English Romantic Verse (Penguin Classics)
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English Romantic poetry from its beginnings and its flowering to the first signs of its decadence
Nearly all the famous piéces de résistance will be found here—"Intimations of Immortality," "The Ancient Mariner," "The Tyger," excerpts from Don Juan—s well as some less familiar poems. As muchas possible, the poets are arranged in chronological order, and their poems in order of composition, beginning with eighteenth-century precursors such as Gray, Cowper, Burns, and Chatterton. Naturally, most space has been given over to the major Romantics—Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Clare, and Keats—although their successors, poets such as Beddoes and Poe, are included, too, as well as early poems by Tennyson and Browning. In an excellent introduction, David Wright discusses the Romantics as a historical phenomenon, and points out their central ideals and themes.
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And voice of heaven-ascending swell, Which, while its deeper notes excell, Clear, as a clarion, rings: To bless each valley, grove, and coast, And charm the cherubs to the post Of gratitude in throngs; To keep the days on Zion’s Mount, And send the year to his account, With dances and with songs: O Servant of God’s holiest charge, The minister of praise at large, Which thou mayst now receive; From thy blest mansion hail and hear, From topmost eminence appear To this the wreath I
still to die Deserted, and his friends so nigh. He long survives, who lives an hour In ocean, self-upheld; And so long he, with unspent pow’r, His destiny repell’d; And ever, as the minutes flew, Entreated help, or cried – Adieu! At length, his transient respite past, His comrades, who before Had heard his voice in ev’ry blast, Could catch the sound no more. For then, by toil subdued, he drank The stifling wave, and then he sank. No poet wept him: but the page Of narrative sincere,
the hall, Red as a rose is she; Nodding their heads before her goes The merry minstrelsy. The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast, Yet he cannot choose but hear; And thus spake on that ancient man, The bright-eyed Mariner. The ship drawn by a storm toward the south pole. And now the Storm-blast came, and he Was tyrannous and strong: He struck with his o’ertaking wings, And chased us south along. With sloping masts and dipping prow, As who pursued with yell and blow Still
’Tis she! – but why that bleeding bosom gor’d, Why dimly gleams the visionary sword? Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell, Is it, in heav’n, a crime to love too well? To bear too tender, or too firm a heart, To act a lover’s or a Roman’s part? Is there no bright reversion in the sky, For those who greatly think, or bravely die? Why bade ye else, ye powers! her soul aspire Above the vulgar flight of low desire? Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes; The glorious fault of angels
Let down o’er the tail of a Tragedy. Therefore, Ladies, repent and be sedulous In praising your lords, lest, ah! well a day! Such judgement befall the incredulous And your latter ends melt into melody. Song from the Ship To sea! To sea! the calm is o’er; The wanton water leaps in sport, And rattles down the pebbly shore; The dolphin wheels, the sea-cows snort, And unseen Mermaids’ pearly song Comes bubbling up the weeds among. Fling broad the sail, dip deep the oar: To sea! To