NU 2nd year – Advanced Reading Skills Suggestion

NU 2nd year - Advanced Reading Skills

2018 Suggestions on English Reading Skills

How to Improve Reading Skills

National University of Bangladesh

Part A and Part B:

  • Read extensively.
  • Integrate information in the text with existing knowledge.

Activate your prior knowledge as you start reading a passage.

  • Have a flexible reading style, depending on what they are reading
  • Be motivated
  • Cultivate Vocabulary
  • Improving Comprehension: Author’s tone and message
  • Increase Reading Rate: 200w/m + 70% comprehension.

(100w paragraph twice in 1 minute and four times in two minutes)

  • Learn reading strategies: Skimming, Scanning, Predicting, Previewing etc.
  • Verify Reading Strategies and transform those strategies into skills.
  • Evaluate Progress and strive for continuous improvement to be a good reader.

Part C:

  • Read poems as many as possible.
  • Read the poem aloud more than twice.
  • Rephrase the poem in your own words. Write a prose version of it.
  • Write a short note on the author’s tone and the reader’s mood.
  • Write compositions about the major themes.
  • Learn the following terms well.

Verse, Accent, Rhythm, Foot, Meter, Pentametre,  Rhyme , Free Verse, Blank Verse, Stanza, Quatrain, Tercet , Couplet, Heroic Couplet, Scansion  of verse and others.



A list of Themes commonly explored in poems
  • Love, Sex, Death, , Oppression,  Politics, Fear, Childhood, Memory, Nostalgia, History, Nature, Natural World, Time, Mysticism, Power of Poetry, Modern life, Immortality, Parenthood, Mortality, patriotism. Gender, Identity, Capitalism – effect on the individual, Change of power, Change versus tradition, Desire to escape, Disillusionment and dreams, Evils of racism, Faith versus doubt, Individual versus society, Injustice, Isolation, Nationalism, Patriotism , Power and corruption, Pride and downfall,  War , Working class struggles, Youth and beauty




Theme: 01

The given poem deals with the absence of true love and friendship in the world. Man is so ungrateful and selfish that he does not care for those who were his close friends. He doesn’t remember them once his purpose is served. The speaker doesn’t find the winter wind to be unkind than the ingratitude of a friend. He regards most friendship as feigning. Further, he believes that most of the love relationships are foolishness. In short, the poet laments for the loss of true friendship and love.


Selected Poems


  1. Blow, blow, thou winter wind,

Thou art not so unkind

As man’s ingratitude;

Thy tooth is not so keen,

Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly: 

Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: 

   Then, heigh-ho, the holly! 

      This life is most jolly.


Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,

That dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot:

Though thou the waters warp,

Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly…


Theme: 02

The given poem deals with the themes of beauty and truth. Dickinson portrays them in the same manner. Both are represented by someone who died for them; both are buried near each other . The poem makes a strong statement that beauty and truth are “brethren” and “kinsmen.” Further, the two recognize one another as being kindred spirits . They talked between their tombs until the moss reached their lips and covered up the names on their tombstones. Dickinson means that the two figures died as martyrs for beauty and truth, or that the two figures died in order to attain beauty and truth.


  • I Died For Beauty

By Emily Dickinson


I DIED for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.
He questioned softly why I failed?         5
“For beauty,” I replied.
“And I for truth,—the two are one;
We brethren are,” he said.
And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,         10
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.


  1. Amidst killer speeds I stand

Facing the traffic, stretching my hand.

I am seen on kid’s books and as cartoons everywhere

Theme: 03

The given poem deals with dutifulness of a traffic policeman. The speaker here is a traffic policeman whose duty is to ensure the safety of people using roads. If a traffic police is not responsible enough, the roads will turn disordered. Though a traffic policeman works very hard on the road being vigil and alert at all times even when the weather is rough, he is not satisfactorily rewarded. He doesn’t think of leaving his duty for the convenience and safety of people. The speaker wants people to have empathy for traffic policemen.



Educating people and asking them to beware

Of the erratic traffic and the signboards

Seen on almost all the roads.

So that you’re safe I see each one of you

But my sweat, my plight on the road sees who?

