It is an ancyent Marinere, he rose the morrow morn.
I never saw the man whom you describe.
He lived and died among the savage men.
Nay, Traveller! rest. This lonely yew-tree stands in lowliness of heart.
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day Sweet Nightingale! once more, my friends! farewell.
By Derwent’s side my Father’s cottage stood, of that perpetual weight which on her spirit lay.
Oh! what’s the matter? what’s the matter? of Goody Blake and Harry Gill.
It is the first mild day of March: we’ll give to idleness.
In the sweet shire of Cardigan, has oftener left me mourning.
I have a boy of five years old, of what from thee I learn.
A simple child, dear brother Jim, and said, Nay, we are seven!
I heard a thousand blended notes, what man has made of man?
There is a thorn; it looks so old, Oh woe is me! oh misery!
In distant countries I have been, it is the last of all my flock.
And this place our forefathers made for man! by the benignant touch of love and beauty.
Her eyes are wild, her head is bare, and there, my babe; we’ll live for aye.
‘Tis eight o’clock, — a clear March night, and that was all his travel’s story.
How rich the wave, in front, imprest by virtue’s holiest powers attended.
Why William, on that grey stone, and dream my time away.
Up! up! my friend, and clear your looks, that watches and receives.
The little hedge-row birds, And there is dying in an hospital.
Before I see another day, I shall not see another day.
The glory of the evening was spread through the west; would plant thee where yet thou migh’st blossom again.
Five years have passed; five summers, with the length more dear, both for themselves, and for thy sake.
(Thank you, Wordsworth and Coleridge.)
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You ask whether your verses are good. Today I wanted to tell you two things more: One just comes to relish them increasingly, to be always more grateful, and somehow better and simpler in one’s contemplating, deeper in one’s belief in life, and in living happier and bigger. Physical pleasure is a sensual experience no different from pure seeing or the pure sensation which a fine fruit fills the tongue; it is a great unending experience, which is given us, a knowing of the world, the fullness and the glory of all knowing. I am still living in the city, on the Capitol, not far from the finest equestrian statue that has come down to us from Roman art — that of Marcus Aurelius; but in a few weeks I shall move into a quiet simple room, an old flat-roofed summerhouse, that lies lost way deep in a large park, hidden from the town, its noise and incident. Think, dear sir, of the world you carry within you, and call this thinking what you will; whether it be remembering your own childhood or yearning toward your own future — only be attentive to that which rises up in you and set it above everything that you observe about you. How should it not be difficult for us? There is perhaps no use my going into your particular points now; for what I could say about your tendency to doubt or about your inability to bring outer and inner life into unison, or about all the other things that worry you —: it is always what I have already said: always the wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe; that you may acquire more and more confidence in that which is difficult, and in your solitude among others. The stillness must be immense in which such sounds and movements have room, and when one thinks that to it all the presence of the far-off sea comes chiming in as well, perhaps as the inmost tone in that prehistoric harmony, then one can only wish for you that you are confidently and patiently letting that lofty solitude work upon you which is no more to be stricken out of your life; which in everything there is ahead of you to experience and to do will work as an anonymous influence, continuously and gently decisive, much as in us blow of ancestors ceaselessly stirs and mingles with our own into that unique, not repeatable being which at every turning of our life we are.
–Rainer Maria Rilke, letters reassembled from Letters to a Young Poet
It all felt secure and natural. As if biding their time. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. And that, in the event, is what happened. I was thinking of becoming an entomologist and collecting insects in Africa, discovering new species instead of new deserts. Nowadays, well-known for deficient productivity, I was then clearly noted as a prolific scribbler, someone who sinned through excessive productivity, a literal Stakhanov. I thought it was the Inferno but it was Purgatory. The idea was so naive it became sophisticated.
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