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Greatest Poets Plus Excerpts (25-50)

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25.Tennyson- Ulysses
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

26.Ezra Pound- Make Strong Old Dreams
Make-strong old dreams lest this our wold lose heart.

For man is a skinfull of wine
But his soul is a hole full of God
And the song of all time blows thru him
As wind thru a knot-holed board.

Tho man be a skin full of wine
Yet his heart is a little child
That croucheth low beneath the wind
When the God-storm battereth wild.

27.Robert Frost- Mending Wall, The Road Less Taken
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.

28.John Donne- Works
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.

29.John Wilmot- The Farce of Sodom
Much wine had passed, with grave discourse
Of who ****s who, and who does worse
(Such as you usually do hear
From those that diet at the Bear),
When I, who still take care to see
Drunkenness relieved by lechery,
Went out into St. James's Park
To cool my head and fire my heart.
But though St. James has th' honor on 't,
'Tis consecrate to prick and ****.
There, by a most incestuous birth,
Strange woods spring from the teeming earth;
For they relate how heretofore,
When ancient Pict began to ****,
Deluded of his assignation
(Jilting, it seems, was then in fashion),
Poor pensive lover, in this place
Would frig upon his mother's face;
Whence rows of mandrakes tall did rise
Whose lewd tops ****ed the very skies.

30.Statius- The Thebaid
The horses match their masters' fire: eyes flash,
Teeth grind and bloody foam corrodes the bits.
Their pressure almost bursts the starting-gates
As in their thwarted rage they snort and steam.
To stand's such torture, countless steps are lost
Before the start and hooves pound down the course
That's still to come. The faithful grooms stand by,
Adjusting harness, smoothing tangled manes,
With words of courage, wealth of good advice.
The trumpet sounded and away they all
Hurtled. What sails at sea, what spears in war,
What clouds across the sky, can fly so fast?
Weaker are winter spates and forest fires,
Slower shoot stars, slower fall sheets of rain,
Slower rush cataracts from mountain peaks.

31.Ruben Dario- To Roosevelt
You think that life is fire,
that progress is eruption,
that wherever you shoot
you hit the future.


The United States is potent and great.
When you shake there is a deep tremblor
that passes through the enormous vertebrae of the Andes.
If you clamor, it is heard like the roaring of a lion.
Hugo already said it to Grant: The stars are yours.
(The Argentine sun, ascending, barely shines,
and the Chilean star rises...) You are rich.
You join the cult of Hercules to the cult of Mammon,
and illuminating the road of easy conquest,
Liberty raises its torch in New York.

32.Constantine P. Cavafy- Ithaca, The Horses of Achilles
When they saw Patroklos dead
—so brave and strong, so young—
the horses of Achilles began to weep;
their immortal nature was upset deeply
by this work of death they had to look at.
They reared their heads, tossed their long manes,
beat the ground with their hooves, and mourned
Patroklos, seeing him lifeless, destroyed,
now mere flesh only, his spirit gone,
defenseless, without breath,
turned back from life to the great Nothingness.
Zeus saw the tears of those immortal horses and felt sorry.
“At the wedding of Peleus,” he said,
“I should not have acted so thoughtlessly.
Better if we hadn’t given you as a gift,
my unhappy horses. What business did you have down there,
among pathetic human beings, the toys of fate.
You are free of death, you will not get old,
yet ephemeral disasters torment you.
Men have caught you up in their misery.”
But it was for the eternal disaster of death
that those two gallant horses shed their tears.

33.John Keats- Endymion
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

34.Bai Juyi- Song of Unending Sorrow, Song of the Lute Player
The flower of the pear-tree gathers and turns to fruit;
The swallows' eggs have hatched into young birds.
When the Seasons' changes thus confront the mind
What comfort can the Doctrine of Tao give?
It will teach me to watch the days and months fly
Without grieving that Youth slips away;
If the Fleeting World is but a long dream,
It does not matter whether one is young or old.
But ever since the day that my friend left my side
And has lived an exile in the City of Chiang-ling,
There is one wish I cannot quite destroy:
That from time to time we may chance to meet again.