Be it sunny or rainy,

For your safety I must be

Vigil and agile, on the middle

Standing erect, as fit as a fiddle.

Oh! My ear hurts! Oh! My head aches!

Oh! Look at the weather…such unpredictable days!

But I cannot swerve; I must be on duty.

I care for your safety.

Be it noisy or dusty; Be it sunny or rainy;

I must be on duty. I care for your safety.





Theme: 04

The given poem deals with beauty. It exposes an unnamed woman’s exceptional beauty, internal as well as external. The speaker here expresses his feeling as he saw the striking beauty and grace of the woman.  The poet describes her as innocent, pure and heavenly. Her mind is at peace and she does not have troubles in her life. For the poet, beauty takes many forms, including the “tender light” of the woman’s glowing features and the purity of her love. Her inner beauty only enhances her outer beauty, making her the perfect woman in Byron’s eyes. The entire poem is one long description of a woman’s beauty.


She Walks in Beauty


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 mellowed to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.


One shade the more, one ray the less,

Had half impaired the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

Or softly lightens o’er her face;

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!

Theme: 05

The given poem deals with the poet’s intention to go beyond the sorrows and chaos of daily life. The speaker thinks of getting closer to his roots by abandoning the messy, hectic life of the city .He imagines a world of absolute peace named Innisfree. It is an island with the beauty of life. Sweet birds sing and the bees hum. The murmuring of the stream will keep the poet awake. On the other hand, city life is full of troubles. Hence, he intends to make a flight to the lake Isle of Innisfree. It will provide him with absolute happiness.


  • The Lake Isle of Innisfree


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.


And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.


I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

  1. The School Boy

By William Blake


I love to rise in a summer morn,

When the birds sing on every tree;

Theme: 06

The given poem deals with societal restrictions put on a child’s life. The speaker suggests that the educational system of his day destroys the joyful innocence of youth. The school boy should not endure the drudgery of the classroom. The boy longs for the freedom of the outdoors and cannot find pleasure in his book. The poet wishes his readers to understand the importance of the freedom of imagination offered by close contact with nature. Also, he wishes to bring about a positive change in the education system.


The distant huntsman winds his horn,

And the skylark sings with me:

O what sweet company!


But to go to school in a summer morn, –

O it drives all joy away!

Under a cruel eye outworn,

The little ones spend the day

In sighing and dismay.


Ah then at times I drooping sit,

And spend many an anxious hour;

Nor in my book can I take delight,

Nor sit in learning’s bower,

Worn through with the dreary shower.


How can the bird that is born for joy

Sit in a cage and sing?

How can a child, when fears annoy,

But droop his tender wing,

And forget his youthful spring!


O father and mother if buds are nipped,

And blossoms blown away;

And if the tender plants are stripped

Of their joy in the springing day,

By sorrow and care’s dismay, –


How shall the summer arise in joy,

Or the summer fruits appear?

Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,

Or bless the mellowing year,

When the blasts of winter appear?


  1. We’ll Go No More A-Roving

  By Lord Byron


So, we’ll go no more a-roving

So late into the night,

Though the heart be still as loving,

And the moon be still as bright.


For the sword outwears its sheath,

And the soul wears out the breast,

And the heart must pause to breathe,

And love itself have rest.


Though the night was made for loving,

And the day returns too soon,

Yet we’ll go no more a-roving

By the light of the moon.

  1. Delight in Disorder

By Robert Herrick

A sweet disorder in the dress

Kindles in clothes a wantonness;

A lawn about the shoulders thrown

Into a fine distraction;

An erring lace, which here and there

Enthrals the crimson stomacher;

A cuff neglectful, and thereby

Ribands to flow confusedly;

A winning wave, deserving note,

In the tempestuous petticoat;

A careless shoe-string, in whose tie

I see a wild civility:

Do more bewitch me, than when art

Is too precise in every part.


  1. The Sun Rising

By John Donne

BUSY old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams so reverend, and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long.
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and to-morrow late tell me,
Whether both th’ Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou left’st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw’st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, “All here in one bed lay.”

She’s all states, and all princes I;
Nothing else is;
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honour’s mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world’s contracted thus;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that’s done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.

