Hero

H
The Sirens by Giovanni Pascoli
Giovanni Pascoli
From there he sailed farther on, and sadder.
Standing at the stern he looked out darkly
till the Cyclopes’ land turned slowly into view.
He saw the island’s unfarmed peak
that rose up sharp and high as if to mark itself
apart, and watched a fire’s smoke unfold
from where a shepherd lulled it.
But those who bent to pull the oars
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Erinna by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
Letitia Elizabeth Landon
Was she of spirit race, or was she one
Of earth's least earthly daughters, one to whom
A gift of loveliness and soul is given,
Only to make them wretched?There is an antique gem, on which her brow
Retains its graven beauty even now.
Her hair is braided, but one curl behind
Floats as enamour'd of the summer wind;
The rest is simple. Is she not too fair
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The Comedian as the Letter C by Wallace Stevens
Wallace Stevens
i
The World without Imagination

Nota: man is the intelligence of his soil,
The sovereign ghost. As such, the Socrates
Of snails, musician of pears, principium
And lex. Sed quaeritur: is this same wig
Of things, this nincompated pedagogue,
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from The Book of the Dead: The Book of the Dead by Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser
These roads will take you into your own country.
Seasons and maps coming where this road comes
into a landscape mirrored in these men.

Past all your influences, your home river,
constellations of cities, mottoes of childhood,
parents and easy cures, war, all evasion’s wishes.

What one word must never be said?
Dead, and these men fight off our dying,
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Charaxos and Larichos by Sappho
Sappho
Say what you like about Charaxos,
that’s a fellow with a fat-bellied ship
always in some port or other.
What does Zeus care, or the rest of his gang?

Now you’d like me on my knees,
crying out to Hera, “Blah, blah, blah,
bring him home safe and free of warts,”
or blubbering, “Wah, wah, wah, thank you,
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from Gilgamesh: Tablet 11 by David Ferry
David Ferry
i

Gilgamesh spoke and said to the old man then:
"When I looked at you I thought that you were not

a man, one made like me; I had resolved
to challenge you as one might challenge a demon,

a stranger-adversary. But now I see
that you are Utnapishtim, made like me,

a man, the one I sought, the one from whom
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Dawn on the Somme by Robert Nichols
Robert Nichols
Last night rain fell over the scarred plateau
And now from the dark horizon, dazzling, flies
Arrow on fire-plumed arrow to the skies
Shot from the bright arc of Apollo's bow;
And from the wild and writhen waste below,
From flashing pools and mounds lit one by one,
O is it mist or are these companies
Of morning heroes who arise, arise
With thrusting arms, with limbs and hair aglow
Toward the risen god, upon whose brow
Burns the gold laurel of all victories,
Hero and hero's god, th' invincible Sun?
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Paradise Lost: Book  8 (1674 version) by John Milton
John Milton
THE Angel ended, and in Adams Eare
So Charming left his voice, that he a while
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixt to hear;
Then as new wak't thus gratefully repli'd.
What thanks sufficient, or what recompence
Equal have I to render thee, Divine
Hystorian, who thus largely hast allayd
The thirst I had of knowledge, and voutsaf't
This friendly condescention to relate
Things else by me unsearchable, now heard
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,
With glorie attributed to the high
Creator; something yet of doubt remaines,
Which onely thy solution can resolve.
When I behold this goodly Frame, this World
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Conduct by Samuel Greenberg
Samuel Greenberg
By a peninsula the painter sat and
Sketched the uneven valley groves.
The apostle gave alms to the
Meek. The volcano burst
In fusive sulphur and hurled
Rocks and ore into the air—
Heaven’s sudden change at
The drawing tempestuous,
Darkening shade of dense clouded hues.
The wanderer soon chose
His spot of rest; they bore the
Chosen hero upon their shoulders,
Whom they strangely admired, as
The beach-tide summer of people desired.
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Lincoln by Henrietta Cordelia Ray
Henrietta Cordelia Ray
To-day, O martyred chief, beneath the sun
We would unveil thy form; to thee who won
Th’applause of nations for thy soul sincere,
A loving tribute we would offer here.
’T was thine not worlds to conquer, but men’s hearts;
To change to balm the sting of slavery’s darts;
In lowly charity thy joy to find,
And open “gates of mercy on mankind.”
And so they come, the freed, with grateful gift,
From whose sad path the shadows thou didst lift.

