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When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
 
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
 
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
 
W.B. Yeats - 'When You are Old'
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[...]

All day she spun in her poor dwelling,
And then her three hours' work at night!
Alas! 'twas hardly worth the telling,
It would not pay for candle-light.
 - This woman dwelt in Dorsetshire,

Her hut was on a cold hill-side,

And in that country coals are dear,

For they come far by wind and tide.


By the same fire to boil their pottage,
Two poor old dames, as I have known,
Will often live in one small cottage;
But she, poor woman, dwelt alone.
'Twas well enough when summer came,
The long, warm, lightsome summer-day,
Then at her door the canty dame
Would sit, as any linnet gay.

[...]

 

William WORDSWORTH - "Goody Blake and Harry Gill" (extract)

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John Anderson my jo, John,
    When we were first acquent,
Your locks were like the raven,
      Your bonie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
      Your locks are like the snaw,
But blessings on your frosty pow,
      John Anderson, my jo!
 
John Anderson my jo, John,
      We clamb the hill thegither,
And monie a cantie day, John,
      We've had wi' ane anither;
Now we maun totter down, John,
      And hand in hand we'll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
      John Anderson, my jo!
 
Robert Burns - 'John Anderson my Jo, John'
 
Different spelling, but the same word. It is a Scots/North of England word which Wordsworth may have learnt in the Lake District, but which doesn't really suit a poem about a Dorsetshire woman.
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It seemed that out of battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
 
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands, as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall,— 
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
 
With a thousand fears that vision's face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
“Strange friend,” I said, “here is no cause to mourn.” 
“None,” said that other, “save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something had been left,
Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled.
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress. 
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
Courage was mine, and I had mystery;
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery: 
To miss the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels, 
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
 
“I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now. . . .”
 
Wilfred OWEN - "Strange Meeting"
 
Heather : the poem I quoted from is in Lyrical Ballads. Not quite sure what a Dorsetshire woman is doing in there... I surmise that "Dorsetshire"  was chosen to fit both the rhythm and the rhyme-scheme of the poem...
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All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you —

I never had a selfless thought since I was born.

I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through;

I want God, you, all friends merely to serve my turn.

 

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure are the goals I seek;

I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin;

I talk of love — a scholar's parrot may talk Greek,

But self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

 

Only that you now have taught me (but how late!) my lack,

I see the chasm; and everything you are was making

My heart into a bridge by which I might get back

From exile and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains

You give me are more precious than all other gains.

 

 

As the Ruin Falls -  C. S. Lewis

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My name is Parrot, a bird of Paradise,
By nature devised of a wonderous kind,
Daintily dieted with divers delicate spice,
Till Euphrates, that flood, driveth me into Ind;
Where men of that country by fortune me find,
And send me to great ladies of estate.
Then Parrot must have an almond or a date.
For Parrot is no churlish chough nor no flecked pie,
Parrot is no Pendugum that men call a gairling,
Parrot is no woodcock nor no butterfly,
Parrot is no stammering stare, that men call a starling;
But Parrot is my own dear heart and my dear darling;
Melpomene, that fair maid, burnished his beak:
I pray you, let Parrot have liberty to speak.
Parrot is a fair bird for a lady;
God of His goodness him framed and wrought;
When Parrot is dead, she doth not putrefy:
Yea, all thing mortal shall turn into nought,
Except man's soul, that Christ so dear bought;
That never may die nor never die shall:
Make much of Parrot, the Popejay royall.
For that Peerless Prince that Parrot did create
He made you of nothing by His majesty:
Point well this problem that Parrot doth prate,
And remember among how Parrot and ye
Shall leap from this life, as merry as we be;
Pomp, pride, honor, riches and worldly lust,
Parrot saith plainly shall turn all to dust.

 

John Skelton - 'My name is Parrot, a bird of Paradise'

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FRIAR LAURENCE

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels:
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry,
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours
With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.
The earth that's nature's mother is her tomb;
What is her burying grave that is her womb,
And from her womb children of divers kind
We sucking on her natural bosom find,
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some and yet all different.
O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give,
Nor aught so good but strain'd from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.
Within the infant rind of this small flower
Poison hath residence and medicine power:
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;
Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.
Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

 

Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet II/iii

 

The only occurrence of flecked in Shakespeare's works, according to:

https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/concordance/

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Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born 
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight 
Some are Born to sweet delight 
Some are Born to Endless Night 
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night 
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light 
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in Night 
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day
 
William Blake - from 'Augeries of Innocence'
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JOHN OF GAUNT

I thank my liege, that in regard of me
He shortens four years of my son's exile:
But little vantage shall I reap thereby;
For, ere the six years that he hath to spend
Can change their moons and bring their times about,
My oil-dried lamp and time-bewasted light
Shall be extinct with age and endless night;
My inch of taper will be burnt and done,
And blindfold death not let me see my son.

