By A Flower—by A Letter

109

By a flower—By a letter—
By a nimble love—
If I weld the Rivet faster—
Final fast—above—

Never mind my breathless Anvil!
Never mind Repose!
Never mind the sooty faces
Tugging at the Forge!

by Emily Dickinson.

This Is My Letter To The World,

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,-
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty

Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

by Emily Dickinson.

Lines In A Letter To His Lady Cousin, Honor Driden, Who Had Given Him A Silver Inkstand, With A Set Of Writing Materials, 1655

For since 'twas mine, the white hath lost its hue,
To show 'twas ne'er it self but whilst in you,
The virgin wax hath blushed it self to red
Since it with me hath lost its maidenhead.
You, fairest nymph, are wax: O, may you be
As well in softness as in purity!
Till fate and your own happy choice reveal
Whom you shall so far bless to make your seal.

by John Dryden.

In A Letter To C. P. Esq. Ill With The Rheumatism

Grant me the Muse, ye gods! whose humble flight
Seeks not the mountain-top's pernicious height:
Who can the tall Parnassian cliff forsake,
To visit oft the still Lethean lake;
Now her slow pinions brush the silent shore,
Now gently skim the unwrinkled waters o'er,
There dips her downy plumes, thence upward flies,
And sheds soft slumbers on her votary's eyes.

by William Cowper.

My hands have not touched water since your hands, -
No; - nor my lips freed laughter since 'farewell'.
And with the day, distance again expands
Between us, voiceless as an uncoiled shell.

Yet, - much follows, much endures… Trust birds alone:
A dove's wings clung about my heart last night
With surging gentleness; and the blue stone
Set in the tryst-ring has but worn more bright.

by Harold Hart Crane.

In A Letter To C. P. Esq. In Imitation Of Shakspeare

Trust me the meed of praise, dealt thriftily
From the nice scale of judgement, honours more
Than does the lavish and o'erbearing tide
Of profuse courtesy. Not all the gems
Of India's richest soil at random spread
O'er the gay vesture of some glittering dame,
Give such alluring vantage to the person,
As the scant lustre of a few, with choice
And comely guise of ornament disposed.

by William Cowper.

I Went Down To Post A Letter

I went down to post a letter
Through the garden, through the garden.
All the lovely stars were shining
As I went.
They were free as I, unhappy
Only he to whom the letter
Must be sent.
Even stars forget the prisons,
Stars and clouds and moonlit waters,
I believe the wind would shun them
If it could.
He at least rebels, remembers
Dawn breaks eastward, where the prisons
Erstwhile stood.

by Lesbia Harford.

A Letter To Lady Margaret Cavendish Holles-Harley, When A Child

MY noble, lovely, little Peggy,
Let this my First Epistle beg ye,
At dawn of morn, and close of even,
To lift your heart and hands to Heaven.
In double duty say your prayer:
Our Father first, then Notre Pere.

And, dearest child, along the day,
In every thing you do and say,
Obey and please my lord and lady,
So God shall love and angels aid ye.

If to these precepts you attend,
No second letter need I send,
And so I rest your constant friend.

by Matthew Prior.

A Bread And Butter Letter

THERE is a willow grows beside a pool;
Its long gray branches sweep the marble rim;
And from those waters shadowy and cool,
The stars shine, large and dim.

From open valleys filled with little lakes
All through the night a hundred breezes blow,
All through the night the little willow makes
A whispering soft and low.

Here in the dusty street there are no trees
To whisper, and the sky is dark and gray,
And yet I see the stars, I feel the breeze,
So far, so far away.

by Alice Duer Miller.

I.
SUNBEAMS can fling no purer brightness o'er the sea
And rain-showers bring no surer blessing to the lea,
And lilies wing with no more sweetness the gold bee,
Than those few lines thy hand has penned have brought to me.


II.
Soft lies the silent fall of snow
Upon the hemlock tree;
Soft lies the moonlight's silver flow
Upon the troubled sea.

Sweet on the blossom of the vines
The night-dews drop from high;
But softer, sweeter far, thy lines
Upon my spirit lie.

by Mathilde Blind.

Lines Rhymed In A Letter From Oxford

I.
The Gothic looks solemn,
The plain Doric column
Supports an old Bishop and Crosier;
The mouldering arch,
Shaded o'er by a larch
Stands next door to Wilson the Hosier.

