LINES COMPOSED IN A WOOD ON A WINDY DAY Poetry/Poem by Anne Bronte (1820-1849)
MY soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.
The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky
I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
And hear the wild roar of their thunder to-day!
THE GRASSHOPPER Poetry/Poem by Anacreon (c.572-488 BC)
HAPPY insect! what can be
In happiness compar’d to thee?
Fed with nourishment divine,
The dewy morning’s gentle wine!
Nature waits upon thee still,
And thy verdant cup does fill;
‘Tis filled wherever thou dost tread,
Nature self’s thy Ganymede.
Thou dost drink, and dance, and sing;
Happier than the happiest king!
All the fields which thou dost see,
All the plants belong to thee;
All that summer hours produce;
Fertile made with early juice.
Man for thee does sow and plow;
Farmer he, and landlord thou!
Thou dost innocently joy;
Nor does thy luxury destroy;
The shepherd gladly heareth thee,
More harmonious than he.
Thee country-hinds with gladness hear,
Prophet of the ripen’d year!
Thee Phoebus loves, and does inspire;
Phoebus is himself thy sire.
To thee, of all things upon earth,
Life’s no longer than thy mirth.
Happy insect, happy, thou
Dost neither age nor winter know;
But, when thou’st drunk, and danc’d and sung
Thy fill, the flowery leaves among,
(Voluptuous and wise withal,
Sated with thy summer feast,
Thou retir’st to endless rest.
TRANSLATED BY ABRAHAM COWLEY (1618-1667)
EARTH VOICES Poetry/Poem by Bliss Carman (1861-1929)
I HEARD the spring wind whisper
Above the brushwood fire,
“The world is made forever
Of transport and desire.
“I am the breath of being,
The primal urge of things;
I am the whirl of star dust,
I am the lift of wings.
“I am the splendid impulse
That comes before the thought,
The joy and exaltation
Wherein the life is caught.
“Across the sleeping furrows
I call the buried seed,
And blade and bud and blossom
Awaken at my need.
“Within the dying ashes
I blow the sacred spark,
And make the hearts of lovers
To leap against the dark.”
I heard the spring light whisper
Above the dancing stream,
“The world is made forever
In likeness of a dream.
“I am the law of planets,
I am the guide of man;
The evening and the morning
Are fashioned to my plan.
“I tint the dawn with crimson,
I tinge the sea with blue;
My track is in the desert,
My trail is in the dew.
“I paint the hills with color,
And in my magic dome
I light the star of evening
To steer the traveller home.
“Within the house of being,
I feed the lamp of truth
With tales of ancient wisdom
And prophecies of youth.”
I heard the spring rain murmur
Above the roadside flower,
“The world is made forever
In melody and power.
“I keep the rhythmic measure
That marks the steps of time,
And all my toil is fashioned
To symmetry and rhyme.
“I plow the untilled upland,
I ripe the seeding grass,
And fill the leafy forest
With music as I pass.
“I hew the raw, rough granite
To loveliness of line,
And when my work is finished,
Behold, it is divine!
“I am the master-builder
In whom the ages trust.
I lift the lost perfection
To blossom from the dust.”
Then Earth to them made answer,
As with a slow refrain
Born of the blended voices
Of wind and sun and rain,
“This is the law of being
That links the threefold chain:
The life we give to beauty
Returns to us again.”
CLOUDS Poetry/Poem by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)
DOWN the blue night the unending columns press
In noiseless tumult, break and wave and flow,
Now tread the far South, or lift rounds of snow
Up to the white moon’s hidden loveliness.
Some pause in their grave wandering comradeless,
And turn with profound gesture vague and slow,
As who would pray good for the world, but know
Their benediction empty as they bless.
They say that the Dead die not, but remain
Near to the rich heirs of their grief and mirth.
I think they ride the calm mid-heaven, as these,
In wise majestic melancholy train,
And watch the moon, and the still-raging seas,
And men, coming and going on the earth.
BY THE SHORE Poetry/Poem by Edward Carpenter (1844-1929)
ALL night by the shore.
The obscure water, the long white lines of advancing foam, the rustle and thud, the panting sea-breaths, the pungent sea-smell,
The great slow air moving from the distant horizon, the immense mystery of space, and the soft canopy of the clouds!
