William Carlos Williams - Woman Walking
An oblique cloud of purple smoke
across a milky silhouette
of house sides and tiny trees—
a little village—
that ends in a saw edge
of mist-covered trees
on a sheet of grey sky.
To the right, jutting in,
a dark crimson corner of roof.
To the left, half a tree:
?—what a blessing it is
to see you in the street again,
coming with swinging haunches,
breasts straight forward,
supple shoulders, full arms
and strong, soft hands (I've felt them)
carrying the heavy basket.
I might well see you oftener!
And for a different reason
than the fresh eggs
you bring us so regularly.
Yes, you, young as I,
with boney brows,
kind grey eyes and a kind mouth;
you walking out toward me
from that dead hillside!
I might well see you oftener.
Edward Coote Pinkney - The Widow's song
I BURN no incense, hang no wreath,
On this, thine early tomb:
Such cannot cheer the place of death,
But only mock its gloom.
Here odorous smoke and breathing flower
No grateful influence shed:
They lose their perfume and their power,
When offered to the dead.
And if, as is the Afghaun's creed,
The spirit may return,
A disembodied sense to feed,
On fragrance, near its urn--
It is enough, that she, whom thou
Did'st love in living years,
Sits desolate beside it now,
And falls these heavy tears.
Thomas Hardy - We Sat at the Window
We sat at the window looking out,
And the rain came down like silken strings
That Swithin's day. Each gutter and spout
Babbled unchecked in the busy way
Of witless things:
Nothing to read, nothing to see
Seemed in that room for her and me
On Swithin's day.
We were irked by the scene, by our own selves; yes,
For I did not know, nor did she infer
How much there was to read and guess
By her in me, and to see and crown
By me in her.
Wasted were two souls in their prime,
And great was the waste, that July time
When the rain came down.
Edward Coote Pinkney - The Voyager's song
Sound trumpets, ho!—weigh anchor—loosen sail—
The seaward flying banners chide delay;
As if'twere heaven that breathes this kindly gale,
Our life-like bark beneath it speeds away.
Flit we, a gliding dream, with troublous motion,
Across the slumbers of uneasy ocean;
And furl our canvass by a happier land,
So fraught with emanations from the sun,
That potable gold streams through the sand
Where element should run.
Onward, my friends, to that bright, florid isle,
The jewel of a smooth and silver sea,
With springs on which perennial summers smile
A power of causing immortality.
For Bimini;—in its enchanted ground,
The hallowed fountains we would seek, are found;
Bathed in the waters of those mystic wells,
The frame starts up in renovated truth,
And, freed from Time's deforming spells,
Resumes its proper youth.
Hail, better birth!—once more my feelings all
A graven image to themselves shall make,
And, placed upon my heart for pedestal,
That glorious idol long will keep awake
Their natural religion, nor be cast
To earth by Age, the great Iconoclast.
As from Gadara's founts they once could come,
Charm-called, from these Love's genii shall arise,
And build their perdurable home,
Miranda, in thine eyes.
By Nature wisely gifted, not destroyed
With golden presents, like the Roman maid,—
A sublunary paradise enjoyed,
Shall teach thee bliss incapable of shade;—
An Eden ours, nor angry gods, nor men,
Nor star-clad Fates, can take from us again.
Superiour to animal decay,
Sun of that perfect heaven, thou'lt calmly see
Stag, raven, phenix, drop away
With human transiency.
Thus rich in being,—beautiful,—adored,
Fear not exhausting pleasure's precious mine;
The wondrous waters we approach, when poured
On passion's lees, supply the wasted wine:
Then be thy bosom's tenant prodigal,
And confident of termless carnival.
Like idle yellow leaves afloat on time,
Let others lapse to death's pacific sea,—
We'll fade nor fall, but sport sublime
In green eternity.
The envious years, which steal our pleasures, thou
May'st call at once, like magic memory, back,
And, as they pass o'er thine unwithering brow,
Efface their footsteps ere they form a track.
Thy bloom with wilful weeping never stain,
Perpetual life must not belong to pain.
For me,—this world has not yet been a place
Conscious of joys so great as will be mine,
Because the light has kissed no face
Forever fair as thine.
Paul Bloomfield - Twilight
John Gay - To a Lady on Her Passion for Old China
WHAT ecstasies her bosom fire!
How her eyes languish with desire!
How blest, how happy should I be,
Were that fond glance bestow'd on me!
New doubts and fears within me war:
What rival's near? a China jar.
China's the passion of her soul;
A cup, a plate, a dish, a bowl,
Can kindle wishes in her breast,
Inflame with joy, or break her rest.
Some gems collect; some medals prize,
And view the rust with lover's eyes;
Some court the stars at midnight hours;
Some dote on Nature's charms in flowers!
But ev'ry beauty I can trace
In Laura's mind, in Laura's face;
My stars are in this brighter sphere,
My lily and my rose is here.
Philosophers more grave than wise
Hunt science down in Butterflies;
Or fondly poring on a Spider
Stretch human contemplation wider;
Fossiles give joy to Galen's soul,
He digs for knowledge, like a mole;
In shells so learn'd that all agree
No fish that swims knows more than he!
In such pursuits if wisdom lies,
Who, Laura, shall thy taste despise?
When I some antique Jar behold,
Or white, or blue, or speck'd with gold,
Vessels so pure and so refin'd,
Appear the types of woman-kind:
Are they not valu'd for their beauty,
Too fair, too fine for houshold duty?
With flowers and gold and azure dy'd,
Of ev'ry house the grace and pride?
How white, how polish'd is their skin,
And valu'd most when only seen!
She who before was highest priz'd,
Is for a crack or flaw despis'd;
I grant they're frail, yet they're so rare,
The treasure cannot cost too dear!
But Man is made of coarser stuff,
And serves convenience well enough;
He's a strong earthen vessel made,
For drudging, labour, toil, and trade;
And when wives lose their other self,
With ease they bear the loss of Delf.
Husbands more covetous than sage
Condemn this China-buying rage;
They count that woman's prudence little,
Who sets her heart on things so brittle.
But are those wise-men's inclinations
Fixt on more strong, more sure foundations?
If all that's frail we must despise,
No human view or scheme is wise.
Are not Ambition's hopes as weak?
They swell like bubbles, shine and break.
A Courtier's promise is so slight,
'Tis made at noon, and broke at night.
What pleasure's sure? The Miss you keep
Breaks both your fortune and your sleep.
The man who loves a country life,
Breaks all the comforts of his wife;
And if he quit his farm and plough,
His wife in town may break her vow.
Love, Laura, love, while youth is warm,
For each new winter breaks a charm;
And woman's not like China sold,
But cheaper grows in growing old;
Then quickly chuse the prudent part,
Or else you break a faithful heart.
