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Last update: 2010-11-11

573. Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen

2010-11-11
Length: 1m 27s


Owen read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to classic poetry. --------------------------------------------------- Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918) What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, – The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires. What candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes. The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds. …

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571. Delight in Disorder by Robert Herrick

2010-08-23
Length: 51s


R Herrick read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Delight in Disorder by Robert Herrick (1591–1674) A sweet disorder in the dress Kindles in clothes a wantonness:– A lawn about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distractión,– An erring lace, which here and there Enthrals the crimson stomacher,– A cuff neglectful, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly,– A winning wave, deserving note, In the tempestuous petticoat,– A careless shoe-string, in whose tie I see a wild civility,– Do more bewitch me, than when art Is too precise in every part. First aired: 15 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009

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570. Night by William Blake

2010-08-21
Length: 2m 6s


W Blake read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Night by William Blake (1757 – 1827) The sun descending in the west, The evening star does shine; The birds are silent in their nest. And I must seek for mine. The moon, like a flower In heaven's high bower, With silent delight Sits and smiles on the night. Farewell, green fields and happy grove, Where flocks have took delight: Where lambs have nibbled, silent move The feet of angels bright; Unseen they pour blessing And joy without ceasing On each bud and blossom, And each sleeping bosom. They look in every thoughtless nest Where birds are cover'd warm; They visit caves of every beast, To keep them all from harm: If they see any weeping That should have been sleeping, They pour sleep on their head, And sit down by their bed. When wolves and tigers howl for prey, They pitying stand and weep, Seeking to drive their thirst away And keep them from the sheep. But, if they rush dreadful, The angels, most heedful, Receive each mild spirit, New worlds to inherit. And there the lion's ruddy eyes Shall flow with tears of gold: And pitying the tender cries, And walking round the fold: Saying, 'Wrath, by His meekness, And, by His health, sickness, Are driven away From our immortal day. 'And now beside thee, bleating lamb, I can lie down and sleep, Or think on Him who bore thy name, Graze after thee, and weep. For, wash'd in life's river, My bright mane for ever Shall shine like the gold As I guard o'er the fold.' First aired: 5 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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569. Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

2010-08-19
Length: 55s


W Shakespeare read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved. First aired: 19 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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568. Opportunity by James Elroy Flecker

2010-08-17
Length: 1m 38s


JE Flecker read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Opportunity by James Elroy Flecker (1884 – 1915) From Machiavelli "But who art thou, with curious beauty graced, O woman, stamped with some bright heavenly seal Why go thy feet on wings, and in such haste?" "I am that maid whose secret few may steal, Called Opportunity. I hasten by Because my feet are treading on a wheel, Being more swift to run than birds to fly. And rightly on my feet my wings I wear, To blind the sight of those who track and spy; Rightly in front I hold my scattered hair To veil my face, and down my breast to fall, Lest men should know my name when I am there; And leave behind my back no wisp at all For eager folk to clutch, what time I glide So near, and turn, and pass beyond recall." "Tell me; who is that Figure at thy side?" "Penitence. Mark this well that by decree Who lets me go must keep her for his bride. And thou hast spent much time in talk with me Busied with thoughts and fancies vainly grand, Nor hast remarked, O fool, neither dost see How lightly I have fled beneath thy hand." First aired: 25 July 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2007 …

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567. Mattins by George Herbert

2010-08-15
Length: 1m 28s


G Herbert read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Mattins by George Herbert (1593 – 1633) I cannot ope mine eyes, But thou art ready there to catch My morning-soul and sacrifice: Then we must needs for that day make a match. My God, what is a heart? Silver, or gold, or precious stone, Or star, or rainbow, or a part Of all these things or all of them in one? My God, what is a heart? That thou should'st it so eye, and woo, Pouring upon it all thy art, As if that thou hadst nothing else to do? Indeed man's whole estate Amounts (and richly) to serve thee: He did not heav'n and earth create, Yet studies them, not him by whom they be. Teach me thy love to know; That this new light, which now I see, May both the work and workman show: Then by a sun-beam I will climb to thee. First aired: 1 August 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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566. The Grass so Little has to do by Emily Dickinson

2010-08-13
Length: 1m 2s


E Dickinson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Grass so little has to do by Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) The Grass so little has to do – A Sphere of simple Green – With only Butterflies to brood And Bees to entertain – And stir all day to pretty Tunes The Breezes fetch along – And hold the Sunshine in its lap And bow to everything – And thread the Dews, all night, like Pearls – And make itself so fine A Duchess were too common For such a noticing – And even when it dies – to pass In Odors so divine – Like Lowly spices, lain to sleep – Or Spikenards, perishing – And then, in Sovereign Barns to dwell – And dream the Days away, The Grass so little has to do I wish I were a Hay – First aired: 7 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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564. The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson

2010-08-09
Length: 8m 0s


Lord Tennyson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) 1842 edition Part I. On either side the river lie Long fields of barley and of rye, That clothe the wold and meet the sky; And thro' the field the road runs by To many-tower'd Camelot; And up and down the people go, Gazing where the lilies blow Round an island there below, The island of Shalott. Willows whiten, aspens quiver, Little breezes dusk and shiver Thro' the wave that runs for ever By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot. Four gray walls, and four gray towers, Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent isle imbowers The Lady of Shalott. By the margin, willow-veil'd Slide the heavy barges trail'd By slow horses; and unhail'd The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd Skimming down to Camelot: But who hath seen her wave her hand? Or at the casement seen her stand? Or is she known in all the land, The Lady of Shalott? Only reapers, reaping early In among the bearded barley, Hear a song that echoes cheerly From the river winding clearly, Down to tower'd Camelot: And by the moon the reaper weary, Piling sheaves in uplands airy, Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy Lady of Shalott." Part II. There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay. She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she stay To look down to Camelot. She knows not what the curse may be, And so she weaveth steadily, And little other care hath she, The Lady of Shalott. And moving thro' a mirror clear That hangs before her all the year, Shadows of the world appear. There she sees the highway near Winding down to Camelot: There the river eddy whirls, And there the surly village-churls, And the red cloaks of market girls, Pass onward from Shalott. Sometimes a troop of damsels glad, An abbot on an ambling pad, Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad, Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad, Goes by to tower'd Camelot; And sometimes thro' the mirror blue The knights come riding two and two: She hath no loyal knight and true, The Lady of Shalott. But in her web she still delights To weave the mirror's magic sights, For often thro' the silent nights A funeral, with plumes and lights And music, went to Camelot: Or when the moon was overhead, Came two young lovers lately wed; "I am half-sick of shadows," said The Lady of Shalott. Part III. A bow-shot from her bower-eaves, He rode between the barley-sheaves, The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves, And flamed upon the brazen greaves Of bold Sir Lancelot. A redcross knight for ever kneel'd To a lady in his shield, That sparkled on the yellow field, Beside remote Shalott. The gemmy bridle glitter'd free, Like to some branch of stars we see Hung in the golden Galaxy. The bridle-bells rang merrily As he rode down to Camelot: And from his blazon'd baldric slung A mighty silver bugle hung, And as he rode his armour rung, Beside remote Shalott. All in the blue unclouded weather Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather, The helmet and the helmet-feather Burn'd like one burning flame together, As he rode down to Camelot. As often thro' the purple night, Below the starry clusters bright, Some bearded meteor, trailing light, Moves over still Shalott. His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd; On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode; From underneath his helmet flow'd His coal-black curls as on he rode, As he rode down to Camelot. From the bank and from the river He flash'd into the crystal mirror, "Tirra lirra," by the river Sang Sir Lancelot. She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces thro' the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott. Part IV. In the stormy east-wind straining, The pale-yellow woods were waning, The broad stream in his banks complaining, Heavily the low sky raining Over tower'd Camelot; Down she came and found a boat Beneath a willow left afloat, And round about the prow she wrote The Lady of Shalott. And down the river's dim expanse-- Like some bold seër in a trance, Seeing all his own mischance-- With a glassy countenance Did she look to Camelot. And at the closing of the day She loosed the chain, and down she lay; The broad stream bore her far away, The Lady of Shalott. Lying, robed in snowy white That loosely flew to left and right-- The leaves upon her falling light-- Thro' the noises of the night She floated down to Camelot: And as the boat-head wound along The willowy hills and fields among, They heard her singing her last song, The Lady of Shalott. Heard a carol, mournful, holy, Chanted loudly, chanted lowly, Till her blood was frozen slowly, And her eyes were darken'd wholly, Turn'd to tower'd Camelot; For ere she reach'd upon the tide The first house by the water-side, Singing in her song she died, The Lady of Shalott. Under tower and balcony, By garden-wall and gallery, A gleaming shape she floated by, A corse between the houses high, Silent into Camelot. Out upon the wharfs they came, Knight and burgher, lord and dame, And round the prow they read her name, The Lady of Shalott. Who is this? and what is here? And in the lighted palace near Died the sound of royal cheer; And they cross'd themselves for fear, All the knights at Camelot: But Lancelot mused a little space; He said, "She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lend her grace, The Lady of Shalott." First aired: 2 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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563. The World is too Much With Us by William Wordsworth

2010-08-08
Length: 1m 2s


W Wordsworth read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The World is too Much With by William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. First aired: 4 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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561. Eventide by John McCrae

2010-08-06
Length: 1m 25s


J McCrae read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Eventide by John McCrae (1872 – 1918) The day is past and the toilers cease; The land grows dim 'mid the shadows grey, And hearts are glad, for the dark brings peace At the close of day. Each weary toiler, with lingering pace, As he homeward turns, with the long day done, Looks out to the west, with the light on his face Of the setting sun. Yet some see not (with their sin-dimmed eyes) The promise of rest in the fading light; But the clouds loom dark in the angry skies At the fall of night. And some see only a golden sky Where the elms their welcoming arms stretch wide To the calling rooks, as they homeward fly At the eventide. It speaks of peace that comes after strife, Of the rest He sends to the hearts He tried, Of the calm that follows the stormiest life — God's eventide. First aired: 1 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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572. The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe

2010-08-05
Length: 1m 51s


C Marlowe read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe (1564 – 1593) Come live with me and be my Love, And we will all the pleasures prove That hills and valleys, dale and field, And all the craggy mountains yield. There will we sit upon the rocks And see the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers, to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals. There will I make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle. A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull, Fair linèd slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold. A belt of straw and ivy buds With coral clasps and amber studs: And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me and be my Love. Thy silver dishes for thy meat As precious as the gods do eat, Shall on an ivory table be Prepared each day for thee and me. The shepherd swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May-morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my Love. First aired: 20 September 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2007…

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565. From To a Skylark by Percy Bysshe Shelley

2010-08-05
Length: 1m 11s


PB Shelley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- from To a Skylark by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) Hail to thee, blithe spirit! Bird thou never wert— That from heaven or near it Pourest thy full heart In profuse strains of unpremeditated art. Higher still and higher From the earth thou springest, Like a cloud of fire; The blue deep thou wingest, And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest. In the golden light'ning Of the sunken sun, O'er which clouds are bright'ning, Thou dost float and run, Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun. First aired: 21 August 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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560. Life by Charlotte Bronte

2010-08-05
Length: 1m 25s


C Bronte read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Life by Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855) Life, believe, is not a dream So dark as sages say; Oft a little morning rain Foretells a pleasant day. Sometimes there are clouds of gloom, But these are transient all; If the shower will make the roses bloom, O why lament its fall? Rapidly, merrily, Life's sunny hours flit by, Gratefully, cheerily, Enjoy them as they fly! What though Death at times steps in And calls our Best away? What though sorrow seems to win, O'er hope, a heavy sway ? Yet hope again elastic springs, Unconquered, though she fell; Still buoyant are her golden wings, Still strong to bear us well. Manfully, fearlessly, The day of trial bear, For gloriously, victoriously, Can courage quell despair! First aired: 31 July 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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556. Be Still, My Soul, Be Still by AE Housman

2010-08-01
Length: 2m 1s

AE Housman read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Be Still, My Soul, Be Still by AE Housman (1859 – 1936) Be still, my soul, be still; the arms you bear are brittle, Earth and high heaven are fixt of old and founded strong. Think rather, - call to thought, if now you grieve a little, The days when we had rest, O soul, for they were long. Men loved unkindness then, but lightless in the quarry I slept and saw not; tears fell down, I did not mourn; Sweat ran and blood sprang out and I was never sorry: Then it was well with me, in days ere I was born. Now, and I muse for why and never find the reason, I pace the earth, and drink the air, and feel the sun. Be still, be still, my soul; it is but for a season: Let us endure an hour and see injustice done. Ay, look: high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation; All thoughts to rive the heart are here, and all are vain: Horror and scorn and hate and fear and indignation- Oh why did I awake? when shall I sleep again? First aired: 29 July 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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555. Parable of the Old Men and the Young by Wilfred Owen

2010-07-31
Length: 1m 19s


W Owen read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Parable of the Old Men and the Young by Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918) So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went, And took the fire with him, and a knife. And as they sojourned both of them together, Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father, Behold the preparations, fire and iron, But where the lamb for this burnt-offering? Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps, And builded parapets and trenches there, And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son. When lo! an angel called him out of heaven, Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, Neither do anything to him. Behold, A ram caught in a thicket by its horns; Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him. But the old man would not so, but slew his son... First aired: 29 July 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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562. The Drum by John Scott

2010-07-30
Length: 1m 20s


J Scott read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- The Drum by John Scott (1731 – 1783) I hate that drum's discordant sound, Parading round, and round, and round: To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields, And lures from cities and from fields, To sell their liberty for charms Of tawdry lace and glitt'ring arms; And when Ambition's voice commands, To fight and fall in foreign lands. I hate that drum's discordant sound, Parading round, and round, and round: To me it talks of ravaged plains, And burning towns and ruin'd swains, And mangled limbs, and dying groans, And widow's tears, and orphans moans, And all that Misery's hand bestows, To fill a catalogue of woes. First aired: 17 September 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008…

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559. The Hill by Rupert Brooke

2010-07-30
Length: 1m 31s


R Brooke read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- The Hill by Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915) Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill, Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass. You said, "Through glory and ecstasy we pass; Wind, sun, and earth remain, the birds sing still, When we are old, are old. . . ." "And when we die All's over that is ours; and life burns on Through other lovers, other lips," said I, -- "Heart of my heart, our heaven is now, is won!" "We are Earth's best, that learnt her lesson here. Life is our cry. We have kept the faith!" we said; "We shall go down with unreluctant tread Rose-crowned into the darkness!" . . . Proud we were, And laughed, that had such brave true things to say. -- And then you suddenly cried, and turned away. First aired: 30 July 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2007…

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558. To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence by James Elroy Flecker

2010-07-30
Length: 1m 47s

JE Flecker read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence by James Elroy Flecker (1884 – 1915) I who am dead a thousand years, And wrote this sweet archaic song, Send you my words for messengers The way I shall not pass along. I care not if you bridge the seas, Or ride secure the cruel sky, Or build consummate palaces Of metal or of masonry. But have you wine and music still, And statues and a bright-eyed love, And foolish thoughts of good and ill, And prayers to them who sit above? How shall we conquer? Like a wind That falls at eve our fancies blow, And old Moeonides the blind Said it three thousand years ago. O friend unseen, unborn, unknown, Student of our sweet English tongue, Read out my words at night, alone: I was a poet, I was young. Since I can never see your face, And never shake you by the hand, I send my soul through time and space To greet you. You will understand. First aired: 30 July 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2007…

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554. When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be by John Keats

2010-07-28
Length: 1m 17s


J Keats read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be by John Keats (1795 – 1821) When I have fears that I may cease to be Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain, Before high pil`d books, in charact'ry, Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain; When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face, Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance, And feel that I may never live to trace Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance; And when I feel, fair creature of an hour! That I shall never look upon thee more, Never have relish in the faery power Of unreflecting love;—then on the shore Of the wide world I stand alone, and think, Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink. First aired: 28 July 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2007…

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557. My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

2010-07-28
Length: 4m 24s


R Browning read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- My Last Duchess by Robert Browning (1812 – 1889) That's my last duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will't please you sit and look at her? I said "Frà Pandolf" by design, for never read Strangers like you that pictured countenance, The depth and passion of its earnest glance, But to myself they turned (since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, How such a glance came there; so, not the first Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not Her husband's presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps Frà Pandolf chanced to say "Her mantle laps "Over my lady's wrist too much," or "Paint "Must never hope to reproduce the faint "Half-flush that dies along her throat": such stuff Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart how shall I say? too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, 'twas all one! My favor at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. She thanked men good! but thanked Somehow I know not how as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame This sort of trifling? Even had you skill In speech which I have not to make your will Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this "Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, "Or there exceed the mark" and if she let Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set Her wits to yours, forsooth, and make excuse, E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet The company below, then. I repeat, The Count your master's known munificence Is ample warrant that no just pretense Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed At starting, is my object. Nay we'll go Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me! First aired: 30 July 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2007…

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553. The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins

2010-07-28
Length: 1m 38s


GM Hopkins read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- The Windhover To Christ our Lord by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 1889) I caught this morning morning’s minion, king- dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing, As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing! Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier! No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear, Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion. First aired: 28 July 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2007…

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550. Gratiana Dancing by Richard Lovelace

2010-07-26
Length: 55s


R Lovelace read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Gratiana Dancing by Richard Lovelace (1618 – 1658) She beat the happy pavement— By such a star made firmament, Which now no more the roof envìes! But swells up high, with Atlas even, Bearing the brighter nobler heaven, And, in her, all the deities. Each step trod out a Lover's thought, And the ambitious hopes he brought Chain'd to her brave feet with such arts, Such sweet command and gentle awe, As, when she ceased, we sighing saw The floor lay paved with broken hearts. First aired: 25 July 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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552. Her Voice by Oscar Wilde

2010-07-25
Length: 2m 50s


O Wilde read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Her Voice by Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) The wild bee reels from bough to bough With his furry coat and his gauzy wing. Now in a lily-cup, and now Setting a jacinth bell a-swing, In his wandering; Sit closer love: it was here I trow I made that vow, Swore that two lives should be like one As long as the sea-gull loved the sea, As long as the sunflower sought the sun, — It shall be, I said, for eternity ’Twixt you and me! Dear friend, those times are over and done, Love’s web is spun. Look upward where the poplar trees Sway and sway in the summer air, Here in the valley never a breeze Scatters the thistledown, but there Great winds blow fair From the mighty murmuring mystical seas, And the wave-lashed leas. Look upward where the white gull screams, What does it see that we do not see? Is that a star? or the lamp that gleams On some outward voyaging argosy, — Ah! can it be We have lived our lives in a land of dreams! How sad it seems. Sweet, there is nothing left to say But this, that love is never lost, Keen winter stabs the breasts of May Whose crimson roses burst his frost, Ships tempest-tossed Will find a harbour in some bay, And so we may. And there is nothing left to do But to kiss once again, and part, Nay, there is nothing we should rue, I have my beauty,—you your Art, Nay, do not start, One world was not enough for two Like me and you. First aired: 14 September 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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551. Death by John Donne

2010-07-24
Length: 1m 22s


J Donne read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Death by John Donne (1572 - 1631) Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so, For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell, And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then; One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die. First aired: 26 July 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2007…

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549. Pater Filio by Robert Bridges

2010-07-24
Length: 1m 30s


R Bridges read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Pater Filio by Robert Bridges (1844 – 1930) Sense with keenest edge unused, Yet unsteel'd by scathing fire; Lovely feet as yet unbruised On the ways of dark desire; Sweetest hope that lookest smiling O'er the wilderness defiling! Why such beauty, to be blighted By the swarm of foul destruction? Why such innocence delighted, When sin stalks to thy seduction? All the litanies e'er chaunted Shall not keep thy faith undaunted. I have pray'd the sainted Morning To unclasp her hands to hold thee; From resignful Eve's adorning Stol'n a robe of peace to enfold thee; With all charms of man's contriving Arm'd thee for thy lonely striving. Me too once unthinking Nature, —Whence Love's timeless mockery took me,— Fashion'd so divine a creature, Yea, and like a beast forsook me. I forgave, but tell the measure Of her crime in thee, my treasure. First aired: 26 July 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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548. How Sweet it is to Love by John Dryden

2010-05-01
Length: 1m 24s

J Dryden read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- How Sweet it is to Love by John Dryden (1631 – 1700) Ah, how sweet it is to love! Ah, how gay is young Desire! And what pleasing pains we prove When we first approach Love's fire! Pains of love be sweeter far Than all other pleasures are. Sighs which are from lovers blown Do but gently heave the heart: Ev'n the tears they shed alone Cure, like trickling balm, their smart: Lovers, when they lose their breath, Bleed away in easy death. Love and Time with reverence use, Treat them like a parting friend; Nor the golden gifts refuse Which in youth sincere they send: For each year their price is more, And they less simple than before. Love, like spring-tides full and high, Swells in every youthful vein; But each tide does less supply, Till they quite shrink in again: If a flow in age appear, 'Tis but rain, and runs not clear. For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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547. The Good-morrow by John Donne

2010-03-06
Length: 1m 55s

J Donne read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- The Good-morrow by John Donne (1572 – 1631) I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I Did, till we lov'd? were we not wean'd till then? But suck'd on countrey pleasures, childishly? Or snorted we in the seaven sleepers den? T'was so; But this, all pleasures fancies bee. If ever any beauty I did see, Which I desir'd, and got, t'was but a dreame of thee. And now good morrow to our waking soules, Which watch not one another out of feare; For love, all love of other sights controules, And makes one little roome, an every where. Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, Let Maps to other, worlds on worlds have showne, Let us possesse one world, each hath one, and is one. My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares, And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest, Where can we finde two better hemispheares Without sharpe North, without declining West? What ever dyes, was not mixt equally; If our two loves be one, or, thou and I Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die. For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008…

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546. How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

2010-03-06
Length: 1m 26s


EB Browning read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861) How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of everyday’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death. For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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545. Sonnet 57 Being your Slave by William Shakespeare

2010-02-14
Length: 1m 6s

W Shakespeare read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Sonnet 57 Being your Slave by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) Being your slave, what should I do but tend Upon the hours and times of your desire? I have no precious time at all to spend, Nor services to do, till you require. Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you, Nor think the bitterness of absence sour When you have bid your servant once adieu; Nor dare I question with my jealous thought Where you may be, or your affairs suppose, But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought Save, where you are how happy you make those! So true a fool is love, that in your Will, Though you do any thing, he thinks no ill. For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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544. The Lover’s Resolution by George Wither

2010-02-13
Length: 1m 55s


G Wither read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Lover’s Resolution by George Wither by George Wither (1588-1667) Shall I, wasting in despair, Die because a woman 's fair? Or make pale my cheeks with care 'Cause another's rosy are? Be she fairer than the day, Or the flow'ry meads in May, If she think not well of me, What care I how fair she be? Shall my silly heart be pined 'Cause I see a woman kind? Or a well disposed nature Joined with a lovely feature? Be she meeker, kinder, than Turtle-dove or pelican, If she be not so to me, What care I how kind she be? Shall a woman's virtues move Me to perish for her love? Or her well-deservings known Make me quite forget my own? Be she with that goodness blest Which may merit name of Best, If she be not such to me, What care I how good she be? 'Cause her fortune seems too high, Shall I play the fool and die? She that bears a noble mind, If not outward helps she find, Thinks what with them he would do That without them dares her woo; And unless that mind I see, What care I how great she be? Great, or good, or kind, or fair, I will ne'er the more despair; If she love me, this believe, I will die ere she shall grieve; If she slight me when I woo, I can scorn and let her go; For if she be not for me, What care I for whom she be? First aired: 23 July 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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543. The Old Familiar Faces by Charles Lamb

2010-02-10
Length: 2m 1s


C Lamb read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. ---------------------------------------- The Old Familiar Faces by Charles Lamb (1775–1834) I have had playmates, I have had companions, In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days - All, all are gone, the old familiar faces. I have been laughing, I have been carousing, Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies - All, all are gone, the old familiar faces. I loved a Love once, fairest among women: Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her - All, all are gone, the old familiar faces. I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man: Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly; Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces. Ghost-like I paced round the haunts of my childhood, Earth seem'd a desert I was bound to traverse, Seeking to find the old familiar faces. Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother, Why wert not thou born in my father's dwelling? So might we talk of the old familiar faces - How some they have died, and some they have left me, And some are taken from me; all are departed - All, all are gone, the old familiar faces. First aired: 4 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2007 …

