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Best Famous Polluted Poems

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Written by William Cullen Bryant | Create an image from this poem

Hymn To Death

 Oh! could I hope the wise and pure in heart
Might hear my song without a frown, nor deem
My voice unworthy of the theme it tries,--
I would take up the hymn to Death, and say
To the grim power, The world hath slandered thee
And mocked thee.
On thy dim and shadowy brow They place an iron crown, and call thee king Of terrors, and the spoiler of the world, Deadly assassin, that strik'st down the fair, The loved, the good--that breath'st upon the lights Of virtue set along the vale of life, And they go out in darkness.
I am come, Not with reproaches, not with cries and prayers, Such as have stormed thy stern insensible ear From the beginning.
I am come to speak Thy praises.
True it is, that I have wept Thy conquests, and may weep them yet again: And thou from some I love wilt take a life Dear to me as my own.
Yet while the spell Is on my spirit, and I talk with thee In sight of all thy trophies, face to face, Meet is it that my voice should utter forth Thy nobler triumphs: I will teach the world To thank thee.
--Who are thine accusers?--Who? The living!--they who never felt thy power, And know thee not.
The curses of the wretch Whose crimes are ripe, his sufferings when thy hand Is on him, and the hour he dreads is come, Are writ among thy praises.
But the good-- Does he whom thy kind hand dismissed to peace, Upbraid the gentle violence that took off His fetters, and unbarred his prison cell? Raise then the Hymn to Death.
Deliverer! God hath anointed thee to free the oppressed And crush the oppressor.
When the armed chief, The conqueror of nations, walks the world, And it is changed beneath his feet, and all Its kingdoms melt into one mighty realm-- Thou, while his head is loftiest, and his heart Blasphemes, imagining his own right hand Almighty, sett'st upon him thy stern grasp, And the strong links of that tremendous chain That bound mankind are crumbled; thou dost break Sceptre and crown, and beat his throne to dust.
Then the earth shouts with gladness, and her tribes Gather within their ancient bounds again.
Else had the mighty of the olden time, Nimrod, Sesostris, or the youth who feigned His birth from Lybian Ammon, smote even now The nations with a rod of iron, and driven Their chariot o'er our necks.
Thou dost avenge, In thy good time, the wrongs of those who know No other friend.
Nor dost thou interpose Only to lay the sufferer asleep, Where he who made him wretched troubles not His rest--thou dost strike down his tyrant too.
Oh, there is joy when hands that held the scourge Drop lifeless, and the pitiless heart is cold.
Thou too dost purge from earth its horrible And old idolatries; from the proud fanes Each to his grave their priests go out, till none Is left to teach their worship; then the fires Of sacrifice are chilled, and the green moss O'ercreeps their altars; the fallen images Cumber the weedy courts, and for loud hymns, Chanted by kneeling crowds, the chiding winds Shriek in the solitary aisles.
When he Who gives his life to guilt, and laughs at all The laws that God or man has made, and round Hedges his seat with power, and shines in wealth,-- Lifts up his atheist front to scoff at Heaven, And celebrates his shame in open day, Thou, in the pride of all his crimes, cutt'st off The horrible example.
Touched by thine, The extortioner's hard hand foregoes the gold Wrong from the o'er-worn poor.
The perjurer, Whose tongue was lithe, e'en now, and voluble Against his neighbour's life, and he who laughed And leaped for joy to see a spotless fame Blasted before his own foul calumnies, Are smit with deadly silence.
He, who sold His conscience to preserve a worthless life, Even while he hugs himself on his escape, Trembles, as, doubly terrible, at length, Thy steps o'ertake him, and there is no time For parley--nor will bribes unclench thy grasp.
Oft, too, dost thou reform thy victim, long Ere his last hour.
And when the reveller, Mad in the chase of pleasure, stretches on, And strains each nerve, and clears the path of life Like wind, thou point'st him to the dreadful goal, And shak'st thy hour-glass in his reeling eye, And check'st him in mid course.
Thy skeleton hand Shows to the faint of spirit the right path, And he is warned, and fears to step aside.
Thou sett'st between the ruffian and his crime Thy ghastly countenance, and his slack hand Drops the drawn knife.
But, oh, most fearfully Dost thou show forth Heaven's justice, when thy shafts Drink up the ebbing spirit--then the hard Of heart and violent of hand restores The treasure to the friendless wretch he wronged.
Then from the writhing bosom thou dost pluck The guilty secret; lips, for ages sealed, Are faithless to the dreadful trust at length, And give it up; the felon's latest breath Absolves the innocent man who bears his crime; The slanderer, horror smitten, and in tears, Recalls the deadly obloquy he forged To work his brother's ruin.
Thou dost make Thy penitent victim utter to the air The dark conspiracy that strikes at life, And aims to whelm the laws; ere yet the hour Is come, and the dread sign of murder given.
Thus, from the first of time, hast thou been found On virtue's side; the wicked, but for thee, Had been too strong for the good; the great of earth Had crushed the weak for ever.
Schooled in guile For ages, while each passing year had brought Its baneful lesson, they had filled the world With their abominations; while its tribes, Trodden to earth, imbruted, and despoiled, Had knelt to them in worship; sacrifice Had smoked on many an altar, temple roofs Had echoed with the blasphemous prayer and hymn: But thou, the great reformer of the world, Tak'st off the sons of violence and fraud In their green pupilage, their lore half learned-- Ere guilt has quite o'errun the simple heart God gave them at their birth, and blotted out His image.
Thou dost mark them, flushed with hope, As on the threshold of their vast designs Doubtful and loose they stand, and strik'st them down.
Alas, I little thought that the stern power Whose fearful praise I sung, would try me thus Before the strain was ended.
It must cease-- For he is in his grave who taught my youth The art of verse, and in the bud of life Offered me to the muses.
Oh, cut off Untimely! when thy reason in its strength, Ripened by years of toil and studious search And watch of Nature's silent lessons, taught Thy hand to practise best the lenient art To which thou gavest thy laborious days.
And, last, thy life.
And, therefore, when the earth Received thee, tears were in unyielding eyes And on hard cheeks, and they who deemed thy skill Delayed their death-hour, shuddered and turned pale When thou wert gone.
This faltering verse, which thou Shalt not, as wont, o'erlook, is all I have To offer at thy grave--this--and the hope To copy thy example, and to leave A name of which the wretched shall not think As of an enemy's, whom they forgive As all forgive the dead.
Rest, therefore, thou Whose early guidance trained my infant steps-- Rest, in the bosom of God, till the brief sleep Of death is over, and a happier life Shall dawn to waken thine insensible dust.
Now thou art not--and yet the men whose guilt Has wearied Heaven for vengeance--he who bears False witness--he who takes the orphan's bread, And robs the widow--he who spreads abroad Polluted hands in mockery of prayer, Are left to cumber earth.
Shuddering I look On what is written, yet I blot not out The desultory numbers--let them stand.
The record of an idle revery.


