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Verbal Expression
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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?

by Emily Dickinson

A wounded deer leaps highest,
I’ve heard the hunter tell;
‘T is but the ecstasy of death,
And then the brake is still.

The smitten rock that gushes,
The trampled steel that springs;
A cheek is always redder
Just where the hectic stings!

Mirth is the mail of anguish,
In which it cautions arm,
Lest anybody spy the blood
And “You’re hurt” exclaim!

Imitation

by Edgar Allan Poe
  A dark unfathomed tide
  Of interminable pride–
  A mystery, and a dream,
  Should my early life seem;
  I say that dream was fraught
  With a wild and waking thought
  Of beings that have been,
  Which my spirit hath not seen,
  Had I let them pass me by,
  With a dreaming eye!
  Let none of earth inherit
  That vision on my spirit;
  Those thoughts I would control,
  As a spell upon his soul:
  For that bright hope at last
  And that light time have past,
  And my wordly rest hath gone
  With a sigh as it passed on:
  I care not though it perish
  With a thought I then did cherish.

The Daemon of the World

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Nec tantum prodere vati,
Quantum scire licet. Venit aetas omnis in unam
Congeriem, miserumque premunt tot saecula pectus.
LUCAN, Phars. v. 176.

How wonderful is Death,
Death and his brother Sleep!
One pale as yonder wan and horned moon,
With lips of lurid blue,
The other glowing like the vital morn,                              
When throned on ocean’s wave
It breathes over the world:
Yet both so passing strange and wonderful!

Hath then the iron-sceptred Skeleton,
Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres,                          
To the hell dogs that couch beneath his throne
Cast that fair prey? Must that divinest form,
Which love and admiration cannot view
Without a beating heart, whose azure veins
Steal like dark streams along a field of snow,                   
Whose outline is as fair as marble clothed
In light of some sublimest mind, decay?
Nor putrefaction’s breath
Leave aught of this pure spectacle
But loathsomeness and ruin?–                                       
Spare aught but a dark theme,
On which the lightest heart might moralize?
Or is it but that downy-winged slumbers
Have charmed their nurse coy Silence near her lids
To watch their own repose?                                          
Will they, when morning’s beam
Flows through those wells of light,
Seek far from noise and day some western cave,
Where woods and streams with soft and pausing winds
A lulling murmur weave?–                                           
Ianthe doth not sleep
The dreamless sleep of death:
Nor in her moonlight chamber silently
Doth Henry hear her regular pulses throb,
Or mark her delicate cheek                                          
With interchange of hues mock the broad moon,
Outwatching weary night,
Without assured reward.
Her dewy eyes are closed;
On their translucent lids, whose texture fine              
Scarce hides the dark blue orbs that burn below
With unapparent fire,
The baby Sleep is pillowed:
Her golden tresses shade
The bosom’s stainless pride,                                        
Twining like tendrils of the parasite
Around a marble column.

Hark! whence that rushing sound?
‘Tis like a wondrous strain that sweeps
Around a lonely ruin                                                
When west winds sigh and evening waves respond
In whispers from the shore:
‘Tis wilder than the unmeasured notes
Which from the unseen lyres of dells and groves
The genii of the breezes sweep.                              
Floating on waves of music and of light,
The chariot of the Daemon of the World
Descends in silent power:
Its shape reposed within: slight as some cloud
That catches but the palest tinge of day                
When evening yields to night,
Bright as that fibrous woof when stars indue
Its transitory robe.
Four shapeless shadows bright and beautiful
Draw that strange car of glory, reins of light         
Check their unearthly speed; they stop and fold
Their wings of braided air:
The Daemon leaning from the ethereal car
Gazed on the slumbering maid.
Human eye hath ne’er beheld                                  
A shape so wild, so bright, so beautiful,
As that which o’er the maiden’s charmed sleep
Waving a starry wand,
Hung like a mist of light.
Such sounds as breathed around like odorous winds 
Of wakening spring arose,
Filling the chamber and the moonlight sky.
Maiden, the world’s supremest spirit
Beneath the shadow of her wings
Folds all thy memory doth inherit                                
From ruin of divinest things,
Feelings that lure thee to betray,
And light of thoughts that pass away.
For thou hast earned a mighty boon,
The truths which wisest poets see                                
Dimly, thy mind may make its own,
Rewarding its own majesty,
Entranced in some diviner mood
Of self-oblivious solitude.

