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Best Famous Warning Poems

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12
Written by William Shakespeare | Create an image from this poem

Sonnet 71

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse When I perhaps compounded am with clay, Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.
But let your love even with my life decay, Lest the wise world should look into your moan And mock you with me after I am gone


Written by Charlotte Bronte | Create an image from this poem

The Wood

 BUT two miles more, and then we rest ! 
Well, there is still an hour of day, 
And long the brightness of the West 
Will light us on our devious way; 
Sit then, awhile, here in this wood­ 
So total is the solitude, 
We safely may delay.
These massive roots afford a seat, Which seems for weary travellers made.
There rest.
The air is soft and sweet In this sequestered forest glade, And there are scents of flowers around, The evening dew draws from the ground; How soothingly they spread ! Yes; I was tired, but not at heart; No­that beats full of sweet content, For now I have my natural part Of action with adventure blent; Cast forth on the wide vorld with thee, And all my once waste energy To weighty purpose bent.
Yet­say'st thou, spies around us roam, Our aims are termed conspiracy ? Haply, no more our English home An anchorage for us may be ? That there is risk our mutual blood May redden in some lonely wood The knife of treachery ? Say'st thou­that where we lodge each night, In each lone farm, or lonelier hall Of Norman Peer­ere morning light Suspicion must as duly fall, As day returns­such vigilance Presides and watches over France, Such rigour governs all ? I fear not, William; dost thou fear ? So that the knife does not divide, It may be ever hovering near: I could not tremble at thy side, And strenuous love­like mine for thee­ Is buckler strong, 'gainst treachery, And turns its stab aside.
I am resolved that thou shalt learn To trust my strength as I trust thine; I am resolved our souls shall burn, With equal, steady, mingling shine; Part of the field is conquered now, Our lives in the same channel flow, Along the self-same line; And while no groaning storm is heard, Thou seem'st content it should be so, But soon as comes a warning word Of danger­straight thine anxious brow Bends over me a mournful shade, As doubting if my powers are made To ford the floods of woe.
Know, then it is my spirit swells, And drinks, with eager joy, the air Of freedom­where at last it dwells, Chartered, a common task to share With thee, and then it stirs alert, And pants to learn what menaced hurt Demands for thee its care.
Remember, I have crossed the deep, And stood with thee on deck, to gaze On waves that rose in threatening heap, While stagnant lay a heavy haze, Dimly confusing sea with sky, And baffling, even, the pilot's eye, Intent to thread the maze­ Of rocks, on Bretagne's dangerous coast, And find a way to steer our band To the one point obscure, which lost, Flung us, as victims, on the strand;­ All, elsewhere, gleamed the Gallic sword, And not a wherry could be moored Along the guarded land.
I feared not then­I fear not now; The interest of each stirring scene Wakes a new sense, a welcome glow, In every nerve and bounding vein; Alike on turbid Channel sea, Or in still wood of Normandy, I feel as born again.
The rain descended that wild morn When, anchoring in the cove at last, Our band, all weary and forlorn, Ashore, like wave-worn sailors, cast­ Sought for a sheltering roof in vain, And scarce could scanty food obtain To break their morning fast.
Thou didst thy crust with me divide, Thou didst thy cloak around me fold; And, sitting silent by thy side, I ate the bread in peace untold: Given kindly from thy hand, 'twas sweet As costly fare or princely treat On royal plate of gold.
Sharp blew the sleet upon my face, And, rising wild, the gusty wind Drove on those thundering waves apace, Our crew so late had left behind; But, spite of frozen shower and storm, So close to thee, my heart beat warm, And tranquil slept my mind.
So now­nor foot-sore nor opprest With walking all this August day, I taste a heaven in this brief rest, This gipsy-halt beside the way.
England's wild flowers are fair to view, Like balm is England's summer dew, Like gold her sunset ray.
But the white violets, growing here, Are sweeter than I yet have seen, And ne'er did dew so pure and clear Distil on forest mosses green, As now, called forth by summer heat, Perfumes our cool and fresh retreat­ These fragrant limes between.
That sunset ! Look beneath the boughs, Over the copse­beyond the hills; How soft, yet deep and warm it glows, And heaven with rich suffusion fills; With hues where still the opal's tint, Its gleam of poisoned fire is blent, Where flame through azure thrills ! Depart we now­for fast will fade That solemn splendour of decline, And deep must be the after-shade As stars alone to-night will shine; No moon is destined­pale­to gaze On such a day's vast Phoenix blaze, A day in fires decayed ! There­hand-in-hand we tread again The mazes of this varying wood, And soon, amid a cultured plain, Girt in with fertile solitude, We shall our resting-place descry, Marked by one roof-tree, towering high Above a farm-stead rude.
Refreshed, erelong, with rustic fare, We'll seek a couch of dreamless ease; Courage will guard thy heart from fear, And Love give mine divinest peace: To-morrow brings more dangerous toil, And through its conflict and turmoil We'll pass, as God shall please.
Written by Kahlil Gibran | Create an image from this poem

