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Proof

by Emily Dickinson

That I did always love,
I bring thee proof:
That till I loved
I did not love enough.

That I shall love alway,
I offer thee
That love is life,
And life hath immortality.

This, dost thou doubt, sweet?
Then have I
Nothing to show
But Calvary.

A Dream within a Dream

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Take this kiss upon the brow!
  And, in parting from you now,
  Thus much let me avow–
  You are not wrong, who deem
  That my days have been a dream:
  Yet if hope has flown away
  In a night, or in a day,
  In a vision or in none,
  Is it therefore the less _gone_?
  _All_ that we see or seem
  Is but a dream within a dream.

  I stand amid the roar
  Of a surf-tormented shore,
  And I hold within my hand
  Grains of the golden sand–
  How few! yet how they creep
  Through my fingers to the deep
  While I weep–while I weep!
  O God! can I not grasp
  Them with a tighter clasp?
  O God! can I not save
  _One_ from the pitiless wave?
  Is _all_ that we see or seem
  But a dream within a dream?

The Organ Grinder

by Evaleen Stein

Hark! I hear the organ-grinder
Coming down the street,
And the sudden clatter-patter
Of the children’s feet!

Come, oh, let us run to meet him!
Did you ever hear
Tunes so gay as he is playing,
Or so sweet and clear?

See the brown-faced little monkey,
Impudent and bold,
With his little scarlet jacket
Braided all in gold!

And his tiny cap and tassel
Bobbing to and fro,
Look, oh, look! he plucks it off now,
Bowing very low.

And he’s passing it politely–
Can it be for _pay_?
O dear me! I have no penny!
Let us run away!

To Helen

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Helen, thy beauty is to me
    Like those Nicean barks of yore,
  That gently, o’er a perfumed sea,
    The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
    To his own native shore.

  On desperate seas long wont to roam,
    Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
  Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
    To the glory that was Greece,
  To the grandeur that was Rome.

  Lo! in yon brilliant window niche,
    How statue-like I see thee stand,
    The agate lamp within thy hand!
  Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
    Are Holy Land!

Blossoming Chestnut Branches

by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh

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.

To Helen

by Edgar Allan Poe
  I saw thee once–once only–years ago:
  I must not say how many–but not many.
  It was a July midnight; and from out
  A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,
  Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,
  There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,
  With quietude, and sultriness and slumber,
  Upon the upturn’d faces of a thousand
  Roses that grew in an enchanted garden,
  Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe–
  Fell on the upturn’d faces of these roses
  That gave out, in return for the love-light,
  Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death–
  Fell on the upturn’d faces of these roses
  That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted
  By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence.

  Clad all in white, upon a violet bank
  I saw thee half-reclining; while the moon
  Fell on the upturn’d faces of the roses,
  And on thine own, upturn’d–alas, in sorrow!

  Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight–
  Was it not Fate (whose name is also Sorrow),
  That bade me pause before that garden-gate,
  To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses?
  No footstep stirred: the hated world all slept,
  Save only thee and me–(O Heaven!–O God!
  How my heart beats in coupling those two words!)–
  Save only thee and me. I paused–I looked–
  And in an instant all things disappeared.
  (Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!)
  The pearly lustre of the moon went out:
  The mossy banks and the meandering paths,
  The happy flowers and the repining trees,
  Were seen no more: the very roses’ odors
  Died in the arms of the adoring airs.
  All–all expired save thee–save less than thou:
  Save only the divine light in thine eyes–
  Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.
  I saw but them–they were the world to me.
  I saw but them–saw only them for hours–
  Saw only them until the moon went down.
  What wild heart-histories seemed to lie unwritten
  Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres!
  How dark a woe! yet how sublime a hope!
  How silently serene a sea of pride!
  How daring an ambition! yet how deep–
  How fathomless a capacity for love!

  But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight,
  Into a western couch of thunder-cloud;
  And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees
  Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained.
  They would not go–they never yet have gone.
  Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,
  They have not left me (as my hopes have) since.
  They follow me–they lead me through the years.

  They are my ministers–yet I their slave.
  Their office is to illumine and enkindle–
  My duty, to be saved by their bright light,
  And purified in their electric fire,
  And sanctified in their elysian fire.
  They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope),
  And are far up in Heaven–the stars I kneel to
  In the sad, silent watches of my night;
  While even in the meridian glare of day
  I see them still–two sweetly scintillant
  Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!

Voices of the Night

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Pleasant it was, when woods were green,
  And winds were soft and low,
To lie amid some sylvan scene.
Where, the long drooping boughs between,
Shadows dark and sunlight sheen
  Alternate come and go;

Or where the denser grove receives
  No sunlight from above,
But the dark foliage interweaves
In one unbroken roof of leaves,
Underneath whose sloping eaves
  The shadows hardly move.

Beneath some patriarchal tree
  I lay upon the ground;
His hoary arms uplifted he,
And all the broad leaves over me
Clapped their little hands in glee,
  With one continuous sound;–

A slumberous sound, a sound that brings
  The feelings of a dream,
As of innumerable wings,
As, when a bell no longer swings,
Faint the hollow murmur rings
  O’er meadow, lake, and stream.

