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Best Famous James Henry Leigh Hunt Poems

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Written by James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem


 Jenny kiss'd me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
Say that health and welth have miss'd me,
Say I'm growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss'd me.
Written by James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem

Robin Hood A Child

 It was the pleasant season yet,
When the stones at cottage doors
Dry quickly, while the roads are wet,
After the silver showers.
The green leaves they looked greener still, And the thrush, renewing his tune, Shook a loud note from his gladsome bill Into the bright blue noon.
Robin Hood's mother looked out, and said "It were a shame and a sin For fear of getting a wet head To keep such a day within, Nor welcome up from his sick bed Your uncle Gamelyn.
" And Robin leaped, and thought so too; And so he has grasped her gown, And now looking back, they have lost the view Of merry sweet Locksley town.
Robin was a gentle boy, And therewithal as bold; To say he was his mother's joy, It were a phrase too cold.
His hair upon his thoughtful brow Came smoothly clipped, and sleek, But ran into a curl somehow Beside his merrier cheek.
Great love to him his uncle too The noble Gamelyn bare, And often said, as his mother knew, That he should be his heir.
Gamelyn's eyes, now getting dim, Would twinkle at his sight, And his ruddy wrinkles laugh at him Between his locks so white: For Robin already let him see He should beat his playmates all At wrestling, running, and archery, Yet he cared not for a fall.
Merriest he was of merry boys, And would set the old helmets bobbing; If his uncle asked about the noise, 'Twas "If you please, Sir, Robin.
" And yet if the old man wished no noise, He'd come and sit at his knee, And be the gravest of grave-eyed boys; And not a word spoke he.
So whenever he and his mother came To brave old Gamelyn Hall, 'Twas nothing there but sport and game, And holiday folks all: The servants never were to blame, Though they let the physic fall.
And now the travellers turn the road, And now they hear the rooks; And there it is, — the old abode, With all its hearty looks.
Robin laughed, and the lady too, And they looked at one another; Says Robin, "I'll knock, as I'm used to do, At uncle's window, mother.
" And so he pick'd up some pebbles and ran, And jumping higher and higher, He reach'd the windows with tan a ran tan, And instead of the kind old white-haired man, There looked out a fat friar.
"How now," said the fat friar angrily, "What is this knocking so wild?" But when he saw young Robin's eye, He said "Go round, my child.
"Go round to the hall, and I'll tell you all.
" "He'll tell us all!" thought Robin; And his mother and he went quietly, Though her heart was set a throbbing.
The friar stood in the inner door, And tenderly said, "I fear You know not the good squire's no more, Even Gamelyn de Vere.
"Gamelyn de Vere is dead, He changed but yesternight:" "Now make us way," the lady said, "To see that doleful sight.
" "Good Gamelyn de Vere is dead, And has made us his holy heirs:" The lady stayed not for all he said, But went weeping up the stairs.
Robin and she went hand in hand, Weeping all the way, Until they came where the lord of that land Dumb in his cold bed lay.
His hand she took, and saw his dead look, With the lids over each eye-ball; And Robin and she wept as plenteously, As though he had left them all.
"I will return, Sir Abbot of Vere, I will return as is meet, And see my honoured brother dear Laid in his winding sheet.
And I will stay, for to go were a sin, For all a woman's tears, And see the noble Gamelyn Laid low with the De Veres.
" The lady went with a sick heart out Into the kind fresh air, And told her Robin all about The abbot whom he saw there: And how his uncle must have been Disturbed in his failing sense, To leave his wealth to these artful men, At her's and Robin's expense.
Sad was the stately day for all But the Vere Abbey friars, When the coffin was stript of its hiding pall, Amidst the hushing choirs.
Sad was the earth-dropping "dust to dust," And "our brother here departed;" The lady shook at them, as shake we must, And Robin he felt strange-hearted.
That self-same evening, nevertheless, They returned to Locksley town, The lady in a dumb distress, And Robin looking down.
They went, and went, and Robin took Long steps by his mother's side, Till she asked him with a sad sweet look What made him so thoughtful-eyed.
"I was thinking, mother," said little Robin, And with his own voice so true He spoke right out, "That if I was a king, I'd see what those friars do.
" His mother stooped with a tear of joy, And she kissed him again and again, And said, "My own little Robin boy, Thou wilt be a King of Men!"
Written by James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem

