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The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 by Burton Egbert Stevenson

Part 5 out of 18

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WHERE LOVE IS

By the rosy cliffs of Devon, on a green hill's crest,
I would build me a house as a swallow builds its nest;
I would curtain it with roses, and the wind should breathe to me
The sweetness of the roses and the saltness of the sea.

Where the Tuscan olives whiten in the hot blue day,
I would hide me from the heat in a little hut of gray,
While the singing of the husbandmen should scale my lattice green
From the golden rows of barley that the poppies blaze between.

Narrow is the street, Dear, and dingy are the walls
Wherein you wait my coming as the twilight falls.
All day with dreams I gild the grime till at your step I start -
Ah Love, my country in your arms - my home upon your heart!

Amelia Josephine Burr [1878-

THAT DAY YOU CAME

Such special sweetness was about
That day God sent you here,
I knew the lavender was out,
And it was mid of year.

Their common way the great winds blew,
The ships sailed out to sea;
Yet ere that day was spent I knew
Mine own had come to me.

As after song some snatch of tune
Lurks still in grass or bough,
So, somewhat of the end o' June
Lurks in each weather now.

The young year sets the buds astir,
The old year strips the trees;
But ever in my lavender
I hear the brawling bees.

Lizette Woodworth Reese [1856-1935]

AMANTIUM IRAE

When this, our rose, is faded,
And these, our days, are done,
In lands profoundly shaded
From tempest and from sun:
Ah, once more come together,
Shall we forgive the past,
And safe from worldly weather
Possess our souls at last?

Or in our place of shadows
Shall still we stretch a hand
To green, remembered meadows,
Of that old pleasant land?
And vainly there foregathered,
Shall we regret the sun?
The rose of love, ungathered?
The bay, we have not won?

Ah, child! the world's dark marges
May lead to Nevermore,
The stately funeral barges
Sail for an unknown shore,
And love we vow to-morrow,
And pride we serve to-day:
What if they both should borrow
Sad hues of yesterday?

Our pride! Ah, should we miss it,
Or will it serve at last?
Our anger, if we kiss it,
Is like a sorrow past.
While roses deck the garden,
While yet the sun is high,
Doff sorry pride: for pardon,
Or ever love go by.

Ernest Dowson [1867-1900]

IN A ROSE GARDEN

A hundred years from now, dear heart,
We shall not care at all.
It will not matter then a whit,
The honey or the gall.
The summer days that we have known
Will all forgotten be and flown;
The garden will be overgrown
Where now the roses fall.

A hundred years from now, dear heart,
We shall not mind the pain;
The throbbing crimson tide of life
Will not have left a stain.
The song we sing together, dear,
The dream we dream together here,
Will mean no more than means a tear
Amid a summer rain.

A hundred years from now, dear heart,
The grief will all be o'er;
The sea of care will surge in vain
Upon a careless shore.
These glasses we turn down to-day
Here at the parting of the way -
We shall be wineless then as they,
And shall not mind it more.

A hundred years from now, dear heart,
We'll neither know nor care
What came of all life's bitterness,
Or followed love's despair.
Then fill the glasses up again,
And kiss me through the rose-leaf rain;
We'll build one castle more in Spain,
And dream one more dream there.

John Bennett [1865-

"GOD BLESS YOU, DEAR, TO-DAY"

If there be graveyards in the heart
From which no roses spring,
A place of wrecks and old gray tombs
From which no birds take wing,
Where linger buried hopes and dreams
Like ghosts among the graves,
Why, buried hopes are dismal things,
And lonely ghosts are knaves!

If there come dreary winter days,
When summer roses fall
And lie, forgot, in withered drifts
Along the garden wall;
If all the wreaths a lover weaves
Turn thorns upon the brow, -
Then out upon the silly fool
Who makes not merry now!

For if we cannot keep the past,
Why care for what's to come?
The instant's prick is all that stings,
And then the place is numb.
If Life's a lie, and Love's a cheat,
As I have heard men say,
Then here's a health to fond deceit -
God bless you, dear, to-day!

John Bennett [1865-

TO-DAY

I bring you all my olden days,
My childhood's morning glow;
I love you down the meadow ways
Where early blossoms blow:
And up deep lanes of long-gone-by,
Shining with dew-drops yet, -
I wander still, till you and I
Over the world are met.

I bring you all my lonely days,
My heart that hungered so;
I love you through the wistful haze
Of autumns burning low;
And on pale seas, beneath wan sky,
By weary tides beset,
I voyage still, till you and I
Over the world are met.

I bring you all my happy days, -
Armfuls of flowers - oh,
I love you as the sunlight stays
On mountains heaped with snow:
And where the dearest dream-buds lie,
With tears and dew-drops wet,
I toss to-day; for you and I
Over the world are met!

Benjamin R. C. Low [1880-

TO ARCADY

Across the hills of Arcady
Into the Land of Song -
Ah, dear, if you will go with me
The way will not be long!

It will not lead through solitudes
Of wind-blown woods or sea;
Dear, no! the city's weariest moods
May scarce veil Arcady.

'Tis in no unfamiliar land
Lit by some distant star.
No! Arcady is where you stand,
And Song is where you are!

So walk but hand in hand with me -
No road can lead us wrong;
These are the hills of Arcady -
Here is the Land of Song!

Charles Buxton Going [1863-

WILD WISHES

I wish, because the sweetness of your passing
Makes all the earth a garden where you tread,
That I might be the meanest of your roses,
To pave your path with petals passion-red!

I wish, because the softness of your breathing
Stirs the white jasmine at your window frame,
That I might be the fragrance of a flower,
To stir the night breeze with your dearest name!

I wish, because the glory of your dreaming
Strews all the field of heaven with throbbing stars,
That I might storm the portals of your slumber,
And soar with you beyond night's golden bars!

I wish to be the day you die, Beloved,
Though at its close my foolish heart must break!
But most of all, I wish, my dearest darling,
To be the Blessed Morning when you wake!