Laughter and Tears IX

 As the Sun withdrew his rays from the garden, and the moon threw cushioned beams upon the flowers, I sat under the trees pondering upon the phenomena of the atmosphere, looking through the branches at the strewn stars which glittered like chips of silver upon a blue carpet; and I could hear from a distance the agitated murmur of the rivulet singing its way briskly into the valley.
When the birds took shelter among the boughs, and the flowers folded their petals, and tremendous silence descended, I heard a rustle of feet though the grass.
I took heed and saw a young couple approaching my arbor.
The say under a tree where I could see them without being seen.
After he looked about in every direction, I heard the young man saying, "Sit by me, my beloved, and listen to my heart; smile, for your happiness is a symbol of our future; be merry, for the sparkling days rejoice with us.
"My soul is warning me of the doubt in your heart, for doubt in love is a sin.
"Soon you will be the owner of this vast land, lighted by this beautiful moon; soon you will be the mistress of my palace, and all the servants and maids will obey your commands.
"Smile, my beloved, like the gold smiles from my father's coffers.
"My heart refuses to deny you its secret.
Twelve months of comfort and travel await us; for a year we will spend my father's gold at the blue lakes of Switzerland, and viewing the edifices of Italy and Egypt, and resting under the Holy Cedars of Lebanon; you will meet the princesses who will envy you for your jewels and clothes.
"All these things I will do for you; will you be satisfied?" In a little while I saw them walking and stepping on flowers as the rich step upon the hearts of the poor.
As they disappeared from my sight, I commenced to make comparison between love and money, and to analyze their position in the heart.
Money! The source of insincere love; the spring of false light and fortune; the well of poisoned water; the desperation of old age! I was still wandering in the vast desert of contemplation when a forlorn and specter-like couple passed by me and sat on the grass; a young man and a young woman who had left their farming shacks in the nearby fields for this cool and solitary place.
After a few moments of complete silence, I heard the following words uttered with sighs from weather-bitten lips, "Shed not tears, my beloved; love that opens our eyes and enslaves our hearts can give us the blessing of patience.
Be consoled in our delay our delay, for we have taken an oath and entered Love's shrine; for our love will ever grow in adversity; for it is in Love's name that we are suffering the obstacles of poverty and the sharpness of misery and the emptiness of separation.
I shall attack these hardships until I triumph and place in your hands a strength that will help over all things to complete the journey of life.
"Love - which is God - will consider our sighs and tears as incense burned at His altar and He will reward us with fortitude.
Good-bye, my beloved; I must leave before the heartening moon vanishes.
" A pure voice, combined of the consuming flame of love, and the hopeless bitterness of longing and the resolved sweetness of patience, said, "Good-bye, my beloved.
" They separated, and the elegy to their union was smothered by the wails of my crying heart.
I looked upon slumbering Nature, and with deep reflection discovered the reality of a vast and infinite thing -- something no power could demand, influence acquire, nor riches purchase.
Nor could it be effaced by the tears of time or deadened by sorrow; a thing which cannot be discovered by the blue lakes of Switzerland or the beautiful edifices of Italy.
It is something that gathers strength with patience, grows despite obstacles, warms in winter, flourishes in spring, casts a breeze in summer, and bears fruit in autumn -- I found Love.
Written by George (Lord) Byron | Create an image from this poem

When We Two Parted

When we two parted
  In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
  To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
  Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
  Sorrow to this.
The dew of the morning Sunk chill on my brow— It felt like the warning Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken, And light is thy fame; I hear thy name spoken, And share in its shame.
They name thee before me, A knell to mine ear; A shudder comes o'er me— Why wert thou so dear? They know not I knew thee, Who knew thee too well— Long, long shall I rue thee, To deeply to tell.
In secret we met— In silence I grieve, That thy heart could forget, Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee After long years, How should I greet thee?— With silence and tears.
Written by Margaret Atwood | Create an image from this poem

