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Poems for 10th Graders

Table of Contents

Spring Lake Canoe
Spring Lake Canoe
by Tom Thomson
  1. Loving and Forgiving by Charles Swain
  2. Success by Emily Dickinson
  3. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
  4. Hope is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson
  5. The Weight of a Word by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  6. The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes
  7. The Viking's Daughter by S. Collinson
  8. The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Tennyson
  9. Arnold von Winkelried by James Montgomery
  10. Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day? by William Shakespeare
  11. John Barleycorn by Robert Burns
  12. Docks by Carl Sandburg
  13. A gentleness that grows by James Russell Lowell
  14. If We Understood by Anonymous
  15. The Bridge Builder by Will Allen Dromgoole
  16. The Sower by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  17. Song of Life by Charles Mackay
  18. My Mother's Hands by Anonymous
  19. All Nature Has a Feeling by John Clare
  20. This Is My Father's World by Maltibie Davenport Badcock

  1. Loving and Forgiving

    by Charles Swain

    Oh, loving and forgiving—
    Ye angel-words of earth,
    Years were not worth the living
    If ye too had not birth!
    Oh, loving and forbearing—
    How sweet your mission here;
    The grief that ye are sharing
    Hath blessings in its tear.

    Oh, stern and unforgiving
    Ye evil words of life,
    That mock the means of living
    With never-ending strife.
    Oh, harsh and unrepenting—
    How would ye meet the grave,
    If Heaven, as unrelenting,
    Forbore not, nor forgave!

    Oh, loving and forgiving—
    Sweet sisters of the soul,
    In whose celestial living
    The passions find control!
    Still breathe your influence o'er us
    Whene'er by passion crost.
    And, angel-like, restore us
    The paradise we lost.

  2. Success

    by Emily Dickinson

    Success is counted sweetest
    By those who ne'er succeed.
    To comprehend a nectar
    Requires sorest need.

    Not one of all the purple host
    Who took the flag to-day
    Can tell the definition,
    So clear, of victory,

    As he, defeated, dying,
    On whose forbidden ear
    The distant strains of triumph
    Break, agonized and clear!

  3. The Raven

    Corvus Jamaicensis
    Corvus Jamaicensis
    by Philip Henry Gosse
    Edgar Allan Poe

    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 visitor," 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 visitor entreating
    Entrance at my chamber door
    Some late visitor 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 this 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 marveled this ungainly
    Fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
    Though its answer little meaning—
    Little relevancy bore;
    For we can not help agreeing
    That no living human being
    Ever yet was blest 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 his 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 lamplight gloated o'er,
    But whose velvet violet lining,
    With the lamplight gloating o'er
    She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser,
    Perfumed from an unseen censer
    Swung by Seraphim, whose footfalls
    Tinkled on the tufted floor.
    "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee—
    By these angels he hath sent thee
    Respite—respite and nepenthe[1]
    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 word 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 hath 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 lamplight o'er him streaming
    Throws his shadow on the floor;
    And my soul from out that shadow,
    That lies floating on the floor,
    Shall be lifted—nevermore!

  4. Hope is the thing with feathers

    White-Throated Sparrow
    White-Throated Sparrow
    by Ernest Thompson Seton
    by Emily Dickinson

    Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune without the words,
    And never stops at all,

    And sweetest in the gale is heard;
    And sore must be the storm
    That could abash the little bird
    That kept so many warm.

    I 've heard it in the chillest land,
    And on the strangest sea;
    Yet, never, in extremity,
    It asked a crumb of me.

  5. The Weight of a Word

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    Have you ever thought of the weight of a word
    That falls in the heart like the song of a bird,
    That gladdens the springtime of memory and youth
    And garlands with cedar the banner of Truth,
    That moistens the harvesting spot of the brain
    Like dew-drops that fall on the meadow of grain
    Or that shrivels the germ and destroys the fruit
    And lies like a worm at the lifeless root?

    I saw a farmer at break of day
    Hoeing his corn in a careful way;
    An enemy came with a drouth in his eye,
    Discouraged the worker and hurried by.
    The keen-edged blade of the faithful hoe
    Dulled on the earth in the long corn row;
    The weeds sprung up and their feathers tossed
    Over the field and the crop was—lost.

