The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2
Burton Egbert Stevenson

Part 4 out of 18

Thomas Otway [1652-1685]


Only tell her that I love:
Leave the rest to her and Fate:
Some kind planet from above
May perhaps her pity move:
Lovers on their stars must wait. -
Only tell her that I love!

Why, O why should I despair!
Mercy's pictured in her eye:
If she once vouchsafe to hear,
Welcome Hope and farewell Fear!
She's too good to let me die. -
Why, O why should I despair?

John Cutts [1661-1707]


False though she be to me and love,
I'll ne'er pursue revenge;
For still the charmer I approve,
Though I deplore her change.

In hours of bliss we oft have met:
They could not always last;
And though the present I regret,
I'm grateful for the past.

William Congreve [1670-1729]

From "The Cautious Lovers"

Silvia, let us from the crowd retire,
For what to you and me
(Who but each other do desire)
Is all that here we see?

Apart we'll live, though not alone;
For who alone can call
Those who in deserts live with one
If in that one they've all?

The world a vast meander is,
Where hearts confusedly stray;
Where few do hit, whilst thousands miss,
The happy mutual way.

Anne Finch [? -1720]


Why, lovely charmer, tell me why,
So very kind, and yet so shy?
Why does that cold, forbidding air
Give damps of sorrow and despair?
Or why that smile my soul subdue,
And kindle up my flames anew?

In vain you strive with all your art,
By turns to fire and freeze my heart;
When I behold a face so fair,
So sweet a look, so soft an air,
My ravished soul is charmed all o'er,
I cannot love thee less or more.



More love or more disdain I crave;
Sweet, be not still indifferent:
O send me quickly to my grave,
Or else afford me more content!
Or love or hate me more or less,
For love abhors all lukewarmness.

Give me a tempest if 'twill drive
Me to the place where I would be;
Or if you'll have me still alive,
Confess you will be kind to me.
Give hopes of bliss or dig my grave:
More love or more disdain I crave.

Charles Webbe [c. 1678]


If I were dead, and, in my place,
Some fresher youth designed
To warm thee, with new fires; and grace
Those arms I left behind:

Were he as faithful as the Sun,
That's wedded to the Sphere;
His blood as chaste and temperate run,
As April's mildest tear;

Or were he rich; and, with his heap
And spacious share of earth,
Could make divine affection cheap,
And court his golden birth;

For all these arts, I'd not believe
(No! though he should be thine!),
The mighty Amorist could give
So rich a heart as mine!

Fortune and beauty thou might'st find,
And greater men than I;
But my true resolved mind
They never shall come nigh.

For I not for an hour did love,
Or for a day desire,
But with my soul had from above
This endless holy fire.

Henry Vaughan [1622-1695]


On Richmond Hill there lives a lass
More bright than May-day morn,
Whose charms all other maids surpass, -
A rose without a thorn.

This lass so neat, with smiles so sweet,
Has won my right good-will;
I'd crowns resign to call her mine,
Sweet lass of Richmond Hill.

Ye zephyrs gay, that fan the air,
And wanton through the grove,
O, whisper to my charming fair,
I die for her I love.

How happy will the shepherd be
Who calls this nymph his own!
O, may her choice be fixed on me!
Mine's fixed on her alone.

James Upton [1670-1749]

From "Sunday Up the River"

Let my voice ring out and over the earth,
Through all the grief and strife,
With a golden joy in a silver mirth:
Thank God for life!

Let my voice swell out through the great abyss
To the azure dome above,
With a chord of faith in the harp of bliss:
Thank God for Love!

Let my voice thrill out beneath and above,
The whole world through:
O my Love and Life, O my Life and Love,
Thank God for you!

James Thomson [1834-1882]

From "Sunday Up the River"

Give a man a horse he can ride,
Give a man a boat he can sail;
And his rank and wealth, his strength and health,
On sea nor shore shall fail.

Give a man a pipe he can smoke,
Give a man a book he can read:
And his home is bright with a calm delight,
Though the room be poor indeed.

Give a man a girl he can love,
As I, O my love, love thee;
And his heart is great with the pulse of Fate,
At home, on land, on sea.

James Thomson [1834-1882]


My sheep I neglected, I broke my sheep-crook,
And all the gay haunts of my youth I forsook;
No more for Amynta fresh garlands I wove;
For ambition, I said would soon cure me of love.

Oh, what had my youth with ambition to do?
Why left I Amynta? Why broke I my vow?
Oh, give me my sheep, and my sheep-hook restore,
And I'll wander from love and Amynta no more.

Through regions remote in vain do I rove,
And bid the wide ocean secure me from love!
O fool! to imagine that aught could subdue
A love so well founded, a passion so true!

Alas! 'tis too late at thy fate to repine;
Poor shepherd, Amynta can never be thine:
Thy tears are all fruitless, thy wishes are vain,
The moments neglected return not again.

Gilbert Elliot [1722-1777]


O Nancy, wilt thou go with me,
Nor sigh to leave the flaunting town:
Can silent glens have charms for thee,
The lowly cot, the russet gown?
No longer dressed in silken sheen,
No longer decked with jewels rare,
Say, canst thou quit each courtly scene
Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

O Nancy! when thou'rt far away,
Wilt thou not cast a wish behind?
Say, canst thou face the parching ray,
Nor shrink before the wintry wind?
O! can that soft and gentle mien
Extremes of hardship learn to bear,
Nor, sad, regret each courtly scene
Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

O Nancy! canst thou love so true,
Through perils keen with me to go,
Or when thy swain mishap shall rue,
To share with him the pang of woe?
Say, should disease or pain befall,
Wilt thou assume the nurse's care;
Nor wistful those gay scenes recall
Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

And when at last thy love shall die,
Wilt thou receive his parting breath?
Wilt thou repress each struggling sigh,
And cheer with smiles the bed of death?
And wilt thou o'er his breathless clay
Strew flowers and drop the tender tear?
Nor then regret those scenes so gay
Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

Thomas Percy [1729-1811]


If doughty deeds my lady please,
Right soon I'll mount my steed;
And strong his arm and fast his seat,
That bears frae me the meed.
I'll wear thy colors in my cap,
Thy picture in my heart;
And he that bends not to thine eye
Shall rue it to his smart!
Then tell me how to woo thee, Love;
O tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake nae care I'll take,
Though ne'er another trow me.

