Thomas Hood

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    Biographical information

  1. A Lake And A Fairy Boat
  2. Allegory: A Moral Vehicle
  3. Autumn
  4. Christmas Holidays
  5. Death
  6. Fair Ines
  7. Faithless Nelly Gray
  8. Faithless Sally Brown
  9. Flowers
  10. Gold
  11. I Remember
  12. November
  13. On Mistress Nicely, A Pattern For Housekeepers
  14. Past And Present
  15. Ruth
  16. Silence
  17. The Bridge Of Sighs
  18. The Death Bed
  19. The Dream Of Eugene Aram
  20. The Haunted House
  21. The Passionate Shepard To His Love
  22. The Song Of The Shirt
  23. The Sun Was Slumbering In The West
  24. The World Is With Me
  25. Time Of Roses




    Biographical information

      Name: Thomas Hood
      Place and date of birth: London (England); May 23, 1799
      Place and date of death: London (England); May 3, 1845 (aged 45)

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      A Lake And A Fairy Boat

        A lake and a fairy boat
        To sail in the moonlight clear, -
        And merrily we would float
        From the dragons that watch us here!.

        Thy gown should be snow-white silk
        And strings of oriental pearls,
        Like gossamers dipped in milk,
        Should twine with thy raven curls!.

        Red rubies should deck thy hands,
        And diamonds should be thy dower -
        But fairies have broke their wands,
        And wishing has lost its power!.

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      Allegory: A Moral Vehicle

        I had a gig-horse, and I called him Pleasure
        Because on Sundays for a little jaunt
        He was so fast and showy, quite a treasure;
        Although he sometimes kicked and shied aslant.
        I had a chaise, and christened it Enjoyment,
        With yellow body and the wheels of red,
        Because it was only used for one employment,
        Namely, to go wherever Pleasure led.
        I had a wife, her nickname was Delight:
        A son called Frolic, who was never still:
        Alas! how often dark succeeds to bright!
        Delight was thrown, and Frolic had a spill,
        Enjoyment was upset and shattered quite,
        And Pleasure fell a splitter on Paine's Hill.

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      Autumn

        I Saw old Autumn in the misty morn
        Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
        To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
        Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
        Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;—
        Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
        With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
        Pearling his coronet of golden corn.

        Where are the songs of Summer?—With the sun,
        Oping the dusky eyelids of the south,
        Till shade and silence waken up as one,
        And Morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
        Where are the merry birds?—Away, away,
        On panting wings through the inclement skies,
        Lest owls should prey
        Undazzled at noonday,
        And tear with horny beak their lustrous eyes.

        Where are the blooms of Summer?—In the west,
        Blushing their last to the last sunny hours,
        When the mild Eve by sudden Night is prest
        Like tearful Proserpine, snatch'd from her flow'rs
        To a most gloomy breast.
        Where is the pride of Summer,—the green prime,—
        The many, many leaves all twinkling?—Three
        On the moss'd elm; three on the naked lime
        Trembling,—and one upon the old oak-tree!
        Where is the Dryad's immortality?—
        Gone into mournful cypress and dark yew,
        Or wearing the long gloomy Winter through
        In the smooth holly's green eternity.

        The squirrel gloats on his accomplish'd hoard,
        The ants have brimm'd their garners with ripe grain,
        And honey bees have stored
        The sweets of Summer in their luscious cells;
        The swallows all have wing'd across the main;
        But here the Autumn melancholy dwells,
        And sighs her tearful spells
        Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.
        Alone, alone,
        Upon a mossy stone,
        She sits and reckons up the dead and gone
        With the last leaves for a love-rosary,
        Whilst all the wither'd world looks drearily,
        Like a dim picture of the drownèd past
        In the hush'd mind's mysterious far away,
        Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
        Into that distance, gray upon the gray.

        O go and sit with her, and be o'ershaded
        Under the languid downfall of her hair:
        She wears a coronal of flowers faded
        Upon her forehead, and a face of care;—
        There is enough of wither'd everywhere
        To make her bower,—and enough of gloom;
        There is enough of sadness to invite,
        If only for the rose that died, whose doom
        Is Beauty's,—she that with the living bloom
        Of conscious cheeks most beautifies the light:
        There is enough of sorrowing, and quite
        Enough of bitter fruits the earth doth bear,—
        Enough of chilly droppings for her bowl;
        Enough of fear and shadowy despair,
        To frame her cloudy prison for the soul!.