Matilda Betham - The Terrors of Guilt
YON coward, with the streaming hair,
And visage, madden'd to despair,
With step convuls'd, unsettled eye,
And bosom lab'ring with a sigh,
Is Guilt! ----Behold, he hears the name,
And starts with horror, fear, and shame!
See! slow Suspicion by his side,
With winking, microscopic eye!
And Mystery, his muffled guide,
With fearful speech, and head awry.
See! scowling Malice there attend,
Bold Falsehood, an apparent friend;
Avarice, repining o'er his pelf,
Mean Cunning, lover of himself;
Hatred, the son of conscious Fear,
Impatient Envy, with a fiendlike sneer,
And shades of blasted Hopes, which still are
All other woes will find relief,
And time alleviate every grief;
Memory, though slowly, will decay,
And Sorrow's empire pass away.
Awhile Misfortune may controul,
And Pain oppress the virtuous soul,
Yet Innocence can still beguile
The patient sufferer of a smile,
The beams of Hope may still dispense
A grateful feeling to the sense;
Friendship may cast her arms around,
And with fond tears embalm the wound,
Or Piety's soft incense rise,
And waft reflection to the skies;
But those fell pangs which he endures,
Nor Time forgets, nor Kindness cures;
Like Ocean's waves, they still return,
Like Etna's fires, forever burn.
Round him no genial zephyrs fly,
No fair horizon glads his eye,
No joys to him does Nature yield,
The solemn grove, or laughing field;
Though both with loud rejoicings ring,
No pleasure does the echo bring.
Not bubbling waters as they roll,
Can tranquillize his bursting soul,
For Conscience still, with tingling smart,
Asserts his empire o'er his heart,
And even when his eye-lids close,
With clamourous scream affrights repose.
Oppress'd with light, he seeks to shun
The splendid glories of the sun;
The busy crowds that hover near,
Torment his eye, distract his ear:
He hastens to the secret shades,
Where not a ray the gloom pervades;
Where Contemplation may retreat,
And Silence take his mossy seat:
Yet even there no peace he knows,
His fev'rish blood, no calmer flows;
Some hid assassins 'vengeful knife,
Is rais'd to end his wretched life.
He shudders, starts, and stares around,
With breathless fright, to catch the fancied sound;
Seeks for the dagger in his breast,
And gripes it 'neath his ruffled vest.
Lo! now he plunges in the flood,
To cleanse his garments, stain'd with blood,
His sanguine arm, in terror, laves;
But ah! its hue defies the waves.
Deprest, bewilder'd, thence he flies,
And, to avoid Detection, tries,
Who, frowning, still before him stands,
The sword of Justice in her hands;
Abhorrent Scorn, unpitying Shame,
And Punishments without a name,
Still on her sounding steps attend,
And every added horror lend.
He turns away, with dread and fear,
But the fell spectres still are near.
Though Falsehood's mazes see him wind!
Yet Infamy is close behind,
Lifting her horn, with horrors fraught,
Whose hideous yell is frenzy to the thought.
Now, maniac-like, he comes again,
And mixes with the jocund train;
But still those eyes that wildly roll,
Bespeak the tempest in his soul.
In yon deep cave he strives to rest,
But Mem'ry harrows up his breast;
He clasps the goblet, foe to Care,
And lo! Distraction hovers there.
Ah, hapless wretch! condemn'd to know,
The sad varieties of woe;
Where'er thy footsteps turn, to meet,
An earthquake yawning at thy feet,
While o'er thy head pale meteors glare,
And boding tempests fill the air,
In throbbing anguish doom'd to roam,
Yet never find a peaceful home.
Haste! to the shrine of Mercy hie,
There lift the penitential eye,
With breaking heart thy sins deplore,
And wound Integrity no more!
Repentance then thy soul shall save,
And snatch thee, ransom'd, from the grave.
Jordi de Sant Jordi - Song of Contraries
Robert W. Service - The Shooting of Dan McGrew
A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that's known as Lou.
When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and the glare,
There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.
He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse,
Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks for the house.
There was none could place the stranger's face, though we searched ourselves for a clue;
But we drank his health, and the last to drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew.
There's men that somehow just grip your eyes, and hold them hard like a spell;
And such was he, and he looked to me like a man who had lived in hell;
With a face most hair, and the dreary stare of a dog whose day is done,
As he watered the green stuff in his glass, and the drops fell one by one.
Then I got to figgering who he was, and wondering what he'd do,
And I turned my head — and there watching him was the lady that's known as Lou.
His eyes went rubbering round the room, and he seemed in a kind of daze,
Till at last that old piano fell in the way of his wandering gaze.
The rag-time kid was having a drink; there was no one else on the stool,
So the stranger stumbles across the room, and flops down there like a fool.
In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;
Then he clutched the keys with his talon hands — my God! but that man could play.
Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,
And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear;
With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold,
A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold;
While high overhead, green, yellow and red, the North Lights swept in bars? —
Then you've a hunch what the music meant. . . hunger and night and the stars.
And hunger not of the belly kind, that's banished with bacon and beans,
But the gnawing hunger of lonely men for a home and all that it means;
For a fireside far from the cares that are, four walls and a roof above;
But oh! so cramful of cosy joy, and crowned with a woman's love —
A woman dearer than all the world, and true as Heaven is true —
(God! how ghastly she looks through her rouge, — the lady that's known as Lou.)
Then on a sudden the music changed, so soft that you scarce could hear;
But you felt that your life had been looted clean of all that it once held dear;
That someone had stolen the woman you loved; that her love was a devil's lie;
That your guts were gone, and the best for you was to crawl away and die.
'Twas the crowning cry of a heart's despair, and it thrilled you through and through —
"I guess I'll make it a spread misere", said Dangerous Dan McGrew.
The music almost died away ... then it burst like a pent-up flood;
And it seemed to say, "Repay, repay," and my eyes were blind with blood.
The thought came back of an ancient wrong, and it stung like a frozen lash,
And the lust awoke to kill, to kill ... then the music stopped with a crash,
And the stranger turned, and his eyes they burned in a most peculiar way;
In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;
Then his lips went in in a kind of grin, and he spoke, and his voice was calm,
And "Boys," says he, "you don't know me, and none of you care a damn;
But I want to state, and my words are straight, and I'll bet my poke they're true,
That one of you is a hound of hell. . .and that one is Dan McGrew."
Then I ducked my head, and the lights went out, and two guns blazed in the dark,
And a woman screamed, and the lights went up, and two men lay stiff and stark.
Pitched on his head, and pumped full of lead, was Dangerous Dan McGrew,
While the man from the creeks lay clutched to the breast of the lady that's known as Lou.
These are the simple facts of the case, and I guess I ought to know.
They say that the stranger was crazed with "hooch," and I'm not denying it's so.
I'm not so wise as the lawyer guys, but strictly between us two —
The woman that kissed him and — pinched his poke — was the lady that's known as Lou.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Sexagenarius Loquitur
FROM our youth to our age
We have passed each stage
In old immemorial order,
From primitive days
Through flowery ways
With love like a hedge as their border.
