William Shakespeare
1564 - 1616

Sonnet XVIII
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed:
And every fair from fair, sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest:
Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breath, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


My Bounty is as Boundless as the Sea
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep;
The more I give to thee
The more I have,
For both are infinite.


Oh Mistress Mine
O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O, stay and hear; your true love's coming,
That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man's son doth know.
What is love? 'Tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies not plenty;
Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth's a stuff will not endure.


Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no, it is an ever-fixèd mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his heighth be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


Sonnet 130
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning
1806-1861

HOW DO I LOVE THEE?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints - I love thee with the breadth,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


Sonnets from the Portuguese, XIV
If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
'I love her for her smile-her look-her way
Of speaking gently,-for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'-
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,-and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,-
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love's eternity.

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Oliver Wendell Holmes
1809 - 1894

TOO YOUNG FOR LOVE
Too young for love?
Ah, say not so!
Tell reddening rosebuds not to blow!
Wait not for spring to pass away, --
Love's summer months begin with May!
To young for love?
Ah, say not so!
Too young? Too young?
Ah, no! no! no!
Too young for love?
Ah, say not so,
While daisies bloom and tulips glow!
June soon will come with lengthened day
To practise all love learned in May.
To young for love?
Ah, say not so!
Too young? Too young?
Ah, no! no! no!

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Bette Midler
born December 1, 1945
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA


LET THE WORLD STOP TURNING
Let the world stop turning,
Let the sun stop burning,
Let them tell me love's not worth going through.
If it all falls apart,
I will know deep in my heart,
The only dream that mattered had come true
...In this life I was loved by you.

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David Reed, Jr.

Love Me, and the World is Mine
I wander on as in a dream,
My goal a paradise must be,
For there an angel waits 'twould seem,
Yet lo, dear heart, 'tis only thee.
Suns may shine to light my way dear,
Wealth be mine for ever dear,
Queens may pledge their riches too;
Yet the world would still be lonely,
With such virtues only.
Life to me dear, means just you.
I care not for the stars that shine,
I dare not hope to e'er be thine,
I only know I love you.
Love me, and the world is mine.

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Emily Dickinson
1830 - 1886

IF YOU WERE COMING IN THE FALL
If you were coming in the fall,
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile, and half a spurn,
as housewives do, a fly.
If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls?
and put them each in separate drawers,
for fear the numbers fuse?
If only centuries delayed,
I'd count them on my hand,
subtracting, till my fingers dropped
into van Dieman's Land.
If certain, when this life was out?
thats yours and mine, should be
I'd toss it yonder, like a rind,
and take eternity ?
But, now, uncertain of the length
of this, that is between,
it goads me, like the Goblin Bee ?
that will not state? its sting

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Henry Blossom

KISS ME AGAIN
Sweet summer breeze,
Whispering trees,
Stars shining above;
Roses in bloom, wafted perfume,
Sleepy birds dreaming of love.
Safe in your arms, far from alarms,
Daylight shall come but in vain.
Tenderly pressed close to your breast,
Kiss me, kiss me again.
Kiss me again! Kiss me!
Kiss me again!

**************************************************

Anonymous

Love Puts the Fun In Together
Love puts the fun in together,
The sad in apart,
The hope in tomorrow,
The joy in the heart.

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Aleksandr Pushkin
1799 - 1837

Wondrous Moment
The wondrous moment of our meeting . . .
I well remember you appear
Before me like a vision fleeting,
A beauty's angel pure and clear.
In hopeless ennui surrounding
The worldly bustle, to my ear
For long your tender voice kept sounding,
For long in dreams came features dear.
Time passed. Unruly storms confounded
Old dreams, and I from year to year
Forgot how tender you had sounded,
Your heavenly features once so dear.
My backwoods days dragged slow and quiet-
Dull fence around, dark vault above-
Devoid of God and uninspired,
Devoid of tears, of fire, of love.
Sleep from my soul began retreating,
And here you once again appear
Before me like a vision fleeting,
A beauty's angel pure and clear.
In ecstasy the heart is beating,
Old joys for it anew revive;
Inspired and God-filled, it is greeting
The fire, and tears, and love alive.

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Anne Bradstreet
1612 - 1672

To My Dear and Loving Husband
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more then whole Mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

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William Browne

Song
For her gait if she be walking,
Be she sitting I desire her
For her state's sake, and admire her
For her wit if she be talking:
Gait and state and wit approve her;
For which all and each I love her.
Be she sullen, I commend her
For a modest; be she merry,
For a kind one her prefer I.
Briefly, everything doth lend her
So much grace and so approve her
That for everything I love her.