Ethel M. Hewitt [18 -

"BECAUSE OF YOU"

Sweet have I known the blossoms of the morning
Tenderly tinted to their hearts of dew:
But now my flowers have found a fuller fragrance,
Because of you.

Long have I worshiped in my soul's enshrining
High visions of the noble and the true -
Now all my aims and all my prayers are purer,
Because of you.

Wise have I seen the uses of life's labor;
To all its puzzles found some answering clue.
But now my life has learned a nobler meaning,
Because of you.

In the past days I chafed at pain and waiting,
Grasping at gladness as the children do;
Now it is sweet to wait and joy to suffer,
Because of you.

In the long years of silences that part us
Dimmed by my tears and darkened to my view,
Close shall I hold my memories and my madness,
Because of you.

Whether our lips shall touch or hands shall hunger,
Whether our love be fed or joys be few,
Life will be sweeter and more worth the living,
Because of you.

Sophia Almon Hensley [1866-

THEN

I give thee treasures hour by hour,
That old-time princes asked in vain,
And pined for in their useless power,
Or died of passion's eager pain.

I give thee love as God gives light,
Aside from merit, or from prayer,
Rejoicing in its own delight,
And freer than the lavish air.

I give thee prayers, like jewels strung
On golden threads of hope and fear;
And tenderer thoughts than ever hung
In a sad angel's pitying tear.

As earth pours freely to the sea
Her thousand streams of wealth untold,
So flows my silent life to thee,
Glad that its very sands are gold.

What care I for thy carelessness?
I give from depths that overflow,
Regardless that their power to bless
Thy spirit cannot sound or know.

Far lingering on a distant dawn,
My triumph shines, more sweet than late;
When, from these mortal mists withdrawn,
Thy heart shall know me - I can wait.

Rose Terry Cooke [1827-1892]

THE MISSIVE

I that tremble at your feet
Am a rose;
Nothing dewier or more sweet
Buds or blows;
He that plucked me, he that threw me
Breathed in fire his whole soul through me.

How the cold air is infused
With the scent!
See, this satin leaf is bruised -
Bruised and bent,
Lift me, lift the wounded blossom,
Soothe it at your rosier bosom!

Frown not with averted eyes!
Joy's a flower
That is born a god, and dies
In an hour.
Take me, for the Summer closes,
And your life is but a rose's.

Edmund Gosse [1849-1928]

PLYMOUTH HARBOR

Oh, what know they of harbors
Who toss not on the sea!
They tell of fairer havens
But none so fair there be

As Plymouth town outstretching
Her quiet arms to me;
Her breast's broad welcome spreading
From Mewstone to Penlee.

Ah, with this home-thought, darling,
Come crowding thoughts of thee.
Oh, what know they of harbors
Who toss not on the sea!

Mrs. Ernest Radford [1858-

THE SERF'S SECRET

I know a secret, such a one
The hawthorn blossoms spider-spun,
The dew-damp daisies in the grass
Laugh up to greet me as I pass
To meet the upland sun.

It is that I would rather be
The little page, on bended knee,
Who stoops to gather up her train
Beneath the porch-lamp's ruby rain
Than hold a realm in fee.

It is that in her scornful eye,
Too hid for courtly sneer to spy,
I saw, one day, a look which said
That I, and only I, might shed
Love-light across her sky.

I know a secret, such a one
The hawthorn blossoms spider-spun,
The dew-damp daisies in the grass
Laugh up to greet me as I pass
To meet the upland sun.

William Vaughn Moody [1869-1910]

"O, INEXPRESSIBLE AS SWEET"

O, inexpressible as sweet,
Love takes my voice away;
I cannot tell thee when we meet
What most I long to say.

But hadst thou hearing in thy heart
To know what beats in mine,
Then shouldst thou walk, where'er thou art,
In melodies divine.

So warbling birds lift higher notes
Than to our ears belong;
The music fills their throbbing throats,
But silence steals the song.

George Edward Woodberry [1855-1930]

THE CYCLAMEN

Over the plains where Persian hosts
Laid down their lives for glory
Flutter the cyclamens, like ghosts
That witness to their story.
Oh, fair! Oh, white! Oh, pure as snow!
On countless graves how sweet they grow!

Or crimson, like the cruel wounds
From which the life-blood, flowing,
Poured out where now on grassy mounds
The low, soft winds are blowing:
Oh, fair! Oh, red! Like blood of slain;
Not even time can cleanse that stain.

But when my dear these blossoms holds,
All loveliness her dower,
All woe and joy the past enfolds
In her find fullest flower.
Oh, fair! Oh, pure! Oh, white and red!
If she but live, what are the dead!

Arlo Bates [1850-1918]

THE WEST-COUNTRY LOVER

Then, lady, at last thou art sick of my sighing?
Good-bye!
So long as I sue, thou wilt still be denying?
Good-bye!
Ah, well! shall I vow then to serve thee forever,
And swear no unkindness our kinship can sever?
Nay, nay, dear my lass! here's an end of endeavor.
Good-bye!

Yet let no sweet ruth for my misery grieve thee.
Good-bye!
The man who has loved knows as well how to leave thee.
Good-bye!
The gorse is enkindled, there's bloom on the heather,
And love is my joy, and so too is fair weather;
I still ride abroad, though we ride not together.
Good-bye!

My horse is my mate; let the wind be my master.
Good-bye!
Though Care may pursue, yet my hound follows faster.
Good-bye!
The red deer's a-tremble in coverts unbroken.
He hears the hoof-thunder; he scents the death-token.
Shall I mope at home, under vows never spoken?
Good-bye!

The brown earth's my book, and I ride forth to read it.
Good-bye!
The stream runneth fast, but my will shall outspeed it.
Good-bye!
I love thee, dear lass, but I hate the hag Sorrow.
As sun follows rain, and to-night has its morrow,
So I'll taste of joy, though I steal, beg, or borrow!
Good-bye!

Alice Brown [1857-

"BE YE IN LOVE WITH APRIL-TIDE"

Be ye in love with April-tide?
I' faith, in love am I!
For now 'tis sun, and now 'tis shower,
And now 'tis frost and now 'tis flower,
And now 'tis Laura laughing-eyed,
And now 'tis Laura shy!

