English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology

English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology

by Stanley Appelbaum

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Encompassing a broad range of subjects, styles, and moods, English poetry of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is generally classified under the term "Romantic," suggesting an emphasis on imagination and individual experience, as well as a preoccupation with such theme as nature, death, and the supernatural.
This volume contains a rich selection

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Encompassing a broad range of subjects, styles, and moods, English poetry of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is generally classified under the term "Romantic," suggesting an emphasis on imagination and individual experience, as well as a preoccupation with such theme as nature, death, and the supernatural.
This volume contains a rich selection of poems by England's six greatest poets: William Blake (24 poems, including "The Tyger" and "Auguries of Innocence"), William Wordsworth (27 poems, including "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" and "I wandered lonely as a cloud"), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (10 poems, including "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Khan"), Lord Byron (16 poems, including "The Prisoner of Chillon" and selections from Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage), Percy Bysshe Shelley (24 poems, including "Ode to the West Wind" and "Adonis"), John Keats (22 poems, including all the great odes, "Isabella," and "The Eve of St. Agnes").
For this edition, Stanley Appelbaum has provided a concise Introduction to the Romantic period and brief commentaries on the poets represented. The result is a carefully selected anthology that will be welcomed by lovers of poetry, students, and teachers alike.

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English Romantic Poetry

An Anthology


Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1996 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-11260-2


    WILLIAM BLAKE (1757—1827)

    "Songs of Innocence": Introduction

    Piping down the valleys wild,
    Piping songs of pleasant glee,
    On a cloud I saw a child,
    And he laughing said to me:

    "Pipe a song about a Lamb!"
    So I piped with merry chear.
    "Piper, pipe that song again;"
    So I piped, he wept to hear.

    "Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
    Sing thy songs of happy chear:"
    So I sung the same again,
    While he wept with joy to hear.

    "Piper, sit thee down and write
    In a book, that all may read."
    So he vanish'd from my sight,
    And I pluck'd a hollow reed,

    And I made a rural pen,
    And I stain'd the water clear,
    And I wrote my happy songs
    Every child may joy to hear.

    Holy Thursday

    'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
    The children walking two & two, in red & blue & green,
    Grey-headed beadles walk'd before, with wands as white as snow,
    Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames'waters flow.

    O what a multitude they seem'd, these flowers of London town!
    Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own.
    The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
    Thousands of little boys & girls raising their innocent hands.

    Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
    Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among.
    Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor;
    Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

    Nurse's Song

    When the voices of children are heard on the green,
    And laughing is heard on the hill,
    My heart is at rest within my breast,
    And everything else is still.

    "Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
    And the dews of night arise;
    Come, come, leave off play, and let us away
    Till the morning appears in the skies."

    "No, no, let us play, for it is yet day,
    And we cannot go to sleep;
    Besides, in the sky the little birds fly,     And the hills are all cover'd with sheep."

    "Well, well, go & play till the light fades away,
    And then go home to bed."
    The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh'd
    And all the hills ecchoed.

    The Little Black Boy

    My mother bore me in the southern wild,
    And I am black, but O! my soul is white;
    White as an angel is the English child,
    But I am black as if bereav'd of light.

    My mother taught me underneath a tree,
    And, sitting down before the heat of day,
    She took me on her lap and kissed me,
    And pointing to the east began to say:

    "Look on the rising sun: there God does live,
    And gives his light, and gives his heat away;
    And flowers and trees and beasts and men recieve
    Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.

    "And we are put on earth a little space,
    That we may learn to bear the beams of love;
    And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
    Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

    "For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear,
    The cloud will vanish; we shall hear his voice,
    Saying: 'Come out from the grove, my love & care,
    And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.'"

    Thus did my mother say, and kissed me;
    And thus I say to little English boy.
    When I from black and he from white cloud free,
    And round the tent of God like lambs we joy,

    I'll shade him from the heat, till he can bear
    To lean in joy upon our father's knee;
    And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair,
    And be like him, and he will then love me.

    The Lamb

     Little Lamb, who made thee?
     Dost thou know who made thee? Gave thee life & bid thee feed,
    By the stream & o'er the mead;
    Gave thee clothing of delight,
    Softest clothing, wooly, bright;
    Gave thee such a tender voice,
    Making all the vales rejoice?
     Little Lamb, who made thee?
     Dost thou know who made thee?
     Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
     Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
    He is called by thy name,
    For he calls himself a Lamb.
    He is meek & he is mild;
    He became a little child.
    I a child & thou a lamb.
    We are called by his name.
     Little Lamb, God bless thee!
     Little Lamb, God bless thee!

    "Songs of Experience": Introduction

    Hear the voice of the Bard!
    Who Present, Past, & Future, sees;
    Whose ears have heard
    The Holy Word
    That walk'd among the ancient trees,

    Calling the lapsed Soul,
    And weeping in the evening dew;
    That might controll
    The starry pole,
    And fallen, fallen light renew!

    "O Earth, O Earth, return!
    "Arise from out the dewy grass;
    "Night is worn,
    "And the morn
    "Rises from the slumberous mass.

    "Turn away no more;
    "Why wilt thou turn away?
    "The starry floor,
    "The wat'ry shore,
    "Is giv'n thee till the break of day."

    Earth's Answer

    Earth rais'd up her head
    From the darkness dread & drear.
    Her light fled,
    Stony dread!
    And her locks cover'd with grey despair.

    "Prison'd on wat'ry shore,
    "Starry Jealousy does keep my den:
    "Cold and hoar,
    "Weeping o'er,
    "I hear the Father of the ancient men.