Custom, and Faith, and Power thou spurnest;            
From hate and awe thy heart is free;
Ardent and pure as day thou burnest,
For dark and cold mortality
A living light, to cheer it long,
The watch-fires of the world among.                            

Therefore from nature’s inner shrine,
Where gods and fiends in worship bend,
Majestic spirit, be it thine
The flame to seize, the veil to rend,
Where the vast snake Eternity                                      
In charmed sleep doth ever lie.

All that inspires thy voice of love,
Or speaks in thy unclosing eyes,
Or through thy frame doth burn or move,
Or think or feel, awake, arise!                                     
Spirit, leave for mine and me
Earth’s unsubstantial mimicry!

It ceased, and from the mute and moveless frame
A radiant spirit arose,
All beautiful in naked purity.                                      
Robed in its human hues it did ascend,

Disparting as it went the silver clouds,
It moved towards the car, and took its seat
Beside the Daemon shape.

Obedient to the sweep of aery song,                       
The mighty ministers
Unfurled their prismy wings.
The magic car moved on;
The night was fair, innumerable stars
Studded heaven’s dark blue vault;                          
The eastern wave grew pale
With the first smile of morn.
The magic car moved on.
From the swift sweep of wings
The atmosphere in flaming sparkles flew;              
And where the burning wheels
Eddied above the mountain’s loftiest peak
Was traced a line of lightning.
Now far above a rock the utmost verge
Of the wide earth it flew,                                          
The rival of the Andes, whose dark brow
Frowned o’er the silver sea.
Far, far below the chariot’s stormy path,
Calm as a slumbering babe,
Tremendous ocean lay.                                              
Its broad and silent mirror gave to view
The pale and waning stars,
The chariot’s fiery track,
And the grey light of morn
Tingeing those fleecy clouds                                      
That cradled in their folds the infant dawn.
The chariot seemed to fly
Through the abyss of an immense concave,
Radiant with million constellations, tinged
With shades of infinite colour,                                   
And semicircled with a belt
Flashing incessant meteors.

As they approached their goal,
The winged shadows seemed to gather speed.
The sea no longer was distinguished; earth            
Appeared a vast and shadowy sphere, suspended
In the black concave of heaven
With the sun’s cloudless orb,
Whose rays of rapid light
Parted around the chariot’s swifter course,            
And fell like ocean’s feathery spray
Dashed from the boiling surge
Before a vessel’s prow.

The magic car moved on.
Earth’s distant orb appeared                                        

The smallest light that twinkles in the heavens,
Whilst round the chariot’s way
Innumerable systems widely rolled,
And countless spheres diffused
An ever varying glory.                                              
It was a sight of wonder! Some were horned,
And like the moon’s argentine crescent hung
In the dark dome of heaven; some did shed
A clear mild beam like Hesperus, while the sea
Yet glows with fading sunlight; others dashed       
Athwart the night with trains of bickering fire,
Like sphered worlds to death and ruin driven;
Some shone like stars, and as the chariot passed
Bedimmed all other light.

Spirit of Nature! here                                              
In this interminable wilderness
Of worlds, at whose involved immensity
Even soaring fancy staggers,
Here is thy fitting temple.
Yet not the lightest leaf                                           
That quivers to the passing breeze
Is less instinct with thee,–
Yet not the meanest worm.
That lurks in graves and fattens on the dead,
Less shares thy eternal breath.                              
Spirit of Nature! thou
Imperishable as this glorious scene,
Here is thy fitting temple.