II.
Vice--that is, by turns,--
O'er pale faces mourns
The black tassell'd trencher and common hat;
The Chantry boy sings,
The Steeple-bell rings,
And as for the Chancellor--dominat.

III.
There are plenty of trees,
And plenty of ease,
And plenty of fat deer for Parsons;
And when it is venison,
Short is the benison,--
Then each on a leg or thigh fastens.

by John Keats.

EDWARD ROWLAND SILL, DIED FEBRUARY 27, 1887

I held his letter in my hand,
And even while I read
The lightning flashed across the land
The word that he was dead.

How strange it seemed! His living voice
Was speaking from the page
Those courteous phrases, tersely choice,
Light-hearted, witty, sage.

I wondered what it was that died!
The man himself was here,
His modesty, his scholar's pride,
His soul serene and clear.

These neither death nor time shall dim,
Still this sad thing must be--
Henceforth I may not speak to him,
Though he can speak to me!

by Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

On Reading A Dictacted Letter

Dear Friend, methinks when thus thy plenary soul
Speaks from yon pale default that lies so low,
The hale and stalwart by thy couch must know
Such fond intoleration to be whole
As he, who, where the storms of battle roll,
Himself unthrown beholds the cannon throw
His father at his feet, and, while a woe
Of splendid shame dements him to that sole
Passion, above the fallen field looks round
The red conversion of the baptized ground
For aught whereon to spend his sanguine wealth
And, seeking not the value but the cost,
Rushes to win whatever, won or lost,
May end this gross unwounded infamy of health.

by Sydney Thompson Dobell.

What The Thrush Said. Lines From A Letter To John Hamilton Reynolds

O thou whose face hath felt the Winter's wind,
Whose eye has seen the snow-clouds hung in mist
And the black elm tops 'mong the freezing stars,
To thee the spring will be a harvest-time.
O thou, whose only book has been the light
Of supreme darkness which thou feddest on
Night after night when Phoebus was away,
To thee the Spring shall be a triple morn.
O fret not after knowledge -- I have none,
And yet my song comes native with the warmth.
O fret not after knowledge -- I have none,
And yet the Evening listens. He who saddens
At thought of idleness cannot be idle,
And he's awake who thinks himself asleep.

by John Keats.

Little cramped words scrawling all over
the paper
Like draggled fly's legs,
What can you tell of the flaring moon
Through the oak leaves?
Or of my uncertain window and the
bare floor

Spattered with moonlight?
Your silly quirks and twists have nothing
in them
Of blossoming hawthorns,
And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth,
virgin of loveliness
Beneath my hand.

I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart
against
The want of you;
Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
And I scald alone, here, under the fire
Of the great moon.


Submitted by Venus

by Amy Lowell.

Sonnet Xi: The Love-Letter

Warmed by her hand and shadowed by her hair
As close she leaned and poured her heart through thee,
Whereof the articulate throbs accompany
The smooth black stream that makes thy whiteness fair,—
Sweet fluttering sheet, even of her breath aware,—
Oh let thy silent song disclose to me
That soul wherewith her lips and eyes agree
Like married music in Love's answering air.
Fain had I watched her when, at some fond thought,
Her bosom to the writing closelier press'd,
And her breast's secrets peered into her breast;
When, through eyes raised an instant, her soul sought
My soul, and from the sudden confluence caught
The words that made her love the loveliest.

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The Devon Maid: Stanzas Sent In A Letter To B. R. Haydon

1.
Where be ye going, you Devon maid?
And what have ye there i' the basket?
Ye tight little fairy, just fresh from the dairy,
Will ye give me some cream if I ask it?

2.
I love your meads, and I love your flowers,
And I love your junkets mainly,
But 'hind the door, I love kissing more,
O look not so disdainly!

3.
I love your hills, and I love your dales,
And I love your flocks a-bleating;
But O, on the heather to lie together,
With both our hearts a-beating!

4.
I'll put your basket all safe in a nook,
Your shawl I'll hang up on this willow,
And we will sigh in the daisy's eye,
And kiss on a grass-green pillow.

by John Keats.