If gay attire delight thine eye
I'll dight me in array;
I'll tend thy chamber door all night,
And squire thee all the day.
If sweetest sounds can win thine ear,
These sounds I'll strive to catch;
Thy voice I'll steal to woo thysel',
That voice that nane can match.
Then tell me how to woo thee, Love;
O tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake nae care I'll take
Though ne'er another trow me.

But if fond love thy heart can gain,
I never broke a vow;
Nae maiden lays her skaith to me,
I never loved but you.
For you alone I ride the ring,
For you I wear the blue;
For you alone I strive to sing,
O tell me how to woo!
Then tell me how to woo thee, Love;
O tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake nae care I'll take
Though ne'er another trow me.

Robert Cunninghame-Graham [? -1797?]


Alas, that my heart is a lute,
Whereon you have learned to play!
For a many years it was mute,
Until one summer's day
You took it, and touched it, and made it thrill,
And it thrills and throbs, and quivers still!

I had known you, dear, so long!
Yet my heart did not tell me why
It should burst one morn into song,
And wake to new life with a cry,
Like a babe that sees the light of the sun,
And for whom this great world has just begun.

Your lute is enshrined, cased in,
Kept close with love's magic key,
So no hand but yours can win
And wake it to minstrelsy;
Yet leave it not silent too long, nor alone,
Lest the strings should break, and the music be done.

Anne Barnard [1750-1825]

From "The Duenna"

Had I a heart for falsehood framed,
I ne'er could injure you;
For though your tongue no promise claimed,
Your charms would make me true:
Then, lady, dread not here deceit,
Nor fear to suffer wrong,
For friends in all the aged you'll meet,
And lovers in the young.

But when they find that you have blessed
Another with your heart,
They'll bid aspiring passion rest,
And act a brother's part:
Then, lady, dread not here deceit
Nor fear to suffer wrong;
For friends in all the aged you'll meet,
And brothers in the young.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan [1751-1816]


My Damon was the first to wake
The gentle flame that cannot die;
My Damon is the last to take
The faithful bosom's softest sigh:
The life between is nothing worth,
O cast it from thy thought away!
Think of the day that gave it birth,
And this its sweet returning day.

Buried be all that has been done,
Or say that naught is done amiss;
For who the dangerous path can shun
In such bewildering world as this?
But love can every fault forgive,
Or with a tender look reprove;
And now let naught in memory live
But that we meet, and that we love.

George Crabbe [1754-1832]


O were my Love yon lilac fair,
Wi' purple blossoms to the spring,
And I a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing;
How I wad mourn when it was torn
By autumn wild and winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing
When youthfu' May its bloom renewed.

O gin my Love were yon red rose
That grows upon the castle wa',
And I mysel a drap o' dew,
Into her bonnie breast to fa';
O there, beyond expression blest,
I'd feast on beauty a' the night;
Sealed on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
Till fleyed awa' by Phoebus' light.

Robert Burns [1759-1796]


Bonnie wee thing! cannie wee thing!
Lovely wee thing! wert thou mine,
I wad wear thee in my bosom,
Lest my jewel I should tine.
Wishfully I look, and languish
In that bonnie face o' thine;
And my heart it stounds wi' anguish,
Lest my wee thing be na mine.

Wit and grace, and love and beauty,
In ae constellation shine;
To adore thee is my duty,
Goddess o' this soul o' mine!
Bonnie wee thing, cannie wee thing,
Lovely wee thing, wert thou mine,
I wad wear thee in my bosom,
Lest my jewel I should tine.

Robert Burns [1759-1796]


Ah, what avails the sceptered race!
Ah, what the form divine!
What every virtue, every grace!
Rose Aylmer, all were thine.

Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes
May weep, but never see,
A night of memories and sighs
I consecrate to thee.

Walter Savage Landor [1775-1864]

Written On Returning A Blank Book

Take back the Virgin Page
White and unwritten still;
Some hand more calm and sage
The leaf must fill.
Thoughts came as pure as light -
Pure as even you require:
But oh! each word I write
Love turns to fire.

Yet let me keep the book:
Oft shall my heart renew,
When on its leaves I look,
Dear thoughts of you.
Like you, 'tis fair and bright;
Like you, too bright and fair
To let wild passion write
One wrong wish there.

Haply, when from those eyes
Far, far away I roam,
Should calmer thoughts arise
Towards you and home;
Fancy may trace some line
Worthy those eyes to meet,
Thoughts that not burn, but shine.
Pure, calm, and sweet.

And as o'er ocean far
Seamen their records keep,
Led by some hidden star
Through the cold deep;
So may the words I write
Tell through what storms I stray,
You still the unseen light
Guiding my way.

Thomas Moore [1779-1852]


Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul may be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear!
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sunflower turns to her god when he sets
The same look which she turned when he rose!

Thomas Moore [1779-1852]


If you become a nun, dear,
A friar I will be;
In any cell you run, dear,
Pray look behind for me.
The roses all turn pale, too;
The doves all take the veil, too;
The blind will see the show;
What! you become a nun, my dear,
I'll not believe it, no!

If you become a nun, dear,
The bishop Love will be:
The Cupids every one, dear,
Will chant, "We trust in thee!"
The incense will go sighing,
The candles fall a-dying,
The water turn to wine:
What! you go take the vows, my dear?
You may - but they'll be mine.