More and More

 More and more frequently the edges
of me dissolve and I become
a wish to assimilate the world, including
you, if possible through the skin
like a cool plant's tricks with oxygen
and live by a harmless green burning.
I would not consume you or ever finish, you would still be there surrounding me, complete as the air.
Unfortunately I don't have leaves.
Instead I have eyes and teeth and other non-green things which rule out osmosis.
So be careful, I mean it, I give you fair warning: This kind of hunger draws everything into its own space; nor can we talk it all over, have a calm rational discussion.
There is no reason for this, only a starved dog's logic about bones.
Written by Marilyn Hacker | Create an image from this poem

The Boy

 It is the boy in me who's looking out
the window, while someone across the street
mends a pillowcase, clouds shift, the gutter spout
pours rain, someone else lights a cigarette?

(Because he flinched, because he didn't whirl
around, face them, because he didn't hurl
the challenge back—"Fascists?"—not "Faggots"—Swine!
he briefly wonders—if he were a girl .
.
.
) He writes a line.
He crosses out a line.
I'll never be a man, but there's a boy crossing out words: the rain, the linen-mender, are all the homework he will do today.
The absence and the priviledge of gender confound in him, soprano, clumsy, frail.
Not neuter—neutral human, and unmarked, the younger brother in the fairy tale except, boys shouted "Jew!" across the park at him when he was coming home from school.
The book that he just read, about the war, the partisans, is less a terrible and thrilling story, more a warning, more a code, and he must puzzle out the code.
He has short hair, a red sweatshirt.
They know something about him—that he should be proud of? That's shameful if it shows? That got you killed in 1942.
In his story, do the partisans have sons? Have grandparents? Is he a Jew more than he is a boy, who'll be a man someday? Someone who'll never be a man looks out the window at the rain he thought might stop.
He reads the sentence he began.
He writes down something that he crosses out.
Written by Charlotte Bronte | Create an image from this poem

The Wood

 But two miles more, and then we rest ! 
Well, there is still an hour of day, 
And long the brightness of the West 
Will light us on our devious way; 
Sit then, awhile, here in this wood­ 
So total is the solitude, 
We safely may delay.
These massive roots afford a seat, Which seems for weary travellers made.
There rest.
The air is soft and sweet In this sequestered forest glade, And there are scents of flowers around, The evening dew draws from the ground; How soothingly they spread ! Yes; I was tired, but not at heart; No­that beats full of sweet content, For now I have my natural part Of action with adventure blent; Cast forth on the wide vorld with thee, And all my once waste energy To weighty purpose bent.
Yet­say'st thou, spies around us roam, Our aims are termed conspiracy ? Haply, no more our English home An anchorage for us may be ? That there is risk our mutual blood May redden in some lonely wood The knife of treachery ? Say'st thou­that where we lodge each night, In each lone farm, or lonelier hall Of Norman Peer­ere morning light Suspicion must as duly fall, As day returns­such vigilance Presides and watches over France, Such rigour governs all ? I fear not, William; dost thou fear ? So that the knife does not divide, It may be ever hovering near: I could not tremble at thy side, And strenuous love­like mine for thee­ Is buckler strong, 'gainst treachery, And turns its stab aside.
I am resolved that thou shalt learn To trust my strength as I trust thine; I am resolved our souls shall burn, With equal, steady, mingling shine; Part of the field is conquered now, Our lives in the same channel flow, Along the self-same line; And while no groaning storm is heard, Thou seem'st content it should be so, But soon as comes a warning word Of danger­straight thine anxious brow Bends over me a mournful shade, As doubting if my powers are made To ford the floods of woe.
Know, then it is my spirit swells, And drinks, with eager joy, the air Of freedom­where at last it dwells, Chartered, a common task to share With thee, and then it stirs alert, And pants to learn what menaced hurt Demands for thee its care.
Remember, I have crossed the deep, And stood with thee on deck, to gaze On waves that rose in threatening heap, While stagnant lay a heavy haze, Dimly confusing sea with sky, And baffling, even, the pilot's eye, Intent to thread the maze­ Of rocks, on Bretagne's dangerous coast, And find a way to steer our band To the one point obscure, which lost, Flung us, as victims, on the strand;­ All, elsewhere, gleamed the Gallic sword, And not a wherry could be moored Along the guarded land.
I feared not then­I fear not now; The interest of each stirring scene Wakes a new sense, a welcome glow, In every nerve and bounding vein; Alike on turbid Channel sea, Or in still wood of Normandy, I feel as born again.
The rain descended that wild morn When, anchoring in the cove at last, Our band, all weary and forlorn, Ashore, like wave-worn sailors, cast­ Sought for a sheltering roof in vain, And scarce could scanty food obtain To break their morning fast.
Thou didst thy crust with me divide, Thou didst thy cloak around me fold; And, sitting silent by thy side, I ate the bread in peace untold: Given kindly from thy hand, 'twas sweet As costly fare or princely treat On royal plate of gold.
Sharp blew the sleet upon my face, And, rising wild, the gusty wind Drove on those thundering waves apace, Our crew so late had left behind; But, spite of frozen shower and storm, So close to thee, my heart beat warm, And tranquil slept my mind.
So now­nor foot-sore nor opprest With walking all this August day, I taste a heaven in this brief rest, This gipsy-halt beside the way.
England's wild flowers are fair to view, Like balm is England's summer dew, Like gold her sunset ray.
But the white violets, growing here, Are sweeter than I yet have seen, And ne'er did dew so pure and clear Distil on forest mosses green, As now, called forth by summer heat, Perfumes our cool and fresh retreat­ These fragrant limes between.
That sunset ! Look beneath the boughs, Over the copse­beyond the hills; How soft, yet deep and warm it glows, And heaven with rich suffusion fills; With hues where still the opal's tint, Its gleam of poisoned fire is blent, Where flame through azure thrills ! Depart we now­for fast will fade That solemn splendour of decline, And deep must be the after-shade As stars alone to-night will shine; No moon is destined­pale­to gaze On such a day's vast Phoenix blaze, A day in fires decayed ! There­hand-in-hand we tread again The mazes of this varying wood, And soon, amid a cultured plain, Girt in with fertile solitude, We shall our resting-place descry, Marked by one roof-tree, towering high Above a farm-stead rude.
Refreshed, erelong, with rustic fare, We'll seek a couch of dreamless ease; Courage will guard thy heart from fear, And Love give mine divinest peace: To-morrow brings more dangerous toil, And through its conflict and turmoil We'll pass, as God shall please.
[The preceding composition refers, doubtless, to the scenes acted in France during the last year of the Consulate.
]