Eleven years have rolled their seasons round,
Since its most tragic close thy life-work found.
Yet through the vistas of the vanished days
We see thee still, responsive to our gaze,
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A Poem for the Old Man by John Wieners
John Wieners
God love you
Dana my lover
lost in the horde
on this Friday night,
500 men are moving up
& down from the bath
room to the bar.
Remove this desire
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40
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Samuel Beckett's Dublin by Donald Davie
Donald Davie
When it is cold it stinks, and not till then. The seasonable or more rabid heats
Of love and summer in some other cities
Unseal the all too human: not in his.
When it is cold it stinks, but not before;

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The Hero by John Unterecker
John Unterecker
Mortal and full of praise,
I watch the enchanted hero busy at his chores:
desert, tundra,
prairie restless
under an easy stride.

Dagger in belt, sword
slapping thigh, he passes
from sight, the restored land
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from The Spring Flowers Own: “The morning after / my death” by Etel Adnan
Etel Adnan
The morning after my death we will sit in cafés but I will not be there
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The Unreliable Narrator by Keith Waldrop
Keith Waldrop
A great crime: she has
plunged a dagger into the heart
of her mother.

Strange.

The strangest thing: a mocking little pride with
a sinister click as of a fitting together of bad
pieces.

Beyond knowing. The mesmerist’s only
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Kaddish by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
For Naomi Ginsberg, 1894—1956 I
Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
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Toussaint L’Ouverture by Henrietta Cordelia Ray
Henrietta Cordelia Ray
To those fair isles where crimson sunsets burn,
We send a backward glance to gaze on thee,
Brave Toussaint! thou was surely born to be
A hero; thy proud spirit could but spurn
Each outrage on the race. Couldst thou unlearn
The lessons taught by instinct? Nay! and we
Who share the zeal that would make all men free,
Must e’en with pride unto thy life-work turn.
Soul-dignity was thine and purest aim;
And ah! how sad that thou wast left to mourn
In chains ’neath alien skies. On him, shame! shame!
That mighty conqueror who dared to claim
The right to bind thee. Him we heap with scorn,
And noble patriot! guard with love thy name.

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Before a Statue of Achilles by George Santayana
George Santayana
I

Behoild Pelides with his yellow hair,
Proud child of Thetis, hero loved of Jove;
Above the frowning of his brows of wove
A crown of gold, well combed, with Spartan care.
Who might have seen him, sullen, great, and fair,
As with the wrongful world he proudly strove,
And by high deeds his wilder passion shrove,
Mastering love, resentment, and despair.
He knew his end, and Phoebus’ arrow sure
He braved for fame immortal and a friend,
Despising life; and we, who know our end,
Know that in our decay he shall endure
And all our children’s hearts to grief inure,
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The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Fit the First
The Landing

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
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Soweto by Kamau Brathwaite
Kamau Brathwaite
Out of this roar of innumerable demons

hot cinema tarzan sweat
rolling moth ball eyes yellow teeth
cries of claws slashes clanks

a faint high pallor

dust

oceans rolling over the dry sand of the savanna

your houses homes warm still with the buffalo milk
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To Matthew Dodsworth, Esq., On a Noble Captain Declaring that His Finger Was Broken by a Gate by Anna Dodsworth
Anna Dodsworth
The tale which I send, will, I’m sure, hit your fancy,
Of Sandy the Captain, and kitchen-maid Nancy;
The youth, by friend Colin’s good liquor made gay,
Met the damsel, and brimful of frolic and play,
He romped with, and kissed her, and tho’ he’d his gun,
In vain the poor lassie attempted to run;
She pouted and scolded, and liked not the joke,
And at least, in the struggle, his finger she broke.
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The Wind at the Door by William Barnes
William Barnes
As day did darken on the dewless grass,
There, still, wi’ nwone a-come by me
To stay a-while at hwome by me
Within the house, all dumb by me,
I zot me sad as the eventide did pass.