10. Once Upon A Time

By Gabriel Okara

Once upon a time, son
They used to laugh with their hearts
And laugh with their eyes:
But now they only laugh with their teeth
While their ice-block-cold eyes
Search behind my shadow

There was a time indeed
They used to shake hands with their hearts
But that’s gone, son
Now they shake hands without hearts

While their left hands search
My empty pockets

“Feel at home!”, “Come again”:
They say, and when I come
Again and feel
At home, once, twice

There will be no thrice –
For then I find doors shut on me
So I have learnt many things, son

I have learned to wear many faces
Like dresses
Officeface, streetface, hostface
, with all their conforming smiles
Like a fixed portrait smile
And I have learned too
To laugh with only my teeth
And shake hands without my heart
I have also learned to say “Goodbye”
When I mean “Good-riddance”:
To say “Glad to meet you”
Without being glad; and to say “It’s been
Nice talking to you”, after being bored

But believe me, son
I want to be what I used to be
When I was like you. I want
To unlearn all these muting things
Most of all, I want to relearn
How to laugh, for my laugh in the mirror
Shows only my teeth
like a snake’s bare fangs!

So show me, son
How to laugh; show me how
I used to laugh and smile
Once upon a time when I was like you


  1. Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

By Robert Frost


Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.










  1. How Soon Hath Time

By John Milton

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,

Stol’n on his wing my three and twentieth year!

My hasting days fly on with full career,

But my late spring no bud or blossom shew’th.

Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,

That I to manhood am arrived so near,

And inward ripeness doth much less appear,

That some more timely-happy spirits endu’th.

Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,

It shall be still in strictest measure even

To that same lot, however mean or high,

Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven;

All is, if I have grace to use it so,

As ever in my great Taskmaster’s eye.



13. Under The Greenwood Tree –

by William Shakespeare

Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

Who doth ambition shun,
And loves to live i’ the sun,
Seeking the food he eats,
And pleas’d with what he gets,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.




  1. O Captain! My Captain!

by Walt Whitman

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here captain! dear father!

This arm beneath your head;

It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!

But I, with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.


  1. I hear America singing

By Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,

The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day — at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

  1. The Second Coming

By William Butler Yeats



Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.


Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


  1. Crossing The Bar

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crost the bar.


  1. If

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;

If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you




By Edmund Spenser


One day I wrote her name upon the strand,

But came the waves and washed it away:

Again I write it with a second hand,

But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.

Vain man, said she, that doest in vain assay,

A mortal thing so to immortalize,

For I myself shall like to this decay,

And eek my name be wiped out likewise.

Not so, (quod I) let baser things devise

To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:

My verse, your virtues rare shall eternize,

And in the heavens write your glorious name.

Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,

Our love shall live, and later life renew.


by: John Dryden


O, no, poor suff’ring Heart, no Change endeavour,

Choose to sustain the smart, rather than leave her;

My ravish’d eyes behold such charms about her,

I can die with her, but not live without her:

One tender Sigh of hers to see me languish,

Will more than pay the price of my past anguish:

Beware, O cruel Fair, how you smile on me,

‘Twas a kind look of yours that has undone me.


Love has in store for me one happy minute,

And She will end my pain who did begin it;

Then no day void of bliss, or pleasure leaving,

Ages shall slide away without perceiving:

Cupid shall guard the door the more to please us,

And keep out Time and Death, when they would seize us:

Time and Death shall depart, and say in flying,

Love has found out a way to live, by dying.




Diana: the Roman goddess of wild animals and the hunt. Corresponds to the

Greek Artemis, who in turn is associated with Selene, the goddess of the



Cynthia: a surname of Artemis or Diana. From Mount Cynthus, where she was




by: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

UEEN and huntress, chaste and fair,

Now the sun is laid to sleep,

Seated in thy silver chair,

State in wonted manner keep.

Hesperus entreats thy light,

Goddess excellently bright.


Earth, let not thy envious shade

Dare itself to interpose;

Cynthia’s shining orb was made

Heaven to clear, when day did close.

Bless us then with wishèd sight,

Goddess excellently bright.