Written by Kathleen Raine | Create an image from this poem

Millenial Hymn to Lord Shiva

 Earth no longer
hymns the Creator,
the seven days of wonder,
the Garden is over —
all the stories are told,
the seven seals broken
all that begins
must have its ending,
our striving, desiring,
our living and dying,
for Time, the bringer
of abundant days
is Time the destroyer —
In the Iron Age
the Kali Yuga
To whom can we pray
at the end of an era
but the Lord Shiva,
the Liberator, the purifier?

Our forests are felled,
our mountains eroded,
the wild places
where the beautiful animals
found food and sanctuary
we have desolated,
a third of our seas,
a third of our rivers
we have polluted
and the sea-creatures dying.
Our civilization’s blind progress in wrong courses through wrong choices has brought us to nightmare where what seems, is, to the dreamer, the collective mind of the twentieth century — this world of wonders not divine creation but a big bang of blind chance, purposeless accident, mother earth’s children, their living and loving, their delight in being not joy but chemistry, stimulus, reflex, valueless, meaningless, while to our machines we impute intelligence, in computers and robots we store information and call it knowledge, we seek guidance by dialling numbers, pressing buttons, throwing switches, in place of family our companions are shadows, cast on a screen, bodiless voices, fleshless faces, where was the Garden a Disney-land of virtual reality, in place of angels the human imagination is peopled with foot-ballers film-stars, media-men, experts, know-all television personalities, animated puppets with cartoon faces — To whom can we pray for release from illusion, from the world-cave, but Time the destroyer, the liberator, the purifier? The curse of Midas has changed at a touch, a golden handshake earthly paradise to lifeless matter, where once was seed-time, summer and winter, food-chain, factory farming, monocrops for supermarkets, pesticides, weed-killers birdless springs, endangered species, battery-hens, hormone injections, artificial insemination, implants, transplants, sterilization, surrogate births, contraception, cloning, genetic engineering, abortion, and our days shall be short in the land we have sown with the Dragon’s teeth where our armies arise fully armed on our killing-fields with land-mines and missiles, tanks and artillery, gas-masks and body-bags, our air-craft rain down fire and destruction, our space-craft broadcast lies and corruption, our elected parliaments parrot their rhetoric of peace and democracy while the truth we deny returns in our dreams of Armageddon, the death-wish, the arms-trade, hatred and slaughter profitable employment of our thriving cities, the arms-race to the end of the world of our postmodern, post-Christian, post-human nations, progress to the nihil of our spent civilization.
But cause and effect, just and inexorable law of the universe no fix of science, nor amenable god can save from ourselves the selves we have become — At the end of history to whom can we pray but to the destroyer, the liberator, the purifier? In the beginning the stars sang together the cosmic harmony, but Time, imperceptible taker-away of all that has been, all that will be, our heart-beat your drum, our dance of life your dance of death in the crematorium, our high-rise dreams, Valhalla, Utopia, Xanadu, Shangri-la, world revolution Time has taken, and soon will be gone Cambridge, Princeton and M.
I.
T.
, Nalanda, Athens and Alexandria all for the holocaust of civilization — To whom shall we pray when our vision has faded but the world-destroyer, the liberator, the purifier? But great is the realm of the world-creator, the world-sustainer from whom we come, in whom we move and have our being, about us, within us the wonders of wisdom, the trees and the fountains, the stars and the mountains, all the children of joy, the loved and the known, the unknowable mystery to whom we return through the world-destroyer, — Holy, holy at the end of the world the purging fire of the purifier, the liberator!
Written by John Dryden | Create an image from this poem