Leigh Hunt [1784-1859]


Only of thee and me the night wind sings,
Only of us the sailors speak at sea,
The earth is filled with wondered whisperings
Only of thee and me.

Only of thee and me the breakers chant,
Only of us the stir in bush and tree;
The rain and sunshine tell the eager plant
Only of thee and me.

Only of thee and me, till all shall fade;
Only of us the whole world's thoughts can be -
For we are Love, and God Himself is made
Only of thee and me.

Louis Untermeyer [1885-

TO ---

One word is too often profaned
For me to profane it,
One feeling too falsely disdained
For thee to disdain it.
One hope is too like despair
For prudence to smother,
And Pity from thee more dear
Than that from another.

I can give not what men call love;
But wilt thou accept not
The worship the heart lifts above
And the Heavens reject not:
The desire of the moth for the star,
Of the night for the morrow,
The devotion to something afar
From the sphere of our sorrow?

Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822]


My faint spirit was sitting in the light
Of thy looks, my love;
It panted for thee like the hind at noon
For the brooks, my love.
Thy barb, whose hoofs outspeed the tempest's flight,
Bore thee far from me;
My heart, for my weak feet were weary soon,
Did companion thee.

Ah! fleeter far than fleetest storm or steed,
Or the death they bear,
The heart which tender thought clothes like a dove
With the wings of care;
In the battle, in the darkness, in the need,
Shall mine cling to thee,
Nor claim one smile for all the comfort, love,
It may bring to thee.

Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822]


My ornaments are arms,
My pastime is in war,
My bed is cold upon the wold,
My lamp yon star.

My journeyings are long,
My slumbers short and broken;
From hill to hill I wander still,
Kissing thy token.

I ride from land to land,
I sail from sea to sea;
Some day more kind I fate may find,
Some night, kiss thee.

John Gibson Lockhart [1794-1854]


Love's on the highroad,
Love's in the byroad -
Love's on the meadow, and Love's in the mart!
And down every byway
Where I've taken my way
I've met Love a-smiling - for Love's in my heart!

Dana Burnet [1888-


You and I have found the secret way,
None can bar our love or say us nay:
All the world may stare and never know
You and I are twined together so.

You and I for all his vaunted width
Know the giant Space is but a myth;
Over miles and miles of pure deceit
You and I have found our lips can meet.

You and I have laughed the leagues apart
In the soft delight of heart to heart.
If there's a gulf to meet or limit set,
You and I have never found it yet.

You and I have trod the backward way
To the happy heart of yesterday,
To the love we felt in ages past.
You and I have found it still to last.

You and I have found the joy had birth
In the angel childhood of the earth,
Hid within the heart of man and maid.
You and I of Time are not afraid.

You and I can mock his fabled wing,
For a kiss is an immortal thing.
And the throb wherein those old lips met
Is a living music in us yet.

A. E. (George William Russell) [1867-1935]


Sweet in her green dell the flower of beauty slumbers,
Lulled by the faint breezes sighing through her hair;
Sleeps she, and hears not the melancholy numbers
Breathed to my sad lute amid the lonely air?

Down from the high cliffs the rivulet is teeming
To wind round the willow-banks that lure him from above:
Oh that, in tears from my rocky prison streaming,
I too could glide to the bower of my love!

Ah, where the woodbines with sleepy arms have wound her,
Opes she her eyelids at the dream of my lay,
Listening like the dove, while the fountains echo round her,
To her lost mate's call in the forest far away?

Come, then, my bird! for the peace thou ever bearest,
Still Heaven's messenger of comfort be to me;
Come! this fond bosom, my faithfulest, my fairest,
Bleeds with its death-wound, - but deeper yet for thee.

George Darley [1795-1846]


I am jealous: I am true:
Sick at heart for love of you,
O my share of the world!
I am cold, O, cold as stone
To all men save you alone.

Seven times slower creeps the day
When your face is far away,
O my share of the world!
Seven times darker falls the night.
When you gladden not my sight.

Measureless my joy and pride
Would you choose me for your bride,
O my share of the world!
For your face is my delight,
Morn and even, noon and night.

To the dance and to the wake
Still I go but for your sake,
O my share of the world!
Just to see your face awhile
Meet your eyes and win your smile.

And the gay word on my lip
Never lets my secret slip
To my share of the world!
Light my feet trip over the green -
But my heart cries in the keen!

My poor mother sighs anew
When my looks go after you,
O my share of the world!
And my father's brow grows black
When you smile and turn your back.

I would part with wealth and ease,
I would go beyond the seas,
For my share of the world!
I would leave my hearth and home
If he only whispered "Come!"

Houseless under sun and dew,
I would beg my bread with you,
O my share of the world!
Houseless in the snow and storm,
Your heart's love would keep me warm.

I would pray and I would crave
To be with you in the grave,
O my share of the world!
I would go through fire and flood,
I would give up all but God
For my share of the world!

Alice Furlong [1875-


A lake and a fairy boat
To sail in the moonlight clear, -
And merrily we would float
From the dragons that watch us here!

Thy gown should be snow-white silk,
And strings of orient pearls,
Like gossamers dipped in milk,
Should twine with thy raven curls.

Red rubies should deck thy hands,
And diamonds be thy dower -
But fairies have broke their wands,
And wishing has lost its power!

Thomas Hood [1799-1845]


Though, when other maids stand by,
I may deign thee no reply,
Turn not then away, and sigh, -
Smile, and never heed me!

If our love, indeed, be such
As must thrill at every touch,
Why should others learn as much? -
Smile, and never heed me!

Even if, with maiden pride,
I should bid thee quit my side,
Take this lesson for thy guide, -
Smile, and never heed me!

