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Frances Darwin Cornford

On Rupert Brooke

A young Apollo, golden-haired,
Stands dreaming on the verge of strife,
Magnificently unprepared
For the long littleness of life.

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The Guitarist Tunes Up

With what attentive courtesy he bent
Over his instrument;
Not as a lordly conquerer who could
Command both wire and wood,
But as a man with a loved woman might,
Inquiring with delight
What slight essential things she had to say
Before they started, he and she, to play.

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The New-born Baby's Song

When I was twenty inches long,
I could not hear the thrush's song;
The radiance of the morning skies
Was most displeasing to my eyes.

For loving looks, caressing words,
I cared no more than sun or birds;
But I could bite my mother's breast,
And that made up for all the rest.

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A Recollection

MY father's friend came once to tea.
He laughed and talked. He spoke to me.
But in another week they said
That friendly pink-faced man was dead.

' How sad . .' they said, 'the best of men . .'
So I said too, 'How sad '; but then
Deep in my heart I thought with pride,
'I know a person who has died.'

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To a Lady Seen From the Train

O why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
Missing so much and so much?
O fat white woman whom nobody loves,
Why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
When the grass is soft as the breast of doves
And shivering sweet to the touch?
O why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
Missing so much and so much?

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The Watch

I wakened on my hot, hard bed;
Upon the pillow lay my head;
Beneath the pillow I could hear
My little watch was ticking clear.
I thought the throbbing of it went
Like my continual discontent,
I thought it said in every tick:
I am so sick, so sick, so sick;
O death, come quick, come quick, come quick,
Come quick, come quick, come quick, come quick.

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The Coast: Norfolk

As on the highway's quiet edge
He mows the grass beside the hedge,
The old man has for company
The distant, grey, salt-smelling sea,
A poppied field, a cow and calf,
The finches on the telegraph.
Across his faded back a hone,
He slowly, slowly scythes alone
In silence of the wind-soft air,
With ladies' bedstraw everywhere,
With whitened corn, and tarry poles,
And far-off gulls like risen souls.

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The Ragwort

The thistles on the sandy flats
Are courtiers with crimson hats ;
The ragworts, growing up so straight,
Are emperors who stand in state,
And march about, so proud and bold,
In crowns of fairy-story gold.

The people passing home at night
Rejoice to see the shining sight,
They quite forget the sands and sea
Which are as grey as grey can be,
Nor ever heed the gulls who cry
Like peevish children in the sky.

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Autumn Morning at Cambridge

I ran out in the morning, when the air was clean and new,
And all the grass was glittering and grey with autumn dew,
I ran out to the apple tree and pulled an apple down,
And all the bells were ringing in the old grey town.

Down in the town, off the bridges and the grass
They are sweeping up the leaves to let the people pass,
Sweeping up the old leaves, golden-reds and browns,
While the men go to lecture with the wind in their gowns.

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Rhyme For A Phonetician

Brave English language, you are strong as trees,
Yet intricate and stately. Thus one sees
Through branches clear-embroidered stars. You please
Our sense as damask roses on the breeze,
And barns that smell of hay, and bread-and-cheese.
Rustic yet Roman, yours are dignities
Sonorous as the seas sound. On my knees
I would give thanks for all your words. Yet these
Our legacy and our delight he'd squeeze
And nip and dock and drill, to write with ease
Kornershul memoz faw the Pawchoogeese.

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