There comes a warning like a spy

There comes a warning like a spy
A shorter breath of Day
A stealing that is not a stealth
And Summers are away

by Emily Dickinson.

Cried Age to Youth: 'Abate your speed!
The distance hither's brief indeed.'
But Youth pressed on without delay
The shout had reached but half the way

by Ambrose Bierce.

High in the heavens I saw the moon this morning,
Albeit the sun shone bright;
Unto my soul it spoke, in voice of warning,
‘Remember Night! ’

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Mighty eagle! thou that soarest
O'er the misty mountain forest,
And amid the light of morning
Like a cloud of glory hiest,
And when night descends defiest
The embattled tempests’ warning!

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Inscriptions On A Sun-Dial

For Dr Henry L Bowditch

With warning hand I mark Time's rapid
flight
From life's glad morning to it's solemn
night;
Yet through thee dear God's love, I also
show
There's Light above me by the shade
below.

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

World, Take Good Notice


WORLD, take good notice, silver stars fading,
Milky hue ript, weft of white detaching,
Coals thirty-eight, baleful and burning,
Scarlet, significant, hands off warning,
Now and henceforth flaunt from these shores.

by Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman's Caution


TO The States, or any one of them, or any city of The States,
Resist much, obey little;
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved;
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth, ever
afterward resumes its liberty.

by Walt Whitman.

A Slant Of Sun On Dull Brown Walls

A slant of sun on dull brown walls,
A forgotten sky of bashful blue.

Toward God a mighty hymn,
A song of collisions and cries,
Rumbling wheels, hoof-beats, bells,
Welcomes, farewells, love-calls, final moans,
Voices of joy, idiocy, warning, despair,
The unknown appeals of brutes,
The chanting of flowers,
The screams of cut trees,
The senseless babble of hens and wise men -
A cluttered incoherency that says at the stars:
'O God, save us!'

by Stephen Crane.

O Bitter Sprig! Confession Sprig!

O BITTER sprig! Confession sprig!
In the bouquet I give you place also--I bind you in,
Proceeding no further till, humbled publicly,
I give fair warning, once for all.

I own that I have been sly, thievish, mean, a prevaricator, greedy,
derelict,
And I own that I remain so yet.

What foul thought but I think it--or have in me the stuff out of
which it is thought?
What in darkness in bed at night, alone or with a companion?

by Walt Whitman.

A Slant Of Sun On Dull Brown Walls

A slant of sun on dull brown walls,
A forgotten sky of bashful blue.

Toward God a mighty hymn,
A song of collisions and cries,
Rumbling wheels, hoof-beats, bells,
Welcomes, farewells, love-calls, final moans,
Voices of joy, idiocy, warning, despair,
The unknown appeals of brutes,
The chanting of flowers,
The screams of cut trees,
The senseless babble of hens and wise men --
A cluttered incoherency that says at the stars:
"O God, save us!"

by Stephen Crane.

The Autumn is old,
The sere leaves are flying;—
He hath gather'd up gold,
And now he is dying;—
Old Age, begin sighing!
The vintage is ripe,
The harvest is heaping;—
But some that have sow'd
Have no riches for reaping;—
Poor wretch, fall a-weeping!
The year's in the wane,
There is nothing adorning,
The night has no eve,
And the day has no morning;—
Cold winter gives warning.
The rivers run chill,
The red sun is sinking,
And I am grown old,
And life is fast shrinking;
Here's enow for sad thinking!

by Thomas Hood.

Voice of the Holy Spirit, making known
Man to himself, a witness swift and sure,
Warning, approving, true and wise and pure,
Counsel and guidance that misleadeth none!
By thee the mystery of life is read;
The picture-writing of the world's gray seers,
The myths and parables of the primal years,
Whose letter kills, by thee interpreted
Take healthful meanings fitted to our needs,
And in the soul's vernacular express
The common law of simple righteousness.
Hatred of cant and doubt of human creeds
May well be felt: the unpardonable sin
Is to deny the Word of God within!

