Tag Archives: English poetry

Vigil of the Immaculate Conception by Maurice Francis Egan

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Vigil of the Immaculate Conception

by Maurice Francis Egan

A sword of silver cuts the fields asunder—
A silver sword to-night, a lake in June—
And plains of snow reflect, the maples under,
The silver arrows of a wintry moon.

The trees are white with moonlight and with ice-pearls;
The trees are white, like ghosts we see in dreams;
The air is still: there are no moaning wind-whirls;
And one sees silence in the quivering beams.

December night, December night, how warming
Is all thy coldness to the Christian soul:
Thy very peace at each true heart is storming
In potent waves of love that surging roll.

December night, December night, how glowing
Thy frozen rains upon our warm hearts lie:
Our God upon this vigil is bestowing
A thousand graces from the silver sky.

O moon, O symbol of our Lady’s whiteness;
O snow, O symbol of our Lady’s heart;
O night, chaste night, bejewelled with argent brightness,
How sweet, how bright, how loving, kind thou art.

O miracle: to-morrow and to-morrow,
In tender reverence shall no praise abate;
For from all seasons shall we new jewels borrow
To deck the Mother born Immaculate.

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The Vigil at Arms by Louise Imogen Guiney

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The Vigil at Arms

by Louise Imogen Guiney

Keep holy watch with silence, prayer, and fasting
Till morning break, and all the bugles play;
Unto the One aware from everlasting
Dear are the winners: thou art more than they.

Forth from this peace on manhood’s way thou goest,
Flushed with resolve, and radiant in mail;
Blessing supreme for men unborn thou sowest,
O knight elect! O soul ordained to fail!

The Wild Ride by Louise Imogen Guiney

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The Wild Ride

by Louise Imogen Guiney

I hear in my heart, I hear in its ominous pulses,
All day, on the road, the hoofs of invisible horses,
All night, from their stalls, the importunate pawing and neighing.

Let cowards and laggards fall back! But alert to the saddle
Weatherworn and abreast, go men of our galloping legion,
With a stirrup-cup each to the lily of women that loves him.

The trail is through dolor and dread, over crags and morasses;
There are shapes by the way, there are things that appal or entice us:
What odds? We are Knights of the Grail, we are vowed to the riding.

Thought’s self is a vanishing wing, and joy is a cobweb,
And friendship a flower in the dust, and glory a sunbeam:
Not here is our prize, nor, alas! after these our pursuing.

A dipping of plumes, a tear, a shake of the bridle,
A passing salute to this world and her pitiful beauty;
We hurry with never a word in the track of our fathers.

I hear in my heart, I hear in its ominous pulses,
All day, on the road, the hoofs of invisible horses,
All night, from their stalls, the importunate pawing and neighing.

We spur to a land of no name, outracing the storm-wind;
We leap to the infinite dark like sparks from the anvil.
Thou leadest, O God! All’s well with Thy troopers that follow.

Mia Carlotta by Thomas Augustine Daly

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Mia Carlotta

by Thomas Augustine Daly

Giuseppe, da barber, ees greata for “mash,”
He gotta da bigga, da blacka mustache,
Good clo’es an’ good styla an’ playnta good cash.

W’enevra Giuseppe ees walk on da street,
Da peopla dey talka, “how nobby! how neat!
How softa da handa, how smalla da feet.”

He raisa hees hat an’ he shaka hees curls,
An’ smila weeth teetha so shiny like pearls;
O! many da heart of da seelly young girls
He gotta.
Yes, playnta he gotta—
But notta
Carlotta!

Giuseppe, da barber, he maka da eye,
An’ lika da steam engine puffa an’ sigh,
For catcha Carlotta w’en she ees go by.

Carlotta she walka weeth nose in da air,
An’ look through Giuseppe weeth far-away stare,
As eef she no see dere ees som’body dere.

Giuseppe, da barber, he gotta da cash,
He gotta da clo’es an’ da bigga mustache,
He gotta da seely young girls for da ‘mash,’
But notta—
You bat my life, notta—
Carlotta.
I gotta!

The Sea Gypsy by Richard Harvey

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The Sea Gypsy

by Richard Harvey

I am fevered with the sunset,
I am fretful with the bay,
For the wander-thirst is on me
And my soul is in Cathay.

There’s a schooner in the offing,
With her topsails shot with fire,
And my heart has gone aboard her
For the Islands of Desire.

I must forth again to-morrow!
With the sunset I must be
Hull down on the trail of rapture
In the wonder of the sea.

Aboard at a Ship’s Helm by Walt Whitman

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Aboard at a Ship’s Helm

by Walt Whitman

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!
O ship of the body–ship of the soul–voyaging, voyaging, voyaging.

At Candle-Lightin’ Time by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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At Candle-Lightin’ Time

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

When I come in f’om de co’n–fiel’ aftah wo’kin’ ha’d all day,
It ’s amazin’ nice to fin’ my suppah all erpon de way;
An’ it ’s nice to smell de coffee bubblin’ ovah in de pot,
An’ it ’s fine to see de meat a–sizzlin’ teasin’–lak an’ hot.

But when suppah–time is ovah, an’ de t’ings is cleahed away;
Den de happy hours dat foller are de sweetes’ of de day.
When my co’ncob pipe is sta’ted, an’ de smoke is drawin’ prime,
My ole ‘ooman says, “I reckon, Ike, it ’s candle–lightin’ time.”

Den de chillun snuggle up to me, an’ all commence to call,
“Oh, say, daddy, now it ’s time to mek de shadders on de wall.”
So I puts my han’s togethah—evah daddy knows de way,—
An’ de chillun snuggle closer roun’ ez I begin to say:—

“Fus’ thing, hyeah come Mistah Rabbit; don’ you see him wo’k his eahs?
Huh, uh! dis mus’ be a donkey,—look, how innercent he ‘pears!
Dah ’s de ole black swan a–swimmin’—ain’t she got a’ awful neck?
Who ’s dis feller dat ’s a–comin’? Why, dat ’s ole dog Tray, I ‘spec’!”

Dat ’s de way I run on, tryin’ fu’ to please ‘em all I can;
Den I hollahs, “Now be keerful—dis hyeah las’ ’s de buga–man!”
An’ dey runs an’ hides dey faces; dey ain’t skeered—dey ’s lettin’ on:
But de play ain’t raaly ovah twell dat buga–man is gone.

So I jes’ teks up my banjo, an’ I plays a little chune,
An’ you see dem haids come peepin’ out to listen mighty soon.
Den my wife says, “Sich a pappy fu’ to give you sich a fright!
Jes, you go to baid, an’ leave him: say yo’ prayers an’ say good–night.”