An’ there a win’blast shook the rattlèn door,
An’ seemed, as win’ did mwoan without,
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The Wreck of the Deutschland by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Gerard Manley Hopkins
To the happy memory of five Franciscan Nuns, exiles by the Falk Laws, drowned between midnight and morning of Dec. 7th, 1875 I
Thou mastering me
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The Companions in Hades by George Seferis
George Seferis
fools, who ate the cattle of Helios Hyperion;
but he deprived them of the day of their return.
— Odyssey Since we still had some hardtack
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Cool Tombs by Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg
When Abraham Lincoln was shoveled into the tombs, he forgot the copperheads and the assassin ... in the dust, in the cool tombs.

And Ulysses Grant lost all thought of con men and Wall Street, cash and collateral turned ashes ... in the dust, in the cool tombs.

Pocahontas’ body, lovely as a poplar, sweet as a red haw in November or a pawpaw in May, did she wonder? does she remember? ... in the dust, in the cool tombs?

Take any streetful of people buying clothes and groceries, cheering a hero or throwing confetti and blowing tin horns ... tell me if the lovers are losers ... tell me if any get more than the lovers ... in the dust ... in the cool tombs.
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Lincoln by Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz
Manic-depressive Lincoln, national hero!
How just and true that this great nation, being conceived
In liberty by fugitives should find
—Strange ways and plays of monstrous History—
This Hamlet-type to be the President—

This failure, this unwilling bridegroom,
This tricky lawyer full of black despair—

He grew a beard, becoming President,
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Alexandreis by Anne Killigrew
Anne Killigrew
I sing the man that never equal knew,
Whose mighty arms all Asia did subdue,
Whose conquests through the spacious world do ring,
That city-raser, king-destroying king,
Who o’er the warlike Macedons did reign,
And worthily the name of Great did gain.
This is the prince (if fame you will believe,
To ancient story any credit give.)
Who when the globe of Earth he had subdued,
With tears the easy victory pursued;
Because that no more worlds there were to win,
No further scene to act his glories in.

Ah that some pitying Muse would now inspire
My frozen style with a poetic fire,
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The Battle of Tel-el-Kebir by Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall
Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall
Ye sons of Great Britain, come join with me,
And sing in praise of Sir Garnet Wolseley;
Sound drums and trumpets cheerfully,
For he has acted most heroically.

Therefore loudly his praises sing
Until the hills their echoes back doth ring;
For he is a noble hero bold,
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The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Lo! ’t is a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.

Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly—
Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro,
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Counselors by Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Fitzgerald
Whom should I consult? Philosophers
Are happy in their homes and seminars.
See this one with the mischievous bright childlike
Gaze going out through walls and air,
A tangent to the bent rays of the star.
Hear the chalk splutter, hear the groping voice:
Conceive the demiurge in his perpetual
Strife with the chaos of the universe,
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A Description of a City Shower by Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift
Careful observers may foretell the hour
(By sure prognostics) when to dread a shower:
While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o’er
Her frolics, and pursues her tail no more.
Returning home at night, you’ll find the sink
Strike your offended sense with double stink.
If you be wise, then go not far to dine;
You’ll spend in coach hire more than save in wine.
A coming shower your shooting corns presage,
Old achès throb, your hollow tooth will rage.
Sauntering in coffeehouse is Dulman seen;
He damns the climate and complains of spleen.
Meanwhile the South, rising with dabbled wings,
A sable cloud athwart the welkin flings,
That swilled more liquor than it could contain,
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Falling Asleep over the Aeneid by Robert Lowell
Robert Lowell
An old man in Concord forgets to go to morning service. He falls asleep, while reading Vergil, and dreams that he is Aeneas at the funeral of Pallas, an Italian prince. The sun is blue and scarlet on my page,
And yuck-a, yuck-a, yuck-a, yuck-a, rage
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The Flâneur by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
Boston Common, December 6, 1882 during the Transit of Venus I love all sights of earth and skies,
From flowers that glow to stars that shine;
The comet and the penny show,
All curious things, above, below,
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Howl by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
For Carl Solomon I

