NARRATIVE POEMS

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The Castaway

Obscurest night involv'd the sky,
Th' Atlantic billows roar'd,
When such a destin'd wretch as I,
Wash'd headlong from on board,
.....
William Cowper

William Cowper
The Lonesome Little Shoe

The clock was in ill humor; so was the vase. It was all on account of the little shoe that had been placed on the mantel-piece that day, and had done nothing but sigh dolorously all the afternoon and evening.

"Look you here, neighbor," quoth the clock, in petulant tones, "you are sadly mistaken if you think you will be permitted to disturb our peace and harmony with your constant sighs and groans. If you are ill, pray let us know; otherwise, have done with your manifestations of distress."

.....
Eugene Field

Eugene Field
To C.c.c.

Oh for the nights when we used to sit
In the firelight's glow or flicker,
With the gas turned low and our pipes all lit,
And the air fast growing thicker;
.....

Robert Fuller Murray
The Heavy Dragoon

If you want a receipt for that popular mystery,
Known to the world as a Heavy Dragoon,
Take all the remarkable people in history,
Rattle them off to a popular tune!
.....

William Schwenck Gilbert
Don Juan: Canto The Fourteenth

If from great nature's or our own abyss
Of thought we could but snatch a certainty,
Perhaps mankind might find the path they miss--
But then 'twould spoil much good philosophy.
.....

George Gordon Byron
Chaucer's Tale Of Meliboeus

'No more of this, for Godde's dignity!'
Quoth oure Hoste; 'for thou makest me
So weary of thy very lewedness,* *stupidity, ignorance
That, all so wisly* God my soule bless, *surely
.....
Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer
A True Story.

(Read Before A Meeting Of The Danville Scribbler Club.)


Dear friends, to-night the inspiration of my theme
.....

George W. Doneghy
Lancelot 05

Gawaine, his body trembling and his heart
Pounding as if he were a boy in battle,
Sat crouched as far away from everything
As walls would give him distance. Bedivere
.....
Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson
Sarah Walker

It was very hot. Not a breath of air was stirring throughout the western wing of the Greyport Hotel, and the usual feverish life of its four hundred inmates had succumbed to the weather. The great veranda was deserted; the corridors were desolated; no footfall echoed in the passages; the lazy rustle of a wandering skirt, or a passing sigh that was half a pant, seemed to intensify the heated silence. An intoxicated bee, disgracefully unsteady in wing and leg, who had been holding an inebriated conversation with himself in the corner of my window pane, had gone to sleep at last and was snoring. The errant prince might have entered the slumberous halls unchallenged, and walked into any of the darkened rooms whose open doors gaped for more air, without awakening the veriest Greyport flirt with his salutation. At times a drowsy voice, a lazily interjected sentence, an incoherent protest, a long-drawn phrase of saccharine tenuity suddenly broke off with a gasp, came vaguely to the ear, as if indicating a half-suspended, half-articulated existence somewhere, but not definite enough to indicate conversation. In the midst of this, there was the sudden crying of a child.

I looked up from my work. Through the camera of my jealously guarded window I could catch a glimpse of the vivid, quivering blue of the sky, the glittering intensity of the ocean, the long motionless leaves of the horse-chestnut in the road, all utterly inconsistent with anything as active as this lamentation. I stepped to the open door and into the silent hall.

.....

Bret Harte (francis)
Tirocinium; Or, A Review Of Schools

It is not from his form, in which we trace
Strength join'd with beauty, dignity with grace,
That man, the master of this globe, derives
His right of empire over all that lives.
.....
William Cowper

William Cowper
Aspiring Miss De Laine

A Chemical Narrative


Certain facts which serve to explain
.....
Bret Harte

Bret Harte
The Prelude - Book Twelfth

IMAGINATION AND TASTE, HOW IMPAIRED AND RESTORED

Long time have human ignorance and guilt
Detained us, on what spectacles of woe
.....
William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth
The Knight Of Malta - Prose

To the Editor of the Knickerbocker

Sir: In the course of a tour which I made in Sicily, in the days of my juvenility, I passed some little time at the ancient city of Catania, at the foot of Mount Ætna. Here I became acquainted with the Chevalier L--, an old Knight of Malta. It was not many years after the time that Napoleon had dislodged the knights from their island, and he still wore the insignia of his order. He was not, however, one of those reliques of that once chivalrous body, who had been described was "a few worn-out old men, creeping about certain parts of Europe, with the Maltese cross on their breasts;" on the contrary, though advanced in life, his form was still light and vigorous; he had a pale, thin, intellectual visage, with a high forehead, and a bright, visionary eye. He seemed to take a fancy to me, as I certainly did to him, and we soon became intimate, I visited him occasionally, at his apartments, in the wing of an old palace, looking toward Mount Ætna. He was an antiquary, a virtuoso, and a connoisseur. His rooms were decorated with mutilated statues, dug up from Grecian and Roman ruins; old vases, lachrymals, and sepulchral lamps. He had astronomical and chemical instruments, and black-letter books, in various languages. I found that he had dipped a little in chimerical studies and had a hankering after astrology and alchymy. He affected to believe in dreams and visions, and delighted in the fanciful Rosicrucian doctrines. I cannot persuade myself, however, that he really believed in all these: I rather think he loved to let his imagination carry him away into the boundless fairy land which they unfolded.