Conclusion Of A Letter To A Friend

Sent from Italy, 1741


But happy you from the contagion free,
Who, through her veil, can human nature see;
Calm you reflect, amid the frantic scene,
On the low views of those mistaken men,
Who lose the short invaluable hour,
Through dirt-pursuing schemes of distant pow'r:
Whose best enjoyments never pay the chase,
But melt like snow within a warm embrace.
Believe me, friend, for such indeed are you,
Dear to my heart, and to my int'rest true;
Too much already have you thrown away,
Too long sustain'd the labor of the day;
Enjoy the remnant of declining light,
Nor wait for rest till overwhelm'd in night.
By present pleasure balance pain you've past,
Forget all systems, and indulge your taste.

by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

Advice To The Grub Street Verse-Writers

Ye poets ragged and forlorn,
Down from your garrets haste;
Ye rhymers, dead as soon as born,
Not yet consign'd to paste;
I know a trick to make you thrive;
O, 'tis a quaint device:
Your still-born poems shall revive,
And scorn to wrap up spice.
Get all your verses printed fair,
Then let them well be dried;
And Curll must have a special care
To leave the margin wide.

Lend these to paper-sparing Pope;
And when he sets to write,
No letter with an envelope
Could give him more delight.

When Pope has fill'd the margins round,
Why then recall your loan;
Sell them to Curll for fifty pound,
And swear they are your own.

by Jonathan Swift.

A Letter To Dafnis April: 2d 1685

This to the Crown, and blessing of my life,
The much lov'd husband, of a happy wife.
To him, whose constant passion found the art
To win a stubborn, and ungratefull heart;
And to the World, by tend'rest proof discovers
They err, who say that husbands can't be lovers.
With such return of passion, as is due,
Daphnis I love, Daphnis my thoughts persue,
Daphnis, my hopes, my joys, are bounded all in you:
Ev'n I, for Daphnis, and my promise sake,
What I in women censure, undertake.
But this from love, not vanity, proceeds;
You know who writes; and I who 'tis that reads.
Judge not my passion, by my want of skill,
Many love well, though they express itt ill;
And I your censure cou'd with pleasure bear,
Wou'd you but soon return, and speak itt here.

by Anne Kingsmill Finch.

A Letter To A Friend

The past is like a story
I have listened to in dreams
That vanished in the glory
Of the Morning's early gleams;
And--at my shadow glancing--
I feel a loss of strength,
As the Day of Life advancing
Leaves it shorn of half its length.

But it's all in vain to worry
At the rapid race of Time--
And he flies in such a flurry
When I trip him with a rhyme,
I'll bother him no longer
Than to thank you for the thought
That 'my fame is growing stronger
As you really think it ought.'

And though I fall below it,
I might know as much of mirth
To live and die a poet
Of unacknowledged worth;
For Fame is but a vagrant--
Though a loyal one and brave,
And his laurels ne'er so fragrant
As when scattered o'er the grave.

by James Whitcomb Riley.

Two things love can do,
Only two:
Can distrust, or can believe;
It can die, or it can live,
There is no syncope
Possible to love or me.
Go your ways!


Two things you can do,
Only two:
Be the thing you used to be,
Or be nothing more to me.
I can but joy or grieve,
Can no more than die or live.
Go your ways!


So far I wrote, my darling, drearily,
But now my sad pen falls down wearily
From out my trembling hand.


I did not, do not, cannot mean it, Dear!
Come life or death, joy, grief, or hope, or fear,
I bless you where I stand!


I bless you where I stand, excusing you,
No speech nor language for accusing you
My laggard lips can learn.


To you-be what you are, or can, to me,-
To you or blessedly or fatefully
My heart must turn!

by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward.

With B.E.F. Jun 10. Dear Wife,
(Oh blast this pencil. 'Ere, Bill, lend's a knife.)
I'm in the pink at present, dear.
I think the war will end this year.
We don't see much of them square-'eaded 'Uns.
We're out of harm's way, not bad fed.
I'm longing for a taste of your old buns.
(Say, Jimmie, spare's a bite of bread.)
There don't seem much to say just now.
(Yer what? Then don't, yer ruddy cow!
And give us back me cigarette!)
I'll soon be 'ome. You mustn't fret.
My feet's improvin', as I told you of.
We're out in the rest now. Never fear.
(VRACH! By crumbs, but that was near.)
Mother might spare you half a sov.
Kiss Nell and Bert. When me and you-
(Eh? What the 'ell! Stand to? Stand to!
Jim, give's a hand with pack on, lad.
Guh! Christ! I'm hit. Take 'old. Aye, bad.
No, damn your iodine. Jim? 'Ere!
Write my old girl, Jim, there's a dear.)

by Wilfred Owen.

