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by Sir Walter Scott

The Lady of the Lake

CANTO FIRST.

The Chase.

     Harp of the North! that mouldering long hast hung
        On the witch-elm that shades Saint Fillan's spring
     And down the fitful breeze thy numbers flung,
        Till envious ivy did around thee cling,
     Muffling with verdant ringlet every string,—
        O Minstrel Harp, still must thine accents sleep?
     Mid rustling leaves and fountains murmuring,
        Still must thy sweeter sounds their silence keep,
     Nor bid a warrior smile, nor teach a maid to weep?

     Not thus, in ancient days of Caledon, 10
        Was thy voice mute amid the festal crowd,
     When lay of hopeless love, or glory won,
        Aroused the fearful or subdued the proud.
     At each according pause was heard aloud
        Thine ardent symphony sublime and high!
 ...
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by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot

Gawain and the Green Knight

THEN the sege and the assaut watz sesed at Troye,
The borygh brittened and brent to brondeygh and askez,
The tulk that the trammes of tresoun ther wroyght
Watz tried for his tricherie, the trewest on erthe:
Hit watz Ennias the athel, and his highe kynde,
That sithen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welneyghe of al the wele in the west iles.
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swythe,
With gret bobbaunce that buryghe he biges vpon fyrst,
And neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Tirius to Tuskan and teldes bigynnes,
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes,
And fer ouer the French flod Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez
wyth wynne,
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi sythez hatz wont therinne,
And oft bothe blysse and blunder
Ful skete hatz skyfted synne.
Ande quen this Bretayn watz bigged bi this burn rych,
Bolde bredden therinne, baret that lofden,
In mony turned tyme tene that wroyghten.
Mo ferlyes on this folde han fallen here oft
Then in any other that I wot, syn that ilk tyme.
Bot of alle that here bult, of Bretaygne kynges,
Ay watz Arthur the hendest, as I haf herde telle.

Forthi an aunter in erde I attle to schawe,
That a selly in siyght summe men hit holden,
And an outtrage awenture of Arthurez wonderez.
If...
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by Sir Philip Sidney

Astrophel and Stella

I 

Ouing in trueth, and fayne in verse my loue to show,
That she, deare Shee, might take som pleasure of my paine,
Pleasure might cause her reade, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pittie winne, and pity grace obtaine,
I sought fit wordes to paint the blackest face of woe;
Studying inuentions fine, her wits to entertaine,
Oft turning others leaues, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitfull showers vpon my sun-burnd brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting Inuentions stay;
Inuention, Natures childe, fledde step-dame Studies blowes;
And others feet still seemde but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with childe to speak, and helplesse in my throwes,
Biting my trewand pen, beating myselfe for spite,
Fool, said my Muse to me, looke in thy heart, and write. 
II 

Not at the first sight, nor with a dribbed shot,
Loue gaue the wound, which, while I breathe, will bleede;
But knowne worth did in tract of time proceed,
Till by degrees, it had full conquest got.
I saw and lik'd; I lik'd but loued not;
I lou'd, but straight did not what Loue decreed:
At length, to Loues decrees I, forc'd, agreed,
Yet with repining at so partiall lot.
Now, euen that footstep of lost libertie
Is gone; and now, like slaue-borne Muscouite,
I call it praise...
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by Conrad Aiken

The House Of Dust: Complete (Long)

 THE HOUSE OF DUST
A Symphony

BY
CONRAD AIKEN

To Jessie

NOTE

. . . Parts of this poem have been printed in "The North American
Review, Others, Poetry, Youth, Coterie, The Yale Review". . . . I am
indebted to Lafcadio Hearn for the episode called "The Screen Maiden"
in Part II.


 This text comes from the source available at 
 Project Gutenberg, originally prepared by Judy Boss 
 of Omaha, NE.

THE HOUSE OF DUST


PART I.


I.

The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light.
The trees grow dark: the shadows lean to the east:
And lights wink out through the windows, one by one.
A clamor of frosty sirens mourns at the night.
Pale slate-grey clouds whirl up from the sunken sun.

And the wandering one, the inquisitive dreamer of dreams,
The eternal asker of answers, stands in the street,
And lifts his palms for the first cold ghost of rain.
The purple lights leap down the hill before him.
The gorgeous night has begun again.

