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“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.

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth

    The Sun came up upon the right,
      Out of the Sea came he;
    And broad as a weft upon the left
      Went down into the Sea.

    And the good south wind still blew behind,
      But no sweet Bird did follow
    Ne any day for food or play
      Came to the Marinere’s hollo!

    And I had done an hellish thing
      And it would work ‘em woe:
    For all averr’d, I had kill’d the Bird
      That made the Breeze to blow.

    Ne dim ne red, like God’s own head,
      The glorious Sun uprist:
    Then all averr’d, I had kill’d the Bird
      That brought the fog and mist.
    ‘Twas right, said they, such birds to slay
      That bring the fog and mist.

    The breezes blew, the white foam flew,
      The furrow follow’d free:
    We were the first that ever burst
      Into that silent Sea.

    Down dropt the breeze, the Sails dropt down,
      ‘Twas sad as sad could be
    And we did speak only to break
      The silence of the Sea.

    All in a hot and copper sky
      The bloody sun at noon,
    Right up above the mast did stand,
      No bigger than the moon.

    Day after day, day after day,
      We stuck, ne breath ne motion,
    As idle as a painted Ship
      Upon a painted Ocean.

    Water, water, every where
      And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, every where,
      Ne any drop to drink.

    The very deeps did rot: O Christ!
      That ever this should be!
    Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
      Upon the slimy Sea.

    About, about, in reel and rout
      The Death-fires danc’d at night;
    The water, like a witch’s oils,
      Burnt green and blue and white.

    And some in dreams assured were
      Of the Spirit that plagued us so:
    Nine fathom deep he had follow’d us
      From the Land of Mist and Snow.

    And every tongue thro’ utter drouth
      Was wither’d at the root;
    We could not speak no more than if
      We had been choked with soot.

    Ah wel-a-day! what evil looks
      Had I from old and young;
    Instead of the Cross the Albatross
      About my neck was hung.


by Horatio Alger, Jr.

A violet grew by the river-side,
  And gladdened all hearts with its bloom;
While over the fields, on the scented air,
  It breathed a rich perfume.
But the clouds grew dark in the angry sky,
  And its portals were opened wide;
And the heavy rain beat down the flower
  That grew by the river-side.

Not far away in a pleasant home,
  There lived a little boy,
Whose cheerful face and childish grace
  Filled every heart with joy.
He wandered one day to the river’s verge,
  With no one near to save;
And the heart that we loved with a boundless love
  Was stilled in the restless wave.

The sky grew dark to our tearful eyes,
  And we bade farewell to joy;
For our hearts were bound by a sorrowful tie
  To the grave of the little boy.
The birds still sing in the leafy tree
  That shadows the open door;
We heed them not, for we think of the voice
  That we shall hear no more.

We think of him at eventide,
  And gaze on his vacant chair
With a longing heart that will scarce believe
  That Charlie is not there.
We seem to hear his ringing laugh,
  And his bounding step at the door;
But, alas! there comes the sorrowful thought,
  We shall never hear them more!                               

We shall walk sometimes to his little grave,
  In the pleasant summer hours;
We will speak his name in a softened voice,
  And cover his grave with flowers;
We will think of him in his heavenly home,–
  In his heavenly home so fair;
And we will trust with a hopeful trust
  That we shall meet him there.


by Edgar Allan Poe
               I dwelt alone
               In a world of moan,
           And my soul was a stagnant tide,
  Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride–
  Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride.
               Ah, less–less bright
               The stars of the night
           Than the eyes of the radiant girl!
               And never a flake
               That the vapor can make
           With the moon-tints of purple and pearl,
  Can vie with the modest Eulalie’s most unregarded curl–
  Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie’s most humble and careless
               Now Doubt–now Pain
               Come never again,
           For her soul gives me sigh for sigh,
               And all day long
               Shines, bright and strong,
           Astarté within the sky,
  While ever to her dear Eulalie upturns her matron eye–
  While ever to her young Eulalie upturns her violet eye.

To Marie Louise

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Of all who hail thy presence as the morning–
  Of all to whom thine absence is the night–
  The blotting utterly from out high heaven
  The sacred sun–of all who, weeping, bless thee
  Hourly for hope–for life–ah, above all,
  For the resurrection of deep buried faith
  In truth, in virtue, in humanity–
  Of all who, on despair’s unhallowed bed
  Lying down to die, have suddenly arisen
  At thy soft-murmured words, “Let there be light!”
  At thy soft-murmured words that were fulfilled
  In thy seraphic glancing of thine eyes–
  Of all who owe thee most, whose gratitude
  Nearest resembles worship,–oh, remember
  The truest, the most fervently devoted,
  And think that these weak lines are written by him–
  By him who, as he pens them, thrills to think
  His spirit is communing with an angel’s.


by Horatio Alger, Jr.
It is the year’s high noon,
  The earth sweet incense yields,
  And o’er the fresh, green fields
Bends the clear sky of June.

I leave the crowded streets,
  The hum of busy life,
  Its clamor and its strife,
To breathe thy perfumed sweets.

O rare and golden hours!
  The bird’s melodious song,
  Wavelike, is borne along
Upon a strand of flowers.

I wander far away,
  Where, through the forest trees,
  Sports the cool summer breeze,
In wild and wanton play.

A patriarchal elm
  Its stately form uprears,
  Which twice a hundred years
Has ruled this woodland realm.

I sit beneath its shade,
  And watch, with careless eye,
  The brook that babbles by,
And cools the leafy glade.

In truth I wonder not,
  That in the ancient days
  The temples of God’s praise
Were grove and leafy grot.

The noblest ever planned,
  With quaint device and rare,
  By man, can ill compare
With these from God’s own hand.

Pilgrim with way-worn feet,
  Who, treading life’s dull round,
  No true repose hast found,
Come to this green retreat.

For bird, and flower, and tree,
  Green fields, and woodland wild,
  Shall bear, with voices mild,
Sweet messages to thee.

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