19th Century Poets-3

PAGE 3: THOMAS HARDY * CHARLOTTE MEW * ROBERT BROWNING * JONES VERY * JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER * ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING * THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK * FREDERICK GODDARD TUCKERMAN * CHARLES LAMB * MATTHEW ARNOLD * ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON * CHARLES TURNER (a.k.a. Tennyson) * LEWIS CARROLL * RUDYARD KIPLING * ALFRED LORD TENNYSON

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Thomas Hardy’s “During Wind and Rain” read by Ken Follett:

During Wind and Rain

Richard Burton reads Hardy’s “Channel Firing”:

ROOMS

Two poems by Robert Browning:

My Last Duchess

     FERRARA
That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall, 
Looking as if she were alive. I call 
That piece a wonder, now; Fra Pandolf’s hands 
Worked busily a day, and there she stands. 
Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said 
“Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read 
Strangers like you that pictured countenance, 
The depth and passion of its earnest glance, 
But to myself they turned (since none puts by 
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) 
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, 
How such a glance came there; so, not the first 
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not 
Her husband’s presence only, called that spot 
Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek; perhaps 
Fra Pandolf chanced to say, “Her mantle laps 
Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint 
Must never hope to reproduce the faint 
Half-flush that dies along her throat.” Such stuff 
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough 
For calling up that spot of joy. She had 
A heart—how shall I say?— too soon made glad, 
Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er 
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. 
Sir, ’twas all one! My favour at her breast, 
The dropping of the daylight in the West, 
The bough of cherries some officious fool 
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule 
She rode with round the terrace—all and each 
Would draw from her alike the approving speech, 
Or blush, at least. She thanked men—good! but thanked 
Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked 
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name 
With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame 
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill 
In speech—which I have not—to make your will 
Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this 
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, 
Or there exceed the mark”—and if she let 
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set 
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse— 
E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose 
Never to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt, 
Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without 
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; 
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands 
As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet 
The company below, then. I repeat, 
The Count your master’s known munificence 
Is ample warrant that no just pretense 
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; 
Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed 
At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go 
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, 
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, 
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

by Robert Browning, 1812–1889


A video of poem “The Dead” by Jones Very:

THE DEAD

I see them crowd on crowd they walk the earth 
Dry, leafless trees no Autumn wind laid bare, 
And in their nakedness find cause for mirth, 
And all unclad would winter's rudeness dare; 
No sap doth through their clattering branches flow, 
Whence springing leaves and blossoms bright appear; 
Their hearts the living God have ceased to know, 
Who gives the spring time to th'expectant year; 
They mimic life, as if from him to steal 
His glow of health to paint the livid cheek; 
They borrow words for thoughts they cannot feel, 
That with a seeming heart their tongue may speak; 
And in their show of life more dead they live 
Than those that to the earth with many tears they give.

by Jones Very, 1813–1880


THE HUNTERS OF MEN

HAVE ye heard of our hunting, o'er mountain and glen,
Through cane-brake and forest, — the hunting of men?
The lords of our land to this hunting have gone,
As the fox-hunter follows the sound of the horn;
Hark! the cheer and the hallo! the crack of the whip,
And the yell of the hound as he fastens his grip!
All blithe are our hunters, and noble their match,
Though hundreds are caught, there are millions to catch.
So speed to their hunting, o'er mountain and glen,
Through cane-brake and forest, — the hunting of men!
Gay luck to our hunters! how nobly they ride
In the glow of their zeal, and the strength of their pride!
The priest with his cassock flung back on the wind,
Just screening the politic statesman behind;
The saint and the sinner, with cursing and prayer,
The drunk and the sober, ride merrily there.
And woman, kind woman, wife, widow, and maid,
For the good of the hunted, is lending her aid:
Her foot's in the stirrup, her hand on the rein,
How blithely she rides to the hunting of men!
Oh, goodly and grand is our hunting to see,
In this 'land of the brave and this home of the free.'
Priest, warrior, and statesman, from Georgia to Maine,
All mounting the saddle, all grasping the rein;
Right merrily hunting the black man, whose sin
Is the curl of his hair and the hue of his skin!
Woe, now, to the hunted who turns him at bay!
Will our hunters be turned from their purpose and prey?
Will their hearts fail within them? their nerves tremble, when
All roughly they ride to the hunting of men?
Ho! alms for our hunters! all weary and faint,
Wax the curse of the sinner and prayer of the saint.
The horn is wound faintly, the echoes are still,
Over cane-brake and river, and forest and hill.
Haste, alms for our hunters! the hunted once more
Have turned from their flight with their backs to the shore:
What right have they here in the home of the white,
Shadowed o'er by our banner of Freedom and Right?
Ho! alms for the hunters! or never again
Will they ride in their pomp to the hunting of men!
Alms, alms for our hunters! why will ye delay,
When their pride and their glory are melting away?
The parson has turned; for, on charge of his own,
Who goeth a warfare, or hunting, alone?
The politic statesman looks back with a sigh,
There is doubt in his heart, there is fear in his eye.
Oh, haste, lest that doubting and fear shall prevail,
And the head of his steed take the place of the tail.
Oh, haste, ere he leave us! for who will ride then,
For pleasure or gain, to the hunting of men?