The swooning thuds go on–the drowse of ocean goes on:
The long inbreaths–the short sharp outbreaths–the silence between.
I am a bit of the shore: the waves feed upon me, they come pasturing over me;
I am glad, O waves, that you come pasturing over me.
I am a little arm of the sea: the same tumbling swooning dream goes on–I feel the waves all around me, I spread myself through them.
How delicious! I spread and spread. The waves tumble through and over me–they dash through my face and hair.
The night is dark overhead: I do not see them, but I touch them and hear their gurgling laughter.
The play goes on!
The strange expanding indraughts go on!
Suddenly I am the Ocean itself: the great soft wind creeps over my face.
I am in love with the wind–I reach my lips to its kisses.
How delicious! all night and ages and ages long to spread myself to the gliding wind!
But now (and ever) it maddens me with its touch, I arise and whirl in my bed, and sweep my arms madly along the shores.
I am not sure any more which my own particular bit of shore is;
All the bays and inlets know me: I glide along in and out under the sun by the beautiful coast-line;
My hair floats leagues behind me; millions together my children dash against my face;
I hear what they say and am marvellously content.
All night by the shore;
And the sea is a sea of faces.
The long white lines come up–face after face comes and falls past me–
Thud after thud. Is it pain or joy?
Face after face–endless!
I do not know; my sense numbs; a trance is on me–
I am becoming detached!
I am a bit of the shore:
The waves feed upon me, they pasture all over me, my feeling is strangely concentrated at every point where they touch me;
I am glad O waves that you come pasturing over me.
I am detached, I disentangle myself from the shore;
I have become free–I float out and mingle with the rest.
The pain, the acute clinging desire, is over–I feel beings like myself all around me, I spread myself through and through them, I am merged in a sea of contact.
Freedom and equality are a fact. Life and joy seem to have begun for me.
The play goes on!
Suddenly I am the great living Ocean itself–the awful Spirit of Immensity creeps over my face.
I am in love with it. All night and ages and ages long and for ever I pour my soul out to it in love.
I spread myself out broader and broader for ever, that I may touch it and be with it everywhere.
There is no end. But ever and anon it maddens me with its touch. I arise and sweep away my bounds.
I know but I do not care any longer which my own particular body is–all conditions and fortunes are mine.
By the ever-beautiful coast-line of human life, by all shores, in all climates and countries, by every secluded nook and inlet,
Under the eye of my beloved Spirit I glide:
O joy! for ever, ever, joy!
I am not hurried–the whole of eternity is mine;
With each one I delay, with each one I dwell–with you I dwell.
The warm breath of each life ascends past me;
I take the thread from the fingers that are weary, and go on with the work;
The secretest thoughts of all are mine, and mine are the secretest thoughts of all.
All night by the shore;
And the fresh air comes blowing with the dawn.
The mystic night fades–but my joy fades not.
I arise and cast a stone into the water (O sea of faces I cast this poem among you)–and turn landward over the rustling beach.
BEFORE THE RAIN Poetry/Poem by Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836-1906)
WE knew it would rain, for all the morn
A spirit on slender ropes of mist
Was lowering its golden buckets down
Into the vapory amethyst.
Of marshes and swamps and dismal fens–
Scooping the dew that lay in the flowers,
Dipping the jewels out of the sea,
To sprinkle them over the land in showers.
We knew it would rain, for the poplars showed
The white of their leaves, the amber grain
Shrunk in the wind–and the lightning now
Is tangled in tremulous skeins of rain!
AUTUMN Poetry/Poem by George Sterling (1869-1926)
NOW droops the troubled year
And now her tiny sunset stains the leaf.
A holy fear,
A rapt, elusive grief,
Make imminent the swift, exalting tear.
The long wind’s weary sigh–
Knowest, O listener! for what it wakes?
Adown the sky
What star of Time forsakes
Her pinnacle? What dream and dreamer die?
A presence half-divine
Stands at the threshold, ready to depart
Without a sign.
Now seems the world’s deep heart
About to break. What sorrow stirs in mine?
A mist of twilight rain
Hides now the orange edges of the day.
In vain, in vain
We labor that thou stay,
Beauty who wast, and shalt not be again!
