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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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When lovely woman stoops to folly
And finds too late that men betray, –
What charm can soothe her melancholy,
What art can wash her guilt away?
The only art her guilt to cover,
To hide her shame from every eye,
To give repentance to her lover
And wring his bosom, is – to die.

 

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Good-bye, proud world! I’m going home:
Thou art not my friend, and I’m not thine.
Long through thy weary crowds I roam;
A river-ark on the ocean brine,
Long I’ve been tossed like the driven foam;
But now, proud world! I’m going home.  

Good-bye to Flattery’s fawning face;
To Grandeur with his wise grimace;
To upstart Wealth’s averted eye;
To supple Office, low and high;
To crowded halls, to court and street;
To frozen hearts and hasting feet;
To those who go, and those who come;
Good-bye, proud world! I’m going home.  

I am going to my own hearth-stone,
Bosomed in yon green hills alone, —
A secret nook in a pleasant land,
Whose groves the frolic fairies planned;
Where arches green, the livelong day,
Echo the blackbird’s roundelay,
And vulgar feet have never trod
A spot that is sacred to thought and God.  

O, when I am safe in my sylvan home,
I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome;
And when I am stretched beneath the pines,
Where the evening star so holy shines,
I laugh at the lore and the pride of man,
At the sophist schools, and the learned clan;
For what are they all, in their high conceit,
When man in the bush with God may meet? 

 

 

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There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the place of their self-content;
There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths
Where highways never ran—
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by—
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat
Nor hurl the cynic’s ban—
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan—
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by—
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish—so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

 

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I came from Alabama
Wid my banjo on my knee,
I’m g’wan to Louisiana,
My true love for to see,
It rained all night the day I left,
The weather it was dry,
The sun so hot I frose to death;
Susanna don’t you cry.

Chorus:
Oh! Susanna, oh don’t you cry for me;
I’ve come from Alabama
Wid my banjo on my knee.

I jumped aboard de telegraph,
And trabbeled down de ribber,
De ‘lectric fluid magnified,
And killed five hundred nigger;
De bullgine buste, de horse run off,
I really thought I’d die;
I shut my eyes to hold my breath,
Susanna, don’t you cry.

Chorus:
Oh! Susanna, oh don’t you cry for me;
I’ve come from Alabama
Wid my banjo on my knee.

I had a dream de odder night,
When ebery t’ing was still;
I thought I saw Susanna,
A-coming down de hill.
The buckwheat cake was in her mouth,
The tear was in her eye,
Says I, “I’m coming from de South,
Susanna, dont you cry.”

Chorus:
Oh! Susanna, oh don’t you cry for me;
I’ve come from Alabama
Wid my banjo on my knee.

I soon will be in New Orleans,
And den I’ll look all round,
And when I find Susanna,
I’ll fall upon the ground.
But if I do not find her,
Dis darkie’ll surely die,
And when I’m dead and buried,
Susanna, don’t you cry.

Chorus:

Oh!  Susanna, oh don’t you cry for me;
I’ve come from Alabama
Wid my banjo on my knee.

 

______________________________________

sung by the 2nd South Carolina String band (2:49)

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Silence augmenteth grief, writing increaseth rage,
Staled are my thoughts, which loved and lost the wonder of our age;
Yet quickened now with fire, though dead with frost ere now,
Enraged I write I know not what; dead, quick, I know not how.

Hard-hearted minds relent and rigor’s tears abound,
And envy strangely rues his end, in whom no fault was found.
Knowledge her light hath lost, valor hath slain her knight,
Sidney is dead, dead is my friend, dead is the world’s delight.

Place, pensive, wails his fall whose presence was her pride;
Time crieth out, “My ebb is come; his life was my spring tide.”
Fame mourns in that she lost the ground of her reports;
Each living wight laments his lack, and all in sundry sorts.

He was (woe worth that word!) to each well-thinking mind
A spotless friend, a matchless man, whose virtue ever shined,
Declaring in his thoughts, his life, and that he writ,
Highest conceits, longest foresights, and deepest works of wit.
 

He, only like himself, was second unto none,
Whose death, though life, we rue, and wrong, and all in vain do moan:
Their loss, not him, wail they that fill the world with cries,
Death slew not him, but he made death his ladder to the skies.
 

Now sink of sorrow I who live–the more the wrong!
Who wishing death, whom death denies, whose thread is all too long;
Who tied to wretched life, who looks for no relief,
Must spend my ever dying days in never ending grief.
 

Heart’s ease and only I, like parallels, run on,
Whose equal length keep equal breadth and never meet in one;
Yet not for wronging him, my thoughts, my sorrow’s cell,
Shall not run out, though leak they will for liking him so well.