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Lord Byron

She Walks In Beauty
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge
1772-1834

Desire
Where true Love burns Desire is Love's pure flame;
It is the reflex of our earthly frame,
That takes its meaning from the nobler part,
And but translates the language of the heart.

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Percy Bysshe Shelley
1792 - 1822

Love's Philosophy
The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by law divine
In one another's being mingle;--
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another
No sister flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?

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Anne Finch
1661 - 1720

To A Husband
This is to the crown and blessing of my life,
The much loved husband of a happy wife;
To him whose constant passion found the art
To win a stubborn and ungrateful heart,
And to the world by tenderest proof discovers
They err, who say that husbands can't be lovers.
With such return of passion, as is due,
Daphnis I love, Daphnis my thoughts pursue;
Daphnis, my hopes and joys are bounded all in you.
Even I, for Daphnis' and my promise' sake,
What I in woman censure, undertake.
But this from love, not vanity proceeds;
You know who writes, and I who 'tis that reads.
Judge not my passion by my want of skill:
Many love well, though they express it ill;
And I your censure could with pleasure bear,
Would you but soon return, and speak it here.

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William Cowper
1731 - 1800

To A Young Lady
Sweet stream that winds through yonder glade,
Apt emblem of a virtuous maid-
Silent and chaste she steals along,
Far from the world's gay busy throng:
With gentle yet prevailing force,
Intent upon her destined course;
Graceful and useful all she does,
Blessing and blest where'er she goes;
Pure-bosom'd as that watery glass,
And Heaven reflected in her face.

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Night Thoughts
Stars, you are unfortunate, I pity you,
Beautiful as you are, shining in your glory,
Who guide seafaring men through stress and peril
And have no recompense from gods or mortals,
Love you do not, nor do you know what love is.
Hours that are aeons urgently conducting
Your figures in a dance through the vast heaven,
What journey have you ended in this moment,
Since lingering in the arms of my beloved
I lost all memory of you and midnight.

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D.H. Lawrence
1885 - 1930

On The Balcony
In front of the sombre mountains,
a faint, lost ribbon of rainbow
And between us and it, the thunder;
And down below in the green wheat,
the labourers stand like dark stumps,
still in the green wheat.
You are near to me, and naked feet
In their sandals, and through the
scent of the balcony's naked timber
I distinguish the scent of your hair:
so now the limber
Lightning falls from heaven.
Adown the pale-green glacier river floats
A dark boat through the gloom-
and whither? The thunder roars
But still we have each other!
The naked lightnings in the heavens dither
And disappear-
what have we but each other?
The boat has gone.

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Alfred Austin

Love's Trinity
Soul, heart, and body, we thus singly name,
Are not in love divisible and distinct,
But each with each inseparably link'd.
One is not honour, and the other shame,
But burn as closely fused as fuel, heat, and flame.
They do not love who give the body and keep
The heart ungiven; nor they who yield the soul,
And guard the body. Love doth give the whole;
Its range being high as heaven, as ocean deep,
Wide as the realms of air or planet's curving sweep.

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Robert Browning
1837–1901

Life In A Love
Escape me?
Never-
Beloved!
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth,
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear-
It seems too much like a fate, indeed!
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed-
But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall,
And baffled, get up to begin again,-
So the chase takes up one's life, that's all.
While, look but once from your farthest bound,
At me so deep in the dust and dark,
No sooner the old hope drops to ground
Than a new one, straight to the selfsame mark,
I shape me-
Ever
Removed!

**************************************************

Thomas Hood

I Love Thee
I love thee, I love thee,
'Tis all that I can say;
It is my vision in the night,
My dreaming in the day.

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Thomas D’Urfey

Never So Happily In One
Never so happily in one
Did heaven and earth combine;
And yet 'tis flesh and blood alone
That makes her so divine

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John Clare

First Love
I ne'er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet.
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
And stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale, a deadly pale.
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked what could I ail
My life and all seemed turned to clay.
And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my eyesight quite away.
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start.
They spoke as chords do from the string,
And blood burnt round my heart.
Are flowers the winter's choice
Is love's bed always snow
She seemed to hear my silent voice
Not love appeals to know.
I never saw so sweet a face
As that I stood before.
My heart has left its dwelling place
And can return no more.