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
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I Killed a Fly by David Ignatow
David Ignatow
I killed a fly
and laid my weapon next to it
as one lays the weapon of a dead hero
beside his body—the fly
that tried to mount the window
to its top; that was born out of a swamp
to die in a bold effort beyond itself,
and I am the one who brought it to an end.
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“It Out-Herods Herod. Pray You, Avoid It.” by Anthony Hecht
Anthony Hecht
Tonight my children hunch
Toward their Western, and are glad
As, with a Sunday punch,
The Good casts out the Bad.

And in their fairy tales
The warty giant and witch
Get sealed in doorless jails
And the match-girl strikes it rich.
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A Leak in the Dike by Phoebe Cary
Phoebe Cary
A Story of Holland The good dame looked from her cottage
At the close of the pleasant day,
And cheerily called to her little son
Outside the door at play:
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On the Welsh Language by Katherine Philips
Katherine Philips
If honor to an ancient name be due,
Or riches challenge it for one that’s new,
The British language claims in either sense
Both for its age, and for its opulence.
But all great things must be from us removed,
To be with higher reverence beloved.
So landskips which in prospects distant lie,
With greater wonder draw the pleasèd eye.
Is not great Troy to one dark ruin hurled?
Once the fam’d scene of all fighting world.
Where’s Athens now, to whom Rome learning owes,
And the safe laurels that adorned her brows?
A strange reverse of fate she did endure,
Never once greater, than she’s now obscure.
Even Rome her self can but some footsteps show
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A Poem Beginning with a Line by Pindar by Robert Duncan
Robert Duncan
I

The light foot hears you and the brightness begins
god-step at the margins of thought,
quick adulterous tread at the heart.
Who is it that goes there?
Where I see your quick face
notes of an old music pace the air,
torso-reverberations of a Grecian lyre.

In Goya’s canvas Cupid and Psyche
have a hurt voluptuous grace
bruised by redemption. The copper light
falling upon the brown boy’s slight body
is carnal fate that sends the soul wailing
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To a Young Lady, With Some Lampreys by John Gay
John Gay
With lovers, ’twas of old the fashion
By presents to convey their passion;
No matter what the gift they sent,
The Lady saw that love was meant.
Fair Atalanta, as a favour,
Took the boar’s head her Hero gave her;
Nor could the bristly thing affront her,
’Twas a fit present from a hunter.
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A Way of Being by Barbara Guest
Barbara Guest
There we go in cars, did you guess we wore sandals?
Carrying the till, memorizing its numbers,
apt at the essential such as rearranging
languages. They occur from route to route
like savages who wear shells.

“I cannot place him.” Yet I do.
He must ascend indefinitely as airs
he must regard his image as plastic,
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“Any fool can get into an ocean . . .” by Jack Spicer
Jack Spicer
Any fool can get into an ocean
But it takes a Goddess
To get out of one.
What’s true of oceans is true, of course,
Of labyrinths and poems. When you start swimming
Through riptide of rhythms and the metaphor’s seaweed
You need to be a good swimmer or a born Goddess
To get back out of them
Look at the sea otters bobbing wildly
Out in the middle of the poem
They look so eager and peaceful playing out there where the
water hardly moves
You might get out through all the waves and rocks
Into the middle of the poem to touch them
But when you’ve tried the blessed water long
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from From the Theatre of Illusion by Pierre Corneille
Pierre Corneille
Act 2, Scene 2
Clindor, a young picaresque hero, has been living by his wits in Paris, but has now drifted to Bordeaux, to become the valet of a braggart bravo named Matamore. He is chiefly employed as a go-between, carrying Matamore's amorous messages to the beautiful Isabelle—who only suffers the master because she is in love with the messenger. clindor
Sir, why so restless? Is there any need,
With all your fame, for one more glorious deed?
Have you not slain enough bold foes by now,
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Cold Calls (War Music, Continued) by Christopher Logue
Christopher Logue
Many believe in the stars.