'I will ask them all, I will ask them all their dreams,
I will hold my light above them and seek their faces.
I will hear them whisper, invisible in their veins . . .'
The eternal asker of answers becomes as the darkness,
Or as a wind blown over a myriad forest,
Or...
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by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie

 This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it
Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman
Where is the thatch-roofed village, the home of Acadian farmers,--
Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands,
Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of heaven?
Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever departed!
Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October
Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o'er the ocean
Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of Grand-Pre.

Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is patient,
Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman's devotion,
List to the mournful tradition still sung by the pines of the forest;
List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the happy.



PART THE FIRST

I

In...
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by John Masefield

The Everlasting Mercy

 Thy place is biggyd above the sterrys cleer, 
Noon erthely paleys wrouhte in so statly wyse, 
Com on my freend, my brothir moost enteer, 
For the I offryd my blood in sacrifise. 
John Lydgate. 


From '41 to '51 
I was folk's contrary son; 
I bit my father's hand right through 
And broke my mother's heart in two. 
I sometimes go without my dinner 
Now that I know the times I've gi'n her.

From '51 to '61 
I cut my teeth and took to fun. 
I learned what not to be afraid of 
And what stuff women's lips are made of; 
I learned with what a rosy feeling 
Good ale makes floors seem like the ceiling, 
And how the moon give shiny light 
To lads as roll home singing by't. 
My blood did leap, my flesh did revel, 
Saul Kane was tokened to the devil. 

From '61 to'71 
I lived in disbelief of Heaven. 
I drunk, I fought, I poached, I whored, 
I did despite unto the Lord. 
I cursed, 'would make a man look pale, 
And nineteen times I went to gaol 

Now, friends, observe and look upon me, 
Mark how the Lord took pity on me. 
By Dead Man's...
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by Geoffrey Chaucer

Troilus And Criseyde: Book 05

 Incipit Liber Quintus.

Aprochen gan the fatal destinee
That Ioves hath in disposicioun,
And to yow, angry Parcas, sustren three,
Committeth, to don execucioun;
For which Criseyde moste out of the toun, 
And Troilus shal dwelle forth in pyne
Til Lachesis his threed no lenger twyne. --

The golden-tressed Phebus heighe on-lofte
Thryes hadde alle with his bemes shene
The snowes molte, and Zephirus as ofte 
Y-brought ayein the tendre leves grene,
Sin that the sone of Ecuba the quene
Bigan to love hir first, for whom his sorwe
Was al, that she departe sholde a-morwe.

Ful redy was at pryme Dyomede, 
Criseyde un-to the Grekes ost to lede,
For sorwe of which she felt hir herte blede,
As she that niste what was best to rede.
And trewely, as men in bokes rede,
Men wiste never womman han the care, 
Ne was so looth out of a toun to fare.

This Troilus, with-outen reed or lore,
As man that hath his Ioyes eek forlore,
Was waytinge on his lady ever-more
As she that was the soothfast crop and more 
Of al his lust, or Ioyes here-tofore.
But Troilus, now farewel al thy Ioye,
For shaltow never seen hir eft in Troye!

Soth is, that whyl he bood in this manere,
He gan his wo ful manly for to hyde. 
That wel unnethe it...
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by Geoffrey Chaucer

Troilus And Criseyde: Book 04

 Prohemium.

But al to litel, weylaway the whyle,
Lasteth swich Ioye, y-thonked be Fortune!
That semeth trewest, whan she wol bygyle,
And can to foles so hir song entune,
That she hem hent and blent, traytour comune; 
And whan a wight is from hir wheel y-throwe,
Than laugheth she, and maketh him the mowe.

From Troilus she gan hir brighte face
Awey to wrythe, and took of him non hede,
But caste him clene out of his lady grace, 
And on hir wheel she sette up Diomede;
For which right now myn herte ginneth blede,
And now my penne, allas! With which I wryte,
Quaketh for drede of that I moot endyte.

For how Criseyde Troilus forsook, 
Or at the leste, how that she was unkinde,
Mot hennes-forth ben matere of my book,
As wryten folk through which it is in minde.
Allas! That they sholde ever cause finde
To speke hir harm; and if they on hir lye, 
Y-wis, hem-self sholde han the vilanye.

