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Best Famous Nightingale Poems

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Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

IN THE FOREST

 Out of the mid-wood's twilight
Into the meadow's dawn,
Ivory limbed and brown-eyed,
Flashes my Faun!

He skips through the copses singing,
And his shadow dances along,
And I know not which I should follow,
Shadow or song!

O Hunter, snare me his shadow!
O Nightingale, catch me his strain!
Else moonstruck with music and madness
I track him in vain!


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 Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Why Do Birds Sing?

 Let poets piece prismatic words,
Give me the jewelled joy of birds!

What ecstasy moves them to sing?
Is it the lyric glee of Spring,
The dewy rapture of the rose?
Is it the worship born in those
Who are of Nature's self a part,
The adoration of the heart?

Is it the mating mood in them
That makes each crystal note a gem?
Oh mocking bird and nightingale,
Oh mavis, lark and robin - hail!
Tell me what perfect passion glows
In your inspired arpeggios?

A thrush is thrilling as I write
Its obligato of delight;
And in its fervour, as in mine,
I fathom tenderness divine,
And pity those of earthy ear
Who cannot hear .
.
.
who cannot hear.
Let poets pattern pretty words: For lovely largesse - bless you, Birds!
Written by Marianne Moore | Create an image from this poem

Marriage

 This institution,
perhaps one should say enterprise
out of respect for which
one says one need not change one's mind
about a thing one has believed in,
requiring public promises
of one's intention
to fulfill a private obligation:
I wonder what Adam and Eve
think of it by this time,
this firegilt steel
alive with goldenness;
how bright it shows --
"of circular traditions and impostures,
committing many spoils,"
requiring all one's criminal ingenuity
to avoid!
Psychology which explains everything
explains nothing
and we are still in doubt.
Eve: beautiful woman -- I have seen her when she was so handsome she gave me a start, able to write simultaneously in three languages -- English, German and French and talk in the meantime; equally positive in demanding a commotion and in stipulating quiet: "I should like to be alone;" to which the visitor replies, "I should like to be alone; why not be alone together?" Below the incandescent stars below the incandescent fruit, the strange experience of beauty; its existence is too much; it tears one to pieces and each fresh wave of consciousness is poison.
"See her, see her in this common world," the central flaw in that first crystal-fine experiment, this amalgamation which can never be more than an interesting possibility, describing it as "that strange paradise unlike flesh, gold, or stately buildings, the choicest piece of my life: the heart rising in its estate of peace as a boat rises with the rising of the water;" constrained in speaking of the serpent -- that shed snakeskin in the history of politeness not to be returned to again -- that invaluable accident exonerating Adam.
And he has beauty also; it's distressing -- the O thou to whom, from whom, without whom nothing -- Adam; "something feline, something colubrine" -- how true! a crouching mythological monster in that Persian miniature of emerald mines, raw silk -- ivory white, snow white, oyster white and six others -- that paddock full of leopards and giraffes -- long lemonyellow bodies sown with trapezoids of blue.
Alive with words, vibrating like a cymbal touched before it has been struck, he has prophesied correctly -- the industrious waterfall, "the speedy stream which violently bears all before it, at one time silent as the air and now as powerful as the wind.
" "Treading chasms on the uncertain footing of a spear," forgetting that there is in woman a quality of mind which is an instinctive manifestation is unsafe, he goes on speaking in a formal, customary strain of "past states," the present state, seals, promises, the evil one suffered, the good one enjoys, hell, heaven, everything convenient to promote one's joy.
" There is in him a state of mind by force of which, perceiving what it was not intended that he should, "he experiences a solemn joy in seeing that he has become an idol.
" Plagued by the nightingale in the new leaves, with its silence -- not its silence but its silences, he says of it: "It clothes me with a shirt of fire.
" "He dares not clap his hands to make it go on lest it should fly off; if he does nothing, it will sleep; if he cries out, it will not understand.
