|The Raven||Edgar Alan Poe||January 1845|
|Stop all the clocks||W. H. Auden|
|Leisure||William Henry Davies|
|The Villain||William Henry Davies|
|Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night||Dylan Thomas||1951|
|Kubla Khan||Samuel Taylor Coleridge||1797|
|Invictus||William Ernest Henley||1875|
|The Road Not Taken||Robert Frost||1916|
|Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening||Robert Frost||1923|
|Your Children||Khalil Gibran||1923|
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you But make allowance for their doubting too, If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream — and not make dreams your master, If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it all on one turn of pitch and toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much, If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And — which is more — you'll be a Man, my son!
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore — While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. ‘Tis some visiter,’ I muttered, ‘tapping at my chamber door — Only this and nothing more.’
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore — For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore — Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating ‘'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door — Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door; This it is and nothing more.’
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, ‘Sir,’ said I, ‘or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you’ — here I opened wide the door — Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, ‘Lenore?’ This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, ‘Lenore!’ — Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before. ‘Surely,’ said I, ‘surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is and this mystery explore — Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; — 'Tis the wind and nothing more.’
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore. Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he, But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door — Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door — Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, ‘Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, ‘art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore — Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!’ Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning — little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door — Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as ‘Nevermore.’
But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour Nothing farther then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered — Till I scarcely more than muttered: ‘Other friends have flown before — On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.’ Then the bird said ‘Nevermore.’
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, ‘Doubtless,’ said I, ‘what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore — Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of 'Never — nevermore.'’
But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore — What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking ’Nevermore.‘
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. ’Wretch,‘ I cried, ’thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath sent thee Respite — respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!‘ Quoth the Raven, ’Nevermore.‘
’Prophet!‘ said I, ’thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil! — Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted — On this home by Horror haunted — tell me truly, I implore — Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell me, I implore!‘ Quoth the Raven, ’Nevermore.‘
’Prophet!‘ said I, ’thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us — by that God we both adore — Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore — Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.‘ Quoth the Raven, ’Nevermore.‘
’Be that our sign of parting, bird or fiend!‘ I shrieked, upstarting — ’Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!‘ Quoth the Raven, ’Nevermore.‘
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted — nevermore!
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum, Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let the airplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message "He is dead".
Put great bows around the white necks of the public doves. Let traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my north, my south, my east, and west, My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song. I thought that love would last forever. I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now, put out every one. Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood. For nothing now can ever come to any good.
What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass, Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight, Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance, And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
While joy gave clouds the light of stars, That beamed wher'er they looked; And calves and lambs had tottering knees, Excited, while they sucked; While every bird enjoyed his song, Without one thought of harm or wrong — I turned my head and saw the wind, Not far from where I stood, Dragging the corn by her golden hair, Into a dark and lonely wood.
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Go on a starlit night, stand on your head, leave your feet dangling outwards into space, and let the starry firmament you tread be, for the moment, your elected base. Feel Earth's colossal weight of ice and granite, of molten magma, water, iron, and lead; and briefly hold this strangely solid planet balanced upon your strangely solid head.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars and you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round: And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! A savage place! as holy and enchanted As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted By woman wailing for her demon lover! And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced: Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river. Five miles meandering with a mazy motion Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, Then reached the caverns measureless to man, And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far Ancestral voices prophesying war! The shadow of the dome of pleasure Floated midway on the waves; Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice! A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw: It was an Abyssinian maid, And on her dulcimer she played, Singing of Mount Abora. Could I revive within me Her symphony and song, To such a deep delight 'twould win me, That with music loud and long, I would build that dome in air, That sunny dome! those caves of ice! And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud, Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find me, unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
This house has been far out at sea all night, The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills, Winds stampeding the fields under the window Floundering black astride and blinding wet Till day rose; then under an orange sky The hills had new places, and wind wielded Blade-light, luminous black and emerald, Flexing like the lens of a mad eye. At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as The coal-house door. Once I looked up — Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope, The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace, At any second to bang and vanish with a flap; The wind flung a magpie away and a black- Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house Rang like some fine green goblet in the note That any second would shatter it. Now deep In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought, Or each other. We watch the fire blazing, And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on, Seeing the window tremble to come in, Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
Whose woods these are I think I know, His house is in the village though. He will not see me stopping here, To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer, To stop without a farmhouse near, Between the woods and frozen lake, The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake, To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep, Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so he loves also the bow that is stable.