by John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807–1892


Elizabeth Barrett Browning:


Rich and Poor; or, Saint and Sinner

The poor man's sins are glaring; 
In the face of ghostly warning 
He is caught in the fact 
Of an overt act-- 
Buying greens on Sunday morning. 

The rich man's sins are hidden 
In the pomp of wealth and station; 
And escape the sight 
Of the children of light, 
Who are wise in their generation. 

The rich man has a kitchen, 
And cooks to dress his dinner; 
The poor who would roast 
To the baker's must post, 
And thus becomes a sinner. 

The rich man has a cellar, 
And a ready butler by him; 
The poor must steer 
For his pint of beer 
Where the saint can't choose but spy him. 

The rich man's painted windows 
Hide the concerts of the quality; 
The poor can but share 
A cracked fiddle in the air, 
Which offends all sound morality. 

The rich man is invisible 
In the crowd of his gay society; 
But the poor man's delight 
Is a sore in the sight, 
And a stench in the nose of piety. 

The rich man has a carriage 
Where no rude eye can flout him; 
The poor man's bane 
Is a third class train, 
With the day-light all about him. 

The rich man goes out yachting, 
Where sanctity can't pursue him; 
The poor goes afloat 
In a fourpenny boat, 
Where the bishop groans to view him.

by Thomas Love Peacock, 1785–1866


“How oft in schoolboy-days, from the school’s sway”

XXIX

How oft in schoolboy-days, from the school’s sway 
Have I run forth to Nature as to a friend,--
With some pretext of o’erwrought sight, to spend
My school-time in green meadows far away!
Careless of summoning bell, or clocks that strike,
I marked with flowers the minutes of my day:
For still the eye that shrank from hated hours,
Dazzled with decimal and dividend,
Knew each bleached alder-root that plashed across
The bubbling brook, and every mass of moss;
Could tell the month, too, by the vervain-spike,--
How far the ring of purple tiny flowers
Had climbed; just starting, may-be, with the May,
Half-light, or tapering off at Summer’s end.

by Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, 1821–1873

from Sonnets, Second Series


The Old Familiar Faces

I have had playmates, I have had companions,
In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days,
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have been laughing, I have been carousing,
Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies,
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I loved a love once, fairest among women;
Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her —
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man;
Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly;
Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces.

Ghost-like, I paced round the haunts of my childhood.
Earth seemed a desert I was bound to traverse,
Seeking to find the old familiar faces.

Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother,
Why wert not thou born in my father's dwelling?
So might we talk of the old familiar faces —

How some they have died, and some they have left me,
And some are taken from me; all are departed;
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834

Parental Recollections

A child's a plaything for an hour; 
Its pretty tricks we try 
For that or for a longer space; 
Then tire, and lay it by. 

But I knew one, that to itself 
All seasons could controul; 
That would have mock'd the sense of pain 
Out of a grieved soul. 

Thou, straggler into loving arms, 
Young climber up of knees, 
When I forget thy thousand ways, 
Then life and all shall cease.

by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834


Dover Beach

The sea is calm tonight,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! You hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back and fling
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long withdrawing roar,
Retreating to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

by Matthew Arnold, 1822-1888

(poem written in1867)


The Land of Counterpane

When I was sick and lay a-bed,  
I had two pillows at my head,  
And all my toys beside me lay  
To keep me happy all the day.      