Ye doubtful days, O slower glide!
Still smile and frown, O sky!
Some beauty unforeseen I trace
In every change of Laura's face; -
Be ye in love with April-tide?
I' faith, in love am I!

Clinton Scollard [1860-1932]

UNITY

Heart of my heart, the world is young:
Love lies hidden in every rose!
Every song that the skylark sung
Once, we thought, must come to a close:
Now we know the spirit of song,
Song that is merged in the chant of the whole,
Hand in hand as we wander along,
What should we doubt of the years that roll?

Heart of my heart, we can not die!
Love triumphant in flower and tree,
Every life that laughs at the sky
Tells us nothing can cease to be;
One, we are one with a song to-day,
One with the clover that scents the wold,
One with the Unknown, far away,
One with the stars, when earth grows old.

Heart of my heart, we are one with the wind,
One with the clouds that are whirled o'er the lea,
One in many, O broken and blind,
One as the waves are at one with the sea!
Ay! when life seems scattered apart,
Darkens, ends as a tale that is told,
One, we are one, O heart of my heart,
One, still one, while the world grows old.

Alfred Noyes [1880-

THE QUEEN

He loves not well whose love is bold!
I would not have thee come too nigh:
The sun's gold would not seem pure gold
Unless the sun were in the sky:
To take him thence and chain him near
Would make his glory disappear.

He keeps his state, - keep thou in thine,
And shine upon me from afar!
So shall I bask in light divine,
That falls from love's own guiding star;
So shall thy eminence be high,
And so my passion shall not die;

But all my life shall reach its hands
Of lofty longing toward thy face,
And be as one who, speechless, stands
In rapture at some perfect grace!
My love, my hope, my all shall be
To look to heaven and look to thee!

Thy eyes shall be the heavenly lights,
Thy voice the gentle summer breeze, -
What time it sways, on moonlit nights,
The murmuring tops of leafy trees;
And I shall touch thy beauteous form
In June's red roses, rich and warm.

But thou thyself shall come not down
From that pure region far above;
But keep thy throne and wear thy crown,
Queen of my heart and queen of love!
A monarch in thy realm complete,
And I a monarch - at thy feet!

William Winter [1836-1917]

A LOVER'S ENVY

I envy every flower that blows
Beside the pathway where she goes,
And every bird that sings to her,
And every breeze that brings to her
The fragrance of the rose.

I envy every poet's rhyme
That moves her heart at eventime,
And every tree that wears for her
Its brightest bloom, and bears for her
The fruitage of its prime.

I envy every Southern night
That paves her path with moonbeams white,
And silvers all the leaves for her,
And in their shadow weaves for her
A dream of dear delight.

I envy none whose love requires
Of her a gift, a task that tires:
I only long to live to her,
I only ask to give to her
All that her heart desires.

Henry Van Dyke [1852-1933]

STAR SONG

When sunset flows into golden glows
And the breath of the night is new,
Love, find afar eve's eager star -
That is my thought of you.

O tear-wet eye that scans the sky
Your lonely lattice through:
Choose any one, from sun to sun -
That is my thought of you.

And when you wake at the morning's break
To rival rose and dew,
The star that stays till the leaping rays -
That is my thought of you.

Ay, though by day they seem away
Beyond or cloud or blue,
From dawn to night unquenched their light -
As are my thoughts of you.

Robert Underwood Johnson [1853-

"MY HEART SHALL BE THY GARDEN"

My heart shall be thy garden. Come, my own,
Into thy garden; thine be happy hours
Among my fairest thoughts, my tallest flowers,
From root to crowning petal, thine alone.
Thine is the place from where the seeds are sown
Up to the sky inclosed, with all its showers.
But ah, the birds, the birds! Who shall build bowers
To keep these thine? O friend, the birds have flown.

For as these come and go, and quit our pine
To follow the sweet season, or, new-corners,
Sing one song only from our alder-trees,
My heart has thoughts, which, though thine eyes hold mine.
Flit to the silent world and other summers,
With wings that dip beyond the silver seas.

Alice Meynell [1853-1922]

AT NIGHT

Home, home from the horizon far and clear,
Hither the soft wings sweep;
Flocks of the memories of the day draw near
The dovecote doors of sleep.

Oh which are they that come through sweetest light
Of all these homing birds?
Which with the straightest and the swiftest flight?
Your words to me, your words!

Alice Meynell [1850-1922]

SONG

Song is so old,
Love is so new -
Let me be still
And kneel to you.

Let me be still
And breathe no word,
Save what my warm blood
Sings unheard.

Let my warm blood
Sing low of you -
Song is so fair,
Love is so new!

Hermann Hagedorn [1882-

"ALL LAST NIGHT"

All last night I had quiet
In a fragrant dream and warm:
She had become my Sabbath,
And round my neck, her arm.

I knew the warmth in my dreaming;
The fragrance, I suppose,
Was her hair about me,
Or else she wore a rose.

Her hair, I think; for likest
Woodruffe 'twas, when Spring
Loitering down wet woodways
Treads it sauntering.

No light, nor any speaking;
Fragrant only and warm.
Enough to know my lodging,
The white Sabbath of her arm.

Lascelles Abercrombie [1881-

THE LAST WORD

When I have folded up this tent
And laid the soiled thing by,
I shall go forth 'neath different stars,
Under an unknown sky.

And yet whatever house I find
Beneath the grass or snow
Will ne'er be tenantless of love
Or lack the face I know.

O lips - wild roses wet with rain!
Blown hair of drifted brown!
O passionate eyes! O panting heart -
When in that colder town

I lie, the one inhabitant,
My hands across my breast,
How warm through all eternity
The summer of my rest!

To each frail root beneath the ground
That thrusts its flower above,
I shall impart a fiercer sap -
I who have known your love!

And growing things will lean to me
To learn what love hath won,
Till I shall whisper to the dust
That secret of the Sun.