Mac Flecknoe

 All human things are subject to decay,
And, when Fate summons, monarchs must obey:
This Flecknoe found, who, like Augustus, young
Was call'd to empire, and had govern'd long:
In prose and verse, was own'd, without dispute
Through all the realms of Non-sense, absolute.
This aged prince now flourishing in peace, And blest with issue of a large increase, Worn out with business, did at length debate To settle the succession of the State: And pond'ring which of all his sons was fit To reign, and wage immortal war with wit; Cry'd, 'tis resolv'd; for nature pleads that he Should only rule, who most resembles me: Shadwell alone my perfect image bears, Mature in dullness from his tender years.
Shadwell alone, of all my sons, is he Who stands confirm'd in full stupidity.
The rest to some faint meaning make pretence, But Shadwell never deviates into sense.
Some beams of wit on other souls may fall, Strike through and make a lucid interval; But Shadwell's genuine night admits no ray, His rising fogs prevail upon the day: Besides his goodly fabric fills the eye, And seems design'd for thoughtless majesty: Thoughtless as monarch oaks, that shade the plain, And, spread in solemn state, supinely reign.
Heywood and Shirley were but types of thee, Thou last great prophet of tautology: Even I, a dunce of more renown than they, Was sent before but to prepare thy way; And coarsely clad in Norwich drugget came To teach the nations in thy greater name.
My warbling lute, the lute I whilom strung When to King John of Portugal I sung, Was but the prelude to that glorious day, When thou on silver Thames did'st cut thy way, With well tim'd oars before the royal barge, Swell'd with the pride of thy celestial charge; And big with hymn, commander of an host, The like was ne'er in Epsom blankets toss'd.
Methinks I see the new Arion sail, The lute still trembling underneath thy nail.
At thy well sharpen'd thumb from shore to shore The treble squeaks for fear, the basses roar: Echoes from Pissing-Alley, Shadwell call, And Shadwell they resound from Aston Hall.
About thy boat the little fishes throng, As at the morning toast, that floats along.
Sometimes as prince of thy harmonious band Thou wield'st thy papers in thy threshing hand.
St.
Andre's feet ne'er kept more equal time, Not ev'n the feet of thy own Psyche's rhyme: Though they in number as in sense excel; So just, so like tautology they fell, That, pale with envy, Singleton forswore The lute and sword which he in triumph bore And vow'd he ne'er would act Villerius more.
Here stopt the good old sire; and wept for joy In silent raptures of the hopeful boy.
All arguments, but most his plays, persuade, That for anointed dullness he was made.
Close to the walls which fair Augusta bind, (The fair Augusta much to fears inclin'd) An ancient fabric, rais'd t'inform the sight, There stood of yore, and Barbican it hight: A watch tower once; but now, so fate ordains, Of all the pile an empty name remains.
From its old ruins brothel-houses rise, Scenes of lewd loves, and of polluted joys.
Where their vast courts, the mother-strumpets keep, And, undisturb'd by watch, in silence sleep.
Near these a nursery erects its head, Where queens are form'd, and future heroes bred; Where unfledg'd actors learn to laugh and cry, Where infant punks their tender voices try, And little Maximins the gods defy.
Great Fletcher never treads in buskins here, Nor greater Jonson dares in socks appear; But gentle Simkin just reception finds Amidst this monument of vanish'd minds: Pure clinches, the suburbian muse affords; And Panton waging harmless war with words.
Here Flecknoe, as a place to fame well known, Ambitiously design'd his Shadwell's throne.
For ancient Decker prophesi'd long since, That in this pile should reign a mighty prince, Born for a scourge of wit, and flail of sense: To whom true dullness should some Psyches owe, But worlds of Misers from his pen should flow; Humorists and hypocrites it should produce, Whole Raymond families, and tribes of Bruce.
Now Empress Fame had publisht the renown, Of Shadwell's coronation through the town.
Rous'd by report of fame, the nations meet, From near Bun-Hill, and distant Watling-street.
No Persian carpets spread th'imperial way, But scatter'd limbs of mangled poets lay: From dusty shops neglected authors come, Martyrs of pies, and reliques of the bum.
Much Heywood, Shirley, Ogleby there lay, But loads of Shadwell almost chok'd the way.
Bilk'd stationers for yeoman stood prepar'd, And Herringman was Captain of the Guard.
The hoary prince in majesty appear'd, High on a throne of his own labours rear'd.
At his right hand our young Ascanius sat Rome's other hope, and pillar of the state.
