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Richard Chenevix Trench

Grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason.

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Sonnet 05

When hearts are full of yearning tenderness,
For the loved absent, whom we can not reach --
By deed or token, gesture or kind speech,
The spirit's true affection to express;
When hearts are full of innermost distress,
And we are doomed to stand inactive by,
Watching the soul's or body's agony,
Which human effort helps not to make less --
Then like a cup capacious to contain
The overflowings of the heart, is prayer:
The longing of the souls is satisfied,
The keenest darts of anguish blunted are;
And, though we can not cease to yearn or grieve,
Yet we have learned in patience to abide.

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The Onward Course

Our course is onward, onward into light:
What though the darkness gathereth amain,
Yet to return or tarry both are vain.
How tarry, when around us is thick night?
Whither return? what flower yet ever might,
In days of gloom and cold and stormy rain,
Enclose itself in its green bud again,
Hiding from wrath of tempest out of sight?

Courage--we travel through a darksome cave;
But still as nearer to the light we draw,
Fresh gales will reach us from the upper air
And wholesome dews of heaven our foreheads lave,
The darkness lighten more, till full of awe
We stand in the open sunshine unaware.

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Sonnet 01

ALL beautiful things bring sadness, nor alone
Music, whereof that wisest poet spake;
Because in us keen longings they awake
After the good for which we pine and groan,
From which exil’d we make continual moan,
Till once again we may our spirits slake
At those clear streams, which man did first forsake,
When he would dig for fountains of his own.
All beauty makes us sad, yet not in vain:
For who would be ungracious to refuse,
Or not to use, this sadness without pain,
Whether it flows upon us from the hues
Of sunset, from the time of stars and dews,
From the clear sky, or waters pure of stain?

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In A Pass of Bavaria

A sound of many waters!--now I know
To what was likened the large utterance sent
By Him who mid the golden lampads went:
Innumerable streams, above, below,
Some seen, some heard alone, with headlong flow
Come rushing; some with smooth and sheer descent,
Some dashed to foam and whiteness, but all blent
Into one mighty music.
As I go,
The tumult of a boundless gladness fills
My bosom, and my spirit leaps and sings:
Sounds and sights are there of the ancient hills,
The eagle's cry, the mountain when it flings
Mists from its brow, but none of all these things
Like the one voice of multitudinous rills.

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Sonnet 04

A garden so well watered before morn
Is hotly up, that not the swart sun's blaze
Down beating with unmitigated rays,
Nor arid winds from scorching places borne,
Shall quite prevail to make it bare and shorn
Of its green beauty -- shall not quite prevail
That all its morning freshness shall exhale,
Till evening and the evening dews return --
A blessing such as this our hearts might reap,
The freshness of the garden they might share,
Through the long day a heavenly freshness keep,
If, knowing how the day and day's glare
Must beat upon them, we would largely steep
And water them betimes with dews of prayer.

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Sonnet 02

I stood beside a pool, from whence ascended,
Mounting the cloudy platforms of the wind,
A stately heron; its soaring I attended,
Till it grew dim, and I with watching blind--
When lo! a shaft of arrowy light descended
Upon its darkness and its dim attire;
It straightway kindled them, and was afire,
And with the unconsuming radiance blended.

And bird, a cloud, flecking the sunny air,
It had its golden dwelling 'mid the lightning
Of those empyreal domes, and it might there
Have dwelt for ever, glorified and bright'ning,
But that its wings were weak--so it became
A dusky speck again, that was a winged flame.

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Sonnet 03

Lord, what a change within us one short hour
Spent in Thy presence will prevail to make --
What heavy burdens from our bosoms take,
What parchèd grounds refresh, as with a shower!
We kneel, and all around us seems to lower;
We rise, and all, the distant and the near,
Stands forth in sunny outline, brave and clear;
We kneel how weak, we rise how full of power!
Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong,
Or others -- that we are not always strong;
That we are ever overborne with care;
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy, and strength, and courage, are with Thee?

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Harmosan

Now the third and fatal conflict for the Persian throne was done,
And the Moslem's fiery valor had the crowning victory won.

Harmosan, the last and boldest the invader to defy,
Captive overborne by numbers, they were bringing forth to die.

Then exclaimed the noble captive: "Lo! I perish in my thirst;
Give me but one drink of water, and let then arrive the worst!"

In his hand he took the goblet, but awhle the draught forbore,
Seeming doubtully the purpose of the foemen to explore.

Well might then have paused the bravest -- for around him angry foes
With a hedge of naked weapons did that lonely man enclose.

"But what fear'st thou?" cried the caliph; -- "is it, friend, a secret blow?
Fear it not! -- our gallant Moslem no such treacherous dealing know.

"Thou mayst quench thy thirst securely, for thou shalt not die before
Thou hast drunk that cup of water -- this reprieve is thine -- no more!"

[...] Read more

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After The Battle

WE crown’d the hard-won heights at length,
Baptiz’d in flame and fire;
We saw the foeman’s sullen strength,
That grimly made retire—

Saw close at hand, then saw more far
Beneath the battle-smoke
The ridges of his shatter’d war,
That broke and ever broke.

But one, an English household’s pride,
Dear many ways to me,
Who climb’d that death-path by my side,
I sought, but could not see.

Last seen, what time our foremost rank
That iron tempest tore;
He touch’d, he scal’d the rampart bank—
Seen then, and seen no more.

[...] Read more

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