    A sailor launched on an angry bay
    When the heavens entombed the face of day
    The wind arose like a beast in pain,
    And shook on the billows his yellow name,
    The storm beat down as if cursed the cloud,
    And the waves held up a dripping shroud—
    But, hark! o’er the waters that wildly raved
    Came a word of cheer and he was—saved.

    A poet passed with a song of God
    Hid in his heart like a gem in a clod.
    His lips were framed to pronounce the thought,
    And the music of rhythm its magic wrought;
    Feeble at first was the happy trill,
    Low was the echo that answered the hill,
    But a jealous friend spoke near his side,
    And on his lips the sweet song—died.

    A woman paused where a chandelier
    Threw in the darkness its poisoned spear;
    Weary and footsore from journeying long,
    She had strayed unawares from the right to the wrong.
    Angels were beck’ning her back from the den,
    Hell and its demons were beck’ning her in;
    The tone of an urchin, like one who forgives,
    Drew her back and in heaven that sweet word—lives.

    Words! Words! They are little, yet mighty and brave;
    They rescue a nation, an empire save;
    They close up the gaps in a fresh bleeding heart
    That sickness and sorrow have severed apart,
    They fall on the path, like a ray of the sun,
    Where the shadows of death lay so heavy upon;
    They lighten the earth over our blessed dead,
    A word that will comfort, oh! leave not unsaid.

  6. The Chambered Nautilus

    by Ekaterina Tutynina
    by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
    Sails the unshadowed main,—
    The venturous bark that flings
    On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
    In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
    And coral reefs lie bare,
    Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

    Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
    Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
    And every chambered cell,
    Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
    As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
    Before thee lies revealed,—
    Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

    Year after year beheld the silent toil
    That spread his lustrous coil;
    Still, as the spiral grew,
    He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
    Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
    Built up its idle door,
    Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

    Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
    Child of the wandering sea,
    Cast from her lap, forlorn!
    From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
    Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!
    While on mine ear it rings,
    Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—

    Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
    As the swift seasons roll!
    Leave thy low-vaulted past!
    Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
    Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
    Till thou at length art free,
    Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

  7. The Viking's Daughter

    Viking Ships off Rocky Coast
    Viking Ships off Rocky Coast
    by George Henry Boughton
    by S. Collinson

    It is the Viking's daughter,
    She is coming over the sea,
    The Prince of the Isles has sought her,
    His royal bride to be;
    Shrill through the shrouds the winds are singing,
    The wild white horses chafe and foam,
    Their silver manes on the billows flinging,
    They bear the maid to her Island home.

    From their long slumbers waking,
    The Sea Kings of the North,
    From ocean's caverns breaking,
    In triumph issue forth.
    Pride in their flashing eyes is beaming,
    They fear not the storm or wreck,
    The black Raven Banner is streaming
    High o'er each wave-washed deck.

    And thus they wildly singing
    Come bounding over the wave,
    Their voices loud and ringing,
    These ocean kings so brave:—
    "Joy, joy, through Odin's echoing halls,
    Lift up the mead cup rare—
    A health! a health!" each chieftain calls,
    "To the Viking's daughter fair.

    In the happy sea-girt land
    Whose white cliffs loom through the mist,
    Whose sheltering bays and golden sands
    By the rippling sea are kissed,
    Long may she loving and beloved
    Live in the hearts of the brave,
    Whose arms a thousand times have proved
    They're the Rulers of the Waves."

  8. The Lady of Shalott

    The Lady of Shalott
    The Lady of Shalott
    by John William Waterhouse
    by Alfred Tennyson

    Part I
    On either side the river lie
    Long fields of barley and of rye,
    That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
    And thro' the field the road runs by
    To many-tower'd Camelot;
    The yellow-leaved waterlily
    The green-sheathed daffodilly
    Tremble in the water chilly
    Round about Shalott.

    Willows whiten, aspens shiver.
    The sunbeam showers break and quiver
    In the stream that runneth ever
    By the island in the river
    Flowing down to Camelot.
    Four gray walls, and four gray towers
    Overlook a space of flowers,
    And the silent isle imbowers
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Underneath the bearded barley,
    The reaper, reaping late and early,
    Hears her ever chanting cheerly,
    Like an angel, singing clearly,
    O'er the stream of Camelot.
    Piling the sheaves in furrows airy,
    Beneath the moon, the reaper weary
    Listening whispers, ' 'Tis the fairy,
    Lady of Shalott.'