His brows thick fogs, instead of glories, grace, And lambent dullness play'd around his face.
As Hannibal did to the altars come, Sworn by his sire a mortal foe to Rome; So Shadwell swore, nor should his vow be vain, That he till death true dullness would maintain; And in his father's right, and realm's defence, Ne'er to have peace with wit, nor truce with sense.
The king himself the sacred unction made, As king by office, and as priest by trade: In his sinister hand, instead of ball, He plac'd a mighty mug of potent ale; Love's kingdom to his right he did convey, At once his sceptre and his rule of sway; Whose righteous lore the prince had practis'd young, And from whose loins recorded Psyche sprung, His temples last with poppies were o'er spread, That nodding seem'd to consecrate his head: Just at that point of time, if fame not lie, On his left hand twelve reverend owls did fly.
So Romulus, 'tis sung, by Tiber's brook, Presage of sway from twice six vultures took.
Th'admiring throng loud acclamations make, And omens of his future empire take.
The sire then shook the honours of his head, And from his brows damps of oblivion shed Full on the filial dullness: long he stood, Repelling from his breast the raging god; At length burst out in this prophetic mood: Heavens bless my son, from Ireland let him reign To far Barbadoes on the Western main; Of his dominion may no end be known, And greater than his father's be his throne.
Beyond love's kingdom let him stretch his pen; He paus'd, and all the people cry'd Amen.
Then thus, continu'd he, my son advance Still in new impudence, new ignorance.
Success let other teach, learn thou from me Pangs without birth, and fruitless industry.
Let Virtuosos in five years be writ; Yet not one thought accuse thy toil of wit.
Let gentle George in triumph tread the stage, Make Dorimant betray, and Loveit rage; Let Cully, Cockwood, Fopling, charm the pit, And in their folly show the writer's wit.
Yet still thy fools shall stand in thy defence, And justify their author's want of sense.
Let 'em be all by thy own model made Of dullness, and desire no foreign aid: That they to future ages may be known, Not copies drawn, but issue of thy own.
Nay let thy men of wit too be the same, All full of thee, and differing but in name; But let no alien Sedley interpose To lard with wit thy hungry Epsom prose.
And when false flowers of rhetoric thou would'st cull, Trust Nature, do not labour to be dull; But write thy best, and top; and in each line, Sir Formal's oratory will be thine.
Sir Formal, though unsought, attends thy quill, And does thy Northern Dedications fill.
Nor let false friends seduce thy mind to fame, By arrogating Jonson's hostile name.
Let Father Flecknoe fire thy mind with praise, And Uncle Ogleby thy envy raise.
Thou art my blood, where Jonson has no part; What share have we in Nature or in Art? Where did his wit on learning fix a brand, And rail at arts he did not understand? Where made he love in Prince Nicander's vein, Or swept the dust in Psyche's humble strain? Where sold he bargains, whip-stitch, kiss my ****, Promis'd a play and dwindled to a farce? When did his muse from Fletcher scenes purloin, As thou whole Eth'ridge dost transfuse to thine? But so transfus'd as oil on waters flow, His always floats above, thine sinks below.
This is thy province, this thy wondrous way, New humours to invent for each new play: This is that boasted bias of thy mind, By which one way, to dullness, 'tis inclin'd, Which makes thy writings lean on one side still, And in all changes that way bends thy will.
Nor let thy mountain belly make pretence Of likeness; thine's a tympany of sense.
A tun of man in thy large bulk is writ, But sure thou 'rt but a kilderkin of wit.
Like mine thy gentle numbers feebly creep, Thy Tragic Muse gives smiles, thy Comic sleep.
With whate'er gall thou sett'st thy self to write, Thy inoffensive satires never bite.
In thy felonious heart, though venom lies, It does but touch thy Irish pen, and dies.
Thy genius calls thee not to purchase fame In keen iambics, but mild anagram: Leave writing plays, and choose for thy command Some peaceful province in acrostic land.
There thou may'st wings display and altars raise, And torture one poor word ten thousand ways.
Or if thou would'st thy diff'rent talents suit, Set thy own songs, and sing them to thy lute.
He said, but his last words were scarcely heard, For Bruce and Longvil had a trap prepar'd, And down they sent the yet declaiming bard.
Sinking he left his drugget robe behind, Born upwards by a subterranean wind.
The mantle fell to the young prophet's part, With double portion of his father's art.
Written by Anne Bronte | Create an image from this poem