Farewell to you, my hopes, my wonted waking dreams,
Farewell, sometimes enjoyed joy, eclipsed are thy beams.
Farewell, self-pleasing thoughts which quietness brings forth,
And farewell, friendship’s sacred league uniting minds of worth.

And farewell, merry heart, the gift of guiltless minds,
And all sports which for life’s restore variety assigns;
Let all that sweet is, void; in me no mirth may dwell:
Philip, the cause of all this woe, my life’s content, farewell!
 

Now rhyme, the son of rage, which art no kin to skill,
And endless grief, which deads my life, yet knows not how to kill,
Go, seek that hapless tomb, which if ye hap to find
Salute the stones that keep the limbs that held so good a mind.

 

 

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……The Young Girl’s Poem

Kiss mine eyelids, beauteous Morn,
Blushing into life new-born!
Lend me violets for my hair,
And thy russet robe to wear,
And thy ring of rosiest hue
Set in drops of diamond dew! 

Kiss my cheek, thou noontide ray,
From my Love so far away!
Let thy splendor streaming down
Turn its pallid lilies brown,
Till its darkening shades reveal
Where his passion pressed its seal! 

Kiss my lips, thou Lord of light,
Kiss my lips a soft good-night!
Westward sinks thy golden car;
Leave me but the evening star,
And my solace that shall be,
Borrowing all its light from thee!

 

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“You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Patterson’s pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!”

“I don’t know what part of the pasture you mean.”

“You know where they cut off the woods—let me see—
It was two years ago—or no!—can it be
No longer than that?—and the following fall
The fire ran and burned it all up but the wall.”

“Why, there hasn’t been time for the bushes to grow.
That’s always the way with the blueberries, though:
There may not have been the ghost of a sign
Of them anywhere under the shade of the pine,
But get the pine out of the way, you may burn
The pasture all over until not a fern
Or grass-blade is left, not to mention a stick,
And presto, they’re up all around you as thick
And hard to explain as a conjuror’s trick.”

“It must be on charcoal they fatten their fruit.
I taste in them sometimes the flavour of soot.
And after all really they’re ebony skinned:
The blue’s but a mist from the breath of the wind,
A tarnish that goes at a touch of the hand,
And less than the tan with which pickers are tanned.”

“Does Patterson know what he has, do you think?”

“He may and not care and so leave the chewink
To gather them for him—you know what he is.
He won’t make the fact that they’re rightfully his
An excuse for keeping us other folk out.”

“I wonder you didn’t see Loren about.”

“The best of it was that I did. Do you know,
I was just getting through what the field had to show
And over the wall and into the road,
When who should come by, with a democrat-load
Of all the young chattering Lorens alive,
But Loren, the fatherly, out for a drive.”

“He saw you, then? What did he do? Did he frown?”

“He just kept nodding his head up and down.
You know how politely he always goes by.
But he thought a big thought—I could tell by his eye—
Which being expressed, might be this in effect:
‘I have left those there berries, I shrewdly suspect,
To ripen too long. I am greatly to blame.'”

“He’s a thriftier person than some I could name.”

“He seems to be thrifty; and hasn’t he need,
With the mouths of all those young Lorens to feed?
He has brought them all up on wild berries, they say,
Like birds. They store a great many away.
They eat them the year round, and those they don’t eat
They sell in the store and buy shoes for their feet.”

“Who cares what they say? It’s a nice way to live,
Just taking what Nature is willing to give,
Not forcing her hand with harrow and plow.”

“I wish you had seen his perpetual bow—
And the air of the youngsters! Not one of them turned,
And they looked so solemn-absurdly concerned.”

“I wish I knew half what the flock of them know
Of where all the berries and other things grow,
Cranberries in bogs and raspberries on top
Of the boulder-strewn mountain, and when they will crop.
I met them one day and each had a flower
Stuck into his berries as fresh as a shower;
Some strange kind—they told me it hadn’t a name.”

“I’ve told you how once not long after we came,
I almost provoked poor Loren to mirth
By going to him of all people on earth
To ask if he knew any fruit to be had
For the picking. The rascal, he said he’d be glad
To tell if he knew. But the year had been bad.
There had been some berries—but those were all gone.
He didn’t say where they had been. He went on:
‘I’m sure—I’m sure’—as polite as could be.
He spoke to his wife in the door, ‘Let me see,
Mame, we don’t know any good berrying place?’
It was all he could do to keep a straight face.

“If he thinks all the fruit that grows wild is for him,
He’ll find he’s mistaken. See here, for a whim,
We’ll pick in the Pattersons’ pasture this year.
We’ll go in the morning, that is, if it’s clear,
And the sun shines out warm: the vines must be wet.
It’s so long since I picked I almost forget
How we used to pick berries: we took one look round,
Then sank out of sight like trolls underground,
And saw nothing more of each other, or heard,
Unless when you said I was keeping a bird
Away from its nest, and I said it was you.
‘Well, one of us is.’ For complaining it flew
Around and around us. And then for a while
We picked, till I feared you had wandered a mile,
And I thought I had lost you. I lifted a shout
Too loud for the distance you were, it turned out,
For when you made answer, your voice was as low
As talking—you stood up beside me, you know.”