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Eugene Field

A Valentine To My Wife
Accept, dear girl, this little token,
And if between the lines you seek,
You'll find the love I've often spoken-
The love my dying lips shall speak.
Our little ones are making merry
O'er am'rous ditties rhymed in jest,
But in these words (though awkward-very)
The genuine article's expressed.
You are as fair and sweet and tender,
Dear brown-eyed little sweetheart mine,
As when, a callow youth and slender,
I asked to be your Valentine.
What though these years of ours be fleeting?
What though the years of youth be flown?
I'll mock old Tempus with repeating,
" I love my love and her alone!"
And when I fall before his reaping,
And when my stuttering speech is dumb,
Think not my love is dead or sleeping,
But that it waits for you to come.
So take, dear love, this little token,
And if there speaks in any line
The sentiment I'd fain have spoken,
Say, will you kiss your Valentine?

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Stephen C. Foster
1826 - 1864

Beautiful Dreamer
Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,
Lull'd by the moonlight have all pass'd away!
Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life's busy throng, -
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea
Mermaids are chaunting the wild lorelie;
Over the streamlet vapors are borne,
Waiting to fade at the bright coming morn.
Beautiful dreamer, beam on my heart,
E'en as the morn on the streamlet and sea;
Then will all clouds of sorrow depart, -
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

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W.B. Yeats

He Wishes For The Clothes Of Heaven
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

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Stephen Crane

Ah, God, the way your little finger moved
Ah, God, the way your little finger moved
As you thrust a bare arm backward
And made play with your hair
And a comb a silly gilt comb
Ah, God—that I should suffer
Because of the way a little finger moved.

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Sir John Harrington

Dear, I to thee this diamond commend
Dear, I to thee this diamond commend,
In which a model of thyself I send.
How just unto thy joints this circlet sitteth,
So just thy face and shape my fancy fitteth.
The touch will try this ring of purest gold,
My touch tries thee, as pure though softer mold.
That metal precious is, the stone is true,
As true, and then how much more precious you.
The gem is clear, and hath nor needs no foil,
Thy face, nay more, thy fame is free from soil.
You'll deem this dear, because from me you have it,
I deem your faith more dear, because you gave it.
This pointed diamond cuts glass and steel,
Your love's like force in my firm heart I feel.
But this, as all things else, time wastes with wearing,
Where you my jewels multiply with bearing.

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Henry Constable

My lady's presence makes the roses red
My lady's presence makes the roses red,
Because to see her lips they blush for shame.
The lily's leaves, for envy, pale became,
And her white hands in them this envy bred.
The marigold the leaves abroad doth spread,
Because the sun's and her power is the same.
The violet of purple colour came.
Dyed in the blood she made my heart to shed.
In brief: all flowers from her their virtue take;
From her sweet breath their sweet smells do proceed;
The living heat which her eyebeams doth make
Warmeth the ground and quickeneth the seed.
The rain, wherewith she watereth the flowers,
Falls from mine eyes, which she dissolves in showers.

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Edmund Spenser

One day I wrote her name upon the strand
One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
Vain man, said she, that dost in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize!
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wiped out likewise.
Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name;
Where, whenas death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.

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Emily Dickinson

22
I gave myself to him,
And took himself for pay.
The solemn contract of a life
Was ratified this way

The value might disappoint,
Myself a poorer prove
Than this my purchaser suspect,
The daily own of Love

Depreciates the sight;
But, 'til the merchant buy,
Still fabled, in the isles of spice
The subtle cargoes lie.

At least, 'tis mutual risk,—
Some found it mutual gain;
Sweet debt of Life,—each night to owe,
Insolvent, every noon

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Elizabeth Akers Allen

At Last
At last, when all the summer shine
That warmed life's early hours is past,
Your loving fingers seek for mine
And hold them close—at last—at last!
Not oft the robin comes to build
Its nest upon the leafless bough
By autumn robbed, by winter chilled,—
But you, dear heart, you love me now.

Though there are shadows on my brow
And furrows on my cheek, in truth,—
The marks where Time's remorseless plough
Broke up the blooming sward of Youth,—
Though fled is every girlish grace
Might win or hold a lover's vow,
Despite my sad and faded face,
And darkened heart, you love me now!