35.Li Bai- T'ien-mu Mountain Ascended in a Dream
And the monkeys calling clearly over ripples of green water.
I wear his pegged boots
Up a ladder of blue cloud,
Sunny ocean half-way,
Holy ****-crow in space,
Myriad peaks and more valleys and nowhere a road.
Flowers lure me, rocks ease me. Day suddenly ends.
Bears, dragons, tempestuous on mountain and river,
Startle the forest and make the heights tremble.
Clouds darken with darkness of rain,
Streams pale with pallor of mist.
The Gods of Thunder and Lightning
Shatter the whole range.
The stone gate breaks asunder
Venting in the pit of heaven,
An impenetrable shadow.
...But now the sun and moon illumine a gold and silver terrace,
And, clad in rainbow garments, riding on the wind,
Come the queens of all the clouds, descending one by one,
With tigers for their lute-players and phoenixes for dancers.
Row upon row, like fields of hemp, range the fairy figures.
I move, my soul goes flying,
I wake with a long sigh,
My pillow and my matting
Are the lost clouds I was in.
...And this is the way it always is with human joy:

36.Omar Khayyam- The Rubaiyyat
'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

37. Kabti-ilani-Marduk- Epic of Erra
When Anu, the king of the gods, sowed his seed in the earth, She bore him seven gods, he called them the Seven. They stood before him, that he ordain their destinies, He summoned the first to give his instructions,
"Wherever you go and spread terror, have no equal."
He said to the second, "Burn like fire, scorch like flame".
He commanded the third, "Look like a lion, let him who sees you be paralyzed with fear".
He said to the fourth, "Let a mountain collapse when you present your fierce arms".
He said to the fifth, "Blast like the wind, scan the circumference of the earth".
He said to the sixth. "Go out everywhere (like the deluge) and spare no one".
The seventh he charged with viperous venom," Slay whatever lives".

38.Victor Hugo- The Expiation
It snowed. Someone was defeated by his conquering.
For the first time, the eagle lowered its head.
Heavy days! The emperor came back slowly,
Letting Moscow in smoke burn behind him.
It snowed. The sharp winter came upon one, tumblingly.
After that white plain, another white plain.
Unrecognized now, chiefs and banners.
Yesterday la grande armée and now a flock of something.
Wings and centre were no longer told apart.
It snowed. The wounded hid themselves in the bellies
Of dead horses; at the edge of deserted encampments
You might see trumpeters frozen to their post,
Remaining upright, caparisoned and still, white in frost,
Sticking their stony mouths to trumpets of copper.
Bullets, grapeshot, shells, mixed with white flakes,
Fell down; grenadiers, surprised that they were trembling,
Marched in thought, ice at their grey moustaches.
It snowed. It snowed always! The cold wind
Whistled. A surface of frozen rain, in some dim place—
Men walked on this with bare feet and without food.
These were no longer living hearts, folk of war.
It was a dream wandering in cold haze, a mystery,
A procession of shades under a black sky.
The vast loneliness, fearful to look at,
Everywhere appeared: a mute avenger.

39.Goethe- Faust
All was void, and mute, and still,
God's first taste of solitude.
Then he made the rose of dawn,
Pity on the pain she strewed,
So inventing for the dark,
Of hues and harmonies a game,
And everything that fell apart
Now could fall in love again.

40.Walt Whitman- Leaves of Grass
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight,
Over the sterile sands and the fields beyond, where the child
leaving his bed wander'd alone, bareheaded, barefoot,
Down from the shower'd halo,
Up from the mystic play of shadows twining and twisting as if they
were alive,
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
From your memories sad brother, from the fitful risings and fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half-moon late-risen and swollen as if with tears,
From those beginning notes of yearning and love there in the mist,
From the thousand responses of my heart never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous'd words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such as now they start the scene revisiting,
As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,
Borne hither, ere all eludes me, hurriedly,
A man, yet by these tears a little boy again,
Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,
I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,
Taking all hints to use them, but swiftly leaping beyond them,
A reminiscence sing.