And sometimes for an hour or so    
I watched my leaden soldiers go,  
With different uniforms and drills,  
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;      

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets  
All up and down among the sheets;  
Or brought my trees and houses out,  
And planted cities all about.      

I was the giant great and still  
That sits upon the pillow-hill,  
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 – 1894

This poem is in the public domain.

My Wife

Trusty, dusky, vivid, true,
With eyes of gold and bramble-dew,
Steel-true and blade-straight,
The great artificer
Made my mate.  

Honour, anger, valour, fire;
A love that life could never tire,
Death quench or evil stir,
The mighty master
Gave to her.  

Teacher, tender, comrade, wife,
A fellow-farer true through life,
Heart-whole and soul-free
The august father
Gave to me.

by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 – 1894

This poem is in the public domain.

Christmas at Sea

The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
The decks were like a slide, where a seaman scarce could stand;
The wind was a nor'wester, blowing squally off the sea;
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.

They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day;
But 'twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the maintops'l, and stood by to go about.

All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North;
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide race roared;
But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard:
So's we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye.

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam;
The good red fires were burning bright in every 'long-shore home;
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer;
For it's just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
This day of our adversity was blessèd Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard's was the house where I was born.

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,
My mother's silver spectacles, my father's silver hair;
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china plates that stand upon the shelves.

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessèd Christmas Day.

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall.
'All hands to loose top gallant sails,' I heard the captain call.
'By the Lord, she'll never stand it,' our first mate, Jackson, cried.
… 'It's the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson,' he replied.

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood.
As the winter's day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.

by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 – 1894


Brad Craft reads Charles Turner’s sonnet “Letty’s Globe”:

Letty’s Globe

When Letty had scarce pass'd her third glad year,
And her young, artless words began to flow,
One day we gave the child a colour'd sphere
Of the wide earth, that she might mark and know,
By tint and outline, all its sea and land.
She patted all the world; old empires peep'd
Between her baby fingers; her soft hand
Was welcome at all frontiers. How she leap'd,
And laugh'd, and prattled in her world-wide bliss;
But when we turned her sweet unlearned eye
On our own isle, she raised a joyous cry,
"Oh! yes, I see it, Letty's home is there!"
And, while she hid all England with a kiss,
Bright over Europe fell her golden hair.

by Charles Turner, 1808-1879

HOW DOTH THE LITTLE CROCODILE

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), 1832-1898

You are old, Father William (1865)

“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head –
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door –
Pray, what is the reason of that?”

“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment – one shilling the box –
Allow me to sell you a couple?”

“You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak –
Pray, how did you manage to do it?”

“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose –
What made you so awfully clever?”

“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
Said his father; “don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you downstairs!”

by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), 1832-1898

Folksinger Donovan covers Jabberwocky as a song:

Yet another song version by Erutan of the poem originally found in Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

JABBERWOCKY

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought–
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), 1832-1898


Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936, was born in Bombay, India. He wrote fiction as well as poetry.  Unfortunately Kipling was a man of his times, country and prejudices (he coined the phrase “White Man’s Burden”). Here are some of his best poems:

IF—

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936

CITIES AND THRONES AND POWERS

Cities and Thrones and Powers
    Stand in Time's eye,
Almost as long as flowers,
    Which daily die:
But, as new buds put forth 
    To glad new men,
Out of the spent and unconsidered Earth,
    The Cities rise again.

This season's Daffodil,
    She never hears,
What change, what chance, what chill, 
    Cut down last year's;
But with bold countenance,
    And knowledge small,
Esteems her seven days' continuance 
    To be perpetual.

So Time that is o'er-kind 
    To all that be,
Ordains us e'en as blind, 
    As bold as she:
That in our very death, 
    And burial sure,
Shadow to shadow, well persuaded, saith, 
    "See how our works endure!"

by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936



BREAK, BREAK, BREAK

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

O well for the fisherman’s boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal

                      from The Princess

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font.
The firefly wakens; waken thou with me.

   Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.

   Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.

   Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.

   Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake.
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.

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