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542. The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe

2010-02-06
Length: 1m 51s

C Marlowe read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe (1564 – 1593) Come live with me and be my Love, And we will all the pleasures prove That hills and valleys, dale and field, And all the craggy mountains yield. There will we sit upon the rocks And see the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers, to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals. There will I make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle. A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull, Fair linèd slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold. A belt of straw and ivy buds With coral clasps and amber studs: And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me and be my Love. Thy silver dishes for thy meat As precious as the gods do eat, Shall on an ivory table be Prepared each day for thee and me. The shepherd swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May-morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my Love. First aired: 20 September 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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541. I am as I am by Sir Thomas Wyatt

2010-01-17
Length: 2m 36s


T Wyatt read by Classic Poetry Aloud: www.classicpoetryaloud.com Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- I am as I am by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 – 1542) I am as I am and so will I be But how that I am none knoweth truly, Be it evil be it well, be I bond be I free I am as I am and so will I be. I lead my life indifferently, I mean nothing but honestly, And though folks judge diversely, I am as I am and so will I die. I do not rejoice nor yet complain, Both mirth and sadness I do refrain, And use the mean since folks will fain Yet I am as I am be it pleasure or pain. Divers do judge as they do true, Some of pleasure and some of woe, Yet for all that no thing they know, But I am as I am wheresoever I go. But since judgers do thus decay, Let every man his judgement say: I will it take in sport and play, For I am as I am who so ever say nay. Who judgeth well, well God him send; Who judgeth evil, God them amend; To judge the best therefore intend, For I am as I am and so will I end. Yet some that be that take delight To judge folks thought for envy and spite, But whether they judge me wrong or right, I am as I am and so do I write. Praying you all that this do read, To trust it as you do your creed, And not to think I change my weed, For I am as I am however I speed. But how that is I leave to you; Judge as ye list, false or true; Ye know no more than afore ye knew; Yet I am as I am whatever ensue. And from this mind I will not flee, But to you all that misjudge me, I do protest as ye may see, That I am as I am and so will I be. First aired: 18 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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540. Can Life be a Blessing by John Henry Dryden

2010-01-15
Length: 1m 2s

JH Dryden read by Classic Poetry Aloud Giving voice to the poetry of the past: www.classicpoetryaloud.com --------------------------------------- Can Life be a Blessing by John Henry Dryden (1631 – 1700) Can life be a blessing, Or worth the possessing, Can life be a blessing if love were away? Ah no! though our love all night keep us waking, And though he torment us with cares all the day, Yet he sweetens, he sweetens our pains in the taking, There's an hour at the last, there's an hour to repay. In ev'ry possessing, The ravishing blessing, In ev'ry possessing the fruit of our pain, Poor lovers forget long ages of anguish, Whate'er they have suffer'd and done to obtain; 'Tis a pleasure, a pleasure to sigh and to languish, When we hope, when we hope to be happy again. First aired: 31 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2010 …

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539. On His Blindness by John Milton

2010-01-10
Length: 1m 20s


J Milton read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- On His Blindness by John Milton (1608 – 1674) When I consider how my light is spent E're half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide, Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, least he returning chide, Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd, I fondly ask; But patience to prevent That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts, who best Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed And post o're Land and Ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and waite. First aired: 20 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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538. The Call by Charlotte Mew

2010-01-02
Length: 1m 20s

C Mew read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Call by Charlotte Mew (1869 – 1928) From our low seat beside the fire Where we have dozed and dreamed and watched the glow Or raked the ashes, stopping so We scarcely saw the sun or rain Above, or looked much higher Than this same quiet red or burned-out fire. To-night we heard a call, A rattle on the window-pane, A voice on the sharp air, And felt a breath stirring our hair, A flame within us: Something swift and tall Swept in and out and that was all. Was it a bright or a dark angel? Who can know? It left no mark upon the snow, But suddenly it snapped the chain Unbarred, flung wide the door Which will not shut again; And so we cannot sit here any more. We must arise and go: The world is cold without And dark and hedged about With mystery and enmity and doubt, But we must go Though yet we do not know Who called, or what marks we shall leave upon the snow. First aired: 3 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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537. Summer And Winter by Percy Bysshe Shelley

2010-01-01
Length: 1m 18s


PB Shelley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: www.classicpoetryaloud.com Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Summer And Winter by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822) It was a bright and cheerful afternoon, Towards the end of the sunny month of June, When the north wind congregates in crowds The floating mountains of the silver clouds From the horizon--and the stainless sky Opens beyond them like eternity. All things rejoiced beneath the sun; the weeds, The river, and the cornfields, and the reeds; The willow leaves that glanced in the light breeze, And the firm foliage of the larger trees. It was a winter such as when birds die In the deep forests; and the fishes lie Stiffened in the translucent ice, which makes Even the mud and slime of the warm lakes A wrinkled clod as hard as brick; and when, Among their children, comfortable men Gather about great fires, and yet feel cold: Alas, then, for the homeless beggar old! First aired: 28 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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536. Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson

2009-12-31
Length: 49s


E Dickinson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) "Hope" is the thing with feathers — That perches in the soul — And sings the tune without the words — And never stops — at all — And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard — And sore must be the storm — That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm — I've heard it in the chillest land — And on the strangest Sea — Yet, never, in Extremity, It asked a crumb — of Me. First aired: 18 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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535. Winter Nightfall by Robert Bridges

2009-12-30
Length: 1m 21s


R Bridges read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Winter Nightfall by Robert Bridges (1844 - 1930) The day begins to droop,— Its course is done: But nothing tells the place Of the setting sun. The hazy darkness deepens, And up the lane You may hear, but cannot see, The homing wain. An engine pants and hums In the farm hard by: Its lowering smoke is lost In the lowering sky. The soaking branches drip, And all night through The dropping will not cease In the avenue. A tall man there in the house Must keep his chair: He knows he will never again Breathe the spring air: His heart is worn with work; He is giddy and sick If he rise to go as far As the nearest rick: He thinks of his morn of life, His hale, strong years; And braves as he may the night Of darkness and tears First aired: 24 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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534. Snow in the Suburbs by Thomas Hardy

2009-12-29
Length: 1m 18s


T Hardy read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Snow in the Suburbs by Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928) Every branch big with it, Bent every twig with it; Every fork like a white web-foot; Every street and pavement mute: Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward when Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again. The palings are glued together like a wall, And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall. A sparrow enters the tree, Whereon immediately A snow-lump thrice his own slight size Descends on him and showers his head and eye And overturns him, And near inurns him, And lights on a nether twig, when its brush Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush. The steps are a blanched slope, Up which, with feeble hope, A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin; And we take him in. First aired: 15 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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533. from Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

2009-12-28
Length: 1m 40s


ST Coleridge read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- from Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834) The Frost performs its secret ministry, Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry Came loud, -and hark, again! loud as before. The inmates of my cottage, all at rest, Have left me to that solitude, which suits Abstruser musings: save that at my side My cradled infant slumbers peacefully. 'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs And vexes meditation with its strange And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood, With all the numberless goings-on of life, Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not; Only that film, which fluttered on the grate, Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing. Methinks its motion in this hush of nature Gives it dim sympathies with me who live, Making it a companionable form, Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit By its own moods interprets, every where Echo or mirror seeking of itself, And makes a toy of Thought. First aired: 26 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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532. The Snow-Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson

2009-12-27
Length: 2m 6s


RW Emerson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Snow-Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields, Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven, And veils the farm-house at the garden's end. The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed In a tumultuous privacy of storm. Come see the north wind's masonry. Out of an unseen quarry evermore Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer Curves his white bastions with projected roof Round every windward stake, or tree, or door. Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he For number or proportion. Mockingly, On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths; A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn; Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall, Maugre the farmer's sighs; and at the gate A tapering turret overtops the work. And when his hours are numbered, and the world Is all his own, retiring, as he were not, Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone, Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work, The frolic architecture of the snow. Students and those interested in knowing more should visit: http://www.etsu.edu/writing/amlit_s04/anthology/snowstorm.htm First aired: 10 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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531. Peace by Henry Vaughan

2009-12-25
Length: 1m 6s

H Vaughan read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Peace by Henry Vaughan (1621 – 1695) My soul, there is a country Far beyond the stars, Where stands a wingèd sentry All skilful in the wars: There, above noise and danger, Sweet Peace sits crown'd with smiles, And One born in a manger Commands the beauteous files. He is thy gracious Friend, And—O my soul, awake!— Did in pure love descend To die here for thy sake. If thou canst get but thither, There grows the flower of Peace, The Rose that cannot wither, Thy fortress, and thy ease. Leave then thy foolish ranges; For none can thee secure But One who never changes— Thy God, thy life, thy cure. First aired: 29 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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529. The Mahogany Tree by William Makepeace Thackeray

2009-12-23
Length: 2m 22s

WM Thackeray read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Mahogany Tree by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 – 1863) Christmas is here: Winds whistle shrill, Icy and chill, Little care we: Little we fear Weather without, Shelter about The Mahogany Tree. Once on the boughs Birds of rare plume Sang, in its bloom; Night-birds are we: Here we carouse, Singing like them, Perched round the stem Of the jolly old tree. Here let us sport, Boys, as we sit; Laughter and wit Flashing so free. Life is but short – When we are gone, Let them sing on Round the old tree. Evenings we knew, Happy as this; Faces we miss, Pleasant to see. Kind hearts and true, Gentle and just, Peace to your dust! We sing round the tree. Care, like a dun, Lurks at the gate: Let the dog wait; Happy we'll be! Drink, every one; Pile up the coals, Fill the red bowls, Round the old tree! Drain we the cup. – Friend, art afraid? Spirits are laid In the Red Sea. Mantle it up; Empty it yet; Let us forget, Round the old tree. Sorrows, begone! Life and its ills, Duns and their bills, Bid we to flee. Come with the dawn, Blue-devil sprite, Leave us to-night, Round the old tree. First aired: 24 December 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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528. Answer to an Invitation to Dine at Fishmongers Hall by Sydney Smith

2009-12-22
Length: 1m 19s

S Smith read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Answer to an Invitation to Dine at Fishmongers Hall by Sydney Smith (1771 – 1845) Much do I love, at civic treat, The monsters of the deep to eat; To see the rosy salmon lying, By smelts encircled, born for frying; And from the china boat to pour, On flaky cod, the flavour'd shower. Thee, above all, I much regard, Flatter than Longman's flattest bard, Much honour'd turbot! sore I grieve Thee and thy dainty friends to leave. Far from ye all, in snuggest corner, I go to dine with little Horner: He who, with philosophic eye, Sat brooding o'er his Christmas pie: Then, firm resolv'd, with either thumb, Tore forth the crust-envelop'd plum, And, mad with youthful dreams of future fame, Proclaim'd the deathless glories of his name. First aired: 23 December 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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530. Abou ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt

2009-12-21
Length: 1m 39s

L Hunt read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to classic poetry. ---------------------------------------- Abou ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt (1784 - 1859) Abou ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!) Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, And saw—within the moonlight in his room, Making it rich and like a lily in bloom— An angel, writing in a book of gold. Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold, And to the presence in the room he said, ‘What writest thou?’—The vision raised its head, And, with a look made of all sweet accord, Answered, ‘The names of those who love the Lord.’ ‘And is mine one?’ said Abou. ‘Nay, not so,’ Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low, But cheerly still, and said, ‘I pray thee, then, Write me as one that loves his fellow men.’ The angel wrote and vanished. The next night It came again with a great wakening light, And showed the names whom love of God had blessed, And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest. First aired: 15 August 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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527. December by Dollie Radford

2009-12-21
Length: 1m 7s


D Radford read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- December by Dollie Radford (1858 – 1920) No gardener need go far to find The Christmas rose, The fairest of the flowers that mark The sweet Year's close: Nor be in quest of places where The hollies grow, Nor seek for sacred trees that hold The mistletoe. All kindly tended gardens love December days, And spread their latest riches out In winter's praise. But every gardener's work this month Must surely be To choose a very beautiful Big Christmas tree, And see it through the open door In triumph ride, To reign a glorious reign within At Christmas-tide. First aired: 22 December 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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526. Grenadier by AE Housman

2009-12-05
Length: 1m 4s

AE Housman read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Grenadier by AE Housman(1859 – 1936) The Queen she sent to look for me, The sergeant he did say, `Young man, a soldier will you be For thirteen pence a day?' For thirteen pence a day did I Take off the things I wore, And I have marched to where I lie, And I shall march no more. My mouth is dry, my shirt is wet, My blood runs all away, So now I shall not die in debt For thirteen pence a day. To-morrow after new young men The sergeant he must see, For things will all be over then Between the Queen and me. And I shall have to bate my price, For in the grave, they say, Is neither knowledge nor device Nor thirteen pence a day. First aired: 9 June 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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525. The Sunne Rising by John Donne

2009-12-03
Length: 2m 19s


J Donne read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Sunne Rising by John Donne (1572 - 1631) Busie old foole, unruly Sunne, Why dost thou thus, Through windowes, and through curtaines call on us? Must to thy motions lovers seasons run? Sawcy pedantique wretch, goe chide Late schoole boyes, and sowre prentices, Goe tell Court-huntsmen, that the King will ride, Call countrey ants to harvest offices; Love, all alike, no season knowes, nor clyme, Nor houres, dayes, moneths, which are the rags of time. Thy beames, so reverend, and strong Why shouldst thou thinke? I could eclipse and cloud them with a winke, But that I would not lose her sight so long: If her eyes have not blinded thine, Looke, and to morrow late, tell mee, Whether both the'India's of spice and Myne Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with mee. Aske for those Kings whom thou saw'st yesterday, And thou shalt heare, All here in one bed lay. She'is all States, and all Princes, I, Nothing else is. Princes doe but play us; compar'd to this, All honor's mimique; All wealth alchimie. Thou sunne art halfe as happy'as wee, In that the world's contracted thus; Thine age askes ease, and since thy duties bee To warme the world, that's done in warming us. Shine here to us, and thou art every where; This bed thy center is, these walls, thy spheare. First aired: 12 July 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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524. Love of Country by Sir Walter Scott

2009-12-01
Length: 1m 8s

W Scott read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Love of Country by Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land! Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd, As home his footsteps he hath turn'd, From wandering on a foreign strand! If such there breathe, go, mark him well; For him no Minstrel raptures swell; High though his titles, proud his name, Boundless his wealth as wish can claim; Despite those titles, power, and pelf, The wretch, concentred all in self, Living, shall forfeit fair renown, And, doubly dying, shall go down To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, Unwept, unhonor'd, and unsung. For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. First aired: 7 June 2008 Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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523. When We Two Parted by Lord Byron

2009-11-30
Length: 1m 37s


Byron read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- When We Two Parted by Lord Byron (1788 - 1824) When we two parted In silence and tears, Half broken-hearted To sever for years, Pale grew thy cheek and cold, Colder thy kiss; Truly that hour foretold Sorrow to this. The dew of the morning Sunk chill on my brow— It felt like the warning Of what I feel now. Thy vows are all broken, And light is thy fame: I hear thy name spoken, And share in its shame. They name thee before me, A knell to mine ear; A shudder comes o'er me— Why wert thou so dear? They know not I knew thee, Who knew thee too well: Long, long shall I rue thee, Too deeply to tell. In secret we met— In silence I grieve, That thy heart could forget, Thy spirit deceive. If I should meet thee After long years, How should I greet thee? With silence and tears. First aired: 28 July 2007 on Classic Poetry Aloud For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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522. I Wake and Feel The Fell Of Dark Not Day by Gerard Manley Hopkins

2009-11-29
Length: 1m 27s


GM Hopkins read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- I Wake and Feel The Fell Of Dark, Not Day by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 1889) I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day, What hour, O what black hours we have spent This night! What sights you, heart, saw; ways you went! And more must, in yet longer light's delay, – With witness I speak this. But where I say Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent To dearest him that lives alas! away. – I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me; Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the cures. – Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see The lost are like this, and their scourge to be As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse. First aired: 4 June 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on each poetry reading, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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521. Snake by DH Lawrence

2009-11-26
Length: 5m 19s


DH Lawrence read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Snake by DH Lawrence (1885 – 1930) A snake came to my water-trough On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, To drink there. In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob tree I came down the steps with my pitcher And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me. He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of the stone trough And rested his throat upon the stone bottom, And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness, He sipped with his straight mouth, Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body, Silently. Someone was before me at my water-trough, And I, like a second-comer, waiting. He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do, And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do, And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment, And stooped and drank a little more, Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking. The voice of my education said to me He must be killed, For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous. And voices in me said, If you were a man You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off. But must I confess how I liked him, How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless, Into the burning bowels of this earth? Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured? I felt so honoured. And yet those voices: If you were not afraid, you would kill him! And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more That he should seek my hospitality From out the dark door of the secret earth. He drank enough And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken, And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black, Seeming to lick his lips, And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air, And slowly turned his head, And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream, Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face. And as he put his head into that dreadful hole, And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther, A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole, Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after, Overcame me now his back was turned. I looked round, I put down my pitcher, I picked up a clumsy log And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter. I think it did not hit him, But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste, Writhed like lightning, and was gone Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front, At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination. And immediately I regretted it. I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act! I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education. And I thought of the albatross, And I wished he would come back, my snake. For he seemed to me again like a king, Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld, Now due to be crowned again. And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords Of life. And I have something to expiate: A pettiness. First aired: 30 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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520. November by Edward Thomas

2009-11-25
Length: 2m 26s


E Thomas read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- November by Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917) November's days are thirty: November's earth is dirty, Those thirty days, from first to last; And the prettiest things on ground are the paths With morning and evening hobnails dinted, With foot and wing-tip overprinted Or separately charactered, Of little beast and little bird. The fields are mashed by sheep, the roads Make the worst going, the best the woods Where dead leaves upward and downward scatter. Few care for the mixture of earth and water, Twig, leaf, flint, thorn, Straw, feather, all that men scorn, Pounded up and sodden by flood, Condemned as mud. But of all the months when earth is greener Not one has clean skies that are cleaner. Clean and clear and sweet and cold, They shine above the earth so old, While the after-tempest cloud Sails over in silence though winds are loud, Till the full moon in the east Looks at the planet in the west And earth is silent as it is black, Yet not unhappy for its lack. Up from the dirty earth men stare: One imagines a refuge there Above the mud, in the pure bright Of the cloudless heavenly light: Another loves earth and November more dearly Because without them, he sees clearly, The sky would be nothing more to his eye Than he, in any case, is to the sky; He loves even the mud whose dyes Renounce all brightness to the skies. First aired: 25 November 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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519. Into My Heart by AE Housman (Poem 40 from A Shropshire Lad by AE Housman)

2009-11-24
Length: 48s

Poem 40 from A Shropshire Lad (Into My Heart) by AE Housman (1859 – 1936) Into my heart on air that kills From yon far country blows: What are those blue remembered hills, What spires, what farms are those? That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, The happy highways where I went And cannot come again. First aired: 24 November 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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518. A Quoi Bon Dire by Charlotte Mew

2009-11-23
Length: 54s

Charlotte Mew read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- A Quoi Bon Dire by Charlotte Mew(1869 – 1928) Seventeen years ago you said Something that sounded like Good-bye; And everybody thinks that you are dead, But I. So I, as I grow stiff and cold To this and that say Good-bye too; And everybody sees that I am old But you. And one fine morning in a sunny lane Some boy and girl will meet and kiss and swear That nobody can love their way again While over there You will have smiled, I shall have tossed your hair. First aired: 28 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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516. Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins

2009-11-22
Length: 1m 15s


GM Hopkins read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 1889) Glory be to God for dappled things— For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. First aired: 21 November 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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515. The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

2009-11-21
Length: 2m 7s


T Hardy read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928) I leant upon a coppice gate When Frost was spectre-gray, And Winter's dregs made desolate The weakening eye of day. The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings of broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires. The land's sharp features seemed to be The Century's corpse outleant, His crypt the cloudy canopy, The wind his death-lament. The ancient pulse of germ and birth Was shrunken hard and dry, And every spirit upon earth Seemed fervourless as I. At once a voice arose among The bleak twigs overhead In a full-hearted evensong Of joy illimited; An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, In blast-beruffled plume, Had chosen thus to fling his soul Upon the growing gloom. So little cause for carolings Of such ecstatic sound Was written on terrestrial things Afar or nigh around, That I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware. First aired: 17 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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514. Stanzas to Augusta by Lord Byron

2009-11-20
Length: 2m 46s


Lord Byron read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Stanzas to Augusta by Lord Byron (1788 – 1824) When all around grew drear and dark, And reason half withheld her ray— And hope but shed a dying spark Which more misled my lonely way; In that deep midnight of the mind, And that internal strife of heart, When dreading to be deemed too kind, The weak despair—the cold depart; When fortune changed—and love fled far, And hatred's shafts flew thick and fast, Thou wert the solitary star Which rose, and set not to the last. Oh, blest be thine unbroken light! That watched me as a seraph's eye, And stood between me and the night, For ever shining sweetly nigh. And when the cloud upon us came, Which strove to blacken o'er thy ray— Then purer spread its gentle flame, And dashed the darkness all away. Still may thy spirit dwell on mine, And teach it what to brave or brook— There's more in one soft word of thine Than in the world's defied rebuke. Thou stood'st as stands a lovely tree That, still unbroke though gently bent, Still waves with fond fidelity Its boughs above a monument. The winds might rend, the skies might pour, But there thou wert—and still wouldst be Devoted in the stormiest hour To shed thy weeping leaves o'er me. But thou and thine shall know no blight, Whatever fate on me may fall; For heaven in sunshine will requite The kind—and thee the most of all. Then let the ties of baffled love Be broken—thine will never break; Thy heart can feel—but will not move; Thy soul, though soft, will never shake. And these, when all was lost beside, Were found, and still are fixed in thee;— And bearing still a breast so tried, Earth is no desert—e'en to me. First aired: 20 November 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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513. Lullaby by William Blake

2009-11-18
Length: 2m 10s


W Blake read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Lullaby A prologue to King Edward the Fourth by William Blake (1757 – 1827) O for a voice like thunder, and a tongue To drown the throat of war! - When the senses Are shaken, and the soul is driven to madness, Who can stand? When the souls of the oppressed Fight in the troubled air that rages, who can stand? When the whirlwind of fury comes from the Throne of God, when the frowns of his countenance Drive the nations together, who can stand? When Sin claps his broad wings over the battle, And sails rejoicing in the flood of Death; When souls are torn to everlasting fire, And fiends of Hell rejoice upon the slain, O who can stand? O who hath caused this? O who can answer at the throne of God? The Kings and Nobles of the Land have done it! Hear it not, Heaven, thy Ministers have done it! First aired: 19 November 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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512. One Way of Love by Robert Browning

2009-11-18
Length: 1m 14s


R Browning read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- One Way of Love by Robert Browning (1812 – 1889) All June I bound the rose in sheaves. Now, rose by rose, I strip the leaves And strow them where Pauline may pass. She will not turn aside? Alas! Let them lie. Suppose they die? The chance was they might take her eye. How many a month I strove to suit These stubborn fingers to the lute! To-day I venture all I know. She will not hear my music? So! Break the string; fold music’s wing: Suppose Pauline had bade me sing! My whole life long I learn’d to love. This hour my utmost art I prove And speak my passion - heaven or hell? She will not give me heaven? ’T is well! Lose who may - I still can say, Those who win heaven, bless’d are they! First aired: 2 June 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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511. Why So Pale and Wan? by Sir John Suckling

2009-11-17
Length: 48s


J Suckling read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Why so Pale and Wan? by Sir John Suckling (1609 – 1642) Why so pale and wan, fond lover? Prithee, why so pale? Will, when looking well can't move her, Looking ill prevail? Prithee, why so pale? Why so dull and mute, young sinner? Prithee, why so mute? Will, when speaking well can't win her, Saying nothing do 't? Prithee, why so mute? Quit, quit for shame! This will not move; This cannot take her. If of herself she will not love, Nothing can make her: The devil take her! First aired: 22 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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510. Disabled by Wilfred Owen

2009-11-07
Length: 3m 37s


W Owen read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Disabled by Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918) He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark, And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey, Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn, Voices of play and pleasure after day, Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him. About this time Town used to swing so gay When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim, — In the old times, before he threw away his knees. Now he will never feel again how slim Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands, All of them touch him like some queer disease. There was an artist silly for his face, For it was younger than his youth, last year. Now he is old; his back will never brace; He's lost his colour very far from here, Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry, And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race, And leap of purple spurted from his thigh. One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg, After the matches carried shoulder-high. It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg, He thought he'd better join. He wonders why . . . Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts. That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg, Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts, He asked to join. He didn't have to beg; Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years. Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes; And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears; Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits. And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers. Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal. Only a solemn man who brought him fruits Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul. Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes, And do what things the rules consider wise, And take whatever pity they may dole. To-night he noticed how the women's eyes Passed from him to the strong men that were whole. How cold and late it is! Why don't they come And put him into bed? Why don't they come? First aired: 8 November 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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509. Envoy by Francis Thompson

2009-11-01
Length: 58s

F Thompson  read by Classic Poetry Aloud:

http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/

Giving voice to the poetry of the past.