Written by Rita Dove | Create an image from this poem

The Bistro Styx

 She was thinner, with a mannered gauntness
as she paused just inside the double
glass doors to survey the room, silvery cape
billowing dramatically behind her.
What's this, I thought, lifting a hand until she nodded and started across the parquet; that's when I saw she was dressed all in gray, from a kittenish cashmere skirt and cowl down to the graphite signature of her shoes.
"Sorry I'm late," she panted, though she wasn't, sliding into the chair, her cape tossed off in a shudder of brushed steel.
We kissed.
Then I leaned back to peruse my blighted child, this wary aristocratic mole.
"How's business?" I asked, and hazarded a motherly smile to keep from crying out: Are you content to conduct your life as a cliché and, what's worse, an anachronism, the brooding artist's demimonde? Near the rue Princesse they had opened a gallery cum souvenir shop which featured fuzzy off-color Monets next to his acrylics, no doubt, plus beared African drums and the occasional miniature gargoyle from Notre Dame the Great Artist had carved at breakfast with a pocket knife.
"Tourists love us.
The Parisians, of course"-- she blushed--"are amused, though not without a certain admiration .
.
.
" The Chateaubriand arrived on a bone-white plate, smug and absolute in its fragrant crust, a black plug steaming like the heart plucked from the chest of a worthy enemy; one touch with her fork sent pink juices streaming.
"Admiration for what?"Wine, a bloody Pinot Noir, brought color to her cheeks.
"Why, the aplomb with which we've managed to support our Art"--meaning he'd convinced her to pose nude for his appalling canvases, faintly futuristic landscapes strewn with carwrecks and bodies being chewed by rabid cocker spaniels.
"I'd like to come by the studio," I ventured, "and see the new stuff.
" "Yes, if you wish .
.
.
"A delicate rebuff before the warning: "He dresses all in black now.
Me, he drapes in blues and carmine-- and even though I think it's kinda cute, in company I tend toward more muted shades.
" She paused and had the grace to drop her eyes.
She did look ravishing, spookily insubstantial, a lipstick ghost on tissue, or as if one stood on a fifth-floor terrace peering through a fringe of rain at Paris' dreaming chimney pots, each sooty issue wobbling skyward in an ecstatic oracular spiral.
"And he never thinks of food.
I wish I didn't have to plead with him to eat.
.
.
.
"Fruit and cheese appeared, arrayed on leaf-green dishes.
I stuck with café crème.
"This Camembert's so ripe," she joked, "it's practically grown hair," mucking a golden glob complete with parsley sprig onto a heel of bread.
Nothing seemed to fill her up: She swallowed, sliced into a pear, speared each tear-shaped lavaliere and popped the dripping mess into her pretty mouth.
Nowhere the bright tufted fields, weighted vines and sun poured down out of the south.
"But are you happy?"Fearing, I whispered it quickly.
"What?You know, Mother"-- she bit into the starry rose of a fig-- "one really should try the fruit here.
" I've lost her, I thought, and called for the bill.
Written by Vachel Lindsay | Create an image from this poem