    The little isle is all inrail'd
    With a rose-fence, and overtrail'd
    With roses: by the marge unhail'd
    The shallop flitteth silken sail'd,
    Skimming down to Camelot.
    A pearl garland winds her head:
    She leaneth on a velvet bed,
    Full royally apparelled,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Part II
    No time hath she to sport and play:
    A charmed web she weaves alway.
    A curse is on her, if she stay
    Her weaving, either night or day,
    To look down to Camelot.
    She knows not what the curse may be;
    Therefore she weaveth steadily,
    Therefore no other care hath she,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    She lives with little joy or fear.
    Over the water, running near,
    The sheepbell tinkles in her ear.
    Before her hangs a mirror clear,
    Reflecting tower'd Camelot.
    And as the mazy web she whirls,
    She sees the surly village churls,
    And the red cloaks of market girls
    Pass onward from Shalott.

    Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
    An abbot on an ambling pad,
    Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
    Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
    Goes by to tower'd Camelot:
    And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
    The knights come riding two and two:
    She hath no loyal knight and true,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    But in her web she still delights
    To weave the mirror's magic sights,
    For often thro' the silent nights
    A funeral, with plumes and lights
    And music, came from Camelot:
    Or when the moon was overhead
    Came two young lovers lately wed;
    I am half sick of shadows,' said
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Part III
    A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
    He rode between the barley-sheaves,
    The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
    And flam'd upon the brazen greaves
    Of bold Sir Lancelot.
    A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
    To a lady in his shield,
    That sparkled on the yellow field,
    Beside remote Shalott.

    The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
    Like to some branch of stars we see
    Hung in the golden Galaxy.
    The bridle bells rang merrily
    As he rode down from Camelot:
    And from his blazon'd baldric slung
    A mighty silver bugle hung,
    And as he rode his armour rung,
    Beside remote Shalott.

    All in the blue unclouded weather
    Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
    The helmet and the helmet-feather
    Burn'd like one burning flame together,
    As he rode down from Camelot.
    As often thro' the purple night,
    Below the starry clusters bright,
    Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
    Moves over green Shalott.

    His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
    On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
    From underneath his helmet flow'd
    His coal-black curls as on he rode,
    As he rode down from Camelot.
    From the bank and from the river
    He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
    'Tirra lirra, tirra lirra:'
    Sang Sir Lancelot.

    She left the web, she left the loom
    She made three paces thro' the room
    She saw the water-flower bloom,
    She saw the helmet and the plume,
    She look'd down to Camelot.
    Out flew the web and floated wide;
    The mirror crack'd from side to side;
    'The curse is come upon me,' cried
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Part IV
    In the stormy east-wind straining,
    The pale yellow woods were waning,
    The broad stream in his banks complaining,
    Heavily the low sky raining
    Over tower'd Camelot;
    Outside the isle a shallow boat
    Beneath a willow lay afloat,
    Below the carven stern she wrote,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    A cloudwhite crown of pearl she dight,
    All raimented in snowy white
    That loosely flew (her zone in sight
    Clasp'd with one blinding diamond bright)
    Her wide eyes fix'd on Camelot,
    Though the squally east-wind keenly
    Blew, with folded arms serenely
    By the water stood the queenly
    Lady of Shalott.

    With a steady stony glance—
    Like some bold seer in a trance,
    Beholding all his own mischance,
    Mute, with a glassy countenance—
    She look'd down to Camelot.
    It was the closing of the day:
    She loos'd the chain, and down she lay;
    The broad stream bore her far away,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    As when to sailors while they roam,
    By creeks and outfalls far from home,
    Rising and dropping with the foam,
    From dying swans wild warblings come,
    Blown shoreward; so to Camelot
    Still as the boathead wound along
    The willowy hills and fields among,
    They heard her chanting her deathsong,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    A longdrawn carol, mournful, holy,
    She chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
    Till her eyes were darken'd wholly,
    And her smooth face sharpen'd slowly,
    Turn'd to tower'd Camelot:
    For ere she reach'd upon the tide
    The first house by the water-side,
    Singing in her song she died,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Under tower and balcony,
    By garden wall and gallery,
    A pale, pale corpse she floated by,
    Deadcold, between the houses high,
    Dead into tower'd Camelot.
    Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
    To the planked wharfage came:
    Below the stern they read her name,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    They cross'd themselves, their stars they blest,
    Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire, and guest.
    There lay a parchment on her breast,
    That puzzled more than all the rest,
    The wellfed wits at Camelot.
    'The web was woven curiously,
    The charm is broken utterly,
    Draw near and fear not,—this is I,
    The Lady of Shalott.'