Yea, though my spirit never wake
To hear the voice I knew,
Even an endless sleep would be
Stirred by the dreams of You!

Frederic Lawrence Knowles [1869-1905]

"HEART OF MY HEART"

Heart of my heart, my life, my light!
If you were lost what should I do?
I dare not let you from my sight
Lest Death should fall in love with you.

Such countless terrors lie in wait!
The gods know well how dear you are!
What if they left me desolate
And plucked and set you for their star!

Then hold me close, the gods are strong,
And perfect joy so rare a flower
No man may hope to keep it long -
And I may lose you any hour.

Then kiss me close, my star, my flower!
So shall the future grant me this:
That there was not a single hour
We might have kissed, and did not kiss!

Unknown

MY LADDIE

Oh, my laddie, my laddie,
I lo'e your very plaidie,
I lo'e your very bonnet
Wi' the silver buckle on it,
I lo'e your collie Harry,
I lo'e the kent ye carry;
But oh! it's past my power to tell
How much, how much I lo'e yoursel!

Oh, my dearie, my dearie,
I could luik an' never weary
At your een sae blue an' iaughin',
That a heart o' stane wad saften,
While your mouth sae proud an' curly
Gars my heart gang tirlie-wirlie;
But oh! yoursel, your very sel,
I lo'e ten thousand times as well!

Oh! my darlin', my darlin',
Let's flit whaur flits the starlin',
Let's loll upo' the heather
A' this bonny, bonny weather;
Ye shall fauld me in your plaidie,
My luve, my luve, my laddie;
An' close, an' close into your ear
I'll tell ye how I lo'e ye, dear.

Amelie Rives [1863-

THE SHADED POOL

A laughing knot of village maids
Goes gaily tripping to the brook,
For water-nymphs they mean to be,
And seek some still, secluded nook.
Here Laura goes, my own delight,
And Colin's love, the madcap Jane,
And half a score of goddesses
Trip over daisies in the plain:
Already now they loose their hair
And peep from out the tangled gold,
Or speed the flying foot to reach
The brook that's only summer-cold;
The lovely locks stream out behind
The shepherdesses on the wing,
And Laura's is the wealth I love,
And Laura's is the gold I sing.

A-row upon the bank they pant,
And all unlace the country shoe;
Their fingers tug the garter-knots
To loose the hose of varied hue.
The flashing knee at last appears,
The lower curves of youth and grace,
Whereat the girls intently scan
The mazy thickets of the place.
But who's to see except the thrush
Upon the wild crab-apple tree?
Within his branchy haunt he sits -
A very Peeping Tom is he!
Now music bubbles in his throat,
And now he pipes the scene in song -
The virgins slipping from their robes,
The cheated stockings lean and long,
The swift-descending petticoat,
The breasts that heave because they ran,
The rounded arms, the brilliant limbs,
The pretty necklaces of tan.
Did ever amorous God in Greece,
In search of some young mouth to kiss,
By any river chance upon
A sylvan scene as bright as this?
But though each maid is pure and fair,
For one alone my heart I bring,
And Laura's is the shape I love,
And Laura's is the snow I sing.

And now upon the brook's green brink,
A milk-white bevy, lo, they stand,
Half shy, half frightened, reaching back
The beauty of a poising hand!
How musical their little screams
When ripples kiss their shrinking feet!
And then the brook embraces all
Till gold and white and water meet!
Within the streamlet's soft cool arms
Delight and love and gracefulness
Sport till a flock of tiny waves
Swamps all the beds of floating cress;
And on his shining face are seen
Great yellow lilies drifting down
Beyond the ringing apple-tree,
Beyond the empty homespun gown.
Did ever Orpheus with his lute,
When making melody of old,
E'er find a stream in Attica
So ripely full of pink and gold?

At last they climb the sloping bank
And shake upon the thirsty soil
A treasury of diamond-drops
Not gained by aught of grimy toil.
Again the garters clasp the hose,
Again the velvet knee is hid,
Again the breathless babble tells
What Colin said, what Colin did.
In grace upon the grass they lie
And spread their tresses to the sun,
And rival, musical as they,
The blackbird's alto shake and run.
Did ever Love, on hunting bent,
Come idly humming through the hay,
And, to his sudden joyfulness,
Find fairer game at close of day?
Though every maid's a lily-rose,
And meet to sway a sceptred king,
Yet Laura's is the face I love,
And Laura's are the lips I sing.

Norman Gale [1862-

GOOD-NIGHT

Good-night. Good-night. Ah, good the night
That wraps thee in its silver light.
Good-night. No night is good for me
That does not hold a thought of thee.
Good-night.

Good-night. Be every night as sweet
As that which made our love complete,
Till that last night when death shall be
One brief "Good-night," for thee and me.
Good-night.

S. Weir Mitchell [1829-1914]

THE MYSTIC

By seven vineyards on one hill
We walked. The native wine
In clusters grew beside us two,
For your lips and for mine,

When, "Hark!" you said, - "Was that a bell
Or a bubbling spring we heard?"
But I was wise and closed my eyes
And listened to a bird;

For as summer leaves are bent and shake
With singers passing through,
So moves in me continually
The winged breath of you.

You tasted from a single vine
And took from that your fill -
But I inclined to every kind,
All seven on one hill.

Witter Bynner [1881-

"I AM THE WIND"

I am the wind that wavers,
You are the certain land;
I am the shadow that passes
Over the sand.

I am the leaf that quivers,
You the unshaken tree;
You are the stars that are steadfast,
I am the sea.

You are the light eternal,
Like a torch I shall die...
You are the surge of deep music,
I - but a cry!

Zoe Akins [1886-

"I LOVE MY LIFE, BUT NOT TOO WELL"

I love my life, but not too well
To give it to thee like a flower,
So it may pleasure thee to dwell
Deep in its perfume but an hour.
I love my life, but not too well.

I love my life, but not too well
To sing it note by note away,
So to thy soul the song may tell
The beauty of the desolate day.
I love my life, but not too well.

