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THE sun withdrew his last pale ray, And clos’d the short and chearless day; Loud blew the wind, and rain and sleet Against the cottage casement beat. The busy housewife trimm’d her fire, And drew the oaken settle nigher, [p6]And welcom’d home her own good man To his clean hearth, his pipe, and can; For Homespun and his bustling wife Were honest folks in humble life, Who liv’d contented with their lot, And... more...

INTRODUCTION The pieces reproduced in this little volume are now beginning to bid for notice from their third century of readers. At the time they were written, although Johnson had already done enough miscellaneous literary work to fill several substantial volumes, his name, far from identifying an "Age", was virtually unknown to the general public. The Vanity of Human Wishes was the first of his writings to bear his name on its face. There... more...

AN A D D R E S S TO ALLWell provided Hibernians. Gentlemen,   S Nature hath been so very Indulgent to ye, as to stock your Gardens with Trees of the largest Growth, for which Reason ye are caress'd, whilst Men of less Parts, tho' in some Things more deserving, are laugh'd at, and excluded all Company. As all Infants, especially of the Female Sex, are much delighted with Fruit, so as their Years and other Appetites increase, no Wonder... more...

In the tenth book of the Republic, when Plato has completed his final burning denunciation of Poetry, the false Siren, the imitator of things which themselves are shadows, the ally of all that is low and weak in the soul against that which is high and strong, who makes us feed the things we ought to starve and serve the things we ought to rule, he ends with a touch of compunction: 'We will give her champions, not poets themselves but poet-lovers,... more...

This volume, while it is complete in itself, is also the first of a trilogy, the scope of which is suggested in the prologue. The story of scientific discovery has its own epic unity—a unity of purpose and endeavour—the single torch passing from hand to hand through the centuries; and the great moments of science when, after long labour, the pioneers saw their accumulated facts falling into a significant order—sometimes in the... more...

BARRACK-ROOM BALLADS AND OTHER VERSES 1889-1891 TO WOLCOTT BALESTIER Beyond the path of the outmost sun through utter darkness hurled —Further than ever comet flared or vagrant star-dust swirled —Live such as fought and sailed and ruled and loved and made our world.They are purged of pride because they died, they know the worth of their bays,They sit at wine with the Maidens Nine and the Gods of the Elder Days,It is their will to... more...

I propose to treat of Poetry in itself and of its various kinds, noting the essential quality of each; to inquire into the structure of the plot as requisite to a good poem; into the number and nature of the parts of which a poem is composed; and similarly into whatever else falls within the same inquiry. Following, then, the order of nature, let us begin with the principles which come first. Epic poetry and Tragedy, Comedy also and Dithyrambic:... more...

INVOCATION. Thou with the dark blue eye upturned to heaven,And cheek now pale, now warm with radiant glow,          Daughter of God,—most dear,—          Come with thy quivering tear,And tresses wild, and robes of loosened flow,—To thy lone votaress let one look be given! Come Poesy! nor like some just-formed maid,With heart as... more...

Amos and Ann had a poem to learn,A poem to learn one day;But alas! they sighed, and alack! they cried,’Twere better to go and play.Ann was sure ’twas a waste of timeTo bother a child with jingling rhyme.Amos said, “What’s the sense in rhythm—Feet and lines?” He had finished with ’em! They peered at the poem with scowly faces,And yawned and stumbled and lost their places.Then—a breeze romped by, and... more...

In these days when the old civilisation is crumbling beneath our feet, the thought of poetry crosses the mind like the dear memory of things that have long since passed away. In our passionate desire for the new era, it is difficult to refrain oneself from the commonplace practice of speculating on the effects of warfare and of prophesying all manner of novel rebirths. But it may be well for us to remember that the era which has recently closed... more...