock, For fun this day.
Here, some are thinkin on their sins, An’ some upo’ their claes; Ane curses feet that fyl’d his shins, Anither sighs an’ prays: On this hand sits a chosen swatch, Wi’ screwed-up, grace-proud faces; On that a set o’ chaps, at watch, Thrang winkin on the lasses To chairs that day.
O happy is that man, an’ blest! Nae wonder that it pride him! Whase ain dear lass, that he likes best, Comes clinkin down beside him! Wi’ arms repos’d on the chair back, He sweetly does compose him; Which, by degrees, slips round her neck, An’s loof upon her bosom, Unkend that day.
Now a’ the congregation o’er Is silent expectation; For Moodie 3 speels the holy door, Wi’ tidings o’ damnation: Should Hornie, as in ancient days, ’Mang sons o’ God present him, The vera sight o’ Moodie’s face, To ’s ain het hame had sent him Wi’ fright that day.
Hear how he clears the point o’ faith Wi’ rattlin and wi’ thumpin! Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath, He’s stampin, an’ he’s jumpin! His lengthen’d chin, his turned-up snout, His eldritch squeel an’ gestures, O how they fire the heart devout, Like cantharidian plaisters On sic a day! But hark! the tent has chang’d its voice, There’s peace an’ rest nae langer; For a’ the real judges rise, They canna sit for anger, Smith 4 opens out his cauld harangues, On practice and on morals; An’ aff the godly pour in thrangs, To gie the jars an’ barrels A lift that day.
What signifies his barren shine, Of moral powers an’ reason? His English style, an’ gesture fine Are a’ clean out o’ season.
Like Socrates or Antonine, Or some auld pagan heathen, The moral man he does define, But ne’er a word o’ faith in That’s right that day.
In guid time comes an antidote Against sic poison’d nostrum; For Peebles, 5 frae the water-fit, Ascends the holy rostrum: See, up he’s got, the word o’ God, An’ meek an’ mim has view’d it, While Common-sense has taen the road, An’ aff, an’ up the Cowgate 6 Fast, fast that day.
Wee Miller 7 neist the guard relieves, An’ Orthodoxy raibles, Tho’ in his heart he weel believes, An’ thinks it auld wives’ fables: But faith! the birkie wants a manse, So, cannilie he hums them; Altho’ his carnal wit an’ sense Like hafflins-wise o’ercomes him At times that day.
Now, butt an’ ben, the change-house fills, Wi’ yill-caup commentators; Here ’s cryin out for bakes and gills, An’ there the pint-stowp clatters; While thick an’ thrang, an’ loud an’ lang, Wi’ logic an’ wi’ scripture, They raise a din, that in the end Is like to breed a rupture O’ wrath that day.
Leeze me on drink! it gies us mair Than either school or college; It kindles wit, it waukens lear, It pangs us fou o’ knowledge: Be’t whisky-gill or penny wheep, Or ony stronger potion, It never fails, or drinkin deep, To kittle up our notion, By night or day.
The lads an’ lasses, blythely bent To mind baith saul an’ body, Sit round the table, weel content, An’ steer about the toddy: On this ane’s dress, an’ that ane’s leuk, They’re makin observations; While some are cozie i’ the neuk, An’ forming assignations To meet some day.
But now the L—’s ain trumpet touts, Till a’ the hills are rairin, And echoes back return the shouts; Black Russell is na sparin: His piercin words, like Highlan’ swords, Divide the joints an’ marrow; His talk o’ Hell, whare devils dwell, Our vera “sauls does harrow” Wi’ fright that day! A vast, unbottom’d, boundless pit, Fill’d fou o’ lowin brunstane, Whase raging flame, an’ scorching heat, Wad melt the hardest whun-stane! The half-asleep start up wi’ fear, An’ think they hear it roarin; When presently it does appear, ’Twas but some neibor snorin Asleep that day.
’Twad be owre lang a tale to tell, How mony stories past; An’ how they crouded to the yill, When they were a’ dismist; How drink gaed round, in cogs an’ caups, Amang the furms an’ benches; An’ cheese an’ bread, frae women’s laps, Was dealt about in lunches An’ dawds that day.
In comes a gawsie, gash guidwife, An’ sits down by the fire, Syne draws her kebbuck an’ her knife; The lasses they are shyer: The auld guidmen, about the grace Frae side to side they bother; Till some ane by his bonnet lays, An’ gies them’t like a tether, Fu’ lang that day.
Waesucks! for him that gets nae lass, Or lasses that hae naething! Sma’ need has he to say a grace, Or melvie his braw claithing! O wives, be mindfu’ ance yoursel’ How bonie lads ye wanted; An’ dinna for a kebbuck-heel Let lasses be affronted On sic a day! Now Clinkumbell, wi’ rattlin tow, Begins to jow an’ croon; Some swagger hame the best they dow, Some wait the afternoon.
At slaps the billies halt a blink, Till lasses strip their shoon: Wi’ faith an’ hope, an’ love an’ drink, They’re a’ in famous tune For crack that day.
How mony hearts this day converts O’ sinners and o’ lasses! Their hearts o’ stane, gin night, are gane As saft as ony flesh is: There’s some are fou o’ love divine; There’s some are fou o’ brandy; An’ mony jobs that day begin, May end in houghmagandie Some ither day.
Note 1.
“Holy Fair” is a common phrase in the west of Scotland for a sacramental occasion.
—R.
B.
[back] Note 2.
Racer Jess (d.
1813) was a half-witted daughter of Poosie Nansie.
She was a great pedestrian.
[back] Note 3.
Rev.
Alexander Moodie of Riccarton.
[back] Note 4.
Rev.
George Smith of Galston.
[back] Note 5.
Rev.
Wm.
Peebles of Newton-upon-Ayr.
[back] Note 6.
A street so called which faces the tent in Mauchline.
—R.
B.
[back] Note 7.
Rev.
Alex.
Miller, afterward of Kilmaurs.
[back]
Written by Bliss Carman | Create an image from this poem

A Song before Sailing

 Wind of the dead men's feet,
Blow down the empty street
Of this old city by the sea
With news for me!
Blow me beyond the grime
And pestilence of time!
I am too sick at heart to war
With failure any more.
Thy chill is in my bones; The moonlight on the stones Is pale, and palpable, and cold; I am as one grown old.
I call from room to room Through the deserted gloom; The echoes are all words I know, Lost in some long ago.
I prowl from door to door, And find no comrade more.
The wolfish fear that children feel Is snuffing at my heel.
I hear the hollow sound Of a great ship coming round, The thunder of tackle and the tread Of sailors overhead.
That stormy-blown hulloo Has orders for me, too.
I see thee, hand at mouth, and hark, My captain of the dark.
O wind of the great East, By whom we are released From this strange dusty port to sail Beyond our fellows' hail, Under the stars that keep The entry of the deep, Thy somber voice brings up the sea's Forgotten melodies; And I have no more need Of bread, or wine, or creed, Bound for the colonies of time Beyond the farthest prime.
Wind of the dead men's feet, Blow through the empty street; The last adventurer am I, Then, world, goodby!
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