" Unnerved by the nightingale and dazzled by the apple, impelled by "the illusion of a fire effectual to extinguish fire," compared with which the shining of the earth is but deformity -- a fire "as high as deep as bright as broad as long as life itself," he stumbles over marriage, "a very trivial object indeed" to have destroyed the attitude in which he stood -- the ease of the philosopher unfathered by a woman.
Unhelpful Hymen! "a kind of overgrown cupid" reduced to insignificance by the mechanical advertising parading as involuntary comment, by that experiment of Adam's with ways out but no way in -- the ritual of marriage, augmenting all its lavishness; its fiddle-head ferns, lotus flowers, opuntias, white dromedaries, its hippopotamus -- nose and mouth combined in one magnificent hopper, "the crested screamer -- that huge bird almost a lizard," its snake and the potent apple.
He tells us that "for love that will gaze an eagle blind, that is like a Hercules climbing the trees in the garden of the Hesperides, from forty-five to seventy is the best age," commending it as a fine art, as an experiment, a duty or as merely recreation.
One must not call him ruffian nor friction a calamity -- the fight to be affectionate: "no truth can be fully known until it has been tried by the tooth of disputation.
" The blue panther with black eyes, the basalt panther with blue eyes, entirely graceful -- one must give them the path -- the black obsidian Diana who "darkeneth her countenance as a bear doth, causing her husband to sigh," the spiked hand that has an affection for one and proves it to the bone, impatient to assure you that impatience is the mark of independence not of bondage.
"Married people often look that way" -- "seldom and cold, up and down, mixed and malarial with a good day and bad.
" "When do we feed?" We occidentals are so unemotional, we quarrel as we feed; one's self is quite lost, the irony preserved in "the Ahasuerus t?te ? t?te banquet" with its "good monster, lead the way," with little laughter and munificence of humor in that quixotic atmosphere of frankness in which "Four o'clock does not exist but at five o'clock the ladies in their imperious humility are ready to receive you"; in which experience attests that men have power and sometimes one is made to feel it.
He says, "what monarch would not blush to have a wife with hair like a shaving-brush? The fact of woman is not `the sound of the flute but every poison.
'" She says, "`Men are monopolists of stars, garters, buttons and other shining baubles' -- unfit to be the guardians of another person's happiness.
" He says, "These mummies must be handled carefully -- `the crumbs from a lion's meal, a couple of shins and the bit of an ear'; turn to the letter M and you will find that `a wife is a coffin,' that severe object with the pleasing geometry stipulating space and not people, refusing to be buried and uniquely disappointing, revengefully wrought in the attitude of an adoring child to a distinguished parent.
" She says, "This butterfly, this waterfly, this nomad that has `proposed to settle on my hand for life.
' -- What can one do with it? There must have been more time in Shakespeare's day to sit and watch a play.
You know so many artists are fools.
" He says, "You know so many fools who are not artists.
" The fact forgot that "some have merely rights while some have obligations," he loves himself so much, he can permit himself no rival in that love.
She loves herself so much, she cannot see herself enough -- a statuette of ivory on ivory, the logical last touch to an expansive splendor earned as wages for work done: one is not rich but poor when one can always seem so right.
What can one do for them -- these savages condemned to disaffect all those who are not visionaries alert to undertake the silly task of making people noble? This model of petrine fidelity who "leaves her peaceful husband only because she has seen enough of him" -- that orator reminding you, "I am yours to command.
" "Everything to do with love is mystery; it is more than a day's work to investigate this science.
" One sees that it is rare -- that striking grasp of opposites opposed each to the other, not to unity, which in cycloid inclusiveness has dwarfed the demonstration of Columbus with the egg -- a triumph of simplicity -- that charitive Euroclydon of frightening disinterestedness which the world hates, admitting: "I am such a cow, if I had a sorrow, I should feel it a long time; I am not one of those who have a great sorrow in the morning and a great joy at noon;" which says: "I have encountered it among those unpretentious proteg?s of wisdom, where seeming to parade as the debater and the Roman, the statesmanship of an archaic Daniel Webster persists to their simplicity of temper as the essence of the matter: `Liberty and union now and forever;' the book on the writing-table; the hand in the breast-pocket.
"
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

