Composed upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth
Earth has not any thing to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still!
Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks arise Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, wilful-waiver Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across the skies?
I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes, Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour; And, eyes, heart, what looks, what lips yet gave you a Rapturous love’s greeting of realer, of rounder replies?
And the azurous hung hills are his world-wielding shoulder Majestic – as a stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet! – These things, these things were here and but the beholder Wanting; which two when they once meet, The heart rears wings bold and bolder And hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him off under his feet.
Late August, given heavy rain and sun For a full week, the blackberries would ripen. At first, just one, a glossy purple clot Among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots. Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills We trekked and picked until the cans were full, Until the tinkling bottom had been covered With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre. But when the bath was filled we found a fur, A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache. The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour. I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot. Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.
The House of Dust: Part 03: 13: The Half-Shut Doors Through Which We Heard That Music by Conrad Aiken
The half-shut doors through which we heard that music Are softly closed. Horns mutter down to silence. The stars whirl out, the night grows deep. Darkness settles upon us. A vague refrain Drowsily teases at the drowsy brain. In numberless rooms we stretch ourselves and sleep.
Where have we been? What savage chaos of music Whirls in our dreams?—We suddenly rise in darkness, Open our eyes, cry out, and sleep once more. We dream we are numberless sea-waves languidly foaming A warm white moonlit shore;
Or clouds blown windily over a sky at midnight, Or chords of music scattered in hurrying darkness, Or a singing sound of rain . . . We open our eyes and stare at the coiling darkness, And enter our dreams again.
Jasmine [Excerpt from Lalla Rookh] by Thomas Moore
‘Twas midnight – through the lattice, wreath’d With woodbine, many a perfume breath’d From plants that wake when others sleep, From timid jasmine buds, that keep Their odour to themselves all day, But, when the sun-light dies away, Let the delicious secret out To every breeze that roams about.
I wish I were a jelly fish That cannot fall downstairs: Of all the things I wish to wish I wish I were a jelly fish That hasn’t any cares, And doesn’t even have to wish ‘I wish I were a jelly fish That cannot fall downstairs.’
Children born of fairy stock Never need for shirt or frock, Never want for food or fire, Always get their heart’s desire: Jingle pockets full of gold, Marry when they’re seven years old. Every fairy child may keep Two strong ponies and ten sheep; All have houses, each his own, Built of brick or granite stone; They live on cherries, they run wild – I’d love to be a Fairy’s child.
When whispering strains do softly steal With creeping passion through the heart And when at every touch we feel Our pulses beat and bear a part; When threads can make A heartstring shake Philosophy Can scarce deny The soul consists of harmony.
When unto heavenly joy we feign Whate’er the soul affecteth most, Which only thus we can explain By music of the winged host, Whose lays we think Make stars to wink, Philosophy Can scarce deny Our souls consist of harmony.
O lull me, lull me, charming air, My senses rock with wonder sweet; Like snow on wool thy fallings are, Soft, like a spirit’s, are thy feet: Grief who need fear That hath an ear? Down let him lie And slumbring die, And change his soul for harmony‘
What favourite flowers are mind, I cannot say – My fancy changes with the summer’s day. Sometimes I think, agreeing with the Bees, That my best flowers are those tall apple trees, Who give a Bee his cider while in bloom, And keep me waiting till their apples come. Sometimes I think the Columbine has won, Who hangs her head and never looks the Sun Straight in the face. And now the Golden Rod Beckons me over with a graceful nod; Shaped like a sheaf of corn, her ruddy skin Drinks the sun dry, and leaves his splendour thin. Sometimes I think the Rose must have her place – And then the Lily shakes her golden dice Deep in a silver cup, to win or lose. So I go on, from Columbine to Rose, From Marigold to Flock, from Flock to Thrift – Till nothing but my garden stones are left. But when I see the dimples in her face, All filled with tender moss in every place – Ah, then I think, when all is said and done, My favourite flower must be the Mossy Stone!