In contact, lo! the flint and steel,
By sharp and flame, the thought reveal
That he the metal, she the stone,
Had cherished secretly alone.

by Ambrose Bierce.

Ein Fichtenbaum

A single fir-tree, lonely,
On a northern mountain height,
Sleeps in a white blanket,
Draped in snow and ice.
His dreams are of a palm-tree,
Who, far in eastern lands,
Weeps, all alone and silent,
Among the burning sands.

by Heinrich Heine.

A single fir-tree, lonely,
on a northern mountain height,
sleeps in a white blanket,
draped in snow and ice.

His dreams are of a palm-tree,
who, far in eastern lands,
weeps, all alone and silent,
among the burning sands.

by Heinrich Heine.

(Triolet)

You were, like the moon, alone:
You lonely lived, you lonely died.
Though wide the world with people sown,
You were, like the moon, alone.
Beauty and light, expanses wide
You sought — and, far from everyone,
You were, like the moon, alone:
You lonely lived, you lonely died.

by Maksim Bahdanovič.

He's blessed, who lives in peace, that's distant
From the ignorant fobs with calls,
Who can provide his every instance
With dreams, or labors, or recalls;
To whom the fate sends friends in score,
Who hides himself by Savior's back
From bashful fools, which lull and bore,
And from the impudent ones, which wake.

by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin.

I Speak Yet Am I Silent

I speak,
Yet am I silent:
I am dead,
Yet do I live:
I am in the world,
Yet do I dwell beyond the world:

I have surrendered all things,
yet am I rich and joyful:

I am lonely
Yet am I not alone:

I am not what I seem to be:
If you would know what I am
Ask Him, my Lord.

by Sant Tukaram.

OH ye kindly nymphs, who dwell 'mongst the rocks and the thickets,
Grant unto each whatsoe'er he may in silence desire!
Comfort impart to the mourner, and give to the doubter instruction,
And let the lover rejoice, finding the bliss that he craves.
For from the gods ye received what they ever denied unto mortals,
Power to comfort and aid all who in you may confide.

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Abîme à franchir seule, où personne, oh ! Personne
Ne touchera ma main froide à tous après toi ;
Seulement à ma porte, où quelquefois Dieu sonne,
Le pauvre verra, lui, que je suis encor moi,
Si je vis ! Puis, un soir, ton essor plus paisible
S'abattra sur mon coeur immobile, brisé
Par toi, mais tiède encor d'avoir été sensible
Et vainement désabusé !




by Marceline Desbordes-Valmore.

Learning To Go Alone

Come, my darling, come away,
Take a pretty walk to-day;
Run along, and never fear,
I'll take care of baby dear:
Up and down with little feet,
That's the way to walk, my sweet.

Now it is so very near,
Soon she'll get to mother dear.
There she comes along at last:
Here's my finger, hold it fast:
Now one pretty little kiss,
After such a walk as this.

by Ann Taylor.

You Alone Exist

You alone exist; I do not, O Beloved!
You alone exist, I do not!
Like the shadow of a house in ruins,
I revolve in my own mind.
If I speak, you speak with me:
If I am silent, you are in my mind.
If I sleep, you sleep with me:
If I walk, you are along my path.
Oh Bulleh, the spouse has come to my house:
My life is a sacrifice unto Him.
You alone exist; I do not, O Beloved!

by Bulleh Shah.

The waning moon was up; the stars
Were faint, and very few;
The vines about the window-sill
Were wet with falling dew;

A little cloud before the wind
Was drifting down the west;
I heard the moaning of the sea
In its unquiet rest;

Until, I know not from what grief,
Or thought of other years,
The hand I leaned upon was cold,
And wet with falling tears.

by Ina D. Coolbrith.

Speak Of The North! A Lonely Moor

Speak of the North! A lonely moor
Silent and dark and tractless swells,
The waves of some wild streamlet pour
Hurriedly through its ferny dells.

Profoundly still the twilight air,
Lifeless the landscape; so we deem
Till like a phantom gliding near
A stag bends down to drink the stream.

And far away a mountain zone,
A cold, white waste of snow-drifts lies,
And one star, large and soft and lone,
Silently lights the unclouded skies.

by Charlotte Brontë.

Earthly Parting

Had Heaven, to prayer of mine more kind,
But snapped my thread of Being first,
I know how, lingering here behind,
Thou wouldst have deemed thy lot the worst;
And how thou wouldst have shed the tear
Over my coldly silent bier.
But this, alas! might not be so,
And I remain to weep for Thee;
And still weep on, though well I know
Such parting is but life's decree;
That, doomed to leave, or left forlorn,
We must be mourned for, or must mourn.

by John Kenyon.

The night comes on with a hint of tears,
The in-borne fog with the in-born tide;
And the last faint crimson disappears
Where the sunset glory died.

