Romance

R
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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Chaos by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
There are places for chaos on the page,
meaningful, apparent
confusion — temps en temps on the continent
does not mean “time to time” in Kent,
or Greenwich. From stone through weeds and parchment,
through bad times, words made their way to the printed page.
Bibles now not just for those who go to worship by carriage,
but for those who pray with bare feet,
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Don't Ask/1980 by Jayne Cortez
Jayne Cortez
Don't ask me
who I'm speaking for
who I'm talking to
why I'm doing what I do in
the light of my existence

You rise you spit you brush you drink you
pee you shit you walk you run you work
you eat you belch you sleep you dream &
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Soldier-Poet by Hervey Allen
Hervey Allen
To Francis Fowler Hogan I think at first like us he did not see
The goal to which the screaming eagles flew;
For romance lured him, France, and chivalry;
But Oh! Before the end he knew, he knew!
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Center by Josephine Miles
Josephine Miles
How did you come
How did I come here
Now it is ours, how did it come to be
In so many presences?
Some I know swept from the sea, wind and sea,
Took up the right wave in their fins and seal suits,
Rode up over the town to this shore
Shining and sleek
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from “The Octoroon” by Albery Allson Whitman
Albery Allson Whitman
18

These creatures of the languid Orient,—
Rare pearls of caste, in their voluptuous swoon
And gilded ease, by Eunuchs watched and pent,
And doomed to hear the lute’s perpetual tune,
Were passion’s toys—to lust an ornament;
But not such was our thrush-voiced Octoroon,—
The Southland beauty who was wont to hear
Faith’s tender secrets whispered in her ear.


19

“An honest man’s the noblest work of”—No!
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Paradise Lost: Book  1 (1674 version) by John Milton
John Milton
OF Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
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America Politica Historia, in Spontaneity by Gregory Corso
Gregory Corso
O this political air so heavy with the bells
and motors of a slow night, and no place to rest
but rain to walk—How it rings the Washington streets!
The umbrella’d congressmen; the rapping tires
of big black cars, the shoulders of lobbyists
caught under canopies and in doorways,
and it rains, it will not let up,
and meanwhile lame futurists weep into Spengler’s
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For C. by Richard Wilbur
Richard Wilbur
After the clash of elevator gates
And the long sinking, she emerges where,
A slight thing in the morning’s crosstown glare,
She looks up toward the window where he waits,
Then in a fleeting taxi joins the rest
Of the huge traffic bound forever west.

On such grand scale do lovers say good-bye—
Even this other pair whose high romance
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Hotel François 1er by Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein
It was a very little while and they had gone in front of it. It was that they had liked it would it bear. It was a very much adjoined a follower. Flower of an adding where a follower.
Have I come in. Will in suggestion.
They may like hours in catching.
It is always a pleasure to remember.
Have a habit.
Any name will very well wear better.
All who live round about there.
Have a manner.
The hotel François Ier.
Just winter so.
It is indubitably often that she is as denied to soften help to when it is in all in midst of which in vehemence to taken given in a bestowal show than left help in double.
Having noticed often that it is newly noticed which makes older often.
The world has become smaller and more beautiful.
The world is grown smaller and more beautiful. That is it.
Yes that is it.
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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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Man with a Black Dog by Richard Emil Braun
Richard Emil Braun
The first commotion stirred him to offend,
forgivably, with friendly leaps and clutching;
but soon too urgent friendliness was wrought
by a new wave of guests. At last I complained
to that one man that it was indecent
of him to tempt the beast so, pressing his
tweed knee against the furry brisket. But
he smiled, and spoke with a Rhinelandish accent:
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River Road by Herbert Morris
Herbert Morris
Running off with the boy at the gas station,
yellow-haired, clear-eyed, with a pair of hands
nothing, you understand, would prove too much for,
is, it seems, a simple enough solution.

Consequences never enter your thinking
at the start. Whatever the implications
of the act, of the speed with which you act,
all one knows, and all one chooses to know,
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Romance by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
With drowsy head and folded wing,
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been—a most familiar bird—
Taught me my alphabet to say—
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child—with a most knowing eye.
Of late, eternal Condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky.
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Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl by John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier
To the Memory of the Household It Describes
This Poem is Dedicated by the Author

“As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits, which be Angels of Light, are augmented not only by the Divine light of the Sun, but also by our common Wood Fire: and as the Celestial Fire drives away dark spirits, so also this our Fire of Wood doth the same.” —Cor. Agrippa, Occult Philosophy, Book I.ch. v.

