Alfred Tennyson

From Ode to Memory Thou who stealest fire, From the fountains of the past, To glorify the present, oh, haste, Visit my low desire! Strengthen me, enlighten me! I faint in this obscurity, Thou dewy dawn of memory.

From Ode to Memory

Thou who stealest fire,
From the fountains of the past,
To glorify the present, oh, haste,
Visit my low desire!
Strengthen me, enlighten me!
I faint in this obscurity,
Thou dewy dawn of memory.

Alfred Noyes

The Highwayman PART ONE I The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, And the highwayman came riding – Riding – riding – The highwayman came riding, up to the old … Continue reading “Alfred Noyes”

The Highwayman

PART ONE

I

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding –
Riding – riding –
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

II

He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

III

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shuters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

IV

And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say”

V

“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

VI

He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i’ the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonliglt, and galloped away to the West.

PART TWO

I

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o’ the tawny sunset, before the rise o’ the moon,
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching –
Marching – marching –
King George’s men came matching, up to the old inn-door.

II

They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

III

They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
“Now, keep good watch!” and they kissed her.
She heard the dead man say –
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

IV

She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

V

The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love’s refrain .

VI

Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!

VII

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him – with her death.

VIII

He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

IX

Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs i’ the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

* * * * * *

X

And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding –
Riding – riding –
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

XI

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Sophie Hannah

The world is a box My heart is a box of affection. My head is a box of ideas. My room is a box of protection. My past is a box full of years. The future’s a box full of after. An egg is a box full of yolk. My life is a box full … Continue reading “Sophie Hannah”

The world is a box

My heart is a box of affection.
My head is a box of ideas.
My room is a box of protection.
My past is a box full of years.

The future’s a box full of after.
An egg is a box full of yolk.
My life is a box full of laughter
And the world is a box full of folk.

Lord Byron

When one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation), sleep, eating and swilling, buttoning and unbuttoning – how much remains of downright existence? The summer of a dormouse.

When one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation), sleep, eating and swilling, buttoning and unbuttoning – how much remains of downright existence? The summer of a dormouse.

Stephen Leacock

Many of my friends are under the impression that I write these humorous nothings in idle moments when the wearied brain is unable to perform the serious labours of the economist. My own experience is exactly the other way. The writing of solid, instructive stuff fortified by facts and figures is easy enough. There is … Continue reading “Stephen Leacock”

Many of my friends are under the impression that I write these humorous nothings in idle moments when the wearied brain is unable to perform the serious labours of the economist. My own experience is exactly the other way. The writing of solid, instructive stuff fortified by facts and figures is easy enough. There is no trouble in writing a scientific treatise on the folk-lore of Central China, or a statistical enquiry into the declining population of Prince Edward Island. But to write something out of one’s own mind, worth reading for its own sake, is an arduous contrivance only to be achieved in fortunate moments, few and far between. Personally, I would sooner have written “Alice in Wonderland” than the whole Encyclopaedia Britannica.

John Masefield

Trade Winds In the harbor, in the island, in the Spanish Seas, Are the tiny white houses and the orange trees, And day-long, night-long, the cool and pleasant breeze Of the steady Trade Winds blowing. There is the red wine, the nutty Spanish ale, The shuffle of the dancers, the old salt’s tale, The squeaking … Continue reading “John Masefield”

Trade Winds

In the harbor, in the island, in the Spanish Seas,
Are the tiny white houses and the orange trees,
And day-long, night-long, the cool and pleasant breeze
Of the steady Trade Winds blowing.

There is the red wine, the nutty Spanish ale,
The shuffle of the dancers, the old salt’s tale,
The squeaking fiddle, and the soughing in the sail
Of the steady Trade Winds blowing.

And o’ nights there’s fire-flies and the yellow moon,
And in the ghostly palm-trees the sleepy tune
Of the quiet voice calling me, the long low croon
Of the steady Trade Winds blowing.

C S Lewis

In the midst of a world of light and love, of song and feast and dance, [Lucifer] could find nothing to think of more interesting than his own prestige.

In the midst of a world of light and love, of song and feast and dance, [Lucifer] could find nothing to think of more interesting than his own prestige.

A Dog’s Tale

A certain dachsund was so long He hadn’t any notion How long it took to notify His tail of his emotion. And thus it happened though his eyes Were full of tears and sadness, His little tail went wagging on Because of earlier gladness. Found at The Clock’s Loneliness.

A certain dachsund was so long
He hadn’t any notion
How long it took to notify
His tail of his emotion.
And thus it happened though his eyes
Were full of tears and sadness,
His little tail went wagging on
Because of earlier gladness.

Found at The Clock’s Loneliness.

Ralph of Diceto

Epitpah of Henry II I was Henry the King. To me Divers realms were subject, I was duke and count of many provinces. Eight feet of ground is now enough for me, whom many kingdoms failed to satisfy. Who reads these lines, let him reflect, upon the narrowness of death. And in my case behold, … Continue reading “Ralph of Diceto”

Epitpah of Henry II

I was Henry the King. To me Divers realms were subject, I was duke and count of many provinces. Eight feet of ground is now enough for me, whom many kingdoms failed to satisfy. Who reads these lines, let him reflect, upon the narrowness of death. And in my case behold, the image of our mortal lot. This scanty tomb doth now suffice, For whom the Earth was not enough.

John Donne

Holy Sonnets – XIV Batter my heart, three-person’d God; for you As yet but knock; breathe, shine, and seek to mend; That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new. I, like an usurp’d town, to another due, Labour to admit you, but O, … Continue reading “John Donne”

Holy Sonnets – XIV

Batter my heart, three-person’d God; for you
As yet but knock; breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Rousseau

The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had someone pulled up the … Continue reading “Rousseau”

The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had someone pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: “Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of this earth belong to all and the earth to no one.”

Lewis Carroll

“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic!”

“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic!”

Stephen Crane

Ah, God, the way your little finger moved As you thrust a bare arm backward And made play with your hair And a comb a silly gilt comb Ah, God – that I should suffer Because of the way a little finger moved.

Ah, God, the way your little finger moved
As you thrust a bare arm backward
And made play with your hair
And a comb a silly gilt comb
Ah, God – that I should suffer
Because of the way a little finger moved.

Helen Keller

Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence … Continue reading “Helen Keller”

Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.

E T Bell

One service mathematics has rendered to the human race. It has put common sense back where it belongs, on the topmost shelf next to the dusty canister labelled “discarded nonsense”.

One service mathematics has rendered to the human race. It has put common sense back where it belongs, on the topmost shelf next to the dusty canister labelled “discarded nonsense”.

Su Shi (Su Dong-po)

Caught in the Rain on My Way to the Sandy Lake Listen not to the rain beating against the trees. Why not walk slowly while chanting at ease? Better than a saddle I like sandals and cane. I’d fain In a straw cloak, spend my life in mist and rain. Drunken, I am sobered by … Continue reading “Su Shi (Su Dong-po)”

Caught in the Rain on My Way to the Sandy Lake

Listen not to the rain beating against the trees.
Why not walk slowly while chanting at ease?
Better than a saddle I like sandals and cane.
I’d fain
In a straw cloak, spend my life in mist and rain.

Drunken, I am sobered by the vernal wind shrill
And rather chill.
In front, I see the slanting sun atop the hill;
Turning my head, I see the dreary beaten track.
Let me go back!
Impervious to rain or shine, I’ll have my own will.