Poems by James Russell Lowell

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[Greek: algeina men moi kaalegein estin tade, algos de sigan.] AESCHYLUS, Prom. Vinct. 197, 198.
'What means this glory round our feet,'
Thy love thou sendest oft to me,
Phoebus, sitting one day in a laurel-tree's shade,
Alike I hate to be your debtor,
What were the whole void world, if thou wert dead,
We see but half the causes of our deeds,
PART FIRST
I go to the ridge in the forest
The century numbers fourscore years;
Worn and footsore was the Prophet,
Said Christ our Lord, 'I will go and see
An ass munched thistles, while a nightingale
God! do not let my loved one die,
Ay, pale and silent maiden,
Let others wonder what fair face
I
Sometimes come pauses of calm, when the rapt bard, holding his heart back,
I
Sleep is Death's image,--poets tell us so;
Yes, faith is a goodly anchor;
One kiss from all others prevents me,
The dandelions and buttercups
When I was a beggarly boy
One feast, of holy days the crest,
I would more natures were like thine,
Never, surely, was holier man
On this wild waste, where never blossom came,
How strange are the freaks of memory!
'De prodome,
He spoke of Burns: men rude and rough
The tower of old Saint Nicholas soared upward to the skies,
What visionary tints the year puts on,
I sat one evening in my room,
Nine years have slipt like hour-glass sand
I
Somewhere in India, upon a time,
Praisest Law, friend? We, too, love it much as they that love it best;
I, walking the familiar street,
JANUARY, 1859
I rise, Mr. Chairman, as both of us know,
SUMMER
My heart, I cannot still it,
(HOME OF EDMUND QUINCY)
Hushed with broad sunlight lies the hill,
Bowing thyself in dust before a Book,
'Twas sung of old in hut and hall
Ship, blest to bear such freight across the blue,
RECUERDO DE MADRID
The cordage creaks and rattles in the wind,
O days endeared to every Muse,
When Persia's sceptre trembled in a hand
How was I worthy so divine a loss,
Hers all that Earth could promise or bestow,--
Why should I seek her spell to decompose
Light of triumph in her eyes,
I do not come to weep above thy pall,
I
The path from me to you that led,
Heaven's cup held down to me I drain,
Go! leave me, Priest; my soul would be
In town I hear, scarce wakened yet,
How struggles with the tempest's swells
The next whose fortune 'twas a tale to tell
Though old the thought and oft exprest,
I am a man of forty, sirs, a native of East Haddam,
That's a rather bold speech, my Lord Bacon,
Are we, then, wholly fallen? Can it be
WRITTEN IN AID OF A CHIME OF BELLS FOR CHRIST CHURCH, CAMBRIDGE
How A Student In Search Of The Beautiful Fell Asleep In Dresden Over Herr Professor Doctor Vischer'S Wissenschaft Des SchÖnen, And What Came Thereof
AGASSIZ
I saw the twinkle of white feet,
What know we of the world immense
Sisters two, all praise to you,
These pearls of thought in Persian gulfs were bred,
The misspelt scrawl, upon the wall
I
Men say the sullen instrument,
B, taught by Pope to do his good by stealth,
Full oft the pathway to her door
In vain we call old notions fudge,
As life runs on, the road grows strange
If I were the rose at your window,
Skilled to pull wires, he baffles Nature's hope,
I call as fly the irrevocable hours,
The New World's sons, from England's breasts we drew
To those who died for her on land and sea,
We wagered, she for sunshine, I for rain,
The Bardling came where by a river grew
Hers is a spirit deep, and crystal-clear;
DIED SEPTEMBER 4, 1874
DIED JUNE 11, 1875
A race of nobles may die out,
Whether my heart hath wiser grown or not,
Whither? Albeit I follow fast,
December, 1846.
The same good blood that now refills
Of all the myriad moods of mind
True Love is but a humble, low-born thing,
What hath Love with Thought to do?
DAPHNIS waiting
Old events have modern meanings; only that survives
He came to Florence long ago,
R.G. SHAW
'Coscienza fusca
The moon shines white and silent
She gave me all that woman can,
Not as all other women are
Oft round my hall of portraiture I gaze,
This is the midnight of the century,--hark!
While the slow clock, as they were miser's gold,
I
19TH APRIL, 1875
JULY 21, 1865
FEBRUARY, 1848
Spirit, that rarely comest now
My name is Water: I have sped
Strong, simple, silent are the [steadfast] laws
Can this be thou who, lean and pale,
Thanks to the artist, ever on my wall
WRITTEN FOR MR. BRYANT'S SEVENTIETH BIRTHDAY
With what odorous woods and spices
Unseen Musician, thou art sure to please,
Who does his duty is a question
I
Look on who will in apathy, and stifle they who can,
Death never came so nigh to me before,
Woe worth the hour when it is crime
Like some lorn abbey now, the wood
I was with thee in Heaven: I cannot tell
Ye little think what toil it was to build
Ere pales in Heaven the morning star,
I
Seat of all woes? Though Nature's firm decree
One after one the stars have risen and set,
Thick-rushing, like an ocean vast
God sends his teachers unto every age,
Thou look'dst on me all yesternight,
1.
When the down is on the chin
He who first stretched his nerves of subtile wire
Not always unimpeded can I pray,
A presence both by night and day,
From the close-shut windows gleams no spark,
As a twig trembles, which a bird
O wandering dim on the extremest edge
Violet! sweet violet!
