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I love to hear thine earnest voice,
Wherever thou art hid,
Thou testy little dogmatist,
Thou pretty Katydid!
Thou mindest me of gentlefolks,-
Old gentlefolks are they,-
Thou say’st an undisputed thing
In such a solemn way.

Thou art a female, Katydid!
I know it by the trill
That quivers through thy piercing notes,
So petulant and shrill;
I think there is a knot of you
Beneath the hollow tree,-
A knot of spinster Katydids,-
Do Katydids drink tea?

Oh tell me where did Katy live,
And what did Katy do?
And was she very fair and young,
And yet so wicked, too?
Did Katy love a naughty man,
Or kiss more cheeks than one?
I warrant Katy did no more
Than many a Kate has done.

Dear me! I’ll tell you all about
My fuss with little Jane,
And Ann, with whom I used to walk
So often down the lane,
And all that tore their locks of black,
Or wet their eyes of blue,-
Pray tell me, sweetest Katydid,
What did poor Katy do?

Ah no! the living oak shall crash,
That stood for ages still,
The rock shall rend its mossy base
And thunder down the hill,
Before the little Katydid
Shall add one word, to tell
The mystic story of the maid
Whose name she knows so well.

Peace to the ever-murmuring race!
And when the latest one
Shall fold in death her feeble wings
Beneath the autumn sun,
Then shall she raise her fainting voice,
And lift her drooping lid,
And then the child of future years
Shall hear what Katy did.

 

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High walls and huge the body may confine, 
And iron grates obstruct the prisoner’s gaze,
And massive bolts may baffle his design,
And vigilant keepers watch his devious ways:
Yet scorns the immortal mind this base control!
No chains can bind it, and no cell enclose:
Swifter than light, it flies from pole to pole,
And, in a flash, from earth to heaven it goes!
It leaps from mount to mount – from vale to vale
It wanders, plucking honeyed fruits and flowers;
It visits home, to hear the fireside tale,
Or in sweet converse pass the joyous hours.
‘Tis up before the sun, roaming afar,
And, in its watches, wearies every star!

 

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MarkosBotsaris

(Marco Bozzaris of Greece died after an attack on Albania troops on Aug.20, 1823.
His last words were: “To die for liberty is a pleasure, and not a pain.”)

At midnight, in his guarded tent,
The Turk was dreaming of the hour
When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent,
Should tremble at his power;
In dreams, through camp and court he bore.
The trophies of a conqueror;
In dreams his song of triumph heard;
Then wore his monarch’s signet ring;
Then pressed that monarch’s throne-a king:
As wild his thoughts and gay of wing
As Eden’s garden bird.

At midnight, in the forest shades,
Bozzaris ranged his Suliote band,
True as the steel of their tried blades,
Heroes in heart and hand.
There had the Persian’s thousands stood,
There had the glad earth drunk their blood
On old Plataea’s day;
And now there breathed that haunted air
The sons of sires who conquered there,
With arm to strike, and soul to dare,
As quick, as far as they.

An hour passed on-the Turk awoke;
That bright dream was his last;
He woke-to hear his sentries shriek,
‘To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!’
He woke-to die midst flame and smoke,
And shout and groan and sabre-stroke,
And death-shots falling thick and fast
As lightnings from the mountain-cloud;
And heard, with voice as trumpet loud,
Bozzaris cheer his band:
Strike-till the last armed foe expires!
Strike-for your altars and your fires!
Strike-for the green graves of your sires,
God, and your native land!’

They fought like brave men, long and well;
They piled that ground with Moslem slain;
They conquered-but Bozzaris fell,
Bleeding at every vein.
His few surviving comrades saw
His smile when rang their proud hurrah,
And the red field was won;
Then saw in death his eyelids close
Calmly, as to a night’s repose,
Like flowers at set of sun.

Come to the bridal chamber, Death!
Come to the mother’s when she feels,
For the first time, her first-horn’s breath;
Come when the blessed seals
That close the pestilence are broke,
And crowded cities wail its stroke;
Come in consumption’s ghastly form,
The earthquake shock, the ocean storm;
Come when the heart beats high and warm
With banquet-song and dance and wine;
And thou art terrible-the tear,
The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier,
And all we know or dream or fear
Of agony, are thine.

But to the hero, when his sword
Has won the battle for the free,
Thy voice sounds like a prophet’s word,
And in its hollow tones are heard
The thanks of millions yet to be.
Come when his task of fame is wrought,
Come with her laurel-leaf, blood-bought,
Come in her crowning hour, and then
Thy sunken eye’s unearthly light
To him is welcome as the sight
Of sky and stars to prisoned men;
Thy grasp is welcome as the hand
Of brother in a foreign land;
Thy summons welcome as the cry
That told the Indian isles were nigh
To the world-seeking Genoese,
When the land-wind, from woods of palm
And orange-groves and fields of balm,
Blew oer the Haytian seas.

