Sonnet 29: When in Disgrace, William Shakespeare
To Ramona, Bob Dylan
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (excerpts), Samuel Coleridge
Carnival of the Animals (excerpts) Ogden Nash – (Camille
…..Saint-Saëns; Birds; The Panther;
…..The Kangaroo; Fossils; The Fly)
The Sloth, Theodore Roethke
The Rhyme of the Chivalrous Shark, Wallace Irwin
Similar Cases, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Some Keep the Sabbath, Emily Dickinson
Amazing Grace, John Newton


 

Sonnet 29: When in Disgrace
by William Shakespeare

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy, contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered, such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

 
 
 

To Ramona*
by Bob Dylan

Ramona, come closer,
Shut softly your watery eyes.
The pangs of your sadness
Shall pass as your senses will rise.
The flowers of the city
Though breathlike, get deathlike at times.
And there’s no use in tryin’
T’deal with the dyin’,
Though I cannot explain that in lines.

Your cracked country lips,
I still wish to kiss,
As to be under the strength of your skin.
Your magnetic movements
Still capture the minutes I’m in.
But it grieves my heart, love,
To see you trying’ to be a part of
A world that just don’t exist.
It’s all just a dream, babe,
A vacuum, a scheme, babe,
That sucks you into feelin’ like this.

I can see that your head
Has been twisted and fed
By worthless foam from the mouth.
I can tell you are torn
Between stayin’ and returnin’
On back to the South.
You’ve been fooled into thinking
That the finishin’ end is at hand.
Yet there’s no one to beat you,
No one t’ defeat you,
‘Cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad.

I’ve heard you say many times
That you’re better ‘n no one
And no one is better ‘n you.
If you really believe that,
You know you got
Nothing to win and nothing to lose.
From fixtures and forces and friends,
Your sorrow does stem,
That hype you and type you,
Making you feel
That you must be exactly like them.

I’d forever talk to you,
but soon my words,
They would turn into a meaningless ring.
For deep in my heart
I know there is no help I can bring.
Everything passes,
Everything charges,
Just do what you think you should do.
And someday maybe,
Who knows, baby,
I’ll come and be cryin’ to you.

 
* Used with the kind permission of Bob Dylan Music Company.

 
 
 

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (excerpts)
by Samuel Coleridge

Part I

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

The bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
Mayst hear the merry din.’

He holds him with his skinny hand,
‘There was a ship,’ quoth he.
‘Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
Eftsoon his hand dropt he.

He holds him with his glittering eye –
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

‘The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.

The Sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon –’
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon . . . .

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o’eartaking wings,
And chased us south along . . . .

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swond!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name . . . .

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner’s hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moon-shine!

‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends that plague thee thus! –
Why look’st thou so?’ — With my cross-boy
I shot the ALBATROSS.

Part II

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work ‘em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! Said they, the bird to slay.
That made the breeze to blow! . . . .

Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea . . . .

Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

* * *

Part IV

Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watched the water-snakes:
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.
The selfsame moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.

* * *

Part VII

O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea:
So lonely ’twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be . . . .

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone; and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom’s door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn.

 
 
 

Carnival of the Animals (excerpts)
(Camile Saint-Saëns; Birds; The Panther,
The Kangaroo; Fossils; The Fly)
by Ogden Nash

You should get the text from another source.

 
 
 

The Sloth
by Theodore Roethke

You should get the text from another source.

 
 
 

The Rhyme of the Chivalrous Shark
by Wallace Irwin

Most chivalrous fish of the ocean,
To ladies forbearing and mild,
Though his record be dark, is the man-eating Shark
Who will eat neither woman nor child.

He dines upon seamen and skippers,
And tourists his hunger assuage,
And a fresh cabin boy will inspire him with joy
If he’s past the maturity age.

A doctor, a lawyer, a preacher,
He’ll gobble one any fine day,
But the ladies, Good Bless ‘em, he’ll only address ‘em
Politely and go on his way.

I can readily cite you an instance
Where a lovely young lady of Breem,
Who was tender and sweet and delicious to eat,
Fell into the bay with a scream.

She struggled and flounced in the water
And signaled in vain for her bark
And she’d surely been drowned if she hadn’t been Found
By a chivalrous man-eating shark.

He bowed in a manner most polished,
Thus soothing her impulses wild;
“Don’t be frightened,” he said, “I’ve been properly Bred
And will eat neither woman nor child.”

