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An Enigma

by Edgar Allan Poe 
  “Seldom we find,” says Solomon Don Dunce,
      “Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet.
    Through all the flimsy things we see at once
      As easily as through a Naples bonnet–
      Trash of all trash!–how _can_ a lady don it?
    Yet heavier far than your Petrarchan stuff–
    Owl-downy nonsense that the faintest puff
      Twirls into trunk-paper the while you con it.”
    And, veritably, Sol is right enough.
    The general tuckermanities are arrant
    Bubbles–ephemeral and _so_ transparent–
      But _this is_, now–you may depend upon it–
    Stable, opaque, immortal–all by dint
    Of the dear names that lie concealed within’t.

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!

Unreturning

by Emily Dickinson

‘T was such a little, little boat
That toddled down the bay!
‘T was such a gallant, gallant sea
That beckoned it away!

‘T was such a greedy, greedy wave
That licked it from the coast;
Nor ever guessed the stately sails
My little craft was lost!

The Lonely House

by Emily Dickinson

I know some lonely houses off the road
A robber ‘d like the look of, –
Wooden barred,
And windows hanging low,
Inviting to
A portico,
Where two could creep:
One hand the tools,
The other peep
To make sure all’s asleep.
Old-fashioned eyes,
Not easy to surprise!

How orderly the kitchen ‘d look by night,
With just a clock, –
But they could gag the tick,
And mice won’t bark;
And so the walls don’t tell,
None will.

A pair of spectacles ajar just stir –
An almanac’s aware.
Was it the mat winked,
Or a nervous star?
The moon slides down the stair
To see who’s there.

There’s plunder, — where?
Tankard, or spoon,
Earring, or stone,
A watch, some ancient brooch
To match the grandmamma,
Staid sleeping there.

Day rattles, too,
Stealth’s slow;
The sun has got as far
As the third sycamore.
Screams chanticleer,
“Who’s there?”
And echoes, trains away,
Sneer — “Where?”
While the old couple, just astir,
Fancy the sunrise left the door ajar!

Fare Well

by Walter de la Mare

When I lie where shades of darkness
Shall no more assail mine eyes,
Nor the rain make lamentation
When the wind sighs;
How will fare the world whose wonder
Was the very proof of me?
Memory fades, must the remembered
Perishing be?

Oh, when this my dust surrenders
Hand, foot, lip, to dust again,
May these loved and loving faces
Please other men!
May the rustling harvest hedgerow
Still the Traveller’s Joy entwine,
And as happy children gather
Posies once mine.

Look thy last on all things lovely,
Every hour. Let no night
Seal thy sense in deathly slumber
Till to delight
Thou have paid thy utmost blessing;
Since that all things thou wouldst praise
Beauty took from those who loved them
In other days.

by Edgar Allan Poe

I heed not that my earthly lot
    Hath–little of Earth in it–
  That years of love have been forgot
    In the hatred of a minute:–
  I mourn not that the desolate
    Are happier, sweet, than I,
  But that you sorrow for my fate
    Who am a passer-by.

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.

Israfel

by Edgar Allan Poe
  In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
    “Whose heart-strings are a lute;”
  None sing so wildly well
  As the angel Israfel,
  And the giddy Stars (so legends tell),
  Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
    Of his voice, all mute.

  Tottering above
    In her highest noon,
    The enamoured Moon
  Blushes with love,
    While, to listen, the red levin
    (With the rapid Pleiads, even,
    Which were seven),
    Pauses in Heaven.

  And they say (the starry choir
    And the other listening things)
  That Israfeli’s fire
  Is owing to that lyre
    By which he sits and sings–
  The trembling living wire
  Of those unusual strings.

  But the skies that angel trod,
    Where deep thoughts are a duty–
  Where Love’s a grow-up God–
    Where the Houri glances are
  Imbued with all the beauty
    Which we worship in a star.

  Therefore, thou art not wrong,
    Israfeli, who despisest
  An unimpassioned song;
  To thee the laurels belong,
    Best bard, because the wisest!
  Merrily live and long!

  The ecstasies above
    With thy burning measures suit–
  Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,
    With the fervor of thy lute–
    Well may the stars be mute!

  Yes, Heaven is thine; but this
    Is a world of sweets and sours;
    Our flowers are merely–flowers,
  And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
    Is the sunshine of ours.

  If I could dwell
  Where Israfel
    Hath dwelt, and he where I,
  He might not sing so wildly well
    A mortal melody,
  While a bolder note than this might swell
    From my lyre within the sky.

A Dream

by Edgar Allan Poe
  In visions of the dark night
    I have dreamed of joy departed–
  But a waking dream of life and light
    Hath left me broken-hearted.

  Ah! what is not a dream by day
    To him whose eyes are cast
  On things around him with a ray
    Turned back upon the past?

  That holy dream–that holy dream,
    While all the world were chiding,
  Hath cheered me as a lovely beam,
    A lonely spirit guiding.

  What though that light, thro’ storm and night,
    So trembled from afar–
  What could there be more purely bright
    In Truth’s day star?

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