SONNET #38 Poetry/Poem by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

HOW can my Muse want subject to invent
While thou dost breathe, that pour’st into my verse
Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
O, give thyself the thanks if aught in me
Worthy perusal stand against thy sight,
For who’s so dumb that cannot write to thee
When thou thyself dost give invention light?
Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth
Than those old nine which rimers invocate;
And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
Eternal numbers to outlive long date.
If my slight Muse do please these curious days,
The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.

SONNET OF AUTUMN Poetry/Poem by Charles Baudelaire

THEY say to me, thy clear and crystal eyes:
“Why dost thou love me so, strange lover mine?”
Be sweet, be still! My heart and soul despise
All save that antique brute-like faith of thine;

And will not bare the secret of their shame
To thee whose hand soothes me to slumbers long,
Nor their black legend write for thee in flame!
Passion I hate, a spirit does me wrong.

Let us love gently. Love, from his retreat,
Ambushed and shadowy, bends his fatal bow,
And I too well his ancient arrows know:

Crime, horror, folly. O pale marguerite,
Thou art as I, a bright sun fallen low,
O my so white, my so cold Marguerite.

SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE (IV Poetry/Poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

IF thou must love me, let it be for naught
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say,
‘I love her for her smile–her look–her way
Of speaking gently,–for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’–
For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may
Be changed, or change for thee–and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry:
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.

THY HEART, An anonymous poem

THY heart is like some icy lake,
On whose cold brink I stand;
Oh, buckle on my spirit’s skate,
And lead, thou living saint, the way
To where the ice is thin–
That it may break beneath my feet
And let a lover in!

TO THE UNATTAINABLE, translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)

OH, that my blood were water, thou athirst,
And thou and I in some far Desert land,
How would I shed it gladly, if but first
It touched thy lips, before it reached the sand.

Once, — Ah, the Gods were good to me, — I threw
Myself upon a poison snake, that crept
Where my Beloved — a lesser love we knew
Than this which now consumes me wholly — slept.

But thou; Alas, what can I do for thee?
By Fate, and thine own beauty, set above
The need of all or any aid from me,
Too high for service, as too far for love.

TRUE OR FALSE Poetry/Poem by Caius Valerius Catullus (87-57 B.C.)

NONE could ever say that she,
Lesbia! was so loved by me.
Never all the world around
Faith so true as mind was found.
If no longer it endures
(Would it did!) the fault is yours.
I can never think again
Well of you: I try in vain.
But . . . be false . . . do what you will–
Lesbia! I must love you still.

UNFORGOTTEN, translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)

DO you ever think of me? you who died
Ere our Youth’s first fervour chilled,
With your soft eyes closed and your pulses stilled
Lying alone, aside,
Do you ever think of me, left in the light,
From the endless calm of your dawnless night?

I am faithful always: I do not say
That the lips which thrilled to your lips of old
To lesser kisses are always cold;
Had you wished for this in its narrow sense
Our love perhaps had been less intense;
But as we held faithfulness, you and I,
I am faithful always, as you who lie,
Asleep for ever, beneath the grass,
While the days and nights and the seasons pass,–
Pass away.

I keep your memory near my heart,
My brilliant, beautiful guiding Star,
Till long life over, I too depart
To the infinite night where perhaps you are.
Oh, are you anywhere? Loved so well!
I would rather know you alive in Hell
Than think your beauty is nothing now,
With its deep dark eyes and its tranquil brow
Where the hair fell softly. Can this be true
That nothing, nowhere, exists of you?
Nothing, nowhere, oh, loved so well
I have never forgotten.
Do you still keep
Thoughts of me through your dreamless sleep?

Oh, gone from me! lost in Eternal Night,
Lost Star of light,
Risen splendidly, set so soon,
Through the weariness of life’s afternoon
I dream of your memory yet.
My loved and lost, whom I could not save,
My youth went down with you to the grave,
Though other planets and stars may rise,
I dream of your soft and sorrowful eyes
And I cannot forget.