O ye Herines, Nightes doughtren three,
That endelees compleynen ever in pyne,
Megera, Alete, and eek Thesiphone;
Thou cruel Mars eek, fader to Quiryne, 
This ilke ferthe book me helpeth fyne,
So that the los of lyf and love y-fere
Of Troilus be fully shewed here.

Explicit prohemium.

Incipit Quartus Liber.

Ligginge in ost, as I have seyd er this,
The...
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by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Gareth And Lynette

 The last tall son of Lot and Bellicent, 
And tallest, Gareth, in a showerful spring 
Stared at the spate. A slender-shafted Pine 
Lost footing, fell, and so was whirled away. 
'How he went down,' said Gareth, 'as a false knight 
Or evil king before my lance if lance 
Were mine to use--O senseless cataract, 
Bearing all down in thy precipitancy-- 
And yet thou art but swollen with cold snows 
And mine is living blood: thou dost His will, 
The Maker's, and not knowest, and I that know, 
Have strength and wit, in my good mother's hall 
Linger with vacillating obedience, 
Prisoned, and kept and coaxed and whistled to-- 
Since the good mother holds me still a child! 
Good mother is bad mother unto me! 
A worse were better; yet no worse would I. 
Heaven yield her for it, but in me put force 
To weary her ears with one continuous prayer, 
Until she let me fly discaged to sweep 
In ever-highering eagle-circles up 
To the great Sun of Glory, and thence swoop 
Down upon all things base, and dash them dead, 
A knight of Arthur, working out his will, 
To cleanse the world. Why, Gawain, when he came 
With...
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by G K Chesterton

The Ballad of the White Horse

 DEDICATION 

Of great limbs gone to chaos,
A great face turned to night--
Why bend above a shapeless shroud
Seeking in such archaic cloud
Sight of strong lords and light?

Where seven sunken Englands
Lie buried one by one,
Why should one idle spade, I wonder,
Shake up the dust of thanes like thunder
To smoke and choke the sun?

In cloud of clay so cast to heaven
What shape shall man discern?
These lords may light the mystery
Of mastery or victory,
And these ride high in history,
But these shall not return.

Gored on the Norman gonfalon
The Golden Dragon died:
We shall not wake with ballad strings 
The good time of the smaller things,
We shall not see the holy kings
Ride down by Severn side.

Stiff, strange, and quaintly coloured
As the broidery of Bayeux
The England of that dawn remains,
And this of Alfred and the Danes
Seems like the tales a whole tribe feigns
Too English to be true.

Of a good king on an island
That ruled once on a time;
And as he walked by an apple tree
There came green devils out of the sea
With sea-plants trailing heavily
And tracks of opal slime.

Yet Alfred is no fairy tale;
His days as our days ran,
He also looked forth for an hour
On peopled plains and skies that lower,
From those few windows in the tower
That...
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by Geoffrey Chaucer

Troilus And Criseyde: Book 02

 Incipit Prohemium Secundi Libri.

Out of these blake wawes for to sayle,
O wind, O wind, the weder ginneth clere;
For in this see the boot hath swich travayle,
Of my conning, that unnethe I it stere:
This see clepe I the tempestous matere 
Of desespeyr that Troilus was inne:
But now of hope the calendes biginne.
O lady myn, that called art Cleo,
Thou be my speed fro this forth, and my muse,
To ryme wel this book, til I have do; 
Me nedeth here noon other art to use.
For-why to every lovere I me excuse,
That of no sentement I this endyte,
But out of Latin in my tonge it wryte.

Wherfore I nil have neither thank ne blame 
Of al this werk, but prey yow mekely,
Disblameth me if any word be lame,
For as myn auctor seyde, so seye I.
Eek though I speke of love unfelingly,
No wondre is, for it no-thing of newe is; 
A blind man can nat Iuggen wel in hewis.

Ye knowe eek, that in forme of speche is chaunge
With-inne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho
That hadden prys, now wonder nyce and straunge
Us thinketh hem; and yet they spake hem so, 
And spedde as wel in love as men now do;
Eek for to winne love in sondry...
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by Geoffrey Chaucer

Troilus And Criseyde: Book 03

 Incipit prohemium tercii libri.

