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The brooding ghosts of Australian night have gone from the bush and town;

My spirit revives in the morning breeze,

though it died when the sun went down;

The river is high and the stream is strong,

and the grass is green and tall,

And I fain would think that this world of ours is a good world after all.

 

The light of passion in dreamy eyes, and a page of truth well read,

The glorious thrill in a heart grown cold of the spirit I thought was dead,

A song that goes to a comrade's heart, and a tear of pride let fall --

And my soul is strong! and the world to me is a grand world after all!

 

Let our enemies go by their old dull tracks,

and theirs be the fault or shame

(The man is bitter against the world who has only himself to blame);

Let the darkest side of the past be dark, and only the good recall;

For I must believe that the world, my dear, is a kind world after all.

 

It well may be that I saw too plain, and it may be I was blind;

But I'll keep my face to the dawning light,

though the devil may stand behind!

Though the devil may stand behind my back, I'll not see his shadow fall,

But read the signs in the morning stars of a good world after all.

 

Rest, for your eyes are weary, girl -- you have driven the worst away --

The ghost of the man that I might have been is gone from my heart to-day;

We'll live for life and the best it brings till our twilight shadows fall;

My heart grows brave, and the world, my girl, is a good world after all.

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Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs

About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,

The night above the dingle starry,

Time let me hail and climb

Golden in the heyday of his eyes,

And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns

And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves

Trail with daisies and barley

Down the rivers of the windfall light.

 

From: Dylan Thomas - "Fern Hill"

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I think it better that at times like these

A poet's mouth be silent, for in truth

We have no gift to set a statesman right;

He has had enough of meddling who can please

A young girl in the indolence of her youth,

Or an old man upon a winter's night.

 

On Being Asked For A War Poem by W. B. Yeats

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A child said What is the grass? fetching it to one with full hands

How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of the hopeful green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,

A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,

Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners,

that we may see and remark, and say Whose?...

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

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Washed in the blood of the brave and the blooming,

Snatched from the alters of insolent foes,

Burning with star-fires, but never consuming,

Flash its broad ribbons of lily and rose.

 

Vainly the prophets of Baal would rend it,

Vainly his worshipers pray for its fall;

Thousands have died for it, millions defend it,

Emblem of justice and mercy to all;

 

Justice that reddens the sky with her terrors,

Mercy that comes with her white-handed train,

Soothing all passions, redeeming all errors,

Sheathing the sabre and breaking the chain.

 

Born on the deluge of all usurpations,

Drifted our Ark o'er the desolate seas,

Bearing the rainbow of hope to the nations,

Torn from the storm-cloud and flung to the breeze!

 

God bless the flag and its loyal defenders,

While its broad folds o'er the battle-field wave,

Till the dim star-wreath rekindle its splendors,

Washed from its stains in the blood of the brave!

 

God Save The Flag by Oliver Wendell Holmes

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The Lily And The Rose

 

 

The nymph must lose her female friend,

If more admired than she—

But where will fierce contention end

If flow'rs can disagree?

 

Within the garden's peaceful scene

Appear'd two lovely foes,

Aspiring to the rank of queen—

The Lily and the Rose.

 

The Rose soon redden'd into rage,

And, swelling with disdain,

Appeal'd to many a poet's page

To prove her right to reign.

 

The Lily's height bespoke command—

A fair imperial flow'r;

She seem'd designed for Flora's hand,

The sceptre of her pow'r.

 

The civil bick'ring and debate

The goddess chanc'd to hear,

And flew to save, ere yet too late,

The pride of the parterre.—

 

Yours is, she said, the nobler hue,

And yours the statelier mien,

And, till a third surpasses you,

Let each be deem'd a queen.

 

Thus, sooth'd and reconcil'd, each seeks

The fairest British fair;

The seat of empire is her cheeks,

They reign united there.

 

 

Posted in memory of two sweet old ladies, sisters, who were once our neighbours

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It was our fault, and our very great fault-and now we must turn it to use,

We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.

So the more we work and the less we talk the better results we shall get.

We have had an Imperial lesson; it may make us an Empire yet!

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OLIVIA

I have said too much unto a heart of stone

And laid mine honour too unchary out:

There's something in me that reproves my fault;

But such a headstrong potent fault it is,

That it but mocks reproof.

 

from: Shakespeare - Twelfth Night II/ii

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Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;

Mock on, mock on; 'tis all in vain!

You throw the sand against the wind,

And the wind blows it back again.

And every sand becomes a gem

Reflected in the beams divine;

Blown back they blind the mocking eye,

But still in Israel's paths they shine.

 

The Atoms of Democritus

And Newton's Particles of Light

Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,

Where Israel's tents do shine so bright.

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ROMEO

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?

It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief,

That thou her maid art far more fair than she:

Be not her maid, since she is envious;

Her vestal livery is but sick and green

And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.

It is my lady, O, it is my love!

O, that she knew she were!

She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?

Her eye discourses; I will answer it.

I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,

Having some business, do entreat her eyes

To twinkle in their spheres till they return.

What if her eyes were there, they in her head?

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,

As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven

Would through the airy region stream so bright

That birds would sing and think it were not night.

See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!

O, that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might touch that cheek!

 

From: Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet II/ii

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He that but once too nearly hears

The music of forfended spheres

Is thenceforth lonely, and for all

His days as one who treads the Wall

Of China, and, on this hand, sees

Cities and their civilities

And, on the other, lions.

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Lo! 'tis a gala night

Within the lonesome latter years!

An angel throng, bewinged, bedight

In veils, and drowned in tears,

Sit in a theatre, to see

A play of hopes and fears,

While the orchestra breathes fitfully

The music of the spheres.