If solitude hath ever led thy steps
To the shore of the immeasurable sea,                  
And thou hast lingered there
Until the sun’s broad orb
Seemed resting on the fiery line of ocean,
Thou must have marked the braided webs of gold
That without motion hang                                       
Over the sinking sphere:
Thou must have marked the billowy mountain clouds,
Edged with intolerable radiancy,
Towering like rocks of jet
Above the burning deep:                                         
And yet there is a moment
When the sun’s highest point
Peers like a star o’er ocean’s western edge,
When those far clouds of feathery purple gleam
Like fairy lands girt by some heavenly sea:         
Then has thy rapt imagination soared
Where in the midst of all existing things
The temple of the mightiest Daemon stands.

Yet not the golden islands
That gleam amid yon flood of purple light,           
Nor the feathery curtains
That canopy the sun’s resplendent couch,
Nor the burnished ocean waves
Paving that gorgeous dome,
So fair, so wonderful a sight                                    
As the eternal temple could afford.
The elements of all that human thought
Can frame of lovely or sublime, did join
To rear the fabric of the fane, nor aught
Of earth may image forth its majesty.                  
Yet likest evening’s vault that faery hall,
As heaven low resting on the wave it spread
Its floors of flashing light,
Its vast and azure dome;
And on the verge of that obscure abyss                
Where crystal battlements o’erhang the gulf
Of the dark world, ten thousand spheres diffuse
Their lustre through its adamantine gates.

The magic car no longer moved;
The Daemon and the Spirit                                     
Entered the eternal gates.
Those clouds of aery gold
That slept in glittering billows
Beneath the azure canopy,
With the ethereal footsteps trembled not;            
While slight and odorous mists
Floated to strains of thrilling melody
Through the vast columns and the pearly shrines.

The Daemon and the Spirit
Approached the overhanging battlement,            
Below lay stretched the boundless universe!
There, far as the remotest line
That limits swift imagination’s flight.
Unending orbs mingled in mazy motion,
Immutably fulfilling                                                
Eternal Nature’s law.
Above, below, around,
The circling systems formed
A wilderness of harmony.
Each with undeviating aim                                     
In eloquent silence through the depths of space
Pursued its wondrous way.–

Awhile the Spirit paused in ecstasy.
Yet soon she saw, as the vast spheres swept by,
Strange things within their belted orbs appear.        
Like animated frenzies, dimly moved
Shadows, and skeletons, and fiendly shapes,
Thronging round human graves, and o’er the dead
Sculpturing records for each memory
In verse, such as malignant gods pronounce,            
Blasting the hopes of men, when heaven and hell
Confounded burst in ruin o’er the world:
And they did build vast trophies, instruments
Of murder, human bones, barbaric gold,
Skins torn from living men, and towers of skulls      
With sightless holes gazing on blinder heaven,
Mitres, and crowns, and brazen chariots stained
With blood, and scrolls of mystic wickedness,
The sanguine codes of venerable crime.
The likeness of a throned king came by.                    
When these had passed, bearing upon his brow
A threefold crown; his countenance was calm.
His eye severe and cold; but his right hand
Was charged with bloody coin, and he did gnaw
By fits, with secret smiles, a human heart                 
Concealed beneath his robe; and motley shapes,
A multitudinous throng, around him knelt.
With bosoms bare, and bowed heads, and false looks
Of true submission, as the sphere rolled by.
Brooking no eye to witness their foul shame,            
Which human hearts must feel, while human tongues
Tremble to speak, they did rage horribly,
Breathing in self-contempt fierce blasphemies
Against the Daemon of the World, and high
Hurling their armed hands where the pure Spirit,   
Serene and inaccessibly secure,
Stood on an isolated pinnacle.
The flood of ages combating below,
The depth of the unbounded universe
Above, and all around                                             

Necessity’s unchanging harmony.