The Glove and The Lions

 King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day as his lions fought, sat looking on the court;
The nobles filled the benches, and the ladies in their pride,
And 'mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sighed:
And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
Valour and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.
Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws; They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws; With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another; Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother; The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air; Said Francis then, "Faith, gentlemen, we're better here than there.
" De Lorge's love o'erheard the King, a beauteous lively dame With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which always seemed the same; She thought, the Count my lover is brave as brave can be; He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me; King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine; I'll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine.
She dropped her glove, to prove his love, then looked at him and smiled; He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild: The leap was quick, return was quick, he has regained his place, Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
"By God!" said Francis, "rightly done!" and he rose from where he sat: "No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that.
Written by James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem


 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 James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem

Abou Ben Adhem

 Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:— 
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered "The names of those who love the Lord.
" "And is mine one?" said Abou.
"Nay, not so," Replied the angel.
Abou spoke more low, But cheerly still, and said "I pray thee, then, Write me as one that loves his fellow men.
" The angel wrote, and vanished.
The next night It came again with a great wakening light, And showed the names whom love of God had blessed, And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
Written by James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem

A Thought of the Nile

 It flows through old hushed Egypt and its sands,
Like some grave mighty thought threading a dream,
And times and things, as in that vision, seem
Keeping along it their eternal stands,--
Caves, pillars, pyramids, the shepherd bands
That roamed through the young world, the glory extreme
Of high Sesostris, and that southern beam,
The laughing queen that caught the world's great hands.
Then comes a mightier silence, stern and strong, As of a world left empty of its throng, And the void weighs on us; and then we wake, And hear the fruitful stream lapsing along Twixt villages, and think how we shall take Our own calm journey on for human sake.
Written by James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem

A Thought or Two on Reading Pomfrets

 I have been reading Pomfret's "Choice" this spring, 
A pretty kind of--sort of--kind of thing, 
Not much a verse, and poem none at all, 
Yet, as they say, extremely natural.
And yet I know not.
There's an art in pies, In raising crusts as well as galleries; And he's the poet, more or less, who knows The charm that hallows the least truth from prose, And dresses it in its mild singing clothes.
Not oaks alone are trees, nor roses flowers; Much humble wealth makes rich this world of ours.
Nature from some sweet energy throws up Alike the pine-mount and the buttercup; And truth she makes so precious, that to paint Either, shall shrine an artist like a saint, And bring him in his turn the crowds that press Round Guido's saints or Titian's goddesses.
Our trivial poet hit upon a theme Which all men love, an old, sweet household dream:-- Pray, reader, what is yours?--I know full well What sort of home should grace my garden-bell,-- No tall, half-furnish'd, gloomy, shivering house, That worst of mountains labouring with a mouse; Nor should I choose to fill a tawdry niche in A Grecian temple, opening to a kitchen.
The frogs in Homer should have had such boxes, Or Aesop's frog, whose heart was like the ox's.
Such puff about high roads, so grand, so small, With wings and what not, portico and all, And poor drench'd pillars, which it seems a sin Not to mat up at night-time, or take in.
I'd live in none of those.
Nor would I have Veranda'd windows to forestall my grave; Veranda'd truly, from the northern heat! And cut down to the floor to comfort one's cold feet! My house should be of brick, more wide than high, With sward up to the path, and elm-trees nigh; A good old country lodge, half hid with blooms Of honied green, and quaint with straggling rooms, A few of which, white-bedded and well swept, For friends, whose name endear'd them, should be kept.
The tip-toe traveller, peeping through the boughs O'er my low wall, should bless the pleasant house: And that my luck might not seem ill-bestow'd, A bench and spring should greet him on the road.
My grounds should not be large.
I like to go To Nature for a range, and prospect too, And cannot fancy she'd comprise for me, Even in a park, her all-sufficiency.
Besides, my thoughts fly far, and when at rest Love not a watch-tow'r but a lulling nest.
A Chiswick or a Chatsworth might, I grant, Visit my dreams with an ambitious want; But then I should be forc'd to know the weight Of splendid cares, new to my former state; And these 'twould far more fit me to admire, Borne by the graceful ease of noblest Devonshire.
Such grounds, however, as I had should look Like "something" still; have seats, and walks, and brook; One spot for flowers, the rest all turf and trees; For I'd not grow my own bad lettuces.
I'd build a cover'd path too against rain, Long, peradventure, as my whole domain, And so be sure of generous exercise, The youth of age and med'cine of the wise.
And this reminds me, that behind some screen About my grounds, I'd have a bowling-green; Such as in wits' and merry women's days Suckling preferr'd before his walk of bays.
You may still see them, dead as haunts of fairies, By the old seats of Killigrews and Careys, Where all, alas! is vanish'd from the ring, Wits and black eyes, the skittles and the king! Fishing I hate, because I think about it, Which makes it right that I should do without it.
A dinner, or a death, might not be much, But cruelty's a rod I dare not touch.
I own I cannot see my right to feel For my own jaws, and tear a trout's with steel; To troll him here and there, and spike, and strain, And let him loose to jerk him back again.
Fancy a preacher at this sort of work, Not with his trout or gudgeon, but his clerk: The clerk leaps gaping at a tempting bit, And, hah! an ear-ache with a knife in it! That there is pain and evil is no rule That I should make it greater, like a fool; Or rid me of my rust so vile a way, As long as there's a single manly play.
Nay, "fool"'s a word my pen unjustly writes, Knowing what hearts and brains have dozed o'er "bites"; But the next inference to be drawn might be, That higher beings made a trout of me; Which I would rather should not be the case, Though Isaak were the saint to tear my face, And, stooping from his heaven with rod and line, Made the fell sport, with his old dreams divine, As pleasant to his taste, as rough to mine.
Such sophistry, no doubt, saves half the hell, But fish would have preferr'd his reasoning well, And, if my gills concern'd him, so should I.
The dog, I grant, is in that "equal sky," But, heaven be prais'd, he's not my deity.
All manly games I'd play at,--golf and quoits, And cricket, to set lungs and limbs to rights, And make me conscious, with a due respect, Of muscles one forgets by long neglect.
With these, or bowls aforesaid, and a ride, Books, music, friends, the day I would divide, Most with my family, but when alone, Absorb'd in some new poem of my own, A task which makes my time so richly pass, So like a sunshine cast through painted glass (Save where poor Captain Sword crashes the panes), That cold my friends live too, and were the gains Of toiling men but freed from sordid fears, Well could I walk this earth a thousand years.
Written by James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem

