First Published in 1922
TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at laSt,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
When you are old
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes once had, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
I wake to
sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
is he who loathes
The aspect of his fleshy clothes, --
The flying fabric stitched on bone,
The vesture of the skeleton,
The garment neither fur nor hair,
The cloak of evil and despair,
The veil long violated by
Caresses of the hand and eye.
Yet such is my unseemliness:
I hate my epidermal dress,
The savage blood's obscenity,
The rags of my anatomy,
And willingly would I dispense
With false accouterments of sense,
To sleep immodestly, a most
Incarnadine and carnal ghost.
profits disappear: the gain
Of ease, the hoarded, secret sum;
And now grim digits of old pain
Return to litter up our home.
the cause of ruin, add,
Subtract, and put ourselves in pawn;
For all our scratching on the pad,
We cannot trace the error down.
are seeking is a fare
One way, a chance to be secure:
The lack that keeps us what we are,
The penny that usurps the poor.
First Published in 1635
GO and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
False, ere I come, to two, or three.
NO lover saith, I love, nor any other
Can judge a perfect lover ;
He thinks that else none can or will agree,
That any loves but he ;
I cannot say I loved, for who can say
He was kill'd yesterday.
Love with excess of heat, more young than old,
Death kills with too much cold ;
We die but once, and who loved last did die,
He that saith, twice, doth lie ;
For though he seem to move, and stir a while,
It doth the sense beguile.
Such life is like the light which bideth yet
When the life's light is set,
Or like the heat which fire in solid matter
Leaves behind, two hours after.
Once I loved and died ; and am now become
Mine epitaph and tomb ;
Here dead men speak their last, and so do I ;
Love-slain, lo ! here I die.
STAND still, and I will read to thee
A lecture, Love, in Love's philosophy.
These three hours that we have spent,
Walking here, two shadows went
Along with us, which we ourselves produced.
But, now the sun is just above our head,
We do those shadows tread,
And to brave clearness all things are reduced.
So whilst our infant loves did grow,
Disguises did, and shadows, flow
From us and our cares ; but now 'tis not so.
That love hath not attain'd the highest degree,
Which is still diligent lest others see.
Except our loves at this noon stay,
We shall new shadows make the other way.
As the first were made to blind
Others, these which come behind
Will work upon ourselves, and blind our eyes.
If our loves faint, and westerwardly decline,
To me thou, falsely, thine
And I to thee mine actions shall disguise.
The morning shadows wear away,
But these grow longer all the day ;
But O ! love's day is short, if love decay.
Love is a growing, or full constant light,
And his short minute, after noon, is night.
[Holy Sonnet X]
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so ;
For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy picture[s] be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou'rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke ; why swell'st thou then ?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more ; Death, thou shalt die.
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
by John Donne
Nunc lento sonitu dicunt, Morieris.
Now, this Bell tolling softly for another, saies to me, Thou must die.
Perchance hee for whom the Bell tolls, may be so ill, as that he knowes not it tolls for him;
And perchance I may thinke my selfe so much better than I am, as that they they who are
about mee, and see my state, may have been caused it to toll for mee, and I know not that.
The Church is Catholike, universall, so are all her Actions; All that she does, belongs to all.
When she baptized a child, that action concerns mee; for that child is thereby connected to
that Head which is my Head too, and engraffed into that body, whereof I am a member.
And when she buries a Man, that action concerns me: All mankinde is of one Author, and
is one volume; when one Man dies, one Chapter is not torne out of the booke, but
translated into a better language; and every Chapter must so be translated; God emploies
several translaters; some peeces are translated by age, some by sicknesse, some by warre,
some by justice; but Gods hand is in every translation; and his hand shall binde up all our
scattered leaves againe, for that Librarie where every booke shall lie open to one another:
As therefore the Bell that rings to a Sermon, calls not upon the Preacher onely, but upon
the Congregation to come; so this Bell calls us all: but how much more mee, who am
brought so neere the doore by this sicknesse. There was a contention as farre as a suite, (in
which both pietie and dignitie, religion, and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious
Orders should ring to praiers first in the Morning; and it was determined, that they should
ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignitie of this Bell that tolls for our
evening prayer, wee would bee glad to make it ours, by rising early, in that application, that
it might bee ours, as wel as his, whose indeed it is. the Bell doth toll for him that thinkes it
doth; and though it intermit againe, yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon
him, hee is united to God. Who casts not up his Eye to the Sunne when it rises? but who
takes off his eye from a Comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his eare to any bell,
which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell, which is passing a
peece or himselfe out of this world? No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a begging of Miserie or a borrowing of Miserie, as though we were not miserable enough our selves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the Miserie of our Neighbours. Truly it were an excusable covetousnesse if wee did; for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. no man hath affliction enough that is not matured, and ripened by it,
and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of
gold, and have none coined into currant Monies, his treasure will not defray him as he
travells. Tribulation is Treasure in the nature of it, but it is not currant money in the use of
it, excpet wee get nearer and nearer our home, Heaven, by it. Another man may be sicke
too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a Mine, and be of
no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out, and applies that gold to
mee; if by this consideration of anothers danger, I take mine owne into contemplation, and
so secure myselfe, by making my recourse to my God, who is our onely securitie.