    "Selfish father of men!
    "Cruel, jealous, selfish fear!
    "Can delight,
    "Chain'd in night,
    "The virgins of youth and morning bear?

    "Does spring hide its joy
    "When buds and blossoms grow?
    "Does the sower
    "Sow by night,
    "Or the plowman in darkness plow?

    "Break this heavy chain
    "That does freeze my bones around.
    "Selfish! vain!
    "Eternal bane!
    "That free Love with bondage bound."

    The Clod and the Pebble

    "Love seeketh not Itself to please,
    "Nor for itself hath any care,
    "But for another gives its ease,
    "And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair."

    So sang a little Clod of Clay
    Trodden with the cattle's feet,
    But a Pebble of the brook
    Warbled out these metres meet:

    "Love seeketh only Self to please,
    "To bind another to Its delight,
    "Joys in another's loss of ease,
    "And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite."

    The Chimney Sweeper

    A little black thing among the snow,
    Crying 'weep! 'weep!' in notes of woe!
    "Where are thy father & mother? say?"
    "They are both gone up to the church to pray.

    "Because I was happy upon the heath,
    "And smil'd among the winter's snow,
    "They clothed me in the clothes of death,
    "And taught me to sing the notes of woe.
    "And because I am happy & dance & sing,
    "They think they have done me no injury,
    "And are gone to praise God & his Priest & King,
    "Who make up a heaven of our misery."

    The Sick Rose

    O Rose, thou art sick!
    The invisible worm
    That flies in the night,
    In the howling storm,

    Has found out thy bed
    Of crimson joy:
    And his dark secret love
    Does thy life destroy.

    The Tyger

    Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand dare sieze the fire?

    And what shoulder, & what art,
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?

    What the hammer? what the chain?
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

    When the stars threw down their spears,
    And water'd heaven with their tears,
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

    Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

    Ah! Sun-Flower

    Ah, Sun-flower, weary of time,
    Who countest the steps of the Sun,
    Seeking after that sweet golden clime
    Where the traveller's journey is done:

    Where the Youth pined away with desire,
    And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow
    Arise from their graves, and aspire
    Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

    The Garden of Love

    I went to the Garden of Love,
    And saw what I never had seen:
    A Chapel was built in the midst,
    Where I used to play on the green.

    And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
    And "Thou shalt not" writ over the door;
    So I turn'd to the Garden of Love
    That so many sweet flowers bore;

    And I saw it was filled with graves,
    And tomb-stones where flowers should be;
    And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
    And binding with briars my joys & desires.


    I wander thro' each charter'd street,
    Near where the charter'd Thames does flow,
    And mark in every face I meet
    Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

    In every cry of every Man,
    In every Infant's cry of fear,
    In every voice, in every ban,
    The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.

    How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
    Every black'ning Church appalls;
    And the hapless Soldier's sigh
    Runs in blood down Palace walls.

    But most thro' midnight streets I hear
    How the youthful Harlot's curse
    Blasts the new born Infant's tear,
    And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

    A Poison Tree

    I was angry with my friend:
    I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
    I was angry with my foe:
    I told it not, my wrath did grow.

    And I water'd it in fears,
    Night & morning with my tears;
    And I sunned it with smiles,
    And with soft deceitful wiles.

    And it grew both day and night,
    Till it bore an apple bright;
    And my foe beheld it shine,
    And he knew that it was mine,

    And into my garden stole
    When the night had veil'd the pole:
    In the morning glad I see
    My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.


    How sweet I roam'd from field to field,
     And tasted all the summer's pride,
    'Till I the prince of love beheld,
     Who in the sunny beams did glide!

    He shew'd me lilies for my hair,
     And blushing roses for my brow;
    He led me through his gardens fair,
     Where all his golden pleasures grow.

    With sweet May dews my wings were wet,
     And Phoebus fir'd my vocal rage;
    He caught me in his silken net,
     And shut me in his golden cage.

    He loves to sit and hear me sing,
     Then, laughing, sports and plays with me;
    Then stretches out my golden wing,
     And mocks my loss of liberty.

    "I saw a chapel all of gold"

    I saw a chapel all of gold
    That none did dare to enter in
    And many weeping stood without
    Weeping mourning worshipping

    I saw a serpent rise between
    The white pillars of the door
    And he forcd & forcd & forcd
    Down the golden hinges tore

    And along the pavement sweet
    Set with pearls & rubies bright
    All his slimy length he drew
    Till upon the altar white

    Vomiting his poison out
    On the bread & on the wine
    So I turnd into a sty
    And laid me down among the swine

    "Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau"

    Mock on Mock on Voltaire Rousseau
    Mock on Mock on! tis all in vain!
    You throw the sand against the wind
    And the wind blows it back again

    And every sand becomes a Gem
    Reflected in the beams divine
    Blown back they blind the mocking Eye
    But still in Israels paths they shine

    The Atoms of Democritus
    And Newtons Particles of light
    Are sands upon the Red sea shore
    Where Israels tents do shine so bright

    The Smile

    There is a Smile of Love
    And there is a Smile of Deceit
    And there is a Smile of Smiles
    In which these two Smiles meet

    And there is a Frown of Hate
    And there is a Frown of Disdain
    And there is a Frown of Frowns
    Which you strive to forget in vain

    For it sticks in the Hearts deep Core
    And it sticks in the deep Back bone
    And no Smile that ever was smild
    But only one Smile alone

    That betwixt the Cradle & Grave
    It only once Smild can be
    But when it once is Smild
    Theres an end to all Misery


Excerpted from English Romantic Poetry by STANLEY APPELBAUM. Copyright © 1996 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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