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 wand’ring 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 prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was an English poet, playwright, and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language.
She Walks in Beauty
George Gordon Byron
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
George Gordon Byron (1788–1824), known as Lord Byron, was an English poet.
Of Love: A Sonnet
How love came in I do not know,
Whether by the eye, or ear, or no;
Or whether with the soul it came
(At first) infused with the same;
Whether in part ’tis here or there,
Or, like the soul, whole everywhere,
This troubles me: but I as well
As any other this can tell:
That when from hence she does depart
The outlet then is from the heart.
Robert Herrick (1591–1674) was an English lyric poet and cleric.
A Solar Eclipse
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.
Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850–1919) was an American poet and author.
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient sleepless eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors;
No yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever or else swoon to death.
John Keats (1795–1821) was an English poet.
Love and Sleep
Algernon Charles Swinburne
Lying asleep between the strokes of night
I saw my love lean over my sad bed,
Pale as the duskiest lily’s leaf or head,
Smooth-skinned and dark, with bare throat made to bite,
Too wan for blushing and too warm for white,
But perfect-coloured without white or red.
And her lips opened amorously, and said—
I wist not what, saving one word—Delight.
And all her face was honey to my mouth,
And all her body pasture to mine eyes;
The long lithe arms and hotter hands than fire,
The quivering flanks, hair smelling of the south,
The bright light feet, the splendid supple thighs
And glittering eyelids of my soul’s desire.
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909) was an English poet, playwright, and novelist.
Wild Nights—Wild Nights!
Wild Nights! Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Futile the winds
To a heart in port—
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart!
Rowing in Eden!
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor
Tonight in thee!
Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) was an American poet.
Had We Not Met
Freeman Edwin Miller
Had we not met, the brooding woe
And all the griefs that greater grow,
Might not have been, and happy-wise
Our lives have laughed with lullabies
And quaffed such joys as few may know.
Our days beneath embittered skies
Where anguish moans and sorrow cries,
Might not have wept and wandered so,
Had we not met!
But ah, my darling! All we prize—
Love and sweet trust that never dies,
Wild yearnings that with constant flow
From kindred heart to bosom go—
Would never in our souls had rise,
Had we not met!
Freeman Edwin Miller (1864–1951) was an American lawyer, poet, and professor of English.
A Red, Red Rose
Oh my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
Oh 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;
And 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!
Robert Burns (1759–1796) was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is most famous for his song “Auld Lang Syne.”