---------------------------------------

Envoy

by Francis Thompson (1859 – 1907)


Go, songs, for ended is our brief, sweet play;
Go, children of swift joy and tardy sorrow:
And some are sung, and that was yesterday,
And some unsung, and that may be to-morrow.

Go forth; and if it be o'er stony way,
Old joy can lend what newer grief must borrow:
And it was sweet, and that was yesterday,
And sweet is sweet, though purchas-ed with sorrow.

Go, songs, and come not back from your far way:
And if men ask you why ye smile and sorrow,
Tell them ye grieve, for your hearts know To-day,
Tell them ye smile, for your eyes know To-morrow.

 

First aired: 5 May 2008

For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index.

Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009

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508. Immortality by Matthew Arnold

2009-09-26
Length: 1m 7s


Arnold read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Immortality by Matthew Arnold (1822 – 1888) (Mathew Arnold died on this day – 15 April – in 1888.) Foil'd by our fellow-men, depress'd, outworn, We leave the brutal world to take its way, And, Patience! in another life, we say The world shall be thrust down, and we up-borne. And will not, then, the immortal armies scorn The world's poor, routed leavings? or will they, Who fail'd under the heat of this life's day, Support the fervours of the heavenly morn? No, no! the energy of life may be Kept on after the grave, but not begun; And he who flagg'd not in the earthly strife, From strength to strength advancing - only he, His soul well-knit, and all his battles won, Mounts, and that hardly, to eternal life. …

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507. Sonnet 2 When forty winters shall besiege thy brow by William Shakespeare

2009-09-13
Length: 1m 10s

W Shakespeare read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Sonnet 2 When forty winters shall besiege thy brow by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) When forty winters shall besiege thy brow, And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field, Thy youth's proud livery so gazed on now, Will be a tattered weed of small worth held. Then being asked, where all thy beauty lies, Where all the treasure of thy lusty days, To say within thine own deep sunken eyes, Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise. How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use, If thou couldst answer, "This fair child of mine Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse," Proving his beauty by succession thine. This were to be new made when thou art old, And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold. First aired: 13 September 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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506. I Told You by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

2009-09-11
Length: 1m 55s


Ella Wheeler Wilcox read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- I Told You by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 – 1919) I told you the winter would go, love, I told you the winter would go. That he'd flee in shame when the south wind came, And you smiled when I told you so. You said the blustering fellow Would never yield to a breeze, That his cold, icy breath had frozen to death The flowers, and birds, and trees. And I told you the snow would melt, love, In the passionate glance o' the sun; And the leaves o' the trees, and the flowers and bees, Would come back again, one by one. That the great, gray clouds would vanish, And the sky turn tender and blue; And the sweet birds would sing, and talk of the spring, And, love, it has all come true. I told you that sorrow would fade, love, And you would forget half your pain; That the sweet bird of song would waken ere long, And sing in your bosom again; That hope would creep out of the shadows, And back to its nest in your heart, And gladness would come, and find its old home, And that sorrow at length would depart. I told you that grief seldom killed, love, Though the heart might seem dead for awhile, But the world is so bright, and so full of warm light That 'twould waken at length, in its smile. Ah, love! was I not a true prophet? There's a sweet happy smile on your face; Your sadness has flown - the snow-drift is gone, And the buttercups bloom in its place. First aired: 27 Dec 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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505. Song by Christina Georgina Rossetti

2009-08-20
Length: 52s


CG Rossetti read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Song by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) When I am dead, my dearest, Sing no sad songs for me; Plant thou no roses at my head, Nor shady cypress tree: Be the green grass above me With showers and dewdrops wet; And if thou wilt, remember, And if thou wilt, forget. I shall not see the shadows, I shall not feel the rain; I shall not hear the nightingale Sing on, as if in pain: And dreaming through the twilight That doth not rise nor set, Haply I may remember, And haply may forget. First aired: 27 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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504. The Arrow and the Song by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

2009-08-16
Length: 53s


HL Longfellow read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Arrow and the Song by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) I shot an arrow into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where; For, so swiftly it flew, the sight Could not follow it in its flight. I breathed a song into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where; For who has sight so keen and strong That it can follow the flight of song? Long, long afterward, in an oak I found the arrow, still unbroke; And the song, from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend. First aired: 23 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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503. I am Lonely by George Eliot

2009-08-14
Length: 1m 11s


G Eliot read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- I am Lonely by George Eliot (1819 – 1880) From "The Spanish Gypsy" The world is great: the birds all fly from me, The stars are golden fruit upon a tree All out of reach: my little sister went, And I am lonely. The world is great: I tried to mount the hill Above the pines, where the light lies so still, But it rose higher: little Lisa went And I am lonely. The world is great: the wind comes rushing by. I wonder where it comes from; sea birds cry And hurt my heart: my little sister went, And I am lonely. The world is great: the people laugh and talk, And make loud holiday: how fast they walk! I'm lame, they push me: little Lisa went, And I am lonely. First aired: 19 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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502. Recessional by Rudyard Kipling

2009-08-12
Length: 1m 54s


R Kipling read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Recessional by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936) God of our fathers, known of old – Lord of our far-flung battle-line – Beneath whose awful Hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine – Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget, lest we forget! The tumult and the shouting dies – The captains and the kings depart – Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice, An humble and a contrite heart. Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget, lest we forget! Far-call'd our navies melt away – On dune and headland sinks the fire – Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget, lest we forget! If, drunk with sight of power, we loose Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe – Such boasting as the Gentiles use Or lesser breeds without the Law – Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget, lest we forget! For heathen heart that puts her trust In reeking tube and iron shard – All valiant dust that builds on dust, And guarding calls not Thee to guard – For frantic boast and foolish word, Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord! First aired: 16 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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501. Delight in Disorder by Robert Herrick

2009-08-10
Length: 51s


R Herrick read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Delight in Disorder by Robert Herrick (1591–1674) A sweet disorder in the dress Kindles in clothes a wantonness:– A lawn about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distractión,– An erring lace, which here and there Enthrals the crimson stomacher,– A cuff neglectful, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly,– A winning wave, deserving note, In the tempestuous petticoat,– A careless shoe-string, in whose tie I see a wild civility,– Do more bewitch me, than when art Is too precise in every part. First aired: 15 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009

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500. Sailing to Byzantium by William Butler Yeats

2009-08-08
Length: 2m 40s


WB Yeats read by Classic Poetry Aloud:
http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/

Giving voice to the poetry of the past.

---------------------------------------

Sailing to Byzantium
by William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


First aired: 8 August 2009

For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index.

Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009

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499. Tears Idle Tears by Alfred Lord Tennyson

2009-08-07
Length: 1m 37s



A Tennyson read by Classic Poetry Aloud:
http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/

Giving voice to the poetry of the past.

---------------------------------------

Tears Idle Tears
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892)

Songs from “The Princess.” IV. Tears, Idle Tears

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awaken’d birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remember’d kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign’d
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.

First aired: 13 May 2008

For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index.

Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009

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498. The Grass so little has to do by Emily Dickinson

2009-08-05
Length: 1m 2s


E Dickinson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Grass so little has to do by Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) The Grass so little has to do – A Sphere of simple Green – With only Butterflies to brood And Bees to entertain – And stir all day to pretty Tunes The Breezes fetch along – And hold the Sunshine in its lap And bow to everything – And thread the Dews, all night, like Pearls – And make itself so fine A Duchess were too common For such a noticing – And even when it dies – to pass In Odors so divine – Like Lowly spices, lain to sleep – Or Spikenards, perishing – And then, in Sovereign Barns to dwell – And dream the Days away, The Grass so little has to do I wish I were a Hay – First aired: 7 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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497. The Dalliance Of The Eagles by Walt Whitman

2009-08-04
Length: 1m 3s


W Whitman read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Dalliance Of The Eagles by Walt Whitman (1819 – 1992) Skirting the river road, (my forenoon walk, my rest,) Skyward in the air a sudden muffled sound, the dalliance of the eagles, The rushing amorous contact high in space together, The clinching interlocking claws, a living, fierce, gyrating wheel, Four beating wings, two beaks, a swirling mass tight grappling, In tumbling turning clustering loops, straight downward falling, Till o'er the river pois'd, the twain yet one, a moment's lull, A motionless still balance in the air, then parting, talons loosing, Upward again on slow-firm pinions slanting, their separate diverse flight, She hers, he his, pursuing. First aired: 3 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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496. The World is too Much With Us by William Wordsworth

2009-08-01
Length: 1m 2s


W Wordsworth read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The World is too Much With by William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. First aired: 4 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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495. Mattins by George Herbert

2009-07-31
Length: 1m 28s

G Herbert read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Mattins by George Herbert (1593 – 1633) I cannot ope mine eyes, But thou art ready there to catch My morning-soul and sacrifice: Then we must needs for that day make a match. My God, what is a heart? Silver, or gold, or precious stone, Or star, or rainbow, or a part Of all these things or all of them in one? My God, what is a heart? That thou should'st it so eye, and woo, Pouring upon it all thy art, As if that thou hadst nothing else to do? Indeed man's whole estate Amounts (and richly) to serve thee: He did not heav'n and earth create, Yet studies them, not him by whom they be. Teach me thy love to know; That this new light, which now I see, May both the work and workman show: Then by a sun-beam I will climb to thee. First aired: 1 August 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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494. Life by Charlotte Bronte

2009-07-31
Length: 1m 25s


C Bronte read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Life by Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855) Life, believe, is not a dream So dark as sages say; Oft a little morning rain Foretells a pleasant day. Sometimes there are clouds of gloom, But these are transient all; If the shower will make the roses bloom, O why lament its fall? Rapidly, merrily, Life's sunny hours flit by, Gratefully, cheerily, Enjoy them as they fly! What though Death at times steps in And calls our Best away? What though sorrow seems to win, O'er hope, a heavy sway ? Yet hope again elastic springs, Unconquered, though she fell; Still buoyant are her golden wings, Still strong to bear us well. Manfully, fearlessly, The day of trial bear, For gloriously, victoriously, Can courage quell despair! First aired: 31 July 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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493. Be Still, My Soul, Be Still by AE Housman

2009-07-29
Length: 2m 1s


AE Housman read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Be Still, My Soul, Be Still by AE Housman (1859 – 1936) Be still, my soul, be still; the arms you bear are brittle, Earth and high heaven are fixt of old and founded strong. Think rather, - call to thought, if now you grieve a little, The days when we had rest, O soul, for they were long. Men loved unkindness then, but lightless in the quarry I slept and saw not; tears fell down, I did not mourn; Sweat ran and blood sprang out and I was never sorry: Then it was well with me, in days ere I was born. Now, and I muse for why and never find the reason, I pace the earth, and drink the air, and feel the sun. Be still, be still, my soul; it is but for a season: Let us endure an hour and see injustice done. Ay, look: high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation; All thoughts to rive the heart are here, and all are vain: Horror and scorn and hate and fear and indignation- Oh why did I awake? when shall I sleep again? First aired: 29 July 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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492. The Call by Charlotte Mew

2009-07-10
Length: 1m 20s


C Mew read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Call by Charlotte Mew (1869 – 1928) From our low seat beside the fire Where we have dozed and dreamed and watched the glow Or raked the ashes, stopping so We scarcely saw the sun or rain Above, or looked much higher Than this same quiet red or burned-out fire. To-night we heard a call, A rattle on the window-pane, A voice on the sharp air, And felt a breath stirring our hair, A flame within us: Something swift and tall Swept in and out and that was all. Was it a bright or a dark angel? Who can know? It left no mark upon the snow, But suddenly it snapped the chain Unbarred, flung wide the door Which will not shut again; And so we cannot sit here any more. We must arise and go: The world is cold without And dark and hedged about With mystery and enmity and doubt, But we must go Though yet we do not know Who called, or what marks we shall leave upon the snow. First aired: 3 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. To learn a little more about the poems and poets on Classic Poetry Aloud, join the mailing list. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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491. Piano by DH Lawrence

2009-06-29
Length: 1m 14s


DH Lawrence read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Piano by DH Lawrence (1885 – 1930) Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me; Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings. In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide. So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past. First aired: 1 May 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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490. Loveliest of Trees by AE Housman

2009-06-28
Length: 45s


AE Housman read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Loveliest of Trees by AE Housman (1859 – 1936) Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough, And stands about the woodland ride, Wearing white for Eastertide. Now, of my threescore years and ten, Twenty will not come again, And take from seventy springs a score, It only leaves me fifty more. And since to look at things in bloom Fifty springs are little room, About the woodlands I will go To see the cherry hung with snow. First aired: 30 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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489. The Rhodora by Ralph Waldo Emerson

2009-06-27
Length: 1m 16s


RW Emerson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Rhodora by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) On Being Asked Whence Is the Flower In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes, I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods, Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook, To please the desert and the sluggish brook. The purple petals, fallen in the pool, Made the black water with their beauty gay; Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool, And court the flower that cheapens his array. Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why This charm is wasted on the earth and sky, Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, Then Beauty is its own excuse for being: Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose! I never thought to ask, I never knew: But, in my simple ignorance, suppose The self-same Power that brought me there brought you. First aired: 28 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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488. Opportunity by James Elroy Flecker

2009-06-19
Length: 1m 38s


JE Flecker read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Opportunity by James Elroy Flecker (1884 – 1915) From Machiavelli "But who art thou, with curious beauty graced, O woman, stamped with some bright heavenly seal Why go thy feet on wings, and in such haste?" "I am that maid whose secret few may steal, Called Opportunity. I hasten by Because my feet are treading on a wheel, Being more swift to run than birds to fly. And rightly on my feet my wings I wear, To blind the sight of those who track and spy; Rightly in front I hold my scattered hair To veil my face, and down my breast to fall, Lest men should know my name when I am there; And leave behind my back no wisp at all For eager folk to clutch, what time I glide So near, and turn, and pass beyond recall." "Tell me; who is that Figure at thy side?" "Penitence. Mark this well that by decree Who lets me go must keep her for his bride. And thou hast spent much time in talk with me Busied with thoughts and fancies vainly grand, Nor hast remarked, O fool, neither dost see How lightly I have fled beneath thy hand." First aired: 25 July 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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487. The Way Through the Woods by Rudyard Kipling

2009-06-19
Length: 1m 23s


R Kipling read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Way Through the Woods by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936) They shut the road through the woods Seventy years ago. Weather and rain have undone it again, And now you would never know There was once a road through the woods Before they planted the trees. It is underneath the coppice and heath, And the thin anemones. Only the keeper sees That, where the ring-dove broods, And the badgers roll at ease, There was once a road through the woods. Yet, if you enter the woods Of a summer evening late, When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools Where the otter whistles his mate. (They fear not men in the woods, Because they see so few) You will hear the beat of a horse's feet, And the swish of a skirt in the dew, Steadily cantering through The misty solitudes, As though they perfectly knew The old lost road through the woods. . . . But there is no road through the woods. First aired: 16 July 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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486. Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

2009-06-18
Length: 55s


W Shakespeare read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved. First aired: 19 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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485. Claire de Lune by Paul Verlaine

2009-06-16
Length: 2m 23s


P Verlaine read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Claire de Lune by Paul Verlaine (1844 – 1896) Votre âme est un paysage choisi Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques. Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur L'amour vainqueur et la vie opportune Ils n'ont pas l'air de croire à leur bonheur Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune, Au calme clair de lune triste et beau, Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres Et sangloter d'extase les jets d'eau, Les grands jets d'eau sveltes parmi les marbres. Claire de Lune by Paul Verlaine (1844 – 1896) Your soul is a chosen landscape Where charming masked and costumed figures go Playing the lute and dancing and almost Sad beneath their fantastic disguises. All sing in a minor key Of all-conquering love and careless fortune They do not seem to believe in their happiness And their song mingles with the moonlight. The still moonlight, sad and beautiful, Which gives the birds to dream in the trees And makes the fountain sprays sob in ecstasy, The tall, slender fountain sprays among the marble statues. First aired: 14 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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484. Gravis Dulcis Immutabilis by James Elroy Flecker

2009-06-15
Length: 1m 5s


JE Flecker read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Gravis Dulcis Immutabilis by James Elroy Flecker (1884 – 1915) Come, let me kiss your wistful face Where Sorrow curves her bow of pain, And live sweet days and bitter days With you, or wanting you again. I dread your perishable gold: Come near me now; the years are few. Alas, when you and I are old I shall not want to look at you: And yet come in. I shall not dare To gaze upon your countenance, But I shall huddle in my chair, Turn to the fire my fireless glance, And listen, while that slow and grave Immutable sweet voice of yours Rises and falls, as falls a wave In summer on forgotten shores. First aired: 9 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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483. Love by George Herbert

2009-06-14
Length: 1m 17s

G Herbert read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Love by George Herbert (1593 – 1632) Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin. But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack From my first entrance in, Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning If I lack'd anything. 'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:' Love said, 'You shall be he.' 'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear, I cannot look on Thee.' Love took my hand and smiling did reply, 'Who made the eyes but I?' 'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame Go where it doth deserve.' 'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?' 'My dear, then I will serve.' 'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.' So I did sit and eat. First aired: 9 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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482. Evening on Calais Beach by William Wordsworth

2009-06-13
Length: 1m 7s


W Wordsworth read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Evening on Calais Beach by William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) It is a beauteous evening, calm and free, The holy time is quiet as a Nun Breathless with adoration; the broad sun Is sinking down in its tranquillity; The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the sea: Listen! the mighty Being is awake, And doth with his eternal motion make A sound like thunder—everlastingly. Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here, If thou appear untouch'd by solemn thought, Thy nature is not therefore less divine: Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year; And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine, God being with thee when we know it not. First aired: 7 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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481. Nightingales by Robert Bridges

2009-06-06
Length: 1m 17s


R Bridges read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Nightingales by Robert Bridges (1844 – 1930) Beautiful must be the mountains whence ye come, And bright in the fruitful valleys the streams, wherefrom Ye learn your song: Where are those starry woods? O might I wander there, Among the flowers, which in that heavenly air Bloom the year long! Nay, barren are those mountains and spent the streams: Our song is the voice of desire, that haunts our dreams, A throe of the heart, Whose pining visions dim, forbidden hopes profound, No dying cadence nor long sigh can sound, For all our art. Alone, aloud in the raptured ear of men We pour our dark nocturnal secret; and then, As night is withdrawn From these sweet-springing meads and bursting boughs of May, Dream, while the innumerable choir of day Welcome the dawn. First aired: 4 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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480. The Pilgrimage by Sir Walter Raleigh

2009-06-06
Length: 1m 1s


W Raleigh read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Pilgrimage by Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 – 1618) Give me my scallop-shell of quiet, My staff of faith to walk upon, My scrip of joy, immortal diet, My bottle of salvation, My gown of glory, hope's true gage; And thus I'll take my pilgrimage. Blood must be my body's balmer; No other balm will there be given: Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer, Travelleth towards the land of heaven; Over the silver mountains, Where spring the nectar fountains; There will I kiss The bowl of bliss; And drink mine everlasting fill Upon every milken hill. My soul will be a-dry before; But, after, it will thirst no more. First aired: 7 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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479. To Daffodils by Robert Herrick

2009-05-28
Length: 56s


R Herrick read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- To Daffodils by Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674) Fair daffodils, we weep to see You haste away so soon; As yet the early-rising sun Has not attain'd his noon. Stay, stay Until the hasting day Has run But to the evensong; And, having pray'd together, we Will go with you along. We have short time to stay, as you, We have as short a spring; As quick a growth to meet decay, As you, or anything. We die As your hours do, and dry Away Like to the summer's rain; Or as the pearls of morning's dew, Ne'er to be found again. First aired: 31 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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478. We Are the Music Makers by Arthur O’Shaughnessy

2009-05-26
Length: 1m 22s


A O'Shaughnessy read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Ode ‘We Are the Music Makers’ by Arthur O'Shaughnessy (1844 – 1881) We are the music-makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams; World-losers and world-forsakers, On whom the pale moon gleams: Yet we are the movers and shakers Of the world for ever, it seems. With wonderful deathless ditties We build up the world's great cities, And out of a fabulous story We fashion an empire's glory: One man with a dream, at pleasure, Shall go forth and conquer a crown; And three with a new song's measure Can trample an empire down. We, in the ages lying In the buried past of the earth, Built Nineveh with our sighing, And Babel itself with our mirth; And o'erthrew them with prophesying To the old of the new world's worth; For each age is a dream that is dying, Or one that is coming to birth. First aired: 28 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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477. The Oak by Alfred Lord Tennyson

2009-05-25
Length: 41s


A Tennyson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Oak by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) Live thy Life, Young and old, Like yon oak, Bright in spring, Living gold; Summer-rich Then; and then Autumn-changed Soberer-hued Gold again. All his leaves Fall'n at length, Look, he stands, Trunk and bough Naked strength. First aired: 26 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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476. Broken Friendship by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

2009-05-22
Length: 57s


ST Coleridge read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Broken Friendship by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834) Alas! they had been friends in youth, But whispering tongues can poison truth! And constancy lives in realms above! And life is thorny, and Youth is vain! And to be wroth with one we love, Doth work like madness in the brain! They parted -- ne'er to meet again! But never either found another To free the hollow heart from paining! They stood aloof, the scars remaining; Like cliffs which had been rent asunder! A dreary sea now flows between; But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder, Shall wholly do away, I ween, The marks of that which once had been. First aired: 25 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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475. The Old Ships by James Elroy Flecker

2009-05-16
Length: 2m 3s

R Herrick read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Old Ships by James Elroy Flecker (1884 - 1915) I have seen old ships like swans asleep Beyond the village which men call Tyre, With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep For Famagusta and the hidden sun That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire; And all those ships were certainly so old Who knows how oft with squat and noisy gun, Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges, The pirate Genoese Hell-raked them till they rolled Blood, water, fruit and corpses up the hold. But now through friendly seas they softly run, Painted the mid-sea blue or shore-sea green, Still patterned with the vine and grapes in gold. But I have seen, Pointing her shapely shadows from the dawn And image tumbed on a rose-swept bay, A drowsy ship of some yet older day; And, wonder's breath indrawn, Thought I - who knows - who knows - but in that same (Fished up beyond Ææa, patched up new - Stern painted brighter blue -) That talkative, bald-headed seaman came (Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar) From Troy's doom-crimson shore, And with great lies about his wooden horse Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course. It was so old a ship - who knows, who knows? - And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain To see the mast burst open with a rose, And the whole deck put on its leaves again. First aired: 21 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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474. To Music to Becalm his Fever by Robert Herrick

2009-05-15
Length: 1m 27s


R Herrick read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- To Music to Becalm his Fever by Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674) Charm me asleep, and melt me so With thy delicious numbers, That, being ravish'd, hence I go Away in easy slumbers. Ease my sick head, And make my bed, Thou power that canst sever From me this ill, And quickly still, Though thou not kill My fever. Thou sweetly canst convert the same From a consuming fire Into a gentle licking flame, And make it thus expire. Then make me weep My pains asleep; And give me such reposes That I, poor I, May think thereby I live and die 'Mongst roses. Fall on me like the silent dew, Or like those maiden showers Which, by the peep of day, do strew A baptim o'er the flowers. Melt, melt my pains With thy soft strains; That, having ease me given, With full delight I leave this light, And take my flight For Heaven. First aired: 18 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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473. Because I Liked you Better by AE Housman