Confidence

 Oppressed with sin and woe,
A burdened heart I bear,
Opposed by many a mighty foe:
But I will not despair.
With this polluted heart I dare to come to Thee, Holy and mighty as Thou art; For Thou wilt pardon me.
I feel that I am weak, And prone to every sin: But Thou who giv'st to those who seek, Wilt give me strength within.
Far as this earth may be From yonder starry skies; Remoter still am I from Thee: Yet Thou wilt not despise.
I need not fear my foes, I need not yield to care, I need not sink beneath my woes: For Thou wilt answer prayer.
In my Redeemer's name, I give myself to Thee; And all unworthy as I am My God will cherish me.
O make me wholly Thine! Thy love to me impart, And let Thy holy spirit shine For ever on my heart!
Written by Friedrich von Schiller | Create an image from this poem

Genius

 "Do I believe," sayest thou, "what the masters of wisdom would teach me,
And what their followers' band boldly and readily swear?
Cannot I ever attain to true peace, excepting through knowledge,
Or is the system upheld only by fortune and law?
Must I distrust the gently-warning impulse, the precept
That thou, Nature, thyself hast in my bosom impressed,
Till the schools have affixed to the writ eternal their signet,
Till a mere formula's chain binds down the fugitive soul?
Answer me, then! for thou hast down into these deeps e'en descended,--
Out of the mouldering grave thou didst uninjured return.
Is't to thee known what within the tomb of obscure works is hidden, Whether, yon mummies amid, life's consolations can dwell? Must I travel the darksome road? The thought makes me tremble; Yet I will travel that road, if 'tis to truth and to right.
" Friend, hast thou heard of the golden age? Full many a story Poets have sung in its praise, simply and touchingly sung-- Of the time when the holy still wandered over life's pathways,-- When with a maidenly shame every sensation was veiled,-- When the mighty law that governs the sun in his orbit, And that, concealed in the bud, teaches the point how to move, When necessity's silent law, the steadfast, the changeless, Stirred up billows more free, e'en in the bosom of man,-- When the sense, unerring, and true as the hand of the dial, Pointed only to truth, only to what was eternal? Then no profane one was seen, then no initiate was met with, And what as living was felt was not then sought 'mongst the dead; Equally clear to every breast was the precept eternal, Equally hidden the source whence it to gladden us sprang; But that happy period has vanished! And self-willed presumption Nature's godlike repose now has forever destroyed.
Feelings polluted the voice of the deities echo no longer, In the dishonored breast now is the oracle dumb.
Save in the silenter self, the listening soul cannot find it, There does the mystical word watch o'er the meaning divine; There does the searcher conjure it, descending with bosom unsullied; There does the nature long-lost give him back wisdom again.
If thou, happy one, never hast lost the angel that guards thee, Forfeited never the kind warnings that instinct holds forth; If in thy modest eye the truth is still purely depicted; If in thine innocent breast clearly still echoes its call; If in thy tranquil mind the struggles of doubt still are silent, If they will surely remain silent forever as now; If by the conflict of feelings a judge will ne'er be required; If in its malice thy heart dims not the reason so clear, Oh, then, go thy way in all thy innocence precious! Knowledge can teach thee in naught; thou canst instruct her in much! Yonder law, that with brazen staff is directing the struggling, Naught is to thee.
What thou dost, what thou mayest will is thy law, And to every race a godlike authority issues.
What thou with holy hand formest, what thou with holy mouth speakest, Will with omnipotent power impel the wondering senses; Thou but observest not the god ruling within thine own breast, Not the might of the signet that bows all spirits before thee; Simple and silent thou goest through the wide world thou hast won.
Written by Sir Walter Scott | Create an image from this poem