“We sha’n’t have the place to ourselves to enjoy—
Not likely, when all the young Lorens deploy.
They’ll be there to-morrow, or even to-night.
They won’t be too friendly—they may be polite—
To people they look on as having no right
To pick where they’re picking. But we won’t complain.
You ought to have seen how it looked in the rain,
The fruit mixed with water in layers of leaves,
Like two kinds of jewels, a vision for thieves.”

 

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Sunday morning just at nine,
Dan McGinty dressed so fine
Stood looking up at a very high stone wall,
When his friend, young Pat McCann,
Says, “I’ll bet five dollars, Dan
I could carry you to the top without a fall.”
So on his shoulders he took Dan,
To climb the ladder he began,
And soon commenced to reach up near the top;
When McGinty, cute old rogue,
To win the five he did let go
Never thinking just how far he’d have to drop.

Chorus:
Down went McGinty to the bottom of the wall
And tho’ he won the five, he was more dead than alive
Sure his ribs and nose and back were broke from getting such a fall
Dressed in his best suit of clothes.

From the hospital Mac went home,
When they fixed his broken bones,
To find he was the father of a child;
So to celebrate it right,
His friends he went to invite,
And soon he was drinking whiskey fast and wild;
Then he waddled down the street
In his Sunday suit so neat
Holding up his head as proud as John the Great;
But in the sidewalk was a hole,
To receive a ton of coal,
That McGinty never saw till just too late.

Chorus:
Down went McGinty to the bottom of the hole,
Then the driver of the cart gave the load of coal a start
And it took us half an hour to dig McGinty from the coal,
Dress’d in his best suit of clothes.

Now McGinty raved and swore,
About his clothes he felt so sore
And an oath he took he’d kill the man or die;
So he tightly grabbed his stick
And hit the driver a lick,
Then he raised a little shanty on his eye.
But two policemen saw the muss
And they soon joined in the fuss
Then they ran McGinty in for being drunk;
And the Judge says with a smile,
We will keep you for a while
In a cell to sleep upon a prison bunk.

Chorus:
Down went McGinty to the bottom of the jail,
Where his board would cost him nix, and he stay’d exactly six;
They were big long months he stopped, for no one went his bail
Dressed in his best suit of clothes.

Now McGinty thin and pale
One fine day got out of jail,
And with joy to see his boy was nearly wild;
To his house he quickly ran
To see his wife Bedaley Ann,
But she skipp’d away and took along the child.
Then he gave up in despair
And he madly pulled his hair
As he stood one day upon the river shore;
Knowing well he couldn’t swim,
He did foolishly jump in,
Although water he had never took before.

Chorus:
Down went McGinty to the bottom of the say*
And he must be very wet for they haven’t found him yet
But they say his ghost comes round the docks before the break of day,
Dressed in his best suit of clothes.

*sea

performed on YouTube (4:03) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFkta4CpHiE

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Thine emulous fond flowers are dead, too,
And the daft sun-assaulter, he
That frighted thee so oft, is fled or dead:
Save only me
(Nor is it sad to thee!)
Save only me
There is none left to mourn thee in the fields.

The gray grass is not dappled with the snow;
Its two banks have not shut upon the river;
But it is long ago-
It seems forever-
Since first I saw thee glance,
With all the dazzling other ones,
In airy dalliance,
Precipitate in love,
Tossed, tangled, whirled and whirled above,
Like a limp rose-wreath in a fairy dance.

When that was, the soft mist
Of my regret hung not on all the land,
And I was glad for thee,
And glad for me, I wist.

Thou didst not know, who tottered, wandering on high,
That fate had made thee for the pleasure of the wind,
With those great careless wings,
Nor yet did I.

And there were other things:
It seemed God let thee flutter from his gentle clasp:
Then fearful he had let thee win
Too far beyond him to be gathered in,
Snatched thee, o’er eager, with ungentle grasp.

Ah! I remember me
How once conspiracy was rife
Against my life-
The languor of it and the dreaming fond;
Surging, the grasses dizzied me of thought,
The breeze three odors brought,
And a gem-flower waved in a wand!

Then when I was distraught
And could not speak,
Sidelong, full on my cheek,
What should that reckless zephyr fling
But the wild touch of thy dye-dusty wing!

I found that wing broken to-day!
For thou are dead, I said,
And the strange birds say.
I found it with the withered leaves
Under the eaves.

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