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Heather

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  1. 'I am of Ireland, And the Holy Land of Ireland, And time runs on,' cried she. 'Come out of charity, Come dance with me in Ireland.' One man, one man alone In that outlandish gear, One solitary man Of all that rambled there Had turned his stately head. That is a long way off, And time runs on,' he said, 'And the night grows rough.' 'I am of Ireland, And the Holy Land of Ireland, And time runs on,' cried she. 'Come out of charity And dance with me in Ireland.' 'The fiddlers are all thumbs, Or the fiddle-string accursed, The drums and the kettledrums And the trumpets all are burst, And the trombone,' cried he, 'The trumpet and trombone,' And cocked a malicious eye, 'But time runs on, runs on.' I am of Ireland, And the Holy Land of Ireland, And time runs on,' cried she. 'Come out of charity And dance with me in Ireland.' W.B. Yeats - 'I am of Ireland'
  2. Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright, The bridal of the earth and sky; The dew shall weep thy fall to-night, For thou must die. Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye; Thy root is ever in its grave, And thou must die. Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses, A box where sweets compacted lie; My music shows ye have your closes, And all must die. Only a sweet and virtuous soul, Like season'd timber, never gives; But though the whole world turn to coal, Then chiefly lives. George Herbert - 'Virtue'
  3. Here is no water but only rock Rock and no water and the sandy road The road winding above among the mountains Which are mountains of rock without water If there were water we should stop and drink Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand If there were only water amongst the rock Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit There is not even silence in the mountains But dry sterile thunder without rain There is not even solitude in the mountains But red sullen faces sneer and snarl From doors of mudcracked houses If there were water And no rock If there were rock And also water And water A spring A pool among the rock If there were the sound of water only Not the cicada And dry grass singing But sound of water over a rock Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop But there is no water T.S. Eliot - from 'The Waste Land'
  4. I Enter these enchanted woods, You who dare. Nothing harms beneath the leaves More than waves a swimmer cleaves. Toss your heart up with the lark, Foot at peace with mouse and worm, Fair you fare. Only at a dread of dark Quaver, and they quit their form: Thousand eyeballs under hoods Have you by the hair. Enter these enchanted woods, You who dare. II Here the snake across your path Stretches in his golden bath: Mossy-footed squirrels leap Soft as winnowing plumes of Sleep: Yaffles on a chuckle skim Low to laugh from branches dim: Up the pine, where sits the star, Rattles deep the moth-winged jar. Each has business of his own; But should you distrust a tone, Then beware. Shudder all the haunted roods, All the eyeballs under hoods Shroud you in their glare. Enter these enchanted woods, You who dare. George Meredith - from 'The Woods of Westermain'
  5. How can I, that girl standing there, My attention fix On Roman or on Russian Or on Spanish politics, Yet here's a travelled man that knows What he talks about, And there's a politician That has both read and thought, And maybe what they say is true Of war and war's alarms, But O that I were young again And held her in my arms. W.B. Yeats - 'Politics'
  6. He did not wear his scarlet coat, For blood and wine are red, And blood and wine were on his hands When they found him with the dead, The poor dead woman whom he loved, And murdered in her bed. He walked amongst the Trial Men In a suit of shabby gray; A cricket cap was on his head, And his step seemed light and gay; But I never saw a man who looked So wistfully at the day. I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky, And at every drifting cloud that went With sails of silver by. I walked, with other souls in pain, Within another ring, And was wondering if the man had done A great or little thing, When a voice behind me whispered low, "That fellow's got to swing." Dear Christ! the very prison walls Suddenly seemed to reel, And the sky above my head became Like a casque of scorching steel; And, though I was a soul in pain, My pain I could not feel. I only knew what hunted thought Quickened his step, and why He looked upon the garish day With such a wistful eye; The man had killed the thing he loved, And so he had to die. Yet each man kills the thing he loves, By each let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword! Oscar Wilde - from 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol'
  7. The mind of the people is like mud, From which arise strange and beautiful things, But mud is none the less mud, Though it bear orchids and prophesying Kings, Dreams, trees, and water's bright babblings. It has found form and colour and light, The cold glimmer of the ice-wrapped Poles; It has called a far-off glow Arcturus, And some pale weeds, lilies of the valley. It has imagined Virgil, Helen and Cassandra; The sack of Troy, and the weeping for Hector— Rearing stark up 'mid all this beauty In the thick dull neck of Ajax. There is a dark Pine in Lapland, And the great figured Horn of the Reindeer Moving soundlessly across the snow, Is its twin-brother, double-dreamed, In the mind of a far-off people. It is strange that a little mud Should echo with sounds, syllables and letters, Should rise up and call a mountain Popocatapetl, And a green-leafed wood Oleander. These are the ghosts of invisible things; There is no Lapland, no Helen and no Hector; And the Reindeer is a darkening of the brain; And Oleander is but Oleander. Mary Magdalena and the vine Lachrymæ Christi Were like ghosts up the ghost of Vesuvius, As I sat and drank wine with the soldiers, As I sat in the Inn on the mountain, Watching the shadows in my mind. The mind of the people is like mud: Where are the imperishable things, The ghosts that flicker in the brain— Silent women, orchids and prophesying Kings, Dreams, trees, and water's bright babblings! W.J. Turner - 'Talking with soldiers'