Robin Hood An Outlaw

 Robin Hood is an outlaw bold
Under the greenwood tree;
Bird, nor stag, nor morning air
Is more at large than he.
They sent against him twenty men, Who joined him laughing-eyed; They sent against him thirty more, And they remained beside.
All the stoutest of the train, That grew in Gamelyn wood, Whether they came with these or not, Are now with Robin Hood.
And not a soul in Locksley town Would speak him an ill word; The friars raged; but no man's tongue, Nor even feature stirred; Except among a very few Who dined in the Abbey halls; And then with a sigh bold Robin knew His true friends from his false.
There was Roger the monk, that used to make All monkery his glee; And Midge, on whom Robin had never turned His face but tenderly; With one or two, they say, besides, Lord! that in this life's dream Men should abandon one true thing, That would abide with them.
We cannot bid our strength remain, Our cheeks continue round; We cannot say to an aged back, Stoop not towards the ground; We cannot bid our dim eyes see Things as bright as ever; Nor tell our friends, though friends from youth, That they'll forsake us never: But we can say, I never will, Friendship, fall off from thee; And, oh sound truth and old regard, Nothing shall part us three.
Written by James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem

To a Fish

 You strange, astonished-looking, angle-faced, 
Dreary-mouthed, gaping wretches of the sea, 
Gulping salt-water everlastingly, 
Cold-blooded, though with red your blood be graced, 
And mute, though dwellers in the roaring waste; 
And you, all shapes beside, that fishy be,-- 
Some round, some flat, some long, all devilry, 
Legless, unloving, infamously chaste:-- 

O scaly, slippery, wet, swift, staring wights, 
What is't ye do? What life lead? eh, dull goggles? 
How do ye vary your vile days and nights? 
How pass your Sundays? Are ye still but joggles 
In ceaseless wash? Still nought but gapes, and bites, 
And drinks, and stares, diversified with boggles?
Written by James Henry Leigh Hunt | Create an image from this poem

