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Archive for the ‘O-R’ Category

The sea was breaking at my feet,
And looking out across the tide,
Where placid waves and heaven meet,
I thought me of the Other Side.

For on the beach on which I stood
Were wastes of sands, and wash, and roar,
Low clouds, and gloom, and solitude,
And wrecks, and ruins – nothing more.

“O, tell me if beyond the sea
A heavenly port there is!” I cried,
And back the echoes laughingly
“There is! there is!” replied.

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circus

Oh! the Circus-Day Parade! How the bugles played and played!
And how the glossy horses tossed their flossy manes and neighed,
As the rattle and the rhyme of the tenor-drummer’s time
Filled all the hungry hearts of us with melody sublime!

How the grand band-wagon shone with a splendor all its own,
And glittered with a glory that our dreams had never known!
And how the boys behind, high and low of every kind,
Marched in unconscious capture, with a rapture undefined!

How the horsemen, two and two, with their plumes of white and blue
And crimson, gold and purple, nodding by at me and you,
Waved the banners that they bore, as the knights in days of yore,
Till our glad eyes gleamed and glistened like the spangles that they wore!

How the graceless-graceful stride of the elephant was eyed,
And the capers of the little horse that cantered at his side!
How the shambling camels, tame to the plaudits of their fame,
With listless eyes came silent, masticating as they came.

How the cages jolted past, with each wagon battened fast,
And the mystery within it only hinted of at last
From the little grated square in the rear, and nosing there
The snout of some strange animal that sniffed the outer air!

And, last of all, The Clown, making mirth for all the town,
With his lips curved ever upward and his eyebrows ever down,
And his chief attention paid to the little mule that played
A tattoo on the dashboard with his heels, in the Parade.

Oh! the Circus-Day Parade! How the bugles played and played!
And how the glossy horses tossed their flossy manes and neighed,
As the rattle and the rhyme of the tenor-drummer’s time
Filled all the hungry hearts of us with melody sublime!

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………….Thy sacred law, O God,
……………Is like to Moses’ rod:
………If we but keep it in our hand,
………It will do wonders in the land;
….If we slight and throw it to the ground;
Twill turn a serpent, and inflict a wound;
A wound that flesh and blood cannot endure,
….Nor salve, until the brazen serpent cure;
I wish not, Lord, thou shouldst withold it;
…….Nor would I have it, and not hold it;
……………O teach me then, my God,
………………To handle Moses’ rod.

 

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The same old story told again–
The maiden droops her head,
The ripening glow of her crimson cheek
Is answering in her stead.
The pleading tone of a trembling voice
Is telling her the way
He loved her when his heart was young
In Youth’s sunshiny day:
The trembling tongue, the longing tone,
Imploringly ask why
They can not be as happy now
As in the days gone by.
And two more hearts, tumultuous
With overflowing joy,
Are dancing to the music
Which that dear, provoking boy
Is twanging on his bowstring,
As, fluttering his wings,
He sends his love-charged arrows
While merrily be sings:
‘Ho! ho! my dainty maiden,
It surely can not be
You are thinking you are master
Of your heart, when it is me.’
And another gleaming arrow
Does the little god’s behest,
And the dainty little maiden
Falls upon her lover’s breast.
‘The same old story told again,’
And listened o’er and o’er,
Will still be new, and pleasing, too,
Till ‘Time shall be no more.’

 

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I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me. 

My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a hush;
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud or greenness can I see;
Yet rise it shall – the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perished thing,
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.

 

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Here, in this little Bay,
Full of tumultuous life and great repose,
Where, twice a day,
The purposeless, glad ocean comes and goes,
Under high cliffs, and far from the huge town,
I sit me down.
For want of me the world’s course will not fail:
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
The truth is great, and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not.

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Who bides his time, and day by day
Faces defeat full patiently,
And lifts a mirthful roundelay,
However poor his fortunes be, –
He will not fail in any qualm
Of poverty – the paltry dime
It will grow golden in his palm,
Who bides his time. 

Who bides his time – he tastes the sweet
Of honey in the saltest tear;
And though he fares with slowest feet,
Joy runs to meet him, drawing near:
The birds are heralds of his cause;
And, like a never-ending rhyme,
The roadsides bloom in his applause,
Who bides his time. 

Who bides his time, and fevers not
In the hot race that none achieves,
Shall wear cool-wreathen laurel, wrought
With crimson berries in the leaves;
And he shall reign a goodly king,
And sway his hand o’er every clime,
With peace writ on his signet-ring,
Who bides his time.

 

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The blessed damozel lean’d out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters still’d at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.

Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
No wrought flowers did adorn,
But a white rose of Mary’s gift,
For service meetly worn;
Her hair that lay along her back
Was yellow like ripe corn.

Her seem’d she scarce had been a day
One of God’s choristers;
The wonder was not yet quite gone
From that still look of hers;
Albeit, to them she left, her day
Had counted as ten years.

(To one, it is ten years of years.
. . . Yet now, and in this place,
Surely she lean’d o’er me–her hair
Fell all about my face ….
Nothing: the autumn-fall of leaves.
The whole year sets apace.)

It was the rampart of God’s house
That she was standing on;
By God built over the sheer depth
The which is Space begun;
So high, that looking downward thence
She scarce could see the sun.

It lies in Heaven, across the flood
Of ether, as a bridge.
Beneath, the tides of day and night
With flame and darkness ridge
The void, as low as where this earth
Spins like a fretful midge.