Take Quinamid
The son of a Dardanian astrologer
Who disregarded what his father said
And came to Troy in a taxi.

Gone.



Odysseus to Greece:

“Hector has never fought this far from Troy.
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An Essay on Man: Epistle I by Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
To Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things
To low ambition, and the pride of kings.
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An Essay on Man: Epistle II by Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
I.
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
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Battle-Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fatal lightning of his terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps.
His Day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel:
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.”

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Carrion Comfort by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?

Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.
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The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
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The circle game by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
i

The children on the lawn
joined hand to hand
go round and round

each arm going into
the next arm, around
full circle
until it comes
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The Correspondence-School Instructor Says Goodbye to His Poetry Students by Galway Kinnell
Galway Kinnell
Goodbye, lady in Bangor, who sent me
snapshots of yourself, after definitely hinting
you were beautiful; goodbye,
Miami Beach urologist, who enclosed plain
brown envelopes for the return of your very
“Clinical Sonnets”; goodbye, manufacturer
of brassieres on the Coast, whose eclogues
give the fullest treatment in literature yet
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Dear Doctor, I have Read your Play by Lord Byron (George Gordon)
Lord Byron (George Gordon)
Dear Doctor, I have read your play,
Which is a good one in its way,
Purges the eyes, and moves the bowels,
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels
With tears that, in a flux of grief,
Afford hysterical relief
To shatter'd nerves and quicken'd pulses,
Which your catastrophe convulses.
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Don Juan: Canto 11 by Lord Byron (George Gordon)
Lord Byron (George Gordon)
I
When Bishop Berkeley said "there was no matter,"
And proved it—'twas no matter what he said:
They say his system 'tis in vain to batter,
Too subtle for the airiest human head;
And yet who can believe it! I would shatter
Gladly all matters down to stone or lead,
Or adamant, to find the World a spirit,
And wear my head, denying that I wear it.

II
What a sublime discovery 'twas to make the
Universe universal egotism,
That all's ideal—all ourselves: I'll stake the
World (be it what you will) that that's no schism.
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Hero and Leander by Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe
The First Sestiad

(excerpt) On Hellespont, guilty of true love's blood,
In view and opposite two cities stood,
Sea-borderers, disjoin'd by Neptune's might;
The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight.
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Hugh Selwyn Mauberley Part I by Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound
(Life and Contacts)

“Vocat aestus in umbram”
Nemesianus Ec. IV. E. P. ODE POUR L’ÉLECTION DE SON SÉPULCHRE

For three years, out of key with his time,
He strove to resuscitate the dead art
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Imitations of Horace by Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Ne Rubeam, Pingui donatus Munere
(Horace, Epistles II.i.267)
While you, great patron of mankind, sustain
The balanc'd world, and open all the main;
Your country, chief, in arms abroad defend,
At home, with morals, arts, and laws amend;
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Laodamia by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
"With sacrifice before the rising morn
Vows have I made by fruitless hope inspired;
And from the infernal Gods, 'mid shades forlorn
Of night, my slaughtered Lord have I required:
Celestial pity I again implore;—
Restore him to my sight—great Jove, restore!"

So speaking, and by fervent love endowed
With faith, the Suppliant heavenward lifts her hands;
While, like the sun emerging from a cloud,
Her countenance brightens—and her eye expands;
Her bosom heaves and spreads, her stature grows;
As she expects the issue in repose.