Robin Hoods Flight

 Robin Hood's mother, these twelve years now,
Has been gone from her earthly home;
And Robin has paid, he scarce knew how,
A sum for a noble tomb.
The church-yard lies on a woody hill, But open to sun and air: It seems as if the heaven still Were looking and smiling there.
Often when Robin looked that way, He looked through a sweet thin tear; But he looked in a different manner, they say, Towards the Abbey of Vere.
He cared not for its ill-got wealth, He felt not for his pride; He had youth, and strength, and health, And enough for one beside.
But he thought of his gentle mother's cheek How it sunk away, And how she used to grow more weak And weary every day; And how, when trying a hymn, her voice At evening would expire, How unlike it was the arrogant noise Of the hard throats in the quire: And Robin thought too of the poor, How they toiled without their share, And how the alms at the abbey-door But kept them as they were: And he thought him then of the friars again, Who rode jingling up and down With their trappings and things as fine as the king's, Though they wore but a shaven crown.
And then bold Robin he thought of the king, How he got all his forests and deer, And how he made the hungry swing If they killed but one in a year.
And thinking thus, as Robin stood, Digging his bow in the ground, He was aware in Gamelyn Wood, Of one who looked around.
"And what is Will doing," said Robin then, "That he looks so fearful and wan?" "Oh my dear master that should have been, I am a weary man.
" "A weary man," said Will Scarlet, "am I; For unless I pilfer this wood To sell to the fletchers, for want I shall die Here in this forest so good.
"Here in this forest where I have been So happy and so stout, And like a palfrey on the green Have carried you about.
" "And why, Will Scarlet, not come to me? Why not to Robin, Will? For I remember thy love and thy glee, And the scar that marks thee still; "And not a soul of my uncle's men To such a pass should come, While Robin can find in his pocket or bin A penny or a crumb.
"Stay thee, Will Scarlet, man, stay awhile; And kindle a fire for me.
" And into the wood for half a mile, He has vanished instantly.
Robin Hood, with his cheek on fire, Has drawn his bow so stern, And a leaping deer, with one leap higher, Lies motionless in the fern.
Robin, like a proper knight As he should have been, Carved a part of the shoulder right, And bore off a portion clean.
"Oh, what hast thou done, dear master mine! What hast thou done for me?" "Roast it, Will, for excepting wine, Thou shalt feast thee royally.
" And Scarlet took and half roasted it, Blubbering with blinding tears, And ere he had eaten a second bit, A trampling came to their ears.
They heard the tramp of a horse's feet, And they listened and kept still, For Will was feeble and knelt by the meat; And Robin he stood by Will.
"Seize him, seize him!" the Abbot cried With his fat voice through the trees; Robin a smooth arrow felt and eyed, And Will jumped stout with his knees.
"Seize him, seize him!" and now they appear The Abbot and foresters three.
"'Twas I," cried Will Scarlet, "that killed the deer.
" Says Robin, "Now let not a man come near, Or he's dead as dead can be.
" But on they came, and with an embrace The first one the arrow met; And he came pitching forward and fell on his face, Like a stumbler in the street.
The others turned to that Abbot vain, But "seize him!" still he cried, And as the second turned again, An arrow was in his side.
"Seize him, seize him still, I say," Cried the Abbot in furious chafe, "Or these dogs will grow so bold some day, Even priests will not be safe.
" A fatal word! for as he sat Urging the sword to cut, An arrow stuck in his paunch so fat, As in a leathern butt, As in a leathern butt of wine; Or dough, a household lump; Or a pumpkin; or a good beef chine, Stuck that arrow with a dump.
"Truly," said Robin without fear, Smiling there as he stood, "Never was slain so fat a deer In good old Gamelyn wood.
" "Pardon, pardon, Sir Robin stout," Said he that stood apart, "As soon as I knew thee, I wished thee out, Of the forest with all my heart.
"And I pray thee let me follow thee Any where under the sky, For thou wilt never stay here with me, Nor without thee can I.
" Robin smiled, and suddenly fell Into a little thought; And then into a leafy dell, The three slain men they brought.
Ancle deep in leaves so red, Which autumn there had cast, When going to her winter-bed She had undrest her last.
And there in a hollow, side by side, They buried them under the treen; The Abbot's belly, for all it's pride, Made not the grave be seen.
Robin Hood, and the forester, And Scarlet the good Will, Struck off among the green trees there Up a pathless hill; And Robin caught a sudden sight, Of merry sweet Locksley town, Reddening in the sun-set bright; And the gentle tears came down.
Robin looked at the town and land And the church-yard where it lay; And poor Will Scarlet kissed his hand, And turned his head away.
Then Robin turned with a grasp of Will's, And clapped him on the shoulder, And said with one of his pleasant smiles, "Now shew us three men bolder.
" And so they took their march away As firm as if to fiddle, To journey that night and all next day With Robin Hood in the middle.