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Birthday Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Birthdays by Ruby Archer
  2. My Birth-Day by Thomas Moore
  3. Sonnet by John Milton
  4. A Rose Jar by Ruby Archer
  5. A Birthday by Christina Rossetti

  1. Birthdays

    by Ruby Archer

    Dearie, while voyaging across the years,
    Grudge not the time you anchor at the piers.
    Though right the wind and bright the sky above,
    Still moor at birthdays for a freight of love.

  2. My Birth-Day

    by Thomas Moore

    "My birth-day"—what a different sound
    That word had in my youthful ears!
    And how, each time the day comes round,
    Less and less white its mark appears!
    When first our scanty years are told,
    It seems like pastime to grow old;
    And, as Youth counts the shining links
    That Time around him binds so fast,
    Pleased with the task, he little thinks
    How hard that chain will press at last.
    Vain was the man, and false as vain,
    Who said—"were he ordained to run
    His long career of life again,
    He would do all that he had done."

    Ah, 'tis not thus the voice, that dwells
    In sober birth-days, speaks to me;
    Far otherwise—of time it tells
    Lavished unwisely, carelessly;
    Of counsel mocked: of talents, made
    Haply for high and pure designs,
    But oft, like Israel's incense, laid
    Upon unholy, earthly shrines;
    Of nursing many a wrong desire;
    Of wandering after Love too far,
    And taking every meteor-fire
    That crossed my pathway, for a star.
    All this it tells, and, could I trace
    The imperfect picture o'er again,
    With power to add, retouch, efface
    The lights and shades, the joy and pain,
    How little of the past would stay!
    How quickly all should melt away—
    All—but that Freedom of the Mind,
    Which hath been more than wealth to me;
    Those friendships, in my boyhood twined,
    And kept till now unchangingly;
    And that dear home, that saving-ark,
    Where Love's true light at last I've found,
    Cheering within, when all grows dark,
    And comfortless, and stormy round!

  3. Sonnet

    by John Milton upon turning 23.

    How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
    Stolen on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
    My hasting days fly on with full career,
    But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
    Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth
    That I to manhood am arrived so near;
    And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
    That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
    Yet, be it less or more, or soon or slow,
    It shall be still in strictest measure even
    To that same lot, however mean or high,
    Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven:
    All is, if I have grace to use it so,
    As ever in my great Task-master's eye.

  4. A Rose Jar

    by Ruby Archer

    Each heart—a rose-jar—teemeth, richly sweet
    With prisoned perfume of a vanished time;
    The spice of memory holds those odors fleet;
    A birthday lifts the lid, and we may greet
    Once more the breath of life's fair blossom,
    Gathered in their prime.

  5. A Birthday

    by Christina Rossetti

    My heart is like a singing bird
    Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
    My heart is like an apple-tree
    Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
    My heart is like a rainbow shell
    That paddles in a halcyon sea;
    My heart is gladder than all these
    Because my love is come to me.

    Raise me a dais of silk and down;
    Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
    Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
    And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
    Work it in gold and silver grapes,
    In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
    Because the birthday of my life
    Is come, my love is come to me.

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