Patriotism 02 Nelson Pitt Fox

 TO mute and to material things
New life revolving summer brings;
The genial call dead Nature hears,
And in her glory reappears.
But oh, my Country's wintry state What second spring shall renovate? What powerful call shall bid arise The buried warlike and the wise; The mind that thought for Britain's weal, The hand that grasp'd the victor steel? The vernal sun new life bestows Even on the meanest flower that blows; But vainly, vainly may he shine Where glory weeps o'er NELSON'S shrine; And vainly pierce the solemn gloom That shrouds, O PITT, thy hallow'd tomb! Deep graved in every British heart, O never let those names depart! Say to your sons,--Lo, here his grave, Who victor died on Gadite wave! To him, as to the burning levin, Short, bright, resistless course was given.
Where'er his country's foes were found Was heard the fated thunder's sound, Till burst the bolt on yonder shore, Roll'd, blazed, destroy'd--and was no more.
Nor mourn ye less his perish'd worth, Who bade the conqueror go forth, And launch'd that thunderbolt of war On Egypt, Hafnia, Trafalgar; Who, born to guide such high emprise, For Britain's weal was early wise; Alas! to whom the Almighty gave, For Britain's sins, an early grave! --His worth, who in his mightiest hour A bauble held the pride of power, Spurn'd at the sordid lust of pelf, And served his Albion for herself; Who, when the frantic crowd amain Strain'd at subjection's bursting rein, O'er their wild mood full conquest gain'd, The pride he would not crush, restrain'd, Show'd their fierce zeal a worthier cause, And brought the freeman's arm to aid the freeman's laws.
Hadst thou but lived, though stripp'd of power, A watchman on the lonely tower, Thy thrilling trump had roused the land, When fraud or danger were at hand; By thee, as by the beacon-light, Our pilots had kept course aright; As some proud column, though alone, Thy strength had propp'd the tottering throne.
Now is the stately column broke, The beacon-light is quench'd in smoke, The trumpet's silver voice is still, The warder silent on the hill! O think, how to his latest day, When Death, just hovering, claim'd his prey, With Palinure's unalter'd mood Firm at his dangerous post he stood; Each call for needful rest repell'd, With dying hand the rudder held, Till in his fall with fateful sway The steerage of the realm gave way.
Then--while on Britain's thousand plains One polluted church remains, Whose peaceful bells ne'er sent around The bloody tocsin's maddening sound, But still upon the hallow'd day Convoke the swains to praise and pray; While faith and civil peace are dear, Grace this cold marble with a tear:-- He who preserved them, PITT, lies here! Nor yet suppress the generous sigh, Because his rival slumbers nigh; Nor be thy Requiescat dumb Lest it be said o'er Fox's tomb.
For talents mourn, untimely lost, When best employ'd, and wanted most; Mourn genius high, and lore profound, And wit that loved to play, not wound; And all the reasoning powers divine To penetrate, resolve, combine; And feelings keen, and fancy's glow-- They sleep with him who sleeps below: And, if thou mourn'st they could not save From error him who owns this grave, Be every harsher thought suppress'd, And sacred be the last long rest.
Here, where the end of earthly things Lays heroes, patriots, bards, and kings; Where stiff the hand, and still the tongue, Of those who fought, and spoke, and sung; Here, where the fretted vaults prolong The distant notes of holy song, As if some angel spoke agen, 'All peace on earth, good-will to men'; If ever from an English heart, O, here let prejudice depart, And, partial feeling cast aside, Record that Fox a Briton died! When Europe crouch'd to France's yoke, And Austria bent, and Prussia broke, And the firm Russian's purpose brave Was barter'd by a timorous slave-- Even then dishonour's peace he spurn'd, The sullied olive-branch return'd, Stood for his country's glory fast, And nail'd her colours to the mast! Heaven, to reward his firmness, gave A portion in this honour'd grave; And ne'er held marble in its trust Of two such wondrous men the dust.
With more than mortal powers endow'd, How high they soar'd above the crowd! Theirs was no common party race, Jostling by dark intrigue for place; Like fabled gods, their mighty war Shook realms and nations in its jar; Beneath each banner proud to stand, Look'd up the noblest of the land, Till through the British world were known The names of PITT and Fox alone.
Spells of such force no wizard grave E'er framed in dark Thessalian cave, Though his could drain the ocean dry, And force the planets from the sky.
These spells are spent, and, spent with these, The wine of life is on the lees.
Genius, and taste, and talent gone, For ever tomb'd beneath the stone, Where--taming thought to human pride!-- The mighty chiefs sleep side by side.
Drop upon Fox's grave the tear, 'Twill trickle to his rival's bier; O'er PITT'S the mournful requiem sound, And Fox's shall the notes rebound.
The solemn echo seems to cry, 'Here let their discord with them die.
Speak not for those a separate doom Whom fate made Brothers in the tomb; But search the land of living men, Where wilt thou find their like agen?'
Written by Elinor Wylie | Create an image from this poem

The Eagle and the Mole

 Avoid the reeking herd, 
Shun the polluted flock, 
Live like that stoic bird, 
The eagle of the rock.
The huddled warmth of crowds Begets and fosters hate; He keeps above the clouds His cliff inviolate.
When flocks are folded warm, And herds to shelter run, He sails above the storm, He stares into the sun.
If in the eagle's track Your sinews cannot leap, Avoid the lathered pack, Turn from the steaming sheep.
If you would keep your soul From spotted sight or sound, Live like the velvet mole: Go burrow underground.
And there hold intercourse With roots of trees and stones, With rivers at their source, And disembodied bones.


