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Valentine Poem Collection - 19
The Sorrow of Love by William Butler Yeats
The quarrel of the sparrow in the eaves,
The full round moon and the star-laden sky,
And the loud song of the ever-singing leaves,
Had hid away earth's old and weary cry.
And then you came with those red mournful lips,
And with you came the whole of the world's tears,
And all the sorrows of her labouring ships,
And all the burden of her myriad years.
And now the sparrows warring in the eaves,
The curd-pale moon, the white stars in the sky,
And the loud chaunting of the unquiet leaves,
Are shaken with earth's old and weary cry.
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A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy's Day by John Donne
Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world's whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar'd with me, who am their epitaph.
Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.
All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
Of all that's nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.
But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light and body must be here.
But I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all;
Since she enjoys her long night's festival,
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's, and the day's deep midnight is.
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Time's Revenges by Robert Browning
I've a Friend, over the sea;
I like him, but he loves me.
It all grew out of the books I write;
They find such favour in his sight
That he slaughters you with savage looks
Because you don't admire my books.
He does himself though,---and if some vein
Were to snap to-night in this heavy brain,
To-morrow month, if I lived to try,
Round should I just turn quietly,
Or out of the bedclothes stretch my hand
Till I found him, come from his foreign land
To be my nurse in this poor place,
And make my broth and wash my face
And light my fire and, all the while,
Bear with his old good-humoured smile
That I told him 'Better have kept away
Than come and kill me, night and day,
With, worse than fever throbs and shoots,
The creaking of his clumsy boots.'
I am as sure that this he would do
As that Saint Paul's is striking two.
And I think I rather ... woe is me!
---Yes, rather would see him than not see,
If lifting a hand could seat him there
Before me in the empty chair
To-night, when my head aches indeed,
And I can neither think nor read
Nor make these purple fingers hold
The pen; this garret's freezing cold!
And I've a Lady---there he wakes,
The laughing fiend and prince of snakes
Within me, at her name, to pray
Fate send some creature in the way
Of my love for her, to be down-torn,
Upthrust and outward-borne,
So I might prove myself that sea
Of passion which I needs must be!
Call my thoughts false and my fancies quaint
And my style infirm and its figures faint,
All the critics say, and more blame yet,
And not one angry word you get.
But, please you, wonder I would put
My cheek beneath that lady's foot
Rather than trample under mine
The laurels of the Florentine,
And you shall see how the devil spends
A fire God gave for other ends!
I tell you, I stride up and down
This garret, crowned with love's best crown,
And feasted with love's perfect feast,
To think I kill for her, at least,
Body and soul and peace and fame,
Alike youth's end and manhood's aim,
---So is my spirit, as flesh with sin,
Filled full, eaten out and in
With the face of her, the eyes of her,
The lips, the little chin, the stir
Of shadow round her month; and she
---I'll tell you,---calmly would decree
That I should roast at a slow fire,
If that would compass her desire
And make her one whom they invite
To the famous ball to-morrow night.
There may be heaven; there must be hell;
Meantime, there is our earth here---well!
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Z---------'s Dream Part 3 by Anne Bronte
His lips were parted to inhale
The breeze that swept the ferny dale,
And chased the clouds across the sky,
And waved his locks in passing by,
And fanned my cheek; (so real did seem
This strange, untrue, but truthlike dream;)
And, as we stood, I laughed to see
His fair young cheek so brightly glow.
He turned his sparkling eyes to me
With looks no painter's art could show,
Nor words portray; -- but earnest mirth,
And truthful love I there descried;
And, while I thought upon his worth,
My bosom glowed with joy and pride.
I could have kissed his forehead fair;
I could nave clasped him to my heart;
But tenderness with me was rare,
And I must take a rougher part:
I seized him in my boisterous mirth;
I bore him struggling to the earth
And grappling, strength for strength we strove --
He half in wrath, -- I all for love;
But I gave o'er the strife at length,
Ashamed of my superior strength, --
The rather that I marked his eye
Kindle as if a change were nigh.
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The Disappointment by Aphra Behn
One Day the amorous Lisander,
By an impatient passion sway'd,
Surpris'd fair Cloris, that lov'd maid,
Who could defend her self no longer ;
All things did with his love conspire,
The gilded Planet of the day,
In his gay Chariot, drawn by Fire,
Was now descending to the Sea,
And left no Light to guide the World,
But what from Cloris brighter Eyes was hurl'd.