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      Christmas Holidays

        Along the Woodford road there comes a noise
        Of wheels, and Mr. Rounding's neat post-chaise
        Struggles along, drawn by a pair of bays,
        With Reverend Mr. Crow and six small boys,
        Who ever and anon declare their joys
        With trumping horns and juvenile huzzas,
        At going home to spend their Christmas days,
        And changing learning's pains for pleasure's toys.
        Six weeks elapse, and down the Woodford way
        A heavy coach drags six more heavy souls,
        But no glad urchins shout, no trumpets bray,
        The carriage makes a halt, the gate-bell tolls,
        And little boys walk in as dull and mum
        As six new scholars to the Deaf and Dumb!

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      Death

        It is not death, that sometime in a sigh
        This eloquent breath shall take its speechless flight;
        That sometime these bright stars, that now reply
        In sunlight to the sun, shall set in night;
        That this warm conscious flesh shall perish quite,
        And all life's ruddy springs forget to flow;
        That thoughts shall cease, and the immortal sprite
        Be lapped in alien clay and laid below;
        It is not death to know this,--but to know
        That pious thoughts, which visit at new graves
        In tender pilgrimage, will cease to go
        So duly and so oft,--and when grass waves
        Over the past-away, there may be then
        No resurrection in the minds of men.

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      Fair Ines

        O saw ye not fair Ines?
        She 's gone into the West,
        To dazzle when the sun is down,
        And rob the world of rest:
        She took our daylight with her,
        The smiles that we love best,
        With morning blushes on her cheek,
        And pearls upon her breast.

        O turn again, fair Ines,
        Before the fall of night,
        For fear the Moon should shine alone,
        And stars unrivall'd bright;
        And blessèd will the lover be
        That walks beneath their light,
        And breathes the love against thy cheek
        I dare not even write!.

        Would I had been, fair Ines,
        That gallant cavalier,
        Who rode so gaily by thy side,
        And whisper'd thee so near!
        Were there no bonny dames at home,
        Or no true lovers here,
        That he should cross the seas to win
        The dearest of the dear?.

        I saw thee, lovely Ines,
        Descend along the shore,
        With bands of noble gentlemen,
        And banners waved before;
        And gentle youth and maidens gay,
        And snowy plumes they wore:
        It would have been a beauteous dream,—
        If it had been no more!.

        Alas, alas! fair Ines, She went away with song,
        With Music waiting on her steps,
        And shoutings of the throng;
        But some were sad, and felt no mirth,
        But only Music's wrong,
        In sounds that sang Farewell, farewell,
        To her you've loved so long.

        Farewell, farewell, fair Ines!
        That vessel never bore
        So fair a lady on its deck,
        Nor danced so light before,—
        Alas for pleasure on the sea,
        And sorrow on the shore!
        The smile that bless'd one lover's heart
        Has broken many more!.

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      Faithless Nelly Gray

        Ben Battle was a soldier bold,
        And used to war's alarms;
        But a cannon-ball took off his legs,
        So he laid down his arms.

        Now as they bore him off the field,
        Said he, 'Let others shoot;
        For here I leave my second leg,
        And the Forty-second Foot.'

        The army-surgeons made him limbs:
        Said he, 'They're only pegs;
        But there's as wooden members quite,
        As represent my legs.'

        Now Ben he loved a pretty maid, -
        Her name was Nelly Gray;
        So he went to pay her his devours,
        When he devoured his pay.

        But when he called on Nelly Gray,
        She made him quite a scoff;
        And when she saw his wooden legs,
        Began to take them off.

        'O Nelly Gray! O Nelly Gray!'
        Is this your love so warm?
        The love that loves a scarlet coat
        Should be a little more uniform.

        Said she, ' I loved a soldier once,
        For he was blithe and brave;
        But I will never have a man
        With both legs in the grave.

        'Before you had those timber toes
        Your love I did allow;
        But then, you know, you stand upon
        Another footing now.'

        'O Nelly Gray! O Nelly Gray!
        For all your jeering speeches,
        At duty's call I left my legs
        In Badajos's breaches.'

        'Why, then,' said she, 'you've lost the feet
        Of legs in war's alarms,
        And now you cannot wear your shoes
        Upon your feats of arms!'.

        'O false and fickle Nelly Gray!
        I know why you refuse:
        Though I've no feet, some other man
        Is standing in my shoes.

        'I wish I ne'er had seen your face;
        But, now, a long farewell!
        For you will be my death' - alas!
        You will not be my Nell!'.

        Now when he went from Nelly Gray
        His heart so heavy got,
        And life was such a burden grown,
        It made him take a knot.

        So round his melancholy neck
        A rope he did intwine,
        And, for his second time in life,
        Enlisted in the Line.

        One end he tied around a beam,
        And then removed his pegs;
        And, as his legs were off - of course
        He soon was off his legs.

