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by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth

    It is an ancyent Marinere,
      And he stoppeth one of three:
    “By thy long grey beard and thy glittering eye
      “Now wherefore stoppest me?

    “The Bridegroom’s doors are open’d wide
      “And I am next of kin;
    “The Guests are met, the Feast is set,–
      “May’st hear the merry din.–

    But still he holds the wedding-guest–
      There was a Ship, quoth he–
    “Nay, if thou’st got a laughsome tale,
      “Marinere! come with me.”

    He holds him with his skinny hand,
      Quoth he, there was a Ship–
    “Now get thee hence, thou grey-beard Loon!
      “Or my Staff shall make thee skip.”

    He holds him with his glittering eye–
      The wedding guest stood still
    And listens like a three year’s child;
      The Marinere hath his will.

    The wedding-guest sate on a stone,
      He cannot chuse but hear:
    And thus spake on that ancyent man,
      The bright-eyed Marinere.

    The Ship was cheer’d, the Harbour clear’d–
      Merrily did we drop
    Below the Kirk, below the Hill,
      Below the Light-house top.

    The Sun came up upon the left,
      Out of the Sea came he:
    And he shone bright, and on the right
      Went down into the Sea.

    Higher and higher every day,
      Till over the mast at noon–
    The wedding-guest here beat his breast,
      For he heard the loud bassoon.

    The Bride hath pac’d into the Hall,
      Red as a rose is she;
    Nodding their heads before her goes
      The merry Minstralsy.

    The wedding-guest he beat his breast,
      Yet he cannot chuse but hear:
    And thus spake on that ancyent Man,
      The bright-eyed Marinere.

    Listen, Stranger! Storm and Wind,
      A Wind and Tempest strong!
    For days and weeks it play’d us freaks–
      Like Chaff we drove along.

    Listen, Stranger! Mist and Snow,
      And it grew wond’rous cauld:
    And Ice mast-high came floating by
      As green as Emerauld.

    And thro’ the drifts the snowy clifts
      Did send a dismal sheen;
    Ne shapes of men ne beasts we ken–
      The Ice was all between.

    The Ice was here, the Ice was there,
      The Ice was all around:
    It crack’d and growl’d, and roar’d and howl’d–
      Like noises of a swound.

    At length did cross an Albatross,
      Thorough the Fog it came;
    And an it were a Christian Soul,
      We hail’d it in God’s name.

    The Marineres gave it biscuit-worms,
      And round and round it flew:
    The Ice did split with a Thunder-fit;
      The Helmsman steer’d us thro’.

    And a good south wind sprung up behind,
      The Albatross did follow;
    And every day for food or play
      Came to the Marinere’s hollo!

    In mist or cloud on mast or shroud
      It perch’d for vespers nine,
    Whiles all the night thro’ fog-smoke white
      Glimmer’d the white moon-shine.

    “God save thee, ancyent Marinere!
      “From the fiends that plague thee thus–
    “Why look’st thou so?”–with my cross bow
      I shot the Albatross.

Imogen (A Lady of Tender Age)

by Henry Newbolt

Ladies, where were your bright eyes glancing,
Where were they glancing yester-night?
Saw ye Imogen dancing, dancing,
Imogen dancing all in white?
Laughed she not with a pure delight,
Laughed she not with a joy serene,
Stepped she not with a grace entrancing,
Slenderly girt in silken sheen?

All through the night from dusk to daytime
Under her feet the hours were swift,
Under her feet the hours of play-time
Rose and fell with a rhythmic lift:
Music set her adrift, adrift,
Music eddying towards the day
Swept her along as brooks in May-time
Carry the freshly falling May.

Ladies, life is a changing measure,
Youth is a lilt that endeth soon;
Pluck ye never so fast at pleasure
Twilight follows the longest noon.
Nay, but here is a lasting boon,
Life for hearts that are old and chill,
Youth undying for hearts that treasure
Imogen dancing, dancing still.

To Rhea

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thee, dear friend, a brother soothes,
Not with flatteries, but truths,
Which tarnish not, but purify
To light which dims the morning’s eye.
I have come from the spring-woods,
From the fragrant solitudes;–
Listen what the poplar-tree
And murmuring waters counselled me.

If with love thy heart has burned;
If thy love is unreturned;
Hide thy grief within thy breast,
Though it tear thee unexpressed;
For when love has once departed
From the eyes of the false-hearted,
And one by one has torn off quite
The bandages of purple light;
Though thou wert the loveliest
Form the soul had ever dressed,
Thou shalt seem, in each reply,
A vixen to his altered eye;
Thy softest pleadings seem too bold,
Thy praying lute will seem to scold;
Though thou kept the straightest road,
Yet thou errest far and broad.

