Thing of Beauty
A THING of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but
still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young,
sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season;
the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
An endless fountain of immortal
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.
- John Keats
Ode on a Grecian Urn
THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who
canst thus express
A flowery tale
more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about
Of deities or mortals,
or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit?
What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual
ear, but, more endear'd,
the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou
canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever
can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade,
though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist,
For ever piping songs
for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer
lowing at the skies,
And all her
silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or
Or mountain-built with
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and
not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and
the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form,
dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
is truth, truth beauty,--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
- John Keats
BEAUTIFUL must be the mountains whence ye come,
And bright in the fruitful valleys the streams wherefrom
Ye learn your song:
Where are those starry woods? O might I wander
Among the flowers, which in that heavenly air
Bloom the year long!
Nay, barren are those mountains and spent the streams:
Our song is the voice of desire, that haunts our dreams,
A throe of the heart,
Whose pining visions dim, forbidden hopes
No dying cadence, nor long sigh can sound,
For all our art.
Alone, aloud in the raptured ear of men
We pour our dark nocturnal secret; and then,
As night is withdrawn
From these sweet-springing meads and bursting
boughs of May,
Dream, while the innumerable choir of
Welcome the dawn.
- Robert Bridges
What Cunning Can Express
WHAT cunning can express
The favor of her face
To whom in this distress
I do appeal for grace?
About her gentle eye.
From whence each throws a dart
That kindleth soft sweet fire
Within my sighing heart,
Possessèd by desire.
No sweeter life
Than in her love to die.
The lily in the field
That glories in his white,
For pureness now must yield
And render up his right.
in her face
Doth promise joy and
Fair Cynthia's silver light
That beats on running streams
Compares not with her white,
Whose hairs are all sunbeams.
virtues so do shine
As day unto mine
With this there is a red
Exceeds the damask rose,
Which in her cheeks is spread,
Whence every favor grows.
there is no star
That she surmounts
When Phoebus from the bed
Of Thetis doth arise,
The morning blushing red
In fair carnation wise,
it in her face
As queen of every
This pleasant lily-white,
This taint of roseate red,
This Cynthia's silver light,
This sweet fair Dea* spread, [goddess]
These sunbeams in mine eye,
beauties make me die!
- Edward De Vere
Amoretti Sonnet III
Thou sovereign beauty which I do admire,
Witness the world how worthy to be
The light whereof hath kindled
In my frail spirit
by her from baseness raised.
That being now with her huge brightness
Base things I can no more
endure to view;
But looking still
on her I stand amazed,
sight of so celestial hew.
So when my tongue would speak her praises
It stopped is with thought's
And when my pen would
write her titles true,
is with fancy's wonderment:
Yet in my heart I then both speak and
The wonder that my wit cannot
SAY not of beauty she is good,
Or aught but beautiful,
Or sleek to doves' wings of the wood
Her wild wings of a gull.
Call her not wicked; that word's touch
Consumes her like a curse;
But love her not too much, too much,
For that is even worse.
O, she is neither good nor bad,
But innocent and wild!
Enshrine her and she dies, who had
The hard heart of a child.
WHAT does it mean? Tired, angry, and ill at ease,
No man, woman, or child alive could please
Me now. And yet I almost
dare to laugh
Because I sit and frame an epitaph--
"Here lies all that no one loved of him
And that loved no one."
Then in a trice that whim
Has wearied. But, though I am like a
At fall of evening when it seems that never
Has the sun lighted it or warmed it, while
Cross breezes cut the
surface to a file,
This heart, some fraction of me, hapily
Floats through a window even now to a tree
Down in the misting,
dim-lit, quiet vale;
Not like a pewit that returns to wail
For something it has lost, but like a dove
That slants unanswering
to its home and love.
There I find my rest, and through the dusk
Flies what yet lives in me. Beauty is there
- Edward Thomas
I HAVE seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills
Coming in solemn beauty like slow old tunes of Spain:
I have seen
the lady April bringing the daffodils,
Bringing the springing grass
and the soft warm April rain.
I have heard the song of the blossoms and the old chant of the
And seen strange lands from under the arched white sails of
But the loveliest thing of beauty God ever has shown to
Are her voice, and her hair, and eyes, and the dear red curve
of her lips.
ALL that I know
Of a certain star
Is, it can throw
(Like the angled spar)
Now a dart of red,
Now a dart of blue;
Till my friends have said
They would fain see, too,
My star that dartles the red and the
Then it stops like a bird; like a flower hangs furled:
They must solace themselves with the Saturn above it.
to me if their star is a world?
has opened its soul to me, therefore I love it.
- Robert Browning
Ode on Melancholy
NO, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf's bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy
pale forehead to be kiss'd
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of
the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's
to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.
But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed
the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning
Or on the rainbow
of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich
her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.
She dwells with Beauty--Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching
to Poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of delight
Veil'd Melancholy has
her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste
the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.
- John Keats
I Love All Beauteous Things
I LOVE all beauteous things,
I seek and adore them;
God hath no better praise,
And man in his hasty days
Is honoured for them.
I too will something make
And joy in the making!
Altho' tomorrow it seem'
Like the empty words of a dream
Remembered, on waking.
- Robert Bridges