Written by Algernon Charles Swinburne | Create an image from this poem

Quia Multum Amavit

 Am I not he that hath made thee and begotten thee,
I, God, the spirit of man?
Wherefore now these eighteen years hast thou forgotten me,
From whom thy life began?
Thy life-blood and thy life-breath and thy beauty,
Thy might of hands and feet,
Thy soul made strong for divinity of duty
And service which was sweet.
Through the red sea brimmed with blood didst thou not follow me, As one that walks in trance? Was the storm strong to break or the sea to swallow thee, When thou wast free and France? I am Freedom, God and man, O France, that plead with thee; How long now shall I plead? Was I not with thee in travail, and in need with thee, Thy sore travail and need? Thou wast fairest and first of my virgin-vested daughters, Fairest and foremost thou; And thy breast was white, though thy hands were red with slaughters, Thy breast, a harlot's now.
O foolish virgin and fair among the fallen, A ruin where satyrs dance, A garden wasted for beasts to crawl and brawl in, What hast thou done with France? Where is she who bared her bosom but to thunder, Her brow to storm and flame, And before her face was the red sea cloven in sunder And all its waves made tame? And the surf wherein the broad-based rocks were shaking She saw far off divide, At the blast of the breath of the battle blown and breaking, And weight of wind and tide; And the ravin and the ruin of throned nations And every royal race, And the kingdoms and kings from the state of their high stations That fell before her face.
Yea, great was the fall of them, all that rose against her, From the earth's old-historied heights; For my hands were fire, and my wings as walls that fenced her, Mine eyes as pilot-lights.
Not as guerdons given of kings the gifts I brought her, Not strengths that pass away; But my heart, my breath of life, O France, O daughter, I gave thee in that day.
Yea, the heart's blood of a very God I gave thee, Breathed in thy mouth his breath; Was my word as a man's, having no more strength to save thee From this worse thing than death? Didst thou dream of it only, the day that I stood nigh thee, Was all its light a dream? When that iron surf roared backwards and went by thee Unscathed of storm or stream: When thy sons rose up and thy young men stood together, One equal face of fight, And my flag swam high as the swimming sea-foam's feather, Laughing, a lamp of light? Ah the lordly laughter and light of it, that lightened Heaven-high, the heaven's whole length! Ah the hearts of heroes pierced, the bright lips whitened Of strong men in their strength! Ah the banner-poles, the stretch of straightening streamers Straining their full reach out! Ah the men's hands making true the dreams of dreamers, The hopes brought forth in doubt! Ah the noise of horse, the charge and thunder of drumming, And swaying and sweep of swords! Ah the light that led them through of the world's life coming, Clear of its lies and lords! By the lightning of the lips of guns whose flashes Made plain the strayed world's way; By the flame that left her dead old sins in ashes, Swept out of sight of day; By thy children whose bare feet were shod with thunder, Their bare hands mailed with fire; By the faith that went with them, waking fear and wonder, Heart's love and high desire; By the tumult of the waves of nations waking Blind in the loud wide night; By the wind that went on the world's waste waters, making Their marble darkness white, As the flash of the flakes of the foam flared lamplike, leaping From wave to gladdening wave, Making wide the fast-shut eyes of thraldom sleeping The sleep of the unclean grave; By the fire of equality, terrible, devouring, Divine, that brought forth good; By the lands it purged and wasted and left flowering With bloom of brotherhood; By the lips of fraternity that for love's sake uttered Fierce words and fires of death, But the eyes were deep as love's, and the fierce lips fluttered With love's own living breath; By thy weaponed hands, brows helmed, and bare feet spurning The bared head of a king; By the storm of sunrise round thee risen and burning, Why hast thou done this thing? Thou hast mixed thy limbs with the son of a harlot, a stranger, Mouth to mouth, limb to limb, Thou, bride of a God, because of the bridesman Danger, To bring forth seed to him.
For thou thoughtest inly, the terrible bridegroom wakes me, When I would sleep, to go; The fire of his mouth consumes, and the red kiss shakes me, More bitter than a blow.
Rise up, my beloved, go forth to meet the stranger, Put forth thine arm, he saith; Fear thou not at all though the bridesman should be Danger, The bridesmaid should be Death.
I the bridegroom, am I not with thee, O bridal nation, O wedded France, to strive? To destroy the sins of the earth with divine devastation, Till none be left alive? Lo her growths of sons, foliage of men and frondage, Broad boughs of the old-world tree, With iron of shame and with pruning-hooks of bondage They are shorn from sea to sea.
Lo, I set wings to thy feet that have been wingless, Till the utter race be run; Till the priestless temples cry to the thrones made kingless, Are we not also undone? Till the immeasurable Republic arise and lighten Above these quick and dead, And her awful robes be changed, and her red robes whiten, Her warring-robes of red.
But thou wouldst not, saying, I am weary and faint to follow, Let me lie down and rest; And hast sought out shame to sleep with, mire to wallow, Yea, a much fouler breast: And thine own hast made prostitute, sold and shamed and bared it, Thy bosom which was mine, And the bread of the word I gave thee hast soiled, and shared it Among these snakes and swine.
As a harlot thou wast handled and polluted, Thy faith held light as foam, That thou sentest men thy sons, thy sons imbruted, To slay thine elder Rome.
Therefore O harlot, I gave thee to the accurst one, By night to be defiled, To thy second shame, and a fouler than the first one, That got thee first with child.
Yet I know thee turning back now to behold me, To bow thee and make thee bare, Not for sin's sake but penitence, by my feet to hold me, And wipe them with thine hair.
And sweet ointment of thy grief thou hast brought thy master, And set before thy lord, From a box of flawed and broken alabaster, Thy broken spirit, poured.
And love-offerings, tears and perfumes, hast thou given me, To reach my feet and touch; Therefore thy sins, which are many, are forgiven thee, Because thou hast loved much.
Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