Ah, youth was a kingdom of joy,
And we were the king and the queen,
When I was a year
Short of thirty, my dear,
And you were just nearing nineteen.
But dark follows light
And day follows night
As the old planet circles the sun;
And nature still traces
Her score on our faces
And tallies the years as they run.
Have they chilled the old warmth in your heart?
I swear that they have not in mine,
Though I am a year
Short of sixty, my dear,
And you are—well, say thirty-nine.
Emily Dickinson - Purple Clover
There is a flower that Bees prefer—
To gain the Purple Democrat
The Humming Bird—aspire—
And Whatsoever Insect pass—
A Honey bear away
Proportioned to his several dearth
Her face be rounder than the Moon
And ruddier than the Gown
Or Orchis in the Pasture—
She doth not wait for June—
Before the World be Green—
Her sturdy little Countenance
Against the Wind—be seen—
Contending with the Grass—
Near Kinsman to Herself—
For Privilege of Sod and Sun—
Sweet Litigants for Life—
And when the Hills be full—
And newer fashions blow—
Doth not retract a single spice
For pang of jealousy—
Her Public—be the Noon—
Her Providence—the Sun—
Her Progress—by the Bee—proclaimed—
In sovereign—Swerveless Tune—
The Bravest—of the Host—
Nor even of Defeat—aware—
What cancelled by the Frost—
Robert Browning - Porphyria's Lover
The rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soiled gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And called me. When no voice replied,
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair,
Murmuring how she loved me — she
Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me for ever.
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain.
Be sure I looked up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipped me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightened next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propped her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scorned at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gained instead!
Porphyria's love: she guessed not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,
And yet God has not said a word!
Lewis Carroll - Phantasmagoria Canto I (The Trystyng )
ONE winter night, at half-past nine,
Cold, tired, and cross, and muddy,
I had come home, too late to dine,
And supper, with cigars and wine,
Was waiting in the study.
There was a strangeness in the room,
And Something white and wavy
Was standing near me in the gloom -
I took it for the carpet-broom
Left by that careless slavey.
But presently the Thing began
To shiver and to sneeze:
On which I said "Come, come, my man!
That's a most inconsiderat e plan.
Less noise there, if you please!"
"I've caught a cold," the Thing replies,
"Out there upon the landing."
I turned to look in some surprise,
And there, before my very eyes,
A little Ghost was standing!
He trembled when he caught my eye,
And got behind a chair.
"How came you here," I said, "and why?
I never saw a thing so shy.
Come out! Don't shiver there!"
He said "I'd gladly tell you how,
And also tell you why;
But" (here he gave a little bow)
"You're in so bad a temper now,
You'd think it all a lie.
"And as to being in a fright,
Allow me to remark
That Ghosts have just as good a right
In every way, to fear the light,
As Men to fear the dark."
"No plea," said I, "can well excuse
Such cowardice in you:
For Ghosts can visit when they choose,
Whereas we Humans ca'n't refuse
To grant the interview."
He said "A flutter of alarm
Is not unnatural, is it?
I really feared you meant some harm:
But, now I see that you are calm,
Let me explain my visit.
"Houses are classed, I beg to state,
According to the number
Of Ghosts that they accommodate:
(The Tenant merely counts as WEIGHT,
With Coals and other lumber).
"This is a 'one-ghost' house, and you
When you arrived last summer,
May have remarked a Spectre who
Was doing all that Ghosts can do
To welcome the new-comer.
"In Villas this is always done -
However cheaply rented:
For, though of course there's less of fun
When there is only room for one,
Ghosts have to be contented.
"That Spectre left you on the Third -
Since then you've not been haunted:
For, as he never sent us word,
'Twas quite by accident we heard
That any one was wanted.
"A Spectre has first choice, by right,
In filling up a vacancy;
Then Phantom, Goblin, Elf, and Sprite -
If all these fail them, they invite
The nicest Ghoul that they can see.
"The Spectres said the place was low,
And that you kept bad wine:
So, as a Phantom had to go,
And I was first, of course, you know,
I couldn't well decline."
"No doubt," said I, "they settled who
Was fittest to be sent
Yet still to choose a brat like you,
To haunt a man of forty-two,
Was no great compliment!"
"I'm not so young, Sir," he replied,
"As you might think. The fact is,
In caverns by the water-side,
And other places that I've tried,
I've had a lot of practice:
"But I have never taken yet
A strict domestic part,
And in my flurry I forget
The Five Good Rules of Etiquette
We have to know by heart."
My sympathies were warming fast
Towards the little fellow:
He was so utterly aghast
At having found a Man at last,
And looked so scared and yellow.
"At least," I said, "I'm glad to find
A Ghost is not a DUMB thing!
But pray sit down: you'll feel inclined
(If, like myself, you have not dined)
To take a snack of something:
"Though, certainly, you don't appear
A thing to offer FOOD to!
And then I shall be glad to hear -
If you will say them loud and clear -
The Rules that you allude to."
"Thanks! You shall hear them by and by.
This IS a piece of luck!"
"What may I offer you?" said I.
"Well, since you ARE so kind, I'll try
A little bit of duck.
"ONE slice! And may I ask you for
Another drop of gravy?"
I sat and looked at him in awe,
For certainly I never saw
A thing so white and wavy.
And still he seemed to grow more white,
More vapoury, and wavier -
Seen in the dim and flickering light,
As he proceeded to recite
His "Maxims of Behaviour."
Lewis Carroll - Phantasmagoria Canto II ( Hys Fyve Rules )
"MY First - but don't suppose," he said,
"I'm setting you a riddle -
Is - if your Victim be in bed,
Don't touch the curtains at his head,
But take them in the middle,
"And wave them slowly in and out,
While drawing them asunder;
And in a minute's time, no doubt,
He'll raise his head and look about
With eyes of wrath and wonder.
"And here you must on no pretence
Make the first observation.
Wait for the Victim to commence:
No Ghost of any common sense
Begins a conversation .
"If he should say 'HOW CAME YOU HERE?'
(The way that YOU began, Sir,)
In such a case your course is clear -
'ON THE BAT'S BACK, MY LITTLE DEAR!'
Is the appropriate answer.
"If after this he says no more,
You'd best perhaps curtail your
Exertions - go and shake the door,
And then, if he begins to snore,
You'll know the thing's a failure.
"By day, if he should be alone -
At home or on a walk -
You merely give a hollow groan,
To indicate the kind of tone
In which you mean to talk.
"But if you find him with his friends,
The thing is rather harder.
In such a case success depends
On picking up some candle-ends,
Or butter, in the larder.
"With this you make a kind of slide
(It answers best with suet),
On which you must contrive to glide,
And swing yourself from side to side -
One soon learns how to do it.