I love my life, but not too well
To cast it like a cloak on thine,
Against the storms that sound and swell
Between thy lonely heart and mine.
I love my life, but not too well.

Harriet Monroe [1860-1936]

"THIS IS MY LOVE FOR YOU"

I have brought the wine
And the folded raiment fine,
Pilgrim staff and shoe -
This is my love for you.

I will smooth your bed,
Lay away your coverlid,
Sing the whole day through.
This is my love for you.

Mayhap in the night,
When the dark beats back the light,
I shall struggle too . . .
This is my love for you.

In your dream, once more,
Will a star lead to my door?
To stars and dreams be true
This is my love for you . . .

Grace Fallow Norton [1876-

MY LADY'S LIPS

LIPS AND EYES
From "Blurt, Master Constable"

Love for such a cherry lip
Would be glad to pawn his arrows;
Venus here to take a sip
Would sell her doves and team of sparrows.
But they shall not so;
Hey nonny, nonny no!
None but I this lip must owe;
Hey nonny, nonny no!

Did Jove see this wanton eye,
Ganymede must wait no longer;
Phoebe here one night did lie,
Would change her face and look much younger.
But they shall not so;
Hey nonny, nonny no!
None but I this lip must owe;
Hey nonny, nonny no!

Thomas Middleton [1570?-1627]

THE KISS
From "Cynthia's Revels"

O that joy so soon should waste!
Or so sweet a bliss
As a kiss
Might not for ever last!
So sugared, so melting, so soft, so delicious,
The dew that lies on roses,
When the morn herself discloses,
Is not so precious.
O, rather than I would it smother,
Were I to taste such another,
It should be my wishing
That I might die with kissing.

Ben Jonson [1573?-1637]

"TAKE, O TAKE THOSE LIPS AWAY"

Take, O take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn,
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn;
But my kisses bring again,
Seals of love, but sealed in vain.

Hide, O hide those hills of snow,
Which thy frozen bosom bears,
On whose tops the pinks that grow
Are of those that April wears!
But first set my poor heart free,
Bound in those icy chains by thee.

The first stanza from " Measure for Measure," by
William Shakespeare [1564-1616]
The second stanza from "The Bloody Brothers," by
John Fletcher [1579-1625]

A STOLEN KISS

Now gentle sleep hath closed up those eyes
Which, waking, kept my boldest thoughts in awe;
And free access unto that sweet lip lies,
From which I long the rosy breath to draw.
Methinks no wrong it were, if I should steal
From those two melting rubies one poor kiss;
None sees the theft that would the thief reveal,
Nor rob I her of aught that she can miss;
Nay, should I twenty kisses take away,
There would be little sign I had done so;
Why then should I this robbery delay?
O, she may wake, and therewith angry grow!
Well if she do, I'll back restore that one,
And twenty hundred thousand more for loan.

George Wither [1588-1667]

SONG

My Love bound me with a kiss
That I should no longer stay;
When I felt so sweet a bliss
I had less power to part away:
Alas! that women do not know
Kisses make men loath to go.

Yes, she knows it but too well,
For I heard when Venus' dove
In her ear did softly tell
That kisses were the seals of love:
O muse not then though it be so,
Kisses make men loath to go.

Wherefore did she thus inflame
My desires, heat my blood,
Instantly to quench the same
And starve whom she had given food?
Ay, ay, the common sense can show,
Kisses make men loath to go.

Had she bid me go at first
I would ne'er have grieved my heart
Hope delayed had been the worst;
But ah to kiss and then to part!
How deep it struck, speak, gods! you know
Kisses make men loath to go.

Unknown

TO ELECTRA

I dare not ask a kiss,
I dare not beg a smile,
Lest having that, or this,
I might grow proud the while.

No, no, the utmost share
Of my desire shall be
Only to kiss that air
That lately kissed thee.

Robert Herrick [1591-1674]

"COME, CHLOE, AND GIVE ME SWEET KISSES"

Come, Chloe, and give me sweet kisses,
For sweeter sure never girl gave;
But why in the midst of my blisses,
Do you ask me how many I'd have?
I'm not to be stinted in pleasure,
Then, prithee, my charmer, be kind,
For whilst I love thee above measure,
To numbers I'll ne'er be confined.

Count the bees that on Hybla are playing,
Count the flowers that enamel its fields,
Count the flocks that on Tempe are straying,
Or the grain that rich Sicily yields,
Go number the stars in the heaven,
Count how many sands on the shore,
When so many kisses you've given,
I still shall be craving for more.

To a heart full of love, let me hold thee,
To a heart that, dear Chloe, is thine;
In my arms I'll for ever enfold thee,
And twist round thy limbs like a vine.
What joy can be greater than this is?
My life on thy lips shall be spent!
But the wretch that can number his kisses,
With few will be ever content.

Charles Hanbury Williams [1708-1759]

A RIDDLE

I am just two and two, I am warm, I am cold,
And the parent of numbers that cannot be told,
I am lawful, unlawful - a duty, a fault -
I am often sold dear, good for nothing when bought;
An extraordinary boon, and a matter of course,
And yielded with pleasure when taken by force.

William Cowper [1731-1800]

TO A KISS

Soft child of love, thou balmy bliss,
Inform me, O delicious kiss,
Why thou so suddenly art gone,
Lost in the moment thou art won?

Yet go! For wherefore should I sigh?
On Delia's lips, with raptured eye,
On Delia's blushing lips I see
A thousand full as sweet as thee.

John Wolcot [1738-1819]

SONG

Often I have heard it said
That her lips are ruby-red.
Little heed I what they say,
I have seen as red as they.
Ere she smiled on other men,
Real rubies were they then.

When she kissed me once in play,
Rubies were less bright than they,
And less bright than those which shone
In the palace of the Sun.
Will they be as bright again?
Not if kissed by other men.

Walter Savage Landor [1775-1864]

THE FIRST KISS OF LOVE

Away with your fictions of flimsy romance,
Those tissues of falsehood which folly has wove!
Give me the mild beam of the soul-breathing glance,
Or the rapture which dwells on the first kiss of love.