O happy Earth! reality of Heaven!
To which those restless powers that ceaselessly
Throng through the human universe aspire;
Thou consummation of all mortal hope!                               
Thou glorious prize of blindly-working will!
Whose rays, diffused throughout all space and time,
Verge to one point and blend for ever there:
Of purest spirits thou pure dwelling-place!
Where care and sorrow, impotence and crime,                         
Languor, disease, and ignorance dare not come:
O happy Earth, reality of Heaven!

Genius has seen thee in her passionate dreams,
And dim forebodings of thy loveliness,
Haunting the human heart, have there entwined        
Those rooted hopes, that the proud Power of Evil
Shall not for ever on this fairest world
Shake pestilence and war, or that his slaves
With blasphemy for prayer, and human blood
For sacrifice, before his shrine for ever                         
In adoration bend, or Erebus
With all its banded fiends shall not uprise
To overwhelm in envy and revenge
The dauntless and the good, who dare to hurl
Defiance at his throne, girt tho’ it be                             
With Death’s omnipotence. Thou hast beheld
His empire, o’er the present and the past;
It was a desolate sight–now gaze on mine,
Futurity. Thou hoary giant Time,
Render thou up thy half-devoured babes,–                    
And from the cradles of eternity,
Where millions lie lulled to their portioned sleep
By the deep murmuring stream of passing things,
Tear thou that gloomy shroud.–Spirit, behold
Thy glorious destiny!

The Spirit saw                                                      
The vast frame of the renovated world
Smile in the lap of Chaos, and the sense
Of hope thro’ her fine texture did suffuse
Such varying glow, as summer evening casts
On undulating clouds and deepening lakes.                          
Like the vague sighings of a wind at even,
That wakes the wavelets of the slumbering sea
And dies on the creation of its breath,
And sinks and rises, fails and swells by fits,
Was the sweet stream of thought that with wild motion    
Flowed o’er the Spirit’s human sympathies.
The mighty tide of thought had paused awhile,
Which from the Daemon now like Ocean’s stream
Again began to pour.–

To me is given
The wonders of the human world to keep-                  
Space, matter, time and mind–let the sight
Renew and strengthen all thy failing hope.
All things are recreated, and the flame
Of consentaneous love inspires all life:
The fertile bosom of the earth gives suck                    
To myriads, who still grow beneath her care,
Rewarding her with their pure perfectness:
The balmy breathings of the wind inhale
Her virtues, and diffuse them all abroad:
Health floats amid the gentle atmosphere,                  
Glows in the fruits, and mantles on the stream;
No storms deform the beaming brow of heaven,
Nor scatter in the freshness of its pride
The foliage of the undecaying trees;
But fruits are ever ripe, flowers ever fair,                   
And Autumn proudly bears her matron grace,
Kindling a flush on the fair cheek of Spring,
Whose virgin bloom beneath the ruddy fruit
Reflects its tint and blushes into love.

The habitable earth is full of bliss;                               
Those wastes of frozen billows that were hurled
By everlasting snow-storms round the poles,
Where matter dared not vegetate nor live,
But ceaseless frost round the vast solitude
Bound its broad zone of stillness, are unloosed;             
And fragrant zephyrs there from spicy isles
Ruffle the placid ocean-deep, that rolls
Its broad, bright surges to the sloping sand,
Whose roar is wakened into echoings sweet
To murmur through the heaven-breathing groves       
And melodise with man’s blest nature there.

The vast tract of the parched and sandy waste
Now teems with countless rills and shady woods,
Corn-fields and pastures and white cottages;
And where the startled wilderness did hear                   
A savage conqueror stained in kindred blood,
Hymmng his victory, or the milder snake
Crushing the bones of some frail antelope
Within his brazen folds–the dewy lawn,
Offering sweet incense to the sunrise, smiles                 
To see a babe before his mother’s door,
Share with the green and golden basilisk
That comes to lick his feet, his morning’s meal.

