poetry

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Emily Dickinson
Ogden Nash: Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight
Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ozymandias
Algernon Charles Swinburne: The Garden of Proserpine
Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Ulysses
William Butler Yeats: The Second Coming

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Emily Dickinson

Copyright © 1951, 1955, by The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

quoted

Topic:

Hope

text checked (see note) Apr 2006

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Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight
by Ogden Nash

Copyright © 1961 by Ogden Nash

You could tell he was wicked, for he reeked of roguery,

He was like an ogre, only twice as ogre-y,

He was twice as big as a big gorilla,

And covered with armor like an armadilla—

Armor on the front of him, armor on the back,

And every inch of it thunderstorm-black.

Topic:

Rhyming

Sir Garagoyle spluttered like a sprinker-wagon,

“A knight can always beat a dragon!”

“Pooh!” said Custard. “How you rant!

A true knight could, but a wicked knight can’t.”

Topic:

Dragons

text checked (see note) May 2005

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Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822)

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 shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked 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.

Topics:

Government

Tyrants

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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The Garden of Proserpine
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

(1837-1909)

Note (Hal’s):
Quoted as a preface to Robert A. Heinlein’s The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.

— end note

From too much love of living,

From hope and fear set free,

We thank with brief thanksgiving

Whatever gods may be

That no life lives for ever;

That dead men rise up never;

That even the weariest river

Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Topic:

Death

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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Ulysses
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

(1809-1892)

Though much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Topic:

Age

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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The Second Coming
by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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