  8. They that have power to hurt and will do none, That do not do the thing they most do show, Who, moving others, are themselves as stone, Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow, They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces And husband nature’s riches from expense; They are the lords and owners of their faces, Others but stewards of their excellence. The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet, Though to itself it only live and die, But if that flower with base infection meet, The basest weed outbraves his dignity: For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds. Shakespeare - 'Sonnet 94'
  9. O I forbid you, maidens a’, That wear gold in your hair, To come or gae by Carterhaugh, For young Tam Lin is there. There’s nane that gaes by Carterhaugh But they leave him a wad, [token] Either their rings, or green mantles, Or else their maidenhead. Janet has kilted her green kirtle A little aboon her knee, And she has braided her yellow hair A little aboon her bree, [above her brow] And she’s awa to Carterhaugh, As fast as she can hie. When she came to Carterhaugh Tam Lin was at the well, And there she found his steed standing, But away was himsel. She had na pu’d a double rose, A rose but only twa, Till up then started young Tam Lin, Says, Lady, thou’s pu nae mae. Why pu’s thou the rose, Janet, And why breaks thou the wand? Or why comes thou to Carterhaugh Withoutten my command? ‘Carterhaugh, it is my ain, My daddie gave it me; I’ll come and gang by Carterhaugh, And ask nae leave at thee.’ Traditional - from 'Tam Lin'
  10. I sing to him that rests below, And, since the grasses round me wave, I take the grasses of the grave, And make them pipes whereon to blow. The traveller hears me now and then, And sometimes harshly will he speak: 'This fellow would make weakness weak, And melt the waxen hearts of men.' Another answers, 'Let him be, He loves to make parade of pain That with his piping he may gain The praise that comes to constancy.' A third is wroth: 'Is this an hour For private sorrow's barren song, When more and more the people throng The chairs and thrones of civil power? 'A time to sicken and to swoon, When Science reaches forth her arms To feel from world to world, and charms Her secret from the latest moon?' Behold, ye speak an idle thing: Ye never knew the sacred dust: I do but sing because I must, And pipe but as the linnets sing: And one is glad; her note is gay, For now her little ones have ranged; And one is sad; her note is changed, Because her brood is stol'n away. Alfred, Lord Tennyson - from 'In Memoriam A.H.H.'
  11. 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! This 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. William Wordsworth - 'The World Is Too Much With Us'
  12. I saw Eternity the other night, Like a great ring of pure and endless light, All calm, as it was bright; And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years, Driv’n by the spheres Like a vast shadow mov’d; in which the world And all her train were hurl’d. The doting lover in his quaintest strain Did there complain; Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights, Wit’s sour delights, With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure, Yet his dear treasure All scatter’d lay, while he his eyes did pour Upon a flow’r. The darksome statesman hung with weights and woe, Like a thick midnight-fog mov’d there so slow, He did not stay, nor go; Condemning thoughts (like sad eclipses) scowl Upon his soul, And clouds of crying witnesses without Pursued him with one shout. Yet digg’d the mole, and lest his ways be found, Work’d under ground, Where he did clutch his prey; but one did see That policy; Churches and altars fed him; perjuries Were gnats and flies; It rain’d about him blood and tears, but he Drank them as free. The fearful miser on a heap of rust Sate pining all his life there, did scarce trust His own hands with the dust, Yet would not place one piece above, but lives In fear of thieves; Thousands there were as frantic as himself, And hugg’d each one his pelf; The downright epicure plac’d heav’n in sense, And scorn’d pretence, While others, slipp’d into a wide excess, Said little less; The weaker sort slight, trivial wares enslave, Who think them brave; And poor despised Truth sate counting by Their victory. Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing, And sing, and weep, soar’d up into the ring; But most would use no wing. O fools (said I) thus to prefer dark night Before true light, To live in grots and caves, and hate the day Because it shews the way, The way, which from this dead and dark abode Leads up to God, A way where you might tread the sun, and be More bright than he. But as I did their madness so discuss One whisper’d thus, “This ring the Bridegroom did for none provide, But for his bride.” Henry Vaughan - 'The World'
  13. Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise Without delayes, Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise With him mayst rise: That, as his death calcined thee to dust, His life may make thee gold, and much more just. Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part With all thy art. The crosse taught all wood to resound his name Who bore the same. His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key Is best to celebrate this most high day. Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song Pleasant and long: Or since all music is but three parts vied, And multiplied; O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part, And make up our defects with his sweet art. George Herbert - 'Easter'
  14. Tell me where is fancy bred, Or in the heart or in the head? How begot, how nourished? Reply, reply. It is engender’d in the eyes, With gazing fed; and fancy dies In the cradle where it lies. Let us all ring fancy’s knell; I’ll begin it – Ding, dong, bell. Shakespeare - The Merchant of Venice, iii/ii
  15. My mother, who hates thunder storms, Holds up each summer day and shakes It out suspiciously, lest swarms Of grape-dark clouds are lurking there; But when the August weather breaks And rains begin, and brittle frost Sharpens the bird-abandoned air, Her worried summer look is lost, And I her son, though summer-born And summer-loving, none the less Am easier when the leaves are gone Too often summer days appear Emblems of perfect happiness I can't confront: I must await A time less bold, less rich, less clear: An autumn more appropriate. Philip Larkin - 'Mother, Summer, I'
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