Those trackless deeps, where many a weary sail
Has seen, above the illimitable plain,                              
Morning on night and night on morning rise,
Whilst still no land to greet the wanderer spread
Its shadowy mountains on the sunbright sea,
Where the loud roarings of the tempest-waves
So long have mingled with the gusty wind                            
In melancholy loneliness, and swept
The desert of those ocean solitudes,
But vocal to the sea-bird’s harrowing shriek,
The bellowing monster, and the rushing storm,
Now to the sweet and many-mingling sounds                         
Of kindliest human impulses respond:
Those lonely realms bright garden-isles begem,
With lightsome clouds and shining seas between,
And fertile valleys resonant with bliss,
Whilst green woods overcanopy the wave,                             
Which like a toil-worn labourer leaps to shore,
To meet the kisses of the flowerets there.

Man chief perceives the change, his being notes
The gradual renovation, and defines
Each movement of its progress on his mind.                        
Man, where the gloom of the long polar night
Lowered o’er the snow-clad rocks and frozen soil,
Where scarce the hardiest herb that braves the frost
Basked in the moonlight’s ineffectual glow,
Shrank with the plants, and darkened with the night;   
Nor where the tropics bound the realms of day
With a broad belt of mingling cloud and flame,
Where blue mists through the unmoving atmosphere
Scattered the seeds of pestilence, and fed
Unnatural vegetation, where the land                              
Teemed with all earthquake, tempest and disease,
Was man a nobler being; slavery
Had crushed him to his country’s blood-stained dust.

Even where the milder zone afforded man
A seeming shelter, yet contagion there,                           
Blighting his being with unnumbered ills,
Spread like a quenchless fire; nor truth availed
Till late to arrest its progress, or create
That peace which first in bloodless victory waved
Her snowy standard o’er this favoured clime:                
There man was long the train-bearer of slaves,
The mimic of surrounding misery,
The jackal of ambition’s lion-rage,
The bloodhound of religion’s hungry zeal.

Here now the human being stands adorning                  
This loveliest earth with taintless body and mind;
Blest from his birth with all bland impulses,
Which gently in his noble bosom wake
All kindly passions and all pure desires.
Him, still from hope to hope the bliss pursuing,             
Which from the exhaustless lore of human weal
Dawns on the virtuous mind, the thoughts that rise
In time-destroying infiniteness gift
With self-enshrined eternity, that mocks
The unprevailing hoariness of age,                                  
And man, once fleeting o’er the transient scene
Swift as an unremembered vision, stands
Immortal upon earth: no longer now
He slays the beast that sports around his dwelling
And horribly devours its mangled flesh,                            
Or drinks its vital blood, which like a stream
Of poison thro’ his fevered veins did flow
Feeding a plague that secretly consumed
His feeble frame, and kindling in his mind
Hatred, despair, and fear and vain belief,                          
The germs of misery, death, disease and crime.
No longer now the winged habitants,
That in the woods their sweet lives sing away,
Flee from the form of man; but gather round,
And prune their sunny feathers on the hands                  
Which little children stretch in friendly sport
Towards these dreadless partners of their play.
All things are void of terror: man has lost
His desolating privilege, and stands
An equal amidst equals: happiness                                   
And science dawn though late upon the earth;
Peace cheers the mind, health renovates the frame;
Disease and pleasure cease to mingle here,
Reason and passion cease to combat there;
Whilst mind unfettered o’er the earth extends                  
Its all-subduing energies, and wields
The sceptre of a vast dominion there.

Mild is the slow necessity of death:
The tranquil spirit fails beneath its grasp,
Without a groan, almost without a fear,                             
Resigned in peace to the necessity,
Calm as a voyager to some distant land,
And full of wonder, full of hope as he.
The deadly germs of languor and disease
Waste in the human frame, and Nature gifts                      
With choicest boons her human worshippers.
How vigorous now the athletic form of age!
How clear its open and unwrinkled brow!
Where neither avarice, cunning, pride, or care,
Had stamped the seal of grey deformity                             
On all the mingling lineaments of time.
How lovely the intrepid front of youth!
How sweet the smiles of taintless infancy.