Then he proffered his fin and she took it —
Such a gallantry none can dispute—
While the passengers cheered as the vessel they Neared,
And a broadside was fired in salute.

And they soon stood alongside the vessel,
When a life-saving dinghy was lowered
With the pick of the crew, and her relatives, too,
And the mate and the skipper aboard.

So they took her aboard in a jiffy,
And the shark stood attention the while,
Then he raised on his flipper and ate up the Skipper
And went on his way with a smile.

And this shows that the prince of the ocean,
To ladies forbearing and mild,
Though his record be dark, is the man-eating Shark
Who will eat neither woman nor child.

 
 
 

Similar Cases
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

There was once a little animal,
No bigger than a fox,
And on five toes he scampered
Over Tertiary rocks.
And they called him very small,
And they thought him of no value–
When they thought of him at all;
For the lumpish old Dinoceras
And Coryphodon so slow
Were the heavy aristocracy
In days of long ago.

Said the little Eohippus,
“I am going to be a horse!
And on my middle finger-nails
To run my earthly course!
I’m going to have a glowing tail!
I’m going to have a mane!
I’m going to stand fourteen hands high
On the physchozoic plain!”

The Coryphodon was horrified,
The Dinoceras was shocked;
And they chased young Eohippus,
but he skipped away and mocked;

Then they laughed enormous laughter,
And they groaned enormous groans,
And they bade young Eohippus
Go view his father’s bones:
Said they, “You always were as small
And mean as now we see,
And that’s conclusive evidence
That you’re always going to be:
What! Be a great, tall, handsome beast,
With hoofs to gallop on?
Why, you’d have to change your nature!”
Said the Loxolophodon:
They considered him disposed of,
And retired with gait serene;
that was the way they argued
In “the early Eocene.”

There was once an Anthropoidal Ape
Far smarter than the rest,
And everything that they could do
He always did the best;
So they naturally disliked him,
And they gave him shoulders cool,
And when they had to mention him
They said he was a fool.

Cried this pretentious Ape one day,
“I’m going to be a Man!
And stand upright, and hunt, and fight,
And conquer all I can!
I’m going to cut down forest trees,
To make my houses higher!
I’m going to kill the Mastodon!
I’m going to make a fire!”

Loud screamed the Anthropoidal Apes,
With laughter wild and gay;
They tried to catch that boastful one,
But he always got away;
So they yelled at him in chorus,
Which he minded not a whit;
And they pelted him with cocoanuts,
Which didn’t seem to hit;
And then they gave him reasons,
Which they thought of much avail,
To prove how his preposterous
Attempt was sure to fail.

Said the sages, “In the first place,
The thing cannot be done!
And, second, if it could be,
It would not be any fun!
And, third, and most conclusive
And admitting no reply,
You have to change your nature!
We should like to see you try!”
They chuckled then triumphantly,
These lean and hairy shapes,
For these things passed as arguments
With the Anthropoidal Apes.

There was once a Neolithic Man,
An enterprising creature,
Who made his chopping implements
Better than his teacher.
Unusually clever he,
Unusually brave,
And he drew delightful Mammoths
On the borders of his cave.

To his Neolithic neighbors,
Who were startled and surprised,
Said he, “My friends, in course of time,
We shall be civilized!
We are going to live in cities!
We are going to fight in wars!
We are going to eat three times a day
Without the natural cause!
We are going to turn life upside down
About a thing called gold!
We are going to want the earth, and seize
As much as we can hold!
We are going to wear great piles of stuff
Outside our proper skins!
We are gong to have Diseases!
And Accomplishments!! And Sins!!!

Then they all rose up in fury
Against their boastful friend,
For prehistoric patience
Cometh quickly to an end:
Said one, “This is chimerical!
Utopian! Absurd!”
Said another, “What a stupid life!
Too dull, upon my word!”
Cried all, “Before such things can come,
You idiotic child,
You must alter Human Nature!”
And they all sat back and smiled.
Thought they, “An answer to that last
It will be hard to find!”
It was a clinching argument
To the Neolithic Mind!

 
 
 

Some Keep the Sabbath
by Emily Dickinson

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home -
With a Bobolink for a Chorister -
And a Orchard, for a Dome -

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice -
I, just wear my Wings -
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman -
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last -
I’m going, all along.

 
 
 

Amazing Grace
by John Newton

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.