“To a Young Lady, With Some Lampreys” by John Gay (1685 – 1732)


“To a Young Lady, With Some Lampreys”

With lovers, ’twas of old the fashion
By presents to convey their passion;
No matter what the gift they sent,
The Lady saw that love was meant. 
Fair Atalanta, as a favour, 
Took the boar’s head her Hero gave her; 
Nor could the bristly thing affront her, 
’Twas a fit present from a hunter. 
When Squires send woodcocks to the dame, 
It serves to show their absent flame: 
Some by a snip of woven hair, 
In posied lockets bribe the fair; 
How many mercenary matches 
Have sprung from Di’mond-rings and watches! 
But hold – a ring, a watch, a locket,
Would drain at once a Poet’s pocket; 
He should send songs that cost him nought, 
Nor ev’n he prodigal of thought. 
Why then send Lampreys? fye, for shame! 
’Twill set a virgin’s blood on flame. 
This to fifteen a proper gift! 
It might lend sixty five a lift. 
I know your maiden Aunt will scold,
And think my present somewhat bold. 
I see her lift her hands and eyes. 
‘What eat it, Niece? eat Spanish flies! 
‘Lamprey’s a most immodest diet: 
‘You’ll neither wake nor sleep in quiet. 
‘Should I to night eat Sago cream, 
‘’Twould make me blush to tell my dream;
‘If I eat Lobster, ’tis so warming, 
‘That ev’ry man I see looks charming; 
‘Wherefore had not the filthy fellow 
‘Laid Rochester upon your pillow? 
‘I vow and swear, I think the present 
‘Had been as modest and as decent. 
‘Who has her virtue in her power? 
‘Each day has its unguarded hour;
‘Always in danger of undoing, 
‘A prawn, a shrimp may prove our ruin! 
‘The shepherdess, who lives on salad, 
‘To cool her youth, controuls her palate; 
‘Should Dian’s maids turn liqu’rish livers, 
‘And of huge lampreys rob the rivers, 
‘Then all beside each glade and Visto, 
‘You’d see Nymphs lying like Calisto.
‘The man who meant to heat your blood, 
‘Needs not himself such vicious food –’ 
In this, I own, your Aunt is clear, 
I sent you what I well might spare: 
For when I see you, (without joking) 
Your eyes, lips, breasts, are so provoking, 
They set my heart more cock-a-hoop, 
Than could whole seas of craw-fish soupe.

 

“Rule Britannia” by James Thomson (1700 – 1748)


“Rule Britannia”

When Britain first, at heaven’s command,
    Arose from out the azure main,
This was the charter of the land,
    And guardian angels sung this strain—
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”
The nations, not so blest as thee,
    Must in their turns to tyrants fall;
While thou shalt flourish great and free,
    The dread and envy of them all.
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”
Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
    More dreadful from each foreign stroke;
As the loud blast that tears the skies
    Serves but to root thy native oak.
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”
Thee haughty tyrants ne’er shall tame;
    All their attempts to bend thee down,
Will but arouse thy generous flame,
    But work their woe and thy renown.
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”
To thee belongs the rural reign;
    Thy cities shall with commerce shine;
All thine shall be the subject main,
    And every shore it circles thine.
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”
The Muses, still with freedom found,
    Shall to thy happy coast repair:
Blest isle! with matchless beauty crowned,
    And manly hearts to guard the fair.
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”
Source: The Longman Anthology of Poetry (2006)

“The Watcher” by SARAH JOSEPHA HALE (1787 – 1900)


“The Watcher”

by Sarah Josepha Hale

The night was dark and fearful,
The blast swept wailing by;
A Watcher, pale and tearful,
Look’d forth with anxious eye;
How wistfully she gazes—
No gleam of morn is there!
And then her heart upraises
Its agony of prayer!

Within that dwelling lonely,
Where want and darkness reign,
Her precious child, her only,
Lay moaning in his pain;
And death alone can free him—
She feels that this must be:
“But oh! for morn to see him
Smile once again for me!”

A hundred lights are glancing
In yonder mansion fair,
And merry feet are dancing—
They heed not morning there.
Oh! young and lovely creatures,
One lamp, from out your store,
Would give that poor boy’s features
To her fond gaze once more.

The morning sun is shining—
She heedeth not its ray;
Beside her dead, reclining,
That pale, dead mother lay!
A smile her lip was wreathing,
A smile of hope and love,
As though she still were breathing—
“There’s light for us above!”

“Frederick Douglass” by Joseph Seamon Cotter, Sr. (1861 – 1949)


Frederick Douglass

BY JOSEPH SEAMON COTTER, SR

O eloquent and caustic sage!
Thy long and rugged pilgrimage
To glory’s shrine has ended;
And thou hast passed the inner door,
And proved thy fitness o’er and o’er,
And to the dome ascended.

In speaking of thy noble life
One needs must think upon the strife
That long and sternly faced it;
But since those times have flitted by,
Just let the useless relic die
With passions that embraced it.

There is no evil known to man
But what, if wise enough, he can
Grow stronger in the bearing;
And so the ills we often scorn
May be of heavenly wisdom born
To aid our onward faring.

Howe’er this be, just fame has set
Her jewels in thy coronet
So firmly that the ages
To come will ever honor thee
And place thy name in company
With patriots and sages.

Now thou art gone, the little men
Of fluent tongue and trashy pen
Will strive to imitate thee;
And when they find they haven’t sense
Enough to make a fair pretense,
They’ll turn and underrate thee.

“Robert G. Shaw” by Henrietta Cordelia Ray (1850? – 1916)


When War’s red banners trailed along the sky,
And many a manly heart grew all aflame
With patriotic love and purest aim,
There rose a noble soul who dared to die,
If only Right could win. He heard the cry
Of struggling bondmen and he quickly came,
Leaving the haunts where Learning tenders fame
Unto her honored sons; for it was ay
A loftier cause that lured him on to death.
Brave men who saw their brothers held in chains,
Beneath his standard battled ardently.
O friend! O hero! thou who yielded breath
That others might share Freedom s priceless gains,
In rev’rent love we guard thy memory.

“The Sun Has Long Been Set” by William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)


The sun has long been set,
  The stars are out by twos and threes,
The little birds are piping yet
  Among the bushes and trees;
There’s a cuckoo, and one or two thrushes,
And a far-off wind that rushes,
And a sound of water that gushes,
And the cuckoo’s sovereign cry
Fills all the hollow of the sky.
  Who would “go parading”
In London, “and masquerading,"
On such a night of June
With that beautiful soft half-moon, 
And all these innocent blisses?
On such a night as this is!

Poem: “Traveling” by William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)


This is the spot:—how mildly does the sun
Shine in between the fading leaves! the air
In the habitual silence of this wood
Is more than silent: and this bed of heath,
Where shall we find so sweet a resting-place?
Come!—let me see thee sink into a dream
Of quiet thoughts,—protracted till thine eye
Be calm as water when the winds are gone
And no one can tell whither.—my sweet friend!
We two have had such happy hours together
That my heart melts in me to think of it.