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Ix

I stopped, I listened, and I entered in,
With half--a--dozen more, that sight to see.
``The Booth of Beauty,'' 'twas a name of sin
Which seemed to promise a new mystery.
There was a crowd already in the place,
And 'twixt me and the stage, now darkly hid,
The gathering evening had come down apace,
And all was dim within and overspread.
I know not by what instinct or mute proof
Of Providence it was, but this is true,
Even as I stepped 'neath that ignoble roof,
A prescience warned me there of portents new,
And a voice spoke with no uncertain sound
Warning me back as from ungodly ground.

by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

To Alex. Smith, The 'Glasgow Poet,' On His Sonnet To 'Fame'

Not vainly doth the earnest voice of man
Call for the thing that is his pure desire!
Fame is the birthright of the living lyre!
To noble impulse Nature puts no ban.
Nor vainly to the Sphinx thy voice was raised!
Tho' all thy great emotions like a sea,
Against her stony immortality,
Shatter themselves unheeded and amazed.
Time moves behind her in a blind eclipse:
Yet if in her cold eyes the end of all
Be visible, as on her large closed lips
Hangs dumb the awful riddle of the earth; -
She sees, and she might speak, since that wild call,
The mighty warning of a Poet's birth.

by George Meredith.

Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Xiii

A second warning, nor unheeded. Yet
The thought appealed to me as no strange thing,
Pure though I was, that love impure had set
Its seal on that fair woman in her Spring.
Her broken beauty did not mar her grace
In form or spirit. Nay, it rather moved.
It seemed a natural thing for that gay face
It should have known and suffered and been loved.
It kindled in me, too, to view it thus,
A mood of daring which was more than mine,
And made my shamefaced heart leap valorous,
And fired its courage to a zeal divine.
All this, in one short instant, as I gazed
Into her eyes, admiring, yet amazed.

by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

LOCK your bedroom doors with terror.
Comb your hair between two lights.
In the gold Venetian chamber
But for them let all be sombre.
Sit, and see reflected lights
Color time within your mirror.

Comb, comb, your bright hair. Rain
Fiery threads upon a shadow.
Stare until you see dilated
Eyes stare out as once the excited
Young men coming out of shadow,
Stared into a burning pain.

Find the loveliest shroud you own.
Stilt a ceremonious
Height on gilded heels. Then summon
To a rarity grown common
Starved arachnid, the dead-louse
And whatever feeds on bone.

by John Peale Bishop.

Why stand dumbfounded and aghast,
As at invading armies sweeping by,
Surprised by haggard face and threatening cry,
The storm unheralded, that rose so fast?
Men, with gaunt wives and hungry children, cast
Upon the wintry streets to thieve or die,
They cannot always suffer silently;
Patience gives out. The poor worm turns at last.

And no ear listens to the warning call.
No eye awakes to see the portent dread.
Must brute force reign and social order fall
Ere these starved millions can be clothed and fed?
A strange phenomenon, this, unconcern -
To live so fast and be so slow to learn!

by Ada Cambridge.

Are You The New Person, Drawn Toward Me?


ARE you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning--I am surely far different from what you
suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy'd satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade--this smooth and tolerant
manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic
man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?

by Walt Whitman.

We told of him as one who should have soared
And seen for us the devastating light
Whereof there is not either day or night,
And shared with us the glamour of the Word
That fell once upon Amos to record
For men at ease in Zion, when the sight
Of ills obscured aggrieved him and the might
Of Hamath was a warning of the Lord.

Assured somehow that he would make us wise,
Our pleasure was to wait; and our surprise
Was hard when we confessed the dry return
Of his regret. For we were still to learn
That earth has not a school where we may go
For wisdom, or for more than we may know.

by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

He knocked, and I beheld him at the door--
A vision for the gods to verify.
"What battered ancient is this," thought I,
"And when, if ever, did we meet before?"
But ask him as I might, I got no more
For answer than a moaning and a cry:
Too late to parley, but in time to die,
He staggered, and lay ahapeless on the floor.

