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Poem on Beauty
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                    A 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.
          Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
          A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
          Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
          Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
          Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways
          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 blooms:
          And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
          We have imagined for the mighty dead;
          An endless fountain of immortal drink,
          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 thy shape
               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,
               Pipe to 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, unwearied,
               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 and cloy'd,
                   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 sea shore,
               Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
                   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,
          "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,--that is all
                   Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
                                                                            - John Keats

                                        Nightingales
 
          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 there,
            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 profound,
            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 day
              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?
               A thousand Cupids fly
               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 I try
               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.
               Heaven pictured in her face
               Doth promise joy and grace.
          Fair Cynthia's silver light
          That beats on running streams
          Compares not with her white,
          Whose hairs are all sunbeams.
               Her virtues so do shine
               As day unto mine eyne*.           
[eyes]
          With this there is a red
          Exceeds the damask rose,
          Which in her cheeks is spread,
          Whence every favor grows.
               In sky there is no star
               That she surmounts not far.
          When Phoebus from the bed
          Of Thetis doth arise,
          The morning blushing red
          In fair carnation wise,
               He shows it in her face
               As queen of every grace.
          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,
               These beauties make me die!
                                                       - Edward De Vere

                             Amoretti Sonnet III
 
              Thou sovereign beauty which I do admire,
               Witness the world how worthy to be praised:
               The light whereof hath kindled heavenly fire,
               In my frail spirit by her from baseness raised.
          That being now with her huge brightness dazed,
               Base things I can no more endure to view;
               But looking still on her I stand amazed,
               At wondrous sight of so celestial hew.
          So when my tongue would speak her praises due,
               It stopped is with thought's astonishment:
               And when my pen would write her titles true,
               It ravished is with fancy's wonderment:
          Yet in my heart I then both speak and write
               The wonder that my wit cannot endite.
                                                   -Edmund Spenser

                              Beauty
 
          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.
                                              -Elinor Wylie

                                    Beauty
 
          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 river
          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 air
          Flies what yet lives in me. Beauty is there
                                                               - Edward Thomas

                                            Beauty
 
          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 sea,
          And seen strange lands from under the arched white sails of ships;
          But the loveliest thing of beauty God ever has shown to me,
          Are her voice, and her hair, and eyes, and the dear red curve of her lips.
                                                                             -John Masefield
 

                  My Star
 
          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 blue!
          Then it stops like a bird; like a flower hangs furled:
               They must solace themselves with the Saturn above it.
          What matter to me if their star is a world?
               Mine 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 yew-berries,
                 Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
                       Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
          A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
                 For shade 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 flowers all,
                 And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
          Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
                 Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
                       Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
          Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
                 Emprison 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 Pleasure nigh,
                 Turning 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

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