        And there he hung till he was dead
        As any nail in town;
        For, though distress had cut him up,
        It could not cut him down.

        A dozen men sat on his corpse,
        To find out why he died, -
        And they buried Ben in four cross-roads
        With a stake in his inside.

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      Faithless Sally Brown

        Young Ben he was a nice young man,
        A carpenter by trade;
        And he fell in love with Sally Brown,
        That was a lady's maid.

        But as they fetch'd a walk one day,
        They met a pressgang crew;
        And Sally she did faint away,
        Whilst Ben he was brought to.

        The Boatswain swore with wicked words,
        Enough to shock a saint,
        That though she did seem in a fit,
        'Twas nothing but a feint.

        "Come, girl," said he, "hold up your head,
        He'll be as good as me;
        For when your swain is in our boat,
        A boatswain he will be."

        So when they'd made their game of her,
        And taken off her elf,
        She roused, and found she only was
        A coming to herself.

        "And is he gone, and is he gone?"
        She cried, and wept outright:
        "Then I will to the water side,
        And see him out of sight."

        A waterman came up to her,
        "Now, young woman," said he,
        "If you weep on so, you will make
        Eyewater in the sea."

        "Alas! they've taken my beau Ben
        To sail with old Benbow;"
        And her woe began to run afresh,
        As if she'd said Gee woe!.

        Says he, "They've only taken him
        To the Tender ship, you see";
        "The Tendership," cried Sally Brown
        "What a hardship that must be!".

        "O! would I were a mermaid now,
        For then I'd follow him;
        But Oh!I'm not a fishwoman,
        And so I cannot swim.

        "Alas! I was not born beneath
        The virgin and the scales,
        So I must curse my cruel stars,
        And walk about in Wales."

        Now Ben had sail'd to many a place
        That's underneath the world;
        But in two years the ship came home,
        And all her sails were furl'd.

        But when he call'd on Sally Brown,
        To see how she went on,
        He found she'd got another Ben,
        Whose Christianname was John.

        "O Sally Brown, O Sally Brown,
        How could you serve me so?
        I've met with many a breeze before,
        But never such a blow":

        Then reading on his 'bacco box
        He heaved a bitter sigh,
        And then began to eye his pipe,
        And then to pipe his eye.

        And then he tried to sing "All's Well,"
        But could not though he tried;
        His head was turn'd, and so he chew'd
        His pigtail till he died.

        His death, which happen'd in his berth,
        At fortyodd befell:
        They went and told the sexton, and
        The sexton toll'd the bell.

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      Flowers

        I will not have the mad Clytie,
        Whose head is turned by the sun;
        The tulip is a courtly queen,
        Whom, therefore, I will shun;
        The cowslip is a country wench,
        The violet is a nun; -
        But I will woo the dainty rose,
        The queen of everyone.

        The pea is but a wanton witch,
        In too much haste to wed,
        And clasps her rings on every hand
        The wolfsbane I should dread; -
        Nor will I dreary rosemary
        That always mourns the dead; -
        But I will woo the dainty rose,
        With her cheeks of tender red.

        The lily is all in white, like a saint,
        And so is no mate for me -
        And the daisy's cheek is tipped with blush,
        She is of such low degree;
        Jasmine is sweet, and has many loves,
        And the broom's betrothed to the bee; -
        But I will plight with the dainty rose,
        For fairest of all is she.

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      Gold

        Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
        Bright and yellow, hard and cold
        Molten, graven, hammered and rolled,
        Heavy to get and light to hold,
        Hoarded, bartered, bought and sold,
        Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled,
        Spurned by young, but hung by old
        To the verge of a church yard mold;
        Price of many a crime untold.
        Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
        Good or bad a thousand fold!
        How widely it agencies vary,
        To save - to ruin - to curse - to bless -
        As even its minted coins express :
        Now stamped with the image of Queen Bess,
        And now of a bloody Mary.

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      I Remember, I Remember

        I remember, I remember
        The house where I was born,
        The little window where the sun
        Came peeping in at morn;
        He never came a wink too soon
        Nor brought too long a day;
        But now, I often wish the night
        Had borne my breath away.

        I remember, I remember
        The roses red and white,
        The violets and the lily cups-
        Those flowers made of light!
        The lilacs where the robin built,
        And where my brother set
        The laburnum on his birthday,-
        The tree is living yet!.

        I remember, I remember
        Where I was used to swing,
        And thought the air must rush as fresh
        To swallows on the wing;
        My spirit flew in feathers then
        That is so heavy now,
        The summer pools could hardly cool
        The fever on my brow.

        I remember, I remember
        The fir-trees dark and high;
        I used to think their slender tops
        Were close against the sky:
        It was a childish ignorance,
        But now 'tis little joy
        To know I'm farther off from Heaven
        Than when I was a boy.

