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Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands
aside, Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified, And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had
New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient
good uncouth; They must upward still and onward, who would keep 5
abreast of Truth; Lo, before us gleam her camp fires! we ourselves must
Pilgrims be, Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the
desperate winter sea, Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood
Messiah: the anointed; one consecrated to a holy purpose. the goats and the sheep: see Matthew xxv. 33. the Delphic cave: the ancient Greeks believed that they could learn the will of the gods through oracles. The famous oracle of Apollo was at Delphi, where, from a cleft in the rocks, it was said that strange sounds issued. These were interpreted by the priests.
Doubting, etc. : see the story of Peter (John xviii. 15–28).
Note. This selection is from “ Romeo and Juliet.” Mercutio, a friend of young Romeo, is trying to dispel his comrade's gloom.
Mercutio. O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She comes 5 In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners' legs, 10 The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider's web,
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
Romeo. Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
True, I talk of dreams,
spinners: spiders. — grub: the larva of a beetle or insect. - straight: immediately. — Spanish blades: Spanish steel was held in high esteem.
- healths: drinking healths.
EDGAR ALLAN POE
Note. - Poe's verse is distinguished by its melody and by its mystical language. No other American poet has ever equaled Poe in musical expression.
Hear the sledges with the bells,
Silver bells !
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night !
With a crystalline delight;
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
Bells, bells, bells
Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells ! 20 What a world of happiness their harmony foretells !
Through the balmy air of night
From the molten-golden notes,
And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
On the moon !
How it swells!
How it dwells
Of the rapture that impels
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
Hear the loud alarum bells,
Brazen bells !
In the startled ear of night
Too much horrified to speak,
Out of tune,