1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
Snowdon From Pernsarn, a painting by Charles Thomas Burt

Snowdon From Pernsarn by Charles Thomas Burt. Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash.

The Heaven doth not contain so many stars,
So many leaves not prostrate lie in woods
When autumn’s old and Boreas sounds his wars,
So many waves have not the ocean floods,
As my rent mind hath torments all the night,
And heart spends sighs when Phœbus brings the light.

Why should I have been partner of the light,
Who, crost in birth by bad aspéct of stars,
Have never since had happy day or night?
Why was not I a liver in the woods,
Or citizen of Thetis’s crystal floods,
Than made a man, for love and fortune’s wars?

I look each day when death should end the wars,
Uncivil wars, ’twixt sense and reason’s light;
My pains I count to mountains, meads, and floods,
And of my sorrow partners make the stars;
All desolate I haunt the fearful woods,
When I should give myself to rest at night.

With watchful eyes I ne’er behold the night,
Mother of peace, but ah! to me of wars,
And Cynthia, queen-like, shining through the woods,
When straight those lamps come in my thought, whose light
My judgment dazzled, passing brightest stars,
And then mine eyes en-isle themselves with floods.

Turn to their springs again first shall the floods,
Clear shall the sun the sad and gloomy night,
To dance about the pole cease shall the stars,
The elements renew their ancient wars
Shall first, and be deprived of place and light,
E’er I find rest in city, fields, or woods.

End these my days, indwellers of the woods,
Take this my life, ye deep and raging floods;
Sun, never rise to clear me with thy light,
Horror and darkness, keep a lasting night;
Consume me, care, with thy intestine wars,
And stay your influence o’er me, bright stars!

In vain the stars, indwellers of the woods,
Care, horror, wars, I call, and raging floods,
For all have sworn no night shall dim my sight.

William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585 –1649) was a Scottish poet.

Mark McGuinness reads and discusses the poem in his podcast A Mouthful of Air, a podcast of classic and contemporary poetry. Podcast transcription is available.

To read more poems, click here.

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