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      November

        No sun--no moon!
        No morn--no noon!
        No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
        No sky--no earthly view--
        No distance looking blue--
        No road--no street--no "t'other side this way"--
        No end to any Row--
        No indications where the Crescents go--
        No top to any steeple--
        No recognitions of familiar people--
        No courtesies for showing 'em--
        No knowing 'em!
        No traveling at all--no locomotion--
        No inkling of the way--no notion--
        "No go" by land or ocean--
        No mail--no post--
        No news from any foreign coast--
        No Park, no Ring, no afternoon gentility--
        No company--no nobility--
        No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
        No comfortable feel in any member--
        No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
        No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds--
        November!.

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      On Mistress Nicely, A Pattern For Housekeepers

        She was a woman peerless in her station,
        With household virtues wedded to her name;
        Spotless in linen, grass-bleached in her fame;
        And pure and clear-starched in her conversation;
        Thence in my Castle of Imagination
        She dwells for evermore, the dainty dame,
        To keep all airy draperies from shame
        And all dream furnitures in preservation:

        There walketh she with keys quite silver bright,
        In perfect hose and shoes of seemly black,
        Apron and stomacher of lily white,
        And decent order follows in her track:
        The burnished plate grows lustrous in her sight,
        And polished floors and tables shine her back.

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      Past And Present

        I remember, I remember
        The house where I was born,
        The little window where the sun
        Came peeping in at morn;
        He never came a wink too soon
        Nor bought too long a day;
        But now, I often wish the night
        Had borne my breath away.

        I remember, I remember
        The roses, red and white,
        The violets, and the lily-cups--
        Those flowers made of light!
        The lilacs where the robin built,
        And where my brother set
        The laburnum on his birthday,--
        The tree is living yet!

        I remember, I remember
        Where I was used to swing,
        And throught the air must rush as fresh
        To swallows on the wing;
        My spirit flew in feathers then
        That is so heavy now,
        And summer pools could hardly cool
        The fever on my brow.

        I remember, I remember
        The fir frees dark and high;
        I used to think their slender tops
        Were close against the sky:
        It was a childish ignorance,
        But now 'tis little joy
        To know I'm farther off from Heaven
        Than when I was a boy.

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      Ruth

        She stood breast-high amid the corn,
        Clasp'd by the golden light of morn,
        Like the sweetheart of the sun,
        Who many a glowing kiss had won.

        On her cheek an autumn flush,
        Deeply ripen'd;—such a blush
        In the midst of brown was born,
        Like red poppies grown with corn.

        Round her eyes her tresses fell,
        Which were blackest none could tell,
        But long lashes veil'd a light,
        That had else been all too bright.

        And her hat, with shady brim,
        Made her tressy forehead dim;
        Thus she stood amid the stooks,
        Praising God with sweetest looks:—

        Sure, I said, Heav'n did not mean,
        Where I reap thou shouldst but glean,
        Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
        Share my harvest and my home.

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      Silence

        There is a silence where hath been no sound,
        There is a silence where no sound may be,
        In the cold grave—under the deep, deep sea,
        Or in wide desert where no life is found,
        Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
        No voice is hush’d—no life treads silently,
        But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
        That never spoke, over the idle ground:
        But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
        Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
        Though the dun fox or wild hyæna calls,
        And owls, that flit continually between,
        Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan—
        There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.

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      The Bridge Of Sighs

        One more Unfortunate,
        Weary of breath,
        Rashly importunate,
        Gone to her death!.

        Take her up tenderly,
        Lift her with care;
        Fashion'd so slenderly
        Young, and so fair!.

        Look at her garments
        Clinging like cerements;
        Whilst the wave constantly
        Drips from her clothing;
        Take her up instantly,
        Loving, not loathing.

        Touch her not scornfully;
        Think of her mournfully,
        Gently and humanly;
        Not of the stains of her,
        All that remains of her
        Now is pure womanly.

        Make no deep scrutiny
        Into her mutiny
        Rash and undutiful:
        Past all dishonour,
        Death has left on her
        Only the beautiful.

        Still, for all slips of hers,
        One of Eve's family—
        Wipe those poor lips of hers
        Oozing so clammily.

        Loop up her tresses
        Escaped from the comb,
        Her fair auburn tresses;
        Whilst wonderment guesses
        Where was her home?.

        Who was her father?
        Who was her mother?
        Had she a sister?
        Had she a brother?
        Or was there a dearer one
        Still, and a nearer one
        Yet, than all other?.

        Alas! for the rarity
        Of Christian charity
        Under the sun!
        O, it was pitiful!
        Near a whole city full,
        Home she had none.

