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Letitia Elizabeth Landon

The Power of Words

'Tis a strange mystery, the power of words!
Life is in them, and death. A word can send
The crimson colour hurrying to the cheek.
Hurrying with many meanings; or can turn
The current cold and deadly to the heart.
Anger and fear are in them; grief and joy
Are on their sound; yet slight, impalpable:--
A word is but a breath of passing air.

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A Child Screening A Dove From A Hawk. By Stewardson

AY, screen thy favourite dove, fair child,
Ay, screen it if you may,--
Yet I misdoubt thy trembling hand
Will scare the hawk away.

That dove will die, that child will weep,--
Is this their destinie?
Ever amid the sweets of life
Some evil thing must be.

Ay, moralize,--is it not thus
We've mourn'd our hope and love?
Alas! there's tears for every eye,
A hawk for every dove!

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Secrets

LIFE has dark secrets; and the hearts are few
That treasure not some sorrow from the world--
A sorrow silent, gloomy, and unknown,
Yet colouring the future from the past.
We see the eye subdued, the practised smile,
The word well weighed before it pass the lip,
And know not of the misery within:
Yet there it works incessantly, and fears
The time to come; for time is terrible,
Avenging, and betraying.

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Amelioration and the Future, Man's Noble Tasks

Fall, fall, ye mighty temples to the ground:
Not in your sculptured rise
Is the real exercise
Of human nature's brightest power found.
'Tis in the lofty hope, the daily toil,
'Tis in the gifted line,
In each far thought divine,
That brings down Heaven to light our common soil.

'Tis in the great, the lovely, and the true;
'Tis in the generous thought,
Of all that man has wrought,
Of all that yet remains for man to do.

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The Poor

Few, save the poor, feel for the poor:
The rich know not how hard
It is to be of needful food
And needful rest debarred.

Their paths are paths of plenteousness,
They sleep on silk and down;
And never think how heavily
The weary head lies down.

They know not of the scanty meal,
With small pale faces round;
No fire upon the cold, damp hearth
When snow is on the ground.

They never by the window lean,
And see the gay pass by;
Then take their weary task again,
But with a sadder eye.

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The Hindoo Girl’s Song

FLOAT on—float on—my haunted bark,
Above the midnight tide;
Bear softly o'er the waters dark
The hopes that with thee glide.

Float on—float on—thy freight is flowers,
And every flower reveals
The dreaming of my lonely hours,
The hope my spirit feels.

Float on—float on—thy shining lamp,
The light of love, is there;
If lost beneath the waters damp,
That love must then despair.

Float on—beneath the moonlight float
The sacred billows o'er:
Ah, some kind spirit guards my boat,
For it has gained the shore.

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Children

A word will fill the little heart
With pleasure and with pride;
It is a harsh, a cruel thing,
That such can be denied.

And yet how many weary hours
Those joyous creatures know;
How much of sorrow and restraint
They to their elders owe!

How much they suffer from our faults!
How much from our mistakes!
How often, too, mistaken zeal
An infant's misery makes!

We overrule and overteach,
We curb and we confine,
And put the heart to school too soon,
To learn our narrow line.

[...] Read more

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The Sheperd Boy

LIKE some vision olden
Of far other time,
When the age was golden,
In the young world's prime
Is thy soft pipe ringing,
O lonely shepherd boy,
What song art thou singing,
In thy youth and joy?

Or art thou complaining
Of thy lowly lot,
And thine own disdaining
Dost ask what thou hast not?
Of the future dreaming,
Weary of the past,
For the present scheming,
All but what thou hast.

No, thou art delighting
In thy summer home;

[...] Read more

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The Minister

DIM thro' the sculptured aisles the sunbeam falls
More like a dream
Of some imagined beam,
Than actual daylight over mortal walls.

A strain of music like the rushing wind,
But deep and sweet
As when the waters meet
In one mysterious harmony combined.

So swells the mighty organ, rich and full,
As if it were the soul
Which raised the glorious whole
Of that fair building, vast and wonderful.

Doth not the spirit feel its influence,
All vain and feverish care,
All thoughts that worldly are,
Strife, tumult, mirth, and fear are vanished hence.

[...] Read more

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Cafes In Damascus

LANGUIDLY the night-wind bloweth
From the gardens round,
Where the clear Barrada floweth
With a lulling sound.

Not the lute-note's sweet shiver
Can such music find,
As is on a wandering river,
On a wandering wind.

There the Moslem leaneth, dreaming
O'er the inward world,
While around the fragrant steaming
Of the smoke is curled.

Rising from the coffee berry,
Dark grape of the South;
Or the pipe of polished cherry,
With its amber mouth.

[...] Read more

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