 

Mimes, in the form of God on high,

Mutter and mumble low,

And hither and thither fly-

Mere puppets they, who come and go

At bidding of vast formless things

That shift the scenery to and fro,

Flapping from out their Condor wings

Invisible Woe!

 

That motley drama- oh, be sure

It shall not be forgot!

With its Phantom chased for evermore,

By a crowd that seize it not,

Through a circle that ever returneth in

To the self-same spot,

And much of Madness, and more of Sin,

And Horror the soul of the plot.

 

But see, amid the mimic rout

A crawling shape intrude!

A blood-red thing that writhes from out

The scenic solitude!

It writhes!- it writhes!- with mortal pangs

The mimes become its food,

And seraphs sob at vermin fangs

In human gore imbued.

 

Out- out are the lights- out all!

And, over each quivering form,

The curtain, a funeral pall,

Comes down with the rush of a storm,

While the angels, all pallid and wan,

Uprising, unveiling, affirm

That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"

And its hero the Conqueror Worm.

 

 

Can't say I like this, but the link was irresistible.

edit: even if I can't use "spheres" :(

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LEAR

Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm

Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;

But where the greater malady is fix'd,

The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'ldst shun a bear;

But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,

Thou'ldst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the mind's free,

The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind

Doth from my senses take all feeling else

Save what beats there. Filial ingratitude!

Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand

For lifting food to't? But I will punish home:

No, I will weep no more. In such a night

To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.

In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!

Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all, -

O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;

No more of that.

 

From: Shakespeare - King Lear III/iv

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When I had money, money,O!

I knew no joy till I went poor;

For many a false man as a friend

Came knocking all day at my door.

 

Then felt I like a child that holds

A trumpet that he must not blow

Because a man is dead; I dared

Not speak to let this false world know.

 

Much have I thought of life, and seen

How poor men's hearts are ever light;

And how their wives do hum like bees

About their work from morn till night.

 

So, when I hear these poor ones laugh,

And see the rich ones coldly frown-

Poor men, think I, need not go up

So much as rich men should come down.

 

When I had money, money O!

My many friends proved all untrue;

But now I have no money, O!

My friends are real, though very few.

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When my love swears that she is made of truth,

I do believe her though I know she lies,

That she might think me some untutored youth,

Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.

Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,

Although she knows my days are past the best,

Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:

On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed:

But wherefore says she not she is unjust?

And wherefore say not I that I am old?

O! love's best habit is in seeming trust,

And age in love, loves not to have years told:

Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,

And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

 

Shakespeare - Sonnet 138

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Gaily bedight,

A gallant knight,

In sunshine and in shadow,

Had journeyed long,

Singing a song,

In search of Eldorado.

 

But he grew old-

This knight so bold-

And o'er his heart a shadow

Fell as he found

No spot of ground

That looked like Eldorado.

 

And, as his strength

Failed him at length,

He met a pilgrim shadow:

"Shadow," said he,

"Where can it be,

This land of Eldorado?"

 

"Over the Mountains

Of the Moon,

Down the Valley of the Shadow,

Ride, boldly ride,"

The shade replied,

If you seek for Eldorado."

 

Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe

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Out of the mid-wood's twilight

Into the meadow's dawn,

Ivory limbed and brown-eyed,

Flashes my Faun!

 

He skips through the copses singing,

And his shadow dances along,

And I know not which I should follow,

Shadow or song!

 

O Hunter, snare me his shadow!

O Nightingale, catch me his strain!

Else moonstruck with music and madness

I track him in vain!

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DUKE ORSINO

If music be the food of love, play on;

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.

That strain again! it had a dying fall:

O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:

'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,

That, notwithstanding thy capacity

Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,

Of what validity and pitch soe'er,

But falls into abatement and low price,

Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy

That it alone is high fantastical.

 

 

From: Shakespeare - Twelfth Night I/i

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(Thanks to the Scottish Recommendations thread)

 

 

You are welcome, little one! Mishap befall me,

If thoughts of you or yet your mother

Shall ever daunt me or awe me,

My sweet, little lady,

Or if I blush when you shall call me

Tyta or daddy!

 

What though they call me fornicator,

And tease my name in country gossip?

The more they talk, I am known the better,

Even let them tattle!

An old wife's tongue is a feeble matter

To give one annoyance.

 

Welcome, my lovely, sweet, little daughter!

Though you come here a little unsought for,

And though your coming I have fought for

Both church and choir;

Yet, by my faith, you are not unwrought for -

That I shall swear!

 

Sweet fruit of many a merry dint,

My funny toil is not all lost:

Though you came to the world askew,

Which fools may scoff at,

In my last coin your part will be in it

The better half of it.

 

Though I should be the worse provided,

You will be as lovely and finely clad,

And your young years as comfortably bred

With education,

As any brat of wedlock's bed

In all your station.

 

Little image of my lovely Betty,

As fatherly I kiss and pet you,

As dear and near my heart I set you,

With as good will,

As all the priests had seen me get you

That is out of Hell.

 

God grant that you may always inherit

Your mother's looks and graceful merit,

And your poor, worthless daddy's spirit

Without his failings!

It will please me more to see you heir it

Than stocked farms.

 

And if you be what I would have you,

And take the counsel I shall give you,

I will never rue my trouble with you -

The cost nor shame of it -

But be a loving father to you,

And brag the name of it.

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That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see'st the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west;

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the death-bed whereon it must expire

Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.

This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

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Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,

Alone and palely loitering?

The sedge has withered from the lake,

And no birds sing.

 

Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,

So haggard and so woe-begone?

The squirrel's granary is full,

And the harvest's done.

 

I see a lily on thy brow,

With anguish moist and fever-dew,

And on thy cheeks a fading rose

Fast withereth too.

 

From: Keats, "La Belle Dame Sans Merci"

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