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Best Famous Grey Hairs Poems

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

Ode to a Nightingale

MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains 
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, 
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains 
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, 5 
But being too happy in thine happiness, 
That thou, light-wing¨¨d Dryad of the trees, 
In some melodious plot 
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, 
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
10 O for a draught of vintage! that hath been Cool'd a long age in the deep-delv¨¨d earth, Tasting of Flora and the country-green, Dance, and Proven?al song, and sunburnt mirth! O for a beaker full of the warm South! 15 Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stain¨¨d mouth; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim: 20 Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, 25 Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs; Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
30 Away! away! for I will fly to thee, Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, But on the viewless wings of Poesy, Though the dull brain perplexes and retards: Already with thee! tender is the night, 35 And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays But here there is no light, Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
40 I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalm¨¨d darkness, guess each sweet Wherewith the seasonable month endows The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; 45 White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves; And mid-May's eldest child, The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
50 Darkling I listen; and, for many a time I have been half in love with easeful Death, Call'd him soft names in many a mus¨¨d rhyme, To take into the air my quiet breath; Now more than ever seems it rich to die, 55 To cease upon the midnight with no pain, While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad In such an ecstasy! Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain¡ª To thy high requiem become a sod.
60 Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 65 Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that ofttimes hath Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
70 Forlorn! the very word is like a bell To toll me back from thee to my sole self! Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades 75 Past the near meadows, over the still stream, Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep In the next valley-glades: Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music:¡ªdo I wake or sleep? 80
Written by William Wordsworth | Create an image from this poem

Resolution And Independence

 I 

There was a roaring in the wind all night; 
The rain came heavily and fell in floods; 
But now the sun is rising calm and bright; 
The birds are singing in the distant woods; 
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods; 
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters; 
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.
II All things that love the sun are out of doors; The sky rejoices in the morning's birth; The grass is bright with rain-drops;--on the moors The hare is running races in her mirth; And with her feet she from the plashy earth Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun, Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run.
III I was a Traveller then upon the moor, I saw the hare that raced about with joy; I heard the woods and distant waters roar; Or heard them not, as happy as a boy: The pleasant season did my heart employ: My old remembrances went from me wholly; And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy.
IV But, as it sometimes chanceth, from the might Of joy in minds that can no further go, As high as we have mounted in delight In our dejection do we sink as low; To me that morning did it happen so; And fears and fancies thick upon me came; Dim sadness--and blind thoughts, I knew not, nor could name.
V I heard the sky-lark warbling in the sky; And I bethought me of the playful hare: Even such a happy Child of earth am I; Even as these blissful creatures do I fare; Far from the world I walk, and from all care; But there may come another day to me-- Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty.
VI My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought, As if life's business were a summer mood; As if all needful things would come unsought To genial faith, still rich in genial good; But how can He expect that others should Build for him, sow for him, and at his call Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all? VII I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy, The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride; Of Him who walked in glory and in joy Following his plough, along the mountain-side: By our own spirits are we deified: We Poets in our youth begin in gladness; But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.
VIII Now, whether it were by peculiar grace, A leading from above, a something given, Yet it befell, that, in this lonely place, When I with these untoward thoughts had striven, Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven I saw a Man before me unawares: The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs.
IX As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie Couched on the bald top of an eminence; Wonder to all who do the same espy, By what means it could thither come, and whence; So that it seems a thing endued with sense: Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself; X Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead, Nor all asleep--in his extreme old age: His body was bent double, feet and head Coming together in life's pilgrimage; As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage Of sickness felt by him in times long past, A more than human weight upon his frame had cast.
XI Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face, Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood: And, still as I drew near with gentle pace, Upon the margin of that moorish flood Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood, That heareth not the loud winds when they call And moveth all together, if it move at all.
XII At length, himself unsettling, he the pond Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look Upon the muddy water, which he conned, As if he had been reading in a book: And now a stranger's privilege I took; And, drawing to his side, to him did say, "This morning gives us promise of a glorious day.
" XIII A gentle answer did the old Man make, In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew: And him with further words I thus bespake, "What occupation do you there pursue? This is a lonesome place for one like you.
" Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes, XIV His words came feebly, from a feeble chest, But each in solemn order followed each, With something of a lofty utterance drest-- Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach Of ordinary men; a stately speech; Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use, Religious men, who give to God and man their dues.
XV He told, that to these waters he had come To gather leeches, being old and poor: Employment hazardous and wearisome! And he had many hardships to endure: From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor; Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance, And in this way he gained an honest maintenance.
XVI The old Man still stood talking by my side; But now his voice to me was like a stream Scarce heard; nor word from word could I divide; And the whole body of the Man did seem Like one whom I had met with in a dream; Or like a man from some far region sent, To give me human strength, by apt admonishment.
XVII My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills; And hope that is unwilling to be fed; Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills; And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
--Perplexed, and longing to be comforted, My question eagerly did I renew, "How is it that you live, and what is it you do?" XVIII He with a smile did then his words repeat; And said, that, gathering leeches, far and wide He travelled; stirring thus about his feet The waters of the pools where they abide.
"Once I could meet with them on every side; But they have dwindled long by slow decay; Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may.
" XIX While he was talking thus, the lonely place, The old Man's shape, and speech--all troubled me: In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace About the weary moors continually, Wandering about alone and silently.
While I these thoughts within myself pursued, He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed.
XX And soon with this he other matter blended, Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind, But stately in the main; and when he ended, I could have laughed myself to scorn to find In that decrepit Man so firm a mind.
"God," said I, "be my help and stay secure; I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!"
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Proud Music of The Storm

