Posts Tagged ‘Dante’

Who, mid the grasses of the field
That spring beneath our careless feet,
First found the shining stems that yield
The grains of life-sustaining wheat: 

Who first, upon the furrowed land,
Strewed the bright grains to sprout, and grow,
And ripen for the reaper’s hand –
We know not, and we cannot know. 

But well we know the hand that brought
And scattered, far as sight can reach,
The seeds of free and living thought
On the broad field of modern speech. 

Mid the white hills that round us lie,
We cherish that Great Sower’s fame,
And, as we pile the sheaves on high,
With awe we utter Dante’s name. 

Six centuries, since the poet’s birth,
Have come and flitted o’er our sphere:
The richest harvest reaped on earth
Crowns the last century’s closing year.


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What is a sonnet?  ‘T is the pearly shell
   That murmurs of the far-off murmuring sea;
   A precious jewel carved most curiously;
   It is a little picture painted well.
What is a sonnet?  ‘T is the tear that fell
   From a great poet’s hidden ecstasy;
   A two-edged sword, a star, a song – ah me!
   Sometimes a heavy-tolling funeral bell.
This was the flame that shook with Dante’s breath;
   The solemn organ whereon Milton played,
   And the clear glass where Shakespeare’s shadow falls:
A sea this is – beware who ventureth!
   For like a fjord the narrow floor is laid
   Deep as mid-ocean to the sheer mountain walls.

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