I know that while this list doesn't fall into the category of books, this community accepts reviews and lists on all forms of literature and it occurred to me that poetry hasn't been touched upon often enough. As such, I have decided to create a new series of lists featuring some of my favorite poems and to keep them from being purely textual I'm including some works of art that I associate with each particular piece of poetry. Enjoy.
She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellow'd to that tender light Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less, Had half impair'd the nameless grace Which waves in every raven trees, Or softly lightens o'er her fave; Where thoughts serenely sweet express How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow, But tell of days in goodness spent, A mind at peace with all below, A heart whose love is innocent!
Swiftly walk o'er the western wave, Spirit of Night! Out of the misty eastern cave, Where, all the long and lone daylight, Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear, Which make thee terrible and clear, Swift by thy Flight!
Wrap thy form in mantle gray, Star-inwrought! Blind with thine hair the eyes of day; Kiss her until she be wearied out, Then wander o'er the city, and sea, and land, Touching all with thine opiate wand-- Come, long-sought!
When I arose and saw the dawn, I sighed for thee; When light rode high, and the dew was gone, And noon lay heavy on flower and tree, And the weary Day turned to his rest, Lingering like an unloved guest, I sighed for thee.
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art-- Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night, And watching with eternal lids apart, Like nature's patient sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task Of pure ablution round earth's human shores, Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors: No-- yet still steadfast, still unchangeable, Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast To feel forever its soft fall and swell, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest; Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever-- or else swoon to death.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-- While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. "'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-- Only this and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; -- vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow-- sorrow for the lost Lenore-- For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-- Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me-- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating "'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door-- Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;-- This it is and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger, hesitating then no longer, "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure i heard you"-- here I opened wide the door;-- Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long stood I there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there was spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?" This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore;-- Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-- 'Tis the wind and nothing more!"
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-- Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-- Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, though," I said, "art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore-- Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning-- little relevance bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door-- Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such a name as "Nevermore."
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing farther then he uttered-- not a feather then he fluttered-- Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before-- On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before." Then the bird said, "Nevermore."
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs burden bore-- Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of 'Never-- nevermore.'"
But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-- What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er, But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er, She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee-- by these angels he hath sent thee Respite-- respite and nepenthe from my memories of Lenore; Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if bird or devil! Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-- On this home by Horror haunted-- tell me truly, I implore-- Is there balm in Gilead? -- tell me-- tell me, I implore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us-- by that God we both adore-- Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-- Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore." Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting-- "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie they soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! -- quit the bust above my door! Take they beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted-- nevermore!
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers away; Lengthen night and shorten day; Every leaf speaks bliss to me, Fluttering from every tree. I shall smile when wreaths of snow; Blossom where the rose should grow; I shall sing when night's decay Ushers in a drearier day.