And the wet blue hills in the mist are lost,
The skies grow gray in the daylight-wane,
And the waning moon, like a wan, white ghost,
Looks in at the window-pane;

A phantom light in the shifting wind,
A wandering specter of the sky-
As one, of all the stars un-kinned,
Apart and alone as I.

by Ina D. Coolbrith.

The latest light of evening
Upon the waters shone,
And still we sat in the lonely hut,
In silence and alone.

The sea-fog grew, the screaming mew
Rose on the water's swell,
And silently in her gentle eye
Gathered the tears and fell
.
I saw them stand on the lily hand,
Upon my knee I sank,
And, kneeling there, from her fingers fair
The precious dew I drank.

And sense and power, since that sad hour,
In longing waste away ;
Ah me ! I fear, in each witching tear
Some subtile poison lay.

by Heinrich Heine.

Song. Where Dost Thou Bide

WHERE dost thou bide, blessed soul of my love!
Is ether thy dwelling, O whisper me where!
Rapt in remembrance, while lonely I rove,
I gaze on bright clouds, and I fancy thee there.

Or to thy bower when musing I go,
I think, 't is thy voice that I hear in the breeze;
Softly it seems to speak peace to my woe,
And life once again for a moment can please.

If this be phrensy alone, 't is so dear,
That long may the pleasing delusion be nigh;
Still Ellen's voice in the breeze may I hear,
Still see in bright clouds the kind beams of her eye!

by Amelia Opie.

A Thought For A Lonely Death-Bed

IF God compel thee to this destiny,
To die alone, with none beside thy bed
To ruffle round with sobs thy last word said
And mark with tears the pulses ebb from thee,--
Pray then alone, ' O Christ, come tenderly !
By thy forsaken Sonship in the red
Drear wine-press,--by the wilderness out-spread,--
And the lone garden where thine agony
Fell bloody from thy brow,--by all of those
Permitted desolations, comfort mine !
No earthly friend being near me, interpose
No deathly angel 'twixt my face aud thine,
But stoop Thyself to gather my life's rose,
And smile away my mortal to Divine ! '

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

On The Death Of Anne Brontë

THERE 's little joy in life for me,
And little terror in the grave ;
I 've lived the parting hour to see
Of one I would have died to save.

Calmly to watch the failing breath,
Wishing each sigh might be the last ;
Longing to see the shade of death
O'er those belovèd features cast.

The cloud, the stillness that must part
The darling of my life from me ;
And then to thank God from my heart,
To thank Him well and fervently ;

Although I knew that we had lost
The hope and glory of our life ;
And now, benighted, tempest-tossed,
Must bear alone the weary strife.

by Charlotte Brontë.

Farewell! I breathe that wonted prayer,
But oh! though countless leagues divide
Our gaze, our grasp, they shall not tear
My soul, my spirit, from thy side.
Waking or sleeping, thou shalt own
My fervour hovers round thee still;
And when thou deem'st thyself alone,
My whispers shall the silence fill.

And as, in summer's ardent days,
The sun withdraws not all his light,
But, long past setting, twilight rays,
Lingering, illumine half the night;
So shall our Love's enduring glow
Through lonely hours its radiance pour,
O'er our dark lot some comfort throw,
Until we blend and burn once more.

by Alfred Austin.

"Me Thinks This Heart..."

Me thinks this heart should rest awhile
So stilly round the evening falls
The veiled sun sheds no parting smile
Nor mirth nor music wakes my Halls

I have sat lonely all the day
Watching the drizzly mist descend
And first conceal the hills in grey
And then along the valleys wend

And I have sat and watched the trees
And the sad flowers how drear they blow
Those flowers were formed to feel the breeze
Wave their light leaves in summer's glow

Yet their lives passed in gloomy woe
And hopeless comes its dark decline
And I lament because I know
That cold departure pictures mine

by Emily Jane Brontë.

Sonnet Vii. To Solitude

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep,—
Nature's observatory—whence the dell,
In flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavilioned, where the deer's swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refined,
Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

by John Keats.

Sonnet Xxii. By The Same. To Solitude.

OH, Solitude! to thy sequester'd vale
I come to hide my sorrow and my tears,
And to thy echoes tell the mournful tale
Which scarce I trust to pitying Friendship's ears.
Amidst thy wild-woods, and untrodden glades,
No sounds but those of melancholy move;
And the low winds that die among thy shades,
Seem like soft Pity's sighs for hopeless love.
And sure some story of despair and pain,
In yon deep copse, thy murm'ring doves relate;
And, Hark! methinks in that long plaintive strain,
Thine own sweet songstress weeps my wayward fate;
Ah, Nymph! that fate assist me to endure,
And bear awhile--what death alone can cure!

by Charlotte Smith.