"The Second tells us what is right
In ceremonious calls:-
'FIRST BURN A BLUE OR CRIMSON LIGHT'
(A thing I quite forgot to-night),
'THEN SCRATCH THE DOOR OR WALLS.'"
I said "You'll visit HERE no more,
If you attempt the Guy.
I'll have no bonfires on MY floor -
And, as for scratching at the door,
I'd like to see you try!"
"The Third was written to protect
The interests of the Victim,
And tells us, as I recollect,
TO TREAT HIM WITH A GRAVE RESPECT,
AND NOT TO CONTRADICT HIM."
"That's plain," said I, "as Tare and Tret,
To any comprehensio n:
I only wish SOME Ghosts I've met
Would not so CONSTANTLY forget
The maxim that you mention!"
"Perhaps," he said, "YOU first transgressed
The laws of hospitality:
All Ghosts instinctivel y detest
The Man that fails to treat his guest
With proper cordiality.
"If you address a Ghost as 'Thing!'
Or strike him with a hatchet,
He is permitted by the King
To drop all FORMAL parleying -
And then you're SURE to catch it!
"The Fourth prohibits trespassing
Where other Ghosts are quartered:
And those convicted of the thing
(Unless when pardoned by the King)
Must instantly be slaughtered.
"That simply means 'be cut up small':
Ghosts soon unite anew.
The process scarcely hurts at all -
Not more than when YOU're what you call
'Cut up' by a Review.
"The Fifth is one you may prefer
That I should quote entire:-
THE KING MUST BE ADDRESSED AS 'SIR.'
THIS, FROM A SIMPLE COURTIER,
IS ALL THE LAWS REQUIRE:
"BUT, SHOULD YOU WISH TO DO THE THING
WITH OUT-AND-OUT POLITENESS,
ACCOST HIM AS 'MY GOBLIN KING!
AND ALWAYS USE, IN ANSWERING,
THE PHRASE 'YOUR ROYAL WHITENESS!'
"I'm getting rather hoarse, I fear,
After so much reciting :
So, if you don't object, my dear,
We'll try a glass of bitter beer -
I think it looks inviting."
Lewis Carroll - Phantasmagoria Canto III ( Scarmoges )
"AND did you really walk," said I,
"On such a wretched night?
I always fancied Ghosts could fly -
If not exactly in the sky,
Yet at a fairish height."
"It's very well," said he, "for Kings
To soar above the earth:
But Phantoms often find that wings -
Like many other pleasant things -
Cost more than they are worth.
"Spectres of course are rich, and so
Can buy them from the Elves:
But WE prefer to keep below -
They're stupid company, you know,
For any but themselves:
"For, though they claim to be exempt
From pride, they treat a Phantom
As something quite beneath contempt -
Just as no Turkey ever dreamt
Of noticing a Bantam."
"They seem too proud," said I, "to go
To houses such as mine.
Pray, how did they contrive to know
So quickly that 'the place was low,'
And that I 'kept bad wine'?"
"Inspector Kobold came to you - "
The little Ghost began.
Here I broke in - "Inspector who?
Inspecting Ghosts is something new!
Explain yourself, my man!"
"His name is Kobold," said my guest:
"One of the Spectre order:
You'll very often see him dressed
In a yellow gown, a crimson vest,
And a night-cap with a border.
"He tried the Brocken business first,
But caught a sort of chill ;
So came to England to be nursed,
And here it took the form of THIRST,
Which he complains of still.
"Port-wine, he says, when rich and sound,
Warms his old bones like nectar:
And as the inns, where it is found,
Are his especial hunting-grou nd,
We call him the INN-SPECTRE. "
I bore it - bore it like a man -
This agonizing witticism!
And nothing could be sweeter than
My temper, till the Ghost began
Some most provoking criticism.
"Cooks need not be indulged in waste;
Yet still you'd better teach them
Dishes should have SOME SORT of taste.
Pray, why are all the cruets placed
Where nobody can reach them?
"That man of yours will never earn
His living as a waiter!
Is that queer THING supposed to burn?
(It's far too dismal a concern
To call a Moderator).
"The duck was tender, but the peas
Were very much too old:
And just remember, if you please,
The NEXT time you have toasted cheese,
Don't let them send it cold.
"You'd find the bread improved, I think,
By getting better flour:
And have you anything to drink
That looks a LITTLE less like ink,
And isn't QUITE so sour?"
Then, peering round with curious eyes,
He muttered "Goodness gracious!"
And so went on to criticise -
"Your room's an inconvenient size:
It's neither snug nor spacious.
"That narrow window, I expect,
Serves but to let the dusk in - "
"But please," said I, "to recollect
'Twas fashioned by an architect
Who pinned his faith on Ruskin!"
"I don't care who he was, Sir, or
On whom he pinned his faith!
Constructed by whatever law,
So poor a job I never saw,
As I'm a living Wraith!
"What a re-markable cigar!
How much are they a dozen?"
I growled "No matter what they are!
You're getting as familiar
As if you were my cousin!
"Now that's a thing I WILL NOT STAND,
And so I tell you flat."
"Aha," said he, "we're getting grand!"
(Taking a bottle in his hand)
"I'll soon arrange for THAT!"
And here he took a careful aim,
And gaily cried "Here goes!"
I tried to dodge it as it came,
But somehow caught it, all the same,
Exactly on my nose.
And I remember nothing more
That I can clearly fix,
Till I was sitting on the floor,
Repeating "Two and five are four,
But FIVE AND TWO are six."
What really passed I never learned,
Nor guessed: I only know
That, when at last my sense returned,
The lamp, neglected, dimly burned -
The fire was getting low -
Through driving mists I seemed to see
A Thing that smirked and smiled:
And found that he was giving me
A lesson in Biography,
As if I were a child.
Lewis Carroll - Phantasmagoria Canto IV ( Hys Nouryture )
"OH, when I was a little Ghost,
A merry time had we!
Each seated on his favourite post,
We chumped and chawed the buttered toast
They gave us for our tea."
"That story is in print!" I cried.
"Don't say it's not, because
It's known as well as Bradshaw's Guide!"
(The Ghost uneasily replied
He hardly thought it was).
"It's not in Nursery Rhymes? And yet
I almost think it is -
'Three little Ghosteses' were set
'On posteses,' you know, and ate
Their 'buttered toasteses.'
"I have the book; so if you doubt it - "
I turned to search the shelf.
"Don't stir!" he cried. "We'll do without it:
I now remember all about it;
I wrote the thing myself.
"It came out in a 'Monthly,' or
At least my agent said it did:
Some literary swell, who saw
It, thought it seemed adapted for
The Magazine he edited.
"My father was a Brownie, Sir;
My mother was a Fairy.
The notion had occurred to her,
The children would be happier,
If they were taught to vary.