Within the massy prison’s mouldering courts,
Fearless and free the ruddy children play,                         
Weaving gay chaplets for their innocent brows
With the green ivy and the red wall-flower,
That mock the dungeon’s unavailing gloom;
The ponderous chains, and gratings of strong iron,
There rust amid the accumulated ruins                              
Now mingling slowly with their native earth:
There the broad beam of day, which feebly once
Lighted the cheek of lean captivity
With a pale and sickly glare, now freely shines
On the pure smiles of infant playfulness:                           
No more the shuddering voice of hoarse despair
Peals through the echoing vaults, but soothing notes
Of ivy-fingered winds and gladsome birds
And merriment are resonant around.

The fanes of Fear and Falsehood hear no more                        
The voice that once waked multitudes to war
Thundering thro’ all their aisles: but now respond
To the death dirge of the melancholy wind:
It were a sight of awfulness to see
The works of faith and slavery, so vast,                            
So sumptuous, yet withal so perishing!
Even as the corpse that rests beneath their wall.
A thousand mourners deck the pomp of death
To-day, the breathing marble glows above
To decorate its memory, and tongues                            
Are busy of its life: to-morrow, worms
In silence and in darkness seize their prey.
These ruins soon leave not a wreck behind:
Their elements, wide-scattered o’er the globe,
To happier shapes are moulded, and become               
Ministrant to all blissful impulses:
Thus human things are perfected, and earth,
Even as a child beneath its mother’s love,
Is strengthened in all excellence, and grows
Fairer and nobler with each passing year.                 

Now Time his dusky pennons o’er the scene
Closes in steadfast darkness, and the past
Fades from our charmed sight. My task is done:
Thy lore is learned. Earth’s wonders are thine own,
With all the fear and all the hope they bring.            
My spells are past: the present now recurs.
Ah me! a pathless wilderness remains
Yet unsubdued by man’s reclaiming hand.

Yet, human Spirit, bravely hold thy course,
Let virtue teach thee firmly to pursue                       
The gradual paths of an aspiring change:
For birth and life and death, and that strange state
Before the naked powers that thro’ the world
Wander like winds have found a human home,
All tend to perfect happiness, and urge                      
The restless wheels of being on their way,
Whose flashing spokes, instinct with infinite life,
Bicker and burn to gain their destined goal:
For birth but wakes the universal mind
Whose mighty streams might else in silence flow     
Thro’ the vast world, to individual sense
Of outward shows, whose unexperienced shape
New modes of passion to its frame may lend;
Life is its state of action, and the store
Of all events is aggregated there                                 
That variegate the eternal universe;
Death is a gate of dreariness and gloom,
That leads to azure isles and beaming skies
And happy regions of eternal hope.
Therefore, O Spirit! fearlessly bear on:                      
Though storms may break the primrose on its stalk,
Though frosts may blight the freshness of its bloom,
Yet spring’s awakening breath will woo the earth,
To feed with kindliest dews its favourite flower,
That blooms in mossy banks and darksome glens,   
Lighting the green wood with its sunny smile.

Fear not then, Spirit, death’s disrobing hand,
So welcome when the tyrant is awake,
So welcome when the bigot’s hell-torch flares;
‘Tis but the voyage of a darksome hour,                
The transient gulf-dream of a startling sleep.
For what thou art shall perish utterly,
But what is thine may never cease to be;
Death is no foe to virtue: earth has seen
Love’s brightest roses on the scaffold bloom,
Mingling with freedom’s fadeless laurels there,
And presaging the truth of visioned bliss.
Are there not hopes within thee, which this scene
Of linked and gradual being has confirmed?
Hopes that not vainly thou, and living fires   
Of mind as radiant and as pure as thou,
Have shone upon the paths of men–return,
Surpassing Spirit, to that world, where thou
Art destined an eternal war to wage
With tyranny and falsehood, and uproot       
The germs of misery from the human heart.
Thine is the hand whose piety would soothe
The thorny pillow of unhappy crime,
Whose impotence an easy pardon gains,
Watching its wanderings as a friend’s disease:             

