Light flows our war of mocking words and yet Behold, with tears mine eyes are wet! I feel a nameless sadness o'er me roll, Yes, yes, we know that we can jest, We know, we know that we can smile! But there's a something in this breast, To which thy light words bring no rest. And thy gay smiles no anodyne. Give me thy hand and hush awhile, And turn those limpid eyes on mine, And let me read there, love! thy inmost soul.
Alas! is even love too weak To unlock the heart, and let it speak? Are even lovers powerless to reveal To one another what indeed they feel? I knew the mass of men conceal'd Their thoughts, for fear that if reveal'd They would by other men be met With blank indifference, or with blame reproved; I knew they lived and moved Trick'd in disguises, alien to the rest Of men, and alien to themselves - and yet The same heart beats in every human breast!
But we my love! - doth a like spell benumb Our hearts, our voices? - must we too be dumb?
Ah! well for us, if even we Even for a moment, can get free Our heart, and have our lips unchain'd; For that which seals them hath been deep-ordain'd!
Fate, which foresaw How frivolous a baby man would be - By what distractions he would be possess'd, How he would pour himself in every strife, And well-nigh change his own identity - That it might keep him from his capricious play His genuine self, and force him to obey Even in his own despite his being's law, Bade through the deep recesses of our breast The unregarded river of our life Pursue with indiscernible flow its way; And that we should not see The buried stream, and seem to be Eddying at large in blind uncertainty, Though driving on with it eternally.
But often, in the world's most crowded streets, But often, in the din of strife, There rises an unspeakable desire After the knowledge of our buried life; A thirst to spend our fire and restless force In tracking out our true, original course; A longing to inquire Into the mystery of this heart which beats So wild, so deep in us - to know Whence our lives come and where they go. And many a man in his own breast then delves, But deep enough, alas! none ever mines. And we have been on many thousand lines, And we have shown, on each, spirit and power; But hardly have we, for one little hour, Been on our own line, have we been ourselves - Hardly had skill to utter one of all The nameless feelings that course through our breast, But they course on for ever unexpress'd. And long we try in vain to speak and act Our hidden self, and what we say and do Is eloquent, is well - but 'tis not true! And then we will no more be rack'd With inward striving, and demand Of all the thousand nothings of the hour Their stupefying power; Ah yes, and they benumb us at our call! Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn, From the soul's subterranean depth upborne As from an infinitely distant land, Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey A melancholy into all our day.
Only - but this is rare - When a beloved hand is laid in ours, When, jaded with the rush and glare Of the interminable hours, Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear, When our world-deafen'd ear Is by the tones of a loved voice caress'd - A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast, And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again. The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain, And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know. A man becomes aware of his life's flow, And hears its winding murmur; and he sees The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.
And there arrives a lull in the hot race Wherein he doth for ever chase That flying and elusive shadow, rest. An air of coolness plays upon his face, And an unwonted calm pervades his breast. And then he thinks he knows The hills where his life rose And the sea where it goes.
The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! The sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. - Great God! I'd rather be A pagan suckled in a creed outworn, So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
Still to be neat, still to be drest As you were going to a feast; Still to be powder'd, still perfum'd: Lady, it is to be presum'd, Though art's hid causes are not found, All is not sweet, all is not sound.
Give me a look, give me a face That makes simplicity a grace; Robes loosely flowing, hair as free: Such sweet neglect more taketh me Than all th'adulteries of art; They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.
The lanky hank of a she in the inn over there Nearly killed me for asking the loan of a glass of beer: May the devil grip the whey-faced slut by the hair And beat bad manners out of her skin for a year.
That parboiled imp, with the hardest jaw you will ever see On virtue's path, and a voice that would rasp the dead, Came roaring and raging the minute she looked at me, And threw me out of the house on the back of my head.
If I asked her master he'd give me a cask a day; But she with the beer at hand, not a gill would arrange! May she marry a ghost and bear him a kitten and may The High King of Glory permit her to get the mange.
I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said: two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command, Tell that it's sculptor well those passions read, Which yet survive stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!" Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Had we but world enough, and time. This coyness, lady, were no crime. We would sit down, and think which way To walk, and pass our long love's day. Thou by the Indian Ganges' side Should'st rubies find: I by the tide Of Humber would complain. I would Love you ten years before the Flood, And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews. My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze; Two hundred to adore each breast; But thirty thousand to the rest; An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart. For lady, you deserve this state, Nor would I love at lower rate. But at my back I always hear Time's winged chariot hurrying near: And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity. Thy beauty shall no more be found; Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound My echoing song: then worms shall try That long-preserved virginity, And your quaint honour turn to dust, And into ashes all my lust. The grave's a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace. Now, therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew, And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires, Now let us sport us while we may; And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our Time devour, Than languish in his slow-chapt power. Let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball, And tear our pleasures with rough strife Through the iron gates of life. Thus, though we cannot make our Sun Stand still, yet we will make him run.
Could man be drunk forever
Could man be drunk for ever With liquor, love, or fights, Lief should I rouse at morning And lief lie down at nights.