WHEN FIRST I LOVED Poetry/Poem by Taj Mahjomed

WHEN first I loved, I gave my very soul
Utterly unreserved to Love’s control,
But Love deceived me, wrenched my youth away
And made the gold of life for ever grey.
Long I lived lonely, yet I tried in vain
With any other Joy to stifle pain;
There is no other joy, I learned to know,
And so returned to Love, as long ago.
Yet I, this little while ere I go hence,
Love very lightly now, in self-defence.

THE WISH Poetry/Poem by Anacreon (c.572-488 BC)

NIOBE on Phrygian sands
Turn’d a weeping statue stands,
And the Pandionian Maid
In a swallow’s wings array’d;
But a mirror I would be,
To be look’d on still by thee;
Or the gown wherein thou’rt drest,
That I might thy limbs invest;
Or a crystal spring, wherein
Thou might’st bathe thy purer skin;
Or sweet unguents, to anoint
And make supple every joint;
Or a knot, thy breast to deck;
Or a chain, to clasp thy neck;
Or thy shoe I wish to be,
That thou might’st but tread on me.


THE DOOM OF BEAUTY Poetry/Poem by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564)

CHOICE soul, in whom, as in a glass, we see,
Mirrored in thy pure form and delicate,
What beauties heaven and nature can create,
The paragon of all their works to be!
Fair soul, in whom love, pity, piety,
Have found a home, as from thy outward state
We clearly read, and are so rare and great
That they adorn none other like to thee!
Love takes me captive; beauty binds my soul;
Pity and mercy with their gentle eyes
Wake in my heart a hope that cannot cheat.
What law, what destiny, what fell control,
What cruelty, or late or soon, denies
That death should spare perfection so complete?

ENTHRALLED Poetry/Poem by Alfred Bryan

TEACH me to sin–
In love’s forbidden ways,
For you can make all passion pure;
The magic lure of your sweet eyes
Each shape of sin makes virtue praise.

Teach me to sin–
Enslave me to your wanton charms,
Crush me in your velvet arms
And make me, make me love you.
Make me fire your blood with new desire,
And make me kiss you–lip and limb,
Till sense reel and pusles swim.
Aye! even if you hate me,
Teach me to sin.

FIRST ADVENT OF LOVE Poetry/Poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

O FAIR is Love’s first hope to gentle mind!
As Eve’s first star thro’ fleecy cloudlet peeping;
And sweeter than the gentle south-west wind,
O’er willowy meads and shadowed waters creeping,
And Ceres’ golden fields;–the sultry hind
Meets it with brow uplift, and stays his reaping.

THE FUTURE LIFE Poetry/Poem by William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

HOW shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps
The disembodied spirits of the dead,
When all of thee that time could wither sleeps
And perishes among the dust we tread?

For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain
If there I meet thy gentle presence not;
Nor hear the voice I love, nor read again
In thy serenest eyes the tender thought.

Will not thy own meek heart demand me there?
That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given —
My name on earth was ever in thy prayer,
And wilt thou never utter it in heaven?

In meadows fanned by heaven’s life-breathing wind,
In the resplendence of that glorious sphere,
And larger movements of the unfettered mind,
Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here?

The love that lived through all the stormy past,
And meekly with my harsher nature bore,
And deeper grew, and tenderer to the last,
Shall it expire with life, and be no more?

A happier lot than mine, and larger light,
Await thee there, for thou hast bowed thy will
In cheerful homage to the rule of right,
And lovest all, and renderest good for ill.

For me, the sordid cares in which I dwell
Shrink and consume my heart as heat the scroll;
And wrath has left its scar–that fire of hell
Has left its frightful scar upon my soul.

Yet, though thou wear’st the glory of the sky,
Wilt thou not keep the same belovèd name,
The same fair thoughtful brow, and gentle eye,
Lovelier in heaven’s sweet climate, yet the same?

Shalt thou not teach me, in that calmer home,
The wisdom that I learned so ill in this–
The wisdom which is love–till I become
Thy fit companion in that land of bliss?