 1
PROUD music of the storm! 
Blast that careers so free, whistling across the prairies! 
Strong hum of forest tree-tops! Wind of the mountains! 
Personified dim shapes! you hidden orchestras! 
You serenades of phantoms, with instruments alert,
Blending, with Nature’s rhythmus, all the tongues of nations; 
You chords left us by vast composers! you choruses! 
You formless, free, religious dances! you from the Orient! 
You undertone of rivers, roar of pouring cataracts; 
You sounds from distant guns, with galloping cavalry!
Echoes of camps, with all the different bugle-calls! 
Trooping tumultuous, filling the midnight late, bending me powerless, 
Entering my lonesome slumber-chamber—Why have you seiz’d me? 

2
Come forward, O my Soul, and let the rest retire; 
Listen—lose not—it is toward thee they tend;
Parting the midnight, entering my slumber-chamber, 
For thee they sing and dance, O Soul.
A festival song! The duet of the bridegroom and the bride—a marriage-march, With lips of love, and hearts of lovers, fill’d to the brim with love; The red-flush’d cheeks, and perfumes—the cortege swarming, full of friendly faces, young and old, To flutes’ clear notes, and sounding harps’ cantabile.
3 Now loud approaching drums! Victoria! see’st thou in powder-smoke the banners torn but flying? the rout of the baffled? Hearest those shouts of a conquering army? (Ah, Soul, the sobs of women—the wounded groaning in agony, The hiss and crackle of flames—the blacken’d ruins—the embers of cities, The dirge and desolation of mankind.
) 4 Now airs antique and medieval fill me! I see and hear old harpers with their harps, at Welsh festivals: I hear the minnesingers, singing their lays of love, I hear the minstrels, gleemen, troubadours, of the feudal ages.
5 Now the great organ sounds, Tremulous—while underneath, (as the hid footholds of the earth, On which arising, rest, and leaping forth, depend, All shapes of beauty, grace and strength—all hues we know, Green blades of grass, and warbling birds—children that gambol and play—the clouds of heaven above,) The strong base stands, and its pulsations intermits not, Bathing, supporting, merging all the rest—maternity of all the rest; And with it every instrument in multitudes, The players playing—all the world’s musicians, The solemn hymns and masses, rousing adoration, All passionate heart-chants, sorrowful appeals, The measureless sweet vocalists of ages, And for their solvent setting, Earth’s own diapason, Of winds and woods and mighty ocean waves; A new composite orchestra—binder of years and climes—ten-fold renewer, As of the far-back days the poets tell—the Paradiso, The straying thence, the separation long, but now the wandering done, The journey done, the Journeyman come home, And Man and Art, with Nature fused again.
6 Tutti! for Earth and Heaven! The Almighty Leader now for me, for once has signal’d with his wand.
The manly strophe of the husbands of the world, And all the wives responding.
The tongues of violins! (I think, O tongues, ye tell this heart, that cannot tell itself; This brooding, yearning heart, that cannot tell itself.
) 7 Ah, from a little child, Thou knowest, Soul, how to me all sounds became music; My mother’s voice, in lullaby or hymn; (The voice—O tender voices—memory’s loving voices! Last miracle of all—O dearest mother’s, sister’s, voices;) The rain, the growing corn, the breeze among the long-leav’d corn, The measur’d sea-surf, beating on the sand, The twittering bird, the hawk’s sharp scream, The wild-fowl’s notes at night, as flying low, migrating north or south, The psalm in the country church, or mid the clustering trees, the open air camp-meeting, The fiddler in the tavern—the glee, the long-strung sailor-song, The lowing cattle, bleating sheep—the crowing **** at dawn.
8 All songs of current lands come sounding ’round me, The German airs of friendship, wine and love, Irish ballads, merry jigs and dances—English warbles, Chansons of France, Scotch tunes—and o’er the rest, Italia’s peerless compositions.
Across the stage, with pallor on her face, yet lurid passion, Stalks Norma, brandishing the dagger in her hand.
I see poor crazed Lucia’s eyes’ unnatural gleam; Her hair down her back falls loose and dishevell’d.
I see where Ernani, walking the bridal garden, Amid the scent of night-roses, radiant, holding his bride by the hand, Hears the infernal call, the death-pledge of the horn.