  9. Arnold von Winkelried

    Winkelried at Sempach
    Winkelried at Sempach
    by Konrad Grob
    by James Montgomery

    "Make way for liberty!" he cried,
    Make way for liberty, and died.
    In arms the Austrian phalanx stood,
    A living wall, a human wood,—
    A wall, where every conscious stone
    Seemed to its kindred thousands grown.
    A rampart all assaults to bear,
    Till time to dust their frames should wear;
    So still, so dense the Austrians stood,
    A living wall, a human wood.

    Impregnable their front appears,
    All horrent with projected spears.
    Whose polished points before them shine,
    From flank to flank, one brilliant line,
    Bright as the breakers' splendours run
    Along the billows to the sun.

    Opposed to these a hovering band
    Contended for their fatherland;
    Peasants, whose new-found strength had broke
    From manly necks the ignoble yoke,
    And beat their fetters into swords,
    On equal terms to fight their lords;
    And what insurgent rage had gained,
    In many a mortal fray maintained;
    Marshalled, once more, at Freedom's call,
    They came to conquer or to fall,
    Where he who conquered, he who fell,
    Was deemed a dead or living Tell,
    Such virtue had that patriot breathed,
    So to the soil his soul bequeathed,
    That wheresoe'er his arrows flew,
    Heroes in his own likeness grew,
    And warriors sprang from every sod,
    Which his awakening footstep trod.

    And now the work of life and death
    Hung on the passing of a breath;
    The fire of conflict burned within,
    The battle trembled to begin;
    Yet, while the Austrians held their ground,
    Point for attack was nowhere found;
    Where'er the impatient Switzers gazed,
    The unbroken line of lances blazed;
    That line 'twere suicide to meet,
    And perish at their tyrant's feet;
    How could they rest within their graves,
    And leave their homes, the homes of slaves!
    Would not they feel their children tread,
    With clanging chains, above their head?

    It must not be; this day, this hour,
    Annihilates the invader's power;
    All Switzerland is in the field;
    She will not fly,—she cannot yield,—
    She must not fall; her better fate
    Here gives her an immortal date.
    Few were the numbers she could boast,
    But every freeman was a host,
    And felt as 'twere a secret known
    That one should turn the scale alone,
    While each unto himself was he
    On whose sole arm hung victory.

    It did depend on one indeed;
    Behold him,—Arnold Winkelried;
    There sounds not to the trump of fame
    The echo of a nobler name.
    Unmarked he stood amid the throng,
    In rumination deep and long,
    Till you might see, with sudden grace,
    The very thought come o'er his face;
    And, by the motion of his form,
    Anticipate the bursting storm,
    And, by the uplifting of his brow,
    Tell where the bolt would strike, and how.

    But 'twas no sooner thought than done!
    The field was in a moment won;
    "Make way for liberty!" he cried,
    Then ran, with arms extended wide,
    As if his dearest friend to clasp;
    Ten spears he swept within his grasp.
    "Make way for liberty!" he cried.
    Their keen points crossed from side to side;
    He bowed amidst them like a tree,
    And thus made way for liberty.

    Swift to the breach his comrades fly,
    "Make way for liberty!" they cry,
    And through the Austrian phalanx dart,
    As rushed the spears through Arnold's heart.
    While instantaneous as his fall,
    Rout, ruin, panic, seized them all;
    An earthquake could not overthrow
    A city with a surer blow.

    Thus Switzerland again was free;
    Thus Death made way for Liberty!

  10. Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?

    by William Shakespeare

    Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
    Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
    And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
    Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
    And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
    And every fair from fair sometime declines,
    By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
    But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
    Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
    Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
    When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

  11. John Barleycorn

    The Cornfield
    The Cornfield
    by Peter De Wint
    by Robert Burns

    There was three kings into the east,
    Three kings both great and high,
    And they hae sworn a solemn oath
    John Barleycorn should die.

    They took a plough and plough'd him down,
    Put clods upon his head,
    And they hae sworn a solemn oath
    John Barleycorn was dead.