THE ARBOUR Poetry/Poem by Anne Bronte (1820-1849)
‘I LL rest me in this sheltered bower,
And look upon the clear blue sky
That smiles upon me through the trees,
Which stand so thick clustering by;
And view their green and glossy leaves,
All glistening in the sunshine fair;
And list the rustling of their boughs,
So softly whispering through the air.
And while my ear drinks in the sound,
My winged soul shall fly away;
Reviewing lone departed years
As one mild, beaming, autumn day;
And soaring on to future scenes,
Like hills and woods, and valleys green,
All basking in the summer’s sun,
But distant still, and dimly seen.
Oh, list! ’tis summer’s very breath
That gently shakes the rustling trees–
But look! the snow is on the ground–
How can I think of scenes like these?
‘Tis but the FROST that clears the air,
And gives the sky that lovely blue;
They’re smiling in a WINTER’S sun,
Those evergreens of sombre hue.
And winter’s chill is on my heart–
How can I dream of future bliss?
How can my spirit soar away,
Confined by such a chain as this?
POPPIES ON LUDLOW CASTLE Poetry/Poem by Willa Cather (1873-1947)
THROUGH halls of vanished pleasure,
And hold of vanished power,
And crypt of faith forgotten,
A came to Ludlow tower.
A-top of arch and stairway,
Of crypt and donjan cell,
Of council hall, and chamber,
Of wall, and ditch, and well,
High over grated turrets
Where clinging ivies run,
A thousand scarlet poppies
Enticed the rising sun,
Upon the topmost turret,
With death and damp below,–
Three hundred years of spoilage,–
The crimson poppies grow.
This hall it was that bred him,
These hills that knew him brave,
The gentlest English singer
That fills an English grave.
How have they heart to blossom
So cruel and gay and red,
When beauty so hath perished
And valour so hath sped?
When knights so fair are rotten,
And captains true asleep,
And singing lips are dust-stopped
Six English earth-feet deep?
When ages old remind me
How much hath gone for naught,
What wretched ghost remaineth
Of all that flesh hath wrought;
Of love and song and warring,
Of adventure and play,
Of art and comely building,
Of faith and form and fray–
I’ll mind the flowers of pleasure,
Of short-lived youth and sleep,
That drunk the sunny weather
A-top of Ludlow keep.
THE OWLS Poetry/Poem by Charles Baudelaire
UNDER the overhanging yews,
The dark owls sit in solemn state,
Like stranger gods; by twos and twos
Their red eyes gleam. They meditate.
Motionless thus they sit and dream
Until that melancholy hour
When, with the sun’s last fading gleam,
The nightly shades assume their power.
From their still attitude the wise
Will learn with terror to despise
All tumult, movement, and unrest;
For he who follows every shade,
Carries the memory in his breast,
Of each unhappy journey made.
THE NIGHTINGALE Poetry/Poem by Mark Akenside (1721-1770)
TO-NIGHT retired, the queen of heaven
With young Endymion stays;
And now to Hesper it is given
Awhile to rule the vacant sky,
Till she shall to her lamp supply
A stream of brighter rays.
Propitious send thy golden ray,
Thou purest light above!
Let no false flame seduce to stray
Where gulf or steep lie hid for harm;
But lead where music’s healing charm
May soothe afflicted love.
To them, by many a grateful song
In happier seasons vow’d,
These lawns, Olympia’s haunts, belong:
Oft by yon silver stream we walk’d,
Or fix’d, while Philomela talk’d,
Beneath yon copses stood.
Nor seldom, where the beechen boughs
That roofless tower invade,
We came, while her enchanting Muse
The radiant moon above us held:
Till, by a clamorous owl compell’d,
She fled the solemn shade.
But hark! I hear her liquid tone!
Now Hesper guide my feet!
Down the red marl with moss o’ergrown,
Through yon wild thicket next the plain,
Whose hawthorns choke the winding lane
Which leads to her retreat.
See the green space: on either hand
Enlarged it spreads around:
See, in the midst she takes her stand,
Where one old oak his awful shade
Extends o’er half the level mead,
Enclosed in woods profound.
Hark! how through many a melting note
She now prolongs her lays:
How sweetly down the void they float!
The breeze their magic path attends;
The stars shine out; the forest bends;
The wakeful heifers graze.
Whoe’er thou art whom chance may bring
To this sequester’d spot,
If then the plaintive Siren sing,
O softly tread beneath her bower
And think of Heaven’s disposing power,
Of man’s uncertain lot.
