THE POETRY OF CHAUCER
Grey with all honours of age! but fresh-featured and ruddy
As dawn when the drowsy farm-yard has thrice heard Chaunticlere.
Tender to tearfulness-childlike, and manly, and motherly;
Here beats true English blood richest joyance on sweet English ground.
THE POETRY OF SPENSER
Lakes where the sunsheen is mystic with splendour and softness;
Vales where sweet life is all Summer with golden romance:
Forests that glimmer with twilight round revel-bright palaces;
Here in our May-blood we wander, careering 'mongst ladies and knights.
THE POETRY OF SHAKESPEARE
Picture some Isle smiling green 'mid the white-foaming ocean; -
Full of old woods, leafy wisdoms, and frolicsome fays;
Passions and pageants; sweet love singing bird-like above it;
Life in all shapes, aims, and fates, is there warm'd by one great human heart.
THE POETRY OF MILTON
Like to some deep-chested organ whose grand inspiration,
Serenely majestic in utterance, lofty and calm,
Interprets to mortals with melody great as its burthen
The mystical harmonies chiming for ever throughout the bright spheres.
THE POETRY OF SOUTHEY
Keen as an eagle whose flight towards the dim empyrean
Fearless of toil or fatigue ever royally wends!
Vast in the cloud-coloured robes of the balm-breathing Orient
Lo! the grand Epic advances, unfolding the humanest truth.
THE POETRY OF COLERIDGE
A brook glancing under green leaves, self-delighting, exulting,
And full of a gurgling melody ever renewed -
Renewed thro' all changes of Heaven, unceasing in sunlight,
Unceasing in moonlight, but hushed in the beams of the holier orb.
THE POETRY OF SHELLEY
See'st thou a Skylark whose glistening winglets ascending
Quiver like pulses beneath the melodious dawn?
Deep in the heart-yearning distance of heaven it flutters -
Wisdom and beauty and love are the treasures it brings down at eve.
THE POETRY OF WORDSWORTH
A breath of the mountains, fresh born in the regions majestic,
That look with their eye-daring summits deep into the sky.
The voice of great Nature; sublime with her lofty conceptions,
Yet earnest and simple as any sweet child of the green lowly vale.
THE POETRY OF KEATS
The song of a nightingale sent thro' a slumbrous valley,
Low-lidded with twilight, and tranced with the dolorous sound,
Tranced with a tender enchantment; the yearning of passion
That wins immortality even while panting delirious with death.