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					General Prologue To The Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer)

A MERCHANT was there with a forked beard,
In motley, and high on his horse he sat,
Upon his head a Flandrish beaver hat.
His bootes clasped fair and fetisly .
His reasons aye spake he full solemnly,
Sounding alway th' increase of his winning.
He would the sea were kept for any thing
Betwixte Middleburg and Orewell
Well could he in exchange shieldes
This worthy man full well his wit beset;
There wiste no wight that he was in debt,
So estately was he of governances
With his bargains, and with his chevisance
For sooth he was a worthy man withal,
But sooth to say, I n'ot how men him call.


The MILLER was a stout carle for the nones,
Full big he was of brawn, and eke of bones;
That proved well, for ov'r all where he came,
At wrestling he would bear away the ram.
He was short-shouldered, broad, a thicke gnarr
There was no door, that he n'old heave off bar,
Or break it at a running with his head.
His beard as any sow or fox was red,
And thereto broad, as though it were a spade.
Upon the cop right of his nose he had
A wart, and thereon stood a tuft of hairs
Red as the bristles of a sowe's ears.
His nose-thirles blacke were and wide.
A sword and buckler bare he by his side.
His mouth as wide was as a furnace.
He was a jangler, and a goliardais,
And that was most of sin and harlotries.
Well could he steale corn, and tolle thrice
And yet he had a thumb of gold, pardie.
A white coat and a blue hood weared he
A baggepipe well could he blow and soun',
And therewithal he brought us out of town.

A Revocation (Thomas Wyatt)

WHAT should I say?
  —Since Faith is dead,
And Truth away
  From you is fled?
  Should I be led
   With doubleness?
   Nay! nay! mistress.
I promised you,
  And you promised me,
To be as true
  As I would be.
  But since I see
   Your double heart,
   Farewell my part!
Thought for to take
  ’Tis not my mind;
But to forsake
  One so unkind;
  And as I find
   So will I trust.
   Farewell, unjust!
Can ye say nay
  But that you said
That I alway
  Should be obeyed?
  And—thus betrayed
   Or that I wist!
   Farewell, unkist!


       They Flee From Me Sir Thomas Wyatt

       THEY flee from me that sometime did me seek,
           With naked foot stalking in my chamber:
       I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
          That now are wild, and do not once remember
          That sometime they have put themselves in danger
       To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
       Busily seeking with a continual change.
       Thanked be fortune, it hath been otherwise
          Twenty times better; but once, in special,
       In thin array, after a pleasant guise,
          When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
          And she me caught in her arms long and small,
       Therewith all sweetly did me kiss,
       And softly said, ‘Dear heart, how like you this?’
       It was no dream; I lay broad waking:
          But all is turned, thorough my gentleness,
       Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
          And I have leave to go, of her goodness;
          And she also to use new-fangleness.
       But since that I unkindely so am served,
       ‘How like you this?’ —what hath she now deserved?

His Pilgrimage (Sir Walter Raleigh)

GIVE me my scallop-shell of quiet,
  My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
  My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope’s true guage;
And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.
Blood must be my body’s balmer;
  No other balm will there be given;
Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer,
  Travelleth towards the land of heaven;
Over the silver mountains,
Where spring the nectar fountains;
   There will I kiss
   The bowl of bliss;
   And drink mine everlasting fill
   Upon every milken hill.
   My soul will be a-dry before;
   But, after, it will thirst no more.


Sonnet XXIX (William Shakespeare)

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
On His Blindness (John Milton)

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait."

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning    John Donne (1572-1631)

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls, to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"The breath goes now," and some say, "No:"

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears;
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the sphere
Though greater far, is innocent.
Dull sublunary lovers' l
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refin'd,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end, where I begun.

Song (John Donne)

GO and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devil’s foot;
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
         And find
         What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be’st born to strange sights,
  Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights
  Till Age snow white hairs on thee;
Thou, when thou return’st, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee,
          And swear
          No where
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find’st one, let me know;
  Such a pilgrimage were sweet.
Yet do not; I would not go,
  Though at next door we might meet.
Though she were true when you met her,
And last till you write your letter,
          Yet she
          Will be
False, ere I come, to two or three.