        Sisterly, brotherly,
        Fatherly, motherly
        Feelings had changed:
        Love, by harsh evidence,
        Thrown from its eminence;
        Even God's providence
        Seeming estranged.

        Where the lamps quiver
        So far in the river,
        With many a light
        From window and casement,
        From garret to basement,
        She stood, with amazement,
        Houseless by night.

        The bleak wind of March
        Made her tremble and shiver;
        But not the dark arch,
        Or the black flowing river:
        Mad from life's history,
        Glad to death's mystery,
        Swift to be hurl'd—
        Anywhere, anywhere
        Out of the world!.

        In she plunged boldly—
        No matter how coldly
        The rough river ran—
        Over the brink of it,
        Picture it—think of it,
        Dissolute Man!
        Lave in it, drink of it,
        Then, if you can!.

        Take her up tenderly,
        Lift her with care;
        Fashion'd so slenderly,
        Young, and so fair!.

        Ere her limbs frigidly
        Stiffen too rigidly,
        Decently, kindly,
        Smooth and compose them;
        And her eyes, close them,
        Staring so blindly!.

        Dreadfully staring
        Thro' muddy impurity,
        As when with the daring
        Last look of despairing
        Fix'd on futurity.

        Perishing gloomily,
        Spurr'd by contumely,
        Cold inhumanity,
        Burning insanity,
        Into her rest.—
        Cross her hands humbly
        As if praying dumbly,
        Over her breast!.

        Owning her weakness,
        Her evil behaviour,
        And leaving, with meekness,
        Her sins to her Saviour!.

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      The Death Bed

        We watch'd her breathing thro' the night,
        Her breathing soft and low,
        As in her breast the wave of life
        Kept heaving to and fro.

        But when the morn came dim and sad
        And chill with early showers,
        Her queit eyelids closed - she had
        Another morn than ours.

      Up

      The Dream Of Eugene Aram

        'Twas in the prime of summer-time
        An evening calm and cool,
        And four-and-twenty happy boys
        Came bounding out of school:
        There were some that ran and some that leapt,
        Like troutlets in a pool.

        Away they sped with gamesome minds,
        And souls untouched by sin;
        To a level mead they came, and there
        They drave the wickets in:
        Pleasantly shone the setting sun
        Over the town of Lynn.

        Like sportive deer they coursed about,
        And shouted as they ran,--
        Turning to mirth all things of earth,
        As only boyhood can;
        But the Usher sat remote from all,
        A melancholy man!

        His hat was off, his vest apart,
        To catch heaven's blessed breeze;
        For a burning thought was in his brow,
        And his bosom ill at ease:
        So he leaned his head on his hands, and read
        The book upon his knees!

        Leaf after leaf he turned it o'er
        Nor ever glanced aside,
        For the peace of his soul he read that book
        In the golden eventide:
        Much study had made him very lean,
        And pale, and leaden-eyed.

        At last he shut the pond'rous tome,
        With a fast and fervent grasp
        He strained the dusky covers close,
        And fixed the brazen hasp;
        "Oh, God! could I so close my mind,
        And clasp it with a clasp!"

        Then leaping on his feet upright,
        Some moody turns he took,--
        Now up the mead, then down the mead,
        And past a shady nook,--
        And lo! he saw a little boy
        That pored upon a book.

        "My gentle lad, what is't you read --
        Romance or fairy fable?
        Or is it some historic page,
        Of kings and crowns unstable?"
        The young boy gave an upward glance,--
        "It is 'The Death of Abel.'"

        The Usher took six hasty strides,
        As smit with sudden pain, --
        Six hasty strides beyond the place,
        Then slowly back again;
        And down he sat beside the lad,
        And talked with him of Cain;

        And, long since then, of bloody men,
        Whose deeds tradition saves;
        Of lonely folks cut off unseen,
        And hid in sudden graves;
        Of horrid stabs, in groves forlorn,
        And murders done in caves;

        And how the sprites of injured men
        Shriek upward from the sod. --
        Ay, how the ghostly hand will point
        To show the burial clod:
        And unknown facts of guilty acts
        Are seen in dreams from God!

        He told how murderers walk the earth
        Beneath the curse of Cain, --
        With crimson clouds before their eyes,
        And flames about their brain:
        For blood has left upon their souls
        Its everlasting stain!

        "And well," quoth he, "I know for truth,
        Their pangs must be extreme, --
        Woe, woe, unutterable woe, --
        Who spill life's sacred stream!
        For why, Methought last night I wrought
        A murder, in a dream!