GOLDEN EYES, translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)

OH Amber Eyes, oh Golden Eyes!
Oh Eyes so softly gay!
Wherein swift fancies fall and rise,
Grow dark and fade away.
Eyes like a little limpid pool
That holds a sunset sky,
While on its surface, calm and cool,
Blue water lilies lie.

Oh Tender Eyes, oh Wistful Eyes,
You smiled on me one day,
And all my life, in glad surprise,
Leapt up and pleaded “Stay!”
Alas, oh cruel, starlike eyes,
So grave and yet so gay,
You went to lighten other skies,
Smiled once and passed away.

Oh, you whom I name “Golden Eyes,”
Perhaps I used to know
Your beauty under other skies
In lives lived long ago.
Perhaps I rowed with galley slaves,
Whose labour never ceased,
To bring across Phoenician waves
Your treasure from the East.

Maybe you were an Emperor then
And I a favourite slave;
Some youth, whom from the lions’ den
You vainly tried to save!
Maybe I reigned, a mighty King,
The early nations knew,
And you were some slight captive thing,
Some maiden whom I slew.

Perhaps, adrift on desert shores
Beside some shipwrecked prow,
I gladly gave my life for yours.
Would I might give it now!
Or on some sacrificial stone
Strange Gods were satisfied,
Perhaps you stooped and left a throne
To kiss me ere I died.

Perhaps, still further back than this,
In times ere men where men,
You granted me a moment’s bliss
In some dark desert den,
When, with your amber eyes alight
With iridescent flame,
And fierce desire for love’s delight,
Towards my lair you come.

Ah laughing, ever-brilliant eyes,
These things men may not know,
But something in your radiance lies,
That, centuries ago,
Lit up my life in one wild blaze
Of infinite desire
To revel in your golden rays,
Or in your light expire.

If this, oh Strange Ringed Eyes, be true,
That through all changing lives
This longing love I have for you
Eternally survives,
May I not sometimes dare to dream
In some far time to be
Your softly golden eyes may gleam
Responsively on me?

Ah gentle, subtly changing eyes,
You smiled on me one day,
And all my life in glad surprise
Leaped up, imploring “Stay!”
Alas, alas, oh Golden Eyes,
So cruel and so gay,
You went to shine in other skies,
Smiled once and passed away.

DEVOTION (ii Poetry/Poem by Thomas Campion (1567?-1619)

FOLLOW your saint, follow with accents sweet!
Haste you, sad notes, fall at her flying feet!
There, wrapt in cloud of sorrow, pity move,
And tell the ravisher of my soul I perish for her love:
But if she scorns my never-ceasing pain,
Then burst with sighing in her sight, and ne’er return again!

All that I sung still to her praise did tend;
Still she was first, still she my songs did end;
Yet she my love and music both doth fly,
The music that her echo is and beauty’s sympathy:
Then let my notes pursue her scornful flight!
It shall suffice that they were breathed and died for her delight.

THE DANCE OF LIFE Poetry/Poem by Conrad Aiken (1889-1973)

GRACIOUS and lovable and sweet,
She made his jaded pulses beat,
And made the glare of streets grow dim
And life more soft and hushed for him….
Over her shoulder now she smiled
Trustfully to him, like a child,
The while her fingers gayly moved
Alonge these white keys dearly loved,
Making them laugh a jocund measure,
Making them show and sing her pleasure….
A smile that dwelt upon his eyes,
To see what mood might therein rise,–
What point of soft light seen afar
Which might dilate to moon or star….
A smile that for a second space
Brooded wistfully on her face,
Opening soft her spirit’s door,
Disclosing depths undreamed before:
Passionate depths of half-seen flame,
Young loveliness despising shame,
Desire that trembled to meet desire,
And fire that yearned to fuse with fire….
And lightly then she turned away,
Ironic music rippled gay,–
Subtle sarcastic flippancies
Disguising speechless ecstasies…
“Play something else…” He rose to turn
The pages, while the deep nocturne
Struck slow rich chords of plangent pain,
Beautiful, into heart and brain;
A tortured, anguished, suffering thing
That seemed at once to cry and sing;
Despairing love that strove to find
The face beloved with fingers blind.
He saw her body’s slender grace,
This drooping shoulder, shadowed face;