    But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
    And show'rs began to fall;
    John Barleycorn got up again,
    And sore surpris'd them all.

    The sultry suns of Summer came,
    And he grew thick and strong;
    His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears,
    That no one should him wrong.

    The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
    When he grew wan and pale;
    His bending joints and drooping head
    Show'd he began to fail.

    His colour sicken'd more and more,
    He faded into age;
    And then his enemies began
    To show their deadly rage.

    They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,
    And cut him by the knee;
    Then tied him fast upon a cart,
    Like a rogue for forgerie.

    They laid him down upon his back,
    And cudgell'd him full sore;
    They hung him up before the storm,
    And turned him o'er and o'er.

    They filled up a darksome pit
    With water to the brim;
    They heaved in John Barleycorn,
    There let him sink or swim.

    They laid him out upon the floor,
    To work him farther woe;
    And still, as signs of life appear'd,
    They toss'd him to and fro.

    They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
    The marrow of his bones;
    But a miller us'd him worst of all,
    For he crush'd him between two stones.

    And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
    And drank it round and round;
    And still the more and more they drank,
    Their joy did more abound.

    John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
    Of noble enterprise;
    For if you do but taste his blood,
    'Twill make your courage rise

    'Twill make a man forget his woe;
    'Twill heighten all his joy;
    'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
    Tho' the tear were in her eye.

    Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
    Each man a glass in hand;
    And may his great posterity
    Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

  12. Docks

    Humber Docks, Hull
    Humber Docks, Hull
    by John Atkinson Grimshaw
    by Carl Sandburg

    Strolling along
    By the teeming docks,
    I watch the ships put out.
    Black ships that heave and lunge
    And move like mastodons
    Arising from lethargic sleep.

    The fathomed harbor
    Calls them not nor dares
    Them to a strain of action,
    But outward, on and outward,
    Sounding low-reverberating calls,
    Shaggy in the half-lit distance,
    They pass the pointed headland,
    View the wide, far-lifting wilderness
    And leap with cumulative speed
    To test the challenge of the sea.

    Doggedly onward plunging,
    Into salt and mist and foam and sun.

  13. A gentleness that grows

    by James Russell Lowell

    A gentleness that grows of steady faith;
    A joy that sheds it sunshine everywhere;
    A humble strength and readiness to bear
    Those burthens which strict duty ever lay'th
    Upon our souls;—which unto sorrow saith,
    "Here is no soil for thee to strike thy roots,
    Here only grow those sweet and precious fruits;
    Which ripen for the soul that well obey'th;
    A patience which the world can neither give
    Nor take away; a courage strong and high,
    That dares in simple usefulness to live,
    And without one sad look behind to die
    When that day comes;—these tell me that our love
    Is building for itself a home above.

  14. If We Understood

    Oh! we'd love each other better,
    If we only understood.

    – Anonymous
    If We Understood
    by Anonymous

    Could we but draw back the curtains
    That surround each other's lives,
    See the naked heart and spirit,
    Know what spur the action gives,
    Often we should find it better,
    Purer than we judged we should,
    We should love each other better,
    If we only understood.

    Could we judge all deeds by motives,
    See the good and bad within,
    Often we should love the sinner
    All the while we loathe the sin;
    Could we know the powers working
    To o'erthrow integrity,
    We should judge each other's errors
    With more patient charity.

    If we knew the cares and trials,
    Knew the effort all in vain,
    And the bitter disappointment,
    Understood the loss and gain—
    Would the grim, eternal roughness
    Seem—I wonder—just the same?
    Should we help where now we hinder,
    Should we pity where we blame?

    Ah! we judge each other harshly,
    Knowing not life's hidden force;
    Knowing not the fount of action
    Is less turbid at its source;
    Seeing not amid the evil
    All the golden grains of good;
    Oh! we'd love each other better,
    If we only understood.

  15. The Bridge Builder

    by Will Allen Dromgoole

    An old man going a lone highway,
    Came, at the evening cold and gray,
    To a chasm vast and deep and wide,
    The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
    The sullen stream had no fear for him;
    But he turned when safe on the other side
    And built a bridge to span the tide.

    "Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
    "You are wasting your strength with building here;
    Your journey will end with the ending day,
    Yon never again will pass this way;
    You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
    Why build this bridge at evening tide?"

