Song

Go and catch a falling star,
  Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
  Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids' singing,
  Or to keep off envy's stinging,
     And find
     What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.
        
If thou be'st born to strange sights,
  Things invisible go see,
Ride ten tousand days and nights,
  Till Age snow white hairs on thee;
Thou, when thou return's, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee,
     And swear
     No where
Lives a woman true and fair.
      
If thou find'st one, let me know;
  Such a pilgrimage were sweet,
Yet do not; I would not go,
  Though at next door we might meet.
Thoush she were true when you met her,
And last till you write your letter,
     Yet she
     Will be
False, ere I come, to two or three.

- John Donne

A poem by Emily Bronte

The linnet in the rocky dells,
The moor-lark in the air,
The bee among the heather bells
That hide my lady fair:

The wild deer browse above her breast;
The wild birds raise their brood;
And they, her smiles of love caressed,
Have left her solitude!

I ween, that when the grave's dark wall
Did first her form retain,
They thought their hearts could ne'er recall
The light of joy again.

They thought the tide of grief would flow
Unchecked through future years;
But where is all their anguish now,
And where are all their tears?

Well, let them fight for honour's breath,
Or pleasure's shade pursue--
The dweller in the land of death
Is changed and careless too.

And, if their eyes should watch and weep
Till sorrow's source were dry,
She would not, in her tranquil sleep,
Return a single sigh!

Blow, west-wind, by the lonely mound,
And murmur, summer-streams--
There is no need of other sound
To soothe my lady's dreams.


This is public domain
poem by John Donne

Soul's joy , now I am gone,
And you alone,
--Which cannot be,
since I must leave myself with thee,
and carry thee with me--
Yet when unto our eyes
Absence denies
Each other's sight,
And makes to us a constant night,
When others change to light;
O give no way to grief,
But let belief
Of mutual love
This wonder to the vulgar prove,
Our bodies, not we move.

Let not thy wit beweep
Words but sense deep;
For when we miss
By distance our hope's joining bliss,
Even then our souls shall kiss;
Fools have no means to meet,
But by their feet;
Why should our clay
Over our spirits so much sway,
To tie us to that way?
O give no way to grief, &c.


Another poem by John Donne with the same title.

Sweetest love, I do not go,
For weariness of thee,
Nor in hope the world can show
A fitter love for me;
But since that I
At the last must part, 'tis best,
Thus to use myself in jest
By feigned deaths to die.

Yesternight the sun went hence,
And yet is here to-day;
He hath no desire nor sense,
Nor hald so short a way;
Then fear not me,
But believe that I shall make
Speedier journeys, since I take
More wings and spurs than he.

O how feeble is man's power,
That if good fortune fall,
Cannot add another hour,
Nor a lost hour recall;
But come bad chance,
And we join to it our strength,
And we teach it art and length,
Itself o'er us to advance.

When thou sigh'st, thou sigh'st not wind,
But sigh'st my soul away;
When thou weep'st, unkindly kind,
My life's blood doth decay.
It cannot be
That thou lovest me as thou say'st,
If in thine my life thou waste,
That art the best of me.

Let not thy divining heart
Forethink me any ill;
Destiny may take thy part,
And may thy fears fulful.
But think that we
Are but turn'd aside to sleep.
They who one another keep
Alive, ne'er parted be.

(Back to Easter Egg Poems)

To the old, long life and treasure;
To the young, all health and pleasure;
   To the fair, their face
   With eternal grace,
And the soul to be loved at leisure.
To the witty, all clear mirrors;
To the foolish, their dark errors;
   To the loving sprite,
   A secure delight,
To the jealous, his own false terrors.

Ben Jonson

CST approved

God give you pardon from gratitude
and other mild forms of servitude

and make peace for all of us
with what is easy.

Robert Creeley

Addendum (April 9, 2001) Ok, fine, I admit it! Creeley's written a lot more poems with this title! Here's another:

How simply

for another
pace the firtues,
peace and goodwill.

Sing pleasure,

the window's opening,
unseen back of it
the door closes.

How peace, how happiness,

locked as insistence,
force weather, see sun
and won't look back.

—from Words: Section II of The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley

and another:

I wouldn't
embarrass you
ever.

If there were
not place
or time for it,

I would go,
go elsewhere,
remembering.

I would
sit in a
flower, a face, not

to embarrass
you, would
be unhappy

quietly, would
never
make a noise.

Simpler,
simpler you
deal with me.