INSULT NOT THE FALLEN

 ("Oh! n'insultez jamais une femme qui tombe.") 
 
 {XIV., Sept. 6, 1835.} 


 I tell you, hush! no word of sneering scorn— 
 True, fallen; but God knows how deep her sorrow. 
 Poor girl! too many like her only born 
 To love one day—to sin—and die the morrow. 
 What know you of her struggles or her grief? 
 Or what wild storms of want and woe and pain 
 Tore down her soul from honor? As a leaf 
 From autumn branches, or a drop of rain 
 That hung in frailest splendor from a bough— 
 Bright, glistening in the sunlight of God's day— 
 So had she clung to virtue once. But now— 
 See Heaven's clear pearl polluted with earth's clay! 
 The sin is yours—with your accursed gold— 
 Man's wealth is master—woman's soul the slave! 
 Some purest water still the mire may hold. 
 Is there no hope for her—no power to save? 
 Yea, once again to draw up from the clay 
 The fallen raindrop, till it shine above, 
 Or save a fallen soul, needs but one ray 
 Of Heaven's sunshine, or of human love. 
 
 W.C.K. WILDE. 


 




Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE FATHER'S CURSE

 ("Vous, sire, écoutez-moi.") 
 
 {LE ROI S'AMUSE, Act I.} 


 M. ST. VALLIER (an aged nobleman, from whom King Francis I. 
 decoyed his daughter, the famous beauty, Diana of 
 Poitiers). 
 
 A king should listen when his subjects speak: 
 'Tis true your mandate led me to the block, 
 Where pardon came upon me, like a dream; 
 I blessed you then, unconscious as I was 
 That a king's mercy, sharper far than death, 
 To save a father doomed his child to shame; 
 Yes, without pity for the noble race 
 Of Poitiers, spotless for a thousand years, 
 You, Francis of Valois, without one spark 
 Of love or pity, honor or remorse, 
 Did on that night (thy couch her virtue's tomb), 
 With cold embraces, foully bring to scorn 
 My helpless daughter, Dian of Poitiers. 
 To save her father's life a knight she sought, 
 Like Bayard, fearless and without reproach. 
 She found a heartless king, who sold the boon, 
 Making cold bargain for his child's dishonor. 
 Oh! monstrous traffic! foully hast thou done! 
 My blood was thine, and justly, tho' it springs 
 Amongst the best and noblest names of France; 
 But to pretend to spare these poor gray locks, 
 And yet to trample on a weeping woman, 
 Was basely done; the father was thine own, 
 But not the daughter!—thou hast overpassed 
 The right of monarchs!—yet 'tis mercy deemed. 
 And I perchance am called ungrateful still. 
 Oh, hadst thou come within my dungeon walls, 
 I would have sued upon my knees for death, 
 But mercy for my child, my name, my race, 
 Which, once polluted, is my race no more. 
 Rather than insult, death to them and me. 
 I come not now to ask her back from thee; 
 Nay, let her love thee with insensate love; 
 I take back naught that bears the brand of shame. 
 Keep her! Yet, still, amidst thy festivals, 
 Until some father's, brother's, husband's hand 
 ('Twill come to pass!) shall rid us of thy yoke, 
 My pallid face shall ever haunt thee there, 
 To tell thee, Francis, it was foully done!... 
 
 TRIBOULET (the Court Jester), sneering. The poor man 
 raves. 
 
 ST. VILLIER. Accursed be ye both! 
 Oh Sire! 'tis wrong upon the dying lion 
 To loose thy dog! (Turns to Triboulet) 
 And thou, whoe'er thou art, 
 That with a fiendish sneer and viper's tongue 
 Makest my tears a pastime and a sport, 
 My curse upon thee!—Sire, thy brow doth bear 
 The gems of France!—on mine, old age doth sit; 
 Thine decked with jewels, mine with these gray hairs; 
 We both are Kings, yet bear a different crown; 
 And should some impious hand upon thy head 
 Heap wrongs and insult, with thine own strong arm 
 Thou canst avenge them! God avenges mine! 
 
 FREDK. L. SLOUS. 


 




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