Bozzaris, with the storied brave
Greece nurtured in her glory’s time,
Rest thee-there is no prouder gave.
Even in her own proud clime.
She wore no funeral-weeds for thee,
Nor bade the dark hearse wave its plume,
Like torn branch from death’s leafless tree,
In sorrow’s pomp and pageantry,
The heartless luxury of the tomb.
But she remembers thee as one
Long loved and for a season gone;
For thee her poet’s lyre is wreathed,
Her marble wrought, her music breathed;
For thee she rings the birthday bells;
Of thee her babes’ first lisping tells;
For throe her evening prayer is said
At palace-couch and cottage-bed;
Her soldier, closing with the foe,
Gives for thy sake a deadlier blow;
His plighted maiden, when she fears
For him, the joy of her young years,
Thinks of thy fate and checks her tears;
And she, the mother of thy boys,
Though in her eye and faded cheek
Is read the grief she will not speak,
The memory of her buried joys,
And even she who gave thee birth,
Will, by their pilgrim-circled hearth,
Talk of thy doom without a sigh,
For thou art Freedom’s now and Fame’s,
One of the few, the immortal names,
That were not born to die. 

 

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Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we,”
…….Said Wynken,
…….Blynken,
…….And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—
Never afraid are we!”
So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
…….Wynken,
…….Blynken,
…….And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam,—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home:
‘Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be;
And some folk thought ‘twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea;
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
…….Wynken,
…….Blynken,
…….And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:—
…….Wynken,
…….Blynken,
…….And Nod.

 

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…….When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
…….Contract into a span.”

…….So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
…….Rest in the bottom lay.

…….“For if I should,” said he,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
…….So both should losers be.

…….“Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
…….May toss him to my breast.”

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My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

 

 

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NAY, blame me not; I might have spared
Your patience many a trivial verse,
Yet these my earlier welcome shared,
So, let the better shield the worse.

And some might say, ‘Those ruder songs
Had freshness which the new have lost;
To spring the opening leaf belongs,
The chestnut-burs await the frost.’

When those I wrote, my locks were brown,
When these I write–ah, well a-day!
The autumn thistle’s silvery down
Is not the purple bloom of May.

Go, little book, whose pages hold
Those garnered years in loving trust;
How long before your blue and gold
Shall fade and whiten in the dust?

O sexton of the alcoved tomb,
Where souls in leathern cerements lie,
Tell me each living poet’s doom!
How long before his book shall die?

It matters little, soon or late,
A day, a month, a year, an age,–
I read oblivion in its date,
And Finis on its title-page.

Before we sighed, our griefs were told;
Before we smiled, our joys were sung;
And all our passions shaped of old
In accents lost to mortal tongue.

In vain a fresher mould we seek,–
Can all the varied phrases tell
That Babel’s wandering children speak
How thrushes sing or lilacs smell?

Caged in the poet’s lonely heart,
Love wastes unheard its tenderest tone;
The soul that sings must dwell apart,
Its inward melodies unknown.

Deal gently with us, ye who read
Our largest hope is unfulfilled,–
The promise still outruns the deed,–
The tower, but not the spire, we build.

Our whitest pearl we never find;
Our ripest fruit we never reach;
The flowering moments of the mind
Drop half their petals in our speech.

These are my blossoms; if they wear
One streak of morn or evening’s glow,
Accept them; but to me more fair
The buds of song that never blow.

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Come thou, who art the wine and wit
Of all I’ve writ;
The grace, the glory, and the best
Piece of the rest;
Thou art of what I did intend
The All, and End;
And what was made, was made to meet.
Thee, thee my sheet.
Come then, and be to my chaste side
Both bed and bride.
We two, as reliques left, will have
One rest, one grave;
And, hugging close, we need not fear
Lust entering here,
Where all desires are dead or cold,
As is the mould;
And all affections are forgot,
Or trouble not.
Here, here the slaves and prisoners be
From shackles free;
And weeping widows, long opprest,
Do here find rest.
The wronged client ends his laws
Here, and his cause;
Here those long suits of Chancery lie
Quiet, or die;
And all Star-chamber bills do cease,
Or hold their peace.
Here needs no court for our Request
Where all are best;
All wise, all equal, and all just
Alike i’th’ dust.
Nor need we here to fear the frown
Of court or crown;
Where fortune bears no sway o’er things,
There all are kings.
In this securer place we’ll keep,
As lull’d asleep;
Or for a little time we’ll lie,
As robes laid by,
To be another day re-worn,
Turn’d, but not torn;
Or like old testaments engrost,
Lock’d up, not lost;
And for a-while lie here conceal’d,
To be reveal’d
Next, at that great Platonic year,
And then meet here. 

 

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The merry World did on a day
With his train-bands and mates agree
To meet together, where I lay,
And all in sport to jeer at me. 

First, Beauty crept into a rose,
Which when I plucked not, “Sir,” said she,
“Tell me, I pray, whose hands are those?” –
But Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me. 

Then Money came, and clinking still,
“What tune is this, poor man?” said he:
“I heard in Music you had skill.”
But Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me.
 

Then came brave Glory puffing by
In silks that whistled – who but he?
He scarce allowed me half an eye –
But Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me. 

Then came quick Wit and Conversation,
And he would needs a comfort be,
And, to be short, make an oration –
But Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me. 

Yet when the hour of Thy design
To answer these fine things shall come,
Speak not at large, say, I am Thine,
And then they have the answer home.

 

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geoffrey-chaucer-214


His stature was not very tall,
Lean he was, his legs were small,
Hosed within a stock of red,
A buttoned bonnet on his head,
From under which did hang, I ween,
Silver hairs both bright and sheen.
His beard was white, trimmed round,
His countenance blithe and merry found.
A sleeveless jacket large and wide,
With many plights and skirts side,
Of water camlet did he wear;
A whittle by his belt he bare,
His shoes were corned, broad before,
His inkhorn at his side he wore,
And in his hand he bore a book,
Thus did this ancient poet look.

 

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