Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

“I was a child and She was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my ANNABEL LEE—”

The narrator mourns the loss of a woman he dearly loved.  He believes that envious angels took his love from him, but he will not allow death to part them.

Duration: 02:55 (about 3 minutes)
File Size: 2.07 MB
Download: Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe – MP3

Recording Copyright © 2013 Nikolle Doolin

 

ANNABEL LEE

by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;—
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and She was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my ANNABEL LEE—
With a love that the wingéd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud by night
Chilling my ANNABEL LEE;
So that her high-born kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up, in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me;
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling
And killing my ANNABEL LEE.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE:—

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the side of the sea.

Published: 1849

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Added to Poetry on November 3rd, 2013.

To Hope by John Keats

“Sweet Hope, celestial influence round me shed,
Waving thy silver pinions o’er my head.”

The poet solicits Hope to turn his dark days into brighter ones.

Duration: 05:00 (about 5 minutes)
File Size: 3.5 MB
Download: To Hope by John Keats – MP3

Recording Copyright © 2010 Nikolle Doolin

 

TO HOPE

by JOHN KEATS

When by my solitary hearth I sit,
And hateful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom;
When no fair dreams before my “mind’s eye” flit,
And the bare heath of life presents no bloom;
Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head.

Whene’er I wander, at the fall of night,
Where woven boughs shut out the moon’s bright ray,
Should sad Despondency my musings fright,
And frown, to drive fair Cheerfulness away,
Peep with the moon-beams through the leafy roof,
And keep that fiend Despondence far aloof.

Should Disappointment, parent of Despair,
Strive for her son to seize my careless heart;
When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air,
Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart:
Chace him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright,
And fright him as the morning frightens night!

Whene’er the fate of those I hold most dear
Tells to my fearful breast a tale of sorrow,
O bright-eyed Hope, my morbid fancy cheer;
Let me awhile thy sweetest comforts borrow:
Thy heaven-born radiance around me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head!

Should e’er unhappy love my bosom pain,
From cruel parents, or relentless fair;
O let me think it is not quite in vain
To sigh out sonnets to the midnight air!
Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed.
And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head!

In the long vista of the years to roll,
Let me not see our country’s honour fade:
O let me see our land retain her soul,
Her pride, her freedom; and not freedom’s shade.
From thy bright eyes unusual brightness shed—
Beneath thy pinions canopy my head!

Let me not see the patriot’s high bequest,
Great Liberty! how great in plain attire!
With the base purple of a court oppress’d,
Bowing her head, and ready to expire:
But let me see thee stoop from heaven on wings
That fill the skies with silver glitterings!

And as, in sparkling majesty, a star
Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud;
Brightening the half veil’d face of heaven afar:
So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud,
Sweet Hope, celestial influence round me shed,
Waving thy silver pinions o’er my head.

-Published in 1817

Added to Poetry on March 24th, 2010.

Ozymandias

The podcast A History of the World in 100 Objects (learn more here), contains an episode on the statue of Ramesses II. If you listened to the Audio Literature Odyssey episode “Six Sonnets by Various Authors,” then you may recall Shelley’s sonnet “Ozymandias.” This sonnet is about the statue referred to in their program. Shelley and fellow poet Horace Smith had a competition between themselves to write about the statue. Shelley’s work is better known.

To listen to the sonnet, visit the episode. If you want to know the history of the statue and the implications of the sonnet, visit A History of the World in 100 Objects and download the podcast episode 020 Statue of Ramesses II 12 Feb 2010. More information about the statue can be found on the British Museum’s site.

Added to Poetry on February 18th, 2010.

Six Sonnets by Various Authors

This episode contains sonnets by Sir Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Donne, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.  A sonnet is a lyric poem made up of fourteen lines in iambic pentameter, which adheres to a strict rhyming scheme (one of various). Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard are credited with introducing the sonnet to England, while Shakespeare is credited with having perfected it.  The sonnets below appear by the birth order of the authors.