The Tale of the Tiger-Tree

 A Fantasy, dedicated to the little poet Alice Oliver Henderson, ten years old.
The Fantasy shows how tiger-hearts are the cause of war in all ages.
It shows how the mammoth forces may be either friends or enemies of the struggle for peace.
It shows how the dream of peace is unconquerable and eternal.
I Peace-of-the-Heart, my own for long, Whose shining hair the May-winds fan, Making it tangled as they can, A mystery still, star-shining yet, Through ancient ages known to me And now once more reborn with me: — This is the tale of the Tiger Tree A hundred times the height of a man, Lord of the race since the world began.
This is my city Springfield, My home on the breast of the plain.
The state house towers to heaven, By an arsenal gray as the rain.
.
.
And suddenly all is mist, And I walk in a world apart, In the forest-age when I first knelt down At your feet, O Peace-of-the-Heart.
This is the wonder of twilight: Three times as high as the dome Tiger-striped trees encircle the town, Golden geysers of foam.
While giant white parrots sail past in their pride.
The roofs now are clouds and storms that they ride.
And there with the huntsmen of mound-builder days Through jungle and meadow I stride.
And the Tiger Tree leaf is falling around As it fell when the world began: Like a monstrous tiger-skin, stretched on the ground, Or the cloak of a medicine man.
A deep-crumpled gossamer web, Fringed with the fangs of a snake.
The wind swirls it down from the leperous boughs.
It shimmers on clay-hill and lake, With the gleam of great bubbles of blood, Or coiled like a rainbow shell.
.
.
.
I feast on the stem of the Leaf as I march.
I am burning with Heaven and Hell.
II The gray king died in his hour.
Then we crowned you, the prophetess wise: Peace-of-the-Heart we deeply adored For the witchcraft hid in your eyes.
Gift from the sky, overmastering all, You sent forth your magical parrots to call The plot-hatching prince of the tigers, To your throne by the red-clay wall.
Thus came that genius insane: Spitting and slinking, Sneering and vain, He sprawled to your grassy throne, drunk on The Leaf, The drug that was cunning and splendor and grief.
He had fled from the mammoth by day, He had blasted the mammoth by night, War was his drunkenness, War was his dreaming, War was his love and his play.
And he hissed at your heavenly glory While his councillors snarled in delight, Asking in irony: "What shall we learn From this whisperer, fragile and white?" And had you not been an enchantress They would not have loitered to mock Nor spared your white parrots who walked by their paws With bantering venturesome talk.
You made a white fire of The Leaf.
You sang while the tiger-chiefs hissed.
You chanted of "Peace to the wonderful world.
" And they saw you in dazzling mist.
And their steps were no longer insane, Kindness came down like the rain, They dreamed that like fleet young ponies they feasted On succulent grasses and grain.
Then came the black-mammoth chief: Long-haired and shaggy and great, Proud and sagacious he marshalled his court: (You had sent him your parrots of state.
) His trunk in rebellion upcurled, A curse at the tiger he hurled.
Huge elephants trumpeted there by his side, And mastodon-chiefs of the world.
But higher magic began.
For the turbulent vassals of man.
You harnessed their fever, you conquered their ire, Their hearts turned to flowers through holy desire, For their darling and star you were crowned, And their raging demons were bound.
You rode on the back of the yellow-streaked king, His loose neck was wreathed with a mistletoe ring.
Primordial elephants loomed by your side, And our clay-painted children danced by your path, Chanting the death of the kingdoms of wrath.
You wrought until night with us all.
The fierce brutes fawned at your call, Then slipped to their lairs, song-chained.
And thus you sang sweetly, and reigned: "Immortal is the inner peace, free to beasts and men.
Beginning in the darkness, the mystery will conquer, And now it comforts every heart that seeks for love again.
And now the mammoth bows the knee, We hew down every Tiger Tree, We send each tiger bound in love and glory to his den, Bound in love.
.
.
and wisdom.
.
.
and glory,.
.
.
to his den.
" III "Beware of the trumpeting swine," Came the howl from the northward that night.
Twice-rebel tigers warning was still If we held not beside them it boded us ill.
From the parrots translating the cry, And the apes in the trees came the whine: "Beware of the trumpeting swine.