2009-05-12
Length: 1m 1s

AE Housman read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Because I liked you better by AE Housman (1859 – 1936) Because I liked you better Than suits a man to say, It irked you, and I promised To throw the thought away. To put the world between us We parted, stiff and dry; "Good-bye," said you, "forget me." "I will, no fear," said I. If here, where clover whitens The dead man's knoll, you pass, And no tall flower to meet you Starts in the trefoiled grass, Halt by the headstone naming The heart no longer stirred, And say the lad that loved you Was one that kept his word. First aired: 17 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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472. Sonnet 75 by Edmund Spenser

2009-04-29
Length: 1m 8s


E Spenser read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Sonnet 75 by Edmund Spenser (1552 – 1599) One day I wrote her name upon the strand, But came the waves and washed it away: Again I wrote it with a second hand, But came the tide, and made my pains his prey. Vain man, said she, that dost in vain assay A mortal thing so to immortalize! For I myself shall like to this decay, And eek my name be wiped out likewise. Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise To die in dust, but you shall live by fame: My verse your virtues rare shall eternize, And in the heavens write your glorious name; Where, whenas death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew. First aired: 11 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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471. The Lover's Appeal by Thomas Wyatt

2009-04-28
Length: 1m 17s


T Wyatt read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Lover’s Appeal by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 – 1542) And wilt thou leave me thus! Say nay! say nay! for shame! To save thee from the blame Of all my grief and grame. And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay! say nay! And wilt thou leave me thus, That hath loved thee so long In wealth and woe among: And is thy heart so strong As for to leave me thus? Say nay! say nay! And wilt thou leave me thus, That hath given thee my heart Never for to depart Neither for pain nor smart: And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay! say nay! And wilt thou leave me thus, And have no more pity Of him that loveth thee? Alas! thy cruelty! And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay! say nay! First aired: 5 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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470. Sleep by Sir Philip Sidney

2009-04-27
Length: 1m 13s


P Sidney read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Sleep by Sir Philip Sidney (1554 – 1586) Come, Sleep; O Sleep! the certain knot of peace, The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe, The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release, Th' indifferent judge between the high and low; With shield of proof shield me from out the prease Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw: O make in me those civil wars to cease; I will good tribute pay, if thou do so. Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed, A chamber deaf to noise and blind of light, A rosy garland and a weary head; And if these things, as being thine by right, Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me, Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see. First aired: 28 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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469. The Dilettante by Paul Laurence Dunbar

2009-04-25
Length: 1m 11s

PL Dunbar read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Dilettante: A Modern Type by Paul Lawrence Dunbar (1872 – 1906) He scribbles some in prose and verse, And now and then he prints it; He paints a little,--gathers some Of Nature's gold and mints it. He plays a little, sings a song, Acts tragic roles or funny; He does, because his love is strong, But not, oh, not for money! He studies almost everything From social art to science; A thirsty mind, a flowing spring, Demand and swift compliance. He looms above the sordid crowd, At least through friendly lenses; While his mama looks pleased and proud, And kindly pays expenses. First aired: 26 April 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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468. The Valley of Unrest by Edgar Allan Poe

2009-04-25
Length: 1m 54s


EA Poe read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Valley of Unrest by Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) Once it smiled a silent dell Where the people did not dwell; They had gone unto the wars, Trusting to the mild-eyed stars, Nightly, from their azure towers, To keep watch above the flowers, In the midst of which all day The red sun-light lazily lay. Now each visiter shall confess The sad valley's restlessness. Nothing there is motionless — Nothing save the airs that brood Over the magic solitude. Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees That palpitate like the chill seas Around the misty Hebrides! Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven That rustle through the unquiet Heaven Uneasily, from morn till even, Over the violets there that lie In myriad types of the human eye — Over the lilies there that wave And weep above a nameless grave! They wave: — from out their fragrant tops Eternal dews come down in drops. They weep: — from off their delicate stems Perennial tears descend in gems. First aired: 25 April 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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467. England in 1819 by Percy Bysshe Shelley

2009-04-24
Length: 1m 30s


PB Shelley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- England in 1819 by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822) An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,– Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow Through public scorn, mud from a muddy spring,– Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know, But leech-like to their fainting country cling, Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,– A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,– An army which liberticide and prey Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield,– Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay; Religion Christless, Godless, a book sealed,– A Senate–Time's worst statute unrepealed,– Are graves from which a glorious Phantom may Burst to illumine our tempestuous day. First aired: 24 April 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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466. Nature and Art by Alexander Pope

2009-04-23
Length: 1m 44s


A Pope read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Nature and Art from An Essay on Criticism: Part 1 by Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) First follow Nature, and your judgment frame By her just standard, which is still the same: Unerring Nature, still divinely bright, One clear, unchang'd, and universal light, Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart, At once the source, and end, and test of art. Art from that fund each just supply provides, Works without show, and without pomp presides: In some fair body thus th' informing soul With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole, Each motion guides, and ev'ry nerve sustains; Itself unseen, but in th' effects, remains. Some, to whom Heav'n in wit has been profuse, Want as much more, to turn it to its use; For wit and judgment often are at strife, Though meant each other's aid, like man and wife. 'Tis more to guide, than spur the Muse's steed; Restrain his fury, than provoke his speed; The winged courser, like a gen'rous horse, Shows most true mettle when you check his course. Those Rules of old discover'd, not devis'd, Are Nature still, but Nature methodis'd; Nature, like liberty, is but restrain'd By the same laws which first herself ordain'd. First aired: 3 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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465. Jerusalem by William Blake

2009-04-21
Length: 1m 41s


W Blake read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- ‘Jerusalem’ from ‘Milton’ by William Blake (1757 – 1827) And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England’s mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God On England’s pleasant pastures seen? And did the Countenance Divine Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here Among these dark Satanic Mills? Bring me my bow of burning gold! Bring me my arrows of desire! Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire! I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem In England’s green and pleasant land. First aired: 18 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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464. Home Thoughts from Abroad by Robert Browning

2009-04-20
Length: 1m 21s


R Browning read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Home Thoughts, from Abroad by Robert Browning (1812 – 1889) O, to be in England Now that April 's there, And whoever wakes in England Sees, some morning, unaware, That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough In England—now! And after April, when May follows, And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows! Hark, where my blossom'd pear-tree in the hedge Leans to the field and scatters on the clover Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge— That 's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, Lest you should think he never could recapture The first fine careless rapture! And though the fields look rough with hoary dew, All will be gay when noontide wakes anew The buttercups, the little children's dower —Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower! First aired: 1 April 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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462. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

2009-04-17
Length: 8m 51s


EA Poe read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. "'T is some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door; Only this and nothing more." Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore, For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore: Nameless here for evermore. And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating "'T is some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door, Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door: This it is and nothing more." Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you"—here I opened wide the door:— Darkness there and nothing more. Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?" This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore:" Merely this and nothing more. Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore; Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore: 'T is the wind and nothing more." Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore. Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door, Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door: Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,— "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore: Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door, Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as "Nevermore." But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he uttered, not a feather then he fluttered, Till I scarcely more than muttered,—"Other friends have flown before; On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before." Then the bird said, "Nevermore." Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore: Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of 'Never—nevermore.' But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore, What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking "Nevermore." This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er She shall press, ah, nevermore! Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!" Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore." Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil! Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted— On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore: Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil—prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us, by that God we both adore, Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore: Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." "Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting: "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor: And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted—nevermore! First aired: 29 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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463. Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam by Ernest Dowson

2009-04-16
Length: 56s


E Dowson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam (The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long - Horace) by Ernest Dowson (1867 – 1900) They are not long, the weeping and the laughter, Love and desire and hate: I think they have no portion in us after We pass the gate. They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream Our path emerges for a while, then closes Within a dream. First aired: 1 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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461. Waikiki by Rupert Brooke

2009-04-14
Length: 1m 23s


R Brooke read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Waikiki by Rupert Brooke (1887 – 1915) Warm perfumes like a breath from vine and tree Drift down the darkness. Plangent, hidden from eyes, Somewhere an eukaleli thrills and cries And stabs with pain the night’s brown savagery. And dark scents whisper; and dim waves creep to me, Gleam like a woman’s hair, stretch out, and rise; And new stars burn into the ancient skies, Over the murmurous soft Hawaian sea. And I recall, lose, grasp, forget again, And still remember, a tale I have heard, or known, An empty tale, of idleness and pain, Of two that loved—or did not love—and one Whose perplexed heart did evil, foolishly, A long while since, and by some other sea. First aired: 3 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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459. The Timber by Henry Vaughan

2009-04-14
Length: 1m 43s

H Vaughan read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Timber by Henry Vaughan (1621 – 1695) Sure thou didst flourish once! and many springs, Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers, Pass'd o'er thy head; many light hearts and wings, Which now are dead, lodg'd in thy living bowers. And still a new succession sings and flies; Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches shoot Towards the old and still enduring skies, While the low violet thrives at their root. But thou beneath the sad and heavy line Of death, doth waste all senseless, cold, and dark; Where not so much as dreams of light may shine, Nor any thoughts of greenness, leaf, or bark. And yet—as if some deep hate and dissent, Bred in thy growth betwixt high winds and thee, Were still alive—thou dost great storms resent Before they come, and know'st how near they be. Else all at rest thou liest, and the fierce breath Of tempests can no more disturb thy ease; But this thy strange resentment after death Means only those who broke—in life—thy peace. First aired: 27 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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460. Easter Week by Charles Kingsley

2009-04-11
Length: 1m 1s

C Kingsley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Easter Week by Charles Kingsley (1819 – 1875) See the land, her Easter keeping, Rises as her Maker rose. Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping, Burst at last from winter snows. Earth with heaven above rejoices; Fields and gardens hail the spring; Shaughs and woodlands ring with voices, While the wild birds build and sing. You, to whom your Maker granted Powers to those sweet birds unknown, Use the craft by God implanted; Use the reason not your own. Here, while heaven and earth rejoices, Each his Easter tribute bring- Work of fingers, chant of voices, Like the birds who build and sing. First aired: 22 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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458. Libertatis Sacra Fames by Oscar Wilde

2009-04-11
Length: 1m 6s


O Wilde read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- Libertatis Sacra Fames by Oscar Wilde(1854 – 1900) Albeit nurtured in democracy, And liking best that state republican Where every man is Kinglike and no man Is crowned above his fellows, yet I see, Spite of this modern fret for Liberty, Better the rule of One, whom all obey, Than to let clamorous demagogues betray Our freedom with the kiss of anarchy. Wherefore I love them not whose hands profane Plant the red flag upon the piled-up street For no right cause, beneath whose ignorant reign Arts, Culture, Reverence, Honour, all things fade, Save Treason and the dagger of her trade, And Murder with his silent bloody feet. First aired: 26 Feb 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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457. The Lost Mistress by Robert Browning

2009-04-09
Length: 1m 20s


R Browning read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------- The Lost Mistress by Robert Browning (1812 – 1889) All 's over, then: does truth sound bitter As one at first believes? Hark, 'tis the sparrows' good-night twitter About your cottage eaves! And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly, I noticed that, to-day; One day more bursts them open fully —You know the red turns gray. To-morrow we meet the same then, dearest? May I take your hand in mine? Mere friends are we,—well, friends the merest Keep much that I resign: For each glance of the eye so bright and black, Though I keep with heart's endeavour,— Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back, Though it stay in my soul for ever!— Yet I will but say what mere friends say, Or only a thought stronger; I will hold your hand but as long as all may, Or so very little longer! First aired: 25 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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456. To Anthea who may command him Anything by Robert Herrick

2009-04-08
Length: 1m 14s


R Herrick read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- To Anthea, who may command him Anything by Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674) Bid me to live, and I will live Thy Protestant to be; Or bid me love, and I will give A loving heart to thee. A heart as soft, a heart as kind, A heart as sound and free As in the whole world thou canst find, That heart I'll give to thee. Bid that heart stay, and it will stay To honour thy decree: Or bid it languish quite away, And 't shall do so for thee. Bid me to weep, and I will weep While I have eyes to see: And, having none, yet will I keep A heart to weep for thee. Bid me despair, and I'll despair Under that cypress-tree: Or bid me die, and I will dare E'en death to die for thee. Thou art my life, my love my heart, The very eyes of me: And hast command of every part To live and die for thee. First aired: 20 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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455. Sudden Light by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

2009-04-04
Length: 1m 2s


DG Rossetti read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Sudden Light by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882) I have been here before, But when or how I cannot tell: I know the grass beyond the door, The sweet keen smell, The sighing sound, the lights around the shore. You have been mine before,— How long ago I may not know: But just when at that swallow’s soar Your neck turn’d so, Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore. Has this been thus before? And shall not thus time’s eddying flight Still with our lives our love restore In death’s despite, And day and night yield one delight once more? First aired: 14 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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454. A Dream within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

2009-04-03
Length: 1m 29s


EA Poe read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- A Dream within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now, ThIs much let me avow – You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream: Yet if hope has flown away In a night, or in a day, In a vision or in none, Is it therefore the less gone? All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream. I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand— How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep While I weep--while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream? First aired: 3 April 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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453. Absence by Robert Bridges

2009-03-30
Length: 1m 5s


R Bridges read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Absence by Robert Bridges (1844–1930) When my love was away, Full three days were not sped, I caught my fancy astray Thinking if she were dead, And I alone, alone: It seem'd in my misery In all the world was none Ever so lone as I. I wept; but it did not shame Nor comfort my heart: away I rode as I might, and came To my love at close of day. The sight of her still'd my fears, My fairest-hearted love: And yet in her eyes were tears: Which when I question'd of, 'O now thou art come,' she cried, ''Tis fled: but I thought to-day I never could here abide, If thou wert longer away.' First aired: 8 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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452. Go From Me by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

2009-03-28
Length: 1m 12s


EB Browning read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Go From Me, Sonnets from the Portuguese iii by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861) Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand Henceforward in thy shadow. Nevermore Alone upon the threshold of my door Of individual life I shall command The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand Serenely in the sunshine as before, Without the sense of that which I forbore— Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine With pulses that beat double. What I do And what I dream include thee, as the wine Must taste of its own grapes. And when I sue God for myself, He hears that name of thine, And sees within my eyes the tears of two. First aired: 6 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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451. The Loveliness of Love by George Darley

2009-03-21
Length: 2m 10s

G Darley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Loveliness of Love by George Darley (1795–1846) It is not Beauty I demand, A crystal brow, the moon’s despair, Nor the snow’s daughter, a white hand, Nor mermaid’s yellow pride of hair: Tell me not of your starry eyes, Your lips that seem on roses fed, Your breasts, where Cupid tumbling lies Nor sleeps for kissing of his bed:— A bloomy pair of vermeil cheeks Like Hebe’s in her ruddiest hours, A breath that softer music speaks Than summer winds a-wooing flowers, These are but gauds; nay, what are lips: Coral beneath the ocean-stream, Whose brink when your adventurer slips Full oft he perisheth on them. And what are cheeks but ensigns oft That wave hot youth to fields of blood? Did Helen’s breast, though ne’er so soft, Do Greece or Ilium any good? Eyes can with baleful ardour burn; Poison can breathe, than erst perfumed; There’s many a white hand holds an urn With lovers’ hearts to dust consumed. For crystal brows there’s nought within; They are but empty cells for pride; He who the Syren’s hair would win Is mostly strangled in the tide. Give me, instead of Beauty’s bust, A tender heart, a loyal mind Which with temptation I would trust, Yet never link’d with error find,— One in whose gentle bosom I Could pour my secret heart of woes, Like the case-burthen’d honey-fly That hides his murmurs in the rose— My earthly Comforter! whose love So indefeasible might be That, when my spirit wonn’d above Hers could not stay, for sympathy. First aired: 5 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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450. The Cell by John Thelwall

2009-03-20
Length: 1m 15s

J Thelwall read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Cell by John Thelwall (1764 – 1834) Within the Dungeon's noxious gloom The Patriot still, with dauntless breast, The cheerful aspect can assume— And smile—in conscious Virtue blest! The damp foul floor, the ragged wall, And shattered window, grated high; The trembling Ruffian may appal, Whose thoughts no sweet resource supply. But he, unaw'd by guilty fears, (To Freedom and his Country true) Who o'er a race of well-spent years Can cast the retrospective view, Looks inward to his heart, and sees The objects that must ever please. First aired: 31 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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449. The Choice by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

2009-03-17
Length: 1m 19s


DG Rossetti read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Choice by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882) Think thou and act; to-morrow thou shalt die. Outstretch'd in the sun's warmth upon the shore, Thou say'st: "Man's measur'd path is all gone o'er: Up all his years, steeply, with strain and sigh, Man clomb until he touch'd the truth; and I, Even I, am he whom it was destin'd for." How should this be? Art thou then so much more Than they who sow'd, that thou shouldst reap thereby? Nay, come up hither. From this wave-wash'd mound Unto the furthest flood-brim look with me; Then reach on with thy thought till it be drown'd. Miles and miles distant though the last line be, And though thy soul sail leagues and leagues beyond,-- Still, leagues beyond those leagues, there is more sea. First aired: January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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448. The Poplar Field by William Cowper

2009-03-15
Length: 1m 54s

W Cowper read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Poplar Field by William Cowper (1731 – 1800) The poplars are fell'd! farewell to the shade And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade; The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves, Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives. Twelve years have elapsed since I last took a view Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew; And now in the grass behold they are laid, And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade! The blackbird has fled to another retreat Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat, And the scene where his melody charm'd me before Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more. My fugitive years are all hasting away, And I must ere long lie as lowly as they, With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head, Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead. The change both my heart and my fancy employs, I reflect on the frailty of man and his joys; Short-lived as we are, yet our pleasures, we see, Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we. First aired: 27 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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447. Sonnet 30 by Edmund Spenser (My love is like to ice and I to fire)

2009-03-14
Length: 1m 7s


E Spenser read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Sonnet 30 by Edmund Spenser (1552 – 1599) My love is like to ice, and I to fire: How comes it then that this her cold so great Is not dissolved through my so hot desire, But harder grows the more I her entreat? Or how comes it that my exceeding heat Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold, But that I burn much more in boiling sweat, And feel my flames augmented manifold? What more miraculous thing may be told, That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice, And ice, which is congealed with senseless cold, Should kindle fire by wonderful device? Such is the power of love in gentile mind, That it can alter all the course of kind. First aired: 26 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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446. The Tide Rises The Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

2009-03-11
Length: 1m 13s


HW Longfellow read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) The tide rises, the tide falls, The twilight darkens, the curlew calls; Along the sea-sands damp and brown The traveller hastens toward the town, And the tide rises, the tide falls. Darkness settles on roofs and walls, But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls; The little waves, with their soft, white hands, Efface the footprints in the sands, And the tide rises, the tide falls. The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls; The day returns, but nevermore Returns the traveller to the shore, And the tide rises, the tide falls. First aired: 25 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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445. Spleen by Ernest Dowson

2009-03-09
Length: 1m 5s

E Dowson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Spleen by Ernest Dowson (1867 – 1900) I was not sorrowful, I could not weep, And all my memories were put to sleep. I watched the river grow more white and strange, All day till evening I watched it change. All day till evening I watched the rain Beat wearily upon the window pane I was not sorrowful, but only tired Of everything that ever I desired. Her lips, her eyes, all day became to me The shadow of a shadow utterly. All day mine hunger for her heart became Oblivion, until the evening came, And left me sorrowful, inclined to weep, With all my memories that could not sleep. First aired: 24 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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444. Love's Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley

2009-03-08
Length: 58s


PB Shelley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Love's Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822) The fountains mingle with the river And the rivers with the ocean, The winds of heaven mix for ever With a sweet emotion; Nothing in the world is single, All things by a law divine In one another's being mingle – Why not I with thine? See the mountains kiss high heaven, And the waves clasp one another; No sister-flower would be forgiven If it disdain'd its brother; And the sunlight clasps the earth, And the moonbeams kiss the sea – What are all these kissings worth, If thou kiss not me? First aired: 21 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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443. Blow Bugle Blow by Alfred Lord Tennyson

2009-03-06
Length: 1m 37s


Lord Tennyson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Blow, Bugle, Blow by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) The splendour falls on castle walls And snowy summits old in story: The long light shakes across the lakes, And the wild cataract leaps in glory. Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying. O hark, O hear! how thin and clear, And thinner, clearer, farther going! O sweet and far from cliff and scar The horns of Elfland faintly blowing! Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying: Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying. O love, they die in yon rich sky, They faint on hill or field or river: Our echoes roll from soul to soul, And grow for ever and for ever. Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying. First aired: 22 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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442. Platonic Love by Abraham Cowley

2009-03-05
Length: 1m 40s


A Cowley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Platonic Love by Abraham Cowley (1618 – 1667) Indeed I must confess, When souls mix 'tis an happiness, But not complete till bodies too do join, And both our wholes into one whole combine; But half of heaven the souls in glory taste Till by love in heaven at last Their bodies too are placed. In thy immortal part Man, as well as I, thou art. But something 'tis that differs thee and me, And we must one even in that difference be. I thee both as a man and woman prize, For a perfect love implies Love in all capacities. Can that for true love pass When a fair woman courts her glass? Something unlike must in love's likeness be: His wonder is one and variety. For he whose soul nought but a soul can move Does a new Narcissus prove, And his own image love. That souls do beauty know 'Tis to the body's help they owe; If when they know't they straight abuse that trust And shut the body from't, 'tis as unjust As if I brought my dearest friend to see My mistress and at th' instant he Should steal her quite from me. First aired: 18 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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441. The Garden of Love by William Blake

2009-03-04
Length: 52s


W Blake read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Garden of Love by William Blake (1757 – 1827) 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 turned to the Garden of Love That so many sweet flowers bore. And I saw it was filled with graves, And tombstones where flowers should be; And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds, And binding with briars my joys and desires. First aired: 21 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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440. Give Me Leave to Rail at You by John Wilmot

2009-03-03
Length: 1m 17s


J Wilmott read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Give Me Leave to Rail at You by John Wilmot (1647 – 1680) Give me leave to rail at you, - I ask nothing but my due: To call you false, and then to say You shall not keep my heart a day. But alas! against my will I must be your captive still. Ah! be kinder, then, for I Cannot change, and would not die. Kindness has resistless charms; All besides but weakly move; Fiercest anger it disarms, And clips the wings of flying love. Beauty does the heart invade, Kindness only can persuade; It gilds the lover's servile chain, And makes the slave grow pleased again. First aired: January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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439. Ozymandias by Horace Smith

2009-03-02
Length: 1m 53s

H Smith read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Ozymandias by Horace Smith (1779 - 1849) In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone, Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws The only shadow that the Desart knows:— "I am great OZYMANDIAS ," saith the stone, "The King of Kings; this mighty City shows "The wonders of my hand."— The City's gone,— Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose The site of this forgotten Babylon. We wonder,—and some Hunter may express Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace, He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess What powerful but unrecorded race Once dwelt in that annihilated place. First aired: 16 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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437. We'll Go No More A-Roving by Lord Byron

2009-02-28
Length: 54s


Lord Byron read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- We'll Go No More A-Roving by Lord Byron (1788 – 1824) So, we'll go no more a-roving So late into the night, Though the heart be still as loving, And the moon be still as bright. For the sword outwears its sheath, And the soul wears out the breast, And the heart must pause to breathe, And love itself have rest. Though the night was made for loving, And the day returns too soon, Yet we'll go no more a-roving By the light of the moon. First aired: 27 February 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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436. Rain by Edward Thomas

2009-02-27
Length: 1m 39s

E Thomas read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Rain by Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917) Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me Remembering again that I shall die And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks For washing me cleaner than I have been Since I was born into this solitude. Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon: But here I pray that none whom once I loved Is dying to-night or lying still awake Solitary, listening to the rain, Either in pain or thus in sympathy Helpless among the living and the dead, Like a cold water among broken reeds, Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff, Like me who have no love which this wild rain Has not dissolved except the love of death, If love it be towards what is perfect and Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint. First aired: 27 February 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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435. What if a Day by Thomas Campion

