Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins

God's Grandeur

(Test your scansion skills here)

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.  
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;  
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil  
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?  
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; 5
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;  
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil  
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.  
   
And for all this, nature is never spent;  
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; 10
And though the last lights off the black West went  
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—  
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent  
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.  

 

The Windhover

To Christ our Lord

(scansion help)

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-  
  dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding  
  Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding  
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing  
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing, 5
  As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding  
  Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding  
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!  
   
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here  
  Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion 10
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!  
   
  No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion  
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,  
  Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.  

Kubla Khan

Librivox recording by David Barnes

 
IN Xanadu did Kubla Khan  
    A stately pleasure-dome decree:  
  Where Alph, the sacred river, ran  
  Through caverns measureless to man  
    Down to a sunless sea.          5
  So twice five miles of fertile ground  
  With walls and towers were girdled round:  
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills  
Where blossom'd many an incense-bearing tree;  
And here were forests ancient as the hills,   10
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.  
 
But O, that deep romantic chasm which slanted  
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!  
A savage place! as holy and enchanted  
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted   15
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!  
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,  
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,  
A mighty fountain momently was forced;  
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst   20
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,  
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:  
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever  
It flung up momently the sacred river.  
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion   25
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,  
Then reach'd the caverns measureless to man,  
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:  
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far  
Ancestral voices prophesying war!   30
 
  The shadow of the dome of pleasure  
    Floated midway on the waves;  
  Where was heard the mingled measure  
    From the fountain and the caves.  
It was a miracle of rare device,   35
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!  
 
  A damsel with a dulcimer  
    In a vision once I saw:  
  It was an Abyssinian maid,  
    And on her dulcimer she play'd,   40
  Singing of Mount Abora.  
  Could I revive within me,  
  Her symphony and song,  
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,  
That with music loud and long,   45
I would build that dome in air,  
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!  
And all who heard should see them there,  
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!  
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!   50
Weave a circle round him thrice,  
  And close your eyes with holy dread,  
  For he on honey-dew hath fed,  
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

John Keats

John Keats

Ode on a Grecian Urn

Recited by Chris Moran

1  
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,  
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,  
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express  
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:  
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape 5
Of deities or mortals, or of both,  
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?  
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?  
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?  
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? 10
2  
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard  
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;  
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,  
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:  
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave 15
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;  
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,  
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;  
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,  
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! 20
3  
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed  
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;  
And, happy melodist, unwearied,  
For ever piping songs for ever new;  
More happy love! more happy, happy love! 25
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,  
For ever panting, and for ever young;  
All breathing human passion far above,  
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,  
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. 30
4  
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?  
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,  
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,  
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?  
What little town by river or sea shore, 35
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,  
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?  
And, little town, thy streets for evermore  
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell  
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. 40
5  
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede  
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,  
With forest branches and the trodden weed;  
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought  
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! 45
When old age shall this generation waste,  
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe  
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,  
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,--that is all  
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. 50

To Autumn

Recited by Chris Dombrowski
 
 
1  
SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!  
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;  
Conspiring with him how to load and bless  
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;  
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
5
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;  
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells  
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,  
And still more, later flowers for the bees,  
Until they think warm days will never cease, 10
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.  
   
2
 
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?  
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find  
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,  
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 15
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,  
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook  
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers;  
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep  
Steady thy laden head across a brook; 20
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,  
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.  
3  
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?  
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—  
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 25
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;  
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn  
Among the river sallows, borne aloft  
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;  
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 30
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft  
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;  
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.  

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

I Never Lost

I never lost as much but twice,
And that was in the sod;
Twice have I stood a beggar
Before the door of God!
Angels, twice descending, 5
Reimbursed my store.
Burglar, banker, father,
I am poor once more!

 

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers – first version

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers -
Untouched by morning
And untouched by noon -
Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection -
Rafter of satin,
5
And Roof of stone.
Light laughs the breeze
In her Castle above them -
Babbles the Bee in a stolid Ear,
Pipe the sweet Birds in ignorant cadence -
10
Ah, what sagacity perished here!

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers – second version


Safe in their Alabaster Chambers -
Untouched by Morning – And untouched by noon -
Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection,
Rafter of Satin, and Roof of Stone -
5
 
Grand go the Years
In the Crescent above them -
Worlds scoop their Arcs –
And Firmaments – row -
Diadems - drop –
10
And Doges – surrender –
Soundless as Dots,
On a Disc of Snow.

The Soul Selects Her Own Society

The Soul selects her own Society --
Then -- shuts the Door --
To her divine Majority --
Present no more --
Unmoved -- she notes the Chariots -- pausing -- 5
At her low Gate --
Unmoved -- an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat --
I've known her -- from an ample nation --
Choose One -- 10
Then -- close the Valves of her attention --
Like Stone –


I Felt A Funeral



I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading -- treading -- till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through --
And when they all were seated, 5
A Service, like a Drum --
Kept beating -- beating -- till I thought
My Mind was going numb --
And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul 10
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space -- began to toll,
As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race 15
Wrecked, solitary, here --
And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down --
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing -- then – 20