But when stars and twilight meet,
And the dew is falling sweet,
And thou hear'st my coming feet, -
Then - thou then - mayst heed me!

Charles Swain [1801-1874]


We see them not - we cannot hear
The music of their wing -
Yet know we that they sojourn near,
The Angels of the spring!

They glide along this lovely ground
When the first violet grows;
Their graceful hands have just unbound
The zone of yonder rose.

I gather it for thy dear breast,
From stain and shadow free:
That which an Angel's touch hath blest
Is meet, my love, for thee!

Robert Stephen Hawker [1803-1875]


You never bade me hope, 'tis true;
I asked you not to swear:
But I looked in those eyes of blue,
And read a promise there.

The vow should bind, with maiden sighs
That maiden lips have spoken:
But that which looks from maiden eyes
Should last of all be broken.

Gerald Griffin [1803-1840]


I pass my days among the quiet places
Made sacred by your feet.
The air is cool in the fresh woodland spaces,
The meadows very sweet.

The sunset fills the wide sky with its splendor,
The glad birds greet the night;
I stop and listen for a voice strong, tender,
I wait those dear eyes' light.

You are the heart of every gleam of glory,
Your presence fills the air,
About you gathers all the fair year's story;
I read you everywhere.

Alice Freeman Palmer [1855-1902]


"Yes," I answered you last night;
"No," this morning, sir, I say:
Colors seen by candle-light
Will not look the same by day.

When the viols played their best,
Lamps above, and laughs below,
Love me sounded like a jest,
Fit for yes or fit for no.

Call me false or call me free,
Vow, whatever light may shine, -
No man on your face shall see
Any grief for change on mine.

Yet the sin is on us both;
Time to dance is not to woo;
Wooing light makes fickle troth,
Scorn of me recoils on you.

Learn to win a lady's faith
Nobly, as the thing is high,
Bravely, as for life and death,
With a loyal gravity.

Lead her from the festive boards,
Point her to the starry skies,
Guard her, by your truthful words,
Pure from courtship's flatteries.

By your truth she shall be true,
Ever true, as wives of yore;
And her yes, once said to you,
SHALL be Yes for evermore.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning [1806-1861]

From "The Miller's Daughter"

It is the miller's daughter,
And she is grown so dear, so dear,
That I would be the jewel
That trembles in her ear;
For hid in ringlets day and night,
I'd touch her neck so warm and white.

And I would be the girdle
About her dainty, dainty waist,
And her heart would beat against me,
In sorrow and in rest;
And I should know if it beat right,
I'd clasp it round so close and tight.

And I would be the necklace,
And all day long to fall and rise
Upon her balmy bosom
With her laughter or her sighs;
And I would lie so light, so light,
I scarce should be unclasped at night.

Alfred Tennyson [1809-1892]


Airy, fairy Lilian,
Flitting, fairy Lilian,
When I ask her if she love me,
Clasps her tiny hand above me,
Laughing all she can;
She'll not tell me if she love me,
Cruel little Lilian.

When my passion seeks
Pleasance in love-sighs,
She, looking through and through me,
Thoroughly to undo me,
Smiling, never speaks:
So innocent-arch, so cunning-simple,
From beneath her gathered wimple
Glancing with black-beaded eyes,
Till the lightning laughters dimple
The baby-roses in her cheeks;
Then away she flies.

Prithee weep, May Lilian!
Gaiety without eclipse
Wearieth me, May Lilian:
Through my very heart it thrilleth,
When from crimson-threaded lips
Silver-treble laughter thrilleth:
Prithee weep, May Lilian!

Praying all I can,
If prayers will not hush thee,
Airy Lilian,
Like a rose-leaf I will crush thee,
Fairy Lilian.

Alfred Tennyson [1809-1892]

From "The Princess"

The splendor falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

Alfred Tennyson [1809-1892]


"Quand vous serez bien vieille, le soir a la chandelle
Assise aupres du feu devisant et filant,
Direz, chantant mes vers en vous esmerveillant,
Ronsard m'a celebre du temps que j'etois belle."

Some winter night, shut snugly in
Beside the fagot in the hall,
I think I see you sit and spin,
Surrounded by your maidens all.
Old tales are told, old songs are sung,
Old days come back to memory;
You say, "When I was fair and young,
A poet sang of me!"

There's not a maiden in your hall,
Though tired and sleepy ever so,
But wakes, as you my name recall,
And longs the history to know.
And, as the piteous tale is said,
Of lady cold and lover true,
Each, musing, carries it to bed,
And sighs and envies you!

"Our lady's old and feeble now,"
They'll say: "she once was fresh and fair,
And yet she spurned her lover's vow,
And heartless left him to despair.
The lover lies in silent earth,
No kindly mate the lady cheers;
She sits beside a lonely hearth,
With threescore and ten years!"

Ah! dreary thoughts and dreams are those,
But wherefore yield me to despair,
While yet the poet's bosom glows,
While yet the dame is peerless fair!
Sweet lady mine! while yet 'tis time
Requite my passion and my truth,
And gather in their blushing prime
The roses of your youth!

William Makepeace Thackeray [1811-1863]

After Pierre de Ronsard

When you are old and gray 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.

William Butler Yeats [1865-

From "Pippa Passes"

You'll love me yet - and I can tarry
Your love's protracted growing:
June reared that bunch of flowers you carry,
From seeds of April's sowing.

I plant a heartfull now: some seed
At least is sure to strike,
And yield - what you'll not pluck indeed,
Not love, but, may be, like.

You'll look at least on love's remains,
A grave's one violet:
Your look? - that pays a thousand pains.
What's death? You'll love me yet!

Robert Browning [1812-1889]


Room after room,
I hunt the house through
We inhabit together.
Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her -
Next time, herself! - not the trouble behind her
Left in the curtain, the couch's perfume!
As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew:
Yon looking-glass gleamed at the wave of her feather.