2009-02-25
Length: 1m 39s

T Campion read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- What if a Day by Thomas Campion (1567 – 1620) What if a day, or a month, or a year Crown thy delights with a thousand sweet contentings? Cannot a chance of a night or an hour Cross thy desires with as many sad tormentings? Fortune, honor, beauty, youth Are but blossoms dying; Wanton pleasure, doting love Are but shadows flying. All our joys are but toys, Idle thoughts deceiving; None have power of an hour In their lives’ bereaving. Earth’s but a point to the world, and a man Is but a point to the world’s compare´d centure; Shall then the point of a point be so vain As to triumph in a sely point’s adventure? As is hazard that we have, There is nothing biding; Days of pleasure are like streams Through fair meadows gliding. Weal and woe, time doth go, Time is never turning; Secret fates guide our states, Both in mirth and mourning. First aired: 25 February 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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434. When I was One-and-Twenty by AE Housman

2009-02-23
Length: 1m 12s

AE Housman read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- When I was One-and-Twenty by AE Housman (1859 – 1936) When I was one-and-twenty I heard a wise man say, ‘Give crowns and pounds and guineas But not your heart away; Give pearls away and rubies But keep your fancy free.’ But I was one-and-twenty, No use to talk to me. When I was one-and-twenty I heard him say again, ‘The heart out of the bosom Was never given in vain; ’Tis paid with sighs a plenty And sold for endless rue.’ And I am two-and-twenty, And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true. First aired: 15 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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434. Count That Day Lost by George Eliot

2009-02-22
Length: 1m 0s


G Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Count That Day Lost by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) (1819 – 1880) If you sit down at set of sun And count the acts that you have done, And, counting, find One self-denying deed, one word That eased the heart of him who heard, One glance most kind That fell like sunshine where it went - Then you may count that day well spent. But if, through all the livelong day, You've cheered no heart, by yea or nay - If, through it all You've nothing done that you can trace That brought the sunshine to one face- No act most small That helped some soul and nothing cost - Then count that day as worse than lost. First aired: 12 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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433. from the Eve of St Agnes by John Keats

2009-02-21
Length: 3m 0s


J Keats read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- fromThe Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats (1795 – 1821) XXXIII Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,— Tumultuous,—and, in chords that tenderest be, He play’d an ancient ditty, long since mute, In Provence call’d, “La belle dame sans mercy:” Close to her ear touching the melody;— Wherewith disturb’d, she utter’d a soft moan: He ceased—she panted quick—and suddenly Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone: Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone. XXXIV Her eyes were open, but she still beheld, Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep: There was a painful change, that nigh expell’d The blisses of her dream so pure and deep At which fair Madeline began to weep, And moan forth witless words with many a sigh; While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep; Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye, Fearing to move or speak, she look’d so dreamingly. XXXV “Ah, Porphyro!” said she, “but even now “Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear, “Made tuneable with every sweetest vow; “And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear: “How chang’d thou art! how pallid, chill, and drear! “Give me that voice again, my Porphyro, “Those looks immortal, those complainings dear! “Oh leave me not in this eternal woe, “For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go.” XXXVI Beyond a mortal man impassion’d far At these voluptuous accents, he arose, Ethereal, flush’d, and like a throbbing star Seen mid the sapphire heaven’s deep repose; Into her dream he melted, as the rose Blendeth its odour with the violet,— Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows Like Love’s alarum pattering the sharp sleet Against the window-panes; St. Agnes’ moon hath set. First aired: 20 February 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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432. Forget Not Yet by Sir Thomas Wyatt

2009-02-19
Length: 1m 18s


Sir T Wyatt read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Forget not yet by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 – 1542) The Lover Beseecheth his Mistress not to Forget his Steadfast Faith and True Intent Forget not yet the tried intent Of such a truth as I have meant; My great travail so gladly spent, Forget not yet! Forget not yet when first began The weary life ye know, since whan The suit, the service, none tell can; Forget not yet! Forget not yet the great assays, The cruel wrong, the scornful ways, The painful patience in delays, Forget not yet! Forget not! O, forget not this!— How long ago hath been, and is, The mind that never meant amiss— Forget not yet! Forget not then thine own approved, The which so long hath thee so loved, Whose steadfast faith yet never moved: Forget not this! First aired: 9 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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431. The Bracelet: To Julia by Robert Herrick

2009-02-19
Length: 47s


R Herrick read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Bracelet: To Julia by Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674) Why I tie about thy wrist, Julia, this silken twist; For what other reason is 't But to show thee how, in part, Thou my pretty captive art? But thy bond-slave is my heart: 'Tis but silk that bindeth thee, Knap the thread and thou art free; But 'tis otherwise with me: —I am bound and fast bound, so That from thee I cannot go; If I could, I would not so. First aired: 6 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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430. Oxford Canal by James Elroy Flecker

2009-02-17
Length: 2m 27s

JE Flecker read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Oxford Canal by James Elroy Flecker (1884 – 1915) When you have wearied of the valiant spires of this County Town, Of its wide white streets and glistening museums, and black monastic walls, Of its red motors and lumbering trains, and self-sufficient people, I will take you walking with me to a place you have not seen — Half town and half country—the land of the Canal. It is dearer to me than the antique town: I love it more than the rounded hills: Straightest, sublimest of rivers is the long Canal. I have observed great storms and trembled: I have wept for fear of the dark. But nothing makes me so afraid as the clear water of this idle canal on a summer's noon. Do you see the great telegraph poles down in the water, how every wire is distinct? If a body fell into the canal it would rest entangled in those wires for ever, between earth and air. For the water is as deep as the stars are high. One day I was thinking how if a man fell from that lofty pole He would rush through the water toward me till his image was scattered by his splash, When suddenly a train rushed by: the brazen dome of the engine flashed: the long white carriages roared; The sun veiled himself for a moment, and the signals loomed in fog; A savage woman screamed at me from a barge: little children began to cry; The untidy landscape rose to life: a sawmill started; A cart rattled down to the wharf, and workmen clanged over the iron footbridge; A beautiful old man nodded from the first story window of a square red house, And a pretty girl came out to hang up clothes in a small delightful garden. O strange motion in the suburb of a county town: slow regular movement of the dance of death! Men and not phantoms are these that move in light. Forgotten they live, and forgotten die. First aired: January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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428. Can Life be a Blessing by John Henry Dryden

2009-02-17
Length: 1m 2s

JH Dryden read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Can Life be a Blessing by John Henry Dryden (1631 – 1700) Can life be a blessing, Or worth the possessing, Can life be a blessing if love were away? Ah no! though our love all night keep us waking, And though he torment us with cares all the day, Yet he sweetens, he sweetens our pains in the taking, There's an hour at the last, there's an hour to repay. In ev'ry possessing, The ravishing blessing, In ev'ry possessing the fruit of our pain, Poor lovers forget long ages of anguish, Whate'er they have suffer'd and done to obtain; 'Tis a pleasure, a pleasure to sigh and to languish, When we hope, when we hope to be happy again. First aired: 31 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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427. Summer And Winter by Percy Bysshe Shelley

2009-02-15
Length: 1m 18s


PB Shelley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Summer And Winter by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822) It was a bright and cheerful afternoon, Towards the end of the sunny month of June, When the north wind congregates in crowds The floating mountains of the silver clouds From the horizon--and the stainless sky Opens beyond them like eternity. All things rejoiced beneath the sun; the weeds, The river, and the cornfields, and the reeds; The willow leaves that glanced in the light breeze, And the firm foliage of the larger trees. It was a winter such as when birds die In the deep forests; and the fishes lie Stiffened in the translucent ice, which makes Even the mud and slime of the warm lakes A wrinkled clod as hard as brick; and when, Among their children, comfortable men Gather about great fires, and yet feel cold: Alas, then, for the homeless beggar old! First aired: 28 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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426. Sonnets from the Portuguese V When our two souls by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

2009-02-13
Length: 1m 12s


EB Browning read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Sonnets from the Portuguese V by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861) When our two souls stand up erect and strong, Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher, Until the lengthening wings break into fire At either curving point,—what bitter wrong Can the earth do us, that we should not long Be here contented? Think! In mounting higher, The angels would press on us, and aspire To drop some golden orb of perfect song Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay Rather on earth, Belovèd—where the unfit Contrarious moods of men recoil away And isolate pure spirits, and permit A place to stand and love in for a day, With darkness and the death-hour rounding it. First aired: 6 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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425. Unfolded Out of the Folds by Walt Whitman

2009-02-12
Length: 1m 58s


W Whitman read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Unfolded Out of the Folds by Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) Unfolded out of the folds of the woman, man comes unfolded, and is always to come unfolded; Unfolded only out of the superbest woman of the earth, is to come the superbest man of the earth; Unfolded out of the friendliest woman, is to come the friendliest man; Unfolded only out of the perfect body of a woman, can a man be form’d of perfect body; Unfolded only out of the inimitable poem of the woman, can come the poems of man—(only thence have my poems come; ) Unfolded out of the strong and arrogant woman I love, only thence can appear the strong and arrogant man I love; Unfolded by brawny embraces from the well-muscled woman I love, only thence come the brawny embraces of the man; Unfolded out of the folds of the woman’s brain, come all the folds of the man’s brain, duly obedient; Unfolded out of the justice of the woman, all justice is unfolded; Unfolded out of the sympathy of the woman is all sympathy: A man is a great thing upon the earth, and through eternity — but every jot of the greatness of man is unfolded out of woman, First the man is shaped in the woman, he can then be shaped in himself. First aired: 19 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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424. Unsolved by John McCrae

2009-02-10
Length: 1m 9s

J McCrae read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Unsolved by John McCrae (1872 – 1918) Amid my books I lived the hurrying years, Disdaining kinship with my fellow man; Alike to me were human smiles and tears, I cared not whither Earth's great life-stream ran, Till as I knelt before my mouldered shrine, God made me look into a woman's eyes; And I, who thought all earthly wisdom mine, Knew in a moment that the eternal skies Were measured but in inches, to the quest That lay before me in that mystic gaze. "Surely I have been errant: it is best That I should tread, with men their human ways." God took the teacher, ere the task was learned, And to my lonely books again I turned. First aired: 19 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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423. I am as I am by Sir Thomas Wyatt

2009-02-08
Length: 2m 36s


T Wyatt read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- I am as I am by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 – 1542) I am as I am and so will I be But how that I am none knoweth truly, Be it evil be it well, be I bond be I free I am as I am and so will I be. I lead my life indifferently, I mean nothing but honestly, And though folks judge diversely, I am as I am and so will I die. I do not rejoice nor yet complain, Both mirth and sadness I do refrain, And use the mean since folks will fain Yet I am as I am be it pleasure or pain. Divers do judge as they do true, Some of pleasure and some of woe, Yet for all that no thing they know, But I am as I am wheresoever I go. But since judgers do thus decay, Let every man his judgement say: I will it take in sport and play, For I am as I am who so ever say nay. Who judgeth well, well God him send; Who judgeth evil, God them amend; To judge the best therefore intend, For I am as I am and so will I end. Yet some that be that take delight To judge folks thought for envy and spite, But whether they judge me wrong or right, I am as I am and so do I write. Praying you all that this do read, To trust it as you do your creed, And not to think I change my weed, For I am as I am however I speed. But how that is I leave to you; Judge as ye list, false or true; Ye know no more than afore ye knew; Yet I am as I am whatever ensue. And from this mind I will not flee, But to you all that misjudge me, I do protest as ye may see, That I am as I am and so will I be. First aired: 18 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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422. Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

2009-02-07
Length: 5m 28s


J Keats read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats. (1795–1821) My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thine happiness, That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees, In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease. O for a draught of vintage! that hath been Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvèd earth, Tasting of Flora and the country-green, Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth! O for a beaker full of the warm South! Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stainèd mouth; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim: Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs; Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. Away! away! for I will fly to thee, Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, But on the viewless wings of Poesy, Though the dull brain perplexes and retards: Already with thee! tender is the night, And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays But here there is no light, Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet Wherewith the seasonable month endows The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves; And mid-May's eldest child, The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. Darkling I listen; and, for many a time I have been half in love with easeful Death, Call'd him soft names in many a musèd rhyme, To take into the air my quiet breath; Now more than ever seems it rich to die, To cease upon the midnight with no pain, While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad In such an ecstasy! Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain— To thy high requiem become a sod. Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that ofttimes hath Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. Forlorn! the very word is like a bell To toll me back from thee to my sole self! Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades Past the near meadows, over the still stream, Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep In the next valley-glades: Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep? First aired: 7 February 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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421. Cards and Kisses by John Lyly

2009-02-06
Length: 1m 1s

Cards And Kisses by: John Lyly J Lyly read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Cards And Kisses by John Lyly (1553-1606) Cupid and my Campaspe play'd At cards for kisses--Cupid paid: He stakes his quiver, bow, and arrows, His mother's doves, and team of sparrows; Loses them too; then down he throws The coral of his lips, the rose Growing on's cheek (but none knows how); With these, the crystal of his brow, And then the dimple of his chin: All these did my Campaspe win. At last he set her both his eyes-- She won, and Cupid blind did rise. O Love! has she done this for thee? What shall, alas! become of me? First aired: 6 February 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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420. On the Grasshopper and Cricket by John Keats

2009-02-04
Length: 1m 14s


J Keats read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- On the Grasshopper and the Cricket by John Keats (1795–1821) The poetry of earth is never dead: When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead In summer luxury,—he has never done With his delights; for when tired out with fun He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed. The poetry of earth is ceasing never: On a lone winter evening, when the frost Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever, And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills. December 30, 1816. First aired: 4 February 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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419. from The Ballard of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde

2009-02-03
Length: 3m 1s


O Wilde read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- fromThe Ballard of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) He did not wear his scarlet coat, For blood and wine are red, And blood and wine were on his hands When they found him with the dead, The poor dead woman whom he loved, And murdered in her bed. He walked amongst the Trial Men In a suit of shabby grey; A cricket cap was on his head, And his step seemed light and gay; But I never saw a man who looked So wistfully at the day. I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky, And at every drifting cloud that went With sails of silver by. I walked, with other souls in pain, Within another ring, And was wondering if the man had done A great or little thing, When a voice behind me whispered low, "That fellow’s got to swing." Dear Christ! the very prison walls Suddenly seemed to reel, And the sky above my head became Like a casque of scorching steel; And, though I was a soul in pain, My pain I could not feel. I only knew what hunted thought Quickened his step, and why He looked upon the garish day With such a wistful eye; The man had killed the thing he loved And so he had to die. Yet each man kills the thing he loves By each let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword! Some kill their love when they are young, And some when they are old; Some strangle with the hands of Lust, Some with the hands of Gold: The kindest use a knife, because The dead so soon grow cold. Some love too little, some too long, Some sell, and others buy; Some do the deed with many tears, And some without a sigh: For each man kills the thing he loves, Yet each man does not die. He does not die a death of shame On a day of dark disgrace, Nor have a noose about his neck, Nor a cloth upon his face, Nor drop feet foremost through the floor Into an empty place. First aired: 16 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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418. I Have a Rendezvous with Death by Alan Seeger

2009-02-02
Length: 1m 43s


A Seeger read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- I Have a Rendezvous with Death by Alan Seeger (1888 – 1916) I have a rendezvous with Death At some disputed barricade, When Spring comes back with rustling shade And apple-blossoms fill the air – I have a rendezvous with Death When Spring brings back blue days and fair. It may be he shall take my hand And lead me into his dark land And close my eyes and quench my breath – It may be I shall pass him still. I have a rendezvous with Death On some scarred slope of battered hill, When Spring comes round again this year And the first meadow-flowers appear. God knows 'twere better to be deep Pillowed in silk and scented down, Where love throbs out in blissful sleep, Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath, Where hushed awakenings are dear... But I've a rendezvous with Death At midnight in some flaming town, When Spring trips north again this year, And I to my pledged word am true, I shall not fail that rendezvous. First aired: 15 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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417. Reunited by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

2009-01-31
Length: 1m 40s


EW Wilcox read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Reunited by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1855 – 1919) Let us begin, dear love, where we left off; Tie up the broken threads of that old dream, And go on happy as before, and seem Lovers again, though all the world may scoff. Let us forget the graves which lie between Our parting and our meeting, and the tears That rusted out the gold-work of the years, The frosts that fell upon our gardens green. Let us forget the cold, malicious Fate Who made our loving hearts her idle toys, And once more revel in the old sweet joys Of happy love. Nay, it is not too late! Forget the deep-ploughed furrows in my brow; Forget the silver gleaming in my hair; Look only in my eyes! Oh! darling, there The old love shone no warmer then than now. Down in the tender deeps of thy dear eyes I find the lost sweet memory of my youth, Bright with the holy radiance of thy truth, And hallowed with the blue of summer skies. Tie up the broken threads and let us go, Like reunited lovers, hand in hand, Back, and yet onward, to the sunny land Of our To Be, which was our Long Ago. First aired: 13 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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414. To Science by Edgar Allan Poe

2009-01-27
Length: 1m 13s


EA Poe read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- To Science by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) Science! True daughter of Old Time thou art! Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes. Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart, Vulture, whose wings are dull realities? How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise, Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies, Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing? Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car? And driven the Hamadryad from the wood To seek a shelter in some happier star? Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood, The Elfin from the green grass, and from me The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree? First aired: 27 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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413. The Fair Singer by Andrew Marvell

2009-01-26
Length: 1m 15s


A Marvell read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Fair Singer by Andrew Marvell (1621 – 1678) To make a final conquest of all me, Love did compose so sweet an enemy, In whom both beauties to my death agree, Joining themselves in fatal harmony; That, while she with her eyes my heart does bind, She with her voice might captivate my mind. I could have fled from one but singly fair ; My disentangled soul itself might save, Breaking the curlèd trammels of her hair ; But how should I avoid to be her slave, When subtle art invisibly can wreathe My fetters of the very air I breathe ? It had been easy fighting in some plain, Where victory might hang in equal choice, But all resistance against her is vain, Who has the advantage both of eyes and voice; And all my forces needs must be undone, She having gained both the wind and sun. First aired: 9 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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412. My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns

2009-01-25
Length: 1m 3s


R Burns read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns (1759 –1896) My luve's like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June. My luve's like the melodie, That's sweetly play'd in tune. As fair art thou, my bonie lass, So deep in luve am I, And I will luve thee still, my Dear, Till a' the seas gang dry. Till a' the seas gang dry, my Dear, And the rocks melt wi' the sun! O I will luve thee still, my Dear, While the sands o' life shall run. And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve, And fare-thee-weel a while! And I will come again, my Luve, Tho' it were ten thousand mile! First aired: 25 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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411. She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways by William Wordsworth

2009-01-24
Length: 55s


W Wordsworth read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways by William Wordsworth (1770 –1850) She dwelt among the untrodden ways Beside the springs of Dove, A Maid whom there were none to praise And very few to love: A violet by a mossy stone Half hidden from the eye! --Fair as a star, when only one Is shining in the sky. She lived unknown, and few could know When Lucy ceased to be; But she is in her grave, and, oh, The difference to me! First aired: 24 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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410. Revelation by Sir Edmund Gosse

2009-01-23
Length: 1m 52s

Sir E Gosse read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Revalation by Sir Edmund Gosse (1849–1928) Into the silver night She brought with her pale hand The topaz lanthorn-light, And darted splendour o'er the land; Around her in a band, Ringstraked and pied, the great soft moths came flying, And flapping with their mad wings, fann'd The flickering flame, ascending, falling, dying. Behind the thorny pink Close wall of blossom'd may, I gazed thro' one green chink And saw no more than thousands may,— Saw sweetness, tender and gay,— Saw full rose lips as rounded as the cherry, Saw braided locks more dark than bay, And flashing eyes decorous, pure, and merry. With food for furry friends She pass'd, her lamp and she, Till eaves and gable-ends Hid all that saffron sheen from me: Around my rosy tree Once more the silver-starry night was shining, With depths of heaven, dewy and free, And crystals of a carven moon declining. Alas! for him who dwells In frigid air of thought, When warmer light dispels The frozen calm his spirit sought; By life too lately taught He sees the ecstatic Human from him stealing; Reels from the joy experience brought, And dares not clutch what Love was half revealing. First aired: 9 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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409. To One Who has been Long in City Pent by John Keats

2009-01-22
Length: 1m 9s


J Keats read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- To One Who has been Long in City Pent by John Keats (1795 – 1821) To one who has been long in city pent, ’Tis very sweet to look into the fair And open face of heaven,—to breathe a prayer Full in the smile of the blue firmament. Who is more happy, when, with hearts content, Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair And gentle tale of love and languishment? Returning home at evening, with an ear Catching the notes of Philomel,—an eye Watching the sailing cloudlet’s bright career, He mourns that day so soon has glided by: E’en like the passage of an angel’s tear That falls through the clear ether silently. First aired: 22 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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408. First Love by John Clare

2009-01-21
Length: 1m 40s


J Clare read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- First Love by John Clare (1793 – 1864) I ne'er was struck before that hour With love so sudden and so sweet, Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower And stole my heart away complete. My face turned pale as deadly pale. My legs refused to walk away, And when she looked, what could I ail? My life and all seemed turned to clay. And then my blood rushed to my face And took my eyesight quite away, The trees and bushes round the place Seemed midnight at noonday. I could not see a single thing, Words from my eyes did start -- They spoke as chords do from the string, And blood burnt round my heart. Are flowers the winter's choice? Is love's bed always snow? She seemed to hear my silent voice, Not love's appeals to know. I never saw so sweet a face As that I stood before. My heart has left its dwelling-place And can return no more First aired: 21 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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407. Inauguration Day Poem: The Call Of Brotherhood by Corinne Roosevelt Robinson

2009-01-20
Length: 2m 57s

CR Robinson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Call Of Brotherhood by Corinne Roosevelt Robinson (1861 - 1933) Have you heard it, the dominant call Of the city’s great cry, and the thrall And the throb and the pulse of its Life, And the touch and the stir of its Strife, As, amid the dread dust and the din It wages its battle of Sin? Have you felt in the crowds of the street The echo of mutinous feet As they march to their final release, As they struggle and strive without peace? Marching how, marching where, and to what! Oh! by all that there is, or is not, We must march too and shoulder to shoulder. If a frail sister slip, we must hold her, If a brother be lost in the strain Of the infinite pitfalls of pain, We must love him and lift him again. For we are the Guarded, the Shielded, And yet we have wavered and yielded To the sins that we could not resist. By the right of the joys we have missed, By the right of the deeds left undone, By the right of our victories won, Perchance we their burdens may bear As brothers, with right to our share. The baby who pulls at the breast With its pitiful purpose to wrest The milk that has dried in the vein, That is sapped by life’s fever and drain The turbulent prisoners of toil, Whose faces are black with the soil And scarred with the sins of the soul, Who are paying the terrible toll Of the way they have chosen to tread, As they march on in truculent dread, And the Old, and the Weary, who fall Oh! let us be one with them all! By the infinite fear of our fears, By the passionate pain of our tears, Let us hold out our impotent hands, Made strong by Jehovah s commands, The God of the militant poor, Who are stronger than we to endure, Let us march in the front of the van Of the Brotherhood valiant of Man! First aired: 20 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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406. Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare (My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun)

2009-01-18
Length: 1m 20s

W Shakespeare read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red: If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damask'd, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak,--yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go, My mistress when she walks, treads on the ground; And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare. First aired: 18 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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405. The New House by Edward Thomas

2009-01-17
Length: 1m 6s

E Thomas read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The New House by Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917) Now first, as I shut the door, I was alone In the new house; and the wind Began to moan. Old at once was the house, And I was old; My ears were teased with the dread Of what was foretold, Nights of storm, days of mist, without end; Sad days when the sun Shone in vain: old griefs and griefs Not yet begun. All was foretold me; naught Could I foresee; But I learnt how the wind would sound After these things should be First aired: 17 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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404. To Milton by Oscar Wilde

2009-01-15
Length: 1m 16s


O Wilde read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- To Milton by Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) Milton! I think thy spirit hath passed away From these white cliffs and high-embattled towers; This gorgeous fiery-coloured world of ours Seems fallen into ashes dull and grey, And the age changed unto a mimic play Wherein we waste our else too-crowded hours: For all our pomp and pageantry and powers We are but fit to delve the common clay, Seeing this little isle on which we stand, This England, this sea-lion of the sea, By ignorant demagogues is held in fee, Who love her not: Dear God! is this the land Which bare a triple empire in her hand When Cromwell spake the word Democracy! First aired: 19 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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403. Fears in Solitude by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