by William Blake
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.
June 25, 1745
MY DEAR FRIEND:-
I know of no Medicine fit to diminish the violent natural inclination you mention; and if
I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the proper Remedy. It is the
most natural State of Man, and therefore the State in which you will find solid Happiness.
Your Reason against entering into it at present appears to be not well founded. The
Circumstantial Advantages you have in View by Postponing it, are not only uncertain, but
they are small in comparison with the Thing itself, the being married and settled. It is the
Man and Woman united that makes the complete Being. Separate she wants his force of
Body and Strength of Reason; he her Softness, Sensibility and acute Discernment.
Together they are most likely to succeed in the World. A single Man has not nearly the
Value he would have in that State of Union. He is an incomplete Animal. He resembles the
odd Half of a Pair of Scissors.
If you get a prudent, healthy wife, your Industry in your Profession, with her good
Economy, will be a Fortune sufficient.
But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking that Commerce with the
Sex is inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice that in your Amours you should prefer old
Women to young ones. This you call a Paradox, and demand my reasons. They are these:
1. Because they have more Knowledge of the world, and their Minds are better stored with
Observations; their conversation is more improving, and more lastingly agreeable.
2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their
Influence over Man, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility.
They learn to do a thousand Services, small and great, and are the most tender and useful
of Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such
a thing to be found as an Old Woman who is not a good Woman.
3. Because there is no hazard of children, which irregularly produced may be attended
with much inconvenience.
4. Because through more Experience they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an
Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to
your reputation; and regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate
People might be inclined to excuse an old Woman, who would kindly take care of a young
Man, form his manners by her good Councils, and prevent his ruining his Health and
Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.
5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the
Muscles appears first in the highest Part. The Face first grows lank and Wrinkled; then the
Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower parts continuing to the last as plump as ever;
so that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is
impossible of two Women to know an old one from a young one. And as in the Dark all
Cats are grey, the Pleasure of Corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal
and frequently superior; every Knack being by Practice capable by improvement.
6. Because the sin is less. The Debauching of a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her Life
7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you
frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend making an old Woman happy.
8. 8th & lastly. They are so grateful!!!
Thus much for my Paradox. But still I advise you to marry immediately; being sincerely
Your Affectionate Friend,
The Gettysburg Address
"...and that government of the people,
by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
Delivered at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,
on November 19, 1863.
"At nightfall on November 18, 1863, a special train drew into the small station at Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania, and President Abraham Lincoln and his party alighted. They were greeted by
Judge David Wills, chairman of a committee supervising the dedication of a cemetery nearby, in
which the bodies of most of the six thousand men killed in the Civil War battle fought there the
preceding July might rest. Few could have dreamed that the President's brief address the
following day would be remembered as long as the battle itself."
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new
nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created
equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation
so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that
war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those
who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper
that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate,
we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have
consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor
long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us
the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here
have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task
remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that
cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new
birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall
not perish from the earth.
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
by Randall Jarrell
From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
In-text Notes are keyed to line numbers.
1 Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
2 Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--
3 While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
4 As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
5 "'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
6 Only this and nothing more."
distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
8 And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
9 Eagerly I wished the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow
10 From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Lenore--
11 For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
12 Nameless here for evermore.
13 And the
silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
14 Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
15 So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
16 "'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door--
17 Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;--
18 This it is and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
20 "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
21 But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
22 And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
23 That I scarce was sure I heard you"--here I opened wide the door;--
24 Darkness there and nothing more.
into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
26 Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
27 But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
28 And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
29 This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"--
30 Merely this and nothing more.
into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
32 Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
33 "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
34 Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore--
35 Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
36 'Tis the wind and nothing more!"