To crossing swords, and grey hairs bared to heaven, The clear, electric base and baritone of the world, The trombone duo—Libertad forever! From Spanish chestnut trees’ dense shade, By old and heavy convent walls, a wailing song, Song of lost love—the torch of youth and life quench’d in despair, Song of the dying swan—Fernando’s heart is breaking.
Awaking from her woes at last, retriev’d Amina sings; Copious as stars, and glad as morning light, the torrents of her joy.
(The teeming lady comes! The lustrious orb—Venus contralto—the blooming mother, Sister of loftiest gods—Alboni’s self I hear.
) 9 I hear those odes, symphonies, operas; I hear in the William Tell, the music of an arous’d and angry people; I hear Meyerbeer’s Huguenots, the Prophet, or Robert; Gounod’s Faust, or Mozart’s Don Juan.
10 I hear the dance-music of all nations, The waltz, (some delicious measure, lapsing, bathing me in bliss;) The bolero, to tinkling guitars and clattering castanets.
I see religious dances old and new, I hear the sound of the Hebrew lyre, I see the Crusaders marching, bearing the cross on high, to the martial clang of cymbals; I hear dervishes monotonously chanting, interspers’d with frantic shouts, as they spin around, turning always towards Mecca; I see the rapt religious dances of the Persians and the Arabs; Again, at Eleusis, home of Ceres, I see the modern Greeks dancing, I hear them clapping their hands, as they bend their bodies, I hear the metrical shuffling of their feet.
I see again the wild old Corybantian dance, the performers wounding each other; I see the Roman youth, to the shrill sound of flageolets, throwing and catching their weapons, As they fall on their knees, and rise again.
I hear from the Mussulman mosque the muezzin calling; I see the worshippers within, (nor form, nor sermon, argument, nor word, But silent, strange, devout—rais’d, glowing heads—extatic faces.
) 11 I hear the Egyptian harp of many strings, The primitive chants of the Nile boatmen; The sacred imperial hymns of China, To the delicate sounds of the king, (the stricken wood and stone;) Or to Hindu flutes, and the fretting twang of the vina, A band of bayaderes.
12 Now Asia, Africa leave me—Europe, seizing, inflates me; To organs huge, and bands, I hear as from vast concourses of voices, Luther’s strong hymn, Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott; Rossini’s Stabat Mater dolorosa; Or, floating in some high cathedral dim, with gorgeous color’d windows, The passionate Agnus Dei, or Gloria in Excelsis.
13 Composers! mighty maestros! And you, sweet singers of old lands—Soprani! Tenori! Bassi! To you a new bard, carolling free in the west, Obeisant, sends his love.
(Such led to thee, O Soul! All senses, shows and objects, lead to thee, But now, it seems to me, sound leads o’er all the rest.
) 14 I hear the annual singing of the children in St.
Paul’s Cathedral; Or, under the high roof of some colossal hall, the symphonies, oratorios of Beethoven, Handel, or Haydn; The Creation, in billows of godhood laves me.
Give me to hold all sounds, (I, madly struggling, cry,) Fill me with all the voices of the universe, Endow me with their throbbings—Nature’s also, The tempests, waters, winds—operas and chants—marches and dances, Utter—pour in—for I would take them all.
15 Then I woke softly, And pausing, questioning awhile the music of my dream, And questioning all those reminiscences—the tempest in its fury, And all the songs of sopranos and tenors, And those rapt oriental dances, of religious fervor, And the sweet varied instruments, and the diapason of organs, And all the artless plaints of love, and grief and death, I said to my silent, curious Soul, out of the bed of the slumber-chamber, Come, for I have found the clue I sought so long, Let us go forth refresh’d amid the day, Cheerfully tallying life, walking the world, the real, Nourish’d henceforth by our celestial dream.
And I said, moreover, Haply, what thou hast heard, O Soul, was not the sound of winds, Nor dream of raging storm, nor sea-hawk’s flapping wings, nor harsh scream, Nor vocalism of sun-bright Italy, Nor German organ majestic—nor vast concourse of voices—nor layers of harmonies; Nor strophes of husbands and wives—nor sound of marching soldiers, Nor flutes, nor harps, nor the bugle-calls of camps; But, to a new rhythmus fitted for thee, Poems, bridging the way from Life to Death, vaguely wafted in night air, uncaught, unwritten, Which, let us go forth in the bold day, and write.
Written by William Wordsworth | Create an image from this poem

