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My glass shall not persuade me I am old
So long as youth and thou are of one date;
But when in thee time’s furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate.
For all that beauty that doth cover thee
Is but the seemly raiment of my heart,
Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me.
How can I then be elder than thou art?
O, therefore, love, be of thyself so wary
As I , not for myself, but for thee will,
Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary
As tender nurse her babe from faring ill.
Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain:
Thou gav’st me thine, not to give back again.

 

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…..(from The Merchant of Venice)

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings.
It is an attribute in God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Musts needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.

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So is it not with me as with that Muse
Stirr’d by a painted beauty to his verse,
Who heaven itself for ornament doth use
And every fair with his fair doth rehearse:
Making a couplement of proud compare
With sun and moon, with earth and sea’s rich gems,
With April’s first-born flowers, and all things rare
That heaven’s air in this huge rondure hems.
O, let me, true in love, but truly write,
And then believe me, my love is as fair
As any mother’s child, though not so bright
As those gold candles fix’d in heaven’s air.
Let them say more that like of hearsay well;
I will not praise that purpose not to sell.

 

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Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than the daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee! 

Alone with Thee, amid the mystic shadows,
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee, in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn. 

Still, still with Thee, as to each new-born morning
A fresh and solemn splendor still is given,
So doth this blessed consciousness awakening,
Breathe, each day, nearness unto Thee and heaven. 

When sinks the soul, subdued by toil, to slumber,
Its closing eye looks up to Thee in prayer;
Sweet the repose beneath Thy wings o’er shading,
But sweet still to wake and find Thee there. 

So shall it be at last, in that bright morning
When the soul waketh and life’s shadows flee;
Oh, in that hour fairer than daylight dawning,
Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with Thee!

 

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Them ez wants, must choose.
Them ez hez, must lose.
Them ez knows, won’t blab.
Them ez guesses, will gab.
Them ez borrows, sorrows.
Them ez lends, spends.
Them ez gives, lives.
Them ez keeps dark, is deep.
Them ez kin earn, kin keep.
Them ez aims, hits.
Them ez hez, gits.
Them ez waits, win.
Them ez will, kin.

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Why so pale and wan, fond lover?
Prithee why so pale?
Will, when looking well can’t move her,
Looking ill prevail?
Prithee why so pale?

Why so dull and mute young sinner?
Prithee why so mute?
Will, when speaking well can’t win her,
Saying nothing do’t?
Prithee why so mute?

Quit, quit for shame, this will not move,
This cannot take her;
If of herself she will not love,
Nothing can make her;
The devil take her.

 

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I.
Brothers! between you and me
Whirlwinds sweep and billows roar:
Yet in spirit oft I see
On thy wild and winding shore
Freedom’s bloodless banners wave,–
Feel the pulses of the brave
Unextinguished in the grave,–
See them drenched in sacred gore,–
Catch the warrior’s gasping breath
Murmuring ‘Liberty or death!’

II.
Shout aloud! Let every slave,
Crouching at Corruption’s throne,
Start into a man, and brave
Racks and chains without a groan:
And the castle’s heartless glow,
And the hovel’s vice and woe,
Fade like gaudy flowers that blow–
Weeds that peep, and then are gone
Whilst, from misery’s ashes risen,
Love shall burst the captive’s prison.

III.
Cotopaxi! bid the sound
Through thy sister mountains ring,
Till each valley smile around
At the blissful welcoming!
And, O thou stern Ocean deep,
Thou whose foamy billows sweep
Shores where thousands wake to weep
Whilst they curse a villain king,
On the winds that fan thy breast
Bear thou news of Freedom’s rest!

IV.
Can the daystar dawn of love,
Where the flag of war unfurled
Floats with crimson stain above
The fabric of a ruined world?
Never but to vengeance driven
When the patriot’s spirit shriven
Seeks in death its native Heaven!
There, to desolation hurled,
Widowed love may watch thy bier,
Balm thee with its dying tear.

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Men of England, wherefore plough
For the lords who lay ye low?
Wherefore weave with toil and care
The rich robes your tyrants wear?

Wherefore feed and clothe and save,
From the cradle to the grave,
Those ungrateful drones who would
Drain your sweat — nay, drink your blood?

Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
Many a weapon, chain, and scourge,
That these stingless drones may spoil
The forced produce of your toil?

Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,
Shelter, food, love’s gentle balm?
Or what is it ye buy so dear
With your pain and with your fear?

The seed ye sow another reaps;
The wealth ye find another keeps;
The robes ye weave another wears;
The arms ye forge another bears.

Sow seed, — but let no tyrant reap;
Find wealth, — let no imposter heap;
Weave robes, — let not the idle wear;
Forge arms, in your defence to bear.

Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells;
In halls ye deck another dwells.
Why shake the chains ye wrought? Ye see
The steel ye tempered glance on ye.

With plough and spade and hoe and loom,
Trace your grave, and build your tomb,
And weave your winding-sheet, till fair
England be your sepulchre!

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Past ruin’d Ilion Helen lives,
Alcestis rises from the shades;
Verse calls them forth; ’tis verse that gives
Immortal youth to mortal maids. 