Panthea

 Nay, let us walk from fire unto fire,
From passionate pain to deadlier delight, -
I am too young to live without desire,
Too young art thou to waste this summer night
Asking those idle questions which of old
Man sought of seer and oracle, and no reply was told.
For, sweet, to feel is better than to know, And wisdom is a childless heritage, One pulse of passion - youth's first fiery glow, - Are worth the hoarded proverbs of the sage: Vex not thy soul with dead philosophy, Have we not lips to kiss with, hearts to love and eyes to see! Dost thou not hear the murmuring nightingale, Like water bubbling from a silver jar, So soft she sings the envious moon is pale, That high in heaven she is hung so far She cannot hear that love-enraptured tune, - Mark how she wreathes each horn with mist, yon late and labouring moon.
White lilies, in whose cups the gold bees dream, The fallen snow of petals where the breeze Scatters the chestnut blossom, or the gleam Of boyish limbs in water, - are not these Enough for thee, dost thou desire more? Alas! the Gods will give nought else from their eternal store.
For our high Gods have sick and wearied grown Of all our endless sins, our vain endeavour For wasted days of youth to make atone By pain or prayer or priest, and never, never, Hearken they now to either good or ill, But send their rain upon the just and the unjust at will.
They sit at ease, our Gods they sit at ease, Strewing with leaves of rose their scented wine, They sleep, they sleep, beneath the rocking trees Where asphodel and yellow lotus twine, Mourning the old glad days before they knew What evil things the heart of man could dream, and dreaming do.
And far beneath the brazen floor they see Like swarming flies the crowd of little men, The bustle of small lives, then wearily Back to their lotus-haunts they turn again Kissing each others' mouths, and mix more deep The poppy-seeded draught which brings soft purple-lidded sleep.
There all day long the golden-vestured sun, Their torch-bearer, stands with his torch ablaze, And, when the gaudy web of noon is spun By its twelve maidens, through the crimson haze Fresh from Endymion's arms comes forth the moon, And the immortal Gods in toils of mortal passions swoon.
There walks Queen Juno through some dewy mead, Her grand white feet flecked with the saffron dust Of wind-stirred lilies, while young Ganymede Leaps in the hot and amber-foaming must, His curls all tossed, as when the eagle bare The frightened boy from Ida through the blue Ionian air.
There in the green heart of some garden close Queen Venus with the shepherd at her side, Her warm soft body like the briar rose Which would be white yet blushes at its pride, Laughs low for love, till jealous Salmacis Peers through the myrtle-leaves and sighs for pain of lonely bliss.
There never does that dreary north-wind blow Which leaves our English forests bleak and bare, Nor ever falls the swift white-feathered snow, Nor ever doth the red-toothed lightning dare To wake them in the silver-fretted night When we lie weeping for some sweet sad sin, some dead delight.
Alas! they know the far Lethaean spring, The violet-hidden waters well they know, Where one whose feet with tired wandering Are faint and broken may take heart and go, And from those dark depths cool and crystalline Drink, and draw balm, and sleep for sleepless souls, and anodyne.
But we oppress our natures, God or Fate Is our enemy, we starve and feed On vain repentance - O we are born too late! What balm for us in bruised poppy seed Who crowd into one finite pulse of time The joy of infinite love and the fierce pain of infinite crime.
O we are wearied of this sense of guilt, Wearied of pleasure's paramour despair, Wearied of every temple we have built, Wearied of every right, unanswered prayer, For man is weak; God sleeps: and heaven is high: One fiery-coloured moment: one great love; and lo! we die.
Ah! but no ferry-man with labouring pole Nears his black shallop to the flowerless strand, No little coin of bronze can bring the soul Over Death's river to the sunless land, Victim and wine and vow are all in vain, The tomb is sealed; the soldiers watch; the dead rise not again.
We are resolved into the supreme air, We are made one with what we touch and see, With our heart's blood each crimson sun is fair, With our young lives each spring-impassioned tree Flames into green, the wildest beasts that range The moor our kinsmen are, all life is one, and all is change.
With beat of systole and of diastole One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart, And mighty waves of single Being roll From nerveless germ to man, for we are part Of every rock and bird and beast and hill, One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill.
From lower cells of waking life we pass To full perfection; thus the world grows old: We who are godlike now were once a mass Of quivering purple flecked with bars of gold, Unsentient or of joy or misery, And tossed in terrible tangles of some wild and wind-swept sea.
This hot hard flame with which our bodies burn Will make some meadow blaze with daffodil, Ay! and those argent breasts of thine will turn To water-lilies; the brown fields men till Will be more fruitful for our love to-night, Nothing is lost in nature, all things live in Death's despite.
The boy's first kiss, the hyacinth's first bell, The man's last passion, and the last red spear That from the lily leaps, the asphodel Which will not let its blossoms blow for fear Of too much beauty, and the timid shame Of the young bridegroom at his lover's eyes, - these with the same One sacrament are consecrate, the earth Not we alone hath passions hymeneal, The yellow buttercups that shake for mirth At daybreak know a pleasure not less real Than we do, when in some fresh-blossoming wood, We draw the spring into our hearts, and feel that life is good.
So when men bury us beneath the yew Thy crimson-stained mouth a rose will be, And thy soft eyes lush bluebells dimmed with dew, And when the white narcissus wantonly Kisses the wind its playmate some faint joy Will thrill our dust, and we will be again fond maid and boy.
And thus without life's conscious torturing pain In some sweet flower we will feel the sun, And from the linnet's throat will sing again, And as two gorgeous-mailed snakes will run Over our graves, or as two tigers creep Through the hot jungle where the yellow-eyed huge lions sleep And give them battle! How my heart leaps up To think of that grand living after death In beast and bird and flower, when this cup, Being filled too full of spirit, bursts for breath, And with the pale leaves of some autumn day The soul earth's earliest conqueror becomes earth's last great prey.
O think of it! We shall inform ourselves Into all sensuous life, the goat-foot Faun, The Centaur, or the merry bright-eyed Elves That leave their dancing rings to spite the dawn Upon the meadows, shall not be more near Than you and I to nature's mysteries, for we shall hear The thrush's heart beat, and the daisies grow, And the wan snowdrop sighing for the sun On sunless days in winter, we shall know By whom the silver gossamer is spun, Who paints the diapered fritillaries, On what wide wings from shivering pine to pine the eagle flies.
Ay! had we never loved at all, who knows If yonder daffodil had lured the bee Into its gilded womb, or any rose Had hung with crimson lamps its little tree! Methinks no leaf would ever bud in spring, But for the lovers' lips that kiss, the poets' lips that sing.
Is the light vanished from our golden sun, Or is this daedal-fashioned earth less fair, That we are nature's heritors, and one With every pulse of life that beats the air? Rather new suns across the sky shall pass, New splendour come unto the flower, new glory to the grass.
And we two lovers shall not sit afar, Critics of nature, but the joyous sea Shall be our raiment, and the bearded star Shoot arrows at our pleasure! We shall be Part of the mighty universal whole, And through all aeons mix and mingle with the Kosmic Soul! We shall be notes in that great Symphony Whose cadence circles through the rhythmic spheres, And all the live World's throbbing heart shall be One with our heart; the stealthy creeping years Have lost their terrors now, we shall not die, The Universe itself shall be our Immortality.
Written by Jonathan Swift | Create an image from this poem