Ye rhymers, whose bosoms with phantasy glow,
Whose pastoral passions are made for the grove;
From what blest inspiration your sonnets would flow,
Could you ever have tasted the first kiss of love!

If Apollo should e'er his assistance refuse,
Or the Nine be disposed from your service to rove,
Invoke them no more, bid adieu to the muse,
And try the effect of the first kiss of love.

I hate you, ye cold compositions of art!
Though prudes may condemn me, and bigots reprove,
I court the effusions that spring from the heart,
Which throbs with delight to the first kiss of love.

Your shepherds, your flocks, those fantastical themes,
Perhaps may amuse, yet they never can move:
Arcadia displays but a region of dreams;
What are visions like these to the first kiss of love?

Oh! cease to affirm that man, since his birth,
From Adam till now, has with wretchedness strove;
Some portion of Paradise still is on earth,
And Eden revives in the first kiss of love.

When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past -
For years fleet away with the wings of the dove -
The dearest remembrance will still be the last,
Our sweetest memorial the first kiss of love.

George Gordon Byron [1788-1824]

"JENNY KISSED ME"

Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
Say that health and wealth have missed me,
Say I'm growing old, but add,
Jenny kissed me.

Leigh Hunt [1784-1859]

"I FEAR THY KISSES, GENTLE MAIDEN"

I fear thy kisses, gentle maiden;
Thou needest not fear mine;
My spirit is too deeply laden
Ever to burthen thine.

I fear thy mien, thy tones, thy motion;
Thou needest not fear mine;
Innocent is the heart's devotion
With which I worship thine.

Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822]

LOVE'S PHILOSOPHY

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle; -
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822]

SONG
From "In a Gondola"

The moth's kiss, first!
Kiss me as if you made believe
You were not sure, this eve,
How my face, your flower, had pursed
Its petals up; so, here and there
You brush it, till I grow aware
Who wants me, and wide ope I burst.

The bee's kiss, now!
Kiss me as if you entered gay
My heart at some noonday,
A bud that dares not disallow
The claim, so all is rendered up,
And passively its shattered cup
Over your head to sleep I bow.

Robert Browning [1812-1889]

SUMMUM BONUM

All the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee:
All the wonder and wealth of the mine in the heart of one gem:
In the core of one pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea:
Breath and bloom, shade and shine, - wonder, wealth,
and - how far above them -
Truth, that's brighter than gem,
Trust, that's purer than pearl, -
Brightest truth, purest trust in the universe - all were for me
In the kiss of one girl.

Robert Browning [1812-1889]

THE FIRST KISS

If only in dreams may man be fully blest,
Is heaven a dream? Is she I clasped a dream?
Or stood she here even now where dewdrops gleam
And miles of furze shine golden down the West?
I seem to clasp her still - still on my breast
Her bosom beats, - I see the blue eyes beam: -
I think she kissed these lips, for now they seem
Scarce mine: so hallowed of the lips they pressed!
Yon thicket's breath - can that be eglantine?
Those birds - can they be morning's choristers?
Can this be earth? Can these be banks of furze?
Like burning bushes fired of God they shine!
I seem to know them, though this body of mine
Passed into spirit at the touch of hers!

Theodore Watts-Dunton [1836-1914]

TO MY LOVE

Kiss me softly and speak to me low;
Malice has ever a vigilant ear;
What if Malice were lurking near?
Kiss me, dear!
Kiss me softly and speak to me low.

Kiss me softly and speak to me low;
Envy, too, has a watchful ear;
What if Envy should chance to hear?
Kiss me, dear!
Kiss me softly and speak to me low,

Kiss me softly and speak to me low;
Trust me, darling, the time is near
When lovers may love with never a fear;
Kiss me, dear!
Kiss me softly and speak to me low.

John Godfrey Saxe [1816-1887]

TO LESBIA

Give me kisses! Do not stay,
Counting in that careful way.
All the coins your lips can print
Never will exhaust the mint.
Kiss me, then,
Every moment - and again!

Give me kisses! Do not stop,
Measuring nectar by the drop.
Though to millions they amount,
They will never drain the fount.
Kiss me, then,
Every moment - and again!

Give me kisses! All is waste
Save the luxury we taste;
And for kissing, - kisses live
Only when we take or give.
Kiss me, then,
Every moment - and again!

Give me kisses! Though their worth
Far exceeds the gems of earth,
Never pearls so rich and pure
Cost so little, I am sure.
Kiss me, then,
Every moment - and again!

Give me kisses! Nay, 'tis true
I am just as rich as you;
And for every kiss I owe,
I can pay you back, you know,
Kiss me, then,
Every moment - and again!

John Godfrey Saxe [1816-1887]

MAKE BELIEVE

Kiss me, though you make believe;
Kiss me, though I almost know
You are kissing to deceive:
Let the tide one moment flow
Backward ere it rise and break,
Only for poor pity's sake!

Give me of your flowers one leaf,
Give me of your smiles one smile,
Backward roll this tide of grief
Just a moment, though, the while,
I should feel and almost know
You are trifling with my woe.

Whisper to me sweet and low;
Tell me how you sit and weave
Dreams about me, though I know
It is only make believe!
Just a moment, though 'tis plain
You are jesting with my pain.

Alice Cary [1820-1871]

KISSING'S NO SIN

Some say that kissing's a sin;
But I think it's nane ava,
For kissing has wonn'd in this warld
Since ever that there was twa.

O, if it wasna lawfu'
Lawyers wadna allow it;
If it wasna holy,
Ministers wadna do it.

If it wasna modest,
Maidens wadna tak' it;
If it wasna plenty,
Puir folk wadna get it.

Unknown

TO ANNE

How many kisses do I ask?
Now you set me to my task.
First, sweet Anne, will you tell me
How many waves are in the sea?
How many stars are in the sky?
How many lovers you make sigh?
How many sands are on the shore?
I shall want just one kiss more.

