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Hail Twilight, sovereign of one peaceful hour!

Not dull art Thou as undiscerning Night;

But studious only to remove from sight

Day's mutable distinctions. - Ancient Power!

Thus did the waters gleam, the mountains lower,

To the rude Briton, when, in wolf-skin vest

Here roving wild, he laid him down to rest

On the bare rock, or through a leafy bower

Looked ere his eyes were closed. By him was seen

The self-same Vision which we now behold;

At thy meek bidding, shadowy Power! brought forth

These mighty barriers, and the gulf between;

The flood, the stars, - a spectacle as old

As the beginning of the heavens and earth!

 

William Wordsworth

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MUCH have I travell'd in the realms of gold,

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;

Round many western islands have I been

Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.

Oft of one wide expanse had I been told

That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne:

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene

Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken;

Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes

He stared at the Pacific—and all his men

Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—

Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

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God of the golden bow,

And of the golden lyre,

And of the golden hair,

And of the golden fire,

Charioteer

Of the patient year,

Where - where slept thine ire,

When like a blank idiot I put on thy wreath,

Thy laurel, thy glory,

The light of thy story,

Or was I a worm - too low crawling for death?

O Delphic Apollo!

 

(first verse)

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A wreathed garland of deserved praise,

Of praise deserved, unto thee I give,

I give to thee, who knowest all my wayes,

My crooked winding wayes, wherein I live,

Wherein I die, not live : for life is straight,

Straight as a line, and ever tends to thee,

To thee, who art more farre above deceit,

Then deceit seems above simplicitie.

Give me simplicitie, that I may live,

So live and like, that I may know thy wayes,

Know them and practise them : then shall I give

For this poore wreath, give thee a crown of praise.

 

George Herbert - "A Wreath"

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Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain

On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me

Remembering again that I shall die

And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks

For washing me cleaner than I have been

Since I was born into this solitude.

Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:

But here I pray that none whom once I loved

Is dying to-night or lying still awake

Solitary, listening to the rain,

Either in pain or thus in sympathy

Helpless among the living and the dead,

Like a cold water among broken reeds,

Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,

Like me who have no love which this wild rain

Has not dissolved except the love of death,

If love it be towards what is perfect and

Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.

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What was he doing, the great god Pan,

Down in the reeds by the river?

Spreading ruin and scattering ban,

Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,

And breaking the golden lilies afloat

With the dragon-fly on the river.

 

He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,

From the deep cool bed of the river;

The limpid water turbidly ran,

And the broken lilies a-dying lay,

And the dragon-fly had fled away,

Ere he brought it out of the river.

 

High on the shore sat the great god Pan,

While turbidly flow'd the river;

And hack'd and hew'd as a great god can

With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,

Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed

To prove it fresh from the river.

 

He cut it short, did the great god Pan

(How tall it stood in the river!),

Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,

Steadily from the outside ring,

And notch'd the poor dry empty thing

In holes, as he sat by the river.

 

'This is the way,' laugh'd the great god Pan

(Laugh'd while he sat by the river),

'The only way, since gods began

To make sweet music, they could succeed.'

Then dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,

He blew in power by the river.

 

Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan!

Piercing sweet by the river!

Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!

The sun on the hill forgot to die,

And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly

Came back to dream on the river.

 

Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,

To laugh as he sits by the river,

Making a poet out of a man:

The true gods sigh for the cost and pain—

For the reed which grows nevermore again

As a reed with the reeds of the river.

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Pan came out of the woods one day,--

His skin and his hair and his eyes were gray,

The gray of the moss of walls were they,--

And stood in the sun and looked his fill

At wooded valley and wooded hill.

 

He stood in the zephyr, pipes in hand,

On a height of naked pasture land;

In all the country he did command

He saw no smoke and he saw no roof.

That was well! and he stamped a hoof.

 

His heart knew peace, for none came here

To this lean feeding save once a year

Someone to salt the half-wild steer,

Or homespun children with clicking pails

Who see so little they tell no tales.

 

(first three of six verses)

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I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

 

 

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

 

 

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

 

 

I Must Go Down to the Sea ~ John Masefield

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That is no country for old men. The young

In one another's arms, birds in the trees

---Those dying generations---at their song,

The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,

Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long

Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.

Caught in that sensual music all neglect

Monuments of unaging intellect.

 

 

An aged man is but a paltry thing,

A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing

For every tatter in its mortal dress,

Nor is there singing school but studying

Monuments of its own magnificence;

And therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium.

 

 

O sages standing in God's holy fire

As in the gold mosaic of a wall,

Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,

And be the singing-masters of my soul.

Consume my heart away; sick with desire

And fastened to a dying animal

It knows not what it is; and gather me

Into the artifice of eternity.

 

 

Once out of nature I shall never take

My bodily form from any natural thing,

But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make

Of hammered gold and gold enamelling

To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;

Or set upon a golden bough to sing

To lords and ladies of Byzantium

Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

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The days of the future stand before us

like a line of burning candles -

golden candles, warm with life.

 

Behind them stand the days of our past,

a pitiful row of candles extinguished,

the nearest still sending up their smoke:

cold and melted, withered sticks.

 

I don't want to look; their image makes me sad,

it saddens me to recall their kindling.

I look ahead at the ones still burning.

 

I don't want to turn and see, with horror,

how quickly the line of shadow lengthens,

how quickly the number of snuffed candles grows.

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LEAR

And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life!

Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,

And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,

Never, never, never, never, never!

Pray you, undo this button: thank you, sir.

Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips,

Look there, look there!

 

Shakespeare - King Lear V/iii

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Mad March, with the wind in his wings wide-spread,

Leaps from heaven, and the deep dawn's arch

Hails re-risen again from the dead

Mad March.