The Beasts Confession

 To the Priest, on Observing how most Men mistake their own Talents
When beasts could speak (the learned say, 
They still can do so ev'ry day),
It seems, they had religion then,
As much as now we find in men.
It happen'd, when a plague broke out (Which therefore made them more devout), The king of brutes (to make it plain, Of quadrupeds I only mean) By proclamation gave command, That ev'ry subject in the land Should to the priest confess their sins; And thus the pious wolf begins: "Good father, I must own with shame, That often I have been to blame: I must confess, on Friday last, Wretch that I was! I broke my fast: But I defy the basest tongue To prove I did my neighbour wrong; Or ever went to seek my food By rapine, theft, or thirst of blood.
" The ***, approaching next, confess'd That in his heart he lov'd a jest: A wag he was, he needs must own, And could not let a dunce alone: Sometimes his friend he would not spare, And might perhaps be too severe: But yet, the worst that could be said, He was a wit both born and bred; And, if it be a sin or shame, Nature alone must bear the blame: One fault he hath, is sorry for't, His ears are half a foot too short; Which could he to the standard bring, He'd show his face before the King: Then for his voice, there's none disputes That he's the nightingale of brutes.
The swine with contrite heart allow'd, His shape and beauty made him proud: In diet was perhaps too nice, But gluttony was ne'er his vice: In ev'ry turn of life content, And meekly took what fortune sent: Inquire through all the parish round, A better neighbour ne'er was found: His vigilance might some displease; 'Tis true he hated sloth like peas.
The mimic ape began his chatter, How evil tongues his life bespatter: Much of the cens'ring world complain'd, Who said, his gravity was feign'd: Indeed, the strictness of his morals Engag'd him in a hundred quarrels: He saw, and he was griev'd to see't, His zeal was sometimes indiscreet: He found his virtues too severe For our corrupted times to bear: Yet, such a lewd licentious age Might well excuse a Stoic's rage.
The goat advanc'd with decent pace; And first excus'd his youthful face; Forgiveness begg'd that he appear'd ('Twas nature's fault) without a beard.
'Tis true, he was not much inclin'd To fondness for the female kind; Not, as his enemies object, From chance, or natural defect; Not by his frigid constitution, But through a pious resolution; For he had made a holy vow Of chastity as monks do now; Which he resolv'd to keep for ever hence, As strictly too, as doth his Reverence.
Apply the tale, and you shall find, How just it suits with human kind.
Some faults we own: but, can you guess? Why?--virtues carried to excess, Wherewith our vanity endows us, Though neither foe nor friend allows us.
The lawyer swears, you may rely on't, He never squeez'd a needy client; And this he makes his constant rule, For which his brethren call him fool: His conscience always was so nice, He freely gave the poor advice; By which he lost, he may affirm, A hundred fees last Easter term.
While others of the learned robe Would break the patience of a Job; No pleader at the bar could match His diligence and quick dispatch; Ne'er kept a cause, he well may boast, Above a term or two at most.
The cringing knave, who seeks a place Without success, thus tells his case: Why should he longer mince the matter? He fail'd because he could not flatter; He had not learn'd to turn his coat, Nor for a party give his vote: His crime he quickly understood; Too zealous for the nation's good: He found the ministers resent it, Yet could not for his heart repent it.
The chaplain vows he cannot fawn, Though it would raise him to the lawn: He pass'd his hours among his books; You find it in his meagre looks: He might, if he were worldly wise, Preferment get and spare his eyes: But own'd he had a stubborn spirit, That made him trust alone in merit: Would rise by merit to promotion; Alas! a mere chimeric notion.
The doctor, if you will believe him, Confess'd a sin; and God forgive him! Call'd up at midnight, ran to save A blind old beggar from the grave: But see how Satan spreads his snares; He quite forgot to say his prayers.
He cannot help it for his heart Sometimes to act the parson's part: Quotes from the Bible many a sentence, That moves his patients to repentance: And, when his med'cines do no good, Supports their minds with heav'nly food, At which, however well intended, He hears the clergy are offended; And grown so bold behind his back, To call him hypocrite and quack.
In his own church he keeps a seat; Says grace before and after meat; And calls, without affecting airs, His household twice a day to prayers.
He shuns apothecaries' shops; And hates to cram the sick with slops: He scorns to make his art a trade; Nor bribes my lady's fav'rite maid.
Old nurse-keepers would never hire To recommend him to the squire; Which others, whom he will not name, Have often practis'd to their shame.
The statesman tells you with a sneer, His fault is to be too sincere; And, having no sinister ends, Is apt to disoblige his friends.
The nation's good, his master's glory, Without regard to Whig or Tory, Were all the schemes he had in view; Yet he was seconded by few: Though some had spread a hundred lies, 'Twas he defeated the Excise.
'Twas known, though he had borne aspersion, That standing troops were his aversion: His practice was, in ev'ry station, To serve the King, and please the nation.
Though hard to find in ev'ry case The fittest man to fill a place: His promises he ne'er forgot, But took memorials on the spot: His enemies, for want of charity, Said he affected popularity: 'Tis true, the people understood, That all he did was for their good; Their kind affections he has tried; No love is lost on either side.
He came to Court with fortune clear, Which now he runs out ev'ry year: Must, at the rate that he goes on, Inevitably be undone: Oh! if his Majesty would please To give him but a writ of ease, Would grant him licence to retire, As it hath long been his desire, By fair accounts it would be found, He's poorer by ten thousand pound.
He owns, and hopes it is no sin, He ne'er was partial to his kin; He thought it base for men in stations To crowd the Court with their relations; His country was his dearest mother, And ev'ry virtuous man his brother; Through modesty or awkward shame (For which he owns himself to blame), He found the wisest man he could, Without respect to friends or blood; Nor ever acts on private views, When he hath liberty to choose.
The sharper swore he hated play, Except to pass an hour away: And well he might; for, to his cost, By want of skill he always lost; He heard there was a club of cheats, Who had contriv'd a thousand feats; Could change the stock, or cog a die, And thus deceive the sharpest eye: Nor wonder how his fortune sunk, His brothers fleece him when he's drunk.
I own the moral not exact; Besides, the tale is false in fact; And so absurd, that could I raise up From fields Elysian fabling Aesop; I would accuse him to his face For libelling the four-foot race.
Creatures of ev'ry kind but ours Well comprehend their natural pow'rs; While we, whom reason ought to sway, Mistake our talents ev'ry day.
The *** was never known so stupid To act the part of Tray or Cupid; Nor leaps upon his master's lap, There to be strok'd, and fed with pap, As Aesop would the world persuade; He better understands his trade: Nor comes, whene'er his lady whistles; But carries loads, and feeds on thistles.
Our author's meaning, I presume, is A creature bipes et implumis; Wherein the moralist design'd A compliment on human kind: For here he owns, that now and then Beasts may degenerate into men.
Written by John Keats | Create an image from this poem

