Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘S’ Category

The royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: ‘Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!’

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the monarch’s silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: ‘O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

‘No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin; but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

‘ ‘Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
‘Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

‘These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

‘The ill-timed truth we might have kept-
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say-
Who knows how grandly it had rung?

‘Our faults no tenderness should ask,
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders-oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

‘Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!’

The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
‘Be merciful to me, a fool!’

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything. 

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back. 

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter’s camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed. 

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink. 

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about. 

So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.

 

Read Full Post »

I stood at eve, as the sun went down, by a grave where a woman lies,
Who lured men’s souls to the shores of sin with the light of her wanton eyes;
Who sang the song that the Siren sang on the treacherous Lurley height,
Whose face was as fair as a summer day, and whose heart was as black as night.

Yet a blossom I fain would pluck today from the garden above her dust –
Not the languorous lily of soulless sin, nor the blood-red rose of lust,
But a pure white blossom of holy love that grew in the one green spot
In the arid desert of Phryne’s life, where all was parched and hot.

In the summer, when the meadows were aglow with blue and red,
Joe, the hostler of the ‘Magpie,” and fair Annie Smith were wed.
Plump was Annie, plump and pretty, with cheek as white as snow;
He was anything but handsome, was the “Magpie” hostler, Joe.

But be won the winsome lassie. They’d a cottage and a cow;
And her matronhood sat lightly on the village beauty’s brow.
Sped the months and came a baby-such a blue-eyed baby boy;
Joe was working in the stables when they told him of his joy.

He was rubbing down the horses, and he gave them then and there
All a special feed of clover, just in honor of the heir.
It had been his great ambition, and he told the horses so,
That the Fates would send a baby who might bear the name of Joe.

Little Joe the child was christened, and, like babies, grew apace,
He’d his mother’s eyes of azure and his father’s honest face.
Swift the happy years went over, years of blue and cloudless sky,
Love was lord of that small cottage, and the tempest passed them by.

Passed them by for years, then swiftly burst in fury o’er their home.
Down the lane by Annie’s cottage chanced a gentleman to roam;
Thrice he came and saw her sitting by the window with her child,
And he nodded to the baby, and the baby laughed and smiled.

So at last it grew to know him-little Joe was nearly four-
He would call the “pretty gemlum’ as he passed the open door,
And one day he ran and caught him, and in child’s play pulled him in,
And the baby Joe had prayed for brought about the mother’s sin.

‘Twas the same old wretched story that for ages bards had sung,
‘Twas a woman weak and wanton, and a villain’s tempting tongue;
‘Twas a picture deftly painted for a silly creature’s eyes
Of the Babylonian wonders, and the joy that in them lies.

Annie listened and was tempted-she was tempted and she fell,
As the angel fell from heaven to the blackest depths of hell;
She was promised wealth and splendour, and a life of guilty sloth,
Yellow gold for child and husband-and the woman left them both.

Home one eve came Joe the hostler, with a cheery cry of “Wife!”
Finding that which blurred forever all the story of his life.
She had left a silly letter, — through the cruel scrawl he spelt;
Then he sought his lonely bedroom, joined his horny hands, and knelt.

“Now, 0 Lord, 0 God, forgive her, for she ain’t to blame,” he cried;
“For I owt to seen her trouble, and ‘a’ gone away and died.
Why, a wench like her-God bless her! ’twasn’t likely as her’d rest
With that bonnie head forever on a hostler’s rugged breast.”

“It was kind of her to bear me all this long and happy time;
So, for my sake please to bless her, though you count her deed a crime-,
If so be I don’t pray proper, Lord, forgive me; for you see
I can talk all right to ‘osses; but I’m nervouslike with Thee.”

Ne’er a line came to the cottage, from the woman who had flown;
Joe, the baby, died that winter, and the man was left alone.
Ne’er a bitter word he uttered, but in silence kissed the rod,
Saving what he told the horses-saving what he told his God.

Far away, in mighty London, rose the woman into fame,
For her beauty won men’s homage, and she prospered in her shame.
Quick from lord to lord she flitted, higher still each prize she won,
And her rivals paled beside her, as the stars beside the sun.

Next she trod the stage half naked, and she dragged a temple down
To the level of a market for the women of the town.
And the kisses she had given to poor hostler Joe for naught
With their gold and priceless jewels rich and titled rou’es bought.

Went the years with flying footsteps while her star was at its height,
Then the darkness came on swiftly, and the gloaming turned to night.
Shattered strength and faded beauty tore the laurels from her brow;
Of the thousands who had worshipped never one came near her now.

Broken down in health and fortune, men forgot her very name,
Till the news that she was dying woke the echoes of her fame;
And the papers, in their gossip, mentioned how an actress lay
Sick to death in humble lodgings, growing weaker every day.

One there was who read the story in a far-off country place,
And that night the dying woman woke and looked upon his face.
Once again the strong arms clasped her that had clasped her years ago,
And the weary head lay pillowed on the breast of hostler Joe.