William Stirling-Maxwell [1818-1878]

SONG

There is many a love in the land, my love,
But never a love like this is;
Then kill me dead with your love, my love,
And cover me up with kisses.

So kill me dead and cover me deep
Where never a soul discovers;
Deep in your heart to sleep, to sleep,
In the darlingest tomb of lovers.

Joaquin Miller [1839-1913]

PHILLIS AND CORYDON

Phillis took a red rose from the tangles of her hair, -
Time, the Golden Age; the place, Arcadia, anywhere, -

Phillis laughed, the saucy jade: "Sir Shepherd, wilt have this,
Or" - Bashful god of skipping lambs and oaten reeds! - "a kiss?"

Bethink thee, gentle Corydon! A rose lasts all night long,
A kiss but slips from off your lips like a thrush's evening song.

A kiss that goes, where no one knows! A rose, a crimson rose!
Corydon made his choice and took - Well, which do you suppose?

Arthur Colton [1868-

AT HER WINDOW

"HARK, HARK, THE LARK"
From "Cymbeline"

Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With everything that pretty bin,
My lady sweet, arise:
Arise, arise.

William Shakespeare [1564-1616]

"SLEEP, ANGRY BEAUTY"

Sleep, angry beauty, sleep and fear not me!
For who a sleeping lion dares provoke?
It shall suffice me here to sit and see
Those lips shut up, that never kindly spoke:
What sight can more content a lover's mind
Than beauty seeming harmless, if not kind?

My words have charmed her, for secure she sleeps,
Though guilty much of wrong done to my love;
And in her slumber, see! she close-eyed weeps:
Dreams often more than waking passions move.
Plead, Sleep, my cause, and make her soft like thee:
That she is peace may wake and pity me.

Thomas Campion [? -1619]

MATIN SONG

Rise, Lady Mistress, rise!
The night hath tedious been;
No sleep hath fallen into mine eyes
Nor slumbers made me sin.
Is not she a saint then, say,
Thoughts of whom keep sin away?

Rise, Madam! rise and give me light,
Whom darkness still will cover,
And ignorance, darker than night,
Till thou smile on thy lover.
All want day till thy beauty rise;
For the gray morn breaks from thine eyes.

Nathaniel Field [1587-1633]

THE NIGHT-PIECE: TO JULIA

Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
The shooting stars attend thee;
And the elves also,
Whose little eyes glow
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.

No Will-o'-the-wisp mislight thee,
Nor snake or slow-worm bite thee;
But on, on thy way
Not making a stay,
Since ghost there's none to affright thee.

Let not the dark thee cumber:
What though the moon does slumber?
The stars of the night
Will lend thee their light
Like tapers clear without number.

Then, Julia, let me woo thee,
Thus, thus to come unto me;
And when I shall meet
Thy silvery feet,
My soul I'll pour into thee.

Robert Herrick [1591-1674]

MORNING

The lark now leaves his watery nest,
And climbing shakes his dewy wings,
He takes your window for the east,
And to implore your light, he sings;
Awake, awake, the morn will never rise,
Till she can dress her beauty at your eyes.

The merchant bows unto the seaman's star,
The ploughman from the sun his season takes;
But still the lover wonders what they are,
Who look for day before his mistress wakes;
Awake, awake, break through your veils of lawn!
Then draw your curtains and begin the dawn.

William D'Avenant [1606-1668]

MATIN-SONG
From "The Rape of Lucrece"

Pack, clouds, away, and welcome, day,
With night we banish sorrow.
Sweet air, blow soft; mount, lark, aloft
To give my Love good-morrow!
Wings from the wind to please her mind
Notes from the lark I'll borrow:
Bird, prune thy wing, nightingale, sing,
To give my Love good-morrow;
To give my Love good-morrow
Notes from them both I'll borrow.

Wake from thy nest, Robin-red-breast,
Sing, birds, in every furrow;
And from each hill, let music shrill
Give my fair Love good-morrow!
Blackbird and thrush in every bush,
Stare, linnet, and cock-sparrow,
You pretty elves, amongst yourselves
Sing my fair Love good-morrow;
To give my Love good-morrow
Sing, birds, in every furrow!

Thomas Heywood [? -1650?]

THE ROSE

Sweet, serene, sky-like flower,
Haste to adorn her bower;
From thy long-cloudy bed,
Shoot forth thy damask head.

New-startled blush of Flora,
The grief of pale Aurora
(Who will contest no more),
Haste, haste to strew her floor!

Vermilion ball that's given
From lip to lip in Heaven;
Love's couch's coverled,
Haste, haste to make her bed.

Dear offspring of pleased Venus
And jolly, plump Silenus,
Haste, haste to deck the hair
Of the only sweetly fair!

See! rosy is her bower,
Her floor is all this flower
Her bed a rosy nest
By a bed of roses pressed.

But early as she dresses,
Why fly you her bright tresses?
Ah! I have found, I fear, -
Because her cheeks are near.

Richard Lovelace [1618-1658]

SONG

See, see, she wakes! Sabina wakes!
And now the sun begins to rise;
Less glorious is the morn that breaks
From his bright beams, than her fair eyes.

With light united, day they give;
But different fates ere night fulfil;
How many by his warmth will live!
How many will her coldness kill!

William Congreve [1670-1729]

MARY MORISON

O Mary, at thy window be,
It is the wished, the trysted hour!
Those smiles and glances let me see,
That make the miser's treasure poor:
How blithely wad I bide the stour
A weary slave frae sun to sun,
Could I the rich reward secure,
The lovely Mary Morison!

Yestreen, when to the trembling string
The dance gaed through the lighted ha',
To thee my fancy took its wing,
I sat, but neither heard nor saw:
Though this was fair, and that was braw,
And yon the toast of a' the town,
I sighed, and said amang them a',
"Ye arena Mary Morison."

O Mary, canst thou wreck his peace,
Wha for thy sake wad gladly die?
Or canst thou break that heart of his,
Whase only faut is loving thee?
If love for love thou wiltna gie,
At least be pity to me shown;
A thought ungentle canna be
The thought o' Mary Morison.