Thine is the brow whose mildness would defy
Its fiercest rage, and brave its sternest will,
When fenced by power and master of the world.
Thou art sincere and good; of resolute mind,
Free from heart-withering custom’s cold control,       
Of passion lofty, pure and unsubdued.
Earth’s pride and meanness could not vanquish thee,
And therefore art thou worthy of the boon
Which thou hast now received: virtue shall keep
Thy footsteps in the path that thou hast trod,             
And many days of beaming hope shall bless
Thy spotless life of sweet and sacred love.
Go, happy one, and give that bosom joy
Whose sleepless spirit waits to catch
Light, life and rapture from thy smile.                          

The Daemon called its winged ministers.
Speechless with bliss the Spirit mounts the car,
That rolled beside the crystal battlement,
Bending her beamy eyes in thankfulness.
The burning wheels inflame                                          
The steep descent of Heaven’s untrodden way.
Fast and far the chariot flew:
The mighty globes that rolled
Around the gate of the Eternal Fane
Lessened by slow degrees, and soon appeared              
Such tiny twinklers as the planet orbs
That ministering on the solar power
With borrowed light pursued their narrower way.
Earth floated then below:
The chariot paused a moment;                                        
The Spirit then descended:
And from the earth departing
The shadows with swift wings
Speeded like thought upon the light of Heaven.

The Body and the Soul united then,                                  
A gentle start convulsed Ianthe’s frame:
Her veiny eyelids quietly unclosed;
Moveless awhile the dark blue orbs remained:
She looked around in wonder and beheld
Henry, who kneeled in silence by her couch,                         
Watching her sleep with looks of speechless love,
And the bright beaming stars
That through the casement shone.

The Book of Martyrs

by Emily Dickinson

Read, sweet, how others strove,
Till we are stouter;
What they renounced,
Till we are less afraid;
How many times they bore
The faithful witness,
Till we are helped,
As if a kingdom cared!

Read then of faith
That shone above the fagot;
Clear strains of hymn
The river could not drown;
Brave names of men
And celestial women,
Passed out of record
Into renown!

Annabel Lee

by Edgar Allan Poe
  It was many and many a year ago,
    In a kingdom by the sea,
  That a maiden there lived whom you may know
    By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
  And this maiden she lived with no other thought
    Than to love and be loved by me.

  I was a child and she was a child,
    In this kingdom by the sea:
  But we loved with a love that was more than love–
    I and my ANNABEL LEE;
  With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
    Coveted her and me.

  And this was the reason that, long ago,
    In this kingdom by the sea,
  A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
    My beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
  So that her highborn kinsmen came
    And bore her away from me,
  To shut her up in a sepulchre
    In this kingdom by the sea.

  The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
    Went envying her and me–
  Yes!–that was the reason (as all men know,
    In this kingdom by the sea)
  That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
    Chilling and killing my ANNABEL LEE.

  But our love it was stronger by far than the love
    Of those who were older than we–
    Of many far wiser than we–
  And neither the angels in heaven above,
    Nor the demons down under the sea,
  Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
    Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE.

  For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
    Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
  And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
    Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
  And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
  Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
    In her sepulchre there by the sea–
    In her tomb by the side of the sea.

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.