Ibid.

and another (November 25, 2001), not from the Collected Poems this time but the back of a recently rediscovered old notebook in which I'd collected a few assorted Creeleys from other sources:

Love has no other friends
than those given it, as us,
in confusion of trust and dependance.

We want the world a wonder
and wait for it to become one

I wonder where they'll all find room
to honor love in their own turn
before they must move on.

It's said the night comes
and ends all dillusions and dreams,
in despite of our present sleeping.

But here I lie with you
and want for nothing more
than time in which to -----

till love itself dies with me
at last the end I thought to see
of everything that can be.

No! All vanity, all mind flies
but love remains, nor dies
even without me. Never dies.

Song - John Keats

I

In a drear-nighted December,
   Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne'er remember
   Their green felicity :
  The north cannot undo them,
  With a sleety whistle through them ;
  Nor frozen thawings glue them
    From budding at the prime.

II

In a drear-nighted December,
   Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne'er remember
   Apollo's summer look ;
  But with a sweet forgetting,
  They stay their crystal fretting
  Never, never petting
     About the frozen time.

III

Ah ! Would 'twere so with many
   A gentle girl and boy !
But were there ever any
   Writh'd not at passed joy ?
  To know the change and feel it,
  When there is none to heal it,
  Nor numbed sense to steel it,
    Was never said in rhyme.


Formatted as I found it in "Keats" by Ellershaw - Oxford University Press (First edition 1922). I read it and loved the meter.
It's amazing how many great poets have, at one time or another, written a poem entitled Song. I feel hesitant about adding another one to the list, especially since this is not the work of any great poet, but I think the message is a worthwhile one. We are always told to Node For The Ages; and what is more important for posterity than the feelings of ordinary people? If not for its poetic merit, this is relevant for the feelings I attempted to convey.


I'm young; I haven't been here long.
I feel old, for the days are long.

In all this time, I have not found
A sky that I could watch for hours,
Or just a patch of soft, black ground
Half-overgrown with fragrant flowers

Where I could while the time away;
Where I could plant my flag and say:

"This is the place where I belong."
But still, I haven't been here long.

Still time to search and find it yet;
Still time to learn and to forget.

In all this time, I have not found
A girl with understanding eyes,
Whom I could wrap my arms around
And never let her go
. The lies

Have had me searching everywhere,
And had me finding nothing there.

Still time to search and find her now;
Still time to show the sunset how.

I feel old, for the days are long.
I have to find where I belong.

Song

I saw thee on thy bridal day-
When a burning blush came o'er thee,
Though happiness around thee lay,
The world all love before thee:

And in thine eye a kindling light
(Whatever it might be)
Was all on Earth my aching sight
Of Loveliness could see.

That blush, perhaps, was maiden shame-
As such it well may pass-
Though its glow hath raised a fiercer flame
In the breast of him, alas!

Who saw thee on that bridal day,
When that deep blush would come o'er thee,
Though happiness around thee lay;
The world all love before thee.


Edgar Allan Poe was the quintessential goth. However, unlike most of the pseudo-gothlings you see sulking in around the mall these days (wearing expensive leather jackets and Doc Martens that their yuppie parents bought for them), he had good reason to depressed. Everyone he ever loved either died or, as highlighted by this poem, simply abandoned him. It orginally appeared in Poe's first book of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827) as "To ______ ______", most likely refering to Poe's broken engagement to Elmira Royston. Much later, after she was widowed, they renewed their relationship, and eventually their engagement as well. Unfortunately, on October 7th, 1849, only a few days before the wedding, he died. I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

On a lighter note, let me present a rendition of this poem - as haiku:

You love your husband.
He loves you deeply as well.
It sucks to be me.


Source:
Edgar Allan Poe "Song" Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe Edward H. O'Neill
New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1994. pp. 21-22, and Textual Notes p. 1057

This CST Approved writeup brought to you with the help of the CST Referral Service.


A poem by the Earl of Rochester.

First published in 1676 in A New Collection of the Choicest Songs, its composition date is unknown.

While on those lovely looks I gaze
        To see a wretch pursuing,
In raptures of a blest amaze,
        His pleasing, happy ruin,
'Tis not for pity that I move:
        His fate is too aspiring
Whose heart, broke with a load of love,
        Dies wishing and admiring.

But if this murder you'd forgo,
        Your slave from death removing,
Let me your art of charming know,
        Or learn you mine of loving.
But whether life or death betide,
        In love 'this equal measure:
The victor lives with empty pride,
        The vanquished die with pleasure.

An example of Wilmot's more chaste verses, another would be this untitled poem.