All the past had he forgiven, all the sorrow and the shame;
He had found her sick and lonely, and his wife he now could claim,
Since the grand folks who had known her, one and all, had slunk away,
He could clasp his long-lost darling, and no man would say him nay.

In his arms death found her lying, in his arms her spirit fled;
And his tears came down in torrents as he knelt beside her dead.
Never once his love had faltered, through her base, unhallowed life,
And the stone above her ashes bears the honored name of wife.

That’s the blossom I fain would pluck today, from the garden above her dust;
Not the languorous lily of soulless sin, nor the blood-red rose of lust;
But a sweet white blossom of holy love, that grew in the one green spot
In the arid desert of Phryne’s life, where all was parched and hot.

Read Full Post »

Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O’er which clouds are bright’ning,
Thou dost float and run;
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of Heaven,
In the broad day-light
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight,

Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and Heaven is overflow’d.

What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a Poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

Like a high-born maiden
In a palace-tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden
Its aereal hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view:

Like a rose embower’d
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflower’d,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy-winged thieves:

Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awaken’d flowers,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

Teach us, Sprite or Bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Chorus Hymeneal,
Or triumphal chant,
Match’d with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt,
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?

With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee:
Thou lovest: but ne’er knew love’s sad satiety.

Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

 

Read Full Post »

I

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!

II

Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky’s commotion,
Loose clouds like earth’s decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine aëry surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith’s height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh hear!

III

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lull’d by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave’s intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh hear!

IV

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seem’d a vision; I would ne’er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chain’d and bow’d
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

V

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like wither’d leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguish’d hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken’d earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Read Full Post »

The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armor against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings.
….Scepter and crown
….Must tumble down
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field
And plant fresh laurels where they kill,
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still.
….Early or late
….They stoop to fate
And must give up their murmuring breath,
When they, pale captives, creep to death.

The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon death’s purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds.
….Your heads must come
….To the cold tomb;
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.

Read Full Post »

..(from Much Ado About Nothing)

 

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant never:
……Then sigh not so,
……But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny. 

Sing no more ditties, sing no mo
Of dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leavy.
……Then sigh not so,
……But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.

 

 

Read Full Post »

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surpris’d I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
“Alas!” quoth he, “but newly born, in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.”
With this he vanish’d out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

Read Full Post »

When I do count the clock that tells the time
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night,
When I behold the violet past prime
And sable curls all silver’d o’er with white,
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard –
Then of thy beauty do I question make
That thou among the wastes of time must go
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow,
And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

 

Read Full Post »

The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats though unseen among us; visiting
This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower;
Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower,
It visits with inconstant glance
Each human heart and countenance;
Like hues and harmonies of evening,
Like clouds in starlight widely spread,
Like memory of music fled,
Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.

Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?
Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?
Ask why the sunlight not for ever
Weaves rainbows o’er yon mountain-river,
Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown,
Why fear and dream and death and birth
Cast on the daylight of this earth
Such gloom, why man has such a scope
For love and hate, despondency and hope?

No voice from some sublimer world hath ever
To sage or poet these responses given:
Therefore the names of Demon, Ghost, and Heaven,
Remain the records of their vain endeavour:
Frail spells whose utter’d charm might not avail to sever,
From all we hear and all we see,
Doubt, chance and mutability.
Thy light alone like mist o’er mountains driven,
Or music by the night-wind sent
Through strings of some still instrument,
Or moonlight on a midnight stream,
Gives grace and truth to life’s unquiet dream.

Love, Hope, and Self-esteem, like clouds depart
And come, for some uncertain moments lent.
Man were immortal and omnipotent,
Didst thou, unknown and awful as thou art,
Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his heart.
Thou messenger of sympathies,
That wax and wane in lovers’ eyes;
Thou, that to human thought art nourishment,
Like darkness to a dying flame!
Depart not as thy shadow came,
Depart not—lest the grave should be,
Like life and fear, a dark reality.

While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead.
I call’d on poisonous names with which our youth is fed;
I was not heard; I saw them not;
When musing deeply on the lot
Of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing
All vital things that wake to bring
News of birds and blossoming,
Sudden, thy shadow fell on me;
I shriek’d, and clasp’d my hands in ecstasy!

I vow’d that I would dedicate my powers
To thee and thine: have I not kept the vow?
With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now
I call the phantoms of a thousand hours
Each from his voiceless grave: they have in vision’d bowers
Of studious zeal or love’s delight
Outwatch’d with me the envious night:
They know that never joy illum’d my brow
Unlink’d with hope that thou wouldst free
This world from its dark slavery,
That thou, O awful LOVELINESS,
Wouldst give whate’er these words cannot express.

The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past; there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
Thus let thy power, which like the truth
Of nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply
Its calm, to one who worships thee,
And every form containing thee,
Whom, SPIRIT fair, thy spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all human kind.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »