Song by John Keats

You say you love; but with a voice
Chaster than a nun’s, who singeth
The soft Vespers to herself
While the chime-bell ringeth-
O love me truly!
You say you love; but with a smile
Cold as sunrise in September,
As you were Saint Cupid’s nun,
And kept his weeks of Ember.
O love me truly!
You say you love, – but then your lips
Coral tinted teach no blisses,
More than coral in the sea-
They never pout for kisses-
O love me truly!
You say you love; but then your hand
No soft squeeze for squeeze returneth,
It is, like a statue’s, dead,
While mine to passion burneth-
O love me truly!

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Yesterday by Nora May French

Now all my thoughts were crisped and thinned
To elfin threads, to gleaming browns.
Like tawny grasses lean with wind
They drew your heart across the downs.
Your will of all the winds that blew
They drew across the world to me,
To thread my whimsey thoughts of you
Along the downs, above the sea.

Beneath a pool beyond the dune—
So green it was and amber-walled
A face would glimmer like a moon
Seen whitely through an emerald—
And there my mermaid fancy lay
And dreamed the light and you were one,
And flickered in her sea-weed’s sway
A broken largesse of the sun.

Above the world as evening fell
I made my heart into a sky,
And through a twilight like a shell
I saw the shining sea-gulls fly.
I found between the sea and land
And lost again, unwrit, unheard,
A song that fluttered in my hand
And vanished like a silver bird.

Distance by Madison Cawein

I

I dreamed last night once more I stood
Knee-deep on purple clover leas;
Her old home glimmered through its wood
Of dark and melancholy trees:
And on my brow I felt the breeze
That blew from out the solitude,
With sounds of waters that pursued,
And sleepy hummings of the bees.

II

And ankle-deep in violet blooms
Methought I saw her standing there,
A lawny light among the glooms,
A crown of sunlight on her hair;
The wood-birds, warbling everywhere,
Above her head flashed happy plumes;
About her clung the wild perfumes,
And woodland gleams of shimmering air.

III

And then she called me: in my ears
Her voice was music; and it led
My sad soul back with all its fears;
Recalled my spirit that had fled.—
And in my dream it seemed she said,
“Our hearts keep true through all the years;”
And on my face I felt the tears,
The blinding tears of her long dead.

Entry October 15 by Walter Benton

Everyone is sleeping. Nothing wakes. The woods
are motionless. The wind is down to a whisper.
Sleep hums like current – yes, audibly – through the bright steel night.

The evening star rises like a flaming wick.
Hills fit into hills like lovers, their great dark straddling thighs
clasping still greater darkness where they meet. A star breaks,
arcs down the night – like God striking a match across the cathedral ceiling.

Therefore I wish: see my lips move – making your name. It is so still,
so still. I am sure that you must hear me.

Canto II from The Angel in the House by Coventry Patmore

When I behold the skies aloft
   Passing the pageantry of dreams,
The cloud whose bosom, cygnet-soft,
   A couch for nuptial Juno seems,
The ocean broad, the mountains bright,
   The shadowy vales with feeding herds,
I from my lyre the music smite,
   Nor want for justly matching words.
All forces of the sea and air,
   All interests of hill and plain,
I so can sing, in seasons fair,
   That who hath felt may feel again.
Elated oft by such free songs,
   I think with utterance free to raise
That hymn for which the whole world longs,
   A worthy hymn in woman’s praise;
A hymn bright-noted like a bird’s,
   Arousing these song-sleepy times
With rhapsodies of perfect words,
   Ruled by returning kiss of rhymes.
But when I look on her and hope
   To tell with joy what I admire,
My thoughts lie cramp’d in narrow scope,
   Or in the feeble birth expire;
No mystery of well-woven speech,
   No simplest phrase of tenderest fall,
No liken’d excellence can reach
   Her, thee most excellent of all,
The best half of creation’s best,
   Its heart to feel, its eye to see,
The crown and complex of the rest,
   Its aim and its epitome.
Nay, might I utter my conceit,
   ’Twere after all a vulgar song,
For she’s so simply, subtly sweet,
   My deepest rapture does her wrong.
Yet is it now my chosen task
   To sing her worth as Maid and Wife;
Nor happier post than this I ask,
   To live her laureate all my life.
On wings of love uplifted free,
   And by her gentleness made great,
I’ll teach how noble man should be
   To match with such a lovely mate;
CAnd then in her may move the more
   The woman’s wish to be desired,
(By praise increased), till both shall soar,
   With blissful emulations fired.
And, as geranium, pink, or rose
   Is thrice itself through power of art,
So may my happy skill disclose
   New fairness even in her fair heart;
Until that churl shall nowhere be
   Who bends not, awed, before the throne
Of her affecting majesty,
   So meek, so far unlike our own;
Until (for who may hope too much
   From her who wields the powers of love?)
Our lifted lives at last shall touch
   That happy goal to which they move;
Until we find, as darkness rolls
   Away, and evil mists dissolve,
That nuptial contrasts are the poles
   On which the heavenly spheres revolve.

A Prayer in the Spring by Robert Frost

OH, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Heart of Mine by Sappho

Heart of mine, if all the altars
Of the ages stood before me,
Not one pure enough nor sacred
Could I find to lay this white, white
  Rose of love upon.

I who am not great enough to
Love thee with this mortal body
So impassionate with ardour,
But oh, not too small to worship
  While the sun shall shine,—

I would build a fragrant temple
To thee, in the dark green forest,
Of red cedar and fine sandal,
And there love thee with sweet service
  All my whole life long.