Song of the Indian Maid

Song of the Indian Maid 

O SORROW! 
Why dost borrow 
The natural hue of health, from vermeil lips?¡ª 
To give maiden blushes 
To the white rose bushes? 5 
Or is it thy dewy hand the daisy tips? 

O Sorrow! 
Why dost borrow 
The lustrous passion from a falcon-eye?¡ª 
To give the glow-worm light? 10 
Or, on a moonless night, 
To tinge, on siren shores, the salt sea-spry? 

O Sorrow! 
Why dost borrow 
The mellow ditties from a mourning tongue?¡ª 15 
To give at evening pale 
Unto the nightingale, 
That thou mayst listen the cold dews among? 

O Sorrow! 
Why dost borrow 20 
Heart's lightness from the merriment of May?¡ª 
A lover would not tread 
A cowslip on the head, 
Though he should dance from eve till peep of day¡ª 
Nor any drooping flower 25 
Held sacred for thy bower, 
Wherever he may sport himself and play.
To Sorrow I bade good morrow, And thought to leave her far away behind; 30 But cheerly, cheerly, She loves me dearly; She is so constant to me, and so kind: I would deceive her And so leave her, 35 But ah! she is so constant and so kind.
Beneath my palm-trees, by the river side, I sat a-weeping: in the whole world wide There was no one to ask me why I wept,¡ª And so I kept 40 Brimming the water-lily cups with tears Cold as my fears.
Beneath my palm-trees, by the river side, I sat a-weeping: what enamour'd bride, Cheated by shadowy wooer from the clouds, 45 But hides and shrouds Beneath dark palm-trees by a river side? And as I sat, over the light blue hills There came a noise of revellers: the rills Into the wide stream came of purple hue¡ª 50 'Twas Bacchus and his crew! The earnest trumpet spake, and silver thrills From kissing cymbals made a merry din¡ª 'Twas Bacchus and his kin! Like to a moving vintage down they came, 55 Crown'd with green leaves, and faces all on flame; All madly dancing through the pleasant valley, To scare thee, Melancholy! O then, O then, thou wast a simple name! And I forgot thee, as the berried holly 60 By shepherds is forgotten, when in June Tall chestnuts keep away the sun and moon:¡ª I rush'd into the folly! Within his car, aloft, young Bacchus stood, Trifling his ivy-dart, in dancing mood, 65 With sidelong laughing; And little rills of crimson wine imbrued His plump white arms and shoulders, enough white For Venus' pearly bite; And near him rode Silenus on his ***, 70 Pelted with flowers as he on did pass Tipsily quaffing.
'Whence came ye, merry Damsels! whence came ye, So many, and so many, and such glee? Why have ye left your bowers desolate, 75 Your lutes, and gentler fate?'¡ª 'We follow Bacchus! Bacchus on the wing, A-conquering! Bacchus, young Bacchus! good or ill betide, We dance before him thorough kingdoms wide:¡ª 80 Come hither, lady fair, and join¨¨d be To our wild minstrelsy!' 'Whence came ye, jolly Satyrs! whence came ye, So many, and so many, and such glee? Why have ye left your forest haunts, why left 85 Your nuts in oak-tree cleft?'¡ª 'For wine, for wine we left our kernel tree; For wine we left our heath, and yellow brooms, And cold mushrooms; For wine we follow Bacchus through the earth; 90 Great god of breathless cups and chirping mirth! Come hither, lady fair, and join¨¨d be To our mad minstrelsy!' Over wide streams and mountains great we went, And, save when Bacchus kept his ivy tent, 95 Onward the tiger and the leopard pants, With Asian elephants: Onward these myriads¡ªwith song and dance, With zebras striped, and sleek Arabians' prance, Web-footed alligators, crocodiles, 100 Bearing upon their scaly backs, in files, Plump infant laughers mimicking the coil Of seamen, and stout galley-rowers' toil: With toying oars and silken sails they glide, Nor care for wind and tide.
105 Mounted on panthers' furs and lions' manes, From rear to van they scour about the plains; A three days' journey in a moment done; And always, at the rising of the sun, About the wilds they hunt with spear and horn, 110 On spleenful unicorn.
I saw Osirian Egypt kneel adown Before the vine-wreath crown! I saw parch'd Abyssinia rouse and sing To the silver cymbals' ring! 115 I saw the whelming vintage hotly pierce Old Tartary the fierce! The kings of Ind their jewel-sceptres vail, And from their treasures scatter pearl¨¨d hail; Great Brahma from his mystic heaven groans, 120 And all his priesthood moans, Before young Bacchus' eye-wink turning pale.
Into these regions came I, following him, Sick-hearted, weary¡ªso I took a whim To stray away into these forests drear, 125 Alone, without a peer: And I have told thee all thou mayest hear.
Young Stranger! I've been a ranger In search of pleasure throughout every clime; 130 Alas! 'tis not for me! Bewitch'd I sure must be, To lose in grieving all my maiden prime.
Come then, Sorrow, Sweetest Sorrow! 135 Like an own babe I nurse thee on my breast: I thought to leave thee, And deceive thee, But now of all the world I love thee best.
There is not one, 140 No, no, not one But thee to comfort a poor lonely maid; Thou art her mother, And her brother, Her playmate, and her wooer in the shade.
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Written by Aleister Crowley | Create an image from this poem