All of her body, hidden so
In saffron satin’s flush and flow,–
Its white and simple loveliness,–
Came on his heart like giddiness,
Seductive as this music came;
Until her body seemed like flame,–
Intense white flame, so swiftly moving
That it gave scarcely time for loving;
But rapid as the sun she seemed,
A blinding light that flowed and streamed
And sang and shone through roaring space….
The sun itself! for now her face,
Wherein this music’s whole soul dwelt,
Drew him like helpless star, he felt
A fierce compulsion, reckless, mad,
A sweet compulsion, troubled, glad,
His trembling hands went out to her,
Her cool flesh made his senses blur;
While, head thrown backward, sinking dim,
She opened wide her soul to him….
Past his life went whirls of lights,
Chaos of music, days and nights,
Her wild eyes yearned to lure him in
And close him up in dark of sin,
To lure him in and drink him down
And all his soul in love to drown….
Her nakedness he seemed to see.
And breast to breast, and knee to knee,
Tremulous, breathless, swaying, burning,
Body to beautiful body yearning,
In joy and terror, flesh to flesh,
They flamed in passion’s fine red mesh,–
Living in one short breath again
The cosmic tide’s whole bliss and pain,
Darkness and ether, nebulous fire,
Vast suns whirled forth by vast desire,
Huge moons flung out with monstrous mirth
And stars in glorious hells of birth,
All jubilating, blazing, reeling,
An orgiastic splendor wheeling,
Moon torn from earth and star from sun
In screaming pain, titanic fun,
And stars whirled back to sun again
To be consumed in flaming pain!…
In them at last all life was met:
They were God’s self! This earth had set.
Mad fires of life sang through their veins,
Ruinous blisses, joyous pains,
Life the destroyer, life the breaker,
And death, the everlasting maker…

THE BRIDAL VEIL Poetry/Poem by Alice Cary (1820-1871)

WE’RE married, they say, and you think you have won me,–
Well, take this white veil from my head, and look on me;
Here’s matter to vex you, and matter to grieve you,
Here’s doubt to distrust you, and faith to believe you,–
I am all as you see, common earth, common dew;
Be wary, and mould me to roses, not rue!

Ah! shake out the filmy thing, fold after fold,
And see if you have me to keep and to hold,–
Look close on my heart–see the worst of its sinning,–
It is not yours to-day for the yesterday’s winning–
The past is not mine–I am too proud to borrow–
You must grow to new heights if I love you to-morrow.

I have wings flattened down and hid under my veil:
They are subtle as light–you can never undo them,
And swift in their flight–you can never pursue them,
And spite of all clasping, and spite of all bands,
I can slip like a shadow, a dream, from your hands.

Nay, call me not cruel, and fear not to take me,
I am yours for my life-time, to be what you make me,–
To wear my white veil for a sign, or a cover,
As you shall be proven my lord, or my lover;
A cover for peace that is dead, or a token
Of bliss that can never be written or spoken.

THE BALCONY Poetry/Poem by Charles Baudelaire

MOTHER of memories, mistress of mistresses,
O thou, my pleasure, thou, all my desire,
Thou shalt recall the beauty of caresses,
The charm of evenings by the gentle fire,
Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses!

The eves illumined by the burning coal,
The balcony where veiled rose-vapour clings–
How soft your breast was then, how sweet your soul!
Ah, and we said imperishable things,
Those eves illumined by the burning coal.

Lovely the suns were in those twilights warm,
And space profound, and strong life’s pulsing flood,
In bending o’er you, queen of every charm,
I thought I breathed the perfume in your blood.
The suns were beauteous in those twilights warm.

The film of night flowed round and over us,
And my eyes in the dark did your eyes meet;
I drank your breath, ah! sweet and poisonous,
And in my hands fraternal slept your feet–
Night, like a film, flowed round and over us.