I would freshen it with flowers,
And the piney hill-wind through it
Should be sweetened with soft fervours
Of small prayers in gentle language
  Thou wouldst smile to hear.

And a tinkling Eastern wind-bell,
With its fluttering inscription,
From the rafters with bronze music
Should retard the quiet fleeting
  Of uncounted hours.

And my hero, while so human,
Should be even as the gods are,
In that shrine of utter gladness,
With the tranquil stars above it
  And the sea below.

I like for you to be still by Pablo Neruda

I like for you to be still
it is as though you are absent
And you hear me from far away
And my voice does not touch you
it seems as though your eyes had flown away
And it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth
As all things are filled with my soul
You emerge from the things
Filled with my soul
You are like my soul
A butterfly of dream
And you are like the word: Melancholy

I like for you to be still
And you seem far away
it sounds as though you are lamenting
A butterfly cooing like a dove
And you hear me from far away
And my voice does not reach you
Let me come to be still in your silence
And let me talk to you with your silence
That is bright as a lamp
Simple, as a ring
You are like the night
With its stillness and constellations
Your silence is that of a star
As remote and candid

I like for you to be still
it is as though you are absent
Distant and full of sorrow
So you would’ve died
One word then, One smile is enough
And i’m happy;
Happy that it’s not true

The Art of Love (Book III) by Ovid

Sirens, tho’ monsters of the stormy main,
Can ships, when under sail, with songs detain:
Scarce could Ulysses by his friends be bound,
When first he listen’d to the charming sound,
Singing insinuates, learn all ye maids;
Oft when a face forbids, a voice persuades.
Whether on theatres loud strains we hear,
Or in Ruelles some soft Egyptian air.
Well shall she sing, of whom I make my choice,
And with her lute accompany her voice.
The rocks were stirr’d, the beasts to listen staid
When on his lyre melodious Orpheus play’d,
Even Cerberus and hell that sound obey’d,
And stones officious were thy walls to raise.
0, Thebes, attracted by Amphion’s lays.
The dolphin, dumb itself, thy voice admir’d,
And was, Arion, by thy songs inspir’d.
Of sweet Callimachus the works rehearse,
And real Philetas and Anacreon’s verse,
Terentian plays may much the mind improve;
But softest Sappho best instructs to love.
Propertius, Gallus, and Tibullus read,
And let Varronian verse to these succeed.
Then mighty Maro’s work with care peruse;
Of all the Latians boards the noblest muse,
Even I, ’tis possible, in after-days,
May ‘scape oblivion, and be nam’d with these.

My labour’d lines, some readers may approve,
Since I’ve instructed either sex in love.
Whatever book you read of this soft art,
Read with a lover’s voice and lover’s heart.

Art of love (book II) by Ovid

Andromache was tall,yet some report
Her Hector was so blind he thought her short.
At first what’s nauseous lessens by degrees;
Young loves are nice, and difficult to please.
The infant plant that bears a tender rind,
Reels to and fro with ev’ry breath of wind;
But shooting upward to a tree at last,
It stems the storm, and braves the strongest blast
Time will defects and blemishes endear,
And make them lovely to your eyes appear:
Unusual scents at first may give offence;
Time reconciles them to the vanquish’d sense.
Her vices soften with some kinder phrase;

—-
Nor ask her age, consult no register,
Under whose reign she’s born, or what’s the year!
If fading youth chequers her hair with white,
Experience makes her perfect in delight;
In her embrace sublimer joys are found,
A fruitful soil, and cultivated ground!
The hours enjoy whilst youth and pleasures last,
Age hurries on, and death pursues too fast.
Or plough the seas, or cultivate the land,
Or wield the sword in thy advent’rous hand;
Or much in love thy nervous strength employ,
Embrace the fair, the grateful maid enjoy;
Pleasure and wealth reward thy pleasing pains,
The labour’s great, but greater far the gains.
Add their experience in affairs of love,
For years and practice do alike improve,
Their arts repair the injuries of time,
And still preserve them in their charming prime;
In varied ways they act the pleasure o’er,
Nor pictur’d postures can instruct you more.
They want no courtship to provoke delight,
But meet your warmth with eager appetite;
Give me enjoyment, when the willing dame
Glows with desires, and burns with equal flame.21
I love to hear the soft transporting joys,
The frequent sighs, the tender murm’ring voice;
To see her eyes with varied pleasures move,
And all the nymph confess the pow’r of love.
Nature’s not thus indulgent to the young,
These joys alone to riper years belong;
Who youth enjoys, drinks crude unready wine,
Let age your girl and sprightly juice refine,
Mellow their sweets, and make the taste divide.
To Helen who’d Hermione prefer,
Or Gorge think beyond her mother fair;
But he that covets the experienc’d dame,
Shall crown his joys and triumph in his flame.
One conscious bed receives the happy pair;
Retire, my muse; the door demands thy care.
What charming words, what tender things are said,
What language flows without the useless aid!
There shall the roving hand employment find,
Inspire new flames, and make e’en virgins kind.
Thus Hector did Andromache delight,
Hector in love victorious, as in fight.
When weary from the field Achilles came,
Thus with delays he rais’d Briseis’ flame;
Ah, could those arms, those fatal hands, delight!
Inspire kind thoughts, and raise thy appetite!
Coulds’t thou, fond maid, be charm’d with his embrace,
Stain’d with the blood of half thy royal race.