Lay thy bow of pearl apart,

And thy crystal-shining quiver;

Give unto the flying hart

Space to breathe, how short soever;

Thou that mak’st a day of night,

Goddess excellently bright.




by: Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

ITAL spark of heav’nly flame!

Quit, O quit this mortal frame:

Trembling, hoping, ling’ring, flying,

O the pain, the bliss of dying!

Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,

And let me languish into life.


Hark! they whisper; angels say,

Sister Spirit, come away!

What is this absorbs me quite?

Steals my senses, shuts my sight,

Drowns my spirit, draws my breath?

Tell me, my soul, can this be death?


The world recedes; it disappears!

Heav’n opens my eyes! my ears

With sounds seraphic ring!

Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!

O Grave! where is thy victory?

O Death! where is thy sting?



by: Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

OW happy he, who free from care

The rage of courts, and noise of towns;

Contented breaths his native air,

In his own grounds.


Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,

Whose flocks supply him with attire,

Whose trees in summer yield him shade,

In winter fire.


Blest! who can unconcern’dly find

Hours, days, and years slide swift away,

In health of body, peace of mind,

Quiet by day,


Sound sleep by night; study and ease

Together mix’d; sweet recreation,

And innocence, which most does please,

With meditation.


Thus let me live, unheard, unknown;

Thus unlamented let me dye;

Steal from the world, and not a stone

Tell where I lye.


24.      Dreams

Langston Hughes, 1902 – 1967

Hold fast to dreams For if dreams dieLife is a broken-winged birdThat cannot fly. Hold fast to dreamsFor when dreams goLife is a barren fieldFrozen with snow.

  1. Dreams

By T. E. Lawrence

All men dream, but not equally.

Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds,

wake in the day to find that it was vanity:

but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,

for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.


  1. A Red, Red Rose

By Robert Burns


O my Luve is like a red, red rose

That’s newly sprung in June;

O my Luve is like the melody

That’s sweetly played in tune.


So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a’ the seas gang dry.


Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;

I will love thee still, my dear,

While the sands o’ life shall run.


And fare thee weel, my only luve!

And fare thee weel awhile!

And I will come again, my luve,

Though it were ten thousand mile.



  1. Nurse’s Song

By William Blake

When the voices of children are heard on the green,
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
And everything else is still.

‘Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
And the dews of night arise;
Come, come leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies.’

‘No, no, let us play, for it is yet day,
And we cannot go to sleep;
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly,
And the hills are all cover’d with sheep.’

‘Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
And then go home to bed.’
The little ones leapèd, and shoutèd, and laugh’d
And all the hills echoèd.


  1. The Chimney Sweeper: A little black thing among the snow

By William Blake


A little black thing among the snow,

Crying “weep! ‘weep!” in notes of woe!

“Where are thy father and mother? say?”

“They are both gone up to the church to pray.


Because I was happy upon the heath,

And smil’d among the winter’s snow,

They clothed me in the clothes of death,

And taught me to sing the notes of woe.


And because I am happy and dance and sing,

They think they have done me no injury,

And are gone to praise God and his Priest and King,

Who make up a heaven of our misery.”

  1. London

By William Blake


I wander thro’ each charter’d street,

Near where the charter’d Thames does flow.

And mark in every face I meet

Marks of weakness, marks of woe.


In every cry of every Man,

In every Infants cry of fear,

In every voice: in every ban,

The mind-forg’d manacles I hear


How the Chimney-sweepers cry

Every blackning Church appalls,

And the hapless Soldiers sigh

Runs in blood down Palace walls


But most thro’ midnight streets I hear

How the youthful Harlots curse

Blasts the new-born Infants tear

And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse




  1. LONDON, 1802

by: William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

ILTON! thou shouldst be living at this hour:

England hath need of thee: she is a fen

Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,

Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,

Have forfeited their ancient English dower

Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;

Oh! raise us up, return to us again;

And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.

Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:

Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:

Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,

So didst thou travel on life’s common way,

In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart

Keats has wide experience in the reading of poetry and is familiar with Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, but not until now has he had the special aesthetic enjoyment to be gained from reading Homer in the translation of George Chapman. For him, the discovery of Homer as translated by Chapman provides the same kind of overwhelming excitement felt by an astronomer who has discovered a new planet or by Cortez when he first saw the Pacific from a summit in Central America.