        One that had never done me wrong --
        A feeble man and old;
        I led him to a lonely field,
        The moon shone clear and cold:
        Now here, said I, this man shall die,
        And I will have his gold!

        "Two sudden blows with a ragged stick,
        And one with a heavy stone,
        One hurried gash with a hasty knife, --
        And then the deed was done:
        There was nothing lying at my foot
        But lifeless flesh and bone!

        "Nothing but lifeless flesh and bone,
        That could not do me ill;
        And yet I feared him all the more,
        For lying there so still:
        There was a manhood in his look,
        That murder could not kill!"

        "And lo! the universal air
        Seemed lit with ghastly flame;
        Ten thousand thousand dreadful eyes
        Were looking down in blame:
        I took the dead man by his hand,
        And called upon his name!

        "O God! it made me quake to see
        Such sense within the slain!
        But when I touched the lifeless clay,
        The blood gushed out amain!
        For every clot, a burning spot
        Was scorching in my brain!

        "My head was like an ardent coal,
        My heart as solid ice;
        My wretched, wretched soul, I knew,
        Was at the Devil's price:
        A dozen times I groaned: the dead
        Had never groaned but twice!

        "And now, from forth the frowning sky,
        From the Heaven's topmost height,
        I heard a voice -- the awful voice
        Of the blood-avenging sprite --
        'Thou guilty man! take up thy dead
        And hide it from my sight!'

        "I took the dreary body up,
        And cast it in a stream, --
        A sluggish water, black as ink,
        The depth was so extreme:
        My gentle boy, remember this
        Is nothing but a dream!

        "Down went the corse with a hollow plunge,
        And vanished in the pool;
        Anon I cleansed my bloody hands,
        And washed my forehead cool,
        And sat among the urchins young,
        That evening in the school.

        "Oh, Heaven! to think of their white souls,
        And mine so black and grim!
        I could not share in childish prayer,
        Nor join in Evening Hymn:
        Like a Devil of the Pit I seemed,
        'Mid holy Cherubim!

        "And peace went with them, one and all,
        And each calm pillow spread;
        But Guilt was my grim Chamberlain
        That lighted me to bed;
        And drew my midnight curtains round
        With fingers bloody red!

        "All night I lay in agony,
        In anguish dark and deep,
        My fevered eyes I dared not close,
        But stared aghast at Sleep:
        For Sin had rendered unto her
        The keys of Hell to keep!

        "All night I lay in agony,
        From weary chime to chime,
        With one besetting horrid hint,
        That racked me all the time;
        A mighty yearning, like the first
        Fierce impulse unto crime!

        "One stern, tyrannic thought, that made
        All other thoughts its slave;
        Stronger and stronger every pulse
        Did that temptation crave, --
        Still urging me to go and see
        The Dead Man in his grave!

        "Heavily I rose up, as soon
        As light was in the sky,
        And sought the black accursèd pool
        With a wild misgiving eye:
        And I saw the Dead in the river-bed,
        For the faithless stream was dry.

        "Merrily rose the lark, and shook
        The dewdrop from its wing;
        But I never marked its morning flight,
        I never heard it sing:
        For I was stooping once again
        Under the horrid thing.

        "With breathless speed, like a soul in chase,
        I took him up and ran;
        There was no time to dig a grave
        Before the day began:
        In a lonesome wood, with heaps of leaves,
        I hid the murdered man!

        "And all that day I read in school,
        But my thought was otherwhere;
        As soon as the midday task was done,
        In secret I went there:
        And a mighty wind had swept the leaves,
        And still the corpse was bare!

        "Then down I cast me on my face,
        And first began to weep,
        For I knew my secret then was one
        That earth refused to keep:
        Or land, or sea, though he should be
        Ten thousand fathoms deep.

        "So wills the fierce avenging Sprite,
        Till blood for blood atones!
        Ay, though he's buried in a cave,
        And trodden down with stones,
        And years have rotted off his flesh, --
        The world shall see his bones!

        "Oh God! that horrid, horrid dream
        Besets me now awake!
        Again--again, with dizzy brain,
        The human life I take:
        And my red right hand grows raging hot,
        Like Cranmer's at the stake.

        "And still no peace for the restless clay,
        Will wave or mould allow;
        The horrid thing pursues my soul --
        It stands before me now!"
        The fearful Boy looked up, and saw
        Huge drops upon his brow.

        That very night while gentle sleep
        The urchin's eyelids kissed,
        Two stern-faced men set out from Lynn,
        Through the cold and heavy mist;
        And Eugene Aram walked between,
        With gyves upon his wrist.

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      The Haunted House

        Oh, very gloomy is the house of woe,
        Where tears are falling while the bell is knelling,
        With all the dark solemnities that show
        That Death is in the dwelling!.