I count no more my wasted tears;
They left no echo of their fall;
I mourn no more my lonesome years;
This blessed hour atones for all.
I fear not all that Time or Fate
May bring to burden heart or brow,—
Strong in the love that came so late,
Our souls shall keep it always now!

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James Whitcomb Riley

The Lost Thrill
I grow so weary, someway, of all things
That love and loving have vouchsafed to me,
Since now all dreamed-of sweets of ecstasy
Am I possessed of: The caress that clings—
The lips that mix with mine with murmurings
No language may interpret, and the free,
Unfettered brood of kisses, hungrily
Feasting in swarms on honeyed blossomings
Of passion's fullest flower—For yet I miss
The essence that alone makes love divine—
The subtle flavoring no tang of this
Weak wine of melody may here define:—
A something found and lost in the first kiss
A lover ever poured through lips of mine.

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Christopher Marlowe

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods or steepy mountains yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool,
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Who Ever Loved, That Loved Not at First Sight?

It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overruled by fate.
When two are stripped, long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should love, the other win;
And one especially do we affect
Of two gold ingots, like in each respect:
The reason no man knows, let it suffice,
What we behold is censured by our eyes.
Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?


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Robert Herrick

Upon Julia's Clothes

Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
The liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes and see
That brave vibration each way free,
Oh, how that glittering taketh me!

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Anonymous

To His Love
Come away, come, sweet love,
The golden morning breaks,
All the earth, all the air
Of love and pleasure speaks,
Teach thine arms then to embrace,
And sweet rosy lips to kiss,
And mix our souls in mutual bliss.
Eyes were made for beauty's grace,
Viewing, rueing love's long pain,
Procur'd by beauty's rude disdain.

Come away, come, sweet love,
The golden morning wastes,
While the sun from his sphere
His fiery arrows casts:
Making all the shadows fly,
Playing, staying in the grove,
To entertain the stealth of love,
Thither, sweet love, let us hie,
Flying, dying, in desire,
Wing'd with sweet hopes and heav'nly fire.

Come away, come, sweet love,
Do not in vain adorn
Beauty's grace that should rise
Like to the naked morn:
Lilies on the river's side,
And fair Cyprian flowers new blown,
Desire no beauties but their own,
Ornament is nurse of pride,
Pleasure, measure, love's delight,
Haste then, sweet love, our wished flight.

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Presence of Love
And in Life's noisiest hour,
There whispers still the ceaseless Love of Thee,
The heart's Self-solace and soliloquy.

You mould my Hopes, you fashion me within;
And to the leading Love-throb in the Heart
Thro' all my Being, thro' my pulse's beat;
You lie in all my many Thoughts, like Light,
Like the fair light of Dawn, or summer Eve
On rippling Stream, or cloud-reflecting Lake.

And looking to the Heaven, that bends above you,
How oft! I bless the Lot that made me love you.

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John Keats

Bright Star, Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient sleepless eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors;
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

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Henry Constable

Damelus' Song to Diaphenia
Diaphenia, like the daffadowndilly,
White as the sun, fair as the lily,
Heigh ho, how I do love thee!
I do love thee as my lambs
Are belovëd of their dams—
How blest were I if thou wouldst prove me!

Diaphenia, like the spreading roses,
That in thy sweets all sweets incloses,
Fair sweet, how I do love thee!
I do love thee as each flower
Loves the sun's life-giving power,
For, dead, thy breath to life might move me.

Diaphenia, like to all things blessed,
When all thy praises are expressëd,
Dear joy, how I do love thee!
As the birds do love the spring,
Or the bees their careful king,—
Then in requite, sweet virgin, love me!


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Kenneth Carroll

elaborate signings
(for Joy)
"women are the sweetness of life."
poets can build galaxies from pebbles
& breathe the word of life into brief glances,
but one must be careful with the power of creation
so i scribble an obligatory, struggling to keep from
staining the page with the exaggeration of new passion,
unsure if i am simply the writer who lives downstairs,
plays his coltrane too loud & likes thunderstorms

i take a trip one flight up
where your eyes escort me to another country,
your touch becomes a wet kiss on the horizon
of a birthday in a warm july
i travel to your smile to hear stories of
wrecked trains parked in your dining room

but the past is a vulgar thief
it steals the laughter from your eyes,
tosses the broken edges of yesterday's heartache
into this remembrance
i dream of erasing painful memories with lingering
caresses from a steady hand

i rearrange the jagged stars of your past
i am the young boy smiling at you with love letter eyes
i carve your name into the soul of graying trees
i am your first slow dance, a trembling hand teetering on
your waist
i replace the melancholy prayers on your lips with urgent
kisses
i swear an oath to your beauty, become holy in your
embrace

traveling tall miles through years of distance,
i arrive, wet from your tears,
my only tool—a poet’s skill
i mend your smile,
emancipate your eyes,
& together
we ride that wrecked train from your dining room
to the horizon of your birthday in another country.