Like the poem referenced above, this deals with courting and love but unlike that one, it does not specify or even care whether it is requited or not. It discusses the pleasures of courting as regards some possibly doomed rake or rogue and suggests that unrequited love need not be a matter for angst but can be a beautiful thing in it's own way, in this sense it expresses an ideal of "Better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all".

Whilst I might not entirely agree with that sentiment, I do certainly agree that there is a je ne sais quoi to the start of a romance when one is still unsure if the feelings are returned and you wonder at the possibilities, the love can not be unrequited at this time because it is still only anticipated.

The observer/narrator in the poem seems to feel that love is a glorious state to be in and that one is always as much in love with love itself as with the object of one's desire. In this sense, the wretch so doomed is to be envied for his fleeting pleasure, not pitied for his uncertain fate.

There are many poems of the era titled simply 'Song' and it seems to indicate that a poem is of an obvious nature. Possibly better than thinking up some less than relevant title which would only mislead people anyway.


CST Approved

A song consists of two main components: a lyric and a piece of music. To understand a song, let's look at its two components in turn.

Lyrics

A lyric is a passage of text containing far less words than a short story or speech. It can document an event, tell a fictitious story, state an opinion, offer advice, or tell the listener anything else which can be expressed in words. Generally speaking, only two characteristics are required in a popular lyric:

Firstly, it should be emotionally engaging. The emotion can be any you like, positive or negative, but it has to be strong. It must engage the listener, resonating with him and inspiring him.

The other thing a good lyric needs to do is form patterns. That way, the listener can play a game - probably on the subconscious level - in which he tries to guess what the singer will say next. Don't make it too easy, of course: the game is only fun when it presents a challenge. Just like a good joke or plot twist, the craft lies in the ability to technically fulfill a promise - such as making a rhyme - but doing it in a way that the listener didn't see coming.

The methods used to form the patterns are formally known as meter, rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, assonance and consonance, among others, but discussing them is outside of the scope of this humble essay. What's important is to get the balance right between making the lyric too simple and too complex.

Music

Next up is the music. Music consists of timbres, rhythms, harmonies and melodies. In pop songs, the lyric is generally sung in the main melody, meaning that the singer is doing two jobs at once: getting a point across with her words while also playing the part of the lead instrument.

The music should do the same two things as the lyric: it should engage the listener emotionally in the way that only music can, and it should form patterns. The more complex its patterns are, the worse it will sound at first because it is less predictable. After a few listens, however, it will sound better than a simpler song, which by that time will have become so easy to predict and memorise that it will have started to sound comparatively dull.

Put simply, a piece of music makes us feel an emotion, and its lyric tell us why we should feel that emotion. The comparatively rare exception is the song whose lyric's emotion conflicts with its music's emotion, which is done to show how one of the two emotions - invariably the happier of the two - is just a façade, and not really how the singer feels.

In summary, both the lyric and the piece of music are interesting to us because they fulfill both of our desires: to feel strong emotions, and to spot patterns. I suspect this is simply because we are essentially just emotionally charged machines that constantly try to analyse and predict patterns, but really, you'd be better off asking a biologist.

Song (?; 115), n. [AS. song, sang, fr. singan to sing; akin to D. zang, G. sang, Icel. songr, Goeth. sagws. See Sing.]

1.

That which is sung or uttered with musical modulations of the voice, whether of a human being or of a bird, insect, etc.

"That most ethereal of all sounds, the song of crickets."

Hawthorne.

2.

A lyrical poem adapted to vocal music; a ballad.

3.

More generally, any poetical strain; a poem.

The bard that first adorned our native tongue
Tuned to his British lyre this ancient song.
Dryden.

4.

Poetical composition; poetry; verse.

This subject for heroic song.
Milton.

5.

An object of derision; a laughingstock.

And now am I their song. yea, I am their byword.
Job xxx. 9.

6.

A trifle.

"The soldier's pay is a song."

Silliman.

Old song, a trifle; nothing of value. "I do not intend to be thus put off with an old song." Dr. H. More. -- Song bird Zool., any singing bird; one of the Oscines. -- Song sparrow Zool., a very common North American sparrow (Melospiza fasciata, or M. melodia) noted for the sweetness of its song in early spring. Its breast is covered with dusky brown streaks which form a blotch in the center. -- Song thrush Zool., a common European thrush (Turdus musicus), noted for its melodius song; -- called also mavis, throsite, and thrasher.

Syn. -- Sonnet; ballad; canticle; carol; canzonet; ditty; hymn; descant; lay; strain; poesy; verse.

© Webster 1913.

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