        Oh, very, very dreary is the room
        Where Love, domestic Love, no longer nestles,
        But smitten by the common stroke of doom,
        The corpse lies on the trestles!.

        But house of woe, and hearse, and sable pall,
        The narrow home of the departed mortal,
        Ne’er looked so gloomy as that Ghostly Hall,
        With its deserted portal!.

        The centipede along the threshold crept,
        The cobweb hung across in mazy tangle,
        And in its winding sheet the maggot slept
        At every nook and angle.

        The keyhole lodged the earwig and her brood,
        The emmets of the steps has old possession,
        And marched in search of their diurnal food
        In undisturbed procession.

        As undisturbed as the prehensile cell
        Of moth or maggot, or the spider’s tissue,
        For never foot upon that threshold fell,
        To enter or to issue.

        O’er all there hung the shadow of a fear,
        A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
        And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
        The place is haunted.

        Howbeit, the door I pushed—or so I dreamed--
        Which slowly, slowly gaped, the hinges creaking
        With such a rusty eloquence, it seemed
        That Time himself was speaking.

        But Time was dumb within that mansion old,
        Or left his tale to the heraldic banners
        That hung from the corroded walls, and told
        Of former men and manners.

        Those tattered flags, that with the opened door,
        Seemed the old wave of battle to remember,
        While fallen fragments danced upon the floor
        Like dead leaves in December.

        The startled bats flew out, bird after bird,
        The screech-owl overhead began to flutter,
        And seemed to mock the cry that she had heard
        Some dying victim utter!.

        A shriek that echoed from the joisted roof,
        And up the stair, and further still and further,
        Till in some ringing chamber far aloof
        In ceased its tale of murther!.

        Meanwhile the rusty armor rattled round,
        The banner shuddered, and the ragged streamer;
        All things the horrid tenor of the sound
        Acknowledged with a tremor.

        The antlers where the helmet hung, and belt,
        Stirred as the tempest stirs the forest branches,
        Or as the stag had trembled when he felt
        The bloodhound at his haunches.

        The window jingled in its crumbled frame,
        And through its many gaps of destitution
        Dolorous moans and hollow sighings came,
        Like those of dissolution.

        The wood-louse dropped, and rolled into a ball,
        Touched by some impulse occult or mechanic;
        And nameless beetles ran along the wall
        In universal panic.

        The subtle spider, that, from overhead,
        Hung like a spy on human guilt and error,
        Suddenly turned, and up its slender thread
        Ran with a nimble terror.

        The very stains and fractures on the wall,
        Assuming features solemn and terrific,
        Hinted some tragedy of that old hall,
        Locked up in hieroglyphic.

        Some tale that might, perchance, have solved the doubt,
        Wherefore, among those flags so dull and livid,
        The banner of the bloody hand shone out
        So ominously vivid.

        Some key to that inscrutable appeal
        Which made the very frame of Nature quiver,
        And every thrilling nerve and fiber feel
        So ague-like a shiver.

        For over all there hung a cloud of fear,
        A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
        And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
        The place is haunted!.

        Prophetic hints that filled the soul with dread,
        But through one gloomy entrance pointing mostly,
        The while some secret inspiration said,
        “That chamber is the ghostly!”.

        Across the door no gossamer festoon
        Swung pendulous, --no web, no dusty fringes,
        No silky chrysalis or white cocoon,
        About its nooks and hinges.

        The spider shunned the interdicted room,
        The moth, the beetle, and the fly were banished,
        And when the sunbeam fell athwart the gloom,
        The very midge had vanished.

        One lonely ray that glanced upon a bed,
        As if with awful aim direct and certain,
        To show the Bloody Hand, in burning red,
        Embroidered on the curtain.

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      The Passionate Shepard To His Love

        I love thee I love thee!
        'Tis all that I can say;
        It is my vision in the night,
        My dreaming in the day;
        The very echo of my heart,
        The blessing when I pray:
        I love thee I love thee!
        Is all that I can say.

        I love thee I love thee!
        Is ever on my tongue;
        In all my proudest poesy
        That chorus still is sung;
        It is the verdict of my eyes,
        Amidst the gay and young:
        I love thee I love thee!
        A thousand maids among.

        I love thee I love thee!
        Thy bright and hazel glance,
        The mellow lute upon those lips,
        Whose tender tones entrance;
        But most, dear heart of hearts, thy proofs
        That still these words enhance.
        I love thee I love thee!
        Whatever be thy chance.

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      The Song Of The Shirt

        With fingers weary and worn,
        With eyelids heavy and red,
        A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
        Plying her needle and thread--
        Stitch! stitch! stitch!
        In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
        And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
        She sang the "Song of the Shirt."