But thou shalt do as do the gods
In their cloudless periods;
For of this lore be thou sure,–
Though thou forget, the gods, secure,
Forget never their command,
But make the statute of this land.
As they lead, so follow all,
Ever have done, ever shall.
Warning to the blind and deaf,
‘T is written on the iron leaf,
_Who drinks of Cupid’s nectar cup_
_Loveth downward, and not up;_
He who loves, of gods or men,
Shall not by the same be loved again;
His sweetheart’s idolatry
Falls, in turn, a new degree.
When a god is once beguiled
By beauty of a mortal child
And by her radiant youth delighted,
He is not fooled, but warily knoweth
His love shall never be requited.
And thus the wise Immortal doeth,–
‘T is his study and delight
To bless that creature day and night;
From all evils to defend her;
In her lap to pour all splendor;
To ransack earth for riches rare,
And fetch her stars to deck her hair:
He mixes music with her thoughts,
And saddens her with heavenly doubts:
All grace, all good his great heart knows,
Profuse in love, the king bestows,
Saying, ‘Hearken! Earth, Sea, Air!
This monument of my despair
Build I to the All-Good, All-Fair.
Not for a private good,
But I, from my beatitude,
Albeit scorned as none was scorned,
Adorn her as was none adorned.
I make this maiden an ensample
To Nature, through her kingdoms ample,
Whereby to model newer races,
Statelier forms and fairer faces;
To carry man to new degrees
Of power and of comeliness.
These presents be the hostages
Which I pawn for my release.
See to thyself, O Universe!
Thou art better, and not worse.’–
And the god, having given all,
Is freed forever from his thrall.

MY CASTLE

I have a beautiful castle,
  With towers and battlements fair;
And many a banner, with gay device,
  Floats in the outer air.

The walls are of solid silver;
  The towers are of massive gold;
And the lights that stream from the windows
  A royal scene unfold.

Ah! could you but enter my castle
  With its pomp of regal sheen,
You would say that it far surpasses
  The palace of Aladeen.

Could you but enter as I do,
  And pace through the vaulted hall,
And mark the stately columns,
  And the pictures on the wall;

With the costly gems about them,
  That send their light afar,
With a chaste and softened splendor
  Like the light of a distant star!

And where is this wonderful castle,
  With its rich emblazonings,
Whose pomp so far surpasses
  The homes of the greatest kings?

Come out with me at morning
  And lie in the meadow-grass,
And lift your eyes to the ether blue,
  And you will see it pass.

There! can you not see the battlements;
  And the turrets stately and high,
Whose lofty summits are tipped with clouds,
  And lost in the arching sky?

Dear friend, you are only dreaming,
  Your castle so stately and fair
Is only a fanciful structure,–
  A castle in the air.

Perchance you are right. I know not
  If a phantom it may be;
But yet, in my inmost heart, I feel
  That it lives, and lives for me.

For when clouds and darkness are round me,
  And my heart is heavy with care,
I steal me away from the noisy crowd,
  To dwell in my castle fair.

There are servants to do my bidding;
  There are servants to heed my call;
And I, with a master’s air of pride,
  May pace through the vaulted hall.

And I envy not the monarchs
  With cities under their sway;
For am I not, in my own right,
  A monarch as proud as they?

What matter, then, if to others
  My castle a phantom may be,
Since I feel, in the depths of my own heart,
  That it is not so to me?

Spirk Troll-Derisive

by James Whitcomb Riley

The Crankadox leaned o’er the edge of the moon,
And wistfully gazed on the sea
Where the Gryxabodill madly whistled a tune
To the air of “Ti-fol-de-ding-dee.”

The quavering shriek of the Fliupthecreek
Was fitfully wafted afar
To the Queen of the Wunks as she powdered her cheek
With the pulverized rays of a star.

The Gool closed his ear on the voice of the Grig,
And his heart it grew heavy as lead
As he marked the Baldekin adjusting his wig
On the opposite side of his head;

And the air it grew chill as the Gryxabodill
Raised his dank, dripping fins to the skies
To plead with the Plunk for the use of her bill
To pick the tears out of his eyes.

The ghost of the Zhack flitted by in a trance;
And the Squidjum hid under a tub
As he heard the loud hooves of the Hooken advance
With a rub-a-dub-dub-a-dub dub!

And the Crankadox cried as he laid down and died,
“My fate there is none to bewail!”
While the Queen of the Wunks drifted over the tide
With a long piece of crape to her tail.

Exclusion

by Emily Dickinson

The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.

I’ve known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.

Unreturning

by Emily Dickinson

‘T was such a little, little boat
That toddled down the bay!
‘T was such a gallant, gallant sea
That beckoned it away!

‘T was such a greedy, greedy wave
That licked it from the coast;
Nor ever guessed the stately sails
My little craft was lost!

