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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.

Spirk Troll-Derisive

by James Whitcomb Riley

The Crankadox leaned o’er the edge of the moon,
And wistfully gazed on the sea
Where the Gryxabodill madly whistled a tune
To the air of “Ti-fol-de-ding-dee.”

The quavering shriek of the Fliupthecreek
Was fitfully wafted afar
To the Queen of the Wunks as she powdered her cheek
With the pulverized rays of a star.

The Gool closed his ear on the voice of the Grig,
And his heart it grew heavy as lead
As he marked the Baldekin adjusting his wig
On the opposite side of his head;

And the air it grew chill as the Gryxabodill
Raised his dank, dripping fins to the skies
To plead with the Plunk for the use of her bill
To pick the tears out of his eyes.

The ghost of the Zhack flitted by in a trance;
And the Squidjum hid under a tub
As he heard the loud hooves of the Hooken advance
With a rub-a-dub-dub-a-dub dub!

And the Crankadox cried as he laid down and died,
“My fate there is none to bewail!”
While the Queen of the Wunks drifted over the tide
With a long piece of crape to her tail.

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth

    It is an ancyent Marinere,
      And he stoppeth one of three:
    “By thy long grey beard and thy glittering eye
      “Now wherefore stoppest me?

    “The Bridegroom’s doors are open’d wide
      “And I am next of kin;
    “The Guests are met, the Feast is set,–
      “May’st hear the merry din.–

    But still he holds the wedding-guest–
      There was a Ship, quoth he–
    “Nay, if thou’st got a laughsome tale,
      “Marinere! come with me.”

    He holds him with his skinny hand,
      Quoth he, there was a Ship–
    “Now get thee hence, thou grey-beard Loon!
      “Or my Staff shall make thee skip.”

    He holds him with his glittering eye–
      The wedding guest stood still
    And listens like a three year’s child;
      The Marinere hath his will.

    The wedding-guest sate on a stone,
      He cannot chuse but hear:
    And thus spake on that ancyent man,
      The bright-eyed Marinere.

    The Ship was cheer’d, the Harbour clear’d–
      Merrily did we drop
    Below the Kirk, below the Hill,
      Below the Light-house top.

    The Sun came up upon the left,
      Out of the Sea came he:
    And he shone bright, and on the right
      Went down into the Sea.

    Higher and higher every day,
      Till over the mast at noon–
    The wedding-guest here beat his breast,
      For he heard the loud bassoon.

    The Bride hath pac’d into the Hall,
      Red as a rose is she;
    Nodding their heads before her goes
      The merry Minstralsy.

    The wedding-guest he beat his breast,
      Yet he cannot chuse but hear:
    And thus spake on that ancyent Man,
      The bright-eyed Marinere.

    Listen, Stranger! Storm and Wind,
      A Wind and Tempest strong!
    For days and weeks it play’d us freaks–
      Like Chaff we drove along.

    Listen, Stranger! Mist and Snow,
      And it grew wond’rous cauld:
    And Ice mast-high came floating by
      As green as Emerauld.

    And thro’ the drifts the snowy clifts
      Did send a dismal sheen;
    Ne shapes of men ne beasts we ken–
      The Ice was all between.

    The Ice was here, the Ice was there,
      The Ice was all around:
    It crack’d and growl’d, and roar’d and howl’d–
      Like noises of a swound.

    At length did cross an Albatross,
      Thorough the Fog it came;
    And an it were a Christian Soul,
      We hail’d it in God’s name.

    The Marineres gave it biscuit-worms,
      And round and round it flew:
    The Ice did split with a Thunder-fit;
      The Helmsman steer’d us thro’.

    And a good south wind sprung up behind,
      The Albatross did follow;
    And every day for food or play
      Came to the Marinere’s hollo!

    In mist or cloud on mast or shroud
      It perch’d for vespers nine,
    Whiles all the night thro’ fog-smoke white
      Glimmer’d the white moon-shine.

    “God save thee, ancyent Marinere!
      “From the fiends that plague thee thus–
    “Why look’st thou so?”–with my cross bow
      I shot the Albatross.

by Emily Dickinson

Whether my bark went down at sea,
Whether she met with gales,
Whether to isles enchanted
She bent her docile sails;

By what mystic mooring
She is held to-day, –
This is the errand of the eye
Out upon the bay.

To Zante

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Fair isle, that from the fairest of all flowers,
    Thy gentlest of all gentle names dost take!
  How many memories of what radiant hours
    At sight of thee and thine at once awake!
  How many scenes of what departed bliss!
    How many thoughts of what entombed hopes!
  How many visions of a maiden that is
    No more–no more upon thy verdant slopes!

  _No more!_ alas, that magical sad sound
    Transforming all! Thy charms shall please _no more_–
  Thy memory _no more!_ Accursed ground
    Henceforward I hold thy flower-enamelled shore,
  O hyacinthine isle! O purple Zante!
    “Isola d’oro! Fior di Levante!”

The Forest Reverie

by Edgar Allan Poe
      ‘Tis said that when
      The hands of men
    Tamed this primeval wood,
  And hoary trees with groans of wo,
  Like warriors by an unknown foe,
    Were in their strength subdued,
      The virgin Earth
      Gave instant birth
    To springs that ne’er did flow–
      That in the sun
      Did rivulets run,
  And all around rare flowers did blow–
      The wild rose pale
      Perfumed the gale,
  And the queenly lily adown the dale
      (Whom the sun and the dew
      And the winds did woo),
  With the gourd and the grape luxuriant grew.

      So when in tears
      The love of years
    Is wasted like the snow,
  And the fine fibrils of its life
  By the rude wrong of instant strife
    Are broken at a blow–
      Within the heart
      Do springs upstart
    Of which it doth now know,
      And strange, sweet dreams,
      Like silent streams
  That from new fountains overflow,
      With the earlier tide
      Of rivers glide
  Deep in the heart whose hope has died–
  Quenching the fires its ashes hide,–
    Its ashes, whence will spring and grow
      Sweet flowers, ere long,–
    The rare and radiant flowers of song!

The Bells

by Edgar Allan Poe

Hear the sledges with the bells–
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In their icy air of night!
While the stars, that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten golden-notes,
And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

Hear the loud alarum bells–
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror now their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now–now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging,
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling,
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells–
Of the bells–
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!

Hear the tolling of the bells–
Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people–ah, the people–
They that dwell up in the steeple.
All alone,
And who tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone–
They are neither man nor woman–
They are neither brute nor human–
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
A pæan from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the pæan of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the pæan of the bells–
Of the bells:
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells–
Of the bells, bells, bells–
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells–
Of the bells, bells, bells–
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

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
  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.

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