 

Soft small flames on rowan and larch

Break forth as laughter on lips that said

Nought till the pulse in them beat love's march.

 

But the heartbeat now in the lips rose-red

Speaks life to the world, and the winds that parch

Bring April forth as a bride to wed

Mad March.

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It seems no work of Man's creative hand,

By labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;

But from the rock as if by magic grown,

Eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,

Where erst Athena held her rites divine;

Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,

That crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;

But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,

That first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;

The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,

Which Man deemed old two thousand years ago.

Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,

A rose-red city 'half as old as Time'.

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Ah, wherefore with infection should he live,

And with his presence grace impiety,

That sin by him advantage should achieve,

And lace itself with his society?

Why should false painting imitate his cheek,

And steal dead seeming of his living hue?

Why should poor beauty indirectly seek

Roses of shadow, since his rose is true?

Why should he live, now nature bankrupt is,

Beggared of blood to blush through lively veins?

For she hath no exchequer now but his,

And proud of many, lives upon his gains.

O, him she stores, to show what wealth she had

In days long since, before these last so bad.

 

Shakespeare - Sonnet 67

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Come to me in the silence of the night;

Come in the speaking silence of a dream;

Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright

As sunlight on a stream;

Come back in tears,

O memory, hope, love of finished years.

 

O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,

Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,

Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet;

Where thirsting longing eyes

Watch the slow door

That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

 

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live

My very life again though cold in death:

Come back to me in dreams, that I may give

Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:

Speak low, lean low

As long ago, my love, how long ago.

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Overcome -- O bitter sweetness,

Inhabitant of the soft cheek of a girl --

The rich man and his affairs,

The fat flocks and the fields' fatness,

Mariners, rough harvesters;

Overcome Gods upon Parnassus;

 

Overcome the Empyrean; hurl

Heaven and Earth out of their places,

That in the Same calamity

Brother and brother, friend and friend,

Family and family,

City and city may contend,

By that great glory driven wild.

 

Pray I will and sing I must,

And yet I weep -- Oedipus' child

Descends into the loveless dust.

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GLORY be to God for dappled things—

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;

And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins

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—fold, fallow, and plough;
I just love the feel of those words in my mouth!

 

 

A Grain Of Sand - Robert William Service

 

If starry space no limit knows

And sun succeeds to sun,

There is no reason to suppose

Our earth the only one.

'Mid countless constellations cast

A million worlds may be,

With each a God to bless or blast

And steer to destiny.

 

Just think! A million gods or so

To guide each vital stream,

With over all to boss the show

A Deity supreme.

Such magnitudes oppress my mind;

From cosmic space it swings;

So ultimately glad to find

Relief in little things.

 

For look! Within my hollow hand,

While round the earth careens,

I hold a single grain of sand

And wonder what it means.

Ah! If I had the eyes to see,

And brain to understand,

I think Life's mystery might be

Solved in this grain of sand.

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OTHELLO

Why, why is this?

Think'st thou I'ld make a lie of jealousy,

To follow still the changes of the moon

With fresh suspicions? No; to be once in doubt

Is once to be resolved: exchange me for a goat,

When I shall turn the business of my soul

To such exsufflicate and blown surmises,

Matching thy inference. 'Tis not to make me jealous

To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,

Is free of speech, sings, plays and dances well;

Where virtue is, these are more virtuous:

Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw

The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt;

For she had eyes, and chose me. No, Iago;

I'll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;

And on the proof, there is no more but this,-

Away at once with love or jealousy!

 

Shakespeare - Othello III/iii

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Dust as we are, the immortal spirit grows

Like harmony in music; there is a dark

Inscrutable workmanship that reconciles

Discordant elements, makes them cling together

In one society. How strange, that all

The terrors, pains, and early miseries,

Regrets, vexations, lassitudes interfused

Within my mind, should e'er have borne a part,

And that a needful part, in making up

The calm existence that is mine when I

Am worthy of myself! Praise to the end!

Thanks to the means which Nature deigned to employ;

Whether her fearless visitings, or those

That came with soft alarm, like hurtless light

Opening the peaceful clouds; or she would use

Severer interventions, ministry

More palpable, as best might suit her aim.

 

Wordsworth - The Prelude Book I

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By thy cold breast and serpent smile,

By thy unfathom'd gulfs of guile,

By that most seeming virtuous eye,

By thy shut soul's hypocrisy;

By thy perfection of thine art

Which pass'd for human thine own heart;

By thy delight in others' pain,

And by thy brotherhood of Cain,

I call upon thee! and compel

Thyself to be thy proper Hell!

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KING LEAR

It may be so, my lord.

Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!

Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend

To make this creature fruitful!

Into her womb convey sterility!

Dry up in her the organs of increase;

And from her derogate body never spring

A babe to honour her! If she must teem,

Create her child of spleen; that it may live,

And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!

Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;

With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;

Turn all her mother's pains and benefits

To laughter and contempt; that she may feel

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is

To have a thankless child! Away, away!

 

Shakespeare - King Lear I/iv

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Walking Away - Cecil Day Lewis

 

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day -

A sunny day with leaves just turning,

The touch-lines new-ruled - since I watched you play

Your first game of football, then, like a satellite

Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away.

 

Behind a scatter of boys, i can see

You walking away from me towards the school

With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free

Into a wilderness, the gait of one

Who finds no path where the path should be.

 

That hesitant figure, eddying away

Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,

Has something I never quite grasp to convey

About nature's give and take - the small, the scorching

Ordeals which fire one's irresolute clay.

 

I have had worse partings, but none that so

Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly

Saying what God alone could perfectly show -

How selfhood begins with a walking away,

And love is proved in the letting go.

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