I can recall those happy days forgot,
And see, with head bowed on your knees, my past.
Your languid beauties now would move me not
Did not your gentle heart and body cast
The old spell of those happy days forgot.

Can vows and perfumes, kisses infinite,
Be reborn from the gulf we cannot sound;
As rise to heaven suns once again made bright
After being plunged in deep seas and profound?
Ah, vows and perfumes, kisses infinite!

BALADE Poetry/Poem by Geoffrey Chaucer (1342?-1400)

HYD, Absolon, thy gilte tresses clere;
Ester, ley thou thy mekness al a-doun;
Hyd, Jonathas, al thy frendly manere;
Penalopee, and Marcia Catoun,
Mak of your wyfhod no comparisoun;
Hyde ye your beautes, Isoude and Eleyne;
My lady cometh, that all this may disteyne.

Thy faire body, lat hit nat appere,
Lavyne; and thou, Lucresse of Rome toun,
And Polixene, that boghten love so dere,
And Cleopatre, with al thy passioun,
Hyde ye your trouthe of love and your renoun;
And thou, Tisbe, that hast of love swich peyne;
My lady cometh, that al this may disteyne.

Herro, Dido, Laudomia, alle y-fere [1],
And Phyllis, hanging for thy Demophoun,
And Canace, espyed by thy chere,
Ysiphile, betraysed with Jasoun,
Maketh of your trouthe neyther boost ne soun;
Nor Ypermistre or Adriane, ye tweyne;
My lady cometh, that all this may disteyne.

THE ANSWER Poetry/Poem by Orrick Johns (1887-1946)

“CRYING cranes and wheeling crows…
I’ll remember them,” she said;
And I will be your own, God knows,
And the sin be on my head.

I will be your own and glad;
Lovers would be fools to care
How a thing is good or bad,
When the sky is everywhere…

“I will be your own,” she said,
“Because your voice is like the rain,
And your kiss is wine and bread
Better than my father’s grain.”

So I took her where she spoke,
Breasts of snow and burning mouth…
Crying cranes and drifting smoke
And the blackbirds wheeling south.

AMORET Poetry/Poem by Mark Akenside (1721-1770)

IF rightly tuneful bards decide,
If it be fix’d in Love’s decrees,
That Beauty ought not to be tried
But by its native power to please,
Then tell me, youths and lovers, tell–
What fair can Amoret excel?

Beholt that bright unsullied smile,
And wisdom speaking in her mien:
Yet–she so artless all the while,
So little studious to be seen–
We naught but instant gladness know,
Nor think to whom the gift we owe.

But neither music, nor the powers
Of youth and mirth and frolic cheer,
Add half the sunshine to the hours,
Or make life’s prospect half so clear,
As memory brings it to the eye
From scenes where Amoret was by.

This, sure, is Beauty’s happiest part;
This gives the most unbounded sway;
This shall enchant the subject heart
When rose and lily fade away;
And she be still, in spite of Time,
Sweet Amoret in all her prime.

AFTERMATH, An anonymous poem

LAST night, we fled, close locked, in sweet embrace,
Across the empty kingdom men call “Space.”
So deep the solitude, I could but feel
Your fear within. It made my senses reel.
I clasped you closer, with encircling arm,
As though to shield you from impending harm
And like a zephyr, from the sun-kissed South,
I felt the pressure of your trembling mouth.

A flame shot through my soul, in that first kiss.
I was on fire. I knew no thought but this;
I loved you–mind, heart, body, brain and soul.
And had–since centuries first began to roll.
And when your melting mouth had answered mine,
Within your eyes, a new-born light divine
Proclaimed the wondrous miracle was done,
And our two souls had melted into one.
Oh! idiot Earth, to waste the dew of youth,
Along the borderlands of perfect truth!
Oh! dolts and dullards, with your feet of clay!
To shun the glorious light of perfect day!
In that first kiss, the past was all laid bare.
The future years, transparent as the air
In swift procession, swept across our path
And left me drunk, with love’s sweet aftermath.