The Wizard Way

 [Dedicated to General J.
C.
F.
Fuller] Velvet soft the night-star glowed Over the untrodden road, Through the giant glades of yew Where its ray fell light as dew Lighting up the shimmering veil Maiden pure and aery frail That the spiders wove to hide Blushes of the sylvan bride Earth, that trembled with delight At the male caress of Night.
Velvet soft the wizard trod To the Sabbath of his God.
With his naked feet he made Starry blossoms in the glade, Softly, softly, as he went To the sombre sacrament, Stealthy stepping to the tryst In his gown of amethyst.
Earlier yet his soul had come To the Hill of Martyrdom, Where the charred and crooked stake Like a black envenomed snake By the hangman's hands is thrust Through the wet and writhing dust, Never black and never dried Heart's blood of a suicide.
He had plucked the hazel rod From the rude and goatish god, Even as the curved moon's waning ray Stolen from the King of Day.
He had learnt the elvish sign; Given the Token of the Nine: Once to rave, and once to revel, Once to bow before the devil, Once to swing the thurible, Once to kiss the goat of hell, Once to dance the aspen spring, Once to croak, and once to sing, Once to oil the savoury thighs Of the witch with sea-green eyes With the unguents magical.
Oh the honey and the gall Of that black enchanter's lips As he croons to the eclipse Mingling that most puissant spell Of the giant gods of hell With the four ingredients Of the evil elements; Ambergris from golden spar, Musk of ox from Mongol jar, Civet from a box of jade, Mixed with fat of many a maid Slain by the inchauntments cold Of the witches wild and old.
He had crucified a toad In the basilisk abode, Muttering the Runes averse Mad with many a mocking curse.
He had traced the serpent sigil In his ghastly virgin vigil.
Sursum cor! the elfin hill, Where the wind blows deadly chill From the world that wails beneath Death's black throat and lipless teeth.
There he had stood - his bosom bare - Tracing Life upon the Air With the crook and with the flail Lashing forward on the gale, Till its blade that wavereth Like the flickering of Death Sank before his subtle fence To the starless sea of sense.
Now at last the man is come Haply to his halidom.
Surely as he waves his rod In a circle on the sod Springs the emerald chaste and clean From the duller paler green.
Surely in the circle millions Of immaculate pavilions Flash upon the trembling turf Like the sea-stars in the surf - Millions of bejewelled tents For the warrior sacraments.
Vaster, vaster, vaster, vaster, Grows the stature of the master; All the ringed encampment vies With the infinite galaxies.
In the midst a cubic stone With the Devil set thereon; Hath a lamb's virginal throat; Hath the body of a stoat; Hath the buttocks of a goat; Hath the sanguine face and rod Of a goddess and a god! Spell by spell and pace by pace! Mystic flashes swing and trace Velvet soft the sigils stepped By the silver-starred adept.
Back and front, and to and fro, Soul and body sway and flow In vertiginous caresses To imponderable recesses, Till at last the spell is woven, And the faery veil is cloven That was Sequence, Space, and Stress Of the soul-sick consciousness.
"Give thy body to the beasts! Give thy spirit to the priests! Break in twain the hazel rod On the virgin lips of God! Tear the Rosy Cross asunder! Shatter the black bolt of thunder! Suck the swart ensanguine kiss Of the resolute abyss!" Wonder-weft the wizard heard This intolerable word.
Smote the blasting hazel rod On the scarlet lips of God; Trampled Cross and rosy core; Brake the thunder-tool of Thor; Meek and holy acolyte Of the priestly hells of spite, Sleek and shameless catamite Of the beasts that prowl the night! Like a star that streams from heaven Through the virgin airs light-riven, From the lift there shot and fell An admirable miracle.
Carved minute and clean, a key Of purest lapis-lazuli More blue than the blind sky that aches (Wreathed with the stars, her torturing snakes), For the dead god's kiss that never wakes; Shot with golden specks of fire Like a virgin with desire.