37 Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
38 In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
39 Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
40 But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--
41 Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door--
42 Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
44 By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
45 "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
46 Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore--
47 Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
48 Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
49 Much I
marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
50 Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore;
51 For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
52 Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door--
53 Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
54 With such name as "Nevermore."
55 But the
Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
56 That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
57 Nothing farther then he uttered--not a feather then he fluttered--
58 Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other friends have flown before--
59 On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
60 Then the bird said "Nevermore."
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
62 "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store
63 Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
64 Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore--
65 Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
66 Of 'Never--nevermore'."
67 But the
Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
68 Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
69 Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
70 Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
71 What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
72 Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
73 This I
sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
74 To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
75 This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
76 On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
77 But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
78 She shall press, ah, nevermore!
methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
80 Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
81 "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee--by these angels he hath sent thee
82 Respite--respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
83 Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
84 Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or
86 Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
87 Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted--
88 On this home by Horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore--
89 Is there--is there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!"
90 Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or
92 By that Heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore--
93 Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
94 It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
95 Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
96 Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked,
98 "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
99 Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
100 Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door!
101 Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
102 Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
103 And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is
104 On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
105 And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
106 And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
107 And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
108 Shall be lifted--nevermore!
Form: abcbbb (where "b" is identical throughout the poem)
Composition Date: 1844
Poe made minor changes to this poem when he wrote out the poem after its publication in 1845. Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Thomas Ollive Mabbott (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969), I, 350-74, bases its text on the version printed by the Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner (Sept. 25, 1849). The editor, John M. Daniel, is quoted as stating that his copy, based on a public reading by Poe the previous night, is "the only correct copy ever published" (p. 363), but Poe himself does not verify this claim. Floyd Stovall, editor of The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1965), uses the Lorimer Graham copy of the 1845 edition as revised by Poe himself.
10. Lenore: almost certainly an imaginative creation, not based on a person but linked to literary heroines by their shared name. Poe's "Lenore" is a lament for the same woman.
37. flirt: quick movement.
40. mien: manner.
41. Pallas: Minerva, the goddess of wisdom.
47. Plutonian: that region belonging to the Greek god of the underworld
76. gloated o'er: possibly "reflecting" as well as the more common meaning.
80. tufted: carpeted with a fluffy soft threaded material
82. nepenthe: a drink made by the gods to relieve human grief.
89. is there balm in Gilead?: "Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the Lord in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" (Jeremiah 8.19-22).
93 Aidenn: Biblical Eden, in which the garden paradise of Adam and Eve was found.
In-text Notes are keyed to line numbers.