When had I known him? And what brought him here?
Love, warning, malediction, fear?
Surely I never thwarted such as he?--
Again, what soiled obscurity was this:
Out of what scum, and up from what abyss,
Had they arrived--these rags of memory.

by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

Sonnet 71: No Longer Mourn For Me When I Am Dead

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell.
Nay if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse,
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan
And mock you with me after I am gone.

by William Shakespeare.

We have seen mighty men ballooning high,
And in another moment bump the ground.
He falls; and in his measurement is found
To count some inches o'er the common fry.
'Twas not enough to send him climbing sky,
Yet 'twas enough above his fellows crowned,
Had he less panted. Let his faithful hound
Bark at detractors. He may walk or lie.
Concerns it most ourselves, who with our gas -
This little Isle's insatiable greed
For Continents--filled to inflation burst.
So do ripe nations into squalor pass,
When, driven as herds by their old private thirst,
They scorn the brain's wild search for virtuous light.

by George Meredith.

A wicked man is bad enough on earth;
But O the baleful lustre of a chief
Once pledged in tyranny! O star of dearth
Darkly illumining a nation's grief!
How many men have worn thee on their brows!
Alas for them and us! God's precious gift
Of gracious dispensation got by theft -
The damning form of false unholy vows!
The thief of God and man must have his fee:
And thou, John Lackland, despicable prince -
Basest of England's banes before or since!
Thrice traitor, coward, thief! O thou shalt be
The historic warning, trampled and abhorr'd
Who dared to steal and stain the symbols of the Lord!

by George Meredith.

Sonnet Vii: Love In A Humour

Love in a humor play'd the prodigal
And bade my Senses to a solemn feast;
Yet, more to grace the company withal,
Invites my Heart to be the chiefest guest.
No other drink would serve this glutton's turn
But precious tears distilling from mine eyne,
Which with my sighs this epicure doth burn,
Quaffing carouses in this costly wine;
Where, in his cups o'ercome with foul excess,
Straightways he plays a swaggering ruffian's part,
And at the banquet in his drunkenness
Slew his dear friend, my kind and truest Heart.
A gentle warning, friends, thus may you see
What 'tis to keep a drunkard company.

by Michael Drayton.

Alone, remote, nor witting where I went,
I found an altar builded in a dream—
A fiery place, whereof there was a gleam
So swift, so searching, and so eloquent
Of upward promise, that love’s murmur, blent
With sorrow’s warning, gave but a supreme
Unending impulse to that human stream
Whose flood was all for the flame’s fury bent.

Alas! I said,—the world is in the wrong.
But the same quenchless fever of unrest
That thrilled the foremost of that martyred throng
Thrilled me, and I awoke … and was the same
Bewildered insect plunging for the flame
That burns, and must burn somehow for the best.

by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

What gossamer lures thee now? What hope, what name
Is on thy lips? What dreams to fruit have grown?
Thou who hast turned ONE Poet-heart to stone,
Is thine yet burning with its seraph flame?
Let me give back a warning of thine own,
That, falling from thee many moons ago,
Sank on my soul like the prophetic moan
Of some young Sibyl shadowing her own woe.
The words are thine, and will not do thee wrong,
I only bind their solemn charge to song.
Thy tread is on a quicksand -- oh! be wise!
Nor, in the passionate eagerness of youth,
MISTAKE THY BOSOM-SERPENT'S GLITTERING EYES
FOR THE CALM LIGHTS OF REASON AND OF TRUTH.

by Henry Timrod.

His shatter’d Empire thunders to the ground:
A myriad hearts peal laughter as it falls,
While red flags flutter on its ruined walls
And living joy darts all the world around.
The imperial criminal, naked and uncrowned,
Breathing a shuddering air of curses, crawls,
Baffled and beaten, from his gorgeous halls,
While Vengeance halloos lapdog, cur and hound.

Behold the arrogant humbled, and rejoice
The grasping hand holds naught but flying dust,
And Envy meets the pitiless grin of Fate.
Take warning of your own heart’s inward voice,
Bid your own soul be humble and distrust
The yelping promises of greed and hate.

by John Le Gay Brereton.