Look, the levers! fern-frail fronds Of fantastic diamonds, Glimmering with ethereal azure In each exquisite embrasure.
On the shaft the letters laced, As if dryads lunar-chaste With the satyrs were embraced, Spelled the secret of the key: Sic pervenias.
And he Went his wizard way, inweaving Dreams of things beyond believing.
When he will, the weary world Of the senses closely curled Like a serpent round his heart Shakes herself and stands apart.
So the heart's blood flames, expanding, Strenuous, urgent, and commanding; And the key unlocks the door Where his love lives evermore.
She is of the faery blood; All smaragdine flows its flood.
Glowing in the amber sky To ensorcelled porphyry She hath eyes of glittering flake Like a cold grey water-snake.
She hath naked breasts of amber Jetting wine in her bed-chamber, Whereof whoso stoops and drinks Rees the riddle of the Sphinx.
She hath naked limbs of amber Whereupon her children clamber.
She hath five navels rosy-red From the five wounds of God that bled; Each wound that mothered her still bleeding, And on that blood her babes are feeding.
Oh! like a rose-winged pelican She hath bred blessed babes to Pan! Oh! like a lion-hued nightingale She hath torn her breast on thorns to avail The barren rose-tree to renew Her life with that disastrous dew, Building the rose o' the world alight With music out of the pale moonlight! O She is like the river of blood That broke from the lips of the bastard god, When he saw the sacred mother smile On the ibis that flew up the foam of Nile Bearing the limbs unblessed, unborn, That the lurking beast of Nile had torn! So (for the world is weary) I These dreadful souls of sense lay by.
I sacrifice these impure shoon To the cold ray of the waning moon.
I take the forked hazel staff, And the rose of no terrene graff, And the lamp of no olive oil With heart's blood that alone may boil.
With naked breast and feet unshod I follow the wizard way to God.
Wherever he leads my foot shall follow; Over the height, into the hollow, Up to the caves of pure cold breath, Down to the deeps of foul hot death, Across the seas, through the fires, Past the palace of desires; Where he will, whether he will or no, If I go, I care not whither I go.
For in me is the taint of the faery blood.
Fast, fast its emerald flood Leaps within me, violent rude Like a bestial faun's beatitude.
In me the faery blood runs hard: My sires were a druid, a devil, a bard, A beast, a wizard, a snake and a satyr; For - as my mother said - what does it matter? She was a fay, pure of the faery; Queen Morgan's daughter by an aery Demon that came to Orkney once To pay the Beetle his orisons.
So, it is I that writhe with the twitch Of the faery blood, and the wizard itch To attain a matter one may not utter Rather than sink in the greasy splutter Of Britons munching their bread and butter; Ailing boys and coarse-grained girls Grown to sloppy women and brutal churls.
So, I am off with staff in hand To the endless light of the nameless land.
Darkness spreads its sombre streams, Blotting out the elfin dreams.
I might haply be afraid, Were it not the Feather-maid Leads me softly by the hand, Whispers me to understand.
Now (when through the world of weeping Light at last starrily creeping Steals upon my babe-new sight, Light - O light that is not light!) On my mouth the lips of her Like a stone on my sepulchre Seal my speech with ecstasy, Till a babe is born of me That is silent more than I; For its inarticulate cry Hushes as its mouth is pressed To the pearl, her honey breast; While its breath divinely ripples The rose-petals of her nipples, And the jetted milk he laps From the soft delicious paps, Sweeter than the bee-sweet showers In the chalice of the flowers, More intoxicating than All the purple grapes of Pan.
Ah! my proper lips are stilled.
Only, all the world is filled With the Echo, that drips over Like the honey from the clover.
Passion, penitence, and pain Seek their mother's womb again, And are born the triple treasure, Peace and purity and pleasure.
- Hush, my child, and come aloft Where the stars are velvet soft!
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