O blisful light of whiche the bemes clere 
Adorneth al the thridde hevene faire!
O sonnes lief, O Ioves doughter dere,
Plesaunce of love, O goodly debonaire,
In gentil hertes ay redy to repaire! 
O verray cause of hele and of gladnesse,
Y-heried be thy might and thy goodnesse!

In hevene and helle, in erthe and salte see
Is felt thy might, if that I wel descerne;
As man, brid, best, fish, herbe and grene tree 
Thee fele in tymes with vapour eterne.
God loveth, and to love wol nought werne;
And in this world no lyves creature,
With-outen love, is worth, or may endure.

Ye Ioves first to thilke effectes glade, 
Thorugh which that thinges liven alle and be,
Comeveden, and amorous him made
On mortal thing, and as yow list, ay ye
Yeve him in love ese or adversitee;
And in a thousand formes doun him sente 
For love in erthe, and whom yow liste, he hente.

Ye fierse Mars apeysen of his ire,
And, as yow list, ye maken hertes digne;
Algates, hem that ye wol sette a-fyre,
They dreden shame, and vices they resigne; 
Ye do hem corteys be, fresshe and benigne,
And hye or lowe, after a wight entendeth;
The Ioyes that he hath, your might him sendeth.

Ye holden regne and hous...
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by Dante Alighieri

Purgatorio (Italian)

 LA DIVINA COMMEDIA
di Dante Alighieri
PURGATORIO



Purgatorio: Canto I

 Per correr miglior acque alza le vele
omai la navicella del mio ingegno,
che lascia dietro a sé mar sì crudele;
 e canterò di quel secondo regno
dove l'umano spirito si purga
e di salire al ciel diventa degno.
 Ma qui la morta poesì resurga,
o sante Muse, poi che vostro sono;
e qui Caliopè alquanto surga,
 seguitando il mio canto con quel suono
di cui le Piche misere sentiro
lo colpo tal, che disperar perdono.
 Dolce color d'oriental zaffiro,
che s'accoglieva nel sereno aspetto
del mezzo, puro infino al primo giro,
 a li occhi miei ricominciò diletto,
tosto ch'io usci' fuor de l'aura morta
che m'avea contristati li occhi e 'l petto.
 Lo bel pianeto che d'amar conforta
faceva tutto rider l'oriente,
velando i Pesci ch'erano in sua scorta.
 I' mi volsi a man destra, e puosi mente
a l'altro polo, e vidi quattro stelle
non viste mai fuor ch'a la prima gente.
 Goder pareva 'l ciel di lor fiammelle:
oh settentrional vedovo sito,
poi che privato se' di mirar quelle!
 Com'io da loro sguardo fui partito,
un poco me volgendo a l 'altro polo,
là onde il Carro già era sparito,
 vidi presso di me un veglio solo,
degno di tanta reverenza in vista,
che più non dee a padre alcun figliuolo.
...
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by Dante Alighieri

Paradiso (Italian)

 LA DIVINA COMMEDIA
di Dante Alighieri
PARADISO



Paradiso: Canto I

 La gloria di colui che tutto move
per l'universo penetra, e risplende
in una parte pi? e meno altrove.
 Nel ciel che pi? de la sua luce prende
fu' io, e vidi cose che ridire
n? sa n? pu? chi di l? s? discende;
 perch? appressando s? al suo disire,
nostro intelletto si profonda tanto,
che dietro la memoria non pu? ire.
 Veramente quant'io del regno santo
ne la mia mente potei far tesoro,
sar? ora materia del mio canto.
 O buono Appollo, a l'ultimo lavoro
fammi del tuo valor s? fatto vaso,
come dimandi a dar l'amato alloro.
 Infino a qui l'un giogo di Parnaso
assai mi fu; ma or con amendue
m'? uopo intrar ne l'aringo rimaso.
 Entra nel petto mio, e spira tue
s? come quando Marsia traesti
de la vagina de le membra sue.
 O divina virt?, se mi ti presti
tanto che l'ombra del beato regno
segnata nel mio capo io manifesti,
 vedra'mi al pi? del tuo diletto legno
venire, e coronarmi de le foglie
che la materia e tu mi farai degno.
 S? rade volte, padre, se ne coglie
per triunfare o cesare o poeta,
colpa e vergogna de l'umane voglie,
 che parturir letizia in su la lieta
delfica deit? dovria la fronda
peneia, quando alcun di s?...
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by Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

 1
I CELEBRATE myself; 
And what I assume you shall assume; 
For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you. 

I loafe and invite my Soul; 
I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes—the shelves are crowded with
 perfumes; 
I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it; 
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it. 

