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Valentine Poem Collection - 55
To My Wife by Oscar Wilde
With a Copy of My Poems
I can write no stately proem
As a prelude to my lay;
From a poet to a poem
I would dare to say.
For if of these fallen petals
One to you seem fair,
Love will waft it till it settles
On your hair.
And when wind and winter harden
All the loveless land,
It will whisper of the garden,
You will understand.
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Audley Court by Lord Alfred Tennyson
The Bull, the Fleece are cramm’d, and not a room
For love or money. Let us picnic there
At Audley Court.’
I spoke, while Audley feast
Humm’d like a hive all round the narrow quay,
To Francis, with a basket on his arm,
To Francis just alighted from the boat,
And breathing of the sea. ‘With all my heart,’
Said Francis. Then we shoulder’d thro’ the swarm,
And rounded by the stillness of the beach
To where the bay runs up its latest horn.
We left the dying ebb that faintly lipp’d
The flat red granite; so by many a sweep
Of meadow smooth from aftermath we reach’d
The griffin-guarded gates, and pass’d thro’ all
The pillar’d dusk of sounding sycamores,
And cross’d the garden to the gardener’s lodge,
With all its casements bedded, and its walls
And chimneys muffled in the leafy vine.
There, on a slope of orchard, Francis laid
A damask napkin wrought with horse and hound,
Brought out a dusky loaf that smelt of home,
And, half-cut-down, a pasty costly-made,
Where quail and pigeon, lark and leveret lay,
Like fossils of the rock, with golden yolks
Imbedded and injellied; last, with these,
A flask of cider from his father’s vats,
Prime, which I knew; and so we sat and eat
And talk’d old matters over; who was dead,
Who married, who was like to be, and how
The races went, and who would rent the hall:
Then touch’d upon the game, how scarce it was
This season; glancing thence, discuss’d the farm,
The four-field system, and the price of grain;
And struck upon the corn-laws, where we split,
And came again together on the king
With heated faces; till he laugh’d aloud;
And, while the blackbird on the pippin hung
To hear him, clapt his hand in mine and sang–
‘Oh! who would fight and march and countermarch,
Be shot for sixpence in a battle-field,
And shovell’d up into some bloody trench
Where no one knows? but let me live my life.
‘Oh! who would cast and balance at a desk,
Perch’d like a crow upon a three-legg’d stool,
Till all his juice is dried, and all his joints
Are full of chalk? but let me live my life.
‘Who’d serve the state? for if I carved my name
Upon the cliffs that guard my native land,
I might as well have traced it in the sands;
The sea wastes all: but let me live my life.
‘Oh! who would love? I woo’d a woman once,
But she was sharper than an eastern wind,
And all my heart turn’d from her, as a thorn
Turns from the sea; but let me live my life.’
He sang his song, and I replied with mine:
I found it in a volume, all of songs,
Knock’d down to me, when old Sir Robert’s pride,
His books–the more the pity, so I said–
Came to the hammer here in March–and this–
I set the words, and added names I knew.
‘Sleep, Ellen Aubrey, sleep, and dream of me:
Sleep, Ellen, folded in thy sister’s arm,
And sleeping, haply dream her arm is mine.
‘Sleep, Ellen, folded in Emilia’s arm;
Emilia, fairer than all else but thou,
For thou art fairer than all else that is.
‘Sleep, breathing health and peace upon her breast:
Sleep, breathing love and trust against her lip:
I go to-night: I come to-morrow morn.
‘I go, but I return: I would I were
The pilot of the darkness and the dream.
Sleep, Ellen Aubrey, love, and dream of me.’
So sang we each to either, Francis Hale,
The farmer’s son, who lived across the bay,
My friend; and I, that having wherewithal,
And in the fallow leisure of my life
A rolling stone of here and everywhere,
Did what I would; but ere the night we rose
And saunter’d home beneath a moon, that, just
In crescent, dimly rain’d about the leaf
Twilights of airy silver, till we reach’d
The limit of the hills; and as we sank
From rock to rock upon the glooming quay,
The town was hush’d beneath us: lower down
The bay was oily calm; the harbour-buoy,
Sole star of phosphorescence in the calm,
With one green sparkle ever and anon
Dipt by itself, and we were glad at heart.
= = = = = = = = = =
If You Could Come by Katharine Lee Bates
My love, my love, if you could come once more
From your high place,
I would not question you for heavenly lore,
But, silent, take the comfort of your face.
I would not ask you if those golden spheres
In love rejoice,
If only our stained star hath sin and tears,
But fill my famished hearing with your voice.
One touch of you were worth a thousand creeds.
My wound is numb
Through toil-pressed, but all night long it bleeds
In aching dreams, and still you cannot come.
= = = = = = = = = =
A thousand years by Lady Heguri
A thousand years, you said,
as our hearts melted.
I look at the hand you held,
and the ache is hard to bear.
= = = = = = = = = =
A Sign-Seeker by Thomas Hardy
I mark the months in liveries dank and dry,
The day-tides many-shaped and hued;
I see the nightfall shades subtrude,
And hear the monotonous hours clang negligently by.
I view the evening bonfires of the sun
On hills where morning rains have hissed;
The eyeless countenance of the mist
Pallidly rising when the summer droughts are done.
I have seen the lightning-blade, the leaping star,
The caldrons of the sea in storm,
Have felt the earthquake's lifting arm,
And trodden where abysmal fires and snowcones are.
I learn to prophesy the hid eclipse,
The coming of eccentric orbs;
To mete the dust the sky absorbs,
To weigh the sun, and fix the hour each planet dips.
I witness fellow earth-men surge and strive;
Assemblies meet, and throb, and part;
Death's soothing finger, sorrow's smart;
--All the vast various moils that mean a world alive.
But that I fain would wot of shuns my sense--
Those sights of which old prophets tell,
Those signs the general word so well,
Vouchsafed to their unheed, denied my watchings tense.
In graveyard green, behind his monument
To glimpse a phantom parent, friend,
Wearing his smile, and 'Not the end!'
Outbreathing softly: that were blest enlightenment;
Or, if a dead Love's lips, whom dreams reveal
When midnight imps of King Decay
Delve sly to solve me back to clay,
Should leave some print to prove her spirit-kisses real;
Or, when Earth's Frail lie bleeding of her Strong,
If some Recorder, as in Writ,
Near to the weary scene should flit
And drop one plume as pledge that Heaven inscrolls the wrong.
--There are who, rapt to heights of trancéd trust,
These tokens claim to feel and see,
Read radiant hints of times to be--
Of heart to heart returning after dust to dust.
Such scope is granted not my powers indign...
I have lain in dead men's beds, have walked
The tombs of those with whom I'd talked,
Called many a gone and goodly one to shape a sign,
And panted for response. But none replies;
No warnings loom, nor whisperings
To open out my limitings,
And Nescience mutely muses: When a man falls he lies.
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