Yet the day wears,
And door succeeds door;
I try the fresh fortune -
Range the wide house from the wing to the center.
Still the same chance! she goes out as I enter.
Spend my whole day in the quest, - who cares?
But 'tis twilight, you see, - with such suites to explore,
Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune!

Robert Browning [1812-1889]


Escape me?
Never -
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth,
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear:
It seems too much like a fate, indeed!
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.
But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall,
And, baffled, get up and begin again, -
So the chase takes up one's life, that's all.
While, look but once from your farthest bound
At me so deep in the dust and dark,
No sooner the old hope drops to ground
Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,
I shape me -

Robert Browning [1812-1889]


Come in the evening, or come in the morning;
Come when you're looked for, or come without warning:
Kisses and welcome you'll find here before you,
And the oftener you come here the more I'll adore you!
Light is my heart since the day we were plighted;
Red is my cheek that they told me was blighted;
The green of the trees looks far greener than ever,
And the linnets are singing, "True lovers don't sever!"

I'll pull you sweet flowers, to wear if you choose them, -
Or, after you've kissed them, they'll lie on my bosom;
I'll fetch from the mountain its breeze to inspire you;
I'll fetch from my fancy a tale that won't tire you.
Oh! your step's like the rain to the summer-vexed farmer,
Or saber and shield to a knight without armor;
I'll sing you sweet songs till the stars rise above me,
Then, wandering, I'll wish you in silence to love me.

We'll look through the trees at the cliff and the eyrie;
We'll tread round the rath on the track of the fairy;
We'll look on the stars, and we'll list to the river,
Till you ask of your darling what gift you can give her:
Oh! she'll whisper you - "Love, as unchangeably beaming,
And trust, when in secret, most tunefully streaming;
Till the starlight of heaven above us shall quiver,
As our souls flow in one down eternity's river."

So come in the evening, or come in the morning;
Come when you're looked for, or come without warning:
Kisses and welcome you'll find here before you,
And the oftener you come here the more I'll adore you!
Light is my heart since the day we were plighted;
Red is my cheek that they told me was blighted;
The green of the trees looks far greener than ever,
And the linnets are singing, "True lovers don't sever!"

Thomas Osborne Davis [1814-1845]


She smiles and smiles, and will not sigh,
While we for hopeless passion die;
Yet she could love, those eyes declare,
Were but men nobler than they are.

Eagerly once her gracious ken
Was turned upon the sons of men;
But light the serious visage grew -
She looked, and smiled, and saw them through.

Our petty souls, cur strutting wits,
Our labored, puny passion-fits -
Ah, may she scorn them still, till we
Scorn them as bitterly as she!

Yet show her once, ye heavenly Powers,
One of some worthier race than ours!
One for whose sake she once might prove
How deeply she who scorns can love.

His eyes be like the starry lights;
His voice like sounds of summer nights;
In all his lovely mien let pierce
The magic of the universe!

And she to him will reach her hand,
And gazing in his eyes will stand,
And know her friend, and weep for glee,
And cry, Long, long I've looked for thee!

Then will she weep - with smiles, till then
Coldly she mocks the sons of men.
Till then her lovely eyes maintain
Their pure, unwavering, deep disdain.

Matthew Arnold [1822-1888]


I looked and saw your eyes in the shadow of your hair,
As a traveler sees the stream in the shadow of the wood; -
And I said, "My faint heart sighs, ah me! to linger there,
To drink deep and to dream in that sweet solitude."

I looked and saw your heart in the shadow of your eyes,
As a seeker sees the gold in the shadow of the stream;
And I said, Ah, me! what art should win the immortal prize,
Whose want must make life cold and Heaven a hollow dream?"

I looked and saw your love in the shadow of your heart,
As a diver sees the pearl in the shadow of the sea;
And I murmured, not above my breath, but all apart, -
"Ah! you can love, true girl, and is your love for me?"

Dante Gabriel Rossetti [1828-1882]


Since we parted yester eve,
I do love thee, love, believe,
Twelve times dearer, twelve hours longer, -
One dream deeper, one night stronger,
One sun surer, - thus much more
Than I loved thee, love, before.

Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton [1831-1891]


If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf,
Our lives would grow together
In sad or singing weather,
Blown fields or flowerful closes,
Green pleasure or gray grief;
If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf.

If I were what the words are,
And love were like the tune,
With double sound and single
Delight our lips would mingle,
With kisses glad as birds are
That get sweet rain at noon;
If I were what the words are,
And love were like the tune.

If you were life, my darling,
And I your love were death,
We'd shine and snow together
Ere March made sweet the weather
With daffodil and starling
And hours of fruitful breath;
If you were life, my darling,
And I your love were death.

If you were thrall to sorrow,
And I were page to joy,
We'd play for lives and seasons
With loving looks and treasons
And tears of night and morrow
And laughs of maid and boy;
If you were thrall to sorrow,
And I were page to joy.

If you were April's lady,
And I were lord in May,
We'd throw with leaves for hours
And draw for days with flowers,
Till day like night were shady
And night were bright like day;
If you were April's lady,
And I were lord in May.

If you were queen of pleasure,
And I were king of pain,
We'd hunt down love together,
Pluck out his flying-feather,
And teach his feet a measure,
And find his mouth a rein;
If you were queen of pleasure,
And I were king of pain.

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]


I found in dreams a place of wind and flowers,
Full of sweet trees and color of glad grass,
In midst whereof there was
A lady clothed like summer with sweet hours,
Her beauty, fervent as a fiery moon
Made my blood burn and swoon
Like a flame rained upon.
Sorrow had filled her shaken eyelids' blue,
And her mouth's sad red heavy rose all through
Seemed sad with glad things gone.