But men at whiles are sober And think by fits and starts, And if they think they fasten Their hands upon their hearts.
On Wenlock Edge
On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble; His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves; The gale, it plies the saplings double, And thick on Severn snow the leaves.
'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger When Uricon the city stood: 'Tis the old wind in the old anger, But then it threshed another wood.
Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman At yonder heaving hill would stare: The blood that warms an English yeoman, The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.
There, like the wind through woods in riot, Through him the gale of life blew high; The tree of man was never quiet: Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.
The gale it plies the saplings double, It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone: To-day the Roman and his trouble Are ashes under Uricon.
Lucifer in starlight
On a starred night Prince Lucifer uprose. Tired of his dark dominion swung the fiend Above the rolling ball in cloud part screened, Where sinners hugged their spectre of repose. Poor prey to his hot fit of pride were those. And now upon his western wing he leaned, Now his huge bulk o'er Afric's sand careened, Now the black planet shadowed Arctic snows. Soaring through wider zones that pricked his scars With memory of the old revolt from Awe, He reached the middle height, and at the stars, Which are the brain of heaven, he looked, and sank. Around the ancient track marched, rank on rank, The army of unalterable law.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round: And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree, And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! A savage place; as holy and enchanted As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted By woman wailing for her demon-lover! And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced, Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river. Five miles meandering with a mazy motion Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, Then reached the caverns measureless to man, And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure Floated midway on the waves; Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw: It was an Abyssinian maid, And on her dulcimer she played, Singing of Mount Abora. Could I revive within me Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me, That with music loud and long, I would build that dome in air, That sunny dome! Those caves of ice! And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From Rest and Sleep, which but thy picture be, Much pleasure; then from thee, much more must flow; And soonest our best men with thee do go - Rest of their bones and souls' delivery! Thou'rt slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell; And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well And better than thy stroke. Why swell'st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!
When my grave is broke up again Some second guest to entertain, - For graves have learn'd that woman-head, To be to more than one a bed - And he that digs it, spies A bracelet of bright hair about the bone, Will not he let us alone, And think that there a loving couple lies, Who thought that this device might be some way To make their souls at the last busy day Meet at this grave, and make a little stay?
If this fall in a time, or land, Where mass-devotion doth command, Then he that digs us will bring Us to the bishop or the king, To make us relics; then Thou shalt be a Mary Magdalen, and I A something else thereby; All women should adore us, and some men. And, since at such time miracles are sought, I would have that age by this paper taught What miracles we harmless lovers wrought.
First we loved well and faithfully Yet knew not what we loved, nor why; Difference of sex we never knew No more than guardian angels do; Coming and going we Perchance might kiss, but not between those meals; Our hands ne'er touched the seals, Which nature, injured by late law, sets free. These miracles we did, but now alas! All measure, and all language, I should pass, Should I tell what a miracle she was.
I am: yet what I am none cares or knows My friends forsake me like a memory lost, I am the self-consumer of my woes - They rise and vanish in oblivious host, Like shadows in love's frenzied, stifled throes - And yet I am, and live - like vapors tossed
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, Into the living sea of waking dreams, Where there is neither sense of life or joys, But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems; Even the dearest, that I love the best, Are strange - nay, rather stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes, where man hath never trod, A place where woman never smiled or wept - There to abide with my Creator, God, And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept, Untroubling, and untroubled where I lie, The grass below - above the vaulted sky.
1865-1936 The Gods of the Copybook Headings
As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place. Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn: But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind, So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit Listed. They never altered their pace, Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place, But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch, They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch; They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings; So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace. They swore if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease. And when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife) Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; But though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew, And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true That All is not Gold that Glisters, and Two and Two make Four - And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of man - There are only four things certain since Social Progress began: - That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt Fool's bandaged Finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.
A Dead Statesman
I could not dig, I dared not rob, And so I lied to please the mob. Now all my lies are proved untrue, And I must face the men I slew. What tale will serve me here among Mine angry and defrauded young?
Jenny kissed me
Jenny kissed me when we met Jumping from the chair she sat in Time, you thief, who love to get Sweets into your book, put that in
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad, Say that health and wealth have missed me Say I'm growing old, but add Jenny kissed me.
Abou ben Adhem
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!) Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, And saw, within the moonlight of his room, Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom, An angel writing in a book of gold:- Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold, And to the presence in the room he said, 'What writest thou?' - The vision raised its head, And with a look made of all sweet accord, Answered 'The names of those who love the Lord.' 'And is mine one?' said Abou. 'Nay, not so,' Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low, But cheerly still; and said 'I pray thee then, Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.'
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night It came again with a great wakening light, And showed the names who love of God had blessed, And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
The Garden of Love
I went to the Garden of Love And saw what I never had seen A Chapel was built in the midst Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut And "Thou shalt not" writ over the door So I turn'd to the Garden of Love That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves And tomb-stones where flowers should be And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds And binding with briars my joys and desires.
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, and what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart, And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? and what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears, And water'd heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
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