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Valentine Poem Collection - 51
Part Two: Nature, LCVII by Emily Dickinson
TO make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—
One clover, and a bee,
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.
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To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persevere
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
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To Mrs. P--------, by Anna Lætitia Barbauld
With some Drawings of BIRDS and INSECTS
The kindred arts to please thee shall conspire,
One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre.
AMANDA bids; at her command again
I seize the pencil, or resume the pen;
No other call my willing hand requires,
And friendship, better than a Muse inspires.
Painting and poetry are near allied;
The kindred arts two sister Muses guide;
This charms the eye, that steals upon the ear;
There sounds are tun'd; and colours blended here.
This, with a silent touch enchants our eyes,
And bids a gayer brighter world arise:
That, less allied to sense, with deeper art
Can pierce the close recesses of the heart;
By well set syllables, and potent sound,
Can rouse, can chill the breast, can sooth, can wound;
To life adds motion, and to beauty soul,
And breathes a spirit through the finish'd whole:
Each perfects each, in friendly union join'd;
This gives Amanda's form, and that her mind.
But humbler themes my artless hand requires,
Nor higher than the feather'd tribe aspires.
Yet who the various nations can declare
That plow with busy wing the peopled air?
These cleave the crumbling bark for insect food;
Those dip their crooked beak in kindred blood;
Some haunt the rushy moor, the lonely woods;
Some bathe their silver plumage in the floods;
Some fly to man, his houshold gods implore,
And gather round his hospitable door;
Wait the known call, and find protection there
From all the lesser tyrants of the air.
The tawny EAGLE seats his callow brood
High on the cliff, and feasts his young with blood.
On Snowden's rocks, or Orkney's wide domain,
Whose beetling cliffs o'erhang the western main,
The royal bird his lonely kingdom forms
Amidst the gathering clouds, and sullen storms:
Thro' the wide waste of air he darts his sight
And holds his sounding pinions pois'd for flight;
With cruel eye premeditates the war,
And marks his destin'd victim from afar:
Descending in a whirlwind to the ground,
His pinions like the rush of waters sound;
The fairest of the fold he bears away,
And to his nest compels the struggling prey.
He scorns the game by meaner hunters tore,
And dips his talons in no vulgar gore.
With lovelier pomp along the grassy plain
The silver PHEASANT draws his shining train.
Once on the painted banks of Ganges' stream,
He spread his plumage to the sunny gleam:
But now the wiry net his flight confines,
He lowers his purple crest, and inly pines.
To claim the verse, unnumber'd tribes appear
That swell the music of the vernal year:
Seiz'd with the spirit of the kindly spring
They tune the voice, and sleek the glossy wing:
With emulative strife the notes prolong
And pour out all their little souls in song.
When winter bites upon the naked plain,
Nor food nor shelter in the groves remain;
By instinct led, a firm united band,
As marshal'd by some skilful general's hand,
The congregated nations wing their way
In dusky columns o'er the trackless sea;
In clouds unnumber'd annual hover o'er
The craggy Bass, or Kilda's utmost shore:
Thence spread their sails to meet the southern wind,
And leave the gathering tempest far behind;
Pursue the circling sun's indulgent ray,
Course the swift seasons, and o'ertake the day.
Not so the insect race, ordain'd to keep
The lazy sabbath of a half-year's sleep.
Entomb'd, beneath the filmy web they lie,
And wait the influence of a kinder sky.
When vernal sun-beams pierce their dark retreat
The heaving tomb distends with vital heat;
The full-form'd brood impatient of their cell
Start from their trance, and burst their silken shell;
Trembling a-while they stand, and scarcely dare
To launch at once upon the untried air:
At length assur'd, they catch the favouring gale,
And leave their sordid spoils, and high in Ether sail.
So when Rinaldo struck the conscious rind
He found a nymph in every trunk confin'd;
The forest labours with convulsive throes,
The bursting trees the lovely births disclose,
And a gay troop of damsels round him stood,
Where late was rugged bark and lifeless wood.
Lo! the bright train their radiant wings unfold,
With silver fring'd and freckl'd o'er with gold.
On the gay bosom of some fragrant flower
They idly fluttering live their little hour;
Their life all pleasure, and their task all play,
All spring their age, and sunshine all their day.
Not so the child of sorrow, wretched man,
His course with toil concludes, with pain began,
That his high destiny he might discern,
And in misfortune's school this lesson learn,
Pleasure's the portion of th' inferior kind;
But glory, virtue, Heaven for Man design'd.
What atom-forms of insect life appear!
And who can follow nature's pencil here?
Their wings with azure, green, and purple gloss'd
Studded with colour'd eyes, with gems emboss'd,
Inlaid with pearl, and mark'd with various stains
Of lively crimson thro' their dusky veins.
Some shoot like living stars, athwart the night,
And scatter from their wings a vivid light,
To guide the Indian to his tawny loves,
As thro' the woods with cautious step he moves.
See the proud giant of the beetle race;
What shining arms his polish'd limbs enchase!
Like some stern warrior formidably bright
His steely sides reflect a gleaming light:
On his large forehead spreading horns he wears,
And high in air the branching antlers bears:
O'er many an inch extends his wide domain,
And his rich treasury swells with hoarded grain.
Thy friend thus strives to cheat the lonely hour,
With song, or paint, an insect, or a flower:
Yet, if Amanda praise the flowing line,
And bend delighted o'er the gay design,
I envy not, nor emulate the fame
Or of the painter's, or the poet's name:
Could I to both with equal claim pretend,
Yet far, far dearer were the name of FRIEND.
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The Sick Rose by William Blake
O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
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The Voice by Rupert Brooke
Safe in the magic of my woods
I lay, and watched the dying light.
Faint in the pale high solitudes,
And washed with rain and veiled by night,
Silver and blue and green were showing.
And the dark woods grew darker still;
And birds were hushed; and peace was growing;
And quietness crept up the hill;
And no wind was blowing
And I knew
That this was the hour of knowing,
And the night and the woods and you
Were one together, and I should find
Soon in the silence the hidden key
Of all that had hurt and puzzled me --
Why you were you, and the night was kind,
And the woods were part of the heart of me.
And there I waited breathlessly,
Alone; and slowly the holy three,
The three that I loved, together grew
One, in the hour of knowing,
Night, and the woods, and you ----
There was an uproar in my woods,
The noise of a fool in mock distress,
Crashing and laughing and blindly going,
Of ignorant feet and a swishing dress,
And a Voice profaning the solitudes.
The spell was broken, the key denied me
And at length your flat clear voice beside me
Mouthed cheerful clear flat platitudes.
You came and quacked beside me in the wood.
You said, 'The view from here is very good!'
You said, 'It's nice to be alone a bit!'
And, 'How the days are drawing out!' you said.
You said, 'The sunset's pretty, isn't it?'
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