2009-01-14
Length: 5m 6s


ST Coleridge read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- from Fears in Solitude by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834) Thankless too for peace, (Peace long preserved by fleets and perilous seas) Secure from actual warfare, we have loved To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war! Alas! for ages ignorant of all Its ghastlier workings, (famine or blue plague, Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry snows,) We, this whole people, have been clamorous For war and bloodshed; animating sports, The which we pay for as a thing to talk of, Spectators and not combatants! No guess Anticipative of a wrong unfelt, No speculation on contingency, However dim and vague, too vague and dim To yield a justifying cause; and forth, (Stuffed out with big preamble, holy names, And adjurations of the God in Heaven,) We send our mandates for the certain death Of thousands and ten thousands! Boys and girls, And women, that would groan to see a child Pull off an insect's leg, all read of war, The best amusement for our morning meal! The poor wretch, who has learnt his only prayers From curses, who knows scarcely words enough To ask a blessing from his Heavenly Father, Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute And technical in victories and defeats, And all our dainty terms for fratricide; Terms which we trundle smoothly o'er our tongues Like mere abstractions, empty sounds to which We join no feeling and attach no form! As if the soldier died without a wound; As if the fibres of this godlike frame Were gored without a pang; as if the wretch, Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds, Passed off to Heaven, translated and not killed; As though he had no wife to pine for him, No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days Are coming on us, O my countrymen! And what if all-avenging Providence, Strong and retributive, should make us know The meaning of our words, force us to feel The desolation and the agony Of our fierce doings? First aired: 4 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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402. The Song of the Shirt by Thomas Hood

2009-01-13
Length: 4m 2s


T Hood read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Song of the Shirt by Thomas Hood (1799 – 1845) 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 his 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 labor 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!" First aired: 1 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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401. To Sleep by John Keats

2009-01-11
Length: 1m 21s


J Keats read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- To Sleep by John Keats (1795 – 1821) O soft embalmer of the still midnight! Shutting with careful fingers and benign Our gloom-pleased eyes, embower'd from the light, Enshaded in forgetfulness divine; O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close, In midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes, Or wait the amen, ere thy poppy throws Around my bed its lulling charities; Then save me, or the passèd day will shine Upon my pillow, breeding many woes; Save me from curious conscience, that still lords Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole; Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards, And seal the hushèd casket of my soul. First aired: 25 October 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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400. Darkness by Lord Byron

2009-01-10
Length: 5m 56s


Byron read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Darkness by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788 – 1824) I had a dream, which was not all a dream, The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars Did wander darkling in the eternal space, Rayless, and pathless; and the icy earth Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day, And men forgot their passions in the dread Of this their desolation: and all hearts Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light: And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones, The palaces of crowned kings—the huts, The habitations of all things which dwell, Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed, And men were gathered round their blazing homes To look once more into each other’s face Happy were those who dwelt within the eye Of the volcanoes, and their mountain-torch: A fearful hope was all the world contained; Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks Extinguish’d with a crash—and all was black. The brows of men by the despairing light Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits The flashes fell upon them; some lay down And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest Their chins upon their clenched hands and smiled; And others hurried to and fro, and fed Their funeral piles with fuel, and look’d up With mad disquietude on the dull sky, The pall of a past world; and then again With curses cast them down upon the dust, And gnash’d their teeth and howl’d: the wild birds shriek’d, And, terrified, did flutter on the ground. And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl’d And twined themselves among the multitude, Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food: And War, which for a moment was no more, Did glut himself again:—a meal was bought With blood, and each sate sullenly apart Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left; All earth was but one thought—and that was death Immediate and inglorious; and the pang Of famine fed upon all entrails—men Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh; The meagre by the meagre were devour’d, Even dogs assail’d their masters, all save one, And he was faithful to a corse, and kept The birds and beasts and famish’d men at bay, Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food, But with a piteous and perpetual moan, And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand Which answer’d not with a caress—he died. The crowd was famish’d by degrees; but two Of an enormous city did survive, And they were enemies: they met beside The dying embers of an altar-place, Where had been heap’d a mass of holy things For an unholy usage; they raked up, And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath Blew for a little life, and made a flame Which was a mockery; then they lifted up Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld Each other’s aspects—saw and shriek’d, and died— Ev’n of their mutual hideousness they died, Unknowing who he was upon whose brow Famine had written Fiend. The world was void, The populous, and the powerful was a lump, Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless, A lump of death—a chaos of hard clay. The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still, And nothing stirr’d within their silent depths; Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea, And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropp’d, They slept on the abyss without a surge— The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave, The Moon, their mistress, had expired before; The winds were wither’d in the stagnant air, And the clouds perish’d; Darkness had no need Of aid from them—She was the Universe! First aired: 11 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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399. Show me the Way by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

2009-01-09
Length: 1m 40s


EW Wheeler read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Show me the Way by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 – 1919) Show me the way that leads to the true life. I do not care what tempests may assail me, I shall be given courage for the strife; I know my strength will not desert or fail me; I know that I shall conquer in the fray: Show me the way. Show me the way up to a higher plane, Where body shall be servant to the soul. I do not care what tides of woe or pain Across my life their angry waves may roll, If I but reach the end I seek, some day: Show me the way. Show me the way, and let me bravely climb Above vain grievings for unworthy treasures; Above all sorrow that finds balm in time; Above small triumphs or belittling pleasures; Up to those heights where these things seem child's-play: Show me the way. Show me the way to that calm, perfect peace Which springs from an inward consciousness of right; To where all conflicts with the flesh shall cease, And self shall radiate with the spirit's light. Though hard the journey and the strife, I pray, Show me the way. First aired: 31 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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398. from Childe Harolds Pilgrimage by Lord Byron

2009-01-08
Length: 1m 41s


Lord Byron read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788 – 1824) There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the Universe, and feel What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal. And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be Borne, like thy bubbles, onward; from a boy I wantoned with thy breakers,--they to me Were a delight; and if the freshening sea Made them a terror, 'twas a pleasing fear; For I was as it were a child of thee, And trusted to thy billows far and near, And laid my hand upon thy mane,--as I do here. First aired: 8 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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397. from an Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope

2009-01-07
Length: 1m 28s


EW Wheeler read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- from an Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) Of all the causes which conspire to blind Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind, What the weak head with strongest bias rules, Is Pride, the never failing vice of fools. Whatever Nature has in worth denied She gives in large recruits of needful Pride: For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find What wants in blood and spirits swell'd with wind: Pride, where Wit fails, steps in to our deference, And fills up all the mighty void of Sense: If once right Reason drives that cloud away, Truth breaks upon us with resistless day. Trust not yourself; but your defects to know, Make use of ev'ry friend--and ev'ry foe. A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. First aired: 7 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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396. Echo by Christina Rossetti

2009-01-06
Length: 1m 34s


CG Rossetti read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Echo by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) Come to me in the silence of the night; Come in the speaking silence of a dream; Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright As sunlight on a stream; Come back in tears, O memory, hope and love of finished years. O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter-sweet, Whose wakening should have been in Paradise, Where souls brim-full of love abide and meet; Where thirsting longing eyes Watch the slow door That opening, letting in, lets out no more. Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live My very life again though cold in death; Come back to me in dreams, that I may give Pulse for pulse, breath for breath: Speak low, lean low, As long ago, my love, how long ago. First aired: 6 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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395. The Lost Chord by Adelaide Anne Procter

2009-01-05
Length: 1m 40s


AA Procter read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Lost Chord by Adelaide Anne Procter (1825 – 1864) Seated one day at the organ, I was weary and ill-at-ease; And my fingers wandered idly Over the noisy keys. I know not what I was playing Or what I was dreaming then, But I struck one chord of music Like the sound of a great Amen. It flooded the crimson twilight Like the close of an angel's psalm, And it lay on my fevered spirit With a touch of infinite calm. It quieted pain and sorrow Like love overcoming strife; It seemed the harmonious echo From our discordant life. It linked all perplexèd meanings Into one perfect peace, And trembled away into silence As if it were loth to cease. I have sought, but I seek it vainly, That one lost chord divine, Which came from the soul of the organ And entered into mine. It may be that death's bright angel Will speak in that chord again; It may be that only in heav'n I shall hear that grand Amen. First aired: 5 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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394. Invictus by William Ernest Henley

2009-01-04
Length: 1m 4s

WE Henley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- Invictus by William Ernest Henley (1849 – 1903) Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. First aired: 14 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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393. The Character of a Happy Life by Sir Henry Wooton

2009-01-03
Length: 1m 29s

H Wooton read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Character of a Happy Life by Sir Henry Wooton (1568 – 1639) How happy is he born and taught That serveth not another's will; Whose armour is his honest thought, And simple truth his utmost skill! Whose passions not his masters are; Whose soul is still prepared for death, Untied unto the world by care Of public fame or private breath; Who envies none that chance doth raise, Nor vice; who never understood How deepest wounds are given by praise; Nor rules of state, but rules of good; Who hath his life from rumours freed; Whose conscience is his strong retreat; Whose state can neither flatterers feed, Nor ruin make oppressors great; Who God doth late and early pray More of His grace than gifts to lend; And entertains the harmless day With a religious book or friend; — This man is free from servile bands Of hope to rise or fear to fall: Lord of himself, though not of lands, And having nothing, yet hath all. First aired: 4 February 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2009 …

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392. I Stood on a Tower by Alfred Lord Tennyson

2009-01-02
Length: 1m 0s


A Tennyson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- I Stood on a Tower by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) I stood on a tower in the wet, And New Year and Old Year met, And winds were roaring and blowing; And I said, 'O years that meet in tears, Have ye aught that is worth the knowing? 'Science enough and exploring Wanderers coming and going Matter enough for deploring But aught that is worth the knowing?' Seas at my feet were flowing Waves on the shingle pouring, Old Year roaring and blowing And New Year blowing and roaring. First aired: 2 January 2009 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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391. The Quiet Life by Alexander Pope

2008-12-30
Length: 1m 10s


A Pope read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Quiet Life by Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744) Happy the man whose wish and care A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air In his own ground. Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread, Whose flocks supply him with attire; Whose trees in summer yield him shade, In winter fire. Blest who can unconcern'dly find Hours, days, and years slide soft away In health of body, peace of mind, Quiet by day, Sound sleep by night; study and ease Together mixt, sweet recreation, And innocence, which most does please With meditation. Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; Thus unlamented let me die; Steal from the world, and not a stone Tell where I lie. First aired: 31 May 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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390. The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

2008-12-30
Length: 1m 44s


T Hardy read by Classic Poetry Aloud; Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928) I leant upon a coppice gate When Frost was spectre-gray, And Winter’s dregs made desolate The weakening eye of day. The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings of broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires. The land’s sharp features seem’d to be The Century’s corpse outleant, His crypt the cloudy canopy, The wind his death-lament. The ancient pulse of germ and birth Was shrunken hard and dry, And every spirit upon earth Seem'd fervourless as I. At once a voice arose among The bleak twigs overhead In a full-hearted evensong Of joy illimited; An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, In blast-beruffled plume, Had chosen thus to fling his soul Upon the growing gloom. So little cause for carollings Of such ecstatic sound Was written on terrestrial things Afar or nigh around, That I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air Some blessèd Hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware. First aired: 17 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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389. London Snow by Robert Bridges

2008-12-30
Length: 3m 15s


R Bridges read by Classic Poetry Aloud: Giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com -------------------------------------------- London Snow by Robert Bridges (1844 – 1930) When men were all asleep the snow came flying, In large white flakes falling on the city brown, Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying, Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town; Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing; Lazily and incessantly floating down and down: Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing; Hiding difference, making unevenness even, Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing. All night it fell, and when full inches seven It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness, The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven; And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare: The eye marvelled - marvelled at the dazzling whiteness; The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air; No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling, And the busy morning cries came thin and spare. Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling, They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing; Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees; Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder!' 'O look at the trees!' they cried, 'O look at the trees!' With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder, Following along the white deserted way, A country company long dispersed asunder: When now already the sun, in pale display Standing by Paul's high dome, spread forth below His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day. For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow; And trains of sombre men, past tale of number, Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go: But even for them awhile no cares encumber Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken, The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm they have broken. First aired: 30 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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388. Out in the Dark by Edward Thomas

2008-12-29
Length: 1m 16s

E Thomas read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. Out in the Dark by Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917) Out in the dark over the snow The fallow fawns invisible go With the fallow doe ; And the winds blow Fast as the stars are slow. Stealthily the dark haunts round And, when the lamp goes, without sound At a swifter bound Than the swiftest hound, Arrives, and all else is drowned ; And star and I and wind and deer, Are in the dark together, - near, Yet far, - and fear Drums on my ear In that sage company drear. How weak and little is the light, All the universe of sight, Love and delight, Before the might, If you love it not, of night. First aired: 28 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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387. Bleak Weather by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

2008-12-28
Length: 1m 33s


EW Wheeler read by Classic Poetry Aloud, giving voice to the poetry of the past. www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ -------------------------------------------- Bleak Weather by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 – 1919) Dear love, where the red lilies blossomed and grew, The white snows are falling; And all through the woods, where I wandered with you, The loud winds are calling; And the robin that piped to us tune upon tune, Neath the oak -- you remember, Over hill-top and forest has followed the June, And left us -- December. Has left, like a friend who is true in the sun, And false in the shadows. He has found new delights, in the land where he's gone, Greener woodlands and meadows. Let him go! What care we? let the snow shroud the lea, Let it drift on the heather! We can sing through it all; I have you -- you have me, And we'll laugh at the weather. The old year may die, and a new year be born That is bleaker and colder; It cannot dismay us; we dare it -- we scorn, For our love makes us bolder. Ah Robin! sing loud on your far-distant lea, You friend in fair weather; But here is a song sung, that's fuller of glee, By two warm hearts together. First aired: 28 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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386. from A Forsaken Garden by Algernon Charles Swinburne

2008-12-27
Length: 1m 30s


AC Swinburne read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. from A Forsaken Garden by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837 – 1909) In a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland, At the sea-down's edge between windward and lee, Walled round with rocks as an inland island, The ghost of a garden fronts the sea. A girdle of brushwood and thorn encloses The steep square slope of the blossomless bed Where the weeds that grew green from the graves of its roses Now lie dead. The fields fall southward, abrupt and broken, To the low last edge of the long lone land. If a step should sound or a word be spoken, Would a ghost not rise at the strange guest's hand? So long have the grey bare walks lain guestless, Through branches and briers if a man make way, He shall find no life but the sea-wind's, restless Night and day. First aired: 27 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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385. Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

2008-12-26
Length: 1m 35s


HW Longfellow read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Till, ringing, singing on its way The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Then from each black, accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The Carols drowned Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And in despair I bowed my head; ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said; ‘For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’ Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep! The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men!’ First aired: 25 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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384. Peace by Henry Vaughan

2008-12-25
Length: 1m 6s


H Vaughan read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Peace by Henry Vaughan (1621 – 1695) My soul, there is a country Far beyond the stars, Where stands a wingèd sentry All skilful in the wars: There, above noise and danger, Sweet Peace sits crown'd with smiles, And One born in a manger Commands the beauteous files. He is thy gracious Friend, And—O my soul, awake!— Did in pure love descend To die here for thy sake. If thou canst get but thither, There grows the flower of Peace, The Rose that cannot wither, Thy fortress, and thy ease. Leave then thy foolish ranges; For none can thee secure But One who never changes— Thy God, thy life, thy cure. First aired: 29 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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383. A Birthday by Christina Georgina Rossetti

2008-12-24
Length: 1m 3s


CG Rossetti read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- A Birthday by Christina Rossetti by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) My heart is like a singing bird Whose nest is in a water'd shoot; My heart is like an apple-tree Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit; My heart is like a rainbow shell That paddles in a halcyon sea; My heart is gladder than all these, Because my love is come to me. Raise me a daïs of silk and down; Hang it with vair and purple dyes; Carve it in doves and pomegranates, And peacocks with a hundred eyes; Work it in gold and silver grapes, In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys; Because the birthday of my life Is come, my love is come to me. First aired: 21 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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382. The Snow-Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson

2008-12-23
Length: 2m 6s


RW Emerson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. The Snow-Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields, Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven, And veils the farm-house at the garden's end. The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed In a tumultuous privacy of storm. Come see the north wind's masonry. Out of an unseen quarry evermore Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer Curves his white bastions with projected roof Round every windward stake, or tree, or door. Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he For number or proportion. Mockingly, On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths; A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn; Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall, Maugre the farmer's sighs; and at the gate A tapering turret overtops the work. And when his hours are numbered, and the world Is all his own, retiring, as he were not, Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone, Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work, The frolic architecture of the snow. Students and those interested in knowing more should visit: http://www.etsu.edu/writing/amlit_s04/anthology/snowstorm.htm First aired: 10 January 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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381. from Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

2008-12-21
Length: 1m 40s


ST Coleridge read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- from Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834) The Frost performs its secret ministry, Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry Came loud, -and hark, again! loud as before. The inmates of my cottage, all at rest, Have left me to that solitude, which suits Abstruser musings: save that at my side My cradled infant slumbers peacefully. 'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs And vexes meditation with its strange And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood, With all the numberless goings-on of life, Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not; Only that film, which fluttered on the grate, Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing. Methinks its motion in this hush of nature Gives it dim sympathies with me who live, Making it a companionable form, Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit By its own moods interprets, every where Echo or mirror seeking of itself, And makes a toy of Thought. First aired: 26 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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380. Spirits by Robert Bridges

2008-12-18
Length: 53s


R Bridges read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Spirits by Robert Bridges (1844 – 1930) Angel spirits of sleep, White-robed, with silver hair, In your meadows fair, Where the willows weep, And the sad moonbeam On the gliding stream Writes her scatter'd dream: Angel spirits of sleep, Dancing to the weir In the hollow roar Of its waters deep; Know ye how men say That ye haunt no more Isle and grassy shore With your moonlit play; That ye dance not here, White-robed spirits of sleep, All the summer night Threading dances light? First aired: 24 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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379. A Poison Tree by William Blake

2008-12-16
Length: 1m 3s


W Blake read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- A Poison Tree by William Blake (1757 – 1827) I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow. And I watered it in fears, Night and morning with my tears; And I sunned it with smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles. And it grew both day and night, Till it bore an apple bright. And my foe beheld it shine. And he knew that it was mine, And into my garden stole When the night had veiled the pole; In the morning glad I see My foe outstretched beneath the tree. First aired: 20 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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378. Oh thou whose face hath felt the Winter's wind by John Keats

2008-12-15
Length: 1m 15s


J Keats read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Oh thou whose face hath felt the Winter's wind by John Keats (1795 – 1821) Oh thou whose face hath felt the Winter's wind, Whose eye has seen the snow-clouds hung in mist, And the black elm tops, 'mong the freezing stars, To thee the spring will be a harvest-time. O thou, whose only book has been the light, Of supreme darkness which thou feddest on Night after night when Phoebus was away, To thee the Spring shall be a triple morn. O fret not after knowledge - I have none, And yet my song comes native with the warmth. O fret not after knowledge - I have none, And yet the Evening listens. He who saddens At thought of idleness cannot be idle, And he's awake who thinks himself asleep. First aired: 15 December 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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377. Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson

2008-12-14
Length: 49s


E Dickinson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) "Hope" is the thing with feathers — That perches in the soul — And sings the tune without the words — And never stops — at all — And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard — And sore must be the storm — That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm — I've heard it in the chillest land — And on the strangest Sea — Yet, never, in Extremity, It asked a crumb — of Me. First aired: 18 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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376. Alone by Edgar Allan Poe

2008-12-12
Length: 1m 47s


EA Poe read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Alone by Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) From childhood's hour I have not been As others were; I have not seen As others saw; I could not bring My passions from a common spring. From the same source I have not taken My sorrow; I could not awaken My heart to joy at the same tone; And all I loved, I loved alone. Then- in my childhood, in the dawn Of a most stormy life- was drawn From every depth of good and ill The mystery which binds me still: From the torrent, or the fountain, From the red cliff of the mountain, From the sun that round me rolled In its autumn tint of gold, From the lightning in the sky As it passed me flying by, From the thunder and the storm, And the cloud that took the form (When the rest of Heaven was blue) Of a demon in my view. First aired: 17 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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375. Love Lives Beyond The Tomb by John Clare

2008-12-11
Length: 1m 16s


J Clare read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Love Lives Beyond The Tomb by John Clare (1793 – 1864) Love lives beyond the tomb, And earth, which fades like dew! I love the fond, The faithful, and the true. Love lives in sleep: 'Tis happiness of healthy dreams: Eve's dews may weep, But love delightful seems. 'Tis seen in flowers, And in the morning's pearly dew; In earth's green hours, And in the heaven's eternal blue. 'Tis heard in Spring When light and sunbeams, warm and kind, On angel's wing Bring love and music to the mind. And where's the voice, So young, so beautiful, and sweet As Nature's choice, Where Spring and lovers meet? Love lives beyond the tomb, And earth, which fades like dew! I love the fond, The faithful, and the true. First aired: 17 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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374. Psalm 4 by John Milton

2008-12-10
Length: 2m 25s


J Milton read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Psalm 4 translated by John Milton (1608 – 1674) Answer me when I call God of my righteousness; In straights and in distress Thou didst me disinthrall And set at large; now spare, Now pity me, and hear my earnest prai'r. Great ones how long will ye My glory have in scorn? How long be thus forborn Still to love vanity, To love, to seek, to prize Things false and vain and nothing else but lies? Yet know the Lord hath chose, Chose to himself a part The good and meek of heart (For whom to chuse he knows) Jehovah from on high Will hear my voyce what time to him I crie. Be aw'd, and do not sin, Speak to your hearts alone, Upon your beds, each one, And be at peace within. Offer the offerings just Of righteousness and in Jehovah trust. Many there be that say Who yet will shew us good? Talking like this worlds brood; But Lord, thus let me pray, On us lift up the light, Lift up the favour of thy count'nance bright. Into my heart more joy And gladness thou hast put Then when a year of glut Their stores doth over-cloy And from their plenteous grounds With vast increase their corn and wine abounds. In peace at once will I Both lay me down and sleep For thou alone dost keep Me safe where ere I lie: As in a rocky Cell Thou Lord alone in safety mak'st me dwell. First aired: 10 December 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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373. The Ecstasy by John Donne

2008-12-05
Length: 2m 9s


J Donne read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Ecstasy by John Donne (1572 – 1631) Where, like a pillow on a bed, A pregnant bank swell'd up, to rest The violet's reclining head, Sat we two, one another's best. Our hands were firmly cemented By a fast balm which thence did spring; Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread Our eyes upon one double string. So to engraft our hands, as yet Was all the means to make us one; And pictures in our eyes to get Was all our propagation. As 'twixt two equal armies Fate Suspends uncertain victory, Our souls—which to advance their state Were gone out—hung 'twixt her and me. And whilst our souls negotiate there, We like sepulchral statues lay; All day the same our postures were, And we said nothing, all the day. First aired: 14 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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372. To the Virgins to make much of Time by Robert Herrick

2008-11-30
Length: 1m 10s


Herrick read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- To the Virgins to make much of Time by Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674) Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles to-day To-morrow will be dying. The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, The higher he's a-getting, The sooner will his race be run, And nearer he's to setting. That age is best which is the first, When youth and blood are warmer; But being spent, the worse, and worst Times still succeed the former. Then be not coy, but use your time, And while ye may, go marry: For having lost but once your prime, You may for ever tarry. …

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371. The Lotos-Eaters by Alfred Lord Tennyson