Resolution And Independence

 I 

There was a roaring in the wind all night; 
The rain came heavily and fell in floods; 
But now the sun is rising calm and bright; 
The birds are singing in the distant woods; 
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods; 
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters; 
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.
II All things that love the sun are out of doors; The sky rejoices in the morning's birth; The grass is bright with rain-drops;--on the moors The hare is running races in her mirth; And with her feet she from the plashy earth Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun, Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run.
III I was a Traveller then upon the moor, I saw the hare that raced about with joy; I heard the woods and distant waters roar; Or heard them not, as happy as a boy: The pleasant season did my heart employ: My old remembrances went from me wholly; And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy.
IV But, as it sometimes chanceth, from the might Of joy in minds that can no further go, As high as we have mounted in delight In our dejection do we sink as low; To me that morning did it happen so; And fears and fancies thick upon me came; Dim sadness--and blind thoughts, I knew not, nor could name.
V I heard the sky-lark warbling in the sky; And I bethought me of the playful hare: Even such a happy Child of earth am I; Even as these blissful creatures do I fare; Far from the world I walk, and from all care; But there may come another day to me-- Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty.
VI My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought, As if life's business were a summer mood; As if all needful things would come unsought To genial faith, still rich in genial good; But how can He expect that others should Build for him, sow for him, and at his call Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all? VII I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy, The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride; Of Him who walked in glory and in joy Following his plough, along the mountain-side: By our own spirits are we deified: We Poets in our youth begin in gladness; But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.
VIII Now, whether it were by peculiar grace, A leading from above, a something given, Yet it befell, that, in this lonely place, When I with these untoward thoughts had striven, Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven I saw a Man before me unawares: The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs.
IX As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie Couched on the bald top of an eminence; Wonder to all who do the same espy, By what means it could thither come, and whence; So that it seems a thing endued with sense: Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself; X Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead, Nor all asleep--in his extreme old age: His body was bent double, feet and head Coming together in life's pilgrimage; As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage Of sickness felt by him in times long past, A more than human weight upon his frame had cast.
XI Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face, Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood: And, still as I drew near with gentle pace, Upon the margin of that moorish flood Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood, That heareth not the loud winds when they call And moveth all together, if it move at all.
XII At length, himself unsettling, he the pond Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look Upon the muddy water, which he conned, As if he had been reading in a book: And now a stranger's privilege I took; And, drawing to his side, to him did say, "This morning gives us promise of a glorious day.
" XIII A gentle answer did the old Man make, In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew: And him with further words I thus bespake, "What occupation do you there pursue? This is a lonesome place for one like you.
" Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes, XIV His words came feebly, from a feeble chest, But each in solemn order followed each, With something of a lofty utterance drest-- Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach Of ordinary men; a stately speech; Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use, Religious men, who give to God and man their dues.
XV He told, that to these waters he had come To gather leeches, being old and poor: Employment hazardous and wearisome! And he had many hardships to endure: From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor; Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance, And in this way he gained an honest maintenance.
XVI The old Man still stood talking by my side; But now his voice to me was like a stream Scarce heard; nor word from word could I divide; And the whole body of the Man did seem Like one whom I had met with in a dream; Or like a man from some far region sent, To give me human strength, by apt admonishment.
XVII My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills; And hope that is unwilling to be fed; Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills; And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
--Perplexed, and longing to be comforted, My question eagerly did I renew, "How is it that you live, and what is it you do?" XVIII He with a smile did then his words repeat; And said, that, gathering leeches, far and wide He travelled; stirring thus about his feet The waters of the pools where they abide.
"Once I could meet with them on every side; But they have dwindled long by slow decay; Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may.
" XIX While he was talking thus, the lonely place, The old Man's shape, and speech--all troubled me: In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace About the weary moors continually, Wandering about alone and silently.
While I these thoughts within myself pursued, He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed.
XX And soon with this he other matter blended, Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind, But stately in the main; and when he ended, I could have laughed myself to scorn to find In that decrepit Man so firm a mind.
"God," said I, "be my help and stay secure; I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!"
Written by Robert Burns | Create an image from this poem