"The notion soon became a craze;
And, when it once began, she
Brought us all out in different ways -
One was a Pixy, two were Fays,
Another was a Banshee;
"The Fetch and Kelpie went to school
And gave a lot of trouble;
Next came a Poltergeist and Ghoul,
And then two Trolls (which broke the rule),
A Goblin, and a Double -
"(If that's a snuff-box on the shelf,"
He added with a yawn,
"I'll take a pinch) - next came an Elf,
And then a Phantom (that's myself),
And last, a Leprechaun.
"One day, some Spectres chanced to call,
Dressed in the usual white:
I stood and watched them in the hall,
And couldn't make them out at all,
They seemed so strange a sight.
"I wondered what on earth they were,
That looked all head and sack;
But Mother told me not to stare,
And then she twitched me by the hair,
And punched me in the back.
"Since then I've often wished that I
Had been a Spectre born.
But what's the use?" (He heaved a sigh.)
"THEY are the ghost-nobili ty,
And look on US with scorn.
"My phantom-life was soon begun:
When I was barely six,
I went out with an older one -
And just at first I thought it fun,
And learned a lot of tricks.
"I've haunted dungeons, castles, towers -
Wherever I was sent:
I've often sat and howled for hours,
Drenched to the skin with driving showers,
Upon a battlement.
"It's quite old-fashione d now to groan
When you begin to speak:
This is the newest thing in tone - "
And here (it chilled me to the bone)
He gave an AWFUL squeak.
"Perhaps," he added, "to YOUR ear
That sounds an easy thing?
Try it yourself, my little dear!
It took ME something like a year,
With constant practising.
"And when you've learned to squeak, my man,
And caught the double sob,
You're pretty much where you began:
Just try and gibber if you can!
That's something LIKE a job!
"I'VE tried it, and can only say
I'm sure you couldn't do it, e-
ven if you practised night and day,
Unless you have a turn that way,
And natural ingenuity.
"Shakspeare I think it is who treats
Of Ghosts, in days of old,
Who 'gibbered in the Roman streets,'
Dressed, if you recollect, in sheets -
They must have found it cold.
"I've often spent ten pounds on stuff,
In dressing as a Double;
But, though it answers as a puff,
It never has effect enough
To make it worth the trouble.
"Long bills soon quenched the little thirst
I had for being funny.
The setting-up is always worst:
Such heaps of things you want at first,
One must be made of money!
"For instance, take a Haunted Tower,
With skull, cross-bones, and sheet;
Blue lights to burn (say) two an hour,
Condensing lens of extra power,
And set of chains complete:
"What with the things you have to hire -
The fitting on the robe -
And testing all the coloured fire -
The outfit of itself would tire
The patience of a Job!
"And then they're so fastidious,
The Haunted-Hous e Committee:
I've often known them make a fuss
Because a Ghost was French, or Russ,
Or even from the City!
"Some dialects are objected to -
For one, the IRISH brogue is:
And then, for all you have to do,
One pound a week they offer you,
And find yourself in Bogies!
Lewis Carroll - Phantasmagoria Canto V ( Byckerment )
"DON'T they consult the 'Victims,' though?"
I said. "They should, by rights,
Give them a chance - because, you know,
The tastes of people differ so,
Especially in Sprites."
The Phantom shook his head and smiled.
"Consult them? Not a bit!
'Twould be a job to drive one wild,
To satisfy one single child -
There'd be no end to it!"
"Of course you can't leave CHILDREN free,"
Said I, "to pick and choose:
But, in the case of men like me,
I think 'Mine Host' might fairly be
Allowed to state his views."
He said "It really wouldn't pay -
Folk are so full of fancies.
We visit for a single day,
And whether then we go, or stay,
Depends on circumstances.
"And, though we don't consult 'Mine Host'
Before the thing's arranged,
Still, if he often quits his post,
Or is not a well-mannered Ghost,
Then you can have him changed.
"But if the host's a man like you -
I mean a man of sense;
And if the house is not too new - "
"Why, what has THAT," said I, "to do
With Ghost's convenience?"
"A new house does not suit, you know -
It's such a job to trim it:
But, after twenty years or so,
The wainscotings begin to go,
So twenty is the limit."
"To trim" was not a phrase I could
Remember having heard:
"Perhaps," I said, "you'll be so good
As tell me what is understood
Exactly by that word?"
"It means the loosening all the doors,"
The Ghost replied, and laughed:
"It means the drilling holes by scores
In all the skirting-boards and floors,
To make a thorough draught.
"You'll sometimes find that one or two
Are all you really need
To let the wind come whistling through -
But HERE there'll be a lot to do!"
I faintly gasped "Indeed!
"If I 'd been rather later, I'll
Be bound," I added, trying
(Most unsuccessfully) to smile,
"You'd have been busy all this while,
Trimming and beautifying?"
"Why, no," said he; "perhaps I should
Have stayed another minute -
But still no Ghost, that's any good,
Without an introduction would
Have ventured to begin it.
"The proper thing, as you were late,
Was certainly to go:
But, with the roads in such a state,
I got the Knight-Mayor's leave to wait
For half an hour or so."
"Who's the Knight-Mayor?" I cried. Instead
Of answering my question,
"Well, if you don't know THAT," he said,
"Either you never go to bed,
Or you've a grand digestion!
"He goes about and sits on folk
That eat too much at night:
His duties are to pinch, and poke,
And squeeze them till they nearly choke."
(I said "It serves them right!")
"And folk who sup on things like these - "
He muttered, "eggs and bacon -
Lobster - and duck - and toasted cheese -
If they don't get an awful squeeze,
I'm very much mistaken!
"He is immensely fat, and so
Well suits the occupation:
In point of fact, if you must know,
We used to call him years ago,
THE MAYOR AND CORPORATION!
"The day he was elected Mayor
I KNOW that every Sprite meant
To vote for ME, but did not dare -
He was so frantic with despair
And furious with excitement.
"When it was over, for a whim,
He ran to tell the King;
And being the reverse of slim,
A two-mile trot was not for him
A very easy thing.
"So, to reward him for his run
(As it was baking hot,
And he was over twenty stone),
The King proceeded, half in fun,
To knight him on the spot."
"'Twas a great liberty to take!"
(I fired up like a rocket).
"He did it just for punning's sake:
'The man,' says Johnson, 'that would make
A pun, would pick a pocket!'"
"A man," said he, "is not a King."
I argued for a while,
And did my best to prove the thing -
The Phantom merely listening
With a contemptuous smile.
At last, when, breath and patience spent,
I had recourse to smoking -
"Your AIM," he said, "is excellent:
But - when you call it ARGUMENT -
Of course you're only joking?"
Stung by his cold and snaky eye,
I roused myself at length
To say "At least I do defy
The veriest sceptic to deny
That union is strength!"
"That's true enough," said he, "yet stay - "
I listened in all meekness -
"UNION is strength, I'm bound to say;
In fact, the thing's as clear as day;
But ONIONS are a weakness."
