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RICHARD WATSON GILDER
American poet, editor and writer
(1844 - 1909)
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From all the misty morning air, there comes a summer sound,
  A murmur as of waters from skies, and trees, and ground.
    The birds they sing upon the wing, the pigeons bill and coo.
      - [Summer]

In the embers shining bright
  A garden grows for thy delight,
    With roses yellow, red, and white.
      But, O my child, beware, beware!
        Touch not the roses growing there,
          For every rose a thorn doth bear.
      - [Prudence]

None who e'er knew her can believe her dead;
  Though, should she die, they deem it well might be
    Her spirit took its everlasting flight
      In summer's glory, by the sunset sea,
        That onward through the Golden Gate is fled.
          Ah, where that bright soul is cannot be night.
      - "H.H." [Death]

What babe new born is this that in a manger cries?
  Near on her lowly bed his happy mother lies.
    Oh, see the air is shaken with white and heavenly wings--
      This is the Lord of all the earth, this is the King of Kings.
      - A Christmas Hymn (st. 4) [Christmas]

Fra Lippo, we have learned from thee
  A lesson of humanity:
    To every mother's heart forlorn,
      In every house the Christ is born.
      - A Madonna of Fra Lippo Lippi [Christ]

Oh, father's gone to market-town, he was up before the day,
  And Jamie's after robins, and the man is making hay,
    And whistling down the hollow goes the boy that minds the mill,
      While mother from the kitchen door is calling with a will,
        "Polly!--Polly!--The cows are in the corn!
          Oh, where's Polly?"
      - A Midsummer Song [Summer]

I am a woman--therefore I may not
  Call to him, cry to him,
    Fly to him,
      Bid him delay not!
      - A Woman's Thought [Women]

A man not perfect, but of heart
  So high, of such heroic rage,
    That even his hopes became a part
      Of earth's eternal heritage.
      - At the President's Grave,
        an epitaph for President Cleveland
        [Character]

What if thou be saint or sinner,
  Crooked gray-beard, straight beginner,--
    Empty paunch, or jolly dinner,
      When Death thee shall call.
        All like are rich or richer,
          King with crown, and cross-legged stitcher,
            When the grave hides all.
      - Drinking Song [Death]

"Whose name was writ in water!" What large laughter
  Among the immortals when that word was brought!
    Then when his fiery spirit rose flaming after,
      High toward the topmost heaven of heavens up-caught!
        "All hail! our younger brother!" Shakespeare said,
          And Dante nodded his imperial head.
      - Keats [Names]

We lean on Faith; and some less wise have cried,
  "Behold the butterfly, the see that's cast!"
    Vain hopes that fall like flowers before the blast!
      What man can look on Death unterrified?
      - Love and Death (st. 2) [Faith]

I am the laughter of the new-born child
  On whose soft-breathing sleep an angel smiled.
      - Ode [Laughter]

I am the spirit of the morning sea,
  I am the awakening and the glad surprise.
      - Ode [Spirits]

Not from the whole wide world I chose thee,
  Sweetheart, light of the land and the sea!
    The wide, wide world could not inclose thee,
      For thou art the whole wide world to me.
      - Song [Love]

Ye living soldiers of the mighty war,
  Once more from roaring cannon and the drums
    And bugles blown at morn, the summons comes;
      Forget the halting limb, each wound and scar:
        Once more your Captain calls to you;
          Come to his last review!
      - The Burial of Grant [War]

Stream of the living world
  Where dash the billows of strife!--
    One plunge in the mighty torrent
      Is a year of tamer life!
        City of glorious days,
          Of hope, and labour and mirth,
            With room and to spare, on thy splendid bays
              For the ships of all the earth!
      - The City [New York]

Now you who rhyme, and I who rhyme,
  Have not we sworn it, many a time,
    That we no more our verse would scrawl,
      For Shakespeare he had said it all!
      - The Modern Rhymer [Shakespeare]

I love her doubting and anguish;
  I love the love she withholds,
    I love my love that loveth her,
      And anew her being moulds.
      - The New Day (pt. III, song I) [Love]

Love, Love, my Love.
  The best things are the truest!
    When the earth lies shadowy dark below
      Oh, then the heavens are bluest!
      - The New Day (pt. IV, song I) [Love]

Against the darkness outer
  God's light his likeness takes,
    And he from the mighty doubter
      The great believer makes.
      - The New Day (pt. IV, song XV) [Light]

I count my time by times that I meet thee;
  These are my yesterdays, my morrows, noons,
    And nights, these are my old moons and my new moons.
      Slow fly the hours, fast the hours flee,
        If thou art far from or art near to me:
          If thou art far, the bird's tunes are no tunes;
            If thou art near, the wintry days are Junes.
      - The New Day (pt. IV, Sonnet VI) [Time]

The smile of her I love is like the dawn
  Whose touch makes Menmon sing:
    O see where wide the golden sunlight flows--
      The barren desert blossoms as the rose!
      - The Smile of Her I Love [Smiles]

What is a Sonnet? 'Tis the pearly shell
  That murmurs of the far-off, murmuring sea;
    A precious jewel carved most curiously;
      It is a little picture painted well.
        What is a Sonnet? 'Tis the tear that fell
          From a great poet's hidden ecstasy;
            A two-edged sword, a star, a song--ah me!
              Sometimes a heavy tolling funeral bell.
      - The Sonnet [Poetry]

In Heaven's happy bowers
  There blossom two flowers,
    One with fiery glow
      And one as white as snow;
        While lo! before them stands,
          With pale and trembling hands,
            A spirit who must choose
              One, and one refuse.
      - The White and Red Rose [Roses]

"Give me a theme," the little poet cried,
  "And I will do my part,"
    "'Tis not a theme you need," the world replied;
      "You need a heart."
      - Wanted, a Theme [Poets]


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