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OLIVIA

O, what a deal of scorn looks beautiful
In the contempt and anger of his lip!
A murderous guilt shows not itself more soon
Than love that would seem hid: love's night is noon.
Cesario, by the roses of the spring,
By maidhood, honour, truth and every thing,
I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride,
Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.
Do not extort thy reasons from this clause,
For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause,
But rather reason thus with reason fetter,
Love sought is good, but given unsought better.

 

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night III/i

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THOUGH I waste watches framing words to fetter
Some spirit to mine own in clasp and kiss,
Out of the night there looms a sense 'twere better
To fail obtaining whom one fails to miss.

For winning love we win the risk of losing,
And losing love is as one's life were riven;
It cuts like contumely and keen ill-using
To cede what was superfluously given.

Let me then feel no more the fateful thrilling
That devastates the love-worn wooer's frame,
The hot ado of fevered hopes, the chilling
That agonizes disappointed aim!
So may I live no junctive law fulfilling,
And my heart's table bear no woman's name. 

 

Revulsion by Thomas Hardy

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[...]

Heaven's blessing be upon thee where thou liest
After thy innocent and busy stir
In narrow cares, thy little daily growth
Of calm enjoyments, after eighty years,
And more than eighty, of untroubled life,
Childless, yet by the strangers to thy blood
Honoured with little less than filial love.
What joy was mine to see thee once again,
Thee and thy dwelling, and a crowd of things
About its narrow precincts all beloved,
And many of them seeming yet my own!
Why should I speak of what a thousand hearts
Have felt, and every man alive can guess?
The rooms, the court, the garden were not left
Long unsaluted, nor the sunny seat
Round the stone table under the dark pine,
Friendly to studious or to festive hours;
Nor that unruly child of mountain birth,
The famous brook, who, soon as he was boxed
Within our garden, found himself at once,
As if by trick insidious and unkind,
Stripped of his voice and left to dimple down
(Without an effort and without a will)
A channel paved by man's officious care.

[...]

William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book IV

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When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay, 
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings, 
Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say, 
"He was a man who used to notice such things"? 

 

If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid's soundless blink, 
The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades to alight 
Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer may think, 
"To him this must have been a familiar sight." 

 

If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm, 
When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn, 
One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm, 
But he could do little for them; and now he is gone." 

 

If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door, 
Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees, 
Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more,
"He was one who had an eye for such mysteries"? 

 

And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom, 
And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings, 
Till they rise again, as they were a new bell's boom, 
"He hears it not now, but used to notice such things"?

 

Afterwards by Thomas Hardy

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[...]

Well do I call to mind the very week
When I was first intrusted to the care
Of that sweet Valley; when its paths, its shores,
And brooks were like a dream of novelty
To my half-infant thoughts; that very week,
While I was roving up and down alone,
Seeking I knew not what, I chanced to cross
One of those open fields, which, shaped like ears,
Make green peninsulas on Esthwaite's Lake:
Twilight was coming on, yet through the gloom
Appeared distinctly on the opposite shore
A heap of garments, as if left by one
Who might have there been bathing. Long I watched,
But no one owned them; meanwhile the calm lake
Grew dark with all the shadows on its breast,
And, now and then, a fish up-leaping snapped
The breathless stillness.

[...]

 

William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book V

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They roused him with muffins--they roused him with ice--
     They roused him with mustard and cress--
They roused him with jam and judicious advice--
     They set him conundrums to guess.

 

When at length he sat up and was able to speak,
     His sad story he offered to tell;
And the Bellman cried "Silence! Not even a shriek!"
     And excitedly tingled his bell.

 

There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream,
     Scarcely even a howl or a groan,
As the man they called "Ho!" told his story of woe
     In an antediluvian tone.

 

"My father and mother were honest, though poor--"
     "Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark--
     We have hardly a minute to waste!"

 

"I skip forty years," said the Baker, in tears,
     "And proceed without further remark
To the day when you took me aboard of your ship
     To help you in hunting the Snark.

 

"A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named)
     Remarked, when I bade him farewell--"
"Oh, skip your dear uncle!" the Bellman exclaimed,
     As he angrily tingled his bell.

 

"He remarked to me then," said that mildest of men,
     " 'If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
Fetch it home by all means--you may serve it with greens,
     And it's handy for striking a light.

 

" 'You may seek it with thimbles--and seek it with care;
     You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
     You may charm it with smiles and soap--' "

 

("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold
     In a hasty parenthesis cried,
"That's exactly the way I have always been told
     That the capture of Snarks should be tried!")

 

" 'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
     If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
     And never be met with again!'

 

Lewis Carroll - from 'The Hunting of the Snark'

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’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

      And the mome raths outgrabe.

 

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son

   The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

 

He took his vorpal sword in hand;

      Long time the manxome foe he sought—

So rested he by the Tumtum tree

      And stood awhile in thought.

 

And, as in uffish thought he stood,

      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

      And burbled as it came!

 

One, two! One, two! And through and through

      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

      He went galumphing back.

 

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

      He chortled in his joy.

 

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

      And the mome raths outgrabe.

 

Jabberwocky - Lewis Carroll

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MACBETH

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes.

 

Shakespeare, Macbeth II/i

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Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! 

  No hungry generations tread thee down; 

The voice I hear this passing night was heard 

  In ancient days by emperor and clown: 

Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 

  Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, 

    She stood in tears amid the alien corn; 

          The same that ofttimes hath 

  Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam 

    Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. 

 

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell 

  To toll me back from thee to my sole self! 

Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well 

  As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. 

Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades 

  Past the near meadows, over the still stream, 

    Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep 

          In the next valley-glades: 

  Was it a vision, or a waking dream? 

    Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?

 

John Keats - from 'Ode to a Nightingale'

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I SAY that Roger Casement
Did what he had to do.
He died upon the gallows,
But that is nothing new.

Afraid they might be beaten
Before the bench of Time,
They turned a trick by forgery
And blackened his good name.

A perjurer stood ready
To prove their forgery true;
They gave it out to all the world,
And that is something new;

For Spring Rice had to whisper it,
Being their Ambassador,
And then the speakers got it
And writers by the score.

Come Tom and Dick, come all the troop
That cried it far and wide,
Come from the forger and his desk,
Desert the perjurer's side;

Come speak your bit in public
That some amends be made
To this most gallant gentleman
That is in quicklime laid.

 

Roger Casement - W.B. Yeats

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PUCK

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

 

Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream V/i

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Well I remember how you smiled
To see me write your name upon
The soft sea-sand . . . "O! what a child!
You think you're writing upon stone!"

I have since written what no tide
Shall ever wash away, what men
Unborn shall read o'er ocean wide
And find Ianthe's name again.

 

Waltor Savage Landor - 'Well I remember how you smiled'

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Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark verandah)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?

 

from Tarantella by Hilaire Belloc

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Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.
 
I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.
 
His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.
 
My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.
 
G.K. Chesterton - 'The Rolling English Road'
 
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'Tis said that when 
The hands of men 
Tamed this primeval wood, 
And hoary trees with groans of woe, 
Like warriors by an unknown foe, 
Were in their strength subdued, 
The virgin Earth Gave instant birth 
To springs that ne'er did flow 
That in the sun Did rivulets run, 
And all around rare flowers did blow 
The wild rose pale Perfumed the gale 
And the queenly lily adown the dale 
(Whom the sun and the dew 
And the winds did woo), 
With the gourd and the grape luxuriant grew.

 

So when in tears 
The love of years 
Is wasted like the snow, 
And the fine fibrils of its life 
By the rude wrong of instant strife 
Are broken at a blow 
Within the heart 
Do springs upstart 
Of which it doth now know, 
And strange, sweet dreams, 
Like silent streams 
That from new fountains overflow, 
With the earlier tide 
Of rivers glide 
Deep in the heart whose hope has died-- 
Quenching the fires its ashes hide,-- 
Its ashes, whence will spring and grow 
Sweet flowers, ere long, 
The rare and radiant flowers of song!

 

The Forest Reverie - EdgarAllen Poe

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[...]
These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind
With tranquil restoration:—feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,—
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
[...]
 
William Wordsworth, "Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey"
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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.
 
Henry Vaughan - from 'The World'
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There's music in the sighing of a reed; 
     There's music in the gushing of a rill; 
There's music in all things, if men had ears: 
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres. 

 

from Don Juan - canto XV by Lord George Gordon Byron
 

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[...]

Thus far, Friend! did I, not used to make
A present joy the matter of a song,
Pour forth that day my soul in measured strains
That would not be forgotten, and are here
Recorded: to the open fields I told
A prophecy: poetic numbers came
Spontaneously to clothe in priestly robe
A renovated spirit singled out,
Such hope was mine, for holy services.
My own voice cheered me, and, far more, the mind's
Internal echo of the imperfect sound;
To both I listened, drawing from them both
A cheerful confidence in things to come.

[...]

 

William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book I

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My soul, there is a country 

  Far beyond the stars, 

Where stands a wingèd sentry 

  All skilful in the wars: 

There, above noise and danger,        

  Sweet Peace sits crown'd with smiles, 

And One born in a manger 

  Commands the beauteous files. 

He is thy gracious Friend, 

  And—O my soul, awake!— 

Did in pure love descend 

  To die here for thy sake. 

If thou canst get but thither, 

  There grows the flower of Peace, 

The Rose that cannot wither, 

  Thy fortress, and thy ease. 

Leave then thy foolish ranges; 

  For none can thee secure 

But One who never changes— 

  Thy God, thy life, thy cure.

 

Henry Vaughan - 'Peace'

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Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age, 

God's breath in man returning to his birth, 

The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage, 

The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth 

Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tow'r, 

Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear, 

The six-days world transposing in an hour, 

A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear; 

Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss, 

Exalted manna, gladness of the best, 

Heaven in ordinary, man well drest, 

The milky way, the bird of Paradise, 

Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood, 

The land of spices; something understood. 

 

Prayer by George Herbert

 

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We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry
With analytic eye,
And eavesdrop all our talk
With an amused look,
You cannot find the centre
Where we dance, where we play,
Where life is still asleep
Under the closed flower,
Under the smooth shell
Of eggs in the cupped nest
That mock the faded blue
Of your remoter heaven.

 

R.S. Thomas - 'Children's song'

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Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

God bless Mummy. I know that's right.
Wasn't it fun in the bath to-night?
The cold's so cold, and the hot's so hot.
Oh! God bless Daddy - I quite forgot.

If I open my fingers a little bit more,
I can see Nanny's dressing-gown on the door.
It's a beautiful blue, but it hasn't a hood.
Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good.

Mine has a hood, and I lie in bed,
And pull the hood right over my head,
And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,
And nobody knows that I'm there at all.

Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day.
And what was the other I had to say?
I said "Bless Daddy," so what can it be?
Oh! Now I remember it. God bless Me.

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

 

Vespers by A A Milne
 

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'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'

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