Letter In Verse

Like boys that run behind the loaded wain
For the mere joy of riding back again,
When summer from the meadow carts the hay
And school hours leave them half a day to play;
So I with leisure on three sides a sheet
Of foolscap dance with poesy's measured feet,
Just to ride post upon the wings of time
And kill a care, to friendship turned in rhyme.
The muse's gallop hurries me in sport
With much to read and little to divert,
And I, amused, with less of wit than will,
Run till I tire.--And so to cheat her still.
Like children running races who shall be
First in to touch the orchard wall or tree,
The last half way behind, by distance vext,
Turns short, determined to be first the next;
So now the muse has run me hard and long--
I'll leave at once her races and her song;
And, turning round, laugh at the letter's close
And beat her out by ending it in prose.

by John Clare.

The Young Letter Writer

Dear Sir, Dear Madam, or Dear Friend,
With ease are written at the top;
When those two happy words are penned,
A youthful writer oft will stop,


And bite his pen, and lift his eyes
As if he thinks to find in air
The wished-for following words, or tries
To fix his thoughts by fixëd stare.


But haply all in vain-the next
Two words may be so long before
They'll come, the writer, sore perplext,
Gives in despair the matter o'er;


And when maturer age he sees
With ready pen so swift inditing,
With envy he beholds the ease
Of long-accustomed letter-writing.


Courage, young friend; the time may be
When you attain maturer age,
Some young as you are now may see
You with like ease glide down a page.


Even then when you, to years a debtor,
In varied phrase your meanings wrap,
The welcomest words in all your letter
May be those two kind words at top.

by Charles Lamb.

Going To Him! Happy Letter! Tell Him--

Going to him! Happy letter! Tell him--
Tell him the page I didn't write;
Tell him I only said the syntax,
And left the verb and the pronoun out.

Tell him just how the fingers hurried
Then how they waded, slow, slow, slow-
And then you wished you had eyes in your pages,
So you could see what moved them so.

'Tell him it wasn't a practised writer,
You guessed, from the way the sentence toiled;
You could hear the bodice tug, behind you,
As if it held but the might of a child;
You almost pitied it, you, it worked so.
Tell him--No, you may quibble there,
For it would split his heart to know it,
And then you and I were silenter.

'Tell him night finished before we finished
And the old clock kept neighing 'day!'
And you got sleepy and begged to be ended--
What could it hinder so, to say?
Tell him just how she sealed you, cautious
But if he ask where you are hid
Until to-morrow,--happy letter!
Gesture, coquette, and shake your head!'

by Emily Dickinson.

Letter Sent To Master Timmy Dwight

Master Timmy brisk and airy
Blythe as Oberon the fairy
On thy head thy cousin wishes
Thousand and ten thousand blisses.
Never may thy wicket ball
In a well or puddle fall;
Or thy wild ambitious kite
O'er the elm's thick foliage light.
When on bended knee thou sittest
And the mark in fancy hittest
May thy marble truly trace
Where thy wishes mark'd the place.
If at hide and seek you play,
All involved in the hay
Titt'ring hear the joyful sound
"Timmy never can be found."
If you hop or if you run
Or whatever is the fun
Vic'try with her sounding pinion
Hover o'er her little minion.
But when hunger calls the boys
From their helter skelter joys
Bread and cheese in order standing
For their most rapacious handling
Timmy may thy luncheon be
More than Ben's as five to three,
But if hasty pudding's dish
Meet thy vast capacious wish -
Or lob-lollys charming jelly
Court thy cormorantal belly
Mortal foe to megre fast
Be thy spoonful first and last.

by Henry Livingston Jr..