41.Kabir- Songs
WHEN He Himself reveals Himself, Brahma brings into manifestation That which can never be seen.
As the seed is in the plant, as the shade is in the tree, as the void is in the sky, as infinite forms are in the void--
So from beyond the Infinite, the Infinite comes; and from the Infinite the finite extends.

The creature is in Brahma, and Brahma is in the creature: they are ever distinct, yet ever united.
He Himself is the tree, the seed, and the germ.
He Himself is the flower, the fruit, and the shade.
He Himself is the sun, the light, and the lighted.
He Himself is Brahma, creature, and Maya.
He Himself is the manifold form, the infinite space;
He is the breath, the word, and the meaning.
He Himself is the limit and the limitless: and beyond both the limited and the limitless is He, the Pure Being.
He is the Immanent Mind in Brahma and in the creature.

42.Ronsard- When You Are Truly Old
When you are truly old, beside the evening candle,
Sitting by the fire, winding wool and spinning,
Murmuring my verses, you’ll marvel then, in saying,
‘Long ago, Ronsard sang me, when I was beautiful.’

There’ll be no serving-girl of yours, who hears it all,
Even if, tired from toil, she’s already drowsing,
Fails to rouse at the sound of my name’s echoing,
And blesses your name, then, with praise immortal.

I’ll be under the earth, a boneless phantom,
At rest in the myrtle groves of the dark kingdom:
You’ll be an old woman hunched over the fire,

Regretting my love for you, your fierce disdain,
So live, believe me: don’t wait for another day,
Gather them now the roses of life, and desire.

43.Wyatt- They Flee From Me
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 remember
That sometime they put themself 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;
Therewithall 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 newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.

44.Alexander Pope- Essay on Man
Let Sporus tremble –"What? that thing of silk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of ***'s milk?
Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?"
Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys,

45.Judah Halevi- Ode to Zion
I rend the beauty of my locks, and cry
In bitter wrath against the cruel fate
That bids thy holy Nazarites to lie
In earth contaminate.
How can I make or meat or drink my care,
How can mine eyes enjoy
The light of day, when I see ravens tear
Thy eagles' flesh, and dogs thy lions' whelps destroy?

46.Joachim du Bellay- The Regrets
If I climb to the Palace, I find only pride,
Vice disguised, nothing but ceremony,
The noise of tambourines, strange harmony,
And red robes flowing in a crimson tide:

If I go down to the bank, I’m well supplied
With novelty, new faces, infinite usury,
Rich exiled Florentines, are there, in plenty,
And the poor Siennese, to grief allied:

If I wander, somewhere I’m bound to pass
The hordes of Venus, in lascivious mass,
Flaunting a thousand amorous charms the while:

If from new Rome I resolve to cross over
And enter the old Rome, there I discover
Only dead monuments, a vast stony pile.

47.Francois de Malherbe- Consolation for Mr. du Perier
I know that her childhood was full of charms,
and I have not undertaken,
furious friend, to relieve your pain
with scorn.

But she was of this world,
where the most beautiful things
have the worst fate;
and, a rose, she lived as roses live,
the space of a morning.

48.Aneirin- Y Gododdin
Man's mettle, youth's years, courage for combat:
Swift thick-maned stallions beneath a fine stripling's thighs,
Broad lightweight buckler on a slim steed's crupper,
Glittering blue blades, gold-bordered garments.
Never will there be bitterness between us:
Rather I make of you song that will praise you.
The blood-soaked field before the marriage-feast,
Foodstuff for crows before the burial.
A dear comrade, Owain; vile, his cover of crows.
Ghastly to me that ground, slain, Marro's only son.

49.George Herbert- The Temple
Lord, Who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poore:

With Thee
O let me rise,
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day Thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My tender age in sorrow did beginne;
And still with sicknesses and shame
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Most thinne.

With Thee
Let me combine,
And feel this day Thy victorie;
For, if I imp my wing on Thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.

50.Andrew Marvell- To His Coy Mistress
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.

Updated 01-19-2015 at 04:38 PM by mortalterror