O terror! what hath she perceived?—O joy!
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Marrying the Hangman by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
She has been condemned to death by hanging. A man
may escape this death by becoming the hangman, a
woman by marrying the hangman. But at the present
time there is no hangman; thus there is no escape.
There is only a death, indefinitely postponed. This is
not fantasy, it is history.

*

To live in prison is to live without mirrors. To live
without mirrors is to live without the self. She is
living selflessly, she finds a hole in the stone wall and
on the other side of the wall, a voice. The voice
comes through darkness and has no face. This voice
becomes her mirror.
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Nephelidia by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne
From the depth of the dreamy decline of the dawn through a notable nimbus of nebulous noonshine,
Pallid and pink as the palm of the flag-flower that flickers with fear of the flies as they float,
Are they looks of our lovers that lustrously lean from a marvel of mystic miraculous moonshine,
These that we feel in the blood of our blushes that thicken and threaten with throbs through the throat?
Thicken and thrill as a theatre thronged at appeal of an actor's appalled agitation,
Fainter with fear of the fires of the future than pale with the promise of pride in the past;
Flushed with the famishing fullness of fever that reddens with radiance of rathe recreation,
Gaunt as the ghastliest of glimpses that gleam through the gloom of the gloaming when ghosts go aghast?
Nay, for the nick of the tick of the time is a tremulous touch on the temples of terror,
Strained as the sinews yet strenuous with strife of the dead who is dumb as the dust-heaps of death:
Surely no soul is it, sweet as the spasm of erotic emotional exquisite error,
Bathed in the balms of beatified bliss, beatific itself by beatitude's breath.
Surely no spirit or sense of a soul that was soft to the spirit and soul of our senses
Sweetens the stress of suspiring suspicion that sobs in the semblance and sound of a sigh;
Only this oracle opens Olympian, in mystical moods and triangular tenses—
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A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist. Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
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The Rape of the Lock: Canto 5 by Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
She said: the pitying audience melt in tears,
But Fate and Jove had stopp'd the Baron's ears.
In vain Thalestris with reproach assails,
For who can move when fair Belinda fails?
Not half so fix'd the Trojan could remain,
While Anna begg'd and Dido rag'd in vain.
Then grave Clarissa graceful wav'd her fan;
Silence ensu'd, and thus the nymph began.

"Say, why are beauties prais'd and honour'd most,
The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast?
Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford,
Why angels call'd, and angel-like ador'd?
Why round our coaches crowd the white-glov'd beaux,
Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows?
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Still, Citizen Sparrow by Richard Wilbur
Richard Wilbur
Still, citizen sparrow, this vulture which you call
Unnatural, let him but lumber again to air
Over the rotten office, let him bear
The carrion ballast up, and at the tall

Tip of the sky lie cruising. Then you’ll see
That no more beautiful bird is in heaven’s height,
No wider more placid wings, no watchfuller flight;
He shoulders nature there, the frightfully free,
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Sway by Louis Simpson
Louis Simpson
Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye Everyone at Lake Kearney had a nickname:
there was a Bumstead, a Tonto, a Tex,
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Woodcut by Thomas McGrath
Thomas McGrath
It is autumn but early. No crow cries from the dry woods.
The house droops like an eyelid over the leprous hill.
In the bald barnyard one horse, a collection of angles
Cuts at the flies with a spectral tail. A blind man’s
Sentence, the road goes on. Lifts as the slope lifts it.

Comes now one who has been conquered
By all he sees. And asks what—would have what—
Poor fool, frail, this man, mistake, my hero?
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Bel Canto by Kenneth Koch
Kenneth Koch
The sun is high, the seaside air is sharp,
And salty light reveals the Mayan School.
The Irish hope their names are on the harp,
We see the sheep's advertisement for wool,
Boulders are here, to throw against a tarp,
From which comes bursting forth a puzzled mule.
Perceval seizes it and mounts it, then
The blood-dimmed tide recedes and then comes in again.
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