Specimen of an Induction to a Poem

by John Keats
Lo! I must tell a tale of chivalry;
For large white plumes are dancing in mine eye.
Not like the formal crest of latter days:
But bending in a thousand graceful ways;
So graceful, that it seems no mortal hand,
Or e’en the touch of Archimago’s wand,
Could charm them into such an attitude.
We must think rather, that in playful mood,
Some mountain breeze had turned its chief delight,
To show this wonder of its gentle might.
Lo! I must tell a tale of chivalry;
For while I muse, the lance points slantingly
Athwart the morning air: some lady sweet,
Who cannot feel for cold her tender feet,
From the worn top of some old battlement
Hails it with tears, her stout defender sent:
And from her own pure self no joy dissembling,
Wraps round her ample robe with happy trembling.
Sometimes, when the good Knight his rest would take,
It is reflected, clearly, in a lake,
With the young ashen boughs, ‘gainst which it rests,
And th’ half seen mossiness of linnets’ nests.
Ah! shall I ever tell its cruelty,
When the fire flashes from a warrior’s eye,
And his tremendous hand is grasping it,
And his dark brow for very wrath is knit?
Or when his spirit, with more calm intent,
Leaps to the honors of a tournament,
And makes the gazers round about the ring
Stare at the grandeur of the balancing?
No, no! this is far off:–then how shall I
Revive the dying tones of minstrelsy,
Which linger yet about lone gothic arches,
In dark green ivy, and among wild larches?
How sing the splendour of the revelries,
When buts of wine are drunk off to the lees?
And that bright lance, against the fretted wall,
Beneath the shade of stately banneral,
Is slung with shining cuirass, sword, and shield?
Where ye may see a spur in bloody field.
Light-footed damsels move with gentle paces
Round the wide hall, and show their happy faces;
Or stand in courtly talk by fives and sevens:
Like those fair stars that twinkle in the heavens.
Yet must I tell a tale of chivalry:
Or wherefore comes that knight so proudly by?
Wherefore more proudly does the gentle knight,
Rein in the swelling of his ample might?

Spenser! thy brows are arched, open, kind,
And come like a clear sun-rise to my mind;
And always does my heart with pleasure dance,
When I think on thy noble countenance:
Where never yet was ought more earthly seen
Than the pure freshness of thy laurels green.
Therefore, great bard, I not so fearfully
Call on thy gentle spirit to hover nigh
My daring steps: or if thy tender care,
Thus startled unaware,
Be jealous that the foot of other wight
Should madly follow that bright path of light
Trac’d by thy lov’d Libertas; he will speak,
And tell thee that my prayer is very meek;
That I will follow with due reverence,
And start with awe at mine own strange pretence.
Him thou wilt hear; so I will rest in hope
To see wide plains, fair trees and lawny slope:
The morn, the eve, the light, the shade, the flowers:
Clear streams, smooth lakes, and overlooking towers.

Bi-Centennial Ode

by Horatio Alger, Jr.
(June 13, 1860.)

* Sung at the bi-centennial celebration of the incorporation of Marlboro, Mass.

From the door of the homestead the mother looks forth,
  With a glance half of hope, half of fear,
For the clock in the corner now points to the hour
  When the children she loves should appear.
For have they not promised, whatever betide,
  On this their dear mother’s birthday,
To gather once more round the family board,
  Their dutiful service to pay?

From the East and the West, from the North and the South,
  In communion and intercourse sweet,
Her children have come, on this festival day,
  To sit, as of old, at her feet.
And our mother,– God bless her benevolent face!–
  How her heart thrills with motherly joys,
As she stands at the portal, with arms opened wide,
  To welcome her girls and her boys.

And yet, when the first joyful greetings are o’er,
  When the words of her welcome are said:
A shadow creeps over her motherly face,
  As she silently thinks of the dead,
Of the children whose voices once rang through her fields,
  Who shared all her hopes and alarms,
Till, tired with the burden and heat of the day,
  They have fallen asleep in her arms.

They have gone from our midst, but their labors abide
  On the fields where they prayerfully wrought;
They scattered the seed, but the harvest is ours,
  By their toil and self-sacrifice bought.
As we scan the fair scene that once greeted their eyes,
  As we tread the same paths which they trod,
Let us tenderly think of our elders by birth,
  Who have gone to their rest, and their God.

God bless the old homestead! some linger there still,
  In the haunts which their childhood has known,
While others have wandered to places remote,
  And planted new homes of their own;
But Time cannot weaken the ties Love creates,
  Nor absence, nor distance, impede
The filial devotion which thrills all our hearts,
  As we bid our old mother God-speed.

Picasso

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