Lines From A Letter To A Young Clerical Friend

A STRENGTH Thy service cannot tire,
A faith which doubt can never dim,
A heart of love, a lip of fire,
O Freedom's God! be Thou to him!
Speak through him words of power and fear,
As through Thy prophet bards of old,
And let a scornful people hear
Once more Thy Sinai-thunders rolled.
For lying lips Thy blessing seek,
And hands of blood are raised to Thee,
And on Thy children, crushed and weak,
The oppressor plants his kneeling knee.
Let then, O God! Thy servant dare
Thy truth in all its power to tell,
Unmask the priestly thieves, and tear
The Bible from the grasp of hell!
From hollow rite and narrow span
Of law and sect by Thee released,
Oh, teach him that the Christian man
Is holier than the Jewish priest.
Chase back the shadows, gray and old,
Of the dead ages, from his way,
And let his hopeful eyes behold
The dawn of Thy millennial day;
That day when lettered limb and mind
Shall know the truth which maketh free,
And he alone who loves his kind
Shall, childlike, claim the love of Thee!

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

A Letter From England

Dear Boy
As it appears to us old fogeys
If you'll excuse the term that we adopt
You and your battery of bowling bogeys
Seem to have come a rather nasty flop.
Psychology, you know, and moral suasion,
And all these fine nuances of the game
Appear to us, at least on this occasion,
To have been, so to speak, a trifle tame.

We would not be too hard; we know your task is
Sterner than we supposed when you set out
Avoiding criticism, all we ask is.
Please dropp 'shock tactics' and cut 'stunting' out.
Try to avoid a batting ace with roots on,
Like Don's, to keep him at the crease, old chap;
Use only bowlers who can keep their boots on,
And, please, please don't count too much on that cap.

If you think it would make your prospects brighter
And help the boys to bring those Ashes back,
We'll waive that rule about the player-writer
So that you may consider using Jack.
Take his advice, my boy; he knows the Aussie
And all his tricks. So, trusting you will be
On this day fortnight in a better 'possie,'
Your ever hopeful Auntie,

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

To A Friend, In Answer To A Melancholy Letter

Away, those cloudy looks, that lab'ring sigh,
The peevish offspring of a sickly hour!
Nor meanly thus complain of fortune's power,
When the blind gamester throws a luckless die.

Yon setting sun flashes a mournful gleam
Behind those broken clouds, his stormy train:
To-morrow shall the many-colord main
In brightness roll beneath his orient beam!

Wild as th' autumnal gust, the hand of Time
Flies o'er his mystic lyre! in shadowy dance
Th' alternate groups of joy and grief advance,
Responsive to his varying strains sublime!

Bears on its wing each hour a load of fate.
The swain, who lulled by Seine's wild murmurs, led
His weary oxen to their nightly shed,
To-day may rule a tempest-troubled State.

Nor shall not fortune with a vengeful smile
Survey the sanguinary despot's might,
And haply hurl the pageant from his height,
Unwept to wander in some savage isle.

There, shiv'ring sad beneath the tempest's frown,
Round his tired limbs to wrap the purple vest;
And mixed with nails and beads, an equal jest!
Barter for food the jewels of his crown.

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

A Letter To Her Husband

Absent upon Public Employment

My head, my heart, mine eyes, my life, nay more,
My joy, my magazine, of earthly store,
If two be one, as surely thou and I,
How stayest thou there, whilst I at Ipswich lie?
So many steps, head from the heart to sever,
If but a neck, soon should we be together.
I, like the Earth this season, mourn in black,
My Sun is gone so far in's zodiac,
Whom whilst I 'joyed, nor storms, nor frost I felt,
His warmth such fridged colds did cause to melt.
My chilled limbs now numbed lie forlorn;
Return; return, sweet Sol, from Capricorn;
In this dead time, alas, what can I more
Than view those fruits which through thy heart I bore?
Which sweet contentment yield me for a space,
True living pictures of their father's face.
O strange effect! now thou art southward gone,
I weary grow the tedious day so long;
But when thou northward to me shalt return,
I wish my Sun may never set, but burn
Within the Cancer of my glowing breast,
The welcome house of him my dearest guest.
Where ever, ever stay, and go not thence,
Till nature's sad decree shall call thee hence;
Flesh of thy flesh, bone of thy bone,
I here, thou there, yet both but one.

by Anne Bradstreet.

A Letter Of Advice

You tell me you're promised a lover,
My own Araminta, next week;
Why cannot my fancy discover
The hue of his coat, and his cheek?
Alas! if he look like another,
A vicar, a banker, a beau,
Be deaf to your father and mother,
My own Araminta, say 'No!'