 

Shakespeare - Richard II  I/iii

 

Endless NIght became the title of an Agatha Christie novel...

Edited by jfp
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17 hours ago, jfp said:

Endless NIght became the title of an Agatha Christie novel...

I think she was thinking of Blake - her character felt he was born to take the wrong path.

 

Listen to me, as when ye heard our father

  Sing long ago the songs of other shores:

Listen to me, and then in chorus gather

  All your deep voices, as you pull your oars:

  Fair these broad meads,—these hoary woods are grand;       

          But we are exiles from our Fathers’ Land.

 

From the lone shieling of the misty Island

  Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas;

Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,

  And we in dreams behold the Hebrides:       

  Fair these broad meads,—these hoary woods are grand;

          But we are exiles from our Fathers’ Land.

 

We ne’er shall tread the fancy-haunted valley,

  Where ’tween the dark hills creeps the small clear stream,

In arms around the patriarch banner rally,       

  Nor see the moon on royal tombstones gleam:

  Fair these broad meads,—these hoary woods are grand;

          But we are exiles from our Fathers’ Land.

 

When the bold kindred, in the time long vanished,

  Conquered the soil and fortified the keep,       

No seer foretold the children would be banished,

  That a degenerate lord might boast his sheep:

  Fair these broad meads,—these hoary woods are grand;

          But we are exiles from our Fathers’ Land.

 

Come, foreign rage, let discord burst in slaughter!       

  O then for clansmen true, and stern claymore!

The hearts that would have given their blood like water

  Beat heavily, beyond the Atlantic roar:

  Fair these broad meads,—these hoary woods are grand;

          But we are exiles from our Fathers’ Land.       

 

Anonymous (from the Gaelic) - 'Canadian Boat-Song'

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PROSPERO

Then, as my gift and thine own acquisition
Worthily purchased take my daughter: but
If thou dost break her virgin-knot before
All sanctimonious ceremonies may
With full and holy rite be minister'd,
No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall
To make this contract grow: but barren hate,
Sour-eyed disdain and discord shall bestrew
The union of your bed with weeds so loathly
That you shall hate it both: therefore take heed,
As Hymen's lamps shall light you.

FERDINAND

                                                    As I hope
For quiet days, fair issue and long life,
With such love as 'tis now, the murkiest den,
The most opportune place, the strong'st suggestion.
Our worser genius can, shall never melt
Mine honour into lust, to take away
The edge of that day's celebration
When I shall think: or Phoebus' steeds are founder'd,
Or Night kept chain'd below.

PROSPERO

                                                     Fairly spoke.
Sit then and talk with her; she is thine own.

 

Shakespeare - The Tempest IV/i

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I ordered this, clean wood box

Square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift.

I would say it was the coffin of a midget

Or a square baby

Were there not such a din in it.

 

The box is locked, it is dangerous.

I have to live with it overnight

And I can't keep away from it.

There are no windows, so I can't see what is in there.

There is only a little grid, no exit.

 

I put my eye to the grid.

It is dark, dark,

With the swarmy feeling of African hands

Minute and shrunk for export,

Black on black, angrily clambering.

 

How can I let them out?

It is the noise that appalls me most of all,

The unintelligible syllables.

It is like a Roman mob,

Small, taken one by one, but my god, together!

 

I lay my ear to furious Latin.

I am not a Caesar.

I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.

They can be sent back.

They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.

 

I wonder how hungry they are.

I wonder if they would forget me

If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree. There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades,

And the petticoats of the cherry.

 

They might ignore me immediately

In my moon suit and funeral veil.

I am no source of honey

So why should they turn on me? Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free.

The box is only temporary

 

The Arrival of the Bee Box  - Sylvia Plath

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If grief could burn out
Like a sunken coal,
The heart would rest quiet,
The unrent soul
Be still as a veil;
But I have watched all night
 
The fire grow silent,
The grey ash soft:
And I stir the stubborn flint
The flames have left,
And grief stirs, and the deft
Heart lies impotent.
 