Beware of the faith of a mammoth.
" "Beware of the faith of a tiger," Came the roar from the southward that night.
Trumpeting mammoths warning us still If we held not beside them it boded us ill.
The frail apes wailed to us all, The parrots reëchoed the call: "Beware of the faith of a tiger.
" From the heights of the forest the watchers could see The tiger-cats crunching the Leaf of the Tree Lashing themselves, and scattering foam, Killing our huntsmen, hurrying home.
The chiefs of the mammoths our mastery spurned, And eastward restlessly fumed and burned.
The peacocks squalled out the news of their drilling And told how they trampled, maneuvered, and turned.
Ten thousand man-hating tigers Whirling down from the north, like a flood! Ten thousand mammoths oncoming From the south as avengers of blood! Our child-queen was mourning, her magic was dead, The roots of the Tiger Tree reeking with red.
IV This is the tale of the Tiger Tree A hundred times the height of a man, Lord of the race since the world began.
We marched to the mammoths, We pledged them our steel, And scorning you, sang: — "We are men, We are men.
" We mounted their necks, And they stamped a wide reel.
We sang: "We are fighting the hell-cats again, We are mound-builder men, We are elephant men.
" We left you there, lonely, Beauty your power, Wisdom your watchman, To hold the clay tower.
While the black-mammoths boomed — "You are elephant men, Men, Men, Elephant men.
" The dawn-winds prophesied battles untold.
While the Tiger Trees roared of the glories of old, Of the masterful spirits and hard.
The drunken cats came in their joy In the sunrise, a glittering wave.
"We are tigers, are tigers," they yowled.
"Down, Down, Go the swine to the grave.
" But we tramp Tramp Trampled them there, Then charged with our sabres and spears.
The swish of the sabre, The swish of the sabre, Was a marvellous tune in our ears.
We yelled "We are men, We are men.
" As we bled to death in the sun.
.
.
.
Then staunched our horrible wounds With the cry that the battle was won.
.
.
.
And at last, When the black-mammoth legion Split the night with their song: — "Right is braver than wrong, Right is stronger than wrong," The buzzards came taunting: "Down from the north Tiger-nations are sweeping along.
" Then we ate of the ravening Leaf As our savage fathers of old.
No longer our wounds made us weak, No longer our pulses were cold.
Though half of my troops were afoot, (For the great who had borne them were slain) We dreamed we were tigers, and leaped And foamed with that vision insane.
We cried "We are soldiers of doom, Doom, Sabres of glory and doom.
" We wreathed the king of the mammoths In the tiger-leaves' terrible bloom.
We flattered the king of the mammoths, Loud-rattling sabres and spears.
The swish of the sabre, The swish of the sabre, Was a marvellous tune in his ears.
V This was the end of the battle.
The tigers poured by in a tide Over us all with their caterwaul call, "We are the tigers," They cried.
"We are the sabres," They cried.
But we laughed while our blades swept wide, While the dawn-rays stabbed through the gloom.
"We are suns on fire" was our yell — "Suns on fire.
".
.
.
But man-child and mastodon fell, Mammoth and elephant fell.
The fangs of the devil-cats closed on the world, Plunged it to blackness and doom.
The desolate red-clay wall Echoed the parrots' call: — "Immortal is the inner peace, free to beasts and men.
Beginning in the darkness, the mystery will conquer, And now it comforts every heart that seeks for love again.
And now the mammoth bows the knee, We hew down every Tiger Tree, We send each tiger bound in love and glory to his den, Bound in love.
.
.
and wisdom.
.
.
and glory,.
.
.
to his den.
" A peacock screamed of his beauty On that broken wall by the trees, Chiding his little mate, Spreading his fans in the breeze.
.
.
And you, with eyes of a bride, Knelt on the wall at my side, The deathless song in your mouth.
.
.
A million new tigers swept south.
.
.
As we laughed at the peacock, and died.
This is my vision in Springfield: Three times as high as the dome, Tiger-striped trees encircle the town, Golden geysers of foam; — Though giant white parrots sail past, giving voice, Though I walk with Peace-of-the-Heart and rejoice.
Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE EPIC OF THE LION

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


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


 




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