*************************************************************************
Sidney Lanier

Evening Song
Look off, dear Love, across the sallow sands,
And mark yon meeting of the sun and sea;
How long they kiss in sight of all the lands,
Ah! longer, longer we.

Now, in the sea's red vintage melts the sun
As Egypt's pearl dissolved in rosy wine
And Cleopatra night drinks all. 'Tis done,
Love, lay thine hand in mine.

Come forth, sweet stars, and comfort heaven's heart,
Glimmer, ye waves, 'round else unlighted sands;
Oh night! divorce our sun and sky apart
Never our lips, our hands.

*************************************************************************
Sir Philip Sidney

from Astrophil and Stella
Queen Virtue's court, which some call Stella's face,
Prepar'd by Nature's choicest furniture,
Hath his front built of alabaster pure;
Gold in the covering of that stately place.

The door by which sometimes comes forth her Grace
Red porphir is, which lock of pearl makes sure,
Whose porches rich (which name of cheeks endure)
Marble mix'd red and white do interlace.

The windows now through which this heav'nly guest
Looks o'er the world, and can find nothing such,
Which dare claim from those lights the name of best,

Of touch they are that without touch doth touch,
Which Cupid's self from Beauty's mine did draw:
Of touch they are, and poor I am their straw.

***********************************************************

William Butler Yeats

Her Triumph
See the chariot at hand here of Love,
Wherein my lady rideth!
Each that draws is a swan or a dove,
And well the car Love guideth.
As she goes, all hearts do duty
Unto her beauty;
And enamour'd, do wish, so they might
But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side,
Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.

Do but look on her eyes, they do light
All that Love's world compriseth!
Do but look on her hair, it is bright
As Love's star when it riseth!
Do but mark, her forehead's smoother
Than words that soothe her;
And from her arched brows, such a grace
Sheds itself through the face
As alone there triumphs to the life
All the gain, all the good, of the elements' strife.

Have you seen but a bright lily grow,
Before rude hands have touch'd it?
Ha' you mark'd but the fall o' the snow
Before the soil hath smutch'd it?
Ha' you felt the wool o' the beaver?
Or swan's down ever?
Or have smelt o' the bud o' the briar?
Or the nard in the fire?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
Oh so white! Oh so soft! Oh so sweet is she!

**************************************************

Ben Johnson

To Celia
Drink to me, only, with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise,
Doth ask a drink divine:
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee, late, a rosy wreath,
Not so much honouring thee,
As giving it a hope, that there
It could not withered be.
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
And sent'st back to me:
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself, but thee.

**************************************************

James Henry Leigh Hunt

Jenny Kissed Me
Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in.
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in.
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad;
Say that health and wealth have missed me;
Say I'm growing old, but add—
Jenny kissed me!

*************************************************

George Herbert

Love (3)
Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.

"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here":
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.

**************************************************

Aphra Behn

Love Arm'd

Love in Fantastique Triumph satt,
Whilst bleeding Hearts around him flow'd,
For whom Fresh pains he did create,
And strange Tryanic power he show'd;
From thy Bright Eyes he took his fire,
Which round about, in sport he hurl'd;
But 'twas from mine he took desire,
Enough to undo the Amorous World.
From me he took his sighs and tears,
From thee his Pride and Crueltie;
From me his Languishments and Feares,
And every Killing Dart from thee;
Thus thou and I, the God have arm'd,
And sett him up a Deity;
But my poor Heart alone is harm'd,
Whilst thine the Victor is, and free.

************************************************

Amy Lowell

Madonna of the Evening Flowers
All day long I have been working,
Now I am tired.
I call:  “Where are you?”
But there is only the oak tree rustling in the wind.
The house is very quiet,
The sun shines in on your books,
On your scissors and thimble just put down,
But you are not there.
Suddenly I am lonely:
Where are you?
I go about searching.

