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Valentine Poem Collection - 8
The Sky Watcher by William Wilfred Campbell
Black rolls the phantom chimney-smoke
Beneath the wintry moon;
For miles on miles, by sound unbroke,
The world lies wrapt in its ermine cloak,
And the night's icy swoon
Sways earthward in great brimming wells
Of luminous, frosty particles.
Far up the roadway, drifted deep,
Where frost-etched fences gleam;
Beneath the sky's wan, shimmering sleep
My solitary way I keep
Across the world's white dream;
The only living moving thing
In all this mighty slumbering.
Up in the eastern range of hill,
The thin wood spectrally
Stirs in its sleep and then is still
(Like querulous age) at the wind's will.
My shadow doggedly
Follows my footsteps where I go,
A grotesque giant on the snow.
Out where the river's arms are wound,
And icy sedges cling,
There comes to me as in a swound
A far-off clear, thin, vibrant sound,--
The distant hammering
Of frost-elves as they come and go,
Forging, in silver chains, his woe.
I stand upon the hill's bleak crest
And note the far night world:
The mighty lake whose passionate breast,
Manacled into arctic rest,
In shrouded sleep is furled:
The steely heavens whose wondrous host
Wheel white from flaming coast to coast.
Then down the night's dim luminous ways,
Meseems they come once more,
Those great star-watchers of old days
The lonely, calm-ones, whose still gaze,
On old-time, orient shore,
Dreamed in the wheeling sons of light,
The awful secrets of earth's night.
They come, those lofty ones of old,
And take me by the hand,
And call me brother; ages rolled
Are but a smoke-mist; kindred-souled,
They lift me to their band;
Like lights that from pale starbeams shine,
Their clear eyes look with peace on mine.
In language of no common kind
These watchers speak to me;
Their thoughts the depths of heaven find
Like plummets true. It were a kind
To spend with them one holy hour,
And know their love and grasp their power.
And wrapt around with glad content,
I learn with soul serene,
Caught from the beauty that is blent
In earth, the heaven's luminous tent,
The frost-lit dreams between,
And something holier out of sight,
Glad visions of the infinite.
Then backward past the sere hill's breast,
The spectral moaning wood,
With great peace brooding in my breast,
I turn me toward the common rest
Of earth's worn brotherhood;
But as I pass, a sacred sign,
Each lays his holy lips on mine:--
Gives me the golden chrism of song,
Tips my hushed heart with fire;
Till high in heaven I hear that throng
Who march in mystic paths along,
Great Pleiades, The Lyre,
The Te-Deum of the ages swell,
To earth-tuned ear inaudible.
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Sonnet CL by William Shakespeare
O, from what power hast thou this powerful might
With insufficiency my heart to sway?
To make me give the lie to my true sight,
And swear that brightness doth not grace the day?
Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill,
That in the very refuse of thy deeds
There is such strength and warrantize of skill
That, in my mind, thy worst all best exceeds?
Who taught thee how to make me love thee more
The more I hear and see just cause of hate?
O, though I love what others do abhor,
With others thou shouldst not abhor my state:
If thy unworthiness raised love in me,
More worthy I to be beloved of thee.
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Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her by Christopher 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.
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On The Death Of J. C. An Infant by Phillis Wheatly
No more the flow'ry scenes of pleasure rife,
Nor charming prospects greet the mental eyes,
No more with joy we view that lovely face
Smiling, disportive, flush'd with ev'ry grace.
The tear of sorrow flows from ev'ry eye,
Groans answer groans, and sighs to sighs reply;
What sudden pangs shot thro' each aching heart,
When, Death, thy messenger dispatch'd his dart?
Thy dread attendants, all-destroying Pow'r,
Hurried the infant to his mortal hour.
Could'st thou unpitying close those radiant eyes?
Or fail'd his artless beauties to surprise?
Could not his innocence thy stroke controul,
Thy purpose shake, and soften all thy soul?
The blooming babe, with shades of Death o'er-
No more shall smile, no more shall raise its head,
But, like a branch that from the tree is torn,
Falls prostrate, wither'd, languid, and forlorn.
'Where flies my James?' 'tis thus I seem to hear
The parent ask, 'Some angel tell me where
'He wings his passage thro' the yielding air?'
Methinks a cherub bending from the skies
Observes the question, and serene replies,
'In heav'ns high palaces your babe appears:
'Prepare to meet him, and dismiss your tears.'
Shall not th' intelligence your grief restrain,
And turn the mournful to the cheerful strain?
Cease your complaints, suspend each rising sigh,
Cease to accuse the Ruler of the sky.
Parents, no more indulge the falling tear:
Let Faith to heav'n's refulgent domes repair,
There see your infant, like a seraph glow:
What charms celestial in his numbers flow
Melodious, while the foul-enchanting strain
Dwells on his tongue, and fills th' ethereal plain?
Enough--for ever cease your murm'ring breath;
Not as a foe, but friend converse with Death,
Since to the port of happiness unknown
He brought that treasure which you call your own.
The gift of heav'n intrusted to your hand
Cheerful resign at the divine command:
Not at your bar must sov'reign Wisdom stand.
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By The Bivouac's Fitful Flame by Walt Whitman
By the bivouac's fitful flame,
A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow;--but first
The tents of the sleeping army, the fields' and woods' dim outline,
The darkness, lit by spots of kindled fire--the silence;
Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving;
The shrubs and trees, (as I lift my eyes they seem to be stealthily
While wind in procession thoughts, O tender and wondrous thoughts,
Of life and death--of home and the past and loved, and of those that
are far away;
A solemn and slow procession there as I sit on the ground,
By the bivouac's fitful flame.
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