To his Coy Mistress (Andrew Marvell)

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

   But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

    Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.


                      Sonnet on the Death of Mr Richard West
                      Thomas Gray

                   In vain to me the smiling mornings shine,
                   And redd'ning Phoebus lifts his golden fire:
                   The birds in vain their amorous descant join;
                   Or cheerful fields resume their green attire:
                   These ears, alas! for other notes repine,
                   A different object do these eyes require:
                   My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine;
                   And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.
                   Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer,
                   And new-born pleasure brings to happier men:
                   The fields to all their wonted tribute bear;
                     To warm their little loves the birds complain:
                     I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear,
                     And weep the more, because I weep in vain.




Woman Oliver Goldsmith.

WHEN lovely woman stoops to folly,
 And finds too late that men betray,
What charm can soothe her melancholy?
 What art can wash her tears away?
The only art her guilt to cover,
 To hide her shame from ev’ry eye,
To give repentance to her lover,
 And wring his bosom is—to die.




Memory Oliver Goldsmith

O MEMORY, thou fond deceiver,
 Still importunate and vain,
To former joys recurring ever,
 And turning all the past to pain:
Thou, like the world, th’ oppress’d oppressing,
 Thy smiles increase the wretch’s woe:
And he who wants each other blessing
 In thee must ever find a foe.


A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed (Swift 1731)

Corinna, Pride of Drury-Lane,
For whom no Shepherd sighs in vain;
Never did Covent Garden boast
So bright a batter'd, strolling Toast;
No drunken Rake to pick her up,
No Cellar where on Tick to sup;
Returning at the Midnight Hour;
Four stories climbing to her Bow'r;
Then, seated on a three-legg'd Chair,
Takes off her artificial Hair:
Now, picking out a Crystal Eye,
She wipes it clean, and lays it by.
Her Eye-Brows from a Mouse's Hyde,
Stuck on with Art on either Side,
Pulls off with Care,a nd first displays 'em,
Then in a Play-Book smoothly lays 'em.
Now dextrously her Plumpers draws,
That serve to fill her hollow Jaws.
Untwists a Wire; and from her Gums
A Set of Teeth completely comes.
Pulls out the Rags contriv'd to proip
Her flabby Dugs and down they drop.
Proceeding on, the lovely Goddess
Unlaces next her Steel-ribb'd Bodice;
Which by the Operator's Skill,
Press down the Lumps, the Hollows fill,
Up goes her Hand, oiff she slips
The Bolsters that supply her Hips.
With gentlest Touch, she next explores
Her Shankers, Issues, running Sores,
Effects of many a sad Disaster;
And then to each applies a Plaister.
But must, before she goes to Bed,
Rub off the Dawbs of White and Red;
And smooth the Furrows in her Front,
With greasy Paper stuck upon't.
She takes a Bolus e'er she sleeps;
And then between two Blankets creeps.
With Pains of Love tormented lies;
Or if she chance to close her Eyes,
Of Bridewell and the Compter dreams,
And feels the Lash, and faintly screams;
Or, by a faithless Bully drawn,
At some Hedge-Tavern lies in Pawn;
Or to Jamaica seems transported,
Alone, and by no Planter courted;
Or, near Fleet-Ditch's oozy Brinks,
Surrounded with a Hundred stinks,
Belated, seems on watch to lye,
And snap some Cully passing by;
Or, struck with Fear, her Fancy runs
On Watchmen, Constables and Duns
From whom she meets with frequent Rubs,
But, never from Religious Clubs;
Whose Favour she is sure to find,
Because she pays 'em, all in Kind.
   Corinna wakes. A dreadful Sight!
Behold the Ruins of the Night!
A wicked Rat her Plaister stole,
Half eat, and dragg'd it to his Hole.
The Crystal Eye, alas, was miss't;
And Puss had on her Plumpers p---st.
A pigeon pick'd her Issue-Peas;
And Shock her tressesj fill'd with Fleas.
   The Nymph, tho' in this mangled Plight,
Must ev'ry Morn her Limbs unite.
But how shall I describe her Arts
To recollect the scatter'd Parts?
Or shew the Anguish, Toil, and Pain,
Of gath'ring up herself again?
The bashful Muse will never bear
In such a Scene to interfere.
Corinna in the Morning dizen'd,
Who sees, will spew; who smells, be poison'd.