Then I see you,
Standing under a spire of pale blue larkspur,
With a basket of roses on your arm.
You are cool, like silver,
And you smile.
I think the Canterbury bells are playing little tunes.

You tell me that the peonies need spraying,
That the columbines have overrun all bounds,
That the pyrus japonica should be cut back and rounded.
You tell me these things.
But I look at you, heart of silver,
White heart-flame of polished silver,
Burning beneath the blue steeples of the larkspur,
And I long to kneel instantly at your feet,
While all about us peal the loud, sweet Te Deums of the
Canterbury bells.

*************************************************

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Marriage Morning
Light, so low upon earth,
You send a flash to the sun.
Here is the golden close of love,
All my wooing is done.
Oh, the woods and the meadows,
Woods where we hid from the wet,
Stiles where we stay'd to be kind,
Meadows in which we met!

Light, so low in the vale
You flash and lighten afar,
For this is the golden morning of love,
And you are his morning star.
Flash, I am coming, I come,
By meadow and stile and wood,
Oh, lighten into my eyes and heart,
Into my heart and my blood!

Heart, are you great enough
For a love that never tires?
O' heart, are you great enough for love?
I have heard of thorns and briers,
Over the meadow and stiles,
Over the world to the end of it
Flash for a million miles.

*************************************************

Robert Browning

Meeting at Night
1
The gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.
2
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

*************************************************

Aphra Behn

On Her Loving Two Equally
I
How strong does my passion flow,
Divided equally twixt two?
Damon had ne'er subdued my heart
Had not Alexis took his part;
Nor could Alexis powerful prove,
Without my Damon's aid, to gain my love.
II
When my Alexis present is,
Then I for Damon sigh and mourn;
But when Alexis I do miss,
Damon gains nothing but my scorn.
But if it chance they both are by,
For both alike I languish, sigh, and die.
III
Cure then, thou might wingèd god,
This restless fever in my blood;
One golden-pointed dart take back:
But which, O Cupid, wilt thou take?
If Damon's, all my hopes are crossed;
Or that of my Alexis, I am lost.

***********************************************************

Hartley Coleridge

Song
She is not fair to outward view
As many maidens be,
Her loveliness I never knew
Until she smiled on me;
O, then I saw her eye was bright,
A well of love, a spring of light!

But now her looks are coy and cold,
To mine they ne'er reply,
And yet I cease not to behold
The love-light in her eye:
Her very frowns are fairer far
Than smiles of other maidens are.

**********************************************************

John Clare

Song [Secret Love]
I hid my love when young while I
Couldn't bear the buzzing of a fly
I hid my love to my despite
Till I could not bear to look at light
I dare not gaze upon her face
But left her memory in each place
Where ere I saw a wild flower lie
I kissed and bade my love goodbye

I met her in the greenest dells
Where dew drops pearl the wood bluebells
The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye
The bee kissed and went singing by
A sunbeam found a passage there
A gold chain round her neck so fair
As secret as the wild bee's song
She lay there all the summer long

I hid my love in field and town
Till e'en the breeze would knock me down
The bees seemed singing ballads l'er
The fly's buss turned a Lion's roar
And even silence found a tongue
To haunt me all the summer long
The riddle nature could not prove
Was nothing else but secret love

**************************************************

Song of Solomon
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the
daughters.
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my
beloved among the sons.  I sat down under his shadow
with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.  He
brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over
me was love.  Stay me with flagons, comfort me with
apples: for I am sick of love.  His left hand is under my
head, and his right hand doth embrace me.  I charge you,
O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the
hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor wake my love, till
he please.

The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping
upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.  My beloved
is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind
our wall,
he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through
the lattice.  My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up,
my love, my fair one, and come away.  For, lo, the winter
is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on
the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the
voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth
forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape
give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come
away.

O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret
places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me
hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy
countenance is comely.  Take us the foxes, the little
foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender
grapes.

My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the
lilies.  Until the day break, and the shadows flee away,
turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart
upon the mountains of Bether.

attributed to King Solomon of Israel

*******************************************************

Dante Gabriel Rosetti

Sonnet 23: Love's Baubles
I stood where Love in brimming armfuls bore
Slight wanton flowers and foolish toys of fruit:
And round him ladies thronged in warm pursuit,
Fingered and lipped and proffered the strange store.
And from one hand the petal and the core
Savoured of sleep; and cluster and curled shoot
Seemed from another hand like shame's salute,—
Gifts that I felt my cheek was blushing for.