O Solitude! If I Must With Thee Dwell

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep,—
Nature's observatory—whence the dell,
In flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavilioned, where the deer's swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refined,
Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

by John Keats.

In the garden that I know,
Only palest blossoms blow.

There the lily, purest nun,
Hides her white face from the sun,

And the maiden rose-bud stirs
In a garment fair as hers.

One shy bird, with folded wings,
Sits within the leaves and sings;

Sits and sings the daylight long,
Just a patient plaintive song.

Other gardens greet the spring
With a blaze of blossoming;

Other song-birds, piping clear:
Chorus from the branches near:

But my blossoms, palest known,
Bloom for me and me alone;

And my birdling, sad and lonely,
Sings for me, and for me only.

by Ina D. Coolbrith.

The Voice Of Ocean

A cry went through the darkness; and the moon,
Hurrying through storm, gazed with a ghastly face,
Then cloaked herself in scud: the merman race
Of surges ceased; and then th' Aeolian croon
Of the wild siren, Wind, within the shrouds
Sunk to a sigh. The ocean in that place
Seemed listening; haunted, for a moment's space,
By something dread that cried against the clouds.
Mystery and night; and with them fog and rain:
And then that cry again as if the deep
Uttered its loneliness in one dark word:
Her horror of herself; her Titan pain;
Her monsters; and the dead that she must keep,
Has kept, alone, for centuries, unheard.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

A flower - shrivelled, bare of fragrance,
Forgotten on a page - I see,
And instantly my soul awakens,
Filled with an aimless reverie:

When did it bloom? the last spring? earlier?
How long? Where was it plucked? By whom?
By foreign hands? or by familiar?
And why put here, as in a tomb?

To mark a tender meeting by it?
A parting with a precious one?
Or just a walk, alone and quiet,
In forests' shade? in meadows' sun?

Is she alive? Is he still with her?
Where is their haven at this hour?
Or did they both already wither,
Like this unfathomable flower?

Translated by: Genia Gurarie, summer of 1995

by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin.

O SOUL on God's high seas! the way is strange and long,
Yet fling your pennons out, and spread your canvas strong;
For though to mortal eyes so small a craft you seem,
The highest star in heaven doth lend you guiding gleam.

O soul on God's high seas! look to your course with care,
Fear most when winds are kind and skies are blue and fair.
Your helm must sway at touch of no hand save your own–
The soul that sails on God's high seas must sail alone.

O soul on God's high seas! sail on with steady aim,
Unmoved by wind of praise, untouched by seas of blame.
Beyond the lonely ways, beyond the guiding star,
There stretches out the strand and golden harbour bar.

by Jean Blewett.

O soul on God's high seas! the way is strange and long,
Yet fling your pennons out, and spread your canvas strong;
For though to mortal eyes so small a craft you seem,
The highest star in heaven cloth lend you guiding gleam.

O soul on God's high seas! look to your course with care,
Fear most when winds are kind and skies are blue and fair.
Your helm must sway at touch of no hand save your own-
The soul that sails on God's high seas must sail alone.

O soul on God's high seas! sail on with steady aim,
Unmoved by winds of praise, untouched by seas of blame.
Beyond the lonely ways, beyond the guiding star,
There stretches out the strand and golden harbor bar.

by Jean Blewett.

For Madame Sabatier

What will you say tonight, poor soul in solitude,
what will you say my heart, withered till now,
to the so beautiful, so sweet, so dear one,
whose divine gaze recreated the flower?

- We will set Pride now to singing her praises:
Nothing outdoes her sweet air of authority.
Her spiritual flesh has the perfume of angels,
and her eye surrounds us in robes of infinity.

Whether in the night, and alone, and in solitude,
Whether in the street, and among the multitude,
her phantom dances in air, like a flame.

Sometimes it speaks and it says ‘I am beautiful.
You, for the love of me, must love beauty alone:
for I am your Madonna, Muse, Guardian Angel.

by Charles Baudelaire.


O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep, --
Nature's observatory -- whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavilion'd, where the deer's swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin'd,
Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

by John Keats.

.


Is thy heart weary of unfeeling men,
And chilled with the world's ice? Then come with me,
And I will bring thee to a pleasant glen
Lovely and lonely. There we'll sit, unviewed
By scoffing eye; and let our hearts beat free
With their own mutual throb. For wild and rude
The access is, and none will there intrude,
To poison our free thoughts, and mar our solitude!
Such scenes move not their feelings--for they hold
No fellowship with nature's loneliness;
The frozen wave reflects not back the gold
And crimson flushes of the sunset hour;
The rock lies cold in sunshine--not the power
Of heaven's bright orb can clothe its barrenness.


.

by Joseph Rodman Drake.