In a lone thicket made for Love,
Silent as yielding maids' consent,
She with a charming languishment
Permits his force, yet gently strove;
Her hands his bosom softly meet,
But not to put him back design'd,
Rather to draw 'em on inclin'd,
Whilst he lay trembling at her feet;
Resistance 'tis in vain to show;
She wants the power to say - Ah! what d'ye do?
Her bright eyes sweat, and yet severe,
Where love and shame confusedly strive,
Fresh Vigor to Lisander give;
And whispering softly in his ear,
She cried - Cease - cease - your vain desire,
Or I'll call out - What would you do?
My dearer honour, ev'n to you,
I cannot, must not give - retire,
Or take this life, whose chiefest part
I gave you with the conquest of my heart.
But he as much unused to fear,
As he was capable of love,
The blessed minutes to improve,
Kisses her lips, her neck, her hair!
Each touch her new desires alarms!
His burning trembling hand he prest
Upon her swelling snowy breast,
While she lay panting in his arms.
All her unguarded beauties lie
The spoils and trophies of the enemy.
And now, without respect or fear,
He seeks the objects of his vows;
His love no modesty allows:
By swift degrees advancing - where
His daring hand that altar seized,
Where gods of love do sacrifice;
That awful throne, that paradise
Where rage is tamed, and anger pleas'd ;
That fountain where delight still flows,
And gives the universal world repose.
Her balmy lips incountring his,
Their bodies as their souls are joyn'd,
Where both in transports unconfin'd,
Extend themselves upon the moss.
Cloris half dead and breathless lay,
Her soft eyes cast a humid light,
Such as divides the day and night;
Or falling stars, whose fires decay ;
And now no signs of life she shows,
But what in short-breathed sighs returns and
He saw how at her length she lay,
He saw her rising Bosom bare,
Her loose thin robes, through which appear
A shape designed for love and play;
Abandoned by her pride and shame,
She does her softest joys dispence,
Off'ring her virgin-innocence
A victim to loves sacred flame;
While the o'er-ravished shepherd lies,
Unable to perform the sacrifice.
Ready to taste a thousand joys,
The too transported hapless swain,
Found the vast pleasure turned to pain;
Pleasure, which too much love destroys:
The willing garments by he laid,
And Heaven all open to his view,
Mad to possess, himself he threw
On the defenceless lovely maid.
But oh! what envying gods conspire
To snatch his power, yet leave him the desire!
Nature's support, (without whose aid
She can no humane being give)
It self now wants the art to live,
Faintness it slackened nerves invade:
In vain th' enraged youth essayed
To call his fleeting vigour back,
No motion 'twill from motion take,
Excess of love his love betray'd ;
In vain he toils, in vain commands,
The insensible fell weeping in his hand.
In this so amorous cruel strife,
Where love and fate were too severe,
The poor Lisander in despair
Renounced his reason with his life.
Now all the brisk and active fire
That should the nobler part inflame,
Served to increase his rage and shame,
And left no spark for new desire;
Not all her naked charms could move,
Or calm that rage that had debauched his love.
Cloris returning from the trance
Which love and soft desire had bred,
Her timorous hand she gently laid,
(Or guided by design or chance)
Upon that Fabulous Priapus,
That potent god, as poets feign.
But never did young shepherdess
Gath'ring of fern upon the plain,
More nimbly draw her fingers back,
Finding beneath the verdant leaves a snake.
Then Cloris her fair hand withdrew,
Finding that god of her desires
Disarmed of all his powerful fires,
And cold as flowers bathed in the morning dew.
Who can the Nymph's confusion guess?
The blood forsook the hinder place,
And strewed with blushes all her face,
Which both disdain and shame exprest;
And from Lisander's arms she fled,
Leaving him fainting on the gloomy bed.
Like lightning through the grove she hies,
Or Daphne from the Delphick God;
No print upon the grassy road
She leaves, t' instruct pursuing eyes.
The wind that wantoned in her hair,
And with her ruffled garments played,
Discovered in the flying maid
All that the gods e'er made, if fair.
So Venus, when her love was slain,
With fear and haste flew o'er the fatal plain.
The Nymph's resentments, none but I
Can well imagine, or condole ;
But none can guess Lisander's Soul,
But those who swayed his destiny:
His silent griefs, swell up to storms,
And not one god, his fury spares,
He cursed his birth, his fate, his stars,
But more the shepherdess's charms;
Whose soft bewitching influence
Had damn'd him to the hell of impotence.
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