The lowliest duties on herself did lay


  1. On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

By John Keats


Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;

Round many western islands have I been

Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.

Oft of one wide expanse had I been told

That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene

Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken;

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes

He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men

Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—

Silent, upon a peak in Darien.





by: John Keats (1795-1821)

WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be

Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,

Before high-pilèd books, in charact’ry,

Hold like rich garners the full-ripened grain;

When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,

Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,

And think that I may never live to trace,

Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;

And when I feel, fair creature of an hour

That I shall never look upon thee more,

Never have relish in the faery power

Of unreflecting love;–then on the shore

Of the wide world I stand alone, and think,

Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.




  1. Love’s Philosophy

By Percy Bysshe Shelley


The fountains mingle with the river

And the rivers with the ocean,

The winds of heaven mix for ever

With a sweet emotion;

Nothing in the world is single;

All things by a law divine

In one spirit meet and mingle.

Why not I with thine?—


See the mountains kiss high heaven

And the waves clasp one another;

No sister-flower would be forgiven

If it disdained its brother;

And the sunlight clasps the earth

And the moonbeams kiss the sea:

What is all this sweet work worth

If thou kiss not me?



  1. Ozymandias

By Percy Bysshe Shelley


I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

  1. I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

I’m Nobody! Who are you?Are you – Nobody – too?Then there’s a pair of us!Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know! How dreary – to be – Somebody!How public – like a Frog –  To tell one’s name – the livelong June –  To an admiring Bog!


by: Robert Browning (1812-1889)

ALL’S over, then: does truth sound bitter

As one at first believes?

Hark, ’tis the sparrows’ good-night twitter

About your cottage eaves!


And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly,

I noticed that, to-day;

One day more bursts them open fully

–You know the red turns gray.


To-morrow we meet the same then, dearest?

May I take your hand in mine?

Mere friends are we,–well, friends the merest

Keep much that I resign:


For each glance of the eye so bright and black.

Though I keep with heart’s endeavour,–

Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back,

Though it stay in my soul for ever!–


Yet I will but say what mere friends say,

Or only a thought stronger;

I will hold your hand but as long as all may,

Or so very little longer!



  1. from The Princess: Sweet and Low

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sweet and low, sweet and low,

Wind of the western sea,

Low, low, breathe and blow,

Wind of the western sea!

Over the rolling waters go,

Come from the dying moon, and blow,

Blow him again to me;

While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.


Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,

Father will come to thee soon;

Rest, rest, on mother’s breast,

Father will come to thee soon;

Father will come to his babe in the nest,

Silver sails all out of the west

Under the silver moon:

Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.


by: Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

NIGHTINGALES warbled without,

Within was weeping for thee:

Shadows of three dead men

Walk’d in the walks with me:

Shadows of three dead men, and thou wast one of the three.


Nightingales sang in the woods:

The Master was far away:

Nightingales warbled and sang

Of a passion that lasts but a day;

Still in the house in his coffin the Prince of courtesy lay.


Two dead men have I known

In courtesy like to thee:

Two dead men have I loved

With a love that ever will be:

Three dead men have I loved, and thou art last of the three.


by: Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

MIGHTY-MOUTH’D inventor of harmonies,

O skill’d to sing of Time or Eternity,

God-gifted organ-voice of England,

Milton, a name to resound for ages;

Whose Titan angels, Gabriel, Abdiel,

Starr’d from Jehovah’s gorgeous armories,

Tower, as the deep-domed empyrean

Rings to the roar of an angel onset!

Me rather all that bowery loneliness,

The brooks of Eden mazily murmuring,

And bloom profuse and cedar arches

Charm as a wanderer out in ocean,

Where some refulgent sunset of India

Streams o’er a rich ambrosial ocean isle,

And crimson-hued the stately palm-woods

Whisper in odorous heights of even.


  1. The Traffic Policeman

Amidst killer speeds I stand

Facing the traffic, stretching my hand.

I am seen on kids’ books and as cartoons everywhere

Educating people and asking them to beware

Of the errafic traffic and the signboards

Seen on almost all the roads.
So that you’re safe I see each one of you

But my sweat, my plight on the road sees who?

