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For the Consecration of a Cemetery

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

This verdant field that smiles to Heaven
  In Nature’s bright array,
From common uses set apart,
  We consecrate to-day.

“God’s Acre” be it fitly called,
  For when, beneath the sod,
We lay the dead with reverent hands,
  We yield them back to God.

And His great love, so freely given,
  Shall speak in clearer tones,
When, pacing through these hallowed walks,
  We read memorial stones.

Here let the sunshine softly fall,
  And gently drop the rain,
And Nature’s countless harmonies
  Blend one accordant strain;

That they who seek this sacred place,
  In mourning solitude,
In all this gracious company
  May have their faith renewed.

So, lifted to serener heights,
  And purified from dross,
Their trustful hearts shall rest on God,
  And profit by their loss.

The Nyum-Nyum

by Anonymous

The Nyum-Nyum chortled by the sea,
And sipped the wavelets green:
He wondered how the sky could be
So very nice and clean;

He wondered if the chambermaid
Had swept the dust away,
And if the scrumptious Jabberwock
Had mopped it up that day.

And then in sadness to his love
The Nyum-Nyum weeping said,
I know no reason why the sea
Should not be white or red.

I know no reason why the sea
Should not be red, I say;
And why the slithy Bandersnatch
Has not been round to-day.

He swore he’d call at two o’clock,
And now it’s half-past four.
“Stay,” said the Nyum-Nyum’s love, “I think
I hear him at the door.”

In twenty minutes in there came
A creature black as ink,
Which put its feet upon a chair
And called for beer to drink.

They gave him porter in a tub,
But, “Give me more!” he cried;
And then he drew a heavy sigh,
And laid him down, and died.

He died, and in the Nyum-Nyum’s cave
A cry of mourning rose;
The Nyum-Nyum sobbed a gentle sob,
And slily blew his nose.

The Nyum-Nyum’s love, we need not state,
Was overwhelmed and sad;
She said, “Oh, take the corpse away,
Or you will drive me mad!”

The Nyum-Nyum in his supple arms
Took up the gruesome weight,
And, with a cry of bitter fear,
He threw it at his mate.

And then he wept, and tore his hair,
And threw it in the sea,
And loudly sobbed with streaming eyes
That such a thing could be.

The ox, that mumbled in his stall,
Perspired and gently sighed,
And then, in sympathy, it fell
Upon its back and died.

The hen that sat upon her eggs,
With high ambition fired,
Arose in simple majesty,
And, with a cluck, expired.

The jubejube bird, that carolled there,
Sat down upon a post,
And with a reverential caw,
Gave up its little ghost.

And ere its kind and loving life
Eternally had ceased,
The donkey, in the ancient barn,
In agony deceased.

The raven, perched upon the elm,
Gave forth a scraping note,
And ere the sound had died away,
Had cut its tuneful throat.

The Nyum-Nyum’s love was sorrowful;
And, after she had cried,
She, with a brand-new carving-knife,
Committed suicide.

“Alas!” the Nyum-Nyum said, “alas!
With thee I will not part,”
And straightway seized a rolling-pin
And drove it through his heart.

The mourners came and gathered up
The bits that lay about;
But why the massacre had been,
They could not quite make out.

One said there was a mystery
Connected with the deaths;
But others thought the silent ones
Perhaps had lost their breaths.

The doctor soon arrived, and viewed
The corpses as they lay;
He could not give them life again,
So he was heard to say.

But, oh! it was a horrid sight;
It made the blood run cold,
To see the bodies carried off
And covered up with mould.

The Toves across the briny sea
Wept buckets-full of tears;
They were relations of the dead,
And had been friends for years.

The Jabberwock upon the hill
Gave forth a gloomy wail,
When in his airy seat he sat,
And told the awful tale.

And who can wonder that it made
That loving creature cry?
For he had done the dreadful work
And caused the things to die.

That Jabberwock was passing bad–
That Jabberwock was wrong,
And with this verdict I conclude
One portion of my song.