O think, o’er all this mortal stage
What mournful scenes arise:
What ruin waits on kingly rage;
How often virtue dwells with woe;
How many griefs from knowledge flow;
How swiftly pleasure flies!
O sacred bird! let me at eve,
Thus wandering all alone,
Thy tender counsel oft receive,
Bear witness to thy pensive airs,
And pity Nature’s common cares,
Till I forget my own.
NATURE’S CALM Poetry/Poem by Alcman
THE mountain brows, the rocks, the peaks, are sleeping,
Uplands and gorges hush!
The thousand moorland things are stillness keeping;
The beasts under each bush
Crouch, and the hivèd bees
Rest in their honeyed ease;
In the purple sea fish lie as they were dead,
And each bird folds his wing over his head.
MY DOVES Poetry/Poem by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)
OPPOSITE my chamber window,
On the sunny roof, at play,
High above the city’s tumult,
Flocks of doves sit day by day.
Shining necks and snowy bosoms,
Little rosy, tripping feet,
Twinkling eyes and fluttering wings,
Cooing voices, low and sweet,–
Graceful games and friendly meetings,
Do I daily watch and see.
For these happy little neighbors
Always seem at peace to be.
On my window-ledge, to lure them,
Crumbs of bread I often strew,
And, behind the curtain hiding,
Watch them flutter to and fro.
Soon they cease to fear the giver,
Quick are they to feel my love,
And my alms are freely taken
By the shyest little dove.
In soft flight, they circle downward,
Peep in through the window-pane;
Stretch their gleaming necks to greet me,
Peck and coo, and come again.
Faithful little friends and neighbors,
For no wintry wind or rain,
Household cares or airy pastimes,
Can my loving birds restrain.
Other friends forget, or linger,
But each day I surely know
That my doves will come and leave here
Little footprints in the snow.
So, they teach me the sweet lesson,
That the humblest may give
Help and hope, and in so doing,
Learn the truth by which we live;
For the heart that freely scatters
Simple charities and loves,
Lures home content, and joy, and peace,
Like a soft-winged flock of doves.
THE PRAISE OF SPRING, From The Miracles of our Lady Poetry/Poem by Gonzalo de Berceo (1180-1246)
,I GONZALO de Berceo, in the gentle summertide,
Wending upon a pilgrimage, came to a meadow’s side;
All green was it and beautiful, with flowers far and wide,–
A pleasant spot, I ween, wherein the traveller might abide.
Flowers with the sweetest odors filled all the sunny air,
And not alone refreshed the sense, but stole the mind from every care;
On every side a fountain gushed, whose waters pure and fair,
Ice-cold beneath the summer sun, but warm in winter were.
There on the thick and shadowy trees, amid the foliage green,
Were the fig and the pomegranate, the pear and apple seen;
And other fruits of various kinds, the tufted leaves between,
None were unpleasant to the taste and none decayed, I ween.
The verdure of the meadow green, the odor of the flowers
The grateful shadows of the trees, tempered with fragrant showers,
Refreshed me in the burning heat of the sultry noontide hours;
Oh, one might live upon the balm and fragrance of those bowers!
Ne’er had I found on earth a spot that had such power to please,
Such shadows from the summer sun, such odors on the breeze;
I threw my mantle on the ground, that I might rest at ease,
And stretched upon the greensward lay in the shadow of the trees.
There soft reclining in the shade, all cares beside me flung,
I heard the soft and mellow notes that through the woodland rung;
Ear never listened to a strain, for instrument or tongue,
So mellow and harmonious as the songs above me sung.
–Translated by H. W. Longfellow
THE ROSEBUD Poetry/Poem by William Broome (1689-1745)
QUEEN of fragrance, lovely Rose,
The beauties of thy leaves disclose!
–But thou, fair Nymph, thyself survey
In this sweet offspring of a day.
That miracle of face must fail,
Thy charms are sweet, but charms are frail:
Swift as the short-lived flower they fly,
At morn they bloom, at evening die:
Though Sickness yet a while forbears,
Yet Time destroys what Sickness spares:
Now Helen lives alone in fame,
And Cleopatra’s but a name:
Time must indent that heavenly brow,
And thou must be what they are now.