2008-11-29
Length: 13m 26s


A Tennyson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Lotos-Eaters by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) “Courage!” he said, and pointed toward the land, “This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon.” In the afternoon they came unto a land In which it seemed always afternoon. All round the coast the languid air did swoon, Breathing like one that hath a weary dream. Full-faced above the valley stood the moon; And, like a downward smoke, the slender stream Along the cliff to fall and pause and fall did seem. A land of streams! some, like a downward smoke, Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did go; And some thro’ wavering lights and shadows broke, Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below. They saw the gleaming river seaward flow From the inner land; far off, three mountain-tops, Three silent pinnacles of aged snow, Stood sunset-flush’d; and, dew’d with showery drops, Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the woven copse. The charmed sunset linger’d low adown In the red West; thro’ mountain clefts the dale Was seen far inland, and the yellow down Border’d with palm, and many a winding vale And meadow, set with slender galingale; A land where all things always seem’d the same! And round about the keel with faces pale, Dark faces pale against that rosy flame, The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came. Branches they bore of that enchanted stem, Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave To each, but whoso did receive of them And taste, to him the gushing of the wave Far far away did seem to mourn and rave On alien shores; and if his fellow spake, His voice was thin, as voices from the grave; And deep-asleep he seem’d, yet all awake, And music in his ears his beating heart did make. They sat them down upon the yellow sand, Between the sun and moon upon the shore; And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland, Of child, and wife, and slave; but evermore Most weary seem’d the sea, weary the oar, Weary the wandering fields of barren foam. Then some one said, “We will return no more;” And all at once they sang, “Our island home Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam.” CHORIC SONG I There is sweet music here that softer falls Than petals from blown roses on the grass, Or night-dews on still waters between walls Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass; Music that gentlier on the spirit lies, Than tir’d eyelids upon tir’d eyes; Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies. Here are cool mosses deep, And thro’ the moss the ivies creep, And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep, And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep. II Why are we weigh’d upon with heaviness, And utterly consumed with sharp distress, While all things else have rest from weariness? All things have rest: why should we toil alone, We only toil, who are the first of things, And make perpetual moan, Still from one sorrow to another thrown; Nor ever fold our wings, And cease from wanderings, Nor steep our brows in slumber’s holy balm; Nor harken what the inner spirit sings, “There is no joy but calm!”— Why should we only toil, the roof and crown of things? III Lo! in the middle of the wood, The folded leaf is woo’d from out the bud With winds upon the branch, and there Grows green and broad, and takes no care, Sun-steep’d at noon, and in the moon Nightly dew-fed; and turning yellow Falls, and floats adown the air. Lo! sweeten’d with the summer light, The full-juiced apple, waxing over-mellow, Drops in a silent autumn night. All its allotted length of days The flower ripens in its place, Ripens and fades, and falls, and hath no toil, Fast-rooted in the fruitful soil. IV Hateful is the dark-blue sky, Vaulted o’er the dark-blue sea. Death is the end of life; ah, why Should life all labor be? Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast, And in a little while our lips are dumb. Let us alone. What is it that will last? All things are taken from us, and become Portions and parcels of the dreadful past. Let us alone. What pleasure can we have To war with evil? Is there any peace In ever climbing up the climbing wave? All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave In silence—ripen, fall, and cease: Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease. V How sweet it were, hearing the downward stream, With half-shut eyes ever to seem Falling asleep in a half-dream! To dream and dream, like yonder amber light, Which will not leave the myrrh-bush on the height; To hear each other’s whisper’d speech; Eating the Lotos day by day, To watch the crisping ripples on the beach, And tender curving lines of creamy spray; To lend our hearts and spirits wholly To the influence of mild-minded melancholy; To muse and brood and live again in memory, With those old faces of our infancy Heap’d over with a mound of grass, Two handfuls of white dust, shut in an urn of brass! VI Dear is the memory of our wedded lives, And dear the last embraces of our wives And their warm tears; but all hath suffer’d change; For surely now our household hearths are cold, Our sons inherit us, our looks are strange, And we should come like ghosts to trouble joy. Or else the island princes over-bold Have eat our substance, and the minstrel sings Before them of the ten years’ war in Troy, And our great deeds, as half-forgotten things. Is there confusion in the little isle? Let what is broken so remain. The Gods are hard to reconcile; ’Tis hard to settle order once again. There is confusion worse than death, Trouble on trouble, pain on pain, Long labor unto aged breath, Sore task to hearts worn out by many wars And eyes grown dim with gazing on the pilot-stars. VII But, propped on beds of amaranth and moly, How sweet—while warm airs lull us, blowing lowly— With half-dropped eyelids still, Beneath a heaven dark and holy, To watch the long bright river drawing slowly His waters from the purple hill— To hear the dewy echoes calling From cave to cave thro’ the thick-twined vine— To watch the emerald-color’d water falling Thro’ many a woven acanthus-wreath divine! Only to hear and see the far-off sparkling brine, Only to hear were sweet, stretch’d out beneath the pine. VIII The Lotos blooms below the barren peak, The Lotos blows by every winding creek; All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone; Thro’ every hollow cave and alley lone Round and round the spicy downs the yellow Lotos-dust is blown. We have had enough of action, and of motion we, Roll’d to starboard, roll’d to larboard, when the surge was seething free, Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea. Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind, In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind. For they lie beside their nectar, and the bolts are hurl’d Far below them in the valleys, and the clouds are lightly curl’d Round their golden houses, girdled with the gleaming world; Where they smile in secret, looking over wasted lands, Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery sands, Clanging fights, and flaming towns, and sinking ships, and praying hands. But they smile, they find a music centred in a doleful song Steaming up, a lamentation and an ancient tale of wrong, Like a tale of little meaning tho’ the words are strong; Chanted from an ill-used race of men that cleave the soil, Sow the seed, and reap the harvest with enduring toil, Storing yearly little dues of wheat, and wine and oil; Till they perish and they suffer—some, ’tis whisper’d—down in hell Suffer endless anguish, others in Elysian valleys dwell, Resting weary limbs at last on beds of asphodel. Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore Than labor in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar; O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more. First aired: 6 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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370. Psalm 1 by John Milton

2008-11-27
Length: 1m 15s


J Milton read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Psalm 1 translated by John Milton (1608 – 1674) Done into Verse, 1653 Bless'd is the man who hath not walk'd astray In counsel of the wicked, and ith'way Of sinners hath not stood, and in the seat Of scorners hath not sate. But in the great Jehovahs Law is ever his delight, And in his law he studies day and night. He shall be as a tree which planted grows By watry streams, and in his season knows To yield his fruit, and his leaf shall not fall. And what he takes in hand shall prosper all. Not so the wicked, but as chaff which fann'd The wind drives, so the wicked shall not stand In judgment, or abide their tryal then Nor sinners in th'assembly of just men. For the Lord knows th'upright way of the just And the way of bad men to ruine must. First aired: 27 November 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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369. The Old Familiar Faces by Charles Lamb

2008-11-24
Length: 2m 1s


C Lamb read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Old Familiar Faces by Charles Lamb (1775–1834) I have had playmates, I have had companions, In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days - All, all are gone, the old familiar faces. I have been laughing, I have been carousing, Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies - All, all are gone, the old familiar faces. I loved a Love once, fairest among women: Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her - All, all are gone, the old familiar faces. I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man: Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly; Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces. Ghost-like I paced round the haunts of my childhood, Earth seem'd a desert I was bound to traverse, Seeking to find the old familiar faces. Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother, Why wert not thou born in my father's dwelling? So might we talk of the old familiar faces - How some they have died, and some they have left me, And some are taken from me; all are departed - All, all are gone, the old familiar faces. First aired: 4 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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368. Go Lovely Rose by Edmund Waller

2008-11-22
Length: 1m 14s


E Waller read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Go, lovely Rose by Edmund Waller (1606 – 1687) Go, lovely Rose— Tell her that wastes her time and me, That now she knows, When I resemble her to thee, How sweet and fair she seems to be. Tell her that 's young, And shuns to have her graces spied, That hadst thou sprung In deserts where no men abide, Thou must have uncommended died. Small is the worth Of beauty from the light retired: Bid her come forth, Suffer herself to be desired, And not blush so to be admired. Then die—that she The common fate of all things rare May read in thee; How small a part of time they share That are so wondrous sweet and fair! First aired: 4 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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367. Sonnet 21 Say Over Again by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

2008-11-20
Length: 1m 20s


EB Browning read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Sonnet XXI by Elizabeth Barrett Browning(1806 – 1861) Say over again, and yet once over again, That thou dost love me. Though the word repeated Should seem "a cuckoo-song," as thou dost treat it, Remember, never to the hill or plain, Valley and wood, without her cuckoo-strain Comes the fresh Spring in all her green completed. Belovèd, I, amid the darkness greeted By a doubtful spirit-voice, in that doubt’s pain Cry, "Speak once more—thou lovest!" Who can fear Too many stars, though each in heaven shall roll, Too many flowers, though each shall crown the year? Say thou dost love me, love me, love me—toll The silver iterance!—only minding, Dear, To love me also in silence with thy soul. First aired: 20 November 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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366. My Delight and Thy Delight by Robert Bridges

2008-11-16
Length: 1m 24s


R Bridges read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- My Delight and Thy Delight by Robert Bridges (1844 – 1930) My delight and thy delight Walking, like two angels white, In the gardens of the night: My desire and thy desire Twining to a tongue of fire, Leaping live, and laughing higher: Thro' the everlasting strife In the mystery of life. Love, from whom the world begun, Hath the secret of the sun. Love can tell, and love alone, Whence the million stars were strewn, Why each atom knows its own, How, in spite of woe and deat, Gay is life, and sweet is breath: This he taught us, this we knew, Happy in his science true, Hand in hand as we stood 'Neath the shadows of the wood, Heart to heart as we lay In the dawning of the day. First aired: 2 December 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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365. Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson

2008-11-15
Length: 1m 7s


A Tennyson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea, But such a tide as moving seems asleep, Too full for sound and foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home. Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar. First aired: 27 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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364. Say not the Struggle Naught Availeth by Arthur Hugh Clough

2008-11-13
Length: 1m 13s

AH Clough read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Say not the Struggle Naught Availeth by Arthur Hugh Clough (1819 – 1861) Say not the struggle naught availeth, The labour and the wounds are vain, The enemy faints not, nor faileth, And as things have been they remain. If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd, Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers, And, but for you, possess the field. For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, Seem here no painful inch to gain, Far back, through creeks and inlets making, Comes silent, flooding in, the main. And not by eastern windows only, When daylight comes, comes in the light; In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly! But westward, look, the land is bright! First aired: 24 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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363. Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

2008-11-10
Length: 2m 22s


W Owen read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918) Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . . Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori. First aired: 9 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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362. Winter Nightfall by Robert Bridges

2008-11-08
Length: 1m 21s


R Bridges read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Winter Nightfall by Robert Bridges (1844 - 1930) The day begins to droop,— Its course is done: But nothing tells the place Of the setting sun. The hazy darkness deepens, And up the lane You may hear, but cannot see, The homing wain. An engine pants and hums In the farm hard by: Its lowering smoke is lost In the lowering sky. The soaking branches drip, And all night through The dropping will not cease In the avenue. A tall man there in the house Must keep his chair: He knows he will never again Breathe the spring air: His heart is worn with work; He is giddy and sick If he rise to go as far As the nearest rick: He thinks of his morn of life, His hale, strong years; And braves as he may the night Of darkness and tears First aired: 24 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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361. The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe

2008-11-07
Length: 2m 27s


EA Poe read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) Lo! 't is a gala night Within the lonesome latter years. An angel throng, bewinged, bedight In veils, and drowned in tears, Sit in a theatre to see A play of hopes and fears, While the orchestra breathes fitfully The music of the spheres. Mimes, in the form of God on high, Mutter and mumble low, And hither and thither fly; Mere puppets they, who come and go At bidding of vast formless things That shift the scenery to and fro, Flapping from out their condor wings Invisible Woe. That motley drama—oh, be sure It shall not be forgot! With its Phantom chased for evermore By a crowd that seize it not, Through a circle that ever returneth in To the self-same spot; And much of Madness, and more of Sin, And Horror the soul of the plot. But see amid the mimic rout A crawling shape intrude: A blood-red thing that writhes from out The scenic solitude! It writhes—it writhes!—with mortal pangs The mimes become its food, And over each quivering form In human gore imbued. Out—out are the lights—out all! And over each quivering form The curtain, a funeral pall, Comes down with the rush of a storm, While the angels, all pallid and wan, Uprising, unveiling, affirm That the play is the tragedy, "Man," And its hero, the Conqueror Worm. First aired: 23 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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360. The Search by Henry Vaughan

2008-11-03
Length: 1m 8s

H Vaughan read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Search by Henry Vaughan 1621 – 1695) Leave, leave, thy gadding thoughts; Who Pores and spies Still out of Doores, descries Within them nought. The skinne, and shell of things Though faire, are not Thy wish, nor pray’r, but got By meer Despair of wings. To rack old Elements, or Dust and say Sure here he must needs stay, Is not the way, nor just. Search well another world; who studies this, Travels in Clouds, seeks Manna, where none is. First aired: 3 November 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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359. On His Blindness by John Milton

2008-10-30
Length: 1m 20s


J Milton read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- On His Blindness by John Milton (1608 – 1674) When I consider how my light is spent E're half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide, Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, least he returning chide, Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd, I fondly ask; But patience to prevent That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts, who best Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed And post o're Land and Ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and waite. First aired: 20 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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358. The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

2008-10-26
Length: 1m 44s


T Hardy read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928) I leant upon a coppice gate When Frost was spectre-gray, And Winter’s dregs made desolate The weakening eye of day. The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings of broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires. The land’s sharp features seem’d to be The Century’s corpse outleant, His crypt the cloudy canopy, The wind his death-lament. The ancient pulse of germ and birth Was shrunken hard and dry, And every spirit upon earth Seem'd fervourless as I. At once a voice arose among The bleak twigs overhead In a full-hearted evensong Of joy illimited; An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, In blast-beruffled plume, Had chosen thus to fling his soul Upon the growing gloom. So little cause for carollings Of such ecstatic sound Was written on terrestrial things Afar or nigh around, That I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air Some blessèd Hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware. First aired: 17 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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357. Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

2008-10-20
Length: 2m 0s


EA Poe read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee; And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me. I was a child and she was a child, In this kingdom by the sea, But we loved with a love that was more than love, I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the wingèd seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me. And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee; So that her highborn kinsmen came And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea. The angels, not half so happy in heaven, Went envying her and me; Yes! that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we, Of many far wiser than we; And neither the angels in heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee: For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride, In her sepulchre there by the sea, In her tomb by the sounding sea. First aired: 16 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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356. I Stood Musing in a Black World by Stephen Crane

2008-10-19
Length: 2m 0s

S Crane read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- I Stood Musing in a Black World by Stephen Crane (1871 – 1900) I stood musing in a black world, Not knowing where to direct my feet. And I saw the quick stream of men Pouring ceaselessly, Filled with eager faces, A torrent of desire. I called to them, "Where do you go? What do you see?" A thousand voices called to me. A thousand fingers pointed. "Look! look! There!" I know not of it. But, lo! In the far sky shone a radiance Ineffable, divine -- A vision painted upon a pall; And sometimes it was, And sometimes it was not. I hesitated. Then from the stream Came roaring voices, Impatient: "Look! look! There!" So again I saw, And leaped, unhesitant, And struggled and fumed With outspread clutching fingers. The hard hills tore my flesh; The ways bit my feet. At last I looked again. No radiance in the far sky, Ineffable, divine; No vision painted upon a pall; And always my eyes ached for the light. Then I cried in despair, "I see nothing! Oh, where do I go?" The torrent turned again its faces: "Look! look! There!" And at the blindness of my spirit They screamed, "Fool! fool! fool!" First aired: 15 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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355. I Love You by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

2008-10-18
Length: 1m 29s


EW Wilcox read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- I Love You by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 – 1919) I love your lips when they're wet with wine And red with a wild desire; I love your eyes when the lovelight lies Lit with a passionate fire. I love your arms when the warm white flesh Touches mine in a fond embrace; I love your hair when the strands enmesh Your kisses against my face. Not for me the cold calm kiss Of a virgin's bloodless love; Not for me the saint's white bliss, Nor the heart of a spotless dove. But give me the love that so freely gives And laughs at the whole world's blame, With your body so young and warm in my arms, It sets my poor heart aflame. So kiss me sweet with your warm wet mouth, Still fragrant with ruby wine, And say with a fervour born of the South That your body and soul are mine. Clasp me close in your warm young arms, While the pale stars shine above, And we'll live our whole young lives away In the joys of a living love. First aired: 14 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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354. Last Lines by Emily Bronte

2008-10-11
Length: 2m 19s


E Bronte read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Last Lines by Emily Bronte (1818 – 1848) No coward soul is mine, No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere: I see Heaven’s glories shine, And faith shines equal, arming me from fear. O God within my breast, Almighty, ever-present Deity! Life—that in me has rest, As I—undying Life—have power in Thee! Vain are the thousand creeds That move men’s hearts: unutterably vain; Worthless as wither’d weeds, Or idlest froth amid the boundless main, To waken doubt in one Holding so fast by Thine infinity; So surely anchor’d on The steadfast rock of immortality. With wide-embracing love Thy Spirit animates eternal years, Pervades and broods above, Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears. Though earth and man were gone, And suns and universes cease to be, And Thou were left alone, Every existence would exist in Thee. There is not room for Death, Nor atom that his might could render void: Thou—Thou art Being and Breath, And what Thou art may never be destroyed. First aired: 12 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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353. The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling

2008-10-08
Length: 3m 50s


R Kipling read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936) As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place. Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all. We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn: But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind, So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind. We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace, Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place, But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome. With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch, They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch; They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings; So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things. When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace. They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease. But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know." On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife) Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death." In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die." Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more. As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man There are only four things certain since Social Progress began. That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire; And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return. First aired: 14 March 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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352. Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms by Thomas Moore

2008-10-06
Length: 1m 23s


T Moore read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms by Thomas Moore (1779 – 1852) Believe me, if all those endearing young charms, Which I gaze on so fondly to-day, Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms, Live fairy-gifts fading away, Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art, Let thy loveliness fade as it will, And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart Would entwine itself verdantly still. It is not while beauty and youth are thine own, And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear, That the fervour and faith of a soul can be known, To which time will but make thee more dear! No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets, But as truly loves on to the close, As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets The same look which she turned when he rose! First aired: 1 November 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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351. Nature by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

2008-10-03
Length: 1m 15s


HW Longfellow read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Nature by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) As a fond mother, when the day is o’er, Leads by the hand her little child to bed, Half willing, half reluctant to be led, And leave his broken playthings on the floor, Still gazing at them through the open door, Nor wholly reassured and comforted By promises of others in their stead, Which, though more splendid, may not please him more; So Nature deals with us, and takes away Our playthings one by one, and by the hand Leads us to rest so gently, that we go Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay, Being too full of sleep to understand How far the unknown transcends the what we know. First aired: 30 October 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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350. Persicos Odi by William Makepeace Thackeray

2008-10-03
Length: 57s


WM Thackeray read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Persicos Odi by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 – 1863) Dear Lucy, you know what my wish is,- I hate all your Frenchified fuss: Your silly entrées and made dishes Were never intended for us. No footman in lace and in ruffles Need dangle behind my arm-chair; And never mind seeking for truffles, Although they be ever so rare. But a plain leg of mutton, my Lucy, I prithee get ready at three: Have it smoking, and tender, and juicy, And what better meat can there be? And when it has feasted the master, 'Twill amply suffice for the maid; Meanwhile I will smoke my canaster, And tipple my ale in the shade. First aired: 3 October 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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349. A Supplication by Abraham Cowley

2008-10-02
Length: 1m 48s


A Cowley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- A Supplication by Abraham Cowley (1618 – 1667) Awake, awake, my lyre, And tell thy silent master's humble tale In sounds that may prevail, Sounds that gentle thoughts inspire, Though so exalted she And I so lowly be, Tell her, such different notes make all thy harmony. Hark, how the strings awake, And though the moving hand approach not near, Themselves with awful fear A kind of numerous trembling make. Now all thy forces try, Now all thy charms apply, Revenge upon her ear the conquests of her eye. Weak lyre! thy virtue sure Is useless here, since thou art only found To cure but not to wound, And she to wound but not to cure. Too weak, too, wilt thou prove My passion to remove; Physic to other ills, thou'rt nourishment to love. Sleep, sleep again, my lyre, For thou canst never tell my humble tale In sounds that will prevail, Nor gentle thoughts in her inspire; All thy vain mirth lay by, Bid thy strings silent lie; Sleep, sleep again, my lyre, and let thy master die. First aired: 2 October 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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348. From Maud by Alfred Lord Tennyson

2008-10-01
Length: 51s


A Tennyson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- from Maud by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) O let the solid ground Not fail beneath my feet Before my life has found What some have found so sweet! Then let come what come may, What matter if I go mad, I shall have had my day. Let the sweet heavens endure, Not close and darken above me Before I am quite quite sure That there is one to love me! Then let come what come may To a life that has been so sad, I shall have had my day. First aired: 1 October 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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347. One Word is too Often Profaned by Percy Bysshe Shelley

2008-09-29
Length: 1m 5s


PB Shelley read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- One Word is too Often Profaned by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822) One word is too often profaned For me to profane it, One feeling too falsely disdain'd For thee to disdain it. One hope is too like despair For prudence to smother, And pity from thee more dear Than that from another. I can give not what men call love; But wilt thou accept not The worship the heart lifts above And the Heavens reject not: The desire of the moth for the star, Of the night for the morrow, The devotion to something afar From the sphere of our sorrow? First aired: 29 October 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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346. Remember by Christina Georgina Rossetti

2008-09-27
Length: 1m 12s


CG Rossetti read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Remember by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you plann'd: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad. First aired: 26 October 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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345. A Cradle Song by William Blake

2008-09-26
Length: 1m 5s


W Blake read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- A Cradle Song by William Blake(1757 – 1827) Sleep, sleep, beauty bright, Dreaming in the joys of night; Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep Little sorrows sit and weep. Sweet babe, in thy face Soft desires I can trace, Secret joys and secret smiles, Little pretty infant wiles. As thy softest limbs I feel, Smiles as of the morning steal O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast Where thy little heart doth rest. O the cunning wiles that creep In thy little heart asleep! When thy little heart doth wake, Then the dreadful light shall break. First aired: 26 September 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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344. Summer Night by Alfred Lord Tennyson

2008-09-24
Length: 1m 22s


A Tennyson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Summer Night by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white; Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk; Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font: The firefly wakens: waken thou with me. Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost, And like a ghost she glimmers on to me. Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars, And all thy heart lies open unto me. Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me. Now folds the lily all her sweetness up, And slips into the bosom of the lake: So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip Into my bosom and be lost in me. First aired: 24 October 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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343. Good-bye by Ralph Waldo Emerson

2008-09-22
Length: 2m 5s


RW Emerson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Good-bye by Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803 – 1882) Good-bye, proud world! I’m going home: Thou art not my friend, and I’m not thine. Long through thy weary crowds I roam; A river-ark on the ocean brine, Long I’ve been tossed like the driven foam; But now, proud world! I’m going home. Good-bye to Flattery’s fawning face; To Grandeur with his wise grimace; To upstart Wealth’s averted eye; To supple Office, low and high; To crowded halls, to court and street; To frozen hearts and hasting feet; To those who go, and those who come; Good-bye, proud would! I’m going home. I am going to my own hearth-stone, Bosomed in yon green hills alone— A secret nook in a pleasant land, Whose groves the frolic fairies planned; Where arches green, the livelong day, Echo the blackbird’s roundelay, And vulgar feet have never trod A spot that is sacred to thought and God. O, when I am safe in my sylvan home, I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome; And when I am stretched beneath the pines, Where the evening star so holy shines, I laugh at the lore and the pride of man, At the sophist schools and the learned clan; For what are they all, in their high conceit, When man in the bush with God may meet? First aired: 22 October 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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342. A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

2008-09-21
Length: 2m 9s


HW Longfellow read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream!— For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day. Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. In the world's broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,—act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o'erhead! Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again. Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait. First aired: 18 October 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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341. Past and Present by Thomas Hood

2008-09-19
Length: 1m 44s


T Hood read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Past and Present by Thomas Hood (1799 – 1845) 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, And 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. First aired: 15 October 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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340. After Rain by Edward Thomas

2008-09-18
Length: 1m 34s

E Thomas read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- After Rain by Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917) The rain of a night and a day and a night Stops at the light Of this pale choked day. The peering sun Sees what has been done. The road under the trees has a border new of purple hue Inside the border of bright thin grass: For all that has Been left by November of leaves is torn From hazel and thorn And the greater trees. Throughout the copse No dead leaf drops On grey grass, green moss, burnt-orange fern, At the wind's return: The leaflets out of the ash-tree shed Are thinly spread In the road, like little black fish, inlaid, As if they played. What hangs from the myriad branches down there So hard and bare Is twelve yellow apples lovely to see On one crab-tree. And on each twig of every tree in the dell Uncountable Crystals both dark and bright of the the rain That begins again. First aired: 10 September 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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339. The Human Seasons by John Keats