ON THE DEATH OF HIS MISTRESS Poetry/Poem by Abu Sahet Alhedhily

DOST thou wonder that I flew
Charm’d to meet my LEILA’S view?
Dost thou wonder that I hung
Raptur’d on my LEILA’S tongue?–
If her ghost’s funereal screech
Thro’ the earth my grave should reach,
On that voice I lov’d so well
My transported ghost would dwell:
If in death I can descry
Where my LEILA’S relics lie,
SAHER’S dust will flit away,
There to join his LEILA’S clay.

O MY LUVE’S LIKE A RED, RED ROSE Poetry/Poem by Robert Burns (1759-1796)


,O MY Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June.
O, my Luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.


As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I,
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.


Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun!
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.


And fare thee weel, my only luve,
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!

NOCTURNE Poetry/Poem by Amelia Josephine Burr (1878-?)

ALL the earth a hush of white,
White with moonlight all the skies;
Wonder of a winter night–
And . . . your eyes.

Hues no palette dares to claim
Where the spoils of sunken ships
Leap to light in singing flame–
And . . . your lips.

Darkness as the shadows creep
Where the embers sigh to rest;
Silence of a world asleep–
And . . . your breast.

MY SWEETEST LESBIA Poetry/Poem by Caius Valerius Catullus (87-57 B.C.)

MY sweetest Lesbia, let us live and love,
And though the sager sort our deeds reprove,
Let us not weigh them. Heaven’s great lamps do dive
Into their west, and straight again revive.
But, soon as once set our little light,
Then must we sleep one ever-during night.

If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be;
No drum or trumpet peaceful sleeps should move,
Unless alarm came from the camp of Love:
But fools do live and waste their little light,
And seek with pain their ever-during night.

When timely death my life and fortune ends,
Let not my hearse be vext with mourning friends,
But let all lovers rich in triumph come
And with sweet pastimes grace my happy tomb:
And, Lesbia, close up thou my little light,
And crown with love my ever-during night.

MY LADY LOOKS SO GENTLE AND SO PURE Poetry/Poem by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

MY lady looks so gentle and so pure
When yielding salutation by the way,
That the tongue trembles and has naught to say,
And the eyes, which fain would see, may not endure.
And still, amid the praise she hears secure
She walks with humbleness for her array;
Seeming a creature sent from Heaven to stay
On earth, and show a miracle made sure.
She is so pleasant in the eyes of men
That through the sight the inmost heart doth gain
A sweetness which needs proof to know it by:
And from between her lips there seems to move
A soothing essence that is full of love,
Saying for ever to the spirit, “Sigh!”

MEMORY, translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)

HOW I loved you in your sleep,
With the starlight on your hair!

The touch of your lips was sweet,
Aziza whom I adore,
A lay at your slender feet,
And against their soft palms pressed,
I fitted my face to rest.
As winds blow over the sea
From Citron gardens ashore,
Came, through your scented hair,
The breeze of the night to me.

My lips grew arid and dry,
My nerves were tense,
Though your beauty soothe the eye
It maddens the sense.
Every curve of that beauty is known to me,
Every tint of that delicate roseleaf skin,
And these are printed on ever atom of me,
Burnt in on every fibre until I die.
And for this, my sin,
I doubt if ever, though dust I be,
The dust will lose the desire,
The torment and hidden fire,
Of my passionate love for you.
Aziza whom I adore,
My dust will be full of your beauty, as is the blue
And infinite ocean full of the azure sky.

In the light that waxed and waned
Playing about your slumber in silver bars,
As the palm trees swung their feathery fronds athwart the stars,
How quiet and young you were,
Pale as the Champa flowers, violet veined,
That, sweet and fading, lay in your loosened hair.

How sweet you were in your sleep,
With the starlight on your hair!
Your throat thrown backwards, bare,
And touched with circling moonbeams, silver white
On the couch’s sombre shade.
O Aziza my one delight,
When Youth’s passionate pulses fade,
And his golden heart beats slow,
When across the infinite sky
I see the roseate glow
Of my last, last sunset flare,
I shall send my thoughts to this night
And remember you as I die,
The one thing, among all the things of this earth, found fair.