The atmosphere is not a perfume—it has no taste of the distillation—it
 is odorless; 
It is for my mouth forever—I am in love with it;
I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undisguised and naked; 
I am mad for it to be in contact with me. 

2
The smoke of my own breath; 
Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine; 
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood
 and air through my lungs;
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore, and
 dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn; 
The sound of the belch’d words of my voice, words loos’d to the eddies
 of the wind; 
A few light kisses, a few...
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by Victor Hugo

EVIRADNUS

 THE KNIGHT ERRANT. 
 
 ("Qu'est-ce que Sigismond et Ladislas ont dit.") 
 
 {Bk. XV. iii. 1.} 


 I. 
 
 THE ADVENTURER SETS OUT. 
 
 What was it Sigismond and Ladisläus said? 
 
 I know not if the rock, or tree o'erhead, 
 Had heard their speech;—but when the two spoke low, 
 Among the trees, a shudder seemed to go 
 Through all their branches, just as if that way 
 A beast had passed to trouble and dismay. 
 More dark the shadow of the rock was seen, 
 And then a morsel of the shade, between 
 The sombre trees, took shape as it would seem 
 Like spectre walking in the sunset's gleam. 
 
 It is not monster rising from its lair, 
 Nor phantom of the foliage and the air, 
 It is not morsel of the granite's shade 
 That walks in deepest hollows of the glade. 
 'Tis not a vampire nor a spectre pale 
 But living man in rugged coat of mail. 
 It is Alsatia's noble Chevalier, 
 Eviradnus the brave, that now is here. 
 
 The men who spoke he recognized the...
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by Dante Alighieri

Inferno (Italian)

 LA DIVINA COMMEDIA di Dante Alighieri INFERNO


Inferno: Canto I



 Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita

mi ritrovai per una selva oscura

ch? la diritta via era smarrita.

 Ahi quanto a dir qual era ? cosa dura

esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte

che nel pensier rinova la paura!

 Tant'? amara che poco ? pi? morte;

ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai,

dir? de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte.

 Io non so ben ridir com'i' v'intrai,

tant'era pien di sonno a quel punto

che la verace via abbandonai.

 Ma poi ch'i' fui al pi? d'un colle giunto,

l? dove terminava quella valle

che m'avea di paura il cor compunto,

 guardai in alto, e vidi le sue spalle

vestite gi? de' raggi del pianeta

che mena dritto altrui per ogne calle.

 Allor fu la paura un poco queta

che nel lago del cor m'era durata

la notte ch'i' passai con tanta pieta.

 E come quei che con lena affannata

uscito fuor del pelago a la riva

si volge a l'acqua perigliosa e guata,

 cos? l'animo mio, ch'ancor fuggiva,

si volse a retro a rimirar lo passo

che non lasci? gi? mai persona viva.

 Poi ch'?i posato un poco il corpo lasso,

ripresi via per la piaggia diserta,

s? che 'l pi? fermo sempre era 'l pi? basso.

...
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by Dante Alighieri

Inferno (English)

 CANTO I


 ONE night, when half my life behind me lay, 
 I wandered from the straight lost path afar. 
 Through the great dark was no releasing way; 
 Above that dark was no relieving star. 
 If yet that terrored night I think or say, 
 As death's cold hands its fears resuming are. 

 Gladly the dreads I felt, too dire to tell, 
 The hopeless, pathless, lightless hours forgot, 
 I turn my tale to that which next befell, 
 When the dawn opened, and the night was not. 
 The hollowed blackness of that waste, God wot, 
 Shrank, thinned, and ceased. A blinding splendour hot 
 Flushed the great height toward which my footsteps fell, 
 And though it kindled from the nether hell, 
 Or from the Star that all men leads, alike 
 It showed me where the great dawn-glories strike 
 The wide east, and the utmost peaks of snow. 