2008-09-15
Length: 1m 11s


J Keats read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Human Seasons by John Keats (1795 – 1821) Four Seasons fill the measure of the year; There are four seasons in the mind of man:— He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear Takes in all beauty with an easy span: He has his Summer, when luxuriously Spring's honey'd cud of youthful thought he loves To ruminate, and by such dreaming high Is nearest unto heaven: quiet coves His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings He furleth close; contented so to look On mists in idleness—to let fair things Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook: He has his Winter too of pale misfeature, Or else he would forego his mortal nature. First aired: 15 October 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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338. When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d by Walt Whitman

2008-09-12
Length: 21m 17s


W Whitman read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) This reading lasts some 20 minutes. 1 When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d, And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring; Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west, And thought of him I love. 2 O powerful, western, fallen star! O shades of night! O moody, tearful night! O great star disappear’d! O the black murk that hides the star! O cruel hands that hold me powerless! O helpless soul of me! O harsh surrounding cloud, that will not free my soul! 3 In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash’d palings, Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green, With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love, With every leaf a miracle......and from this bush in the door-yard, With delicate-color’d blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green, A sprig, with its flower, I break. 4 In the swamp, in secluded recesses, A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song. Solitary, the thrush, The hermit, withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements, Sings by himself a song. Song of the bleeding throat! Death’s outlet song of life—(for well, dear brother, I know If thou wast not gifted to sing, thou would’st surely die.) 5 Over the breast of the spring, the land, amid cities, Amid lanes, and through old woods, (where lately the violets peep’d from the ground, spotting the gray debris;) Amid the grass in the fields each side of the lanes—passing the endless grass; Passing the yellow-spear’d wheat, every grain from its shroud in the dark-brown fields uprising; Passing the apple-tree blows of white and pink in the orchards; Carrying a corpse to where it shall rest in the grave, Night and day journeys a coffin. 6 Coffin that passes through lanes and streets, Through day and night, with the great cloud darkening the land, With the pomp of the inloop’d flags, with the cities draped in black, With the show of the States themselves, as of crape-veil’d women, standing, With processions long and winding, and the flambeaus of the night, With the countless torches lit—with the silent sea of faces, and the unbared heads, With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces, With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn; With all the mournful voices of the dirges, pour’d around the coffin, The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs—Where amid these you journey, With the tolling, tolling bells’ perpetual clang; Here! coffin that slowly passes, I give you my sprig of lilac. 7 (Nor for you, for one, alone; Blossoms and branches green to coffins all I bring: For fresh as the morning—thus would I carol a song for you, O sane and sacred death. All over bouquets of roses, O death! I cover you over with roses and early lilies; But mostly and now the lilac that blooms the first, Copious, I break, I break the sprigs from the bushes; With loaded arms I come, pouring for you, For you, and the coffins all of you, O death.) 8 O western orb, sailing the heaven! Now I know what you must have meant, as a month since we walk’d, As we walk’d up and down in the dark blue so mystic, As we walk’d in silence the transparent shadowy night, As I saw you had something to tell, as you bent to me night after night, As you droop’d from the sky low down, as if to my side, (while the other stars all look’d on;) As we wander’d together the solemn night, (for something, I know not what, kept me from sleep;) As the night advanced, and I saw on the rim of the west, ere you went, how full you were of woe; As I stood on the rising ground in the breeze, in the cold transparent night, As I watch’d where you pass’d and was lost in the netherward black of the night, As my soul, in its trouble, dissatisfied, sank, as where you, sad orb, Concluded, dropt in the night, and was gone. 9 Sing on, there in the swamp! O singer bashful and tender! I hear your notes—I hear your call; I hear—I come presently—I understand you; But a moment I linger—for the lustrous star has detain’d me; The star, my departing comrade, holds and detains me. 10 O how shall I warble myself for the dead one there I loved? And how shall I deck my song for the large sweet soul that has gone? And what shall my perfume be, for the grave of him I love? Sea-winds, blown from east and west, Blown from the eastern sea, and blown from the western sea, till there on the prairies meeting: These, and with these, and the breath of my chant, I perfume the grave of him I love. 11 O what shall I hang on the chamber walls? And what shall the pictures be that I hang on the walls, To adorn the burial-house of him I love? Pictures of growing spring, and farms, and homes, With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray smoke lucid and bright, With floods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, sinking sun, burning, expanding the air; With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale green leaves of the trees prolific; In the distance the flowing glaze, the breast of the river, with a wind-dapple here and there; With ranging hills on the banks, with many a line against the sky, and shadows; And the city at hand, with dwellings so dense, and stacks of chimneys, And all the scenes of life, and the workshops, and the workmen homeward returning. 12 Lo! body and soul! this land! Mighty Manhattan, with spires, and the sparkling and hurrying tides, and the ships; The varied and ample land—the South and the North in the light—Ohio’s shores, and flashing Missouri, And ever the far-spreading prairies, cover’d with grass and corn. Lo! the most excellent sun, so calm and haughty; The violet and purple morn, with just-felt breezes; The gentle, soft-born, measureless light; The miracle, spreading, bathing all—the fulfill’d noon; The coming eve, delicious—the welcome night, and the stars, Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land. 13 Sing on! sing on, you gray-brown bird! Sing from the swamps, the recesses—pour your chant from the bushes; Limitless out of the dusk, out of the cedars and pines. Sing on, dearest brother—warble your reedy song; Loud human song, with voice of uttermost woe. O liquid, and free, and tender! O wild and loose to my soul! O wondrous singer! You only I hear......yet the star holds me, (but will soon depart;) Yet the lilac, with mastering odor, holds me. 14 Now while I sat in the day, and look’d forth, In the close of the day, with its light, and the fields of spring, and the farmer preparing his crops, In the large unconscious scenery of my land, with its lakes and forests, In the heavenly aerial beauty, (after the perturb’d winds, and the storms;) Under the arching heavens of the afternoon swift passing, and the voices of children and women, The many-moving sea-tides,—and I saw the ships how they sail’d, And the summer approaching with richness, and the fields all busy with labor, And the infinite separate houses, how they all went on, each with its meals and minutia of daily usages; And the streets, how their throbbings throbb’d, and the cities pent—lo! then and there, Falling upon them all, and among them all, enveloping me with the rest, Appear’d the cloud, appear’d the long black trail; And I knew Death, its thought, and the sacred knowledge of death. 15 Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of me, And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me, And I in the middle, as with companions, and as holding the hands of companions, I fled forth to the hiding receiving night, that talks not, Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness, To the solemn shadowy cedars, and ghostly pines so still. And the singer so shy to the rest receiv’d me; The gray-brown bird I know, receiv’d us comrades three; And he sang what seem’d the carol of death, and a verse for him I love. From deep secluded recesses, From the fragrant cedars, and the ghostly pines so still, Came the carol of the bird. And the charm of the carol rapt me, As I held, as if by their hands, my comrades in the night; And the voice of my spirit tallied the song of the bird. DEATH CAROL. 16 Come, lovely and soothing Death, Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving, In the day, in the night, to all, to each, Sooner or later, delicate Death. Prais’d be the fathomless universe, For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious; And for love, sweet love—But praise! praise! praise! For the sure-enwinding arms of cool-enfolding Death. Dark Mother, always gliding near, with soft feet, Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome? Then I chant it for thee—I glorify thee above all; I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly. Approach, strong Deliveress! When it is so—when thou hast taken them, I joyously sing the dead, Lost in the loving, floating ocean of thee, Laved in the flood of thy bliss, O Death. From me to thee glad serenades, Dances for thee I propose, saluting thee—adornments and feastings for thee; And the sights of the open landscape, and the high-spread sky, are fitting, And life and the fields, and the huge and thoughtful night. The night, in silence, under many a star; The ocean shore, and the husky whispering wave, whose voice I know; And the soul turning to thee, O vast and well-veil’d Death, And the body gratefully nestling close to thee. Over the tree-tops I float thee a song! Over the rising and sinking waves—over the myriad fields, and the prairies wide; Over the dense-pack’d cities all, and the teeming wharves and ways, I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee, O Death! 17 To the tally of my soul, Loud and strong kept up the gray-brown bird, With pure, deliberate notes, spreading, filling the night. Loud in the pines and cedars dim, Clear in the freshness moist, and the swamp-perfume; And I with my comrades there in the night. While my sight that was bound in my eyes unclosed, As to long panoramas of visions. 18 I saw askant the armies; And I saw, as in noiseless dreams, hundreds of battle-flags; Borne through the smoke of the battles, and pierc’d with missiles, I saw them, And carried hither and yon through the smoke, and torn and bloody; And at last but a few shreds left on the staffs, (and all in silence,) And the staffs all splinter’d and broken. I saw battle-corpses, myriads of them, And the white skeletons of young men—I saw them; I saw the debris and debris of all the dead soldiers of the war; But I saw they were not as was thought; They themselves were fully at rest—they suffer’d not; The living remain’d and suffer’d—the mother suffer’d, And the wife and the child, and the musing comrade suffer’d, And the armies that remain’d suffer’d. 19 Passing the visions, passing the night; Passing, unloosing the hold of my comrades’ hands; Passing the song of the hermit bird, and the tallying song of my soul, (Victorious song, death’s outlet song, yet varying, ever-altering song, As low and wailing, yet clear the notes, rising and falling, flooding the night, Sadly sinking and fainting, as warning and warning, and yet again bursting with joy, Covering the earth, and filling the spread of the heaven, As that powerful psalm in the night I heard from recesses,) Passing, I leave thee, lilac with heart-shaped leaves; I leave thee there in the door-yard, blooming, returning with spring, I cease from my song for thee; From my gaze on thee in the west, fronting the west, communing with thee, O comrade lustrous, with silver face in the night. 20 Yet each I keep, and all, retrievements out of the night; The song, the wondrous chant of the gray-brown bird, And the tallying chant, the echo arous’d in my soul, With the lustrous and drooping star, with the countenance full of woe, With the lilac tall, and its blossoms of mastering odor; With the holders holding my hand, nearing the call of the bird, Comrades mine, and I in the midst, and their memory ever I keep—for the dead I loved so well; For the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands...and this for his dear sake; Lilac and star and bird, twined with the chant of my soul, There in the fragrant pines, and the cedars dusk and dim. First aired: 23 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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337. Somewhere or other by Christina Georgina Rossetti

2008-09-10
Length: 1m 2s


CG Rossetti read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Somewhere or other by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) Somewhere or other there must surely be The face not seen, the voice not heard, The heart that not yet—never yet—ah me! Made answer to my word. Somewhere or other, may be near or far; Past land and sea, clean out of sight; Beyond the wandering moon, beyond the star That tracks her night by night. Somewhere or other, may be far or near; With just a wall, a hedge, between; With just the last leaves of the dying year Fallen on a turf grown green. First aired: 10 September 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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336. The World by Henry Vaughan

2008-09-09
Length: 3m 43s

H Vaughan read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The World by Henry Vaughan (1621 – 1895) I saw Eternity the other night, Like a great ring of pure and endless light, All calm, as it was bright ; And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years Driv'n by the spheres Like a vast shadow mov'd ; in which the world And all her train were hurl'd. The doting lover in his quaintest strain Did there complain ; Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights, Wit's sour delights ; With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure, Yet his dear treasure, All scatter'd lay, while he his eyes did pour Upon a flow'r. 2. The darksome statesman, hung with weights and woe, Like a thick midnight-fog, mov'd there so slow, He did nor stay, nor go ; Condemning thoughts—like sad eclipses—scowl Upon his soul, And clouds of crying witnesses without Pursued him with one shout. Yet digg'd the mole, and lest his ways be found, Work'd under ground, Where he did clutch his prey ; but one did see That policy : Churches and altars fed him ; perjuries Were gnats and flies ; It rain'd about him blood and tears, but he Drank them as free. 3. The fearful miser on a heap of rust Sate pining all his life there, did scarce trust His own hands with the dust, Yet would not place one piece above, but lives In fear of thieves. Thousands there were as frantic as himself, And hugg'd each one his pelf ;* The downright epicure plac'd heav'n in sense, And scorn'd pretence ; While others, slipp'd into a wide excess Said little less ; The weaker sort slight, trivial wares enslave, Who think them brave ; And poor, despisèd Truth sate counting by Their victory. 4. Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing, And sing, and weep, soar'd up into the ring ; But most would use no wing. O fools—said I—thus to prefer dark night Before true light ! To live in grots and caves, and hate the day Because it shows the way ; The way, which from this dead and dark abode Leads up to God ; A way where you might tread the sun, and be More bright than he ! But as I did their madness so discuss, One whisper'd thus, “This ring the Bridegroom did for none provide, But for His bride.” First aired: 9 September, 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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335. What is Life? by John Clare

2008-09-06
Length: 1m 55s


J Clare read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to classic poetry. --------------------------------------------------- What is Life? by John Clare (1793 – 1864) And what is Life? An hour-glass on the run, A mist retreating from the morning sun, A busy, bustling, still-repeated dream. Its length? A minute's pause, a moment's thought. And Happiness? A bubble on the stream, That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought. And what is Hope? The puffing gale of morn, That of its charms divests the dewy lawn, And robs each flow'ret of its gem -and dies; A cobweb, hiding disappointment's thorn, Which stings more keenly through the thin disguise. And what is Death? Is still the cause unfound? That dark mysterious name of horrid sound? A long and lingering sleep the weary crave. And Peace? Where can its happiness abound? Nowhere at all, save heaven and the grave. Then what is Life? When stripped of its disguise, A thing to be desired it cannot be; Since everything that meets our foolish eyes Gives proof sufficient of its vanity. 'Tis but a trial all must undergo, To teach unthankful mortals how to prize That happiness vain man's denied to know, Until he's called to claim it in the skies. Comments For more information on this unjustly neglected 19th Century poet, visit http://www.johnclare.org.uk/ First aired: 10 October, 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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334. The Harlot’s House by Oscar Wilde

2008-09-05
Length: 2m 8s


O Wilde read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- The Harlot’s House by Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) We caught the tread of dancing feet, We loitered down the moonlit street, And stopped beneath the harlot's house. Inside, above the din and fray, We heard the loud musicians play The "Treues Liebes Herz" of Strauss. Like strange mechanical grotesques, Making fantastic arabesques, The shadows raced across the blind. We watched the ghostly dancers spin To sound of horn and violin, Like black leaves wheeling in the wind. Like wire-pulled automatons, Slim silhouetted skeletons Went sidling through the slow quadrille. They took each other by the hand, And danced a stately saraband; Their laughter echoed thin and shrill. Sometimes a clockwork puppet pressed A phantom lover to her breast, Sometimes they seemed to try to sing. For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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333. To Celia by Ben Johnson

2008-09-02
Length: 1m 5s


B Johnson read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to classic poetry. --------------------------------------------------- To Celia by Ben Johnson (1572 – 1637) Drink to me only with thine eyes, And I will pledge with mine; Or leave a kiss but in the cup And I'll not look for wine. The thirst that from the soul doth rise Doth ask a drink divine; But might I of Jove's nectar sup, I would not change for thine. I sent thee late a rosy wreath, Not so much honouring thee As giving it a hope that there It could not wither'd be. But thou thereon didst only breathe And sent'st it back to me; Since when it grows, and smells, I swear, Not of itself but thee! First aired: 08 October, 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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332. Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

2008-08-31
Length: 1m 33s


EW Wilcox read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to classic poetry. --------------------------------------------------- Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 – 1919) Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone. For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own. Sing, and the hills will answer; Sigh, it is lost on the air. The echoes bound to a joyful sound, But shrink from voicing care. Rejoice, and men will seek you; Grieve, and they turn and go. They want full measure of all your pleasure, But they do not need your woe. Be glad, and your friends are many; Be sad, and you lose them all. There are none to decline your nectared wine, But alone you must drink life's gall. Feast, and your halls are crowded; Fast, and the world goes by. Succeed and give, and it helps you live, But no man can help you die. There is room in the halls of pleasure For a long and lordly train, But one by one we must all file on Through the narrow aisles of pain. First aired: 03 October, 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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331. Binsey Poplars by Gerard Manley Hopkins

2008-08-30
Length: 2m 3s


GM Hopkins read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- Binsey Poplars felled 1879 by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 1889) My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled, Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun, All felled, felled, are all felled; Of a fresh and following folded rank Not spared, not one That dandled a sandalled Shadow that swam or sank On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank. O if we but knew what we do When we delve or hew— Hack and rack the growing green! Since country is so tender To touch, her being só slender, That, like this sleek and seeing ball But a prick will make no eye at all, Where we, even where we mean To mend her we end her, When we hew or delve: After-comers cannot guess the beauty been. Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve Strokes of havoc únselve The sweet especial scene, Rural scene, a rural scene, Sweet especial rural scene. First aired: 03 October, 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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330. On first looking into Chapman’s Homer by John Keats

2008-08-29
Length: 1m 13s


J Keats read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------------- On first looking into Chapman’s Homer by John Keats (1795 – 1821) Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold, And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; Round many western islands have I been Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Oft of one wide expanse had I been told That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne; Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men Look’d at each other with a wild surmise— Silent, upon a peak in Darien. First aired: 02 October, 2007 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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328. The Sentimentalist by James Elroy Flecker

2008-08-26
Length: 1m 28s

JE Flecker read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- The Sentimentalist by James Elroy Flecker (1884 – 1915) There lies a photograph of you Deep in a box of broken things. This was the face I loved and knew Five years ago, when life had wings; Five years ago, when through a town Of bright and soft and shadowy bowers We walked and talked and trailed our gown Regardless of the cinctured hours. The precepts that we held I kept; Proudly my ways with you I went: We lived our dreams while others slept, And did not shrink from sentiment. Now I go East and you stay West And when between us Europe lies I shall forget what I loved best Away from lips and hands and eyes. But we were Gods then: we were they Who laughed at fools, believed in friends, And drank to all that golden day Before us, which this poem ends. First aired: 22 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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326. When Dearest I but think of Thee by Sir John Suckling

2008-08-25
Length: 1m 23s


Sir John Suckling read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- When, Dearest, I but think of Thee by Sir John Suckling (1609 – 1642) When, dearest, I but think of thee, Methinks all things that lovely be Are present, and my soul delighted: For beauties that from worth arise Are like the grace of deities, Still present with us, tho' unsighted. Thus while I sit and sigh the day With all his borrow'd lights away, Till night's black wings do overtake me, Thinking on thee, thy beauties then, As sudden lights do sleepy men, So they by their bright rays awake me. Thus absence dies, and dying proves No absence can subsist with loves That do partake of fair perfection: Since in the darkest night they may By love's quick motion find a way To see each other by reflection. The waving sea can with each flood Bathe some high promont that hath stood Far from the main up in the river: O think not then but love can do As much! for that 's an ocean too, Which flows not every day, but ever! First aired: 20 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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325. The Dying Christian to his Soul by Alexander Pope

2008-08-24
Length: 1m 16s


A Pope read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- The Dying Christian to his Soul by Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) Vital spark of heav'nly flame! Quit, O quit this mortal frame: Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying, O the pain, the bliss of dying! Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife, And let me languish into life. Hark! they whisper; angels say, Sister Spirit, come away! What is this absorbs me quite? Steals my senses, shuts my sight, Drowns my spirits, draws my breath? Tell me, my soul, can this be death? The world recedes; it disappears! Heav'n opens on my eyes! my ears With sounds seraphic ring! Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly! O Grave! where is thy victory? O Death! where is thy sting? First aired: 19 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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324. Mine Host by John McCrae

2008-08-22
Length: 1m 4s

J McCrae read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Mine Host by John McCrae (1872 – 1918) There stands a hostel by a travelled way; Life is the road and Death the worthy host; Each guest he greets, nor ever lacks to say, "How have ye fared?" They answer him, the most, "This lodging place is other than we sought; We had intended farther, but the gloom Came on apace, and found us ere we thought: Yet will we lodge. Thou hast abundant room." Within sit haggard men that speak no word, No fire gleams their cheerful welcome shed; No voice of fellowship or strife is heard But silence of a multitude of dead. "Naught can I offer ye," quoth Death, "but rest!" And to his chamber leads each tired guest. First aired: 18 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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322. Memory by William Browne

2008-08-20
Length: 1m 11s

W Browne read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Memory by William Browne (1588 – 1643) So shuts the marigold her leaves At the departure of the sun; So from the honeysuckle sheaves The bee goes when the day is done; So sits the turtle when she is but one, And so all woe, as I since she is gone. To some few birds kind Nature hath Made all the summer as one day: Which once enjoy'd, cold winter's wrath As night they sleeping pass away. Those happy creatures are, that know not yet The pain to be deprived or to forget. I oft have heard men say there be Some that with confidence profess The helpful Art of Memory: But could they teach Forgetfulness, I'd learn; and try what further art could do To make me love her and forget her too. First aired: 16 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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321. Quantum Mutata by Oscar Wilde

2008-08-19
Length: 1m 0s


O Wilde read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Quantum Mutata by Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) There was a time in Europe long ago When no man died for freedom anywhere, But England's lion leaping from its lair Laid hands on the oppressor! it was so While England could a great Republic show. Witness the men of Piedmont, chiefest care Of Cromwell, when with impotent despair The Pontiff in his painted portico Trembled before our stern ambassadors. How comes it then that from such high estate We have thus fallen, save that Luxury With barren merchandise piles up the gate Where noble thoughts and deeds should enter by: Else might we still be Milton's heritors. First aired: 15 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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319. Desideria by William Wordsworth

2008-08-17
Length: 1m 8s


W Wordsworth read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Desideria by William Wordsworth (1780 – 1850) Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind I turned to share the transport—O! with whom But Thee, deep buried in the silent tomb, That spot which no vicissitude can find? Love, faithful love, recall’d thee to my mind— But how could I forget thee? Through what power, Even for the least division of an hour, Have I been so beguiled as to be blind To my most grievous loss?—That thought’s return Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore, Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn, Knowing my heart’s best treasure was no more; That neither present time, nor years unborn Could to my sight that heavenly face restore. First aired: 13 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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318. Discipline by George Herbert

2008-08-15
Length: 1m 21s

G Herbert read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Discipline by George Herbert (1593 – 1632) Throw away Thy rod, Throw away Thy wrath; O my God, Take the gentle path! For my heart's desire Unto Thine is bent: I aspire To a full consent. Not a word or look I affect to own, But by book, And Thy Book alone. Though I fail, I weep; Though I halt in pace, Yet I creep To the throne of grace. Then let wrath remove; Love will do the deed; For with love Stony hearts will bleed. Love is swift of foot; Love 's a man of war, And can shoot, And can hit from far. Who can 'scape his bow? That which wrought on Thee, Brought Thee low, Needs must work on me. Throw away Thy rod; Though man frailties hath, Thou art God: Throw away Thy wrath! First aired: 12 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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317. Aloof by Christina Georgina Rossetti

2008-08-14
Length: 1m 17s


CG Rossetti read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Aloof by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) The irresponsive silence of the land, The irresponsive sounding of the sea, Speak both one message of one sense to me:— Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand Thou too aloof, bound with the flawless band Of inner solitude; we bind not thee; But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free? What heart shall touch thy heart? What hand thy hand? And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek, And sometimes I remember days of old When fellowship seem'd not so far to seek, And all the world and I seem'd much less cold, And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold, And hope felt strong, and life itself not weak. First aired: 11 August 2008 For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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315. Sonnet 10 by William Shakespeare

2008-08-12
Length: 1m 5s

W Shakespeare read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Sonnet 10 by William Shakespeare(1564 – 1616) Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now: Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross, Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow, And do not drop in for an after loss: Ah! do not, when my heart hath ’scaped this sorrow, Come in the rearward of a conquer’d woe; Give not a windy night a rainy morrow, To linger out a purposed overthrow. If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last, When other petty griefs have done their spite, But in the onset come: so shall I taste At first the very worst of fortune’s might; And other strains of woe, which now seem woe, Compared with loss of thee will not seem so! First aired: 9 August For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index. Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008 …

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314. Silence by Thomas Hood

2008-08-12
Length: 1m 16s


T Hood read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- Silence by Thomas Hood (1798 – 1845) 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 hyaena calls, And owls, that flit continually between, Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan— There the true Silence is, self-conscious