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For Annie

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Thank Heaven! the crisis–
    The danger is past,
  And the lingering illness
    Is over at last–
  And the fever called “Living”
    Is conquered at last.

  Sadly, I know,
    I am shorn of my strength,
  And no muscle I move
    As I lie at full length–
  But no matter!–I feel
    I am better at length.

  And I rest so composedly,
    Now in my bed,
  That any beholder
    Might fancy me dead–
  Might start at beholding me
    Thinking me dead.

  The moaning and groaning,
    The sighing and sobbing,
  Are quieted now,
    With that horrible throbbing
  At heart:–ah, that horrible,
    Horrible throbbing!

  The sickness–the nausea–
    The pitiless pain–
  Have ceased, with the fever
    That maddened my brain–
  With the fever called “Living”
    That burned in my brain.

  And oh! of all tortures
    _That_ torture the worst
  Has abated–the terrible
    Torture of thirst,
  For the naphthaline river
    Of Passion accurst:–
  I have drank of a water
    That quenches all thirst:–

  Of a water that flows,
    With a lullaby sound,
  From a spring but a very few
    Feet under ground–
  From a cavern not very far
    Down under ground.

  And ah! let it never
    Be foolishly said
  That my room it is gloomy
    And narrow my bed–
  For man never slept
    In a different bed;
  And, to _sleep_, you must slumber
    In just such a bed.

  My tantalized spirit
    Here blandly reposes,
  Forgetting, or never
    Regretting its roses–
  Its old agitations
    Of myrtles and roses:

  For now, while so quietly
    Lying, it fancies
  A holier odor
    About it, of pansies–
  A rosemary odor,
    Commingled with pansies–
  With rue and the beautiful
    Puritan pansies.

  And so it lies happily,
    Bathing in many
  A dream of the truth
    And the beauty of Annie–
  Drowned in a bath
    Of the tresses of Annie.

  She tenderly kissed me,
    She fondly caressed,
  And then I fell gently
    To sleep on her breast–
  Deeply to sleep
    From the heaven of her breast.

  When the light was extinguished,
    She covered me warm,
  And she prayed to the angels
    To keep me from harm–
  To the queen of the angels
    To shield me from harm.

  And I lie so composedly,
    Now in my bed
  (Knowing her love)
    That you fancy me dead–
  And I rest so contentedly,
    Now in my bed,
  (With her love at my breast)
    That you fancy me dead–
  That you shudder to look at me.
    Thinking me dead.

  But my heart it is brighter
    Than all of the many
  Stars in the sky,
    For it sparkles with Annie–
  It glows with the light
    Of the love of my Annie–
  With the thought of the light
    Of the eyes of my Annie.

Imogen (A Lady of Tender Age)

by Henry Newbolt

Ladies, where were your bright eyes glancing,
Where were they glancing yester-night?
Saw ye Imogen dancing, dancing,
Imogen dancing all in white?
Laughed she not with a pure delight,
Laughed she not with a joy serene,
Stepped she not with a grace entrancing,
Slenderly girt in silken sheen?

All through the night from dusk to daytime
Under her feet the hours were swift,
Under her feet the hours of play-time
Rose and fell with a rhythmic lift:
Music set her adrift, adrift,
Music eddying towards the day
Swept her along as brooks in May-time
Carry the freshly falling May.

Ladies, life is a changing measure,
Youth is a lilt that endeth soon;
Pluck ye never so fast at pleasure
Twilight follows the longest noon.
Nay, but here is a lasting boon,
Life for hearts that are old and chill,
Youth undying for hearts that treasure
Imogen dancing, dancing still.

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.

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.

Carving a Name

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

I wrote my name upon the sand,
  And trusted it would stand for aye;
But, soon, alas! the refluent sea
  Had washed my feeble lines away.

I carved my name upon the wood,
  And, after years, returned again;
I missed the shadow of the tree
  That stretched of old upon the plain.

To solid marble next, my name
  I gave as a perpetual trust;
An earthquake rent it to its base,
  And now it lies, o’erlaid with dust.

All these have failed. In wiser mood
  I turn and ask myself, “What then?”
If I would have my name endure,
  I’ll write it on the hearts of men,

In characters of living light,
  Of kindly deeds and actions wrought.
And these, beyond the touch of time,
  Shall live immortal as my thought.

GRAND’THER BALDWIN’S THANKSGIVING

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

Underneath protected branches, from the highway just aloof;
Stands the house of Grand’ther Baldwin, with its gently sloping roof.