 How first I entered on that path astray, 
 Beset with sleep, I know not. This I know. 
 When gained my feet the upward, lighted way, 
 I backward gazed, as one the drowning sea, 
 The deep...
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by John Milton

Samson Agonistes

 Of that sort of Dramatic Poem which is call'd Tragedy.


TRAGEDY, as it was antiently compos'd, hath been ever held the
gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other Poems:
therefore said by Aristotle to be of power by raising pity and fear,
or terror, to purge the mind of those and such like passions, that is
to temper and reduce them to just measure with a kind of delight,
stirr'd up by reading or seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is
Nature wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion: for
so in Physic things of melancholic hue and quality are us'd against
melancholy, sowr against sowr, salt to remove salt humours.
Hence Philosophers and other gravest Writers, as Cicero, Plutarch
and others, frequently cite out of Tragic Poets, both to adorn and
illustrate thir discourse. The Apostle Paul himself thought it not
unworthy to insert a verse of Euripides into the Text of Holy
Scripture, I Cor. 15. 33. and Paraeus commenting on the
Revelation, divides the whole Book as a Tragedy, into Acts
distinguisht each by a Chorus of Heavenly Harpings and Song
between. Heretofore Men in highest dignity have labour'd not a
little to be thought able to compose a Tragedy. Of that honour
Dionysius the elder was no less ambitious, then...
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by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Knights Tale

 WHILOM*, as olde stories tellen us, *formerly
There was a duke that highte* Theseus. *was called 
Of Athens he was lord and governor,
And in his time such a conqueror
That greater was there none under the sun.
Full many a riche country had he won.
What with his wisdom and his chivalry,
He conquer'd all the regne of Feminie,
That whilom was y-cleped Scythia;
And weddede the Queen Hippolyta
And brought her home with him to his country
With muchel* glory and great solemnity, *great
And eke her younge sister Emily,
And thus with vict'ry and with melody
Let I this worthy Duke to Athens ride,
And all his host, in armes him beside.

And certes, if it n'ere* too long to hear, *were not
I would have told you fully the mannere,
How wonnen* was the regne of Feminie,  *won
By Theseus, and by his chivalry;
And of the greate battle for the nonce
Betwixt Athenes and the Amazons;
And how assieged was Hippolyta,
The faire hardy queen of Scythia;
And of the feast that was at her wedding
And of the tempest at her homecoming.
But all these things I must as now forbear.
I have, God wot, a large field to ear* *plough;
And weake be the oxen in my plough;
The remnant of my tale is long enow.
I will not *letten...
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by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Wife of Baths Tale

 THE PROLOGUE. 1


Experience, though none authority* *authoritative texts
Were in this world, is right enough for me
To speak of woe that is in marriage:
For, lordings, since I twelve year was of age,
(Thanked be God that *is etern on live),* *lives eternally*
Husbands at the church door have I had five,2
For I so often have y-wedded be,
And all were worthy men in their degree.
But me was told, not longe time gone is
That sithen* Christe went never but ones *since
To wedding, in the Cane* of Galilee, *Cana
That by that ilk* example taught he me, *same
That I not wedded shoulde be but once.
Lo, hearken eke a sharp word for the nonce,* *occasion
Beside a welle Jesus, God and man,
Spake in reproof of the Samaritan:
"Thou hast y-had five husbandes," said he;
"And thilke* man, that now hath wedded thee, *that
Is not thine husband:" 3 thus said he certain;
What that he meant thereby, I cannot sayn.
But that I aske, why the fifthe man
Was not husband to the Samaritan?
How many might she have in marriage?
Yet heard I never tellen *in mine age* *in my life*
Upon this number definitioun.
Men may divine, and glosen* up and down; *comment
But well I wot, express without a lie,
God bade us for to wax and...
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by George (Lord) Byron

Lara

 LARA. [1] 

CANTO THE FIRST. 

I. 