How sweet you were in your sleep,
With the starlight, silver and sable, across your hair!

MARY MORISON Poetry/Poem by Robert Burns (1759-1796)

O MARY, at thy window be,
It is the wish’d, the trysted hour!
Those smiles and glances let me see,
That make the miser’s treasure poor:
How blythely wad I bide the stour
A weary slave frae sun to sun,
Could I the rich reward secure,
The lovely Mary Morison!

Yestreen, when to the trembling string
The dance gaed thro’ the lighted ha’,
To thee my fancy took its wing,
I sat, but neither heard nor saw:
Tho’ this was fair, and that was braw,
And yon the toast of a’ the town,
A sigh’d, and said among them a’,
‘Ye arena Mary Morison.’

O Mary, canst thou wreck his peace,
Wha for thy sake wad gladly die?
Or canst thou break that heart of his,
Whase only faut is loving thee?
If love for love thou wiltna gie,
At least be pity to me shown;
A thought ungentle canna be
The thought o’ Mary Morison.

MAKE BELIEVE Poetry/Poem by Alice Cary (1820-1871)

KISS me, though you make believe;
Kiss me, though I almost know
You are kissing to deceive:
Let the tide one moment flow
Backward ere it rise and break,
Only for poor pity’s sake!

Give me of your flowers one leaf,
Give me of your smiles one smile,
Backward roll this tide of grief
Just a moment, though, the while,
I should feel and almost know
You are trifling with my woe.

Whisper to me sweet and low;
Tell me how you sit and weave
Dreams about me, though I know
It is only make believe!
Just a moment, though ’tis plain
You are jesting with my pain.

LOVE’S JUSTIFICATION Poetry/Poem by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564)

YES! hope may with my strong desire keep pace,
And I be undeluded, unbetrayed:
For if of our affections none find grace
In sight of Heaven, then wherefore hath God made
The world which we inhabit? Better plea
Love cannot have, than that in loving thee
Glory to that eternal peace is paid,
Who such divinity to thee imparts
As hallows and makes pure all gentle hearts.
His hope is treacherous only whose love dies
With beauty, which is varying every hour;
But, in chaste hearts uninfluenced by the power
Of outward change, there blooms a deathless flower,
That breathes on earth the air of paradise.

A LOVE LESSON Poetry/Poem by Thomas Burke (1887-1945)

LAST night I dreamed of the maid with yellow curls,
She came to me in the room above my shop,
And we two were alone, freed from the laws of day.
I held her then to myself.
I took from her her clothing, garment by garment,
And watched them fall about her feet–
White petals of a flower.
And I drew from her to myself her thoughts, one by one,
As often I had wished, till all of her was mine.
And then I was sad, for nothing was left to love.

And quickly I clothed her again, garment by garment,
And gave her back her thoughts, one by one,
And awoke in joy.
I was glad that the dream was a dream,
And that all of her was not mine;
For I had learned
That love released from bond, and unburdened of its fetters,
Is love no longer.

JEAN Poetry/Poem by Robert Burns (1759-1796)

OF a’ the airts the wind can blaw,
I dearly like the west,
For there the bonnie lassie lives,
The lassie I lo’e best:
There wild woods grow, and rivers row,
And monie a hill between;
But day and night may fancy’s flight
Is ever wi’ my Jean.

I see her in the dewy flowers,
I see her sweet and fair:
I hear her in the tunefu’ birds,
I hear her charm the air:
There’s not a bonnie flower that springs
By fountain, shaw, or green;
There’s not a bonnie bird that sings,
But minds me o’ my Jean.

IN A GONDOLA Poetry/Poem by Robert Browning (1812-1889)

THE moth’s kiss, first!
Kiss me as if you made me believe
You were not sure, this eve,
How my face, your flower, had pursed
Its petals up; so, here and there
You brush it, till I grow aware
Who wants me, and wide ope I burst.