Philip LARKIN (from The North Ship)
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The name of the author is the first to go

followed obediently by the title, the plot,

the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel

which suddenly becomes one you have never read,

never even heard of,

 

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor

decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,

to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

 

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye

and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,

and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

 

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,

the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

 

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,

it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,

not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

 

It has floated away down a dark mythological river

whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,

well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those

who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

 

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night

to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.

No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted

out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

 

Forgetfulness - Billy Collins

 

 

William James Collins is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003.

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HAMLET
How all occasions do inform against me
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.
Sure he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason
To fust in us unus'd. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on th' event,-
A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward,- I do not know
Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do,'
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me.
Witness this army of such mass and charge,
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit, with divine ambition puff'd,
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. 

 

Shakespeare - Hamlet IV/iv

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Even such is time, that takes in trust

Our youth, our joys, our all we have,

And pays us but with age and dust;

Who, in the dark and silent grave,

When we have wandered all our ways,

Shuts up the story of our days.

But from this earth, this grave, this dust,

My God shall raise me up, I trust.

 

Sir Walter Raleigh - 'Even such is Time'

Supposedly written on the night before his execution.

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It is summer, and we are in a house
That is not ours, sitting at a table
Enjoying minutes of a rented silence,
The upstairs people gone. The pigeons lull
To sleep the under-tens and invalids,
The tree shakes out its shadows to the grass,
The roses rove through the wilds of my neglect.
Our lives flap, and we have no hope of better
Happiness than this, not much to show for love
But how we are, and how this evening is,
Unpeopled, silent, and where we are alive
In a domestic love, seemingly alone,
All other lives worn down to trees and sunlight,
Looking forward to a visit from the cat.

 

Douglas DUNN (1942 - ) - "Modern Love"

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I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
     me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
     thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
     I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
     the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
     their women and children and a keg of beer and an
     accordion.

 

 Happiness - Carl Sandburg

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The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.
And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors;
Departed, have left no addresses.
By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept . . .
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.
But at my back in a cold blast I hear
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.
 
T.S. Eliot - from 'The Waste Land III: The Fire Sermon'
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Autumn resumes the land, ruffles the woods
with smoky wings, entangles them. Trees shine   
out from their leaves, rocks mildew to moss-green;   
the avenues are spread with brittle floods.
 
Platonic England, house of solitudes,   
rests in its laurels and its injured stone,   
replete with complex fortunes that are gone,   
beset by dynasties of moods and clouds.
 
It stands, as though at ease with its own world,   
the mannerly extortions, languid praise,   
all that devotion long since bought and sold,
 
the rooms of cedar and soft-thudding baize,   
tremulous boudoirs where the crystals kissed   
in cabinets of amethyst and frost.
 
Geoffrey Hill - "The Laurel Axe"
Edited by jfp
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The rolls and harrows lie at rest beside
The battered road; and spreading far and wide
Above the russet clods, the corn is seen
Sprouting its spiry points of tender green,
Where squats the hare, to terrors wide awake,
Like some brown clod the harrows failed to break.
Opening their golden caskets to the sun,
The buttercups make schoolboys eager run,
To see who shall be first to pluck the prize—
Up from their hurry, see, the skylark flies,
And o'er her half-formed nest, with happy wings
Winnows the air, till in the cloud she sings,
Then hangs a dust-spot in the sunny skies,
And drops, and drops, till in her nest she lies,
Which they unheeded passed—not dreaming then
That birds which flew so high would drop agen
To nests upon the ground, which anything
May come at to destroy. Had they the wing
Like such a bird, themselves would be too proud,
And build on nothing but a passing cloud!
As free from danger as the heavens are free
From pain and toil, there would they build and be,
And sail about the world to scenes unheard
Of and unseen—Oh, were they but a bird!
So think they, while they listen to its song,
And smile and fancy and so pass along;
While its low nest, moist with the dews of morn,
Lies safely, with the leveret, in the corn.
 
John Clare - 'The Sky Lark'
 
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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.
[...]
 
Shelley - "To a Skylark" (first three stanzas)
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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 more

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.

 

Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing II/iii

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CAESAR

I could be well moved, if I were as you:
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there's but one in all doth hold his place:
So in the world; 'tis furnish'd well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion: and that I am he,
Let me a little show it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banish'd,
And constant do remain to keep him so.

 

Shakespeare - Julius Caesar I/iii

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Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,
 
   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.
 
   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;
 
   For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar.
 
Alfred, Lord Tennyson - 'Crossing rhe Bar'
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