    The builder lifted his old gray head;
    "Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
    "There followed after me to-day
    A youth whose feet must pass this way.
    This chasm that has been as naught to me
    To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
    He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
    Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!"

  16. The Sower

    The Sower
    The Sower
    by Albin Egger-Lienz
    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    A brown, sad-coloured hillside, where the soil
    Fresh from the frequent harrow, deep and fine,
    Lies bare; no break in the remote sky-line,
    Save where a flock of pigeons streams aloft,
    Startled from feed in some low-lying croft,
    Or far-off spires with yellow of sunset shine;
    And here the Sower, unwittingly divine,
    Exerts the silent forethought of his toil.

    Alone he treads the glebe, his measured stride
    Dumb in the yielding soil; and though small joy
    Dwell in his heavy face, as spreads the blind
    Pale grain from his dispensing palm aside,
    This plodding churl grows great in his employ;&mdash
    Godlike, he makes provision for mankind.

  17. Small Beginnings

    by Charles Mackay

    A traveler on the dusty road
    Strewed acorns on the lea;
    And one took root and sprouted up,
    And grew into a tree.
    Love sought its shade, at evening time,
    To breathe his early vows;
    And age was pleased, in heats of noon,
    To bask beneath its boughs;
    The dormouse loved its dangling twigs,
    The birds sweet music bore;
    It stood a glory in its place,
    A blessing evermore.

    A little spring had lost its way
    Amid the grass and fern,
    A passing stranger scooped a well
    Where weary men might turn;
    He walled it in, and hung with care
    A ladle at the brink;
    He thought not of the deed he did,
    But judged that all might drink.
    He paused again, and lo! the well,
    By summer never dried,
    Had cooled ten thousand parching tongues
    And saved a life beside.

    A dreamer dropped a random thought;
    'Twas old, and yet 'twas new;
    A simple fancy of the brain,
    But strong in being true.
    It shone upon a genial mind,
    And, lo! its light became
    A lamp of life, a beacon ray,
    A monitory flame;
    The thought was small, its issue great;
    A watch-fire on the hill;
    It shed its radiance far adown,
    And cheers the valley still.

    A nameless man, amid a crowd
    That thronged the daily mart,
    Let fall a word of Hope and Love,
    Unstudied from the heart;
    A whisper on the tumult thrown,
    A transitory breath—
    It raised a brother from the dust,
    It saved a soul from death.
    O germ! O fount! O word of love!
    O thought at random cast!
    Ye were but little at the first,
    But mighty at the last.

  18. My Mother's Hands

    by Anonymous

    Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
    They're neither white nor small;
    And you, I know, would scarcely think
    That they are fair at all.
    I've looked on hands whose form and hue
    A sculptor's dream might be;
    Yet are those aged, wrinkled hands
    More beautiful to me.

    Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
    Though heart were weary and sad,
    Those patient hands kept toiling on,
    That the children might be glad.
    I always weep, as, looking back
    To childhood's distant day,
    I think how those hands rested not
    When mine were at their play.

    Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
    They're growing feeble now,
    For time and pain have left their mark
    On hands and heart and brow.
    Alas! alas! the nearing time,
    And the sad, sad day to me,
    When 'neath the daisies, out of sight,
    These hands will folded be.

    But oh! beyond this shadow land,
    Where all is bright and fair,
    I know full well these dear old hands
    Will palms of victory bear;
    Where crystal streams through endless years
    Flow over golden sands,
    And where the old grow young again,
    I'll clasp my mother's hands.

  19. All Nature Has a Feeling

    by John Clare

    All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks
    Are life eternal: and in silence they
    Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
    There's nothing mortal in them; their decay
    Is the green life of change; to pass away
    And come again in blooms revivified.
    Its birth was heaven, eternal it its stay,
    And with the sun and moon shall still abide
    Beneath their day and night and heaven wide.

  20. This Is My Father's World

    by Maltbie Davenport Badcock

    This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
    All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
    This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
    Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
    His hand the wonders wrought.

    This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
    The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
    This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
    In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
    He speaks to me everywhere.

    This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
    That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
    This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
    Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
    And earth and Heav’n be one.

    This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
    I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
    This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
    The Beloved One, His Only Son,
    Came—a pledge of deathless love.

    This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
    The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
    This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
    For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
    No place but is holy ground.

    This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
    In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
    This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
    Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
    My heart is still at home.

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