The bee’s kiss, now!
Kiss me as if you enter’d gay
My heart at some noonday,
A bud that dares not disallow
The claim, so all is render’d up,
And passively its shatter’d cup
Over your head to sleep I bow.

PASSION Poetry/Poem by Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)

SOME have won a wild delight,
By daring wilder sorrow;
Could I gain thy love to-night,
I’d hazard death to-morrow.

Could the battle-struggle earn
One kind glance from thine eye,
How this withering heart would burn,
The heady fight to try!

Welcome nights of broken sleep,
And days of carnage cold,
Could I deem that thou wouldst weep
To hear my perils told.

Tell me, if with wandering bands
I roam full far away,
Wilt thou to those distant lands
In spirit ever stray?

Wild, long, a trumpet sounds afar;
Bid me–bid me go
Where Seik and Briton meet in war,
On Indian Sutlej’s flow.

Blood has dyed the Sutlej’s waves
With scarlet stain, I know;
Indus’ borders yawn with graves,
Yet, command me go!

Though rank and high the holocaust
Of nations steams to heaven,
Glad I’d join the death-doomed host,
Were but the mandate given.

Passion’s strength should nerve my arm,
Its ardour stir my life,
Till human force to that dread charm
Should yield and sink in wild alarm,
Like trees to tempest-strife.

If, hot from war, I seek thy love,
Darest thou turn aside?
Darest thou then my fire reprove,
By scorn, and maddening pride?

No–my will shall yet control
Thy will, so high and free,
And love shall tame that haughty soul–
Yes–tenderest love for me.

I’ll read my triumph in thine eyes,
Behold, and prove the change;
Then leave, perchance, my noble prize,
Once more in arms to range.

I’d die when all the foam is up,
The bright wine sparkling high;
Nor wait till in the exhausted cup
Life’s dull dregs only lie.

Then Love thus crowned with sweet reward,
Hope blest with fulness large,
I’d mount the saddle, draw the sword,
And perish in the charge!

POET TO HIS LOVE Poetry/Poem by Maxwell Bodenheim (1892-1954)

AN old silver church in a forest
Is my love for you.
The trees around it
Are words that I have stolen from your heart.
An old silver bell, the last smile you gave,
Hangs at the top of my church.
It rings only when you come through the forest
And stand beside it.
And then, it has no need for ringing,
For your voice takes its place.

REMINISCENCE OF MAHOMED AKRAM, translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)

I SHALL never forget you, never. Never escape
Your memory woven about the beautiful things of life.
The sudden Thought of your Face is like a Wound
When it comes unsought
On some scent of Jasmin, Lilies, or pale Tuberose,
Any one of the sweet white fragrant flowers,
Flowers I used to love and lay in your hair.

Sunset is terribly sad. I saw you stand
Tall against the red and the gold like a slender palm;
The light wind stirred your hair as you waved your hand,
Waved farewell, as ever, serene and calm,
To me, the passion-wearied and tost and torn,
Riding down the road in the gathering grey.
Since that day
The sunset red is empty, the gold forlorn.

Often across the Banqueting board at nights
Men linger about your name in careless praise–
The name that cuts deep into my soul like a knife;
And the gay guest-faces and flowers and leaves and lights
Fade away from the failing sense in a haze,
And the music sways
Far away in unmeasured distance. . . .

I cannot forget–
I cannot escape. What are the Stars to me?
Stars that meant so much, too much, in my youth;
Stars that sparkled about your eyes,
Made a radiance round your hair,
What are they now?

Lingering lights of a Finished Feast,
Little lingering sparks rather,
Of a Light that is long gone out.

REQUEST, translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)

GIVE me yourself one hour; I do not crave
For any love, or even thought of me.
Come, as a Sultan may caress a slave
And then forget for ever, utterly.

Come! as west winds, that passing, cool and wet,
O’er desert places, leave them fields in flower.
And all my life, for I shall not forget,
Will keep the fragrance of that perfect hour!


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