We’ll go no more a-roving (Lord Byron)

SO, we’ll go no more a-roving
 So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
 And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
 And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe
 And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
 And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a- roving
 By the light of the moon.


Written in Northampton County Asylum      (John Clare)

I AM! yet what I am who cares, or knows?
   My friends forsake me like a memory lost.
I am the self-consumer of my woes;
   They rise and vanish, an oblivious host,
Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost.
And yet I am—I live—though I am toss’d
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
   Into the living sea of waking dream,
Where there is neither sense of life, nor joys,
   But the huge shipwreck of my own esteem
And all that’s dear. Even those I loved the best
Are strange—nay, they are stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man has never trod—
   For scenes where woman never smiled or wept—
There to abide with my Creator, God,
   And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Full of high thoughts, unborn. So let me lie,—
The grass below; above, the vaulted sky.
Last Lines   Emily Brontë (1818-1848)


                    O coward soul is mine,
                No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere:
                I see Heaven's glories shine,
                And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

                O God within my breast,
                Almighty, ever-present Deity!
                Life--that in me has rest,
                As I--undying Life--have power in Thee!

                Vain are the thousand creeds
                That move men's hearts: unutterably vain;
                Worthless as wither'd weeds,
                Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

                To waken doubt in one
                Holding so fast by Thine Infinity;
                So surely anchor'd on
                The steadfast rock of immortality.

                With wide-embracing love
                Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
                Pervades and broods above,
                Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

                Though earth and man were gone,
                And suns and universes ceased to be,
                And Thou were left alone,
                Every existence would exist in Thee.

                There is not room for Death,
                Nor atom that his might could render void:
                Thou--Thou art Being and Breath,
                And what Thou art may never be destroyed.
Parting (Emily Dickinson)

MY life closed twice before its close;
 It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
 A third event to me
So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
 As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
 And all we need of hell.


The Voice      Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!

Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?

Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening (Robert Frost)

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.



Say Not The Struggle Naught Availeth (Arthur Hugh Clough)

SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
  The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
  And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
  It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
  And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
  Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
  Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
  When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
  But westward, look, the land is bright!


                                            Until my thoughts cleared up again,
                                            Remembering that the best I have
                                            done
                                            Was done to make it plain.


All Things Can Tempt Me (WB Yeats)

All things can tempt me from this craft
of verse:
One time it was a woman’s face, or
worse—
The seeming needs of my fool-driven         When you are Old (WB Yeats)
land;
Now nothing but comes readier to the        When you are old and grey and full of
hand                                        sleep,
Than this accustomed toil. When I was       And nodding by the fire, take down this
young,                                      book,
I had not given a penny for a song          And slowly read, and dream of the soft
Did not the poet sing it with such airs     look
That one believed he had a sword            Your eyes had once, and of their
upstairs;                                   shadows deep;
Yet would be now, could I but have my
wish,                                        How many loved your moments of glad
Colder and dumber and deafer than a         grace,
fish.                                       And loved your beauty with love false or
                                            true,
                                            But one man loved the pilgrim soul in
Words (WB Yeats)                            you,
                                            And loved the sorrows of your changing
I had this thought a while ago,             face;
‘My darling cannot understand
What I have done, or what would do          And bending down beside the glowing
In this blind bitter land.’                 bars,
                                            Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And I grew weary of the sun                 And paced upon the mountains
                                            overhead
                                            And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

That every year I have cried, ‘At length
My darling understands it all,
Because I have come into my strength,
And words obey my call’.

That had she done so who can say
What would have shaken from the sieve?
I might have thrown poor words away
And been content to live.



Pied Beauty Gerard Manley Hopkins. 1844-1889

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
 For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
  For rose- moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
 Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
  And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
 Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
  With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
       Praise him.



Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (Dylan Thomas)

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.




Funeral Blues    (W H Auden)

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 aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crépe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the 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.




Not Waving But Drowning (Stevie Smith)

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

				
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