.....

Washington Irving
The Colloquy Of Monos And Una

[Greek: Mellonta sauta']

These things are in the future.

.....
Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe
The Ring And The Book

Do you see this Ring?
'Tis Rome-work, made to match
(By Castellani's imitative craft)
Etrurian circlets found, some happy morn,
.....
Robert Browning

Robert Browning
Translation Of: The Odyssey Of Homer: Book X

ARGUMENT

Ulysses, in pursuit of his narrative, relates his arrival at the island of ëolus, his departure thence, and the unhappy occasion of his return thither. The monarch of the winds dismisses him at last with much asperity. He next tells of his arrival among the Lëstrygonians, by whom his whole fleet, together with their crews, are destroyed, his own ship and crew excepted. Thence he is driven to the island of Circe. By her the half of his people are transformed into swine. Assisted by Mercury, he resists her enchantments himself, and prevails with the Goddess to recover them to their former shape. In consequence of Circe's instructions, after having spent a complete year in her palace, he prepares for a voyage to the infernal regions.

.....
William Cowper

William Cowper
The Prelude - Book Sixth

CAMBRIDGE AND THE ALPS

The leaves were fading when to Esthwaite's banks
And the simplicities of cottage life
.....
William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth
The Book And The Ring

Here were the end, had anything an end:
Thus, lit and launched, up and up roared and soared
A rocket, till the key o' the vault was reached,
And wide heaven held, a breathless minute-space,
.....
Robert Browning

Robert Browning
Metamorphoses: Book 06

Pallas, attending to the Muse's song,
Approv'd the just resentment of their wrong;
And thus reflects: While tamely I commend
Those who their injur'd deities defend,
.....
Ovid

Ovid
Odysseus' Decision

The great man turns his back on the island.
Now he will not die in paradise
nor hear again
the lutes of paradise among the olive trees,
.....
Louise Gluck

Louise Gluck
Narrative And Dramatic The Wanderings Of Oisin

BOOK I

S. Patrick. You who are bent, and bald, and blind,
With a heavy heart and a wandering mind,
.....
William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats
The Bermudas - A Shaksperian Research: - Prose

"Who did not think, till within these foure yeares, but that these islands had been rather a habitation for Divells, than fit for men to dwell in? Who did not hate the name, when hee was on land, and shun the place when he was on the seas? But behold the misprision and conceits of the world! For true and large experience hath now told us, it is one of the sweetest paradises that be upon earth."
- "A PLAINE DESCRIPT. OF THE BARMUDAS:" 1613.

In the course of a voyage home from England, our ship had been struggling, for two or three weeks, with perverse headwinds, and a stormy sea. It was in the month of May, yet the weather had at times a wintry sharpness, and it was apprehended that we were in the neighborhood of floating islands of ice, which at that season of the year drift out of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, and sometimes occasion the wreck of noble ships.
.....

Washington Irving
Song Of The Broad-axe

WEAPON, shapely, naked, wan!
Head from the mother's bowels drawn!
Wooded flesh and metal bone! limb only one, and lip only one!
Gray-blue leaf by red-heat grown! helve produced from a little seed
.....
Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
Universally Respected

I.
Biggs was missing: Biggs had vanished; all the town was in a ferment;
For if ever man was looked to for an edifying end,
With due mortuary outfit, and a popular interment,
.....

James Brunton Stephens
The Brown Dwarf Of Rà¼gen (from Narrative And Legendary Poems )

THE pleasant isle of Rügen looks the Baltic water o'er,
To the silver-sanded beaches of the Pomeranian shore;

And in the town of Rambin a little boy and maid
.....
John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier
Mr. Fink's Debating Donkey

Of a person known as Peters I will humbly crave your leave
An unusual adventure into narrative to weave
Mr. William Perry Peters, of the town of Muscatel,
A public educator and an orator as well.
.....

Ambrose Bierce
L'envoy - Prose

Go, little booke, God send thee good passage,
And specially let this be thy prayere,
Unto them all that thee will read or hear,
Where thou art wrong, after their help to call,
.....

Washington Irving
Eclogue Iii: The Funeral

The coffin [1] as I past across the lane
Came sudden on my view. It was not here,
A sight of every day, as in the streets
Of the great city, and we paus'd and ask'd
.....
Robert Southey

Robert Southey
The Missionary. Preface To The Second Edition.[1]

The Missionary.

Amor patrië ratione potentior omni.

.....

William Lisle Bowles
Bellerophon

I

Maimed, beggared, grey; seeking an alms; with nod
Of palsy doing task of thanks for bread;
.....
George Meredith

George Meredith
The Heavy Dragoon.

If you want a receipt for that popular mystery
Known to the world as a Heavy Dragoon,
Take all the remarkable people in history,
Rattle them off to a popular tune!
.....

William Schwenck Gilbert
Coloring Book

Each picture is heartbreakingly banal,
a kitten and a ball of yarn,
a dog and bone.
The paper is cheap, easily torn.
.....

Connie Wanek