Monday, 27 April 2020

Where I Lived, and What I Lived For

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. 
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; 
or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.


Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. 


Henry David Thoreau, "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For"

Monday, 20 April 2020

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye Rose-buds while ye may,
    Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to day,
    To morrow will be dying.

The glorious Lamp of Heaven, the Sun,
    The higher he's a getting;
The sooner will his Race be run,
    And neerer he's to Setting.

That Age is best, which is the first,
    When Youth and Blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
    Times, still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time;
    And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
    You may forever tarry


Robert Herrick

Monday, 13 April 2020

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
      But O heart! heart! heart!
            O the bleeding drops of red,
                  Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                        Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
      Here captain! dear father!
            This arm beneath your head;
                  It is some dream that on the deck,
                        You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
      Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
            But I, with mournful tread,
                  Walk the deck my captain lies,
                        Fallen cold and dead.


Written in 1865 by Walt Whitman

Sunday, 1 March 2020

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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Break, Break, Break - Tennyson


Break, Break, Break
BY ALFRED TENNYSON
Break, break, break,
         On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
         The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman's boy,
         That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
         That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
         To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
         And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break
         At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
         Will never come back to me.