Around her, lovers, newly met
‘Mid deathless love’s acclaims,
Spoke evermore among themselves
Their heart-remember’d names;
And the souls mounting up to God
Went by her like thin flames.

And still she bow’d herself and stoop’d
Out of the circling charm;
Until her bosom must have made
The bar she lean’d on warm,
And the lilies lay as if asleep
Along her bended arm.

From the fix’d place of Heaven she saw
Time like a pulse shake fierce
Through all the worlds. Her gaze still strove
Within the gulf to pierce
Its path; and now she spoke as when
The stars sang in their spheres.

The sun was gone now; the curl’d moon
Was like a little feather
Fluttering far down the gulf; and now
She spoke through the still weather.
Her voice was like the voice the stars
Had when they sang together.

(Ah sweet! Even now, in that bird’s song,
Strove not her accents there,
Fain to be hearken’d? When those bells
Possess’d the mid-day air,
Strove not her steps to reach my side
Down all the echoing stair?)

“I wish that he were come to me,
For he will come,” she said.
“Have I not pray’d in Heaven?–on earth,
Lord, Lord, has he not pray’d?
Are not two prayers a perfect strength?
And shall I feel afraid?

“When round his head the aureole clings,
And he is cloth’d in white,
I’ll take his hand and go with him
To the deep wells of light;
As unto a stream we will step down,
And bathe there in God’s sight.

“We two will stand beside that shrine,
Occult, withheld, untrod,
Whose lamps are stirr’d continually
With prayer sent up to God;
And see our old prayers, granted, melt
Each like a little cloud.

“We two will lie i’ the shadow of
That living mystic tree
Within whose secret growth the Dove
Is sometimes felt to be,
While every leaf that His plumes touch
Saith His Name audibly.

“And I myself will teach to him,
I myself, lying so,
The songs I sing here; which his voice
Shall pause in, hush’d and slow,
And find some knowledge at each pause,
Or some new thing to know.”

(Alas! We two, we two, thou say’st!
Yea, one wast thou with me
That once of old. But shall God lift
To endless unity
The soul whose likeness with thy soul
Was but its love for thee?)

“We two,” she said, “will seek the groves
Where the lady Mary is,
With her five handmaidens, whose names
Are five sweet symphonies,
Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,
Margaret and Rosalys.

“Circlewise sit they, with bound locks
And foreheads garlanded;
Into the fine cloth white like flame
Weaving the golden thread,
To fashion the birth-robes for them
Who are just born, being dead.

“He shall fear, haply, and be dumb:
Then will I lay my cheek
To his, and tell about our love,
Not once abash’d or weak:
And the dear Mother will approve
My pride, and let me speak.

“Herself shall bring us, hand in hand,
To Him round whom all souls
Kneel, the clear-rang’d unnumber’d heads
Bow’d with their aureoles:
And angels meeting us shall sing
To their citherns and citoles.

“There will I ask of Christ the Lord
Thus much for him and me:–
Only to live as once on earth
With Love,–only to be,
As then awhile, for ever now
Together, I and he.”

She gaz’d and listen’d and then said,
Less sad of speech than mild,–
“All this is when he comes.” She ceas’d.
The light thrill’d towards her, fill’d
With angels in strong level flight.
Her eyes pray’d, and she smil’d.

(I saw her smile.) But soon their path
Was vague in distant spheres:
And then she cast her arms along
The golden barriers,
And laid her face between her hands,
And wept. (I heard her tears.)

———————————————————

links to summary and analysis:

https://poemanalysis.com/the-blessed-damozel-by-dante-gabriel-rossetti-poem-analysis/

https://www.shmoop.com/the-blessed-damozel/summary.html

https://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides7/Blessed.html

http://swc2.hccs.edu/HTMLS/ROWHTML/Rossetti/summary.htm

The Blessed Damozel by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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I buried my first womern
In the spring; and in the fall
I was married to my second,
And hain’t settled yit at all! –
Fer I’m allus thinkin’ – thinkin’
Of the first one’s peaceful ways,
A-bilin’ soap and singin’
Of the Lord’s amazin’ grace.

And I’m thinkin’ of her, constant,
Dyin’ carpet-chain and stuff,
And a-makin’ up rag carpets,
When the floor was good enough!
And I mind her he’p a-feedin’
And I riccollect her now
A-drappin’ corn, and keepin’
Clos’t behind me and the plow!

And I’m allus thinkin’ of her
Reddin’ up around the house;
Er cookin’ fer the farm-hands;
Er a-drivin’ up the cows, –
And there she lays out yander
By the lower medder fence,
Where the cows was barely grazin’,
And they’re usin’ ever sence.

And when I look acrost there –
Say it’s when the clover’s ripe,
And I’m settin’, in the evenin’,
On the porch here, with my pipe,
And the other’n hollers “Henry!” –
W’y they ain’t no sadder thing
Than to think of my first womern
And her funeral last spring
Was a year ago –

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(Written as a joke and ascribed to a very
practical business man, Amos J. Walker)
 

Master of masters in the days of yore,
When art met insult, with no law’s redress;
When Law itself insulted Righteousness,
And ignorance thine own scholastic lore,
And thou thine own judicial office more, –
What master living now canst love thee less,
Seeing thou didst thy greatest art repress
And leave the years in riches to restore
To us, thy long neglectors. Yield us grace
To make becoming recompense, and dawn
On us thy poet-smile; nor let us trace,
In fancy, where the old-world myths have gone,
The shade of Shakespeare, with averted face,
Withdrawn to uttermost oblivion.

 

 

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