Poor, hapless souls! at whom we stand aghast,
As at invading armies sweeping by —
As strange to haggard face and desperate cry —
Did we not know the worm must turn at last?
Poor, hungry men, with hungry children cast
Upon the wintry streets to thieve or die —
Suffering your wants and woes so silently -
Patient so long — is all your patience past?

Are there no ears to hear this warning call?
Are there no eyes to see this portent dread?
Must brute force rise and social order fall,
Ere these starved millions can be clothed and fed?
Justice be judge. Let future history say
Which are the greatest criminals to- day.

by Ada Cambridge.

WELL may'st thou halt-and gaze with brightening eye!
The lovely Cottage in the guardian nook
Hath stirred thee deeply; with its own dear brook,
Its own small pasture, almost its own sky!
But covet not the Abode;-forbear to sigh,
As many do, repining while they look;
Intruders-who would tear from Nature's book
This precious leaf, with harsh impiety.
Think what the home must be if it were thine,
Even thine, though few thy wants!-Roof, window, door,
The very flowers are sacred to the Poor,
The roses to the porch which they entwine:
Yea, all, that now enchants thee, from the day
On which it should be touched, would melt away.

by William Wordsworth.

Love, my heart is faint with waiting,
Faint with hope and joy deferred,
All night long at this sad grating,
Sleepless like a prisoned bird,
Singing low,
Singing slow:
Come, ah come, love.--Not a word!

Love, in vain for thee this token
Did I tie, poor silken cord,
To my window. See, 'tis broken
And the strands fly heavenward.
All are free,
All but me.
Come, ah come, love.--Not a word!

Lo, the first sad streak of morning
Cleaves the heaven like a sword.
Love, too late I hear the warning,
Of thy footstep on the sward.
Yet, ah yet,
Though 'tis late,
Come; but mind, love, not a word!

by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

(Song)

Love that came in with the morning
Is fled with the night!
Whither away?
Whither away?
Gone with nor word, with nor warning,
O lost, my Delight!

Into what soul-cleft or hollow
Art vanished from sight,
Out of the day,
Out of the day?
Where the feet of my dreams may not follow,
O lost, my Delight!

The joy, Love, the song and the laughter
Take wing with thy flight,
Forever and aye,
Forever and aye,
Where life, where not death may come after,
Lost, lost, my Delight!

by Ina D. Coolbrith.

Thou great proclaimer to the outward eye
Of what the spirit too would seek to tell,
Onward thou go'st, appointed from on high
The other warnings of the Lord to swell;
Thou art the voice of one that through the world
Proclaims in startling tones, 'Prepare the way;'
The lofty mountain from its seat is hurled,
The flinty rocks thine onward march obey;
The valleys lifted from their lowly bed
O'ertop the hills that on them frowned before,
Thou passest where the living seldom tread,
Through forests dark, where tides beneath thee roar,
And bid'st man's dwelling from thy track remove,
And would with warning voice his crooked paths reprove.

by Jones Very.

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan
And mock you with me after I am gone.

by William Shakespeare.

Deus Misereatur

PLEASANT the ways whereon our feet were led,
Sweet the young hills, the valleys of content,
But now the hours of dew and dream have fled.
Lord, we are spent.

We did not heed Thy warning in the skies,
We have not heard Thy voice nor known Thy fold;
But now the world is darkening to our eyes.
Lord, we grow old.

Now the sweet stream turns bitter with our tears,
Now dies the star we followed in the west,
Now are we sad and ill at ease with years.
Lord, we would rest.

Lo, our proud lamps are emptied of their light,
Weary our hands to toil, our feet to roam;
Our day is past and swiftly falls Thy night.
Lord, lead us home.

by Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall.