Lewis Carroll - Phantasmagoria Canto VI ( Dyscomfyture )
As one who strives a hill to climb,
Who never climbed before:
Who finds it, in a little time,
Grow every moment less sublime,
And votes the thing a bore:
Yet, having once begun to try,
Dares not desert his quest,
But, climbing, ever keeps his eye
On one small hut against the sky
Wherein he hopes to rest:
Who climbs till nerve and force are spent,
With many a puff and pant:
Who still, as rises the ascent,
In language grows more violent,
Although in breath more scant:
Who, climbing, gains at length the place
That crowns the upward track.
And, entering with unsteady pace,
Receives a buffet in the face
That lands him on his back:
And feels himself, like one in sleep,
Glide swiftly down again,
A helpless weight, from steep to steep,
Till, with a headlong giddy sweep,
He drops upon the plain -
So I, that had resolved to bring
Conviction to a ghost,
And found it quite a different thing
From any human arguing,
Yet dared not quit my post
But, keeping still the end in view
To which I hoped to come,
I strove to prove the matter true
By putting everything I knew
Into an axiom:
Commencing every single phrase
With 'therefore' or 'because,'
I blindly reeled, a hundred ways,
About the syllogistic maze,
Unconscious where I was.
Quoth he "That's regular clap-trap:
Don't bluster any more.
Now DO be cool and take a nap!
Such a ridiculous old chap
Was never seen before!
"You're like a man I used to meet,
Who got one day so furious
In arguing, the simple heat
Scorched both his slippers off his feet!"
I said "THAT'S VERY CURIOUS!"
"Well, it IS curious, I agree,
And sounds perhaps like fibs:
But still it's true as true can be -
As sure as your name's Tibbs," said he.
I said "My name's NOT Tibbs."
"NOT Tibbs!" he cried - his tone became
A shade or two less hearty -
"Why, no," said I. "My proper name
Is Tibbets - " "Tibbets?" "Aye, the same."
"Why, then YOU'RE NOT THE PARTY!"
With that he struck the board a blow
That shivered half the glasses.
"Why couldn't you have told me so
Three quarters of an hour ago,
You prince of all the asses?
"To walk four miles through mud and rain,
To spend the night in smoking,
And then to find that it's in vain -
And I've to do it all again -
It's really TOO provoking!
"Don't talk!" he cried, as I began
To mutter some excuse.
"Who can have patience with a man
That's got no more discretion than
An idiotic goose?
"To keep me waiting here, instead
Of telling me at once
That this was not the house!" he said.
"There, that'll do - be off to bed!
Don't gape like that, you dunce!"
"It's very fine to throw the blame
On ME in such a fashion!
Why didn't you enquire my name
The very minute that you came?"
I answered in a passion.
"Of course it worries you a bit
To come so far on foot -
But how was I to blame for it?"
"Well, well!" said he. "I must admit
That isn't badly put.
"And certainly you've given me
The best of wine and victual -
Excuse my violence," said he,
"But accidents like this, you see,
They put one out a little.
"'Twas MY fault after all, I find -
Shake hands, old Turnip-top!"
The name was hardly to my mind,
But, as no doubt he meant it kind,
I let the matter drop.
"Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night!
When I am gone, perhaps
They'll send you some inferior Sprite,
Who'll keep you in a constant fright
And spoil your soundest naps.
"Tell him you'll stand no sort of trick;
Then, if he leers and chuckles,
You just be handy with a stick
(Mind that it's pretty hard and thick)
And rap him on the knuckles!
"Then carelessly remark 'Old coon!
Perhaps you're not aware
That, if you don't behave, you'll soon
Be chuckling to another tune -
And so you'd best take care!'
"That's the right way to cure a Sprite
Of such like goings-on -
But gracious me! It's getting light!
Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night!"
A nod, and he was gone.
Lewis Carroll - Phantasmagoria Canto VII ( Sad Souvenaunce )
"WHAT'S this?" I pondered. "Have I slept?
Or can I have been drinking?"
But soon a gentler feeling crept
Upon me, and I sat and wept
An hour or so, like winking.
"No need for Bones to hurry so!"
I sobbed. "In fact, I doubt
If it was worth his while to go -
And who is Tibbs, I'd like to know,
To make such work about?
"If Tibbs is anything like me,
It's POSSIBLE," I said,
"He won't be over-pleased to be
Dropped in upon at half-past three,
After he's snug in bed.
"And if Bones plagues him anyhow -
Squeaking and all the rest of it,
As he was doing here just now -
I prophesy there'll be a row,
And Tibbs will have the best of it!"
Then, as my tears could never bring
The friendly Phantom back,
It seemed to me the proper thing
To mix another glass, and sing
The following Coronach.
'AND ART THOU GONE, BELOVED GHOST?
BEST OF FAMILIARS!
NAY THEN, FAREWELL, MY DUCKLING ROAST,
FAREWELL, FAREWELL, MY TEA AND TOAST,
MY MEERSCHAUM AND CIGARS!
THE HUES OF LIFE ARE DULL AND GRAY,
THE SWEETS OF LIFE INSIPID,
WHEN thou, MY CHARMER, ART AWAY -
OLD BRICK, OR RATHER, LET ME SAY,
Instead of singing Verse the Third,
I ceased - abruptly, rather:
But, after such a splendid word
I felt that it would be absurd
To try it any farther.
So with a yawn I went my way
To seek the welcome downy,
And slept, and dreamed till break of day
Of Poltergeist and Fetch and Fay
And Leprechaun and Brownie!
For year I've not been visited
By any kind of Sprite;
Yet still they echo in my head,
Those parting words, so kindly said,
"Old Turnip-top, good-night!"
Harry Graham - Omar Khayyam
William Byron Forbush - The Old Church
Behind our new church, on the hill,
The old church used to stand,
As grim and rough as an old-time saint,
Stained by age, but never by paint,
With a willow on either hand.
A traveller, passing by that way,
As he looked the edifice o'er,
With a sense not quite so devout as keen,
Is said to have murmered, "God's house I've seen,
But never His barn before!"
Harry Graham - Miss Marie Corelli
A very Woman among Men!
Her pæans, sung in ev’ry quarter,
Almost persuade Le Gallienne
To go and get his hair cut shorter;
When Kipling hears her trumpet-note
He longs to don a petticoat.
Her praise is sung by old or young,
From Happy Hampstead to Hoboken,
Where’er old England’s mother-tongue
Is (ungrammatically) spoken:
In that supremely simple set
Which loves the penny novelette.
When Anglo-Saxon peoples kneel
Before their literary idol,
It makes all rival authors feel
Depressed and almost suicidal;
They cannot reach within a mile
Of her sublime suburban style.
Her modest, unobtrusive ways,
In sunny Stratford’s guide-books graven,
Her brilliance, lighting with its rays
The birthplace of the Swan of Avon,
Must cause the Bard as deep a pain
As his resemblance to Hall Caine.