Tam OShanter

 A Tale

"Of Brownyis and of Bogilis full is this Buke.
" —Gawin Douglas.
When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neebors neebors meet, As market-days are wearing late, An' folk begin to tak' the gate; While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps, and stiles, That lie between us and our hame, Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
This truth fand honest Tam o'Shanter, As he frae Ayr ae night did canter, (Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses, For honest men and bonie lasses).
O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise, As ta'en thy ain wife Kate's advice! She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum, That frae November till October, Ae market-day thou was nae sober; That ilka melder, wi' the miller, Thou sat as lang as thou had siller; That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on, The smith and thee gat roarin fou on; That at the Lord's house, ev'n on Sunday, Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till Monday.
She prophesied that, late or soon, Thou would be found deep drowned in Doon; Or catched wi' warlocks in the mirk, By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.
Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet, To think how mony counsels sweet, How mony lengthened sage advices, The husband frae the wife despises! But to our tale: Ae market-night, Tam had got planted unco right; Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely, Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely; And at his elbow, Souter Johnny, His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony; Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither; They had been fou for weeks thegither.
The night drave on wi' sangs an' clatter; And aye the ale was growing better: The landlady and Tam grew gracious, Wi' favours, secret, sweet, and precious: The Souter tauld his queerest stories; The landlord's laugh was ready chorus: The storm without might rair and rustle, Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.
Care, mad to see a man sae happy, E'en drowned himself amang the nappy; As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure, The minutes winged their way wi' pleasure: Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious, O'er a' the ills o' life victorious! But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow falls in the river, A moment white—then melts for ever; Or like the borealis race, That flit ere you can point their place; Or like the rainbow's lovely form Evanishing amid the storm.
— Nae man can tether time or tide; The hour approaches Tam maun ride; That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane, That dreary hour he mounts his beast in; And sic a night he tak's the road in, As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.
The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last; The rattling showers rose on the blast; The speedy gleams the darkness swallowed; Loud, deep, and lang the thunder bellowed: That night, a child might understand, The De'il had business on his hand.
Weel mounted on his grey mare, Meg, A better never lifted leg, Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire, Despising wind, and rain, and fire; Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet; Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet; Whiles glow'rin round wi' prudent cares, Lest bogles catch him unawares; Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh, Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
By this time he was cross the ford, Whare in the snaw the chapman smoored; And past the birks and meikle stane, Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck-bane; And thro' the whins, and by the cairn, Whare hunters fand the murdered bairn; And near the thorn, aboon the well, Whare Mungo's mither hanged hersel'.
Before him Doon pours all his floods; The doubling storm roars thro' the woods; The lightnings flash from pole to pole; Near and more near the thunders roll; When, glimmering thro' the groaning trees, Kirk-Alloway seemed in a bleeze; Thro' ilka bore the beams were glancing; And loud resounded mirth and dancing.
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn! What dangers thou canst mak' us scorn! Wi' tippenny, we fear nae evil; Wi' usquabae, we'll face the devil! The swats sae reamed in Tammie's noddle, Fair play, he cared na deils a boddle.
But Maggie stood right sair astonished, Till, by the heel and hand admonished, She ventured forward on the light; And, wow! Tam saw an unco sight! Warlocks and witches in a dance; Nae cotillion, brent new frae France, But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels, Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east, There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast; A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large, To gie them music was his charge: He screwed the pipes and gart them skirl, Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.
— Coffins stood round, like open presses, That shawed the Dead in their last dresses; And by some devilish cantraip sleight Each in its cauld hand held a light, By which heroic Tam was able To note upon the haly table, A murderer's banes in gibbet-airns; Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns; A thief, new-cutted frae a rape, Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape; Five tomahawks, wi' blude red-rusted; Five scimitars, wi' murder crusted; A garter, which a babe had strangled; A knife, a father's throat had mangled, Whom his ain son o' life bereft, The grey hairs yet stack to the heft; Wi' mair of horrible and awfu', Which even to name wad be unlawfu'.
As Tammie glowered, amazed and curious, The mirth and fun grew fast and furious: The Piper loud and louder blew; The dancers quick and quicker flew; They reeled, they set, they crossed, they cleekit, Till ilka carlin swat and reekit, And coost her duddies to the wark, And linket at it in her sark! Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans, A' plump and strapping in their teens; Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flainen, Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!— Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair, That ance were plush, o' gude blue hair, I wad hae gi'en them off my hurdies, For ae blink o' the bonie burdies! But withered beldams, auld and droll, Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal, Lowping and flinging on a crummock, I wonder didna turn thy stomach.
But Tam kenned what was what fu' brawlie: `There was ae winsome wench and waulie', That night enlisted in the core (Lang after kenned on Carrick shore; For mony a beast to dead she shot, And perished mony a bonie boat, And shook baith meikle corn and bear, And kept the country-side in fear); Her cutty sark, o' Paisley harn, That while a lassie she had worn, In longitude tho' sorely scanty, It was her best, and she was vauntie.
Ah! little kenned thy reverend grannie, That sark she coft for her wee Nannie, Wi' twa pund Scots ('twas a' her riches), Wad ever graced a dance of witches! But here my Muse her wing maun cour, Sic flights are far beyond her power; To sing how Nannie lap and flang, (A souple jade she was and strang), And how Tam stood, like ane bewitched, And thought his very een enriched; Even Satan glowered, and fidged fu' fain, And hotched and blew wi' might and main: Till first ae caper, syne anither, Tam tint his reason a' thegither, And roars out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark!" And in an instant all was dark: And scarcely had he Maggie rallied, When out the hellish legion sallied.
As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke, When plundering herds assail their byke; As open pussie's mortal foes, When, pop! she starts before their nose; As eager runs the market-crowd, When "Catch the thief!" resounds aloud; So Maggie runs, the witches follow, Wi' mony an eldritch screech and hollow.
Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin! In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin! In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin! Kate soon will be a woefu' woman! Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg, And win the key-stane of the brig; There at them thou thy tail may toss, A running stream they dare na cross.
But ere the key-stane she could make, The fient a tail she had to shake! For Nannie, far before the rest, Hard upon noble Maggie prest, And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle; But little wist she Maggie's mettle— Ae spring brought off her master hale, But left behind her ain grey tail: The carlin claught her by the rump, And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.
Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read, Ilk man and mother's son, take heed: Whene'er to drink you are inclined, Or cutty-sarks run in your mind, Think, ye may buy the joys o'er dear, Remember Tam o'Shanter's mare.
Written by Matthew Arnold | Create an image from this poem