She held a little cithern by the strings,
Shaped heartwise, strung with subtle-colored hair
Of some dead lute player
That in dead years had done delicious things.
The seven strings were named accordingly;
The first string charity,
The second tenderness,
The rest were pleasure, sorrow, sleep, and sin,
And loving kindness, that is pity's kin
And is most pitiless.

There were three men with her, each garmented
With gold, and shod with gold upon the feet;
And with plucked ears of wheat.
The first man's hair was wound upon his head:
His face was red, and his mouth curled and sad;
All his gold garment had
Pale stains of dust and rust.
A riven hood was pulled across his eyes;
The token of him being upon this wise
Made for a sign of Lust.

The next 'was Shame, with hollow heavy face
Colored like green wood when flame kindles it.
He hath such feeble feet
They may not well endure in any place.
His face was full of gray old miseries.
And all his blood's increase
Was even increase of pain.
The last was Fear, that is akin to Death;
He is Shame's friend, and always as Shame saith
Fear answers him again.

My soul said in me: This is marvelous,
Seeing the air's face is not so delicate
Nor the sun's grace so great,
If sin and she be kin or amorous.
And seeing where maidens served her on their knees,
I bade one crave of these
To know the cause thereof.
Then Fear said: I am Pity that was dead.
And Shame said: I am Sorrow comforted.
And Lust said: I am Love.

Thereat her hands began a lute-playing
And her sweet mouth a song in a strange tongue;
And all the while she sung
There was no sound but long tears following
Long tears upon men's faces, waxen white
With extreme sad delight.
But those three following men
Became as men raised up among the dead;
Great glad mouths open, and fair cheeks made red
With child's blood come again.

Then I said: Now assuredly I see
My lady is perfect, and transfigureth
All sin and sorrow and death,
Making them fair as her own eyelids be,
Or lips wherein my whole soul's life abides;
Or as her sweet white sides
And bosom carved to kiss.
Now therefore, if her pity further me,
Doubtless for her sake all my days shall be
As righteous as she is.

Forth, ballad, and take roses in both arms,
Even till the top rose touch thee in the throat
Where the least thornprick harms;
And girdled in thy golden singing-coat,
Come thou before my lady and say this:
Borgia, thy gold hair's color burns in me,
Thy mouth makes beat my blood in feverish rhymes;
Therefore so many as these roses be,
Kiss me so many times.
Then it may be, seeing how sweet she is,
That she will stoop herself none otherwise
Than a blown vine-branch doth,
And kiss thee with soft laughter on thine eyes,
Ballad, and on thy mouth.

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]


Let us go hence, my songs; she will not hear.
Let us go hence together without fear;
Keep silence now, for singing time is over,
And over all old things and all things dear.
She loves not you nor me as all we love her.
Yea, though we sang as angels in her ear,
She would not hear.

Let us rise up and part; she will not know.
Let us go seaward as the great winds go,
Full of blown sand and foam; what help is there?
There is no help, for all these things are so,
And all the world is bitter as a tear,
And how these things are, though ye strove to show,
She would not know.

Let us go home and hence; she will not weep.
We gave love many dreams and days to keep,
Flowers without scent, and fruits that would not grow,
Saying, "If thou wilt, thrust in thy sickle and reap."
All is reaped now; no grass is left to mow;
And we that sowed, though all we fell on sleep,
She would not weep.

Let us go hence and rest; she will not love.
She shall not hear us if we sing hereof,
Nor see love's ways how sore they are and steep.
Come hence, let be, lie still; it is enough.
Love is a barren sea, bitter and deep;
And though she saw all heaven in flower above,
She would not love.

Let us give up, go down; she will not care.
Though all the stars made gold of all the air,
And the sea moving saw before it move
One moon-flower making all the foam-flowers fair;
Though all those waves went over us, and drove
Deep down the stifling lips and drowning hair,
She would not care.

Let us go hence, go hence; she will not see.
Sing all once more together; surely she,
She too, remembering days and words that were,
Will turn a little towards us, sighing; but we,
We are hence, we are gone, as though we had not been there.
Nay, and though all men seeing had pity on me,
She would not see.

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]


There's nae lark loves the lift, my dear,
There's nae ship loves the sea,
There's nae bee loves the heather-bells,
That loves as I love thee, my love,
That loves as I love thee.

The whin shines fair upon the fell,
The blithe broom on the lea:
The muirside wind is merry at heart:
It's a' for love of thee, my love,
It's a' for love of thee.

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]


O, you plant the pain in my heart with your wistful eyes,
Girl of my choice, Maureen!
Will you drive me mad for the kisses your shy, sweet mouth denies,

Like a walking ghost I am, and no words to woo,
White rose of the West, Maureen:
For it's pale you are, and the fear on you is over me too,

Sure it's one complaint that's on us, asthore, this day,
Bride of my dreams, Maureen:
The smart of the bee that stung us his honey must cure, they say,

I'll coax the light to your eyes, and the rose to your face,
Mavourneen, my own Maureen!
When I feel the warmth of your breast, and your nest is my arm's embrace,

O where was the King o' the World that day - only me?
My one true love, Maureen!
And you the Queen with me there, and your throne in my heart, machree,

John Todhunter [1839-?]


Along the garden ways just now
I heard the flowers speak;
The white rose told me of your brow,
The red rose of your cheek;
The lily of your bended head,
The bindweed of your hair;
Each looked its loveliest and said
You were more fair.

I went into the wood anon,
And heard the wild birds sing,
How sweet you were, they warbled on,
Piped, trilled, the selfsame thing.
Thrush, blackbird, linnet, without pause
The burden did repeat,
And still began again because
You were more sweet.

And then I went down to the sea,
And heard it murmuring too,
Part of an ancient mystery,
All made of me and you:
How many a thousand years ago
I loved, and you were sweet -
Longer I could not stay, and so
I fled back to your feet.