1 In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
2 A stately pleasure-dome decree:
3 Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
4 Through caverns measureless to man
5 Down to a sunless sea.
6 So twice five miles of fertile ground
7 With walls and towers were girdled round:
8 And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
9 Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
10 And here were forests ancient as the hills,
11 Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
12 But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
13 Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
14 A savage place! as holy and enchanted
15 As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
16 By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
17 And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
18 As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
19 A mighty fountain momently was forced:
20 Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
21 Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
22 Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
23 And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
24 It flung up momently the sacred river.
25 Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
26 Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
27 Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
28 And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
29 And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
30 Ancestral voices prophesying war!
31 The shadow of the dome of pleasure
32 Floated midway on the waves;
33 Where was heard the mingled measure
34 From the fountain and the caves.
35 It was a miracle of rare device,
36 A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
37 A damsel with a dulcimer
38 In a vision once I saw:
39 It was an Abyssinian maid,
40 And on her dulcimer she played,
41 Singing of Mount Abora.
42 Could I revive within me
43 Her symphony and song,
44 To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
45 That with music loud and long,
46 I would build that dome in air,
47 That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
48 And all who heard should see them there,
49 And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
50 His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
51 Weave a circle round him thrice,
52 And close your eyes with holy dread,
53 For he on honey-dew hath fed,
54 And drunk the milk of Paradise.
Together with the editors, the Department of English (University of Toronto), and the University of Toronto Press, the following individuals share copyright for the work that went into this edition:
Screen Design (Electronic Edition):
Sian Meikle (University of Toronto Library)
Sharine Leung (Centre for Computing in the Humanities)
Form: irregularly rhyming
Composition Date: 1798
First published in 1816 with Christabel and "The Pains of Sleep" with the sub-heading: "Or, a Vision in a Dream. A Fragment." "Kubla Khan" was written probably in 1798, though Coleridge's own note says it was 1797. But controversy surrounds the date, the question as to whether the poem should be considered a complete whole or a fragment, its meaning, and the veracity of Coleridge's recollections. He states in his preface to the poem: "The following fragment is here published at the request of a poet of great and deserved celebrity [Lord Byron], and, as far as the Author's own opinions are concerned, rather as a psychological curiosity, than on the grounds of any supposed poetic merits. In the summer of the year 1797, the Author, then in ill health, had retired to a lonely farm-house between Porlock and Linton, on the Exmoor confines of Somerset and Devonshire. In consequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been prescribed, from the effects of which he fell asleep in his chair at the moment that he was reading the following sentence, or words of the same substance, in 'Purchas's Pilgrimage':
Here the Khan Kubla commanded a palace to be built, and a stately garden thereunto. And thus ten miles of fertile ground were inclosed with a wall.
The Author continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external senses, during which time he has the most vivid confidence, that he could not have composed less than from two to three hundred lines; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort. On awakening he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved." "A person on business from Porlock" interrupted him and he was never able to recapture more than "some eight or ten scattered lines and images."
"'In Xamdu did Cublai Can build a stately Palace, encompassing sixteene miles of plaine ground with a wall, wherein are fertile Meddowes, pleasant Springs, delightfull Streames, and all sorts of beasts of chase and game, and in the middest thereof a sumptuous house of pleasure.'-- Purchas his Pilgrimage: Lond. fol. 1626, Bk. IV, chap. XIII, p. 418." A few years later Coleridge made two memoranda quoting Purchas: "Cublai Chan began to reign 1256, the greatest Prince in Peoples, Cities, & Kingdoms that ever was in the World" Notebooks, I, 1840. "Kublaikhan ordered letters to be invented for his people" Ibid., 1281.
In-text Notes are keyed to line numbers.
sun was shining on the sea,
2 Shining with all his might:
3 He did his very best to make
4 The billows smooth and bright --
5 And this was odd, because it was
6 The middle of the night.
7 The moon
was shining sulkily,
8 Because she thought the sun
9 Had got no business to be there
10 After the day was done --
11 "It's very rude of him," she said,
12 "To come and spoil the fun."
13 The sea
was wet as wet could be,
14 The sands were dry as dry.
15 You could not see a cloud, because
16 No cloud was in the sky:
17 No birds were flying overhead --
18 There were no birds to fly.
Walrus and the Carpenter
20 Were walking close at hand;
21 They wept like anything to see
22 Such quantities of sand:
23 `If this were only cleared away,'
24 They said, `it would be grand!'
seven maids with seven mops
26 Swept it for half a year,
27 Do you suppose,' the Walrus said,
28 `That they could get it clear?'
29 `I doubt it,' said the Carpenter,
30 And shed a bitter tear.
Oysters, come and walk with us!'
32 The Walrus did beseech.
33 `A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
34 Along the briny beach:
35 We cannot do with more than four,
36 To give a hand to each.'
eldest Oyster looked at him,
38 But never a word he said:
39 The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
40 And shook his heavy head --
41 Meaning to say he did not choose
42 To leave the oyster-bed.
four young Oysters hurried up,
44 All eager for the treat:
45 Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
46 Their shows were clean and neat --
47 And this was odd, because, you know,
48 They hadn't any feet.
other Oysters followed them,
50 And yet another four;
51 And thick and fast they came at last,
52 And more, and more, and more --
53 All hopping through the frothy waves,
54 And scrambling to the shore.
Walrus and the Carpenter
56 Walked on a mile or so,
57 And then they rested on a rock
58 Conveniently low:
59 And all the little Oysters stood
60 And waited in a row.
time has come,' the Walrus said,
62 `To talk of many things:
63 Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing-wax --
64 Of cabbages -- and kings --
65 And why the sea is boiling hot --
66 And whether pigs have wings.'
wait a bit,' the Oysters cried,
68 `Before we have our chat;
69 For some of us are out of breath,
70 And all of us are fat!'
71 `No hurry!' said the Carpenter.