Miss Lane, at her Temple of Fashion,
Taught us both how to sing and to speak,
And we loved one another with passion,
Before we had been there a week:
You gave me a ring for a token;
I wear it wherever I go;
I gave you a chain, - it is broken?
My own Araminta, say 'No!'

O think of our favorite cottage,
And think of our dear Lalla Rookh!
How we shared with the milkmaids their pottage,
And drank of the stream from the brook;
How fondly our loving lips faltered,
'What further can grandeur bestow?'
My heart is the same; - is yours altered?
My own Araminta, say 'No!'

Remember the thrilling romances
We read on the bank in the glen;
Remember the suitors our fancies
Would picture for both of us then;
They wore the red cross on their shoulder,
They had vanquished and pardoned their foe -
Sweet friend, are you wiser or colder?
My own Araminta, say 'No!'

by Winthrop Mackworth Praed.

A Letter From The Front

I was out early to-day, spying about
From the top of a haystack -- such a lovely morning --
And when I mounted again to canter back
I saw across a field in the broad sunlight
A young Gunner Subaltern, stalking along
With a rook-rifle held at the read, and -- would you believe it? --
A domestic cat, soberly marching beside him.

So I laughed, and felt quite well disposed to the youngster,
And shouted out "the top of the morning" to him,
And wished him "Good sport!" -- and then I remembered
My rank, and his, and what I ought to be doing:
And I rode nearer, and added, "I can only suppose
You have not seen the Commander-in-Chief's order
Forbidding English officers to annoy their Allies
By hunting and shooting."
But he stood and saluted
And said earnestly, "I beg your pardon, Sir,
I was only going out to shoot a sparrow
To feed my cat with."
So there was the whole picture,
The lovely early morning, the occasional shell
Screeching and scattering past us, the empty landscape, --
Empty, except for the young Gunner saluting,
And the cat, anxiously watching his every movement.

I may be wrong, or I may have told it badly,
But it struck me as being extremely ludicrous.

by Sir Henry Newbolt.

Dear brother robin this comes from us all
With our kind love and could Gip write and all
Though but a dog he'd have his love to spare
For still he knows and by your corner chair
The moment he comes in he lyes him down
and seems to fancy you are in the town.
This leaves us well in health thank God for that
For old acquaintance Sue has kept your hat
Which mother brushes ere she lays it bye
and every sunday goes upstairs to cry
Jane still is yours till you come back agen
and neer so much as dances with the men
and ned the woodman every week comes in
and asks about you kindly as our kin
and he with this and goody Thompson sends
Remembrances with those of all our friends
Father with us sends love untill he hears
and mother she has nothing but her tears
Yet wishes you like us in health the same
and longs to see a letter with your name
So loving brother don't forget to write
Old Gip lies on the hearth stone every night
Mother can't bear to turn him out of doors
and never noises now of dirty floors
Father will laugh but lets her have her way
and Gip for kindness get a double pay
So Robin write and let us quickly see
You don't forget old friends no more than we
Nor let my mother have so much to blame
To go three journeys ere your letter came.

by John Clare.

A Letter To The Same Person

Sure of Success, to You I boldly write,
Whilst Love do's ev'ry tender Line endite;
Love, who is justly President of Verse,
Which all his Servants write, or else rehearse.
Phoebus (howe'er mistaken Poets dream)
Ne'er us'd a Verse, till Love became his Theme.
To his stray'd Son, still as his Passion rose,
He rais'd his hasty Voice in clam'rous Prose:
But when in Daphne he wou'd Love inspire,
He woo'd in Verse, set to his silver Lyre.

The Trojan Prince did pow'rful Numbers join
To sing of War; but Love was the Design:
And sleeping Troy again in Flames was drest,
To light the Fires in pitying Dido's Breast.


Love without Poetry's refining Aid
Is a dull Bargain, and but coarsely made;
Nor e'er cou'd Poetry successful prove,
Or touch the Soul, but when the Sense was Love.


Oh! cou'd they both in Absence now impart
Skill to my Hand, but to describe my Heart;
Then shou'd you see impatient of your Stay
Soft Hopes contend with Fears of sad Delay;
Love in a thousand fond Endearments there,
And lively Images of You appear.
But since the Thoughts of a Poetick Mind
Will never be to Syllables confin'd;
And whilst to fix what is conceiv'd, we try,
The purer Parts evaporate and dye:
You must perform what they want force to do,
And think what your ARDELIA thinks of you.

by Anne Kingsmill Finch.