Be it sunny or rainy ,

For your safety I must be

Vigil and agile, on the middle

Standing erect, as fit as a fiddle.
Oh! My ear hurts! Oh! My head aches!

Oh! Look at the weather…such unpredictable days!

But I cannot swerve; I must be on duty.

I care for your safety.

Be it noisy or dusty; Be it sunny or rainy;

I must be on duty. I care for your safety.



  1. She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways

William Wordsworth

HE dwelt among the untrodden ways

Beside the springs of Dove,

A Maid whom there were none to praise

And very few to love:


A violet by a mossy stone

Half hidden from the eye!

Fair as a star, when only one

Is shining in the sky.


She lived unknown, and few could know

When Lucy ceased to be;

But she is in her grave, and oh,

The difference to me!



by: T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

S she laughed I was aware of becoming involved

in her laughter and being part of it, until her

teeth were only accidental stars with a talent

for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps,

inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally

in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by

the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter

with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading

a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty

green iron table, saying: “If the lady and

gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden,

if the lady and gentleman wish to take their

tea in the garden …” I decided that if the

shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of

the fragments of the afternoon might be collected,

and I concentrated my attention with careful

subtlety to this end.



by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

WHY should I blame her that she filled my days

With misery, or that she would of late

Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,

Or hurled the little streets upon the great,

Had they but courage equal to desire?

What could have made her peaceful with a mind

That nobleness made simple as a fire,

With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind

That is not natural in an age like this,

Being high and solitary and most stern?

Why, what could she have done, being what she is?

Was there another Troy for her to burn?


  1. When You Are Old

By William Butler Yeats


When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;


How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;


And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

I HAVE heard the pigeons of the Seven Woods

Make their faint thunder, and the garden bees

Hum in the lime-tree flowers; and put away

The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness

That empty the heart. I have forgot awhile

Tara uprooted, and new commonness

Upon the throne and crying about the streets

And hanging its paper flowers from post to post,

Because it is alone of all things happy.

I am contented, for I know that Quiet

Wanders laughing and eating her wild heart

Among pigeons and bees, while that Great Archer,

Who but awaits His hour to shoot, still hangs

A cloudy quiver over Pairc-na-lee.



  1. When I Was One-and-Twenty

By A. E. Housman

When I was one-and-twenty

I heard a wise man say,

“Give crowns and pounds and guineas

But not your heart away;

Give pearls away and rubies

But keep your fancy free.”

But I was one-and-twenty,

No use to talk to me.


When I was one-and-twenty

I heard him say again,

“The heart out of the bosom

Was never given in vain;

’Tis paid with sighs a plenty

And sold for endless rue.”

And I am two-and-twenty,

And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.




  1. Tithonus

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,

The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,

Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,

And after many a summer dies the swan.

Me only cruel immortality

Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms,

Here at the quiet limit of the world,

A white-hair’d shadow roaming like a dream

The ever-silent spaces of the East,

Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.


Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man—

So glorious in his beauty and thy choice,

Who madest him thy chosen, that he seem’d

To his great heart none other than a God!

I ask’d thee, ‘Give me immortality.’

Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,

Like wealthy men, who care not how they give.

But thy strong Hours indignant work’d their wills,

And beat me down and marr’d and wasted me,

And tho’ they could not end me, left me maim’d

To dwell in presence of immortal youth,

Immortal age beside immortal youth,

And all I was, in ashes. Can thy love,

Thy beauty, make amends, tho’ even now,

Close over us, the silver star, thy guide,

Shines in those tremulous eyes that fill with tears

To hear me? Let me go: take back thy gift:

Why should a man desire in any way

To vary from the kindly race of men

Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance

Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?



  1. Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”

Aunt Jennifer’s tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.

Aunt Jennifer’s finger fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.

  1. My heart leaps up when I behold
    A rainbow in the sky:
    So was it when my life began;
    So is it now I am a man;
    So be it when I shall grow old,
    Or let me die!
    The Child is father of the Man;
    And I could wish my days to be
    Bound each to each by natural piety.




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