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I have chosen a few poems from around the web that I thought you might enjoy. Additional poems will be added each week for your enjoyment.
We cannot kindle when we will
The fire which in the heart resides,
The spirit bloweth and is still,
In mystery our soul abides:
But tasks, in hours of insight willed,
May be through hours of gloom fulfilled
To see the World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour...
--William Blake, from Auguries of Innocence
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise.
See gathering thousands, while I sing,
A broken chain exulting bring,
And dash it in a tyrant's face !
And dare him to his very beard,
And tell him he no more is feared,
No more the despot of Columbia's race !
A tyrant's proudest insults braved,
They shout, a people freed; they hail an empire saved !
--Robert Burns, from Libertie -- A Vision
Take away these rosy lips,
Rich with balmy treasure !
Turn away thine eyes of love,
Lest I die with pleasure !
What is life when wanting love ?
Night without a morning !
Love's the cloudless summer sun,
Nature gay adorning.
--Robert Burns, from Thine Am I
Here's a bottle and an honest friend !
What wad ye wish for mair, man ?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o' care, man ?
Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man :
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And come not aye when sought, man.
Robert Burns, from A Bottle and a Friend
And constancy lives in realms above;
And life is thorny; and youth is vain;
And to be wroth with one we love
Doth work like madness in the brain.
--Samuel taylor Coleridge
Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool,
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.
--Samuel taylor Coleridge
"Hope, of all ills that men endure,
The only cheap and universal cure."
--Abraham Cowley, The Mistress. For Hope.
For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay
In keen and quivering ratio
To the ecstasy.
I dwell in Possibility --
A fairer house than Prose --
More numerous of Windows --
Superior -- for Doors.
He who has a thousand friends
Has not a friend to spare,
While he who has one enemy
Shall meet him everywhere.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hope, like the gleaming taper's light,
Adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray.
How can you get very far,
If you don't know Who You Are?
How can you do what you ought,
If you don't know What You've Got?
And if you don't know Which to Do
Of all the things in front of you,
Then what you'll have when you are through
Is just a mess without a clue
Of all the best that can come true
If you know What and Which and Who.
--Benjamin Hoff, from the Tao of Pooh
So as from year to year we count our treasure,
Our loss seems less, and larger look our gains;
Time's wrong repaid in more than even measure-
We lose our jewels, but we break our chains.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes, from The Angel-Thief
Such love I cannot analyse;
It does not rest in lips or eyes,
Neither in kisses nor caress.
And understanding in one word
Or in brief letters.It's preserved
by trust and by respect and awe.
These are the words I'm feeling for.
Two people,yes,two lasting friends.
The giving comes,the taking ends.
There is no measure for such things.
For this all Nature slows and sings.
Truth is the trial of itself
And needs no other touch,
And purer than the purest gold,
Refine it ne'er so much.
--Ben Jonson, On Truth, 1616
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress;
And as the evening twilight slips away,
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from Morituri Salutamus
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For teh soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art; to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from A Psalm of Life, 1839
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness:
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice: then darkness again and a silence.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Theologian's Talefrom Tales of a Wayside Inn
She comes like the husht beauty of the night
And sees too deep for laughter;
Her touch is a vibration and a light
From worlds before and after.
I must 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 gray mist on the sea's face and a gray dawn breaking.
--John Masefield, from Sea Fever
Woman wants monogamy;
Man delights in novelty
Love is woman's moon and sun;
Man has other forms of fun...
With this the gist and sum of it,
What earthly good can come of it?
--Dorothy Parker, from a General Review of the Sex Situation
Why is it that no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.
--Dorothy Parker, from One Perfect Rose
Prince, a precept I'd leave for you,
Coined in Eden existing yet;
Skirt the parlor, and shun the zoo--
Women and elephants never forget.
--Dorothy Parker, from Ballade of the Unfortunate Mammals
Our hopes, like towering falcons, aim
At objects in an airy height;
The little pleasure of the game
Is from afar to view the flight.
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
--Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be blest.
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.
--Alexander Pope, Essay on Man
Look out how you use proud words.
When you let proud words go, it is
not easy to call them back.
They wear long boots, hard boots; they
walk off proud; they can't hear you
Look out how you use proud words.
--Carl Sandburg. Primer Lesson
O! many a shaft at random sent
Finds mark the archer little meant!
And many a word, at random spoken,
May soothe or wound a heart that's broken.
--Sir Walter Scott
Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
To all the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious strife
Is worth an age without a name.
--Sir Walter Scott
But true love is a durable fire,
In the mind ever burning,
Never sick, never old, never dead,
From itself never turning.
--Sir Walter Ralegh, 1599
The dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
--William Shakespeare, from Hamlet
This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land....
William Shakespeare, from Richard II
The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things, by a law divine,
In one another's being mingle--
Why not I with thine?
--Percy Bysshe Shelley, from Love's Philosophy
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
--Percy Bysshe Shelley, from The Cloud, 1820
The age is dull and mean. Men creep,
Not walk; with blood too pale and tame
To pay the debt they owe to shame;
Buy cheap, sell dear; eat. drink, and sleep
down-pillowed, deaf to moaning want;
Pay tithes for soul-insurance; keep
Six days to Mammon, one to Cant
God's ways seem dark, but, soon or late,
They touch the shining hills of day;
The evil cannot brook delay,
The good can well afford to wait,
Give ermined knaves their hour of crime;
Yet have the future grand and great,
The safe appeal of Truth to Time!
--John Greenleaf Whittier, from For Righteousness' Sake
For all the sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"
--John Greenleaf Whittier, from Maud Muller
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out,
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
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Last Updated: October 25, 1999
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