Duration: 00:08:37 (about 8 minutes)
File Size: 8 MB
Download: Six Sonnets by Various Authors – MP3

Recording Copyright © 2009 Nikolle Doolin

 

Thomas Wyatt

Thomas Wyatt

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503–1542)

A RENOUNCING OF LOVE

Farewell, Love, and all thy laws for ever;
Thy baited hooks shall tangle me no more:
Senec and Plato call me from thy lore,
To perfect wealth, my wit for to endeavour;
In blind errour when I did persever,
Thy sharp repulse, that pricketh aye so sore,
Taught me in trifles that I set no store;
But ‘scaped forth thence, since liberty is lever:
Therefore, farewell, go trouble younger hearts,
And in me claim no more authority;
With idle youth go use thy property,
And thereon spend thy many brittle darts:
For, hitherto though I have lost my time,
Me list no longer rotten boughs to clime.

Henry howard

Henry Howard

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–1547)

OF THE DEATH OF SIR THOMAS WYATT

Divers thy death do diversely bemoan:
Some, that in presence of thy livelihed
Lurked, whose breasts envy with hate had swoln,
Yield Caesar‘s tears upon Pompeius‘ head.
Some, that watched with the murderer’s knife,
With eager thirst to drink thy guiltless blood,
Whose practice brake by happy end of life,
With envious tears to hear thy fame so good.
But I, that knew what harboured in that head;
What virtues rare were tempered in that breast;
Honour the place that such a jewel bred,
And kiss the ground whereas the corpse doth rest;
With vapoured eyes: from whence such streams availe,
As Pyramus did on Thisbe‘s breast bewail.

Edmund Spenser

Edmund Spenser

Edmund Spenser (1552–1599)

SONNET LXXV

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Agayne I wrote it with a second hand;
But came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray.
“Vayne man,” sayd she, “that dost in vaine assay
A mortall thing so to immortalize;
For I my selve shall lyke to this decay,
And eke my name bee wyped out lykewize.”
“Not so,” quod I; “let baser things devize
To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
And in the hevens wryte your glorious name.
Where, when as death shall all the world subdew,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.”

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

SONNET XII

When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silvered o’er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

John Donne

John Donne

John Donne (1572-1631)

HOLY SONNET X

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy‘or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Percy Shelley

Percy Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

OZYMANDIAS

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Added to Poetry on November 21st, 2009.

The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson

“There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.”

Summary:

The Lady of Shalott borrows from the Arthurian legend and is a poem about a woman who is isolated in a tower with a curse hanging over her. She cannot venture outside into the world to be with others. What is worse, she cannot even look directly outside. She sits at her loom weaving daily and looks at shadows of the world cast in a mirror. She envies the freedom of others and grows sick of her limitations. When Sir Lancelot appears, she spies a gallant knight and dares to look outside. The curse is set in motion as she races toward Camelot in a boat. Yet, the Lady of Shalott cannot escape her doom.

Duration: 00:11:00 (about 11 minutes)
File Size: 7.7 MB
Download: The Lady of Shalott – MP3

Recording Copyright © 2009 Nikolle Doolin

Click to Mix and Solve

Text:

THE LADY OF SHALOTT

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

PART I

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road runs by
To many-tower’d Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro’ the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veil’d
Slide the heavy barges trail’d
By slow horses; and unhail’d
The shallop flitteth silken-sail’d
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower’d Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers “‘Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott”.

PART II

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the ‘curse’ may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro’ a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair’d page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower’d Camelot;

And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often thro’ the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
“I am half-sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.

PART III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro’ the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneel’d
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter’d free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon’d baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn’d like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro’ the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom;
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

PART IV

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower’d Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
‘The Lady of Shalott.’

And down the river’s dim expanse–
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance–
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right–
The leaves upon her falling light–
Thro’ the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot;
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken’d wholly,
Turn’d to tower’d Camelot;
For ere she reach’d upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
‘The Lady of Shalott’

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross’d themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, “She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott”.

Medieval Music (English):

Lenten is come by Briddes Roune

Added to Poetry on October 19th, 2009.

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