Mycerinus

 'Not by the justice that my father spurn'd,
Not for the thousands whom my father slew,
Altars unfed and temples overturn'd,
Cold hearts and thankless tongues, where thanks are due;
Fell this dread voice from lips that cannot lie,
Stern sentence of the Powers of Destiny.
'I will unfold my sentence and my crime.
My crime--that, rapt in reverential awe, I sate obedient, in the fiery prime Of youth, self-govern'd, at the feet of Law; Ennobling this dull pomp, the life of kings, By contemplation of diviner things.
'My father loved injustice, and lived long; Crown'd with grey hairs he died, and full of sway.
I loved the good he scorn'd, and hated wrong-- The Gods declare my recompense to-day.
I look'd for life more lasting, rule more high; And when six years are measured, lo, I die! 'Yet surely, O my people, did I deem Man's justice from the all-just Gods was given; A light that from some upper fount did beam, Some better archetype, whose seat was heaven; A light that, shining from the blest abodes, Did shadow somewhat of the life of Gods.
'Mere phantoms of man's self-tormenting heart, Which on the sweets that woo it dares not feed! Vain dreams, which quench our pleasures, then depart When the duped soul, self-master'd, claims its meed; When, on the strenuous just man, Heaven bestows, Crown of his struggling life, an unjust close! 'Seems it so light a thing, then, austere Powers, To spurn man's common lure, life's pleasant things? Seems there no joy in dances crown'd with flowers, Love, free to range, and regal banquetings? Bend ye on these, indeed, an unmoved eye, Not Gods but ghosts, in frozen apathy? 'Or is it that some Force, too wise, too strong, Even for yourselves to conquer or beguile, Sweeps earth, and heaven, and men, and Gods along, Like the broad volume of the insurgent Nile? And the great powers we serve, themselves may be Slaves of a tyrannous necessity? 'Or in mid-heaven, perhaps, your golden cars, Where earthly voice climbs never, wing their flight, And in wild hunt, through mazy tracts of stars, Sweep in the sounding stillness of the night? Or in deaf ease, on thrones of dazzling sheen, Drinking deep draughts of joy, ye dwell serene? 'Oh, wherefore cheat our youth, if thus it be, Of one short joy, one lust, one pleasant dream? Stringing vain words of powers we cannot see, Blind divinations of a will supreme; Lost labour! when the circumambient gloom But hides, if Gods, Gods careless of our doom? 'The rest I give to joy.
Even while I speak, My sand runs short; and--as yon star-shot ray, Hemm'd by two banks of cloud, peers pale and weak, Now, as the barrier closes, dies away-- Even so do past and future intertwine, Blotting this six years' space, which yet is mine.
'Six years--six little years--six drops of time! Yet suns shall rise, and many moons shall wane, And old men die, and young men pass their prime, And languid pleasure fade and flower again, And the dull Gods behold, ere these are flown, Revels more deep, joy keener than their own.
'Into the silence of the groves and woods I will go forth; though something would I say-- Something--yet what, I know not; for the Gods The doom they pass revoke not, nor delay; And prayers, and gifts, and tears, are fruitless all, And the night waxes, and the shadows fall.
'Ye men of Egypt, ye have heard your king! I go, and I return not.
But the will Of the great Gods is plain; and ye must bring Ill deeds, ill passions, zealous to fulfil Their pleasure, to their feet; and reap their praise, The praise of Gods, rich boon! and length of days.
' --So spake he, half in anger, half in scorn; And one loud cry of grief and of amaze Broke from his sorrowing people; so he spake, And turning, left them there; and with brief pause, Girt with a throng of revellers, bent his way To the cool region of the groves he loved.
There by the river-banks he wander'd on, From palm-grove on to palm-grove, happy trees, Their smooth tops shining sunward, and beneath Burying their unsunn'd stems in grass and flowers; Where in one dream the feverish time of youth Might fade in slumber, and the feet of joy Might wander all day long and never tire.
Here came the king, holding high feast, at morn, Rose-crown'd; and ever, when the sun went down, A hundred lamps beam'd in the tranquil gloom, From tree to tree all through the twinkling grove, Revealing all the tumult of the feast-- Flush'd guests, and golden goblets foam'd with wine; While the deep-burnish'd foliage overhead Splinter'd the silver arrows of the moon.
It may be that sometimes his wondering soul From the loud joyful laughter of his lips Might shrink half startled, like a guilty man Who wrestles with his dream; as some pale shape Gliding half hidden through the dusky stems, Would thrust a hand before the lifted bowl, Whispering: A little space, and thou art mine! It may be on that joyless feast his eye Dwelt with mere outward seeming; he, within, Took measure of his soul, and knew its strength, And by that silent knowledge, day by day, Was calm'd, ennobled, comforted, sustain'd.
It may be; but not less his brow was smooth, And his clear laugh fled ringing through the gloom, And his mirth quail'd not at the mild reproof Sigh'd out by winter's sad tranquillity; Nor, pall'd with its own fulness, ebb'd and died In the rich languor of long summer-days; Nor wither'd when the palm-tree plumes, that roof'd With their mild dark his grassy banquet-hall, Bent to the cold winds of the showerless spring; No, nor grew dark when autumn brought the clouds.
So six long years he revell'd, night and day.
And when the mirth wax'd loudest, with dull sound Sometimes from the grove's centre echoes came, To tell his wondering people of their king; In the still night, across the steaming flats, Mix'd with the murmur of the moving Nile.
Written by Robert Burns | Create an image from this poem