THE SEA Poetry/Poem by John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895)
What dost thou say,
Thou old grey sea,
Thou broad briny water
With thy ripple and thy plash,
And thy waves as they lash
The old grey rocks on the shore?
With thy tempests as they roar,
And thy crested billows hoar,
And thy tide evermore,
Fresh and free;
With thy floods as they come,
And thy voice never dumb,
What thouhgt art thou speaking to me?
What thing should I say
On this bright summer day,
Thou strange human dreamer, to thee?
One wonder the same
All things do proclaim
In the sky, and the land, and the sea;
‘Tis the unsleeping force
Of a GOD in his course,
Whose life is the law of the whole,
As he breathes out his power
In the pulse of the hour,
And the march of the years as they roll;
You may measure his ways
In the weeks and the days,
And the stars as they wheel round the pole,
But no finger is thine
To touch the divine
All-plastic, all-permeant soul,
As it shapes and it moulds,
And its virtue unfolds,
In the garden of things as they grow,
And flings forth the tide
Of its strength far and wide,
In wonders above and below.
Thou huge-heaving sea
That art speaking to me
Of the power and the pride of a God,
I would travel like thee
With force fresh and free
Through the breadth of my human abode,
Never languid and low,
But with bountiful flow,
Of thoughts that are kindred to God;
Ever surging and streaming,
Ever beaming and gleaming,
Like the lights as they shift on the glass,
Ever swelling and heaving,
And largely receiving
The beauty of things as they pass.
Thou broad-billowed sea
Never sundered from thee
May I wander the welkin below;
May the plash and the roar
Of thy waves on the shore
Beat the march to my feet as they go;
Ever strong, ever free,
When the breath of the sea
Like the fan of an angel I know;
Every rising with power,
To the call of the hour,
Like the swell of thy tides as they flow.
SPRING Poetry/Poem by Anacreon (c.572-488 BC)
SEE the Spring herself discloses,
And the Graces gather roses;
See how the becalmed seas
Now their swelling waves appease;
How the duck swims, how the crane
Comes from winter home again;
See how Titan’s cheerful ray
Chaseth the dark clouds away;
Now in their new robes of green
Are the plowman’s labors seen:
Now the lusty teeming Earth
Springs each hour with a new birth;
Now the olive blooms: the vine
Now doth with plump pendants shine;
And with leaves and blossoms now
Freshly bourgeons every bough.
TRANSLATED BY THOMAS STANLEY, 1651
TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY, ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOUGH, APRIL, 1786
by: Robert Burns (1759-1796)
WEE, modest, crimson-tippèd flow’r,
Thou’s met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my pow’r,
Thou bonie gem.
Alas! it’s no thy neebor sweet,
The bonie lark, companion meet,
Bending thee ‘mang the dewy weet!
Wi’ spreckl’d breast!
When upward-springing, blythe, to greet
The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth
Amid the storm,
Scarce rear’d above the parent-earth
Thy tender form.
The flaunting flow’rs our gardens yield,
High shelt’ring woods and wa’s maun shield;
But thou, beneath the random bield
O’ clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble-field,
There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head
In humble guise;
But now the share uptears thy bed,
And low thou lies!
Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet flow’ret of the rural shade!
By love’s simplicity betray’d,
And guileless trust;
Till she, like thee, all soil’d, is laid
Low i’ the dust.
Such is the fate of simple Bard,
On life’s rough ocean luckless starr’d!
Unskilful he to note the card
Of prudent lore,
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,
And whelm him o’er!
Such fate to suffering Worth is giv’n,
Who long with wants and woes has striv’n,
By human pride or cunning driv’n
To mis’ry’s brink;
Till, wrench’d of ev’ry stay but Heav’n,
He, ruin’d, sink!
Ev’n thou who mourn’st the Daisy’s fate,
That fate is thine — no distant date;
Stern Ruin’s ploughshare drives, elate,
Full on thy bloom,
Till crush’d beneath the furrow’s weight,
Shall by thy doom!
TO A MOUSE, ON TURNING HER UP IN HER NEST WITH THE PLOUGH, NOVEMBER, 1785, by: Robert Burns (1759-1796)
WEE, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
Oh, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I was be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!
I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
And never miss’t!
Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.
That wee bit heap o’ leaves an stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Still thou art blest, compared wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I cannot see,
I guess an’ fear!