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Ballad of Reading Gaol eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 114 pages of information about Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Ah! what else had I to do but love you, God’s own mother was less dear to me, And less dear the Cytheraean rising like an argent lily from the sea.

I have made my choice, have lived my poems, and, though youth is gone in wasted days, I have found the lover’s crown of myrtle better than the poet’s crown of bays.

Poem:  From Spring Days To Winter (For Music)

In the glad springtime when leaves were green,
O merrily the throstle sings! 
I sought, amid the tangled sheen,
Love whom mine eyes had never seen,
O the glad dove has golden wings!

Between the blossoms red and white,
O merrily the throstle sings! 
My love first came into my sight,
O perfect vision of delight,
O the glad dove has golden wings!

The yellow apples glowed like fire,
O merrily the throstle sings! 
O Love too great for lip or lyre,
Blown rose of love and of desire,
O the glad dove has golden wings!

But now with snow the tree is grey,
Ah, sadly now the throstle sings! 
My love is dead:  ah! well-a-day,
See at her silent feet I lay
A dove with broken wings! 
Ah, Love! ah, Love! that thou wert slain—­
Fond Dove, fond Dove return again!

Poem:  Tristitiae

[Greek text which cannot be reproduced]

O well for him who lives at ease
With garnered gold in wide domain,
Nor heeds the splashing of the rain,
The crashing down of forest trees.

O well for him who ne’er hath known
The travail of the hungry years,
A father grey with grief and tears,
A mother weeping all alone.

But well for him whose foot hath trod
The weary road of toil and strife,
Yet from the sorrows of his life. 
Builds ladders to be nearer God.

Poem:  The True Knowledge

[Greek text which cannot be reproduced]

Thou knowest all; I seek in vain
What lands to till or sow with seed—­
The land is black with briar and weed,
Nor cares for falling tears or rain.

Thou knowest all; I sit and wait
With blinded eyes and hands that fail,
Till the last lifting of the veil
And the first opening of the gate.

Thou knowest all; I cannot see. 
I trust I shall not live in vain,
I know that we shall meet again
In some divine eternity.

Poem:  Le Jardin

The lily’s withered chalice falls
Around its rod of dusty gold,
And from the beech-trees on the wold
The last wood-pigeon coos and calls.

The gaudy leonine sunflower
Hangs black and barren on its stalk,
And down the windy garden walk
The dead leaves scatter,—­hour by hour.

Pale privet-petals white as milk
Are blown into a snowy mass: 
The roses lie upon the grass
Like little shreds of crimson silk.

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