310. Tam o' Shanter: A Tale

 WHEN chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet;
As market days are wearing late,
And folk begin to tak the gate,
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An’ getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
This truth fand honest TAM O’ SHANTER, As he frae Ayr ae night did canter: (Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses, For honest men and bonie lasses).
O Tam! had’st thou but been sae wise, As taen thy ain wife Kate’s advice! She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum; That frae November till October, Ae market-day thou was na sober; That ilka melder wi’ the Miller, Thou sat as lang as thou had siller; That ev’ry naig was ca’d a shoe on The Smith and thee gat roarin’ fou on; That at the L—d’s house, ev’n on Sunday, Thou drank wi’ Kirkton Jean till Monday, She prophesied that late or soon, Thou wad be found, deep drown’d in Doon, Or catch’d wi’ warlocks in the mirk, By Alloway’s auld, haunted kirk.
Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet, To think how mony counsels sweet, How mony lengthen’d, sage advices, The husband frae the wife despises! But to our tale:—Ae market night, Tam had got planted unco right, Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely, Wi reaming sAats, that drank divinely; And at his elbow, Souter Johnie, His ancient, trusty, drougthy crony: Tam lo’ed him like a very brither; They had been fou for weeks thegither.
The night drave on wi’ sangs an’ clatter; And aye the ale was growing better: The Landlady and Tam grew gracious, Wi’ favours secret, sweet, and precious: The Souter tauld his queerest stories; The Landlord’s laugh was ready chorus: The storm without might rair and rustle, Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.
Care, mad to see a man sae happy, E’en drown’d himsel amang the nappy.
As bees flee hame wi’ lades o’ treasure, The minutes wing’d their way wi’ pleasure: Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious, O’er a’ the ills o’ life victorious! But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow falls in the river, A moment white—then melts for ever; Or like the Borealis race, That flit ere you can point their place; Or like the Rainbow’s lovely form Evanishing amid the storm.
— Nae man can tether Time nor Tide, The hour approaches Tam maun ride; That hour, o’ night’s black arch the key-stane, That dreary hour he mounts his beast in; And sic a night he taks the road in, As ne’er poor sinner was abroad in.
The wind blew as ’twad blawn its last; The rattling showers rose on the blast; The speedy gleams the darkness swallow’d; Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow’d: That night, a child might understand, The deil had business on his hand.
Weel-mounted on his grey mare, Meg, A better never lifted leg, Tam skelpit on thro’ dub and mire, Despising wind, and rain, and fire; Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet, Whiles crooning o’er some auld Scots sonnet, Whiles glow’rin round wi’ prudent cares, Lest bogles catch him unawares; Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh, Where ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
By this time he was cross the ford, Where in the snaw the chapman smoor’d; And past the birks and meikle stane, Where drunken Charlie brak’s neck-bane; And thro’ the whins, and by the cairn, Where hunters fand the murder’d bairn; And near the thorn, aboon the well, Where Mungo’s mither hang’d hersel’.
Before him Doon pours all his floods, The doubling storm roars thro’ the woods, The lightnings flash from pole to pole, Near and more near the thunders roll, When, glimmering thro’ the groaning trees, Kirk-Alloway seem’d in a bleeze, Thro’ ilka bore the beams were glancing, And loud resounded mirth and dancing.
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn! What dangers thou canst make us scorn! Wi’ tippenny, we fear nae evil; Wi’ usquabae, we’ll face the devil! The swats sae ream’d in Tammie’s noddle, Fair play, he car’d na deils a boddle, But Maggie stood, right sair astonish’d, Till, by the heel and hand admonish’d, She ventur’d forward on the light; And, wow! Tam saw an unco sight! Warlocks and witches in a dance: Nae cotillon, brent new frae France, But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels, Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east, There sat auld Nick, in shape o’ beast; A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large, To gie them music was his charge: He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl, Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.
— Coffins stood round, like open presses, That shaw’d the Dead in their last dresses; And (by some devilish cantraip sleight) Each in its cauld hand held a light.
By which heroic Tam was able To note upon the haly table, A murderer’s banes, in gibbet-airns; Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns; A thief, new-cutted frae a rape, Wi’ his last gasp his gabudid gape; Five tomahawks, wi’ blude red-rusted: Five scimitars, wi’ murder crusted; A garter which a babe had strangled: A knife, a father’s throat had mangled.
Whom his ain son of life bereft, The grey-hairs yet stack to the heft; Wi’ mair of horrible and awfu’, Which even to name wad be unlawfu’.
As Tammie glowr’d, amaz’d, and curious, The mirth and fun grew fast and furious; The Piper loud and louder blew, The dancers quick and quicker flew, The reel’d, they set, they cross’d, they cleekit, Till ilka carlin swat and reekit, And coost her duddies to the wark, And linkit at it in her sark! Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans, A’ plump and strapping in their teens! Their sarks, instead o’ creeshie flainen, Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!— Thir breeks o’ mine, my only pair, That ance were plush o’ guid blue hair, I wad hae gien them off my hurdies, For ae blink o’ the bonie burdies! But wither’d beldams, auld and droll, Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal, Louping an’ flinging on a crummock.
I wonder did na turn thy stomach.
But Tam kent what was what fu’ brawlie: There was ae winsome wench and waulie That night enlisted in the core, Lang after ken’d on Carrick shore; (For mony a beast to dead she shot, And perish’d mony a bonie boat, And shook baith meikle corn and bear, And kept the country-side in fear); Her cutty sark, o’ Paisley harn, That while a lassie she had worn, In longitude tho’ sorely scanty, It was her best, and she was vauntie.
Ah! little ken’d thy reverend grannie, That sark she coft for her wee Nannie, Wi twa pund Scots (’twas a’ her riches), Wad ever grac’d a dance of witches! But here my Muse her wing maun cour, Sic flights are far beyond her power; To sing how Nannie lap and flang, (A souple jade she was and strang), And how Tam stood, like ane bewithc’d, And thought his very een enrich’d: Even Satan glowr’d, and fidg’d fu’ fain, And hotch’d and blew wi’ might and main: Till first ae caper, syne anither, Tam tint his reason a thegither, And roars out, “Weel done, Cutty-sark!” And in an instant all was dark: And scarcely had he Maggie rallied.
When out the hellish legion sallied.
As bees bizz out wi’ angry fyke, When plundering herds assail their byke; As open pussie’s mortal foes, When, pop! she starts before their nose; As eager runs the market-crowd, When “Catch the thief!” resounds aloud; So Maggie runs, the witches follow, Wi’ mony an eldritch skreich and hollow.
Ah, Tam! Ah, Tam! thou’ll get thy fairin! In hell, they’ll roast thee like a herrin! In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin! Kate soon will be a woefu’ woman! Now, do thy speedy-utmost, Meg, And win the key-stone o’ the brig; There, at them thou thy tail may toss, A running stream they dare na cross.
But ere the keystane she could make, The fient a tail she had to shake! For Nannie, far before the rest, Hard upon noble Maggie prest, And flew at Tam wi’ furious ettle; But little wist she Maggie’s mettle! Ae spring brought off her master hale, But left behind her ain grey tail: The carlin claught her by the rump, And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.
Now, wha this tale o’ truth shall read, Ilk man and mother’s son, take heed: Whene’er to Drink you are inclin’d, Or Cutty-sarks rin in your mind, Think ye may buy the joys o’er dear; Remember Tam o’ Shanter’s mare.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