Oatmeal

 I eat oatmeal for breakfast.
I make it on the hot plate and put skimmed milk on it.
I eat it alone.
I am aware it is not good to eat oatmeal alone.
Its consistency is such that is better for your mental health if somebody eats it with you.
That is why I often think up an imaginary companion to have breakfast with.
Possibly it is even worse to eat oatmeal with an imaginary companion.
Nevertheless, yesterday morning, I ate my oatmeal porridge, as he called it with John Keats.
Keats said I was absolutely right to invite him: due to its glutinous texture, gluey lumpishness, hint of slime, and unsual willingness to disintigrate, oatmeal should not be eaten alone.
He said that in his opinion, however, it is perfectly OK to eat it with an imaginary companion, and that he himself had enjoyed memorable porridges with Edmund Spenser and John Milton.
Even if eating oatmeal with an imaginary companion is not as wholesome as Keats claims, still, you can learn something from it.
Yesterday morning, for instance, Keats told me about writing the "Ode to a Nightingale.
" He had a heck of a time finishing it those were his words "Oi 'ad a 'eck of a toime," he said, more or less, speaking through his porridge.
He wrote it quickly, on scraps of paper, which he then stuck in his pocket, but when he got home he couldn't figure out the order of the stanzas, and he and a friend spread the papers on a table, and they made some sense of them, but he isn't sure to this day if they got it right.
An entire stanza may have slipped into the lining of his jacket through a hole in his pocket.
He still wonders about the occasional sense of drift between stanzas, and the way here and there a line will go into the configuration of a Moslem at prayer, then raise itself up and peer about, and then lay itself down slightly off the mark, causing the poem to move forward with a reckless, shining wobble.
He said someone told him that later in life Wordsworth heard about the scraps of paper on the table, and tried shuffling some stanzas of his own, but only made matters worse.
I would not have known any of this but for my reluctance to eat oatmeal alone.
When breakfast was over, John recited "To Autumn.
" He recited it slowly, with much feeling, and he articulated the words lovingly, and his odd accent sounded sweet.
He didn't offer the story of writing "To Autumn," I doubt if there is much of one.
But he did say the sight of a just-harvested oat field go thim started on it, and two of the lines, "For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells" and "Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours," came to him while eating oatmeal alone.
I can see him drawing a spoon through the stuff, gazing into the glimmering furrows, muttering.
Maybe there is no sublime; only the shining of the amnion's tatters.
For supper tonight I am going to have a baked potato left over from lunch.
I am aware that a leftover baked potato is damp, slippery, and simultaneaously gummy and crumbly, and therefore I'm going to invite Patrick Kavanagh to join me.
Written by Adrian Green | Create an image from this poem

Luna Lake Haiku

 New moon on the lake.
Your voice and the nightingale serenade springtime.
Full moon on the lake.
Your voice and the waterbirds celebrate summer.
Old moon on the lake.
Owls hunting autumnal food - your voice still singing.
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