Books Poetry

To a Skylark on Shelley’s birthday

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Today is the birthday of Percy Bysshe Shelley (August 4, 1792 – July 8, 1822) — and Barack Obama as well. He turns 51 today. I have always loved Keats and the older I grow the more I like Wordsworth. Much of Shelley, however, goes clean over my head. I have no desire to read Prometheus Unbound again. It being his birthday, however, I looked up To a Skylark today. High-flown, idealistic, lyrical, it’s quintessentially Romantic.  The last verse is simply great:

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen then, as I am listening now!

I thought I might as well save the complete poem here.

Books Poetry

On Julia’s Clothes and 99 other most popular poems

This must be one of the shortest, heavily anthologized poems in the English language. On Julia’s Clothes, by Robert Herrick, runs to only six lines. But, witty and playful, this 17th century poem is one of the 100 most anthologized poems in the English language, according to the Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry. Here are links to the top 100. But first…

On Julia’s Clothes
By Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
That liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes and see
That brave vibration each way free,
O how that glittering taketh me!

Roguish but charming, isn’t it?