Anonymous Plays: Xviii

MORE yet and more, and yet we mark not all:
The Warning fain to bid fair women heed
Its hard brief note of deadly doom and deed;
The verse that strewed too thick with flowers the hall
Whence Nero watched his fiery festival;
That iron page wherein men’s eyes who read
See, bruised and marred between two babes that bleed,
A mad red-handed husband’s martyr fall;
The scene which crossed and streaked with mirth the strife
Of Henry with his sons and witchlike wife;
And that sweet pageant of the kindly fiend,
Who, seeing three friends in spirit and heart made one,
Crowned with good hap the true-love wiles he screened
In the pleached lanes of pleasant Edmonton.

by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

The Sailor's Grave At Clo-Oose, V.I.

Out of the winds' and the waves' riot,
Out of the loud foam,
He has put in to a great quiet
And a still home.

Here he may lie at ease and wonder
Why the old ship waits,
And hark for the surge and the strong thunder
Of the full Straits,

And look for the fishing fleet at morning,
Shadows like lost souls,
Slide through the fog where the seal's warning
Betrays the shoals,

And watch for the deep-sea liner climbing
Out of the bright West,
With a salmon-sky and her wake shining
Like a tern's breast, --

And never know he is done for ever
With the old sea's pride,
Borne from the fight and the full endeavour
On an ebb tide.

by Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall.

FOR these are sacred fishes all
Who know that lord that is the lord of all;
Come to the brim and nose the friendly hand
That sways and can beshadow all the land.
Nor only so, but have their names, and come
When they are summoned by the Lord of Rome.
Here once his line an impious Lybian threw;
And as with tremulous reed his prey he drew,
Straight, the light failed him.
He groped, nor found the prey that he had ta'en.
Now as a warning to the fisher clan
Beside the lake he sits, a beggarman.
Thou, then, while still thine innocence is pure,
Flee swiftly, nor presume to set thy lure;
Respect these fishes, for their friends are great;
And in the waters empty all thy bait.

by Robert Louis Stevenson.

It was an hairy oubit, sae proud he crept alang,
A feckless hairy oubit, and merrily he sang-
'My Minnie bad me bide at hame until I won my wings;
I show her soon my soul's aboon the warks o' creeping things.'

This feckless hairy oubit cam' hirpling by the linn,
A swirl o' wind cam' doun the glen, and blew that oubit in:
Oh when he took the water, the saumon fry they rose,
And tigg'd him a' to pieces sma', by head and tail and toes.

Tak' warning then, young poets a', by this poor oubit's shame;
Though Pegasus may nicher loud, keep Pegasus at hame.
Oh haud your hands frae inkhorns, though a' the Muses woo;
For critics lie, like saumon fry, to mak' their meals o' you.


Eversley, 1851.

by Charles Kingsley.

Carmen Circulare

Q. H. Flaccus


Dellius, that car which, night and day,
Lightnings and thunders arm and scourge--
Tumultuous down the Appian Way--
Be slow to urge.

Though reckless Lydia bid thee fly,
And Telephus o'ertaking jeer,
Nay, sit and strongly occupy
The lower gear.

They call, the road consenting, "Haste!"--
Such as delight in dust collected--
Until arrives (I too have raced! )
The unexpected.

What ox not doomed to die alone,
Or inauspicious hound, may bring
Thee 'twixt two kisses to the throne
Of Hades' King,

I cannot tell; the Furies send
No warning ere their bolts arrive.
'Tis best to reach our chosen end
Late but alive.

by Rudyard Kipling.

Aboard At A Ship's Helm


ABOARD, at a ship's helm,
A young steersman, steering with care.

A bell through fog on a sea-coast dolefully ringing,
An ocean-bell--O a warning bell, rock'd by the waves.

O you give good notice indeed, you bell by the sea-reefs ringing,
Ringing, ringing, to warn the ship from its wreck-place.

For, as on the alert, O steersman, you mind the bell's admonition,
The bows turn,--the freighted ship, tacking, speeds away under her
gray sails,
The beautiful and noble ship, with all her precious wealth, speeds
away gaily and safe.

But O the ship, the immortal ship! O ship aboard the ship! 10
O ship of the body--ship of the soul--voyaging, voyaging, voyaging.

by Walt Whitman.

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