O moonlight deep and tender,
A lily thou wast when I saw thee first,
As sinks the sun behind yon alien hills
Amid these fragments of heroic days
Unconscious as the sunshine, simply sweet
TO A.C.L.
What were I, Love, if I were stripped of thee,
I would not have this perfect love of ours
'For this true nobleness I seek in vain,
My Love, I have no fear that thou shouldst die;
TO THE SPIRIT OF KEATS
Great Truths are portions of the soul of man;
I ask not for those thoughts, that sudden leap
TO M.W., ON HER BIRTHDAY
I cannot think that thou shouldst pass away,
There never yet was flower fair in vain,
SUB PONDERE CRESCIT
Beloved, in the noisy city here,
ON READING WORDSWORTH'S Sonnets IN DEFENCE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
THE SAME CONCLUDED (ON READING WORDSWORTH'S Sonnets IN DEFENCE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT)
THE SAME CONTINUED (ON READING WORDSWORTH'S Sonnets IN DEFENCE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT)
THE SAME CONTINUED (ON READING WORDSWORTH'S Sonnets IN DEFENCE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT)
THE SAME CONTINUED (ON READING WORDSWORTH'S Sonnets IN DEFENCE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT)
THE SAME CONTINUED (ON READING WORDSWORTH'S Sonnets IN DEFENCE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT)
TO M.O.S.
Our love is not a fading, earthly flower:
IN ABSENCE
WENDELL PHILLIPS
THE STREET
I grieve not that ripe Knowledge takes away
TO J.R. GIDDINGS
I thought our love at full, but I did err;
Stood the tall Archangel weighing
Men! whose boast it is that ye
I
Untremulous in the river clear,
'And how could you dream of meeting?'
The world turns mild; democracy, they say,
A beggar through the world am I,
Rippling through thy branches goes the sunshine,
At Carnac in Brittany, close on the bay,
What countless years and wealth of brain were spent
Walking alone where we walked together,
It was past the hour of trysting,
To MR. JAMES T. FIELDS
I had a little daughter,
God makes sech nights, all white an' still
Far over Elf-land poets stretch their sway,
The fire is turning clear and blithely,
Here once my step was quickened,
I watched a moorland torrent run
Gold of the reddening sunset, backward thrown
I know a falcon swift and peerless
Where is the true man's fatherland?
There lay upon the ocean's shore
The snow had begun in the gloaming,
Don't believe in the Flying Dutchman?
It mounts athwart the windy hill
The night is dark, the stinging sleet,
Into the sunshine,
I
Ye who, passing graves by night,
A legend that grew in the forest's hush
The rich man's son inherits lands,
What boot your houses and your lands?
I sat and watched the walls of night
The Maple puts her corals on in May,
Down 'mid the tangled roots of things
My soul was like the sea.
MAY
'Come forth!' my catbird calls to me,
If he be a nobler lover, take him!
What Nature makes in any mood
What gnarlèd stretch, what depth of shade, is his!
Turbid from London's noise and smoke,
When wise Minerva still was young
Who hath not been a poet? Who hath not,
Oh, tell me less or tell me more,
What man would live coffined with brick and stone,
Opening one day a book of mine,
When a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth's aching breast
I could not bear to see those eyes
Come back before the birds are flown,
I
I went to seek for Christ,
I have a fancy: how shall I bring it
There came a youth upon the earth,
I
The sea is lonely, the sea is dreary,
I saw a Sower walking slow
It is a mere wild rosebud,
Two fellers, Isrel named and Joe,
PART I
According to the mythology of the Romancers, the San Greal, or Holy Grail, was the cup out of which Jesus partook of the Last Supper with his disciples. It was brought into England by Joseph of Arimathea, and remained there, an object of pilgrimage a
I
OCTOBER, 1861
I treasure in secret some long, fine hair
Gone, gone from us! and shall we see
True as the sun's own work, but more refined,
So dreamy-soft the notes, so far away
Far up on Katahdin thou towerest,
The pipe came safe, and welcome too,
The wind is roistering out of doors,
I need not praise the sweetness of his song,
Dear Wendell, why need count the years
There are who triumph in a losing cause,
I did not praise thee when the crowd,
As, cleansed of Tiber's and Oblivion's slime,
Fit for an Abbot of Theleme,
Thy voice is like a fountain,
Dear common flower, that grow'st beside the way,
O Land of Promise! from what Pisgah's height
Another star 'neath Time's horizon dropped,
Wondrous and awful are thy silent halls,
'Some time afterward, it was reported to me by the city officers that they had ferreted out the paper and its editor; that his office was an obscure hole, his only visible auxiliary a negro boy, and his supporters a few very insignificant persons of
New England's poet, rich in love as years,
We, too, have autumns, when our leaves
I
UNDER A FIGURE SYMBOLIZING THE CHURCH
AUTUMN, 1863
What mean these banners spread,
POEM READ AT CAMBRIDGE ON THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF WASHINGTON'S TAKING COMMAND OF THE AMERICAN ARMY, 3D JULY, 1775
Frank-hearted hostess of the field and wood,
In good old times, which means, you know,
Wait a little: do we not wait?
Rabbi Jehosha used to say
Leaves fit to have been poor Juliet's cradle-rhyme,
This little blossom from afar
Shell, whose lips, than mine more cold,
1.
My coachman, in the moonlight there,
A stranger came one night to Yussouf's tent,

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