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BEDDOES, Thomas Lovell


The Phantom-Wooer


A ghost, that loved a lady fair,

Ever in the starry air

Of midnight at her pillow stood;

And, with a sweetness skies above

The luring words of human love,

Her soul the phantom wooed.

Sweet and sweet is their poisoned note,

The little snakes of silver throat,

In mossy skulls that nest and lie,

Ever singing “Die oh! Di”.


Young soul, put off your flesh, and come

With me into the quiet tomb,

Our bed is lovely, dark, and sweet;

The earth will swing us, as she goes,

Beneath our coverlid of snows,

And the warm leaden sheet.

Dear and dear is their poisoned note,

The little snakes' of silver throat,

In mossy skulls that nest and lie,

Ever singing “Die, oh! Die”;


To Night


So thou art come again, old black-winged night,

Like an huge bird, between us and the sun,

Hiding, with out-stretched form, the genial light;

And still, beneath thine icy bosom's dun

And cloudy plumage, hatching fog-breathed blight

And embryo storms, and crabbéd frosts, that shun

Day's warm caress. The owls from ivied loop

Are shrieking homage, as thou cowerest high;

Like sable crow pausing in eager stoop

On the dim world thou gluttest thy clouded eye,

Silently waiting latest time's fell whoop,

When thou shalt quit thine eyrie in the sky,

To pounce upon the world with eager claw,

And tomb time, death, and substance in thy maw.


The Last Man


By heaven and hell, and all the fools between them,

I will not die, nor sleep, nor wink my eyes,

But think myself into a god; old Death

Shall dream he has slain me, and I'll creep behind him,

Thrust off the bony tyrant from his throne

And beat him into dust. Or I will burst

Damnation's iron egg, my tomb, and come

Half damned, ere they make lightning of my soul,

And creep into thy carcase as thou sleepest

Between two crimson fevers. I'll dethrone

The empty skeleton, and be thy death,

A death of grinding madness. -- Fear me now;

I am a devil, not a human soul --


In A Garden By Moonlight


Veronica. COME then, a song; a winding gentle song,

To lead me into sleep. Let it be low

As zephyr, telling secrets to his rose,

For I would hear the murmuring of my thoughts;

And more of voice than of that other music

That grows around the strings of quivering lutes;

But most of thought; for with my mind I listen,

And when the leaves of sound are shed upon it,

If there ’s no seed remembrance grows not there.

So life, so death; a song, and then a dream!

Begin before another dewdrop fall

From the soft hold of these disturbed flowers,

For sleep is filling up my senses fast,

And from these words I sink


Song


How many times do I love thee, dear?

Tell me how many thoughts there be

In the atmosphere

Of a new-fall’n year,

Whose white and sable hours appear

The latest flake of Eternity:

So many times do I love thee, dear.


How many times do I love again?

Tell me how many beads there are

In a silver chain

Of evening rain,

Unravell’d from the tumbling main,

And threading the eye of a yellow star:

So many times do I love again.


Elvira. She sees no longer: leave her then alone,

Encompass’d by this round and moony night.

A rose-leaf for thy lips, and then goodnight:

So life, so death; a song, and then a dream.


Song from the Ship

To sea, to sea! The calm is o'er;

The wanton water leaps in sport,

And rattles down the pebbly shore;

The dolphin wheels, the sea-cows snort,

And unseen Mermaids' pearly song

Comes bubbling up, the weeds among.

Fling broad the sail, dip deep the oar:

To sea, to sea! the calm is o'er.


To sea, to sea! our wide-winged bark

Shall billowy cleave its sunny way,

And with its shadow, fleet and dark,

Break the caved Tritons' azure day,

Like mighty eagle soaring light

O'er antelopes on Alpine height.

The anchor heaves, the ship swings free,

The sails swell full. To sea, to sea!