The Black Bordered Letter

An’ SO ’e’s dead in London,
An’ answered to the call,
An’ trotted through the Long Street,
With ’earse an’ plumes an’ all?
We was village boys an’ brothers—
We was warm as we could be,
In the milk-walk an’ the fried fish,
Up in London, ’im an’ me.
We was warm,
We was warm,
As we ’ad always been;
We never ’ad a dry word
Till she come between.

I lived round Windsor Terrace,
An’ ’im across the wye,
An’ when I sailed a emigrant
We never said good-bye!
He wos better than a brother—
Wot you Bushmen call a mate.
(Did he reach the rylwye stytion,
As they told me, just too late!)

We was warm,
We was warm,
As pals was ever seen;
We never ’ad a dry word
Till she come between.

I meant to go back ’ome again,
I meant to write to-night;
I meant to write by every mail,
But I thought ’e oughter write.
An’ now ’e’s left North London—
For a better place, perhaps—
She’s flauntin’ in ’er widder weeds,
With eyes on other chaps.

We was warm,
We was warm,
As we ’ad always been;
We never ’ad a dry word
Till she come between.

Oh! tongues is bad in wimmin,
When wimmin’s tongues is bad!
For they’ll part men an’ brothers
World oceans wide, my lad!
There was seven years between us,
An’ fifteen thousand mile,
An’ now there’s death an’ sorrer
For ever an’ awhile.

We was warm,
We was warm,
As two was ever seen;
We never ’ad a dry word
Till she come between.

by Henry Lawson.

A Letter To One Far Away

Dear Wanderer—
The sky is gray,
With flecks of blue
The clouds rush over.
A bird is singing
Far away,
And butterflies
Taste of the clover.
Under the trees
My hammock swings,
And a brave breeze—
The restless rover—
Flutters the leaves
And stirs the grasses
And, whispering riddles,
Lightly passes.
Day after day
My friend and I
Climb up the hills
And search the valleys;
Dip in the brook
That ripples by
And through clear pools
Serenely dallies.
All green and gold,
All song and sweetness,
The old earth is
For summer's pleasure;
Who kisses and goes,
Whose love is fleetness,
Who gives but a season
But gives without measure.
Away with time!—
His wand I capture,
He rules no more
For this brief minute.
The years are gone—
Once more the rapture,
The night of stars
With the secret in it.
Ah, if you were here
Should I grant, I wonder,
The whole round truth
For a birthday token—
How today, tomorrow,
Together, asunder,
We are—no, hush!—
It is best unspoken.
Oh, the truest truth—
No words dare say it!
It hides in the heart
From the poor tongue's treason;
And the deepest joy—
We may never pray it.
It comes and goes
With nor rule nor reason.
Look up!—the sun
Through the clouds' gray portal!
And see—white plumes
In the blue below it!
Behold the dream,
Wide-winged, immortal!
Did I hear your voice?
You are here—I know it!

by Harriet Monroe.

An Answer To A Love-Letter, In Verse

Is it to me this sad lamenting strain?
Are Heaven's choicest gifts bestow'd in vain?
A plenteous fortune and a beauteous bride,
Your love rewarded, and content your pride;
Yet, leaving her, 'tis me that you pursue,
Without one single charm -- but being new.
How vile is man! How I detest the ways
Of covert falsehood and designing praise!
As tasteless, easier happiness you slight,
Ruin your joy, and mischief your delight.
Why should poor pug (the mimic of your kind)
Wear a rough chain, and be to box confin'd?
Some cup, perhaps, he breaks, or tears a fan,
While moves, unpunish'd, the destroyer man;
Not bound by vows, and unrestrain'd by shame,
In sport you break the heart, and rend the fame.
Not that your art can be successful here,
Th' already plunder'd need no robber fear.
Nor sighs nor charms, nor flattery, can move,
Too well secur'd against a second love.
Once, and but once, that devil charm'd my mind,
To reason deaf, to observation blind,
I idly hop'd (what cannot Love persuade!)
My fondness equall'd and my truth repaid:
Slow to distrust, and willing to believe;
Long hush'd my doubts, I would myself deceive.