At last Love bade my Lady give the same:
And as I looked, the dew was light thereon;
And as I took them, at her touch they shone
With inmost heaven-hue of the heart of flame.
And then Love said: "Lo! when the hand is hers,
Follies of love are love's true ministers."


The Blessed Damozel
The blessed damozel lean'd out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters still'd at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.

Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
No wrought flowers did adorn,
But a white rose of Mary's gift,
For service meetly worn;
Her hair that lay along her back
Was yellow like ripe corn.

Her seem'd she scarce had been a day
One of God's choristers;
The wonder was not yet quite gone
From that still look of hers;
Albeit, to them she left, her day
Had counted as ten years.

(To one, it is ten years of years.
. . . Yet now, and in this place,
Surely she lean'd o'er me—her hair
Fell all about my face . . .
Nothing: the autumn-fall of leaves.
The whole year sets apace.)

It was the rampart of God's house
That she was standing on;
By God built over the sheer depth
The which is Space begun;
So high, that looking downward thence
She scarce could see the sun.

It lies in Heaven, across the flood
Of ether, as a bridge.
Beneath, the tides of day and night
With flame and darkness ridge
The void, as low as where this earth
Spins like a fretful midge.

Around her, lovers, newly met
'Mid deathless love's acclaims,
Spoke evermore among themselves
Their heart-remember'd names;
And the souls mounting up to God
Went by her like thin flames.

And still she bow'd herself and stoop'd
Out of the circling charm;
Until her bosom must have made
The bar she lean'd on warm,
And the lilies lay as if asleep
Along her bended arm.

From the fix'd place of Heaven she saw
Time like a pulse shake fierce
Through all the worlds. Her gaze still strove
Within the gulf to pierce
Its path; and now she spoke as when
The stars sang in their spheres.

The sun was gone now; the curl'd moon
Was like a little feather
Fluttering far down the gulf; and now
She spoke through the still weather.
Her voice was like the voice the stars
Had when they sang together.

(Ah sweet! Even now, in that bird's song,
Strove not her accents there,
Fain to be hearken'd? When those bells
Possess'd the mid-day air,
Strove not her steps to reach my side
Down all the echoing stair?)

"I wish that he were come to me,
For he will come," she said.
"Have I not pray'd in Heaven?—on Earth,
Lord, Lord, has he not pray'd?
Are not two prayers a perfect strength?
And shall I feel afraid?

"When round his head the aureole clings,
And he is cloth'd in white,
I'll take his hand and go with him
To the deep wells of light;
As unto a stream we will step down,
And bathe there in God's sight.

"We two will stand beside that shrine,
Occult, withheld, untrod,
Whose lamps are stirr'd continually
With prayer sent up to God;
And see our old prayers, granted, melt
Each like a little cloud.

"We two will lie i' the shadow of
That living mystic tree
Within whose secret growth the Dove
Is sometimes felt to be,
While every leaf that His plumes touch
Saith His Name audibly.

"And I myself will teach to him,
I myself, lying so,
The songs I sing here; which his voice
Shall pause in, hush'd and slow,
And find some knowledge at each pause,
Or some new thing to know."

(Alas! We two, we two, thou say'st!
Yea, one wast thou with me
That once of old. But shall God lift
To endless unity
The soul whose likeness with thy soul
Was but its love for thee?)

"We two," she said, "will seek the groves
Where the lady Mary is,
With her five handmaidens, whose names
Are five sweet symphonies,
Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,
Margaret and Rosalys.

"Circlewise sit they, with bound locks
And foreheads garlanded;
Into the fine cloth white like flame
Weaving the golden thread,
To fashion the birth-robes for them
Who are just born, being dead.

"He shall fear, haply, and be dumb:
Then will I lay my cheek
To his, and tell about our love,
Not once abash'd or weak:
And the dear Mother will approve
My pride, and let me speak.

"Herself shall bring us, hand in hand,
To Him round whom all souls
Kneel, the clear-rang'd unnumber'd heads
Bow'd with their aureoles:
And angels meeting us shall sing
To their citherns and citoles.

"There will I ask of Christ the Lord
Thus much for him and me:—
Only to live as once on earth
With Love,—only to be,
As then awhile, for ever now
Together, I and he."

She gaz'd and listen'd and then said,
Less sad of speech than mild,—
"All this is when he comes." She ceas'd.
The light thrill'd towards her, fill'd
With angels in strong level flight.
Her eyes pray'd, and she smil'd.