Alone And Repentant

A friend I possess, whose whispers just said,
"God's peace!" to my night-watching mind.
When daylight is gone and darkness brings dread,
He ever the way can find.

He utters no word to smite and to score;
He, too, has known sin and its grief.
He heals with his look the place that is sore,
And stays till I have relief.

He takes for his own the deed that is such
That sorrows of heart increase.
He cleanses the wound with so gentle a touch,
The pain must give way to peace.

He followed each hope the heights that would scale
Reproached not a hapless descent.
He stands here just now, so mild, but so pale; --
In time he shall know what it meant.

by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.

Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield shade,
In winter, fire.

Blest, who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day.

Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mixed; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.

by Alexander Pope.

The kiss, dear maid! thy lip has left
Shall never part from mine,
Till happier hours restore the gift
Untainted back to thine.

Thy parting glance, which fondly beams,
An equal love may see:
The tear that from thing eyelid streams
Can weep no change in me.

I ask no pledge to make me blest
In gazing when alone;
Nor one memorial for a breast,
Whose thoughts are all thine own.

Nor need I write to tell the tale
My pen were doubly weak:
Oh! what can idle words avail,
Unless the heart could speak?

By day or night, in weal or woe,
That heart, no longer free,
Must bear the love it cannot show,
And silent ache for thee.

March 1811.

by George Gordon Byron.

One summer's morning I heard a lark
Singing to heaven, a sweet-throated bird;
One winter's night I was glad in the dark
Because of the wondrous song I had heard.

The joy of life, I have heard you say,
Is my love, my laughter, my smiles and tears;
When I have gone on the long, strange way,
Let these stay with you through all the years-

These be the lark's song. What is love worth
That cannot crowd, in the time that's given
To two like us on this gray old earth,
Such bliss as will last till we reach heaven?

Dear one, think oft of the full, glad years,
And, thinking of them, forget to weep.
Whisper: 'Remembrance holds no tears!'
And kiss my mouth when I fall on sleep.

by Jean Blewett.

Stanzas To A Hindoo Air

Oh! my lonely--lonely--lonely--Pillow!
Where is my lover? where is my lover?
Is it his bark which my dreary dreams discover?
Far--far away! and alone along the billow?

Oh! my lonely-lonely-lonely-Pil­low!
Why must my head ache where his gentle brow lay?
How the long night flags lovelessly and slowly,
And my head droops over thee like the willow!

Oh! thou, my sad and solitary Pillow!
Send me kind dreams to keep my heart from breaking,
In return for the tears I shed upon thee waking;
Let me not die till he comes back o'er the billow.

Then if thou wilt--no more my lonely Pillow,
In one embrace let these arms again enfold him,
And then expire of the joy-but to behold him!
Oh! my lone bosom!-oh! my lonely Pillow!

by George Gordon Byron.

I Loved Thee, Atthis, In The Long Ago

(Sappho XXIII)
I loved thee, Atthis, in the long ago,
When the great oleanders were in flower
In the broad herded meadows full of sun.
And we would often at the fall of dusk
Wander together by the silver stream,
When the soft grass-heads were all wet with dew
And purple-miste d in the fading light.
And joy I knew and sorrow at thy voice,
And the superb magnificence of love,—
The loneliness that saddens solitude,
And the sweet speech that makes it durable,—
The bitter longing and the keen desire,
The sweet companionshi p through quiet days
In the slow ample beauty of the world,
And the unutterable glad release
Within the temple of the holy night.
O Atthis, how I loved thee long ago
In that fair perished summer by the sea!

by Bliss William Carman.

Solitude: An Ode

I.
How happy he, who free from care
The rage of courts, and noise of towns;
Contented breaths his native air,
In his own grounds.

II.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

III.
Blest! who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide swift away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,

IV.
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix'd; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please,
With meditation.

V.
Thus let me live, unheard, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me dye;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lye.

by Alexander Pope.

A Debtor To Mercy Alone

A debtor to mercy alone, of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on, my person and off’ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God with me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which His goodness began, the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen, and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now, nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo, or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains, in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in heav’n.

by Augustus Montague Toplady.

Wind blew, light drew them all.
New songs revive their mornings.
Only I, small bird, am forsaken
under the Shekhina’s wing.

Alone. I remain alone.
The Shekhina’s broken wing
trembled over my head. My heart knew hers:
her fear for her only son.

Driven from every ridge –
one desolate corner left –
in the House of Study she hides in shadow,
and I alone share her pain.

Imprisoned beneath her wing
my heart longed for the light.
She buried her face on my shoulder
and a tear fell on my page.

Dumbly she clung and wept.
Her broken wing sheltered me:
“scattered to the four winds of heaven;
they are gone, and I am alone”.

It was an ancient lament
a suppliant cry I heard
in that lost and silent weeping,
and in that scalding tear.

by Hayyim Nahman Bialik.