But oh! too soon -- this tale would ever last --
Sleep on my wrongs, and let me think them past.
For you, who mourn with counterfeited grief,
And ask so boldly, like a begging thief,
May soon some other nymph inflict the pain
You know so well with cruel art to feign.
Though long you've sported with Dan Cupid's dart,
You may see eyes, and you may feel a heart.
So the brisk wits who stop the evening coach,
Laugh at the fear that follows their approach;
With idle mirth and haughty scorn despise
The passenger's pale cheek and staring eyes;
But seiz'd by justice, find a fright no jest,
And all the terror doubled in their breast.

by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

A Love Letter To Her Husband

Phoebus make haste, the day's too long, begone,
The silent night's the fittest time for moan;
But stay this once, unto my suit give ear,
And tell my griefs in either Hemisphere:
(And if the whirling of thy wheels do n't drown'd
The woful accents of my doleful sound),
If in thy swift career thou canst make stay,
I crave this boon, this errand by the way:
Commend me to the man more lov'd than life,
Show him the sorrows of his widow'd wife,
My dumpish thoughts, my groans, my brackish tears,
My sobs, my longing hopes, my doubting fears,
And, if he love, how can he there abide?
My interest's more than all the world beside.
He that can tell the stars or Ocean sand,
Or all the grass that in the meads do stand,
The leaves in th' woods, the hail or drops of rain,
Or in a cornfield number every grain,
Or every mote that in the sunshine hops,
May court my sighs and number all my drops.
Tell him, the countless steps that thou dost trace,
That once a day thy spouse thou mayst embrace;
And when thou canst not treat by loving mouth,
Thy rays afar, salute her from the south.
But for one month I see no day (poor soul)
Like those far situate under the pole,
Which day by day long wait for thy arise,
O how they joy when thou dost light the skies.
O Phoebus, hadst thou but thus long from thine
Restrain'd the beams of thy beloved shine,
At thy return, if so thou couldst or durst,
Behold a Chaos blacker than the first.
Tell him here's worse than a confused matter,
His little world's a fathom under water,
Naught but the fervor of his ardent beams
Hath power to dry the torrent of these streams.
Tell him I would say more, but cannot well,
Opressed minds abrupted tales do tell.
Now post with double speed, mark what I say,
By all our loves conjure him not to stay.

by Anne Bradstreet.

The Lost Letter

In the postoffice window was one broken pane;
In the wainscot there was one loosen'd board;
And conveniently near was the broad oaken table,
Where the mail from the bag had been pour'd,
'Twas a morning in May, with a sweet odor'd breeze;
And it happen'd unnotic'd by all,
That a most precious missive, that love laden letter,
Flutter'd down thro' the gap in the wall.

Two lives wreck'd by a zephyr!
Two hearts crush'd by the fall,
When that most precious missive, that love laden letter,
Flutter'd down thro' the gap in the wall.

Both were faithful and true, 'Twas a gossip's remark,
that had clouded loving hearts with concern.
Then, alas! came a quarrel; and she, in her anger,
Bade him go, nevermore to return.
Oh, how soon she repented! how great was her grief,
And how humbly she penn'd her recall!
But that most precious missive, that love laden letter,
Flutter'd down thro' the gap in the wall.

It was just on the morrow the carpenter came,
Such defections in that wall to repair;
And he hammer'd and sang, and departed unmindful
Of the hearts he had thus burried there.
And in heaps on the table, all safe and secure,
There lay many a valueless scrawl,
Where that most precious missive, that love laden letter,
Flutter'd down thro' the gap in the wall.

"When she learns how she wrongs me, my darling will write!"
Mus'd the lover, as he watch'd for the mail;
But his letter came not, and, dishearten'd and hopeless,
For a land far away he set sail.
Oh! the long weary years of suspense and regret,
And of presage perplexing withal,
Since that most precious missive, that love laden letter,
Flutter'd down thro' the gap in the wall.

From the time-crumbled pile came the time-faded sheet,
With its ancient superscription and date;
And from exile the lover, the yet faithful lover,
Hasten'd home, to seal his fate.
'Twas his most cruel pang that he might not explain
To the sleeper beneath her black pall,
How that most precious missive, that love laden letter
Flutter'd down thro' the gap in the wall.

by Henry Clay Work.

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