Square of shape and solid-timbered, it was standing, I have heard,
In the days of Whig and Tory, under royal George the Third.

Many a time, I well remember, I have gazed with Childish awe
At the bullet-hole remaining in the sturdy oaken door,

Turning round half-apprehensive (recking not how time had fled)
Of the lurking, savage foeman from whose musket it was sped..

Not far off, the barn, plethoric with the autumn’s harvest spoils,
Holds the farmer’s well-earned trophies–the guerdon of his toils;

Filled the lofts with hay, sweet-scented, ravished from the meadows green,
While beneath are stalled the cattle, with their quiet, drowsy mien.

Deep and spacious are the grain-bins, brimming o’er with nature’s gold;
Here are piles of yellow pumpkins on the barn-floor loosely rolled.

Just below in deep recesses, safe from wintry frost chill,                                             
There are heaps of ruddy apples from the orchard the hill.

Many a year has Grand’ther Baldwin in the old house dwelt in peace,
As his hair each year grew whiter, he has seen his herds increase.

Sturdy sons and comely daughters, growing up from childish plays,
One by one have met life’s duties, and gone forth their several ways.

Hushed the voice of childish laughter, hushed is childhood’s merry tone,
the fireside Grand’ther Baldwin and his good wife sit alone.

Turning round half-apprehensive (recking not how time had fled)
Of the lurking savage foeman from whose musket it was sped.   

Not far off, the barn, plethoric with the autumn harvest spoils,                           
Holds the farmer’s well-earned trophies–the guerdon of his toils;

Filled the lofts with hay, sweet-scented, ravished from the meadows green,
While beneath are stalled the cattle, with their quiet drowsy mien.                          

Deep and spacious are the grain-bins, brimming o’er with nature’s gold;                      
Here are piles of yellow pumpkins on the barn-floor loosely rolled.

Just below in deep recesses, safe from wintry frost and chill,
There are heaps of ruddy apples from the orchard on the hill.

Many a year has Grand’ther Baldwin in the old house dwelt in peace,
As his hair each year grew whiter, he has seen his herds increase.

Sturdy sons and comely daughters, growing up from childish plays,
One by one have met life’s duties, and gone forth their several ways.

Hushed the voice of childish laughter, hushed is childhood’s merry tone,
By the fireside Grand’ther Baldwin and his good wife sit alone.

Yet once within the twelvemonth, when the days are short and drear,
And chill winds chant the requiem of the slowly fading year,

When the autumn work is over, and the harvest gathered in,
Once again the old house echoes to a long unwonted din.

Logs of hickory blaze and crackle in the fireplace huge anti high,
Curling wreaths of smoke mount upward to the gray November sky.

Ruddy lads and smiling lasses, just let loose from schooldom’s cares,
Patter, patter, race and clatter, up and down the great hall stairs.

All the boys shall hold high revel; all the girls shall have their way,-
That’s the law at Grand’ther Baldwin’s upon each Thanksgiving Day.

From from the parlor’s sacred precincts, hark! a madder uproar yet;
Roguish Charlie’s playing stage-coach, and the stage-coach has upset!

Joe, black-eyed and laughter-loving, Grand’ther’s specs his nose across,
Gravely winks at brother Willie, who is gayly playing horse.

Grandma’s face is fairly radiant; Grand’ther knows not how to frown,
though the children, in their frolic, turn the old house upside down.

For the boys may hold high revel, and the girls must have their way;
That’s the law at Grand’ther Baldwin’s upon each Thanksgiving Day.

But the dinner–ah! the dinner–words are feeble to portray
What a culinary triumph is achieved Thanksgiving Day!

Fairly groans the board with dainties, but the turkey rules the roast,
Aldermanic at the outset, at the last a fleshless ghost.

Then the richness of the pudding, and the flavor of the pie,
When you’ve dined at Grandma Baldwin’s you will know as well as I.

When, at length, the feast was ended, Grand’ther Baldwin bent his head,
And, amid the solemn silence, with a reverent voice, he said:–

“Now unto God, the Gracious One, we thanks and homage pay,
Who guardeth us, and guideth us, and loveth us always!

“He scatters blessings in our paths, He giveth us increase,
He crowns us with His kindnesses, and granteth us His peace.                                                

“Unto himself, our wandering feet, we pray that He may draw,
And may we strive, with faithful hearts, to keep His holy law!”

His simple words in silence died: a moment’s hush. And then
From all the listening hearts there rose a solemn-voiced Amen !

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?

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.

Blossoming Chestnut Branches

by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh

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.

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