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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Love’s Messengers by Mary Ainge DeVere

Who will tell him? Who will teach him?
Have you voices, merry birds?
Then be voice for me, and reach him
With a thousand pleading words.
Sing my secret, east and west,
Till his answer be confessed!

Roses, when you see him coming,
Light of heart and strong of limb,
Make your lover-bees stop humming;
Turn your blushes round to him—
Blush, dear flowers, that he may learn,
How a woman’s heart can burn!

Wind—oh, wind—you happy rover!
Oh that I were half as free—
Leave your honey-bells and clover,
Go and seek my love for me.
Find, kiss, clasp him, make him know
It is I who love him so!

Little Bo-Peep by Joseph Martin Kronheim

“Little Bo-Peep she lost her sheep
And didn’t know where to find them.
Let them alone, and they’ll come home,
And bring their tails behind them!”

So runs the Nursery Rhyme. Little Bo-Peep was a very nice little girl. Her cheeks had a bloom on them like a lovely peach, and her voice sounded like a sweet silver bell.

But though Little Bo-Peep was as good as she was beautiful, she sometimes met with misfortunes that made her very sad. Once, when she lost her sheep, she was very doleful indeed. And this is how it happened.

One summer evening, when the sun was setting, Little Bo-Peep, who had to rise very early in the morning, felt tired, and sat down on a bank covered with daisies. Being very weary she soon fell fast asleep. Now the Bell-wether of Bo-Peep’s flock was a most stupid and stubborn fellow. I dare say you know that all the sheep in a flock will follow the Bell-wether, and that he always wears a bell round his neck. It was a great pity, but the Bell-wether of Bo-Peep’s flock was very wild, and was much given to wander far away into the wood, where of course the rest of the sheep would follow him.

Finding Little Bo-Peep asleep, the tiresome fellow began by standing on his hind legs and making a great bow to his shadow before him on the grass. After this he whirled himself round like a top, shaking his head all the time, and ringing his bell.

Very soon the rest of the flock began to dance and caper too. And when they had wheeled round their leader for a time, they ran off after him with a bound into the wood. Away they went, till they were quite tired out; and then they came to a stand-still, staring at their leader with very blank faces. But the Bell-wether looked foolish enough now, and did nothing but shake his head slowly and ring his bell, which seemed to say quite clearly, “You are lost, you are lost!”

When Little Bo-Peep awoke she found her sheep gone, and hardly knowing what she did, she walked on and on, far into the wood. She met some people with hoes and rakes in their hands, and asked them if they had seen her sheep. But they only laughed at her, and said, No. One man was very cross, and threatened to beat her. At last she came to a stile, on which an old Raven was perched. He looked so wise that Little Bo-Peep asked him whether he had seen a flock of sheep. But he only cried “Caw, caw, caw;” so Bo-Peep ran on again across the fields.

She wandered on till night-fall, and being faint with hunger, was very glad to see a light just before her. As she went on, she saw that it shone from a cottage window. But when she came to the door, it looked so dark and dismal that she was afraid to go in, and was just going to run away, when a cross-looking old woman came out, and dragged her into the cottage. She made her sit by the side of her son, who was a very ugly youth with a great red face and red hair.

The old woman told him that she had brought Bo-Peep to be his wife, so Bo-Peep, who did not like him at all, ran away while they were asleep. But she did not know where to go, and gave herself up for lost, when she heard something cry, “tu-whit—tu-whoo,” in the tree above her. It was a great owl, which began flapping its wings with joy. Bo-Peep was frightened at first, but as the owl seemed very kind, she followed it. It took her to a cottage were there was plenty to eat and drink, and then, to Bo-Peep’s great surprise, it began to speak, and told her this story:—

“Know, dear Maiden,” said the owl, “that I am the daughter of a King, and was a lovely Princess; but I was changed into an owl by the old woman at the cottage, because I would not marry her ugly son. But I have heard the fairies say that one day a lovely maiden, who would come into this wood to find her lost sheep, should be the means of my gaining my own form again. You are that pretty maid, and I will take you to a spot where you will find your sheep, but without their tails. The elves will play with them for this night, but in the morning every sheep will have its tail again, except the stupid Bell-wether. You must then wave his tail three times over my head, and I shall resume my shape again.”