For Annie

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Thank Heaven! the crisis–
    The danger is past,
  And the lingering illness
    Is over at last–
  And the fever called “Living”
    Is conquered at last.

  Sadly, I know,
    I am shorn of my strength,
  And no muscle I move
    As I lie at full length–
  But no matter!–I feel
    I am better at length.

  And I rest so composedly,
    Now in my bed,
  That any beholder
    Might fancy me dead–
  Might start at beholding me
    Thinking me dead.

  The moaning and groaning,
    The sighing and sobbing,
  Are quieted now,
    With that horrible throbbing
  At heart:–ah, that horrible,
    Horrible throbbing!

  The sickness–the nausea–
    The pitiless pain–
  Have ceased, with the fever
    That maddened my brain–
  With the fever called “Living”
    That burned in my brain.

  And oh! of all tortures
    _That_ torture the worst
  Has abated–the terrible
    Torture of thirst,
  For the naphthaline river
    Of Passion accurst:–
  I have drank of a water
    That quenches all thirst:–

  Of a water that flows,
    With a lullaby sound,
  From a spring but a very few
    Feet under ground–
  From a cavern not very far
    Down under ground.

  And ah! let it never
    Be foolishly said
  That my room it is gloomy
    And narrow my bed–
  For man never slept
    In a different bed;
  And, to _sleep_, you must slumber
    In just such a bed.

  My tantalized spirit
    Here blandly reposes,
  Forgetting, or never
    Regretting its roses–
  Its old agitations
    Of myrtles and roses:

  For now, while so quietly
    Lying, it fancies
  A holier odor
    About it, of pansies–
  A rosemary odor,
    Commingled with pansies–
  With rue and the beautiful
    Puritan pansies.

  And so it lies happily,
    Bathing in many
  A dream of the truth
    And the beauty of Annie–
  Drowned in a bath
    Of the tresses of Annie.

  She tenderly kissed me,
    She fondly caressed,
  And then I fell gently
    To sleep on her breast–
  Deeply to sleep
    From the heaven of her breast.

  When the light was extinguished,
    She covered me warm,
  And she prayed to the angels
    To keep me from harm–
  To the queen of the angels
    To shield me from harm.

  And I lie so composedly,
    Now in my bed
  (Knowing her love)
    That you fancy me dead–
  And I rest so contentedly,
    Now in my bed,
  (With her love at my breast)
    That you fancy me dead–
  That you shudder to look at me.
    Thinking me dead.

  But my heart it is brighter
    Than all of the many
  Stars in the sky,
    For it sparkles with Annie–
  It glows with the light
    Of the love of my Annie–
  With the thought of the light
    Of the eyes of my Annie.

Almost!

by Emily Dickinson

Within my reach!
I could have touched!
I might have chanced that way!
Soft sauntered through the village,
Sauntered as soft away!
So unsuspected violets
Within the fields lie low,
Too late for striving fingers
That passed, an hour ago.

The Singing Wire

by George Parsons Lathrop

Ethereal, faint that music rang,
As, with the bosom of the breeze,
It rose and fell and murmuring sang
Aeolian harmonies!

I turned; again the mournful chords,
In random rhythm lightly flung
From off the wire, came shaped in words;
And thus meseemed, they sung:

“I, messenger of many fates,
Strung to the tones of woe or weal,
Fine nerve that thrills and palpitates
With all men know or feel,–

“Is it so strange that I should wail?
Leave me my tearless, sad refrain,
When in the pine-top wakes the gale
That breathes of coming rain.

“There is a spirit in the post;
It, too, was once a murmuring tree;
Its withered, sad, imprisoned ghost
Echoes my melody.

“Come close, and lay your listening ear
Against the bare and branchless wood.
Can you not hear it crooning clear,
As though it understood?”

I listened to the branchless pole
That held aloft the singing wire;
I heard its muffled music roll,
And stirred with sweet desire:

“O wire more soft than seasoned lute,
Hast thou no sunlit word for me?
Though long to me so coyly mute,
Her heart may speak through thee!”

I listened, but it was in vain.
At first, the wind’s old wayward will
Drew forth the tearless, sad refrain.
That ceased; and all was still.

But suddenly some kindling shock
Struck flashing through the wire: a bird,
Poised on it, screamed and flew; the flock
Rose with him; wheeled and whirred.

Then to my soul there came this sense:
“Her heart has answered unto thine;
She comes, to-night. Go, speed thee hence:
Meet her; no more repine!”

Perhaps the fancy was far-fetched;
And yet, perhaps, it hinted true.
Ere moonrise, Love, a hand was stretched
In mine, that gave me–you!

And so more dear to me has grown
Than rarest tones swept from the lyre,
The minor movement of that moan
In yonder singing wire.

Nor care I for the will of states,
Or aught beside, that smites that string,
Since then so close it knit our fates,
What time the bird took wing!

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