Silence

by Edgar Allan Poe
  There are some qualities–some incorporate things,
    That have a double life, which thus is made
  A type of that twin entity which springs
    From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.
  There is a twofold Silence–sea and shore–
    Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places,
    Newly with grass o’ergrown; some solemn graces,
  Some human memories and tearful lore,
  Render him terrorless: his name’s “No More.”
  He is the corporate Silence: dread him not!
    No power hath he of evil in himself;
  But should some urgent fate (untimely lot!)
    Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf,
  That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod
  No foot of man), commend thyself to God!

Tamerlane

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Kind solace in a dying hour!
  Such, father, is not (now) my theme–
  I will not madly deem that power
  Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
  Unearthly pride hath revelled in–
  I have no time to dote or dream:
  You call it hope–that fire of fire!
  It is but agony of desire:
  If I _can_ hope–O God! I can–
  Its fount is holier–more divine–
  I would not call thee fool, old man,
  But such is not a gift of thine.

  Know thou the secret of a spirit
  Bowed from its wild pride into shame
  O yearning heart! I did inherit
  Thy withering portion with the fame,
  The searing glory which hath shone
  Amid the Jewels of my throne,
  Halo of Hell! and with a pain
  Not Hell shall make me fear again–
  O craving heart, for the lost flowers
  And sunshine of my summer hours!
  The undying voice of that dead time,
  With its interminable chime,
  Rings, in the spirit of a spell,
  Upon thy emptiness–a knell.

  I have not always been as now:
  The fevered diadem on my brow
  I claimed and won usurpingly–
  Hath not the same fierce heirdom given
  Rome to the Cæsar–this to me?
  The heritage of a kingly mind,
  And a proud spirit which hath striven
  Triumphantly with human kind.
  On mountain soil I first drew life:
  The mists of the Taglay have shed
  Nightly their dews upon my head,
  And, I believe, the winged strife
  And tumult of the headlong air
  Have nestled in my very hair.

  So late from Heaven–that dew–it fell
  (‘Mid dreams of an unholy night)
  Upon me with the touch of Hell,
  While the red flashing of the light
  From clouds that hung, like banners, o’er,
  Appeared to my half-closing eye
  The pageantry of monarchy;
  And the deep trumpet-thunder’s roar
  Came hurriedly upon me, telling
  Of human battle, where my voice,
  My own voice, silly child!–was swelling
  (O! how my spirit would rejoice,
  And leap within me at the cry)
  The battle-cry of Victory!

  The rain came down upon my head
  Unsheltered–and the heavy wind
  Rendered me mad and deaf and blind.
  It was but man, I thought, who shed
  Laurels upon me: and the rush–
  The torrent of the chilly air
  Gurgled within my ear the crush
  Of empires–with the captive’s prayer–
  The hum of suitors–and the tone
  Of flattery ’round a sovereign’s throne.

  My passions, from that hapless hour,
  Usurped a tyranny which men
  Have deemed since I have reached to power,
  My innate nature–be it so:
  But, father, there lived one who, then,
  Then–in my boyhood–when their fire
  Burned with a still intenser glow
  (For passion must, with youth, expire)
  E’en _then_ who knew this iron heart
  In woman’s weakness had a part.

  I have no words–alas!–to tell
  The loveliness of loving well!
  Nor would I now attempt to trace
  The more than beauty of a face
  Whose lineaments, upon my mind,
  Are–shadows on th’ unstable wind:
  Thus I remember having dwelt
  Some page of early lore upon,
  With loitering eye, till I have felt
  The letters–with their meaning–melt
  To fantasies–with none.

  O, she was worthy of all love!
  Love as in infancy was mine–
  ‘Twas such as angel minds above
  Might envy; her young heart the shrine
  On which my every hope and thought
  Were incense–then a goodly gift,
  For they were childish and upright–
  Pure–as her young example taught:
  Why did I leave it, and, adrift,
  Trust to the fire within, for light?

  We grew in age–and love–together–
  Roaming the forest, and the wild;
  My breast her shield in wintry weather–
  And, when the friendly sunshine smiled.
  And she would mark the opening skies,
  _I_ saw no Heaven–but in her eyes.
  Young Love’s first lesson is—-the heart:
  For ‘mid that sunshine, and those smiles,
  When, from our little cares apart,
  And laughing at her girlish wiles,
  I’d throw me on her throbbing breast,
  And pour my spirit out in tears–
  There was no need to speak the rest–
  No need to quiet any fears
  Of her–who asked no reason why,
  But turned on me her quiet eye!