Arthur O'Shaughnessy [1844-1881]


My love comes down from the mountain
Through the mists of dawn;
I look, and the star of the morning
From the sky is gone.

My love comes down from the mountain,
At dawn, dewy sweet;
Did you step from the star to the mountain,
O little white feet?

O whence came your twining tresses
And your shining eyes,
But out of the gold of the morning
And the blue of the skies?

The misty mountain is burning
In the sun's red fire,
And the heart in my breast is burning
And lost in desire.

I follow you into the valley
But no word can I say;
To the East or the West I will follow
Till the dusk of my day.

Thomas Boyd [1867-


Only a touch, and nothing more;
Ah! but never so touched before!
Touch of lip, was it? Touch of hand?
Either is easy to understand.
Earth may be smitten with fire or frost -
Never the touch of true love lost.

Only a word, was it? Scarce a word!
Musical whisper, softly heard,
Syllabled nothing - just a breath -
'Twill outlast life and 'twill laugh at death.
Love with so little can do so much -
Only a word, sweet! Only a touch!

Mortimer Collins [1827-1876]


When and how shall I earliest meet her?
What are the words she first will say?
By what name shall I learn to greet her?
I know not now; it will come some day!
With the selfsame sunlight shining upon her,
Shining down on her ringlets' sheen,
She is standing somewhere - she I shall honor,
She that I wait for, my queen, my queen!

Whether her hair be golden or raven,
Whether her eyes be hazel or blue,
I know not now; but 'twill be engraven
Some day hence as my loveliest hue.
Many a girl I have loved for a minute,
Worshipped many a face I have seen:
Ever and aye there was something in it,
Something that could not be hers, my queen!

I will not dream of her tall and stately,
She that I love may be fairy light;
I will not say she must move sedately, -
Whatever she does it will then be right.
She may be humble or proud, my lady,
Or that sweet calm which is just between;
And whenever she comes she will find me ready
To do her homage, my queen, my queen!

But she must be courteous, she must be holy,
Pure in her spirit, this maiden I love;
Whether her birth be noble or lowly
I care no more than the spirits above.
But I'll give my heart to my lady's keeping,
And ever her strength on mine shall lean;
And the stars may fall, and the saints be weeping
Ere I cease to love her, my queen, my queen!



One little minute more, Maud,
One little whisper more;
I have a word to speak, Maud,
I never breathed before.
What can it be but love, Maud;
And do I rightly guess
'Tis pleasant to your ear, Maud?
O darling! tell me yes!

The burden of my heart, Maud,
There's little need to tell;
There's little need to say, Maud,
I've loved you long and well.
There's language in a sigh, Maud,
One's meaning to express,
And yours - was it for me, Maud?
O darling! tell me yes!

My eyes have told my love, Maud,
And on my burning cheek,
You've read the tender thought, Maud,
My lips refused to speak.
I gave you all my heart, Maud,
'Tis needless to confess;
And did you give me yours, Maud?
O darling! tell me yes!

'Tis sad to starve a love, Maud,
So worshipful and true;
I know a little cot, Maud,
Quite large enough for two;
And you will be my wife, Maud?
So may you ever bless
Through all your sunny life, Maud,
The day you answered yes!

John Godfrey Saxe [1816-1877]


Do I love thee? Ask the bee
If she loves the flowery lea,
Where the honeysuckle blows
And the fragrant clover grows.
As she answers, Yes or No,
Darling! take my answer so.

Do I love thee? Ask the bird
When her matin song is heard,
If she loves the sky so fair,
Fleecy cloud and liquid air.
As she answers, Yes, or No,
Darling! take my answer so.

Do I love thee? Ask the flower
If she loves the vernal shower,
Or the kisses of the sun,
Or the dew, when day is done.
As she answers, Yes or No,
Darling! take my answer so.

John Godfrey Saxe [1816-1887]


O world be nobler, for her sake!
If she but knew thee what thou art,
What wrongs are borne, what deeds are done
In thee, beneath thy daily sun,
Know'st thou not that her tender heart
For pain and very shame would break?
O World, be nobler, for her sake!

Laurence Binyon [1869-


In the dark, in the dew,
I am smiling back at you;
But you cannot see the smile,
And you're thinking all the while
How I turn my face from you,
In the dark, in the dew.

In the dark, in the dew,
All my love goes out to you,
Flutters like a bird in pain,
Dies and comes to life again;
While you whisper, "Sweetest, hark;
Someone's sighing in the dark,
In the dark, in the dew!"

In the dark, in the dew,
All my heart cries out to you,
As I cast it at your feet,
Sweet indeed, but not too sweet;
Wondering will you hear it beat,
Beat for you, and bleed for you,
In the dark, in the dew!

Mary Newmarch Prescott [1849-1888]


Oh, for an hour when the day is breaking,
Down by the shore where the tide is making,
Fair as white cloud, thou, love, near me,
None but the waves and thyself to hear me!
Oh, to my breast how these arms would press thee!
Wildly my heart in its joy would bless thee!
Oh, how the soul thou has won would woo thee,
Girl of the snow neck, closer to me!

Oh, for an hour as the day advances,
Out where the breeze on the broom-bush dances,
Watching the lark, with the sun-ray o'er us,
Winging the notes of his Heaven-taught chorus!
Oh, to be there, and my love before me,
Soft as a moonbeam smiling o'er me!
Thou would'st but love, and I would woo thee,
Girl of the dark eye, closer to me!

Oh, for an hour where the sun first found us,
Out in the eve with its red sheets round us,
Brushing the dew from the gale's soft winglets,
Pearly and sweet, with thy long dark ringlets!
Oh, to be there on the sward beside thee,
Telling my tale, though I know you'd chide me!
Sweet were thy voice, though it should undo me, -
Girl of the dark locks, closer to me!

