Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
- A Magic Moment I Remember~ Pushkin
A magic moment I remember:
I raised my eyes and you were there,
A fleeting vision, the quintessence
Of all that’s beautiful and rare.
I pray to mute despair and anguish,
To vain pursuits the world esteems,
Long did I near your soothing accents,
Long did your features haunt my dreams.
Time passed. A rebel storm-blast scattered
The reveries that once were mine
And I forgot your soothing accents,
Your features gracefully divine.
In dark days of enforced retirement
I gazed upon grey skies above
With no ideals to inspire me,
No one to cry for, live for, love.
Then came a moment of renaissance,
I looked up – you again are there,
A fleeting vision, the quintessence
Of all that`s beautiful and rare.
- A Song Of Love~ Sidney Lanier
Hey, rose, just born
Twin to a thorn;
Was’t so with you, O Love and Scorn?
Sweet eyes that smile,
Now wet and wild:
O Eye and Tear- mother and child.
Well: Love and Pain
Be kinfolks twain;
Yet would, Oh would I could Love again.
- Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her~ Christpoher Brennan
If questioning would make us wise
No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
If all our tale were told in speech
No mouths would wander each to each.
Were spirits free from mortal mesh
And love not bound in hearts of flesh
No aching breasts would yearn to meet
And find their ecstasy complete.
For who is there that lives and knows
The secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
To thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?
Then seek not, sweet, the ‘If’ and ‘Why’
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.
- Destiny Edwin Arnold
Somewhere there waiteth in this world of ours
For one lone soul another lonely soul
Each choosing each through all the weary hours
And meeting strangely at one sudden goal.
Then blend they, like green leaves with golden flowers,
Into one beautiful and perfect whole;
And life’s long night is ended, and the way
Lies open onward to eternal day.
While on my lonely couch I lie,
I seldom feel myself alone,
For fancy fills my dreaming eye
With scenes and pleasures of its own.
Then I may cherish at my breast
An infant’s form beloved and fair,
May smile and soothe it into rest
With all a Mother’s fondest care.
How sweet to feel its helpless form
Depending thus on me alone!
And while I hold it safe and warm
What bliss to think it is my own!
And glances then may meet my eyes
That daylight never showed to me;
What raptures in my bosom rise,
Those earnest looks of love to see,
To feel my hand so kindly prest,
To know myself beloved at last,
To think my heart has found a rest,
My life of solitude is past!
But then to wake and find it flown,
The dream of happiness destroyed,
To find myself unloved, alone,
What tongue can speak the dreary void?
A heart whence warm affections flow,
Creator, thou hast given to me,
And am I only thus to know
How sweet the joys of love would be?
- From Felix Holt, the Radical~ George Eliot
Why, there are maidens of heroic touch
And yet they seem like things of gossamer
You’d pinch the life out of, as out of moths.
O, it is not fond tones and mouthingness,
‘Tis not the arms akimbo and large strides,
That makes a woman’s force. The tiniest birds,
With softest downy breasts, have passion in them,
And are brave with love.
- For Each Ecstatic Instant – Emily Dickinson
For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay.
In keen and quivering ratio
To the ecstasy.
For each beloved hour
Sharp pittances of years,
Bitter contested farthings
And coffers heaped with tears.
- Friendship after Love – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
AFTER the fierce midsummer all ablaze
Has burned itself to ashes, and expires
In the intensity of its own fires,
There come the mellow, mild, St. Martin days
Crowned with the calm of peace, but sad with haze.
So after Love has led us, till he tires
Of his own throes, and torments, and desires,
Comes large-eyed friendship: with a restful gaze,
He beckons us to follow, and across
Cool verdant vales we wander free from care.
Is it a touch of frost lies in the air?
Why are we haunted with a sense of loss?
We do not wish the pain back, or the heat;
And yet, and yet, these days are incomplete.
- From You Have I Been Absent – William Shakespeare
From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dress’d in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the Lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermillion in the Rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it Winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
- Heart, We Will Forget Him - Emily Dickinson
Heart, we will forget him,
You and I, tonight!
You must forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.
When you have done pray tell me,
Then I, my thoughts, will dim.
Haste! ‘lest while you’re lagging
I may remember him!
- Go, Lovely Rose - Edmund Waller
GO, lovely Rose-
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.
Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.
Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
- Art thou pale for weariness - a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Among the stars that have a different birth,
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?
- A Nocturnal Reverie - a poem by Anne Finch
In such a night, when every louder wind
Is to its distant cavern safe confined;
And only gentle Zephyr fans his wings,
And lonely Philomel, still waking, sings;
Or from some tree, famed for the owl’s delight,
She, hollowing clear, directs the wand’rer right:
In such a night, when passing clouds give place,
Or thinly veil the heav’ns’ mysterious face;
When in some river, overhung with green,
The waving moon and trembling leaves are seen;
When freshened grass now bears itself upright,
And makes cool banks to pleasing rest invite,
Whence springs the woodbind, and the bramble-rose,
And where the sleepy cowslip sheltered grows;
Whilst now a paler hue the foxglove takes,
Yet checkers still with red the dusky brakes
When scattered glow-worms, but in twilight fine,
Shew trivial beauties watch their hour to shine;
Whilst Salisb’ry stands the test of every light,
In perfect charms, and perfect virtue bright:
When odors, which declined repelling day,
Through temp’rate air uninterrupted stray;
When darkened groves their softest shadows wear,
And falling waters we distinctly hear;
When through the gloom more venerable shows
Some ancient fabric, awful in repose,
While sunburnt hills their swarthy looks conceal,
And swelling haycocks thicken up the vale:
When the loosed horse now, as his pasture leads,
Comes slowly grazing through th’ adjoining meads,
Whose stealing pace, and lengthened shade we fear,
Till torn-up forage in his teeth we hear:
When nibbling sheep at large pursue their food,
And unmolested kine rechew the cud;
When curlews cry beneath the village walls,
And to her straggling brood the partridge calls;
Their shortlived jubilee the creatures keep,
Which but endures, whilst tyrant man does sleep;
When a sedate content the spirit feels,
And no fierce light disturbs, whilst it reveals;
But silent musings urge the mind to seek
Something, too high for syllables to speak;
Till the free soul to a composedness charmed,
Finding the elements of rage disarmed,
O’er all below a solemn quiet grown,
Joys in th’ inferior world, and thinks it like her own:
In such a night let me abroad remain,
Till morning breaks, and all’s confused again;
Our cares, our toils, our clamors are renewed,
Or pleasures, seldom reached, again pursued.
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