“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of Storm.”
EMERSON, The Snow Storm. The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
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The Barrel-Organ by Alfred Noyes
Alfred Noyes
There’s a barrel-organ carolling across a golden street
In the City as the sun sinks low;
And the music's not immortal; but the world has made it sweet
And fulfilled it with the sunset glow;
And it pulses through the pleasures of the City and the pain
That surround the singing organ like a large eternal light;
And they’ve given it a glory and a part to play again
In the Symphony that rules the day and night.
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from Endymion by John Keats
John Keats
A Poetic Romance

(excerpt) BOOK I
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
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The Erotic Philosophers by Carolyn Kizer
Carolyn Kizer
It’s a spring morning; sun pours in the window
As I sit here drinking coffee, reading Augustine.
And finding him, as always, newly minted
From when I first encountered him in school.
Today I’m overcome with astonishment
At the way we girls denied all that was mean
In those revered philosophers we studied;
Who found us loathsome, loathsomely seductive;
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The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats
John Keats
St. Agnes' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.

His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;
Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,
And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,
Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:
The sculptur'd dead, on each side, seem to freeze,
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The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!—Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself
A prime Enchantress—to assist the work
Which then was going forward in her name!
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
(As at some moment might not be unfelt
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Heart’s Needle by W. D. Snodgrass
W. D. Snodgrass
For Cynthia

When he would not return to fine garments and good food, to his houses and his people, Loingseachan told him, “Your father is dead.” “I’m sorry to hear it,” he said. “Your mother is dead,” said the lad. “All pity for me has gone out of the world.” “Your sister, too, is dead.” “The mild sun rests on every ditch,” he said; “a sister loves even though not loved.” “Suibhne, your daughter is dead.” “And an only daughter is the needle of the heart.” “And Suibhne, your little boy, who used to call you “Daddy”—he is dead.” “Aye,” said Suibhne, “that’s the drop that brings a man to the ground.”
He fell out of the yew tree; Loingseachan closed his arms around him and placed him in manacles.—AFTER THE MIDDLE-IRISH ROMANCE, THE MADNESS OF SUIBHNE
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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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The Loneliness of the Military Historian by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
Confess: it’s my profession
that alarms you.
This is why few people ask me to dinner,
though Lord knows I don’t go out of my way to be scary.
I wear dresses of sensible cut
and unalarming shades of beige,
I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser’s:
no prophetess mane of mine,
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Miniver Cheevy by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Edwin Arlington Robinson
Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.

Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would set him dancing.
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On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again by John Keats
John Keats
O golden-tongued Romance with serene lute!
Fair plumed Syren! Queen of far away!
Leave melodizing on this wintry day,
Shut up thine olden pages, and be mute:
Adieu! for once again the fierce dispute,
Betwixt damnation and impassion'd clay
Must I burn through; once more humbly assay
The bitter-sweet of this Shakespearian fruit.
Chief Poet! and ye clouds of Albion,
Begetters of our deep eternal theme,
When through the old oak forest I am gone,
Let me not wander in a barren dream,
But when I am consumed in the fire,
Give me new Phoenix wings to fly at my desire.

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The Rape of the Lock: Canto 3 by Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Close by those meads, for ever crown'd with flow'rs,
Where Thames with pride surveys his rising tow'rs,
There stands a structure of majestic frame,
Which from the neighb'ring Hampton takes its name.
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom
Of foreign tyrants and of nymphs at home;
Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take—and sometimes tea.

Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort,
To taste awhile the pleasures of a court;
In various talk th' instructive hours they pass'd,
Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;
One speaks the glory of the British queen,
And one describes a charming Indian screen;
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When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be by John Keats
John Keats
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
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Wildflowers by Richard Howard
Richard Howard
for Joseph Cady

Camden, 1882 Is it raining, Mary, can you see?
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Yarrow Revisited by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
The gallant Youth, who may have gained,
Or seeks, a "winsome Marrow,"
Was but an Infant in the lap
When first I looked on Yarrow;
Once more, by Newark's Castle-gate
Long left without a warder,
I stood, looked, listened, and with Thee,
Great Minstrel of the Border!
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The Months by Linda Pastan
Linda Pastan
January

Contorted by wind,
mere armatures for ice or snow,
the trees resolve
to endure for now,

they will leaf out in April.
And I must be as patient
as the trees—
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