  Yet _more_ than worthy of the love
  My spirit struggled with, and strove
  When, on the mountain peak, alone,
  Ambition lent it a new tone–
  I had no being–but in thee:
  The world, and all it did contain
  In the earth–the air–the sea–
  Its joy–its little lot of pain
  That was new pleasure–the ideal,
  Dim, vanities of dreams by night–
  And dimmer nothings which were real–
  (Shadows–and a more shadowy light!)
  Parted upon their misty wings,
  And, so, confusedly, became
  Thine image and–a name–a name!
  Two separate–yet most intimate things.

  I was ambitious–have you known
  The passion, father? You have not:
  A cottager, I marked a throne
  Of half the world as all my own,
  And murmured at such lowly lot–
  But, just like any other dream,
  Upon the vapor of the dew
  My own had past, did not the beam
  Of beauty which did while it thro’
  The minute–the hour–the day–oppress
  My mind with double loveliness.

  We walked together on the crown
  Of a high mountain which looked down
  Afar from its proud natural towers
  Of rock and forest, on the hills–
  The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers
  And shouting with a thousand rills.

  I spoke to her of power and pride,
  But mystically–in such guise
  That she might deem it nought beside
  The moment’s converse; in her eyes
  I read, perhaps too carelessly–
  A mingled feeling with my own–
  The flush on her bright cheek, to me
  Seemed to become a queenly throne
  Too well that I should let it be
  Light in the wilderness alone.

  I wrapped myself in grandeur then,
  And donned a visionary crown–
  Yet it was not that Fantasy
  Had thrown her mantle over me–
  But that, among the rabble–men,
  Lion ambition is chained down–
  And crouches to a keeper’s hand–
  Not so in deserts where the grand–
  The wild–the terrible conspire
  With their own breath to fan his fire.

  Look ’round thee now on Samarcand!–
  Is she not queen of Earth? her pride
  Above all cities? in her hand
  Their destinies? in all beside
  Of glory which the world hath known
  Stands she not nobly and alone?
  Falling–her veriest stepping-stone
  Shall form the pedestal of a throne–
  And who her sovereign? Timour–he
  Whom the astonished people saw
  Striding o’er empires haughtily
  A diademed outlaw!

  O, human love! thou spirit given,
  On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!
  Which fall’st into the soul like rain
  Upon the Siroc-withered plain,
  And, failing in thy power to bless,
  But leav’st the heart a wilderness!
  Idea! which bindest life around
  With music of so strange a sound
  And beauty of so wild a birth–
  Farewell! for I have won the Earth.

  When Hope, the eagle that towered, could see
  No cliff beyond him in the sky,
  His pinions were bent droopingly–
  And homeward turned his softened eye.
  ‘Twas sunset: When the sun will part
  There comes a sullenness of heart
  To him who still would look upon
  The glory of the summer sun.
  That soul will hate the ev’ning mist
  So often lovely, and will list
  To the sound of the coming darkness (known
  To those whose spirits hearken) as one
  Who, in a dream of night, _would_ fly,
  But _cannot_, from a danger nigh.

  What tho’ the moon–tho’ the white moon
  Shed all the splendor of her noon,
  _Her_ smile is chilly–and _her_ beam,
  In that time of dreariness, will seem
  (So like you gather in your breath)
  A portrait taken after death.
  And boyhood is a summer sun
  Whose waning is the dreariest one–
  For all we live to know is known,
  And all we seek to keep hath flown–
  Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall
  With the noon-day beauty–which is all.
  I reached my home–my home no more–
  For all had flown who made it so.
  I passed from out its mossy door,
  And, tho’ my tread was soft and low,
  A voice came from the threshold stone
  Of one whom I had earlier known–
  O, I defy thee, Hell, to show
  On beds of fire that burn below,
  An humbler heart–a deeper woe.

  Father, I firmly do believe–
  I _know_–for Death who comes for me
  From regions of the blest afar,
  Where there is nothing to deceive,
  Hath left his iron gate ajar.
  And rays of truth you cannot see
  Are flashing thro’ Eternity—-
  I do believe that Eblis hath
  A snare in every human path–
  Else how, when in the holy grove
  I wandered of the idol, Love,–
  Who daily scents his snowy wings
  With incense of burnt-offerings
  From the most unpolluted things,
  Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven
  Above with trellised rays from Heaven
  No mote may shun–no tiniest fly–
  The light’ning of his eagle eye–
  How was it that Ambition crept,
  Unseen, amid the revels there,
  Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt
  In the tangles of Love’s very hair!