Oh, for an hour by night or by day, love,
Just as the Heavens and thou might say, love!
Far from the stare of the cold-eyed many,
Bound in the breath of my dove-souled Nanny!
Oh, for the pure chains that have bound me,
Warm from thy red lips circling round me!
Oh, in my soul, as the light above me,
Queen of the pure hearts, do I love thee!

Francis Davis [1810-1885]


I know not why, but even to me
My songs seem sweet when read to thee.

Perhaps in this the pleasure lies -
I read my thoughts within thine eyes,

And so dare fancy that my art
May sink as deeply as thy heart.

Perhaps I love to make my words
Sing round thee like so many birds,

Or, maybe, they are only sweet
As they seem offerings at thy feet.

Or haply, Lily, when I speak,
I think, perchance, they touch thy cheek,

Or with a yet more precious bliss,
Die on thy red lips in a kiss.

Each reason here - I cannot tell -
Or all perhaps may solve the spell.

But if she watch when I am by,
Lily may deeper see than I.

Henry Timrod [1829-1867]


I will make you brooches and toys for your delight
Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night.
I will make a palace fit for you and me,
Of green days in forests and blue days at sea.

I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,
Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom,
And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white
In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night.

And this shall be for music when no one else is near
The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!
That only I remember, that only you admire,
Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.

Robert Louis Stevenson [1850-1894]


Or ever the knightly years were gone
With the old world to the grave,
I was a King in Babylon
And you were a Christian Slave.

I saw, I took, I cast you by,
I bent and broke your pride.
You loved me well, or I heard them lie,
But your longing was denied.
Surely I knew that by and by
You cursed your gods and died.

And a myriad suns have set and shone
Since then upon the grave
Decreed by the King in Babylon
To her that had been his Slave.

The pride I trampled is now my scathe,
For it tramples me again.
The old resentment lasts like death,
For you love, yet you refrain.
I break my heart on your hard unfaith,
And I break my heart in vain.

Yet not for an hour do I wish undone
The deed beyond the grave,
When I was a King in Babylon
And you were a Virgin Slave.

William Ernest Henley [1849-1903]


Poets are singing the whole world over
Of May in melody, joys for June;
Dusting their feet in the careless clover,
And filling their hearts with the blackbird's tune.
The "brown bright nightingale" strikes with pity
The Sensitive heart of a count or clown;
But where is the song for our leafy city,
And where the rhymes for our lovely town?

"O for the Thames, and its rippling reaches,
Where almond rushes, and breezes sport!
Take me a walk under Burnham Beeches,
Give me dinner at Hampton Court!
Poets, be still, though your hearts I harden;
We've flowers by day and have scents at dark,
The limes are in leaf in the cockney garden,
And lilacs blossom in Regent's Park.

"Come for a blow," says a reckless fellow,
Burned red and brown by passionate sun;
"Come to the downs, where the gorse is yellow;
The season of kisses has just begun!
Come to the fields where bluebells shiver,
Hear cuckoo's carol, or plaint of dove;
Come for a row on the silent river;
Come to the meadows and learn to love!"

Yes, I will come when this wealth is over
Of softened color and perfect tone -
The lilac's better than fields of clover;
I'll come when blossoming May has flown.
When dust and dirt of a trampled city
Have dragged the yellow laburnum down,
I'll take my holiday - more's the pity -
And turn my back upon London town.

Margaret! am I so wrong to love it,
This misty town that your face shines through?
A crown of blossom is waved above it;
But heart and life of the whirl - 'tis you!
Margaret! pearl! I have sought and found you;
And, though the paths of the wind are free,
I'll follow the ways of the world around you,
And build my nest on the nearest tree!

Clement Scott [1841-1904]


There's a road to heaven, a road to hell,
A road for the sick and one for the well;
There's a road for the false and a road for the true,
But the road for me is the road to you.

There's a road through prairie and forest and glen,
A road to each place in human ken;
There's a road over earth and a road over sea,
But the road to you is the road for me.

There's a road for animal, bird, and beast,
A road for the greatest, a road for the least;
There's a road that is old and a road that is new,
But the road for me is the road to you.

There's a road for the heart and a road for the soul,
There's a road for a part and a road for the whole;
There's a road for love, - which few ever see, -
'Tis the road to you and the road for me.

Oliver Opdyke [1878-


The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
Oh, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

John Boyle O'Reilly [1844-1890]


Some day, some day of days, threading the street
With idle, heedless pace,
Unlooking for such grace
I shall behold your face!
Some day, some day of days, thus may we meet.

Perchance the sun may shine from skies of May,
Or winter's icy chill
Touch whitely vale and hill.
What matter? I shall thrill
Through every vein with summer on that day.

Once more life's perfect youth will all come back,
And for a moment there
I shall stand fresh and fair,
And drop the garment care;
Once more my perfect youth will nothing lack.

I shut my eyes now, thinking how 'twill be -
How face to face each soul
Will slip its long control,
Forget the dismal dole
Of dreary Fate's dark, separating sea;

And glance to glance, and hand to hand in greeting,
The past with all its fears,
Its silences and tears,
Its lonely, yearning years,
Shall vanish in the moment of that meeting.

Nora Perry [1832-1896]


"When I was just as far as I could walk
From here to-day,
There was an hour
All still
When leaning with my head against a flower
I heard you talk.
Don't say I didn't, for I heard you say -
You spoke from that flower on the window sill -
Do you remember what it was you said?"

"First tell me what it was you thought you heard."

"Having found the flower and driven a bee away,
I leaned my head,
And holding by the stalk,
I listened and I thought I caught the word -
What was it? Did you call me by my name?
Or did you say -
Someone said 'Come' - I heard it as I bowed."

"I may have thought as much, but not aloud."

"Well, so I came."

Robert Frost [1875-


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