Mere ordinary mortals ask,
With no desire for picking quarrels,
Who gave her the congenial task
Of judging other people’s morals?
Who bade her flay her fellow-men
With such a frankly feline pen?
And one may seek, and seek in vain.
The social set she loves to mention,
Those offspring of her fertile brain,
Those creatures of her fond invention.
(She is, or so it would appear,
Unlucky in her friends, poor dear!)
For tho’, like her, they feel the sway
Of claptrap sentimental glamour,
And frequently, like her, give way
To lapses from our English grammar,
The victims of her diatribes
Are not the least as she describes.
To restaurants they seldom go,
Just for the sake of over-eating;
While ladies don’t play bridge, you know,
Entirely for the sake of cheating;
And husbands can be quite nice men,
And wives are faithful, now and then.
Were she to mingle with her ink
A little milk of human kindness,
She would not join, I dare to think,
To chronic social color-blindness
An outlook bigoted and narrow
As that of some provincial sparrow.
But still, perhaps, it might affect
Her literary circulation,
If she were tempted to neglect
Her talent for vituperation;
Since work of this peculiar kind
Delights the groundling’s curious mind.
For while, of course, from day to day,
Her popularity increases,
As, in an artless sort of way,
She tears Society to pieces,
Her sense of humor, so they tell us,
Makes even Alfred Austin jealous!
Yet even bumpkins, by and by,
(Such is the spread of education)
May view with cold, phlegmatic eye
The fruits of her imagination,
And learn to temper their devotion
With slight, if adequate, emotion.
Dear Miss Corelli:—Should your eyes
Peruse this page (’tis my ambition!),
Be sure that I apologize
In any suitable position
For having weakly imitated
The style that you yourself created.
I cannot fancy to attain
To heights of personal invective
Which you, with subtler pen and brain,
Have learnt to render so effective;
I follow dimly in your trail;
Forgive me, therefore, if I fail!
Henry Lawson - The Men Who Come Behind
There's a class of men (and women) who are always on their guard—
Cunning, treacherous, suspicious—feeling softly—grasping hard—
Brainy, yet without the courage to forsake the beaten track—
Cautiously they feel their way behind a bolder spirit’s back.
If you save a bit of money, and you start a little store—
Say, an oyster-shop, for instance, where there wasn’t one before—
When the shop begins to pay you, and the rent is off your mind,
You will see another started by a chap that comes behind.
So it is, and so it might have been, my friend, with me and you—
When a friend of both and neither interferes between the two;
They will fight like fiends, forgetting in their passion mad and blind,
That the row is mostly started by the folk who come behind.
They will stick to you like sin will, while your money comes and goes,
But they’ll leave you when you haven’t got a shilling in your clothes.
You may get some help above you, but you’ll nearly always find
That you cannot get assistance from the men who come behind.
There are many, far too many, in the world of prose and rhyme,
Always looking for another’s ‘footsteps on the sands of time.’
Journalistic imitators are the meanest of mankind;
And the grandest themes are hackneyed by the pens that come behind.
If you strike a novel subject, write it up, and do not fail,
They will rhyme and prose about it till your very own is stale,
As they raved about the region that the wattle-boughs perfume
Till the reader cursed the bushman and the stink of wattle-bloom.
They will follow in your footsteps while you’re groping for the light ;
But they’ll run to get before you when they see you’re going right;
And they’ll trip you up and baulk you in their blind and greedy heat,
Like a stupid pup that hasn’t learned to trail behind your feet.
Take your loads of sin and sorrow on more energetic backs!
Go and strike across the country where there are not any tracks!
And—we fancy that the subject could be further treated here,
But we’ll leave it to be hackneyed by the fellows in the rear.
Sara Teasdale - May Wind
I said, "I have shut my heart
As one shuts an open door,
That Love may starve therein
And trouble me no more."
But over the roofs there came
The wet new wind of May,
And a tune blew up from the curb
Where the street-pianos play.
My room was white with the sun
And Love cried out in me,
"I am strong, I will break your heart
Unless you set me free."
Carl Sandburg - The Manual System
Mary has a thingamajig clamped on her ears
And sits all day taking plugs out and sticking plugs in.
Flashes and flashes--voies and voices
calling for ears to put words in
Faces at the ends of wires asking for other faces
at the ends of other wires:
All day taking plugs out and sticking plugs in,
Mary has a thingamajig clamped on her ears.
T. S. Eliot - The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all.”
And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
Matthew Arnold - The Last Word
Creep into thy narrow bed,
Creep, and let no more be said!
Vain thy onset! all stands fast.
Thou thyself must break at last.
Let the long contention cease!
Geese are swans, and swans are geese.
Let them have it how they will!
Thou art tired: best be still.
They out-talked thee, hissed thee, tore thee?
Better men fared thus before thee;
Fired their ringing shot and passed,
Hotly charged - and sank at last.
Charge once more, then, and be dumb!
Let the victors, when they come,
When the forts of folly fall,
Find thy body by the wall!
Thomas Hardy - Joys of Memory
When the spring comes round, and a certain day
Looks out from the brume by the eastern copsetrees
And says, Remember,
I begin again, as if it were new,
A day of like date I once lived through,
Whiling it hour by hour away;
So shall I do till my December,
When spring comes round.
I take my holiday then and my rest
Away from the dun life here about me,
Old hours re-greeting
With the quiet sense that bring they must
Such throbs as at first, till I house with dust,
And in the numbness my heartsome zest
For things that were, be past repeating
When spring comes round.
Arthur Symons - In Kensington Gardens
UNDER the almond tree,
Room for my love and me!
Over our heads the April blossom;
April-hearted are we.
Under the pink and white,
Love in her eyes alight;
Love and the Spring and Kensington Gardens:
Hey for the heart's delight!
Edward Coote Pinkney - The Indian's Bride
Why is that graceful female here,
With yon red hunter of the deer?
Of gentle mien and shape, she seems
For civil halls design'd,
Yet with the stately savage walks
As she were of his kind.
Look on her leafy diadem,
Enrich'd with many a floral gem:
Those simple ornaments about
Her candid brow, disclose
The loitering Spring's last violet,
And Summer's earliest rose;
But not a flower lies breathing there,
Sweet as herself, or half so fair.
Exchanging lustre with the sun,
A part of day she strays;
A glancing, living, human smile,
On nature's face she plays.
Can none instruct me what are these
Companions of the lofty trees?
Intent to blend with his her lot,
Fate form'd her all that he was not;
And as by mere unlikeness thoughts
Associate we see,
Their hearts from very difference caught
A perfect sympathy.
The household goddess here to be
Of that one dusky votary,
She left her pallid countrymen,
An earthling most divine,
And sought in this sequester'd wood
A solitary shrine.