Romance

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
  With drowsy head and folded wing,
  Among the green leaves as they shake
  Far down within some shadowy lake,
  To me a painted paroquet
  Hath been–a most familiar bird–
  Taught me my alphabet to say–
  To lisp my very earliest word
  While in the wild wood I did lie,
  A child–with a most knowing eye.

  Of late, eternal Condor years
  So shake the very Heaven on high
  With tumult as they thunder by,
  I have no time for idle cares
  Though gazing on the unquiet sky.
  And when an hour with calmer wings
  Its down upon my spirit flings–
  That little time with lyre and rhyme
  To while away–forbidden things!
  My heart would feel to be a crime
  Unless it trembled with the strings.

Apocalypse

by Emily Dickinson
I’m wife; I’ve finished that,
That other state;
I’m Czar, I’m woman now:
It’s safer so.

How odd the girl’s life looks
Behind this soft eclipse!
I think that earth seems so
To those in heaven now.

This being comfort, then
That other kind was pain;
But why compare?
I’m wife! stop there!

Dreamland

by Edgar Allan Poe
  By a route obscure and lonely,
  Haunted by ill angels only,
  Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
  On a black throne reigns upright,
  I have reached these lands but newly
  From an ultimate dim Thule–
  From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
    Out of SPACE–out of TIME.

  Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
  And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
  With forms that no man can discover
  For the dews that drip all over;
  Mountains toppling evermore
  Into seas without a shore;
  Seas that restlessly aspire,
  Surging, unto skies of fire;
  Lakes that endlessly outspread
  Their lone waters–lone and dead,
  Their still waters–still and chilly
  With the snows of the lolling lily.

  By the lakes that thus outspread
  Their lone waters, lone and dead,–
  Their sad waters, sad and chilly
  With the snows of the lolling lily,–

  By the mountains–near the river
  Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,–
  By the gray woods,–by the swamp
  Where the toad and the newt encamp,–
  By the dismal tarns and pools
    Where dwell the Ghouls,–
  By each spot the most unholy–
  In each nook most melancholy,–

  There the traveller meets aghast
  Sheeted Memories of the past–
  Shrouded forms that start and sigh
  As they pass the wanderer by–
  White-robed forms of friends long given,
  In agony, to the Earth–and Heaven.

  For the heart whose woes are legion
  ‘Tis a peaceful, soothing region–
  For the spirit that walks in shadow
  ‘Tis–oh, ’tis an Eldorado!
  But the traveller, travelling through it,
  May not–dare not openly view it;
  Never its mysteries are exposed
  To the weak human eye unclosed;
  So wills its King, who hath forbid
  The uplifting of the fringed lid;
  And thus the sad Soul that here passes
  Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

  By a route obscure and lonely,
  Haunted by ill angels only.

  Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
  On a black throne reigns upright,
  I have wandered home but newly
  From this ultimate dim Thule.

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 Bells

by Edgar Allan Poe
I.

Hear the sledges with the bells–
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In their icy air of night!
While the stars, that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.
II.

Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten golden-notes,
And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!
III.

Hear the loud alarum bells–
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror now their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now–now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging,
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling,
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells–
Of the bells–
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!
IV.

Hear the tolling of the bells–
Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people–ah, the people–
They that dwell up in the steeple.
All alone,
And who tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone–
They are neither man nor woman–
They are neither brute nor human–
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
Rolls
A pæan from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the pæan of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the pæan of the bells–
Of the bells:
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells–
Of the bells, bells, bells–
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells–
Of the bells, bells, bells–
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

The Wife

by Emily Dickinson

She rose to his requirement, dropped
The playthings of her life
To take the honorable work
Of woman and of wife.

If aught she missed in her new day
Of amplitude, or awe,
Or first prospective, or the gold
In using wore away,

It lay unmentioned, as the sea
Develops pearl and weed,
But only to himself is known
The fathoms they abide.

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