(I saw her smile.) But soon their path
Was vague in distant spheres:
And then she cast her arms along
The golden barriers,
And laid her face between her hands,
And wept. (I heard her tears.)

*************************************************

Grace Cavalieri

Tarot Card VI. THE LOVERS
Having loved me when I was young
and now when I am not,
you are twice blessed
for giving
a rich person a gift.

In no one else's dream but yours,
I will be the old lady
wearing a white straw hat
with a red satin bow
who says   Thank you.

************************************************

Andrew Marvell

The Definition of Love
My love is of a birth as rare
As 'tis for object strange and high;
It was begotten by Despair
Upon Impossibility.

Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing
Where feeble Hope could ne'er have flown,
But vainly flapp'd its tinsel wing.

And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended soul is fixt,
But Fate does iron wedges drive,
And always crowds itself betwixt.

For Fate with jealous eye does see
Two perfect loves, nor lets them close;
Their union would her ruin be,
And her tyrannic pow'r depose.

And therefore her decrees of steel
Us as the distant poles have plac'd,
(Though love's whole world on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embrac'd;

Unless the giddy heaven fall,
And earth some new convulsion tear;
And, us to join, the world should all
Be cramp'd into a planisphere.

As lines, so loves oblique may well
Themselves in every angle greet;
But ours so truly parallel,
Though infinite, can never meet.

Therefore the love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the conjunction of the mind,
And opposition of the stars.

************************************************

Gary Fincke

The Dog Who Listens to Jack Kerouac
My daughter tells me her white shepherd
Swallows, with food, one pill each morning
To settle its nerves through another
New York City day.  Someone, she says,
Is always outside, drunk or angry
Or loud to themselves on the sidewalk.
While I’m gone, there’s traffic, repairmen,
The tenants who shut and open doors.
She named that dog for the white shepherd
In a novel, romantic, perhaps,
Or sentimental, but she tells me,
This summer, the light comes so early,
Her lover rises with the dog’s moans
And the tongue that insists on comfort.
That after walks failed, after music
From bluegrass to jazz to the sadness
Of Billie Holliday changed nothing,
He played the voice of Jack Kerouac
Reading from The Subterraneans
And On the Road, the long sentences
Sending her dog back to the light sleep
Of listening, the man she’ll marry
Using the oldest home remedy
For anxiety.  “Listen, Clem,” he says, “good boy,”
The benevolent words of the dead beginning.

**************************************************

Sir Walter Raleigh

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd
If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten—
In folly ripe, in season rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

**************************************************

Richard Lovelace

To Amarantha, That She Would Dishevel Her Hair
Amarantha sweet and fair
Ah braid no more that shining hair!
As my curious hand or eye
Hovering round thee let it fly.

Let it fly as unconfin'd
As its calm ravisher, the wind,
Who hath left his darling th'East,
To wanton o'er that spicy nest.

Ev'ry tress must be confest
But neatly tangled at the best;
Like a clue of golden thread,
Most excellently ravelled.

Do not then wind up that light
In ribands, and o'er-cloud in night;
Like the sun in's early ray,
But shake your head and scatter day.

See 'tis broke! Within this grove
The bower, and the walks of love,
Weary lie we down and rest,
And fan each other's panting breast.

Here we'll strip and cool our fire
In cream below, in milk-baths higher:
And when all wells are drawn dry,
I'll drink a tear out of thine eye,

Which our very joys shall leave
That sorrows thus we can deceive;
Or our very sorrows weep,
That joys so ripe, so little keep.

***********************************************************

Robert Herrick

To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything
Bid me to live, and I will live
Thy Protestant to be;
Or bid me love, and I will give
A loving heart to thee.

A heart as soft, a heart as kind,
A heart as sound and free,
As in the whole world thou canst find,
That heart I'll give to thee.

Bid that heart stay, and it will stay,
To honor thy decrees;
Or bid it languish quite away,
And 't shall do so for thee.

Bid me to weep, and I will weep,
While I have eyes to see;
And, having none, yet I will keep
A heart to weep for thee.

Bid me despair and I'll despair,
Under that cypress tree;
Or bid me die, and I will dare
E'en death, to die for thee.

Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
The very eyes of me;
And hast command of every part,
To live and die for thee.

**************************************************
Love Poems
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