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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.

The Boy in the Red Vest

by Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne

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.

by Edgar Allan Poe

Beloved! amid the earnest woes
    That crowd around my earthly path–
  (Drear path, alas! where grows
  Not even one lonely rose)–
    My soul at least a solace hath
  In dreams of thee, and therein knows
  An Eden of bland repose.

  And thus thy memory is to me
    Like some enchanted far-off isle
  In some tumultuous sea–
  Some ocean throbbing far and free
    With storm–but where meanwhile
  Serenest skies continually
    Just o’er that one bright inland smile.

The Valley of Unrest

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Once it smiled a silent dell
  Where the people did not dwell;
  They had gone unto the wars,
  Trusting to the mild-eyed stars,
  Nightly, from their azure towers,
  To keep watch above the flowers,
  In the midst of which all day
  The red sun-light lazily lay,
  Now each visitor shall confess
  The sad valley’s restlessness.
  Nothing there is motionless–
  Nothing save the airs that brood
  Over the magic solitude.
  Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees
  That palpitate like the chill seas
  Around the misty Hebrides!
  Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven
  That rustle through the unquiet Heaven
  Unceasingly, from morn till even,
  Over the violets there that lie
  In myriad types of the human eye–
  Over the lilies that wave
  And weep above a nameless grave!
  They wave:–from out their fragrant tops
  Eternal dews come down in drops.
  They weep:–from off their delicate stems
  Perennial tears descend in gems.

The Haunted Palace

by Edgar Allan Poe
  In the greenest of our valleys
    By good angels tenanted,
  Once a fair and stately palace–
    Radiant palace–reared its head.
  In the monarch Thought’s dominion–
    It stood there!
  Never seraph spread a pinion
    Over fabric half so fair!

  Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
    On its roof did float and flow,
  (This–all this–was in the olden
    Time long ago),
  And every gentle air that dallied,
    In that sweet day,
  Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
    A winged odor went away.

  Wanderers in that happy valley,
    Through two luminous windows, saw
  Spirits moving musically,
    To a lute’s well-tunëd law,
  Bound about a throne where, sitting
    (Porphyrogene!)
  In state his glory well befitting,
    The ruler of the realm was seen.

  And all with pearl and ruby glowing
    Was the fair palace door,
  Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
    And sparkling evermore,
  A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
    Was but to sing,
  In voices of surpassing beauty,
    The wit and wisdom of their king.

  But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
    Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
  (Ah, let us mourn!–for never morrow
    Shall dawn upon him desolate !)
  And round about his home the glory
    That blushed and bloomed,
  Is but a dim-remembered story
    Of the old time entombed.

  And travellers, now, within that valley,
    Through the red-litten windows see
  Vast forms, that move fantastically
    To a discordant melody,
    While, like a ghastly rapid river,
    Through the pale door
  A hideous throng rush out forever
    And laugh–but smile no more.

Suspense

by Emily Dickinson
Elysium is as far as to
The very nearest room,
If in that room a friend await
Felicity or doom.

What fortitude the soul contains,
That it can so endure
The accent of a coming foot,
The opening of a door!

by Emily Dickinson

If you were coming in the fall,
I’d brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I’d wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,
I’d count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen’s land.

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I’d toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time’s uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

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.

Last Words

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

“Dear Charlie,” breathed a soldier,
  “O comrade true and tried,
Who in the heat of battle
  Pressed closely to my side;
I feel that I am stricken,
  My life is ebbing fast;
I fain would have you with me,
  Dear Charlie, till the last.

“It seems so sudden, Charlie,
  To think to-morrow’s sun
Will look upon me lifeless,
  And I not twenty-one!
I little dreamed this morning,
  Twould bring my last campaign;
God’s ways are not as our ways,
  And I will not complain.

“There’s one at home, dear Charlie,
  Will mourn for me when dead,
Whose heart–it is a mother’s–
  Can scarce be comforted.
You’ll write and tell her, Charlie,
  With my dear love, that I
Fought bravely as a soldier should,
  And died as he should die.

“And you will tell her, Charlie,
  She must not grieve too much,
Our country claims our young lives,
  For she has need of such.
And where is he would falter,
  Or turn ignobly back,
When Duty’s voice cries ‘Forward,’
  And Honor lights the track ?

“And there’s another, Charlie
  (His voice became more low),
When thoughts of HER come o’er me,
  It makes it hard to go.
This locket in my bosom,
  She gave me just before
I left my native village
  For the fearful scenes of war.

“Give her this message, Charlie,
  Sent with my dying breath,
To her and to my banner
  I’m ‘faithful unto death.’
And if, in that far country
  Which I am going to,
Our earthly ties may enter,
  I’ll there my love renew.

“Come nearer, closer, Charlie,
  My head I fain would rest,
It must be for the last time,
  Upon your faithful breast.
Dear friend, I cannot tell you
  How in my heart I feel
The depth of your devotion,
  Your friendship strong as steel.

“We’ve watched and camped together
  In sunshine and in rain;
We’ve shared the toils and perils
  Of more than one campaign;
And when my tired feet faltered,
  Beneath the noontide heat,
Your words sustained my courage,
  Gave new strength to my feet.

“And once,– ’twas at Antietam,–
  Pressed hard by thronging foes,
I almost sank exhausted
  Beneath their cruel blows,–
When you, dear friend, undaunted,
  With headlong courage threw
Your heart into the contest,
  And safely brought me through.

“My words are weak, dear Charlie,
  My breath is growing scant;
Your hand upon my heart there,
  Can you not hear me pant?
Your thoughts I know will wander
  Sometimes to where I lie–
How dark it grows! True comrade
  And faithful friend, good-by!”

A moment, and he lay there
  A statue, pale and calm.
His youthful head reclining
  Upon his comrade’s arm.
His limbs upon the greensward
  Were stretched in careless grace,
And by the fitful moon was seen
  A smile upon his face.

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