Gold Leaves

 Lo! I am come to autumn, 
When all the leaves are gold; 
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out 
The year and I are old.
In youth I sought the prince of men, Captain in cosmic wars, Our Titan, even the weeds would show Defiant, to the stars.
But now a great thing in the street Seems any human nod, Where shift in strange democracy The million masks of God.
In youth I sought the golden flower Hidden in wood or wold, But I am come to autumn, When all the leaves are gold.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

A Song Of Success

 Ho! we were strong, we were swift, we were brave.
Youth was a challenge, and Life was a fight.
All that was best in us gladly we gave, Sprang from the rally, and leapt for the height.
Smiling is Love in a foam of Spring flowers: Harden our hearts to him -- on let us press! Oh, what a triumph and pride shall be ours! See where it beacons, the star of success! Cares seem to crowd on us -- so much to do; New fields to conquer, and time's on the wing.
Grey hairs are showing, a wrinkle or two; Somehow our footstep is losing its spring.
Pleasure's forsaken us, Love ceased to smile; Youth has been funeralled; Age travels fast.
Sometimes we wonder: is it worth while? There! we have gained to the summit at last.
Aye, we have triumphed! Now must we haste, Revel in victory .
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why! what is wrong? Life's choicest vintage is flat to the taste -- Are we too late? Have we laboured too long? Wealth, power, fame we hold .
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ah! but the truth: Would we not give this vain glory of ours For one mad, glad year of glorious youth, Life in the Springtide, and Love in the flowers.
Written by William Blake | Create an image from this poem

The Angel

 I Dreamt a Dream! what can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen:
Guarded by an Angel mild;
Witless woe, was neer beguil'd!

And I wept both night and day
And he wip'd my tears away
And I wept both day and night
And hid from him my hearts delight

So he took his wings and fled:
Then the morn blush'd rosy red:
I dried my tears & armd my fears,
With ten thousand shields and spears.
Soon my Angel came again; I was arm'd, he came in vain: For the time of youth was fled And grey hairs were on my head
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