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The River of Life

The more we live, more brief appear
Our life's succeeding stages;
A day to childhood seems a year,
And years like passing ages.

The gladsome current of our youth,
Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
Along its grassy borders.

But as the careworn cheek grows wan,
And sorrow's shafts fly thicker,
Ye stars, that measure life to man,
Why seem your courses quicker?

When joys have lost their bloom and breath,
And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death
Feel we its tide more rapid?

It may be strange yet who would change
Time's course to slower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone,
And left our bosoms bleeding?

Heaven gives our years of fading strength
Indemnifying fleetness;
And those of youth, a seeming length,
Proportion'd to their sweetness.


                               by Thomas Campbell

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the most charming little poems...



The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
      When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
      The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
      Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
      Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
      The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
      Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
      Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
      The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
      Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
      Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
      Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
      His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
      And I was unaware.


                             By Thomas Hardy

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But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


I do love this from Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven--thanks for posting Poppy--and Yeats in general. Think the following is worth leaving here:


An Irish Airman Foresees his Death


I know that I shall meet my fate,

Somewhere among the clouds above;

Those that I fight I do not hate,

Those that I guard I do not love;

My country is Kiltartan Cross,

My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,

No likely end could bring them loss

Or leave them happier than before.

Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,

Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,

A lonely impulse of delight

Drove to this tumult in the clouds;

I balanced all, brought all to mind,

The years to come seemed waste of breath,

A waste of breath the years behind

In balance with this life, this death.

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One we learned at school that I've always like is Shelley's Ozymandias. A warning to all those in power who think they are invincible.


I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,

The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains: round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.


I love Ozymandias. I remember when I first came across the poem, I found the words, and sentiment captivating, so much so that I had to memorize the words.


Theodulf of Orléans'(ca. 760–821) works in religious doctrine can be somewhat tedious to most, however, his poetical works show more than a measure of wit and humour. One of my favourites is...


Original Latin:




Saepe dat ingenium quod vis conferre negabat.

Compos et arte est, qui viribus impos erat.

Ereptum furto castrensi in turbine quidam.

Accipe, qua miles arte recepit equum.

Orbus equo fit, preco ciet hae compita voce:

“Quisquis habet nostrum, reddere certet equum.

Sin alias, tanta faciam ratione coactus,

Quod noster Roma fecit in urbe pater.”

Res movet haec omnes, et equum fur sivit abire.

Dum sua vel populi damna pavenda timet.

Hunc herus ut reperit, gaudet potiturque reperto,

Gratanturque illi, quis metus ante fuit.

Inde rogant, quid equo fuerat facturus adempto,

Vel quid in urbe suus egerit ante pater.

“Sellae,” ait, “adiunctis collo revehendo lupatis

Sarcinulisque aliis ibat onustus inops.

Nil quod pungat habens, calcaria calce reportans,

Olim eques, inde redit ad sua tecta pedes.

Hunc imitatus ego fecissem talia tristis,

Ni foret iste mihi, crede, repertus equus.”


English Translation (not as delightful as the original Latin):



Brains can defend you where brawn can’t assist;

Often a weakling on wits can subsist.

So hear how a soldier, employing no force,

In his encampment retrieved his lost horse.

He stood at the crossroads and made this decree:

“If you stole my horse, then return it to me!

For if you should fail, I’ll be forced to proceed

Like my father before me in Rome—so take heed!”

The men all grew nervous; the thief felt remorse:

Fearing for all, he returned the man’s horse.

The owner rejoiced; celebration was made

By all of the men who had been so afraid.

At last they inquired of him, every one,

Just what it was that his father had done.

“His bridle, his saddle, his old traveling-sack

He flung ’round his neck, the poor man, and walked back.

So useless his spurs; on his heels they stayed put.

Once a great horseman, he came home on foot.

Believe me, I almost pursued his sad course:

I’d have done the same thing had I not found my horse.”

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