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Verbal Expression
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by Emily Dickinson

The heart asks pleasure first,
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering;

And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.

by Emily Dickinson

To fight aloud is very brave,
But gallanter, I know,
Who charge within the bosom,
The cavalry of woe.

Who win, and nations do not see,
Who fall, and none observe,
Whose dying eyes no country
Regards with patriot love.

We trust, in plumed procession,
For such the angels go,
Rank after rank, with even feet
And uniforms of snow.

The Problem

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

I like a church; I like a cowl;
I love a prophet of the soul;
And on my heart monastic aisles
Fall like sweet strains, or pensive smiles
Yet not for all his faith can see
Would I that cowled churchman be.

Why should the vest on him allure,
Which I could not on me endure?

Not from a vain or shallow thought
His awful Jove young Phidias brought;
Never from lips of cunning fell
The thrilling Delphic oracle;
Out from the heart of nature rolled
The burdens of the Bible old;
The litanies of nations came,
Like the volcano’s tongue of flame,
Up from the burning core below,–
The canticles of love and woe:
The hand that rounded Peter’s dome
And groined the aisles of Christian Rome
Wrought in a sad sincerity;
Himself from God he could not free;
He builded better than he knew;–
The conscious stone to beauty grew.

Know’st thou what wove yon woodbird’s nest
Of leaves, and feathers from her breast?
Or how the fish outbuilt her shell,
Painting with morn each annual cell?
Or how the sacred pine-tree adds
To her old leaves new myriads?
Such and so grew these holy piles,
Whilst love and terror laid the tiles.
Earth proudly wears the Parthenon,
As the best gem upon her zone,
And Morning opes with haste her lids
To gaze upon the Pyramids;
O’er England’s abbeys bends the sky,
As on its friends, with kindred eye;
For out of Thought’s interior sphere
These wonders rose to upper air;
And Nature gladly gave them place,
Adopted them into her race,
And granted them an equal date
With Andes and with Ararat.

These temples grew as grows the grass;
Art might obey, but not surpass.
The passive Master lent his hand
To the vast soul that o’er him planned;
And the same power that reared the shrine
Bestrode the tribes that knelt within.
Ever the fiery Pentecost
Girds with one flame the countless host,
Trances the heart through chanting choirs,
And through the priest the mind inspires.
The word unto the prophet spoken
Was writ on tables yet unbroken;
The word by seers or sibyls told,
In groves of oak, or fanes of gold,
Still floats upon the morning wind,
Still whispers to the willing mind.
One accent of the Holy Ghost
The heedless world hath never lost.
I know what say the fathers wise,–
The Book itself before me lies,
Old Chrysostom, best Augustine,
And he who blent both in his line,
The younger Golden Lips or mines,
Taylor, the Shakspeare of divines.
His words are music in my ear,
I see his cowled portrait dear;
And yet, for all his faith could see,
I would not the good bishop be.

Sonnet on Chillon

by Lord Byron

    Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind!
      Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art:
      For there thy habitation is the heart–
    The heart which love of thee alone can bind;
    And when thy sons to fetters are consigned–
      To fetters, and the damp vault’s dayless gloom,
      Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
    And Freedom’s fame finds wings on every wind.
    Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,
      And thy sad floor an altar–for ’twas trod,
    Until his very steps have left a trace
      Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
    By Bonnivard!–May none those marks efface!
      For they appeal from tyranny to God.


by Horatio Alger, Jr.

Throw open wide your golden gates,
  O poet-landed month of June,
And waft me, on your spicy breath,
  The melody of birds in tune.

O fairest palace of the three,
  Wherein Queen Summer holdeth sway,
I gaze upon your leafy courts
  From out the vestibule of May.

I fain would tread your garden walks,
  Or in your shady bowers recline;
Then open wide your golden gates,
  And make them mine, and make them mine.

“The Happiest Day”

by Edgar Allan Poe
     I.       The happiest day–the happiest hour
                My seared and blighted heart hath known,
              The highest hope of pride and power,
                I feel hath flown.
     II.      Of power! said I? Yes! such I ween
                But they have vanished long, alas!
              The visions of my youth have been–
                But let them pass.
     III.     And pride, what have I now with thee?
                Another brow may ev’n inherit
              The venom thou hast poured on me–
                Be still my spirit!
     IV.      The happiest day–the happiest hour
                Mine eyes shall see–have ever seen
              The brightest glance of pride and power
                I feel have been:
     V.       But were that hope of pride and power
                Now offered with the pain
              Ev’n _then_ I felt–that brightest hour
                I would not live again:

     VI.      For on its wing was dark alloy
                And as it fluttered–fell
              An essence–powerful to destroy
                A soul that knew it well.

The Lake

by Edgar Allan Poe
  In spring of youth it was my lot
  To haunt of the wide world a spot
  The which I could not love the less–
  So lovely was the loneliness
  Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
  And the tall pines that towered around.

  But when the Night had thrown her pall
  Upon the spot, as upon all,
  And the mystic wind went by
  Murmuring in melody–
  Then–ah, then, I would awake
  To the terror of the lone lake.

  Yet that terror was not fright,
  But a tremulous delight–
  A feeling not the jewelled mine
  Could teach or bribe me to define–
  Nor Love–although the Love were thine.

  Death was in that poisonous wave,
  And in its gulf a fitting grave
  For him who thence could solace bring
  To his lone imagining–
  Whose solitary soul could make
  An Eden of that dim lake.

To Frances S. Osgood

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Thou wouldst be loved?–then let thy heart
    From its present pathway part not;
  Being everything which now thou art,
    Be nothing which thou art not.
  So with the world thy gentle ways,
    Thy grace, thy more than beauty,
  Shall be an endless theme of praise.
    And love a simple duty.

Winter. A Dirge

by Robert Burns
    The wintry west extends his blast,
      And hail and rain does blaw;
    Or the stormy north sends driving forth
      The blinding sleet and snaw;
    While tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
      And roars frae bank to brae;
    And bird and beast in covert rest,
      And pass the heartless day.

    “The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,”
      The joyless winter day
    Let others fear, to me more dear
      Than all the pride of May:
    The tempest’s howl, it soothes my soul,
      My griefs it seems to join;
    The leafless trees my fancy please,
      Their fate resembles mine!

    Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme
      These woes of mine fulfil,
    Here, firm, I rest, they must be best,
      Because they are Thy will!
    Then all I want (O, do thou grant
      This one request of mine!)
    Since to enjoy Thou dost deny,
      Assist me to resign!


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.

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