The Prisoner

THERE, where the swift Rhone's waters flow
Its verdant banks between;
Where fragrant myrtles bending grow,
And Rhone reflects their green;
There, where the vineyards deck the hills,
And o'er the valleys spread,
Which golden citrons' fragrance fills,
And plantains rear their head—

There stood, as sunk the lord of day,
Upon the smiling shore,
One who long watch'd the waters play,
And thought his sorrows o'er;
A Russian hero— stolen by war,
The honour of the Don;


The Prisoner

I lash and writhe against my prison bars,
And watch with sullen eyes the gaping crowd . .
Give me my freedom and the burning stars,
The hollow sky, and crags of moonlit cloud!

Once I might range across the trackless plain,
And roar with joy, until the desert air
And wide horizons echoed it amain:
I feared no foe, for I was monarch there!

I saw my shadow on the parching sand,
When the hot sun had kissed the mountain's rim;
And when the moon rose o'er long wastes of land,


The Prayer of the Romands

Not done, but near its ending,
Is the work that our eyes desired;
Not yet fulfilled, but near the goal,
Is the hope that our worn hearts fired.
And on the Alban Mountains,
Where the blushes of dawn increase,
We see the flash of the beautiful feet
Of Freedom and of Peace!

How long were our fond dreams baffled!-
Novara's sad mischance,
The Kaiser's sword and fetter-lock,
And the traitor stab of France;
Till at last came glorious Venice,
In storm and tempest home;


The Poet's Dead

The Poet's dead! - a slave to honor -
He fell, by rumor slandered,
Lead in his breast and thirsting for revenge,
Hanging his proud head!...
The Poet's soul could not endure
Petty insult's disgrace.
Against society he rose,
Alone, as always...and was slain!
Slain!...What use is weeping now,
The futile chorus of empty praise
Excuses mumbled full of pathos?
Fate has pronounced its sentence!
Was it not you who spitefully
Rebuffed his free, courageous gift
And for your own amusement fanned


The Poem Cat

Sometimes the poem
doesn't want to come;
it hides from the poet
like a playful cat
who has run
under the house
& lurks among slugs,
roots, spiders' eyes,
ledge so long out of the sun
that it is dank
with the breath of the Troll King.

Sometimes the poem
darts away
like a coy lover
who is afraid of being possessed,
of feeling too much,
of losing his essential
loneliness-which he calls
freedom.

Sometimes the poem
can't requite


The Pleasures of Hope excerpt

PART I (excerpt)
...
Where barbarous hordes on Scythian mountains roam,
Truth, Mercy, Freedom, yet shall find a home;
Where'er degraded Nature bleeds and pines,
From Guinea's coast to Sibir's dreary mines,
Truth shall pervade the unfathomed darkness there,
And light the dreadful features of despair.
Hark! the stern captive spurns his heavy load,
And asks the image back that Heaven bestowed.
Fierce in his eye the fire of valour burns,
And, as the slave departs, the man returns.


The Platonic Lady

I could love thee till I die,
Would'st thou love me modestly,
And ne'er press, whilst I live,
For more than willingly I would give:
Which should sufficient be to prove
I'd understand the art of love.

I hate the thing is called enjoyment:
Besides it is a dull employment,
It cuts off all that's life and fire
From that which may be termed desire;
Just like the bee whose sting is gone
Converts the owner to a drone.

I love a youth will give me leave
His body in my arms to wreathe;


The Platonic Lady

I

I could love thee till I die,
Would'st thou love me modestly,
And ne'er press, whilst I live,
For more than willingly I would give:
Which should sufficient be to prove
I'd understand the art of love.
II
I hate the thing is called enjoyment:
Besides it is a dull employment,
It cuts off all that's life and fire
From that which may be termed desire;
Just like the bee whose sting is gone
Converts the owner to a drone.
III
I love a youth will give me leave
His body in my arms to wreathe;


The Pity of It

I. In South Africa

Over the lonesome African plain
The stars look down, like eyes of the slain.

A bumping ride across gullies and ruts,
Now a grumble and now a jest,
A bit of profanity jolted out,
--Whist!
Into a hornet's nest!
Curse on the scout!
Long-bearded Boers rising out of the rocks,
Rocks that already are crimson-splashed,
Ping-ping of bullets, stabbings and cuts,
As if hell hurtled and hissed,
--Then, muffling the shocks,
A sting in the breast,
A mist,


The Picture

SOLICITED I've been to give a tale,
In which (though true, decorum must prevail),
The subject from a picture shall arise,
That by a curtain's kept from vulgar eyes.
My brain must furnish various features new:
What's delicate and smart produce to view;
By this expressed, and not by t'other said:
And all so clear, most easy to be read,
By ev'ry fool, without the aid of notes,
That idiot's bad indeed who never quotes.

CATULLUS tells us, ev'ry matron sage
Will peep most willingly (whate'er her age),


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