        "Work! work! work!
        While the cock is crowing aloof!
        And work — work — work,
        Till the stars shine through the roof!
        It's Oh! to be a slave
        Along with the barbarous Turk,
        Where woman has never a soul to save,
        If this is Christian work!

        "Work — work — work
        Till the brain begins to swim;
        Work — work — work
        Till the eyes are heavy and dim!
        Seam, and gusset, and band,
        Band, and gusset, and seam,
        Till over the buttons I fall asleep,
        And sew them on in a dream!

        "Oh, Men, with Sisters dear!
        Oh, Men, with Mothers and Wives!
        It is not linen you're wearing out,
        But human creatures' lives!
        Stitch — stitch — stitch,
        In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
        Sewing at once with a double thread,
        A Shroud as well as a Shirt.

        But why do I talk of Death?
        That Phantom of grisly bone,
        I hardly fear its terrible shape,
        It seems so like my own —
        It seems so like my own,
        Because of the fasts I keep;
        Oh, God! that bread should be so dear,
        And flesh and blood so cheap!

        "Work — work — work!
        My Labour never flags;
        And what are its wages? A bed of straw,
        A crust of bread — and rags.
        That shatter'd roof — and this naked floor —
        A table — a broken chair —
        And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank
        For sometimes falling there!

        "Work — work — work!
        From weary chime to chime,
        Work — work — work!
        As prisoners work for crime!
        Band, and gusset, and seam,
        Seam, and gusset, and band,
        Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumb'd,
        As well as the weary hand.

        "Work — work — work,
        In the dull December light,
        And work — work — work,
        When the weather is warm and bright —
        While underneath the eaves
        The brooding swallows cling
        As if to show me their sunny backs
        And twit me with the spring.

        Oh! but to breathe the breath
        Of the cowslip and primrose sweet —
        With the sky above my head,
        And the grass beneath my feet
        For only one short hour
        To feel as I used to feel,
        Before I knew the woes of want
        And the walk that costs a meal!

        Oh! but for one short hour!
        A respite however brief!
        No blessed leisure for Love or Hope,
        But only time for Grief!
        A little weeping would ease my heart,
        But in their briny bed
        My tears must stop, for every drop
        Hinders needle and thread!"

        With fingers weary and worn,
        With eyelids heavy and red,
        A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
        Plying her needle and thread —
        Stitch! stitch! stitch!
        In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
        And still with a voice of dolorous pitch, —
        Would that its tone could reach the Rich! —
        She sang this "Song of the Shirt!"

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      The Sun Was Slumbering In The West

        The sun was slumbering in the West,
        My daily labors past;
        On Anna's soft and gentle breast
        My head reclined at last;
        The darkness closed around, so dear
        To fond congenial souls,
        And thus she murmur'd at my ear,
        "My love, we're out of coals!

        "That Mister Bond has call'd again,
        Insisting on his rent;
        And all the Todds are coming up
        To see us, out of Kent --
        I quite forgot to tell you John
        Has had a tipsy fall --
        I'm sure there's something going on
        WIth that vile Mary Hall!

        "Miss Bell has bought the sweetest silk,
        And I have bought the rest --
        Of course, if we go out of town,
        Southend will be the best.
        I really think the Jones's house
        Would be the thing for us;
        I think I told you Mrs. Pope
        Had parted with her hus --

        "Cook , by the way, came up today,
        To bid me suit myself --
        And what d'ye think? The rats have gnaw'd
        The victuals on the shelf,
        And, lord! there's such a letter come,
        Inviting you to fight!
        Of course you don't intend to go --
        God bless you, dear, good night!"

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      The World Is With Me

        The world is with me, and its many cares,
        Its woes--its wants--the anxious hopes and fears
        That wait on all terrestrial affairs--
        The shades of former and of future years--
        Forboding fancies and prophetic tears,
        Quelling a spirit that was once elate.
        Heavens! what a wilderness the world appears,
        Where youth, and mirth, and health are out of date;
        But no--a laugh of innocence and joy
        Resounds, like music of the fairy race,
        And, gladly turning from the world's annoy,
        I gaze upon a little radiant face,
        And bless, internally, the merry boy
        Who "makes a son-shine in a shady place."

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      Time Of Roses

        It was not in the Winter
        Our loving lot was cast;
        It was the time of roses—
        We pluck'd them as we pass'd!.

        That churlish season never frown'd
        On early lovers yet:
        O no—the world was newly crown'd
        With flowers when first we met!.

        'Twas twilight, and I bade you go,
        But still you held me fast;
        It was the time of roses—
        We pluck'd them as we pass'd!.

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