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Like a pomegranate in halves,
Bliss Carman (1861–
THE PETRIFIED FERN In a valley, centuries ago,
Grew a little fern-leaf, green and slender,
Veining delicate and fibers tender;
Rushes tall, and moss, and grass grew round it,
Earth was young, and keeping holiday.
Stately forests waved their giant branches,
Mountains hurled their snowy avalanches,
Nature reveled in grand mysteries,
No one came to note it day by day.
Heaved the rocks and changed the mighty motion
Of the deep, strong currents of the ocean;
Crushed the little fern in soft moist clay,
Since that useless little fern was lost!
Searching Nature's secrets, far and deep;
From a fissure in a rocky steep
Fairy pencilings, a quaint design,
Mary Bolles Branch (1840–
THE QUESTION WHITHER
So much in need of mending,
Is that, think you, our ending?
And you who sadly turf us,
Must flower above the surface.
Sensation is a gracious gift,
But were it cramped to station,
Would spout from all sensation.
Have sped the plow a season;
Endureth fixed as reason.
Then let our trust be firm in Good,
Though we be of the fasting;
Our work is everlasting.
Are in its being sharers;
George Meredith (1828-1909]
THE GOOD GREAT MAN
How seldom, friend, a good great man inherits
Honor or wealth, with all his worth and pains!
It seems a story from the land of spirits
Or any merit that which he obtains.
REPLY TO THE ABOVE
For shame, dear friend! renounce this canting strain!
And calm thoughts, equable as infant's breath;
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
WEAK and irresolute is man;
The purpose of to-day,
To-morrow rends away.
The bow well bent, and smart the spring,
Vice seems already slain;
And it revives again.
Some foe to his upright intent
Finds out his weaker part;
But Pleasure wins his heart.
'Tis here the folly of the wise
Through all his art we view:
His conscience owns it true.
Bound on a voyage of awful length
And dangers little known,
Man vainly trusts his own.
But oars alone can ne'er prevail
To reach the distant coast;
William Cowper (1731-1800]
WHERE forlorn sunsets flare and fade
On desolate sea and lonely sand, Out of the silence and the shade
What is the voice of strange command Calling you still, as friend calls friend
With love that cannot brook delay, To rise and follow the ways that wend
Over the hills and far away?
Hark to the city, street on street
A roaring reach of death and life, Of vortices that clash and fleet
And ruin in appointed strife;
Calling until you cannot stay,
Over the hills and far away.
Out of the sound of the ebb-and-flow,
Out of the sight of lamp and star,
And the unchanging meadows are;
It calls you, calls you night and day
William Ernest Henley (1849-1903]
FRIENDS and loves we have none, nor wealth, nor blest
abode, But the hope, the burning hope, and the road, the lonely
Not for us are content, and quiet, and peace of mind,
There is no solace on earth for us—for such as we-
Only the road and the dawn, the sun, the wind, the rain, And the watch-fire under stars, and sleep, and the road
We seek the city of God, and the haunt where beauty
dwells, And we find the noisy mart and the sound of burial bells.
Never the golden city, where radiant people meet,
We travel the dusty road till the light of the day is dim
We travel from dawn till dusk, till the day is past and by, Seeking the Holy City beyond the rim of the sky,
Friends and loves we have none, nor wealth, nor blest
abode, But the hope, the burning hope, and the road, the lonely road.
John Masefield (18
THE BELEAGUERED CITY
I HAVE read, in some old, marvelous tale,
Some legend strange and vague,
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.