72 They thanked him much for that.
73 `A loaf
of bread,' the Walrus said,
74 `Is what we chiefly need:
75 Pepper and vinegar besides
76 Are very good indeed --
77 Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
78 We can begin to feed.'
not on us!' the Oysters cried,
80 Turning a little blue.
81 `After such kindness, that would be
82 A dismal thing to do!'
83 `The night is fine,' the Walrus said.
84 `Do you admire the view?
85 `It was
so kind of you to come!
86 And you are very nice!'
87 The Carpenter said nothing but
88 `Cut us another slice:
89 I wish you were not quite so deaf --
90 I've had to ask you twice!'
seems a shame,' the Walrus said,
92 `To play them such a trick,
93 After we've brought them out so far,
94 And made them trot so quick!'
95 The Carpenter said nothing but
96 `The butter's spread too thick!'
97 `I weep
for you,' the Walrus said:
98 `I deeply sympathize.'
99 With sobs and tears he sorted out
100 Those of the largest size,
101 Holding his pocket-handkerchief
102 Before his streaming eyes.
Oysters,' said the Carpenter,
104 `You've had a pleasant run!
105 Shall we be trotting home again?'
106 But answer came there none --
107 And this was scarcely odd, because
108 They'd eaten every one."
ARTHUR CLEMENT HILTON (1851-1877)
In-text Notes are keyed to line numbers.
By Louisa Caroline
N.B. -- A Vulture is a rapacious and obscene bird, which destroys its prey by plucking it limb from limb with its powerful beak and talons.
A Husbandman is a man in a low position of life, who supports himself by the use of the plough. -- (Johnson's Dictionary).
was raining cheerfully,
2 As if it had been May;
3 The Senate-House appeared inside
4 Unusually gay;
5 And this was strange, because it was
A Viva-voce day.
7 The men
were sitting sulkily,
8 Their paper work was done;
9 They wanted much to go away
10 To ride or row or run;
11 "It's very rude," they said, "to keep
12 Us here, and spoil our fun."
papers they had finished lay
14 In piles of blue and white.
15 They answered every thing they could,
16 And wrote with all their might,
But, though they wrote it all by rote,
18 They did not write it right.
Vulture and the Husbandman
20 Beside these piles did stand,
21 They wept like anything to see
22 The work they had in hand.
23 "If this were only finished up,"
24 Said they, "it would be grand!"
"If seven D's or seven C's
26 We give to all the crowd,
27 Do you suppose," the Vulture said,
"That we could get them ploughed?"
29 "I think so," said the Husbandman,
30 "But pray don't talk so loud."
undergraduates, come up,"
32 The Vulture did beseech,
33 "And let us see if you can learn
34 As well as we can teach;
35 We cannot do with more than two
36 To have a word with each."
Undergraduates came up,
38 And slowly took a seat,
39 They knit their brows, and bit their thumbs,
40 As if they found them sweet,
41 And this was odd, because you know
42 Thumbs are not good to eat.
"The time has come," the Vulture said,
44 "To talk of many things,
Of Accidence and Adjectives,
46 And names of Jewish kings,
47 How many notes a sackbut has,
And whether shawms have strings."
"Please, Sir," the Undergraduates said,
50 Turning a little blue,
51 "We did not know that was the sort
52 Of thing we had to do."
53 "We thank you much," the Vulture said,
54 "Send up another two."
more came up, and then two more,
56 And more, and more and more;
57 And some looked upwards at the roof,
Some down upon the floor,
59 But none were any wiser than
60 The pair that went before.
weep for you," the Vulture said,
62 "I deeply sympathise!"
63 With sobs and tears he gave them all
64 D's of the largest size,
65 While at the Husbandman he winked
66 One of his streaming eyes.
think," observed the Husbandman,
68 "We're getting on too quick.
69 Are we not putting down the D's
70 A little bit too thick?"
71 The Vulture said with much disgust
72 "Their answers make me sick."
"Now, Undergraduates," he cried,
74 Our fun is nearly done,
75 "Will anybody else come up?"
76 But answer came there none;
77 And this was scarcely odd, because
78 They'd ploughed them every one!
Composition Date: 1872?
6. Viva-voce: oral examination.
17. by rote: by memory.
28. ploughed: university slang for "get failed, give a less-than-passing grade to a candidate in an examination."
45. Accidence: grammatical inflections of nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
47. medieval trombone.
48. shawms: medieval woodwind instrument.
58. the: original "tbe".