One of the Principal Causes of War by Hugh MacDiarmid

O she was full of loving fuss
When I cut my hand and the blood gushed out
And cleverly she dressed the wound
And wrapt it in a clout.

O tenderly she tended me
Though deep in her eyes I could tell
The secret joy that men are whiles
Obliged to bleed as well.

I thanked her kindly and never let on,
Seeing she could not understand,
That she wished me a wound far worse to staunch–
And not in the hand!

Hugh MacDiarmid
1892-1978

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Where Are the War Poets? by C. Day Lewis

They who in folly or mere greed
Enslaved religion, markets, laws,
Borrow our language now and bid
Us to speak up in freedom’s cause.

It is the logic of our times,
No subject for immortal verse–
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse.

C. Day Lewis
1904-1972

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No Mean City by Patrick MacDonogh

Though naughty flesh will multiply
Our chief delight is in division;
Whatever of Divinity
We are all Doctors of Derision.
Content to risk a far salvation
For the quick coinage of a laugh
We cut, to make wit’s reputation,
Our total of two friends by half.

Patrick MacDonogh
1902-1961

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This is to Let You Know by Noel Coward

This is to let you know
That there was no moon last night
And that the tide was high
And that on the broken horizon glimmered the lights of ships
Twenty at least, like a sedate procession passing by.

This is to let you know
That when I’d turned out the lamp
And in the dark I lay
That suddenly piercing loneliness, like a knife,
Twisted my heart, for you were such a long long way away.

This is to let you know
That there are no English words
That ever could explain
How, quite without warning, lovingly you were here
Holding me close, smoothing away the idiotic pain.

This is to let you know
That all I feel for you
Can never wholly go.
I love you and miss you, even hours away,
With all my heart. This is to let you know.

Noel Coward
1899-1973

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Youth and Age by W. B. Yeats

Much did I rage when young,
Being by the world oppressed,
But now with flattering tongue
It speeds the parting guest.

William Butler Yeats
1865-1939

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Adieu by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Waving whispering trees,
What do you say to the breeze
And what says the breeze to you?
‘Mid passing souls ill at ease,
Moving murmuring trees,
Would ye ever wave an Adieu?

Tossing turbulent seas,
Winds that wrestle with these,
Echo heard in the shell,—
‘Mid fleeting life ill at ease,
Restless ravening seas,—
Would the echo sigh Farewell?

Surging sumptuous skies,
For ever a new surprise,
Clouds eternally new,—
Is every flake that flies,
Widening wandering skies,
For a sign—Farewell, Adieu?

Sinking suffering heart
That know’st how weary thou art,—
Soul so fain for a flight,—
Aye, spread your wings to depart,
Sad soul and sorrowing heart,—
Adieu, Farewell, Good-night.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
1828-1882

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Sudden Light by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

You have been mine before,—
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow’s soar
Your neck turn’d so,
Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.

Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time’s eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death’s despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
1828-1882

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The Jester by Rudyard Kipling

There are three degrees of bliss
At the foot of Allah’s Throne,
And the highest place is his
Who saves a brother’s soul
At peril of his own.
There is the Power made known!

There are three degrees of bliss
In Gardens of Paradise,
And the second place is his
Who saves his brother’s soul
By excellent advice.
For there the Glory lies!

There the are three degrees of bliss
And three abodes of the Blest,
And the lowest place is his
Who has saved a soul by a jest
And a brother’s soul in sport…
But there do the Angels resort!

Rudyard Kipling
1865–1936

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An Essay on Woman by Mary Leapor

Woman, a pleasing but a short-lived flower,
Too soft for business and too weak for power:
A wife in bondage, or neglected maid;
Despised, if ugly; if she’s fair, betrayed.
‘Tis wealth alone inspires every grace,
And calls the raptures to her plenteous face.
What numbers for those charming features pine,
If blooming acres round her temples twine!
Her lip the strawberry, and her eyes more bright
Than sparkling Venus in a frosty night;
Pale lilies fade and, when the fair appears,
Snow turns a negro and dissolves in tears,
And, where the charmer treads her magic toe,
On English ground Arabian odours grow;
Till mighty Hymen lifts his sceptred rod,
And sinks her glories with a fatal nod,
Dissolves her triumphs, sweeps her charms away,
And turns the goddess to her native clay.

But, Artemisia, let your servant sing
What small advantage wealth and beauties bring.
Who would be wise, that knew Pamphilia’s fate?
Or who be fair, and joined to Sylvia’s mate?
Sylvia, whose cheeks are fresh as early day,
As evening mild, and sweet as spicy May:
And yet that face her partial husband tires,
And those bright eyes, that all the world admires.
Pamphilia’s wit who does not strive to shun,
Like death’s infection or a dog-day’s sun?
The damsels view her with malignant eyes,
The men are vexed to find a nymph so wise:
And wisdom only serves to make her know
The keen sensation of superior woe.
The secret whisper and the listening ear,
The scornful eyebrow and the hated sneer,
The giddy censures of her babbling kind,
With thousand ills that grate a gentle mind,
By her are tasted in the first degree,
Though overlooked by Simplicus and me.
Does thirst of gold a virgin’s heart inspire,
Instilled by nature or a careful sire?
Then let her quit extravagance and play,
The brisk companion and expensive tea,
To feast with Cordia in her filthy sty
On stewed potatoes or on mouldy pie;
Whose eager eyes stare ghastly at the poor,
And fright the beggars from her hated door;
In greasy clouts she wraps her smoky chin,
And holds that pride’s a never-pardoned sin.

If this be wealth, no matter where it falls;
But save, ye Muses, save your Mira’s walls:
Still give me pleasing indolence and ease,
A fire to warm me and a friend to please.

Since, whether sunk in avarice or pride,
A wanton virgin or a starving bride;
Or wondering crowds attend her charming tongue,
Or, deemed an idiot, ever speaks the wrong;
Though nature armed us for the growing ill
With fraudful cunning and a headstrong will;
Yet, with ten thousand follies to her charge,
Unhappy woman’s but a slave at large.

Mary Leapor
1722-1746

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The Execration by Elizabeth Thomas

Enslaved by passions, swelled with pride,
In love with one whom all deride;
A carcase well, yet mind in pain,
Reduced to beg, but beg in vain;
To live reserved and free from blame,
And yet incur an evil fame:
Let this! this be the wretched fate
Of Rosalinda, whom I hate.

Elizabeth Thomas
1675-1731

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