Robert Burns [1759-1796]

WAKE, LADY!

Up! quit thy bower! late wears the hour,
Long have the rooks cawed round the tower;
O'er flower and tree loud hums the bee,
And the wild kid sports merrily.
The sun is bright, the sky is clear:
Wake, lady, wake! and hasten here.

Up! maiden fair, and bind thy hair,
And rouse thee in the breezy air!
The lulling stream that soothed thy dream
Is dancing in the sunny beam.
Waste not these hours, so fresh and gay;
Leave thy soft couch, and haste away!

Up! Time will tell the morning bell
Its service-sound has chimed well;
The aged crone keeps house alone,
The reapers to the fields are gone.
Lose not these hours, so cool and gay:
Lo! while thou sleep'st they haste away!

Joanna Baillie [1762-1851]

THE SLEEPING BEAUTY

Sleep on, and dream of Heaven awhile -
Though shut so close thy laughing eyes,
Thy rosy lips still wear a smile
And move, and breathe delicious sighs!

Ah, now soft blushes tinge her cheeks
And mantle o'er her neck of snow:
Ah, now she murmurs, now she speaks
What most I wish - and fear to know!

She starts, she trembles, and she weeps!
Her fair hands folded on her breast:
- And now, how like a saint she sleeps!
A seraph in the realms of rest!

Sleep on secure! Above control
Thy thoughts belong to Heaven and thee:
And may the secret of thy soul
Remain within its sanctuary!

Samuel Rogers [1763-1855]

"THE YOUNG MAY MOON"

The young May moon is beaming, love,
The glow-worm's lamp is gleaming, love;
How sweet to rove
Through Morna's grove,
When the drowsy world is dreaming, love!
Then awake! - the heavens look bright, my dear,
'Tis never too late for delight, my dear;
And the best of all ways
To lengthen our days
Is to steal a few hours from the night, my dear!

Now all the world is sleeping, love,
But the Sage, his star-watch keeping, love,
And I, whose star
More glorious far
Is the eye from that casement peeping, love.
Then awake! - till rise of sun, my dear,
The Sage's glass we'll shun, my dear,
Or in watching the flight
Of bodies of light
He might happen to take thee for one, my dear!

Thomas Moore [1779-1852]

"ROW GENTLY HERE"

Row gently here,
My gondolier,
So softly wake the tide,
That not an ear,
On earth, may hear,
But hers to whom we glide.
Had Heaven but tongues to speak, as well
As starry eyes to see,
Oh think what tales 'twould have to tell
Of wandering youths like me!

Now rest thee here,
My gondolier;
Hush, hush, for up I go,
To climb yon light
Balcony's height,
While thou keep'st watch below.
Ah! did we take for Heaven above
But half such pains as we
Take, day and night, for woman's love,
What angels we should be!

Thomas Moore [1779-1852]

MORNING SERENADE

Awake! the dawn is on the hills!
Behold, at her cool throat a rose,
Blue-eyed and beautiful she goes,
Leaving her steps in daffodils. -
Awake! arise! and let me see
Thine eyes, whose deeps epitomize
All dawns that were or are to be,
O love, all Heaven in thine eyes! -
Awake! arise! come down to me!

Behold! the dawn is up: behold!
How all the birds around her float,
Wild rills of music, note on note,
Spilling the air with mellow gold. -
Arise! awake! and, drawing near,
Let me but hear thee and rejoice!
Thou, who keep'st captive, sweet and clear,
All song, O love, within thy voice!
Arise! awake! and let me hear!

See, where she comes, with limbs of day,
The dawn! with wild-rose hands and feet,
Within whose veins the sunbeams beat,
And laughters meet of wind and ray.
Arise! come down! and, heart to heart,
Love, let me clasp in thee all these -
The sunbeam, of which thou art part,
And all the rapture of the breeze! -
Arise! come down! loved that thou art!

Madison Cawein [1865-1914]

SERENADE

Softly, O midnight Hours!
Move softly o'er the bowers
Where lies in happy sleep a girl so fair!
For ye have power, men say,
Our hearts in sleep to sway,
And cage cold fancies in a moonlight snare.
Round ivory neck and arm
Enclasp a separate charm;
Hang o'er her poised, but breathe nor sigh nor prayer:
Silently ye may smile,
But hold your breath the while,
And let the wind sweep back your cloudy hair!

Bend down your glittering urns,
Ere yet the dawn returns,
And star with dew the lawn her feet shall tread;
Upon the air rain balm,
Bid all the woods be calm,
Ambrosial dreams with healthful slumbers wed;
That so the Maiden may
With smiles your care repay,
When from her couch she lifts her golden head;
Waking with earliest birds,
Ere yet the misty herds
Leave warm 'mid the gray grass their dusky bed.

Aubrey Thomas De Vere [1814-1902]

LINES TO AN INDIAN AIR

I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright.
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Has led me - who knows how?
To thy chamber window, sweet!

The wandering airs they faint
On the dark, the silent stream;
The champak odors fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale's complaint,
It dies upon her heart,
As I must die on thine,
O beloved as thou art!

O lift me from the grass!
I die, I faint, I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast;
Oh! press it close to thine again,
Where it must break at last.

Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822]

GOOD-NIGHT

Good-night? ah! no; the hour is ill
Which severs those it should unite;
Let us remain together still,
Then it will be good night.

How can I call the lone night good,
Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight?
Be it not said, thought, understood,
Then it will be good night.

To hearts which near each other move
From evening close to morning light,
The night is good; because, my love,
They never say good-night.

Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822]

SERENADE
From "Sylvia"

Awake thee, my lady-love,
Wake thee and rise!
The sun through the bower peeps
Into thine eyes!

Behold how the early lark
Springs from the corn!
Hark, hark how the flower-bird
Winds her wee horn!

The swallow's glad shriek is heard
All through the air;
The stock-dove is murmuring
Loud as she dare!

Apollo's winged bugleman
Cannot contain,
But peals his loud trumpet-call
Once and again!

Then wake thee, my lady-love -
Bird of my bower!

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