Behold them roaming hand in hand,
Like night and sleep, along the land;
Observe their movements: he for her
Restrains his active stride,
While she assumes a bolder gait
To ramble at his side:
Thus, even as the steps they frame,
Their souls fast alter to the same.
The one forsakes ferocity,
And momently grows mild;
The other tempers more and more
The artful with the wild.
She humanizes him, and he
Educates her to liberty.
Oh, say not they must soon be old,
Their limbs prove faint, their breasts feel cold!
Yet envy I that sylvan pair
More than my words express,
The singular beauty of their lot,
And seeming happiness.
They have not been reduced to share
The painful pleasures of despair:
Their sun declines not in the sky,
Nor are their wishes cast,
Like shadows of the afternoon,
Repining towards the past:
With naught to dread or to repent,
The present yields them full content.
In solitude there is no crime;
Their actions are all free,
And passion lends their way of life
The only dignity;
And how should they have any cares?
Whose interest contends with theirs?
The world, or all they know of it,
Is theirs: for them the stars are lit;
For them the earth beneath is green,
The heavens above are bright:
For them the moon doth wax and wane,
And decorate the night;
For them the branches of those trees
Wave music in the vernal breeze;
For them upon that dancing spray
The free bird sits and sings,
And glitt'ring insects flit about
Upon delighted wings;
For them that brook, the brakes among,
Murmurs its small and drowsy song;
For them the many-colour'd clouds
Their shapes diversify,
And change at once, like smiles and frowns,
Th' expression of the sky.
For them and by them all is gay,
And fresh and beautiful as they:
The images their minds receive,
Their minds assimilate,
To outward forms imparting thus
The glory of their state.
Could aught be painted otherwise
Than fair, seen through her star-bright eyes?
He too, because she fills his sight,
Each object falsely sees;
The pleasure that he has in her
Makes all things seem to please.
And this is love; and it is life
They lead, that Indian and his wife.
Amy Lowell - Frankincense and Myrrh
My heart is tuned to sorrow, and the strings
Vibrate most readily to minor chords,
Searching and sad; my mind is stuffed with words
Which voice the passion and the ache of things:
Illusions beating with their baffled wings
Against the walls of circumstance, and hoards
Of torn desires, broken joys; records
Of all a bruised life's maimed imaginings.
Now you are come! You tremble like a star
Poised where, behind earth's rim, the sun has set.
Your voice has sung across my heart, but numb
And mute, I have no tones to answer. Far
Within I kneel before you, speechless yet,
And life ablaze with beauty, I am dumb.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox - Father and Child
The New Year wedded the winter--
Winter, the harsh old king!
Whose head was a snow-capped mountain--
Whose breath was the North-Wind's sting.
But he wooed and wedded the maiden,
And gave her a robe of snow;
And hung on her breast bright jewels,
With a lace-work of frost below.
And the days flowed on like a river;
And the mother looked up and smiled,
When she laid in the arms of Winter,
Their beautiful first-born child.
And what shall we name our infant?"
She said to the harsh old king.
And the old man kissed her softly,
And said, "we will call her Spring."
"And how shall we robe our darling?
I have always dressed in white!
But she must be clothed in colors--
With something soft, and bright."
And the old man smiled and answered,
"We will give her a robe of green;
Trimmed with the fairest flowers,
And buds, that were ever seen!"
And he kissed the beautiful infant,
Softly on cheek, and brow,
And he clasped the hand of the mother,
And said "I am going now!
The days of my life were numbered,
And the last is slipping away.
But I leave you to guard our darling,
Wherever her steps shall stray."
Emily Dickinson - Faith is a Fine Invention
"Faith" is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see—
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.
Milan Rakic - The Bozhur Flower
John Milton - At a Solemn Music
Blest pair of Sirens, pledges of Heav'ns joy,
Sphear-born harmonious Sisters, Voice, and Vers,
Wed your divine sounds, and mixt power employ
Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce,
And to our high-rais'd phantasie present,
That undisturbèd Song of pure content,
Ay sung before the saphire-colour'd throne
To him that sits theron
With Saintly shout, and solemn Jubily,
Where the bright Seraphim in burning row
Their loud up-lifted Angel trumpets blow,
And the Cherubick host in thousand quires
Touch their immortal Harps of golden wires,
With those just Spirits that wear victorious Palms,
Hymns devout and holy Psalms
That we on Earth with undiscording voice
May rightly answer that melodious noise;
As once we did, till disproportion'd sin
Jarr'd against natures chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair musick that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway’d
In perfect Diapason, whilst they stood
In first obedience, and their state of good.
O may we soon again renew that Song
And keep in tune with Heav'n, till God ere long
To his celestial consort us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endles morn of light.
Short Poetry Collection 156
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Sonnet 18 - William Shakespeare
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Hell or The Inferno from The divine comedy - Dante Alighieri
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Canudos e outros temas - Euclides da Cunha - PDF
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O Último Magnata - Francis Scott Fitzgerald
The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka - PDF
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Teogonía - Hesíodo
Odisséia - Homero - Download
Ulisses - James Joyce
Emma - Jane Austen - Download PDF Livro Online
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A mulher de Anacleto - Lima Barreto - Livros em PDF para Download
Anna Karenina - Leon Tolstói - Download
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A Cartomante - Machado de Assis - PDF Download Livro Online
Les Essais - Michel de Montaigne - PDF
Marcel Proust - Download PDF Livro Online
Amar verbo intransitivo - Mário de Andrade - PDF Download Livro Online
Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
As jóias da Coroa - Raul Pompeia - PDF Download Livro Online
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Eneida - Virgilio
O Quarto de Jacob - Virginia Woolf - PDF
A Tempestade - William-Shakespeare - Livros em PDF para Download
O Som e a Fúria - William Faulkner
Bíblia Sagrada - João Ferreira de Almeida - Bíblia
Bíblia Sagrada - Católica
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O Homem Sem Qualidades - Robert Musil
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As festas populares no estado de São Paulo - SP
Os imigrantes no século XIX e XX no estado do Paraná - PR
Pantanal – Patrimônio Natural da Humanidade - MS
Os símbolos do estado do Rio de Janeiro - RJ
Prédios mais altos do Mundo e do Brasil (Atualizado até 11/2016)
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Capítulo VI - A FRANCESA E O GIGANTE - Macunaíma - Mário de Andrade
Comentários da semana - Crônica - Machado de Assis
CAPÍTULO X / A ENFERMA - Helena - Machado de Assis
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AS BODAS DE LUÍS DUARTE
CAPÍTULO IV - Quincas Borba - Machado de Assis
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O HOMEM - Os Sertões - Euclides da Cunha - Áudio Livro
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Amor é fogo que arde sem se ver - Sonetos - Poemas de Amor - Luís Vaz de Camões
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Aluno - Educação Infantil - Nível 3 (crianças entre 6 a 8 anos)
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