The owl flew off, and led Bo-Peep into the wood, and said, “Sleep, maiden, I will watch.” How long she was asleep she could not tell, but the charmed spot was suddenly lighted up, and she saw the Queen of the Fairies seated on a bank. The Queen said the sheep should be punished for running away. She then saw all her sheep come trooping into the place, and on every sheep there was an Elf, who held in his hand a sheep’s tail.

After riding them about for some time, and having great fun with them, the mad sport ceased, and each Elf restored the tail to his sheep—all but the Bell-wether’s, which their leader hid in a tree. When Bo-Peep awoke, she saw the owl flapping its wings as if to remind her of her promise; so she fetched the tail, and waved it three times over its head, when up started the most charming Princess that ever was seen. The princess gave Bo-Peep a beautiful cottage, and her sheep never ran away from their kind mistress again.

Heart Disease by James B. Burnet M.D.

I list, as thy heart and ascending aorta

Their volumes of valvular harmony pour,

And my soul, from that muscular music has caught a

New life, ‘mid its dry anatomical lore.

‘ ‘ Oh ! rare is the sound, when thy ventricles throb
In a systolic symphony, measured and slow,
While the auricles answer with rhythmical sob
As they murmur a melody wondrously low.

“Oh ! thy cornea, love, has the radiant light
Of the sparkle that laughs in the icicle’s sheen.
And thy crystalline lens, like a diamond bright,
Through the quivering frame of thine iris is seen.

“And thy retina, spreading its lustre of pearl,
Like a far-away nebula, distantly gleams
From a vault of black cellular mirrors, that hurl
From their hexagon angles the silvery beams.

” Oh ! the flash of those orbs is enslaving me still.
As they roll ‘neath thy palpebræ, dimly translucent,
Obeying, in silence, the magical will
Of the oculo-motor — pathetic — abducent.

‘ ‘ Oh ! sweet is thy voice, as it sighingly swells
From thy daintily quivering chordre vocales,
Or rings in clear tones from the echoing cells
Of the antrum, the ethmoid, and sinus frontales.

ECHO AND THE LOVER.

Lover. Echo! mysterious nymph, declareOf what you’re made, and what you are.

Echo.           Air!

Lover. Mid airy cliffs and places high,Sweet Echo! listening love, you lie.

Echo.           You lie!

Lover. Thou dost resuscitate dead sounds,—Hark! how my voice revives, resounds!

Echo.           Zounds!

Lover. I’ll question thee before I go,—Come, answer me more apropos!

Echo.          Poh! poh!

Lover. Tell me, fair nymph, if e’er you sawSo sweet a girl as Phœbe Shaw.

Echo.           Pshaw!

Lover. Say, what will turn that frisking coneyInto the toils of matrimony?

Echo.           Money!

Lover. Has Phœbe not a heavenly brow?Is not her bosom white as snow?

Echo.           Ass! No!

Lover. Her eyes! was ever such a pair?Are the stars brighter than they are?

Echo.           They are!

Lover. Echo, thou liest, but can’t deceive me.

Echo.           Leave me!

Lover. But come, thou saucy, pert romancer,Who is as fair as Phœbe? Answer!

Echo.           Ann, sir.

Echo Song by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Who can say where Echo dwells?
In some mountain-cave, methinks,
Where the white owl sits and blinks;
Or in deep sequestered dells,
Where foxglove hangs its bells,
Echo dwells.
Echo!
Echo!

II

Phantom of the crystal Air,
Daughter of sweet Mystery!
Here is one has need of thee;
Lead him to thy secret lair,
Myrtle brings he for thy hair–
Hear his prayer,
Echo!
Echo!

III

Echo lift thy drowsy head,
And repeat each charmëd word
Thou must needs have overheard
Yestere’en ere, rosy-red,
Daphne down the valley fled–
Words unsaid,
Echo!
Echo!