And dreams of that which cannot die,
  Bright visions, came to me,
As lapped in thought I used to lie,
And gaze into the summer sky,
Where the sailing clouds went by,
  Like ships upon the sea;

Dreams that the soul of youth engage
  Ere Fancy has been quelled;
Old legends of the monkish page,
Traditions of the saint and sage,
Tales that have the rime of age,
  And chronicles of Eld.

And, loving still these quaint old themes,
  Even in the city’s throng
I feel the freshness of the streams,
That, crossed by shades and sunny gleams,
Water the green land of dreams,
  The holy land of song.

Therefore, at Pentecost, which brings
  The Spring, clothed like a bride,
When nestling buds unfold their wings,
And bishop’s-caps have golden rings,
Musing upon many things,
  I sought the woodlands wide.

The green trees whispered low and mild;
  It was a sound of joy!
They were my playmates when a child,
And rocked me in their arms so wild!
Still they looked at me and smiled,
  As if I were a boy;

And ever whispered, mild and low,
  “Come, be a child once more!”
And waved their long arms to and fro,
And beckoned solemnly and slow;
O, I could not choose but go
  Into the woodlands hoar,–

Into the blithe and breathing air,
  Into the solemn wood,
Solemn and silent everywhere
Nature with folded hands seemed there
Kneeling at her evening prayer!
  Like one in prayer I stood.

Before me rose an avenue
  Of tall and sombrous pines;
Abroad their fan-like branches grew,
And, where the sunshine darted through,
Spread a vapor soft and blue,
  In long and sloping lines.

And, falling on my weary brain,
  Like a fast-falling shower,
The dreams of youth came back again,
Low lispings of the summer rain,
Dropping on the ripened grain,
  As once upon the flower.

Visions of childhood!  Stay, O stay!
  Ye were so sweet and wild!
And distant voices seemed to say,
“It cannot be!  They pass away!
Other themes demand thy lay;
  Thou art no more a child!

“The land of Song within thee lies,
  Watered by living springs;
The lids of Fancy’s sleepless eyes
Are gates unto that Paradise,
Holy thoughts, like stars, arise,
  Its clouds are angels’ wings.

“Learn, that henceforth thy song shall be,
  Not mountains capped with snow,
Nor forests sounding like the sea,
Nor rivers flowing ceaselessly,
Where the woodlands bend to see
  The bending heavens below.

“There is a forest where the din
  Of iron branches sounds!
A mighty river roars between,
And whosoever looks therein
Sees the heavens all black with sin,
  Sees not its depths, nor bounds.

“Athwart the swinging branches cast,
  Soft rays of sunshine pour;
Then comes the fearful wintry blast
Our hopes, like withered leaves, fail fast;
Pallid lips say, ‘It is past!
  We can return no more!,

“Look, then, into thine heart, and write!
  Yes, into Life’s deep stream!
All forms of sorrow and delight,
All solemn Voices of the Night,
That can soothe thee, or affright,–
  Be these henceforth thy theme.”

by Edgar Allan Poe

  The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see
    The wantonest singing birds,

  Are lips–and all thy melody
    Of lip-begotten words–

  Thine eyes, in Heaven of heart enshrined
    Then desolately fall,
  O God! on my funereal mind
    Like starlight on a pall–

  Thy heart–_thy_ heart!–I wake and sigh,
    And sleep to dream till day
  Of the truth that gold can never buy–
    Of the baubles that it may.

The City in the Sea

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
  In a strange city lying alone
  Far down within the dim West,
  Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
  Have gone to their eternal rest.
  There shrines and palaces and towers
  (Time-eaten towers and tremble not!)
  Resemble nothing that is ours.
  Around, by lifting winds forgot,
  Resignedly beneath the sky
  The melancholy waters lie.

  No rays from the holy Heaven come down
  On the long night-time of that town;
  But light from out the lurid sea
  Streams up the turrets silently–
  Gleams up the pinnacles far and free–
  Up domes–up spires–up kingly halls–
  Up fanes–up Babylon-like walls–
  Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
  Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers–
  Up many and many a marvellous shrine
  Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
  The viol, the violet, and the vine.

  Resignedly beneath the sky
  The melancholy waters lie.
  So blend the turrets and shadows there
  That all seem pendulous in air,
  While from a proud tower in the town
  Death looks gigantically down.

  There open fanes and gaping graves
  Yawn level with the luminous waves;
  But not the riches there that lie
  In each idol’s diamond eye–
  Not the gaily-jewelled dead
  Tempt the waters from their bed;
  For no ripples curl, alas!
  Along that wilderness of glass–
  No swellings tell that winds may be
  Upon some far-off happier sea–
  No heavings hint that winds have been
  On seas less hideously serene.

  But lo, a stir is in the air!
  The wave–there is a movement there!
  As if the towers had thrust aside,
  In slightly sinking, the dull tide–
  As if their tops had feebly given
  A void within the filmy Heaven.
  The waves have now a redder glow–
  The hours are breathing faint and low–
  And when, amid no earthly moans,
  Down, down that town shall settle hence,
  Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
  Shall do it reverence.

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