Soon shall Oblivion’s deepening veil
Hide all the peopled hills you see,
The gay, the proud, while lovers hail
These many summers you and me.

 

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O, I hae come from far away,
From a warm land far away,
A southern land across the sea,
With sailor-lads about the mast,
Merry and canny, and kind to me.

And I hae been to yon town
To try my luck in yon town;
Nort, and Mysie, Elspie too.
Right braw we were to pass the gate,
Wi’ gowden clasps on girdles blue.

Mysie smiled wi’ miminy mouth,
Innocent mouth, miminy mouth;
Elspie wore a scarlet gown,
Nort’s grey eyes were unco’ gleg.
My Castile comb was like a crown.

We walk’d abreast all up the street,
Into the market up the street;
Our hair with marigolds was wound,
Our bodices with love-knots laced,
Our merchandise with tansy bound.

Nort had chickens, I had cocks,
Gamesome cocks, loud-crowing cocks;
Mysie ducks, and Elspie drakes,—
For a wee groat or a pound;
We lost nae time wi’ gives and takes.

—Lost nae time, for well we knew,
In our sleeves full well we knew,
When the gloaming came that night,
Duck nor drake, nor hen nor cock
Would be found by candle-light.

And when our chaffering all was done,
All was paid for, sold and done,
We drew a glove on ilka hand,
We sweetly curtsied, each to each,
And deftly danced a saraband.

The market-lassies look’d and laugh’d,
Left their gear, and look’d and laugh’d;
They made as they would join the game,
But soon their mithers, wild and wud,
With whack and screech they stopp’d the same.

Sae loud the tongues o’ randies grew,
The flytin’ and the skirlin’ grew,
At all the windows in the place,
Wi’ spoons or knives, wi’ needle or awl,
Was thrust out every hand and face.

And down each stair they throng’d anon,
Gentle, semple, throng’d anon:
Souter and tailor, frowsy Nan,
The ancient widow young again,
Simpering behind her fan.

Without a choice, against their will,
Doited, dazed, against their will,
The market lassie and her mither,
The farmer and his husbandman,
Hand in hand dance a’ thegither.

Slow at first, but faster soon,
Still increasing, wild and fast,
Hoods and mantles, hats and hose,
Blindly doff’d and cast away,
Left them naked, heads and toes.

They would have torn us limb from limb,
Dainty limb from dainty limb;
But never one of them could win
Across the line that I had drawn
With bleeding thumb a-widdershin.

But there was Jeff the provost’s son,
Jeff the provost’s only son;
There was Father Auld himsel’,
The Lombard frae the hostelry,
And the lawyer Peter Fell.

All goodly men we singled out,
Waled them well, and singled out,
And drew them by the left hand in;
Mysie the priest, and Elspie won
The Lombard, Nort the lawyer carle,
I mysel’ the provost’s son.

Then, with cantrip kisses seven,
Three times round with kisses seven,
Warp’d and woven there spun we
Arms and legs and flaming hair,
Like a whirlwind on the sea.

Like a wind that sucks the sea,
Over and in and on the sea,
Good sooth it was a mad delight;
And every man of all the four
Shut his eyes and laugh’d outright.

Laugh’d as long as they had breath,
Laugh’d while they had sense or breath;
And close about us coil’d a mist
Of gnats and midges, wasps and flies,
Like the whirlwind shaft it rist.

Drawn up I was right off my feet,
Into the mist and off my feet;
And, dancing on each chimney-top,
I saw a thousand darling imps
Keeping time with skip and hop.

And on the provost’s brave ridge-tile,
On the provost’s grand ridge-tile,
The Blackamoor first to master me
I saw, I saw that winsome smile,
The mouth that did my heart beguile,
And spoke the great Word over me,
In the land beyond the sea.

I call’d his name, I call’d aloud,
Alas! I call’d on him aloud;
And then he fill’d his hand with stour,
And threw it towards me in the air;
My mouse flew out, I lost my pow’r!

My lusty strength, my power were gone;
Power was gone, and all was gone.
He will not let me love him more!
Of bell and whip and horse’s tail
He cares not if I find a store.

But I am proud if he is fierce!
I am as proud as he is fierce;
I’ll turn about and backward go,
If I meet again that Blackamoor,
And he’ll help us then, for he shall know
I seek another paramour.

And we’ll gang once more to yon town,
Wi’ better luck to yon town;
We’ll walk in silk and cramoisie,
And I shall wed the provost’s son
My lady of the town I’ll be!

For I was born a crown’d king’s child,
Born and nursed a king’s child,
King o’ a land ayont the sea,
Where the Blackamoor kiss’d me first,
And taught me art and glamourie.

Each one in her wame shall hide
Her hairy mouse, her wary mouse,
Fed on madwort and agramie,—
Wear amber beads between her breasts,
And blind-worm’s skin about her knee.

The Lombard shall be Elspie’s man,
Elspie’s gowden husband-man;
Nort shall take the lawyer’s hand;
The priest shall swear another vow:
We’ll dance again the saraband!

 

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