IV

Breathe the vows she since denies!
She hath broken every vow;
What she would she would not now–
Thou didst hear her perjuries.
Whisper, whilst I shut my eyes,
Those sweet lies,
Echo!
Echo!

The Critic by Epes Sargent

Once on a time, the nightingale, whose singing,

Had with her praises set the forest ringing,

Consented at a concert to appear :

Of course her friends all flock’d to hear,

And with them many a critic, wide awake

To pick a flaw, or carp a mistake.

 

She sang as only nightingales can sing ;

And when she’d ended,

There was a general cry of ‘ Bravo ! Splendid !’

While she, poor thing,

Abash’d and fluttering, to her nest retreated

Quite terrified to be so warmly greeted.

 

The turkeys gobbled their delight ; the geese,

Who had been known to hiss at many a trial

That this was perfect, ventured no denial :

It Seem’d as if th’ applause would never cease

 

But ‘mong the critics on the ground,

An ass was present, pompous and profound,

Who said, ‘My friends, I’ll not dispute the honour

That you would do our little prima donna :

Although her upper notes are very shrill,

And she defies all method in her trill

She has some talent, and, upon the whole,

With study, may some cleverness attain.

Then, her friends tell me, she’s a virtuous soul ;

But, but —–‘

‘But ‘ —-growl’d the lion, ‘by my mane,

I never knew an ass, who did not strain

To qualify a good thing with a but !’

‘Nay,’ said the goose, approaching with a strut,

‘Don’t interrupt him, sir ; pray let it pass ;

The ass is honest if he is an ass !

 

‘ I was about, ‘ said Long Ear, ‘ to remark,

That there is something lacking in her whistle,

Something magnetic,

To waken chords and feelings sympathetic,

And kindle in the breast a spark

Like — like, for instance, a good juicy thistle.’

 

The assembly titter’d, but the fox, with gravity,

Said, at the lion winking.

‘ Our learn’d friend, with his accustom’d suavity,

Has given his opinion without shrinking.

But, to do justice to the nightingale,

He should inform us, as no doubt he will,

What sort of music ‘tis, that does not fail

His sensibilities to rouse and thrill.’

 

‘Why, ‘ said the critic, with a look potential,

And pricking up his ears, delighted much

At Reynard’s tone and manner deferential, —

‘ Why, sir, there’s nothing can so deeply touch

My feelings, and so carry me away

As a fine, mellow, ear-inspiring bray.’

 

‘I thought so, ‘ said the fox, without a pause ;

‘As far as you’re concern’d, your judgment’s true ;

You do not like the nightingale, because

The nightingale is not an ass like you.’

Laughing Song by William Blake

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

when the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing ‘Ha, ha he!’

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of ‘Ha, ha, he!’

Song of the Clouds by Aristophanes

Cloud-Maidens that float on forever,
Dew-sprinkled, fleet bodies, and fair,
Let us rise from our Sire’s loud river,
Great Ocean, and soar through the air
To the peaks of the pine-covered mountains where the pines hang as tressed of hair.
Let us seek the watch towers undaunted,
Where the well-watered cornfields abound,
And through murmurs of rivers nymph-haunted,
The songs of the sea-waves resound;
And the sun in the sky never wearies of spreading his radiance around.

Let us cast off the haze
Of the mists from our band,
Till with far-seeing gaze
We may look on the land.

Cloud-maidens that bring the rain shower,
To the Pallas-loved land let us wing,
To the land of stout heroes and Power,
Where Kekrops was hero and king,
Where honor and silence is given
To the mysteries that none may declare,
Where are gifts to the high gods in heaven
When the house of the gods is laid bare,
Where are lofty roofed temples, and statues well carven and fair;
Where are feasts to the happy immortals
When the sacred procession draws near,
Where garlands make bright the bright portals
At all seasons and months in the year;
And when spring days are here,
Then we tread to the wine-god a measure,
In Bacchanal dance and in pleasure,
‘Mid the contests of sweet singing choirs,
And the crash of loud lyres.