The Serfs are glad through Lara's wide domain, [2] 
And slavery half forgets her feudal chain; 
He, their unhoped, but unforgotten lord — 
The long self-exiled chieftain is restored: 
There be bright faces in the busy hall, 
Bowls on the board, and banners on the wall; 
Far chequering o'er the pictured window, plays 
The unwonted fagots' hospitable blaze; 
And gay retainers gather round the hearth, 
With tongues all loudness, and with eyes all mirth. 

II. 

The chief of Lara is return'd again: 
And why had Lara cross'd the bounding main? 
Left by his sire, too young such loss to know, 
Lord of himself; — that heritage of woe, 
That fearful empire which the human breast 
But holds to rob the heart within of rest! — 
With none to check, and few to point in time 
The thousand paths that slope the way to crime; 
Then, when he most required commandment, then 
Had Lara's daring boyhood govern'd men. 
It skills not, boots not, step by step to trace 
His youth through all the mazes of its race; 
Short was the course his restlessness had run, 
But long enough to leave him half undone. 

III....
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by George (Lord) Byron

The Bride of Abydos

 "Had we never loved so kindly, 
Had we never loved so blindly, 
Never met or never parted, 
We had ne'er been broken-hearted." — Burns 


TO 
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD HOLLAND, 
THIS TALE IS INSCRIBED, 
WITH EVERY SENTIMENT OF REGARD AND RESPECT, 
BY HIS GRATEFULLY OBLIGED AND SINCERE FRIEND, 

BYRON. 



THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS 

_________ 

CANTO THE FIRST. 

I. 

Know ye the land where cypress and myrtle 
Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime, 
Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle, 
Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime? 
Know ye the land of the cedar and vine, 
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine; 
Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppress'd with perfume, 
Wax faint o'er the gardens of G?l in her bloom; [1] 
Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit, 
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute; 
Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky, 
In colour though varied, in beauty may vie, 
And the purple of Ocean is deepest in dye; 
Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine, 
And all, save the spirit of man, is divine?...
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by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Man of Laws Tale

 THE PROLOGUE.


Our Hoste saw well that the brighte sun
Th' arc of his artificial day had run
The fourthe part, and half an houre more;
And, though he were not deep expert in lore,
He wist it was the eight-and-twenty day
Of April, that is messenger to May;
And saw well that the shadow of every tree
Was in its length of the same quantity
That was the body erect that caused it;
And therefore by the shadow he took his wit*, *knowledge
That Phoebus, which that shone so clear and bright,
Degrees was five-and-forty clomb on height;
And for that day, as in that latitude,
It was ten of the clock, he gan conclude;
And suddenly he plight* his horse about. *pulled 

"Lordings," quoth he, "I warn you all this rout*, *company
The fourthe partie of this day is gone.
Now for the love of God and of Saint John
Lose no time, as farforth as ye may.
Lordings, the time wasteth night and day,
And steals from us, what privily sleeping,
And what through negligence in our waking,
As doth the stream, that turneth never again,
Descending from the mountain to the plain.
Well might Senec, and many a philosopher,
Bewaile time more than gold in coffer.
For loss of chattels may recover'd be,
But loss of time shendeth* us, quoth he. *destroys

It...
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by John Milton

Paradise Lost: Book 09

 No more of talk where God or Angel guest 
With Man, as with his friend, familiar us'd, 
To sit indulgent, and with him partake 
Rural repast; permitting him the while 
Venial discourse unblam'd. I now must change 
Those notes to tragick; foul distrust, and breach 
Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt, 
And disobedience: on the part of Heaven 
Now alienated, distance and distaste, 
Anger and just rebuke, and judgement given, 
That brought into this world a world of woe, 
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery 
Death's harbinger: Sad talk!yet argument 
Not less but more heroick than the wrath 
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued 
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage 
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd; 
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long 
Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son: 

If answerable style I can obtain 
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns 
Her nightly visitation unimplor'd, 
And dictates to me slumbering; or inspires 
Easy my unpremeditated verse: 
Since first this subject for heroick song 
Pleas'd me long choosing, and beginning late; 
Not sedulous by nature to indite 
Wars, hitherto the only argument 
Heroick deem'd chief mastery to dissect 
With long and tedious havock fabled knights 
In...
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