She Walks In Beauty
"She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent"!
She Walks in Beauty
Wed 20 Nov, 2002 06:16 am
"She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove.
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love;
A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
-Fair as a star, when only one
Is shinning in the sky.
She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me"!
She dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways
William Wordsworth ( 1800 )
Wed 20 Nov, 2002 06:21 am
"My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety".
My Heart Leaps Up
William WordsWorth ( 1807 )
Wed 20 Nov, 2002 06:54 am
"...........I cried for madder music and stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! and the night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee Cynara! in my fashion".
Ernest Dowson (l867-1900)
Non sum qualis eram bonae regno Cynarae
Thu 19 Dec, 2002 01:59 pm
Cross of Snow
In the long, sleepless watches of the night,
A gentle face -- the face of one long dead --
Looks at me from the wall, where round its head
The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.
Here in this room she died; and soul more white
Never through martyrdom of fire was led
To its repose; nor can in books be read
The legend of a life more benedight.
There is a mountain in the distant West
That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines
Displays a cross of snow upon its side.
Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes
And seasons, changeless since the day she died.
[H.W. Longfellow wrote this poem, never published, about this wife, who died in a fire. He grew a beard to hide the scars he received from burns when he tried to save her.]
Thu 19 Dec, 2002 08:57 pm
Thanks for posting this moving poem.
I first heard it on a NPR station during a discussion of Longfellow.
In his lifetime he was one of the most famous people in the English speaking world and the preeminent american poet. After his death he began a decline.
In recent decades he has been largely ignored, being seen as the epitome of Victorianism ie. 'preachy', grandiose, overly sentimental etc. The point of the NPR program was to take a fresh look at him and his poems. 'Cross of Snow' was offered as an example of his better work.
Fri 20 Dec, 2002 11:22 am
Thanks, jjorge. That poem knocked me out when I recently read an article about Longfellow; the poem was included (in its entirety) as an example of why he shouldn't be written of as quaint or boringly rhymey. And the story behind it is so poignant...
Fri 20 Dec, 2002 12:19 pm
WHEN I HAVE FEARS THAT I MAY CEASE TO BE
1 When I have fears that I may cease to be
2 Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
3 Before high-piled books, in charactery,
4 Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
5 When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
6 Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
7 And think that I may never live to trace
8 Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
9 And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
10 That I shall never look upon thee more,
11 Never have relish in the faery power
12 Of unreflecting love;--then on the shore
13 Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
14 Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
JOHN KEATS (1795-1821)
Fri 20 Dec, 2002 12:45 pm
A lovely poem, made all the more poignant by the fact that Keats fears were very warranted and, in fact came true not too long afterwards.
Fri 20 Dec, 2002 12:50 pm
Henry David Thoreau is best known, of course, for 'Walden'. However, he did write other things including a few good poems.
I particularly like this one:
'I am a Parcel of Vain Strivings Tied'
I am a parcel of vain strivings tied
By a chance bond together,
Dangling this way and that, their links
Were made so loose and wide,
For milder weather.
A bunch of violets without their roots,
And sorrel intermixed,
Encircled by a wisp of straw
Once coiled about their shoots,
By which I'm fixed.
A nosegay which Time clutched from out
Those fair Elysian fields,
With weeds and broken stems, in haste,
Doth make the rabble rout
The day he yields.
And here I bloom for a short hour unseen,
Drinking my juices up,
With no root in the land
To keep my branches green,
In a bare cup.
Some tender buds were left upon my stem
In mimicry of life,
But ah! the children will not know,
Till time has withered them,
With which they're rife.
But now I see I was not plucked for naught,
And after in life's vase
Of glass set while I might survive,
But by a kind hand brought
To a strange place.
That stock thus thinned will soon redeem its hours,
And by another year,
Such as God knows, with freer air,
More fruits and fairer flowers
While I droop here.
(Henry David Thoreau)
Fri 20 Dec, 2002 01:11 pm
Ah Jjorge, Thanks for sharing
that poem with me, I have
not read it before. Happy
holiday to you as well!
Fri 20 Dec, 2002 01:41 pm
Madam Life's a Piece in Bloom
Madam life's a piece in bloom
Death goes dogging everywhere:
She's the tenant in the room,
He's the ruffian on the stair.
You shall see her as a friend.
You shall bilk him once or twice;
But he'll trap you in the end,
And he'll stick you for her price
With his kneebone at your chest,
And his knuckles in your throat,
You would reason - plead - protest!
Clutching at her petticoat;
But she's heard it all before,
Well she knows you've had your fun,
Gingerly she gains the door,
And your little job is done.
William Ernest HENLEY 1849-1903
1st Publish Date Unknown
Sat 21 Dec, 2002 09:54 am
Thanks for the Henley poem. I hadn't seen it before.
I keep returning to Time and mortality in my ponderings.
If you see a hill of foam
It is my poetry that you see:
My poetry is a mountain
And is also a feather fan.
My poems are like a dagger
Sprouting flowers from the hilt;
My poetry is like a fountain
Sprinkling streams of coral water.
My poems are light green
And flaming red;
My poetry is a wounded deer
Looking for the forest's sanctuary.
My poems please the brave:
My poems, short and sincere,
Have the force of steel
Which forges swords.
Sun 5 Jan, 2003 05:48 am
There Was An Old Man With A Beard
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, "It is just as I feared!-
Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!"
Edaward Lear ( 1846 )
Fri 10 Jan, 2003 07:05 am
This Living Hand
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calmed-see here it is-
I hold it towards you.
Sun 12 Jan, 2003 07:08 am
There Was An Old Man In A Tree
There was an Old Man in a tree,
Who was horribly bored by a Bee;
When they said, "Does it buzz?" he replied, "Yes, it does!"
"Its a regular brute of a Bee!"
Edward Lear ( 1846 )
Sun 12 Jan, 2003 05:32 pm
New Haven --
I love the poem beginning "This living hand", which you posted a couple of days ago. However, I feel compelled to point out that the poem was written by John Keats, not by Ralph Waldo Emerson (who in any event couldn't have written it in 1898, since he died in 1882). The person addressed in the poem is Keats's fiancee, Fanny Brawne, and the poem can often be found in anthologies under the title, "To Fanny Brawne".